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Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many self- financing regulatory authorities his Department has set up since 1979 ; what was the annual running cost of each of the self-financing regulatory authorities in each of the last three years ; what is the current staffing establishment ; and what it was last year and two years ago.
Mr. Redwood : I have carefully considered the responses to the Government's consultation paper on this proposal and have decided to proceed with the establishment of a Welsh Economic Council. The Welsh Economic Council, which will be classified as an advisory non-departmental public body, will provide a forum for discussing with wealth-creators and interest groups the economic and industrial progress of Wales. Its role will be to advise on areas like improvements in training and education and to discuss how to boost enterprise, jobs and development further.
The council will comprise between 10 and 20 members from the private and public sectors, appointed by me on an
Column 698individual, rather than representational, basis. It will usually meet no more than three times a year, with the first meeting to be held on Wednesday 30 March.
Mr. Redwood : I announced on 17 December my decision on the overall allocation to the national health service in Wales for 1994-95. Within the £2,076 million cash available I now propose to allocate £1,536 million to hospital and community health services--H and CHS--and the cash- limited element of the family health services--FHS--in Wales. The funds will be distributed as follows.
Health authorities will receive £1,295 million for current purposes-- an increase of £53 million or 4.3 per cent. over 1993-94 plans. Health authorities will receive £113.5 million for capital investment. The sum of £67.4 million will be provided for education and training of NHS staff and as contributions toward the running costs of England and Wales bodies, and family health service authorities will receive £14 million for their management and administration costs and £45.8 million for general medical service practice support costs.
In addition, authorities and trusts will be expected to generate efficiency savings of 2.25 per cent. and to achieve a further 5 per cent. reduction in their management, administrative and clerical costs. These savings will be available to meet the cost of pay settlements next year and for further investment in patient care. Details of the allocations to health authorities and family health authorities and the provisional external financing limits for NHS trusts is contained in a statement which has been placed today in the Library of the House.
Sir Wyn Roberts : After careful consideration of detailed information presented to us by the cathedral authorities and on advice from our independent advisers, the Historic Buildings Council for Wales, we have decided to help underpin the architectural needs of Welsh cathedrals.
Over the next three financial years we will set aside some £675,000 towards the restoration costs faced by Welsh cathedrals.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance is given to entry clearance officers overseas regarding answering queries from solicitors about their clients' applications for visas ; if he will publish this guidance ; and what plans he has to issue revised guidance.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Entry clearance officers overseas are advised that posts should reply direct to letters from solicitors in the United Kingdom on routine matters unless they have reason to believe that the Home Office or the FCO has already become involved. In that case, the letter should be briefly acknowledged and a copy sent to the correspondence unit of the migration and visa department in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, with a memorandum containing relevant information.
There are no plans to revise this advice.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people currently work as entry clearance officers in British embassies and high commissions ; where they are situated ; what grades they work at ; what number and percentage are women ; and what is the ethnic breakdown of officers.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In 1993, 259 man-years were spent at British posts overseas on entry clearance officer--ECO--work. This figure includes staff who have other responsibilities as well as entry clearance work.
Most ECOs are grade DS9 or equivalent--immigration officer in the case of immigration service staff serving on secondment, or LEII in the case of locally engaged ECOs.
A list of posts designated to receive applications for entry clearance is available in the Library of the House.
A precise breakdown of the gender and ethnic background of those officers currently serving as ECOs could be furnished only at disproportionate cost, but 50 per cent. of the FCO's DS9 complement are women, and 1.6 per cent. are from ethnic minorities. I understand that the corresponding figures for immigration officers overseas are 22 per cent. and 4 per cent.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : All diplomatic service officers receive induction and other vocational training. Those appointed as entry clearance officers also attend a three-week training course in London before taking up their appointments. Locally engaged ECOs also attend these courses.
Home Office staff seconded as entry clearance officers attend a short pre- posting "conversion" course.
Like other staff, ECOs also receive on-the-job training, in the light of their posts' workload and resources.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many requests he received from hon. Members in (a) 1993, (b) 1992, (c) 1991 and (d) 1990 to exercise ministerial discretion over visa applications ; in how many in each year the decision of the entry clearance officer was overturned ; to how many in each year he replied personally ; and to how many in each year the migration and visa unit replied.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The table shows the number of representations on visa matters received during 1990-93 inclusive and the number which received ministerial replies. The others were replied to by the migration and visa correspondence unit, except in cases where no reply was necessary.
|Total |Ministerial |replies ------------------------------------------------ 1990 |4,561 |884 1991 |4,577 |588 1992 |5,069 |287 1993 |5,879 |346
It is not possible to say how many of these representations specifically requested the exercise of ministerial discretion, but many of them did so, if only by implication.
