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Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 29 November 1994]: Next year we shall continue to offer unemployed people some 1.5 million opportunities of help. For long-term unemployed people we aim to provide the individual advice and support they need to get back to work as quickly as possible.
Through regular Restart interviews we encourage them to search for jobs actively. Jobclub and the job interview scheme help them find jobs, and present their abilities to employers effectively. Jobplan workshops and Restart courses provide opportunities for self-assessment, confidence building, and action planning. Training for work and Community Action offer them chances to learn new skills, refresh old ones, gain work experience and enhance their job skills. On Tuesday, my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out our plans to develop our help to ensure that it is targeted on those who need it most--in particular, the long-term unemployed. We are focusing training for work more sharply on getting people into work. We are extending Community Action and work trials over the next three years. Following successful pilots, jobfinders grant will be available nationally. So too will Workwise and 1-2-1, providing intensive job search help for 18 to 24 year olds out of work for a year or more. New Jobmatch pilots are to be developed and Workstart pilots will be extended.
Mr. Charles Wardle: I expect payments from the fossil fuel levy to renewable generators to increase during the 1990s, as more renewable electricity generation projects are commissioned under the non-fossil fuel obligation.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Statistics on United Kingdom electricity trade with France are regularly published in "Energy Trends", table 24, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. A description of how trade across the interconnector was expected to develop in the foreseeable future was given in the Government's Coal Review White Paper, Cm 2235, at paragraphs 7.100 to 7.101.
Mr. Allen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report's rejection of the plans of the Daily Mail Company to acquire the seven Nottingham-based titles of T. Bailey Forman Ltd.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much funding has been provided to TECs for small and medium-sized businesses in the current financial year and the coming financial year; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ian Taylor: My Department is providing £32.7 million to TECs for enterprise activity by small and medium-sized businesses in the current financial year. A further £6 million is being provided to TECs for the diagnostic and consultancy service delivered by Business Links. My Department is also providing funding totalling £18.7 million for providing a range of advisory services in Business Links and for helping to establish the Business Link network which will mainly assist small and medium sized businesses.
I have not yet finalised my budgets for 1995 96 but I expect to do so shortly and I will provide a further answer at that time. In addition to DTI funding, other Government Departments, notably the Employment Department provide TECs with funds which they may use to support small and medium sized businesses.
Mr. Allen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what his Department is doing to encourage the development by manufacturers of radio sets capable of receiving the BBC's DAB broadcasts, to be launched in 1995; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Taylor: On 16 February 1993, Official Report , column 134 , my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade announced to the House the setting up of a national forum to co-ordinate and promote the plans for the introduction of DAB in the UK. Participants of the forum included broadcasters, equipment manufacturers, retailers, service providers and other interested parties.
Column 936They have made considerable progress over the intervening months. One of the forum's working groups is concerned with consumer equipment for receiving DAB broadcasts. It currently numbers all of the major UK market players, including far Eastern inward investors, in its membership.
At least five of these have indicated their intentions to manufacture products in the UK once DAB chipsets become available. Another far eastern company that does not currently manufacturer in the UK has expressed a desire to develop a DAB receiver in the UK. At the present time, however, there is a lack of DAB chipsets in commercial quantities and at commercial prices. Some UK companies have formed a club to develop a UK source of DAB chipsets to alleviate this.
Officials in my Department are giving strong encouragement to these activities.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Standards Quality and Measurement Advisory Committee in each of the last three years.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Secretarial support for the Standards, Quality and Measurement Advisory Committee has been provided by officials from the national measurement system policy unit, a section within the technology and innovation policy division of the Department. Advisory arrangements were covered within the terms of reference for the committee. The terms of reference for the committee were: (a) To identify and review the requirement of the United Kingdom national measurement system and the needs for its harmonisation internationally.
(b) To advise the Department on the broad objectives, balance and strategy for departmental support of metrology, including its relationship to specification standards and other quality activities.
(c) To advise the Department on the allocation of resources necessary to secure those objectives; to consider proposals referred by the Department to the committee for advice against such criteria as the Department may propose; to make recommendations for programmes to be considered by the Department; and to advise the Department on the effectiveness of its expenditure.
(d) To propose other measures which will further the objectives of the national measurement system and related activities within the committee's area of responsibility.
(e) To advise the Department on any other matters within the committee's competence.
The Standards, Quality and Measurement Advisory Committee has now become the Measurement Advisory Committee.
