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Mr. Michael Forsyth : The responsibility for the delays in payment under the European social fund rests with the European Commission. The Commission will not release money from the fund until it has approved the United Kingdom's plan for 1994 to 1999. The plan was submitted in November 1993, and despite pressure from this Department, the Commission has only just begun negotiations with us. The Government are pressing the Commission to approve the plan as soon as possible.

The Department has parliamentary authority to make payments as an agent of the Commission only once the funds have arrived. We sympathise with the position in which the voluntary organisations find themselves as a result of the Commission's delays. We are considering urgently whether we can do anything to alleviate the problems they are facing.

Diploma Directive

Dame Jill Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he intends to issue a consultation document on the implementation of the Council directive for a second general system to supplement the second diploma directive 89/48/EEC.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Work on implementation has begun including consultation with other Government Departments. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will consult on proposed legislation in due course.

Upper Limb Disorders

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the present number of civil servants taking legal action against his Department as a result of work-related upper limb disorders.


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Mr. Michael Forsyth : Six.

Personnel Data Processing

Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for Empolyment what was the total expenditure on staff and training costs relating to the aborted personnel data processing system.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The total expenditure on staff and training costs in respect of the Department's personnel data system was £2.70 million.

Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to the answer of 13 May, Official Report, columns 264-65, on the moneys paid to McDonnell Douglas in respect of personnel data processing, if he will break down expenditure on other items.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Further to the written reply of 13 May, on amounts paid to McDonnell Douglas on the personnel data processing system, the expenditure on other items is broken down as follows :


                            |£              

--------------------------------------------

Project Management          |159,375        

Contractors                 |88,757         

Training                    |33,812         

Maintenance of IT Equipment |69,770         

Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the organisations and people, other than McDonnell Douglas, to whom payments were made in respect of the aborted personnel data processing system, together with the nature of the work done.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The following table lists the organisations and people, other than McDonnell Douglas, to whom payments were made in respect of the personnel data processing system. The table also describes the nature of the work done.


Organisation                         |Nature of work                                                           

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ASK/INGRES                           |Technical Audit                                                          

Computer People North                |Conversion Programming                                                   

Crow Associates                      |Management and Organisational review                                     

DBI Associates                       |Project Risk Analysis and Evaluation                                     

                                     |Project Management                                                       

Duhig Berry                          |Advice on use of PRINCE                                                  

Ernst & Young                        |Business Analysis                                                        

Young Workers Directive

Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when the young workers directive is next to be considered by the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : I expect the young workers directive to be considered at the next meeting of the Labour and Social Affairs Council on 22 June.

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he is to issue strategic guidance to TECs this year ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. David Hunt : The Government will issue strategic guidance to all training and enterprise councils in England tomorrow. I am pleased that this year's guidance "TECs : Towards 2000" is being issued jointly with my right hon. Friends the President of the Board of Trade and the Secretaries of State for the Environment, Education, Transport and the Home Department.

"TECs : Towards 2000" presents the Government's strategic agenda for TECs, and emphasises their key role in driving national competitiveness at local level. TECs are asked to address in their corporate plans the major challenges and opportunities for local economic development and regeneration in their areas.

Copies of "TECs : Towards 2000" are available in the Library.

Employee Involvement

Dr. Spink : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the Government's policy on employee involvement in the United Kingdom.

Mr. David Hunt : We believe that, to be successful, employee involvement must be voluntary and flexible, unlike that which would be imposed by the European Commission's draft directive on European works councils. I have today published "The Competitive Edge", a new booklet which gives examples of some of the many forms of effective employee involvement practice in the United Kingdom. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Employment Benefits

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the main employment benefits in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the Pacific rim countries ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 17 May 1994] : In the United Kingdom the main, statutory, employment benefits include redundancy payments, maternity leave and sick pay, as well as protection against unfair dismissal and harassment, or discrimination at work. The following table, based on information available to the Employment Department, shows that, mostly, these benefits exist in the Pacific rim countries of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. However, coverage of the work force and the value of these benefits varies considerable from country to country.

Employment benefits in the United Kingdom

May 1994-- Redundancy Payments

Statutory minimum payments depend on age and length of service and are subject to a maximum (full details appear in the July 1993 Employment Gazette page 317). Employees are covered if : they have worked for two years for a minimum of 16 hours a week ; or have worked for five years between 8 and 16 hours a week.

Maternity Leave

90 per cent. of earnings for six weeks plus £47.95 a week for 12 weeks. Eligibility is on the same basis as for redundancy payments. However, the rules for maternity pay are being revised. For more detail on the current rules, and the future requirements, see "Changes in Maternity Pay, Proposals for Implementing the EC Pregnant Workers Directive" published by the Department of Social Security (DSS) August 1993.

Sick Pay

The Statutory minimum is related to the employees earnings and


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is payable for a maximum 28 weeks. All employees are covered except for a few groups such as those on contracts of 3 months or less. More detail is available from the DSS Guide NI270 "Employer's Manual on Statutory Sick Pay".

