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Mr. Eggar : The UKAEA's financial target for 1994-95 has been set as a 6.7 per cent. return on average capital employed, calculated according to the historic cost convention as modified. The target is based on profit earned on ordinary activities before long-term interest payable and the costs and proceeds of the sale of the UKAEA's facilities services division. I have also approved the UKAEA's capital expenditure programme for the year at £14 million.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on recent developments in the negotiation of the EC dual-use goods regulation.
Mr. Needham : I am pleased to report that, in the last few days, a text of the regulation, and an associated intergovernmental decision in the form of a joint action under the common foreign and security policy, has been agreed by Ministers of all 12 member states. The agreement marks the first step towards a common system for the control of exports of sensitive goods from the Community. The regulation and joint action are intended to apply from 1 January 1995. Starting from that date, it is envisaged that there will be a transitional period to be reviewed within three years, and during which particularly sensitive dual-use goods will continue to be subject to licensing when despatched from one member state to another. During this period, member states will work to create a strong external control fence around the Community. This will be a prerequisite if all member states are to be in a position to honour their non-proliferation commitments. Depending on the success of this strengthening work and progress in harmonising national export control policies, the member states will decide at the end of the transitional period whether to introduce licence-free trade in all dual-use goods within the Community.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the outcome of his review of audit monitoring.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The new arrangements for monitoring registered company auditors were set up under part II of the Companies Act 1989. It was agreed at the time
Column 536with the recognised supervisory bodies that it would be sensible to review those monitoring systems in the light of experience. At the end of last year, therefore, I asked the RSBs to report to me on the effectiveness of their monitoring. I also asked Professor Peter Moizer of Leeds university to provide me with an independent assessment of the state of audit monitoring.
I have now considered these reports. They show that the present system of monitoring is generally working well and that the substantial efforts and resources which the RSBs are devoting to it are bringing to light cases of under-performance, and helping to remedy them where they exist. The first two years' monitoring has also shown that there is a range of performance among audit practices, and that there is scope for improvement among many of those inspected.
Against that background, I have therefore asked the RSBs to put in place a wider range of monitoring methods to ensure that overall, and within present resources, a higher proportion of the registered auditor population is inspected than is currently the case ; to match the monitoring techniques more closely to the widely differing circumstances of practitioners ; and to identify and target those firms where achieving the required standards may present a greater challenge. The RSBs will be submitting these plans to me in the autumn.
These changes will reflect one of the main messages of Professor Moizer's report : the need for the RSBs to adopt greater flexibility in the monitoring methods that they employ. Professor Moizer's report has made a valuable contribution to the development of audit regulation policy, and I am today placing copies of the report in the Libraries of the House.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what progress is being made on drafting the regulations and related documents that will be needed to implement the new arrangements for British Coal pensions after privatisation.
Mr. Eggar : I am today placing in the Libraries of both Houses copies of the latest drafts of the regulations and related documents needed to implement the new arrangements for the mineworkers' pension scheme and British Coal staff superannuation scheme after privatisation. The documents are grouped in six volumes as follows : 1. MPS (Modification) Regulations ; MPS Scheme and Rules ; MPS Guarantee Deed ;
2. SSS (Modification) Regulations ; SSS Scheme and Rules ; SSS Guarantee Deed ;
3. Industry-Wide Coal MPS Regulations ; Industry-Wide Coal MPS Trust Deed and Rules ; Coal Industry (Protected Persons) Pensions Regulations ;
4. Industry-Wide Coal SSS Regulations ; Industry-Wide Coal SSS Trust Deed and Rules ; Coal Industry (Protected Persons) Pensions Regulations ;
5. Memoranda and Articles of Association for MPS Trustees Ltd., Industry- Wide MPS Trustees Ltd. and Industry-Wide MPS Co-ordinator Ltd. ;
6. Memoranda and Articles of Association for Coal SSS Trustees Ltd., Industry-Wide Coal SSS Trustees Ltd., and Industry Wide Coal SSS Co- ordinator Ltd.
