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Column 1033high quality and welfare standards in order to help boost its prospects for the future.
Mr. Waldegrave: We have now completed our consideration of the views expressed during the consultation period on the operation of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales. We have also had an opportunity to consider the changes to the wages order that the AWB has proposed in response to the judicial review action initiated by the Transport and General Workers Union. It is clear from the responses to consultation that there is wide acceptance, from both sides of the agricultural industry, of the present arrangements. We do not therefore currently intend to change the existing statutory framework. However, since the Government believe that statutory wage fixing arrangements can introduce inflexibilities which prevent rather than encourage job creation, we shall continue to keep the future existence of the AWB under close review.
Mr. Nicholson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has had, and what meetings or contacts his officials have had, with the National Rivers Authority regarding measures to avoid flooding of farmland on the Somerset levels this winter; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jack: I wrote to my hon. Friend on 9 December in response to his representations on behalf of a constituent. MAFF officials are in regular contact with National Rivers Authority officers on flood defence and water level management issues in the Somerset levels. Operational responsibility rests with the National Rivers Authority and the internal drainage boards in the areas concerned.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the proposed agenda for the 1995 North Sea ministerial conference, indicating in respect of each agenda item whether or not a draft declaration has been prepared; and whether an annexe of detailed follow-up actions will be included or is being prepared;
(2) whether the North Sea ministerial declaration on fisheries is to include an annexe outlining detailed actions on fisheries, including the control of industrial fishing; and if he will make a statement.
The agenda for the fourth international conference for the protection of the north sea, to be held in Esbjerg, Denmark next June, will be determined by those participating in the light of the work being done by officials at the various preparatory meetings. It is too early yet to say what the agenda will be, but it seems likely that the effect of fisheries on the marine environment will be included, in view of the recommendations on this subject
Column 1034in the quality status report on the North sea published last March. The declaration that can be expected to result from the conference will be determined by the Ministers participating in it: it is therefore too early to forecast what form it will take, as much preparatory work remains to be done.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will show, for each year since 1970, the net average capital employed in manufacturing in terms of 1993 prices, together with a breakdown showing the corresponding figures for textiles, basic metals and metal products, machinery and equipment, and road motor vehicles.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the information in the Central Statistical Office "First Release" (94)205 on the profitability of United Kingdom manufacturing companies, in 1993 and between 1988 and 1990; and to what extent the change was accounted for by a change in profitability of the principal import-competing and export industries.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Profitability is now rising again, having fallen during the recession from the peak levels of the late 1980s. Estimates of profitability contained in the Central Statistical Office "First Release" (94)205 are not available for principal import-competing and export industries.
Mr. Vaz: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement regarding his Department's expenditure on special advisers for each of the last three financial years, and for the financial year 1979 80.
Mr. Needham: Import prices impact on the economy in a number of ways. The Government's assessment of economic developments and prospects, published in chapter 3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report", took into account all relevant factors, including the prices of imported goods.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate for each line of the import figure corresponding to exports, as set out in table 2.1 for the 1994 edition of the United Kingdom national accounts.
Imports, from the Input-Output Make matrix for the United Kingdom for 1991 and 1992 |£ million at ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1991 Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing |4,007 Mining and quarrying including oil and gas extraction |7,759 Manufacturing |107,753 Electricity, gas and water supply |349 Construction |0 Wholesale and retail trade; repairs; hotels and restaurants |6,142 Transport, storage and communication |8,268 Financial intermediation, real estate, renting and business activities |4,483 Public administration, national defence and compulsory social |394 Security Education, health and social work |319 Other services including sewage and refuse disposal |1,336 |-------- Total<1> |140,810 1992 Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing |4,210 Mining and quarrying including oil and gas extraction |7,456 Manufacturing |115,180 Electricity, gas and water supply |378 Construction |0 Wholesale and retail trade; repairs; hotels and restaurants |6,864 Transport, storage and communication |8,692 Financial intermediation, real estate, renting and business activities |4,634 Public administration, national defence and compulsory social |387 Security Education, health and social work |271 Other Services including sewage and refuse disposal |1,421 |-------- Total<1> |149,492 Source: <1> CSO Differences between totals and sums of components are due to rounding
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the Government's policy to increase the share of imports in the United Kingdom market for non-food manufactures; and what was the figure for import penetration in (a) 1973, (b) 1979 and (c) at the latest available date.
Mr. Needham: It is not the Government's policy to increase the share of imports in the United Kingdom market for non-food manufactures. The information requested can be compiled only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list he direct and indirect aid programme offered by the Governments of the United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Germany and Japan to their space and aerospace industries; and if he will make a statement on how such programmes will be affected by the recent general agreement on tariffs and trade.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The estimated outturn in 1994 95 for the United Kingdom on indirect support for the civil aerospace industry is £21.6 million and direct support is £2 million. The published information on the French budget indicates that in 1994 95 there is funding for indirect supports of around FF400 million and direct support of about FF1500 million. Similarly for Germany, the published information shows indirect supports of about DM100 million and direct support of around DM200 million in 1994 95.
