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Mr. Waldegrave : Most Government news releases which are placed in the Press Gallery are transmitted electronically at the time of release to POLIS--the House information system--where they may be accessed by any Member.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the definition to be adopted by Her Majesty's Government of "vexatious" as used in paragraph 9 of the code of practice on access to Government information ; what criteria will be used to judge whether or not a request for information is vexatious ; and if he will give an explanation for the change in wording of paragraph 15(b) on statutory and other restrictions on information disclosure in regard to Parliament compared to paragraph xv of the draft code.
Mr. Waldegrave : "Vexatious" as used in the code of practice bears its natural and ordinary meaning. Whether or not a particular request is "vexatious" is a matter which needs to be established on a case-by-case basis. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration would be able to investigate complaints that Departments had applied this or any other exemption unreasonably. On the final part of his question, I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him on 12 April at column 26.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what papers or communications are retained at 10 Downing street in regard to the role of Allivane in providing shells and other military equipment to Iraq and Iran.
The Prime Minister : Copies of correspondence received by my office since November 1990, and to which I or my office have replied, have been retained, as is customary. No records exist prior to April 1989.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the name and Department of each special adviser employed in the service of himself, members of the Cabinet,
Column 368Ministers of State, and Parliamentary Under- Secretaries of State ; if he will give their educational and vocational qualification, salaries and duties ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hutton : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 12 April, Official Report, columns 30-31, if he will identify those political advisers who are not employed on civil service grades of pay, the Departments in which they work and the salaries that they receive.
The Prime Minister : There are currently 38 special advisers attached to Ministers. Details of their names and Departments are as follows :
Name |Department --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K. Adams |Environment A. Allen |Trade and Industry P. Barnes |Social Security C. Blunt |Defence T. Burke |Environment J. Caine |Northern Ireland Office D. Cameron |Home Office Dr. E. Cottrell |Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Dr. W. Eltis |Trade and Industry M. Fraser |Foreign and Commonwealth Office J. Gray |Environment C. Grantham |Education D. Green |Prime Minister's Office Mrs. S. Hogg |Prime Minister's Office Ms S. Hole |Chief Whip's Office A. Kemp |Trade and Industry Mrs. T. Keswick |Treasury Mrs. E. Laing |Transport D. Loehnis |National Heritage G. MacKay |Scottish Office M. MacLay |Foreign and Commonwealth Office R. Marsh |Health Ms S. McEwen |House of Lords M. McManus |Employment P. Moman |Privy Council Office Dr. J. Nicholson |Office of Public Service and Science L. O'Connor |Environment Sir I. Pearce |Transport Lord Poole |Prime Minister's Office Ms K. Ramsay |Prime Minister's Office P. Rock |Home Office D. Ruffley |Treasury D. Rutley |Office of Public Service and Science Lady Strathnaver |Trade and Industry N. True |Prime Minister's Office Miss A. Warburton |Prime Minister's Office H. Williams |Welsh Office A. Young |Scottish Office
The duties of special advisers are a matter for the appointing Minister. Details of their qualifications are not held centrally. Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 30 points, ranging from £19,121 to £59,957. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary spine reflects this. Of the 38 advisers currently employed, six are paid outside the normal salary spine--three political and three experts. One other, expert adviser, is paid on a civil service scale.
Mr. Hutton : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 12 April, Official Report, column 31, if he will specify the salaries paid to political advisers in each Department since 1988, expressed in 1993-94 prices.
The Prime Minister : The salaries of individual advisers are confidential. Information available on the number of advisers in each department in each year since 1988 and the number of advisers on each point of the pay spine in each year since 1988 is in the tables. The salary figures shown against each point in the spine are those current since August 1992.
