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Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 24 May 1994] : The deregulation task force is the successor body to the seven business deregulation task forces, whose proposals for reform were published on 19 January 1994 and the eighth charities and voluntary organisations task force, which has completed its work and is due to report shortly.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 24 May 1994] : The purpose of the deregulation task force is to help my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to promote deregulation which will enhance the competitiveness of United Kingdom business and the effectiveness of the voluntary sector. The criterion for membership is the ability to contribute to this purpose.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 24 May 1994] : 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 approached. It would therefore be inappropriate to announce some names but not all. When the task force has its full quorum, an announcement to the membership and its terms of reference will be made. This will include the occupations of members appointed. The Department does not hold information on the political affiliations of appointees to advisory bodies. Appointments are made on the basis of the person judged best for the job ; political affiliation is not a factor.
Column 176successful mechanisms of technology transfer and has been replicated in several other countries. TCS helps firms to access technology in United Kingdom universities by enabling them to employ young graduates to install specific technologies or processes in the firm. The graduates are jointly supervised by the firm and the university.
Graduates receive a salary, paid through the university, which comprises an element of public sector support from one or more sponsors, together with a contribution from the firm.
As at 16 May 1994, 509 TCS programmes are in progress, involving 586 graduates and 82 universities. Over 50 per cent. of TCS programmes take place in small and medium-sized enterprises ; it is intended to increase this proportion to about 60 per cent. Although conceived as a joint DTI/SERC scheme, TCS has expanded its sponsorship base to include other research councils and government departments. Eleven organisations now act as sponsors.
A recent interdepartmental review of the scheme concluded that there were areas where its internal operation could be improved. Copies of the review have been lodged in the Library of the House. Among a wide-ranging list of recommendations, four stand out : 1. It will no longer be necessary for individual programmes of interest to DTI, EPSRC or other sponsors to receive joint sponsorship ; the effect of this will be to allow each sponsor to target more clearly those types of firm or technology that it wishes to support. 2. Longer term planning within TCS will be improved, by the production of a 5-year strategic plan, amended on an annual basis and supplemented by an annual business plan.
3. The managerial focus of the scheme will be sharpened by the nomination of DTI as lead sponsor department. DTI will ensure that the scheme is delivered according to the wishes of the sponsors as a whole.
4. The scheme will be supervised by a new Teaching Company Scheme Board, to be chaired by Sir Anthony Gill. The Board will comprise the following members, providing a balanced representation of industrial and academic interests :
Name --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Professor John Goodman |Chairman: Manchester School of Management Professor David Johns |Vice Chancellor: University of Bradford Dr. James Kinloch |Chairman: The Kinloch Electronics Group Professor Stan Mason |Principal and Vice-Chancellor: Glasgow Caledonian University Professor John Midwinter |Head of Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department: University | College London Mr. Colin Mitchell |Communications and Corporate Mail Manager: ICI Mr. William Morris |Vice-President: Short Brothers plc Dr. A. W. Nelson |Managing Director: Epitaxial Products Ltd.
Dr. John Parnaby, managing director, Lucas Applied Technology Ltd. chairman of the LINK steering group, will join the board as an observer. DTI and the Office of Science and Technology will also be represented on the board.
The board will be responsible for the successful continuation of TCS and its development to include new initiatives such as the teaching company centres and proposals to introduce the TCS concept into colleges of further education announced in the White Paper on Competitiveness, Cm. 2563.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 23 May 1994] : No decisions have been taken on the longer-term future of British Coal Enterprise Ltd. In the mean time the 1994 Coal Industry Restructuring Grants Order, approved in the House on 19 May, will enable the funding of BCE to continue for a further year.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what occasions since April 1992 Ministers from his Department have (a) requested Parliamentary Counsel to assist in preparing amendments to private Members' Bills on behalf of other private Members and (b) authorised officials to instruct parliamentary counsel to prepare amendments which were subsequently passed to private Members.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The provision of assistance for people with a disability, including those with multiple sclerosis, is the responsibility of health authorities and local authorities. Whilst separate analyses in relation to specific conditions are not regularly made locally, the arrangements for social care planning have identified the needs of all people with a disability. How these needs can best be met is set out in the social care plans for each county and the implications for the NHS are reflected in the local strategies for health produced by health authorities.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set out the reasons why his Department decided to defer notification to Care and Repair Wales of the financial grant which will be made to it for the financial year 1994-95 until June 1994 ; and whether he will review this decision and make available as soon as possible a definite timetable on which care and repair plans can be based.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the board members of the Land Authority for Wales, their full- time occupations and the companies which employ them ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : A list of the board members of the Land Authority for Wales which details their employment is held in the Library of the House. Those board members who have full-time occupations are employed by :
Column 178R. P. V. Rees : Coopers and Lybrand
R. W. S. Knight : Cooke and Arkwright
T. J. Mahoney ; Self Employed Retailer
Each of them has arrangements with their business to make the necessary time available for LAW.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The key objectives for the agency in Wales in 1994-95 remain to preserve the impartiality and quality of the inspectorate's work while seeking further to improve efficiency. The agency's key performance targets in Wales will be :
(a) Eighty per cent. of planning appeals by written representations to be decided within 17 weeks ;
(b) To provide an inspector for local plan inquiries when requested within 26 weeks of the end of the objection period ;
(a) Unit costs of planning appeals decided by written representations not to exceed £690 ;
(b) Recover 90 per cent. of receipts due within 8 weeks of invoice date ;
Generate a 3 per cent. efficiency improvement in running costs as compared with 1993-94 ;
(a) The number of justified complaints about the way in which Inspectors have carried out their duties, and the number of successful challenges in the High Court, to be less than one in every hundred decisions issued ;
(b) The number of justified complaints about the way in which the Inspectorate handled the procedural aspects of casework to be less than one in every hundred decisions issued ;
To determine 1,050 appeals, subject to intake not declining ; Information and Guidance
To determine a third customer survey by 31 December 1994. These and other performance targets for the agency will be included in its business plan for 1994-95 which will be published shortly.