These draft documents flow from schedule 5--the pensions schedule--of the Coal Industry Act 1994. The drafts are being prepared in close consultation with the trustee of the MPS and SSS and are nearing finalisation. It
Column 537is currently intended that the modification regulations for the MPS and SSS should be laid before Parliament in August for coming into force in September. The industry-wide MPS and SSS regulations and the Coal Industry (Protected Persons) Pensions Regulations will be laid later.
Earlier working drafts of the documents contained in volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 as listed above were placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 22 February. Drafts of the documents contained in volumes 5 and 6 have not been provided previously and some explanation of their purpose may be helpful.
The new documents, which are also being prepared in close consultation with the trustees of the MPS and SSS, are the memoranda and articles of association of six new companies : two trustee companies for the modified MPS and SSS, two trustee companies for the industry-wide MPS and SSS and two "co-ordinator companies", whose purpose is explained below. All the pension schemes will provide that the duties of their trustee, which as in the present SSS will be a trustee company, shall be exercised through the board of directors of that trustee company. The directors of the trustee companies will thus have duties and responsibilities corresponding to those of individually appointed trustees. Each of the trustee companies for the modified schemes will have equal numbers of directors appointed on behalf of scheme members and the Government respectively. The trustee companies for the industry-wide schemes will have equal numbers of directors appointed on behalf of employees and employers respectively.
Each of the two industry-wide schemes will be established by a specially formed "co-ordinator company" which will exercise a "principal employer" role under the industry-wide schemes. All the directors of the "co- ordinator companies" will be appointed by employers of members of the relevant industry-wide scheme.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects the regulations in respect of the abolition of the small company audit to come into effect.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The regulations have been laid before the House today and will enter into force on 11 August 1994.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on progress being made on the implementation of regional challenge.
Mr. Heseltine : As I announced in the White Paper on
competitiveness, the first round of regional challenge competitions will be held later this year after the European Commission adopts the "Single Programming Documents" which govern structural funds money. A second round will follow three years later.
In agreement with the Commission, prize money for regional challenge will amount to 10per cent. of the European regional development fund for each eligible area plus 10per cent. of that sum from the area's European social fund allocation. This equates to some £160 million across the eligible English and Welsh areas for each of the two rounds of competitions.
Column 538The arrangements for the operation of regional challenge will be set out in guidelines which the Government will draw up in the light of consultations with local partnerships.
Bids will need to satisfy the general criteria for structural fund assistance, and will be assessed against a number of additional criteria, to be finalised in the light of the consultations. They are likely to include :
private sector leverage ;
comprehensive area-based regeneration effects ;
a significant contribution to regional competitiveness ; strategic importance for the region as a whole ; and
contribution to several of the measures specified in the Single Programming Document.
Final decisions on projects will be taken by Ministers on the basis of recommendations from the monitoring committees of local partnerships.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list in full the communications his Department has had with various Departments of the Swedish Government in relation to the investigation regarding Bofors exports to Iraq and all the occasions when officers from his Department liaised with officials of the Swedish Government and Bofors ; and what action any official in his Department took with regard to Bofors.
Mr. Needham : [holding answer 19 July 1994] : I am not aware of any such contacts.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) how many special advisers who left his Department in each of the last five years became (a) management consultants and (b) joined a firm of consultants.
(2) if he will publish the names of the employers joined by special advisers who left his Department in each of the last five years.
