Mr. Meacher : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will publish the total number of lay magistrates, as at 1 January, with statistics showing (a) the occupational and age breakdowns of this total, (b) the proportion of women and (c) the proportion of magistrates of black, Asian and non-white origins ; and if he will give the same set of information for the year 1989.
Mr. John M. Taylor : At 1 January 1994 the total number of lay magistrates in England and Wales, including the Duchy of Lancaster, was 30,054, of whom 13,903--46.3 per cent.--were women. At 1 January 1989 the figure was 28,211, of whom 12,214--43.3 per cent.--were women. No information is available centrally on the number of magisrates of black, Asian of non-white origin but in 1993 5.5 per cent. of those appointed were from ethnic minorities ; in 1989 the figure was 4.7 per cent. Statistics on occupation and age could be provided only at disproportionate cost, but should the hon. Member require this information for a particular bench it could be supplied to him.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what changes took place between 12 February 1993 and 1 January 1994, in the total number of (a) Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, (b) Lords Justices of Appeal, (c) heads of division, (d) High Court judges, (e) circuit judges, (f) recorders, (g) assistant recorders, (g) stipendiary magistrates and (i) full-time chairmen who are (i) men, (ii) women, (iii) barristers, (iv) solicitores, (v) black or Asian and (vi) ex-Oxford or Cambridge ; and if he will give revised figures for the average ages in each category.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) on 7 February 1994, Official Report, column 11, which updated the information I gave on 12 February 1993.
Mr. Brooke : A draft was issued for public consultation on 8 July 1993 together with an associated paper on the protection of conservation areas. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I expect to publish the final version, embodying decisions on the latter, in the late spring or early summer.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for the Environment and (b) the chairman of English Heritage in respect of the effect on historic buildings of enabling development.
Mr. Brooke : There are two paintings by Turner, both from the Tate gallery, currently on loan through the agency of the Government art collection to Government Departments and agencies. These are "TG0487 The Quiet Ruin ; a sketch, evening" and "TG2990 Ariccia (Italianate Landscape)". Both are on display at 10 Downing street.
Sir Malcolm Thornton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he intends to publish the results of his Department's consultations into future United Kingdom resourcing of the preparation of standards ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heseltine : On 10 June last year, Official Report, column 302, I announced that I was reviewing the need for Government financial assistance to the British Standards Institution, BSI, and ways in which the BSI and standards contribute to improving competitiveness. A consultation document was issued to which over 400 replies were received. I am now able to announce my conclusions and the action which my Department and the BSI plan to take.
Our consultation has shown that the business community believes that standardisation makes an important contribution to competitiveness. Both through voluntary use in the marketplace and in the legislative field, especially in the single market harmonisation programme, standards contribute increasingly to a level playing field in Europe and world wide. The cost of the BSI's role in the standards-writing process, around £30 million per year, is borne largely by industry through subscriptions and purchases of standards. Industry accepts this as appropriate but also values the financial support of Government as a way of maintaining the neutrality and impartiality of the process ; as a reflection of Government's own use of standards in procurement and legislation, and on behalf of the wider public interest in standards.
I have listened carefully to the views of business and have concluded that my Department should continue to provide financial support but in the future such assistance should be more precisely targeted. For 1994-95 my Department will contribute £7.3 million to BSI and industry in respect of standards-writing. This will consist of £1.5 million grant in aid to the BSI ; £2.5 million of targeted assistance to the BSI to be spent in areas of work to which industry attaches priority--including training of delegates and other support from BSI for overseas standards work--£2.45 million direct to industry through
Column 623the assisted international travel scheme--an increase of £500,000 to reflect the higher proportion of standards committee work now taking place overseas--and a further £750,000 to industry under schemes to expedite the drafting of standards and £100,000 to consumers to cover the costs of their representation.
In the course of the Government review, concerns have also been expressed about BSI's relationship with its members and about other aspects of corporate governance. I am pleased that the BSI has responded to the concerns of its members and has already taken steps to sharpen up its internal efficiency. Now it will respond further by giving business a bigger say in determining programmes and resource allocation ; by being more proactive in overseas standards meetings ; and by providing more training for business delegates to overseas meetings. The BSI is also reviewing its relationship with, and its accountability to, its stakeholders in the course of changes to its royal charter and byelaws.
One particular standard which has generated much comment is BS5750, the standard for quality management systems. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Technology has already made an announcement to the House on 7 February, Official Report, column 2, about help for small businesses applying for BS5750. I have asked the BSI to consider how it can build on the success of BS5750 and to use its role in standards-making to work with British industry towards the improvement of the general quality of its products. Concerns have also been expressed to Government about the hybrid role of the BSI as both the national standards organisation and a certification and testing body. My Department has discussed these issues with the BSI. In response to the concerns expressed, the BSI will be taking steps to reinforce the ring-fencing of the BSI standards within the overall organisation.
This is primarily a matter for the BSI and its membership. The BSI must continue to have the confidence of its members and I have asked my officials to keep me informed on developments.
I have placed in the Library of the House a copy of the report of the consultation which has been issued, together with a copy of the responses, other than those where respondents requested the information remain confidential.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the principles of trade and sustainable development before signing the Uruguay round global trade accounts in Marrakesh in April.
