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Mr. Baldry: The United Kingdom has carried out diplomatic activity on many occasions in response to possible crises in Africa. It is seldom possible to assess the effectiveness of any particular action but recent examples where we have played a constructive role include Lesotho and Mozambique. One objective of the United Kingdom initiative on African peacekeeping is to strengthen institutional support for preventive diplomacy by African nations.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he or international organisations have to stimulate peace and development in Somaliland.
Mr. Baldry: Peace and development in the north-west and throughout the country is dependent on the Somalis reaching agreement on national reconciliation. We are encouraging other countries in the region to assist and the United Nations is willing to continue political efforts if the Somalis wish. However, responsibility for the process lies with the Somalis themselves.
International agencies and NGOs continue to implement activities in the north-west where security permits, and we shall continue to support their work giving priority to those displaced by recent fighting.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he or international organisations have to increase the pressure on the rulers of Nigeria to return the country to civilian and democratic rule.
Mr. Baldry: Members of the European Union have agreed that the measures against the Nigerian military jointly imposed in 1993 should remain in force, in the absence of progress towards a return to civilian rule. Our policy towards Nigeria is under constant review.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he or international organisations are currently considering for an embargo on oil sales from Nigeria, and what is his policy on such an initiative.
Mr. Baldry: We are not aware of plans for any such initiative.
Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he proposes to apply additional pressure on Indonesia to ratify the international covenant on civil and political rights.
Mr. Goodlad: We regularly encourage all countries to ratify the international covenant on civil and political rights and other United Nation human rights instruments.
Column 518My right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs did so most recently at the UN Commission on Human Rights on 8 February.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many representations his Department has received from foreign Governments over future changes in size in the United Kingdom's nuclear arsenal.
Mr. David Davis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not received specific representations from foreign Governments on this issue. However, many countries express their opinions on nuclear deterrence in a number of international fora.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to Turkey during the last 12 months on the subject of the Kurds living within its boundaries.
Mr. David Davis: We have made representations at ministerial and official level to the Turkish Government many times during the last 12 months on the subject of their human rights performance overall and in particular the human rights abuses arising from the conflict in the south- east of the country between the Turkish military authorities and the Kurdish separatist movement: most recently when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs--together with his French, German and Italian colleagues--met the Foreign Minister Karayaclin in London on 2 February.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures Her Majesty's Government are taking to encourage the Government of Turkey to take steps (a) to safeguard the Christian community in south-east Turkey and (b) to halt its destruction of Christian villages.
Mr. David Davis: The Turkish Government are well aware that we take a close interest in the Christian communities in Turkey in the context of our wider concerns about human rights there. We take every opportunity to make known these concerns, which are shared by our western partners. Most recently my right honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and his French, German and Italian colleagues raised human rights with the Turkish Foreign Minister when they met him in London on 2 February.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what issues concerning Turkey's Christian minority he raised with the Turkish parliamentary delegation during its recent visit.
Mr. David Davis: My honourable Friend the Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised the issue of Turkey's overall human rights performance when he gave lunch to the Turkish parliamentary delegation on 1 February.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures Her Majesty's Government are taking to encourage the Government of Turkey to end its discrimination against Turkey's Armenian community; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Davis: The Turkish Government are well aware that we take a close interest in the minority communities in Turkey in the context of our wider concerns about human rights there. We take every opportunity to make known these concerns, which are shared by our western partners.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on whether the Sudanese Government will allow a visit by Amnesty International; and what representations he has made.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The Sudanese Government have refused to agree to a visit by Amnesty International. This disappointing decision follows the recent publication of a report by Amnesty International detailing human rights abuses in Sudan. We regularly raise our concerns about human rights abuses with the Sudanese authorities bilaterally as well as through the EU and UN. We shall continue to urge them to accept visits by international humanitarian organisations such as Amnesty.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about Iran developing nuclear weapons and purchasing ballistic missiles; what information he has on this matter; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Davis: The Government remain deeply concerned at reports that Iran is interested in developing nuclear weapons and in acquiring ballistic missiles. We discuss such reports regularly with our partners in the missile technology control regime and nuclear suppliers group. We remain firmly committed to strengthening international efforts to combat the proliferation of both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy with regard to Iran's nuclear power programme.
Mr. David Davis: Iran is a state party to the nuclear non- proliferation treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. All of Iran's nuclear facilities are under IAEA safeguards, and open to inspection. But we remain concerned at reports that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Since March 1993, we have decided that, with two exceptions, licence applications for significant nuclear items destined for Iran should not be approved.
It is also our policy not to approve items for Iran where there is knowledge or reason to suspect that it would go to a military end-user or be used for military purposes.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what employment, duties or services were carried out for his Department or its agencies by Mr. Roy Ricks and over which periods of time.
Mr. Goodlad: To my knowledge there has been none.
Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the procedures involved in the appointment of the European ombudsman.
