Mr. French : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the total net cost of providing legal aid to those people making pharmaceutical injury claims for the years 1991, 1992 and 1993.
f |Conservative |Labour |Liberal/Democrat|Independent/Not |known ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Birmingham |217 |139 |58 |96 Coventry |84 |72 |33 |45 Dudley |103 |53 |25 |31 Sandwell |149 |93 |29 |19 Solihull |64 |17 |9 |52 Walsall |68 |51 |30 |27 Wolverhampton |68 |23 |15 |45
Mr. George : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department 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. John M. Taylor : The table contains the best information available. The number of private security firms and guards employed over each of the past 10 years has been estimated on the basis of the information that we have.
Year |Estimated number of|Estimated number of|Total cost |firms |guards |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |1 |9 |135,900 1985-86 |3 |17 |248,700 1986-87 |4 |29 |376,500 1987-88 |5 |31 |592,625 1988-89 |7 |64 |687,275 7 |1989-90 |6 |72 1990-91 |9 |107 |1,226,940 1991-92 |10 |132 |3,063,651 1992-93 |10 |175 |3,069,785 1993-94 |10 |281 |4,430,286 |------- |------- |------- Totals |65 |917 |14,869,198
Sir John Cope : The departments and agencies for which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is responsible issue a large number of publications each year. Detailed information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the national debt of central Government in (a) December 1990 and (b) at the latest available date ; and what is the level projected for 31 March 1995 on current trends.
Mr. Portillo : A detailed breakdown of total debt of the public sector, including central Government, at end-financial year from end-March 1984 to end-March 1993, is given in table S1 of the March 1994 edition of "Financial Statistics". Central Government debt data at end-calendar year are not available.
Column 3Forecasts of total central Government debt are not made, but forecasts of net public sector debt and general Government gross debt appear in table 6.3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1994" published last November.
Mr. Rowe : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the payments of excise duties on alcohol to the Treasury for 1991, 1992 and 1993 ; and what effect the recent change in the date of collection has had on the revenue collected.
Sir John Cope : Receipts of excise duty on alcoholic drinks totalled £4,936 million in 1991 and £5,103 million in 1992. Receipts of £5,100 million in 1993 are estimated to have been some £200 million lower than otherwise due to the change to end product duty for beer.
Mr. Jenkin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he is considering in order to rectify the alleged deficiencies and inaccuracies in the Government's United Kingdom trade statistics, and described in "UBS Global Research Economic Briefing" dated 21 March ; and if he will make a statement, with particular reference to the amount of (a) last year's current account deficit, (b) the United Kingdom's 1993 invisibles surplus and (c) export and import volumes to the EC.
Sir John Cope : Details of investigations into the quality of the visible trade statistics, particularly on our trade with other European Community members, were given in the replies of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 8 February, Official Report, column 121-22 and to my hon. Friend the Member for Hazel Grove (Sir T. Arnold) on 21 March, Official Report, column 21. The Central Statistical Office has since announced that it aims to release preliminary findings on 12 May.
On invisibles, the CSO believes that the published estimates of net investment income are the best available. The Union Bank of Switzerland analysis raises a number of interesting issues, most of which have already been investigated. The CSO does not accept that there is an error of the size or in the direction suggested. The CSO is always looking for ways of improving its procedures and, as announced in its programme strategies released on 19 April, has a continuing programme to improve this and other parts of the balance of payments statistics. There have already been major improvements in recent years with a progress report published in "Economic Trends" in December 1992. Balancing items--errors and omissions--have been very much smaller in recent years.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 19 April, Official Report , columns 424-25 , (1) what has happened to the tiger products seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise ;
(2) if he will provide names and addresses of importers attempting to bring tiger products into the United Kingdom ;
Column 4(3) what prosecutions have been concluded or entered against those attempting to import tiger products into the United Kingdom.
Sir John Cope : The seized tiger derivatives listed in my previous answers were either destroyed or have been retained by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for display and training purposes. In the cases in question, there was no suggestion of deliberate evasion of the endangered species controls. The importers were not prosecuted and it would be inappropriate to provide their details.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the costs involved for repairing damage resulting from vandalism by prisoners at each prison in England and Wales in each of the past five years.
Letter from A. J. Butler to Mr. John McFall, dated 25 April 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the costs of repairing damage resulting from vandalism by prisoners at prisons in England and Wales in each of the past five years. Our records do not show what proportion of general expenditure on works and repairs (which amounted in each financial year from, and including, 1988-89, to £103.8 million, £107.4 million, £111.8 million, £122.5 million to £94.0 million) was incurred on repairs of damage caused by vandalism by prisoners.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill provides for a system of children's certificates for suitable bar premises in England and Wales. Action on other proposals for liquor licensing reform following the consultation paper on this subject which we published in March 1993 is under consideration.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the system introduced on 1 April for the formal training of project licence applicants under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
Mr. Charles Wardle : From 1 April 1994 applicants for personal licences will be required to have completed successfully an accredited training programme. In addition to this, from 1 April 1995, those project licence applicants seeking a project licence for the first time will require further pre-licensing training to be acquired from accredited training programmes. Home Office policy on
Column 5education and training is set out at appendix IV of the "Report of the Animal Procedures Committee for 1992" (Cm 2301).
