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Quangos

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how members of quangos to which he is responsible for appointing members currently serve as councillors representing (a) the Conservative party, (b) the Labour party and (c) the Liberal Democrat party.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer Friday 25 November]: The information requested is as follows:

At 1 September 1994, 31 members of public bodies appointed by me were serving district or county councillors. These represented: Conservative: 3

Labour: 17

Liberal Democrat: 0

Independent: 11


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OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION

Construction Projects

Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all the construction projects funded by Overseas Development Administration aid and awarded in whole or in part to United Kingdom construction companies in 1992 93 and 1993 94, and in each case stating the name of the United Kingdom construction company, the value of the contracts awarded to that company and the location, by country, of the project.

Mr. Baldry: There is no central historical record of aid-funded construction projects. Contracts for such projects are normally negotiated and let by the recipient Governments. A new reporting mechanism is now being established, but at present the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Internet

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has to provide information via Internet; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The CCTA Government information service was launched at the consultative meeting on information super-highways on 21 November. The service is designed to help Departments to make United Kingdom Government public information available electronically via the Internet, using the world wide web--WWW--hypertext information servers.

The aims of the service are to support the objectives of the citizens charter and open government; publish Government information; and provide a means by which Government Departments can gain experience of publishing information on Internet.

The Office of Public Service and Science has been at the forefront in exploiting the service. The hon. Member can access, via Internet, information on the citizens charter unit, the open government code of practice, a directory of Government Ministers and Whips, and HMSO's information technology catalogue. CCTA, the Government Centre for Information Systems, is talking to other parts of the Cabinet Office, and further information will become available in due course. CCTA's booklet for Internet users, "CCTA Government Information Service: How to access information", is available in the House of Commons Library.

Disabled People

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will invite Departments and agencies to advise Ministers if they intend to use buildings inaccessible to disabled staff or members of the public.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: As I informed the House on 21 November, I have already asked my officials to conduct a review of my Department's buildings, so that we know which buildings are accessible and which are not.


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Late Payments

Mr. Betts: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months;

(2) of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department, how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months, respectively.

Mr. David Hunt: The information is not generally available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Departments, however, are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their departmental reports. Based on a sample survey carried out during 1993 94, the Cabinet Office paid 78 per cent. of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days. HMSO achieved 80 per cent., and COI 83 per cent.

Secret Files

Mr. Byers: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) top secret and (b) secret files his Department holds.

Mr. David Hunt: Information on the Cabinet Office can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

United Nations

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what legal basis the United Nations protects the civilian population in the safe areas in cases where their inhabitants have attacked other territory.

Mr. David Davis: The mandate of the United Nations Protection Force- -UNPROFOR--under Security Council resolution 836 enables it to deter attacks against the safe areas referred to in Security Council resolution 824. In doing so, UNPROFOR is authorised by resolution 836, acting in self- defence, to take the necessary measures, including the use of force, in reply to bombardments against the safe areas or to armed incursion into them.

These provisions apply, even, where offensive action has been undertaken from within the safe areas.

Sudan

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further measures he proposes to show her Majesty's Government's disapproval of the human rights record of the Sudanese regime; and if he will further reduce the British diplomatic presence in Sudan.

Mr. David Davis: Monitoring human right abuses and raising concerns about these with the Sudanese authorities


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will remain one of the principal tasks of Her Majesty's embassy in Khartoum. We have no plans to reduce the number of staff there.

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Sudanese regime about the continued restrictions on the liberty of the former Prime Minister, Sadiq Al Mahdi.

Mr. David Davis: Her Majesty's embassy in Khartoum made representations to the Sudanese authorities during Sadiq Al Mahdi's detention for three weeks earlier this year. Sadiq Al Mahdi was released on 3 July. The embassy will continue to monitor his treatment by the authorities.

Arms Exports

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries in Central and Latin America have been the subject of arms exports licence refusals in 1993 on the grounds of internal oppression or regional security.

Mr. Davis: The only country in central and Latin America to which applications for arms export licences were refused in 1993 on the grounds of internal oppression or regional security is Argentina, to which we maintain an embargo on military sales in the light of the events of 1982 and the Argentine claim to the Falkland Islands.

