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Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what will be the role of the Government accountancy service and Government information service if proposals to delegate below the senior civil service structure contained in the White Paper, "Continuity and Change", are implemented.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: Under the proposals on delegation set out in the White Paper, "The Civil Service: Continuity and Change", the five centrally managed groups -- the Government Accountancy Service, the Government Information Service, the Government Legal Service, the Government Economic Service and the Government Statistical Service -- would continue to provide a cental service to the professional specialists in each group. The exact services -- and degree of centralisation -- will vary from group to group, as they do now, but may include recruitment, training, career development and the organisation of postings.

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether all departmental and agency staff below grade 5 will still be regarded as Crown servants if proposals contained in the White Paper, "Continuity and Change", are implemented.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: Yes. The White Paper " The Civil Service: Continuity and Change " contains no proposals which will affect the status of departmental staff as Crown servants, whatever their grade.

Private Sector Forum

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will give details of meetings he or his officials have held with the Private Sector Forum; and whether minutes of those meetings will be publicly available.

Mr. David Hunt: I refer the hon. Member to my letter of 26 August to him, which included a record of the Private Sector Forum of 8 July. I have also placed a copy of the record note in the Library. Only one meeting of the


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Private Sector Forum has been held. Details of any future meetings will be made public.

Permanent Secretaries' Handbook

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if Ministers may read the permanent secretaries' handbook.

Mr. David Hunt: Yes.

EU Science and Technology Assembly

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what contribution was made by the United Kingdom to the first plenary session of the Science and Technology Assembly held in Brussels on 6 September; and if he will place in the Library copies of any reports made available of the EU Science and Technology Assembly.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The European Science and Technology Assembly consists of approximately 100 leading European scientists and engineers, appointed by the Commission in a personal capacity, to provide it with opinions and assessments on science and technology matters. The members of the assembly do not represent the member states from which they come. The assembly will present its opinions to the Commission and, when these are made available to member states, the Government will place them in the Libraries of both Houses.


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DEFENCE

RAF Stations

Mr. Hardy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force stations have been closed in the last five years; how many he expects will be closed during the next five years; and what proportion of the number of stations open in 1989 will open in 1999.

Mr. Soames: Twenty Royal Air Force stations, both in the United Kingdom and overseas, have been closed since the beginning of 1989. As a result of recent announcements, including the "Defence Costs Study", it is proposed that a further 14 stations should close in the next five years. Estate requirements are continually reviewed, however, and it is therefore not possible to forecast accurately what proportion of stations which were open in 1989 will remain open in 1999. These figures do not include USAF bases, or small parented or administered sites.

Non-pilot Aircrew Training

Mr. Hardy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many non- pilot aircrew were trained by the Royal Air Force in each of the last five years; and how many he expects to be trained in each of the next five years.

Mr. Soames: The number of non-pilot aircrew trained by the Royal Air Force in each of the last five years was as follows:


"

Year                 |Navigator           |Air Electronics     |Air Engineer        |Air Loadmaster      |Air Signaller (Radio                     

                                          |Operator                                                      |Calibration)                             

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1989-90              |89                  |31                  |22                  |37                  |5                                        

1990-91              |79                  |44                  |28                  |29                  |5                                        

1991-92              |43                  |31                  |21                  |14                  |4                                        

1992-93              |46                  |33                  |28                  |26                  |6                                        

1993-94              |40                  |33                  |8                   |21                  |1                                        

                     |----                |----                |----                |----                |----                                     

Total                |297                 |172                 |107                 |127                 |21                                       


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The number of non-pilot aircrew expected to be trained by the Royal Air Force in each of the next five years is as follows:


"

Year                 |Navigator           |Air Electronics     |Air Engineer        |Air Loadmaster      |Air Signaller (Radio                     

                                          |Operator                                                      |Calibration)                             

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

94-95                |46                  |14                  |6                   |11                  |2                                        

95-96                |41                  |19                  |6                   |13                  |2                                        

96-97                |44                  |25                  |13                  |30                  |2                                        

97-98                |41                  |25                  |13                  |30                  |4                                        

98-99                |43                  |25                  |13                  |32                  |3                                        

                     |----                |----                |----                |----                |----                                     

TOTAL                |215                 |108                 |51                  |116                 |13                                       

Nuclear Warheads

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which date his Department has kept records of requests made to British Nuclear Fuels or its predecessor division within the Atomic Energy Authority for the production of fissile material for use in warheads.

Mr. Freeman: Readily available records of such requests date back to 1971.


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Naval Recruitment

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of advertising for recruits to the Royal Navy by way of advertisement in the teenagers' magazine "Fast Forward" was in (a) 1992, (b) 1993 and (c) 1994; and how many times the advertisement will appear in this or comparable magazines during the forthcoming year.


