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British Rail Engineering

35. Mr. David Marshall: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what level of assistance his Department has given British Rail Engineering Ltd. since 1990.

Mr. Charles Wardle: The company, now ABB Vehicles Ltd, has received Government assistance towards its export and research and development efforts.

Small Firms

36. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he next expects to meet representatives of the small firms sector to discuss the abolition of the audit requirements.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: I have no such plans at present. My Department is in touch with a wide range of interested parties to see how the changes we introduced last August are beginning to operate. We will review the position with those concerned once the efforts of those changes are clear and will, of course, consult widely on any further proposals.

Electricity Interconnector

37. Mr. Gallie: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the current agreement for green ticket payments to Electricte de France for electricity supply via the cross-channel interconnector concludes; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle: The Government are considering the future of the fossil fuel levy and the associated arrangements, including non-leviable status, in respect of nuclear generation as part of the nuclear review, and I cannot prejudge the outcome.

British Companies

38. Sir Anthony Grant: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the relative size of the largest British companies, by market capitalisation, compared with the largest companies in other EU countries.

Mr. Charles Wardle: According to the Financial Times FT500 which appeared in the FT of 20 January, 40 of the top 100 EU companies ranked by market capitalisation were United Kingdom-registered, including three that are Anglo-Dutch.

Civil Servants

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many civil servants since 4 May 1979 have left the Export Credits Guarantee Department and within two years joined companies engaged in contracts with the Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Needham: Such information is not held by ECGD and could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.

Indonesia

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will list in order of pound sterling value the 10 principal product imports to the United Kingdom from Indonesia;


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(2) if he will list in order of pound sterling volumes the 10 principal United Kingdom product exports to Indonesia.

Mr. Needham: The available information is published in Central Statistical Office business monitor MM20 "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom with countries outside the European Community", available in the Library of the House.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list for each year since 1979 the extent of Export Credits Guarantee Department cover, and the extent of claims paid relating to trade with Indonesia.

Mr. Needham: The figures for business and claims paid in respect of export credits for capital goods and projects to Indonesia are set out in the table:


Year        |Business   |Claims paid                        |£ million  |£ million              ------------------------------------------------1980-81     |9          |0.5                    1981-82     |150        |0.8                    1982-83     |566        |1.5                    1983-84     |301        |2.1                    1984-85     |249        |2.3                    1985-86     |140        |17.1                   1986-87     |73         |7.1                    1987-88     |48         |6.3                    1988-89     |67         |4.8                    1989-90     |52         |4.3                    1990-91     |150        |3.4                    1991-92     |124        |1.6                    1992-93     |450        |0                      1993-94     |100        |0                      

Reliable comparable data are not available prior to 1980 81.


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Sulphur Quotas

Mr. Beggs: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will seek a reallocation over the next two years of unused sulphur quotas from England and Wales to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Charles Wardle: The allocation of sulphur quotas between England and Wales and Northern Ireland under the United Kingdom's national plan for the implementation of the large combustion plants directive is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In common with other elements of the plan, this is kept under regular review.

Chemical Exports

Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how long the group of chemicals and related products now classified as ML7 has required export licences.

Mr. Ian Taylor: Heading ML7 covering toxicological agents, noxious chemicals, tear gas and related equipment, specially designed components and software was introduced into the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1985. Subsequent orders have extended and clarified the items subject to export control under this heading. Prior to 1985 a number of specified noxious chemicals were subject to control.

Export Credits

Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) of 25 January, Official Report, columns 127-8, regarding export credits if he will provide similar information for (a) Brazil, (b) Sudan, (c) Libya, (d) Tunisia, (e) the Yemen, (f) Malta and (g) Chile.

