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Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he has as to the effect of the reduction in direct taxation on non -income benefits of directors of companies.
Mr. Dorrell : Directors pay tax on their total income. The cash equivalent of any benefits in kind is added to money income for tax purposes. There has been no significant change in the proportion of directors receiving taxable benefits in kind. Reductions in income tax rates have applied equally to benefits in kind and other income.
Column 21Low income tax rates, which apply equally to benefits in kind and other income, promote incentives and wealth creation. This has contributed to the 40 per cent. increase in the real take-home pay of a family on average earnings since 1978-79.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement about the quality of the statistics produced by Intrastat.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I have little to add to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 8 February, Official Report, column 121.
The investigations are proceeding well. Customs and Excise and the Central Statistical Office aim to publish a full report in the summer at around the same time as data from the 1994 edition of the Pink Book on the United Kingdom balance of payments are released. If the investigations point to substantial revisions these will be made at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans Her Majesty's Government have to review the current position regarding the level of Ugandan debt, in the light of the forthcoming meeting of the Paris club.
Mr. Nelson : Uganda received a concessional rescheduling of her official bilateral debts from the Paris club creditors on 17 July 1992. The agreement was on Trinidad terms.
Under the terms of this agreement, creditors agreed to consider reducing the whole stock of official bilateral debt by up to 50 per cent. subject to Uganda maintaining a three to four-year track record of reform with the IMF.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions in the past five years he has knowingly provided incomplete information in answers to parliamentary questions other than on grounds of disproportionate cost ; and on what subjects.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I and my ministerial colleagues seek to provide parliamentary answers which are as complete and accurate as possible.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for the past 12 months how many parliamentary questions he has referred to one of his Department's agencies for answer ; and what percentage of parliamentary questions to his Department this represents.
Mr. Nelson : In the last 12 months, no parliamentary questions have been referred by Treasury Ministers to the chief executives of agencies for answer.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the street value of drugs seized by Customs and Excise in each year for the past four years in South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside.
Sir John Cope : HM Customs and Excise is divided into a number of geographically based collections, which do not coincide with county boundaries. The counties of South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside are straddled by the collections of east midlands, Leeds and northern England. These collections also include areas of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland.
The street value of drugs seized in these three collections for the past four calendar years was as follows :
|East Midlands|Leeds |Northern |England |£ |£ |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |181,110 |2,894,723 |406,422 1991 |3,838,692 |2,717,989 |5,611 1992 |92,162 |1,195,476 |86,196 1993 |434,295 |1,311,932 |1,801,765 Total |4,546,259 |8,140,120 |2,299,944
These values are for drugs seized within the boundaries of the collections and may include seizures made by officers based outside the collection area.
Mrs. Anne Campbell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the United Kingdom's gross domestic product was derived from the sale of armaments in 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 at 1992-93 prices.
Mr. Nelson : The information is not available.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what account he has taken of the effect of technological advances on the requirement for the cheque presentation systems under the Bills of Exchange Act 1882.
Mr. Nelson : The Government are committed to introduce legislation, as soon as parliamentary time will permit, to enable a collecting bank to capture electronically the details of a cheque and to pass on to a paying bank those details instead of the cheque itself. The Government will need to consider carefully appropriate safeguards for consumers.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters were received from, and written to, hon. Members by him and his ministerial colleagues in February.
Sir John Cope : My ministerial colleagues and I received 1,606 from, and wrote 1,171 letters to, hon. Members in February.
Sir Thomass Arnold : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the total public indebtedness to the United Kingdom of Belize ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nelson : Belize's outstanding public sector debts with the United Kingdom total £16.61 million, all of which are owed to the Overseas Development Administration.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the shortfall in VAT on fuel in 1994-95 due to the use of special companies created to receive advance payments.
Sir John Cope : Customs is not in a position to determine the extent to which "special" companies may be set up to receive advance payments for supplies of fuel and power made from 1 April 1994. Consequently it is not possible to provide an estimate of any shortfall in revenue there might be as a result.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for each civil service grade in his Department (a) the total number of persons employed and (b) the percentage of this figure that are women.
Mr. Nelson [holding answer 17 March 1994] : The information requested is set out in the table and represents the position as at 1 January 1994.
