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Priests (Income Tax)

Rev. Ian Paisley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Roman Catholic priests in Northern Ireland pay income tax ; and how many are exempt.

Mr. Dorrell : I regret that this information is not available. There are no special exemptions from income tax for Roman Catholic priests.

Carbon Savings

Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimates had originally been made in March 1993 of the likely carbon savings in the year 2000 from the imposition of value added tax on domestic fuel ; and what revision has been made to this estimate following the announcement by the Chancellor in December of compensatory packages regarding the imposition of value added tax on domestic fuel.

Sir John Cope : At the time of the Budget speech in March 1993 it was estimated that imposing VAT on domestic fuel and power should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 1.5 million tonnes of carbon by the end of the century. It is not expected that the compensation package would substantially affect the original broad estimate.

Car Phones

Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made as to the effect of the imposition of tax on car phones supplied by employers on the safety of motorists.


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Mr. Dorrell : I am not aware of any evidence which suggests that the introduction in 1991 of the standard tax charge of £200 for the private use of mobile telephones provided by employers to their employees has affected the safety of motorists.


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Income Tax

Mr. Hain : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people paid income tax for each year since 1978-79 (a) in total and (b) as a percentage of the economically active adult population of working age ; and what are the estimated figures for the next three years.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 16 February 1994] : The information is given in the table.


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Year                |Individuals        |Civilian labour    |Taxpayers expressed                    

                                        |force                                                      

                    |paying tax<1>      |population of      |as a percentage of                     

                                                            |the                                    

                                        |working age        |civilian labour                        

                                                            |force                                  

                                                            |population of                          

                                                            |working age                            

Year                |(a)                |(b)                |(a)/(b)                                

                    |Thousands          |Thousands          |Per cent.                              

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1978-79             |25,900             |25.200             |103                                    

1979-80             |25,900             |25,400             |102                                    

1980-81             |24,900             |25,500             |98                                     

1981-82             |24,800             |25,500             |97                                     

1982-83             |24,600             |25,400             |97                                     

1983-84             |24,000             |25,300             |95                                     

1984-85             |23,800             |25,800             |92                                     

1985-86             |23,700             |26,100             |91                                     

1986-87             |23,900             |26,200             |91                                     

1987-88             |24,300             |26,500             |92                                     

1988-89             |25,200             |26,800             |94                                     

1989-90             |25,000             |27,200             |92                                     

1990-91             |26,100             |27,400             |95                                     

1991-92             |25,700             |27,300             |94                                     

1992-93             |<2>25,100          |27,100             |93                                     

1993-94             |<2>25,100          |27,100             |93                                     

1994-95             |<2>25,400          |27,100             |94                                     

1995-96             |<2>26,000          |27,300             |95                                     

1996-97             |<2>26,300          |27,400             |96                                     

<1> Including taxpayers above working age.                                                          

<2> Provisional.                                                                                    

National Audit Office

Sir John Stanley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer by the President of the Board of Trade to the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) of 31 January, Official Report, column 589, if he will place in the Library a copy of the agreement between the Treasury and the National Audit Office.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 17 February 1994] : The most recent statement on the long-standing convention on the use of the marking "Not for NAO Eyes" is contained in a Treasury letter of 15 July 1988 which was agreed with NAO. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Members' Library.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Public Bodies

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who are the members currently appointed to the Northern Ireland Health Promotion Agency.

Mr. Ancram : The current members are :

Dr. J. B. Hawthorne (chairman)

Dr. D. M. C. Boyle (vice chairman)

Mrs. S. E. Comerton

Mr. J. Cooper

Dr. D. Courtney

Professor R. Ellis

Mrs. A. Hailes


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Dr. M. P. J. Kilbane

Mrs. G. M. Loughran

Professor A. H. G. Love

Mr. R. Mairs

Dr. C. O. McAteer

Dr. W. W. M. McConnell

Miss E. McNair

Sr. Genevieve O'Farral

Opinion Polls

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on recent public opinion poll findings about the way forward in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ancram : Recent opinion polls have shown that there is a strong desire for peace following the signing of the joint declaration on 15 December. The opportunity for peace remains and is one that should be taken. In order for there to be long-term stability in Northern Ireland, there needs to be a comprehensive settlement embracing all the main relationships and so the Government will continue to progress the talks process with the main constitutional parties and the Irish Government on the basis of the statement of 26 March 1991.

