Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in which non-EU countries legal aid is available to British citizens.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor's Department does not maintain complete and up to date details of legal aid schemes in other countries. Many countries provide help to foreign nationals under the terms of their legal aid schemes.
Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department in which EU countries British citizens are eligible for legal aid on a similar basis to the United Kingdom.
Mr. John M. Taylor: Legal aid is available to British citizens in each EU country under the terms of that country's legal aid scheme.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to publicise the extension by the relevant court in the United States of the deadline to register potential claims arising from breast implants.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor does not involve himself in individual cases--except in his judicial capacity--and consequently his Department has no involvement with this litigation. I understand, however, that the Law Society intends to publish details of the extension before the end of the month.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Attorney-General (1) what requests he has received from the Attorney-General of the Irish Republic or his officials asking to disclose to any third party the statement of facts in the Brendan Smyth case; and if he will make a statement; (2) what confidentiality agreement exists between his Office and his counterpart in the Irish Republic; when the agreement was first made; when it is reviewed; and to what material the agreement is applied;
(3) when the statement of facts in the Brendan Smyth case was passed to the appropriate authorities in the Irish Republic; to whom it was passed; and if any conditions were imposed then or subsequently on the disclosure of the statement of facts to any third party;
Column 2(4) if he is willing for the statement of facts and other documents he supplied to the authorities in the Irish Republic concerning the extradition of Brendan Smyth to be passed to members of the Dail legislation and security committee.
The Attorney-General: A statement of the facts in the Brendan Smyth case was supplied to the Irish Attorney-General on 4 May 1993. In all cases where they are required, such statements are provided on a confidential basis for the limited purpose of allowing the Irish Attorney-General to decide whether to allow the warrants for the arrest of the person concerned to be backed for execution in the Republic. No specific conditions have been imposed in this case. On 22 December 1994, officials in the Irish Attorney-General's Office contacted my office asking my attitude to the possible release of this statement by the Irish Attorney-General to the Select Committee of the Dail on Legislation and Security.
My view is that it is a matter for the Irish Attorney-General to judge whether it is appropriate to supply a copy of the statement to that Committee in this case. Full statements are provided on the basis and for the purpose stated above and it would in general be prejudicial to the administration of justice if they were to become public. The anonymity of the injured parties named in this statement has until now been maintained. There is an ongoing investigation in respect of further alleged offences and it is important that any subsequent trial should be fair.
I understand that the Irish Attorney-General has declined to disclose the statement to the Committee.
Dr. Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has for the future on identifying examples of bad practice in the delivery of public services.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: When public services are not delivered satisfactorily, this needs to be identified and--more important--put right to ensure good quality service. There is already a range of mechanisms in place for doing this, including inspectorates in many public services, the National Audit Office, the Audit Commission and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration. By requiring the setting of standards and the publishing of performance information against them, the citizens charter plays a major role in this process.
Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement about the plans of his Department to make information available on Internet and the documents which he intends to be made available on Internet over the next year which will be accessible via the world wide web server "open.gov.UK" or any specific departmental server.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Cambridge
Column 3(Mrs. Campbell) on 1 December, Official Report , column 816 . The Office of Public Services and Science has been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of Departments making information available over the Internet. The machinery of government division, the citizens charter unit and the office of science and technology have material accessible on the CCTA government information service, as do CCTA and HMSO. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and I shall continue to make available the text of ministerial speeches.
The CCTA--the Government centre for information systems--has my full support for its plans to expand the use and accessibility of Internet services, including the G-NET internet access service, which I announced at the emerging technology conference last week. This service makes Internet access, including G-MAIL electronic mail, available to every Government telephone network user at rates which will have the minimum impact on running costs. We are using the economies of scale which the GTN affords to maximise the ease with which government officials can get access to the Internet.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on future responsibility for advising Government Departments on information technology security.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: Two UK authorities advise Departments and agencies on information technology security. The Security Service, as part of its general protective security role, is responsible for non-technical aspects of IT security policy and standards, primarily in the physical and personnel security areas. Responsibility for the technical aspects of IT security policy and standards, which focus on IT hardware, software and communications, rests with the communications-electronics security group of the Government communications headquarters.