Protection Against Harassment Discrimination

Race and sex discrimination at work is generally prohibited. The clauses are set out in : the Equal Pay Act 1970 ; the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976. These rights apply to all employees irrespective of length of service or hours of work. Other rights such as protection against unfair dismissal are subject to the same qualifying period as redundancy payments above.

Employment benefits in Pacific rim countries

Singapore

Redundancy Payments

Can be claimed provided employee has been employed for at least 3 years. No amounts stipulated by law.

Maternity Leave

8 weeks paid maternity leave if the employee has been employed for 6 months or more.

Sick Pay

14 days paid sick leave per year, in addition to any time spent in hospital up to a limit of 60 days. Employee must have worked for at least 12 months to qualify.

Protection Against Harassment/Discrimination

Anyone who thinks they have been unfairly dismissed may appeal to the Minister for Labour. If the Minister finds against the company they must either reinstate or compensate the worker.

Taiwan

Redundancy Payments, Maternity Leave, Sick Pay

There is legal entitlement to these benefits but only in certain industries. Maternity leave cannot exceed 8 weeks, the value of the other benefits depends on a number of factors including length of service, age and sex. The industries covered are : Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing ; Mining and Quarrying ; Manufacturing ; Construction ; Water, Electricity and Gas Supply ; Transportation, Warehousing and Communications ; Mass Media ; other industries designated by relevant central level authority.

Protection Against Harassment/Discrimination

There is some protection against unfair dismissal.

Hong Kong

Redundancy Payments

An employee who has worked for an employer for more than 2 year's is entitled to two-thirds of normal monthly salary for every years service.

Maternity Leave

Maximum 10 weeks leave at two-thirds normal pay, as long as the employee has been in continuous employment for at least 18 hours a week for four consecutive weeks.

Sick Pay

Two-thirds normal pay for continuous sickness days of at least four. Same qualifying criteria as Maternity Leave/Pay.

Protection Against Harassment/Discrimination


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Employers may not dismiss pregnant employees who have been in continuous employment for at least 12 weeks, or employees who are on sick leave due to occupational injury or disease. Employees who are absent because they have to give evidence in criminal proceedings are similarly protected. In all these cases if the employee is dismissed compensation must be paid.

South Korea

Redundancy Payments

Employers must pay 30 days wages for each year worked. This applies only to companies with 5 or more employees, for those firms with fewer employees the Ministry of Labour sets down guidelines depending on the company's status.

Maternity Leave

A maximum of 60 days paid leave.

Sick Pay

There is no statutory sick pay, although employers must pay for 50 per cent. of medical fees--the government pays the rest.

Protection Against Harassment/Discrimination

Discrimination based on sex, nationality, religion or social position is prohibited by the Labour Standards Act.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Consultants

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Attorney-General what was the expenditure on management and financial consultants by the Law Officers' Departments in 1992-93.

The Attorney-General : The expenditure was as follows :


                                      |£              

------------------------------------------------------

Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers |Nil            

Crown Prosecution Service             |48,100         

Serious Fraud Office                  |108,820        

Treasury Solicitor's Department       |335,000        

Serious Fraud Office

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Attorney-General when he expects to lay before Parliament and publish the annual report of the Serious Fraud Office for the year 1993-94.

The Attorney-General : The annual report for the SFO for 1993-94 was laid before Parliament at 11.00 am today and then published. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Portable Telephones

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 11 May, Official Report, column 174, what was the cost of calls made on (a) car and (b) portable telephones in 1993-94 ; how much this equipment cost to buy or hire ; and what were the maintenance costs.

The Attorney-General : The costs are listed in the table.


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                                |Car             |Portable        |Cost of         |Maintenance                      

                                |telephone       |telephone       |equipment<1> (£)|costs (£)                        

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Legal Secretariat to the Law                                                                                         

Officers                        |975             |-               |2,340           |190                              

Treasury Solicitor's Department |-               |1,650           |4,890           |-                                

Crown Prosecution Service       |6,980           |300             |26,800          |690                              

Serious Fraud Office            |-               |3,410           |11,150          |-                                

                                |-------         |-------         |-------         |-------                          

Total                           |7,955           |5,360           |45,180          |880                              

<1> Including subscriptions and rental.                                                                              

EDUCATION

Teacher Training Agency

Ms Estelle Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education for what reasons the stipulations in his notes on the clauses of the Education Bill on the qualifications for members of the Teacher Training Agency in terms of experience and capacity in teaching, higher education, or teacher training were not reflected in the advertisement for the appointment of a chief executive to the agency.

Mr. Robin Squire : The chief executive's main duty will be to manage the executive functions of the agency. He or she will be directly accountable for the control of the agency's expenditure and will have a role quite different from that of the other members of the board. This is reflected in the advertisement for the post. The Secretary of State will take into account in making all appointments to the agency the requirements of clause 2 of the Education Bill, which include not only those mentioned by the hon. Member, but experience in industrial, commercial or financial matters, or the practice of any profession.

