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Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many individual export licences were awarded to cover the £6,000 million of defence exports in 1993, to which preference is made at paragraph 442 of the statement of the Defence Estimates 1944, Cm 2550.
In 1993 there were issued 10,635 individual export licences in respect of all goods prefixed "ML"--munitions list--in the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1992, as amended. Not all these licences relate to exports in 1993 as licences are valid for two years. The issue of a licence does not necessarily lead to an export being made.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answers to the hon. Members for Blaenau Gwent on 8 March, Official Report , column 204 and for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling), of 31 March, Official Report , column 1012 , if he will now make it his policy to organise the central record keeping of public interest immunity certificates.
Mr. Heseltine : I have now made arrangements for a separate record to be kept in the Solicitor's Office of all public interest immunity certificates signed by or on behalf of myself or any of the other Ministers in the Department.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what information he has concerning the number of pirate radio stations which currently broadcast on a regular basis in the United Kingdom ; and what assessment he has made of the impact of those illegal broadcasts on the future development of community radio.
Mr. McLoughlin : There is no regular pattern to pirate radio broadcasts, but the Department's Radiocommunications Agency made 611 raids on pirate stations in 1993. The agency will sustain its efforts against pirates so as to prevent radio interference and maintain fair competition for all legal broadcasters.
Mr. Sainsbury : The United Kingdom has a large and internationally important recorded music industry which makes a substantial contribution to the economy through both product sales and royalty earnings.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what help and assistance his Department is giving to the fortress study group in its "Defence of Britain" survey ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what information he has concerning those FM frequencies which are to be reserved by the Radio Authority to provide for the future development of community radio.
Mr. Brooke : It is for the Radio Authority to determine how to use the new FM frequencies, in the band 105-108 MHz, which become available from the end of 1995. I understand no decisions have yet been taken.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) what plans he has to encourage the development of community radio ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will make a statement about the extent to which the Radio Authority is seeking to encourage franchise bids from community radio broadcasters.
Mr. Brooke : The priorities and procedures for developing the independent radio sector, including community radio, are determined by the Radio Authority ; the Government do not seek to influence the authority's judgment.
Mr. Brooke : Following the publication of the Radio Authority's consultation document on the "Future Use of 105-108MHz", I have received a number of letters from both hon. Members and members of the public in support of community radio and other forms of radio services. I have explained that it is for the Radio Authority to determine how best to use the new frequencies for the development of independent radio.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he last met the Community Radio Association to discuss the future of community radio ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make a statement setting out his policies for the future management of the radio spectrum ; and if he will indicate specifically which elements of the spectrum will be utilised to facilitate the development of community radio.
The Government are allocating further FM spectrum, from 105 MHz to 108 MHz, to the Radio Authority from the end of 1995, or earlier if possible. It is for the Radio Authority to decide the use of this spectrum and it has issued a consultation document to seek views on this.
Column 415The Government are also preparing for the introduction of digital audio broadcasting. The National DAB Forum brings together interested parties, including the Community Radio Association.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) what information he has concerning the number of (a) hospital radio stations, (b) community radio groups, (c) student radio stations and (d) radio stations catering for the inmates of institutions for young offenders which currently broadcast in the United Kingdom ; and what projections he has made of the growth of broadcasters in each of those categories over the next 10 years ; (2) what information he has concerning the number of restricted service licences which have been awarded since 1990 by the Radio Authority for experimental broadcasts by community groups ; and how many of those licensees have subsequently been granted full franchises to broadcast as community radio stations.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) whether the proposal for the nationwide introduction of community radio contained in the 1987 Green Paper "Radio : Choices and Opportunities", Cm 92, remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) whether the indication in the Green Paper on "Radio : Choices and Opportunities", Cm 92, on the possible number of community radio stations remains the policy of his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Brooke : The Green Paper was a consultative document. In the subsequent White Paper, and during the passage of the Broadcasting Act 1990, the Government took the view that community radio did not need to be distinguished from other independent radio services. It is for the Radio Authority to determine its priorities and procedures for developing the independent radio sector in accordance with requirements of the Broadcasting Act.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many civil servants in his Department have applied through the business appointments system to take up an outside appointment (a) as an independent consultant, (b) in a firm of consultants and (c) in other employment ; how many have been referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments ; and how many were granted.
Mr. Sproat : The Department of National Heritage has been in existence only since April 1992. To date no civil servants in the Department have applied through the business appointments system to take up appointments outside the Department.
