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Mr. Freeman: No self-destructing or self-neutralising anti-personnel land mines are in service with the armed forces and no MOD tests have been carried out into their failure rates. Details of their purchase cost are not held by my Department.

Security Conferences

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what delegations from Iran or from the Iranian embassy in London have attended conferences or exhibitions involving the display of defence-related security or paramilitary products in the United Kingdom since March 1993.

Mr. Freeman: Since March 1993, the Ministry of Defence has not invited any delegations from Iran or the Iranian embassy in London to attend such conferences or exhibitions.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Electricity Generation

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will invite the Director General of Offer (Northern Ireland) to carry out a cost-benefit analysis on the next tranche of electricity generation which will take into account the social, economic and environmental effects on Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ancram: No. Following the privatisation of the electricity supply industry in Northern Ireland responsibility for future generation planning rests with Northern Ireland Electricity plc. Under the terms of its licence NIE is obliged to purchase its power requirements at the most economic price obtainable having regard to the sources available. This enables NIE to consider other aspects such as fuel diversity and security of supply. In doing so, NIE will have to satisfy the independent Director General of Electricity Supply for Northern Ireland.

Maze Prison

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in what circumstances hacksaws or similar articles have been made available to some prisoners at Her Majesty's prison at the Maze in the last year; and if he will make a statement.

Sir John Wheeler: Prisoners at Her Majesty's prison Maze, in common with other prisons in Northern Ireland, have access to a range of approved handicraft materials and tools. These are issued on the basis of the risk they would pose to the security of the prison and the safety of staff. Prison officers carry out regular checks to ensure that all tools are accounted for. No hacksaws are issued.


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Home Helps and District Nurses

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) home helps and (b) district nurses per 1,000 people over the age of 65 years there were for each of the years 1989 to 1993; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Moss: The information as at 30 June each year is as follows:


Number per 1,000 people aged 65 and over      

                |1989|1990|1991|1992|1993     

----------------------------------------------

Home helps      |14.3|12.9|11.3|10.6|9.7      

District Nurses |<1>-|2.4 |2.2 |2.1 |1.8      

<1> Information prior to 1990 was not         

collected on a comparable basis.              

Disabled Students

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the number of disabled students' awards in each of the last three years; and what has been the cost in each year.

Mr. Ancram: The information is as follows:


                     |1991-92|1992-93|1993-94        

-----------------------------------------------------

Number of allowances |14     |36     |75             

Cost                 |16,228 |51,532 |108,473        

Civil Servants

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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 may of those reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.

Sir John Wheeler: There have been no reports of offers of employment from home civil servants in the Northern Ireland Office since February 1993.

The civil service management code does not apply to Northern Ireland civil service staff. The equivalent regulation for Northern Ireland civil servants are contained in the Northern Ireland pay and conditions of service code. Under these regulations, two members of staff from the Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland Office have reported an offer of employment from an outside employer since February 1993 and both were followed by an application to join the company concerned.

Stormont (Fire)

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what parts of the Stormont buildings were maintained, redecorated or refurbished by his Department, over the past five years; and what was the cost to the Exchequer.

Mr. Moss [holding reply 16 January 1995]: The cost to the Exchequer of maintaining Parliament buildings over the last five years is as follows:


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1990-91 |1991-92|1992-93|1993-94|1994-95        

£       |£      |£      |£      |£              

------------------------------------------------

85,073  |63,184 |71,240 |81,092 |74,017         

The figure for 1994 95 represents expenditure incurred prior to the fire.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the Fire Precautions (Places of Work) Regulations 1993 have an equivalent in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Moss [Holding reply 16 January 1995]: I understand that the Fire Precautions (Places of Work) Regulations will come into effect in Great Britain in early 1995. A consultation paper incorporating proposals for equivalent Northern Ireland Regulations is expected to be issued by the end of February 1995.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what fire regulations are imposed on (a) the Stormont Parliament building and (b) Northern Irish stately homes and heritage buildings which are open to the public.

