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Column 638announced in April a package of measures, to be introduced in October, designed to improve service and reduce costs by an estimated £148,000 annually. The package includes ending the present block booking arrangements. As waiting times for driving tests have continued to fall, the inflexibilities of allowing certain training bodies to reserve blocks of driving tests, without naming candidates or paying the test fee, has become/becoming increasingly uneconomic. Block booking involved DSA operating a parallel booking system with the attendant costs having to be recovered from candidates via the test fee. Also, it was unfair as well as inefficient as it prevented cancelled appointments being used by other prospective candidates and meant that examiner time was wasted, reducing productivity and further increasing costs. The revised arrangement will remove an uncompetitive practice which has been the subject of a recent query from the Office of Fair Trading. Trainers will still be able to plan courses and book tests on behalf of trainees, if that is what their pupils prefer, on payment of the relevant fee.
You asked about the estimated demand for and costs to public funds of motorcycle tests for the next three years, the cost of providing examiners with protective equipment and the type and cost of motorcycles used for tests.
The estimated demand for motorcycle tests is between 80,000 and 90, 000 for each of the financial years 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97. The Agency is currently conducting a tendering exercise for motorcycles to replace the present lease hire contract. Also a new specification for motorcycle clothing is being considered by the Agency with a view to inviting tenders for supply in Autumn 1994. The precise cost of providing the motorcycle testing service, and the types of bikes to be used, during the next three years will not be known until after the tendering exercises.
You asked for the number of motorcycle and car tests conducted at the Evesham driving test centre over the last year and the previous three years as well as how many days a week examiners were employed at the centre. The figures are as follows :
Year |Cars |Motorcycles ------------------------------------------------------------- April 1990 to March 1991 |2,179 |n/a April 1991 to March 1992 |1,906 |n/a April 1992 to March 1993 |1,934 |155 April 1993 to March 1994 |1,760 |221 Before April 1992 separate figures for motorcycle tests were not kept for outstation centres such as Evesham, where no driving examiners were permanently based. Examiners based at Redditch have been detached to the Evesham centre for between 2 to 4 days per week, depending on demand.
Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his Department's policy in respect of the proportion of the jobs created by the construction of the Jubilee line extention to be taken up by members of the communities adjacent to the extension.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research evidence known to his Department demonstrates that the imposition of a ban on coaches using the third lane on motorways would reduce the risk of accidents.
Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress has been made in awarding three-year licences to training and enterprise councils ; against what criteria TEC bids are being assessed ; and if he will make a statement.
Miss Widdecombe : The prospectus which launched the licensing process for training and enterprise councils was published at the end of May. TECs have between now and 1997 to demonstrate that they have met the criteria. We expect that the first licences will be awarded with effect from April 1995.
The criteria cover TEC's corporate plans, strategic impact, programme performance and internal capability.
A copy of the prospectus, "The New Contract Framework : 3 Year Licences", has been placed in the Library.
Miss Widdecombe : Records held centrally on the numbers and proportion of training and enterprise council chairmen, chief executives and board members in England and Wales who are women show the following :
|Number |Proportion |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------- Chairmen |3 |3.6 Chief Executive |11 |13.4 Board Members |120 |12.4
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under which treaty provisions Cyprus is prohibited from joining the European Union ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat Amory : Under article 0 of the treaty on European Union any European state may apply to become a member of the Union. There is no prohibition in this treaty, or in the treaty of Rome, on Cyprus joining. But there are clearly difficulties in its doing so while the inter -communal dispute remains unresolved. The Council will review Cyprus's application early in 1995 in the light of developments in the inter- communal process. The United Kingdom supports Cyprus's membership application and the Commission's talks with Cyprus to familiarise it with the EC's existing legislation.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the derogations entered by the United Kingdom Government from the Council of Europe recommendations that pertain to the use of personal data ; and what was the reason in each case for such a derogation being entered.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The United Kingdom has entered the following reservations. In each case the reservations were entered because the provisions in question were inconsistent with United Kingdom law, policy or practice.
Recommendation No. R(83)10 on the protection of personal data used for scientific research and statistics (adopted 23/9/1983) : the United Kingdom reserved its right not to comply with the recommendation as far as it relates to manually processed data. Recommendation No. R(85)20 on the protection of personal data used for the purposes of direct marketing (adopted 25/10/1985) : the United Kingdom reserved its right to comply or not with the first sentence of paragraph 2.4, the second sentence of paragraph 3.1 and with paragraph 3.3 as a whole.
Recommendation No. R(86)1 on the protection of personal data used for social security purposes (adopted 23/1/1986) : the United Kingdom reserved its right to comply or not with the second sub-paragraph of paragraph 1.2, the second sentence of paragraph 3.3 and paragraph 5. Recommendation No. R(87)15 regulating the use of personal data in the police sector (adopted 17/9/1987) : the United Kingdom reserved its right to comply or not with principles 2.2 and 2.4.
