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Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage which museum collections owned by local authorities attract central Government grant assistance ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sproat : Local authorities and their museums attract grant assistance from Government Departments in a wide variety of ways and for differing purposes. It is not possible to provide comprehensive details of such assistance across the museum field. While my own Department does not offer specific assistance to local authority museums, it does provide funding to bodies such as the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Museums and Galleries Comission, which provides grants and other support to a wide range of museums and galleries ; similarly, my Department participates in the museums and galleries improvement fund, a joint initiative with the Wolfson Foundation and Family Charitable Trust.
Mr. Sproat : I understand that the museum of British road transport in Coventry has been helped in a number of ways by the west midlands area museum service, which receives funding from the Museums and Galleries Commission. It has also received assistance towards acquisitions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and from the PRISM fund for preservation of industrial and scientific material which is administered by the National museum of science and industry on behalf of the Museums and Galleries Commission.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list the most significant collections in the United Kingdom road transport heritage ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sproat : There are a number of museums in the United Kingdom with significant road transport material in their collections. They are important in different ways and it is not possible to specify which is the most significant.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many indemnity undertakings were given by Departments under section 16 of the National Heritage Act 1980 for the six-month period ended 31 March 1994 ; and what was the value of contingent liabilities in respect of such undertakings given at any time and remaining outstanding as at 31 March 1994.
|Number ----------------------------------------------------------- Department of National Heritage |437 Scottish Office Education Department |43 Welsh Office Education Department |32 Department of Education for Northern Ireland |14
The value of contingent liabilities in respect of such undertakings given at any time and outstanding at 31 March 1994 are :
|£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Department of National Heritage |1,844,520,914 Scottish Office Education Department |106,369,193 Welsh Office Education Department |41,061,343 Department of Education for Northern Ireland |9,268,944
Mr. Sproat : His Royal Highness the Duke of York has use of two bedrooms, a dressing room, a sitting room, a dining room and two bathrooms at Buckingham palace. These rooms do not form a self-contained apartment.
Mr. Sproat : About half the units of grace-and-favour accommodation at the historic royal palaces have been made available to pensioners who were former employees of Her Majesty the Queen, and the remainder to employees or holders of positions in the royal household whose duties require their attendance at Hampton Court or the Tower of London.
Mr. Sproat : The rent is assessed on a basis which takes into account the fact that His Royal Highness the Prince Michael of Kent is a more immediate member of the Royal Family who undertakes some official engagements on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what amount was taken in revenue from entry charges and merchandising by the Historic Royal Palaces Agency in the last financial year ; and what is the target for next year.
For 1994-95, the corresponding targets set for the agency by the chief executive are £17.678 million and £5.463 million, totalling £23.141 million.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) what was the staffing level for the science museum library at the south Kensington site in May 1992 ; what it is now ; and what is the projected site level for May 1995 ;
(2) what is the present salary of the director of the science museum ;
(3) for what reasons Mr. Andrew Dow was removed from his appointment as curator of the national railway museum ; whether the approval of a full meeting of the trustees was obtained before the removal of Mr. Dow ; and what payment was made to Mr. Dow following his removal.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the present number of civil servants taking legal action against his Department as a result of work-related upper limb disorders.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many missions have been conducted by the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq to inspect military and nuclear sites ; and if he will arrange for copies of all reports of UNSCOM visits to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : There have been 74 UNSCOM/IAEA missions to Iraq. The 75th is at present in Iraq. UNSCOM inspection reports are not published but a description of missions is given in the six-monthly reports
Column 186issued by the Secretary-General of the UN. The latest of these are Security Council documents S/1994/489 and S/1994/490 for UNSCOM and the IAEA respectively. In addition the IAEA submits more detailed inspection reports to the UN Secretary-General which are circulated as UN documents. The latest of these are S/1994/31, on the 22nd IAEA mission, and S/1994/355, on the 23rd mission. All these documents are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, during his recent meeting with his South Korean counterpart, he discussed the use by North Korea of blueprints of the British Magnox reactor design to construct its plutonium production reactors currently under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We do not know whether North Korea has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. North Korea possesses a graphite moderated reactor which, while much smaller, has generic similarities to the reactors operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc. However, design information of these British reactors is not classified and has appeared in technical journals. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs did not discuss this matter with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea during their recent meeting.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear safeguards inspection visit to the North Korean nuclear facilities on 18 May.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The full outcome of the latest visit of an International Atomic Energy Agency inspection team to North Korea will not be known until after their return to Vienna. However, the IAEA Director- General, Dr. Blix, reported to the United Nations Security Council on 20 May that the inspectors had been allowed to perform outstanding safeguards activities at the radiochemical laboratory. He also confirmed that North Korea had begun discharging fuel from the core of its 5MW reactor, in violation of its safeguards agreement.
