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46. Mr. David Evans: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what advice his Department gives magistrates about wearing British Legion poppies in court.
Mr. John M. Taylor: None. For myself I have always accepted the British Legion's suggestion that we should wear our poppies with pride and with humble appreciation, too, of those who made great sacrifices for our freedom.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how much public money will be spent on entertaining, Christmas decorations and other festive activities this Christmas season by the Lord Chancellor's Department and Government agencies answerable to this Department; and of this sum how much will be spent in Ministers' private offices and official residences.
Mr. John M. Taylor: Disaggregated information of this nature is not available. Such costs are covered by the entertainment expenditure for the Lord Chancellor's Department, which is contained in the running costs expenditure published in the annual report, copies of which are in the Library of the House.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many official Christmas cards the Lord Chancellor and his Ministers intend to send in 1994; how much of these cards will cost (a) to buy, (b) to post and (c) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes; and if he will place in the Library a sample copy of the official Christmas card the Lord Chancellor intends to send this year.
Amount Purchase Price Postage Cost Cost in (Estimate) |(Estimate) |(Estimate) |Staff Time |UK |Overseas ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Lord Chancellor |250 |Own Purchase |£38 |£33 |Not available Parliamentary Secretary |50 |£12 |£6 |Not applicable|Not available |£15 with VAT
I will be placing a sample copy of the Christmas card the Lord Chancellor intends to send--when available--in the Member's Library.
Mr. John M. Taylor: In December 1992, the Lord Chancellor announced his intention to introduce a number of reforms which we believe will be of great assistance to parties seeking speedy and economic disposals of defamation claims, and the reforms which could be
Column 486achieved by amending rules of court have already been implemented. Also, we have made considerable progress in developing a precise framework for the further reforms foreshadowed in that statement and on which the Lord Chancellor intends to introduce legislation as soon as he has a suitable opportunity. These reforms include a new defence, recommended by a working group under the chairmanship of Lord Justice Neill, which will avoid the need for a trial if the defendant is prepared to offer amends and pay damages assessed by a judge. In addition, there will be a new summary procedure, under which every defamation claim will come before the judge at an early stage. He will assess whether the claim is suitable for summary disposal, or whether it should go for trial, with or without a jury. He will have power on summary disposal to award damages up to a fixed ceiling. We believe that the procedure will help the parties to
Column 487clarify the real issues much earlier, and encourage sensible settlements, as well as providing a fast track for the disposal of straightforward claims.
Mr. Stephen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department whether he will make available to the public, on request, cassette copies, at cost, of the whole or part of all tape recordings of court proceedings heard in public.
Mr. John M. Taylor: A member of the public who is not a party to an action may only have a transcript of recordings of court proceedings with the prior leave of a district judge in civil cases, and of a chief clerk in criminal cases. There are no plans to change these arrangements.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to encourage the closer working together of barristers and solicitors; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor: Barristers and solicitors are members of the legal profession, which is independent of Government. It would, therefore, not be appropriate for either the Lord Chancellor or me to determine the closeness of their working arrangements. However, we would both wish to support any initiatives on the part of the legal profession which accord with the principles of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, by making provision for new or better ways of providing legal services while maintaining the proper and efficient administration of justice.
Mr. John. M. Taylor: The legal professions function independently of Government. I have no responsibility for monitoring the time taken to answer complaints made to bodies within the professions. The Lord Chancellor is responsible for the appointment and monitoring of the legal services ombudsman, who investigates complaints about the manner in which complaints about lawyers made to the appropriate legal bodies have been, or are being, dealt with. This will include any complaints relating to time taken in investigation.
Column 488the cost of work on the three main lifts in the Norman Shaw north building over the last 12 months; who authorised that work; and on how many working days one or more of those lifts have been out of operation during the last year;
(2) what has been the cost of renovating the rear lift in the Norman Shaw north building; who authorised that work; and whether the lift has been working satisfactorily since the work was completed.
Mr. Ray Powell: All three lifts in Norman Shaw north were badly affected by a burst pipe which occurred on 10 October. Two electric motors had to be taken away for rewinding and there was a spate of other minor problems resulting from the flood damage, which altogether cost some £14,000 to repair. The annual maintenance cost for each lift is estimated to be £1,500. The information requested on the number of working days when the lifts did not operate could be compiled only at a disproportionate cost.
