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Mr. Garnier : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what developments have been made, since his announcement on 14 December 1992, in exploring how the small firms loan guarantee scheme can be improved through linking loans with appropriate help, advice and training in business skills.
Mr. McLoughlin : I am pleased to announce, subject to contract negotiations, the funding of 10 pilot projects which will offer advice and counselling to borrowers under the loan guarantee scheme. The pilot projects will start as soon as possible and will run for three years. The pilots will operate in the areas covered by the following :
Birmingham Business Link
Doncaster Business Link
Metro TEC (Wigan)
South Thames TEC
Mr. Neil Hamilton : I am opposed to a number of provisions in the fifth company law directive including the requirements for employee participation in public companies with 1,000 or more employees and for executive directors to be in a minority on company boards. I am also opposed to the inclusion in the directive of articles on the adoption and auditing of accounts.
United Kingdom trade with Israel-1989 to 1993 (£ millions) |1989|1990|1991|1992|1993 -------------------------------------- Imports |480 |506 |456 |485 |550 Exports |502 |568 |531 |586 |876 Source: United Kingdom Overseas Trade (Business Monitor MA20).
|£ million ------------------------------ 1991-92 |156.98 1992-93 |153.90 1993-94 |162.19
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 29 March, Official Report, column 634, if he will list the consultation documents and indicate where the information about them is held.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the contracts currently being worked on for his Department by Coopers and Lybrand, Ernst and Young, Price Waterhouse, BDO Binder Hamlyn, KPMG Peat Marwick, Grant Thornton, Robson Rhodes, Levy Gee, Hacker Young, Pannell Kerr Forster and Stoy Hayward.
Coopers and Lybrand
Evaluation of the advice and guidance credits initiative, commissioned jointly by the Welsh Office and the Department of Employment.
Financial accountancy support on the monitoring of NHS trusts in Wales.
KPMG Peat Marwick
Financial appraisal of local authority waste disposal transfer scheme. Advice on the Milk Marketing Board's scheme of
Pannell Kerr Forster
GP fundholding--manual of accounts helpline.
Financial accountancy support on the monitoring of NHS trusts in Wales.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the position of the ambulance service in Wales in relation to the citizens charter ; what is the response time expected for an emergency call ; what arrangements have been made for monitoring the speed of response to emergency calls ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The patients charter requires that an emergency ambulance should arrive within 14 minutes in an urban area, 18 minutes within a rural area or 21 minutes within a sparsely populated area. In Wales these response times are expected to be met in 95 per cent. of calls. Performance is monitored quarterly and the target is being met for Wales.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has on the amount spent on repair and maintenance of school buildings by local education authorities in Wales for each financial year since 1989-90 ; and if he will make a statement.
Gross current expenditure on repair and maintenance of school buildings, fixed plant and grounds<1> |£000 ---------------------- 1989-90 |33,807 1990-91 |36,984 1991-92 |40,867 Source: Local authority returns. <1> Excludes capital expenditure on new buildings, land or plant. Includes salaries of building maintenance workers and groundsmen, cost of materials, recharges by external agencies, charges from direct service organisations, architects, engineers and surveyors and expenditure on energy conservation and on health and safety. Excludes salaries of caretakers, cleaners etc.
Sir Wyn Roberts : North East Wales TEC is working with CTF and the Employment Service to arrange counselling and assessment interviews and to identify suitable alternative opportunities. All participants affected will be given the opportunity to continue their programmes.
Sir Wyn Roberts : The North East Wales training and enterprise council and CTF did not reach agreement on renewal of a contract for 1994- 95. The TEC is working with CTF and the local employment service to ensure suitable alternative training provision for the participants on Government training programmes who are affected.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes in the United Kingdom overseas aid programme he expects will result from the negotiation of a global convention to combat desertification.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : This will depend on the provisions of the final text although we do not expect the United Kingdom aid programme, which already gives attention to the issues involved, to require major changes. The negotiations are giving high priority to the problems facing many African countries ; this region already benefits from a substantial share of our aid.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans Her Majesty's Government have to provide (a) emergency aid and (b) development finance during 1994 for the Palestinians ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are ready to respond to emergencies as they occur. For example, following the Hebron mosque massacre on Friday 25 February, we made an immediate contribution of £34,000 towards the expenses of a surgical team of 10 Jordanian specialists, specialist supplies in support of the team and subsequent nursing, followed by a further £51,000 for hospital equipment. We have also given £500,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross, in response to an appeal for its work in Israel and the occupied territories. Development finance in support of the peace process will continue to be provided during 1994 through multilateral programmes, including those of the EC and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and our bilateral technical assistance programme.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the United Kingdom has given to Turkey and Iran in respect of the exodus of 2 million Iraqi Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldaeans, Yezidis and Turcomans after the uprising in March 1991.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Neither the Turkish nor the Iranian Governments sought assistance from the United Kingdom Government. However, since the 1991 crisis we have contributed over £2 million to helping Iraqi refugees in Iran. Details were given to the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor) on 25 January at columns 133-34 .
