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Column 739Mr. Michael McEvoy
Mrs. Elinor Patchell
Mr. Roderick Thurman
Mr. Roger Warren Evans
Mrs. Lydia Stephens
Miss Charlotte Watkins
Mr. Callaghan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what measures he intends to strengthen the United Kingdom's engineering industry.
Mr. Sainsbury : The engineering industry in the United Kingdom has a vital part to play in our industrial performance. Its success depends on a partnership between firms and Government. For their part, the Government are delivering low inflation, low interest rates, significantly enhanced help for exporters and a lifting of regulatory burdens. Firms in the sector are taking advantage of this positive climate by winning business both in the United Kingdom and in our overseas markets. Recent successes for the north-west include North West Water, which has just won a very large contract to help upgrade Malaysia's sewage system over the next 25 years, and the Manchester firm Crown House Engineering, which has recently won business in the United Kingdom worth £5 million.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was (a) the output of motor cars and (b) the balance of trade in total in motor vehicles of (i) France, (ii) Italy, (iii) Germany and (iv) the United Kingdom in (1) 1978 and (2) 1993.
Mr. Sainsbury : The information requested concerning the output of motor cars is available in "Motor Industry of Great Britain 1993 : World Automotive Statistics" (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The balances of trade in motor vehicles are shown in the table and relates to 1992 since 1993 data are not currently available.
Balance of trade in motor vehicles 1978 and 1992 ($US million, current prices and market exchange rates) |1978 |1992 --------------------------------------- France |3,590 |192 Italy |630 |-11,627 Germany |9,994 |21,946 United Kingdom |-1,050 |-3,644 Note: For 1978 Germany refers to the Federal Republic of Germany. Motor Vehicles comprise Standard International Trade Classification 781 (cars), 782 (commercial vehicles) and 783 (miscellaneous vehicles). Source: United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Government welcome the takeover of British industry by foreign firms.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Government welcome foreign investment in United Kingdom industry. Mergers between United Kingdom and overseas companies can be expected to increase as markets become increasingly international. Historically the number and value of United Kingdom acquisitions abroad has exceeded that of foreign takeovers of United Kingdom companies.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 31 January, Official Report, column 588, whether, and at what stage in the decision-making process, he opposed or demurred from the proposal to standardise on a common voltage ; at what stage he consulted British manufacturers and interested parties ; and what proportion of them was opposed to the proposal.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade had reservations on the proposal to standardise on a common voltage until considering the returns of the consultation exercise. Consultations with British manufacturers and interested parties were carried out between October and December 1992. Of those who responded fewer than 10 per cent. of the manufacturers were opposed to the proposal and many of the interested parties did not express any firm views.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the EC directive on distance selling is expected to come into force ; and whether the Government have accepted the terms of article 11B of that directive.
Mr. McLoughlin : A European Commission proposal for a Council directive on distance selling is under negotiation in Brussels. It is too early to say when agreement might be reached on this proposal. The proposal does not contain an article 11B.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the laboratories and research establishments of his Department are being reviewed by the efficiency unit of the Office of Public Service and Science which is reporting to Sir Peter Levene ; and whether his own consultant's advice on his research establishments will be passed on to this review.
Mr. Heseltine : The answer to both questions posed by the hon. Member is yes.
Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the future of the enterprise agencies.
Mr. McLoughlin : Local enterprise agencies are independent local companies, limited by guarantee. They operate in close partnership with training and enterprise councils, chambers of commerce and local authorities to provide local business support services. They are key partners in developing the national network of business links.
Dr. Wright : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those responsible for making appointments of (a) chairs and (b) members of the boards to each of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department.