Recommendation No. R(90)19 on the protection of personal data used for payment and other related operations (adopted 13/9/1990) : the United Kingdom reserved its right to comply or not with paragraph 3.3, 3.4, 5.1.c and 7.1.
Recommendation No. R(91)10 on the communication to third parties of personal data held by public bodies (adopted 9/9/1991) : the United Kingdom reserved its right to comply or not with principles 6.2 and 6.3 paragraph 2.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the United Kingdom is taking as a member of the Security Council to ensure that safe areas are established across Rwanda other than those on the border areas and in Kigali.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Kingdom supported Security Council resolutions 918 and 925 expanding the United Nations Aid Mission in Rwanda force and mandating it to provide support and protection for civilians at risk. Since the situation on the ground is constantly changing, Security Council resolution 925 gives the force commander the flexibility to deploy his force in the way that he considers most likely to enable UNAMIR to fulfil its mandate.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the United Kingdom and other Security Council members are taking to ensure that those responsible for the genocide in Rwanda are held accountable under the 1948 United Nations genocide convention.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The United Kingdom has welcomed the appointment by the special session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on 24-25 May of a special rapporteur. His task will be to
Column 641gather information on acts which may constitute breaches of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity, including acts of genocide, and report to the Secretary-General.
The special session also affirmed that all persons who commit or authorise violations of human rights or international humanitarian law are individually responsible and accountable for those violations and that the international community will exert every effort to bring those responsible to justice, while affirming that the primary responsibility for bringing perpetrators to justice rests with national judicial system.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he supports calls for human rights monitors to be deployed as part of the United Nations force in Rwanda ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Kingdom supported the adoption of the recent resolution by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which, inter alia, called for human rights field officers to be deployed in Rwanda. Proposals for a deployment have not yet been made.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what request the United Kingdom Government have received for logistical assistance with the deployment of UNAMIR troops in Rwanda ; and what was their response.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The United Kingdom, along with other United Nations member states, has received a request to provide logistical support. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs informed the House on 15 June, Official Report, column 615, we are keen and ready to provide such support and are looking with the United Nations at ways in which we can contribute, for example by providing trucks. Since the start of the crisis in Rwanda we have given over £11 million in humanitarian aid.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the emergency session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which met on 24 and 25 May to discuss Rwanda.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We welcomed the outcome of the special session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to discuss Rwanda, and in particular its decision to appoint a special rapporteur to investigate the human rights situation, assisted by a team of human rights field officers. We look forward to receiving the first report of the special rapporteur by 24 June.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the countries which have responded positively to the United Nations Secretary General's appeal for troops to augment United Nations UNAMIR in Rwanda.
Column 642the addition 5,500 United Nations troops to Rwanda as agreed under United Nations Security Council resolution 918.
Mr. Hogg : The Secretary-General's report to the Security Council of 31 May 1994 outlined a three-stage deployment schedule. The first stage, the strengthening of the Ghanaian battalion in Kigali and the deployment of a number of military observers is to begin by mid-July 1994. Phase two, the deployment of one mechanised and one motorised battalion, will take place in close synchronisation with phase 1. The timing of phase three, the deployment of an additional two battalions, will depend upon how the initial deployment of the force unfolds.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many job offers were reported by staff in his Department under the requirements of the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments in each of the last 10 years by (a) staff of grade 3 and above, (b) staff below grade 3, (c) staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, under section 15 of the rules of 1 February 1993 and (d) staff in other sections, under section 14 ; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
(d(ii)) 183 (One application granted but job offer not taken up).
Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects are awaiting trial having been in custody for over one year since arrest in (a) other member states of the European Union, (b) Belgium, (c) Denmark (d) France, (e) Germany, (f) Greece, (g) Italy, (h) the Netherlands, (i) Portugal and (j) Spain.
|Numbers ----------------------------------- (a) Belgium |1 (b) Denmark |0 (c) France |10 (d) Germany |4 (e) Greece |0 (f) Italy |0 (g) Netherlands |5 (h) Portugal |4 (i) Spain |40 (j) European Union |64
Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects are awaiting trial having been in custody for over two years since arrest in (a) other member states
Column 643of the European Union, (b) Belgium, (c) Denmark, (d) France, (e) Germany, (f) Greece, (g) Italy, (h) the Netherlands, (i) Portugal and (j) Spain.
|Numbers ----------------------------------- (a) European Union |15 (b) Belgium |0 (c) Denmark |0 (d) France |2 (e) Germany |0 (f) Greece |0 (g) Italy |0 (h) Netherlands |0 (i) Portugal |0 (j) Spain |13
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what instructions are given to security staff in his departmental offices in London for dealing with (a) those sleeping rough in departmental doorways and (b) beggars in the vicinity ; and how many problems have been experienced with each category in the last three months.