Table 1 Department Number of Advisers |1 September |6 April 1989|30 July 1990|16 September|1 April 1992|20 October |1 April 1994 |1988 |1991 |1993 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 Cabinet Office (including Prime Ministers Office, Chief Whips Office, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster's Office) |9 |10 |10 |7 |9 |8 |9 Ministry of Defence |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 Department of Education |1 |1 |1 |2 |2 |1 |1 Department of Employment |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 Department of the Environment |2 |2 |3 |7 |6 |2 |4 Foreign and Commonwealth Office |2 |2 |2 |2 |2 |2 |2 Department of Health<1> |3 |3 |1 |3 |3 |1 |1 Home Office |1 |2 |2 |2 |2 |2 |2 House of Lords |- |- |- |- |- |1 |1 Department of National Heritage |- |- |- |- |- |1 |1 Northern Ireland Office |- |- |- |- |1 |1 |1 Scottish Office |1 |1 |2 |1 |2 |2 |2 Department of Social Security<1> |- |- |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 Department of Trade and Industry |2 |2 |1 |2 |2 |1 |4 Department of Transport |1 |1 |2 |1 |1 |1 |2 Her Majesty's Treasury |3 |3 |3 |3 |4 |2 |2 Department of Energy |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |- |- Privy Council Office |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |- |1 The Lord Privy's Seals Office |- |- |- |- |1 |- |- Welsh Office |- |- |- |- |- |- |1 <1> Formerly DHSS
Table 2 Number paid this amount Scale point |Current |1 September |6 April |30 July |16 |1 April |20 October |1 April |salary £ per|1988<1> |1989<2> |1990<3> |September |1992<4> |1993<4> |1994<3> |annum |1991<4> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 30 (pp) |59,957 |- |- |1 |- | |1 |1 29 (pp) |57,650 |- |- |- |1 |1 |- |- 28 |55,433 |1 |2 |1 |2 |1 |4 |5 27 |54,136 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |- |- 26 |52,845 |- |1 |- |- |- |1 |1 25 |51,193 |- |- |- |1 |1 |- |1 24 |49,541 |2 |1 |3 |1 |1 |1 |4 23 |47,284 |- |1 |3 |2 |4 |1 |1 22 |45,527 |1 |2 |1 |1 |- |1 |1 21 |43,778 |3 |2 |2 |2 |1 |1 |4 20 |41,947 |1 |1 |2 |2 |1 |- |- 19 |40,100 |1 |2 |1 |1 |2 |- |1 18 |38,254 |1 |4 |2 |1 |3 |1 |- 17 |36,415 |1 |1 |- |- |- |- |- 16 |34,222 |1 |1 |- |- |- |- |- 15 |32,827 |3 |2 |- |3 |2 |1 |1 14 |31,718 |2 |- |- |- |1 |1 |1 13 |30,613 |- |- |- |1 |- |1 |1 12 |29,453 |- |- |- |1 |1 |- |- 11 |28,394 |1 |- |2 |1 |- |1 |1 10 |27,523 |- |- |- |- |- |1 |1 9 |26,303 |- |- |- |1 |- |1 |1 8 |25,374 |- |1 |1 |- |1 |2 |2 7 |24,548 |- |- |2 |2 |2 |- |- 6 |23,734 |- |- |- |- |1 |1 |- 5 |22,902 |2 |1 |2 |3 |5 |2 |3 4 |21,683 |- |1 |- |1 |1 |- |- 3 |20,941 |- |- |1 |- |- |- |- 2 |20,308 |1 |1 |- |- |- |1 |1 1 |19,121 |1 |- |1 |1 |3 |- |- <1> Three special advisers were not paid on the normal salary spine points. <2> Two special advisers were not paid on the normal salary spine points and five others were either on secondment or unpaid. <3> Two special advisers were not paid on the normal salary spine point and five others were either on secondment, unpaid or on a part-time daily rate. <4> Two special advisers were not paid on the normal salary spine points and four others were either on secondment, unpaid or on a part-time daily rate.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Prime Minister what response he has made to representations from the Government of Belize following the decision of the Greek presidency to eject Belize from observer status at the recent EC meeting in Athens with the San Jose Ten ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : We have protested to the presidency and made clear to others our dissatisfaction at the mishandling of arrangements regarding Belizean attendance at the San Jose meeting. We shall continue to make clear, both to partners and in the region, that Belize as a stable, responsible democracy deserves inclusion in the San Jose process.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister how many parliamentary questions to his Department have not been answered because of disproportionate costs or because the information requested was not held centrally over the last five years ; how many could be answered now due to computerisation and/or more effective operational systems ; and if he will list each such question along with the name and constituency of the hon. Member who tabled it.