Column 258We have given substantial assistance to all the groups mentioned through the UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all payments made by the Overseas Development Administration in relation to the Pergau dam project, with the dates they were made and the amount of the payment made in each case.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Overseas Development Administration has made over 200 payments in respect of this project since signature of the financial intergovernmental arrangement in July 1991. These fall into two categories : (a) interest rate support payments made to the Export Credits Guarantee Department to reduce the interest rate charged by the lending banks and (b) payments to consultants for technical, financial and environmental monitoring of the project. The cost of (a) has been : 1991- 92, £1.882 million ; 1992-93, £7.835 million ; 1993-94, £14.650 million. The cost of (b) has been 1991-92, £0.039 million ; 1992-93, £0.210 million ; 1993-94, £0.170 million.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) on what date the contract was signed between Her Majesty's Government and the Malaysian Electricity Company for funding of the Pergau project ;
(2) on what date the formal agreement to finance the Pergau project was signed by Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Malaysia.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Government are not party to the contract between the contractor and Tenaga Nasional Berhad for this project. Her Majesty's Government signed a financial arrangement with the Malaysian Government in respect of the project on 8 July 1991.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all British institutions and companies receiving funds from the British aid programme in each of the last five years, listing the amount of funds received by each of the institutions and companies for each of those years.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the ATP projects of over £5,000, 000 in value in the past 10 years where the escalation factor has been over 10 per cent. after the firm contract proposal has been made by the Government ; and if he will name the contractors involved.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the extent to which British and other non-governmental organisations are seeking to work in Burma and on what projects.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Overseas Development Administration does not hold detailed information on the plans of individual non-governmental organisations seeking to work in Burma. However, our contacts with the NGO umbrella group, BOND--British Overseas NGOs for
Development--indicate that there are around 13 British NGOs with differing degrees of interest in working in Burma across a variety of sectors. We are currently supporting one British NGO which is involved in English language teaching and teacher training activities.
We have no information on NGOs from other countries seeking to work in Burma.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The details of expenditure are for the UN to decide, on the understanding that our contribution of $1 million is restricted to the fund's humanitarian purposes. We understand that $251,000 is committed to a public information campaign to encourage national reconciliation and to facilitate disarmament, and a further $16,000 will help ex-combatants to resume their studies at the university of Liberia. The balance will be used for humanitarian needs connected to the demobilisation programme.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission how many cases of dismissal of Refreshment Department staff have resulted in industrial tribunals in each of the past five years ; how many have resulted in decisions against management ; what was the total cost to Parliament of (a) being represented at tribunals and (b) awards against the Department over the same period ; and what was the total cost of out-of-court settlements, pre-tribunal agreements and compensation awards over the same period.
Mr. Beith : In the past five years there has been one case of dismissal from the Refreshment Department which resulted in the member of staff concerned appealing to an industrial tribunal claiming unfair dismissal. The member of staff was dismissed on disciplinary grounds on 22 June 1989. The case was heard on 4 December 1989. The industrial tribunal found in favour of the complainant but in doing so acknowledged his contribution to the dismissal, which was placed at 60 per cent.
The complainant sought reinstatement but the tribunal found neither reinstatement nor re-engagement appropriate. An award of £1,500 was made, paid from House
Column 260funds. The House of Commons Commission was represented by the Treasury Solicitor who, at that time, did not charge for its services. No costs were therefore incurred by the House for legal representation.
Other than the above there have been no out-of-court settlements, pre- tribunal agreements or compensation awards in the past five years.
Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission, if he will list (a) the location, damage category, extent and scale of damage, and whether such damage is new or recurrent, for each site of special scientific interest contained in reports to the National Audit Office since 1982 and (b) the cases and locations where such damage has been caused by new road schemes or road repairs or reinstatement works.
