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Letter from Paul Freeman to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 24 January 1995:

I have been asked by The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to reply to your question concerning expenditure by Next Steps Agencies.

As well as being an Agency reporting to the Chancellor, HMSO is also a department in its own right and has been a Trading Fund since 1980. Assumption of Agency status in 1988 did not therefore represent a dramatic change.

HQ accommodation. HMSO has 2 Headquarters buildings in Norwich. A 40-year lease was obtained on Sovereign House in 1968 with an annual rental of £97,000. St Crispins, which was previously leased, was purchased for £6 million in 1986. This pre-dates Agency status. Support staff. Support staff have reduced from 600 to 450 since HMSO became an Agency in 1988.

Periodicals. The only `periodical' produced by HMSO is an in-house magazine for staff communications. This pre-dates Agency status, and currently costs around £24,000 per annum.

Cars. HMSO has one vehicle which serves both as an executive car and as a delivery vehicle for sensitive documents. It costs £10,000 per annum, and pre-dates Agency status.

Logo. HMSO has a simple logo which is designed and developed by our own design team many years ago. The cost, which was modest, is not readily available.

Corporate clothing. The only clothing purchased by HMSO is protective clothing for messengers and some reprographic staff. £5, 000 was spent in 1994.

Stationery. Headed stationery has always been used by HMSO but the extraction of this detail from the overall printing and stationery budget is not possible.

Letter from Mike Devereau to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 24 January 1995:

You asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for various figures and costs associated with Next Steps agencies.

As these relate to operational matters I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Central Office of Information.

COI was established as an Executive Agency on 5 April 1990.


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However, it is a Department in its own right and its operations have never been conducted within any other department.

In answer to your specific questions:

COI has not acquired any new headquarters accommodation since its establishment as an Executive Agency; indeed, headquarters accommodation holdings have reduced by 1182.3 square metres (10.57%) between 1989/90 and 1993/94.

No new support staff have been required. Staff costs fell by 14.47% between 1989/90 and 1993/94 without any reduction in the span of activities performed.

COI publishes a house magazine "Inform", the primary function of which is staff communication. The current annual cost is £25,000. COI has no executive cars.

The COI logo is updated from time to time. The last significant change was made in 1990 at a cost of £10,000.

Appropriate clothing for Receptionists and Porter/Messengers has been provided since the Department was set up in 1946. Annual cost is less than £1000.

As a Department COI has always had to provide its own stationery. Any necessary changes in design are introduced when new stocks are printed and additional costs are avoided.

In the four years since COI became an Executive agency it has achieved efficiency savings of £56.4m (18.1%).

I hope that this information meets your needs.

University Research

Dr. John Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of gross domestic product was devoted to the public funding of university research in (a) Britain, (b) the USA and (c) France from 1981 to 1992; and what are the corresponding figures for each country for annual percentage growth in real GDP.

Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The information requested is shown in the following table.

International comparisons of expenditure on higher education research are of questionable significance, because of the large structural differences in the make-up of this sector between countries.


                Government                                   Annual percentage                                          

                funding of higher                            growth in real GDP                                         

                education R and D                                                                                       

                              |United States                               |United States                               

               |United Kingdom|of America    |France        |United Kingdom|of America    |France                       

                Percentage of GDP                            Percentage change                                          

                               year on year                                                                             

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

1981           |0.26          |0.31          |0.31          |1.7           |-2.2          |2.3                          

1982           |0.26          |0.31          |0.32          |3.8           |3.6           |0.7                          

1983           |0.26          |0.31          |0.32          |2.5           |6.7           |1.5                          

1984           |0.26          |0.31          |0.33          |3.5           |3.1           |1.8                          

1985           |0.27          |0.32          |0.33          |4.4           |2.8           |2.4                          

1986           |0.27          |0.34          |0.32          |4.7           |3.1           |2.2                          

1987           |0.27          |0.36          |0.32          |5.0           |4.0           |4.2                          

1988           |0.26          |0.36          |0.32          |2.2           |2.7           |3.8                          