Mr. Goodlad : No specific instructions are given to FCO security staff for dealing with anyone sleeping rough in doorways of our buildings or with beggars. We have had no problems with either category.
Mr. Lidington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of the record of member states in implementing EC directives ; and how many times the Commission took member states to court in the years 1983 to 1993.
Member States |Percentage of |Number of |Directives |31 December 1993 |1989-1993 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- United Kingdom |92.3 |10 Belgium |90.7 |48 Denmark |95.4 |5 Germany |88.9 |19 Greece |88.1 |37 Spain |90.1 |20 France |89.7 |21 Ireland |88.7 |17 Italy |88.9 |102 Luxembourg |90.7 |39 Netherlands |92.4 |24 Portugal |89.2 |6
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Agriculture Act 1993 gave to me and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales the task of deciding on a milk marketing reorganisation scheme submitted by the England and Wales milk marketing board. Since receiving the board's application last October we have conducted two formal rounds of consultation and held discussions with the European Commission, the board itself, the Dairy Trade Federation and other parties whose interests are at stake. We have given full consideration to the many and complex issues involved as required by the Act.
I am able to announce today that we have informed the board of the modifications which we considered necessary to enable us to grant its application for approval. The board has agreed to them and we have granted approval. The industry is therefore poised to take a great step forward.
Under the now approved reorganisation scheme the existing milk marketing scheme will come to an end on 1 November 1994. From that date, producers will be free to sell their milk wherever they wish, while dairies and other purchasers will be free to buy direct from producers. The present system of managed markets and end-use pricing will be replaced by the normal disciplines of a competitive market. Our industry will have greater freedom to compete on level terms within the wider European market.
It is evident that the full benefits of competition could more rapidly be achieved if Community milk quotas were abolished so that production could expand as the reward for success. This remains an important Government objective but not one which can be accomplished overnight. In the meantime I shall continue to press at next week's Council of Agriculture Ministers for milk quota to be made tradeable between producers in different member states.
Up to 1 November 1994, which is vesting day under the board's reorganisation scheme, the requirement for producers to sell their milk to the board remains in force. But after 1 November those producers who continue to want the security of collective marketing will have a number of options. They can form their own marketing groups, as many are already doing in anticipation of the ending of the milk marketing scheme ; they can form an association with a particular purchaser ; or they can join Milk Marque, the board's successor marketing body under the reorganisation scheme. The scheme provides for Milk Marque to inherit certain assets of the MMB, including a sum of cash, property, staff and laboratories. It will not inherit Dairy Crest, which is to be floated on the stock market as an independent company. Nor will it inherit Genus, which is to become an independent company with all the shares distributed to producers. National Milk Records will remain with the residuary body for an initial period pending decisions on its longer-term future. The total market value of the assets to be passed to Milk Marque is around £39 million. In considering whether this transfer was acceptable, my right hon. Friend and I had to
Column 645balance two considerations in particular. The first was the importance that we both attach to ensuring, in the interests of producers, that Milk Marque has a sound financial base. The second was the need to ensure fairness as between those producers who join the new body and those who do not. We are satisfied that the outcome is a satisfactory balance. Milk Marque will have an adequate asset base but will be required to issue interest-bearing certificates of entitlement so that producers who choose not to join will receive their full share of the value of transferred assets.
I know that many purchasers are opposed to the establishment of a body such as Milk Marque which may have a large share of the market for raw milk in England and Wales. My right hon. Friend and I have considered Milk Marque's proposed trading practices, as we are required to by the Act, and have concluded that, taking account of the amendments made by the board to its October proposals, it does, indeed, take account of the interests of purchasers. Many, if not most, of the fears of the purchasers relate to the possibility of Milk Marque's abusing its market power in a discriminatory or otherwise unfair manner. Milk Marque will, however, be aware that it is under continuous scrutiny and will be well advised to conduct itself in such a way that there are no grounds for complaint. My right hon. Friend and I look to the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission to monitor the situation closely and to act decisively if the need should arise.
A great deal now has to be accomplished in a short time. Producers who have already signed contracts with Milk Marque, and wish to reconsider, have two weeks from today, that is until 30 June, to give Milk Marque written notice in order to secure release from their contract without paying compensation. I would however urge all producers to come to a decision on who they are going to sell to, and sign up, by four weeks from now. That will give the dairy companies, Milk Marque and others the ability to plan their sales and purchases from 1 November with the maximum of confidence. That is very much in the interests of consumers. It is also important for the flotation prospects of Dairy Crest, in which producers have a particular interest under the scheme.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I will be laying regulations before Parliament to establish the constitution of the residuary MMB which will deal with the MMB's remaining rights and obligations on behalf of producers after vesting day. It is our intention that the residuary body should be required to have due regard to the financial interests of milk producers. It will be answerable to them and not to Government. There will be a strong producer presence on the new board.
