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Column 891Eighteen is the normal age of majority and is the age at which persons appear on the electoral register from which jurors are drawn. The upper age limits seek to avoid imposing demands that might be unwelcome or unreasonable for many elderly people.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy to require electricity suppliers to make available facilities to avoid payment of value added tax in the first year of the new tax regime to electricity customers paying their electric bills by direct debit ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 14 February, Official Report, columns 572-73, what was the number of applications and responses to the (a) export services, (b) business in Europe, (c) small firms merit award for research and technology scheme, (d) inward investment and (e) Queen's awards campaigns during this financial year.
Export services/Business in Europe
Responses and calls to the campaign hotlines are running at a rate equivalent to about 30,000 for the full year.
The 1994 competition has not yet closed, and responses and applications are still coming in. There were over 6,200 responses to the 1993 campaign and nearly 1,500 applications.
The latest available figures show that overseas publicity by the Invest in Britain Bureau was associated with 3,718 enquiries handled by the bureau in London and 182 new investment projects out of 396 dealt with during the year. Investment projects take several months, and often years, to come to fruition and so a direct link between general promotion and one year's projects cannot be made.
Details of application numbers will be released when the 1994 award winners are announced in April. For the 1993 awards there were over 11,000 inquiries and 1,822 applications.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 14 February, Official Report, columns 572-73, what was the budgeted and the actual cost of each of the public information campaigns listed.
|£ --------------------------------------------------------------- Export services/business in Europe advertising (joint campaign) |200,000 SMART publicity campaign |250,000 Firework safety publicity campaign |166,500 Inward investment advertising |942,000 Queen's awards publicity campaign |280,000
Expenditure will be broadly in line with budgets.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of (a) the advantages and (b) the disadvantages of foreign ownership of United Kingdom manufacturing industry.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what studies he has undertaken as to the impact on British manufacture of wind power turbines and employment in the wind energy sector of United Kingdom wind farms of different sizes.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 3 March 1994] : I have not undertaken any studies. A British manufacturer has supplied 70 wind turbines to wind farms in the United Kingdom, worth nearly £20 million, and my Department estimates that there are over 400 people currently employed in the wind energy sector in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the size of the world wind turbine market at present ; what its growth has been over the last four years ; what share of it is held by British manufacturers ; and what proportion of wind turbines in the United Kingdom have been manufactured within the United Kingdom.
(i) The total capacity currently installed world-wide : 2600 MW. (
(ii) The total capacity installed worldwide in each of the past four years :
Year |Megawatts ------------------------------ 1990 |300 1991 |150 1992 |250 1993 |300
(iii) The total capacity world-wide supplied by British manufacturers : 55 MW.
(iv) 20 per cent. of the wind turbines in the United Kingdom are of British manufacture.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 3 March 1994] : Mine detectors are covered by the military list of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1992 and therefore fall within the United Nations arms embargo of former Yugoslavia under the terms of United Nations Security Council resolution 713 of 1991. The temporary export of detectors for humanitarian purposes, for example under the auspices of the United Nations, would, however, be given sympathetic consideration.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information she has received from the other member states of the European Union about the charges they propose to make on bulb growers for field inspection for the purpose of a passport.
Mr. Jack : I have no precise details of the charges made by other member states on bulb growers for field inspections for the purpose of a plant passport. However, I have general details of the plant passporting charges in many northern European member states, including the Netherlands. Although direct comparisons are difficult to make, the principle of setting fees which achieve full cost recovery is a common element.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what requirements are imposed by the EC Commission on the Council of Minsters of member states to impose a charge on bulb growers when their records of bulb passports are examined.
Mr. Jack : At the present time, there is no EC requirement that member states should charge for any aspect of plant passport authorisation checks. However, it is the policy in many member states, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Germany, that the industry, rather than the taxpayer, should meet the cost of providing a range of plant passport services.
Mrs. Lait : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action she is taking to ensure a level playing field in the market for apples, with particular reference to Coxes, in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Jack : The principal problem facing English apple growers is oversupply within Europe. The objective of the EC regime in fruit and vegetables is to provide for fair competition. However, the intervention system sustains over-production, distorts the market and needs reform. The Council of Ministers has asked the Commission to come forward with proposals and we shall be pressing for these to take full account of the needs of the market, including that for our Coxes.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Hargreaves), of 25 February, Official Report, columns 492-93, what reductions in staffing she envisages will result from the proposed changes to the Agricultural Development Advisory Service.
