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R. J. Cormac
A. M. Gallagher
J. M. D. Kremer
Market Research N I
Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre
R. D. Osborne
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Ulster Marketing Services
In addition, the commission administered, on behalf of the Department of Economic Development, the small firms fair employment scheme, under which companies obtained free consultancy advice on fair employment procedures. This scheme ceased to operate on 31 March 1993. During the life of the scheme, 58 consultants undertook assignments for small companies.
Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by what means notice is given by the Fair Employment Commission (a) to the firms concerned, (b) to other bodies and (c) to the public of forthcoming investigations.
Before holding an investigation, the commission serves notice of its intention to hold the investigation and furnishes particulars of the scope and purpose of the investigation in a formal letter to the party concerned.
It is not the policy of the commission to provide notice of forthcoming investigations to any other body.
The public is provided with general information on the commission's investigation activities in its annual report. The names of concerns under investigation are not released until the investigation is complete and the report published.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the report of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights on abortion law in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many personnel are retiring or being offered redundancy in the current phase of roads service staff reductions; what are the grades of those leaving the roads service; and how reductions are distributed within each division.
Mr. Moss: In response to the 1994 95 early retirement programmes available to Northern Ireland civil service industrial and non-industrial staff, a total of 133 personnel in the Department of the Environment roads service have applied successfully for voluntary redundancy and will be leaving during the period 1 January to 20 March 1995.
Some of the vacancies created within the administrative and professional and technical grades will not necessarily be carried within the division in which the retiring officer served. This overall figure is divided among the roads service's divisions as follows:
Non-Industrial |Professional and Division |Administrative |Technical |Industrial |Total ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ HQ (Belfast) |1 |6 |3 |10 Ballymena |1 |3 |14 |18 Belfast |- |2 |11 |13 Coleraine |1 |3 |14 |18 Craigavon |1 |11 |15 |27 Downpatrick |2 |4 |15 |21 Omagh |- |8 |18 |26 All the industrial staff leaving are non-craft road workers, with the grades and distribution of the non-industrial staff concerned being as follows:
|Grades --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HQ |1 x Principal, 2 x SPTO, 2 x HPTO, | 1 x PTO, 1 x TG I Ballymena | HPTO, 1 x PTO Supervisor Belfast |1 x HPTO, 1 x TG I Coleraine |1 x Staff Officer, 1 x SPTO, 1 x | HPTO, 1 x PTO Supervisor Craigavon |1 x EO I, 2 x PPTO, 2 x SPTO, 2 x | HPTO, 1 x PTO, 2 x PTO Supervisor, | 2 x TG I Downpatrick |1 x Deputy Principal, 1 x Staff | Officer, 1 x SPTO, 1 x PTO, 1 x | PTO Supervisor,1 x TG I Omagh |5 x SPTO, 1 x PTO Supervisor, | 2 x PTO Notes: 1. PPTO-Principal Professional and Technology Officer. 2. SPTO-Senior Professional and Technology Officer. 3. HPTO-Higher Professional and Technology Officer. 4. PTO-Professional and Technology Officer. 5. TG I-Technical Grade I. 6. EO I-Executive Officer Grade I.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultation took place with elected Northern Ireland Members before (a) the setting up of the Rates Collection Agency and (b) the decision to reduce from 13 to five the number of rates collection offices.
Mr. Moss: The decision to establish the Rates Collection Agency as an executive agency of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland with effect from 1 April 1991 was announced in answer to a question from the then Member for North Devon on 27 March 1991, Official Report, columns 426 27. The chief executive's recommendations last year for streamlining the work of the agency became public knowledge before any external consultations could be arranged.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the proposed reduction in the amount of rate support grant payable in each of the 26 local government councils for the year 1995 96 in (a) overall cash terms, (b) p/£ rate and (c) as a percentage of each council's district rate 1994 95.
Mr. Moss: There is no proposed reduction in the amount of general grant payable for the year 1995 96. Overall, there will be a 7.1 per cent. increase as set out below. However, since district councils are still in the process of finalising accounts, it is not possible to provide the information requested at (b) and (c).
|Cash |Cash |provision |provision District councils |1994-95 |1995-96 |£k |£k ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Antrim |189 |394 Ards |1,773 |2,007 Armagh |1,966 |1,953 Ballymena |643 |781 Ballymoney |834 |877 Banbridge |872 |1,180 Belfast |5,314 |6,061 Carrickfergus |743 |835 Castlereagh |1,015 |882 Coleraine |392 |412 Cookstown |904 |964 Craigavon |1,899 |2,140 Derry |3,065 |3,206 Down |2,023 |2,457 Dungannon |1,748 |1,704 Fermanagh |1,782 |1,774 Larne |703 |806 Limavady |921 |1,035 Lisburn |1,860 |1,531 Magherafelt |1,116 |1,452 Moyle |540 |554 Newry and Mourne |3,375 |3,503 Newtownabbey |1,335 |1,447 North Down |1,038 |558 Omagh |1,666 |1,951 Strabane |1,700 |1,741 Totals |39.4 million |42.2 million Notes: <1> Staff figures are based on full time equivalents (part-time staff count as 0.5) <2> The Government office Merseyside and Government office London did not exist in 1993-94.