Column 937The table shows the number of meetings held, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of
Column 938reports and submissions produced by the committee over the last three financial years.
SQMAC Activity and Budgetary Information (financial years 1991-94) |Number of formal |Budget<1> |Out-turn<1> |Reports and |submissions by Financial Year |meetings of SQMAC |£ |£ |SQMAC ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1991-92 |4 |<2>- |None 1992-93 |4 |25,000 |22,747.88 |None 1993-94 |5 |25,000 |13,760,69 |19 February 1993 Submission urging the |consideration of planned reductions in |programme funding. 1 June 1993 |Submission expressing concern at the |reduction in funding of the mass, |length and flow metrology |programmes. <1> Includes budget and out-turn for regular meetings of SQMAC working groups. <2> This information is available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to reassess his Department's policy announcement on 31 March 1994 on the future funding for wave energy, Official Report , columns 1009 10 , following the subsequent decision of the European Commission to fund the wave power device designed by Queen's university, Belfast.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The Government's strategy for the development of new and renewable energy in the United Kingdom was published on 31 March 1994 as Energy Paper No. 62, copies of which are in the Libraries of both Houses. Resources will be concentrated on key technologies with good prospects of commercial application in the coming decades--such as solar, energy from coppice and waste, wind and fuel cells. The existing work on wave energy will be completed, but no further commitments undertaken, as this technology has limited potential to contribute commercially to energy supplies in the next few decades. A watching brief on wave energy developments, including the work of Queen's university, Belfast, will be maintained. The progress of the programme and the prospects for the technologies are regularly reviewed.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement regarding the Minister for Trade's recent visit to India as part of the Indo-British partnership technology week.
Column 938series of seminars and exhibitions in Calcutta, New Delhi, Bombay and Madras. The trade mission was the largest of its kind to date. Organised under the Indo-British partnership initiative, in which the private sector works closely with my Department, the mission was designed to demonstrate United Kingdom technological capability across a number of industrial sectors. These include infrastructure, power, electronics, food processing, design and telecommunications. Using Concorde, itself an example of British technology, to fly more than 80 business men to the four major business centres in India enabled the mission to secure considerable additional local publicity.
I am pleased to say that more than half the business group were small to medium-sized companies, many of them visiting this undoubtedly expanding market for the first time.
During a highly successful week a significant number of business transactions were completed, as the summary shows. Other business deals are expected to develop in the future. Further events are planned for next year and beyond.
Agreements and Announcements during "Concorde Week" |Agreement/Announcement --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rolls Royce/RPG |An agreement to refurbish |power stations Caparo/Maruti |Motor components Phillips Electronics |Launch of pagers High Value Horticulture |Three agreements (fast growing |trees for matches/soya |beans/nursery development for |medicinal plants) Checkpoint Security Services |Security printing Taylor Woodrow |JV for roads in Rajasthan Costain |Narmada bridge in Gujarat RBF International |JV for industrial parks TR Fastenings |JV for industrial fasteners Warwick University |JV with CII on centres of |excellence Indo-British Partnership |scheme with Government of |India, including advanced |technical training. Indo-British Partnership |Restoration of selected historic |with industrial sponsorship. Indo-British Partnership |in Tamil Nadu. Opening of new factory by Munradtech (industrial generators) New Collaborative relationship in specialised but vital area of electro-magnetic compatibility. Also many direct deals e.g. moulded plastics/electronic testing equipment/construction. Positive discussions on revitalisation of jute industry in West Bengal. New commercial relationship in coal mining.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on progress in discussions with the preferred bidders for the regional coal companies in the privatisation of the mining business of British Coal.
Each of the bids has been subject to a detailed process of clarification and negotiation since preferred bidders were announced on 12 October.
The Government have agreed with RJB, subject to contract, that RJB will acquire the English Coal Company and Thorne and Ellington collieries for £815 million; £698.1 million would be payable at completion, with the balance payable, with interest, in instalments over the three following years.
The Government have agreed with Mining (Scotland) Limited, subject to contract, that Mining (Scotland) Limited will acquire the Scottish Coal Company for £39.4 million and an additional consideration, which may amount to up to £10 million, mainly for increased levels of coal stocks.