The Prime Minister : I have answered more than 2,000 questions, of which under 2 per cent. from a number of different hon. Members have not been answered because of disproportionate costs or because the information requested was not held centrally. As computer and operational systems continue to improve, doutbless there will be increased potential for this percentage to decline.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library all correspondence between the Cabinet Secretary and Lord Justice Scott further to his letter of 17 March 1993.
The Prime Minister : The Cabinet Secretary has not had further correspondence with Lord Justice Scott concerning the issues raised in the former's letter of 17 March 1993.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Prime Minister whether all papers promised by Ministers or departmental officials to the Scott inquiry, pursuant to oral evidence by Ministers or officials have now been delivered to Lord Justice Scott.
The Prime Minister : Following recent hearings certain material remains to be provided to Lord Justice Scott, but will be sent as soon as possible. Further hearings will take place in May and the provision of material to Lord Justice Scott will continue for some time.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant his oral statement of 29 March, Official Report, columns 797-99 if he will state the treaty or other basis on which the Court of Justice of the European Community would be able to rule that, assuming accession to the Community of all applicant states--any decision reached by at least 68 votes--the Commission would be required to take any necessary initiatives stating the date and place when the document giving the basis for such a ruling was agreed.
The Prime Minister : The obligation, in the Council decision on qualified majority voting, on the Commission and the presidency to take any initiative necessary to reach a solution adopted by at least 68 votes is justifiable in the European Court of Justice. The text of the Council decision has already been deposited in the Library of the House.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral statement of 29 March, Official Report, columns 797-98, concerning extension of a proposal blocking minority of 27 votes in an enlarged European Community Council of Ministers, if he will state, precisely, the nature of the qualifications now agreed, where they are available in written form, and published, and by whom they are authenticated.
The Prime Minister : The text of the Council decision on qualified majority voting has already been deposited in the Library of the House.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Donohoe) of 12 April, Official Report, column 17, if he will list the Labour-controlled local authorities he referred to where there is corruption.
The Prime Minister : District auditors' reports and the outcome of criminal proceedings have revealed instances of malpractice and corruption in a number of Labour councils.
Mr. Hutton : To ask the Prime Minister how many permanent secretaries, deputy secretaries and under secretaries left the civil service and subsequently took up appointments in the private sector since 1979 ; what was the average interval between leaving the service and taking up appointment in the private sector ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 12 April 1994] : Precise numbers could be obtained only at disproportionate
Column 373cost. However, examination of a substantial sample of applications for approval to take appointments by civil servants in grades 1, 1A, 2 and 3 since 1984 shows an average interval of 3.4 months between leaving the service and proposed date of taking up a first private sector appointment. Not all appointments are necessarily taken up. Applications to take up second and subsequent appointments after leaving are not included in the average.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the need for comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation for disabled people.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 April 1994] : On a number of occasions, I have not only made clear my support for the principle of seeking to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, but also my reservations on the detailed practicalities of the present approach to comprehensive legislation. None the less, I shall of course want to see and consider the results of the deliberations of the Standing Committee on the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill.
45. Mr. Jenkin : To ask the Lord President of the Council what plans he has to improve the scrutiny of the activities and legislation of the European Community.
Mr. Newton : The scrutiny arrangements generally work well and need no fundamental change. They are, however, under constant review, and will continue to be developed as necessary.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Lord President of the Council what plans he has to ensure that Prime Minister's Question Time is used only for scrutiny of the actions of the Government.
Mr. Newton : Subject to Madam Speaker's views as to what is or is not in order, it is up to the hon. Members who ask questions to determine what questions they ask.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will obtain (a) for his office and (b) for the Library, a copy of the plans for the new Reichstag ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Newton : I have no plans to do so.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will move to set up a Select Committee to consider the effect of sanctions policy against countries such as Iraq, Libya and North Korea.
Mr. Newton : I have no plans to do so. The hon. Member may wish to suggest the topic to the relevant Select Committee.
33. Mr. Rooney : To ask the right hon. Member for
Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission what was the cost in 1993-94 of space in the parliamentary estate other than for the offices of hon. Members, their staff and staff of the House and those used for meetings and debates.