The CCTA--the Government centre for information systems--also provides security advice and guidance, which is based on the security policy and standards set by the two UK IT authorities. The CCTA integrates such security policy into its wider responsibility for the production of policy and best practice for information systems and IT.
Dr. Goodson-Wickes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what funds the Medical Research Council is making available for research into malaria vaccine.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The funding of research into malaria vaccine will depend, as with other research areas, on the quality of the research proposals that the Medical Research Council receives. In the last financial year, 1993 94, the MRC's expenditure for research into malaria was £4.4 million. Included in this figure was £1.6 million, which was specifically spent on malaria vaccine research. The MRC is always willing to consider soundly based proposals in competition with other applications for support.
Mr. Bill Michie: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what level of support he is proposing for next year's science engineering and technology week--SET 95.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The office of science and technology has allocated a total of £195,000 in support of the 1995 national week of science, engineering and technology. Over and above this, colleagues and officials will be making strong personal contributions to the success of the week. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has written to the chairmen of leading companies to encourage participation in the week. I have written to every member of Parliament on similar lines, and have been very gratified by the huge response from them and other Ministers.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to be able to receive and respond to communications via electronic mail.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: In my speech to the emerging technology showcase on 4 January, I announced the launch of the G-MAIL electronic mail service via the Internet.
By exploiting the economies of scale afforded by the Government telephone network and the joint academic network, G-MAIL will allow electronic communications leading to clear efficiency benefits and reduced paper handling and waiting times.
It is my intention to take advantage of these facilities as soon as practicable. G-MAIL will complement the existing use of electronic mail made by my office via connections to the internal OPSS electronic mail network, facilitating electronic communication within my Department.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has to make available the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in electronic format.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: HMSO has plans to publish the complete statute law of Great Britain, in collaboration with the Statutory Publications Office, in various electronic formats, probably next year.
Meanwhile, HMSO is arranging to publish summary details of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 via Internet this month.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the amount of secondment and other interaction at all levels between the research councils, industry and Government.
Mr. David Hunt: As set out in the 1993 White Paper, "Realising Our Potential", each of the research councils, has set in place a mechanism to increase the level of senior staff exchange and secondment between research councils, industry and Government. To date, 83 people have been, or are, on secondment from the research councils to industry and the Government: 51 people have been, or are on secondment into the research councils.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what the director general of the Science Research Councils has done to achieve each of the objectives as listed on pages 19 and 20 of the Cm 2250 "Realising our Potential";
(2) what is the age of the present director general of the Science Research Councils; and when he is due to retire;
(3) whether the post of director general of the Science Research Councils is classified full time or part time;
(4) what has been the average hours per week actually worked by the current director general of the Science Research Councils since his appointment in January 1994;
(5) on what basis the element, of the director general of the Science Research Councils' remuneration which is performance related will be calculated.
Mr. David Hunt: Since taking up his appointment on 1 January 1994, the director general of Research Councils has: advised on the allocation of the 1994 95 science budget, which introduced new "Realising Our Potential" awards and industrial co-operative awards in science and engineering studentships as instruments for getting the academic research community better connected with their industrial users; taken part in the selection procedures for the chief executives of the new research councils and advised on the appointment of chairmen and members; agreed a set of 1994 95 work objectives for the chief executives of the new research councils; overseen the negotiations on the large hadron collider project at CERN, whose outcome was an agreement to proceed on the basis of a realistic, fair and sustainable financial framework; brought forward proposals for handling large international subscriptions within the science budget as a whole; overseen a review which resulted in agreement on the independent future status and operation of the Daresbury and Rutherford Appleton laboratories; overseen the consultation and advised on the reform of postgraduate education and training supported by the research councils, with the consequent proposal to pilot a number of self-standing research master's courses; advised on the issue of a policy statement which confirmed that the scientific assessment of applications for research council grants would continue to be made by peer reviewers who are expert and acknowledged as such by their peers; conducted an in-depth review of the programmes of the six research councils which, in addition to regular exchanges with the chairmen and chief executives of the research councils, has entailed some 20 visits to universities and research council institutes and centres, over 70 presentations and discussions with some 260 scientists and users of their scientific output and which will inform the director general's advice to me on the allocation of the 1995 96 science budget; advised on the health and funding needs of the science base, so contributing to the recent public expenditure surrey settlement which I secured; and taken part, as a member, in the work of the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and for Wales, the science and engineering base co-ordinating committee, the technology foresight steering group and the governing body of the European Union joint research centre.