Ministers overturn ECOs' decisions only in exceptional circumstances, as described in my letter to the hon. Member of 7 July 1993.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance is given to entry clearance officers overseas regarding answering queries from hon. Members about their constituents ; if he will publish this guidance ; and what plans he has to issue revised guidance.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Entry clearance officers at posts are instructed not to reply direct to letters received from Members of Parliament but to acknowledge them and return them to the migration and visa correspondence unit for reply.
The arrangements for handling enquiries on immigration were set out in the booklet "Representation by Members of Parliament on Visa and Immigration Cases--A Guide" which was circulated to Members under cover of my letter of 7 July 1993.
There are no current plans to update this guidance.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place with the Belize Government for assistance consequent upon the withdrawal of the battalion from Belize ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad : We have made it clear to the Belize Government that we stand ready to participate in any consultations that they may request on Belize's future security and that we are prepared to play our part in any consultations which would lead to an appropriate response should the security of Belize be threatened in the future. We will also maintain our programme of assistance to the Belize defence force and Belize will continue to be a beneficiary under Britain's bilateral aid programme.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken to date with the Indian authorities in respect of Madam Speaker's statement of 21 February, Official Report, column 21, regarding the document from Jammu and Kashmir ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will provide an explanation of the phrase "national security" used in the Intelligence Services Bill ; and how this term relates to the use of the term "national security" in section 27 of the Data Protection Act 1984.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The term "national security" has been in general use for many years and is well recognised and understood in statute. It is used in both the Intelligence Services Bill and Data Protection Act 1984 in the same way as in the many other statutes in which it is included with no further definition.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the differences between the meaning of "serious crime", used in the Intelligence Services Bill [Lords] and the term "serious arrestable offence" used in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : A detailed definition of "serious arrestable offence" is provided in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 for the particular purposes of that Act. The term "serious crime" is widely understood and in the context of the Intelligence Services Bill does not require further definition.
Mr. Goodlad [holding answer 15 March 1994] : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has signed two public interest immunity certificates since 1990. The first was dated 26 June 1991 and the second 26 January 1992. Both were signed in connection with the case of Andrew Balfour, who was dismissed from the diplomatic service.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to secure a report from the Pakistani authorities concerning the murder of Mohammed Afzal in Juarah village, Pakistan on 4 October 1992.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The British high commission in Islamabad continues to press the Pakistani authorities for a full report. However, as Mr. Afzal was a dual British-Pakistani national, they are not compelled to provide it.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many self-financing regulatory authorities his Department has set up since 1979 ; what was the annual running cost of each of the self-financing regulatory authorities in each of the last three years ; what is the current staffing establishment ; and what it was last year and two years ago.
Year |Number ------------------------ 1991 |59 1992 |68 1993 |74 |------- Total |201
The number of local statutory instruments for each of the last three years is as follows :
Year |Number ------------------------ 1991 |12 1992 |9 1993 |7 |------- Total |28
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the number of quangos for which he is responsible ; how much in public funds has been given to each quango in each of the last three years ; what is the current staffing establishment of each quango ; and what it was five years ago.
Mr. Eastham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils are wrongly excluded (a) for a fixed term, (b) indefinitely and (c) permanently, in the (i) north, (ii) central and (iii) south districts in Manchester.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what correspondence he has had with the principal of Doncaster college during the last three months in respect of (a) the appointment and (b) the ending of appointment of college governors ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Boswell : There has been no such correspondence during this period between my right hon. Friend and the principal of Doncaster college. The Department has, however, received correspondence from a governor on a number of matters relating to the conduct of the corporation and this is being pursued with the chairman of governors of Doncaster college.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will make it his policy to recommend to the governing body of schools that only drinks which are sucrose-free should be stocked in tuck shops on school premises indicating from which manufacturers such drinks can be bought.