1989           |0.25          |0.37          |0.32          |0.4           |0.8           |2.4                          

1990           |0.25          |0.37          |0.33          |-2.3          |-1.1          |0.7                          

1991           |0.25          |0.38          |0.34          |-0.4          |2.5           |1.4                          

1992           |0.25          |0.39          |0.35          |2.0           |2.8           |-0.8                         

Sources: OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators.                                                                   

(Real GDP calculated using OECD implicit GDP price indices, 1985=100).                                                  

Decision Making

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what proposals he has for increasing the openness of decision making (a) in the national health service and (b) generally in 1995.


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Mr. Robert G. Hughes: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has already consulted on a draft code of openness for the national health service, the final version of which will be published during 1995. One of the stated aims of the code is to provide people with an explanation of service changes in the NHS and give


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them the opportunity to influence decisions on such changes. The Government remain committed to the principles of transparency and openness laid down in the White Paper on open government. We are currently preparing a report for Parliament on Departments' experience of the first nine months of operation of the code of practice on access to Government information. This will help us to assess its impact.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Disabled People (Court Access)

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department who is responsible for ensuring that court buildings are adequately accessible to disabled people.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor, through his officials, is responsible for ensuring that court buildings are accessible to disabled people. It is the Department's policy that the design of a court should enable disabled people to have access to and around the building appropriate to their functions there. Subject to resources and building constraints, every effort is made to improve access and facilities in existing courts.

Justices of the Peace

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his estimate of the cost of training and retraining (a) justices of the peace and (b) members of the professional judiciary in respect of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The estimate of the cost of training justices of the peace and members of the professional judiciary in respect of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 was given in a written answer to the House on 27 May 1993, Official Report , column 658 , as approximately £250,000. As subsequent training was included in the general training of magistrates and judges, the cost cannot be separately identified.

PRIME MINISTER

British Association of Sheep Exporters

Mr. Morley: To ask the Prime Minister what meetings with the British Association of Sheep Exporters he has had since 1994.

The Prime Minister: None.

Lockerbie

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on documents made available in the United States of America following the ending of the Pan Am insurers' appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to the loss of the airliner over Lockerbie; and if he will make a statement.


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The Prime Minister: The document in question quotes a source relying on

"second and third party information"

and stating that the former Iranian interior minister paid $10 million to have the Lockerbie bombing carried out. Allegations to this effect were first made early in the investigation; they were examined at the time by the competent authorities, together with a great deal of other often contradictory material, but no evidence has been found to substantiate them. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate remains satisfied that the evidence supports the charges against the two accused and that there is no evidence to establish that other persons or nations were involved.

Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 26 January.

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 26 January.

The Prime Minister: This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

Next Steps Agencies

Mr. Straw: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for South Hams (Mr. Steen) of 16 January, Official Report , column 275 , if he will place in the Library a list of the offices of Government Departments and next steps agencies in the west country and Bristol.

The Prime Minister: A list of Government Departments and next steps agencies which have offices in the west country and Bristol has been placed in the Library of the House.

Regional Offices

Mr. Straw: To ask the Prime Minister how many Government Departments and agencies have regional offices in each of the standard regions of England; and how many people are so employed in each region.

The Prime Minister: Twenty-seven Government Departments and 50 next steps agencies have offices in the economic planning regions of England.

Information on the number of civil service employed in each region, including their agencies, is contained in "Civil Service Statistics" 1994 edition, table 3, a copy of which is in the Library.

Countryside Council for Wales

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received concerning the impact of reduced activity by the Countryside Council for Wales on the commitment arising form the biodiversity convention under the Rio treaty; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: I have received two such representations. The Government remain committed to the convention on biological diversity signed in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.


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Channel Islands

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what discussions have taken place with the authorities on the Channel Islands regarding the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany;

(2) if he will make arrangements as part of the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany for memorials to be put up in the Channel Islands in memory of those who were deported and died as a result of the German occupation;

(3) if it is intended for him and the heads of Government invited for the 50th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany to pay homage in Alderney to the memory of those who were used as slave labour and died in the camps.