Grade |Total number |Percentage of |employed |women |(staff in post) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 |1 |0 1a |3 |0 2 |6 |0 Chief Accountancy Adviser |1 |0 3 |24 |13 4 |3 |0 5 |68 |13 6 |23 |0 7 |194 |19 Senior Executive Officer |85 |28 Senior Scientific Officer |1 |0 Senior Information Officer |1 |0 Senior Librarian |1 |100 Higher Executive Officer (D) |13 |39 Senior Economic Assistant |27 |11 S/Assistant Statistician |5 |0 Higher Scientific Officer |2 |100 Higher Executive Officer |122 |34 Librarian |4 |100 Administrative Trainee |12 |25 Economic Assistant |16 |25 Assistant Statistician |4 |25 Information Officer |1 |100 Graduate Trainee |1 |0 Executive Officer |163 |34 Assistant Librarian |5 |40 Administrative Officer |208 |51 Administrative Assistant |94 |61 Chief Typing Manager |2 |100 Senior Personal Secretary |16 |100 Typing Manager |3 |100 Personal Secretary |111 |98 Typist |49 |92 Support Manager Band 1 |1 |0 Support Manager Band 2 |4 |50 Support Manager Band 3 |7 |29 Support Grade Band 1 |53 |28 Support Grade Band 2 |113 |32
45. Mr. Legg : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Her Majesty's Government are doing to assist drought-affected people in Kenya.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have pledged nearly £15 million in humanitarian assistance since the onset of the present drought in 1992. We were the first donor to respond to the Government of Kenya's appeal for food aid in December 1993, allocating 15,000 tonnes of food aid, worth about £3.8 million, since then for the immediate needs of drought victims in Kenya.
46. Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans the Government have to review the operation of aid and trade provision.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Government have recently reviewed the aid and trade provision. I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Ottaway) on 17 June 1993, Official Report , column 679 which announced the conclusions of that wide- ranging review. The Government have no plans to conduct a further review.
Mr. Willetts : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance is being given to help Mozambique.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We expect to spend about £40 million in the current financial year.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the International Monetary Fund and the World bank's lending policy towards the Ukraine.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : As a member of both IMF and the World bank group, Ukraine is eligible for the full range of non-concessional facilities offered by those institutions, including the IMF's new systemic transformation facility, designed to assist former command economies in the early stages of transition. The fund is involved in discussion with the Ukrainian authorities on an economic adjustment programme, which would help to facilitate lending by both institutions.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the reason for the projected reduction in the overseas aid budget between 1994-95 and 1995-96, as set out at table 23 of his annual report 1994, Cm. 2502.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The budget for the Overseas Development Administration's total external assistance programmes, including non-voted expenditure, is planned to rise from £2,191 million in 1994-95 to £2,245 million in 1995-96, as shown in table 23 of the report.
Column 25The decline in voted expenditure between 1994 -95 and 1995-96 reflects the rise in non-voted expenditure, the latter representing essentially the United Kingdom share of EC budgetary spending on aid for developing countries and assistance to central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out the definition of (a) low income countries, (b) lower middle income countries, (c) upper middle income countries and (d) high income countries as used to define the allocations of overseas aid in figure 10 of his annual departmental report and expenditure plans, 1994-95 to 1997-98, Cm. 2502.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The classifications are those used by the development assistance committee of the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development and are defined as follows :
Low income country : GNP per capita below $765 in 1991 ; Lower middle income country : GNP per capita in 1991 of $765 or above but not exceeding $2,556 ;
Upper middle income country : GNP per capita in 1991 of $2,555 or above but not exceeding $7,380 ;
High income country : GNP per capita in 1991 above $7,380
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will name the three most recent development projects whose objectives are to improve the income of subsistence farmers, which illustrate the programme and policies of Her Majesty's Government in pursuit of that objective.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Recently approved projects aimed at improving the livelihoods of subsistence farmers in pursuit of the Government's support for sustainable agriculture under the aid programme include the farming systems development and training project, Ghana ; the Krishak Bharati co- operative rainfed farming project in India and the Khosi Hills seed and vegetable project, Nepal.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the reason for the projected reduction on expenditure on global environment assistance between 1993-94 and 1994-95 as set out at table 23 of his departmental annual report and expenditure plans 1994-95 to 1997-98 Cm. 2502.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The planned reduction reflects the scheduled drawdown agreements of the global environment facility and the Montreal protocol multilateral fund, and anticipates expenditure needs. This same expenditure profile leads to a sharp rise in subsequent years.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he has that the involvement of agencies funded by his Department in the Chinese population control programme lessens the extent to which that programme breaches human rights.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The United Nations Population Fund--UNFPA--and the International Planned Parenthood Federation neither support nor condone coercive population programmes in China. Both agencies have a moderating effect on Chinese population policies. A recent example is the decision of the Chinese Government, following a recommendation by UNFPA, to seek advice from the World Health Organisation on the draft "natal and health care law", which had been widely criticised.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much financial assistance has been given by the Government to (a) the international cocoa gene bank in Trinidad, (b) the CATIE cocoa genebank in Costa Rica, (c) the international cocoa germplasm database at Reading, Berkshire and (d) the international cocoa quarantine station at Reading, Berkshire in each of the last five years.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Over the past five years, the ODA has not provided financial assistance to the international cocoa gene bank in Trinidad, the CATIE cocoa genebank in Costa Rica, or the international cocoa germplasm data bases in Reading.
