Mr. Peter Atkinson : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans his Department has to place some of the legal work it currently performs out to competitive tendering ; and in what areas.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he expects to be able to reply to the letter of 21 June from the hon. Member for South Hams and the letter from Brooke Blain Russell and Quinn, reference LB/DH/COAT40011, concerning the case of Mrs. Coates.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) pursuant to his answer of 11 July, Official Report, column 393 , what plans he has to order (a) increases in the fees for civil business and (b) cuts in his Department's spending to make up for the £52 million shortfall in predicted income from civil business for the current financial year ;
(2) what is the total sum that he is seeking to recover from individual circuits in the current financial year ;
(3) how much, by way of running costs, he is seeking to recover from each individual circuit in the current financial year ; (4) pursuant to his answer of 11 July, Official Report, column 393 , what effect the £52 million shortfall in projected income from civil business in the current financial year will have on (a) the circuit court building programme, (b) the magistrates courts building programme, (c) the number of hours sat by recorders and assistant recorders and (d) the number and the length of time for which courtrooms are not in use.
Mr. John M. Taylor : We plan to meet the forecast shortfall by a combination of fee increases and expenditure cuts. A package of county court fee increases, worth an estimated £11 million this year, is in hand. We are monitoring changes in income and expenditure closely, and drawing up detailed plans to cover the remaining gap. It is too early to say what the extent of the expenditure cuts will be, where they will fall, or what the effects of them will be.
Mr Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of ministerial exhortation on the pay and other benefits of directors of electricity and water companies in 1994.
However, remuneration of directors is a matter for the judgment of companies and their shareholders, within the framework of established company law, and reflecting affordability and individual and corporate performance.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Chingford of 11 July, Official Report, column 674, which are the other countries involved in nuclear proliferation to which he referred in his answer.
The Prime Minist : Both Iraq and North Korea are countries of nuclear proliferation concern. Both states have breached their obligations under the International Atomic Energy Authority full scope safeguards agreements. We are also concerned by reports that Iran may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and we continue to emphasise the importance we attach to all states party abiding by their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. We also take very seriously reports that India, Israel and Pakistan may possess nuclear weapons. We urge these countries to allay suspicions about their nuclear programmes by acceding to the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) of 11 July, Official Report, column 376, if he will set out the reasons why he will not make it his policy that all Government Departments provide substantive replies to questions rather than referring them to the Library.
Mr. Radice : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what surveys of the views, opinions and attitudes of the staff of his Departments have been carried out in the last three years ; and if he will place copies of the findings in the Library.
Mr. Nelson : The Treasury, Customs and Excise, Inland Revenue, Central Statistical Office and the Royal Mint have conducted separate staff attitude surveys in the last three years ; copies of the summaries of the findings have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many visits to the United Kingdom were made by foreign tourists, and how many tourism trips abroad were made by United Kingdom residents, in each of the last five years.
Column 4member firms, appointed representatives of member firms and individuals appointed by member firms as financial advisers or company representatives. The PIA is considering whether it should enter into a direct contractual relationship with relevant individuals working for member firms.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Securities and Investments Board concerning restitution proceedings under section 61 of the Financial Services Act 1986 to obtain compensation for investors who suffered from unsuitable advice on home income schemes.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times the former right hon. Member for Blaby, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, informed Parliament and its Committees that he was shadowing the deutschmark ; and on what dates.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Securities and Investments Board and the Personal Investment Authority concerning the impact of regulatory costs on the competitive edge of retail financial services and on the creation, continuity and expansion of small firms which offer independent financial advice.
Mr. Nelson : In order to give the Securities and Investments Board leave to recognise the Personal Investment Authority as a self-regulatory organisation, the Financial Services Act required the Treasury to consider whether the PIA's rules, regulations, statements of principle and codes of practice had, or were intended or likely to have, the effect of restricting, distorting or preventing competition to any significant extent. I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 22 June at columns 208-9 on that point.