Mr. Moss [Holding reply 16 January 1995]: The inquiry by Sir Reginal Doyle into the fire at Parliament buildings on 2 January 1995 will consider the fire safety legislation which applies to Parliament buildings.

The majority of stately homes in Northern Ireland which are open to the public are in the care of the National Trust, which co-operates with the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland to ensure that the properties comply with the relevant legislation.

Listed buildings which form part of the Government Estate are subject to the Fire Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1984 as it applies to Crown property. Other listed buildings open to the public are required to have a fire certificate if they belong to a class of building so designated under the 1984 order.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what insurance against fire loss or damage exists in relation to the fabric of the Stormont buildings and the furnishings and artefacts therein.

Mr. Moss [holding reply 16 January 1995]: In line with Government policy that Departments do not normally insure commercially, there is no insurance against fire loss or damage in relation to the fabric and furnishings of Parliament buildings. Some items of silverware, which were not damaged in the recent fire, were insured commercially.

New Zealand Flatworm

Mr. William Ross: To aks the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what studies he has carried out into the numbers of areas in Northern Ireland where the New Zealand flatworm has been found; whether it is increasing in numbers and areas affected; and what has been its impact on native earthworms and soil structure.

Mr. Ancram [holding reply 17 January 1995]: The New Zealand flatworm has now been identified at more than 500 sites in Northern Ireland. The majority of these are domestic gardens, but available evidence indicates that it is spreading into agricultural land. Department of Agriculture scientists are engaged in studies into the impact of the flatworm on earthworms in grasslands in Northern Ireland. These studies have shown


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that native earthworm numbers are significantly decreased and some earthworm species may be eliminated. Flatworm--induced reductions in earthworm numbers have been linked to adverse changes in soil, bulk density and water-holding capacity, hence soil fertility is likely to be adversely affected.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Shipbuilding

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department as the sponsoring Department for the shipbuilding industry in Tyne and Wear alongside the work of the Scottish Office and Northern Ireland Office.

Mr. Charles Wardle: The Government's policies on sponsorship of the shipbuilding industry apply equally in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The success of individual companies in the United Kingdom depends upon the management and work force of those companies, and the market conditions they encounter.

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the future for the shipbuilding industry in Tyne and Wear.

Mr. Charles Wardle: All sectors of the economy are equally important in maintaining and increasing our national prosperity. The Government make no judgments about the relative prospects of individual sectors.

Civil Servants

Mr. Byers: To ask the President of the Board of Trade 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. Heseltine: No central records of offers are kept, but 52 staff have made applications to accept offers of outside employment since February 1993.

VAT (Fuel)

Ms Coffey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the effect of value added tax on gas and electricity levels of consumption by (a) low users and (b) high users.

Mr. Charles Wardle: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and Energy's reply to the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) of 22 March 1993, Official Report, column 484-85 stated that the imposition of VAT on 17.5 per cent. on gas and electricity was expected to reduce domestic sector energy consumption by about 4 per cent. below what it would otherwise have been. This estimate took no account of any offsetting measures. There is no specific estimate available for the effect of 8 per cent. VAT on domestic fuel, but it may be assumed that the effect would be roughly half that given for the 17.5 per cent. rate. No separate estimates of the effects on low and high users are available.


Column 555

Executive Search Agencies

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the President of the Board of Trade 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. Ian Taylor: During the past year the Department of Trade and Industry filled one post, the chief executive of the Invest in Britain Bureau, using the services of an executive search agency. The total cost, including advertising, was £23,850.

Chief executives of agencies will reply direct, where appropriate, in respect of their own use of executive search agencies.

Letter from R. D. Worswick to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 20 December 1994:

I have been asked to answer with respect to the Laboratory of the Government Chemist your question to the President of the Board of Trade tabled on 12 December 1994.

The Laboratory of the Government Chemist has not used the services of an executive search agency during the last year. Letter from John Hobday to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

Further to Mr Taylor's reply to your question of 12 December about the use made by the Department of Trade and Industry of Executive Search Agencies, the position in respect of the Accounts Services Agency is that it has made no use of such Agencies during the last year.

