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Mr. Jonathan Evans: My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will be advised on the proposed merger by the Director General of Fair Trading. In giving his advice the DGFT will take account of all relevant factors, as will the President in making his decision.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade which of the facilities operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority have had sanctions imposed for infringement of article 88 of the Euratom treaty since 1988; what specific infringement occurred; and what has been done to rectify the situation.
"The Agency shall keep a special account in the name of the Community, called Special Fissile Materials Financial Account." It contains no provision for the imposition of any sanctions.
Column 696contracts between them. I understand that no date has yet been set for the first commercial shipment.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at what date, and in what circumstances, qualified majority voting was agreed to by the United Kingdom Government for fisheries policy.
Mr. Jack: While the Community's market regime for fish and fish products has always been based on article 43 of the treaty, on United Kingdom accession regulation 2141/70 gave vessels of all member states, subject to certain limited derogations, the right to fish throughout all member states waters and was also based on article 235 which requires unanimity.
The UK accession treaty included a 10-year derogation from the provisions of regulation 2141/70. This enabled the UK to maintain a six-mile exclusive limit and impose certain restrictions in the six to 12 mile belt.
In 1976, regulation 2141/70 was replaced by regulation 101/76. This regulation's treaty base also included article 235. The regulation stated that in principle vessels of all member states should have equal access to the use of all fishing grounds within the fisheries limits of member states.
Later in 1976, the member states of the EC agreed to extend their fishery limits to 200 miles. The UK Government sought to extend the UK exclusive limit significantly, but a Council resolution, adopted in The Hague on 3 November 1976 about the creation of a 200 mile fishing zone in the Community, made no reference to this. The outcome of a European Court case in the early 1980s also suggested that, unless a decision to the contrary were taken, the principle of "free access to waters" came into force at the end of the period specified in the accession treaty.
This was the background to the negotiations on the CFP regulations which were formally adopted at the beginning of 1983. These regulations substantially reduced other member states' access to waters within the UK six to 12 mile belt, while continuing their total exclusion from the six mile belt, and also provided for the Shetland box. Regulation 170/83 was the principal regulation and was based on article 43.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the three largest registered owners of milk quota in the United Kingdom, with (a) the quota held by each, (b) the amount of quota held which is leased, (c) the amount of agricultural land owned by each of these registered milk quota holders and (d) the amount of milk produced annually by each of the above.
Column 697disclosed only to that individual or to a person with a valid interest in his or her holding.
Column 698has been imported from (a) Russia and the Soviet Union before it and (b) elsewhere in each year since 1984.
Imports of caviar (sturgeon roe) (tonnes) |1984|1985|1986|1987|1988|1989|1990|1991|1992|1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Russia/USSR |7.4 |3.4 |7.4 |18.7|19.4|16.5|8.7 |8.4 |10.3|5.3 Elsewhere |25.5|38.4|11.9|10.6|25.2|24.8|25.7|14.4|22.0|27.5 Total |32.9|41.8|19.3|29.4|44.6|41.3|34.4|22.8|32.3|32.8
Imports of caviar substitutes (tonnes) |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 |1988 |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992 |1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Russia/USSR |0.1 |0.0 |0.0 |0.1 |0.3 |0.1 |0.0 |0.0 |0.0 |0.0 Elsewhere |173.0|173.5|236.4|254.2|505.6|745.1|388.5|246.4|315.4|305.0 Total |173.1|173.6|236.4|254.3|506.9|745.2|388.5|246.4|315.4|305.0 Source: HM Customs & Excise (Country of Origin data).
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what purposes other than those connected with the tax and benefits systems the national insurance number may be used; what plans he has to make the number more widely available for those purposes; if legislation is necessary; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moss: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 6 December 1994, Official Report, column 163 . The national insurance number can be used only for national insurance, tax and social security benefit purposes and there are no plans at present to introduce legislation to extend its use.
Column 698non-industrial civil servants in the departments and agencies for which he has responsibility are registered disabled and disabled as defined by the Cabinet Office document, "Focus on Ability".