In addition, the Securities and Investments Board is required by the Act to have satisfactory arrangements for taking account of the cost of complying with statements of principle, rules regulations and codes of practice which it proposes to make. The review of the role and functions of the board, "Making the Two Tier System Work", published in May 1993, extends this commitment to oversight of the cost effectiveness of the whole system of financial regulation under the Act. SIB intends shortly to set up a cost of compliance unit. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor meets the chairman of SIB from time to time to discuss these and other matters. I have no hesitation in confirming the Government's appreciation of the value of independent financial advice.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what commitments were made at the Naples economic summit of 8 to 10 July on the sale of part of the International Monetary Fund's gold reserves to assist debt relief for developing countries ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nelson : Decisions on the sale of the IMF's gold reserves require an 85 per cent. majority of the board of governors of the IMF. No commitments were therefore made at the Naples G7 economic summit.
The G7 did agree to explore ways of mobilising more effectively the existing resources of the International Financial Institutions to respond to, among others, the needs of the poorest most indebted countries. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House on the Naples summit, sales of IMF gold could be one way of helping such countries.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the comparative fee scales chargeable for independent financial advisers as required by FIMBRA, IMRO, SIB and PIA ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nelson : For a typical firm of independent financial advisers which has two registered individuals, a gross income of £75,000 does not act as a fund manager and does not handle clients' money or investments, the figures would be as in the table.
|£ ---------------------- FIMBRA<1> |1,260 IMRO<2> |2,633 SIB<2> |3,025 <1>1994-95 figures. <2>1993-94 figures.
The large majority of independent financial advisers are currently regulated by FIMBRA. The PIA has yet to settle its fees for 1994-95. Existing fee structures will be retained for that year. The PIA proposes to increase aggregate fees by 18 per cent. compared with the fees that would otherwise have been incurred by members in 1994-95.
Mr. Dorrell : Expenditure on the purchase of new public transport vehicles is already entitled to tax writing down allowances of 25 per cent. per annum on a reducing balance basis. This allows almost 70 per cent. of the cost to be written off over the first three to four years of the vehicle's life.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the achievements of (a) his policies and (b) his Department in helping small businesses over the last 12 months as against the previous 12 months ; if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring ; and if he will set out his targets to help small businesses in the next year.
Mr. Nelson : The Government's overall economic objective is to promote sustained economic growth, by establishing a stable microeconomic environment. Small businesses stand to benefit from such conditions.
Particular Budget measures aimed at helping small businesses to become established and grow include :
implementing a simpler and more efficient regime for assessing personal tax ;
proposals for aligning income tax and national insurance contributions ;
simplifying the audit requirement for most small companies ; relief on capital gains where proceeds are reinvested in qualifying unquoted trading companies ;
extension of CGT retirement relief ;
reduction in employers' NICS ;
protection from costs of changes to statutory sick pay ; halving of real increases in business rates for businesses in transition to higher rates ;
increasing the limits for small companies rate of corporation tax by 20 per cent ;
consultation on a new type of investment, a venture capital trust, which will channel savings specifically into unquoted trading companies ;
the introduction of a new scheme to replace the business expansion scheme, the enterprise investment scheme, to encourage direct equity investment in unquoted trading companies.
In the recent competitiveness White Paper, the Government also announced a number of measures to combat late payment, a problem which has particularly affected small businesses in recent years. The Chancellor is also currently conducting, with the help of the Financial Secretary and myself, an examination of external finance to business to identify whether there are any market imperfections which may distort the flows of finance, and if there are, to consider how present arrangements can be improved.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Government now intend to introduce legislation to implement the own resources decision agreed at the Edinburgh summit of December 1992 and announced in the last Gracious Speech.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the public sector borrowing requirement was accounted for by payments of unemployment benefit and redundancy payments in each of the years 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94.