Letter from Seton Bennett to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

Use of Executive Search Agencies

Further to Mr. Taylor's reply to your Parliamentary Question on this subject, I can add that this Agency has not had any occasion to use the services of an executive search agency during the past year. Letter from Jim Norton to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995 :

DTI use of Search Agencies

During the past year the Radiocommunication Agency has not used the services of an executive search agency in order to fill vacancies.

Letter from W. Edgar to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

I would refer to your Parliamentary Question to the President of the Board of Trade concerning the use of executive search agencies in filling vacancies within the Department of Trade and Industry and its Executive Agencies. I would confirm that NEL has not, during the last year, used an executive search agency to fill any vacancy which has arisen at NEL.

Letter from David Durham to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

You recently tabled the following Parliamentary Question: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, 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.

I am replying as Chief Executive and Registrar of Companies House.

During the past year, Companies House have had no occasion to make use of Executive Search Agencies in filling vacancies. Letter from P. R. S. Hartnack to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

I am responding on behalf of the Patent Office to your Parliamentary Question about use of executive search agencies in filling vacancies. The Patent Office advises executive search agencies of vacancies where in our experience it is hard to find


Column 556

suitable applicants, such as computer specialists. However, no staff were recruited by this means in the past year and no fees were paid.

Letter from Peter Joyce to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your question about the use and cost of executive search agencies by The Insolvency Service.

The Insolvency Service has not made any use of executive search agencies during the past year. It has used employment agencies for the recruitment of casual administration grades and for short term appointees with professional qualifications and experience on a non-permanent basis.

Letter from Dr. Peter Clapham to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 18 January 1995:

You asked the President of the Board of Trade about the use of executive search agencies within DTI and its Executive Agencies. In the case of the National Physical Laboratory, I can tell that no use of such agencies has been made during the last year.

British Gas

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the case of Rose McKeown and British Gas.

Mr. Charles Wardle: This is a matter for British Gas.

Professional Football

Ms Hoey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what assessment he has made of the current accountancy procedures relating to the fees and payments of the transfer of professional footballers;

(2) what assessment he has made of the accountancy procedures of the valuation of the professional footballers as assets of the football clubs.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: None. Football clubs that are limited companies must follow the provisions of the Companies Act 1985, accounting standards and generally accepted accounting practice. Complaints about departures from the accounting requirements of the Companies Act by public and large private companies are dealt with by the financial reporting review panel; my Department deals with other such complaints.

Wool Content Labelling

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action his Department is taking to ensure that the wool content declarations for imported garments and carpets are correct.

Mr. Ian Taylor: EC Directive 71/307/EEC, as amended, requires textile products which are placed on the market to bear or be accompanied by an accurate indication of their fibre content. The directive is implemented in the United Kingdom by the Textile Products (Indications of Fibre Content) Regulations 1986, as amended by the Textile Products (Indications of Fibre Content) (Amendment) Regulations of 1988 and 1994, which are enforced by local authority trading standards departments. The European Commission pursues complaints about the manner in which member states have implemented and enforced the requirements of the directive. Following representations by my Department, I am informed that the Commission has instituted infraction proceedings against Italy for incorrect implementation of the directive.


Column 557

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he next plans to meet chief trading standards officers to discuss imports of wool content garments and carpets.

Mr. Ian Taylor: I have no such plans. The Department's actions in this area are set out in my reply of today to the hon. Member.

Export Credits Guarantee Cover (Russia)

Mr. Wareing: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the nature of export credits guarantee cover currently available for Russia; how much of that cover has been taken up by British companies; what the criteria for cover are; what sort of commercial ventures this cover is intended to stimulate; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Needham: ECGD has made US$800 million of medium to long-term export credit and investment insurance cover available for United Kingdom business in the Russian Federation. Approximately US$180 million of this ECGD cover has been utilised and two further projects, currently in negotiation, are expected to use up about another US$420 million. It has been agreed with the Russian authorities that the ECGD cover should be used to support projects which will earn hard currency earning or save foreign exchange, by means of import substitution or are in certain priority sectors: energy, minerals, food processing or distribution, health care or medical equipment. It is intended that the cover should be used primarily to support self-financing projects which, after completion, should earn much-needed foreign exchange revenues for Russia.

