Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what proposals he has to eliminate the anomaly whereby grants under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 are now suspended in relation to England but not the other parts of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Soames: Combat effectiveness does not require discrimination on the ground of race. Some areas of employment do, however, remain closed to service women, although the scope for extending the employment of women is under review. In order to maintain combat effectiveness, however, it is unlikely that the employment of women will be extended to all front line posts of the armed forces; such exclusions are consistent with national and European law.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a table setting out the ethnic composition of the armed forces at each rank in the Army, the Navy and the Royal Air Force at the latest available date.
Mr. Soames: I shall arrange for a copy of the Army and Royal Air Force documents on sexual harassment to be placed in the Library of the House shortly. The Royal Navy's policy document is nearing completion and a copy will be placed in the Library when it has been finalised.
Column 2make a statement on the progress that has been made following the investigation into recruitment practices by the Commission for Racial Equality.
Mr. Soames: It is a basic principle of ethnic monitoring in the Army that individual privacy should be maintained and that statistical data should protect that privacy. Ethnic monitoring in the Army does not therefore distinguish the units to which individual soldiers and officers belong. The Commission for Racial Equality investigation is continuing. No findings have yet been notified to my Department.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a table showing (a) the number and (b) percentage of women at each rank in the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force at the latest available date.
|Number of |Percentage of |women in the |women in the Rank |rank |rank --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Royal Naval Services Commodore |1 |2.4 Captain |5 |1.4 Commander |16 |1.3 Lieutenant Commander |65 |2.5 Lieutenant |266 |7.5 Sub-Lieutenant |131 |10.8 Warrant Officer |9 |1.0 Chief Petty Officer |118 |1.5 Petty Officer |393 |5.4 Leading Rate |985 |9.5 Able Rate |1,838 |11.0 Ordinary Rate/Junior |279 |19.2 Army Brigadier |3 |1.5 Colonel |12 |2.3 Lieutenant Colonel |45 |2.7 Major |180 |3.8 Captain |554 |12.8 Lieutenant/2nd Lieutenant |366 |11.4 Warrant Officer (Class 1) |35 |1.9 Warrant Officer (Class 2) |103 |2.0 Staff Sergeant |209 |3.1 Sergeant |557 |4.7 Corporal |1,055 |5.6 Lance Corporal |1,229 |6.6 Private (Classes 1-3) |1,823 |5.3 Private (Class 4)/Junior |696 |9.6 Royal Air Force Group Captain |2 |0.5 Wing Commander |37 |2.9 Squadron Leader |163 |4.7 Flight Lieutenant |554 |9.0 Flying Officer/Pilot Officer |283 |17.1 Warrant Officer |23 |1.4 Flight Sergeant/Chief Technician |54 |1.1 Sergeant |448 |4.5 Corporal |1,037 |6.1 Junior Technician/Senior Aircraftwoman/Leading Aircraftwoman |3,568 |14.0 Aircraftwoman |143 |30.7
This information has been extracted from the quarterly tri-service statistical return, "tri-service personnel statistics 9", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he has taken to ensure that court-martials and other judicial procedures within the armed forces comply with the terms of the convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Mr. Soames: Courts-martial and other judicial proceedings within the armed forces are provided for in the service discipline Acts approved regularly by Parliament. Their procedures are regarded as consistent with the convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The CFSP has been in operation for a little over a year. A number of common positions and joint actions have been agreed and implemented by EU member states on a range of international issues, including support for the middle east peace process; extending the non-proliferation treaty; promotion of the stability pact in Europe; election monitoring in South Africa and Russia; and humanitarian relief in Bosnia, most notably manpower and financial support for the EU administration of Mostar.
The CFSP is a relatively new tool: we are determined to use it to best effect. Already, EU member states are becoming accustomed to developing common approaches and dealing with complex and difficult international issues collectively. We welcome this progress: it is self-evidently in the interests of EU member states that they should be able to harness their collective weight in the international arena.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the operation of the joint negotiating machinery and Whitley Council agreements in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Wheeler: Industrial relations machinery in the Northern Ireland civil service is covered by the Central Whitley Council for non- industrial civil servants and the Central Joint Consultative Council for industrial employees. Negotiation and consultation between management and trade unions also take place at departmental and local level where this is appropriate. These arrangements continue to work well.
I understand that the joint council machinery for health and personal social services staff is to be abolished from 1 April 1995. From that date, employers and staff organisations will negotiate locally the pay and other conditions of service of health and personal social services staff.
Column 4support grant allocated to district councils is calculated for the 1995 96 financial year; and what was the basis for the calculation in the 1994 95 financial year.