Mr. Needham: The figures requested are shown in the tables:


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  ECGD total capital goods and project business experience-(£ million) for specific markets requested.                                    |1980-81|1981-82|1982-83|1983-84|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89|1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brazil  |37     |49     |459    |162    |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |11     |0      |0      |0      |45             Chile   |3      |0      |1      |13     |1      |0      |0      |2      |0      |0      |13     |0      |10     |0              Libya   |0      |70     |40     |4      |2      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Malta   |0      |0      |1      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Sudan   |0      |0      |15     |2      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Tunisia |0      |11     |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |20     |0      |13     |0              Yemen   |0      |11     |1      |0      |11     |4      |3      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |1      |0              

  ECGD defence business (£ million) for specific markets requested.                                                                       |1980-81|1981-82|1982-83|1983-84|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89|1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brazil  |0      |0      |36     |111    |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |45             Chile   |0      |0      |0      |1      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |10     |0              Libya   |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Malta   |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Sudan   |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Tunisia |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              Yemen   |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0      |0              

Fire Safety

Mr. Pike: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received regarding the review of fire safety legislation and enforcement matters arising


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from the deregulation proposals; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: Since the review was announced on 17 January 1994, Official Report , column 381 , colleagues and I have received some 3,500 representations


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from various organisations and individuals about the review of fire safety legislation and enforcement. Following the publication of the review team's report for full consultation, over 460 organisations and individuals have provided detailed written comments on the recommendations in the report.

All these comments are now being fully analysed. No decisions will be taken on making changes to the current fire safety legislation and enforcement regime until we have carefully considered all the views that have been expressed.

Libya

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the latest estimate of the loss of trade with Libya as a result of United Nations sanctions.

Mr. Needham: The British Government neither promote nor discourage trade with Libya. We are not able to estimate the loss of trade as a result of United Nations sanctions. However, provisional figures for 1994 showed that our visible exports decreased 28.1 per cent. to £197 million compared with £274.1 million in 1993.

Ian Greer

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many items he has received from Ian Greer in each week of the last month.

Mr. Heseltine: No items were received from Ian Greer last month.

ICL Technical Plastics

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what financial assistance was given to ICL Technical Plastics, in Glasgow in sponsoring sales trips abroad; and what sum was involved.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: It is not normally the practice to disclose such details, but in view of the public interest in recent allegations about this company I am prepared to disclose that support was given in the context of an overseas trade mission to Singapore in 1978. The case papers have since been routinely destroyed, but the amount of travel grant available for Singapore at that time was £505 to help defray air travel costs.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions were held between his Department and ICL Technical Plastics in order to promote its products in the foreign market place; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: There is no record of such discussions with, or support for, ICL Technical Plastics Ltd. for the sale of electro-shock equipment. Establishing whether any other discussions have taken place could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost and would in any case be a matter of commercial confidentiality. I refer the hon. Member to my answer to him of today in respect of financial assistance to the company towards participation in an overseas trade mission to Singapore in 1978.

Electro-shock Weapons

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the manufacture and supply


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of (a) electro-shock weapons and (b) instruments of torture by United Kingdom companies to countries with an established record of using torture.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: The manufacture of electro-shock weapons is prohibited under the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1992 and requires the specific authority of my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. My Department gives careful consideration to applications for the export of weapons. In considering such proposals special care is taken over the political and military implications of allowing consignments to go overseas. Particular attention is paid to countries with poor human rights records, where equipment might be used for internal repression. The Government deeply deprecate the export of any equipment knowingly to be used as an instrument of torture. The difficultly in this area lies in the fact that many perfectly innocuous goods may be misused for such purposes overseas and it is not practical to control the export of such items. However, if any such cases are brought to the Government's attention we shall make the strongest possible representations to those involved. If they are ignored, we will examine what steps could be taken to prevent export from taking place. When realistic, enforceable controls are possible we can act urgently to impose them.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what financial assistance has been given by his Department to United Kingdom companies actively involved in the manufacture, marketing and supply of electro-shock weapons, and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: I am not aware of any such companies.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent representations he has received on the manufacture, marketing and supply of (a) electro-shock weapons and (b) instruments of torture; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ian Taylor [ holding answer 30 January 1995]: A number of people, including right hon. and hon. Members, have written to me about the allegations in the Channel 4 television programme "Dispatches" on11 January 1995. The companies involved have made public denials of the allegations.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what information he has on the manufacture and supply of (a) electro-shock weapons and (b) instruments of torture by United Kingdom-based companies; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: None.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the policy of his Department in providing financial assistance to firms involved in the manufacture, marketing or supply of electro-shock weapons; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: I know of no such companies.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assurances are sought from United Kingdom companies active in the manufacture, marketing and supply of (a) electro-shock weapons and (b) instruments of torture that such assistance as is given to them will not


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be used to facilitate trade in and support the marketing of electro-shock weapons.

