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Mr. David Davis: The United Kingdom is an active member of the missile technology control regime which seeks to control exports of missiles, as well as components and technology, capable of delivering nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The United Kingdom continues to work closely with her MTCR partners to limit the proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles in accordance with her commitments under the regime.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ascertain whether the proposed extension of the 1958 Anglo-American mutual defence agreement on atomic energy matters, Cm. 2686, is compatible with the commitments entered into by Her Majesty's Government as a signatory to the OSCE Budapest summit declaration of 6 December, in regard to section VI, part 1, subsection 3 on the control of the transfer of missiles, their components and technology.
Mr. Baldry: We have no doubt that the 1958 United Kingdom United States agreement for co-operation in the uses of atomic energy for mutual defence purposes is consistent with the commitments reaffirmed by the OSCE Budapest summit declaration.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what grounds of policy Her Majesty's Government supported the section under nuclear proliferation, at page 23 of the OSCE Budapest summit declaration of 6 December which calls for the indefinite and unconditional extension of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Mr. Baldry: We support indefinite and unconditional extension of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty because it provides the best possible framework for the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, for negotiations on nuclear disarmament, and for the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether the United Kingdom's purchase of Trident missiles and their auxiliary technological support from the United States of America falls within the affirmation made by the participating states of the Organisation for Security and Co- operation in Europe under the principles governing non-proliferation, page 22 of the Budapest summit declaration of 6 December.
Column 181made on page 22 of the Budapest summit declaration. Trident is committed to NATO and forms part of the stable security environment envisaged in the summit declaration.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the special negotiating session for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty held under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva in December; what proposals were put by Her Majesty's Government to the special session; and how they were received by other participating states.
Mr. Baldry: The ad hoc committee of the conference on disarmament made good progress on the verification regime of a comprehensive test ban treaty, reaching broad agreement on the main components of an international monitoring system and making technical preparations for developing the on- site inspection provisions. The organisational arrangements for administering the treaty were also considered. The United Kingdom delegation played a full and active part in the negotiations.
The Prime Minister: This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleages and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Sir Fergus Montgomery: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the standing conference on schools' science and technology to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. Michael J. Martin: I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 20 March to Friday 24 March 1995.
Mr. George: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the Defence Police Federation to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
Mr. Michael J. Martin: I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 30 January to 3 February 1995.
Column 182accredited to work at the Palace of Westminster, in the categories (a) working for hon. Members (b) servants of the House and (c) others; how many in each category are women; how many in each category are full time; and if he will make a statement.
(b) There are 1,470 officers and staff of the House, of whom 616 are female.
(c) A total of 8,482 others are accredited to work at the Palace of Westminster and in the parliamentary outbuildings, of whom 1,787 are female.
The figures at (c) include Members of both Houses, officers and staff of the House of Lords, the staff of Peers and Lady Peers and any other individuals sponsored by the House of Lords.
I regret that the Pass Office records do not indicate whether passholders are employed full or part time.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ex- service men who were invalided from the services prior to 1973 were beneficiaries of the armed forces pension scheme as at 1 January in each year since 1989.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of making pension payments to beneficiaries of the armed forces pension scheme who were invalided from the services prior to 1973 on the same basis as those who were invalided from the services after 1973; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. It is a general rule of all public service pension schemes that improvements apply only to those serving from the date they are introduced, as the administrative task involved in arranging back payments would make it impossible to introduce such improvements.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sorties were flown by Royal Air Force Harriers during the Air Warrior exercise in Nevada in August 1994; how many of these involved low-level flying; and where the work-up training of aircrews was conducted prior to deploying to Nevada.
Mr. Soames: RAF Harriers flew 199 sorties during Exercise Air Warrior 94; all of these would have included some element of low level flying. No specific work-up training was conducted prior to the exercise.
Column 183for use made of the electronic warfare training facilities at RAF Spadeadam in each financial year since 1989 90.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has on the status of the offer by the Slovak Government to host Royal Air Force low-flying training in Slovakia since the election of a new Government in that country.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what use his Department has made of executive search agencies in filling vacancies within his Department and executive agencies administered by his Department during the last year; and how much these services have cost his Department.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 20 December 1994]: During the past year, my Department and its executive agencies have used executive search consultants on six occasions. The cost of this work has been some £190,000. Executive search consultants are used to identify and recruit staff to fill key posts in the Department which are
Column 184either suitable for open competition or require skills and experience which are not available within the public service. In addition, some £80,000 was spent on advertising the posts nationally and on the legitimate expenses of candidates called for interview.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The inquiries which I discussed with the hon. Member last month are well advanced but not quite complete. I shall write to the hon. Member once I have the conclusions and have had an opportunity to consider them.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 9 December 1994]: A nurse to patient ratio is shown in the table and incorporates all patient types. It is not an absolute measure but gives an indication of trends. It does not take account of the changes over time of the intensity of nursing activity per patient as hospital stays have shortened.