Mr. Needham : My right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry will attend the Marrakech ministerial meeting of the Uruguay round trade negotiations committee in mid-April, and he will sign the final act of the Uruguay round on behalf of the United Kingdom. The Government are in no doubt that the Uruguay round results, when implemented, will advance the interests of sustainable development throughout the world.
Mr. Jopling : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the current position with regard to the survey being done to assess the potential to generate electricity from the tidal flows in the Duddon estuary in Cumbria.
The feasibility study included an assessment of the design, alignment, energy capture, cost and likely cost of electricity from a barrage scheme across the Duddon estuary, together with an assessment of the environmental impact of such a scheme.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what safety hazards arise from changing the plug on 16 amp electrical appliances from CENELEC to British standard if it is plugged into circuits of the new European standard lower voltage ; (2) what safety hazards arise from fitting a CENELEC two-pin plug into a BS three-pin socket ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Pike : To ask the President of the Board of Trade who conducted the consultation in relation to the construction deregulation task force report in relation to fire protection ; if he will place a copy of that report in the Library ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Consultation on the recommendations of the construction industry deregulation task force on fire safety regulations and their enforcement and other related issues is currently under way as part of the review announced by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 17 January 1994, Official Report, column 381. The working papers of the task force will be placed in the Library of the House shortly.
|Thousand tonnes ------------------------------------------------ Industrial coal |2,028 Domestic coal |628
Following the introduction of the "Intrastat" system for collecting data on trade with our EC partners, the figures involve some estimation of unrecorded imports. They are, therefore, likely to be subject to greater subsequent revision than figures collected on the previous basis.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action his Department has taken to prevent the importation of coal from countries who use child labour slavery or labour exploitation to mine such coal.
Mr. Eggar : As a general rule, there are severe practical difficulties in identifying goods, allegedly produced using child labour or exploited labour, given the complexities of international trade. Also, it is highly doubtful whether the social conditions that give rise to such practices can be improved by restricting trade. In the specific case of coal from Colombia, which the hon. Member may have in mind, I recently met Dr. Pretelt, the president of Carbocol, who assured me that Colombian labour law, and mining law, prohibits women and under-18s from going underground, and that no Colombian coal for export is mined by children. The Government call on all states which have ratified international instruments covering slavery, servitude, forced labour or child labour to meet their obligations.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Following the publication of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the supply of national newspapers in England and Wales on 9 December 1993, a statutory notice of the Secretary of State's intention to make an order under the Fair Trading Act 1973 in relation to the wholesale supply of national newspapers to retailers in England and Wales was published on 21 December. The MMC's report related only to the supply of national newspapers in England and Wales and the order would not therefore extend to the supply of magazines. A copy of the notice has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Following the publication of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the supply of national newspapers in England and Wales on 9 December 1993, a statutory notice of the Secretary of State's intention to make an order under the Fair Trading Act 1973 in relation to the wholesale supply of national newspapers to retailers in England and Wales was published on 21 December. A copy of the notice has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : This issue has been raised with the Government on a number of occasions, most recently at a meeting on car park security at the Home Office on 2 February which was attended by car park operators and other interested bodies, including motoring organisations. Any specific complaints about anti-competitive actions in respect of car parking should be referred to the Director General of Fair Trading, Sir Bryan Carsberg.
Mr. Wells : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what were the totals of applications and registrations made for trade marks in each year since 1988 ; and what is the mean average processing time required by the Patent Office.
|Applications |Registrations -------------------------------------------------------- 1988 |38,000 |14,381 1989 |40,052 |22,374 1990 |39,632 |28,389 1991 |34,983 |30,421 1992 |35,968 |35,137 1993 |34,871 |33,071
For 1993-94 the Trade Marks Registry has a target to register 80 per cent. of unopposed trade mark applications within 24 months of receipt.
The rights in the eventual registration start from the date of application.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to be able to announce the budget for the Insolvency Service commencing in April 1994 ; what plans he has to increase the level of resources available to the Insolvency Service in 1994-95 to enable the agency to increase the number of directors prosecuted for fraud and the number of directors disqualified for misconduct ; and if he will give reasons for his decision.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement as to why an unabridged copy of the Stoy Hayward report into the Insolvency Service has not been placed in the Library.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The focus of the recently announced feasibility study is to assess the costs, benefits and value for money of options to increase private sector involvement in the mechanical processing work of the official receiver thus ensuring that Official Receivers are able to concentrate more on their investigating role.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement as to whether cost will be the major consideration in deciding if work currently carried out by the Insolvency Service will be transferred to the private sector.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement as to the effectiveness to the Insolvency Service of the staff currently on loan from other Government Departments.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Staff on loan to the Insolvency Service from other Government Departments have proved generally very effective in assisting on a range of tasks and in the service's efforts to increase the focus on its investigative role.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the projected figures for compulsory insolvencies, differentiating between bankruptcies and companies, for the next five years.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : My Department does not publish forecasts for insolvencies. The working assumption being used in the current "MINIS" resource allocation exercise is that there will be some 28, 000 bankruptcies and 7,000 compulsory liquidations in the financial year 1994- 95.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the conclusion in the Stoy Hayward report into the Insolvency Service relating to the costs of the private sector undertaking the work of the Insolvency Service.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The recently announced feasibility study will involve further, more detailed work to assess the costs and benefits of the various options identified in the first stage of the review. Any further comment must await the results of the feasibility study.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what resources the inspector general and agency chief executive of the Insolvency Service requested for each of the past six years ; and what were the resources granted.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many staff in the Insolvency Service are currently on loan from other Government Departments ; which are the Departments concerned ; and how many are on loan from each.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : As at 1 March 1994, the Insolvency Service has 93 staff on loan from other Government Departments. These are HM Customs and Excise, 34 staff, Employment, 23, Inland Revenue 20, Social Security, 15, and Health, one.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether payment for the second stage review of privatising part, or all, of the Insolvency Service will come from the Insolvency Service budget.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The purpose of the review of the future of the Insolvency Service is to examine the ways in which official receivers may concentrate more on their investigatory role by involving the private sector more in the mechanical processing work in insolvencies. The costs of the second stage of the review will be met from Insolvency Service resources.