Peace

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress there has been towards seeking a lasting peace since the Prime Minister's statement to the House on 15 December 1993, Official Report, columns 1071-93.


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Sir Patrick Mayhew : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friends the Members for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick) and for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman) and the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) on 17 February, Official Report, column 1051.

Invalidity Benefit

Mr. Clifford Forsythe : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many invalidity benefit applications were (a) reviewed and (b) appealed during the period July to December 1993.

Mr. Ancram : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Social Security Agency under its chief executive, Mr. Alec Wylie. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from A. Wylie to Mr. Clifford Forsythe, dated 17 February 1994 :

As Chief Executive of the Social Security Agency, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question on the number of Invalidity Benefit reviews and appeals.

During the period 1 July 1993 to 31 December 1993 a total of 786 applications were reviewed and 1,392 were appealed.

I hope you find this helpful.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Clifford Forsythe : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many disability living allowance applications were (a) reviewed and (b) appealed during the period July to December 1993.

Mr. Ancram : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Social Security Agency under its chief executive, Mr. Alec Wylie. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from A. Wylie to Mr. Clifford Forsythe, dated 17 February 1994 :

As Chief Executive of the Social Security Agency, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question on the number of Disability Living Allowance applications reviewed and appealed. During the period 1 July 1993 to 31 December 1993, 9,578 Disability Living Allowance applications were reviewed and 359 review decisions were appealed.

I hope you find this helpful.

Benefits (Debt Repayment)

Mr. Clifford Forsythe : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons in receipt of benefit during the period July to December 1993 had direct deductions made for debt repayment.

Mr. Ancram : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Social Security Agency under its chief executive, Mr. Alec Wylie. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from A. Wylie to Mr. Clifford Forsythe, dated 17 February 1994.

I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question on the number of people that are having deductions made from their benefit for debt recovery.


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The information is not available in the form you have requested, however, I have provided details in the table below of the number of deductions made from benefits for each type of debt.


Total number of deductions from benefit at 31    

December 1993                                    

                                   |Number       

-------------------------------------------------

Northern Ireland electricity       |12,364       

Northern Ireland housing executive |15,020       

Rates collection agency            |1,171        

Private landlord                   |18           

Housing association                |342          

Estate agent                       |15           

Building society                   |875          

Others                             |89           

I hope you find this information helpful.

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which Ministers, and on what occasion and for what reasons, have signed public interest immunity certificates since 1979.

Sir John Wheeler : The information requested is not held centrally.

Advertising

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list all television advertising, newspaper advertising, radio advertising and other promotional campaigns with a budgeted cost in excess of £10,000 conducted by (a) his Office and (b) his agencies (1) in the current financial year and (ii) planned for 1994-95, showing for each the objectives and mechanisms for assessing the effectivness of the advertising.

Sir John Wheeler : The information has been placed in the Library.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Wilton Park Conferences

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what conferences his Department's Wilton Park conference agency is holding this year on nuclear proliferation issues ; how hon. Members are kept informed of conferences held in the Wiston house centre : and if he will make a statement on the role and value of the Wilton Park conferences.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Responsibility for the first two parts of the question has been delegated to Wilton Park under its chief executive, Professor Richard Langhorne, who has on my instructions written to the hon. Member.

Through its series of international conferences in which senior politicans, officials, businessmen, academics and other professionals participate, Wilton Park aims to contribute to the solution of international problems.

Letter from R. T. B. Langhorne to Mr. Llew Smith, dated 15 February 1994 :

I have been asked to reply to your question concerning Wilton Park.

As it happens, the conference most directly related to the subject of your interest is in progress at Wilton House this week.