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Mr Soames: Expenditure on Royal Navy recruitment advertising in the magazine "Fast Forward" was £23,506 in financial year 1992 93 and £28,377 in 1993 94. While no further advertisements are planned for the "Fast Forward" publication this year, it is intended to place around 50 advertisements in a range of comparable magazines.

Creche Facilities

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what creche facilities he plans to provide in (a) the armed forces and (b) civilian offices in his Department; and if he will make statement.

Mr. Soames: Responsibility for the provision of child care facilities is delegated to individual budget holders. It is my Department's policy however, to increase the provision of child care facilities for service personnel and civilian staff were possible, and budget holders are encouraged to set up new child care facilities where there is sufficient demand, and where they can be justified on value-for-money grounds.

At present we have seven workplace nurseries operating nationwide, available both to civilian and service personnel, with plans for a further five.

Additional child care facilities, in the form of creches and playschemes, are available to service and civilian personnel and their dependants on bases in the United Kingdom and overseas as a result of local voluntary initiatives.

Fishing Vessels

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps (a) he has taken and (b) he proposes to take to ensure that naval vessels from other countries in United Kingdom waters are aware of the operational and safety arrangements in relation to United Kingdom fishing boats, including rules regarding minimum separation, notification and broadcast warnings and information.

Mr. Soames: Foreign naval vessels operating in United Kingdom waters are required to observe the international regulations for the prevention of collision at sea. These regulations apply to all surface vessels, both military and non-military, including fishing vessels.

The conduct of dived foreign submarines in United Kingdom waters is governed by the code of practice, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. The code, among other provisions, stipulates minimum separation distances. Briefing on the provisions of the code is signalled to foreign submarines before they enter United Kingdom waters. Submarines programmed to participate in a major exercise are given further oral or written briefing before the exercise commences.

In addition to operational safety measures, fishermen also receive advance notification of dived movements, including those of foreign submarines, in all regularly used submarine exercise areas around the United Kingdom coast. Notification is by means of the SUBFACTS broadcast scheme and, before major exercises, via a notice to fishermen.

Pregnant Service Women

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken under article 7 of the equal treatment directive to prevent witnesses, who have


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been giving evidence during court cases relating to women employed in the armed forces who have become pregnant, from being victimised; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: Victimisation and other forms of harassment are not tolerated within the armed forces. We are not aware that any service personnel who have acted as witnesses at industrial tribunal hearings have complained of victimisation, but action would be taken where incidents were reported.

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria were used to decide whether or not those women dismissed by reason of pregnancy could be re-enlisted in each of the services; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: In accordance with the normal rules, acceptance for re- entry into the services depends on the availability of a suitable vacancy and an applicant's previous employment record. If re-entry is within five years of leaving, the previous rank and seniority would normally be retained.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Economic and Commercial Information

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is the duty of Her Majesty's economic and commercial representatives abroad to transmit to the competent departments economic information on trade flows, prices, employment and other aspects of competitiveness as soon as possible after it has been released by the Governments to which they are accredited.

Mr. Goodlad: British embassies and high commissions are required to report on economic developments in the countries they cover. The frequency with which a particular post reports and the type of reporting it provides is governed by factors including the size and staffing of the post, which itself reflects United Kingdom's economic and commercial interests, and by the amount and quality of information available. Posts in the United Kingdom's main overseas markets would normally report information on trade flows, prices and employment at least once a month.

Visas

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, following the European Court of Justice's Surinder Singh judgment in July 1992, he will refund fees to those persons who would have been eligible for gratis visas had the European Court of Justice ruling existed at the time the fees were paid.

Mr. Baldry [pursuant to the answer on 29 June 1994, 578-79]: The answer should have read:

Yes. My Department will consider written applications for a refund of fees from those non-European Union nationals who paid a fee before July 1992 for the settlement visa granted them to enter the United Kingdom with their British citizen spouse who had been exercising substantive rights under the Treaty of Rome, by either working, looking for work, being self-employed or managing a business, in another member state of the European Union. The amount which may


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be refunded will be between £7 and £100 and will be made up of the value of the fee plus an ex gratia sum in recognition of the time since the fee was paid. Applicants will be asked to provide evidence to support their claim.

Ministerial Visits

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many overseas visits he and each of his Ministers have made between 1 January and 30 June; during how many he, or each of his Ministers, participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative Party; and if he will name the Ministers and the countries in which these activities took place.

