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Column 426The beer supply tie is a contractual arrangement which has existed for many years, and I have no plans at present to take any action in this area. The United Kingdom will of course participate fully in any review of EC regulation 1984-83, the beer block exemption, when this is carried out.
Enforcement of the beer orders is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading, and his staff continue to monitor compliance. Any complaints received are carefully examined for evidence of any breaches of the orders.
As a landlord and tenant matter, upward-only rent reviews are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : A booklet "Deregulation--Cutting Red Tape"-- copies of which are available in the Library of the House--was published in January setting out the aims and achievements of the deregulation initiative to date. Since then further developments have included :
The completion of the departmental reviews of their regulations. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has recently submitted a report to the Prime Minister on the results of this. There are now 873 regulations earmarked for amendment or repeal, and 359 of the task forces' 605 recommendations have now been accepted and work is being taken forward by the new task force under the chairmanship of Francis Maude.
The Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill has now completed its passage through the Commons and is currently before another place. The review of fire safety regulations has now submitted its report to the Government. We are considering its recommendations and how to proceed regarding publication.
We continue to work with the European Commission and other member states to ensure that deregulation is at the heart of European policy making and that all new EC proposals are fully justified in terms of their costs and benefits.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing for Cyprus the exports for each year since 1980 from the United Kingdom classified under section 9 of the standard international trade classifications.
Value of United Kingdom exports to Cyprus for section 9 of the SITC commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere (£ million, current prices) Year |Value ------------------ 1980 |3.3 1981 |4.9 1982 |4.2 1983 |5.2 1984 |6.7 1985 |3.8 1986 |4.0 1987 |3.3 1988 |2.9 1989 |2.6 1990 |2.8 1991 |2.2 1992 |2.3 1993 |2.2 Source: Overseas trade statistics of the United Kingdom
Mr. Donohoe : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will ensure that the Government ratify the chemical weapons convention by the time it is scheduled to enter into force. Mr. Heseltine : The Government are committed to ratifying the chemical weapons convention and will introduce the necessary implementing legislation as soon as parliamentary time permits.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 23 May, Official Report , column 75 , to which organisations outside Government a full copy of the Stoy Hayward report on insolvency was sent.
(2) how many women over 60 years and men over 65 years were connected to (a) gas, (b) electricity and (c) telephone in 1993-94.
(2) if he will publish the report of the fire safety scrutiny team ;
(3) what undertakings Ministers have given that no changes will be made in fire safety arrangements based upon the conclusions of the scrutiny team unless there was full consultation with the fire authorities ; and if he will inform those authorities of the conclusions.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The fire safety review team have completed its work and its report has been submitted to the Government. Ministers are now considering the report and the question of its publication. No decisions have been taken but the Government have made it consistently clear that they are committed to full consultation with interested parties before any changes in the existing arrangements are made.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the President of the Board of Trade in what circumstances it is his Department's practice, when issuing a public consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses will be made public unless they explicitly ask for them to be kept confidential ; and if he will arrange for his Department to do so in all cases in future.
Mr. Heseltine : The code of practice on government information commits the Department to publishing relevant facts and analysis underlying major policy proposals. This would include details of any public consultation exercise. Comments on public consultation documents are sought on the basis that the Department would not want to publish individual responses against the wishes of those providing them.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions reprocessing at THORP has been (a) interrupted and (b) interfered with since it started shearing spent nuclear fuel earlier this year.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what evaluation he has made of the implications for the projected profitability of THORP of the report by the Japanese Government's Advisory Committee for Energy calling for a significant slow-down in the industrial re-use of plutonium returned from the reprocessing plants at Sellafield.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 5 May, Official Report , column 604 , if he will provide such information as is available on the cost of employing consultants in connection with privatisation programmes.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 13 May 1994] : The Comptroller and Auditor General frequently reports on privatisations under section 9 of the National Audit Act 1993 and in doing so generally includes information on the costs of advisers--which may include consultants, legal, financial and other advisers. Since 1993, the following figures have appeared in such reports relating to privatisations undertaken by the DTI and the former Department of Energy :
Reference and Costs of advisers subject |£ million -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1993-94 HC59 |The Sale of the British Technology Group|<1>2.80 1992-93 HC10 |The Sale of the Twelve Regional |Electricity Companies |<2>28.8 HC46 |The Sale of National Power and PowerGen |<2>17.2 1989-90 HC210 |Sale of Government Shareholding in |British Steel plc |<1>5.6 1987-88 HC22 |Sale of Government Shareholding in |British Gas plc |<3>5.0 1987-88 HC243 |Sale of Government Shareholding in |Rolls-Royce plc |<3>2.2 1984-85 HC495 |Sale of Government Shareholding in |British Telecommunications plc |<3>6.0 <1>Advisers' fees. <2>United Kingdom advisers' fees. <3>Fees to advisers in respect of the United Kingdom offer.
