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Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will provide a breakdown of expenditure incurred by the Government hospitality fund for each of the last five years.
Mr. Goodlad: The expenditure incurred by the Government hospitality fund falls broadly into two headings: hospitality, being the cost of all official lunches, dinners and receptions hosted by Ministers anywhere in the United Kingdom, and visits, being the cost of all state and guest of government visits made to the United Kingdom. The cost of visits in 1993 94 rose as a consequence of visits made by Ministers from the new nations emerging in the former Soviet Union.
Year |Hospitality|Visits |Total |£ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------ 1989-90 |437,635 |652,761 |1,090,396 1990-91 |363,825 |593,862 |957,687 1991-92 |321,527 |718,410 |1,039,937 1992-93 |428,125 |635,168 |1,063,293 1993-94 |395,545 |1,014,795 |1,410,340
Mr. Baldry: An Order in Council--the Consular Fees Order 1994--was made on 2 November which provides for increases of around 50 per cent. in certain consular fees with effect from 24 November 1994. Passport--save for emergency passports--and visa fees are not included. It is Government policy that the cost of consular services should be borne by the users as far as possible.
Mr. Pendry: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what consideration he has given to the awarding of charitable status to voluntary sports clubs as part of his review of sport for the 21st century.
Column 111therefore covered by my review. However, my Department was closely involved in the preparation of a Sports Council leaflet last year, which stresses the benefits of charitable status for voluntary sports clubs and offers advice on achieving this status.
Mr. Dorrell: My Department was established in 1992 and took on responsibility for 53 non-departmental public bodies and four public corporations. Channel 4 became a public corporation on 1 January 1993 and the Millennium Commission was created earlier this year. The Department is therefore now responsible for 54 NDPBs and five public corporations.
(2) what kind of official information he contemplates will be available to citizens through the pilot information project over the Internet;
(3) what discussions his Department has had with the private sector in relation to the Internet pilot information service;
(4) what studies his Department has conducted into the Internet pilot information service.
Mr. Dorrell: I am aware of the Internet pilot information service. My staff are monitoring its development with interest, and considering using it to disseminate information, such as press notices and public inquiry points. They are also exploring the issues surrounding information provision on the Internet with a number of organisations, both private and public sector. A broad cross-section of people from across the Department contribute to this work, but it does not constitute the main work of any of them.
Ms Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what funds have been made available from the Sports Council to the English karate board of control since 1991; and what assessment he has made as to the adequacy of accounting for these funds.
Mr. Sproat: The Sports Council provides grant aid to karate in England through the English Karate Governing Body. The EKGB was established in 1991 by merger of the two then governing bodies--the English Karate Council and the English Karate Board. Since its inception, the EKGB has received the following grant aid: 1991 92: £6,900 for international competition
1992 93: £5,000 for administration and equipment costs
1993 94: £90,000 based on its four year development plan.
Column 112The EKGB has so far received £45,000 of the grant towards its development plan, and an additional grant of £40,000 towards the cost of staging the European championships.
Each grant has been subject to conditions which are consistent with the requirements of the financial memorandum between my Department and the Sports Council, which governs the terms of Government grant in aid. These conditions include the provision by the EKGB of audited accounts and balance sheets and certified statements of income and expenditure. Payment of further instalments of the EKGB's planned 1994 95 grant will continue to be dependent on its compliance with the grant conditions.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) during how many of the overseas visits made by Ministers in his Department between 1 January and 30 June those Ministers participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party; and if he will list the Ministers and the countries in which those activities took place;
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 21 November 1994]: Between 1 January and 30 June, Ministers in my Department made seven overseas visits in their official capacity. Fundraising activities for the Conservative party are not part of our official duties.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will set up an inquiry into the grant from his Department under the business sponsorship of the arts scheme to the Welsh Rock and Folk Music Council, matching the grant from the Pengwyn Pinc Cyf Company and the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority, S4C; what consultation with the chairman of S4C and the director of the Association of Business Sponsorship of the Arts he has had concerning this grant; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 21 November 1994]: In response to recent media reports, and having consulted my Department, the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts, which administers the business sponsorship incentive scheme on my behalf, is undertaking an urgent review of the circumstances in which an award was made to the Welsh Rock and Folk Music Council. I will consider what further action my Department might take in the light of the outcome of that review. I will also be taking account of the findings of an inquiry that is being conducted by S4C.
Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the names for the 72 Scottish parliamentary constituencies as proposed by the Boundary Commission and the names of the new local authority areas which each constituency will be part of from April 1996.
Column 113Commission for Scotland containing its final recommendations for parliamentary constituency boundaries in Scotland.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland 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.