Mr. Hurd : I attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 16-17 May. The Council took the formal decision--by unanimity--to admit Norway, Austria, Finland and Sweden to the Union. The treaty of accession will now be signed at the European Council on 24 June.
President Delors presented a short paper describing progress on the follow- up to the White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment. He noted that recent economic news in the Community was encouraging ; drew attention to efforts to improve the functioning of the
Column 187internal market ; highlighted progress on identifying priority transEuropean network projects ; and noted that work was continuing on the audit of selected pieces of legislation for their effects on employment.
In the discussion that followed, I and others emphasised the importance of deregulation and of completing the single market, especially in areas such as transport, energy and telecommunications.
The Council reviewed progress in the negotiations towards a partnership and co-operation agreement with Russia.
The Council agreed that the EU's partnership and co-operation agreement with Ukraine would be signed in June, and had a first discussion of Commission proposals on further ways to enhance the EU/Ukraine relationship.
The Council agreed unanimously a Commission proposal to resolve a dispute between the EC and Chile over Chilean apple exports to the EC.
The Council considered a Commission report on relations with Switzerland. It asked the Commission to bring forward as soon as possible mandates for negotiations on research, free movement of people, trade in agricultural goods, public procurement and technical barriers to trade. On transport, the Council asked the Commission to seek urgent clarification from the Swiss on how the Swiss people's recent vote to ban the transit of heavy goods vehicles would be implemented.
The Council discussed recent developments in the peace negotiations on former Yugoslavia. It agreed unanimously to extend the joint action on humanitarian aid to Bosnia and to apply part of the resources for this to the EU administration in Mostar. The Council had a short discussion of the situation in Algeria and the possibilities for Community assistance. It issued the statement on Rwanda which appears at the end of this answer. The Commission also indicated that it would shortly propose an interim agreement between the EU and South Africa.
The Council adopted by concensus a code of conduct for continuing multilateral negotiations on trade in certain service sectors, where agreement could not be reached by the conclusion of the Uruguay round. This will enable the Community to participate effectively in the continuing GATT negotiations on services.
The Council agreed the draft conclusions for the launch conference of the stability pact in Paris on 26-27 May and discussed prospects for the conference.
The Council discussed a compromise text aimed at unblocking the negotiations on an energy charter treaty.
At the request of the Danish Government, the Council discussed the operation of its openness policy. It asked officials to consider whether existing procedures for handling applications for documents needed amending, and to make recommendations to the Council. The Council agreed to reject the application by the Guardian newspaper for a number of Council documents. Denmark and the Netherlands voted against.
The Secretary General of the Council urged member states to take a flexible approach on the protection of classified information under titles V and VI of the Maastricht treaty. The Council referred the matter to COREPER.
The Council agreed that informal contacts with the European Parliament on titles V and VI should continue, but that decisions would have to await the election of the new Parliament.
Column 188A co-operation council with Egypt and the first meeting of the European Economic Area Agreement Council took place in the margins. DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN UNION ON RWANDA The European Union, recalling its declaration of 18 April 1994 on Rwanda, again appeals urgently to all parties to the conflict to bring an end to the genocide now taking place in the country.
The European Union expresses its full support for the United Nations' humanitarian efforts and in this context welcomes the resolution that is currently before the Security Council. The European Union looks forward to an urgent decision on measures which can be implemented soon.
The European Union welcomes the initiative of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights to conduct a mission on both Rwanda and Burundi and supports the call for a special meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The European Union expresses its appreciation and support for the efforts of the OAU and to President Mwinyi of Tanzania for their initiatives in convening a regional conference, in which both the authorities of Rwanda and the RPF will be invited.
The European Union urges the two sides to agree on the need to respect the Arusha agreement, which, through the way of negotiation, offers the best available basis for national reconciliation. In this context the European Union supports the call for an early imposition of an arms embargo on Rwanda, and calls on all concerned to refrain from any action that is liable to exacerbate the situation. The European Union is eager to increase its humanitarian aid whenever and where such aid can be brought to the populations that have suffered so cruelly from the violence. In this respect it will continue its immediate assistance to refugees in the neighbouring countries and will endeavour to equally assist the stricken populations within Rwanda, whenever conditions allow this.
Mr. Burden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the arrest of Kanwar Singh Dhami, president of the Akal Federation, in Chandigarh, Punjab ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We understand that Mr. Dhami's case is before the courts and that his lawyers have regular access to him. Her Majesty's high commission in New Delhi have spoken to his lawyers in Punjab. They confirmed that he is in good health and has not been maltreated.
Mr. Burden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he has of individuals being tortured whilst under unlawful detention in Punjab ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We receive regular information from Her Majesty's high commission in New Delhi about allegations of torture and unlawful detention in Punjab. Although the situation has improved in the last year, we remain concerned that abuses continue to take place.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to hold discussions with the British groups of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Inter-Parliamentary Union in order to develop programmes and to invite members of the new South African Parliament to visit
Column 189London and take part in such programmes of political development within their country ; and if he will make a statement.
