Previous Section Home Page

Open Government

Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on the charging policy of her Department and the agencies for which she is responsible in respect of inquires under the code of practice on access to Government.


Column 101

Mr. Forth: In line with guidance on charging produced by the Office of Public Service and Science, which recognises the diversity of cost and operational structure across the range of bodies implementing the code, the Department for Education and the Teachers Pensions Agency are operating the following scheme of charges for information under the code of practice on access to government information:

no charge for requests estimated to take up to three hours work a flat rate of £50 for requests estimated to need from three to eight hours work

a flat rate of £150 for requests estimated to take from eight to 13 hours work

any request requiring more than 13 hours work to be charged at a further £20 for every additional hour worked.

No charge is made for information which was previously provided free or for the categories of information listed in paragraph 71 of the OPSS guidance on the interpretation of the code.

School Performance Tables

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will place in the Library copies of the school performance tables, grant- maintained schools, further and higher education charters, educational provision for under fives and updated parents charter surveys referred to in her answer of 25 October, Official Report , column 525 .

Mr. Forth: I will arrange for copies of the titles listed by the hon. Member to be placed in the Library where available, along with a summary of the updated parents charters pre and post-campaign public opinion surveys.

EMPLOYMENT

Training

Mr. Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the amount spent in each of his Department's regions on training in each of the last 10 years; and what that figure represents per unemployed person.

Mr. Paice: The information requested is not available at a regional level.

Industrial Tribunals

Ms Estelle Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what plans he has for restructuring the composition of industrial tribunals;

(2) what discussions or consultations he has had (a) within and (b) outside his Department about the size and composition of industrial tribunals.

Mr. Oppenheim: My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Employment announced on 29 April that she had asked officials to review the operation of the industrial tribunals. Ministers are considering the recommendations arising from the review, and hope to make an announcement shortly.

Ms Estelle Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans or proposals he has for restructuring or otherwise altering the system of expense allowances available to members of industrial tribunals.


Column 102

Mr. Oppenheim: None.

Occupational Accidents

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he has taken to monitor the effects on both the numbers and the levels of occupational accident compensation awards of the decision of the Association of British Insurers to recommend a standard maximum of £10 million cover as announced on 5 September; what representations he has received on this matter and from whom; and what discussions about this matter he has had or is planning to have with the ABI.

Mr. Oppenheim: Officials from the Department recently met representatives of the Association of British Insurers to discuss the implications of the decision by the United Kingdom insurance market to cease issuing policies on an unlimited liability basis from 1 January 1995. I understand that policies will normally provide cover of at least £10 million per event, and that higher levels of cover will still be available for those employers who need it. Officials will continue to keep in contact with the insurance industry to monitor developments.

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to encourage the Association of British Insurers to establish a parallel scheme for occupational accidents to that already in operation under the auspices of the Motors' Insurers Bureau for motor accidents where the party liable for injury is either uninsured or inadequately insured.

Mr. Oppenheim: I have no plans to encourage the establishment of such a scheme.

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what total resources have been provided to each TEC in (a) the current year and (b) the last year; and how much has been allocated for next year.

Mr. Paice: Total 1993 94 and 1994 95 budgets for each training and enterprise council are shown in the following table. Budgets for 1995 96 will be negotiated with TECs after the outcome of the public expenditure survey is known.


