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Ms Walley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consultation he has had with the United Kingdom tile and sanitary ware manufacturers concerning the implications of granting aid to encourage inward investment; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 29 November 1994]: I have had no consultation with the United Kingdom tile and sanitary ware manufacturers with regard to the implications for granting aid to encourage inward investment. The United Kingdom industry is not consulted about individual applications for assistance. The likely impact on the United Kingdom industry of assistance towards investment projects is always assessed before decisions are made on whether or not grant should be offered.
Ms Walley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assistance he has approved for inward investment in Turkish sanitary ware and ceramic tile manufacturing to Merseyside.
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 29 November 1994]: I cannot comment on discussions between companies and the Department which are commercially confidential.
Mr. David Porter: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much money H. L. Foods, through its cannery at Wisbech, has been paid from assisted area status funding to purchase equipment; how much of this was spent on purchasing equipment from Hobson plc's former cannery at Lowestoft; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 28 November 1994]: We do not disclose information on individual cases, which is given on a commercial in confidence basis.
Mr. Madden: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has made to appropriate
Column 706authorities in the USA concerning the affairs of Capcom Financial Services of London; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jonathan Evans [holding answer 29 November 1994]: No representations have been made by me to the appropriate authority in USA concerning the affairs of CAPCOM Financial Services of London.
Mr. Madden: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received about Capcom Financial Services of London; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jonathan Evans [holding answer 29 November 1994]: It is not the practice of the Department to comment on the affairs of individual companies.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what environmental advice he received on blocks 106/24, 106/25 and 106/30A prior to offering them for tender.
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 28 November 1994]: Those environmental Departments and organisations who provided advice following consultation, both generally for the Round and in respect of blocks 106/24, 106/25 and 106/30a are indicated on the following list.
Department of the Environment
Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland
Dyfed Wildlife Trust
Friends of Cardigan Bay
Friends of the Earth Cymru
Joint Countryside Advisory Service
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
who in turn consult--
Countryside Council for Wales
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Scottish Natural Heritage
Sea Mammal Research Unit
North Wales Wildlife Trust
The National Trust
RSNC Wildlife Trusts Partnership
Strangford Lough Management Committee
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Wildlife and Countryside Link
World Wide Fund for Nature
Those who provided advice on the Round.
Those who have specifically mentioned blocks 106/24, 106/25 and 106/30a in their advice.
Mr. Byers: To ask the President of the Board of Trade who much the chairmen and members of the British Coal Authority are to be paid; and, for each member, what other publicly funded posts they hold.
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 28 November 1994]: Sir David White receives a salary of £18,000 a year as part-time Chairman of the Coal Authority. Mr Neville Washington, its full-time chief executive, receives a salary of £55,000 plus pension and a car allowance. He is also eligible for a non-pensionable performance bonus. The other part-time members receive a salary of £5,500 per annum.
Column 707The other paid public appointments held by the members of the Coal Authority are:
Sir David White: Chairman of the Nottingham health authority; Mr. Roy Lynk: Industrial tribunal member in Nottingham; and
Mr. Leslie Rendell: the retiring director of planning and transport of Warwickshire county council.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee what applications were made in the last year for the Houses of Parliament to receive a fire certificate; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ray Powell : No application has been made for a fire certificate in the last year. Home Office fire inspectors have recently surveyed the Palace of Westminster and are expected to be in a position to issue a fire certificate in 1995.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he will list those organisations, excluding media organisations, whose employees have, to date, been issued by the House authorities with passes giving access to the House; what are the main criteria which are observed in determining eligibility for passes; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael J. Martin [holding answer 29 November 1994]: As the number of organisations whose employees are issued with passes is very large, I will write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to order a public inquiry into illegal and improper activities by the Welsh Development Agency.
The Prime Minister: None. The mistakes of the past are being thoroughly investigated by the new management team. The chief executive of the agency is keeping the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee fully informed.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales has stated clearly that the highest standards should be observed in all the Welsh Development Agency's dealings.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Prime Minister what rules apply to the marque of official cars used by Ministers.