Mr. Jenkin : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 23 February, Official Report, column 233, on United Kingdom exports, when relevant figures for the full 1993 calendar year will be available ; and if he will publish relevant figures for each (a) month and (b) quarter of 1993 for as many months or quarters as are currently available.
Mr. Needham : Information on United Kingdom exports of goods to the EC is published monthly by the Central Statistical Office. Information on invisible exports to other EC countries is available only annually and the Central Statistical Office plans to make figures for the whole of 1993 available in August 1994.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if any cuttings discharged from exploration or appraisal wells since 31 December 1993 have contained oil exceeding the 1 per cent. limit laid down by the Paris Commission ; and if he will name each operator who has breached the limit.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 28 February 1994] : Since December 1993 there have been no requests by operators for exemptions from section 3 of the Prevention of Pollution Act 1971 to discharge oil contaminated cuttings from exploration and appraisal wells.
Column 629of the contribution any renewables are expected to make to energy production. The Government are working towards a figure of 1500 MW of new electricity generating capacity from renewable energy sources. The renewable energy advisory group report, published in November 1992 as Energy Paper 60--HMSO, ISBN 0 11 414287 4, £15.95-- copies of which are in the Libraries of both Houses, gave estimates of the potential for each renewable source of energy and the assumptions on which these estimates were based. Ultimately, the contribution from renewables depends on how competitive they are and whether constraints on their exploitation can be overcome. For example, the waste contracting policy of the waste disposal authorities will largely determine whether municipal wastes are available for beneficial use by energy recovery.
Dr. Wright : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will give details of the public appointments he is responsible for making in addition to those identified in "Public Bodies 1993", including non- executive agency and other departmental management boards.
Mr. Hague : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is responsible for the appointment of trustees to the Maxwell Pensioners Trust, the Maxwell Pensioners Charitable Trust, the Motability 10th Anniversary Trust, the Far East (Prisoners of War and Internees) Fund and Queen Mary's Roehampton Trust. He also appoints the pensions ombudsman, the social fund commissioner and the chief executives of the Department's agencies.
Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the results of the elections of the Economic and Social Council in New York on 25 January ; how the United Kingdom voted ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Nations Economic and Social Council held an organisational session at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 25 January. During the meeting the president of ECOSOC and three vice-presidents were elected by acclamation. There were no other ECOSOC elections held on 25 January.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what communications he has had with his counterparts in (a) the United States of America and (b) Australia in regard to (i) spying by a Central Intelligence Agency officer and (ii) bugging of offices in Hong Kong.
Mr. Hurd : I have had no communications with my counterparts in the United States of America or Australia about the allegations referred to in the hon. Member's question. Officials have been in contact but I am not prepared to comment on their exchanges.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 14 February, Official Report, columns 553-54, how many copies of the booklet "The European Community : Facts and Fairytales" were published ; what was the budgeted and the actual cost ; and how many copies were requested by members of the public.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Some 35,000 copies of the booklet "The European Community : Facts and Fairytales" have been printed. The budgeted cost was £11,500. The total cost was £12,498. The initial distribution was 10,000 copies. Since then, a further 23,500 copies have been requested, mainly by Members of Parliament, United Kingdom Members of the European Parliament, trade associations, chambers of commerce, consumer organisations and individual members of the public.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The decision to phase out funding for the international work of the British Youth Council was taken because BYC's activities are essentially an extension of its domestic identity, and we can no longer justify giving this activity priority for scarce FCO funds.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the round table forum with non- governmental organisations on arms control, security and non-proliferation his Department has hosted since 1979 ; when the last forum was held ; when the next one will be held ; and what criteria are used in deciding which groups are to be invited.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is not possible, without incurring a disproportionate cost, to determine accurately how many meetings were held after 1979. They were, however, usually held on a twice-yearly basis. Invitations to take part were issued to groups known to be actively interested in arms control and disarmament issues. There are no plans at present to hold another meeting in the near future.