Sir John Wheeler: At 1 January 1994 there were 1,073 non-industrial staff in the Northern Ireland civil service--4.2 per cent. of the non- industrial service--who self-reported a disability. Of these 413--1.6 per cent. of the non-industrial service--were, or had been registered as disabled. In addition 81 registered disabled people are working in the Northern Ireland civil service under the employment support programme.
Of the home civil service staff in the Northern Ireland Office one person is known to be registered disabled--0.45 per cent. of the work-force.
Mr. Ancram: A total of 522 people are estimated to have been working on specialist egg production farms in 1989 and 605 in 1994. In addition 422 people are estimated to have been working in packing, processing and marketing eggs in 1989 and 462 in 1992, the latest year for which an estimate is available.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many parliamentary answers on health issues have been refused on the grounds of disproportionate cost or information not being held centrally (a) as a total and (b) as a percentage of all health answers in each of the last five years.
|PQs as a |Number of PQs |percentage of all |unable to be |Health Answers Year |answered (a) |(b) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1990<1> |8 |4 1991<1> |11 |4 1992<1> |9 |4 1993 |15 |4 1994 |14 |4 <1> Due to implementation of computer system the percentage of PQs prior to 1993 are approximate.
Mr. Hurd: I visited Washington last month, partly to meet the new congressional leaders. Ministers visiting Washington invariably see Members of Congress and I have no doubt that our excellent relations with the US Congress will continue.
20. Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food relating to the re-negotiation of the EU- Morocco fisheries agreement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have been in close contact on this subject, and will continue to liaise as negotiations with Morocco develop.
21. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Argentina and the future sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, visited the Falkland Islands last weekend. He reassured the islanders that we will continue to uphold their right to self-determination and are not prepared to discuss sovereignty with Argentina.
We have co-operated with Argentina over fisheries conservation since 1990 and we are now examining the prospects for co-operation over oil.
Column 700the People's Republic of China to discuss Anglo-Chinese relations.
23. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has had about hunger and health problems in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates as a result of the implementation of United Nation sanctions against Iraq; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Iraqi regime, not the United Nations, is responsible for the suffering in Iraq. Food and medicines are exempt from UN sanctions. Iraq has twice rejected UN schemes to provide much-needed humanitarian aid in return for limited sales of oil. The Iraqi regime's continued refusal of these offers and its exploitation of human suffering show its callous disregard for its own people.
24. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the proportion of the budget for United Kingdom overseas missions currently devoted to promoting trade and commercial relations; and what was the position in 1979.
Mr. Goodlad: Commercial work, including export promotion and inward investment, is the FCO's largest single activity overseas, accounting for 23 per cent. of the cost of running overseas missions or 30 per cent. of frontline staff. This is broadly the same level as in 1989, the first year in which comparable data were available. With the help of efficiency savings, including a programme to reduce staff and costs in support areas, the FCO is planning to create over 100 additional commercial staff slots in posts overseas during 1995, an increase of over 9 per cent. in frontline commercial staff.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The possibility of opening an embassy in Yerevan is currently being carefully considered as part of the regular review of our representation in the states of the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We welcome the substantial progress that has been made, but we are concerned at the strains on the peace process resulting from a number of recent development, especially the dreadful bombing near Tel Aviv. We will continue to lend our full support to the peacemakers to ensure that those who oppose them do not succeed.
29. Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet the President of the European Commission to discuss the future of the European Union.
Mr. Goodlad: Our records show six attacks since 1987: three attacks on British-flagged ships, one attack on a Hong Kong-flagged, British- managed ship and two attacks on ships with a British interest, but flagged in other countries.
31. Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to assist the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to establish a mission in Chechnya.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We welcome the Russian decision to agree to an Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe fact-finding mission to Moscow and Chechnya on 24 to 27 January which explored the possibilities for greater OSCE involvement. A United Kingdom official, the director of the OSCE office for democratic institutions and human rights, was a member of the team.