Mr. Moss: As there is no specific rate support grant in Northern Ireland, I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the general exchequer grant which is payable to district councils. There are two elements: derating and resources. The resources element is calculated by subtracting the derating element, which is statutory based, from the total relevant amount available in any one year and is distributed among councils using the set formula. This was the basis used for both the 1994 95 and 1995 96 financial years.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he made to (a) the Irish Attorney-General, (b) his officials, (c) other Ministers in the then Irish Government and (d) officials in the Irish Government over delays in extraditing Brendan Smyth from Ireland at any time between (i) April 1993 and February 1994 and (ii) subsequently; to whom representations were made; what was the nature of those representations; and on what date or dates representations were made.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what research he has conducted into allegations that the Government receive a greater sum from the Department of Social Security's benefit clawback scheme for legally aided litigants than they actually pay out in civil legal aid to those people; and if he will publish that research.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The compensation recovery unit of the Department of Social Security does not record whether a person who recovers compensation is legally aided. Accordingly, it cannot say how much of the unit's recovery is attributable to legally-aided cases. We are considering how this information might be collected.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what studies his Department has done into the crisis concerning the cash limiting of the civil legal aid budget in New South Wales in late 1992 and early 1993.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary Lord Chancellor's Department what estimate he has of the underspend on the legal aid budget for (a) civil legal aid and (b) criminal legal aid for the current financial year.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The latest available projections suggest that the total net cost of legal aid will be about £1.310 billion in 1994 95, £95 million below provision. Of that total, net expenditure on civil legal aid will be around £604 million, £41 million below provision, and expenditure on criminal legal aid will be about £476 million, £15 million below provision. The remaining
Column 5expenditure relates to advice and assistance and the duty solicitor schemes.
Ms Walley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps are being taken to examine the implications of the decision of the Dover magistrates court not to hear the sexual harassment case brought by the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of a British crew member on Stena Sealink's Fantasia ferry on the ground that the alleged incident occurred on a foreign registered vessel; and if he will make a statement in respect of United Kingdom citizens employed on foreign-flagged vessels.
Mr. John M. Taylor: I understand that the case was dismissed because the court was not satisfied it had the necessary territorial jurisdiction. In general, courts will have jurisdiction for an offence committed in territorial waters, on a British ship, or if the accused is a British subject. Where the offence is committed on the high seas, the matter is likely to fall within the jurisdiction of the country with which the ship is registered.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many appeals against a refusal of asylum on safe third country grounds were made to the Immigration Appeals Authority in 1994; and how many of these appeals were dismissed by the special adjudicator.
Mr. John. M. Taylor: There were 763 appeals heard by the special adjudicators in 1994 where the Secretary of State had certified that the person's claim to asylum was without foundation. Four hundred and twelve of these appeals were dismissed by the special adjudicator under the special appeal procedures for claims without foundation. While these appeals included appeals against a refusal of asylum on safe third country grounds, the figures kept do not distinguish between the different types of cases within the overall category of those certified to be without foundation.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what sums of legal aid have so far been awarded to Mr. Bryce Taylor in respect of the action being taken against him by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.
Mr. John M. Taylor: No payment has as yet been made from the legal aid fund in respect of the action between HRH the Princess of Wales and Mr. Bryce Taylor. The final cost to the legal aid fund will depend on the outcome of the case, and, if appropriate, any legal aid cost will be subject to taxation by the court.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will discuss with high street retailers the practice of commissioning garments from suppliers who employ child labour in their fabrication.
Mr. Charles Wardle: As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Trade and Technology explained in his answer to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) on 19 January 1995, Official Report, column 592, goods produced by unacceptable labour practices are generally indistinguishable in appearance from the same type of goods produced by other means. Moreover, the varied and complex channels of production and their distribution mean that there are severe practical difficulties in identifying their origin. The majority of high street retailers have stated that they would not knowingly source from suppliers whose garments have been manufactured using illegal child labour. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade would be prepared to discuss this issue when he next meets representatives of the retail industry.
Mr. Eggar: The Gas Consumers Council is responsible for investigating consumer complaints and the Office of Gas Supply, Ofgas, is responsible for monitoring British Gas's activities as a public gas supplier. The number of complaints about British Gas received by these bodies in the last three years as follows:
|OFGAS |GCC ------------------------------------------------ 1992 |1,624 (328)|25,280 1993 |1,658 (329)|20,428 1994 |2,192 (320)|24,359 Note: The figures in brackets represent the number of Ofgas complaints subsequently referred to the GCC. The GCC totals include those cases referred from Ofgas.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made in the negotiations with United States authorities regarding proposals by British Nuclear Fuels plc to import radioactively contaminated nitric acid from the US Energy Department nuclear complex at Harford.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the policy position set out by EC Energy Commissioner elect, Christos Papoutsis, during the confirmation hearings before the European Parliament on 9 January, in regard to the uneconomic status of recycled commercial plutonium for nuclear fuel and the attendant problems of safeguarding plutonium.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The Government's policy on the question of whether to reprocess or to seek alternative spent fuel management options is that this is a matter for the owners of the spent fuel. With regard to the remarks referred to by the hon. Member, I am informed that Mr. Papoutsis made it clear at the time that he was speaking in a personal capacity.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the matters discussed, and agreements reached, at the European Union negotiations with the United States Government in Washington on 10 to 12 January on the 10-year extension of the US-EURATOM nuclear co-operation agreement of 1959.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Negotiations are continuing between the European Commission and the United States aimed at developing a new agreement for nuclear co-operation to replace the existing agreement which is due to expire on 31 December 1995. A copy of the Commission's press release reporting the outcome of the latest negotiating round has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It would be inappropriate to go into the details of the negotiations while talks continue.
