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Mr. Streeter : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 25 March, Official Report, column 473, if he will make a statement on the leasing of the Tornado F3 aircraft to Italy.
Mr. Aitken : I am pleased to inform the House that the Government have signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy providing for the lease of 24 RAF Tornado F3 air defence aircraft to the Italian air force for a period of up to 10 years. These aircraft will enable the Italian air force to supplement its existing air defence assets with two squadrons of this highly capable air defence aircraft in the period pending the planned introduction into service of Eurofighter 2000. At the same time, it will enhance the collective security of the Atlantic Alliance by ensuring that these aircraft, for which there is currently no United Kingdom requirement, continue to be used operationally. The memorandum of understanding also represents a vivid demonstration of the extent of our bilateral defence relationships with Italy.
Mr. Hanley : The Royal Air Force Training Group is to be established as a defence agency of the Ministry of Defence on 1 April 1994. The training group is at present part of Royal Air Force Support Command but will become an integral part of Royal Air Force Personnel and Training Command with effect from 1 April 1994. It comprises a headquarters element at Royal Air Force Innsworth and various flying and ground training stations throughout the country. Together they employ some 6,000 service men and 2,500 civilians. The primary role of the training group is to provide trained service men and civilians to meet the requirements of the Royal Air Force in peace, crisis and war.
As the first chief executive, Air Vice-Marshal C. C. C. Colville will be offered new opportunities to build on the current organisation's professional expertise and high performance standards. Through a more commercial approach, the chief executive will actively seek to improve the efficiency and value for money of his organisation and thereby fulfil the agency's aim of providing its customers with an efficient service which offers the best value for money possible.
The chief executive has been set the following targets for financial year 1994-95 :
Key Target 1 : By 31 March 1995 to evaluate quality control mechanisms across all areas of training, including systems of measurement and targeting, and make recommendations for implementation during Financial Year 1995-96.
Column 997Key Target 2 : By 31 March 1995 to have achieved the planned Training Group elements of the rationalisation programme and to have identified, and set in hand plans to meet the Training Group capacity requirements called for in 2nd Order Assumptions.
Key Target 3 : By 31 March 1995 to deliver a 2.5 per cent. reduction in Training Group running costs by delivering the Financial Year 1994-95 programme of efficiency measures.
Key Target 4 : By 31 March 1995 to undertake, the initial work required, for each measure, to market test £45,000,000 of business by 31 March 1996, as the Training Group's planned contribution to the Defence Market Testing Initiative.
Key Target 5 : By 31 March 1995 to identify and value the Training Group's fixed assets base and introduce an interim asset recording system as a first step towards an asset management system. Key Target 6 : By 31 March 1995 to install, develop and test the Training Group Financial and Management Accounting System at 2 pilot sites : Headquarters Training Group and Royal Air Force Finningley. Key Target 7 : By 31 March 1995 to implement an interim accounting system at all Training Group units to produce Agency Accounts for mock audit by the National Audit Office at the end of Financial Year 1994-95.
I have arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of the House.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the number and location of (a) dwellings and (b) vacant dwellings owned by his Department in each county council area in England and Wales, and in each regional council area in Scotland ; (2) what is the number and location of (a) dwellings and (b) vacant dwellings owned by his Department in (i) Manchester, (ii) Liverpool, (iii) Leeds, (iv) Newcastle upon Tyne, (v) Southampton, (vi) Glasgow, (vii) Edinburgh and (viii) Bristol.