Late Payments

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months;

(2) of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department, how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months, respectively.

Mr. Goodlad: The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, Departments are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their departmental reports. For 1993 94, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, diplomatic wing paid 95 per cent. and the Overseas Development Administration 88 per cent. of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of receipt of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice.

Kashmir

Mrs Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has had regarding the torture and execution of human rights activists in Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry: We have had no reports of the torture or execution of human rights activists in Kashmir.


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Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has had of Kashmiris suffering human rights abuses at the hands of Indian troops; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry: We are concerned by reports from international human rights groups of human rights abuses committed by the Indian security forces in Kashmir. We have regularly raised these concerns with the Indian Government.

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will call for (a) international investigations of human rights violations in Kashmir, (b) international humanitarian agencies to be allowed direct and independent access to the region, (c) the prosecution and punishment of those responsible for murdering and torturing Kashmiri people and (d) the right to self-determination for Kashmiris as promised by the United Nations; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry: We have consistently urged the Indian Government to allow independent human rights groups access to Kashmir. We are encouraged that they have allowed a number of such groups to visit Kashmir this year. We have also urged them to ensure that security force members are subject to the rule of law. We shall continue to support efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement in Kashmir.

Special Advisers

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the special advisers employed by his Department in each of the last five years indicating when they (a) joined and (b) left his Department and the annual salary they received.

Mr. Goodlad: The special advisers to this Department are Mr. Maurice Fraser and Mr. Michael Maclay.

On 1 March 1989, Mr. Maurice Fraser joined the Department and is still employed here. On 1 November 1989, the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) joined the Department; he left on 15 December 1990. On 7 January 1991, Mr. Edward Bickham joined the Department; he left on 9 July 1993. On 19 July 1993, Mr Michael Maclay joined the Department and is still employed here.

With regard to salary, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz) on 25 November, Official Report , column 413 .

Overseas Students

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many overseas students are now studying in the United Kingdom in the higher and further education sectors; what the numbers were before the introduction of full cost fees in 1980; how many students are currently receiving Government scholarships; and how the United Kingdom's record on receiving overseas students compares to that of its competitors.

Mr. Baldry: The numbers of overseas students studying in the United Kingdom in both the higher and further education sectors in 1979 80 was some 83,000. The number in 1992 93 was 99,700, an all-time high. In 1993 94 21,000 students from overseas studying in the United Kingdom were benefiting from official support


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under a variety of British Government scholarship and award programmes. These included 3,043 students holding British Chevening scholarships funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. According to available figures, the United Kingdom is fourth in the global league table of countries receiving overseas students with 92, 000, against the United States, 420,000, France, 136,000 and Germany, 100,000.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Cross-border Barriers

Mr. Enright: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in dismantling the barriers to free movement across the border.

Sir John Wheeler: All closure orders have been rescinded. More than 40 previously closed crossing points are presently open to traffic. The great majority should be reopened within a matter of months.

Tourism

Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the potential for tourism in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ancram: Tourism in Northern Ireland clearly has the potential to contribute significantly to the local economy. The Northern Ireland tourist board is working closely with the tourism industry to ensure that this potential is turned into reality.

The announcement last week of a £6.8 million joint marketing initiative by the tourism authorities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, together with the private sector, will do much to capitalise on new opportunities.

Mr. Jacques Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to improve cross-border co-operation in tourism.

Mr. Ancram: The Northern Ireland tourist board works closely with its counterpart in the Republic of Ireland, Bord Failte, jointly to market the island of Ireland as a quality tourist destination. Both Governments announced last week that this co-operation will be further developed and expanded.

Social Policy

Mr. Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on his Department's social policy strategy.

Mr. Ancram: The Government remain committed to addressing the social needs of the people of Northern Ireland, in particular through targeting social need initiative, which is aimed at directing resources to the most disadvantaged areas and people.

Peace Process

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on recent developments concerning the Downing street declaration.


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Mr. Canavan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had about furthering the peace process; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the latest position over the ceasefire.

Mr. Parry: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the peace process in Ulster.

Sir Patrick Mayhew: I refer the hon. Members to the oral answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Etherington) earlier today.