|1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Number of Nurses (WTE)<1> |29,416 |29,478 |29,732 |29,715 |29,536 In-patient Discharges (000) |896 |912 |920 |942 |952 Total Number of Patients all Types<2> (000) |7,669 |7,786 |7,891 |8,059 |8,210 Average Daily Number of Patients (weighted)<3> |48,632 |47,554 |46,010 |44,819 |42,869 Nurse Patient Ratio<4> |0.60 |0.62 |0.65 |0.66 |0.69 Notes: <1> The number of nurses are derived from the annual census at 30 September. <2> Includes in-patient discharges, out-patient and day patient attendances, and day cases. <3> The average number of patients is derived by weighting the patient counts for the year by average relative costs as derived from the Scottish health service costs publications. The downward trend is mainly a reflection of reduced lengths of stay of in-patients. The intensity of nursing care will, however be increased on average over these shorter stays. <4>The ratio of nurses to the average daily number of patients.
Sir Fergus Montgomery: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he made when introducing his new anti-avoidance rules affecting financial assets held by associates of banks, of the effect on registered housing associations borrowing from the private finance markets; and what plans he has to amend the Finance Bill to exclude them from these provisions.
Sir George Young: The proposal in question affects the tax treatment of certain financing transactions between banking groups and a range of different borrowers including, as it appears, a number of housing associations. It applies to the lender rather than the borrower in these transactions, and does so without reference to the characteristics of the borrower. It will impinge on housing
Column 184associations, like other borrowers, only if they have chosen to indemnify their lenders against the effects of future tax changes. My right hon. and learned Friend sees no basis in these circumstances for excluding lending to housing associations from the scope of his proposal; he will, however, be considering representations that a degree of transitional protection should be extended to lending already made to them.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of increases in (a) petrol duty, (b) milk and (c) mortgage interest payments on the retail prices index.
Column 185percentage points in January 1995, to the change in the all-items retail prices index.
The milk index rose by 3.6 per cent. in November, contributing around 0.04 percentage points to the change in the all-items RPI. So far, few mortgage lenders have passed the recent 0.5 per cent. increase in base rates on to their borrowers and so the impact on the all items RPI has been negligible.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will show in rank order the percentage change in price since August 1992 of each of the non-food sub-group items of the retail prices index.
RPI Sub-group Items |Percentage Change --------------------------------------------------------------------- Tobacco |15.1 Catering |10.6 Leisure Service |9.4 Personal Goods and Services |7.8 Fares and Other Travel Costs |7.7 Alcoholic Drinks |6.6 Motoring Costs |6.5 Clothing and Footwear |6.3 Fuel and Light |4.7 Household Goods |3.4 Household Services |2.2 Leisure Goods |0.2 Housing |-1.0
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the paper on prices read by the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England to the City of London branch of the Institute of Directors on 13 December 1992 represents Government policy.
It is the task of monetary policy to produce such a climate. Since October 1992, the Government have had an explicit inflation objective. The aim is to keep inflation--as measured by the RPI excluding mortgage interest payments--in the range 1 to 4 per cent. and to bring it down to the lower half of the range by the end of the present Parliament. In November, underlying inflation was 2.3 per cent. and it has been lower than 3 per cent. for 14 months, the first time inflation has been this low for this long since 1961.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the effect of the increase of interest rates this year on the rate of profitability of manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Nelson: No estimates of the effect of interest rates changes on the rate of profitability of UK manufacturing industry are available. Treasury forecast of profitability of UK industrial and commercial companies, as measured by the real rate of return of capital, are given in chapter 3 of the Treasury's "Financial Statement and Budget Report", 1995 96. The forecast shows a healthy rise in the real rate of return on capital in 1994, followed by some further increase in 1995.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect the increase in interest rates on 7 December has had on real interest rates; and if he will publish a table showing the real interest in each year since 1994.
Data on interest rates and inflation are published in the CSO publications "Financial Statistics", table 7.10, and "Economic Trends", table 3.1. Data on expected future inflation rates are published in the Treasury's monthly review of independent forecasters, and the Bank of England's inflation report.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the review of trade performance in his Budget speech, if he will show for manufactures, finished manufactures and semi-manufactures, the increase in the volume of imports and exports from (a) the EEC and (b) other countries in (i) the latest three months and (ii) in the year 1993, together with his estimate of the growth of the market for imports in those markets.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the average percentage increase in the volume of exports and imports of manufactures (a) in 1972 to 79 and (b) 1965 to 72, the relative volume and relative value in (i) 1965, (ii) 1972,
Column 187(iii) 1979 and (iv) 1993, together with the balance of exports against imports in terms of value.
Mr. Nelson: Information about exports and imports of manufactures from which percentage increases, relative volumes, relative values and balances may be derived can be found on the Central Statistical Office database which may be accessed through the Library of the House. The information is not available for years prior to 1970.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was (a) the nominal and real exchange rates of the lira against the pound sterling and (b) the balance of payments between the United Kingdom and Italy for each quarter since July 1992.
