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Mrs. Clywd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list military equipment that has been refused export licences to Indonesia on the grounds that such equipment might be used for internal repression
Column 485between 1 January 1991 and 31 December 1993 and between 31 December 1993 and 1 February 1994.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 7 February 1995]: It has been the practice of successive Governments not to reveal details of export licences or applications for licences unless the requirements of confidentiality are outweighed by the public interest.
In this instance, I believe that the public interest is served by disclosing the following information:
Three applications were made in the first period for licences to export military equipment which were ultimately refused.
The goods were night vision goggles, an HF transceiver station together with battery charger, cable and ancillaries, and a thermal imager with laser range finder and teleconverter lens.
No applications for licences made during the second period were refused.
Recent rejections have been riot guns and CS cartridges for the Indonesian Police and pump action shotguns for the prison service. The potential for the use against the civilian population was one of the factors taken into account during the processing of the applications.
Ms Jowell: To ask the Attorney-General how many prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service have been dropped within the last five years on the grounds that the principal witnesses or victims have a hearing difficulty or suffer from mental illness.
The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service maintains no central records regarding witnesses or victims of crime. The information is recorded on individual case files, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the domestic waste dump sites in Northern Ireland where environmental problems have arisen, indicating the type of problem which has arisen at each site.
Mr. Moss: At present, 28 landfill sites are authorised to receive domestic waste. Twenty-six are operated under district council control and two are operated by the private sector, but regulated by statutory authorities. Prior to 1980, landfill sites were used without proper design and building plans. Since then, authorised sites are engineered to deal with and contain leachate and gas emissions. Environmental problems associated with landfill sites can be litter, smell and bird invasion.
The degree to which any of these problems may be found at a particular site will depend upon a range of factors such as location, the engineering technology used in design and operation of the site and on-going site management.
Dr. Hendron: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make it his policy to redefine the term blind so that a person who is unable to pass the vision test associated with the driving test should be regarded as being unable to do any work for which eyesight is essential.
Dr. Hendron: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consideration he has given to abandoning the system of two categories of registrable visual disability.
Mr. Moss: The system of distinguishing between blindness and partial sight assists in service planning as the needs of blind and partially sighted people are not identical. Fewer people might be willing to register with social services departments if doing so meant they were required to accept the label "blind". We have no plans to change the present system.
Dr. Hendron: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to instruct Department of Health officials to issue new guidelines to approve consultant ophthalmologists to certify all persons with a visual acuity of 6/18, or less, as blind and registrable in that category with social services.
Dr. Hendron: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the practice in other countries of having only one category of registrable visual disability.
Mr. Moss: None. The system in use throughout the United Kingdom has been established over many years enabling trends in causes of blindness and partial sight to be monitored. There are no plans to amend the system.
Mr. Patten: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list those public bodies for which he retains departmental responsibility; which of these bodies have been identified as suitable for placing in the private sector; and by when it is expected each of these bodies will enter the private sector.
Sir John Wheeler: The public bodies for which the Secretary of State retains departmental responsibility are set out in the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies 1994", copies of which are available in the Library. Since "Public Bodies 1994" was published, the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Agency was established. None of these bodies has been identified as being suitable for placing in the private sector.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the termination payments made to chief executives and general and senior managers in each NHS trust since its inception, indicating the size and number of individual payments.
Mr. Moss: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Consideration is being given to the collection of data on termination payments in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total expenditure on all forms of advertising by his Department and its agencies for each year since 1979 in 1994 prices.
Sir John Wheeler: The information requested is listed:
Year |Expenditure £ |(in 1994 prices) --------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |1,146,986 1980-81 |999,033 1981-82 |1,159,163 1982-83 |2,731,538 1983-84 |4,821,516 1984-85 |4,360,906 1985-86 |6,004,314 1986-87 |5,651,684 1987-88 |5,719,217 1988-89 |6,100,684 1989-90 |6,393,354 1990-91 |6,769,594 1991-92 |7,953,941 1992-93 |7,770,377 1993-94 |6,046,557 1994-95 |<1>5,241,690 <1> Consists of estimated expenditure or expenditure to date for Departments.
28. Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement about the final recommendations of the disbanded Advisory Board for the Research Councils.
Mr. David Hunt: The final recommendations were in December 1993 and consisted of advice on the then science budget. I have placed copies on the Library.
30. Ms Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total spending reduction in Government-funded research which took place when near-market research was abandoned.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: Over the period--1987 88 to 1991 92--there was a cash increase of 19 per cent. in total Government-funded R and D expenditure.
36. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster by what method he is kept informed as to scientific developments and breakthroughs that warrant funding and other support from Government; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt: Many different methods.
37. Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has had with the Department of Trade and Industry on funding of space science.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: I met my hon. Friend the Minister with responsibility for space last November, to
Column 488discuss the funding of space science and our two Departments continue to work closely together.