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. Garnier: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much funding his Department will be providing to TECs in 1995 96 for small and medium businesses.

Mr. Ian Taylor: For 1995 96, my Department is providing TECs with £32.7 million to part fund a range of business--support measures aimed mainly at small and medium-sized businesses. A further £8.8 million is being provided to TECs for the diagnostic and consultancy service delivered by Business Link. My Department is also providing funding totalling £42.9 million for providing a range of advisory services in Business Links and for helping to complete the Business Link network which will mainly assist small and medium-sized businesses. The total funding for 1995 96 is £84.4 million, as compared to £57.4 million for 1994 95. This substantial increase reflects the high priority which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade attaches to the speedy development of the Business Link network and to the enhancement of the level and quality of business support services.

Electricity Prices

Mr. Thurnham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much the price of electricity has increased or decreased in real terms since privatisation in each of the regional electricity companies.

Mr. Charles Wardle: The percentage changes in real terms in the price of electricity for domestic consumers


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between 1989 and 1994 in each of the regional electricity companies are shown in the following table.


                           Percentage change                                             

                           between 1989 and                                              

                           1994                                                          

                           on average                                                    

                           household                                                     

                           bill (excluding                                               

                           VAT)<1><2>                                                    

Regional electricity      |tariff              |tariff                                   

company                                                                                  

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

East Midlands Electricity |-2.3                |-1.4                                     

Eastern Electricity       |-4.4                |-4.8                                     

London Electricity        |-6.8                |-3.3                                     

Manweb                    |-5.4                |-3.5                                     

Midlands Electricity      |-9.7                |-4.7                                     

Northern Electricity      |+0.7                |-0.7                                     

Norweb                    |-7.1                |-5.9                                     

Seeboard                  |-6.9                |-5.8                                     

South Wales Electricity   |+2.0                |+1.5                                     

South Western Electricity |-1.0                |+0.2                                     

Southern Electricity      |-3.1                |-1.9                                     

Yorkshire Electricity     |-9.3                |-5.5                                     

<1> Based on the assumption that the average household consumes 3,300 kWh of electricity 

per year on the Standard tariff and 6,600 kWh (3,000 day units and 3,600 night units) on 

the Economy 7 tariff. Standing charges are included as are any lump sum rebates made in  

1994. No account has been taken of discounts given by the regional electricity companies 

for direct debit or similar methods of payment.                                          

<2> Real terms prices are calculated using the GDP (market prices) deflator.             

VAT has been excluded from the above figures. This tax, at 8 per cent. was imposed from 1 April 1994, but an unspecified number of consumers paid in advance and will not have paid any VAT during 1994.

The average price of electricity to industrial consumers in the United Kingdom decreased, in real terms, by 12.4 per cent. between 1989 and 1994. Details of prices charged to industry by individual companies are commercially confidential.

Iraq (Arms Sales)

Mr. Wigley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the Ministers in his Department who have had responsibilities in respect of the sale of arms to Iraq.

Mr. Heseltine: As President of the Board of Trade, I have responsibility for export licensing, to Iraq or anywhere else. This responsibility has been exercised by Governments prior to this Administration.

Since May 1979, the Presidents of the Board of Trade and Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry have been:

Right hon. Sir John Nott

Right hon. John Biffen mp--

Right hon. Lord Cockfield

Right hon. Lord Parkinson

Right hon. Lord Tebbit

Right hon. Sir Leon Brittan

Right hon. Paul Channon mp--

Right hon. Lord Young

Right hon. Lord Ridley

Right hon. Peter Lilley mp--

Right hon. Michael Heseltine mp--

Since May 1979 the Ministers for Trade have been:

Right hon. Lord Parkinson

Right hon. Lord Rees

Right hon. Paul Channon mp--


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