TEC Budgets-1993-94 and 1994-95                             

                           |1993-94   |1994-95              

                           |Total     |Total                

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

Hampshire                  |37,183,108|35,514,386           

Heart of England           |12,889,535|13,328,501           

Isle of Wight              |4,794,027 |4,547,500            

Kent                       |41,172,116|37,302,093           

Milton Keynes and N. Bucks |10,737,441|10,536,159           

Surrey                     |15,177,344|14,716,308           

Sussex                     |28,518,637|28,400,387           

Thames Valley Enterprise   |29,216,940|31,902,455           

Aztec                      |15,757,575|13,926,782           

Centec                     |31,301,452|28,362,483           

Cilntec                    |29,243,921|24,776,751           

London East                |47,730,672|42,697,819           

North London               |23,954,675|22,538,039           

North West London          |14,816,505|13,547,054           

Solotec                    |24,119,939|20,718,815           

South Thames               |47,259,640|41,801,662           

West London                |21,708,398|20,393,169           

Bedfordshire               |14,373,960|14,885,900           

Cambstec                   |8,659,944 |10,234,756           

Essex                      |37,650,059|36,135,275           

Greater Peterborough       |12,009,480|12,651,573           

Hertfordshire              |27,975,122|27,596,617           

Norfolk and Waveney        |27,480,024|27,008,834           

Suffolk                    |18,153,786|20,133,763           

Avon                       |34,261,426|32,835,172           

Devon and Cornwall         |63,142,291|52,270,158           

Dorset                     |20,714,700|17,865,216           

Gloucestershire            |16,491,120|14,640,405           

Somerset                   |15,355,040|14,522,239           

Wiltshire                  |17,216,049|14,747,808           

Birmingham                 |51,892,786|41,561,980           

Central England            |12,900,634|12,352,083           

Coventry and Warwickshire  |32,875,066|29,881,193           

Dudley                     |13,965,570|12,122,013           

Hawtec                     |14,656,120|13,614,301           

Sandwell                   |14,521,215|14,035,745           

Shropshire                 |16,037,663|13,827,392           

Staffordshire              |40,036,710|33,065,880           

Walsall                    |11,487,834|9,371,849            

Wolverhampton              |13,592,895|11,677,769           

Greater Nottingham         |25,639,731|22,420,148           

Leicester                  |28,836,939|25,268,893           

Lincolnshire               |28,458,098|25,756,946           

North Derbyshire           |12,922,903|11,905,576           

North Nottinghamshire      |18,739,393|18,002,803           

Northamptonshire           |15,535,089|14,453,531           

Southern Derbyshire        |20,496,766|18,680,189           

Barnsley and Doncaster     |33,008,794|27,576,617           

Bradford and District      |23,766,641|19,207,246           

Calderdale and Kirklees    |30,746,002|23,311,143           

Humberside                 |42,395,837|37,282,628           

Leeds                      |27,475,716|22,408,167           

North Yorkshire            |20,211,490|17,959,338           

Rotherham                  |15,112,558|12,371,627           

Sheffield                  |30,897,859|25,346,791           

Wakefield                  |15,392,939|12,719,996           

Bolton and Bury            |16,895,173|15,311,817           

Cumbria                    |20,332,946|19,129,895           

Eltec (East Lancs)         |23,182,628|20,941,866           

Lawtec (Lancs West)        |33,693,134|30,759,096           

Manchester                 |45,995,812|41,373,910           

Metrotec Ltd (Wigan)       |13,010,667|12,411,609           

Normidtec                  |17,627,457|15,907,805           

Oldham                     |10,595,828|9,620,658            

Rochdale                   |11,087,880|10,335,677           

South and East Cheshire    |16,118,001|14,857,176           

Stockport/High Peak        |12,822,480|11,515,242           

Cewtec                     |26,452,409|22,854,525           

Merseyside                 |68,487,846|53,286,232           

Qualitec                   |12,714,419|9,375,979            

County Durham              |36,032,589|29,223,002           

Northumberland             |18,084,128|15,133,832           

Sunderland City            |24,225,705|20,024,174           

Teesside                   |40,997,285|34,502,405           

Tyneside                   |52,458,903|45,189,731           

Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) which training and enterprise councils assist childminders undertaking the national vocational qualification course in child care and education at (a) level 2 and (b) level 3;

(2) what guidance is issued by his Department to training and enterprise councils about grant aid for childminders undertaking the national vocational qualification course in child care and education at level 2 and level 3;


Column 104

(3) if he will list, by training and enterprise council, the amount of funding allocated to childminders undertaking the national vocational qualification course in child care and education.

Mr. Paice: The Employment Department does not fund training and enterprise councils specifically for training childminders, but TECs may provide childcare training through Government-funded training programmes. No information is held centrally on which TECs choose to do so.

Gas (Safety)

Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects an interim British Standard, in the absence of European Union standards, to be introduced for carbon monoxide detectors in respect of domestic gas appliances.

Mr. Oppenheim: A draft British standard is currently being developed. This is being considered for possible adoption as a European standard. Discussions will take place between the Health and Safety Executive, the British Standards Institution and United Kingdom manufacturers to consider whether an interim British standard is desirable.

Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many Health and Safety Executive enforcement officers have as their specific responsibility the enforcement of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994.

Mr. Oppenheim: There are approximately 150 inspectors in the Health and Safety Executive whose duties include enforcement of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994.

Construction Industry

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, when he will introduce the regulations covering health and safety conditions in the construction industry.

Mr. Oppenheim: I hope to announce the final content and timetable for these regulations shortly.

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, what assessment he has made of the effect on construction costs of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.

Mr. Oppenheim: Taking into account both quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits, it is estimated that there will be a net benefit of around £580 million per year.

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the need for additional training in the construction industry to enable people to fulfil the responsibilities of the new health and safety supervisors; and what estimate he has made of the cost of that training.