The cost of the work to replace the rear lift was £73,000. The work was approved by the Accommodation and Works Committee as part of the rolling programme of lift replacement and refurbishment. The contractor has had to correct several teething problems since the lift was installed, but I believe that these have been overcome and that normal service should now continue. The Director of Parliamentary Works is monitoring the situation carefully. The combination of the planned lift replacement work on the rear and the unforeseen damage to the three main lifts has resulted in a poor lift service to users of the building over the past few months. Every effort is being made to ensure that a reliable service is provided in the future.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much public money will be spent on entertaining, Christmas decorations and other festive activities this Christmas season by his Department and Government agencies answerable to his Department; and of this sum how much will be spent in Ministers' private offices, and official residences.
Mr. Heseltine: Disaggregated information of this nature is not available. The DTI's expenditure on official hospitality since 1990 was published in the answer to the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor) on 26 October, column 654.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many official Christmas cards he and his Ministers intend to send in 1994; how much these cards will cost (a) to buy, (b) to post and (c) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes; and if he will place in the Library a sample copy of the official Christmas card he intends to send this year.
Mr. Heseltine: My Department does not commission its own departmental Christmas card. Individual Ministers may choose to send cards. While specific lists of addressees have yet to be drawn up, it is expected that Ministers will send in the region of 500 cards at an expected average cost of 75p each. Cards for recipients within the United Kingdom will be sent second class. It
Column 489is not possible to predict accurately the amount of staff time that will be required to process the cards.
Mr. Heseltine: My Department employs three special advisers. Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually, and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 34 points, ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary spine reflects this.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what external legal advice he has received on the impact of privatisation of the Insolvency Service on the future disqualification and prosecution of bankrupts;
(2) what advice he has received in respect of the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 in the event of the privatisation of the Insolvency Service; (3) if he will publish in full the report of the consultants Stoy Hayward into privatisation of the Insolvency Service.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the efficacy of investigations begun by the Insolvency Service but completed in the private sector, in the event of privatisation of the service.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: Stoy Hayward Consulting reported that the contracting out of official receivers administrative functions would enable official receivers to concentrate more on their investigatory role. Under such arrangements investigations begun by contractors would be completed by official receivers.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the total cost, including the cost of using consultants, of the review of possible privatisation in respect of the Post Office; and how much has been paid to each consultant.
Mr. Eggar: The Government announced their intention to privatise Parcelforce on 15 July 1992, Official Report, column 1137, and announced the review of the structure and organisation of the Post Office on 29 July 1992. From those dates to the date of the Government's decision that they would not, for the present, be proceeding with legislation on the Post Office, a total of £1,613, 002.28 was spent on consultancy advice. The cost of work undertaken by individual contractors is commercially confidential.
Mr. William O' Brien: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he last discussed the prospects of continuing investment in the machine tool industry with the leaders of that industry; and what concerns the leaders in that industry expressed about ensuring their competitiveness in the world markets.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Ministers and officials in the DTI have had close and continuing contact with the machine tool industry in recent years. The most important influence on investment is a stable economic climate based on low inflation. Inflation is now at its lowest level for 27 years and the output of the United Kingdom machine tool industry is about 15 per cent. higher than a year ago. We have also discussed with the industry's trade association, the Machine Tool Technologies Association-- MTTA--ways to improve the overall competitiveness of the industry. We are presently working with the MTTA and other associations to produce guidance for small manufacturing firms which will enable them to improve the overall quality of investment. This was an initiative referred to in the White Paper "Competitiveness: Helping Business to Win", Cm 2563.
Mr. Sainsbury: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate he has made of the effect on manufacturing employment of manufacturing businesses contracting out to other firms, classified as service businesses, activities such as transport, catering and cleaning.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The Central Statistical Office has estimated that manufacturing employment might have been up to three quarters of a million higher than recorded in 1989 had manufacturers' purchases of non- industrial services as a proportion of total sales remained at 1973 levels- -"Changes in the structure of manufacturing industry 1973 1989 as measured by the annual Census of Production", Economic Trends, No. 462 April 1992.
Mr. Hardy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade which EC member states increased steel production between 1988 and 1992; and by how much production and employment fell in the United Kingdom steel industry during this period.
Mr. Eggar: Crude steel production in Italy and Spain increased by 4.5 per cent. and 3 per cent. respectively between 1988 and 1992. In the United Kingdom steel industry production fell by 14.5 per cent. and employment fell by 26 per cent. over the same period.
Mr. Hardy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the numbers employed in the steel industries of EC member states in 1975, 1981, 1987 and 1993 with the percentage change in the numbers employed since 1975.