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 22 March] : Statistics are not maintained in a form which enables properties in particular cities or county council areas to be readily identified. I can, however, give the information requested on the numbers of dwellings and vacant dwellings owned by my Department in each county of England and Wales and regional council area in Scotland as at 31 December 1993. This is as follows :
|Total |Vacant |stock ----------------------------------------------- Married quarters England Avon |369 |76 Bedfordshire |539 |77 Berkshire |1,245 |71 Buckinghamshire |1,365 |113 Cambridgeshire |2,216 |199 Cheshire |398 |87 Cleveland |35 |8 Cornwall |968 |247 Cumbria |140 |27 Derbyshire |0 |0 Devon |3,199 |371 Dorset |1,875 |417 Durham |17 |1 East Sussex |108 |24 Essex |1,932 |434 Gloucestershire |561 |54 Greater London |3,697 |567 Greater Manchester |89 |16 Hampshire |8,248 |1,042 Hereford and Worcester |503 |84 Hertfordshire |1,172 |296 Humberside |572 |56 Isle of Wight |0 |0 Kent |2,360 |414 Lancashire |425 |46 Leicestershire |925 |95 Lincolnshire |2,255 |488 Merseyside |54 |11 Norfolk |1,922 |272 Northamptonshire |51 |41 Northumberland |401 |80 North Yorkshire |4,364 |324 Nottinghamshire |420 |67 Oxfordshire |3,452 |325 Salop |736 |127 Somerset |538 |70 South Yorkshire |402 |57 Staffordshire |496 |73 Suffolk |1,355 |549 Surrey |1,798 |258 Tyne and Wear |116 |3 Warwickshire |546 |96 West Midlands |441 |68 West Sussex |88 |17 West Yorkshire |58 |6 Wiltshire |7,100 |865 |--- |--- |59,551 |8,619 Wales Clwyd |294 |80 Dyfed |440 |224 Gwent |175 |41 Gwynedd |391 |14 Mid Glamorgan |6 |1 Powys |193 |18 South Glamorgan |967 |92 West Glamorgan |16 |2 |--- |--- |2,482 |472 Scotland Borders |3 |0 Central |44 |14 Dumfries and Galloway |4 |1 Fife |1,273 |93 Grampian |1,862 |46 Highlands |323 |76 Lothian |876 |186 Orkney |1 |0 Shetland |96 |6 Strathclyde |1,563 |201 Tayside |221 |52 Western Isles |207 |46 |--- |--- |6,473 |721 Total Married Quarters |68,506 |9,812 Civilian Houses England Berkshire |219 |44 Cumbria |1 |0 Devon |11 |5 Gloucestershire |8 |7 Hampshire |40 |10 Kent |43 |5 Wiltshire |85 |9 |-------|------- |407 |80 Wales Dyfed |25 |6 Scotland Fife |8 |6 Highlands |3 |1 Strathclyde |227 |58 |-------|------- |238 |65 Total Civilian Houses |670 |151 Total MOD Dwellings |69,176 |9,963
Many of the vacant married quarters were either undergoing or awaiting major maintenance work, held for future developments or already allocated to service families who were due to move in shortly.
In addition 2,142 surplus married quarters were in the process of being sold, of which 1,398 were vacant. These were broken down by county as follows :
Surplus married |Total |Vacant quarters |disposals -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- England Bedfordshire |2 |2 Cheshire |1 |1 Devon |74 |48 Dorset |48 |48 Essex |48 |48 Greater London |156 |156 Greater Manchester |7 |7 Hampshire |859 |141 Kent |79 |79 Lincolnshire |159 |159 Merseyside |33 |33 North Yorkshire |54 |54 Salop |24 |24 South Yorkshire |184 |184 Staffordshire |3 |3 Suffolk |243 |243 Surrey |2 |2 Sussex |2 |2 Warwickshire |1 |1 Wiltshire |9 |9 |---- |---- |1,988 |1,244 |---- |---- Wales Dyfed |38 |38 Gwent |4 |4 |---- |---- |42 |42 |---- |---- Scotland Dumfries and Galloway |1 |1 Fife |42 |42 Highlands |26 |26 Lothian |2 |2 Shetland |2 |2 Tayside |22 |22 Western Isles |17 |17 |---- |---- |112 |112 Surplus civilian houses England Bedfordshire |1 |0 Berkshire |206 |0 Cumbria |19 |9 Devon |2 |0 Dorset |1 |0 Essex |1 |0 Greater London |2 |1 Hampshire |131 |7 Hereford and Worcester |2 |1 Kent |4 |3 Staffordshire |2 |0 Wiltshire |43 |4 |-- |-- |414 |25 Wales Dyfed |1 |0 Scotland Highland |16 |3 Strathclyde |25 |16 |-- |-- |41 |19 Note: This represents 456 civilian houses, 412 of which were tenanted, in the process of being sold, broken down by county.
TRADE AND INDUSTRY
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what decisions were taken at the meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co- operation Forum in Honolulu on 18 March that will affect United Kingdom trade with the APEC Forum nations.
Mr. Heseltine : The meeting in Honolulu was a gathering, for the first time, of Finance Ministers from the 17 APEC member countries. Neither the United Kingdom nor the EU has observer status. We understand that discussions focused on closer economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region but that no specific decisions were taken.