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 January 1995]: I know of no such companies.

Indonesia

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 8 December 1994, Official Report, column 301, what percentage of export credits to Indonesia in each year since 1979 have been related to defence exports.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 3 February 1995]: The percentages requested are set out in the following table:


Year       |Percentage           ---------------------------------1980-81    |0                    1981-82    |36                   1982-83    |4                    1983-84    |0                    1984-85    |44                   1985-86    |59                   1986-87    |70                   1987-88    |13                   1988-89    |4                    1989-90    |0                    1990-91    |2                    1991-92    |2                    1992-93    |98                   1993-94    |6                    

Reliable comparable data are not available prior to 1980 81.

Contractors

Mr. Byers: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will identify those contracts dated since January 1990 valued at more than £1 million that have been supported by export credit guarantees, together with the country concerned and the leading United Kingdom contractor.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 7 February 1995]: It has been the policy of successive Governments not to disclose details of individual contracts unless the relevant parties have agreed to this.

DEFENCE

Royal Military Police

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what circumstances the Royal Military police central criminal records index office computers store information on the sexual orientation of civilians.

Mr. Soames: The Royal Military police central and criminal records intelligence office stores on its computer database information about sexual orientation in individual cases where this has given grounds for an investigation into a suspected offence. The database includes information about investigations of former service personnel suspected of committing an offence while serving in the armed forces and of UK-based civilians and dependants suspected of committing an offence who, while serving overseas, were subject to the Army Act 1955.


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Porton Down

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the total cost of running the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down in each of the last five years; what is the planned expenditure for each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: This is a matter for the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment Porton Down, under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive CBDE to write to the hon. Member. Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Derek Fatchett, dated 6 February 1995:

1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking what has been the total cost of running the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down in each of the last five years; what is the planned expenditure for each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement has been passed to me to answer as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.

2. In providing the gross cash budgets for CBDE Porton Down over the past five years, it is important to recognise that there have been significant changes in accounting and financial practices. a. From 1990/91 onwards, the figures include works and property management costs as MOD untied from PSA on 1 April 1990.

b. From 1 April 1991, CBDE became a Defence Agency under the Next Steps programme and our annual accounts are in accruals format to a Treasury Accounts Direction.

c. From 1 April 1991 some expenditure previously controlled centrally was desegregated to CBDE causing the gross cash budget to increase.

Consequently the figures provided for 1989/90 and 1990/91 are not directly comparable with those in the published Annual Reports because of the changes in the accounting and financial procedures. 3. The gross cash budgets for CBDE in each of the last five years at 1994/95 price levels was as follows:


Year                 |Gross cash budgets £                                          |million                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------1989-90              |23.4                                     1990-91              |26.7                                     1991-92              |33.4                                     1992-93              |35.0                                     1993-94              |34.2                                     

The apparent increase in cash budget is primarily due to the changes in accounting and financial procedures resulting in the inclusion of the works and property management costs which vary from year to year depending on the works programme. In addition since becoming an Agency CBDE has successfully won contracts from outside the MOD thereby increasing the gross cash budget.

4. The intention is that from 1 April 1995 CBDE Porton Down will become part of the proposed new Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and operate on a trading fund. From this date, CBDE will no longer receive direct vote funding. Its level of expenditure will therefore be determined by the income which it attracts from a number of MOD budget holders. It is consequently not possible to make a definitive statement about the expenditure for the next three years, although it is not expected on current plans to change significantly.

Land Mines

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the research conducted by his Department on the current need for anti-personnel mines by United Kingdom forces.