Mr. Beith : All but some 1 per cent. of the total area of the parliamentary estate is used for facilities for Members and staff. On a very rough apportionment, the annual cost to this House of the remaining space would be some £220,000, together with any costs of rent and rates for the outbuildings.
39. Mr. Bayley : To ask the right hon. Member for
Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission what financial provision has been made for increasing the seating capacity of the Strangers' Gallery.
Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Chairman of the Finance and Services Committee, pursuant to his answer of 28 March, Official Report, column 505, when the last review took place of financial arrangements for commercial organisations with accommodation in the Palace of Westminster.
Mr. Channon : A review of the agreement with Thomas Cook was completed by the Administration Committee in March.
40. Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement on his duties as Lord President of the Council.
Mr. Newton : As Lord President, I am responsible for the work of the Privy Council Office, and for overseeing the functions of the Privy Council itself. In this connection, I present the Council business to Her Majesty.
I also act for the Queen as Visitor of a number of universities and colleges.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Lord President of the Council what public consultations he undertakes before appointments are made by the Privy Council.
Mr. Newton : As indicated in my written answer to the hon. Member on 3 March, Official Report, column 868, consultation in respect of Privy Council appointments is conducted with the organisations concerned and with relevant Government Departments.
Mr. Cann : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many square feet of office space his Department leases, rents or owns inside the boundary of the borough of Ipswich ; and what was the equivalent area in June 1979.
Mr. Burt : The full range of information is not available from 1979. However, from the information which is available, it is estimated that during the last 10 years the Department's occupancy covered a total of 32,722 sq. ft. spread over three sites : --Eastgate House, Carr street-- 8,608 sq. ft.
--Warnford House, Coleman street--21,538 sq. ft.
--Princess House, Princess street--2,586 sq. ft.
At present the Department occupies 42,892 sq. ft. in one building within the borough--St. Felix house, Silent street. The property is leasehold and the Department is the sole tenant.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what arrangements he has made for a review of the security of civil servants working in the Child Support Agency ; if he will sanction extra resources for managers to implement measures which will help to allay staff fears over their safety, with particular reference to stringent procedures for dealing with incoming mail and the provision of escorts for field visits ; and what he proposes in respect of the compulsory wearing of name badges and staff identifying themselves over the telephone or in correspondence as required by the citizens charter.
Mr. Burt : Measures to ensure the safety of Child Support Agency staff are the responsibility of Ros Hepplewhite, the chief executive, who has ensured that comprehensive and professional security is provided for all the staff. There are strict procedures for the safe handling of incoming mail including the use of X-ray machines. Procedures are also in place to minimise the risk to visiting officers which include accompanied visiting where there is concern for personal safety.
The agency has a policy of giving names and wearing name badges as a matter of course. This is in the interest of providing good customer service to clients. It is recognised, however, that some staff may feel concerned about giving their names and those fears are treated sympathetically.
These areas are very sensitive and the chief executive and I are keeping them under close review.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will detail all the contracts on which his calculation of £136 million savings in the civil service market-testing programme is based ; what was the value of each contract ; what was the saving in each case ; and what were the main items by which the savings were secured in each major case.
Mr. Hague : The £136 million detailed in the question is the value of savings achieved by the Government's market testing programme. As at 31 March 1994 this
Column 376Department had awarded 55 contracts with a total value of £62.5 million which have achieved efficiency savings averaging some 32 per cent. Details of individual contract values and savings are commercial in confidence information and cannot be provided.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Hill), 30 March, Official Report, column 787, if he will list the occupational activities for which occupational deafness can be prescribed as a disease, in relation to which disablement benefit is payable ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : Occupational deafness is prescribed for disablement benefit purposes in relation to the following occupational activities :
1. The use of powered, but not hand powered, grinding tools on cast metal other than weld metal or on billets or blooms in the metal producing industry, or work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of those tools whilst they are being so used ;
2. The use of pneumatic percussive tools on metal, or work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of those tools whilst they are being so used ;
3. The use of pneumatic percussive tools for drilling rock in quarries or underground or in mining coal, or work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of those tools whilst they are being so used ;
4. Work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of plant (excluding power press plant) engaged in the forging (including drop stamping) of metal by means of closed or open dies or drop hammers ; 5. Work in textile manufacturing where the work is undertaken wholly or mainly in rooms or sheds in which there are machines engaged in weaving man-made or natural (including mineral) fibres or in the high speed false twisting of fibres ;
6. The use of, or work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of, machines engaged in cutting, shaping or cleaning metal nails ; 7. The use of, or work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of, plasma spray guns engaged in the deposition of metal ; 8. The use of, or work wholly or mainly in the immediate vicinity of, any of the following machines engaged in the working of wood or material composed partly of wood, that is to say ; multi cutter moulding machines, planing machines, automatic or semi- automatic lathes, multiple cross-cut machines, automatic shaping machines, double-end tenoning machines, vertical spindle moulding machines (including high speed routing machines), edge banding machines, bandsawing machines with a blade width of not less than 75 millimetres and circular sawing machines in the operation of which the blade is moved towards the material being cut ;
