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Mr. Robert G. Hughes: CCTA, the Government centre for information systems, has established a collaborative open group to examine and discuss all the ethical issues relating to the use of the Internet, and to report to me with recommendations.
All views and suggestions on such matters are most welcome, and should be sent either via Internet electronic mail to "ethics & ccta.gov.uk" or by post to:
Internet Ethics COG
St Andrews Business Park
Norwich NR7 OHS
Mr. Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much public investment has been spent on research into the information super- highway by the Government for each of the financial years 1990 91, 1991 92, 1992 93, and 1993 94; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: Most of the public investment in research into leading-edge communications networks, or information super-highways, has focused on the joint academic network known as SuperJANET. The Higher Education Funding Council contributed £5.35 million and £8.06 million in the respective financial years 1992 93 and 1993 94 to the development of this multimedia broadband network for universities and other research institutions.
Mrs. Maddock: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee, pursuant to his answer of 8 December, Official Report, column 327, when the modernised lighting behind the clock faces of the Great Clock will become fully operational; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ray Powell: The new lighting will become fully operational at dusk on 19 January 1995 and it will save some £1,000 in electricity and £2,500 in maintenance costs each year. Thus, the installation cost of £20,000 will be recovered from savings in six years. The new fittings that have been installed are a special type of fluorescent bulb, which works on a high frequency induction principle. They have a lamp life of 60,000 hours which is about 13 years of normal use, and the output from each 55 watt bulb is equivalent to a 250 watt conventional incandescent lamp.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee for what reasons the names of hon. Members sponsoring events in the Banqueting Room A, B, C and D are no longer listed on the notice board in the Terrace Corridor.
Mr. Colin Shepherd [holding answer 17 January 1995]: A new notice board was installed in the corridor outside the Terrace Dining Rooms during the Christmas recess. The lettering for this board has now been received, and I am pleased to advise the hon. Member that, for the convenience of those attending, the names of hon. Members hosting functions in Banqueting Rooms A, B, C and D are once again listed on the notice board in the terrace corridor.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister how many staff in his Office have reported an offer of employment from an outside employer since February 1993 as required under the civil service management code; and how many of those reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's view of the report by Lord Finsberg on Cyprus to be discussed at the Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg on 2 February.
The Prime Minister: Lord Finsberg's report on the situation in Cyprus has been prepared in his capacity as rapporteur of the political committee of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe. As such, it would not be proper for Her Majesty's Government to comment on the judgments made in the report. We share Lord
Column 492Finsberg's desire to see continuing efforts to resolve the Cyprus dispute on the basis of UN resolutions, most recently UN Security Council resolution 939 of 29 July 1994.
The matter is not yet with the Privy Council. The position is that the Church Commissioners have recently considered three representations against a draft Pastoral Scheme providing, inter alia, for the creation of the Modbury team ministry. The Commissioners' conclusions have now been shared with the Diocesan Bishop and their decision is expected to be announced shortly.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of Her Majesty's Treasury panel of independent forecasters were, in their latest estimates, forecasting an inflation rates of less than 2.5 per cent. in 1996.
Mr. Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest estimates of the personal allowance as a percentage of average manual earnings in (a) 1992 93, (b) 1993 94, (c) 1994 95 and (d) 1995 96 for taxpayers who were (i) a single person, (ii) a married man with no children, (iii) a married man with two children and (iv) a married man with four children.
Sir George Young: Using the illustrative assumptions for the growth in earnings and prices given in the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1995 96, real take-home pay for a married man on average earnings for all occupations will rise by £3.50 a week between 1992 93 and 1995 96 and for a single man by £7.50 a week. Estimates of the income tax threshold as a percentage of average male manual earnings based on illustrative assumptions for earnings growth in 1994 95 and 1995 96 are in the table. A married person's tax threshold is unaffected by the number of children.
Since the introduction of the lower rate band in 1992 93 taxpayers with income just above the threshold pay tax at a rate of only 20 per cent.
Tax threshold as a percentage of average Tax threshold male manual earnings |Single |Married |Single |Married |person £|man<1> £|person £|man<1> £ ------------------------------------------------------ 1992-93 |3445 |5165 |24.4 |36.5 1993-94 |3445 |5165 |23.8 |35.7 1994-95 |3445 |5165 |<2>23.0 |<2>34.5 1995-96 |3525 |4815 |<2>22.5 |<2>30.7 <1> Assumes that the married man receives a full married couple's allowance. <2> Provisional. Assumes average male manual earnings increase by 3.5 per cent. in 1994-95 and 4.5 per cent. in 1995-96 in line with the assumptions for growth in average earnings given in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1995-96.