I am pleased to be able to announce also that we shall be laying an order to establish a milk development council for England and Wales. This is in response to proposals submitted by the National Farmers Union. The object of the council will be to continue certain functions of the MMB, such as the financing of reseach and development, which would otherwise be likely to lapse. In order to establish how much support for such a body exists among producers my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and I recently carried out a postal ballot of producers in Great Britain. In England and Wales 67 per cent. of the forms sent out were returned. Some 74 per cent. of those voting favoured the establishment of a development council. The Secretary of State for Wales and I conclude that this meets the requirement for
Column 646substantial support set out in the relevant Act. We hope that a development council will be operational from 1 November or soon after. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is considering whether Scotland should join in.
The granting of approval of the board's reorganisation scheme opens up the prospects of a brighter future. I am pleased, therefore, that the board has agreed to take an important step towards clearing up some of the unfinished business of the past by setting up an arbitration mechanism to deal with claims by certain producers against payment of levy on direct sales of low- fat milk from 1 January 1992. This follows the decision of the European Court of Justice in March that low-fat milk comes within the board's purchasing monopoly. It has been argued that some producers have claims, based in particular on the principle of legitimate expectations, which should limit their levy liability. The board's decision is intended to establish a more flexible and less expensive means of resolving the issues than would be available through the courts. I very much welcome it.
Returning to the board's reorganisation scheme, the Act requires the principles of the approved scheme to be published. We have already published more detail of the proposed scheme than the Act requires in our March consultation document. We are now depositing in the Library of the House two further documents setting out the effects of amendments to the reorganisation scheme submitted by the MMB since March and of the modifications proposed by myself and the Secretary of State and accepted by the board.
Mr. Gapes : To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee what plans he has to improve facilities for children of hon. Members and visitors including changing facilities for babies in the House and its out-buildings.
Mr. Ray Powell : I understand that child care facilities for Members and staff are at present under consideration by the Administration Committee and the House of Commons Commission. The Accommodation and Works Committee would be prepared to examine accommodation requirements arising from any decisions that are taken.
The provision of facilities for the families of Members was among the bids put forward for space in the phase 2 building. The Committee has yet to decide to what extent that request can be accommodated within the limited space available. No change is at present contemplated for the families room. I am confident that the issue of changing facilities for babies will be considered in the context of any planned development of appropriate accommodation.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many job offers were reported by staff in his Department under the requirements of the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments in each year since its establishment by (a) staff of grade 3 and above, (b)
Column 647staff below grade 3, (c) staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, under section 15 of the rules of 1 February 1993 and (d) staff in other sections, under section 14 ; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
Mr. Sproat : The Department of National Heritage has been in existence only since April 1992. To date no job offers have been reported by staff in this Department under the requirements of the rules on acceptance of outside appointments.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage 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. Sproat : My Department has not issued any consultation documents where the intention has been to make individual responses available to the public. If such an occasion arose, the Department would make it clear that the response would be made available unless the respondent wished it to remain confidential.
Mr. Sproat : Gross income, excluding VAT, from admission charges to Buckingham palace state apartments in 1993 was £2.277 million and from admission charges to Windsor castle between 4 January and 31 March 1994 was £0.754 million. Net income from Buckingham palace state apartments and from charges for the precincts of Windsor castle go towards the cost of the restoration of Windsor castle.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage 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. Sproat : Parliamentary counsel does not draft amendments on behalf of private Members but on the instructions of Departments acting on the authority of Ministers. On that authority, amendments were drafted by parliamentary counsel on instructions from my Department and subsequently made available following the Government's decision to support Lord Perth's Treasure Bill.
Mr. Hain : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assistance his Department has given, directly or indirectly, to the sport of rugby union in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sproat [holding answer 14 June 1994] : None. The main providers of sports facilities in the public sector are local authorities, a number of whom have been awarded the charter mark for their sports and leisure provision. The Sports Council is working towards a set of charter standards for its own services.
16. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many equines were exported from Northern Ireland for human consumption in the past year ; what was their value ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : There are no exports of equines for human consumption from Northern Ireland direct to Europe. Horses are exported to both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland but there is no information available on the number or value of Northern Ireland horses which may be consigned to licensed abattoirs in either country. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : I periodically meet members of the Irish Government to discuss matters of mutual interest. The last such meeting was with Mr. Spring on 23 May. Our discussions are necessarily confidential but are generally the subject of a joint statement at their conclusion.
21. Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the talks he has had with the Irish Government relating to a constitutional framework for Northern Ireland.