Employment in the steel industry of EC member states |1975 |1981 |1987 |1993 |1975-1993 Country |thousands ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Germany |222.0 |187.0 |133.3 |110.3 |-50.3 Italy |96.0 |96.0 |60.7 |49.3 |-48.6 France |156.0 |97.0 |57.6 |40.5 |-74.0 United Kingdom |185.3 |88.0 |54.9 |39.2 |-78.8 Spain |b |b |44.8 |27.3 |b Belgium |59.0 |45.0 |28.6 |24.0 |-59.3 Netherlands |25.0 |21.0 |18.5 |13.5 |-46.0 Luxembourg |21.0 |14.0 |11.4 |7.1 |-66.2 Portugal |b |b |5.7 |3.1 |b Greece |a |a |4.0 |2.9 |a Denmark |3.0 |2.0 |1.5 |1.1 |-63.3 Ireland |1.0 |1.0 |0.6 |0.6 |-40.0 Source: Eurostat. Notes: a) EC member from 1/1/82. b) EC member from 1/1/87. Employment figures are as at end of year. Steel industry as defined under treaty of Paris, 1951.
Mr. Hardy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action he proposes to take to assist the British steel industry in view of the nature of the support by other member states and of their industries; and if he will make a statement on the enforcement of articles 4 and 95 of the treaty.
Mr. Eggar: The best way in which the Government can assist the industry is to work for an international market in which the highly efficient United Kingdom steel industry can trade freely and without unfair competition. The Government will continue to press the Commission to enforce the state aid rules rigorously and to take action against any breaches.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the British share of (a) American investment in Europe in each year since 1964 and (b) all non-European investment in Europe over the same time period.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Table 1 sets out the United Kingdom's share of American investment in Europe since 1964. The remaining information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. This is because data are not available on a consistent basis for the entire period requested.
From sources readily available within the Department it would require converting data from national currencies to a common currency for each year and obtaining data from "National Statistical Sources".
Table 1. Annual capital flows for US direct investment abroad |Kingdom |United Kingdom |Europe |$ millions |per cent. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1964 |381 |1,796 |21.2 1965 |559 |1,867 |29.9 1966 |477 |2,249 |21.2 1967 |519 |1,858 |27.9 1968 |686 |1,601 |42.8 1969 |535 |2,251 |23.8 1970 |893 |3,030 |29.5 1971 |1,113 |3,424 |32.5 1972 |492 |3,030 |16.2 1973 |1,409 |6,577 |21.4 1974 |1,469 |6,432 |22.8 1975 |1,420 |4,584 |31.0 1976 |1,157 |5,492 |21.1 1977 |1,831 |5,289 |34.6 1978 |2,596 |7,820 |33.2 1979 |4,073 |12,259 |33.2 1980 |4,797 |13,011 |36.9 1981 |1,989 |5,278 |37.7 1982 |754 |3,470 |21.7 1983 |1,385 |5,122 |27.0 1984 |3,052 |5,578 |54.7 1985 |3,147 |7,573 |41.6 1986 |2,259 |7,292 |31.0 1987 |2,559 |11,397 |22.5 1988 |4,170 |7,854 |53.1 1989 |11,825 |23,679 |49.9 1990 |-202 |10,194 |* 1991 |4,665 |19,583 |23.8 1992 |6,068 |17,882 |33.9 1993 |13,886 |30,023 |46.3 Source: US Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Analysis. *Note: Direct investment capital flows measure the net funds flowing between US parent companies and their foreign affiliates in a given period; therefore they are negative when funds are flowing back to the United States, on net.
Column 493legislation to facilitate its ratification will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time and other Government legislative priorities permit.
Mr. David Howell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the varying pattern of domestic electricity prices throughout England and Wales; and if he will publish a table giving the information he has received from the electricity distribution companies, as to their plans for price reductions to domestic consumers during the coming year and the part played by additional funds paid in advance before the levying of VAT on electricity, as from April of this year, in enabling electricity authorities to reduce their prices.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Domestic electricity prices are subject to certain price control formulae set by the Director General of Electricity Supply. The price controls are set on a comparable basis for each regional electricity company--REC--but take into account variations such as local conditions and the different customer bases in each region.
The plans for future electricity tariffs are a commercial matter for the public electricity suppliers, although all such suppliers will need to take the price controls into account when setting their tariffs.
31. Mr. Jenkin: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners what provision the Commissioners make for pensions for those in service of the Church of England.
Mr. Alison: The security of existing clergy pensions is not at issue, as the value of the Commissioners' assets comfortably exceeds the accrued pension liabilities for retired clergy and those currently in active service. Separate funding arrangements are in place to pay the pensions of lay employees of the Church of England. The Commissioners and the pensions board are discussing with dioceses proposals for funding pension liabilities arising from the future service of clergy on a more sustainable basis involving contributions. This will help secure the Commissioners' continuing ability to help the Church in other ways.
32. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners what is the number of remunerated clergy who have (a) retired from, (b) resigned from and (c) joined the payroll of the Church of England in the last 12 months.
34. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners if
Column 494all the recommendations contained in the Lambeth report have now been implemented.
Mr. Alison: The implementation of the Lambeth report recommendations was overseen by a steering group of governors appointed by the board of the Commissioners. This will shortly report to the board that all the recommendations either have been implemented or, as in the case of arrangements for the future funding of clergy pensions, are being vigorously pursued.
35. Mr. Gapes: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners what is the current value of the total assets of the Church Commissioners.
36. Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners what percentage of investments are held in companies which are specifically recognised by investment trusts and others buying and selling stocks and shares as ethically and environmentally acceptable.
37. Ms Abbott: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners how much profit the Church Commissioners have made this year from investments.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much public money will be spent on entertaining, Christmas decorations and other festive activities this Christmas season by his Department and Government agencies answerable to his Department; and of this sum how much will be spent in Ministers' private offices and official residences.
Sir John Wheeler: Disaggregated information of this nature is not available but I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Taylor) on 25 October 1994, regarding spending on hospitality, Official Report, column 543 .
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many official Christmas cards he and his Ministers intend to send in 1994; how much these cards will cost (a) to buy, (b) to post and (c) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes; and if he will place in the Library a sample copy of the official Christmas card he intends to send this year.
Sir John Wheeler: Ministers representing the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments estimate they will be sending 2,525 Christmas cards at a cost of £2,048 to buy and £498 to post. The cost in staff time to sign, address and envelope is not available.
A sample copy of the Christmas cards will be placed in the Library when available.
Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if public funds were involved in the most recent visit of the President of the Irish Republic to Northern Ireland; and which of the bodies inviting her are in receipt of public funds;
(2) when Her Majesty's Government were first informed of the most recent visit of the President of the Irish Republic to Northern Ireland; and when her precise itinerary was disclosed;
(3) if he will list the engagements of the President of the Irish Republic on the occasion of her most recent visit to Northern Ireland, indicating those engagements which were purely private and those which were of a public character;
(4) what was the date of the most recent visit of the President of the Irish Republic to Northern Ireland; and whether it was a public visit or a private visit.
Sir John Wheeler: The President of the Republic of Ireland paid a private working visit to Northern Ireland on 15 and 16 November 1994 where she attended the 1550th anniversary service to mark the establishment of Christianity in Ireland at St. Patrick's Church of Ireland cathedral, Armagh; a conference of European student unions on equality of opportunity in higher education at the Wellington Park hotel, Belfast; visited Hazelwood college, Belfast and a resident at Bethany nursing home, Belfast. All of these visits were in response to private invitations; the church service was also a public act of worship.
Apart from the usual security requirements no public funds were expended on the visit. Hazelwood college is funded by the Department of Education.
Her Majesty's Government were first advised of President Robinson's visit on 25 May 1993 and the final itinerary confirmed on 7 November 1994.
Sir John Wheeler [holding answer 25 November 1994]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to Dr. Tony Wright by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 1 February 1994, Official Report, column 611.
Column 496In addition to the information in the publications mentioned in that reply the following non-departmental public bodies have ceased to exist since 1986:
Charities Advisory Committee
Advisory Body on Community Work
NI UNESCO Committee
Land Law Working Group
NI Health and Social Services Council
Police Complaints Board-- replaced by Independent Commission for Police Complaints for NI
Advisory Committee on Teachers Education
Therapeutic Paramedical Advisory Committee
NI Council for Educational Research
NI Business and Technical Education Council
NI Council for Educational Development
Teachers' Negotiating Machinery Committees--decreased from 4 to 3
Further Education Appeals Board
NI Schools Examination Council
Centre for Learning Resources Management Committee
Committee for Nature Conservation*
Ulster Countryside Commission*
--* combined to become Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside
Advisory Board for Postgraduate Awards
Committee for Centre for Education Management
Council for Continuing Education
5 Industrial Training Boards
NI Training Authority--functions were taken over by the Training and Employment Agency
Youth Committee for NI--became the Youth Council for NI
Road Transport Industry Training Board
Textiles Industry Training Board
Ulster Savings Committee
Accommodation Grants Advisory Committee
NI Electricity Board then NI Electricity Plc--now privatised Attendance Allowance Board-- replaced by Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board
9 Wage Councils
NI Schools Examinations and Assessment Council*
NI Curriculum Council
-- combined to become NI Council for the Curriculum, Examination and Assessment.
Summary data for the years 1979 to 1985 are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.