Mr. Oppenheim: The assessment of the effect of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations has shown that there will be training needs of those likely to fulfil the role of planning supervisor. It is estimated that there will be a one-off cost of up to £150 million in the first year and up to £7.5 million per year thereafter.


Column 105

Open Government

Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the charging policy of his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible in respect of inquiries under the code of practice on access to government.

Miss Widdecombe: In line with guidance on charging produced by the Office of Public Service and Science, which recognises the diversity of cost and operational structures across the range of bodies implementing the code, the Employment Department group has developed a number of schemes of charges for information under the code of practice on access to Government information. I will write to the hon. Member shortly with details.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Western Sahara

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on support for self-determination of western Saharans.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: We fully support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General and his staff to bring about an early referendum on the future of western Sahara.

Ukraine

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy towards the Ukraine; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: Our policy is to promote Ukraine's development as a stable, independent, democratic, market-orientated, non-nuclear weapons state of undisputed territorial integrity, having good relations with its neighbours and the west, and playing a full part in the international community.

Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those developing countries that are signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Mr. David Davis: There are 165 states party to the nuclear non- proliferation treaty. A list of these has been placed in the Library.

V-4 Group

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on whether applications for EU membership from the V-4 group of central European nations would be considered by the Union simultaneously.

Mr. David Davis: The Copenhagen European council--June 1993--agreed that associated countries of central and eastern Europe that so desired shall join the European Union when they are ready to assume the obligations of membership. We expect applications for European Union membership to be considered on their merits. So far, only Poland and Hungary have formally applied to join the European Union.


Column 106

Panama

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy towards Panama; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Davis: We have excellent diplomatic and trade relations with Panama which we aim to develop. We will support President Perez Balladares's policies to consolidate democracy and to tackle social and economic problems.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to promote inward investment to the Turks and Caicos islands; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry: Inward investment in the Turks and Caicos islands is the responsibility of a newly created statutory body, TCInvest, whose chief executive officer has just been appointed. It is hoped that TCInvest, which has been supported by the United Nations development programme as well as by Her Majesty's Government, will be the catalyst in attracting substantial private and corporate investment into the territory.

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to promote economic self-sufficiency in the Turks and Caicos islands; over what time-scale; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry: In October 1994, Her Majesty's Government and the Turks and Caicos islands Government signed a country policy plan. The country policy plan is designed to set a number of objectives for the TCIG to meet in terms of economic management, good government practice and administrative reforms. It is linked to an aid programme funded by Her Majesty's Government.

Part of the country policy plan deals with the need to set reasonable economic targets. Combining these targets with inward investment and an expanding service and offshore finance industry based on sound regulation, should produce substantial progress towards economic self-reliance over the three-year period of the country policy plan.

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes he plans to the present powers and the role of the Governor of the Turks and Caicos islands.

Mr. Baldry: There are no changes planned to the present powers and role of the Governor of the Turks and Caicos islands.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response Her Majesty's Government's ambassador to the United Nations made to the resolution A/C.1/49/L.25 of 2 November on a step-by-step reduction of the threat from nuclear weapons tabled by Brazil and eight other nations at the UN General Assembly.

Mr. David Davis: Her Majesty's ambassador to the United Kingdom delegation to the conference on disarmament joined other European Union and western states in voting against the resolution.


Column 107

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will arrange for publication in the Official Report of a copy of the letter on Pakistan's nuclear weapons status, sent to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent, referred to in his answer of 3 November 1994, Official Report , column 1383 .

Mr. David Davis: The text of the letter is as follows: "You ask about Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme. We have no independent evidence that Pakistan possesses a nuclear weapons capability. We share the concerns of others on this matter however, and continue to lobby Pakistan and India to engage in dialogue on regional security which we hope will enable both countries to allay international concern by acceding to the nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear weapons states."

Syria

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the Government's policy regarding the export of military equipment to Syria.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: We observe the arms embargo imposed by the European Union on Syria.

Plutonium

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a copy of the letter on the Foreign Affairs Council paper on plutonium sent to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent, referred to in his answer of 3 November 1994, Official Report, column 1383 .

Mr. David Davis: Yes, the text of the letter was as follows: There has already been extensive consultation between government departments and with European and other partners over the issues of Nuclear Smuggling. Work on the report to be presented to the Foreign Affairs Council is now well advanced. The Foreign Affairs Council is, of course, an inter governmental body and we have no specific plans to consult non-governmental organisations on the question of nuclear smuggling in preparing our contribution to the report. However, while we know of no non-governmental bodies working specifically on this issue, we would naturally consider any views that were put to us. It has been agreed that the Foreign Affairs Council will present its report to the European Council to be held in Essen in December. The Council's conclusion will be deposited in the Library.