Separate timeliness and volume targets for the agency's work in England are being announced today by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to publicise the telephone hotline to which members of the public may report the illegal resale of personal imports of alcoholic liquor ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Cope : The launch of the anti-bootlegging hotline on 27 April was extensively reported in the national and trade press and on television. Customs and I will continue to publicise the hotline--0800 901 901--in the media, at trade meetings and by the use of posters, leaflets and other publicity material.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many prosecutions have taken place since 1 January 1993 of people illegally importing and reselling alcoholic liquor in England and Wales ; how many resulted in fines or imprisonment ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) how many prosecutions have taken place since 1 January 1993 of people illegally importing and reselling alcoholic liquor in Northern Ireland ; how many resulted in fines or imprisonment ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Cope : In England and Wales customs and Excise have successfully prosecuted 56 people since 1 January 1993 for illegally importing and reselling alcoholic liquors in the United Kingdom. The courts awarded prison sentences against two people and fines of up to £8,000 against 43 people.
No prosecutions have yet been brought in Northern Ireland.
Sir Keith Speed : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received to date about the importation of cheap alcoholic drinks from the continent ; and what replies he has sent.
Sir John Cope : I have received a number of representations on this subject. The replies I have sent have answered the questions raised, offered clarification of the issues involved and set out the Government's position, as appropriate.
Mr. Dorrell : On 1 October 1993 there were 546,339 permanent civil servants, the lowest in the post-war period. Final figures for 1 April 1994 are not yet available, but these are expected to show a further decline to about 535,000. On 1 October 1991, immediately prior to the announcement of the introduction of market testing in November 1991, there were 560,903 permanent civil servants.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average tax rate including local and central Government income tax and social security payments, as a percentage of the gross income of a married man with two children earning (a) £20,000 a year and (b) £40,000 a year in (i) the United Kingdom, (ii) France, (iii) Germany, (iv) the United States of America and (v) Japan in 1993 ; and what he estimates will be the percentage figures for the same persons in the United Kingdom in the fiscal year 1995-96 based on Government tax policies already announced.
International comparisons of this nature can be misleading because the rules of the tax and social security systems, and the level of provision of public services, vary widely. For example, in Germany, people with the levels of income shown would be above the threshold where they cease to be liable to make contributions for sickness and they would have to make private provision. The comparison also takes no account of indirect taxes. The table includes employers' social security contributions. This gives a more complete picture, as both the employer's and employee's contributions are likely to affect take-home pay.
Figures for the United Kingdom for 1995-96 will depend on changes in earnings and prices and the value of allowances.
Proportion of Marginal rates of income paid in income tax and income tax and social social security security contributions* contributions* |£20,000 gross|£40,000 gross|£20,000 gross|£40,000 gross ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- France<1>,<2> Income tax and social security contributions |46.6 |49.9 |51.4 |69.1 United Kingdom<2>,<3> Income tax and social security contributions |31.6 |38.1 |44.4 |50.4 Japan<4> Income tax and social security contributions |29.5 |45.1 |41.7 |63.8 Germany<1>,<2>,<5> Income tax and social security contributions |29.1 |34.0 |48.1 |33.3 United States of America<1>,<6> Income tax and social security contributions |23.7 |31.0 |34.30 |38.90 *Includes both employees' and employers' contributions. <1>Figures for 1993. Earnings converted into local currencies using purchasing power parities. <2>No local income taxes. <3>Income tax plus national insurance contributions less child benefit expressed as a percentage of earnings. The married man is assumed to be in receipt of the full married couple's allowance. <4>Local taxes at the standard rate. <5>Excluding those social security contributions for employees with earnings above the insurable ceilings. <6>California local income tax rates.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make it her policy, after the formation of the meat hygiene service, to make representations for British meat inspectors to have equivalent status to French and Dutch veterinary technicians for the purposes of relevant European legislation on abattoirs.