The approved civil aeronautics budget for NASA for 1994 is $1.02 billion; a further $1 billion has been allocated for the provision of aeronautics facilities. This does not include expenditure by other departments with direct or indirect benefits for civil aerospace manufacturers, for which no easily obtainable figure is available. Comparable figures for Japanese aeronautics expenditure are nor readily available.
Civil space expenditure in the current financial year--1994 95--is as follows:
Country |Amount --------------------------------------- United Kingdom |181 France |926 Germany |633
Comparable figures for the United States and Japan are not available.
Commercially published information indicates that the comparison between space expenditure in 1993 is as follows:
Country |Amount ------------------------------------------------- United Kingdom |257 France |2,009 Germany |1,052 United States of America |28,712 Japan |1,896 Source: "European Space Directory 1994"
It is too early to say how the recent GATT might affect aid programmes in the space and aerospace industries.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the change in (a) output and employment in the light commercial vehicle industry since 1973, 1979 and 1989, (b) the volume of imports and exports since 1973, 1979 and 1989 and (c) import penetration since 1973, 1979 and 1989; and what is his estimate of the current margin of spare capacity in the United Kingdom industry.
Mr. Needham: Employment in the manufacture of light commercial vehicles is not recorded separately in official statistics. Details of United Kingdom production, trade and registrations of light commercial vehicles are available in the annual publication "Motor Industry of Great Britain, World Automotive Statistics", copies of which are available in the Library of the House. No estimate of the current margin of spare capacity, if any, is readily available.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the change in (a) output and employment, (b) volume of imports and exports and (c) import penetration in (i) road passenger vehicles, (ii) commercial shipbuilding, (iii) commercial aircraft, (iv) railway vehicle, (v) motor car, (vi) heavy commercial vehicle, (vii) other non-metallic products, (viii) basic metal and metal products, (ix) transport and equipment, (x) clothing, (xi) machine and equipment and (xii) other manufacturing industries since (1) 1973, (2) 1979 and (3) 1989; and what is his estimate of the current margin of spare capacity in those industries in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Needham: Official information for the variables requested is not readily available by the categories listed. Some information, by broad industry sectors, is available in Central Statistical Office publications available in the Library of the House. Series for import penetration are not available. My Department has made no estimates of spare capacity in United Kingdom industry.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board Trade what was (a) the balance of visible trade with the EEC in the first nine months of this year and (b) the balance in the first nine months of 1992.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the change in (a) output and employment in the intermediate materials goods industries, (b) the volume of imports and exports and (c) the increase of import penetration since 1973, 1979 and 1989; and what is his estimate of the current margin of spare capacity in the United Kingdom industry.
Mr. Needham: It is not possible to split employment in the manufacturing industries into that which is specifically for the production of intermediate goods. The change in output for intermediate goods is available from data in the index of production. This and the trade data are on the CSO central shared database, which is available in the Library of the House. A series for import penetration is not available. My Department has made no estimate of spare capacity in United Kingdom Industry.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the change in (a) output and employment in the investment goods industries, (b) changes in the volume of imports, (c) the change in the level of import penetration since (i) 1973, (ii) 1979 and (iii) the second quarter of 1990; and what is his estimate of the current margin of spare capacity in United Kingdom industry.
Mr. Needham: It is not possible to split employment in the manufacturing industries into that which is specifically for the production of investment goods. The change in output for investment goods is available from data in the index of production. This and the trade data are on the CSO central shared database which is available in the Library of the House. A series for import penetration is not available. My Department has made no estimate of spare capacity in United Kingdom industry.
Column 1038Ashbourne, Derbyshire, of miners from the mineworkers pension scheme before vesting day.
Mr. Charles Wardle: There will be no general transfer of miners' past service pension entitlements from the mineworkers pension scheme to the new industry-wide mineworkers pension scheme. Entitlements of pensioners and deferred pensioners from service before privatisation will remain in the mineworkers pension scheme, in which pension increases linked to the retail prices index are now guaranteed by Government. Contributing members of the mineworkers pension scheme will have the right at privatisation to transfer to the industry-wide scheme for pension accruals from future employment in the coal industry and can choose either to leave their accrued rights from past service in the mineworkers pension scheme or to transfer them to the new scheme.