Mr. Faulds : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, pursuant to his answer of 18 April, Official Report , column 388 , what changes have been made in the timetable for the availability of figures for the actual attendance at national museums and galleries since April 1993 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sproat : I provided provisional attendance figures for 1993-94 in my reply of 14 February at column 578 . The actual attendance figures are now being collected on a financial year basis and we hope to make them available in July.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received about the recent functioning of the Narmada dam in India and the consequences for international funding and the local people.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have seen reports about the recent closure of the sluice gates, but we are not aware of any consequences for international funding. We understand that the Indian authorities are examining the resettlement aspects connected with this action.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 29 March, Official Report , column 615 , what have been (a) the number and (b) the value of management consultancies awarded under the aid programme.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 29 April 1994] : The number of contracts awarded to management consultants under the aid programme for 1992-93 was 38 and the total value £10,602,735. The consultants concerned have been engaged at the request of overseas Governments to provide a wide range of advice and expertise which cannot be funded from their own resources.
Mr. Hurd : The Government's response to the report on the Commonwealth Development Corporation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission was reported to the House on 25 March 1993, Official Report, columns 653-54. A quinquennial review of CDC has also been completed. Copies of the review report have been placed in the Library of the House. The Government have endorsed its conclusions and recommendations.
CDC makes an important and distinctive contribution to Britain's overseas development programme. Its primary role is to promote productive investment in the private sector and to support privatisation programmes. It will continue to concentrate its new investments on the poorest countries, where financial markets are undeveloped and private sector capital is still scarce. Its strong asset base and returns from previous investments now allow it to finance future growth in new investments at a lower cost to the British aid programme. In 1993, CDC's investments and commitments increased to over £1.6 billion ; £217 million of gross new investments were made, an increase of 24 per cent. on 1992. Over the next five years, a rising level of
Column 417internally generated resources, and a limited programme of other borrowing on concessional terms, starting with a £25 million loan approved by the European Investment bank on 22 March 1994 ; is expected to allow further increases in the annual level of investment.
As previously announced, the Government have decided to retain CDC in the public sector. As a consequence, no fundamental changes are proposed in CDC's capital structure at present. However, to allow for the planned expansion of activities the Government intend, subject to parliamentary time, to legislate to increase the ceiling on CDC's outstanding borrowing power. It is also proposed that new legislation should include powers to enable the Government to waive interest payable by CDC on aid programme loans. As an interim measure from 1 April 1994 the Government have reduced the interest rate on these loans to 0.75 per cent.
The Government have agreed new targets with CDC. At least 70 per cent. of board approvals for new investments each year will be in the poorest countries. CDC will focus on countries which are important to Britain, and at least 80 per cent. of board approvals for new investments each year should be for private sector projects. CDC will aim to invest the remainder only in support of privatisation strategy. This continues the significant shift in emphasis from public to private sector investment which CDC has been pursuing for some years. The Government also intend to consider with CDC how best to associate its work more closely with other aspects of the British aid programme.
By 1996, 25 per cent. of approvals should be in the form of equity or quasi -equity ; and CDC's catalytic role in attracting additional private foreign investment and local capital should be enhanced. The target rate of return on capital employed will be 8 per cent. nominal for the next two to three years and will be reviewed thereafter. CDC's administrative efficiency, which is praised by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, will continue to be further improved. For 1994, the ratio of gross operating costs to year end investments and commitments will be 1.15 per cent. A review of this target for later years is to be completed before the end of 1994.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the latest estimate of the annual total of maintenance payments resulting from assessments made by the Child Support Agency in the financial year 1993-94.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Donald Dewar, dated 29 April 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the latest estimate for the annual total of maintenance payments resulting from assessments made by the Child Support Agency in the financial year 1993-94. End year figures will be available in due course on the total amount of assessed maintenance. The Agency is unable to make an estimate in the light of recent policy changes.
I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.
Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will breakdown the building schemes included in the sums to be spent by the Child Support Agency in 1994-95 on minor new works on furniture and fittings as listed in the estimates, class XIII, vote 4, section F3(1) and (3) ;
(2) if he will break down the sum spent on minor new works furniture and fittings, and £602,000 on major new works by the Child Support Agency in 1993-94 as listed in the estimates, class XIII, vote 4, section F3 ;
(3) if he will list and give details of the expenditure by the Child Support Agency on (a) computer equipment, (b)
telecommunications and (c) office machinery in the years 1992-93 and 1993- 94.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. George Mudie, dated 29 April 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the costs of works and equipment in the Child Support Agency (CSA).
You have asked for a breakdown of the building schemes to be included in the estimates for the year 1994-95. These are shown in the attached annex. Additionally, in 1992-93, the CSA spent £368,000 on office machinery.
Details of the CSA's expenditure on furniture and fittings, office machinery, and major and minor works carried out in the year 1993-94 are in the course of preparation.