Sir John Cadogan was appointed to the post of director general of Research Councils in January 1994 for a three-year period in the first instance. He is aged 64. The
Column 6post is full-time. The performance-related element of Sir John Cadogan's pay will be determined by the extent to which he has met the objectives of the post.
Dr. Marek: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he proposes to introduce legislative changes in anticipation of the distillation of Welsh whisky in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: Customs and Excise does not propose to introduce any legislative changes in anticipation of the distillation of Welsh whisky in Wales.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the duration of the trips undertaken by Ministers in his Department which were referred to in his answer of 2 November, Official Report column 1215 and on which they were accompanied by their spouses and paid for at public expense.
Mr. Nelson: The information is as follows:
Informal ECONFIN 7 9 April 1994 (3 days)
G7 Summit 8 10 July 1994 (3 days)
Informal ECOFIN 9 11 September 1994 (3 days)
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish a table showing the combined trade weights used in the Bank of England sterling index for EEC currencies and non-EEC currencies together with the average weighted average rate of exchange in each case for each year and each quarter since 1975.
Mr. Nelson: The composition of the exchange rate index is described in the November 1988 issue of the Bank of England quarterly bulletin, a copy of which can be found in the Library. Table 7.1A of "Financial Statistics" provides monthly data on ERI rates. This is available on the Central Statistical Office's database, which can be accessed through the Library.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how personal equity plan holdings and investments have expanded in each year since the introduction of personal equity plans; how personal equity plan holdings are classified in official returns on share ownerships; and what percentage of personal shareholdings he estimates are held in the form of personal equity plans.
Sir George Young: The value of funds held in personal equity plans is shown in the table. This information is derived from returns made by PEP managers.
|Value of funds |£ million |Single As at |General |company |Total --------------------------------------------------------------------------- December 1987 |440 |- |440 December 1988 |720 |- |720 April 1990 |2,600 |- |2,600 April 1991 |4,520 |- |4,520 April 1992 |6,700 |270 |6,970 April 1993 |11,100 |790 |11,890 April 1994 |18,500 |1,300 |19,800
In the national accounts, PEPs are classified as part of personal sector holdings of United Kingdom company securities. At the end of 1993, the share register survey, run by the Central Statistical Office, estimated the value of ordinary shares of UK-listed companies held by individuals, including those held in PEPs, at £141 billion. In addition, personal sector holdings of unit trust units were estimated to be £42 billion.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of income tax revenue was paid by the top (a) 1 per cent. (b) 5 per cent. and (c) 10 per cent. of earners in each year from 1978 79; and what are his future projections.
Sir George Young: The information requested is given in the table. Estimates for 1993 94 onwards are based on projections from the 1992 93 survey of personal incomes.
Shares of total income tax liability<1> |Top 1 |Top 5 |Top 10 |per cent.|per cent.|per cent. --------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |11 |24 |35 1979-80 |10 |23 |34 1980-81 |11 |24 |35 1981-82 |11 |25 |35 1982-83 |12 |25 |36 1983-84 |11 |25 |36 1984-85 |12 |26 |38 1985-86 |13 |27 |38 1986-87 |14 |29 |39 1987-88 |15 |30 |41 1988-89 |15 |31 |42 1989-90 |15 |31 |42 1990-91 |15 |32 |42 1991-92 |16 |33 |43 1992-93 |16 |33 |44 1993-94<2> |16 |33 |44 1994-95<2> |16 |33 |44 1995-96<2> |15 |32 |44 <1> For years up to and including 1989-90 married couples are counted as one taxpayer and their incomes are combined. Following the introduction of independent taxation in 1990-91 husbands and wives are counted separately. <2> Provisional.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make profits on company directors' share options taxable.