Mr. Lang: My Department charges for information only in cases where a request received under the code of practice causes additional work which it would not have been necessary to undertake if the request had not been made. The charges are based on the actual cost of the extra work carried out but are levied only when the cost of such work exceeds £100. There is no charge where provision of information is necessary to the fair and accountable performance of the Department's functions. Most information is, therefore, provided free of charge. The agencies for which I am responsible operate similar schemes of charging to that of my Department.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from Strathclyde regional council concerning the reduction in funding for Disport Monkland; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Following notification of approved urban programme expenditure of £25,900 for the Disport project in 1994 95, Strathclyde regional council submitted a written appeal on 27 September 1994. The council had sought £49,000 but the approved expenditure was reduced to reflect the extent to which the project was targeted on the residents of areas eligible for urban programme support. The points made in the letter of appeal were fully considered but the original decision was upheld.
Mr. Kynoch: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to fulfil the undertakings in "The Structure of Local Government: Shaping the Future--The New Councils" to consult on the future structure of lieutenancies in Scotland after 1 April 1996.
Mr. Lang: I intend to consult Lord-Lieutenants and other interested parties on the proposals for lieutenancies in Scotland after 1 April 1996 which are set out in a consultation paper being published today. Copies of the consultations document are available in the Library.
Mr. Lang: I announced on 19 July, Official Report, column 185, that I was asking the director-general of the Forestry Commission to look at all aspects of the work carried out by the Forestry Authority with a view to improving the performance and efficiency of the organisation. This will involve a "prior options" study. I would welcome comments from interested parties. Those
Column 114should be sent to "The Director-General, Forestry Commission, 231 Corstorphine road, Edinburgh, EH12 7AT", by 21 January 1995.
Mr. David Porter: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what fisheries protection cover operates in the North sea normally to assist British fishing vessels; what was in operation on the night of 10 11 November; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jack: British sea fishery limits adjacent to England and Wales are patrolled by vessels from the Royal Navy's fishery protection squadron. At any one time there will be between two and four vessels on task to this Ministry.
On 10 to 11 November, four vessels were on patrol, in the North sea, the East English channel, the Bristol channel area and in the south-west approaches.
Mr. David Porter: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the number and scale of incidents between British fishing vessels and French vessels in each of the last five years in (a) the North sea and (b) other British waters; and what action the Government took in each case.
Mr. Jack: The Ministry does not keep comprehensive records of incidents involving gear disputes either between United Kingdom fishing vessels or between United Kingdom fishing vessels and those from other countries. Any action taken by the Ministry would depend on the particular circumstances of the incident.
Mr. David Porter: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make a statement about the incident between the fishing vessel Breydon Warrior and a French trawler on the night of 10 to 11 November in the North sea when fishing gear was damaged; (2) if he will make a statement on what compensation is available to British fishing vessel owners who have fishing equipment damaged by French vessels; and what are the procedures for addressing compensation claims.
Mr. Jack: The Ministry has not received any detailed account of the incident from the owners of the Breydon Warrior. I understand, however, from local press reports and a summary report provided by the coastguard that the Breydon Warrior's fishing gear was lost following an incident involving a French trawler. Incidents of this sort are regrettable and the Ministry encourages those concerned to co-operate and to reach agreements aimed at minimising conflict between different methods of fishing. Compensation is normally a civil matter for resolution between the parties concerned but, if requested, the Ministry is prepared to advise on the procedures to be followed.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 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.
Column 115which recognises the diversity of cost and operational structure across the range of bodies implementing the code, the charging arrangements developed by my Department can be summarised as follows:
(i) there will continue to be no charge for the provision of information necessary to the fair and accountable performance of the Ministry's functions;
(ii) a standard charge of £15 will be made for additional work needed to provide information over and above (i) in the case of simple requests, defined as those requiring less than two hours work at higher executive officer grade or below. This sum equates to about half the marginal cost of two hours work;
(iii) an additional charge will be made, above the standard charge, for the provision of information in response to more complex requests. This will be calculated at marginal costs and will be related to the amount of time needed to complete the tasks. The Ministry has always made a great deal of information available to the public on all aspects of its policies and procedures. No charges have yet been raised by the Department or its executive agencies for information requested under the code of practice. That is not expected to change significantly in the future.
A copy of MAFF's explanatory leaflet on charging for information provided under the code has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Jack [holding answer 21 November 1994]: According to the European Court of Auditors' Report for 1993 surpluses of milk products amount to the equivalent of approximately 10 per cent. of Community consumption.
Community intervention stocks of butter have been reduced from 1, 283,303 tonnes in 1986 to 81,249 tonnes now. Over the same period, intervention stocks of skimmed milk powder have been reduced from 959,865 tonnes to 82,942 tonnes now.