Letter from Dr. J. M. Walsh to Dr. Gavin Strang, dated 4 March 1994 :
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has asked me to reply to your question as to what reductions in staffing ADAS envisages will result from its proposed re-structuring.
Our cost recovery target of 63 per cent. from April 1994 onwards as agreed in PES 1993 is significantly more testing than hitherto. This rate of growth is achievable, but cannot be produced from revenue growth alone and requires a rapid and fundamental change in our working practices and cost base.
The total reduction in ADAS consultancy and administrative support posts anticipated during 1994-95 is of the order of 325 out of a total number of posts of 2,500. I must stress, however, that redundancies will be kept to a minimum and that the necessary administrative post reductions will be managed in the following way :
resettlement of staff into MAFF, Welsh Office and other Government Departments where possible ;
a reduction in the number of casual staff, and ;
It is hoped that the reduction in the number of consultancy posts can mainly be achieved through a programme of :
voluntary redundancy ;
early retirement, and ;
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will estimate in real terms the increase in farming incomes in (a) 1992 and (b) 1993 ; and by how much she estimates farming incomes will rise in 1994.
Mr. Jack : Total income from farming, which represents the total income from agriculture of the group with an entrepreneurial interest in the industry--farmers and spouses, non-principal partners and directors and their spouses and family workers--showed an increase in real terms in 1992 of 19.6 per cent. compared with 1991. The provisional figure for 1993 is 38.6 per cent. higher than in 1992. Figures for 1994 are not available.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will estimate by how much (a) farm prices and (b) food prices have increased in the United Kingdom since September 1992.
Mr. Jack : Between September 1992 and December 1993 farm prices--as shown by the index of producer prices for agricultural products--rose by 1.9 per cent. Food prices--as shown by the food component of the index of retail prices--rose by 1.8 per cent. over the same period and by 2.3 per cent. through to January 1994.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if she will list all the blocks her Department recommended should be excluded from the 14th round of offshore oil licensing ; and what was the specific reason in each case ;
(2) what areas of concern her Department asked the DTI to address in deciding which blocks to license during the 14th round of offshore oil licensing.
Mr. French : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the current position on the establishment of maximum residue limits for active ingredients used in veterinary medicines for horses ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : Under Council regulation 2377/90, maximum residue limits must be established by 1996 for active ingredients in veterinary medicines used in food-producing species. The European Commission has now confirmed that, in line with existing United Kingdom policy, if a horse is not destined for human consumption, maximum residue limits will not be required. In addition, the Commission has emphasised that it is not the intention of regulatory authorities to deny veterinarians the possibility of treating animals.
In the United Kingdom, therefore, we shall continue to require that where no MRLs have been established, the product should be clearly marked as not to be used on any animal that might be intended for human consumption. This applies to all horses, irrespective of value. I am satisfied that this provides the necessary guarantees to consumers of the safety of food while safeguarding animal health and welfare.
Column 896Edenham high school, Croydon ; the Radcliffe school, Wolverton, Milton Keynes ; Wood End middle school, Middlesex and Wrenn school, Wellingborough.
The position on each school is :
Edenham high school : has full premises cover apart from cover for subsidence ; the school has been awarded a capital grant allocation for funding in 1994-95 to remedy the problem.
Radcliffe : the school has insurance cover apart from premises insurance ; it has recently been surveyed and negotiations are continuing.
Wood End middle school : has cover for contents and employers liability ; capital grant has been allocated to rebuild the school. Wrenn school : has all the required insurance cover apart from subsidence cover which relates to past problems with its caretaker's house.
Mr. Hall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what considerations govern his reference of parliamentary questions on the Child Support Agency to the director of the agency ; what consideration has been given to answering such questions himself ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received from the European Commission and others regarding his proposal to introduce a test of habitual residence in the United Kingdom affecting EC nationals seeking work in the United Kingdom ; how he proposes to introduce the test ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Burt : Representations have been invited by the Social Security Advisory Committee from organisations and individuals who have views on the proposed introduction of a test of hibitual residence into the income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit schemes. The test will be introduced by laying regulations before the House, together with a Command Paper addressing the issues raised by those representations. We have received no representations from the European Commission on this matter.
Ms. Coffey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many inquiries have been received by the Child Support Agency from hon. Members on behalf of their constituents since its introduction ; how many inquiries have received a full reply within (a) one month, (b) two months and (c) three and over ; and if he will make a statement.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Ms Ann Coffey, dated 3 March 1994 :
Column 897I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the number of enquiries received from Members of Parliament by the Child Support Agency.