Mr. Heseltine : [holding answers 20 July 1994] : There is no requirement for special advisers to provide details of their employers after leaving Government service.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many special advisers have (a) joined and (b) left his Department in each of the last five years.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 20 July 1994] : The information requested, as far as it is available, is as follows :
Name |Date of |End of |Appointment |Appointment ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tony Allen |21 March 1994 |- Dr. Walter Eltis | 1 January 1993 |- Dr. Alan Kemp |28 May 1992 |- Lady Strathnaver |21 April 1992 |- Lance Anisfeld |21 April 1991 |10 April 1992 Jeremy Mayhew |24 September 1990|10 April 1992 Mrs. Katherine Ramsey |25 July 1989 |14 July 1990 Michael Simmonds |23 October 1989 |30 July 1990 Charles Hendry | 1 September 1988|24 July 1989 Peter Luff |28 September 1988|24 July 1989
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 12 July, Official Report, column 509, what view the British Government have offered on whether the legal basis for the European Commission's proposed directive defining the set of services which may be reserved at national level should be article 90 or article 100A of the treaty of Rome.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 20 July 1994] : We have made clear to the European Commission our view that it would be preferable for all directives implementing the single market in postal services to have as their legal basis article 100A of the treaty of Rome. We accept, however, that if satisfactory progress under article 100A proves impossible, the Commission could resort to article 90 for a directive setting limits to the services that may be reserved at national level.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what access the proposed new water boards will have to personal details of water users including household size or income, which is currently held by regional councils.
Sir Hector Monro : I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mrs. Fife : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list from 1991-92 onwards those health boards and NHS trusts who have appealed to him against local authorities' refusal of planning permission for their intended use of surplus land ; what was the total acreage involved in each case ; and which appeals were approved by himself.
Mr. Stewart : The information requested is set out in the table. Each of the appeals detailed were delegated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland for determination by a Scottish Office inquiry reporter.
Appeal received |Health board/NHS |Site area |Determination |trust ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- |Lothian health board 21 November 1991 |Northern General hospital, |1.21 hectares |Appeal sustained |Edinburgh |(3 acres) |2 July 1992 |Greater Glasgow health board 12 November 1993 |Broomhill hospital, |1.21 hectares |Not yet determined |Kirkintilloch |(3 acres) 3 June 1994 |Leverndale hospital, Glasgow|1.21 hectares |Not yet determined |(3 acres)
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will detail the publicity budget for each Scottish Office Department for each of the past five years.
Mr. Lang : I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland 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. Stewart : The Government recognise the crucial role played by small firms in the UK economy. The Government help small firms by keeping inflation and interest rates low and by reducing legislative and administrative burdens. The Scottish Office Industry Department also provides direct assistance where
Column 540appropriate including the regional enterprise grant scheme which has elements for investment and innovation projects, and regional selective assistance.
Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and their network of 22 local enterprise companies have at their disposal a wide range of measures through which they are able to support new and established small businesses. A significant recent initiative by SE has been the establishment with local authorities, chambers of commerce and other partners of the Scottish business shop network in order to provide easy access to first-stop business advice. Actual and planned performance indicators for the range of Scottish Enterprise network activity, including advice to businesses and new business start-ups, are published annually in the annual reports of these organisations and in the expenditure plans for the Departments of my right hon. Friend.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to what central and local government sources of information the proposed new water companies will have access in fixing water charges, taking into account the ability to pay.
Sir Hector Monro : I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the estimated saving to the NHS in Scotland from the abolition of free NHS sight tests in 1989.
Mr. Stewart : We estimate that the savings made to April 1994 as a result of the restriction of the categories of people eligible for an NHS sight test in 1989 were between £36 million and £39 million in cash terms.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will promote the purchase of cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly products by advice to his purchasing departments and to local authorities.
Mr. Lang : My Department published a policy statement on green housekeeping in January 1992 and has subsequently taken a number of initiatives to increase its use of products which are environmentally friendly. A review of the 1992 policy is now being undertaken with a view to further promoting the use of environmentally friendly products within the Scottish Office.