Mr. Charles Wardle: My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has received no direct representations from the printing industry. Ministers and officials in the Department have regular contact with the British Printing Industries Federation and are aware of the sector's concerns about paper price increase.
Mr. Barry Field: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the change in (a) the cost of paper for the printing industry, (b) the average cost of raw materials and (c) the average change in the cost of finished products over the last 12 months.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Price indices for raw materials purchased and for home sales by the printing and publishing industry can be obtained from the Central Statistical Office's "Business Monitor", MM22, tables 3 and 4, or alternatively from CSO's central shared database. Access to both is available in the Library of the House. Separate details for the cost of paper purchased by this industry are not available from official sources.
Mr. Illesley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the value of exports from Barnsley and Doncaster to (a) European community countries, (b) European free trade area countries, (c) Arab League countries and (d) the rest of the world for the most recent period for which figures are available.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment has been made of the impact on Newcastle university of the loss of research and development resources at British Gas, Killingworth.
Mr. Charles Wardle: I understand that British Gas places research contracts with universities throughout the United Kingdom on the basis of their capabilities. The existing work programmes at Newcastle university will continue in accordance with the contracts and new proposals will be considered, along with those from other universities, in the same manner as before.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the current capacity of the United Kingdom's renewable energy supplies; what is his target for renewable generating capacity by the year 2000; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The total electrical capacity of the United Kingdom's renewable energy supplies operational at the end of 1993 was estimated to be 1,749 MW DNC--declared net capacity--including 256.4 MW DNC of capacity under non-fossil fuel obligation arrangements.
The Government are working towards a figure of 1,500 MW DNC of new electricity generating capacity from renewable energy sources by the year 2000.
Figures are published annually in the "Digest of UK Energy Statistics".
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment has been made as to the impact of the closure of research and development facilities at Killingworth on developing technology and employment prospects in such technology within the United Kingdom.
Mr. Charles Wardle: I understand that much of the work carried out at engineering research station at Killingworth will be transferred to the gas research centre at Loughborough. Appropriate equipment and facilities will be moved there and the research staff are being strongly encouraged to relocate. I understand that British Gas does not believe there will be an adverse impact on the prospects for developing technology or employment in such technology.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 11 January 1995, Official Report, columns 184-85, if he will update the total of notifications of withdrawal of nuclear materials from
Column 9safeguards, indicating the uses to which the materials were put and whether any withdrawals were permanent.
Mr. Eggar: There have been four notifications of withdrawal of nuclear material from safeguards since my answer last year. All were permanent withdrawals and involved small amounts of nuclear material for R and D or analytical purposes, or depleted uranium for sources shielding.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he learned of the Indonesian Government's interest in setting up a plant in Europe to assemble N250 aeroplanes; and what action he proposes to take.
Mr. Charles Wardle: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade met the Indonesian Minister for Research and Technology on 22 December 1994 when future plans for the Indonesian N250 aircraft were raised. I understand that these plans have also been discussed with UK aerospace companies. Decisions on participation will be a commercial matter for the companies concerned.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how long his Department will take to pay the £102,063 non-quota grant from the European regional development fund to the Yorkshire mining museum, once the funds are received from the European Commission; and what recompense he will make to the museum for the delay in receiving funds.
Mr. Charles Wardle: This project was not funded by the European regional development fund non-quota programmes but as a single project. The grant has been received from the European Commission and payment to the Yorkshire mining museum was made on 20 January by the Department of the Environment. There are no compensation provisions.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions departmental officials met representatives of Ian Greer Associates (a) formally and (b) informally in the last two days to discuss matters relating to their clients' interests.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions he or his Ministers met representatives of Ian Greer Associates informally in the last month and discussed matters relating to the interests of the clients of Ian Greer Associates.
Column 10Associates informally to discuss matters relating to the interests of the clients of Ian Greer Associates.
Although concern has been expressed concerning the supply and cost of test kits for the hepatitis C virus, the supply is adequate and continuing competition can be expected to ensure value for money.
Mr. Sackville: National health service contracting authorities already have powers under the various public contracts regulations to exclude from tenders suppliers who have been convicted of a relevant offence or who have been guilty of gross professional misconduct. These powers are used in appropriate cases, but are matters for decision by each contracting authority in the light of the known facts of each case.
(2) what was the absenteeism rate for National Health Service Estates in each year since 1991;
(3) what was the absenteeism rate for the NHS Pensions Agency in each year since 1991;
(4) what was the absenteeism rate for her Department in each year since 1991.