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Mr. Baldry: The main focus of the current United Kingdom aid programme in Sri Lanka is support for forestry, education, relief and rehabilitation, and good government. A full list of current projects has been placed in the Library of the House.
45. Mr. Deva: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have taken place with the Government of Bangladesh about United Kingdom aid.
Mr. Baldry: I discussed our bilateral aid programme with the Bangladesh Finance Minister during my recent visit to Bangladesh. I also saw for myself the excellent development work with poor people being carried out by
Column 23Proshika, a local non-governmental organisation supported by the Overseas Development Administration.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken (a) bilaterally and (b) via the European Community, to persuade the Greek Government to end its block upon the proposed European Union aid package to Albania; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry: The EU Foreign Affairs Council on 28 November agreed unanimously to release 15 mecu of a 35 mecu package of macro-economic aid to Albania. The release of a further 20 mecu will be decided by the Foreign Affairs Council in the light of a report from the Commission on the progress of economic reform and respect for human rights in Albania.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the terms of reference and the time scale for reporting back on the review of development programmes announced by him in the light of the High Court ruling on the development support for the Pergau dam project; and if he will make the review findings public.
Mr. Baldry: The terms of the review are to examine all ODA activities that fall under section 1 of the Overseas Development and Cooperation Act 1980 in the light of the interpretation of the Act given in the Pergau judgment by the High Court. In particular, the review will consider whether any other current activities fall outside the Act as now interpreted.
It is the intention of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to advise the House of the outcome of this review as soon as its conclusions are reached and the Government have decided whether or not to appeal against the judgment.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the (a) budget and (b) staffing level of the Overseas Development Administration (i) in 1974, (ii) in 1979 and (iii) at the latest date; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry: The number of staff in ODA, including its agency, the Natural Resources Institute, were 2,164 on 1 April 1974, 2,285 on 1 April 1979 and 1,553 on 1 April 1994. The expenditure for which ODA is responsible was £364 million in 1974 75 and £848 million in 1979 80 and is estimated to be £2,396 million in 1994 95.
Staff reductions have been achieved by efficiency improvements so that the quality of aid programme delivery has remained high.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date he appointed Baroness Miller of Hendon as a Crown agent; on whose recommendation she was appointed; what relevant experience she had for the appointment; what annual payment is made for the appointment; what time is devoted each month to her work as a Crown agent; what
Column 24official meetings she attends in this role in each year since her appointment; and what relevant interests she has which may conflict with her work as a Crown agent.
Mr Baldry: Baroness Miller of Hendon was appointed to the board of Crown Agents on 1 September 1990 following consideration of a number of potential candidates. She resigned on 22 July 1994, on her appointment as Baroness in Waiting. Baroness Miller was chairman and chief executive of an international purchasing and marketing company from 1972 to 1988, and brought considerable business experience to the work of the board.
Crown Agents board members currently receive an annual fee of £5, 320 and usually devote about one day per month to their duties. Before appointment they are required to give assurances that they have no financial or other interests which would conflict with their responsibilities to the Crown Agents.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding the 50 new family planning projects announced at the Cairo conference; how these projects are to be funded; and what funding will be taken out of other projects to fund them.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 1 December 1994]: We expect to commit £100 million for population and reproductive health programmes in 1994 and 1995. These funds will be channelled through bilateral programmes, direct contributions to multilateral organisations and non- governmental organisations. No funds will be taken from other projects.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money Britain spent from the know-how fund in 1991 92, 1992 93 and 1993 94; and if he will give a breakdown by country and list the projects on which this money was spent.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 1 December 1994]: Know-how fund expenditure in 1991 92, 1992 93 and 1993 94 is detailed in the table. Regularly updated lists of individual projects are available in the Libraries of both Houses.
United Kingdom gross public expenditure from the Know-How Fund-excluding emergency aid- 1991-92 to 1993-94-£ thousands |1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ FSU Central Asian Republics Kazakhstan |5 |138 |1,221 Kyrgyzstan |- |- |486 Tajikistan |- |- |3 Turkmenistan |- |- |4 Uzbekistan |- |267 |634 Europe: CEE-FSU Countries in transition Belarus |- |26 |185 Bulgaria |889 |1,952 |1,874 Former Czechoslovakia<1> |5,555 |7,066 |1,154 Czech Republic<1> |- |70 |2,768 Estonia |8 |360 |481 Hungary |5,730 |5,824 |6,281 Latvia |- |351 |453 Lithuania |6 |472 |1,305 Moldova |- |- |65 Poland |9,944 |10,584 |11,878 Romania |839 |3,090 |3,741 Russian |6,601 |11,654 |19,787 Slovak Republic<1> |- |98 |2,569 Ukraine |100 |3,098 |4,385 Europe: CEE-FSU Developing countries Albania |- |46 |419 Armenia |- |1 |54 Azerbaijan |- |81 |131 Georgia |- |26 |74 States of ex-Yugoslavia |- |45 |498 <1> On January 1 1993 the former Czechoslovakia divided into the Czech and Slovak Republics. From then on assistance to these two countries is shown separately. Those joint programmes which began before this date are still recorded under former Czechoslovakia.