The figures for 1994 95 cannot be finalised until accounts are certified towards the end of the 1995 96 financial year. The figures for 1995 96 are based on provisional estimates provided by district councils in September 1994.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he intends to reduce the regional rate required by an amount comparable to the increase which will be required in the district rate in order to compensate for the proposed reduction in the 1995 96 rate support grant.
Sir John Wheeler: No decision has yet been taken on the level of the 1995 96 regional rate. An order fixing the regional rate poundage will be laid before the House. However, the legislation governing the striking of the regional rate provides for the amounts to be raised by the district rate to be taken into account before the order is made.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the discretionary power being given to councils in Northern Ireland to increase from 2p to 5p in the pound the amount to be spent on local economic development will be met by extra taxation or by way of transfer of moneys from the Department of Economic Development budget to individual councils.
Mr. Moss: There is a discretionary power. It is a matter for district councils to decide how much they wish to raise within the 5p limit to provide economic development activities within their districts. There is no specific funding from central Government. Any additional expenditure by councils as a result of the increase from 2p to 5p will have to be met from within their overall resources.
Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed reductions in the 1995 96 rate support grant on the work of local government councils in fulfilling their obligations to community relations and other cross- community projects; and what areas of councils' responsibilities are likely to be affected.
Mr. Moss: No such assessment has been made because the general grant for 1995 96 has not been reduced. The allocation of £42.2 million represents an increase of £2.8 million--7.1 per cent.--on the 1994 95 provision.
Mr. Baldry: We are currently evaluating proposals from the Defence Research Agency, whose technological expertise may be able to improve the means of mine detection. If successful, these proposals could be a major step forward in dealing with the various land mine problems around the world.
Mr. Baldry: There a number of methods of mechanical mine clearance, including flails, ploughs, rollers and hard-wheeled vehicles. Other methods of mine clearance include detection by trained mine clearance teams using hand-held locators, or dog teams.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the condition of the Neretva hydro-electricity generation complex and its associated transmission system in central Bosnia; how many people could be served by this electricity supply; if he will estimates the cost of reinstating the system; and if he is involved in any plans to reinstate it.
Mr. Baldry: Of the Neretva hydro-power stations, only the Rama power station is currently operating, at a much reduced capacity. If the Neretva system were connected to the national grid it would help provide 709 MW of power to the whole of Bosina Herzegovina compared with 1,160 MW for the thermal system. Following an ODA review in January 1994, it was decided to continue to support thermal, rather than hydro, power stations due to the prohibitive cost of the large-scale civil engineering repairs that would be required. For the past one and a half years, the ODA has undertaken a £9.8 million programme to restore basic electricity supplies to central Bosnia by assisting in vital repairs to thermal power stations and transmission lines and helping to maintain coal output.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the projects funded by his Department during the last three years, and planned for the future, in Bosnia- Herzegovina, giving the cost of each project and the contributions made by other agencies or Governments.
Mr. Baldry: During the three years of the conflict, the ODA has provided over £173.5 million in emergency aid to the former Yugoslavia --£94 million bilaterally and over £79.5 million through the European Union.
Copies of an information sheet which gives financial and factual information, details of contributions to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the 1994 summary of overall donor assistance to the former Yugoslavia and a list of all the projects undertaken by the EEU, will be placed in the Library of the House at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the condition of the principal supply routes to and within Bosnia-Herzegovina; and what plans he has to support the repair and maintenance of those routes to facilitate the supply of humanitarian aid.
Mr. Baldry: Although local authorities are still responsible for the original roads, the maintenance and repair of principal supply routes in the former Yugoslavia are dealt with primarily by the engineering units of UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and UNPROFOR, the United Nations protection force. The ODA has seconded two road engineers to the UNHCR for the last two years to assist with the upkeep of the supply routes. All aid routes are accessible, subject to weather conditions.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out the new division of responsibility for development and co-operation activities within the European Commission.