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I am therefore enclosing the programme and the list of participants for your information. There are other conferences in the 1994 list during which, although their titles are not directly related to the question of proliferation, the matter either has or will come up tangentially. The enclosed list of the year's topics will show you where this is likely to occur.

The Annual Report is laid before the House and it contains a detailed list of conferences held by Wilton Park. We have not in the past sent the list of forthcoming conferences to Members of Parliament, except to those MPs who sit on the Wilton Park Academic Council. I propose to ask the Council at its next meeting whether this should be done for next year and thereafter.

The conferences are designed above all to stimulate off-the-record discussion, and participants are encouraged not to be unduly diplomatic, but to express disagreement frankly. The aim is not so much to exchange information, or even opinions, as to influence attitudes. More and more Wilton Park acts as a forum for those involved in regional and other international conflicts, in such diverse places as Southern Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, to explore their differences and seek through dialogue a better mutual understanding which could contribute to eventual resolution of conflicts.

Wilton Park conferences bring together people from many countries coming from diverse professional backgrounds and holding positions of responsibility in different fields of activity. The international and interprofessional composition of each conference guarantees that all learn much from each other.

Finally, I would make two very particular points about Wilton Park. It frequently brings together a mixture of participants from states who cannot sustain largescale foreign services of their own and provides a forum in which their politicians and officials can meet not only their opposite numbers from other states of all kinds, but also the officers of international organisations and their agencies. Secondly, at a time when there are acute new stresses on the foreign representation of the United Kingdom arising from the increased numbers of states and the rising number of acute crises in international affairs, Wilton Park is able to perform an increasingly significant role in bringing relevant people and information directly into the United Kingdom.

Sarajevo

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 15 February, Official Report, columns 708-10, if he will make it his policy that air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs will be delayed until the special representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Yasushi Akashi, has reported on the findings of the investigative team on the massacre at Sarajevo market on 5 February ; and what effect the findings of the team will have on his policy in respect of air strikes.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Nations team investigating the mortar attack on Sarajevo on 5 February has now published its report. It concludes that there is insufficient evidence to attribute the attack to either party. The decisions of the North Atlantic Council are designed not to punish, but to secure an end to the bombardment and siege of Sarajevo.

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Greek Government with regard to the NATO ultimatum concerned with the demilitarisation of Sarajevo and the possibility of air strikes.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : No representations have been received from the Greek Government since their dissociation from the 9 February NATO decision.

European Parliament

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy that the necessary procedures in the United Kingdom to


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bring into effect the agreement reached at the Edinburgh Economic Council regarding the number of Members of the European Parliament will not be completed before the withdrawal by France of the demand that the new European Parliament building be built in Strasbourg.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : No. A Council decision of 1 February 1993 calls for member states to complete the necessary procedures to bring into effect the agreement reached at the Edinburgh European Council increasing the number of MEPs in time for the elections in June this year.

The legislative procedures required to fulfil this obligation in the United Kingdom are expected to be completed shortly.

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers, and on what occasion and for what reasons, have signed public interest immunity certificates since 1979.

Mr. Goodlad : No central records have been kept of public interest immunity certificates signed by Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers. I regret that to compile a list of such certificates going back to 1979 would involve disproportionate cost.

Bosnia

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely implications for British-Russian and British-Greek relations of NATO air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discussed the question of NATO air strikes with Mr. Kozyrev, the Russian Foreign Minister, during his recent visit to Moscow with the Prime Minister. Mr. Kozyrev shares our underlying objective of lifting the siege and bringing the conflict to a peaceful end. My right hon. Friend made it clear that we understand Russian concerns about the need for consultation. We and our NATO allies will remain in close touch with them. We regret Greece's decision to dissociate itself from the 9 February NATO decision. But NATO's determination to carry through that decision, and to help the UN put an end to the bombardment of Sarajevo, is clear.