There is continual contact between the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, my Department and the British National Space Centre at an official level, through which we are currently looking in detail at the cost-effectiveness of the UK's participation in the European Space Agency's science programme.
I recognise fully that our space scientists have an excellent reputation and we will continue to support our best space science research.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to the letter from the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, what discussions Her Majesty's Government are having with CERN partners on ways in which the original timetable for the large hadron collider and associated developments in particle physics can be adhered to.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The timetable of the large hadron collider project agreed by member states in December 1995 foresees full operation in 2008. This can be achieved within known existing resources. Completion before this date will require significant additional contributions from non -member states.
The CERN director general is taking the lead in discussing with potential partners the terms on which they might participate scientifically and financially. He has the full support of the UK and other CERN member states. We stand ready to give the director general every assistance to help these discussions reach a satisfactory conclusion. Any proposal for the participation of non-member states will be discussed by member states in the CERN council.
Mr. Henderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will name the companies which have been successful in obtaining contracts to provide services for Government Departments as a result of the market- testing process; and if he will list them by Government department.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: For information on the contracts awarded by the Office of Public Service and Science, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) on 12 December 1994, Official Report, column 455. Other Ministers provided similar information on their Departments to the hon. Member for Darlington. Their answers were published in the Official Report between 12 December and 16 December. The Ministry of Defence provided a full list of contractors in an answer to the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) Official Report, 30 January 1995, columns 546 48.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he or
Column 489international organisations have to restart mine clearing operations in Somaliland.
Mr. Baldry: We have no plans. We understand the UN has been unable to agree a programme for mine clearance work with the regional authorities, which include adequate systems for monitoring, reporting and accountability.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment the ODA co-ordinator in Hargeisa has made of the priorities for British and European assistance to Somaliland.
Mr. Baldry: North-west Somalia's needs are extensive. Britain's priorities remain support for programmes to help re-establish basic health and education services and help for those displaced by the recent fighting. EU assistance includes support for the livestock sector; water and sanitation and income generation. We agree with the NGO liaison and support officer's judgment that these remain priority areas for assistance.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the statistical impact made by his Department's programme in the relative distribution of wealth between the world's 20 richest and 20 poorest countries.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 9 February 1995]: Twenty-nine per cent. of the United Kingdom's total bilateral net official development assistance disbursements in 1992 went to the 20 countries listed as poorest in GNP per capita terms according to World bank information. The only countries with a higher percentage than the United Kingdom were Norway, Denmark and Finland, all of which had lower total disbursements to these countries in volume terms. However, it is not possible to isolate the statistical effect of aid disbursements to these countries--let alone disbursements by a single donor--from other factors when examining their economic growth.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to monitor the suitability of employment agencies offering domiciliary care provision; and how such agencies are monitored in terms of conduct and suitability.
Miss Widdecombe: The Employment Agencies Act 1973 and its associated regulations require all employment agencies to abide by specified minimum standards of conduct. Inspectors from the Department's Employment Agency standards offices investigate all complaints and other indications of breaches of the standards of conduct and undertake random checks.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how much money was owed by South Thames TEC to Southwark college (a) for work
Column 490undertaken before 7 November 1994 and (b) for work undertaken after 7 November 1994.
Mr. Paice: I am as yet unable to assess the financial impact of the receivership of South Thames training and enterprise council on Southwark college. Money owed by South Thames TEC to Southwark college before 7 November 1994 is a matter for the receiver, who is still establishing the total amount involved. The Department has processed invoices from the college for 7 November 1994 to 1 January 1995 to the value of £133,209.55 and these will be paid to the college by the end of next week.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the financial impact of the receivership of South Thames TEC on Southwark college.
Mr. Paice: I am as yet unable to assess the financial impact of the receivership of South Thames training and enterprise council on Southwark college.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what criteria will be used to assess an individual's skills, qualifications and experience for the purposes of entering into the jobseeker's agreement.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: The employment officer and the jobseeker will seek to draw up a jobseeker's agreement. The terms and conditions of the agreement have to be such that if the jobseeker complies with the agreement he will satisfy the conditions set out in regulations on availability and actively seeking work.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what criteria will be used by the adjudication officer to determine what is reasonable for purposes of deciding whether a claimant for jobseeker's allowance considers the agreement as a condition of entitlement to be unreasonable.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: Adjudication officers will be expected to have regard to the legislation and any relevant caselaw. They will be assisted by guidance issued by the chief adjudication officer.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what procedures will apply when the adjudicating officer charged with deciding whether the agreement as a condition of entitlement for jobseeker's allowance is reasonable, rules it (a) to be reasonable and (b) to be unreasonable.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 6 February 1995]: (a) If the adjudication officer determines that it is reasonable to expect the jobseeker to comply with the terms and conditions of a proposed agreement, the jobseeker can accept his determination or appeal to a social security appeals tribunal.