Estimates of manufacturing investment at current and constant prices may be obtained from the Control Statistical Office database accessible through the House of Commons Library.
(2) when he will publish draft guidelines on acoustic disturbance of cetaceans during seismic exploration activity ;
(3) which non-governmental organisations he intends to consult on draft guidelines on acoustic disturbance of cetaceans during seismic exploration activity ; and when he intends to consult them.
The non-governmental groups to be consulted on draft guidelines include Wildlife and Countryside Link--cetacean group--which represents 10 voluntary groups ; the Wildlife and Countryside Link groups for Scotland and Wales ; the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society ; Greenpeace ; World Wide Fund for Nature and the Friends of Cardigan Bay. I hope to issue a draft shortly and will then need to take account of any comments before publishing the guidelines in final form. They will become fully operational at that point.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many charters have been reissued imposing higher standards and targets ; and if he will give details of the higher standards and targets in each case.
The Benefits Agency Customer Charter now gives standards for the clearance times of all benefits rather than just the main benefits ; a standard of 10 minutes for waiting to be seen by a receptionist or no more than 30 minutes when very busy ; and a standard of 10 working days for responding to correspondence.
The Contributions Agency employers charter now gives standards for customer satisfaction of 80 per cent., up from 75 per cent ; a standard of 10 minutes for waiting to see a receptionist or no more than 30 minutes when very busy ; a standard of 10 working days for responding to correspondence ; a standard to respond to a request for a visit within one week and to carry out the visit within two weeks ; and a standard that office appointments will be arranged within two weeks of being requested.
The London Underground Ltd. customer charter now gives higher operational standards for trains in customer service--from 97.5 per cent. to 98 per cent. ; for escalators in customer service--from 87 per cent. to 89 per cent. ; and for lifts in customer service--from 85 per cent. to 92 per cent. It also gives higher customer satisfaction standards for providing information on trains--from 78 per cent. to 86 per cent. ; for providing information on stations--from 76 per cent. to 81 per cent. ; for staff helpfulness and availability--from 83 per cent. to 86 per cent. ; for train cleanliness--from 76 per cent. to 81 per cent. ; and for station cleanliness--from 85 per cent. to 89 per cent.
Other charters due to be revised this year include the parents charter, the job seekers charter, the contributors charter, and the patients charter for Wales. In addition, the courts charter is due to be revised in early 1995.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much compensation was paid (a) under previous compensation arrangements during each of the five financial years before the adoption of the citizens charter provisions and (b) under the provisions of the citizens charter (i) in total and (ii) by relevant Department and agency.
Mr. David Davis : Details of the amount of compensation paid under the provisions of the citizens charter and under previous compensation arrangements before its adoption are not held centrally. However, at 21 January 1994, it was estimated that £9,383,000 had been paid out in compensation under the provisions of the citizens charter. This does not, however, include compensation paid by privatised utilities or local authorities for failure to meet service standards, as details are not held centrally. This figure is broken down in the table shown.
In addition, in the financial year 1992-93, the Inland Revenue paid £389,000 in compensation for "serious error" as defined in the code of practice "Mistakes by the Inland Revenue" ; and HM Customs and Excise paid £532,000 in repayment supplements between January 1992 and 31 December 1993.