Mr. Forth : Local education authorities and, where appropriate, governing bodies of self-governing--grant-maintained--schools are responsible for providing meals and any other food, including drinks, at their schools. It is for them to decide what is provided, taking into account local circumstances.
The Prime Minister : The cost to my office of ministerial receptions in 1993-94 is included in the overall administrative expenditure which is published every year in the Cabinet Office departmental report.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister following the meeting on 23 February between the head of the middle eastern department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Riad El Taher and the hon. Member for Linlithgow, if he will consider the case for urging the United Nations to lift sanctions before the summer heat arrives in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates ; and what estimate he has made of the incidence of disease in the river valleys.
Column 704The Security Council decided on 18 January that there are no grounds for lifting sanctions but medical supplies have never been subject to sanctions. There is no authoritative estimate of the incidence of disease in the river valleys.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 11 February, Official Report, column 581, whether he will urge the French Government to sell Renault to a German car manufacturer.
Mr. Lewis : To ask the Prime Minister what is the purpose of the royal tour of the Caribbean and the cost, including the use of the royal yacht Britannia ; and under which expenditure heads the cost will be borne.
The Prime Minister : The purpose of Her Majesty the Queen's visit to Commonwealth countries and dependent territories in the Caribbean basin and to Bermuda was to reaffirm the close relationship which exists between the United Kingdom and those countries and territories. In each destination a number of specific objectives were achieved. These included demonstrating the importance we attach to our continuing responsibility for the dependent territories ; and the Queen's continuing commitment to her realms. The visit to Guyana marked our recognition of the restoration of democratic government there.
Costs to the United Kingdom will be borne by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Metropolitan police and by Buckingham palace. Exact figures are not available : some bills have not yet been presented and the cost of diplomatic service staff who worked on the visit could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on the cost of individual voyages by the royal yacht is not maintained.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 21 January, Official Report , column 850 , which treaty provisions will apply when deciding whether the European Parliament will be consulted on the ratification of GATT.
The Prime Minister : The European Parliament will be consulted in accordance with the provisions of article 228 of the treaty of Rome, as amended by the Maastricht treaty. The Foreign Affairs Council agreed on 21 February that the assent procedure, as set out in that article, will apply.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department's computer-aided facilities management systems cost ; from whom they were purchased ; how many person hours were required to commission them ; what the estimated and actual saving has been from their operation ; and to what extent the use of such systems accounts for the apparent rise in theft noted in his answer to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) of 16 February, Official Report, columns 857-59.
Sir John Wheeler : The majority of the systems were developed in- house using existing equipment with the remaining six systems being purchased at a cost of £320,000 from the companies listed : Britannia Information Business Systems Ltd.
It is not possible to estimate the time taken to commission the various systems.
The systems were not designed with the intention of producing savings, but as an effective and efficient means of providing proper asset management. Therefore no figures for savings are available. At this stage the systems have not had any discernible impact on the identification of theft.
Statutory rules Statutory laid instruments made by the Secretary of State |Regulations|Orders |Regulations|Orders ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1991 |12 |25 |3 |3 1992 |10 |20 |3 |6 1993 |19 |17 |Nil |4
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the number of quangos for which he is responsible ; how much in public funds has been given to each quango in each of the last three years ; what is the current staffing establishment of each quango ; and what it was five years ago.
Sir John Wheeler : Such information is contained in the publication "Public Bodies 1993" and earlier editions of the same publication. Copies of all editions are available in the Libraries of the House.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what reports he has sought or received from the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts (Northern Ireland) on its recent sex discrimination admission ; and if he will make a statement on the
Column 706Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts'capabilities to conform to the law and accepted standards of good practice in recruitment and selection policies and procedures ;
(2) what action he proposes to take to ensure that the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts (Northern Ireland) designs and implements appropriate equal opportunities and fair employment policies, following its recent sex discrimination admission ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : My Department is aware of a settlement by the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts in a recent sex discrimination case. Senior appointments within the association are made by its headquarters office in London in consultation, as appropriate, with regional committees.
The Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts is an independent company and it is a matter for it to ensure that its recruitment policies conform with the law and with accepted standards of good practice.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of whether the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts (Northern Ireland) conforms to his recently promulgated policy appraisal and fair treatment guidelines ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : None. Northern Ireland Departments are still considering how best to apply the policy appraisal and fair treatment guidelines to services provided by or on behalf of the Government in the Province.