Mr. Baldry: Between 1 January and 30 June 1994, Ministers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office made 69 overseas visits in their official capacity. Fund-raising activities for the Conservative party are not part of our official duties.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals Her Majesty's Government intend to make at the third preparatory committee meeting in Geneva on 11 to 16 September, for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty review and external conference in April next year; what support will be made available to non-governmental organisations wishing to attend the prepcom as observers; and if he will place in the Library copies of any non-confidential documents distributed at the preparatory committee meeting in September.

Mr. David Davis: At the third preparatory committee meeting we continued to work to ensure that outstanding procedural and administrative matters relating to the 1995 conference could be settled. The preparatory committee decided at its second session that representatives of non- governmental organisations should be allowed, on request, to attend the meetings of the committee other than those designated closed meetings. In accordance with this decision, 52 NGOs attended the meetings of the committee and time was set aside during the week for NGOs to brief delegates on their views. Copies of the NPT secretariat's progress report and the statement delivered by the Presidency of the European Union have been deposited in the Library of the House.

Cyprus

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what restrictions are being placed on British tourists in entering the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus; and what representatives he has made.

Mr David Davis: There were four days in July when the crossing point in Nicosia was closed by demonstrations following the decision of the European Court of Justice on trade between the European Union and northern Cyprus. It has remained open since.

Burma

Mr. Boyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Burma.


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Mr. Goodlad: The situation in Burma remains of great concern. There has been no significant progress towards democratic reform and human rights abuses continue.

We are encouraged, however, by the meeting on 20 September between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling state law and order restoration council. We hope that this first meeting signals the start of serious discussions leading to real democratic reform in Burma and the early and unconditional release of ASSK and other political prisoners.

Nigeria

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has about the number of Nigerians arrested but not tried since the general election last year.

Mr. Baldry: We do not have precise information on the large number of Nigerians detained without trial since the annulment of the presidential election last year. We believe that few detainees are currently being held, but those detained include well known figures such as Chief Abiola and leaders of the National Democratic Coalition. With our European Union partners, we have appealed strongly to the Nigerian Government to respect the fundamental human rights of all their citizens.

Mr. Boyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Nigeria.

Mr. Baldry: We are extremely concerned about the current situation in Nigeria. An early return to democratic civilian rule is essential for the political stability and economic prosperity of that country. We continue to follow developments closely with our European Union partners, and will maintain the measures that we announced with our European Union partners in 1993.

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to Shell about its record of environmental exploitation in the Ogoni rivers area of Nigeria; and what response he has had.

Mr. Baldry: No such representations have been made.

Malawi

Mr. Boyes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Malawi.

Mr. Baldry: Malawi's first multi-party elections were held on 17 May as part of a peaceful transition process, bringing President Muluzi's United Democratic Front to power. My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Overseas Development have both met the President since his election. The new Government face formidable social and economic problems, but have made a firm commitment to poverty alleviation, which is a key focus of our aid programme in Malawi.

Sudan

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government of Sudan's forces have been making incursions into north-west Kenya.


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Mr. Douglas Hogg: We are not aware of any incursions by Sudanese Government forces into north-west Kenya.

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received concerning the supply by the Government of Sudan of arms to southern factions.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: We believe that the Sudanese People's Liberation Army factions obtain their arms from a variety of sources. We have seen reports concerning the supply of arms by the Government of Sudan to one faction, but have no clear evidence to confirm this. Both the main factions have clashed with Government forces as well as each other, in recent months.

Palestine

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will respond positively to the request by Yasser Arafat that the United States of America and European countries should station international observers in the former occupied territories.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Council of the European Union, in its joint action in support of the middle east peace process adopted on 19 April, stated that the European Union would, at the request of the parties, participate in a temporary international presence in the occupied territories, as called for in Security Council resolution 904. No such request has yet been received.

Austria

Sir Dudley Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom's relationship with Austria; what ministerial visits have taken place there in the past 12 months; what bilateral trade initiatives and contracts the United Kingdom has with that country; and how many official Austrian visits have been made to the United Kingdom in the past year.

Mr. David Davis: The United Kingdom enjoys very good relations with Austria.

Since October 1993 my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have paid ministerial visits to Austria.

Sectors in which the Department of Industry has planned trade initiatives include clothing, processed food, security equipment, medical equipment and the whole area of public purchasing. Austria is the United Kingdom's 25th largest market and our visible exports to Austria in 1993 amounted to £912 million, a 14.7 per cent. increase over 1992. UK exports rose by 16 per cent. during the first six months of 1994 and are set to exceed £1 billion over the year. The UK is Austria's ninth largest supplier. In 1993 Austrian exports to the UK totalled £971 million, but on the evidence of the first six months of this year the UK is enjoying a surplus on its trade with Austria for the first time in over 20 years.

