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Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The British Approvals Board for Telecommunications, an
Column 608independent company limited by guarantee, is the approval authority, appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, for all types of telecommunications terminal equipment for connection to the public telecommunications network. BABT evaluates applications, accompanying documentation, manufacturing details and test results on the apparatus and, if it complies with the relevant standards designated by my Department of Oftel, issues a type approval. Changes to approved apparatus are subject to further testing only if that compliance is prejudiced. BABT accommodates all changes within its standard procedures so long as the supplier renews its approval. To avoid delay, BABT has made arrangements which, for the majority of changes, permit self-certification at the supplier's convenience. My Department, with Oftel, is currently reviewing the United Kingdom approvals regime in consultation with BABT, terminal manufacturers, network operators and users.
Mr. Michael : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his policy towards the provision of a network of independent advice and law centres throughout the country ; and what response he has made to Advice 2000 initiative launched by the Advice Services Alliance.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The provision of independent advice and law centres is a matter for the Lord Chancellor's Department.
Mr. Michael : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the level of funding from his Department for voluntary advice services for the financial year 1993-94 and each of the previous 10 years ; and how many schemes received funding in each year.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 April 1994] : Although the DTI does not directly fund voluntary advice services, it does fund the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, Citizens Advice Scotland and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, whose aims include the provision of advice and information by volunteers. Details for the financial years 1989-90 to 1992-93 are given in the table. The figures for 1993-94 are not yet available and the figures for earlier years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Financial |Number of |Level of Year |schemes |Funding |£ --------------------------------------------1989-90 |3 |10,222,771 1990-91 |3 |11,604,172 1991-92 |3 |12,472,500 1992-93 |3 |13,303,996
Mrs. Peacock : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the sources of funding for the Electricity Consumers Council ; who appoints its members ; and to whom it reports.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The Electricity Consumers Council was abolished by the Electricity Act 1989.
Mrs. Peacock : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the sources of funding for the Gas Consumers Council ; who appoints its members ; and to whom it reports.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The Department of Trade and Industry funds the Gas Consumers Council through its vote, although a substantial proportion of this funding is recouped from Ofgas through British Gas's authorisation fee. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is responsible for the appointment of the chairman and members of the council, which reports to the Director General and the President.
Mr. Dicks : To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many days the Scott inquiry has sat ; how many counsel, junior counsel and solicitors are involved in the inquiry ; by what method payment is assessed ; what fees have been paid to each lawyer and how they were calculated ; and if they were paid in respect of days on which the inquiry did not sit.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The inquiry has sat for a total of 93 days. The inquiry employs one counsel, who is paid on a daily basis, and who has been remunerated to date for 212 days' work at a daily rate of £800 plus VAT. The legal work undertaken is not confined to the oral sessions of the inquiry.
In addition, two civil servant members of the inquiry team are barristers and another one is a solicitor. All three are paid the usual civil service salary commensurate with their grade.
Mr. Dicks : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the cost to date of the Scott inquiry ; and if he will list the main subheads under which these moneys were spent with the amount for each subhead.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 19 April 1994] : The direct costs of the Scott inquiry to date, falling to my Department, have been £994, 689. This total is broken down as follows :
Pay (for DTI Civil Servants) £317,426
Bought-in services, including legal,
security and catering services £442,515
Legal costs incurred in advising
DTI witnesses £165,976
Other costs, including office
machinery, computers, stationery,
travel and subsistence £68,772
Mr. Dicks : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of what the total cost to public funds the Scott inquiry will be.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 19 April 1994 : I am not at this stage able to give a reasonable estimate of the future costs of the inquiry.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The number of answers given to parliamentary questions over the past five years recorded in the POLIS database as including a reference to part or all of the information being available only at disproportionate cost by this Department was 76, representing some 0.5 per cent. of the total number of questions answered in the period concerned.
Information relating to which of these questions could now be answered is unavailable and could be provided only at
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what information he has on the consequences of the Israeli blockade on the occupied territories ; and what representations he has made on this matter to the Israeli authorities in respect of its effect on the peace process ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effects of the Israeli decision to recruit foreign workers to replace Palestinians on the peace process ; and what representations he has made.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We, along with our European Union partners, have made known to the Israeli authorities our concern at the damaging economic and social effects of their closure of the occupied territories. The Israeli Cabinet announced on 17 April the granting of 20,000 permits for Palestinians to enter Israel, 16,000 for humanitarian purposes and 4,000 for agricultural workers, and the grant of 30 million shekels for work projects in the occupied territories.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals are employed in the European Commission at (a) deputy-director, (b) director and (c) director-general level in DGXVII (Energy).