Mr. Soames : The meat hygiene service is committed to delivering a cost-effective and consistent meat inspection service and, to do so, will seek to maximise the role of qualified meat inspectors in slaughterhouses within the requirements of the legislation. The EC has harmonised rules on the training of veterinarians and mutual recognition of veterinary qualifications, but has never harmonised the training and qualifications of technicians--termed "auxiliaries" in the directives. If the chief executive of the meat hygiene service, in the light of operating experience, considers such EC harmonisation would facilitate the achievement of the MHS objectives we will explore the possibilities with the Commission and other member states.
Mr. Soames : The Government have always recognised the importance of small abattoirs and have taken a number of steps to ensure that the single market rules are applied sensibly and flexibly. We negotiated in the EC fresh meat directive less onerous structural requirements for low- throughput abattoirs and were instrumental in increasing the original throughput limit of 12 livestock units per week to 20 until 31 December 1994. We will press for this limit to be made permanent in the Commission's review of the impact of the Directive on small businesses. In mid-1993, we introduced an upper limit on local authority charges for meat inspection, which provides assurances to small abattoirs about the maximum level of charges they may face. Together, these measures will create a stable situation within which new small abattoirs can be established if there is a market opportunity for them.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made of the difference in average attendance fees being paid by small abattoirs to (a) veterinary surgeons and (b) environmental health officers.
Mr. Soames : Official veterinary surgeons and meat inspectors or environmental health officers are employed for meat inspection duties by local authorities which recover the costs from abattoirs, subject to a maximum of £40 for the first four livestock units and £6.30 for each additional livestock unit. The maximum charge of £40 was based on £28 for veterinary attendance, being the average turnout fee paid to local veterinary inspectors in 1991, and £12 for the meat inspector's duties.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is her estimate for the last 12 months of the landing of unlogged fish around the coast of the United Kingdom ; what percentage of total landings this represents ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Jack : The landing of unlogged fish is an illegal activity and it is not possible to make a meaningful estimate of the extent to which it occurs. Illegal landings jeopardise the livelihoods of fishermen and those dependent on the industry and undermine the efforts that are being made to conserve stocks. The United Kingdom fisheries inspectorate devotes substantial resources to detecting and preventing unlogged landings of fish and appropriate enforcement action is taken where there is firm evidence of illegal landings occurring.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will amend the regulations governing certificates for the purchase of organophosphorus dips by restricting the use as well as purchase of such dips to certificate holders.
organophosphorus dips from selling or supplying them on to others. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations also already require those working with dips to be adequately trained. Possession of a certificate will be taken into account by HSE inspectors when assessing how this requirement has been met.
Mr. Gill : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is her policy to rely upon relative stability, according to its recognised definition, to keep Spanish registered fishing vessels, or fishing vessels owned by Spanish citizens out of all parts of the North sea.
Mr. Pickthall : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures she is taking to encourage the clearer labelling of food stuffs in order to eliminate risks to people who are allergic to nuts.
Mr. Soames : Labelling is only really effective with pre-packaged foodstuffs and we have encouraged manufacturers and retailers to indicate the presence of nuts or peanuts in a foodstuff on a voluntary basis where the EC labelling rules do not provide for it. In the much larger area of food purchased through catering outlets where the problems for people who suffer from this allergy occur, we have alerted operators to the serious nature of the allergy and to the need to have available reliable information on recipes so as to answer accurately questions from sufferers. I am pleased to say that on all fronts we have had a positive response.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans he has to increase assistance to museums run by local authorities containing collections of national significance.
Mr. Sproat : There are many museum collections of national significance, a large number run by local authorities. In his announcement on 11 May, Official Report, column 172, my right hon. Friend advised the House that he was about to undertake a review of the Department's policy towards museums and galleries. That is now under way : we welcome comments from anyone who wishes to offer them, but it would not be right for me to anticipate the outcome of the review.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what information he has concerning local authority museums selling all or part of their collections due to financial constraints in the years 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sproat : There are a number of reasons why museums, including those run by local authorities, might dispose of items in their collections. However, systematic data on such disposals, and the reasons for them, are not collected by my Department.