Department |Compensation paid|From |To -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- British Rail |4,427 |April 1992 |30 November 1993 London Underground |184 |August 1992 |7 January 1994 Northern Ireland Railways |2 |November 1992 |19 January 1994 HM Customs and Excise |14 |January 1992 |31 December 1993 Benefits Agency |4,071 |April 1992 |March 1993 Contributions Agency<1> |76 |April 1991 |March 1993 Employment Service |89 |April 1992 |March 1993 Department of Health and Social Services, Northern Ireland<1> |520 |April 1991 |20 January 1994 <1> These figures represent payments made from April 1991, four months before the Contributions Agency and Northern Ireland Social Security Agency charters were introduced.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) which public services have reduced the response time for dealing with complaints under the citizens charter ; and if he will give details of the reduction in each case ;
(2) how many complaints mechanisms for public service users contained in the citizens charter programme involve a lay element within that mechanism ; and if he will give details ;
(3) what form of redress or compensation is available to citizens when a public body stipulating a specific response time for complaints fails to respond within the time required ;
(4) how many of the public services under the provisions of the citizens charter stipulate a response time for dealing with complaints ; and what those response times are in each case ; (5) how many of the complaints mechanisms for public service users contained in the citizens charter programme now have an independent element ; and if he will list them.
Mr. David Davis : Each public service organisation is responsible for the delivery of citizens charter standards to its own particular customers, and for ensuring an appropriate response if the standard is not met.
Details of the procedures and mechanisms in place within each individual organisation are not held centrally. However, the Government recognise the importance of all public services, including Government Departments, having effective complaints procedures. In June 1993, Ministers set up the citizens charter complaints task force, with a specific remit to look at how public services deal with complaints and to ensure that their procedures operate in line with citizens charter principles. The complaints task force is chaired by Lady Wilcox, chairman of the National Consumer Council, and its members draw upon considerable expertise from both the public and private sectors.
The task force published in October 1993 a booklet "Effective Complaints Systems : Principles and Checklist", copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. This sets out good practice in complaints handling, and it has been widely disseminated to public services. It states that people should be told when they can expect a response ; be kept informed of progress ; and given an explanation if deadlines are not met. It also states that complaints procedures should include independent review within the organisation where appropriate--review by someone within the organisation but separate from the direct line management of the person or section complained about ; the Inland Revenue complaints adjudicator is an example of this.
The task force's programme of reviews of complaints systems in individual public services is now well under way. The task force also plans to issue over the next few months a series of discussion documents on various aspects of complaints handling, including speed of
Column 432response and independence of investigation. The findings from its reviews, and feedback from the discussion papers, will form the basis of its final report to Ministers in spring 1995.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will give details of the initiatives to date under the citizens charter programme to develop user consultation, representation and participation in public services.
Mr. David Davis : The citizens charter encourages all public service organisations to develop user consultation, representation and participation in the services they provide to their customers. The citizens charter unit does not hold records of the initiatives undertaken by individual public service organisations. However, a number of initiatives have been taken centrally. In August 1993, the unit published the results of its own customer survey which showed that seven out of 10 people were aware of the citizens charter and that there was strong support for the aims of the charter. In addition, Lady Wilcox, chairman of the citizens charter complaints task force, has invited people to write to her with their experiences of how their complaints have been handled, to provide the task force with first hand information from users of public services. The task force has also recently commissioned research into what service users think of public service complaints systems.
Dr. David Davis : Details of the statutory compensation arrangements in place before the adoption of the citizens charter provisions are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he plans to publish his departmental guidance on the implementation of the code of practice on access to Government information, as promised at paragraph 3(ii) of the code issued on 4 April ; and what has been the cause of the delay in publishing his departmental guidance.
Mr. Waldegrave : In addition to the general guidance on implementation of the code of practice, which was produced by the Office of Public Service and Science for use throughout Government, specific guidance was prepared for use within my departments--OPSS, the Central Office of Information and Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Staff in the Prime Minister's Office have received the same material. Both documents have been publicly available since early April, and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which organisations previously awarded chartermarks have had a chartermark taken away from them for failure to uphold standards and deliver a service in accordance with charter principles.
Mr. David Davis : No organisations have had their chartermarks taken away, although the citizens charter unit reserves the right to take away a chartermark from an organisation whose performance subsequently falls significantly below standard.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the operation of a clear and effective complaints procedure with an independent element is one of the criteria taken into consideration in awarding a chartermark.
Mr. Hain : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what guidance he has given to civil servants on the application of rules governing political activity to campaigning against privatisation of the Post Office.