It is for local authorities to determine their own purchasing policies. But the Government seek to encourage them to adopt a systematic approach to the management of the environmental impact of their activities. Accordingly, my Department ran two workshops for local authorities in February to promote guidance published in October 1993 on a voluntary eco-management and audit scheme. In September 1993, my Department published a model local environmental charter in consultation with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the circulation of the information services division of the Common Services Agency of the NHS Scotland document, "NHS Patient Treatment and Waiting Time Bulletin".
Mr. Stewart : A copy of the "NHS Patient Treatment and Waiting Time Bulletin" is sent to the following :
Health board general managers
Unit general managers
Directors of finance
Directors of public health
NHS trust chief executives
NHS trust medical directors
Health service information and records officers
Senior officers of the Scottish Office Home and Health Department Privilege Libraries, including House of Commons Library The press
Private organisations and members of the public
Other NHS officers
Members of Parliament
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now announce the conclusions of the Forestry Review Group ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend on 19 July 1994 at columns 177-191.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table to show for each European Community nation the sums currently paid in grant per hectare in respect of planting (a) conifers and (b) broadleaf trees ; what changes are proposed for future years for such schemes ; and what items are grant aided.
Sir Hector Monro : There is no common forestry policy in the European Community and member states provide financial support for forestry in many different ways. It is therefore not possible to provide the information requested.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement before the summer recess about his proposals for the future of the Forestry Commission.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he now expects to make a statement on the forestry review ; and if he will then specify any changes in incentives for planting trees.
Sir Hector Monro : I refer the hon. Members to the statement made by my right hon. Friend on 19 July at columns. 177-91.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish, for each local authority's housing revenue account in 1979, 1984 and 1989 (a) the amount of capital debt, (b) the loan charges and (c) the rent burden per house per annum based on the best on estimate available of the housing stock in each of these years.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many fatal accident inquiries were held in each procurator fiscal area in Scotland during the last financial year.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information is as follows.
Fatal Accident Inquiries Held Financial Year 1993-94 |Numbers ------------------------------ Aberdeen |17 Airdrie |0 Alloa |3 Arbroath |0 Ayr |3 Banff |2 Campbeltown |0 Cupar |5 Dingwall |0 Dornoch |0 Dumbarton |7 Dumfries |2 Dundee |3 Dunfermline |0 Dunoon |2 Duns |0 Edinburgh |9 Elgin |1 Falkirk |2 Forfar |0 Fort William |0 Glasgow |22 Greenock |3 Haddington |0 Hamilton |11 Inverness |4 Jedburgh |2 Kilmarnock |2 Kirkcaldy |5 Kirkcudbright |0 Kirkwall |1 Lanark |5 Lerwick |0 Linlithgow |1 Lochmaddy |0 Oban |1 Paisley |13 Peebles |0 Perth |5 Peterhead |2 Portree |0 Rothesay |0 Selkirk |0 Stirling |4 Stonehaven |2 Stornoway |0 Stranraer |3 Tain |0 Wick |1 |------- Total |143
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the revaluation of non-domestic properties on the retail, commercial and manufacturing sectors of industry ;
(2) if he will make a statement on the revaluation of non-domestic properties in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart : Comprehensive estimates of the outcome of revaluation are not yet available. Once they are, my right hon. Friend will consider their implications for the setting of 1995-96 rate poundages and other related matters.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from industry or business organisations about the revaluation of non-domestic properties in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart : Since the beginning of June I have received five letters on this issue.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss the revaluation of non-domestic properties.
Mr. Stewart : Neither my right hon. Friend nor I have any plans to meet COSLA specially to discuss this issue. It is, however, one of the issues that may be discussed in the forum of our regular meetings with COSLA to discuss local government finance matters. The next such meeting is due to be held on 22 July.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is his latest estimate of the number of persons whose pay and conditions are covered by the Scottish agricultural wages board, for each region of Scotland ;
(2) what is his latest estimate of the total number of persons whose pay and conditions are covered by the Scottish agricultural wages board.
Sir Hector Monro : At 1 June 1993 the number of persons employed on agricultural holdings by region and Scotland was :