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Public Appointments

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the public appointments for which he is responsible (a) in the west midlands region and (b) in Shropshire, indicating in each case the duration of the appointment, the date when a new appointment is due, and the salary.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: None.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff are employed by his Department; and what proportion of them are employed in each of the standard regions.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: As at 1 October 1994, there were 5,774 industrial and non-industrial staff in the

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departments and agencies for which I am responsible, and in other areas which fall to the Cabinet Office vote. The proportions by standard region are:

Region                   |Proportion Per cent.                     


Inner London             |41.5                                     

Intermediate             |0.5                                      

Outer London             |7.5                                      

Rest of South East       |8.5                                      


East Anglia              |24                                       

South West               |3                                        

West Midlands            |1                                        

North West               |7                                        

North                    |0.5                                      

Yorkshire and Humberside |1                                        

East Midlands            |1                                        

Wales                    |0.5                                      

Scotland                 |4                                        

Northern Ireland         |1                                        


Al Yamamah Arms Deal

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mrs. Campbell) of 18 October, Official Report, column 138, to what (a) Government Department and (b) other authorities any evidence on impropriety in the Al Yamamah arms deal should be forwarded.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Prime Minister who are the appropriate authorities (a) for the receipt and (b) the investigation of complaints made in the case of Mr. Mark Thatcher relating to British defence contracts.

The Prime Minister: Matters within the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government in relation to defence contracts should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Prime Minister to which authority the complaint from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) to the Prime Minister's Office concerning the role of Mr. Mark Thatcher in relation to defence contracts was referred; and what action was taken.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 21 October 1994]: The complaint was referred to the Cabinet Office, which in turn consulted the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the security service.

The conclusion reached was that the document that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) had sent contained a number of clear errors, which cast doubt on its reliability. No evidence was found to support the allegations made.

Tigris and Euphrates Valleys

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions Her Majesty's Government have had with the United States Government, the United Nations, other EC countries and the Arab League about the shortage of medicine, water pumps and water filters in the valleys

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of the Tigris and the Euphrates; and which statistics are available to Her Majesty's Government on the incidence of marasmus, kwashiorkor, and other water-related diseases in the Baghdad area over the summer.

The Prime Minister: Except for the Arab League, we meet representatives of these countries and organisations at routine meetings of the United Nations department of humanitarian affairs. Reports indicate that diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria are increasing and that there are cases of marasmus and kwashiorkor. We have no information specific to Baghdad.

We condemn the Iraqi regime for continuing to refuse United Nations offers to allow limited oil sales to pay for humanitarian supplies. Iraq's attempts to make political capital out of avoidable suffering are cynical.


Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 25 October.

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 25 October.

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

Ministerial Conduct

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the rules governing the availability of financial support from Government for Ministers in respect of libel actions arising from events which took place before they took office; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: Public resources may be used to deal only with matters which arise as a direct result of the official duties of Ministers.

Cabinet Secretary's Report

Mr. Dunn: To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish the Cabinet Secretary's report into the allegations made by Mr. Al Fayed.

The Prime Minister: The text of the report is as follows. "On 30 September you asked me to investigate certain allegations of impropriety against members of the Government, which had been brought to you in confidence on the previous evening and which, you were told, derived from Mr. Mohammed Al Fayed.

In reporting these allegations the informant said that Mr. Al Fayed wanted a meeting with the Prime Minister, principally because of Mr. Al Fayed's wish to have the DTI Inspectors Report on the takeover of the House of Fraser revised or withdrawn. He had made a number of allegations against Government Ministers and was contemplating passing them to others.

You replied that it would be impossible for you to see Mr. Al Fayed in these circumstances. You added that, if Ministers had been guilty of wrong doing, you were not going to make any sort of deal, regardless of the cost to the Government's reputation. You said that you would consider how to proceed and suggested that in the meantime your informant should make no response to Mr. Al Fayed.

The following morning you asked me to investigate. I carried out some immediate enquiries and on the evening of 30 September your Private Secretary reported to you that some of the allegations were familiar because they had surfaced before, had been previously investigated and had been strongly denied. However, some allegations were new. You then asked me on 3 October to follow

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up all the allegations, whether old or new, with the Ministers concerned.

I had conversations with the Ministers named in the allegations in the week before the Conservative Party Conference, and I reported to you the outcome of these conversations, together with the results of other inquiries I had made, on Monday 17 October on your return from Bournemouth. In the light of that report, you asked the Chief Whip and me to clarify some points so that, in the interests of natural justice, there should be no risk of your acting unfairly. On 18 October, you concluded that Mr. Smith's offer of resignation form the Government should be accepted later in the week when the Chief Whip's and my action was complete.

I should make clear that, in view of the circumstances in which the information reached you, I have not felt able to approach or interview Mr. Mohammed Al Fayed himself. I was reinforced in that view by information subsequently received that Mr. Mohammed Al Fayed has made available to others the information which was provided to you. It can therefore be assumed that if there is any further material which Mr. Al Fayed may have to substantiate his allegations it will come to light.