Mr. Nelson: The Treasury currently has around 600 top secret files, well under 1 per cent. of the total number of files held in the Department. Information concerning the number of secret files is not available.
Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he will take to minimise the financial burden of child care on the low-paid and women following the proposal that national insurance contributions should be levied on employer-funded child care outside the workplace.
Sir George Young: National insurance contributions are not payable on employer-funded child care or other benefits in kind. The child care disregard for family credit which was introduced in October is worth up to £28 a week to low-paid couples and lone parents.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the reduction in the number of persons by grade and gender employed by his Department and associated offices and agencies, nationally and regionally over the next three years, as a result of his Budget statement of 29 November, indicating which branch, agency and region will be affected and stating his estimate of the number of job losses in each year which will be by (a) natural wastage, (b) voluntary redundancy and (c) compulsory redundancy; and what estimate he has made of the yearly total of savings in
Column 26wages and associated costs as a result of these reductions in each Department, branch and agency.
Sir George Young: The information requested is not yet available. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's departmental staffing plans for 1995 96, 1996 97 and 1997 98 will be set out in the 1995 departmental reports, to be published in the late February-early March 1995. The Government's aim has been, and will continue to be, that reductions in the size of the civil service should, as far as possible, be achieved without redundancies.
Sir George Young: Volume 12 of the 1993 94 appropriation accounts will be laid before the House of Commons and published once the Comptroller and Auditor General has completed his audit work. At present, this is expected to be in January 1995.
Mr. Nelson: The debt management review will look at the existing arrangements for the setting of debt management policy, the selling of government debt and the management of outstanding debt. Our objective is to ensure that the United Kingdom matches best practice in the rest of the world.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 23 November, Official Report , column 155 , concerning differences between the text of the Edinburgh presidential conclusions and the relevant draft decisions of the Council of Ministers of the European Community, if he will list the textual differences together with an assessment of their respective significance.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: Council decision 94/728/EC Euratom involves a number of changes from the existing own resources decision--Council decision 88/376, EEC, Euratom--which are not direct consequences of the Edinburgh future financing settlement. Most are minor changes of wording which have no effect on the meaning of the text. The more significant textual changes are as follows--unless otherwise specified, the article references relate to decision 94/728/ EC, Euratom: Article
Replacement of the phrase "The budget of the Communities shall, irrespective of other revenue, be financed entirely from the Communities' own resources" with, "The budget of the Communities shall, without prejudice to other revenue, be financed wholly from the Communities' own resources."
This change is simply a matter of translation. The French text of the new decision retains the same wording as previously:
Column 27"Le budget des Communaute s est, sans pre judice des autres recettes, inte gralement finance par des ressources propres aux Communaute s."
The new English translation is consistent with the wording of article 201 of the treaty of Rome.
Introduction of a cross-reference to directive 89/130/EEC, Euratom (a directive spelling out how member states' gross national products are to be calculated for own resources purposes). The formula in the present own resources decision refers to
"a Directive [to be] adopted under Article 8(2) of the Decision".
Directive 89/130/EEC,Euratom had not been agreed when the 1988 ORD was adopted. It has however been in use since 1989, so the text of the new ORD involves no change in procedure.
Removal of some redundant text--"For 1988, the gross amount of the reference compensation shall be reduced by 780 mecu"--referring to transitional arrangements for 1988, since the point is now of no relevance.
Article 2(7) of Decision 88/376,EEC,Euratom
Deletion of this article, which covers the arrangements for assessing the financial contributions of member states in which the method of calculating the "harmonised" base for VAT-based own resource contributions has not been established. This Article has become redundant since the uniform rate of VAT applies in all member states--and where the point is of relevance to a new member state, temporary arrangements are more appropriately a matter for the treaty of Accession.
Modification to give legal force to the informal understanding reached in 1988 that is the United Kingdom abatement were to exceed our contributions under the VAT based resource, any excess could be offset against our fourth resource payments; the present ORD simply states that the abatement shall be offset against our VAT based contributions. Also a minor change in the way other member states' contributions to the abatement are accounted for in the Community budget.
Renumbering of cross-reference to treaty article--previously 206a, now 188c --reflecting restructuring of treaty after Maastricht. Article 9
Addition of reference to refunds received by Greece between 1981 and 1985. These were previously in Greek treaty of accession. The point is of no substance whatsoever.
Deletion of a redundant provision relating to the financing of the high flux reactor--scientific research project on the Dutch-German border--of 1984 1987.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which members of the European Community have approved the Council decision 94/729 of 31 October 1994; by which date he expects it to come into force; by what means and to whom member states are making known their completion of their necessary constitutional procedures; and by what means such notifications are publicised.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To date, no member state has ratified the 1994 own resources decision, although on current information Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Italy are expected to do so by the end of the year.
Member states will notify the Secretary General of the Council, in writing, upon completion of their necessary constitutional procedures. The own resources decision will enter into force on the first day of the month following the receipt of final notification by the Secretary General of the Council. Member states will then be notified in writing of this by the Council secretariat.