Mr. Eggar : The responsibility for making appointments of (a) chairs and (b) members of the boards to the executive non-departmental public bodies of the DTI as listed in "Public Bodies 1993" is as follows :
Public Bodies 1993 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- British Hallmarking Council |Lord Strathclyde Advisory Committees on Telecommunications for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland |Lord Strathclyde Area Transport Users' Consultative Committees |Lord Strathclyde Central Transport Consultative Committee |Lord Strathclyde Domestic coal Consumers' Council |Lord Strathclyde Gas Consumers' Council |Lord Strathclyde London Regional Passengers' Committee |Lord Strathclyde National Consumer Council |Lord Strathclyde Post Office Users' National Council |Lord Strathclyde Post Office Users' Councils for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland |Lord Strathclyde Design Council |Lord Strathclyde English Industrial Estates Corporation |Mr. Sainsbury Hearing Aid Council |Lord Strathclyde Monopolies and Mergers Commission |Mr. Hamilton National Enterprise Board |Mr. McLoughlin National Research Development Corporation |Mr. McLoughlin Policyholders' Protection Board |Mr. Hamilton The Simpler Trade Procedures Board |Mr. Needham United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority |Mr. Eggar
Mr. Ashton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what considerations led to the revoking of objective 2 status for the travel-to- work areas of Bassetlaw, Nottingham, covering the Retford and Fairborough areas ; and what alternative assistance from Community institutions is available to these areas.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 31 January 1994] : From Nottinghamshire, the Government proposed to the Commission that the whole of Retford, Alfreton and Ashfield, Gainsborough, Mansfield and Worksop travel-to-work areas should retain their eligibility for objective 2 grants from the European structural funds. In addition, the Government proposed that most of the Nottingham travel-to-work area, some of which had previously been eligible, should be eligible. As a result of the final decision on eligibility, taken by the European Commission on 20 January, only Mansfield and Worksop travel-to-work areas have retained eligibility.
Within the structural funds, the areas to which the hon. Gentleman refers remain eligible for objective 3 grants. They may also be able to benefit from future community initiatives, although decisions on these have yet to be taken by the Commission.
Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what instructions have been issued to relevant regional offices of Government to indicate reductions in the population coverage of European objective 5b in their areas when compared to recommendations issued by the European Commission ; what is his assessment of the reduction in grant, both for each area and for all affected areas, if the population coverage is reduced by 12 per cent. ; and when he expects to make a statement on the reallocation of surplus grant resulting from the reduction in population coverage ; and under what provisions of the structural fund regulations this can be achieved.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 18 January 1994] : In an announcement of 21 December the European Commission proposed an objective 5b population total for the United Kingdom of 2.816 million. It did not recommend precise areas for designation but invited the Government to define in detail areas within this population total.
In order to accommodate a small number of additional areas originally proposed by the Government for objective 2, and in order to express the population of all the areas concerned on a different statistical basis requested by the Commission, it was necessary to propose a marginal adjustment to many of the areas originally proposed for objective 5b.
Since at the time of these adjustments no areas had yet been designated other parts of the hon. Gentleman's question do not arise. The overall population coverage was not reduced and there were no implications for the United Kingdom's financial allocation under objective 5b.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade on what date he expects to announce his decision on the future of the Hearing Aid Council ; and if he will place all submissions he has received on the future of the Council in the Library.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 10 February 1994] : The Hearing Aid Council is established under the Hearing Aid Council Act 1968. As part of the deregulation initiative we asked over 700 individuals and organisations whether they considered this legislation is still needed in its present form and whether it should be changed. I am considering the responses received, but am not yet able to say when an announcement will be made. The replies to the consultation were made in confidence to the Department.
12. Mrs. Lait : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to encourage more co-operation and partnership within industry and between industry and Government.
Miss Widdecombe : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's statement, "Prosperity through Skills", emphasised the importance of key partners working together to secure our economic prosperity. Integrated regional offices and the new single regeneration budget will add significantly to co-operation and partnership between industry and Government.
13. Mr. Hoon : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment which European Union member states provide parental leave within the terms of the social chapter of the Maastricht treaty.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : None. Where parental leave exists, it predates the coming into effect of the Maastricht treaty.
15. Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take steps to improve the employment rights to time off for maternity and paternity leave.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Under provisions introduced by the Government in the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act, all women will shortly have a new right to 14 weeks maternity leave, regardless of length of service or hours of work.
Paternity leave is, like most other terms and conditions of employment, a matter for agreement between employers and employees, without Government intervention.
16. Mr. Etherington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of part-time workers are women.
Mr. David Hunt : In September 1993, 76 per cent. of part-time workers in Great Britain were women.
17. Sir Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will report on the first six months of the North Norfolk Action pilot scheme.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : In the first six months, 125 people have taken part in work experience projects of whom 27 have found employment or gone on to further training. During the same period 385 have received help through a series of weekly caseload interviews. Of these, 226 have achieved a positive outcome by gaining a job or joining other employment programmes.
18. Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many men and how many women, in each standard planning region, were in full-time employment in June 1979 and the latest date for which figures are available.