Student Statistics

Mr. Trimble : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many third level students from (a) the Republic of Ireland, (b) other European Community countries and (c) non-European Community countries were enrolled in universities and colleges in England and Wales in each year since 1984- 85 ; and what has been the cost or income in each category to the education budget.

Mr. Boswell : The following are the numbers of students for England and Wales which are readily available :


                    |1990-91|1991-92|1992-93        

----------------------------------------------------

Republic of Ireland |2,615  |3,072  |3,756          

Other EC            |17,360 |21,664 |25,243         

Non-EC              |49,194 |51,177 |53,422         

I will write to the hon. Member with figures for the earlier years.

The costs of provision for students from individual EC member states are not recorded separately. For 1991-92 the total cost to the education budget attributable to students from EC states studying in England and Wales is estimated at approximately £105 million. For 1990-91 and 1989-90, the equivalent figures for expenditure attributable to students from other EC member states were in the region of £90 million and £75 million respectively. British


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nationals studying elsewhere in the European Community enjoy reciprocal rights. Students from non-EC countries are expected to meet the full cost of their tuition. Income from non-EC students is credited to the host institution and not to the education budget. Balanced against these costs is the benefit to the United Kingdom economy from the money spent in this country by students from overseas.

Teachers (Early Retirement)

Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many teachers have sought early retirement in each of the last three years for which figures are available because of (a) redundancy and (b) illness ; and if he will break the figures down by local authority and regionally for grant-maintained schools.

Mr. Robin Squire : I refer the hon. Member to the replies that I gave to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mrs. Taylor) on 12 May, Official Report , columns 207-08 .

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

National Environmental Technology Centre

Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the expenditure on consultancy of AEA Technology Ltd., the National Environmental Technology Centre and its predecessors over the last five years, distinguishing between consultancy on management, marketing and technical issues.

Mr. Heseltine : Consultancy work for AEA Technology is a management matter for the Atomic Energy Authority. With regard to Warren Spring Laboratory, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) on Monday 16 May 1994, Official Report , columns 302-05 .

Upper Limb Disorders

Dr. Marek : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the present number of civil servants taking legal action against his Department as a result of work-related upper limb disorders.

Mr. Heseltine : There are no cases in the Department of Trade and Industry where proceedings have been issued.

In three cases claimants are currently seeking damages from the Department through their solicitors.

Company Investigations

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the inspectors to inquire into the affairs of Dunlop Holdings Ltd. were appointed ; when their inquiry


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was completed ; what are the business connections of the inspectors ; what is the cost of the investigation ; how it has been disbursed to each inspector ; what reports have been published ; and when he will publish the final reports.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : The inspectors were appointed on 25 July 1980 and made a substantial interim report on 18 December 1980, a second interim report on 10 March 1981 and a final report on 12 November 1981. Their first interim report was published on 17 February 1981 and it was decided not to publish their other reports. Both inspectors were departmental officers and the cost of their investigation is not available.

Future Large Aircraft

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has had concerning the future large aircraft ; and if he will make a statement on this aircraft.

Mr. Sainsbury : My Department has received many representations on the future large aircraft programme. The decision on the replacement of the existing Hercules fleet is a matter for the Ministry of Defence and my Department is in close touch with the MoD on the industrial implications of the programme.

Plugs and Sockets

Mr. Congdon : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has yet received the consultant's report on possible CENELEC--European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation--proposals on plug and socket standards.

Mr. McLoughlin : The report by the British Standards Institution Research Association has now been received and is being made available thorugh HMSO. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

East-West Business Forum

Mr. Quentin Davies : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the outcome of the east-west business forum that took place in Warsaw on 5 and 6 May 1994 and preceded the west-east conference of Ministers of Economy, Industry and Trade.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : The business forum drew up a business declaration which highlighted the areas of reform that needed to be addressed by the central and east European countries and areas where G7 countries could help. This was discussed by the conference which agreed that the declaration should be given wide circulation. I have placed a copy of the declaration and of the conference conclusions in the Library of the House.

Deregulation

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out (a) the terms of reference of the deregulation panel, (b) its membership and (c) the terms of appointment of the members of the panel.

Mr. Burden : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will make a statement on the functions of the deregulation panel before the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill receives Royal Assent ;


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(2) what are the functions of the deregulation panel established by his Department ;

(3) when the deregulation panel was established ;

(4) who are the members of the deregulation panel ; and on what dates they were invited to join the panel ;

(5) when the deregulation panel first met ; and how many times it has met.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : The formation of the deregulation task force, to be chaired by the right hon. Francis Maude, was announced on 19 January 1994. A number of appointments have been made and some work has been started, but other individuals are still being approved. It would therefore be inappropriate to announce some names but not all. When the task force has its full quorum, an announcement of the membership and its terms of reference will be made.

Mr. Burden : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the budget of the deregulation panel.

Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 24 May 1994] : The deregulation task force does not have a separate individual budget. The costs of administrative support are part of the deregulation unit budget, which is published in the departmental supply estimates.

Mr. Burden : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make the minutes of the deregulation panel available to hon. Members.


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