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : There is no such post as deputy-director in the Commission. At director level and above in directorate-general XVII, there is one United Kingdom national--the deputy
Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times the United Kingdom has been taken to the European Court over the past 10 years ; and what were the legal and consequential costs involved.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 18 April 1994] : Since 1 January 1985, the United Kingdom has been the defendant in 16 infraction cases brought before the court by the Commission under article 169. Details of the legal and consequential costs are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Jim Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the working of the system for the issue of entry certificates for visitors to the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The system for the issue of entry clearances for visitors to the United Kingdom is constantly reviewed.
The latest list of posts overseas designated to issue entry clearances will be published shortly. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House. In 1993, a total of 957,000 visit applications were received : 863,000, or 90 per cent. were issued, 60,000, or 6.3 per cent. were refused and 34,000, or 3.7 per cent. were deferred/referred to the Home Office. Further statistics are available in the FCO departmental report 1994.
In December 1993, Lady Anson JP DL was appointed as the first independent monitor of visit visa refusals. Her annual reports will be laid before Parliament.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what are the implications for United Kingdom policy of the latest meeting between China and North Korea in Beijing, to discuss the question of North Korea's nuclear capacity.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are not aware of any recent official meeting in Peking between China and North Korea to discuss North Korea's nuclear programme.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take immediate steps with his EU counterparts, following the council meeting of 18 April and Committee of Permanent Representatives' advice, to ensure the fullest application of the Council of Ministers information code to provide citizens of the Union with fully open information on all Council legislative decision making, including items normally falling within the inter-governmental pillars.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We have strongly supported moves to increase openness in the Community. The code of conduct on access to information agreed in December 1993 rightly affirms the general principle that there should be the widest possible access by the public to documents held by the Council and Commission, with certain
Column 612necessary safeguards. This code complements the decisions on open council sessions and publication of votes.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU colleagues about rules governing the secrecy of Council of Ministers documents including minutes of Council meetings ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The General Affairs Council on 19 April had a brief discussion on an application from The Guardian newspaper for access to a number of Council documents, but was unable to reach a decision.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will review procedures for the reporting of deaths due to gas poisoning of United Kingdom holidaymakers abroad.
Mr. Lenox-Boyd : No. I am satisfied that our existing standard procedures for notifying next-of-kin of deaths of British nationals overseas are working properly.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to his Spanish counterparts about gas safety standards enforced in holiday apartments.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : No. This is a matter for the Spanish authorities.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 10 February, Official Report, column 484, by the Secretary of State for Defence, what further batches of information collated from interviews with refugees from Bosnia he has sent to the United Nations War Crimes Commission ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We submitted a fourth batch of evidence, collated by the MOD's defence debriefing team, to the United Nations Commission of Experts on 7 April. This batch consisted of 10 separate reports, some of which were on regions specifically requested by the Commission.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times the United Nations War Crimes Commission has asked for assistance of a military nature or type in its investigations.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are aware of one general request from the United Nations Commission of Experts for a military engineering unit to help investigate an alleged mass grave in Vukovar. The Netherlands subsequently provided such a unit.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he has given to assisting the United Nations War Crimes Commission in the apprehension of individuals wanted by that body for questioning ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Nations Commission of Experts was established by Security Council resolution 780 to collate, analyse and investigate evidence of war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia since 1991. It is not mandated to apprehend individuals.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the approximate number of Bosnian refugees who have been interviewed by the Defence debriefing team to date ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The MOD's defence debriefing team has interviewed approximately 5,000 individuals entering the United Kingdom from the former Yugoslavia since the conflict began. Approximately 80 per cent. of those interviewed were Bosnian, but not all were refugees.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action Her Majesty's Government are taking to encourage international action for the protection of both foreign and local non-combatants in the civil war in Rwanda.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are active in United Nations Security Council deliberations on Rwanda and have welcomed the involvement of neighbouring countries. The first priority is to try to bring about a ceasefire, creating conditions in which it will be possible to relaunch the process of national reconciliation and set up humanitarian relief.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether British Airways was compensated (a) directly or (b) indirectly by public funds in order to make available landing slots at Heathrow airport to Malaysian Airlines in 1989 ; and whether this agreement was linked to the aid and trade arrangement or arms sales arrangement with Malaysia agreed under the revised protocol of June 1988 between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
Mr. Norris : I have been asked to reply.