Miss Widdecombe : Male full-time employment is not available before 1984. Total male civilian employment and full-time female civilian employment for each of the standard regions is as follows :
Civilian work force in employment<1> Thousands Standard regions Male all Female full time |June 1979 |September 1993|June 1979 |September 1993 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- South East |4,839 |4,342 |2,006 |2,224 Greater London<2> |n/a |1,932 |- |1,064 East Anglia |481 |498 |178 |218 South West |1,032 |1,094 |417 |496 West Midlands |1,462 |1,197 |550 |546 East Midlands |1,013 |919 |393 |446 Yorkshire and Humberside |1,302 |1,114 |480 |487 North West |1,700 |1,402 |719 |661 North |802 |645 |314 |284 Wales |716 |613 |276 |275 Scotland |1,333 |1,193 |597 |610 Great Britain |14,677 |13,015 |5,934 |6,246 <1> The civilian work force in employment comprises employees in employment, the self employed and participants on work related government training programmes. <2> Included in South East.
25. Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give his estimate of the number of unemployed young people under 21 years.
Miss Widdecombe : Age and duration figures from the claimant unemployment count are only available in standard age bands. The nearest approximation to the figures requested are for those under 20 years of age. There were 227,208 unemployed claimants aged under 20 in October 1993, 16,720 less than 12 months ago.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what were the average weekly earnings of (i) full-time males, (ii) full-time females and (iii) part-time females in 1978-79 and in the latest year for which data are available in (a) Great Britain, (b) England, (c) Yorkshire and Humberside and (d) north Yorkshire ; and what were (c) and (d) as a percentage of (b) in each case.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information requested on average weekly earnings can be found in tables 110 and 113 of part E and table 180 of part F of the New Earnings Survey for each of the years requested with the exception
Column 744of that for part-time women in North Yorkshire which is provided in the following table. Copies of the reports can be found in the Library.
Average gross weekly earnings of part-time women in North Yorkshire at April |£ --------------- 1978 |21.9 1979 |25.5 1993 |90.7 Source: New Earnings Survey.
19. Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures he proposes to mitigate the effect of redundancies announced in the north west so far in the current year.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : In the north west region, as elsewhere, the Employment Service and the 14 north-west training and enterprise councils will continue to deliver a
Column 745wide range of employment, enterprise and training programmes to help people find the best and quickest route back to employment.
20. Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to create jobs in the west midlands.
Miss Widecombe : The Department's aim is to promote a free and flexible labour market to encourage employment in the west midlands region as elsewhere. The Employment Service and 10 west midlands training and enterprise councils deliver a wide range of employment, enterprise and training programmes to help people find the best and quickest route to employment.
21. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment his Department makes of wages offered by employers advertising at job centres.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : When employers notify vacancies to jobcentres, an assessment is made of the prospects of filling them. Where the wage offered appears to be below the local market rate for the occupation in question, the employer will be advised if this may cause difficulties in filling the post. However, the decision on what wage is offered is left to the employer.
22. Sir Fergus Montgomery : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate his Department has made of the numbers of workers whose working hours would be reduced by a statutory maximum 48 hour week.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Some 2.4 million workers would be affected. The Government have no intention of introducing any such statutory controls.
23. Mr. Dover : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received regarding his proposals for a modern apprenticeship.
Mr. David Hunt : I have received many messages of support for modern apprenticeships, from a wide range of organisations and individuals.
24. Mr. Heppell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what resources have been used by his Department in responding to task force proposals on deregulation.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Employment Department and the Health and Safety Executive have small deregulation units which have dealt with task force proposals on deregulation in the normal course of their duties, consulting other officials when necessary.
26. Mr. Lidington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures his Department is taking to assist the unemployed in Buckinghamshire.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Department has a wide range of employment, training and enterprise measures to help unemployed people including jobclubs, training for work, community action, and jobsearch seminars. These are available in Buckinghamshire, as elsewhere, and are designed to take account of local circumstances to help people find the best and quickest route back to employment.
27. Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received about the link between training and productivity.
Miss Widdecombe : I have received no formal representations on this issue.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what new initiatives he plans to reduce youth unemployment in Nottinghamshire.
Miss Widdecombe : Unemployment among young people in
Nottinghamshire is at the lowest level since October 1991. Currently almost 7,000 young people are undertaking training in Nottinghamshire under the youth training scheme. There are a wide range of employment, enterprise and training programmes available to young people in Nottinghamshire. The Government intend to improve the range of opportunities available to school leavers still further in Nottinghamshire and elsewhere by introducing modern apprenticeships in 1995.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to improve training facilities and training schemes for older unemployed people ; and if he will make a statement.