The Prime Minister: As internally self-governing dependencies of the Crown, the Channel Islands are themselves taking the lead in organising celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of their liberation from war-time occupation, on 9 and 10 May. I am pleased to say that, following discussions between the relevant authorities here and in the islands, HRH the Prince of Wales will represent Her Majesty the Queen at the celebrations, and units of our armed services will take part in them.

It is for the authorities and people of each island to decide on the setting up of memorials. In both Jersey and Guernsey there are already plaques commemorating those who died during the second world war, including deportees, and in Alderney there is a long-standing memorial dedicated to the memory of those prisoners who died in labour camps on the island, at which an inter-denominational service is held annually. The states of Jersey and Guernsey have each commissioned public memorials of the 50th anniversary of the liberation.

It would not be feasible for me and the heads of state or Government invited to the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of VE Day in London on 6 and 7 May to visit Alderney.

Nursery Education

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect on his policy for the expansion of nursery education of the Government policy on the enactment of the Nursery Education (Assessment of Need) Bill of Session 1993 4; and to which provisions of the Bill Her Majesty's Government remains opposed.

The Prime Minister: There is no need for the provisions of the Nursery Education (Assessment of Need) Bill. We are already committed to providing, over time, a pre-school place for all four year-olds whose parents wish to take it up. We want to promote choice and diversity by building on the existing wide range of providers, including the private and voluntary sectors.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make it his policy not to authorise the detention of any asylum seeker who has


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entered the United Kingdom illegally but whose application for asylum has not been determined; and if he will make a statement; (2) if he will instruct immigration officers that they do not have powers to compel an illegal entrant to submit to examination and to be detained for that purpose; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: These questions raise issues which are currently being considered by the Court of Appeal and the court's judgement will be given very careful consideration once it is received. In the meantime, it is not proposed to change our current general practice.

Director General of the Prison Service

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the contract of the Director General of the Prison Service comes up for renewal; what criteria will be used to decide whether his contract should be renewed; and who will take that decision.

Mr. Howard: The appointment of the Director General of the Prison Service was made for three years in the first instance from 6 January 1993, extendable to five years by agreement between him and the Department. It will be for me, on the advice of the permanent secretary, to take the decision on whether the director general should be offered an extension of his contract.

Mrs. Qureshian Bibi

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when, last year, the United Kingdom post in Islamabad requested a sponsor interview concerning the application by Mrs. Qureshian Bibi to enter the United Kingdom, GV100/25109; when a second request from the ECO in Islamabad for a sponsor interview was received; and when the sponsor is going to be interviewed.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The first request from the British High Commission in Islamabad for an interview with Mr. Rangzeb was received by the Home Office on 14 July 1994. There is no record of a further request having been received. The immigration service at Leeds Bradford airport will shortly contact Mr. Rangzeb to offer him an appointment for an interview on 5 February.

Emergency Calls (Response Times)

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time taken for (a) the Metropolitan police and (b) the London Fire Brigade to arrive at the scene following an emergency 999 call.

Mr. Maclean: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that during the period of three months from October to December 1994 the average time taken by the Metropolitan police to respond to a 999 call was 11 minutes 23 seconds.

In 1992, the latest year for which the information is available centrally, the average response time to fire incidents for the London fire brigade was six minutes. This information is based on response times for fires involving occupied buildings, casualties or rescues and certain other types of fire.


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Electro-shock Equipment

Mr.Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what permission has been given at any time to the companies (a) CAZ and (b) International Procurement Services to hold or trade in any form of electro-shock equipment in the last 15 years.

Mr. Maclean: None.

Stop and Search

Mr. Bernie Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the relationship between the number of stops and searches carried out by police services and the remuneration allocated to (a) police divisions/areas or (b) individual police officers.

Mr. Maclean: None whatsoever.

Criminal Offences

Sir Richard Body: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the criminal offences that have been introduced by regulations or directives from the European Union in 1994.