Mr. Etherington: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will investigate the sending of letters dated 11, 17 and 24 November to the National Union of Mineworkers requesting nominations for trustees for the new industry-wide mineworkers pension scheme in the same parcel of documents; and what was the deadline for nominations.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The National Union of Mineworkers was invited to nominate trustee directors for the industry-wide mineworkers pension scheme in a letter dated 10 November and delivered by hand the next day. Nominations were requested by 30 November. Further letters relating to the scheme arrangements were sent separately as dated. I understand that the NUM nominated three trustee directors at the earliest possible moment after the meeting of its executive on 8 December.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Since October 1992, British Coal has decided that it does not itself wish to keep in operation 34 pits. Silverwood colliery is currently operating but its closure has been agreed. Of the 34 pits, eight--Clipstone, Rossington, Calverton, Trentham, Markham Main, Silverdale, Betws and Hatfield--have reopened under lease and licence to the private sector and Annesley, Ellington and Tower collieries are subject to privatisation bids.
The 34 pits, the dates they ceased coal production and their industrial work force in October 1992 are given in the table:
Colliery |Date ceased coaling |Men on books October |1992 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Annesley |February 1994 |814 Bentley |December 1993 |582 Betws |January 1993 |96 Bevercotes |April 1993 |737 Bolsover |April 1993 |452 Calverton |November 1993 |694 Clipstone |April 1993 |894 Cotgrave |October 1992 |565 Easington |May 1993 |1,331 Ellington |February 1994 |1,607 Frickley |November 1993 |933 Goldthorpe |February 1994 |485 Grimethorpe |October 1992 |788 Hatfield |December 1993 |409 Houghton Main |October 1992 |396 Kiveton Park |September 1994 |715 Littleton |December 1993 |829 Manton |February 1994 |677 Markham |June 1993 |1,212 Markham Main |October 1992 |672 Ollerton |February 1994 |944 Parkside |October 1992 |716 Rossington |April 1993 |803 Rufford |November 1993 |735 Sharlston |May 1993 |695 Shirebrook |April 1993 |947 Silverdale |December 1993 |642 Silverhill |October 1992 |757 Taff Methyr |October 1992 |368 Tower |April 1994 |399 Trentham |October 1992 |1,420 Vane Tempest |October 1992 |873 Wearmouth |December 1993 |929 Westoe |May 1993 |1,170
Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 9 December, Official Report, column 389, what payments have so far been made by his Department to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority or British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. in respect of the agreements on nuclear liabilities outlined, and the payment estimated to be made within the public expenditure plans for the next three years.
Mr. Charles Wardle: UKAEA's decommissioning and radioactive waste management operations programme--DRAWMOPS--was established in April 1986. Between that date and the end of the financial year 1993 94 a total of £600 million was paid to UKAEA, by the Department of Energy and DTI, in respect of the nuclear liabilities on UKAEA and BNFL sites for which the Department has accepted responsibility. Estimates which include DRAWMOPS costs for 1994 95 were published in Cm 2504. The actual amount paid in the financial year 1994 95 will not be settled until the year end. The amounts to be included in the Department's public expenditure plans for the years 1995 96 to 1997 98 will be included in the Department's estimates, which are due to be published in March 1995.
Column 1040record levels of exports in highly competitive world markets.
Mr. Ian Taylor: My Department has had discussions with Mercury about the future direction of its business. The licensing implications of Mercury's decision no longer to operate public phone boxes are a matter for the Office of Telecommunications.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Board of Trade who will bear the cost of (a) removing Mercury public phone boxes and (b) reinstating the pavement or other place to its previous condition.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Under the New Works and Street Works Act 1991, and the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988 as amended, these costs will be a matter for Mercury Communications Ltd.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the outcome of last week's Council of Ministers' meeting that discussed the proposed EC directive on data protection; and if he will undertake that Her Majesty's Government will oppose the directive unless it respects the principle of subsidiarity.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The Internal Market Council on 8 December made some improvements to the proposed directive, including, in particular, the extension from 10 to 12 years of the period within which existing manual records must be brought into compliance with the requirements of the directive. Improvements were made to the provisions which deal with research and statistics, and with the media. The Council identified a number of key issues requiring further discussion and no attempt was made to seek a common position. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is in the lead on this subject. In the continuing consideration of the draft directive we shall seek the best outcome for the United Kingdom within the constraints of qualified majority voting procedures.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether exports to Jordan carried out under the terms of the memoranda of understanding between the Governments of Jordan and of Britain signed in 1985 and 1989 were required to have end user certificates.
Mr. Needham: It is not Her Majesty's Government practice to comment on detailed matters concerning individual defence exports. However, certain information about exports made under the Jordan defence package has been made public during Sir Richard Scott's enquiry. Exceptionally, therefore, I am able to say that the memoranda of understanding required that no equipment exported to Jordan would be sold or disposed of without the prior written agreement of Her Majesty's Government.
Column 1041between the Governments of the United Kingdom and of Jordan were referred of the interdepartmental committee.