Brendan Smyth

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement as to what initiatives the Government took to effect the extradition of Brendan Smyth following the serving on the Gardai of extradition warrants by the RUC in April 1993.

Sir John Wheeler: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General on 21 November, Official Report, columns 37 38.

Hualon Project

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the current position and future of the Hualon project in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ancram: All necessary approvals for the project are in place and further progress and the release of the first tranche of IDB money depends on Hualon fulfilling certain obligations contained in the agreement with the Industrial Development Board.

The British Apparel and Textile Confederation lodged an appeal on 30 November with the European Court of Justice.

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will now review his decision to proceed with grant payments to the Hualon Corporation.

Mr. Ancram: My right hon. and learned Friend has recently reviewed and confirmed his decision, the implementation of which will depend upon the fulfilment by Hualon of certain preconditions.

We have no plans for a further review.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he last met representatives of the Hualon Corporation.

Sir Patrick Mayhew: On 9 June 1994.

Mr. Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement regarding aid to the Hualon Corporation.

Mr. Ancram: The Hualon project, which will make a major reduction in unemployment, was the subject of a lengthy and detailed appraisal before the decision to offer assistance was taken.

The advice of independent consultants was obtained and the project has received all the necessary approvals from HMG and the EC. To date no assistance has been paid, and none will be until certain pre-conditions are satisfied.


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Environmental Protection Agency

Mr. A. Cecil Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further consideration he has given to the formation of an environmental protection agency for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Moss: All the functions of the Department of Environment environment service are currently the subject of a prior options study. The Government will decide whether or not any proposals for change in the implementation of environmental policy in Northern Ireland should be made when the results of the study are known. The outcome of the study is likely to be announced early in 1995.

Unemployment

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the change in numbers of unemployed since December 1992.

Mr. Ancram: The latest available seasonally adjusted figures, for October 1994, show that the number of unemployed claimants has fallen by 11,500 since December 1992.

Paramilitaries

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the moves that have been made by the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries to withdraw the threat of military action against people whom they have forced into exile and who are still unable to return to their homes.

Sir John Wheeler: Such actions are incompatible with the disavowal of the use of violence for political purposes.

Dr. Kim Howells: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to meet members of the former loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland.

Sir Patrick Mayhew: I have no plans to do so.

Examination Results

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the reasons for the relative success of children living in Northern Ireland in GCSE and A-level exams in comparison with other parts of the Untied Kingdom.

Mr. Ancram: In Northern Ireland pupils entered for GCSE and A-levels have a good record of success. I believe that the motivation of pupils, parental support and the fact that we have highly professional and dedicated teaching staff are the key elements which have contributed to those high standards.

I have made no assessment of the reasons for differences with other parts of the United Kingdom.

Late Payments

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) of the bills currently awaiting payment in his Department how many are over the advised payment date by (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months, respectively;

(2) how many of the bills paid by his Department during the last month for which figures are available were


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paid within (a) up to one month, (b) up to two months, (c) up to three months, (d) up to six months and (e) over six months from receipt of invoice; and how many were over the date for payment by (i) up to one month, (ii) up to two months, (iii) up to three months, (iv) up to six months and (v) over six months.

Sir John Wheeler: The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Departments, however, are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their departmental reports. For 1993 94 the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments paid 95 per cent. of their bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of receipt of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice.

Special Advisers

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the special advisers employed by his Department in each of the last five years indicating when they (a) joined and (b) left his Department and the annual salary they received.

Sir Patrick Mayhew: Mr. Jonathan Caine was appointed special adviser by my predecessor in December 1991. He resigned in March 1992 and I re- appointed him as my special adviser in June 1992. No other special advisers have joined or left the Northern Ireland Office in the last five years.

Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, 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.

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement concerning the cost to public funds of employing ministerial special advisers in his Department.

Sir Patrick Mayhew [holding answer 23 November 1994]: My Department employs one special adviser.

Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, 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.

Industrial Development Board

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who is the chairman of the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board; when he was appointed to that position; when he is expected to retire; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ancram [holding answer 24 November 1994]: Mr. John B. McGuckian was appointed chairman of the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board on 1 January 1992, having served a period of 15 months as a member of the board. His term of office as chairman is due to expire on 31 December 1994.


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