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what difference of view exists between the United Kingdom and (a) France and (b) the United States of America in interpreting the NATO ultimatum on Sarajevo ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The NATO decision of 9 February is clear--any heavy weapons remaining within 20 km of Sarajevo and not under UN control after midnight GMT on 20 February will be subject to air strikes. The United Kingdom, France and the United States, along with other NATO partners, are fully committed to carrying this decision through.

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the definition of control in respect of heavy weaponry in the latest NATO ultimatum to warring factions in Bosnia- Herzegovina ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The NATO decision of 9 February requires all heavy weapons remaining within 20 km of Sarajevo after midnight on 20 February to be placed unde UNPROFOR control. It is for UNPROFOR commanders to determine the nature of that control.

Cyprus

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will request the United Nations Secretary- General to instigate an inquiry into the recent allegations made by the former United States ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Crawford, that Turkish Government officials knew of the whereabouts of a number of persons detained against their will who subsequently disappeared following the invasion of Cyprus by Turkish forces in 1974 ; (2) if he will now consider suggesting an inquiry to be executed by the European Union's competent agencies into the fate of the Greek Cypriots missing since 1974 ;

(3) if he will request the Turkish Government to respond to the allegations made by the former United States ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Crawford, that the Turkish authorities had in their custody a number of persons subsequently classified as missing following the invasion of Cyrpus by Turkey in 1974 ;

(4) if he will request the present Turkish ambassador to the United Nations to give details of his personal knowledge of the whereabouts of the Greek Cypriots classified as missing persons since the invasion of Cyprus by Turkish forces in 1974 ;

(5) if he will investigate the recent claims of the former United States ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Crawford, that persons classified as missing since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkish troops, were alive and in Turkish custody.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Mr. Crawford was United States ambassador to Cyprus from 1974 to 1978. His remarks do not seem to constitute recent evidence about the fate of missing persons. We consider that the United Nations Committee on Missing Persons remains the best instrument for pursuing the question of those missing from both communities. The committee's effectiveness depends on full co-operation from both sides.

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the question of the missing Greek Cypriots during his recent visit to Turkey.


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Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : No.

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if Her Majesty's Government will ask the Turkish Government if they will allow the United Nations Committee on Missing Persons to carry out its inquiries (a) inside the occupied areas of Cyprus, without controls, and (b) inside Turkey ; (2) what appropriations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Turkish Government on co-operation with the United Nations special committee on the missing persons of Cyprus ;

(3) what is the latest information in the possession of Her Majesty's Government concerning the whereabouts of the Greek Cypriot persons, classified as missing since 1974.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We consider that the United Nations Committee on Missing Persons remains the best instrument for pursuing the question of those missing from both communities. The committee's effectiveness depends on full co-operation from both sides. The United Nations has had cause to complain of the level of co-operation from both sides.

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement outlining the present policy of Her Majesty's Government on the occupation of part of the island of Cyprus by Turkish armed forces.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We are committed to the search for a settlement to the Cyprus problem acceptable to both Cypriot communities. The United Nations Secretary-General's mission of good offices remains the best hope for a just and lasting solution. This should be based on a single, bi-communal, bi-zonal federal republic.

HEALTH

Nurses and Carers

Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the ratio of trained nurses to carers working in (a) London and (b) England's national health service hospitals in (i) 1992 and (ii) 1993.

Mr. Sackville : The available information is shown in the table.


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Qualified and unqualified nurses and midwives for England and London, September 

1992 (whole time equivalents)                                                   

                |Qualified      |Unqualified    |Ratio                          

                |nursing and    |nursing and                                    

                |midwifery staff|midwifery staff                                

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

England         |246,570        |90,850         |1:0.4                          

London          |39,970         |10,240         |1:0.3                          

Pre registration and Project 2000 nursing students have not been included       

within the figures. As they are in training, they cannot be classified as       

qualified or unqualified staff.                                                 

Private Patients' Income

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much income has been received from private patients' income, by district health authority, for each of the last five years.


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Mr. Sackville : This information will be placed in the Library. Some district health authorities show a decline in private patient income for 1991-92 and 1992-93 because figures for national health service trusts are excluded.


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