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Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what countries Schroders and Warburg and Co. Ltd. was employed as mass privatisation advisers (a) in the financial year 1992 93 and (b) since.
Mr. Baldry: J. Henry Schroder Wagg and Co. Ltd.--Schroders--was employed to give advice to the Government of Hungary on mass privatisation from February until April 1992. As a member of a consortium led by Ernst and Young Management Consultants, it gave advice on various aspects of mass privatisation to the Czech and Slovak Republics between September 1992 and September 1993. S. G. Warburg and Co. Ltd. is contracted to give advice to Poland on mass privatisation from 1 November 1992 until 31 December 1994.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to which country the Crown Agents provided technical co-operation support for an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development rehabilitation loan in the financial year 1992 93.
Mr. Baldry: In 1992 93, the Crown Agents provided technical co- operation and training support to Government procurement agents within the Russian Federation to assist them in the implementation of a World bank rehabilitation loan.
Mr. Baldry: The cost of official travel on administering the aid programme by staff of the Overseas Development Administration was £1.4 million in 1993 94. That includes travel by spouses and children of staff serving in overseas locations.
Column 518airline flights during the financial year 1993 94 consisted of (a) economy class, (b) business-club class and (c) first-class travel.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the project specifications for (a) the energy efficiency in buildings project awarded to the Building Research Establishment, (b) the energy efficiency training project awarded to March Consultancy and (c) the short-term energy requirement study awarded to Lord Marshall of Goring for the financial year 1992 93.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to join and support the task force on the multilateral development banks, instigated in May to review the activities of the World bank and the regional development banks; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to insist that the World bank cancels debts incurred by the Governments of poor countries on loans granted in contravention of the bank's own guidelines.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to ensure that the World bank adopts policies compatible with the recommendations of the all-party parliamentary group on overseas development on sub-Saharan multilateral debt; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will encourage Governments borrowing from the World bank and the International Monetary Fund to release loan documents at the end of each cycle of 18 months to two years; (2) if he will encourage countries borrowing from the International Monetary Fund and the World bank to release policy framework papers setting out macro- economic and structural policy measures and social and environmental information.
Column 519programmes, including policy framework papers and project-related documentation.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of recent moves to increase transparency and accountability in the operations of the World bank; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry: We welcomed the presumption in favour of disclosure, on which the bank's board of directors decided in August 1993, and the resulting significant expansion in the range of information about the bank's policies and operations which is now publicly available. The revised disclosure of information policy is scheduled for review after one year of implementation; and we shall consider carefully with other shareholders whether improvements are needed.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement outlining the Government's response to the German proposals to increase accountability of the World bank.
Mr. Baldry: Bank staff have informed us that, following a recent review by the Government of Cameroon and the bank of the second urban project, approved in 1988, it has been decided to close the loan and cancel the balance of the Douala infrastructure component, implementation of which had been disrupted following civil unrest in 1991. A new project, which will include follow-on work on Douala infrastructure, is under preparation. This will be on concessional IDA terms, whereas the 1988 loan was on International Bank for Reconstruction and Development terms.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to implement the recommendations of the all-party group on overseas development in its recent report on Africa's multilateral debt on the introduction of an official channel of communication between the international financial institutions and Parliament.
Mr. Baldry: International financial institutions are intergovernmental bodies owned by their member Governments. Appropriate channels of communication are already in place between the institutions and HMG, who are accountable to Parliament.
Mr. Hicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to restore overseas aid to the Republic of Yemen, with particular reference to the project to support Sana'a university establishing a postgraduate course in English language studies; and if he will make a statement.
Column 520the project to support the Sana'a university English language programme, is currently under review.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what plans he has to continue funding for the Overseas Development Administration studies regarding the impact of limiting carbon dioxide emissions in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what plans he has to continue funding of the Overseas Development Administration studies of the impact of climatic change in Ghana and Kenya; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 24 November 1994]: The ODA financed studies were completed in 1992. We have no plans to pursue the issue bilaterally, but the replenished and restructured global environment facility, to which the United Kingdom has committed £89.5 million, is available to assist developing country parties to the climate change convention with their national strategies, plans and programmes.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made at the World bank and IMF in reducing Uganda's debt to these bodies; and what is Uganda's current level of debt to those bodies.
Mr. Baldry: [holding answer 25 November 1994]: Uganda has outstanding debts of about $391 million to the IMF and $1.25 billion to the World bank. Work is under way in both institutions in response to the proposals on multilateral debt outlined by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his answer on 19 October to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith), Official Report, columns 272 74.
Ms Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed the question of balance of payments support for the Ukraine with his EU counterparts; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 25 November 1994]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last discussed the issue of balance of payments support for Ukraine with his EU counterparts on 4 October. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer discussed Ukraine with his EU colleagues on 7 November. The subject is also expected to be discussed at meetings of EU Foreign and Finance Ministers in the next two weeks.
Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the number of claimants of invalidity benefit who are (a) terminally ill or (b) in receipt of the highest rate care component of disability living allowance.
Mr. Hague: Information in the form requested is not available. We estimate that around 25,000 people of working age become terminally ill each year although not all will qualify for incapacity benefits, some will be in receipt of statutory sick pay and others will not satisfy the contribution conditions. We estimate that up to 10,000 people who are receiving the higher rate care component of disability living allowance may claim incapacity benefits each year.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what representations he has received in the last 12 months regarding additional voluntary contributions in relation to company pension schemes; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what action he proposes to take to change the protection to pensions secured by; additional voluntary contributions and if he will make a statement;
(3) what reports or representations he has received regarding the failure of the Bellings and Co. Ltd. retirement benefit plan; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The proposed changes to the legislation will increase protection for all members of occupational pension schemes by introducing safeguards, including the proposed minimum solvency requirement which should ensure that the value of all accrued rights is protected in the event of a scheme winding up, including the value of additional voluntary contributions. This Department has received a small number of letters about AVCs in the last year and a small number of representations about the Belling pension scheme.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will place in the Library a copy of his advice, which related to the need for London boroughs to protect claimants from false accusations based on inaccurate data, resulting from his intentions to cross-match council tax and housing benefits personal data with personal data held by his Department.
Mr. Arbuthnot: No written advice has been issued but the Department has held a number of meetings with representatives from the participating London boroughs to discuss the pilot. The cross-matching of data will identify inconsistencies which warrant further consideration. The data sources will be thoroughly checked to confirm any discrepancy prior to any investigation taking place.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he wrote to local authority associations concerning his intentions to cross- match council tax and housing benefits personal data with personal data held by his Department; when copies of this correspondence were sent to the Data Protection Registrar; when he alerted the registrar to the intended data matching exercise in London; and if he will outline the steps which have been taken to improve communications with the registrar's office.
Mr. Arbuthnot: Formal consultations with the local authority associations began on 14 June 1994. Copies of the correspondence were not sent to the data protection registrar. The registrar was informed of the Department's proposals for the pilot exercise at a meeting early in June
Column 5221994. We contact the registrar's office whenever necessary.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total cost of administering benefits to the unemployed in cash terms and expressed as a percentage of benefit expenditure in each year since 1979.
Mr. Roger Evans: The available information is set out in the table. The proportion of the administrative cost of income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit, social fund loans, and other benefits attributable to the unemployed is not available.
Administrative cost of unemployment benefit |£ million |As a percentage of |unemployment |benefit expenditure -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |74 |11.3 1980-81 |120 |9.4 1981-82 |142 |8.3 1982-83 |132 |8.8 1983-84 |132 |8.8 1984-85 |133 |8.4 1985-86 |160 |10.1 1986-87 |179 |10.3 1987-88 |166 |11.3 1988-89 |172 |15.5 1989-90 |176 |24.0 1990-91 |182 |20.9 1991-92 |322 |20.1 1992-93 |269 |15.3 1993-94<1> |- |- <1> Figures for 1993-94 are not yet available.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total cost of information technology, computing systems and equipment in his Departments and its agencies in each of the last three years, distinguishing between (a) capital and equipment, (b) in-house provision services and (c) contracted services and consultancy.
|1993-94|1992-93|1991-92 |£ |£ |£ -------------------------------------------------------------- Cost of Capital and equipment (depreciation) |64,640 |58,525 |58,237 In-house provision<1> |290,330|276,109|267,021 Consultants/Contractors<2> |95,352 |110,533|97,158 Total Costs |450,322|445,167|422,416 <1> The `In-house provision' figure is the balance of Information Technology Services Agency costs once depreciation and consultant/contractor costs are removed. <2> "Contracted services and consultancy" have been taken to mean consultants/contractors. Source: The ITSA Annual Report and Accounts. ITSA, an executive agency of the Department of Social Security, supplies IT services to the DSS and its agencies and to other Government Departments and agencies including the Employment Service, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, the National Health Service Pensions Agency and the Department of Health. These costs are included in the above figures.
Mr. Roger Evans: In October 1994, we introduced new help with child care charges in family credit and in disability working allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit. We estimate that, in the long term, around 150,000 families will benefit from this change, including 50,000 parents taking up work. This new help will provide a further incentive for people to take up and remain in employment.
In April 1994, the special fast-track family credit service was extended to those newly entering self-employment. Most of their claims are now being cleared within five working days. Improvements in the claiming process for all self-employed people have meant a four-day reduction in the average time taken to deal with their claims.
Ms Jowell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the numbers of owner-occupiers receiving help with mortgage interest payments through income support in 1994 95.
Source: Income support statistics quarterly inquiry February 1994.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proposals he has to transfer to local authorities responsibility for the funding of income support claimants in care or nursing homes who have preserved entitlements to benefits.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has for alterations in industrial injury schemes which will affect the interests of actual or potential sufferers from asbestosis.