Material is provided on the Teasury's own Internet server on the world wide web. In addition to the world wide web, the same information can be obtained by electronic mail or by file transfer. Users can also obtain help about the service using electronic mail. My Department has replied to all queries it has received to date. As the service expands the Treasury hopes to be able to respond to more communications.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the lowest rate of exchange between the pound sterling and the deutschmark in February 1993; and what has been the change in the rate of the pound sterling against (a) the deutschmark (b) the ecu and (c) the dollar since then;
(2) what part, a desire to protect the value of the pound sterling fully against other EEC currencies played in the uneven interest rates this year;
(3) if (a) pound sterling and (b) the dollar are overvalued; and how over valuation is to be measured;
(4) what was the percentage reduction in the value of the pound sterling against the ecu and against non-ecu currencies included in the Bank of England index since August 1992;
(5) what conclusion he has drawn from Britain's membership of the ERM of the EMS.
(6) if he will publish an assessment of the effects of Britain's membership of the ERM on (a) jobs, (b) growth, (c) manufacturing and (d) the balance of payments.
Mr. Nelson: Movements in the exchange rate are considered as part of the general assessment of monetary conditions in setting monetary policy. The Government recognise the value of a stable exchange rate, but we do not set target rates. The valuation of any currency is determined by transactions in the foreign exchange markets.
Column 494The United Kingdom's membership of the ERM demonstrated that, for currency mechanisms to achieve greater exchange rate stability, broader economic convergence between member states is required. Levels of employment, growth, manufacturing output and the balance of payments are affected by a wide range of factors; it is not possible to isolate the effects of any single factor.
Sterling's exchange rates against ecu and non-ecu currencies are published in table 7.1A of the Central Statistical Office's "Financial Statistics".
Sir Andrew Bowden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the EU harmonised price index is due to be introduced; how it will be constructed; and what plans there are to use it to update or replace the current retail prices index.
Communities--Eurostat--has drawn up a Council regulation that prescribes that harmonised consumer price indices be developed from spring 1996. The methodology for constructing these indices is currently under discussion between groups of experts from EU member states and Eurostat. The harmonised consumer price index will be produced in addition to the retail prices index.
Sir Andrew Bowden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the budget of the Central Statistical Office was for each year from 1979; and what the projected budget is for the years 1994 to 1999 in current year prices.
Mr. Nelson: The table shows the net expenditure of the Central Statistical Office. The CSO's first full financial year as a separate Department with its own accounts was 1990 91, but also shown are figures from 1986 87, which have been published in the departmental report for information purposes. No figures are available prior to 1986 87. Figures from 1995 96 reflect planned expenditure. All figures are calculated in current year prices.
|Net Expenditure Year |£ million ------------------------------------------------ 1986-87 |21.9 1987-88 |21.5 1988-89 |25.5 1989-90 |24.6 1990-91 |32.0 1991-92 |36.2 1992-93 |41.6 1993-94 |44.0 1994-95 |48.1 1995-96 |47.3 1996-97 |44.4 1997-98 |43.2 1998-99 |42.3
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of income tax revenue was paid by the lowest (a) 5 per cent., (b) 10 per cent., (c) 20 per cent. and (d) 30 per cent. of earners in each year from 1978 79 inclusive; and what are his future projections.
Sir George Young: The information requested is given in the table. The bottom 5 per cent. of income tax payers have accounted for less than one half of 1 per cent. of the total income tax liabilities for each year since 1978 79. Estimates for 1993 94 onwards are based on projections from the 1992 93 survey of personal incomes.
Shares of total tax liability<1> Groups of taxpayers (percentage) |Bottom |Bottom |Bottom |30 per cent.|20 per cent.|10 per cent ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |7 |3 |1 1979-80 |7 |3 |1 1980-81 |6 |3 |1 1981-82 |7 |3 |1 1982-83 |7 |3 |1 1983-84 |6 |3 |1 1984-85 |6 |3 |1 1985-86 |7 |3 |1 1986-87 |6 |3 |1 1987-88 |6 |3 |1 1988-89 |6 |3 |1 1989-90 |6 |3 |1 1990-91 |5 |2 |1 1991-92 |5 |2 |1 1992-93 |4 |2 |<3>- 1993-94<2> |4 |2 |<3>- 1994-95<2> |4 |2 |<3>- 1995-96<2> |4 |2 |<3>- <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. <3> Less than 0.5 per cent.