Miss Widdecombe : As I announced at the time of the Budget, the upper age limit for unemployed adults entering training for work will be raised from 59 to 63 from 1 April this year.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what initiatives he is taking to ensure a return to full employment in London.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) on 14 December at column 562.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will publish a table showing for the latest available date figures for average quarterly earnings of manual workers corresponding to table 3.38 of the 27th edition of "Eurostat Basic Statistics" of the Community.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The latest available information, showing earnings at October 1991, is contained in the 30th edition of "Eurostat Basic Statistics of the Community". A copy of the publication can be found in the Library.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration his Department has given to employment structures as a result of local government reorganisation.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Department has been aware of developments at all stages of local government reorganisation. Local government staff commissions will be considering the implications of the reorganisation for all existing local government employees.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to establish statutory works councils.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Government support voluntary employee involvement. It will not establish statutory works councils or any other form of compulsion. In the Government's view legislation is not the way to promote effective employee involvement in the United Kingdom. Our voluntary approach has proved most successful. It has allowed companies flexibility to involve employees in ways which suit their particular needs and circumstances. Compulsion would stifle this flexibility. It would add to costs and administrative burdens, reduce competitiveness and jeopardise jobs.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the numbers of people of all ages who are registered unemployed and who have never had a job since leaving school ; and if he will give a breakdown of this data on those having left school over a year, over five years and over 10 years ago.
Miss Widdecombe : The monthly claimant count is a by-product of the administrative system which handles the payment of
unemployment-related benefits. This system does not record the previous employment history of unemployment claimants.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reprocessing plant his Department uses to reprocess spent fuel discharged from pressurised water reactors powering Royal Navy submarines ; and what facilities he plans to use in the future.
Mr. Aitken : Used nuclear fuel from Royal Navy submarines is not reprocessed at present. No reprocessing facilities exist for naval fuel, and we have no plans to establish any.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will give a detailed breakdown of the salary and allowances, including additional United Nations allowances, paid to each rank of British service men serving with UNPROFOR ;
Column 748(2) pursuant to his answer of 7 February, Official Report, columns 112-13, if he will set out in detail the information he has received from or concerning all other countries participating in UNPROFOR giving the scale of additional United Nations allowances for their service men in pound sterling terms ;
(3) pursuant to his answer of 7 February, Official Report, columns 112-13, if he will set out in detail the nformation he has received from or concerning all other countries participating in the UNPROFOR mission giving the pay scales for their service men in pound sterling terms.
Mr. Hanley : The current United Kingdom rates of salary for all ranks up to and including brigadier are set out in appendix 4 to the 22nd report of the Review Body on Armed Forces Pay--HMSO Cm 2150--a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
The current annual salary of a lieutenant general, who is the only officer above the rank of brigadier serving with UNPROFOR, is £60,600 per year.
Allowances paid to United Kingdom service personnel serving overseas, including the former Yugoslavia, are largely determined by rank and marital status. Married personnel involuntarily separated for more than 30 days receive a separation allowance of £3.50 per day. In addition, both married and single personnel serving in the former Yugoslavia are exempt from local food and accommodation charges. Single personnel are also exempt from the contribution in lieu of council tax. Although the cost of living in the former Yugoslavia does not justify the payment of a local overseas allowance, personnel posted from areas such as Germany where such payments are made retain a residual allowance in recognition of their continuing financial commitments at their permanent duty station. Married personnel retain 70 per cent. and single personnel 40 per cent. All personnel also receive a telephone allowance of £13.50 per month which is designed to contribute to the cost of one three-minute phone call each week.
All service personnel, irrespective of rank and nationality, serving under United Nations auspices in the former Yugoslavia receive exactly the same United Nations allowance of $1.28 per day plus a lump sum of $73.50 towards rest and recreation leave. This equates currently to £0.82 per day and £46.90 respectively. Other national contingents serving in the former Yugoslavia do not receive any additional United Nations allowances. It would not be appropriate for me to give details of information provided on a confidential basis concerning the pay arrangements for the contingents of other countries serving in the former Yugoslavia.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British military personnel will be stationed in the demilitarised zone around Sarajevo following the handing over of control of heavy artillery ; and if he will make it his policy that British troops will fulfil only the role of controlling the heavy weaponry.
Mr. Hanley : Deployment of troops on the ground in the former Yugoslavia and their precise roles in fulfilment of the United Nations mandate are a matter for the United Nations. There is already a small RAF detachment of 34 personnel in Sarajevo participating in the British humanitarian airlift operation.