Ms Armstrong : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what were the amounts of regional preferential assistance of each type invested in each region in each year since 1978-79 in cash and constant prices.
Mr. Sainsbury : Details of regional preferential assistance from 1978-79 to 1991-92 at current prices and at 1991-92 prices can be found in my reply to the hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Hill), Official Report, 21 October 1992, columns 325-28.
A regional breakdown of regional preferential assistance at cash and constant prices for 1992-93 is given in the table below together with revised figures for Scotland and Great Britain for 1989-90 and 1991-92.
More detailed analysis of regional preferential assistance could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
£ million |1989-90|1991-92|1991-92|1991-92|1992-93|1991-92 |Current|Prices |Current|Prices |Current|Prices |Prices |Prices |Prices --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern |- |- |- |- |48.3 |46.7 Yorkshire and Humberside |- |- |- |- |13.7 |13.2 East Midlands |- |- |- |- |1.2 |1.2 South West |- |- |- |- |8.2 |7.9 West Midlands |- |- |- |- |10.8 |10.4 North West |- |- |- |- |36.8 |35.5 England |- |- |- |- |119.0 |114.9 Wales |- |- |- |- |104.4 |100.9 Scotland |143.8 |166.4 |122.8 |122.8 |140.6 |135.8 Great Britain |539.3 |624.1 |427.8 |427.8 |364.0 |351.6
Mr. Boyes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the total cost of official entertaining in his Department in each year since 1990-91 ; if he will list the receptions held in each year at his Department's expense ; and what was the cost of each reception.
Mr. Heseltine : The total cost of official entertainment in the years from 1 April 1990 is included in the running cost expenditure for my Department which is published every year in the annual report ; figures for 1993-94 are not yet available. The entertainment budget is used for a variety of functions including receptions. To list the receptions held in each year at my Department's expense and to provide an accurate costing for each one would entail
Mr. Janner : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many, and what percentage of officers in each of grades 1 to 7 and overall in his Department are (a) women, (b) from ethnic minorities or (c) disabled, respectively.
(a) (b)<1> (c)<2> Women Ethnic Minorities Registered Disabled Grade Level |Number |Per cent. staff|Number |Per cent. staff|Number |Per cent. staff |respondents ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Grade 1 |- |- |- |- |- |- Grade 2 |- |- |- |- |- |- Grade 3 |6 |11.8 |- |- |- |- Grade 4 |2 |14.3 |- |- |- |- Grade 5 |38 |13.2 |3 |1.0 |- |- Grade 6 |47 |12.2 |9 |2.3 |2 |0.5 Grade 7 |171 |14.8 |22 |1.9 |2 |0.2 All Staff excluding industrials and casuals |5,548 |43.9 |1,195 |9.4 |117 |0.9 <1>Ethnic minority figures are based on 90.5 per cent. positive response rate to the ethnic origin survey. <2>The Department also employs a number of disabled staff who are not registered.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the current ability of Rover to design and produce a car, including engine and gearbox, with no outside help and the effect on this ability of its transfer to German ownership.
Mr. Sainsbury : Rover is now profitably designing and producing cars. The Government expect that this will continue, with a very high proportion of the value being added in the United Kingdom. The extent to which Rover draws on outside help to achieve this is a commercial matter for the company. But BMW has confirmed that Rover will retain and strengthen its own design and engineering facilities. The acquisition by BMW enhances rather than impairs Rover's technical capability.
Column 1002financial soundness of companies chosen to fulfil contracts, pursuant to aid and trade financial support (a) before the final award of the contract, (b) during the fulfilment of the contract and (c) on completion of the contract.
Mr. Heseltine : If the DTI has concerns about the financial standing of an applicant for aid and trade provision support a check is carried out on the company's financial capability to undertake the project. This check would normally be carried out by DTI accountants when the application is still being considered, although a check could in principle be undertaken at any stage in the life of a contract if concerns arose.
Most ATP projects involve export credit support. ECGD carries out separate checks into the financial standing of companies.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of total (a) Japanese and (b) United States inward investment in the European Community has come to the United Kingdom in each of the last five years.