The international cocoa quarantine station at Reading is funded by the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance and the EC. However, in 1993, the ODA provided £18,000 to support the participation of Ghana.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the dates on which aid offers in principle were made to the Governments of countries overseas in each year since 1986.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 17 March 1994] : Our bilateral aid programme is managed in close consultation with aid recipient countries. This involves continuing liaison over programmes and individual projects. It is not possible to list the dates when individual aid offers were made.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the total amount of overseas aid grants made to (a) Indonesia and (b) Tanzania for each year since 1979 and in total for each country in constant 1993 prices.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 17 March 1994] : United Kingdom gross bilateral aid flows to Indonesia and Tanzania from 1979 to the end of the financial year 1992-93 in cash and constant 1992-93 prices were as follows :
£ thousands Indonesia Tanzania Year |Gross |1992-93 |Gross |1992-93 |bilateral aid|prices |bilateral aid|prices ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979 |11,720 |27,899 |23,559 |56,082 1980 |11,190 |22,513 |32,119 |64,619 1981 |15,350 |28,158 |30,040 |55,106 1982 |17,219 |29,486 |27,328 |46,798 1983 |12,358 |20,225 |30,384 |49,725 1984 |28,292 |44,086 |33,033 |51,474 1985 |33,649 |49,678 |17,967 |26,526 1986 |8,898 |12,763 |12,715 |18,238 1987 |12,223 |16,645 |28,789 |39,205 1987-88 |14,660 |19,964 |33,617 |45,780 1988-89 |17,366 |22,161 |31,956 |40,780 1989-90 |21,616 |25,791 |20,060 |23,935 1990-91 |24,854 |27,442 |41,403 |45,715 1991-92 |34,425 |35,747 |32,454 |33,700 1992-93 |33,164 |33,164 |62,370 |62,370
The basis on which these figures are recorded was changed from calendar to financial years with effect from 1992 ; the previous five financial years have been included above for ease of comparison. The figures shown include disbursements of Commonwealth Development Corporation investments, and also bilateral concessional aid loans committed prior to 1979, but since forgiven under the retrospective terms adjustment policy.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what will be the implications for the operation of his Department of the code of practice on open government.
Mr. Sproat : The code of practice will reinforce and build on my Department's existing arrangements for the provision of information. Operational details will be announced nearer to the time of the launch.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what progress is being made in compiling the inventory of works of art in the royal palaces.
Mr. Sproat : The Lord Chamberlain has stated that the inventory of the works of art in the royal palaces is making good progress and is on target for completion by the end of 1997.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) pursuant to his answer of 14 March, Official Report, column 481, what is the range of all actual rents paid at each of the royal places for all accommodation ; how many heads of department in the royal household have furnishing costs paid by his Department ; and how much has been spent in each of the last five years ; (2) pursuant to his answer of 15 March, Official Report, column 612, what in money terms is the range of all those actual rental payments for grace and favour accommodation in the occupied royal places ; how many rents make up the £69,000 ; how much relates to each palace ; how much of the rent is received by the Royal Household and how much by his Department ; and by what criteria it is determined which rentals are paid to the Royal Household and which to the Department.
Mr. Sproat [holding answer 18 March 1994] : The rents in respect of each palace are as follows :
" |£000 ---------------------------------- Buckingham Palace and Mews |8 St James's Palace |15 Kensington Palace |11 Windsor Castle and Home Park |35 |---- |69
A total of £30,000 is received by the civil list and £39,000 by the grant in aid, according to which account pays the wages. The £69,000 relates to 47 occupants who pay rent. In addition to these 47 occupants, seven occupants pay rent through deductions from wages to the Crown estate and two through deductions of £3,000 from wages to the royal collection. It would not be appropriate to disclose rents paid by individuals.
Six heads of departments have furnished accommodation provided. Costs incurred in this respect during the last five years are : 1989-90, £112,000 ; 1990-91, none identified ; 1991-92, £99,000 ; 1992-93, £88,000 and 1993-94, £26,000.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what consideration he has given to widening the terms of reference to his Department's review of the Museum of London archaeological service to include the provision of archaeology services for London as a whole.
Mr. Sproat : The terms of reference of the review being jointly financed by this Department, English Heritage, the corporation of London and the museum of London require the consultants to assess the demand of archaeological services in London as a whole, and to recommend how services of the nature at present provided by the museum of London archaeological service could be provided in future, taking into account services provided by other organisations. I therefore consider the terms of reference of the review to be satisfactory as they stand.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many letters were received from, and written to, hon. Members by him and his ministerial colleague in February.