Mr. Baldry: Five Commissioners will share responsibility for development and co-operation activities in the new European Commission. Mr. Pinheiro will be responsible for DG VIII--African, Caribbean and Pacific countries; Mr. Marin will be responsible for DG I North/South--the Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America; Mr. van den Broek will be responsible for DG I--the PHARE and TACIS programmes for eastern and central Europe and the former Soviet Union; Ms Bonino will be responsible for emergency aid--the European Community Humanitarian Office; Mme Cresson will be responsible for research and development including that for developing countries--DG XII.
Mr. Baldry: The Save the Children Fund is currently providing health care to displaced persons in Greater Monrovia and Bomi county. We are unaware of any other British aid organisations currently operating in Liberia.
Mr. Baldry: There has been some resumption of humanitarian aid outside Monrovia, but this is essentially exploratory and small scale. The British Government have provided over £3 million of emergency aid bilaterally to Liberia since April 1993.
Mr. Caborn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of overseas aid is used for low-cost strategies with particular reference to (a) oral rehydration therapy and (b) immunisation.
Mr. Baldry: Improving child health is an important objective for Britain's health and population aid. The promotion of oral rehydration for diarrhoea and immunisation against preventable infectious diseases are essential, cost-effective interventions in all primary health care programmes which now form the major part of ODA's strategy for reaching this objective. Data are not available for our aid to health classified by the specific nature of the intervention; such data could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Baldry: One of the main aims of the aid programme is to enhance access to education, basic health services and improved livelihoods. Where appropriate, projects are funded to address the needs of children, including their health, nutritional and educational requirements. Information about the amounts spent in each area could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will list dates on which aid offers in principle were made to the Government of Indonesia in each year since 1980;
(2) if he will list the dates on which aid and trade provision offers in principle were made to the Government of Indonesia in each year since 1980.
For projects financed under the aid and trade provision, we have entered into the following framework agreements with the Government of Indonesia since 1980:
Date |Agreement --------------------------------------------------------- 16 July 1986 |Concessional loan | arrangement 1986 1 December 1988 |Concessional loan arrangement 1988 |100 5 April 1993 |Concessional loan arrangement 1993 |65 7 April 1994 |Concessional loan arrangement 1994 |80
The amounts indicated relate to support available in principle for projects to be mutually agreed between the United Kingdom and Indonesian Governments. They comprise a mix of grants from the aid and trade provision and export credits through the Export Credits Guarantee Department.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates since 1980 bilateral aid to Indonesia, including aid and trade provision support, has been withheld or suspended for good government reasons with particular reference to persistent or severe abuse of human rights.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 6 December, Official Report, columns 118 20, concerning projects in Indonesia financed from the aid and trade provision, if he will give an assurance that none of the equipment provided is being used by Indonesian military or security personnel; and what is the purpose of the provision of radio communications and shortwave radio transmitters for the Ministry of Forestry.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 3 February 1995]: None of the equipment provided for the projects referred to in my answer of 6 December 1994, Official Report , columns 118 20 , is being used by Indonesian military or security personnel.
The radio communication systems project was for the installation of an integrated radio network at the Ministry of Forestry's headquarters and selected provincial offices to improve the sustainable management and control of the country's forestry resources.
The shortwave radio transmitters project involves the installation of high- frequency transmitters to enable shortwave broadcasting to be heard throughout Indonesia. The principle objective of the project is to give the population access to information, and to educate and unite disparate communities.
Miss Widdecombe: The national insurance contribution holiday, the back-to-work bonus and other measures in the Jobseekers Bill will assist unemployed people into the jobs which business, not Government, create.
Miss Widdecombe: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met the chairwoman and chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission on 7 November 1994, when a range of issues was discussed, including fair employment practices.
13. Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what calculation he has made of the number of extra training places which will be required as a result of the provisions in the Jobseekers Bill; and what is the total cost of the places to be provided.
Miss Widdecombe: The Government already provide 1.5 million opportunities, including substantial training provision for unemployed people. The jobseeker's allowance will help unemployed people take best advantage of those opportunities.
Mr. Paice: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State meets the CBI regularly to discuss issues of mutual interest. The CBI responded to the Government's recent consultation document on discrimination against disabled people.
Miss Widdecombe: The Government negotiated the working time directive so that people could continue to be free to work more or less than 48 hours a week. It is not possible to make numerical estimates of the effect on unemployment, but any statutory limit on working hours would be damaging to competitiveness, jobs and the economy.
Mr. Oppenheim: There no plans at present to change the method of calculating unemployment figures derived from either the claimant count or the labour force survey. Each method complements the other and each has its own distinct advantages.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will place in the Library the notes of his meeting in Davos with Mr. Alphande ry with particular reference to the subject of a minimum wage.