Sir Peter Hordern : I understand that the National Audit Office does not receive routine reports on sites of special scientific interest and does not maintain lists of damage or encroachment to such sites. This is a matter for English Nature.
The Comptroller and Auditor General is, however, undertaking an examination into "English Nature : Protecting and Managing Sites Of Special Scientific Interest" and expects to report his findings to Parliament later this month. This report will be available to hon. Members in the usual way.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many hon. Members have taken advantage of the visit to a European Community institution that they are entitled to under the resolution of 6 December 1991, for the financial year 1992-93 and 1993-94.
I will write to the hon. Member when final details for 1993-94 become available. So far 69 Members have submitted claims for journeys undertaken during the year.
(2) who were the 10 members who asked the most parliamentary questions in the year to 28 February 1994 ; how many questions were asked by each ; and at what estimated cost to the departments concerned.
Department |Number of |answers ----------------------------------------------------------- Agriculture, Fisheries and Food |1,643 Attorney General |261 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster |457 Defence |3,003 Education |1,595 Employment |1,686 Environment |3,427 Foreign and Commonwealth Office |2,749 Health |4,405 Home Office |3,233 Lord Chancellor |552 Lord President of the Council |128 National Heritage |751 Northern Ireland Office |1,397 Prime Minister |844 Scottish Office |2,746 Social Security |2,138 Trade and Industry |2,995 Transport |2,589 Treasury |1,937 Welsh Office |2,343 Accommodation and Works Committee |51 Administration Committee |66 Catering Committee |22 Church Commissioners |42 Committee of Selection |1 Finance and Services Committee |10 House of Commons Commission |37 Information Committee |11 Public Accounts Commission |7
The 10 Members who received the highest number of these answers, together with the number of answers and the estimated cost, were as follows :
The hon. Member for: |Answer |Cost £ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Blaenau Gwent (Mr. L. Smith) |1,323 |128,000 Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) |983 |95,000 Bristol, South (Ms Primarolo) |736 |71,000 Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) |517 |50,000 Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle) |488 |47,000 Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) |474 |46,000 Newcastle Upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins) |419 |41,000 Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley) |414 |40,000 Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan) |411 |40,000 Leyton (Mr. Cohen) |403 |39,000
The cost is calculated from the most recent estimate of the average cost of giving a written answer to a parliamentary question, namely £97, rounded to the nearest £1,000.
Mr. Walden : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what checks are made between his Department and the Department of the Environment to establish how much a local education authority's gross expenditure is validly recorded as spent on its schools.
Mr. Robin Squire : It is the responsibility of the district auditor, appointed by the local education authority, to check that the authority validly records its expenditure on schools and on other areas.
The Department for Education and, I understand, the Department of the Environment, carry out validity checks on authorities' revenue outturn returns. Any figure on the return which varies significantly from the previous year's return is queried with the authority concerned.
(2) how the figures for commercial borrowing for student loans in the year 1992-93 were calculated for students under the age of 26 years ;
(3) what information he has on whether borrowing by mature students is higher than by younger students ; and what assessment he has made of the reasons for the difference in levels of borrowing between those groups.
Mr. Boswell : Copies of the "Student Income and Expenditure Survey" for the 1992-93 academic year were placed in the Library when it was published on 16 December 1993. The survey took account of income from grants, student loans, money and gifts from parents, earnings, social security benefits, commercial loans, withdrawals from savings, and of income from other sources such as investments. Account was taken of expenditure on housing costs, food, travel and other course-related expenses, leisure and entertainment, clothes and goods and services. Sampled students were asked what interest-bearing loans they had taken out during the 1992-93 academic year, either from a bank or other financial institution or privately, and how much had been repaid. They were also asked about any overdraft held at the start of the year or expected to be taken out during the year, and how much they expected to be overdrawn at the end of the year.
The figures published in the survey for overdrafts for younger students show the amounts at the start and at the end of the year, but it is the change in the overdraft balance which is used as a component of student income. The survey showed significant differences in the patterns and levels of borrowing between different groups of mature students as well as between these groups and younger students. Students were not asked their reasons for borrowing money.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education to what extent he has taken into account the net change in the overdraft balance bill when he assesses student debts, particularly in the final year ; and what assessment he has made of what the final figure would be if the net change in the overdraft balance figures were taken into account.