Mr. Portillo : The table sets out the latest data for payments of unemployment benefit and the PSBR in each of the years 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94. No data are collected centrally on public sector redundancy payments.
|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 --------------------------------------------------------- Payments of unemployment benefit £ million |1,642 |1,801 |1,786 Public sector borrowing requirement |13,879 |36,578 |45,937
It is not meaningful to express total general Government expenditure or any of its components as a percentage of the PSBR since the PSBR is the difference between expenditure and receipts.
Sir David Knox : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to "Twelve Years of Channel 4" to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 14 November to Friday 18 November.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will publish the results of the survey into child care in the parliamentary estate.
Mr. Beith : Copies of the report of the survey of potential demand for child care facilities are now available from the Vote Office. The report was prepared by RSL in February 1994 in consultation with the Department of Finance and Administration and the Administration Committee. The House of Commons Commission has agreed that it should be made available to assist the House in considering a child care policy.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list those occasions since 1979 when a Bill that has been announced in the Gracious Speech has not subsequently been introduced in that Session.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Lord President of the Council, pursuant to his oral answer of 5 July, Official Report, column 144, whether the Conservative party will return the donation received from the Palumbo family trust if it proves to have been misappropriated.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the current membership of the Welsh Economic Council together with the cost associated with servicing it and remuneration or expenses paid to its members in respect of their duties.
Mr. Redwood : Current members of the Welsh Economic Council are : Professor John Andrews, Ms Noreen Bray, Professor Tim Congdon, Mr. Richard Cuthbertson, Mr. Nigel Guy, Mr. Carl Hadley, OBE, Mr. David Jenkins, MBE, Mr. Tony Lewis, Councillor John Pembridge, Mr. David Rowe-Beddoe, Mr. John Troth, OBE and Councillor Tom Williams. Membership carries no remuneration but there are arrangements for reimbursement of travelling expenses and any necessary subsistence or additional child care costs incurred, in line with Welsh Office rates. To date, a total of £138.60 has been paid in expenses to members. Other people are invited to attend individual meetings to bring their expertise to bear on the chosen subject.
The cost associated with servicing the council, including members' expenses, will be met from within a budget of £9,921 for the current financial year.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which management consultants have been employed by his Department to assist in the assessment of applications for trust status ; how much each was paid ; and how many assessments they undertook, in each wave.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the assistance being given by Britain and the European Union to support the Palestinian authority in Gaza and Jericho.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In January 1994 my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary announced our intention to give, over the three years 1994-95 to 1996-97, £70 million in aid for the Palestinians and in support of the peace process. Most of it will be channelled through the programmes of the European Community, but a significant proportion, currently £6 million a year, will go through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The rest will be bilateral technical cooperation.
On 8 July my right hon. Friend announced a further £5 million of bilateral assistance for the new Palestinian administration this year. This is made up of £3 million for immediate running costs and £2 million for increased technical assistance.
Part of these funds will go to the Palestinian police force to help in the maintenance of law and order. Priorities for British assistance are good government--for example, legal infrastructure, elections and the police, finance and private enterprise, health and water.
During the period 1994-98, the EC will provide an assistance package worth 500 mecu or £388 million, half of which will be grant and half loans through the European Investment Bank. Over 50 mecu has been approved this year, including 10 mecu for housing, 10 mecu for education, 10 mecu for police, 10 mecu for the rehabilitation of detainees, 8 mecu for credit institutions, 5 mecu for technical assistance, 1.5 mecu for statistical support and 1.5 mecu to support the elections. The EC is also contributing the UNRWA over 30 mecu or £23.5 million per annum for the period 1993- 94. In April EU Foreign Ministers adopted a joint action plan in support of the middle east peace process, focusing on support for the police, elections and election monitoring and an international presence in the occupied territories.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what administrative impediments there are in the way of the giving of assistance by Britain and the European Union to the Palestinian authority in Gaza and Jericho ; and how they are being resolved.