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Malaysian Airlines

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the dates Ministers, or officials from his Department, including his Department's agencies, have used the Malaysian airline MAS for each year since 1985, including this year to date, on official business ; and what was the cost of each flight to his Department.


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Mr. Michael Forsyth : This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Emphysema

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many claims have been received for compensation arising from employment- related emphysema in each year since 1979 ; and how many were successful.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Department has no arrangements for paying compensation to people who have developed emphysema as a result of their employment. Claims for compensation against employers under civil law are a matter for the employer concerned.

Claims for industrial injuries disablement benefit in respect of emphysema are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security.

Jobplan Workshops

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what guidance is given to the Employment Service Agency when trying to match the skills of an unemployed person attending a jobplan workshop with the employment available ;

(2) what action is taken in respect of an unemployed person who refuses to accept a job or training place offered in a jobplan workshop.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from M. Fogden to Mrs. Ann Clwyd, dated 23 March 1994 : The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions about Jobplan. You have asked how Jobplan can help an unemployed person match their skills with those required in the local labour market and whether any action is taken when someone refuses a job or a training place offered to them while on the Workshop.

It may help if I explain that Jobplan aims to help people who have been unemployed for a year or more to compete for jobs and opportunities. About 80 per cent. of the people who first become unemployed leave the unemployment register within a year. For those who remain unemployed, confidence and the intensity of job search can decrease. People often believe that they have few options open to them. It is therefore important that at this stage people take a fresh look at their situation and have the chance to review their strengths and skills and set themselves clear, achievable job goals that take advantage of the help available. This can be achieved on Jobplan.

Whilst on the Workshop, people are encouraged and helped to identify the skills and strengths they have demonstrated in both work and non-work situations. One of the sessions on the Workshop is devoted to examining the local labour market. The purpose of this is to tell the group about the types and numbers of jobs that are available in the area and the changing nature of work. They are then asked to consider which of their skills may be transferable and whether they might need to acquire new ones. Following this session each person has an individual guidance interview which in some cases can lead to them applying for further training.

Jobplan is run on the Employment Service's behalf by organisations from the private, public and voluntary sectors. Every Workshop leader is provided with a copy of the Jobplan Leaders manual which provides guidance on running each session.

At the end of the Workshop, everyone should be able to agree an Action Plan which sets out the steps they need to take to get


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back into work. This may be making one or more job applications or applying for a training place or other opportunity. If someone is offered a job or a training place on the Workshop and turns down the opportunity to start, no action will be taken. However, we would want to discuss with the person the factors that led to their decision and see what further help we could offer. Arrangements are made for all those completing the Workshop to be interviewed at the Jobcentre when they next sign. If at that time they refuse offers of suitable employment, we would refer their case to independent adjudication authorities.

I hope this is helpful.

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) men and (b) women have participated in jobplan workshops in the Cynon Valley and in all other Welsh constituencies since their inception.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from M. Fogden to Mrs. Ann Clwyd, dated 23 March 1994 : The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the number of men and women who have started on Jobplan in Wales and in the Cynon Valley since the programme started. Jobplan Workshops are for people unemployed for a year who decline or fail to take up a job or a place on an Employment Department programme at the Restart interview. They aim to help people compete more successfully for jobs and opportunities by allowing them to review their strengths and skills, establish clear job goals and draw up an Action Plan, mapping out the steps they need to take to get them back to work. Jobplan started nationally in April 1993. It is possible to give the information asked for the Cynon Valley, as people who live in this valley are served by two Jobcentres, Mountain Ash and Aberdare. The details for the rest of Wales are not collected on a constituency basis and therefore the figures given are for the Principality as a whole.

From April 1993 to February 1994, 406 men and 45 women have started on Workshops in the Cynon Valley. In Wales in total 9,873 people have started the Workshops, 8,402 men and 1,471 women.

I hope this is helpful.

Young People (Benefits)

Mr. Wicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is (a) the youth training scheme allowance and (b) the income support level on severe hardship grounds for 17-year-olds and what were the equivalent figures in (i) 1990-91, (ii) 1991-92 and (iii) 1992-93.

Miss Widdecombe : The figures for the youth training (YT) allowance and the income support level on severe hardship grounds for 17-year-olds for the years requested are given in the following table :


£             |YT allowance |Income                     

                            |support level              

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

1990-91       |35.00        |28.80                      

1991-92       |35.00        |<1>31.15                   

1992-93       |35.00        |33.60                      

1993-94       |35.00        |34.80                      

<1> 31.40 from 1 October 1991.                          


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Labour Statistics

Mr. Hutton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people stopped claiming unemployment benefit in 1993-94 ; and of those, how many entered full-time or part-time employment.

Miss Widdecombe : Detailed information is not available on the destinations of the 4.4 million claimants who left unemployment during the year ended February 1994. However, past survey evidence indicates that the majority of people who leave claimant unemployment go into jobs.

Consultants

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many contracts his Department has had with consultants ; and what has been the total cost in each of the last five years.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Information in the form requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Youth Training

Mr. Wicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to increase youth training scheme allowances for 17-year-olds.

Miss Widdecombe : We have no plans to increase minimum youth training allowances. Minimum YT allowances are set at levels which reflect the fact that trainees are involved in the learning process. Employers and training providers benefit from considerable Government investment in the training of young people. Because of this, they are encouraged to pay trainees more than the specified minimum rates of allowance wherever possible and many do so.

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many public interest immunity certificates he has signed in each year since 1990.

Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 15 March 1994] : None.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Divisions

Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council (1) what consideration he is giving to the difficulties experienced by hon. Members at 7 Millbank in reaching the Lobbies within the eight minutes allowed before Divisions ;

(2) if he will bring forward an amendment to Standing Order No. 37 to extend the time allowed to hon. Members to reach Division Lobbies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton : The situation is being carefully monitored, but I have at present no plans to bring forward an amendment to Standing Order No. 37. As the hon. Member may be aware, Madam Speaker has discretion to extend Division times in the event of any difficulties in reaching the Lobbies.


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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Mr. Lorrain Osman

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations were made to the British Government by the Malaysian Government about the case of Lorrain Osman ;

(2) on what occasions the case of Lorrain Osman was discussed with the Malaysian Government.

Mr. Goodlad : It is established practice that details of our relations with other Governments are confidential.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether Her Majesty's Government received representations between 1983 and 1993 from the Government of or Ministers in Malaysia in relation to Mr. Lorrain Osman ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) whether representations were made to Her Majesty's Governmment by the Malaysian authorities concerning the murder in Hong Kong of Jalil Ibrahim ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Goodlad [holding answer 15 March 1994] : Yes. However, it is established practice that details of our relations with other Governments are confidential.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons documents concerning the murder of Jalil Ibrahim were adjudged by him to be irrelevant to the defence of Mr. Lorrain Osman ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Goodlad [holding answer 15 March 1994] : It was the divisional court, not the Secretary of State, who made this judgment in respect of the "Jalil Documents" in Lorrain Osman's seventh application for Habeas Corpus.

Non-Proliferation

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reconciliation of Her Majesty's Government's policy on the exports of high-technology conventional weapons with its policy on non-proliferation.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We support the export of British equipment, including high technology conventional weapons, where this is compatible with our political, strategic and security interests. This is based on the right of all nations to self-defence, in accordance with article 51 of the UN charter. As part of our objective to prevent destabilising accumulations of arms, we observe strict responsibility and restraint in our exports of arms and actively encourage other suppliers to do likewise.

Missile Technology Control Regime

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent changes relating to the missile technology control regime.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : At the missile technology control regime plenary meeting in Interlaken, 29 November to 2 December 1993, member states agreed that export controls on sensitive items should be maintained, and introduced


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clarification of some listed export items. They undertook to redouble efforts to persuade potential exporter countries outside the regime to abide by MTCR guidelines. In recent months Russia, Brazil and South Africa have also made significant progress towards adoption of MTCR guidelines. The meeting welcomed Argentina and Hungary as new members.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those states that have indicated adherence to the terms of the missile technology control regime.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The following are member states of the missile technology control regime--MTCR.

Argentina

Austria

Australia

Belgium

Canada

Denmark

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Italy

Japan

Luxembourg

Portugal

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Republic of Ireland

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

United Kingdom

United States

Several other states have declared their adherence to the MTCR guidelines, or are making progress towards meeting them, including : Brazil

China

Czech Republic

Indonesia

Romania

Russia

South Africa

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will abide by the opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal status in international law of the United Kingdom nuclear weapons policy.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are not prepared to conjecture about what conclusions the International Court of Justice might reach on this issue.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to other Commonwealth countries in respect of their making submissions to the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We will be making our own submission to the International Court of Justice on this question, and the subject has been discussed with other states in the course of normal diplomatic exchanges.


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Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will define the terms "strategic" and "sub- strategic" as currently used by his Department.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : These terms relate to the type of action to which a nuclear weapon would contribute. Sub-strategic weapons provide the ability to take action more limited than a strategic strike.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the referral to the International Court of Justice for clarification of international law as regards nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave him on 1 February, at column 605.

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what part Her Majesty's Government will play in European Union submissions to the International Court of Justice as to the legality of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The submission of statements to the International Court of Justice is a matter for individual member states.

European Union

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which countries where the European Union takes on the responsibility of representing individual countries of the European Union those countries do not have direct representation.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The European Union does not have a legal personality. In particular it does not represent individual member states. Under article J.5.1 of the Treaty on European Union the presidency is responsible for representing the European Union on issues of foreign and security policy where member states have an agreed policy. This sometimes involves the presidency taking action in a third country where not all the member states have diplomatic representation. In those countries where the presidency itself does not have a diplomatic mission, another member state acts on the presidency's behalf.

The presidency also represents the European Union where necessary in business under the justice and home affairs pillar. In matters of Community competence--example trade--which require action in third countries, the European Commission can represent the member states. On 1 July 1993 consular guidelines agreed by member states came into effect. Subject to local circumstances nationals of a member state who require consular assistance in a country or place where that member state has no accessible consular or diplomatic representation may seek the help of a permanent diplomatic or consular post of another member state.

North Korea

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of the International Atomic Energy Agency visit to North Korea to conduct nuclear safeguards inspections on facilities, pursuant to resolutions of the United Nations Security Council ; what consultations he has had with the


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United States Government over these nuclear inspections ; and if he will make a statement on the application of United Kingdom non-proliferation policy to (a) the Koreas, (b) Taiwan and (c) Japan.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Despite a written agreement of 15 February, North Korea did not allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to undertake some crucial parts of their inspection earlier this month. Consequently the agency was unable to verify that no diversion of nuclear material from the civil nuclear fuel cycle has taken place in the last year. We shall continue to work closely with the United States Administration on this issue. We expect all countries which are members of the non-proliferation treaty, or which have concluded safeguards agreements, to abide fully by their obligations not to develop nuclear weapons.


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