Mr. Nelson: The Chancellor announced in answer to the hon. Member for Southport (Mr. Banks) on 10 January, Official Report, column 9, his acceptance of the recommendations made by the retail prices index advisory committee in its reports, Cm 2717 and Cm 2716, on owner-occupiers' housing costs and cars respectively. The changes will be implemented in the RPI from February 1995. The
recommendations of the advisory committee in its previous reports, Cm 2142 in January 1993 and Cm 2153 in February 1993, on council tax and holidays were implemented in the RPI for 1993 and, for United Kingdom holidays, 1994. Minor changes to the items included in the RPI are made each year to take account of changes in consumer spending patterns. Details of the 1993 and 1994 changes are given in the April 1993 and March 1994 issues of the publication "Retail Prices Index", CSO business monitor MM23. All the above publications are available in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Nelson: The preferred carrier for any civil servant's travel will depend on the circumstances of the journey concerned, including value for money. For regular requirements the Treasury has entered into arrangements with British Airways and British Midland.
Ms Coffey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimation he has made of the proportion in value added tax as a percentage of the total bill paid in (a) standing charge and (b) actual energy consumption by (i) low-income households and (ii) high-income households.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The answers will depend on the particular energy company and factors such as whether an economy rate is used, severity of weather, level of insulation and so on. The Government have made available a substantial package of help for those on low incomes.
Ms Primarolo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the status of the Civil Aviation Authority for VAT purposes in respect of en route air navigation services now; what it will be after 1 April; who took the decision to change its status; what will be the implications of its changed status; what are the revenue implications; and who will benefit from them.
Sir George Young: Both tax offices in Doncaster--Doncaster 1 and Doncaster 2--achieved all key assessment and customer service targets in the year to April 1994, as shown in table. With the exception of one target in each office, all key compliance targets were also met. Doncaster collection office also achieved all except one of its key operating targets in the year, as the table shows.
Doncaster 1 Doncaster 2 |Target |Achieved |Target |Achieved |per cent.|per cent.|per cent.|per cent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Schedule D Assessments. |98 |99.7 |98 |98.85 Schedule E open cases 1992-93 1991-92 and earlier |90 |99.3 |90.5 |98.95 larger and complex cases |98.5 |99.55 |95 |99.68 other cases |98.5 |99.98 |98.5 |99.96 CT assessing reduction in assessment made late |5 |86 |10 |62 Return forms examined by October 1993 |99 |100 |99 |100 EOY returns cleared by October 1993 |99 |99.8 |99.4 |99.84 P11Ds examined by December 1993 |98 |100 |99 |100 Correspondence dealt with within 28 days of receipt |94 |99.98 |94 |99.9 Callers without an appointment dealt with within 15 minutes |- |- |95 |96.15 Compliance Corporation Tax Settlements per unit |15 |17.65 |15 |12.77 Average Case points |10.7 |12.13 |9.7 |11.75 Total settlements |6 |6 |5 |6 Income Tax Settlement per unit |25 |27.15 |25 |36.59 Average case points |8.6 |9.1 |7.86 |8.34 Total settlements |95 |82 |105 |146
Doncaster collection |Target |Achieved |Per cent.|Per cent. --------------------------------------------------------- Assessed taxes |63.6 |69.5 PAYE-All cases |86 |85.4 PAYE-Returns |92 |97.8 PAYE-Underpayment |69 |85.4 PAYE-Band 1 |93 |97.7 Band 2 |92 |93.9 Miscellaneous work arrears |60 |80.2
Mr. Byers: To ask the Attorney-General how many staff in his Department have reported an offer of employment from an outside employer since February 1993 as required under the civil service management code; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
The Attorney-General: Since 1 February 1993, one offer of employment has been reported by a member of staff in the Crown Prosecution Service. No such offers have been reported in the legal secretariat to the law officers, the Treasury Solicitor's department or the Serious Fraud Office.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Attorney-General how many times between April 1993 and February 1994 his advice was sought by (a) British Ministers, (b) British Government officials, (c) Irish Republic Ministers, (d) the
Column 498Irish Attorney-General or (e) his officials about his view on the effect of lapse of time clause in the Extradition Act 1987 on the extradition of Brendan Smyth.