To this end my noble Friend Baroness Chalker of Wallasey will shortly hold a meeting with several hon. Members and noble Lords who have a close interest in South Africa, including many who were election observers under the auspices of the IPU and CPA, to discuss how to take forward this initiative.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what record the Minister for Overseas Development has of receiving a recorded delivery letter from Mr. Edward Roberts of 28 Dulverton road, Liverpool 17, concerning his experiences as a prisoner-of- war at Drancy.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he made of the likely use to which the 21 battle tanks sold to Nigeria in 1993 will be put prior to agreeing to the sale.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We considered this export licence application carefully, in the light of our usual criteria, including the international guidelines to which we are committed. We were satisfied that the equipment in question would be used to fulfil Nigeria's legitimate defence needs.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Government welcome the peaceful transition to multi-party democracy in Malawi brought about by these elections, which both the joint international observer group and the Malawi electoral commission declared free and fair.
We commend the ready acceptance of the results by all sides in Malawi and in particular former-President Banda's call for all political parties to co -operate in building a better Malawi. We look forward to working closely with the new Government and with President Muluzi. The Permanent Secretary at the ODA is visiting Malawi from 31 May to 2 June. The new Government face many challenges including a serious crop failure. We plan to offer an additional £3 million in balance of payments support for 1994-95, and 10,000 tonnes of food aid to help them overcome it and keep to their economic reform programme.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 31 March, Official Report, column 1025, if he will give the percentage of cases cleared by individual Child Support Agency centres during each quarter of 1993-94 in (a) under 40 days, (b) between 40 and 100 days and (c) over 100 days ; and when he expects to be able to provide detailed information as to the average time taken for each stage of the assessment process.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Adam Ingram, dated 25 May 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking about clearance times for the maintenance application process.
Figures for the first two quarters covering the period 5 April to 30 September 1993 are not available. Figures for the third and fourth quarters are shown in the attached annex.
Information on the time taken to deal with maintenance application and enquiry forms is currently being validated and should be available shortly.
In my earlier reply of 31 March 1994, I said that the figures quoted were year to date figures from 5 April 1993. I have since established that they were year to date figures from 1 October 1993 as figures prior to that date are not available. Please accept my apologies for this mistake.
The answer also corrects information given to the honourable member for Glasgow Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) on 18 February 1994 at Col 1023, and the honourable member for Dunfermline West (Ms Squire) on 8 March 1994 at Cols 215-216.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what figures are available to show waiting times between the parent with care contacting the Child Support Agency and an initial maintenance inquiry form being dispatched.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 25 May 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the time taken between a parent with care contacting the Agency and a maintenance enquiry form being issued to the absent parent.
Contact between a parent with care and the Agency normally begins when the Agency issues a maintenance application form to the parent with care. In a small proportion of cases, however, the parent with care may contact the Agency to request such a form.
Information on the time taken to deal with maintenance application forms, measured from the date on which the form is issued to the date on which processing of the form is completed, is currently being validated and should be available shortly.
I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the Child Support Agency contacts the parent with care in all cases where a delay occurs in obtaining information from the absent parent, and if he will make a statement.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 25 May 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about contact with parents with care when there is a delay in obtaining information from the absent parent.
If an absent parent fails to return the Maintenance Enquiry Form (MEF) the Agnecy will issue a letter warning that an Interim Maintenance Assessment (IMA), which is generally higher than a full maintenance assessment, will be considered if information requested is not received within 14 days of receipt. At the same time the parent with care is notified that this warning letter has been issued.
If an absent parent does return the MEF but fails to provide all of the information required, then the Agency will still consider imposing an IMA. In such cases a warning letter will be sent to the absent parent and the parent with care will be notified at the same time.
If no response is received at this stage and an IMA is to be imposed, both the absent parent and the parent with care will receive a letter setting out the amount of the IMA and the date from which it will be imposed.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he will take to reduce the number of weeks which the Child Support Agency requires to process maintenance assessments ; and if he will make a statement.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 25 May 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the time taken by the Agency to process maintenance assessments.
The Agency originally expected to take 6 to 12 weeks to clear a straightforward case once fully operational. The aim of clearing such cases within that time scale was first expressed before the Agency had experience of live operation. In practice, the assessment process has turned out to be more complex and clearance times longer than was originally expected.
The maintenance formula which is used in making the assessment is detailed as it has to take account of the individual circumstances of both parents. A great deal of information is required to ensure the assessment is realistic, and accurately reflects their circumstances. It is inevitable therefore that the entire process will take time. 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 can reassure you that the Agency is constantly reviewing all aspects of its operations to ensure that the most effective means of handling cases are identified and changes made where the process can be improved.
I hope you find this helpful.