On the question of compensation for British Airways, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Williams) on 15 February, column 731, which made it clear that there was no compensation to British Airways either directly or indirectly from public funds. The revised air services arrangements agreed in 1989 were not linked to aid and trade provision or arms sales.
Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contribution he is making to the United Nations trust funds to assist Renamo's transformation into a political party.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question on 12 April, columns 23-24. The Government of Mozambique have since confirmed their agreement to our contribution of £500,000 to the United Nations trust fund for the implementation of the peace process in Mozambique and payment is being arranged.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will arrange for the Overseas Development Administration and the EU to publish a full statement on how they and non- governmental organisations are going to help rebuild the physical and social infrastructure of Bosnia.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Rebuilding the infrastructure of Bosnia must depend on first implementing a peace settlement. Following an agreement reached during my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's visit to Washington, a joint United Kingdom/United States team undertook an assessment of the work needed to restore Sarajevo's essential public services. A copy of its report has already been placed in both Libraries of the House.
The EU is considering how best to assist in the restoration of services in Mostar.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which British aid agencies are working in Rwanda ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : All British aid agencies have withdrawn from Rwanda. The following non-governmental organisations--ACORD, CARE, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and affiliated partners of Tear Fund--plan to resume operations as soon as conditions allow.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contribution the Overseas Development Administration is making to alleviate the current unrest in Rwanda.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In the last week we have committed some £820,000 in emergency aid, through British non-governmental organisations, for the victims of the conflict in Rwanda.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will be attending the meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Commission in New York in May.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will attend the meeting. The Department of the Environment has lead responsibilities for the United Nations Sustainable Development Commission. No decision has yet been taken on possible attendance by an FCO Minister.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what offers have been made to construct an airstrip on St. Helena free of capital cost to Her Majesty's Government ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 19 April 1994] : A United Kingdom company, St. Helena Airways Ltd., has indicated that it would be prepared to privately fund the construction of an airstrip on St. Helena, but in return it
Column 615would require financial commitments and guarantees from ODA and the St. Helena Government. I understand the St. Helena Government will be taking steps later this year to ascertain whether an air service for the island has public support and will consider the situation in the light of the outcome.
Mr. George : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many private security firms have been employed by his Department for each of the last 10 years ; what has been the annual value of the contracts ; and if he will estimate how many guards have been employed for each of those years.
Mr. Sproat : My Department was established in April 1992. In 1992-93 DNH and its agencies employed one security firm on a contract with an annual value of £171,092. Approximately 12 guards were employed.
In 1993-94, four security firms were employed on contracts with an annual value of £520,081. Approximately 30 guards were employed.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what considerations underlay the selection of Lowe Bell Communications as consultants to the D-day anniversary celebrations in preference to other firms tendering for the contract.
Mr. Sproat : Lowe Bell was selected to advise the Department of National Heritage and to help implement a high-profile programme of popular events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-day landings. Of the firms which bid for this contract, Lowe Bell was considered to be best able to fulfil these requirements.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of women in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Germany, (c) France and (d) the United States of America work (i) full time and (ii) part time.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 19 April 1994] : Comparable information is not available for the United States of America. The available information is shown in the following table :
Proportion of women in full-time and part-time work in selected countries of the European Community: 1991<1> |Percentage of women|Percentage of women |aged 16 and over in|aged 16 and over in |full-time work |part-time work --------------------------------------------------------------------------------United Kingdom |27.3 |21.2 Germany |28.5 |14.8 France |32.3 |9.9 <1>Latest comparable information. Source: Eurostat, Labour Force Survey Results 1991.
Mr. Hutton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what research he has recently commissioned into the employment consequences of job protection legislation.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 20 April 1994] : Research on, or having a bearing on, this issue commissioned by the Department over the past three years includes :
"Maternity Rights in Britain" by S. McRae ;
"Redundancy Payments Survey" by D. Spilsbury, A. McIntosh and J. Banerji ;
"The 1992 Survey of Industrial Tribunal Applications" by N. Tremlett and N. Banerji ;
"The Abolition of the Dock Labour Scheme" by N. Evans, D. MacKay, Mr. Garratt and P. Sutcliffe ;
"A Review of the Economics Evidence Relating to Employment Protection Legislation" by S. M. Burgess.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the training budget for 1994-95 of each training and enterprise council ; and what it was for each year since their inception, at 1994-95 prices.