Mr. Waldegrave : The principles and rules on civil servants' political activities are set out in chapter 4.4 of the personnel management section of the civil service management code. A copy is in the Library. No specific central guidance has been issued on privatisation of the Post Office.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what evaluation he has made of the suitability of the Westlakes Research Institute at Whitehaven as host for the first European DNA bank.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Westlakes Research Institute is proposing to undertake a study in conjunction with Newcastle university on the links between genetic make-up and disease. The question of a European DNA databank does not arise.
Column 434what were the dates on which each project (a) began and (b) ended ; and what were the considerations which led to the ending of each project.
Mr. Waldegrave : Although no work has been funded specifically for the development of a vaccine for necrotising fasciitis, basic research has been, and continues to be, funded by the Medical Research Council which could underpin the development of a vaccine. The MRC microbial pathogenicity research group--which was part of the council's clinical research centre, Harrow and has since moved to Nottingham--carried out a study into necrotising fasciitis as part of its programme of research. This study was carried out between 1982 and 1987. The results were published in scientific journals in 1987 and 1988.
The council continues to support major programmes in bacterial infection including those being carried out at a new Centre for Bacterial Infection and Immunity in Nottingham. This centre, which will cost £2.6 million over the next five years, was opened on 11 May 1994. The MRC is always willing to consider for support soundly based scientific proposals in competition with other applications.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in what circumstances it is his Department's practice, when issuing a public consultation document, to inform those consulted that their responses will be made public unless they explicitly ask for them to be kept confidential ; and if he will arrange for his Department to do so in all cases in future.
Mr. Waldegrave : It is usual practice for consultation documents issued by the Office of Public Service and Science to state that responses received may be made publicly available unless respondents request that their remarks be treated as confidential.
Mr. Waldegrave : Maritime markets will be included in several areas of the technology foresight programme including, for example, agriculture, natural resources and environment ; energy ; food and drink ; and transport. A wide range of individuals and organisations will be consulted during the foresight programme.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what occasions since April 1992 Ministers from her 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. Jack : Parliamentary counsel drafts not on behalf of private Members but on the instructions of Departments acting on the authority of Ministers. In any event, no amendments have been drafted by parliamentary counsel on instructions from this Department and subsequently passed to private Members in respect of any private Members' Bills since April 1992.
Claimed premium for the first time in 1992, they will already have been allocated quota under special arrangements ;
Claimed premium for the first time in 1993, they were able to apply to the 1993 reserve, and we are currently considering their applications ;
Are newcomers to farming or first-time claimants in 1994 or subsequent years, they may apply to the 1994 or subsequent year's national reserve.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to her answer of 20 April, Official Report , column 558 , what reply she has received from the Spanish Agriculture Minister ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : We have been assured that the slaughterhouses concerned have been inspected and that the Spanish authorities are ensuring that they comply with Royal Decree 1614/87, regarding the stunning of animals prior to their slaughter.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration the Government have given to the representations made by farmers and landowners concerning the European Commission's nitrate directive regarding the limit of nitrate per litre of drinking water ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : The main concern of farmers and landowners is that any nitrate limit should be based on the best and most up-to-date scientific and medical advice available. We share that concern and have urged the Commission to take it fully into account in its current review of the drinking water directive (80/778/EEC).
Column 436Separately we published a consultation paper on 18 May inviting farmers, landowners and others to comment on our proposals to designate vulnerable zones under the nitrate directive (91/676/EEC).
Mr. Meale : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if she will set out the legislation applicable to the further fattening of animals, the procedures followed and the point at which live animals exported are reclassified as being the responsibility of another country ;
(2) how the Government interpret the term "further fattening" of live animals for food.
Mr. Soames : The welfare of all livestock kept on agricultural land, whether for fattening or for other farming purposes, is protected by the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968 and by regulations and codes of practice made under that Act. The prevention of cruelty to animals, including farm livestock, is also covered by the Protection of Animals Acts 1911 to 1988.
Provisions of the Animal Health Act 1981 and orders made under it protect the welfare of animals during transport and at markets. This legislation does not distinguish between animals for further fattening and other categories, although the term "further fattening" is normally understood to refer to animals which are intended for food production but are not for immediate slaughter.
The Animal Health Act, either directly or by orders made under it, also requires the notification of certain animal diseases and contains measures to control or prevent the spread of disease. It is the responsibility of each member state to enforce Community and national legislation within its territory and to co-operate with other member states in the exchange of information which will assist enforcement of Community law.