Sir George Young: Gains realised on the exercise of company directors' share options are already chargeable to income tax, unless the options were granted under a scheme approved by the Inland Revenue. Gains realised on the subsequent sale of shares acquired under option are chargeable to capital gains tax in the normal way, whether the option scheme is approved or not.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the visible balance of trade of Italy and the United Kingdom for each of the most recent three quarters and the corresponding balance in 1992.
Mr. Nelson: Balance of trade data for Italy can be found in the OECD publication, "Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade." UK trade data can be found on the Central Statistical Office's database, which is available in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will indicate which local authority expenditure counted against the public expenditure syndicate control total and the PSBR in 1979; and what changes have subsequently been made to those definitions.
Mr. Aitken: The public expenditure planning total used in 1979 included the expenditure of local authorities, excluding debt interest. The present equivalent, the public expenditure control total, also includes local authority expenditure but including debt interest payments. The present control total, unlike the planning total in 1979, measures local authority expenditure net of VAT refunds and includes the capital value of certain leases. Between 1989 and 1991, the public expenditure survey was conducted using the new planning total, which included central Government support for local authorities rather than local authorities' expenditure. The definitions of the public expenditure planning and control total and the public sector borrowing requirement are independent. The definitional changes in the public expenditure planning and control total have no implications for the PSBR.
Local authorities are part of the public sector; their expenditure is thus a determinant of the PSBR. This was equally so in 1979.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give details of the cost of Government administration for each of the past 10 years, in cash and real terms, inclusive of the latest outturn estimate for 1994 95.
Sir George Young: Running costs in cash and real terms, at 1993 94 prices, of civilian departments for 1989 90 to 1994 95 are set out in the table.
|1994-95 |1989-90 |1990-91 |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 |estimated |outturn |outturn |outturn |outturn |outturn |outturn |£ million|£ million|£ million|£ million|£ million|£ million -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- cash |10,900 |12,200 |13,600 |14,600 |14,600 |15,000 real |13,400 |13,800 |14,600 |15,000 |14,600 |14,700
The split between administrative costs and programme spending modifies over time; so information for the years prior to 1989 90 could be obtained only on a basis consistent with these figures only at disproportionate cost.
Sir Fergus Montgomery: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from registered housing associations regarding the impact of his new anti-avoidance rules on costs and rents.
Sir George Young: A number of representations have been received about the implications of the Chancellor's proposal. None so far have quantified the potential impact on borrowing costs or rent levels.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average rate of economic growth of the EEC Six since 1979 and the average in 1964 to 1973.
Mr. Nelson: The average GDP growth of the six EEC members over the two periods was as follows:
Annual percentage growth rates |1964-1973|1979-1993 ------------------------------------------ Belgium |4.7 |1.8 Germany |4.2 |2.0 France |5.1 |1.8 Italy |5.1 |2.0 Luxembourg |4.0 |3.0 Netherlands |4.9 |1.8
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 13 December, Official Report , column 593 , what was the value of the total contract award to Price Waterhouse and Touche Ross.
Mr. Nelson [holding answer 19 December 1994]: The combined value of the two contracts is between £300,000 and £400,000. To give a more precise answer would breach commercial confidentiality.
Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to receive a report from the retail prices index advisory committee.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke [pursuant to his reply, 15 December 1994, c.788]: I have decided to accept all the recommendations made by thcommittee in its report, Cm 2717 and Cm 2716, on the treatment in the RPI of owner-occupiers' housing costs and cars respectively. The reports were presented to the House and published on 15 December 1994. The Central Statistical Office will implement the changes in the RPI for February 1995.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has on the number of companies currently using the profit-related pay scheme and on the safeguards for employees who do not wish to join the scheme.