9. The use of chain saws in forestry.
I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Erewash (Mrs. Knight) on 24 February at column 368, which sets out the further occupational activities to be added from October 1994.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters in regard to the control of nuclear proliferation he plans to raise at the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 to 19 April.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Nuclear non-proliferation does not feature on the agenda of this meeting.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the provisions in the accession document submitted by Sweden to the Council of the European Union on publication by civil servants of Government documents.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Sweden made a declaration in the Final Act attached to the treaty of accession welcoming the development now taking place in the European Union towards greater openness and transparency. The declaration noted that open government is a fundamental part of Sweden's constitutional, political and cultural heritage. The Union made a declaration in response noting the Swedish declaration and adding that the member states of the European Union take it for granted that as a member Sweden will fully comply with Community law in this respect. The United Kingdom fully supports this declaration by the Union.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the treatment of the representative of Belize at the recent conference between the European Union and central American countries.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We have protested to the presidency and made clear to others our dissatisfaction at the mishandling of arrangements regarding Belizean attendance at the San Jose meeting. We shall continue to make clear both to member states and to countries in the region, that Belize as a stable, responsible democracy deserves inclusion in the San Jose process.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding territorial claims by Guatemala over Belize.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Guatemala recognised Belize as a sovereign and independent state in 1991. We will continue to encourage both countries to work for a full settlement of their territorial dispute.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of the EC on the territorial integrity of Belize.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The European Community welcomed Guatemalan recognition of Belize in 1991 and its reaffirmation by the new Guatemalan Government in 1993. The European Community also urged Belize and Guatemala to continue to work for a full settlement of their territorial dispute.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings he or his officials at the United Nations have had with (a) the United States of America, (b) Russian and (c) Chinese ministers or officials in regard to the present situation in North Korea's nuclear programme.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : North Korea's nuclear programme is frequently a subject of discussion between us and the
Column 378Governments of those states most directly concerned. The United Nations Security Council last considered the matter of North Korea's compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement during the final week of March. Following discussions on this issue between all members of the Security Council, the President of the Security Council issued a statement on 31 March calling on North Korea to comply fully with its safeguards agreement.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what extra resources the OPS unit of UNDP in Somaliland has recently received to help it in its work of disarming and rehabilitating militia in Somaliland.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The national demobilisation committee project proposal, prepared with the assistance of the UNDP/OPS contracted team of Zimbabweans, is due to be presented to donors on 22 April 94. Decisions on funding are expected to be taken in the light of that presentation.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals Her Majesty's Government have put forward with a view to introducing monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in the forthcoming updating of the United Nations 1980 inhumane weapons convention.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : None. The United Kingdom is still considering the issues involved in the review conference.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what resources are currently being made available by his Department for tiger conservation schemes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are most concerned about the plight of the tiger and are working through CITES to encourage consumer countries to stamp out the illegal trade in tiger parts. For this reason, we contributed towards the cost of the CITES high level delegation to the region. We welcome the development of the global tiger forum last month in India and will continue to participate actively in international efforts to save the tiger.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the European Court of Justice to offer an opinion on the referral submitted by the European Commission concerning the decision of the Government of Greece to impose an embargo against the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ; and if he will make a statement.