Mr. Jessel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet representatives of (a) the Red Cross and (b) Amnesty International to discuss human rights overseas.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross in October last year and I hope to meet him in Geneva in the margins of my visit to the UN Commission on Human Rights in February. I have no immediate plans to meet representatives from Amnesty International. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met Amnesty
Column 702representatives in November. FCO officials are in regular contact with Amnesty International.
33. Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to meet the Secretary-General of the United Nations organisation to discuss the United Nations' peacekeeping work.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I last met the Secretary-General of the United Nations when he visited the United Kingdom in October. We had wide-ranging discussions covering a number of UN -related topics including peacekeeping operations.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Corfu European Council agreed that Cyprus will be involved in the next phase of enlargement. The Council is committed to a review of the application, in the light of progress in the intercommunal dispute, early in 1995. We welcome the prospect of eventual Cypriot accession.
Mr. Baldry: Our position has not changed. We continue to believe that the best way forward on Kashmir should involve simultaneous progress on dialogue between India and Pakistan as provided for under the 1972 Simla agreement; an improvement in human rights in Kashmir and a genuine political process there; and a clear cessation of external support for violence in Kashmir. We stand ready to offer our good offices to help resolve the dispute if both sides so wish.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Corfu European Council agreed that Malta will be involved in the next phase of enlargement. The Council will review the application this year. We welcome the prospect of Maltese accession to the European Union.
37. Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about areas of disagreement with France about foreign policy in Africa; and what he proposes to try and ensure a joint approach.
Column 703right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister and Mr. Balladur said both Governments would explore ideas on peacekeeping further with African partners. We are following this up. More recently, on 25 January, my right hon. and noble Friend, the Minister for Overseas Development had wide-ranging talks in Paris with French experts on Africa.
Mr. Baldry: Relations between the United Kingdom and the Republic of India are excellent, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary saw when he visited Calcutta and Delhi last month. In particular the Indo-British partnership initiative continues to flourish. British exports to India have increased by 40 per cent. in the last 18 months, and investment approvals have increased dramatically in the last two years. The UK's largest bilateral aid programme is in India.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the current status of the mission of the United States special representative to Sudan; what he is seeking to achieve; and what progress he is making.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The US special envoy on the Sudan, Ambassador Melissa Wells, was appointed last May to work in support of regional efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sudan. She has visited Sudan and neighbouring countries in pursuit of this.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further international discussions are taking place that are leading to proposals further to assist the Palestinian national authority with its internal security and terrorist problems.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The international committee, which co-ordinates assistance to the Palestinian police force, will meet in Gaza as one of the working groups under the local aid co-ordination committee, supported by the UN special co-ordinator for the occupied territories. The first meeting is expected to take place on 7 February.
Mr. Baldry: We welcomed the release of Eden Fernandez, on humanitarian grounds. Swift and effective action by a British diplomat, who fortunately was visiting Kabul, and the helpful co-operation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, enabled his release and return, via Pakistan, to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what investigations have been made into the circumstances of the death of Mr. Ray Nelson in a fire at a works living quarters in Tengiz, Kazakstan on 29 December 1993; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry: The police in Tengiz, Kazakstan are treating the tragic death of Mr. Raymond Anthony Nelson as an accident. Mr. Nelson was sub- contracted to TengizChevroil, which is holding its own investigation. The company's initial accident report states that Mr. Nelson remained in a burning building, looking for another person when he was overcome by smoke. The full report has not yet been completed.
Miss Lestor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all Overseas Development Administration-funded forestry and forestry-related projects since 1980 in Indonesia, providing (a) the dates approved and the status of their implementation, (b) the amount and type of aid funding, (c) the main objectives of the projects and (d) the counterpart Indonesian Government or private sector bodies involved in each of the projects.
Column 705designated as relief distribution centres: Maiyut, Pariang, Boma, Nimule, Chunkodum, Ikotos and Mundri. These are all located in areas of military activity. Access to the Nuba mountains remains as described in my answer of 25 October 1994, Official Report , column 546 .