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Mr. Freeman: The need for, and role of, anti-personnel land mines is not assessed separately from our overall military strategy, and can be considered only in that broader context. It is therefore not possible to release information on the military utility of a particular weapon system without revealing details of wider operational capability and tactics. Such information is classified.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will commission a report on the military utility of anti-personnel mines for United Kingdom armed forces within the context of the United Kingdom's military strategy.

Mr. Freeman: Anti-personnel land mines continue to have an important defensive role. Our requirement for such equipment will continue to be kept under review.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the United Kingdom's policy on anti-personnel mines is based on contemporary analysis of the need of these weapons by United Kingdom forces.

Mr. Freeman: The United Kingdom's policy on anti-personnel land mines is based on a number of factors, including not only an analysis of military requirements but a desire to avoid the indiscriminate and irresponsible use of these weapons.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what conclusions for United Kingdom policy he has drawn from the report published by the United States Department of Defence in June 1994 entitled "The Military Utility of Landmines: Implications for Arms Control"; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman: We have not made an assessment of this report, which I understand was prepared by the Institute for Defence Studies.

Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give an estimate of the number of land mines on and around the former confrontation lines between the Bosnian Croats and Muslims; what progress has been made in clearing those mines; and if British personnel are involved in this task.

Mr. Soames: Estimates have placed the figure for mines on and around the former confrontation lines as high as 800,000. The mine clearance programme continues and, although this has been successful in clearing many roads and areas in central Bosnia, a significant proportion of mines remain to be dealt with. BRITFOR explosive ordnance disposal personnel continue to make an important contribution to the programme, liaising with Bosnian Muslim and Croatian troops and monitoring clearance operations to ensure that all the mines are lifted and destroyed.

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the number of anti-personnel mines still active in the Falkland Islands; and what plans exist for their removal.

Mr. Soames [holding answer 7 February 1995:: A total of some 30,000 Argentine mines are believed to remain in the Falkland Islands. We do not have precise details of the numbers of individual types of mine, nor their current condition. Work is progressing on the offer by Argentina to pay a third party to clear the minefields in the Falklands.

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) people and (b) animals have been injured by anti-personnel land mines in the Falkland


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Islands and other territories formerly occupied by Argentinian forces.

Mr. Soames [holding answer 7 February 1995]: Four British service men were seriously wounded in the course of operations to clear minefields in the Falklands Islands immediately after the conflict. No personnel have been injured by mines in other United Kingdom territory in the South Atlantic formerly occupied by Argentine forces. No records are kept of animals injured by mines in the Falkland Islands.

Indonesia

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of armed forces personnel sent to Indonesia to support Rapier missile sales.

Mr. Freeman: Details of any training assistance to other countries, including costs, are not normally disclosed as they are regarded as confidential between Governments.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the involvement of armed forces personnel in training members of the Indonesian armed forces or security forces in counter-insurgency techniques since 4 May 1979.

Mr. Soames: Details of any training assistance to other countries are not normally disclosed as they are regarded as confidential between Governments.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost to his Department in each year since 1990 of supporting work with the Indonesian national police force.

Mr. Soames: My Department has not been involved in work of this nature.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Ministers or officials in his Department have at any time since 1979 been informed of British-supplied defence equipment being used in East Timor or in its territorial waters or airspace.

Mr. Freeman: My Department has no evidence that British-supplied defence equipment has been used in East Timor.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the rank of defence attache s to the British mission in Indonesia in each year since 1979.

Mr. Soames: Since 1979, the defence attache to the British embassy in Indonesia has been at the rank of colonel. In addition, an assistant defence attache with the rank of squadron leader was attached to the embassy from 1981 to 1983. The assistant defence attache from October 1983 until February 1987 was at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was replaced by a naval/air attache at the rank of wing commander from July 1988 until February 1991 and at the rank of commander RN from February 1991 until February 1993, when the post lapsed.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what have been the costs of training consultancy visits to Indonesia by British specialists working with the Indonesian police force in each year since 1990; and in each year how many consultants visited Indonesia.

Mr. Soames: My Department has not engaged in consultancy visits of this kind.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the involvement of United Kingdom armed forces personnel in counter- insurgency activities in Indonesia or East Timor since 4 May 1979.


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Mr. Soames: None.


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