In both cases, the bid price has been adjusted as envisaged in the information memorandum. The adjustments reflect developments since tenders were submitted in September 1994 or information which was not available to bidders at the time. In the case of RJB, the bulk of the adjustments relate to changes in expected levels of coal stocks, and liabilities disclosed after bids were submitted. RJB's bid price following these adjustments still clearly represents best value for money. This is also the case for Mining (Scotland) Limited. The Department will shortly lay minutes before the House describing certain limited warranties and indemnities which it proposes to give to RJB and Mining (Scotland) Limited. The question of possible warranties and indemnities is also under discussion with Celtic Energy Limited.
The acquisition price for all three preferred bidders would also be subject to technical adjustments following completion to take account of differences between the value of certain assets and liabilities as estimated at
Column 940signature of the acquisition agreement and the corresponding value to be established as at completion.
Discussions are continuing with Celtic Energy Limited.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions took place with Mothercare in 1989 and 1990 over the results of its tests into cot mattresses containing toxic substances and the reasons for them replacing such mattresses at that time.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 25 November 1994]: No such tests were made known to the Department during 1989 and 1990. The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended, do not specify the use of fire retardants. The regulations are made in terms of a series of ignition resistance tests for different furniture components and manufacturers can meet the required standards for mattresses safely in a number of ways.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he received from industry about the adverse affects on children from the use of fire retardant chemicals in nursery furniture prior to the introduction of the legislation.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 25 November 1994]: My Department consulted industry and other interested organisations when making the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and full consideration was given to the use of fire retardant chemicals in nursery furniture. The risk to young children of being killed or injured in fires involving nursery furniture outweighed the possibility of skin irritations to some babies, cited by industry, from contact with fire retardant chemicals. This took into account the variety of options available to industry to meet the match resistance requirements. Not all fabrics need the application of chemicals to make them match resistant.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what were the reasons for his 1989 decision to (a) exempt baby nests from the provisions of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and (b) not exempt nursery furniture coverings from the provisions of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 25 November 1994]: Baby nests were exempted from the requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988, as amended, because of the need for them to be made of permeable materials to avoid the risk of suffocation because of the purpose of their design. Nursery furniture coverings were not exempted from fire safety protection because there is no attendant risk of suffocation.
Mr. Betts: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (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 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
Column 941six 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.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 1 December 1994]: The information is not available in the form requested. The survey of my Department's payment performance for the 1994 Trade and Industry expenditure plans report based on a sample of payments made in October 1993 stated that 90 per cent. of bills were paid either in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of receipt of goods or services or the presentation of a valid invoice. A further 7 per cent. were paid within 60 days of receipt of goods or services or the presentation of a valid invoice.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The United Kingdom's net contribution to the European Community in 1992 93 was £2,167 million and the Government's latest estimate of our net contribution for 1994 95 is £2,446 million.
Mr. McFall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes are being considered in the deployment of officers involved in anti-smuggling activities as a result of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise fundamental expenditure review.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: Changes resulting from the Customs fundamental expenditure review are consistent with the department's existing anti- smuggling strategy and will enable Customs to play a key role in the Government's anti-drugs strategy. Customs effectiveness will not be diminished.
FER changes mean that Customs will allocate its anti-smuggling resources more effectively. There will be a focusing of static staff on areas of greatest risk. For other locations, anti-smuggling effort will be grouped together in task forces which will ensure a fast and flexible response to specific threats as well as providing high-profile deterrence. There will be a greater emphasis placed on quality results in terms of seizures and the impact that the department has on organised criminals. There will be a strengthening of the department's intelligence organisation, raising its profile and improving national co-ordination--indeed, some of the reductions in posts which result from the deployment of task forces in certain locations will be recycled into this areas.
It is too early to indicate what the implications will be at particular locations. Decisions about the deployment of Customs staff will be taken by operational managers in consultation with the centre.
Column 942other EEC Government to its own people of (a) their increase in EEC budget contributions consequent on the Edinburgh agreement, (b) the payments/gains per capita and (c) whether they will be in surplus or deficit.
Germany Additional gross contributions from implementing Edinburgh, as compared with arrangements in the present own Resources decision Year |Billion DM --------------------------------- 1995 |0.5 1999 |3.5 Source: Estimate published in December 1993.
A list of the factors determining the impact of Edinburgh on member states' contributions was given in my answer to the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) on 24 November at column 353 .
Mr. Barry Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is his policy that the new rules in respect of capital gains tax reinvestment relief include all capital gains for reinvestment in the existing three year period.