Mr. Nelson: Exchange rate data for the United Kingdom and Italy in both nominal and real terms--adjusted for relative price movements in a number of other competitor countries--can be found in the IMF publication "International Financial Statistics". However, sterling's real bilateral exchange rate against the Italian lira is unavailable.
Data for bilateral trade in visibles between the United Kingdom and Italy may be found on the Central Statistical Office database, available in the House of Commons Library. Data for bilateral trade in invisibles are also
Column 188available on the database, but in annual form only. Further information about these invisibles figures can be found in an article entitled "Geographical analysis of the overseas invisibles account" in the June 1994 edition of "Economic Trends".
Mr. Nelson: Responsibility for the publication "Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade" lies with the OECD. However, the CSO has provided the OECD with the required data and asked for the series to be updated. The Central Statistical Office is also arranging for this data to be supplied to the OECD regularly in the future.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the (a) production, (b) imports, (c) exports and (d) consumption of chocolate confectionery in (i) 1964, (ii) 1973, (iii) 1979 and (iv) 1993.
|Implied |Production |Imports |Exports |Consumption ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1963 |£ million |143.5 |n/a |n/a |n/a |000s tonnes|422.2 |- |- |- 1973 |£ million |270.2 |7.1 |23.6 |253.7 |000s tonnes|408.7 |13.1 |42.2 |379.7 1979 |£ million |797.4 |44.9 |104.1 |738.1 |000s tonnes|409.7 |25.9 |63.2 |372.4 1993 |£ million |1,857.5 |267.4 |297.4 |1,827.5 |000s tonnes|613.0 |121.4 |129.1 |605.2 Source: CSO Production data-Census of Production (1963); Quarterly Sales Inquiries (1973 and 1979); PRODCOM (1993) Imports and Exports-Business Monitor MM20A (1973 and 1979); Business Monitors MM20 and MQ20 (1993)
The production data values represent the invoiced sales of manufacturers at current prices. The data prior to 1993 only cover those manufacturers with 25 or more employees. Data for 1964 are not available--data from the 1963 census of production have been provided as the nearest equivalent.
The implied consumption figures are calculated as production plus imports less exports. They represent the total market for chocolate and chocolate confectionary in the United Kingdom. Consumption data based on the prices paid by consumer in the shops, as opposed to those charged by manufacturers, is shown:
|Consumption |£ million ------------------------------------ 1963 |n/a 1973 |364.7 1979 |1,065.0 1993 |2,938.0 Source: MAFF estimates.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is his estimate of the amount by which the money supply would have to increase in terms of MO and M4 to accommodate an increase in the work force in employment to the 1990 level without an increase in the velocity of circulation;
(2) what was the velocity of circulation of MO and M4 for each year since 1979.
Mr. Nelson: There is no simple link between money supply and employment. In the long run, increases in money supply result in inflation, which is detrimental to activity and employment. Employment prospects are best increased by the achievement of sustained economic growth. This requires structural policies to improve the long run performance of the economy and a stable macro-economic environment with low inflation.
Table 6.2 is the Central Statistical Office monthly publication, "Economic Trends", shows the velocity of circulation for MO and M4.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will describe the method he has used to back his assertion in the Red Book, paragraph 3.47, that exporter's margins in the third quarter of this year had regained their pre-exchange rate mechanism.
Mr. Nelson: The measure of export profit margins used in paragraph 3.47 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" is the ratio of the manufacturing export price average value index to the Treasury's estimates of manufacturers' total unit costs.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the increase stated in his Budget speech for non-oil exports to EEC countries in the three months to August took account of the under-recording of exports to the EEC in 1993; and if he will publish for the most recent three months in each case the increase in the volume of exports to (a) the EEC and (b) non-EEC countries since 1992, together with the increase in United Kingdom manufacturing output.
Mr. Nelson: I have no reason to believe that the growth of non-oil exports to other EC countries between the three months to August 1994 and the same three months in 1993 is either under or over-recorded. Figures for exports to other EC countries and to non-EC countries and for manufacturing output are available on the Central Statistical Office database, which can be accessed through the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Nelson: The average annual growth rate of real gross domestic product between 1964 and 1973 was 3.1 per cent. The average growth rate between 1973 and 1993 was 1.6 per cent. Within this period, the average growth rate over the past 10 years has been significantly higher than over the previous 10 years.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the impact on the retail prices index of the price of foreign holidays; and if he will give the balance of payments on tourism each year since 1970, together with the change in the terms of trade for manufactures, based on the second half of 1973=100.
Mr. Nelson: Foreign package holidays were introduced into the retail prices index in February 1993. In 1994 this component comprised 29 parts per thousand of the all-items "basket" of goods and services. At November 1994, the latest date for which information is available, the 12-month percentage increase in the foreign holidays' index was 2.4 per cent.
Data on the balance between expenditure by overseas residents visiting the UK and expenditure by UK residents visiting abroad are published in the "Business Monitors", MA6 and MQ6, entitled "Overseas travel and tourism".
Terms of trade for manufactures can be derived from unit value indices, based on 1990=100, available from the CSO database which can be accessed through the Library of the House.