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners at HM prison Holloway have been diagnosed as having tuberculosis ; and in how many cases it has been judged that infection took place while in custody.
Letter from A. J. Butler to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 25 April 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the number of tuberculosis cases that have been diagnosed in Holloway prison, and whether it is judged that the infection was contracted in custody.
The health care centre records show that four prisoners at Holloway have been diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis ; two were diagnosed in 1992 and two in 1993. None of these prisoners was considered to be at the infectious open pulmonary stage of the disease and the indications are that none could have contracted the disease while in custody.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which civil and emergency authorities will participate in the Diver Mist nuclear weapons accident exercise on 18 to 22 April in East Anglia.
The exercise took place at Barnham in Suffolk. The relevant police, fire, ambulance, health and local authorities participated, in addition to local representation from central Government Departments.
The Prime Minister : The Government's policies are aimed at widening choice and opportunity for all members of society. Significant progress has been made in achieving this aim through the reforms in education and health, through training and enterprise councils--which are providing greater opportunities to obtain vocational skills and qualifications, including the introduction later this year of prototypes for modern apprenticeships--and through other public service initiatives, such as the continued development of the citizens charter and the recent changes in the honours system.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the role of special advisers employed by Government ; what restrictions are imposed upon party political aspects of their duties ; and what plans he has to introduce new guidelines or regulations relating to their role.
The Prime Minister : There are two categories of special adviser : political advisers, who assist Ministers with that part of their work which is partly governmental and partly political, and expert advisers, who complement advice given to Ministers by their Departments with that drawn from their particular professional fields and expertise. In the course of their duties, advisers are subject to the same rules of conduct as other civil servants. Special advisers are bound generally by the rules on political activity applicable to civil servants, with specific exemptions. They may, with the approval of their Minister, attend party functions and maintain contact with party members, and take part in policy reviews conducted by their party. In addition, and also subject to approval by their Minister, special advisers are allowed to undertake all forms of local political activity, apart from local activities in support of national political activities. I have no plans to introduce new guidelines or regulations relating to their role.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what representations his office has had from the Royal British Legion in regard to the arrangements being made by the Government to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-day landings ; what reply has been sent ; what action he will be taking ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Jim Spicer : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to water quality and value to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from 3 to 7 May.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what efforts are being made by the British Government to encourage those countries of the former Soviet Union and the eastern bloc who have not done so to sign the Vienna convention on civil liabilities for nuclear damage or to
Column 7agree waivers of liability with British companies involved in upgrading their nuclear reactors ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : A number of eastern European countries have recently joined the Vienna convention and more are in the process of doing so. In recent visits to Bulgaria and Russia, a senior official of my Department has raised the matter. Until those countries have a sound legal framework for civil liability, we support the development of indemnity agreements. The European Commission is at present negotiating with the Governments of Russia and Ukraine to indemnify European contractors under the EU nuclear safety assistance programme.
The Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991
The European Economic Area Act 1993
The Property Misdescriptions Act 1991
The Timeshare Act 1992
Mr. McMaster : To ask the President of the Board of Trade 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. Heseltine : Over the period 1 April 1989 to 31 March 1994, there have been 119 parliamentary questions which my Department has not answered because of disproportionate costs or because the information was not held centrally. The remainder of the question could be answered only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 13 April, Official Report column 226, what representations he has received as to the effect of the timing of his announcement of the nuclear energy review on the forward planning of the nuclear industry.
Mr. Eggar : I have received a number of representations about the timing, format and scope of the nuclear review from hon. Members, the nuclear industry, members of the public and other interested parties.
Mr. Eggar : Following the success of the 14th round, announced two years ago, I am today announcing the 15th round of offshore licensing. I am also taking the opportunity to invite nominations for the 16th round. This represents a new approach to licensing with different rounds reflecting the different stages of exploration reached in the United Kingdom continental shelf.
The overall objective remains that of encouraging exploration in the UKCS so that new fields are discovered and development continues for at least another 25 years. In order to ensure that the UKCS remains a competitive oil province, I will be expecting applicants for licences to demonstrate their commitment to competitiveness, innovation and cost reduction.
The acreage announced today makes up the 15th round. This comprises all available unlicensed acreage in the southern basin and in the central North sea. The intention of the round is to encourage early exploration in the gas prone areas. In this way, new gas discoveries can be tied into existing infrastructure.