Mr. Brooke : My hon. Friend and I received 300 letters from, and wrote 237 letters to, hon. Members during February.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage on how many occasions he has knowingly provided incomplete information in answers to parliamentary questions other than on grounds of disproportionate cost ; and on what subjects.
Mr. Brooke : The Department of National Heritage is less than two years old, coming into being on April 13 1992. I answer parliamentary questions on the basis set out in paragraph 27 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers". I also seek to comply with the Speaker's guidance on the need for brief answers to oral questions.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for the latest date available, the current occupancy rate for each bail hostel in Humberside, and each of the three counties of Yorkshire ; and what the corresponding figures were 12 months ago.
Mr. Maclean : The figures requested, based on total approved places, are as follows :
Percentage occupancy rates |February 1993|February 1994 ---------------------------------------------------------------- Humberside Queen's Road |32 |47 Scunthorpe<1> |- |39 South Yorkshire Centre 45 |91 |45 Norfolk Park |60 |62 Rookwood |37 |78 Town Moor |79 |85 West Yorkshire Howden House |71 |61 Walmer Villas |76 |84 Elm Bank |100 |71 Albion Street<1> |- |84 Cardigan House |84 |68 St. John's |90 |92 Ripon House |84 |93 North Yorkshire No hostels currently. <1> Both Scunthorpe and Albion Street opened subsequent to February 1993.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he is giving to the closure of bail hostels in Humberside and each of the three counties of Yorkshire ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : The closure of 11 approved hostels was announced at the end of November last year. The South Yorkshire probation committee was asked to identify one hostel for closure ; and it has now been agreed that the Centre 45 hostel in Sheffield should close. None of the approved hostels in Humberside or West Yorkshire is affected. There are currently no hostels in North Yorkshire, although a new hostel in York is expected to open shortly.
The Government continue to support the provision of approved hostels where these meet the needs of the courts in a cost-effective way and within the requirements of national standards.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners from (a) South Yorkshire, (b) North Yorkshire, (c) West Yorkshire and (d) Humberside are currently serving custodial sentences in prisons in Northern Ireland ; and if he will give for each prisoner, the length of their sentence, when they were committed and the nature of their offence ;
(2) how many prisoners from (a) South Yorkshire, (b) North Yorkshire, (c) West Yorkshire and (d) Humberside are currently serving custodial sentences in prisons in
Column 30Scotland ; and if he will give for each prisoner, the length of their sentence, when they were committed and the nature of their offence.
Mr. Maclean : The information requested is not recorded centrally.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals to abolish custodial sentences as a punishment for the non-payment of fines imposed for not paying the television licence fee.
Mr. Maclean : Committal to prison is one of a range of measures available to courts for enforcing fines. We have no plans to remove this power in relation to fines imposed for any particular offence.
Ms Estelle Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to make the sale of amylnitrite to children illegal.
Mr. Maclean : The substance amylnitrite belongs to the group of chemicals known as alkylnitrites. While it is not strictly speaking a solvent, it can be misused by inhalation of its vapours. Sales of intoxicating substances are already regulated by the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 which makes it an offence for people such as retailers to sell or supply intoxicating substances to persons under 18 whom they believe intend to misuse them. The Act has no specific list of chemicals ; there is a wide range of everyday products which can be misused by inhalation.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has considered the misuse of alkylnitrites and the possibility of controlling them under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on three occasions--in 1984, 1987 and 1991. On each occasion, the council concluded that, although the misuse of those substances posed a limited health hazard, such misuse did not lead to dependency and did not give rise to social problems of a scale to justify use of the controls in the 1971 Act. The advisory council is, however, keeping the matter under review.
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many guns are owned by the police for their use, setting out separately pistols, shotguns, rifles, semi-automatic and automatic weapons ; how many policemen are qualified to use firearms ; and how many armed response units are available on average at any one time (a) in each constabulary and (b) nationally.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Figures for police firearms and average numbers of armed response vehicles are not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Certain other related information is provided each year by police forces in England and Wales. At 31 December 1992, the latest date for which information is available, there were 6,850 authorised firearms officers. There were 1,669 operations involving armed response vehicles during that year. Thirty one forces currently operate armed response vehicles.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested during Operation Barnard in Wanstead on 16 February on suspicion of having been involved in a riot at Welling last October ; and of these who many were subsequently released without any charges being brought.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner that five people were arrested on suspicion of having been involved in disturbances at Welling. All were subsequently released without charge.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy on the proposed change to the European Court of Human Rights' treatment of human rights cases.
Mr. Charles Wardle : As I said in my reply to the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) on 24 February, Official Report, column 314, the Government are contributing fully to work within the Council of Europe on the reform of the European Commission and Court of Human Rights by their replacement by a single court, with the aim of enabling the increasing number of cases to be dealt with more speedily while maintaining the highest standards of jurisprudence.