Since October 1993 the following Austrian Ministers have visited the United Kingdom: Mrs. Rauch-Kallat,


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Minister for the Environment; Dr. Franz Vranitzky, Federal Chancellor. Other Austrian official visits to the UK have comprised Dr. Franz Ceska, Secretary-General of the Federation of Austrian Industrialists; Dr. Bernhard Gorg, Head of Vienna OVP Parliamentary Group; Dr. Heinrich Neisser, Leader of the Austrian OVP.

Slovakia

Sir Dudley Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom's relationship with Slovakia; what ministerial visits have taken place there in the past 12 months; what bilateral trade initiatives and contracts the United Kingdom has with that country; and how many official Slovakian visits have been made to the United Kingdom in the past year.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: The United Kingdom maintains close relations with Slovakia. Since September 1993, six British Ministers have visited the country. During the same period, the Slovak Foreign Minister, two other Ministers and the Slovak Speaker have visited Britain. The Slovak President attended the D-day ceremonies in Britain in June this year.

Trade is increasing, totalling about £70 million for the first eight months of this year. The Department of Trade and Industry is actively encouraging British companies to look at opportunities in Slovakia.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times during the 1993 94 Session information requested in parliamentary questions has been refused on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

Mr. Goodlad: Once, on 30 March 1994, Official Report , column 778 79 .

Nuclear Materials

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had with his Japanese counterpart or officials of the Japanese Government, in regard to nuclear proliferation controls and the clandestine plutonium trade, during his visit to Japan in September.

Mr. David Davis: These subjects were not discussed during my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's visit to Japan. Both nuclear non- proliferation and nuclear smuggling are of serious concern to Her Majesty's Government, however, we are considering them with others in a number of international forums including the G7.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the proliferation implications of Japan's import of nuclear reprocessing technology from the United States of America during the 1980s during his visit to Japan in September.

Mr. David Davis: No, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs did not raise this matter.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings or other communications he has had with his EU


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counterparts since 1 August to discuss the measures to combat smuggling of plutonium and other nuclear materials.

Mr. David Davis: This matter was discussed at an informal meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers at Usedom on 10 and 11 September and again at the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 and 4 October. It was agreed that proposals would be prepared for the European Council at Essen in December.

UN General Assembly

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the agreed agenda for the 49th General Assembly of the United Nations that opened in New York on 20 September.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: Copies of the agenda for the United Nations General Assembly have been sent to the Library.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the United Kingdom put to the 49th general assembly of the United Nations in New York; what proposals put forward by other nations were supported by the United Kingdom; and if he will place copies of the United Kingdom submission, and submissions from other countries supported by the United Kingdom, in the Library.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: Copies of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday 28 September have been put in the Library. Speeches by Heads of State and Foreign Ministers will be placed in the Library. Other relevant UN documents will be placed in the Library when they become available.

Biological Weapons

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representation his Department had at the meeting of the United Nations biological weapons convention held in Geneva on 19 to 30 September; what proposals were put forward by Her Majesty's Government; and whether any resource or financial commitment was made by the United Kingdom in support of the verification measures.

Mr. David Davis: The United Kingdom's delegation to the bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons convention special conference was led by the leader of the United Kingdom permanent delegation to the conference on disarmament. He was supported by officials and experts from the FCO, MOD, DTI and the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down.

Following a UK initiative, the EU submitted a proposal to the conference for the establishment of a follow-up group to prepare, by the time of the 1996 BTWC fourth review conference, a legally binding verification protocol, focusing on declarations and inspections. The conference eventually agreed to establish a group to do further work on a verification regime, albeit with a less specific mandate and time scale than we would have wished.

The costs of this group's work will be shared among states parties to the BTWC. The costs of any eventual verification regime are likely to be borne by states parties to the regime.


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Taiwan

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiatives he has taken in pursuit of admitting the Republic of China to a seat on and membership of the United Nations; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: The question of possible Taiwanese membership of the UN was raised again this year in the General Committee, but it was decided not to include it in this year's UNGA agenda. The core of the problem is the relationship between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. Any resolution of it will depend on an understanding reached between them.

European Parliament

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the cost of the European Parliament each year since 1989 90; and what amount is included in the draft Budget for 1995.

Mr. David Davis: The outturn for expenditure by the European Parliament each year from 1989 93 in ecu and sterling was:


            |ecu        |£                      

------------------------------------------------

1989        |381,146,291|256,043,458            

1990        |429,706,145|306,932,961            

1991        |488,691,650|342,125,210            

1992        |579,968,058|425,820,894            

1993        |624,592,678|486,253,544            

The amount in the 1994, as adopted is 665, 910, 000 or £502, 839, 236.

The amount in the 1995 draft budget is 693, 321, 000 or £544, 549, 953.

Conversion rates for years prior to 1994 are:


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