Mr. Hague: None, but under the long-term review of social security expenditure each part of the social security programme is being examined to ensure that the objectives are right for the 1990s and beyond.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many absent parents have withdrawn from employment after receiving Child Support Agency assessments since the Child Support Agency began operations.
Mr. Burt: The Government have been keeping the operation of the Child Support Act under close review for some time. We are now considering carefully the recent report of the Social Security Select Committee and will respond with proposals for change in due course.
Mr. Colvin: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the fifth report of the Social Security Select Committee of Session 1993 94 entitled "The Operation of the Child Support Act-Proposals for Change."
Mr. Burt: We are still evaluating the contents of the Select Committee's report, which was published on 26 October and we will respond in due course with proposals for change. No final decisions have yet been taken.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have claimed disability working allowance since its inception; and if he will break down the figures by age and gender.
Mr. Hague: By 31 October 1994, 51,005 people had claimed disability working allowance. Information on age and gender is not available in the form requested. The breakdown of the number of awards from November 1992 to April 1994, the latest period for which figures are available, is in the table.
Awards of disability working allowance November 1992-April 1994 Age of recipients |Male |Female |All ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Under 20 |133 |91 |224 20 to 29 |1,121 |955 |2,076 30 to 39 |1,197 |768 |1,965 40 to 49 |1,095 |759 |1,854 50 to 59 |606 |351 |957 60 plus |139 |32 |171 All ages |4,291 |2,956 |7,247
Mr. Galbraith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give for (a) 1992, (b) 1993, and (c) the first 10 months of 1994, the number of (i) liver transplants, (ii) heart transplants, (iii) heart and lung transplants and (iv) lung transplants, both single and double, carried out in Scotland.
= Numbers of Heart and Liver Transplant Operations Performed in Scottish NHS Hospitals 1992-93 and January to October 1994 |January to |October |1992 |1993 |1994<1> ------------------------------------------------------------- Liver Transplant |6 |30 |22 Heart Transplant |21 |22 |13 <1> Data for 1994 provisional.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland 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.
The costs will cost 15p each--excluding VAT--and will be issued by standard second class post. It is not possible to identify the staff time devoted to the dispatch of the cards.
A sample of the card, which depicts the Queen's view in Perthshire, has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Galbraith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the Scottish health service management executive to approve Greater Glasgow health board's acute strategy review; and when it will be published.
Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which Scottish Office Department and which Scottish local enterprise companies operate on performance-related pay; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang: In line with other Government Departments all Scottish Office non-industrial staff, excluding prison officers whose scheme comes into operation on 1 April 1995, are now covered by performance-related pay schemes.
Pay in the local enterprise companies is an operational matter for Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. I have asked the chairmen of the enterprise bodies to write to the hon. Member.
Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that the grants from revenue currently available to community and voluntary groups in Strathclyde region will continue to be available after reorganisation of local government.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The Government value highly the work of voluntary organisations in their local communities and wish to ensure a smooth hand-over from the existing to the new authorities. For this reason, the Scottish Office will make a direction under clause 55 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 requiring each existing authority to inform shadow authorities of all funding which is given to voluntary organisations by means of a grant, service agreement or contract. This direction is designed to ensure that the new authorities are aware of the full extent and purpose of the existing authorities' funding of the voluntary sector, and
Column 526in particular, of the full range of annual discretionary grants. This information will then inform their decision on assistance to community and voluntary bodies.
This direction complements the general provision in the Act for all existing liabilities, obligations and contracts entered into by existing authorities to be transferred to the new councils. This provision will safeguard contracts with voluntary bodies. The Scottish Office will also issue guidance to the new authorities on the key role of voluntary organisations and the importance of avoiding disruption and delay in grant decision making.
Mr. Norman Hogg: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses for rent are currently held by each new town development corporation; and what percentage this represents of the total number of houses constructed by each development corporation since vesting day.
|Houses for |Percentage of |rent as at |total stock New Town |31 March 1994|since vesting -------------------------------------------------------- East Kilbride |9,271 |39.5 Glenrothes |5,151 |40.9 Cumbernauld |4,686 |32 Livingston |6,800 |55.4 Irvine |3,609 |62.3
Mr. Lang [holding answer 24 November 1994]: My Department has no separate guidelines to regulate relationships with lobbying companies. Conditions of service for the staff of my Department incorporate the general principles of conduct that require civil servants not to misuse information which they acquire in the course of their duties; not to make use of their official position to further their private interests or those of others; and not to receive gifts, hospitality or benefits of any kind from a third party, which might be seen to compromise their personal judgment or integrity.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list and date those occasions over the last two years, when Ministers or officials in his Department have met lobbying companies, prior to a decision being made on the subject of the meeting with the lobbying company.
14. Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the President of the Board of Trade over the future of Companies House.
15. Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met the chairperson of the Mid Glamorgan health authority to discuss the future of the health service.