Applications for Residence

Mr. Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many outstanding applications for leave to reside in the United Kingdom there are at each of the British high commissions and embassies overseas.

Mr. Baldry: I refer the hon. Member to my written answer to him of 17 October in which I said that I would arrange for the information required to be placed in the Library of the House shortly, in view of its length. I can now confirm that the information requested has indeed been placed in the Library of the House.

Asil Nadir

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had, and with whom, as to the possible extradition of Asil Nadir.

Mr. David Davis: I have had no recent discussions about the possible extradition of Asil Nadir.


Column 108

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the United Kingdom voted at the United Nations on resolution A/C.1/49/L22 of 1 November calling for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty; and what discussions the British ambassador had with his counterparts from the signatory nations.

Mr. David Davis: The United Kingdom co-sponsored the resolution, which was passed by consensus. The British ambassador was in close contact throughout with his counterparts, including the sponsors of the resolution.

Gibraltar

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Government policy as to the future of Gibraltar airport after 1997.

Mr. David Davis: The policy of Her Majesty's Government on Gibraltar airport remains unchanged. Once the 1987 airport agreement is implemented, the European Community single market in air transport will apply to Gibraltar.

Burma

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the EC is following a common policy towards human rights in Burma; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Goodlad: Yes. The situation in Burma remains of great concern to the European Union.

Together with our European Union partners we continue to press the ruling military regime in Burma, the state law and order restoration council-- SLORC--to improve its human rights record and institute democratic and economic reforms. Progress in these areas will help the resumption of normal relations between the European union and Burma.

Cyprus

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans there are to hold a conference to try and make progress on an agreement over the Cyprus situation.

Mr. David Davis: The focus of the international community's efforts to resolve the Cyprus dispute is the UN Secretary-General's good offices mission. He currently has no plans to hold an international conference.

Drugs

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will put in the Library written and oral warnings relating to controlled drug delivery channels transiting the United Kingdom's airports received by his Department from September to December 1988.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: No such warnings were received.

Open Government

Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the charging policy of his Department and the agencies


Column 109

for which he is responsible in respect of inquiries under the code of practice on access to Government.

Mr. Baldry: In line with guidance on charging produced by the Office of Public Service and Science, which recognises the diversity of cost and operational structure across the range of bodies implementing the code, my Department has adopted the following policy on charging for information under the code of practice on access to government information.

Straightforward inquiries made to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under the code of practice may attract a flat rate fee of £15. If extensive work which would not otherwise be done is necessary to provide the information required, a higher charge would be made, but an estimate of the cost would be given before any work was undertaken. Practically all enquiries received by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Overseas Development Administration are made without reference to the code and continue to be answered free of charge.

In cases where the Overseas Development Administration--including the Natural Resources Institute--make a charge, it did so on the basis of an individual assessment, in which cases an estimate of the cost would be provided in advance.

Departmental Wine Expenditure

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much each Government Department consumed in wine purchases made as a result of recommendations from the Government Hospitality Fund Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine in each of the last five years.

Mr. Goodlad: The Government hospitality fund provides official ministerial hospitality centrally for all Ministers irrespective of Departmental portfolio. Purchases of wine are made in response to the needs of official ministerial hospitality as a whole and not on behalf of Departments. Stocks are issued as necessary for each function. There is no relationship between the Government Hospitality Fund Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine and Departments.

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the total wine bill for Foreign Office events (a) in the United kingdom and (b) abroad in each of the last five years.

Mr. Goodlad: This information is not available and cannot be extracted without disproportionate cost.

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average price of a bottle of wine purchased on the recommendation of the Government Hospitality Fund Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine.

Mr. Goodlad: The average price of a bottle of wine purchased on the recommendation of the Government Hospitality Fund Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine as at 31 July 1994 was £5.93.

Government Hospitality Fund

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the annual budget and staffing levels of the Government hospitality fund.

Mr. Goodlad: The Government hospitality fund employs 24 staff. The operational budget to cover the cost


Column 110

of guest of government visits and ministerial hospitality is £1.5 million.

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the members of the Government Hospitality Fund Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine are selected; and by whom.

Mr. Goodlad: All members of the Government Hospitality Fund Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine are masters of wine--a qualification to which only 160 people world wide are entitled. New members would be expected to have similar qualifications and to be senior and respected doyens of the wine trade.

When a vacancy occurs potential new members are identified from the small number of those qualified by other members of the committee and a recommendation for appointment is made to the Minister by the Secretary of the GHF.


Next Section

  Home Page