The Prime Minister: Cabinet Ministers are normally given the choice of a Rover Sterling, Rover 827Si or any other vehicle from the Rover 800 series.
Other Ministers are normally given the choice of a Rover 416, 2-litre Montego, 2-litre Vauxhall Cavalier, 2-litre Ford Mondeo or diesel equivalents.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will set up a public inquiry into the use of steroids in hospitals; (2) if he will make a statement on the use of steroids; (3) what consideration he is giving, with the Secretary of State for Health, to measures to reassure the public regarding the use of steroids;
(4) if he will inquire into the case of Mrs. Niven of 11 Alvin close, Binley, Coventry.
The Prime Minister: Corticosteroids are long-established medicines which are important in the treatment of many serious illnesses, and their overall benefits to patients outweigh their side-effects. The Department of Health has fully investigated the effects of corticosteroids, given by mouth or injection, on the body's immune system. Advice about patients who are susceptible to chickenpox has been issued to all doctors.
A public inquiry is not appropriate. It is for doctors to decide the appropriate treatment for their patients with the benefit of advice from their professional bodies. The circumstances surrounding Mrs. Niven's death were fully investigated by the Coventry and Warwick hospital and the outcome discussed with her family. The Department of Health has issued a press statement regarding the safety of corticosteroids, advising patients using these medicines who are concerned to see their doctor and not to stop their medication suddenly. As with all licensed medicines, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health continues to monitor their safety.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister how many (a) top secret and (b) secret files his Department holds.
The Prime Minister: Approximately 1 to 2 per cent. of the files held in my office are top secret, approximately five per cent. are secret.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from Mr. David Hernandez Purnell; and what was his response.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 28 November 1994]: I have received a number of representations. These relate to a specific matter which is the responsibility of the Highways Agency. The agency is giving active consideration to the case.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement regarding the letter of 13 November to the Treasury Solicitor from a constituent of the hon. Member for Woolwich, a copy of which was forwarded to him; and what assessment he has made of the conformity of Her Majesty's Government's action with the spirit of the citizens charter.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 28 November 1994]: I have nothing further to add to the reply that my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science, gave to the hon. Member on 28 November, Official Report, columns 483-84.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union have been held since it was established under the Maastricht treaty; what reports have been received from the Committee to date; what responses have been made to these reports; and what has been the cost of United Kingdom required representation to the Committee.
Mr. David Davis: There have been five plenary meetings of the EC's Committee of the Regions. The Council has so far received 20 opinions from the Committee. The Council makes no formal response to opinions, but takes them into account during the decision-making process. No attendance is required at Committee meetings. Members receive travel and subsistence allowances for meetings which they do attend. We do not hold information on expenses paid to individual Committee members.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many short stay visas were issued last year; and what were the figures for the 10 main countries of origin.
Mr. Baldry: In 1993, 609,297 single entry visit visas, and 12,230 short term multiple entry visas, valid for six months, were issued to people seeking to make visits of six months or less.
The top countries where these visas were issued--not all were to nationals of the country concerned--were as follows:
|Number of |applications Country |issued --------------------------------------- India |60,153 Russia |58,277 USA |39,589 Pakistan |36,647 Turkey |36,227 Thailand |30,606 Nigeria |24,470 Iran |16,835 China |15,687
The British Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei also processed 51,264 applications during 1993.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of Her Majesty's Government's representation and investigations into the death of Jonathan Moyle.
Mr. Baldry: It is for the Chilean authorities to investigate the circumstances of Mr. Moyle's death. We have co-operated with them fully from the outset. On 9 September 1991 a verdict was announced that Mr. Moyle's death was
"attributed to third party involvement where the identity of the third party cannot be ascertained".
Column 710The case is being investigated further and a report will be submitted to the Chilean Court of Appeal for consideration. We await the court's findings and in the light of those will consider what further action needs to be taken. An inquest into Mr. Moyle's death is also being conducted by HM coroner for the district of Exeter and East Devon.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the hon. Member for Blaenau, Gwent may expect a letter on the extension of article III to the Anglo-American mutual defence agreement on atomic matters promised in his answer of 3 November, Official Report, column 1382; and if the letter will be published in the Official Report.