I am sorry, but the Agency does not collect statistics in the precise form in relation to clearance times which you have requested. I have received over 3,700 letters from Members of Parliament, and by 25 February, I had replied to over 1,900. Set out in the table below are the average clearance times for such correspondence :
|Per cent. ----------------------------------------- Cleared 1-15 days |16.61 Cleared 16-20 days |8.66 Cleared 21-40 days |26.76 Cleared over 40 days |47.98
In addition, over 1,300 letters have been sent to Agency Centres. As you know, the Agency has set up a telephone help-line for Members of Parliament. From 13 December 1993, the date on which the service began, to 25 February 1994, we had received 663 calls. I hope you find this reply helpful.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. David Winnick, dated 3 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking which areas in the United Kingdom were triggered for cold weather payments in February. The attached appendix shows the weather stations which were triggered in February and the Benefits Agency Districts they cover, in whole, or in part. The relevant periods of cold weather are also shown together with an indication as to whether the trigger was due to a forecast or recording.
I hope you find my reply helpful.
Areas which were triggered for cold weather payments in February 1994 Weather station and Benefits Agency district office |Period |Trigger -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eskdalemuir East Lowlands |16-22 February |Forecast Motherwell |23 February to 1 March |Forecast North Cumbria South West Scotland Aviemore Grampian and Shetland |12-18 February |Recording Highland and Islands |21-27 February |Forecast Tayside Wilsden Barnsley |10-16 February |Recording Blackburn |17-23 February |Recording Bradford Central Derbyshire Kirklees Leeds North Leeds South North Derbyshire North Staffordshire Oldham Pendle and Rossendale Sale/East Cheshire Sheffield West Stockport Tameside West Pennine Yorkshire Pennine Glasgow airport Clyde Coast and Cowal |13-19 February |Recording Coatbridge Forth Valley Glasgow West Glasgow City Glasgow Lauriston Glasgow South West Irvine and Kilmarnock Lomond and Argyle Lothian West Motherwell Renfrew South West Scotland Spring and Cumbernauld Leuchars Fife |13-19 February |Recording Forth Valley Tayside Leeming East Yorkshire |15-21 February |Recording Newcastle North Durham North Tees North Tyneside Northumberland North Yorkshire South Durham South Tees South Tyneside Wearside Edinburgh airport Coatbridge |16-22 February |Recording East Lowlands Fife Forth Valley Lothian Central Lothian West Motherwell Tayside Finningley Barnsley |16-22 February |Recording Doncaster East Yorkshire Hull Chesterfield and Worksop North Nottinghamshire Rother and Dearne Sheffield East Sheffield West Wakefield Waddington Cambridgeshire |16-22 February |Recorded Wash Coast East Yorkshire Hull North Leicestershire South Humberside West Lincolnshire Kinloss Grampian and Shetland |24 February to 2 March |Forecast Highlands and Islands Lomond and Argyle Coltishall Norwich |17-23 February |Forecast Suffolk Honnington Cambridgeshire |17-23 February |Recorded Wash Coast North Essex Norwich Suffolk Marham Wash Coast |18-24 February |Recorded Norwich Watnall Central Staffordshire |18-24 February |Recorded Central Derbyshire East Nottinghamshire Northamptonshire North Derbyshire North Leicestershire North Nottinghamshire North Staffordshire South Leicestershire Warwickshire West Lincolnshire West Nottinghamshire Rother and Dearne
Mr. David Davis : A draft invitation to tender for recruitment monitoring services has been drawn up. The approval of the Privy Council is currently being sought for a minor amendment to the civil and diplomatic service Orders in Council 1991 which will allow the Civil Service Commissioners to delegate to others their recruitment monitoring functions and thus to market test the operation. Subject to Privy Council approval, we hope to issue invitations to tender shortly.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to his oral statement of 24 February, Official Report, columns 463-75, if he will publish the list of known Labour supporters appointed to public bodies to which he referred.
Lord Cocks, Deputy Chairman, BBC
Baroness Jay, Member, Kensington Chelsea and Westminster health authority
Baroness Blackstone, Natural History museum
Clive Wilkinson, Chairman, Sandwell health authority
Helene Hayman, Chairman, Whittington trust
Margaret Hodge, Local Government Commission
Dr. Dickson Mabon, Chairman, London homeopathic hospital trust Dr. Edmund Marshall, Member, Wakefield FHSA
Lord Barnett, Victoria and Albert museum