Sir George Young: Relaxations to the rules for re-investment relief will take effect from 29 November. As before, companies will still have to meet the other qualifying conditions for three years. Full details of the proposals will be found in the Finance Bill, which is due to be published early in January.
Mr. Barry Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he plans that the abolition of the restrictions in respect of capital gains tax reinvestment relief announced in the Budget be made to apply only to disposals on or after Budget day.
Sir George Young: Relaxation of the restrictions will affect only the activities of qualifying companies, and not individual investors in those companies. These changes take effect from 29 November. Full details of the proposals will be contained in the Finance bill, which is due to be published early in January.
Column 943occasion being flown by a German air force instructor pilot and a German air force navigator. After a normal approach to landing with the undercarriage down and locked, the Tornado sank on to the runway with its undercarriage fully retracted. It came to rest on the runway and both crew emerged without injury.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the circumstances of the accident to Tornado F.3 ZG751 during 1993; and what is the current status of the aircraft.
Mr. Soames: Tornado F3 aircraft ZG751 has not been involved in any accidents since it entered service. It is currently in service with No. 11 group of the RAF. The only Tornado F3 aircraft to be involved in an accident in 1993 was ZE858. A copy of the accident summary for this aircraft is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the agreement with the Italian authorities pertaining to the use by Italian Air Force combat aircraft of low flying and range facilities in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Soames: No formal agreement exists. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) on 4 February 1994, Official Report , column 996 .
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the purpose of the deployment of Italian Air Force AMX aircraft to (a) Royal Air Force Coningsby from 11 to 15 July, (b) Royal Air Force Cottesmore from 11 to 14 July, (c) Royal Air Force Cottesmore from 22 to 26 July, (d) Royal Air Force Waddington from 5 September and (e) Royal Air Force Cottesmore from 10 to 14 October; how many aircraft took part; which Royal Air Force unit hosted the visits; how many low-level sorties were undertaken by the aircraft during the deployment, and at what minimum permitted altitudes; and how many of these sorties included use of the Spadeadam range.
Mr. Soames: The purpose of the Italian air force deployments was to utilise the electronic warfare tactics range at RAF Spadeadam and to carry out low flying training within the United Kingdom low flying system. The authorised minimum separation distance on each occasion was 500 ft.
Details of the individual deployments are as follows:
|Numbers of |Total |Host station |participating |numbers Dates |and unit |aircraft |of sorties ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 11-14 July |RAF Cottesmore |6 |24 |No specific unit 11-15 July |RAF Coningsby |6 |24 |56 Squadron 22-26 August |RAF Cottesmore |6 |16 |No specific unit 5-16 September |RAF Waddington |6 |50 |No specific unit 10-14 October |RAF Cottesmore |6 |12 |No specific unit
All of the sorties listed included use of Spadeadam range. It should be noted that the second deployment to RAF Cottesmore took place in August, and not July as stated in the question.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary or State for Defence when the hon. Member for Don Valley can expect a reply to his letter of 20 May addressed to the Minister of State for the Armed Forces; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: Joint air miss working group reports of air miss investigations in the United Kingdom are printed three times a year by the Civil Aviation Authority and are made widely available to interested groups within the aviation community. Copies are also placed in the Library of the House and provided to the House of Commons Defence Committee. It is circulated widely to increase awareness of flight safety.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will send to the hon. Member for Don Valley the results of the inquiry into the air miss incident on 11 November involving a helicopter and a Tornado jet aircraft near Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: A copy of the report of the investigation into this occurrence, which took place on 5 November 1993, is included in the joint air miss working group's "Analysis of Air Misses in the United Kingdom, Report No. 3/93", a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. As a result of this report, crews have been reminded of the continuing need for extra vigilance during flying training.
Mr. Soames: There are already arrangements in each of the services to commission suitably qualified personnel from the ranks, including those of junior rank. We have no plans to introduce a requirement that all candidates for officer selection serve a minimum of one year in the ranks as this is considered neither essential nor cost-effective.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he is taking to preserve the Battle of Britain Flight Supermarine P.R. XIX Spitfire that has currently been put up for auction; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: None. The Spitfire Mk XIX which was sold at auction on 26 November was on of five airworthy Spitfires operated by the Battle of Britain memorial flight, including two other Mk XIX variants. The four remaining airworthy Spitfires are adequate to ensure representation of the aircraft in future BBMF activities. Proceeds from the sale of the Spitfire will meet most of the costs of restoring the flight's Hurricane.