While the Chief Whip and I were taking the further steps agreed at your meeting on 17 October, two of the allegations passed on to you were made public in The Guardian of Thursday 20 October. These were that Mr. Neil Hamilton and Mr. Tim Smith were paid to raise questions on Mr. Al Fayed's behalf in the House of Commons.

I had previously enquired into both these matters and had asked Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Smith about them. Both sets of allegations may be the subject of other enquiries and, in the case of Mr. Hamilton, are the subject of legal proceedings against The Guardian newspaper. In these circumstances I should not deal with them in detail in this report, which I know that you envisage publishing.

Suffice it therefore to say here that Mr. Smith volunteered to me that, as he has subsequently confirmed publicly, he received payments from Mr. Al Fayed between 1987 and 1989, when he ended his activities on behalf of Mr. Al Fayed. He did not declare the necessary information in the Register of Members' Interests until just before the end of this period, and he acknowledged that he should have done so earlier. He offered his resignation from the Government.

Mr. Hamilton has emphatically denied throughout my inquiries, both in writing and subsequently in a public statement, that he received any payments deriving from Mr. Al Fayed. I have found no evidence which controverts Mr. Hamilton's assurances on these matters. He acknowledged that he had received hospitality from Mr. Al Fayed, as a private guest (as he believed), at a time well before he entered the Government. He had not thought it necessary to declare this in the Register of Members' Interests, for reasons which he explained in a letter to the Editor of the Guardian of more than a year ago, a copy of which he gave me. He also gave me an exchange of correspondence dated nearly a year ago in which he had amplified to the Chairman of the Select Committee on Members' Interests what he had said to the Guardian .

When Mr. Hamilton became a Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry, he declared his previous interest in matters concerning Mr. Al Fayed and has stood aside from involvement as a Minister in issues involving the House of Fraser.

There were other allegations passed on to you by your informant. I have looked into all these, so far as I am able, and the Chief Whip and I have put the allegations in detail to the Ministers concerned. In some of them there are patent inaccuracies, and all have been denied explicitly, unequivocally and in writing.

I have found nothing which would cause me to throw any doubt on the validity of those denials. Moreover, the fact that there is reason to think that these allegations too have now been made available to others who have so far chosen not to publish them suggests that they too may have found that there is a lack of evidence to establish their validity.

In those circumstances, while confirming that I am confident that the allegations either are demonstrably false, or, so far as I have been able to establish, are entirely unsubstantiated as well as being denied by the Ministers concerned, I do not think it appropriate to give them further currency by listing them in this Report.

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South West Water

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Prime Minister if the statement made by the hon. member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) during his recent visit to the south-west, on the possibility of making Exchequer funding available to reduce water and sewerage charges in the South West Water company area represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 24 October 1994]: The Director-General of Water Services has recently completed the first periodic review of water company price limits. The new price limits that he announced for South West Water have been referred, at the company's request, to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. In the meantime, we must await the outcome of the commission's review.


Departmental Staff

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many staff are employed by his Department; and what proportion of them are employed in each of the standard regions.

Mr. Sproat: The total number of staff employed by the Department is 349, excluding casuals; all staff are employed in the London region. This figure excludes staff working in the Department's two executive agencies, the Historic Royal Palaces Agency and the Royal Parks Agency. All the staff work in London.

New Millennium Commission

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage on what grounds he cancelled the contract of the nominated chairman of the Millennium Commission; and how much had been paid to him in regard to severance of his contract.

Mr. Dorrell: The decision to terminate the contract of the nominated chief executive of the Millennium Commission, Mr. Nicholas Hinton, was taken by the commission, which is independent of Government. The sum of £19,125 was paid to Mr. Hinton as compensation for loss of office in accordance with his contract of employment.

Sports Council

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) when he expects to appoint management consultants to advise him on the Sports Council reorganisation;

(2) what he estimates to be the likely cost of management consultancy contracts for the Sports Council's reorganisation.

Mr. Sproat: The period of consultation on the Government's proposals ends on 31 October. I expect to announce final policy decisions and how these should be implemented shortly after that.

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will extend the consultation period for the reorganisation of the Sports Council to consider the deep concern voiced by local authorities at his proposals.

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Mr. Sproat: The consultation period has in effect already been extended from 30 September to 31 October through the addition of children's play to the consultation exercise. I do not propose to extend it further. I shall now be looking very carefully at the views expressed on our proposals before taking final policy decisions.

British Athletes (Income Support)

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations he has made in respect of British athletes no longer having their income support stopped while they are competing for Britain abroad.

Mr. Sproat: I have met social security Ministers on two occasions to discuss the payment of income support to British athletes competing abroad.

Press Officers

Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list the number of press officers currently employed by his Department who are normally based (a) in the Department in London, (b) in the House and (c) at each other location.