You have also asked for the expenditure on computer equipment and telecommunications. The CSA obtains computer services, including the provision of telecommunications equipment, via the Information Technology Services Agency (ITSA), another Agency of the DSS. As much of the information technology equipment, and many of the systems, are shared by the various Agencies of the Department, it is not possible to separately identify that which applies to the CSA. New charging arrangements throughout the Department will make this possible in future.
In respect of the 1992-93 financial year, the planned capital expenditure by ITSA to provide the required services for CSA was £17.61 million on computers and £3.18 million on telecommunications. The planned capital expenditure by the ITSA in respect of CSA for 1993-94 was £3.85 million on computers and £1.2 million on telecommunications.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Annex Project |Projected |cost (£) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Additional expenditure to create space in child support agency centres (CSACs) |831,000 Accommodation expenditure arising from increasing CSA activity |1,595,000 Maintenance of the estate |850,000 Maintenance of CSA HQ |106,000 Further adaptation of CSACs |171,000 Ongoing furniture requirements |181,000
Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total expenditure of the CSA in (a) 1992-93, when it was operating as a shadow agency and (b) 1993-94 ; and what is the estimated total expenditure in 1994-95.
Column 419Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. George Mudie, dated 29 April 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the expenditure of the Child Support Agency.
During the year of the shadow Agency in 1992-93, the total expenditure was £146 million.
For 1993-94, total expenditure has been estimated at £117 million. For 1994-95, total expenditure is estimated at £154 million. I hope this reply is helpful.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. George Mudie, dated 29 April 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the Business Plan of the Child Support Agency for 1994.
The Agency aims to publish the Business Plan by the end of June 1994. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House and distributed to all Members of Parliament.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. George Mudie, dated 29 April 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking when the Child Support Agency will be able to complete all straightforward assessments within 6 to 12 weeks.
The aim of clearing such cases in 6 to 12 weeks was first expressed before the Agency had experience to live operation. In practice, the assessment process has turned out to be more complex and clearance times longer than was originally expected.
At this stage it is still too early to predict what clearance times will be achieved in the longer term, although the Agency is working hard to ensure that all applications for maintenance are cleared as quickly as possible.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Column 420(2) if the Child Support Agency achieved its target for benefit savings for 1993-94 ; and if he will make a statement.
The final figure for 1993-94 is not yet available, but it is not expected that the Child Support Agency will have achieved its benefit savings target.
Mr. Burt : Child support legislation applies to all children aged under 16. It also applies to those aged 16, 17 or 18 who are receiving full -time education up to GCE A-level or equivalent standard or are registered for work or youth training, providing they are not entitled to claim income support and have never married.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out for each year since 1991 for (a) Cleveland and (b) Great Britain (i) how many women aged over 60 years (1) claimed and (2) received unemployment benefit, (ii) how many women received the equivalent to the standard retirement pension, (iii) what was their average weekly award and (iv) how many men between the ages of 60 and 65 years (A) claimed and (B) received unemployment benefit.
Mr. Hague : The only information available on unemployed claimants aged over 60 and in receipt of unemployment benefit is in relation to Great Britain and is included in issues of the "Half Yearly Analysis of Unemployed Claimants", copies of which are in the Library.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many civil servants in his Department applied in each year since July 1988 through the business appointments system to take up an outside appointment (a) as an independent consultant, (b) with a firm of consultants and (c) in other employment ; how many were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments ; and how many were granted.
Year |Applications|Independent |Firm of |Other |Referred |consultant |consultants |to Committee ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988 |10 |1 |2 |7 |9 1989 |7 |0 |2 |5 |3 1990 |3 |0 |2 |1 |1 1991 |2 |0 |1 |1 |1 1992 |0 |0 |0 |0 |0 1993 |0 |0 |0 |0 |0 1994 |1 |0 |0 |1 |0 Note: No applications failed but restrictions were placed on activities in two cases.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he or any of his ministerial colleagues have had from the War Widows' Assocation of Great Britain in regard to pensions paid to the widows of New Zealand service men ; what reply was given ; what action he will be taking ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hague : On 12 April, my noble Friend Lord Astor met a deputation from the War Widows Association of Great Britain. One of the subjects discussed was the level of war widows pension paid by the New Zealand Government to the widows of New Zealand service men. The association is seeking supplementation of the New Zealand pension to bring it up to the preferential level of pension awarded to United Kingdom war widows. The matter is under consideration.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out in pound sterling terms the pensions paid to war widows in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Australia, (c) Canada, (d) Japan, (e) France and (f) Germany.
Mr. Hague : Comparisons of war widows pensions are complicated as the total pension may depend on factors such as the age of the widow, the rank of the deceased ex-service man, his level of disablement or earnings potential and whether means-testing applies.
A summary of the information available is as follows--in the main, 1993 rates apply. Rates have been converted into sterling taking account of cost -of-living differences :