Mr. Aitken: Public expenditure in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continues to be determined mainly by reference to the block and population-related formula arrangements, which were updated in 1992.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: In order to combat smuggling from other EU member states, Customs has allocated some 240 staff in single market excise work, most of whom are specially trained excise verification officers. The EVO effort is intelligence directed, and is supported by other specialist investigation staff and the control measures taken by Excise and VAT visiting officers. Frontier controls by customs staff are used to counter smuggling from outside the EU.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (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. Nelson [holding answer 1 December 1994]: 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. In the three months to end October 1993, on average, 93 per cent. of invoices were paid within agreed terms or 30 days, whichever was the sooner.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contracts have been awarded by his Department or organisations responsible to it to Selector Europe since 1 January 1990; and what has been the value of the contracts.
Mr. Watts: I am pleased to be able to announce today the preferred route for the improvement of this section of the A30 trunk road in the far west of Cornwall. Brochures giving details of the route are being sent to all affected and interested parties.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the budget allocated by his Department and associated agencies for each of the next five years for, and how many staff or staff hours equivalent have been allocated to achieve the objections of, the programme for action to achieve equality of opportunity in the civil service for disabled people.
Departmental expenditure, the number of staff or staff hours equivalent allocated to achieve the objective of the programme for action cannot be estimated, since successful implementation will require the commitment not only of equal opportunities officers but of other personnel officers, recruitment and training officers and individual line managers throughout the organisation.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number and percentage of disabled people employed by his Department and associated agencies over the past five years; and what are the projected figures for the next five years.
Year |RDP |Total staff |RDP as a percentage |of total staff ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |180.05 |15,229.05 |1.2 1991 |185.00 |14,804.05 |1.2 1992 |191.05 |15,346.05 |1.2 1993 |186.05 |14,412.00 |1.3 1994 |181.00 |12,929.05 |1.4 Projected figures are not available.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the reduction in the number of persons by grade and gender employed by his Department and associated offices and agencies, nationally and regionally over the next three years, as a
Column 30result of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget statement of 29 November, indicating which branch, agency and region will be affected and stating his estimate of the number of job losses in each year which will be by (a) natural wastage, (b) voluntary redundancy and (c) compulsory redundancy; and what estimate he has made of the yearly total of savings in wages and associated costs as a result of these reductions in each department, branch and agency.
Mr. Norris: The information requested is not yet available. The Department's staffing plans for 1995 96, 1996 97 and 1997 98 will be set out in the 1995 departmental report, to be published in late February-- early March 1995.
(2) how much his Department has spent on consultancy firms employed to assist with the sale of Railtrack plc.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those items of expenditure and receipts included under the heading "Privatisation effects" in the table accompanying his Department's press notice 457, issued on 29 November, which are not included under the heading "British Rail privatisation" in table 1.1 in his Department's transport report 1994, Cm 2506, and vice versa. Mr. Watts The privatisation effects listed in the table accompanying the Department's press notice No. 457 include the proceeds from the sale of rolling stock leasing companies-- ROSCOs--and other rail businesses apart from Railtrack that will be scored in the Department of Transport's provision. The provision takes account of lost Railtrack and ROSCO revenue contributions.
"British Rail Privatisation" in table 1.1 of the transport report 1994 covers expenditure incurred by the Department of Transport on the employment of outside advisers.
Mr. Norris: Volume 5 of the 1993 94 appropriation accounts will be laid before the House of Commons and published once the Comptroller and Auditor General has completed his audit work. At present, this is expected to be in December 1994.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has regarding the number of accidents on motorways involving drivers who have passed their tests in the previous year; and what plans there are to promote the pass-plus scheme.
Mr. Norris: Out of over 7,000 newly qualified drivers asked about their accident involvement in the first year after passing their driving test, 40--about 0.6 per cent.--reported having had an accident on a motorway. We plan to promote the pass-plus scheme by a major launch in February; by national advertising in the press; and by posters and leaflets distributed to driving test centres and driving instructors. We also plan to co-ordinate our promotional activities with those of participating insurers.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 22 November, Official Report, column 118 , what were the total resources available to the Vehicle Inspectorate in each of the last five years; and what has been the effect of providing additional resources for emission checks on the availability of resources for other tasks.
6 Year |Hours (inspection |time) ------------------------------------------------------ 1989-90 |72,528 1990-91 |73,887 1991-92 |86,005 1992-93 |<1>108,841 1993-94 |82,850 <1> Increased activity to monitor the effects of the change in the light goods vehicle testing regime.
No additional resources were required for emissions checks. These activities were all completed within agreed budgets.
Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to make it an offence to (a) own and (b) sell a vehicle or motor cycle with its chassis, engine, or vehicle identification number defaced or missing; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: It is already an offence to use a vehicle on the road in contravention of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 which set out the requirements for identification plates for all types of vehicles.
Column 32The Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to sell an unroadworthy vehicle. Unroadworthiness is defined in terms of defects which carry potentially serious road safety implications. I have no plans to widen the scope of that provision.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 22 November, Official Report, column 121, if he will list the approaches set out in occupational health notice 93/3 which deal with sickness absence.
(i) sponsorship of health promotion activities; and
(ii) a review of the organisation of work.