Mr. Sproat: My Department currently employs seven press officers. All are based in the Department's offices in London.


Class Sizes

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what are the average class sizes in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools; and what were the corresponding figures five, 10 and 15 years ago.

Mr. Robin Squire: The average sizes of single teacher classes in maintained primary and secondary schools in England in 1979, 1984, 1989, and 1994--provisional--are shown in the table.

Average sizes of single teacher classes in          

maintained primary and                              

secondary schools in England in 1979, 1984, 1989    

and 1994                                            

(provisional) Position in January each year         

             |Primary     |<1>Secondary             


1979         |25.9        |*                        

1984         |24.7        |20.6                     

1989         |25.7        |20.1                     

1994 (prov)  |26.9        |21.4                     

<1> excludes Sixth Form Colleges which ceased to be 

classified as schools from 1 April 1993             

* data for secondary schools excluding Sixth Form   

Colleges is not available.                          

Public Opinion Surveys

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list each public opinion survey commissioned by (a) her Department and (b) her agencies since 1 October 1992, showing for each, the subject, objectives, total cost, the period in which it was conducted and the organisation from which it was commissioned.

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Mr. Forth: The DFE has carried out the following public opinion surveys since October 1992.

Subject : School performance tables

Objective : To establish levels of parental awareness and understanding of the school performance tables publications Date : December 1992 and January 1994

Company : Taylor Nelson

Subject : Grant-maintained schools

Objective : To measure changes in public awareness and understanding of grant-maintained schools

Date : May 1993, October 1993, February 1994

Company : Audience Selection

Subject : National curriculum testing of 7, 11 and 14-year-olds Objective : To assess parental awareness and effectiveness of the publicity campaign on school testing arrangements in 1993

Date : April 1993

Company : British Market Research Bureau

Subject : National curriculum testing of 7, 11 and 14-year-olds Objective : To assess parental awareness of testing arrangements under the National Curriculum in light of a review announced by Secretary of State for Education in May 1993

Date : May 1993

Company : Bulmershe Research

Subject : Publicity campaign for parents on national curriculum testing of 7, 11 and 14-year-olds

Objectives : To assess parental awareness and effectiveness of the publicity campaign on school testing arrangements in 1994

Dates : January 1994, July 1994

Company : British Market Research Bureau

Subject : DFE exhibition - DFE touring roadshow

Objective : To establish the communication effectiveness of the 1992, 1993 and 1994 DFE roadshows

Date : October 1992, July 1993, July 1994

Company : 1992, 1993 Martin Hamblin; 1994 Alpha Research Subject : Further and higher education charters

Objective : To assess awareness and effectiveness of the publicity campaign for the FE and HE charters

Date : September 1993, November 1993

Company : Martin Hamblin

Subject : Educational provision for under-fives

Objective : To establish the take-up of education provision for under-fives and the parents' attitudes to different types of provision

Date : April 1994

Company : Bulmershe Research

Subject : Updated parents charter

Objective : To establish he effectiveness of the 1994 parents charter campaign

Date : June 1994, August 1994

Company : Research Society of Great Britain

Only one of the agencies of the DFE, SCAA, has carried out public opinion research since October 1992, as follows:

Subject : Public perception of the national curriculum and the relative priorities of national curriculum subjects

Objective : To establish the opinion of the general public on the national curriculum and the relative priority of subjects within it Date : June 1994

Company : Gallup

To give the cost of the research surveys carried out by the DFE and its agencies would compromise confidential tendering procedures.

Educational Psychologists

Dr. Hampson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education to what extent an educational psychologist

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employed by a local education authority retains professional autonomy in determining needs under the Education Act 1993; and what guidance her Department gives on how financial constraints may be taken into account under the LEA.

Mr Forth: The conditions of employment of education psychologists are a matter for the authorities which employ them.

Under the Education Act 1993 and the Education (Special Education Needs) Regulations 1994, an authority must seek psychological advice as part of any multi-professional statutory assessment of a child with special educational needs. If, as a result of a full assessment, and of any representations made by the child's parents, it is necessary for an authority to determine the provision which the child needs, then a statement of special educational needs must be made. The statement must specify the necessary provision, and the authority must arrange that it is made, whatever the funding implications, unless the child's parent makes suitable alternative arrangements. The code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs provides comprehensive practical guidance to LEAs and the governing bodies of all maintained schools on their responsibilities towards all children with special educational needs. All those to whom the code applies have a statutory duty to have regard to it. The code provides a framework which aims at quality and consistency of assessment, both across and within LEAs. Having regard to the code, many LEAs have issued additional guidance to schools and support services on specific criteria to be used to achieve such consistency.

Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when the Further and Higher Education Council first received an application from the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute for additional funding in 1994 95; and when the application will be determined.

Mr. Boswell: I understand that the Further Education Funding Council received an application from this institute in May and a duplicate application in August. I understand that the council notified the institute of its final recurrent funding allocation for 1994 95 on 14 September.

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