Mr. David Davies: I wrote to the hon. Member on 22 November. The text of the letter was as follows:
"I promised to write to you in response to your recent Parliamentary Questions on the 1958 UK/US Mutual Defence Agreement. As you know, the 1958 Agreement enables the United Kingdom and the United States to co-operate on the use of atomic energy for mutual defence purposes. While the main part of the Agreement is not time-limited, Article III bis, which relates to the two-way exchange of special nuclear materials and other products, requires periodic amendment to ensure its continuing relevance and validity. The most recent amendment to this article, which was ratified in 1984, expires at the end of this year. We and the United States have agreed that there should be a further amendment to enable these exchanges to continue for another ten years.
Article VI of the Agreement addresses questions of the security and physical protection of the information and materials exchanged. While both the UK and US operate rigorous and effective materials control and accountancy arrangements, we have decided that it would be prudent to acknowledge explicitly the existence of these arrangements in the text of the Agreement. We have therefore agreed that Article VI should be amended accordingly.
The text of the amendment to the Agreement was agreed in May this year following discussions between officials of the two Governments. The 1994 amendment was laid before Parliament on 21 October. The Ponsonby Rule requires it to remain there for 21 sitting days before it can be ratified".
I am arranging for a copy of this letter to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr.Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what attempts have been made to have an integrated European Union approach to the current political situation in Algeria; and what was the outcome.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: On 30 May 1994 the EU ministerial troika visited Algiers. The conclusions of the European Council at Corfu on 24 25 June 1994 included a passage on Algeria. The EU issued a joint statement on Algeria on 26 September 1994.
Unfortunately the cessation of violence and the dialogue for which the EU has called have not come about.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what help is being sent by Her Majesty's Government to Russia for oil spills in the north of Russia.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We stand ready to help, but Russia has made it clear that no international assistance is required for the present.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the World Society for the Protection of Animals about the killing of the great apes of Africa; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: I have received no representations from the World Society for the Protection of Animals about the killing of the great apes of Africa. It is a matter for the individual countries involved to pass the domestic legislation to prevent the killing of their apes. We are, however, always concerned by reports of cruelty to animals and encourage others to adopt our own high standards of animal welfare.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) top secret and (b) secret files his Department holds.
Mr. Baldry: FCO departments hold as many current files as is necessary for their operational needs. A proportion of these, consistent with security requirements, are top secret and secret. A breakdown of these could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Government of Indonesia concerning the abuse of human rights; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad: Our regular discussions with the Indonesians cover a wide range of issues, including human rights. With European Union partners, we have most recently expressed concern about the conviction and sentencing of Mr. Muchtar Pakpahan.
Sir Kenneth Carlisle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action has been taken to review the work of science and technology sections at British missions overseas to fulfil one of the commitments of the 1993 White Paper, "Realising our Potential: a Strategy for Science, Engineering and Technology".
Mr. Douglas Hogg: I am pleased to be able to inform the House that in the first half of this year an interdepartmental team from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Office of Science and Technology and the British Council carried out a major review of science and technology work in diplomatic missions and British Council offices overseas. I have just endorsed the report of this review. It will be published on 1 December 1994. I have arranged for a copy of the report to be deposited in the Library of the House.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar on the position of Moroccan workers employed at the British military base who may become redundant in the near future; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: I have been asked to reply.
During my recent visit to Gibraltar I met the Gibraltar Government Minister for the Environment and Tourism and we discussed the announced reductions in the MOD presence in Gibraltar and the implications for locally entered staff, including Moroccan employees.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it was a condition of the British funding of the Margaret Thatcher library at Moi university in Kenya that there should be academic freedom at the university.
Mr. Baldry: The library will make an important contribution to learning and the output of graduates, particularly in science and technology, on which Kenya's development depends. While good government is a criteria in the allocation of United Kingdom aid, no specific condition was made relating to academic freedom when the project was approved in 1987.