Mr. Needham: The interdepartmental committee to which I believe the hon. Gentleman refers examines export licence applications to Iran--and previously to both Iran and Iraq. No licence applications for Jordan are copied to the IDC. Where appropriate, applications for export licences are copied to both MOD and FCO for their advice.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what discussions he has had with the regulator of the gas industry about British Gas's policy on direct debit discounts to customers; (2) what discussions he has had with the regulator of British Gas over the proposed differential pricing as it affects claimants and pensioners.
Mr. Eggar: None. Gas price changes are a matter for the independent regulator, the Office of Gas Supply. The Director General of Gas Supply has confirmed that the discount tariff, for those customers paying by direct debit, meets the terms of the "tariff formula" which limits the prices which British Gas can charge to tariff customers and is within the provisions of section 14(3) of the Gas Act 1986 which relate to undue discrimination against any group of consumers.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received on the declared policy of British Gas to reward those customers who pay by direct debit and penalise those who pay by other means.
Mr. Eggar: A substantial number of written representations have been received by my Department from gas consumers and their Members of Parliament about British Gas's discount tariff which is available to those customers paying by direct debit.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the proposed price per therm for (a) those British Gas customers who pay by direct debit and (b) those who pay by other means; and if he will make a statement.
(a) 1.433p per kilowatt hour for those customers paying by direct debit.
(b) 1.520p per kilowatt hour for customers who pay by other means.
Note: British Gas's prices are now quoted in the metric unit kWh rather than therms. The standing charge will be 10.10p per day for customers on the discount tariff and 10.39p per day for standard tariff customers. The new prices will be introduced on 1 January 1995.
Mr. Charles Wardle: A Bill to privatise the commercial activities of UKAEA was announced in the Queen's Speech. Other initiatives recently announced by UKAEA--for example, the sale of the facilities services division--are being carried out within the authority's powers under existing legislation.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to require all advertisements for fireworks to indicate (a) the minimum age of persons to whom fireworks can be sold and (b) a warning on the dangers of fireworks, both to be printed in letters equal to the largest on the advertisement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 15 December, Official Report , column 752 , what assessment he has made of an appropriate remedy for unauthorised advertisements in public telephone boxes; if he will visit a telephone box; and what obstacles inhibit him from proposing an effective remedy; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ian Taylor: As I explained in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend on 8 December, Official Report , column 296 , I do not regard it as appropriate to seek to regulate the placing of advertisements in unauthorised places through telecommunications legislation. If my hon. Friend wishes to propose a simple and effective remedy to the concerns he has raised, my hon. Friends and I in other relevant Departments would be happy to consider this, and examine any obstacles which might inhibit action. I have visited telephone boxes, to make respectable phone calls.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the amounts of regional and similar financial assistance going to (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) the area covered by the counties of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset in each year since 1979.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Information on regional financial assistance to Scotland and Wales was given in the Official Report , columns 675-78 , of 5 June 1992. More recent information has been published in the latest edition of "Regional Trends", which is available in the Library of the House.
Information by county is available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Thomason: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the reasons for the European Commission's delay in starting infringement proceedings against Germany over its packaging ordinance; and if he will urge the Commission to act swiftly.
Mr. Charles Wardle: We have urged the Commission to follow up swiftly its investigation of the German packaging ordinance. In the longer term, the difficulties caused by unilateral regulations of this kind should be alleviated by the recently adopted packaging and packaging waste directive.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will place in the Library a report of the expert proposals to the International Atomic Energy Agency conference on control of trafficking in nuclear materials held on 2 and 3 November; (2) if he will make a statement on the proposals of the secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear materials trafficking; and if he will list each proposal, together with the response of Her Majesty's Government to those proposals.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The IAEA meeting on illicit trafficking held in Vienna on 2 and 3 November was called by the director general of the IAEA in response to a resolution of the IAEA general conference in September 1994.
There was no official report produced by the expert's meeting in November but the director general drew on the views expressed by the experts in preparing a report for the board in December. This proposed that the agency should:
(i) intensify its activities in those areas in which it is already supporting member states in preventing and responding to illicit trafficking i.e.:
--assistance with physical protection measures;
--assistance in improvement of state systems of accounting control; and
--assistance with analysing confiscated nuclear materials ii) develop a database of incidents of illicit trafficking iii) intensify assistance to member states to strengthen their radiation safety infrastructure, and
iv) continue to examine activities relating to incidents of illicit trafficking.
The board received these proposals favourably and will resume its discussions of the report at its meeting in March. The Government will continue to support proposals for action which will effectively reduce the risks of illicit trafficking. In their view the agency's role in the area of physical protection should be as a focal point and a co-ordinator of bilateral activities and throughout the agency's activities clear priority should be given to work relating to safeguardable nuclear material.
Mr. Garrett: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to ensure that smoke detectors exceeding the legal limit for the unapproved disposal of radioactive material are returned to the manufacturer.