Sir George Young: Registered tax relieved profit-related pay schemes may apply to both incorporated and unincorporated businesses or parts of a business. As at 30 September 1994, there were 7,773 live PRP schemes registered by the Inland Revenue. To qualify for registration, a scheme must apply to 80 per cent. of the employees within a business, or part. Subject to that requirement, it is for employers to decide the basis on which they introduce a scheme.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals there are to declare a public holiday in Northern Ireland for (a) St. Andrew's day and (b) St. Patrick's day; and what consultations have taken place with (i) the Roman Catholic church, (ii) the Presbyterian church in Ireland (iii) the Loyal Orange Institution and (iv) the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Sir John Wheeler: There are no proposals to declare a public holiday in Northern Ireland for St. Andrew's day. St. Patrick's day is designated a bank holiday in Northern Ireland under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971. Under the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954, a statutory bank holiday is also a public holiday. No consultations have taken place.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to be able to receive and respond to communications via electronic mail.
Sir John Wheeler: The Northern Ireland Departments have interdepartmental links which facilitate electronic mail between the various office systems using the CCITT X.400 communications standard. It is the intention to expand communications links to the wider public and private sector during 1995. The will facilitate electronic mail communications between Northern Ireland Departments and Great Britain Departments which have office systems that comply with the CCITT X.400 standard.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the enrolment at (a) Regent House grammar school, Newtownards and (b) Comber high school; how many temporary classrooms are at each site; what was the last major capital investment at each school; what proposals there are to provide permanent accommodation; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram: Regent House has an enrolment of 1,620, including 175 in its preparatory department. It has 30 temporary classrooms and the last major capital investment at the school was an extension in 1976. An economic appraisal recommending a further extension and refurbishment of the existing premises has been approved for the school and the south- eastern education and library board is preparing an educational brief with a view to appointing consultants to plan the proposed works.
Column 11Comber High has an enrolment of 424. It has 15 temporary classrooms and the last major capital investment at the school was an extension in 1971. In 1991, the south-eastern board decided to plan for a new school on the existing site, but following a sharp decline in the school's enrolment the board is now reassessing the appropriate long-term enrolment for development purposes.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received on radio transmission and public health in the Crossmaglen area; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Wheeler: A number of representations have been made to my right hon. and learned Friend. There is, however, no evidence to suggest a decline in public health in any area of Northern Ireland attributable to radio transmissions.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the present level of co-operation between the Northern Ireland Arts Council and the equivalent bodies in (a) Scotland and (b) the Republic of Ireland; and what proposals there are to improve co-operation with these two bodies.
Mr. Ancram: The chairman and chief executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland usually meet their counterparts from the Scottish Arts Council and the other two arts councils in the United Kingdom twice a year to discuss matters of common interest. The chief executives of the arts councils in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales also meet annually.
Officers of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Arts Council are in frequent contact and co-operate on projects which extend to both territories.
The arts councils of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland hold annual meetings and have appointed a joint committee to explore cross- border initiatives. The two councils fund the Tyrone Guthrie centre and a European affairs officer and plan to appoint an arts co-operation officer.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been made as to the additional costs which will be incurred by his Department as a result of the changes in national telephone dialling codes next year; and how much this change will cost his Department in additional expenditure.
Sir John Wheeler: Work has already been completed to reprogramme all the telephone switchboards in the Northern Ireland civil service to cope with the changes to the national dialling codes later this year. The cost of this work was minimal as all the private sector suppliers involved carried out the work free of charge. The only Government expenditure, therefore, was a small staffing overhead of approximately £1,500 to plan and co-ordinate the operation.
Column 12Updating stationery and reprogramming telephone and fax memories will incur minimal additional costs.
Rev. Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what work, other than trials at Loughrey, is being carried out in the United Kingdom to evaluate heat-treated feed against non-heat treated feed in commercial egg layers.
Mr. Ancram: No work of this nature is being carried out by the Government. I am not aware of any work being carried out by other parties.