I want to see this acreage explored quickly, with commitments from companies to early drilling in the blocks awarded. I am therefore seeking applications by 26 July with a view to announcing awards this autumn. I am very keen to see new gas developments going ahead. This "fast track" round should enable companies to make early progress. It is my intention that licensing opportunities in the more established areas should be offered, like this, on a regular basis in future. I am also seeking nominations from oil and gas companies for blocks which they would like to see offered in the 16th round. This round will cover areas around the coast of Britain and to the north of Scotland. Nominations will be required by 26 July.
Many of the blocks in the 16th round will be in areas of environmental sensitivity or in areas where the interests of other users of the sea need to be taken into account. As in previous rounds, special conditions will need to be attached to a number of the blocks in those areas. Those conditions will be agreed with other Government Departments and with other bodies such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee following nominations. Where blocks are in sensitive areas, I plan to ask applicants to address the environmental concerns identified in relevant surveys.
A second announcement, in the autumn, will give details of the blocks offered in the 16th round. As well as blocks nominated by companies, the round will include established acreage in the northern North sea. Any special conditions attached to individual blocks will be available at the time of this, later, announcement. In order to give time for companies to undertake the necessary preparation, applications for the 16th round will be required in March 1995 with a view to announcing awards in the summer. I will also use the second announcement to indicate my plans for a round af acreage in frontier areas, the 17th round.
I will publish tomorrow in the London Gazette and the Edinburgh Gazette and on Friday in the Belfast Gazette , a formal announcement giving the detailed financial terms for the 15th round, including the format of applications, the information required and the basis on which awards will be made. I shall place in the Libraries of both Houses copies of this formal announcement.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 22 April 1994] : Subject to the approval of the House to the draft Coal Industry (Restructuring Grants) Order 1994 laid on 21 April, the Government will provide restructuring grant under the Coal Industry Act 1987 to meet 90 per cent. of the cost of eligible expenditure related to the redundancy of British Coal Corporation employees.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the impact on the haulage contracting businesses of the decision of insurance companies not to cover haulage vehicles and their contents if parked overnight within the M25 or in the major metropolitan areas.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a further statement on the implementation of objective 5b of the European Community's structural funds in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Council regulations allow the member states three months from the date of the decision on eligibility, 26 January, to draw up and present to the Commission plans describing the uses to which it is intended to put the funds' grants. For this purpose, the United Kingdom's objective 5b areas will comprise 11 plan areas. The plans are being prepared by Government Departments, with appropriate local consultation.
The Government have divided the indicative allocation, for the purposes of their plans, as follows :
Plan area |Million ecu |(1994 prices) ---------------------------------------------------------------- South West England |219 Shrops/Herefordshire/Worcestershire |40 Staffordshire/Derbyshire |12 Northern Uplands |108 Lincolnshire |53 East Anglia |60 Borders of Scotland |30 Dumfries and Galloway |47 Central Scotland/Tayside |25 Grampian |39 Rural Wales |184 |-- Total United Kingdom objective 5b |817
The regulations allow a further six months to negotiate, on the basis of the plans presented, a Community support framework for each plan area. The framework will then govern the allocation and use of the funds' grants.
Only after the Community support frameworks have been negotiated and adopted can detailed decisions be taken on projects to receive grant.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has to create a charter to cover the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration ; and if he will make a statement on the opportunities citizens have to seek redress from the ombudsman where they believe the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner has failed to investigate a complaint in a timely fashion.
Mr. Waldegrave : I have no plans to create a charter to cover the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, as I have no responsibility for his work. The Parliamentary Commissioner's remit is governed by the terms of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967. He is responsible to Parliament, via the Select Committee, and not to Ministers.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the total level of compensation paid out by Government Departments in redress of complaints made via the ombudsman in financial year 1993-94 ; and if he will list all payments made amounting to over £5,000.
Administration's annual report for 1993, which contains details at appendix A of compensation paid following individual investigations completed during the 1993 calendar year. Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what policy initiatives he has proposed or he intends to propose to improve the quality of UN peacekeeping initiatives.
Secretary-General's request for recommendations from member states on ways to improve peacekeeping in July 1993. A copy of this reply has been placed in the House Library. A number of these recommendations were taken up in the Secretary-General's March 1994 report on peacekeeping, a copy of which has also been placed in the House Library.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor) of 12 April, Official Report, column 14, if he will give a breakdown of the estimated total cost of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building at King Charles street ; and what considerations led him to give priority to expenditure of such a magnitude on the work.
Mr. Goodlad : Before 1988, partial refurbishment of the Foreign Office main building--Old Public Offices--was carried out by the Property Services Agency, funded from its overall provision for maintenance of the civil