The Government have pressed successfully for reductions in support prices. For example, since 1989 the intervention price for butter has been reduced from 306.94 per 100 kg to 265.17 per 100 kg for 1994. There are several subsidised disposal schemes for surplus dairy products. For butter they include sales at a reduced price for the manufacture of bakery products, sugar confectionery and ice cream and the subsidised use of butter in the manufacture of concentrated butter for cooking. There are also subsidies for the use of skimmed milk in the manufacture of animal feed and for processing into casein and caseinates. In addition, subsidies are available for the consumption of milk and certain milk products in schools.
Column 116projects in Wales since May 1992, indicating the number of jobs promised and safeguarded and the kind of Government assistance given when appropriate.
Mr. Redwood: Information in the form requested is not available centrally. However, details of companies receiving regional selective assistance offers of £75,000 or more are published quarterly in the Employment Gazette , while summarised information relating to regional assistance is published each year in the Industrial Development Act 1982 annual reports. Summary information on all Welsh Office assistance is contained in the Department's annual reports--"The Government Expenditure Plans: A Report by the Welsh Office". Copies of those publications are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the terms of reference of the post-implementation review into the £5 million expansion project of the adult cardiac surgery unit at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff; when he expects the review will be completed; if he will then place a copy in the Library; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: I expect the post-implementation review of the expansion of adult cardiac services at the University Hospital of Wales to report in January 1995. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the report in the Library of the House when it has been finalised. The terms of reference for the review are set out as follows:
Terms of reference
In respect of the first year of full operation of the expanded capacity of specialist adult cardiac services at the University Hospital of Wales described in the Coopers and Lybrand, Deloitte and South Glamorgan Health Authority reports of June and July, 1991: A. Planning
(i) to describe how the project was planned and implemented and explore any difficulties:
(ii) to consider whether the project was implemented within the parameters identified in the 1991 reports and, in particular, to report on the effect of the expansion on the cardiac services unit and on other hospital services and any unforeseen external influences affecting the expansion, including new developments in clinical practice.
(i) to establish the effective capacity of the Unit;
(ii) to identify any service developments--physical or operational-- introduced in parallel with the expansion programme; (iii) to establish current quality levels and monitoring arrangements, taking into account quality standards obtaining in other comparable centres;
(iv) to review and report on changes in waiting times pre and post- implementation.
C. Lessons for the Future
(i) to identify the lessons to be learnt from the planning and implementation process.
Column 117in respect of inquiries under the code of practice on access to Government.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he is undertaking in relation to the future status and management of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: The National Blood Transfusion Service Wales is currently preparing a report on the future management arrangements. The question of consultation will be considered when the report is received.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has to transfer resources from the Health Promotion Authority for Wales to the health promotion units of the Welsh health authorities; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: The cost of printing and distributing leaflets informing members of the public about how to report smoky vehicles through the telephone hotline has been £13,771 to date. The annual cost of operating the hotline is in the region of £5,500.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many calls have been made to date to the smoky vehicles hotline; how many resulted in action being taken against the operator concerned; and what has been the total cost to public funds to date of the hotline.
Action is taken in all cases where sufficient information is reported, about 75 per cent. Operators are asked to have their vehicle checked and are warned that continued use of an excessively smoky vehicle could be in contravention of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986.
Column 118Since 1 April 1991, the total cost of operating the hotline and of printing and distributing promotional leaflets has been in the region of £30,000.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to submit any proposals for introducing or varying tolls for a road, bridge or tunnel to an environmental assessment.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he is giving to the planned revisions to the driving test to establish appropriate links with the Department for Education and Department of Employment in order to incorporate learning to drive in the GNVQ programme.
Mr. Norris: The statement aims to create the conditions in which more people will choose to cycle. Increases in cycling will be monitored through the national travel survey and the national traffic census. We are considering with other organisations whether this could usefully be augmented by more detailed information on the characteristics of cycle journeys.
Mr. Norris: The level of resources devoted to emission checks has been steadily increased over the past few years. We have asked the Vehicle Inspectorate to use excessive smoke emission as one of the main indicators for targeting vehicles for roadside enforcement checks and to concentrate on emissions standards in its enforcement on private vehicles.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to study which categories of vehicles not designed to the latest standards justify retrofitting with catalysts or particulate traps.
Mr. Norris: Research undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory on behalf of the Department has supported similar conclusions reached in the USA that retrofitting catalysts or particulate traps is not feasible on many types of vehicle. The environmental benefits are difficult to assess, and the costs, given their present state of the development are high. However, as the technology develops, especially that for controlling particulate
Column 119emissions, this is an area which I intend to keep under review.