The Attorney-General: It is a well-established convention that the law officers do not normally disclose whether they have been asked to advise or the nature of their advice. The hon. Gentleman will however also note that the Extradition (Amendment) Act 1987 is not a United Kingdom statute but an Act of the Dail.
Mr. Baldry: The use of the death penalty for persons found guilty of drug trafficking abroad is a matter for those countries concerned, provided that respect is shown for the provisions on the death penalty of international human rights law. Once a British national has been sentenced to death, and all local appeals for clemency have been exhausted, we consider whether, and at what level, any further appeal should be made. Intervention is considered on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of India about the employment of children in Tirupur to make garments for supply to United Kingdom high street retailers.
Mr. Baldry: We have urged all United Nations member states to abide by the programme of action for the elimination of the exploitation of child labour, which was agreed in 1993 by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, of which India is a member.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has had from Esmat Abdel Maguid on the issue of Libya's position in relation to the Lockerbie case.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: Dr. Meguid handed a copy of the Arab League's resolution concerning the Lockerbie bombing to Her Majesty's ambassador in Cairo on 31 March 1994. I discussed the Lockerbie issue with Dr. Meguid in November 1994.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to support the latest resolution of the European Parliament concerning the illegal occupation of East Timor; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad: There is no obligation on EU member states to implement the recommendations on this resolution. The measures it proposes would not, in our view, bring about a change in the circumstances of East Timor. We believe that the continuing dialogue between Indonesia and Portugal, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, offers the best prospect for securing agreement on a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable settlement on the future of the territory.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom nationals have been expelled from other countries, and from which countries, in each year since 1979.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department have reported an offer of employment from an outside employer since February 1993 as required under the civil service management code; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he has given to a role for the Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe, formerly CSCE, in resolving the conflict in Chechnya.
Column 500the search for a settlement to the conflict in Chechnya, in particular in ensuring respect for human rights, the restoration of constitutional order and the preparation as soon as possible of elections.
The United Kingdom fully supports the efforts being undertaken by the OSCE chairman-in-office to maintain close contact with the Russian Government and welcomes Russia's willingness to involve the OSCE in the wider search for a long-term solution to the conflict.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many foreign nationals have been expelled from the United Kingdom in each year since 1979; and if he will list their nationalities.
|Nationality |Number ------------------------------------------------------------ 1979 |nil |- 1980 |Libya |3 1981 |Soviet Union |1 1982 |nil |- 1983 |Czechoslovakia|2 1984 |Czechoslovakia|2 |Libya |2 |Soviet Union |1 1985 |Soviet Union |2 1986 |nil |- 1987 |Bulgaria |1 |Soviet Union |1 1988 |Soviet Union |1 |Cuba |2 |Vietnam |1 |Czechoslovakia|3 |Iraq |4 1989 |Czechoslovakia|4 |South Africa |3 |Soviet Union |8 1990 |Iraq |11 1991 |Iraq |9 1992 |Iran |1 1993 |nil |- 1994 |Iran |1 |Sudan |1
Mr. Douglas Hogg: During its annual meeting--30 January to 10 March 1995--the UN Commission on Human Rights will as usual discuss a wide range of subjects. It is likely to pass over 100 resolutions on thematic issues and on human rights in individual countries. A copy of the annotated agenda will be placed in the Library of the House.
Column 501Majesty's Government at the United Nations summit for social development in Copenhagen in March.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what issues Her Majesty's Government intend to raise as matters of priority at the United Nations summit for social development in Copenhagen in March.
Mr. McWilliam: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations he has received from the English regional tourist boards regarding the future of sustainable tourism projects; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell: I have received no such representations, but I hope that the regional tourists boards will continue to support and participate in sustainable tourism projects. Their past efforts, and those of their project partners, will form the basis of a guide to good visitor management practice, to be published later this year by my Department, in collaboration with the Countryside and Rural Development Commissions and the English tourist board. I believe that this guide will prove helpful to the tourism industry in further developing sustainable tourism in this country.
Mr. McWilliam: To aks the Secretary of State for National Heritage what resources have been directed to sustainable tourism initiatives drawn up by the English regional tourist boards in the last three years.
Mr. Dorrell: Since December 1991 the English tourist board has committed, out of grant in aid from my Department, a total of £257, 500 to six local sustainable tourism initiatives in which the regional tourist boards have been involved.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment he has made of the number of holders of cable television licences which are currently providing community television channels; if he will identify those companies and the areas in which community channels are operating; and if he will make a statement.