(b) If the adjudication officer determines that it is not reasonable he may give directions as to the terms and conditions on which the employment officer is to enter into an agreement with the jobseeker. If the jobseeker does not consider the adjudication officer's terms reasonable, he can appeal to another adjudication officer, and if he is still not content he can appeal to a social security appeals tribunal.
Mr. Litherland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have died in prison from natural causes in the past five years.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Robert Litherland, dated 13 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about how many people have died in prison from natural causes in the past five years.
A total of 147 people have died from natural causes whilst in custody during the last five years.
Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether decisions relating to the searching of category A prisoners and their visitors are policy or operational matters.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: The power to search prisoners and their visitors is set out in the prison rules, which are made by the Secretary of State. Decisions relating to the rules themselves and changes to them are policy matters.
The actions which are taken to implement the rules, including the procedures for searching category A prisoners and their visitors, are operational matters, as are the day-to-day decisions to search individual prisoners or visitors.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what cuts to its budget have been proposed by the Prison Service; and what new equipment and materials have been cancelled.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: The Prison Service has not proposed any cuts to its budget and no new equipment and materials have been cancelled.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report, column 50, for what reasons the transitional and restructuring costs in the contract between his Department and the Sema Group in respect of the privatisation of the data centre in Bootle remain in confidence now that the contract has been agreed; what proportion this element of the contract was of the total contract amount; if any part of the agreement prior to the contract being signed required such commercial secrecy; if permission of Sema is required to publish the figure; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard: It is not the usual practice to publish commercially sensitive information about contracts particularly where that would involve the disclosure of details of the pricing arrangements or structure of competitive bids and this applies both before and after a contract is let. The purpose is to preserve the legitimate business interests of competing companies who may wish to bid for future contracts. This consideration applied to
Column 492the contract between the Home Office and Sema Group plc and I continue to regard information about the proportion of the contract costs which relate to transitional and restructuring activities as commercially confidential. If it was considered appropriate to disclose commercially sensitive information from tender or contractual documents, I would regard it as necessary to discuss the matter in advance with the contractor concerned.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report, column 50, how many people were employed at the data centre in Bootle prior to its privatisation; how many of those employees (a) have been and (b) will be made redundant as a result of the Sema Group's proposals; and if he will indicate the type of staff, and the number in each category, made redundant.
Mr. Howard: Following the award of a contract for the supply of Home Office administrative information technology services, staff in the undertaking were transferred to Sema Group plc under the terms of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981; this included 272 staff based on Merseyside.
Although subsequent redundancies by Sema Group are a matter for it, we understand from the company that, in order to make efficiency savings identified following an operational review of business requirements, it invited applications for voluntary redundancy in November 1994 from staff on Merseyside. As a result, 92 former Home Office staff on Merseyside have been accepted for voluntary redundancy under terms equivalent to those which would have applied if they had remained civil servants. I understand that all of these were formerly administrative grade civil servants in the grades administrative assistant to grade 7.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report . column 50 , what is the expected percentage level of overspend or underspend for the estimated total payments from his Department for the Sema Group's transitional and restructuring costs against the amount allocated for these costs in the contract.
Mr. Howard: Payments to Sema Group plc to cover transitional and restructuring costs are expected to be at the level set out in the contract. Sema Group's bid contained an element for such costs, a proportion of which were estimated because they were dependent on the outcome of an operational review which they would conduct if awarded the contract. However, the contract specified a maximum to be paid by the Home Office on the basis that any costs over that amount would be met by Sema Group. It is expected that the level of payments from the Home Office to Sema Group will be at that maximum level, which was the level assumed in evaluating the bid.
Mr. Patten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those public bodies for which he retains departmental responsibility; which of these bodies have been identified as suitable for placing in the private sector; and by when it is expected each of these bodies will enter the private sector.
Mr. Howard: The following non-departmental public bodies presently fall within my Department's responsibility:
Alcohol Education and Research Council
Commission for Racial Equality
Community Development Foundation
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Fire Services Examinations Board
Gaming Board for Great Britain
Horserace Betting Levy Board
Horserace Totalisator Board
Office of the Data Protection Registrar
Police Complaints Authority
Police Promotions Examinations Board
National Lottery Charities Board
Advisory Board on Restricted Patients
Advisory Committee on Service Candidates
Advisory Council on Race Relations
Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
Animal Procedures Committee
Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council
Firearms Consultative Committee
National Board for Crime Prevention
Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England
Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Wales
Police Negotiating Board
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel
Data Protection Tribunal
Horserace Betting Levy Appeals Tribunal for England and Wales Interception of Communications Tribunal
Misuse of Drugs Advisory Body
Misuse of Drugs Professional Panel
Misuse of Drugs Tribunal
Police Arbitration Tribunal
Police Discipline Appeals Tribunal
Security Services Tribunal
Boards of Visitors to Penal Establishments
These NDPBs are subject to a rolling review every five years, the first stage of which includes an examination of prior options, including the scope for privatisation. At present, none has been identified for privatisation.