Mr. Maclean: The information requested is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Infanticide

Mrs. Golding: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children were killed by their parents in each year since 1984.

Mr. Maclean: The following table shows the number of offences recorded as homicide in England and Wales, as at 5 August 1994, where children under the age of 16 years were killed by their parents:


Year   |Number       

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

1984   |62           

1985   |72           

1986   |36           

1987   |55           

1988   |76           

1989   |44           

1990   |49           

1991   |68           

1992   |52           

1993   |50           

Figures for 1994 are 

not yet available.   

Secure Remands (Juveniles)

Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 1994, Official Report , columns 566 67 , when he will reach a decision on defraying the costs of local authorities accommodating juveniles subject to court-ordered secure remands; and at what stage discussions have reached on this subject.

Mr. Maclean: This work is at an early stage. I have yet to embark on discussions with interested parties. I shall make a decision once the discussions have been concluded.


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Parkhurst Prison

Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who provided him with the information that members of the Prison Officers Association were instructed not to co-operate with the police inquiry at Her Majesty's prison, Parkhurst; and what evidence he has that they did not do so.

Mr. Howard: I received this information, and evidence that some members of the POA did not co-operate with the police inquiries into the escapes from Parkhurst on 3 January 1995, from the police.

Inquests (Legal Expenses)

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what authority or vote appropriation Her Majesty's Government made available funds to assist or defray the legal expenses incurred by the relatives of the King's Cross and Clapham disasters at the relevant inquests; and if similar provisions could be made available to the relatives of the victims of the Marchioness disaster at the resumed inquest.

Mr. Norris: I have been asked to reply.

The costs of legal representation for the relatives who attended the inquests into the King's Cross and Clapham disasters were met by London Transport and British Rail respectively. Generally, relatives' costs are not met in inquests or fatal accident inquiries. The proceedings are informal and are concerned with facts surrounding a death rather than issues such as civil or criminal liability. Legal representation is usually unnecessary. We therefore do not consider that it would be appropriate, or necessary, for the Government to underwrite the legal costs of the families' attending the inquest into the Marchioness disaster.

TREASURY

Royal Mint

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made on the Royal Mint's review of the coinage.

Mr. Nelson: The Mint has consulted the general public and organisations representing people with special interests, for example, the blind and the elderly, as well as major coin users or handlers. The formal consultation period ended on 31 December 1994 and the analysis of the results is now underway. My right hon. and learned Friend expects to be able to make an announcement on the results of the review in the spring.

Personal Allowance

Ms. Rachel Squire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost of extending the additional personal allowance to married women with dependent children who have husbands who are mentally incapacitated or mentally infirm.

Sir George Young: I regret that the information requested is not available.

Inflation Target

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans he has to reduce the


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Government's inflation target of 1 to 4 per cent for the retail prices index excluding mortgage payments in RPIX;

(2) what is his target for the underlying rate of inflation, RPIX, after the current Parliament; and what plans he has to specify a narrow sub-range for this target.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke: The Government's aim is to keep underlying inflation, as measured by the RPI excluding mortgage interest payments, in the range 1 to 4 per cent., and to bring it down in the lower half of this range by the end of the present Parliament. The Government remain committed to keeping inflation permanently low.

The target for after the current Parliament will be announced in due course.

Bank of England (Meetings)

Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the forward dates of his monthly monetary meeting with the Governor of the Bank of England.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke: The monthly monetary meetings I hold with the governor are generally held in the first week of each month, but the precise dates are only confirmed one month in advance in the monthly monetary report.

Executive Search Agencies

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidelines are operated by his Department as regards the use of executive search agencies to fill vacancies within his Department and his Department's executive agencies; and in what circumstances his Department employs executive search agencies instead of relying fully on departmental resources to fill vacant posts.

Mr. Nelson: The Treasury refers to central guidance on the use of executive search agencies. Decisions on when to recruit and the method of recruitment are taken in the light of the overall staffing requirements of the Department.


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