Column 1004In addition, much investment is financed in the country in which it takes place. The tables below show the annual capital flow for each year and also the book value of the assets, the stock of investment, which gives a more reliable indication of the amount of actual investment. Stock increases will not always match annual flows for the reason given above.
The figures are those issued by the investing country.
|1988 |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Japan Capital flows ($ millions) |3,956 |5,239 |6,806 |3,588 |2,948 Percentage of EC |46.5 |37.4 |51.2 |40.1 |44.4 Book value of assets held in the United Kingdom ($ millions) |10,554 |15,793 |22,599 |26,186 |29,134 Percentage of EC |38 |37.7 |40.5 |40.9 |41.2 United States Capital flows ($ millions) |4,170 |10,427 |-606 |1,723 |n/a Percentage of EC |49 |60 |<1>- |12.2 |- Book value of assets held in the United Kingdom ($ millions) |49,459 |61,159 |68,224 |78,072 |<2>77,842 Percentage of EC |38 |40.9 |38.4 |39.5 |38.8 <1> Negative. <2> Provisional.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Government recognise the problems caused by high scrap prices and have been closely monitoring developments in consultation with the United Kingdom steel and foundry industries. Through this we became aware of concerns regarding the existence of subsidies available in Turkey for the import of scrap from the EC and elsewhere. The matter was discussed between the European Commission and EU member states and a mandate was agreed whereby the Commission would raise the issue in bilateral contacts with Turkey. As a result, an undertaking has been secured from the Turkish Government to eliminate state aids, in the form of transport subsidies, for the import of ferrous scrap from the European Union. These aids currently stand at $15 for every tonne of this material imported from the Community.
The Turkish authorities will phase out the subsidy in three stages, commencing with a cut of one third as from 1 April 1994. A further reduction of one third will follow on 1 June leading up to final abolition on 1 October this year. We look forward to seeing formal written confirmation of this undertaking and will continue to watch developments closely.
Column 1004The Government welcome these steps as significant progress towards eliminating those practices which interfere with the proper operation of market forces in determining the level of world scrap prices.
Mr. Eggar : I have today published a report outlining the future strategy for new and renewable energy in the United Kingdom, and placed a copy in the Libraries of both Houses. The report, energy paper 62, entitled "New and Renewable Energy ; Future Prospects in the UK", is in response to the findings of the renewable energy advisory group, which were published in December 1992.
Government policy is to stimulate the development of new and renewable energy sources wherever they have prospects of being economically attractive and environmentally acceptable in order to contribute to :
--diverse, secure and sustainable energy supplies ;
--reduction in the emission of pollutants ;
--encouragement of internationally competitive industries. In doing this, it will take account of what influences business competitiveness ; and it will work towards 1,500 MW declared net capacity of new electricity generating capacity from renewable sources for the United Kingdom by 2000.
Energy paper 62 sets out a market enablement strategy where, following assessment and technical development, the promising electricity generating technologies are included in an initial protected market via the non-fossil fuel obligation, NFFO, and the Scottish renewables obligation, SRO, to help them become competitive and establish an industry. Those which become viable can then compete equitably within the open market for electricity supply. That initial market under NFFO arrangements is crucial to the development of some of the key technologies, and NFFO is becoming the prime
Column 1005mechanism for support of those technologies. However, a purpose of NFFO is to stimulate a commercial market for renewable technologies, and it is anticipated that the resultant investment by industry could rise to £3 billion within the time frame being considered. An outline of the 10-year forward research, development, demonstration and dissemination programme is also presented. This work will assess and develop technologies, remove inappropriate market barriers, ensure the market is fully informed and encourage internationally competive industries to develop.
Funding for RDD and D, as provided by Government, industry and other sources is significant both in its size and in enabling technologies to enter the market. Resources will be concentrated on key technologies with good prospects of commercial application in the coming decades--such as solar, energy from coppice and waste, wind and fuel cells. Existing work on passive solar design will be completed over the next few years and DTI involvement then reduced as the technology matures. The Government's geothermal research and development and tidal programmes will be closed when current commitments end. The existing work on wave energy will be completed, but no further commitments undertaken, as this technology has limited potential to contribute commercially to energy supplies in the next few decades. The emphasis on technology transfer will be maintained, in line with the White Paper on Science, Engineering and Technology. The programme will also be closely integrated with complementary work supported by the European Community. The programme budget for new and renewable energy for financial year 1994-95 is £19.78 million. Also published today is "An Assessment of Renewable Energy for the UK". This report, ETSU- R-82, which has been prepared by the energy technology support unit, provides a technical basis for the future strategy and summarises information gathered by the Government's programme since its inception. Copies of this report have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. McLoughlin : I am pleased to announce that the successful support for products under research programme, which was due to close at the end of March 1994, has been extended for a further 12 months. A budget of £10 million is available for the financial year 1994-95. SPUR provides help to small and medium-sized companies for the development of new products or processes that can demonstrate a significant technological advance. The scheme provides a fixed grant of 30 per cent. of eligible costs where the need for Government support is established, up to a maximum of £150,000.
In my address to the House on 26 May last year covering my Department's re- focused innovation policy I proposed to limit SPUR to companies with up to 250 employees in order to concentrate on the smaller firms which have the greatest difficulty in raising research and development capital. This will come into effect in the new extension to SPUR.
Mr. Madden : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has received advice from the Director General of Fair Trading recommending the proposed takeover of the Yorkshire Rider bus company by Badgerline be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The proposed acquisition by Badgerline of Yorkshire Rider is being considered by the Director General of Fair Trading. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade may, in due course, need to take a decision on whether to refer the acquisition to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, taking account of advice from the Director General.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 30 March 1994] : No decision has yet been taken on the future of the Patent Office. In the event that a decision was taken to privatise primary legislation would be required for which my Department has a lead responsibility.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made by the administrative receivers to Ferranti International toward the choice of a preferred bidder ; when he expects the choice to be announced ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 28 March 1994] : The administrative receivers to Ferranti International announced yesterday that they had reached an agreement in principle with the General Electric Company plc for the acquisition of Ferranti's defence, simulation and training businesses. Separate negotiations covering the remaining businesses are continuing with other interested parties.
Mr. Steen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade 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. Eggar [holding answer 16 March 1994] : One : the Securities and Investments Board Ltd., a private-sector body, had regulatory functions transferred to it under the provisions of the Financial Services Act 1986 and in consequence is a self-financing regulatory body. Responsibility for this legislation passed to the Treasury in 1992. The SIB makes an annual report to the Treasury, which places a copy of it in the Library of the House.
Column 1007The Independent and The Independent on Sunday ; what representations were received during the consultation phase, and from whom, which led him to conclude that the newspapers were not economic as going concerns ; and if he will place in the Library copies of the documentation considered ;
(2) what inquiries his Department conducted into the financial position of Newspaper Publishing plc, owner of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday ; what representations were received during the consultation phase, and from whom, which led him to conclude that, if the papers were to continue, the case was one of urgency ; and if he will place in the Library copies of the documentation considered ;
(3) if he will list and place in the Library the documentation considered in relation to inquiries made and representations received by him and his Department which led him to conclude that the public interest did not require him to stipulate conditions, including in relation to editorial independence, on his consent to the MGN-led consortium's bid for a controlling interest in Newspaper Publishing plc.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answers 30 March 1994] : In assessing whether The Independent and The Independent on Sunday were not economic as going concerns, the case for urgency, and the public interest issues which were raised by the applications for my consent, I sought views from all interested parties. As part of that process my Department received representations from, held meetings with, or sought information from the following :
Newspaper Publishing plc ;
Lloyds Bank plc ;
The founders of Newspaper Publishing, Mr. Whittam Smith, Mr. Symonds, Mr. O'Neill ;
Espresso International Holding SA ;
Promotora de Informaciones SA ;
Mirror Group Newspaper plc ;
Independent Newspapers plc ;
The Department of National Heritage ;
The National Union of Journalists ;
The National Union of Journalists, Independent Newspapers Chapel ;
The International Federation of Journalists ;
Newspaper Publishing Employee Council ;
The Editorial Council of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday ;
United Newspapers ;
The Today Newspaper ;
Nine advertising companies ; and
54 individual, including Members of Parliament.
Representations and information were given to the Department in confidence and I shall not therefore be placing copies of the documentation considered in the Library of the House.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 15 March 1994] : No central record is held of public interest immunity certificates signed by the DTI. Since I became President of the Board of Trade, I have signed three PII certificates, two in 1992 and one in 1993.
(2) what is his estimate of the United Kingdom's share of the world-wide market for clean technology ; and what is the lowest OECD figure for the total value of this market.