Mr. David Davis: The post of ombudsman is established by article 138 (e) of the treaty which states that the European Parliament shall appoint the ombudsman. The Council decision of 7 February 1994 approved the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the ombudsman's duties. The procedure involved in the appointment is set out in rule 159 of the European Parliament's "Rules of Procedure". A copy of both the decision and the "Rules of Procedure" are in the House Library. The hon. Member should be aware, however, that the Rules Committee of the European Parliament is currently considering whether or not to amend this rule; the main change would be to allow the European Parliament's Petitions Committee to submit the names of up to five candidates to the EP plenary. The present rules allow for only one.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 2 February, Official Report , column 86-87 , what have been the obstacles to increasing the number for human rights monitors in Rwanda; and if these obstacles have now been removed.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: UN human rights monitors in Rwanda have been funded by voluntary contributions. Although the British contribution of £250,000 and four vehicles was made quickly in response to the appeal by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the response of the international community as a whole has been disappointing. Some 80 UN monitors have now been deployed, but the High Commissioner continues to face funding difficulties.
The UN Centre for Human Rights, which is responsible for mounting the programme, has been hindered by lack of previous experience of managing such an operation.
The European Union is planning to deploy a team of human rights monitors shortly, to work with those from the UN.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he has achieved with the establishment of a fund for prisoners of war held captive by the Japanese in world war two; and if he will list the donations so far received from Japanese companies trading within the United Kingdom.
Mr. Goodlad: We have concluded that in present circumstances the proposal for a non-governmental fund to help former prisoners of war and civilian internees is unlikely to succeed. We are therefore exploring with the Japanese Government other possible ways of addressing this issue.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether measures have been proposed by Her Majesty's Government to help verify and enforce an updated UN inhumane weapons convention; and what is his assessment of their effectiveness.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The UN inhumane weapons convention is to be reviewed in September this year. We have played a full and active part in preparations for the review conference and shall continue to work hard to secure a strengthened and more effective convention at the conference itself.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total expenditure on all forms of advertising by his Department and its agencies for each year since 1979, in 1994 prices.
Mr. Goodlad: Total expenditure on promotional material and recruitment advertising in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Diplomatic Wing and Overseas Development Administration) since 1979 at 1993 94 prices was:
1979 80: 773,379
1980 81: 544,123
1981 82: 701,848
1982 83: 645,044
1983 84: 772,957
1984 85: 617,116
1985 86: 657,625
1986 87: 834,308
1987 88: 766,714
1988 89: 1,288,287
1989 90: 1,798,965
1990 91: 2,082,746
1991 92: 1,913,947
1992 93: 2,095,207
1993 94: 2,130,264
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide figures for each of the last five years of the number of drivers (a) who have committed an offence by not complying with the eyesight requirements of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to report their disability to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, (b) who have reported themselves to the DVLA and who have been found to have visual defects rendering them unfit to hold a licence to drive and (c) who have been reported by the police as having visual defects rendering them unfit to hold a licence to drive.
Mr. Norris: The information is not available.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will place in the Library a paper setting out the financial and commercial reasons underlying the proposal by British Rail's subsidiary, Interlogic Control Engineering, to close its York office; and what reasons he has received from Interlogic for adopting this proposal
Column 522rather than closing one of its other offices or reducing the size of the work force at several locations;
(2) how much British Rail's subsidiary, Interlogic Control Engineering, estimates that it will cost (a) itself and (b) the Exchequer to make redundancy payments to the 169 staff at its York office.
Mr. Watts: The deployment of staff in Interlogic Control Engineering, the closure of the York office and associated redundancy payments are management matters for the British Railways Board. The cost of redundancy payments, which falls entirely to the British Railways Board, will depend upon individual circumstances. There are no direct costs to the Exchequer.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money has been applied for and how much granted under section 8 of the Railways Act 1974, over the last 12 months.
Mr. Watts: Two grant applications were approved at a total value of £2,911,720. Five other applications with an estimated total value of £7 million are still under consideration. No decisions have been taken on these applications.
Grant claims totalling £2,193,683 were paid in respect of four freight facilities grants awarded before February 1994.
Section 8 of the Railways Act 1974 has been replaced by section 139 of the Railways Act 1993.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been applied for and how much granted under section 137 of the Railways Act 1993.
Mr. Watts: The Department has received seven formal applications for track access grant. Five are under consideration, one has been withdrawn, and one has been rejected. Grant is payable only up to the level needed to tip the balance in favour of rail, and the precise amount of grant to be paid for each of these schemes is currently being considered.
Mr. Patten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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.
Dr. Mawhinney: "Public Bodies 1994", copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House, lists bodies in existence at 1 April 1994 for which I am responsible. I also have responsibility for European Passenger Services Ltd. which was established as a Government-owned company on 9 May 1994.
BR has been restructured and its main constituent parts are being transferred to the private sector. The first passenger service franchise contracts are due to be awarded by the end of 1995. The maintenance depots of British Rail Maintenance Ltd. should be in private sector ownership very shortly. The three rolling stock leasing companies are set for trade sales during 1995. Trainload Freight has been restructured in preparation for sale later this year and good progress is being made with the transfer to the private sector of the remainder of the domestic freight businesses, Rail Express systems and BR's support systems.
Column 523Railtrack Group plc, the Government-owned company responsible for operating track and infrastructure, is to be privatised by stock market flotation within the lifetime of this Parliament.
EPS is due to be privatised during 1995 96 as part of the competition to construct and operate the channel tunnel rail link. A public consultation was held in spring 1994 on the possible privatisation of National Air Traffic Services, currently part of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the cost to date, and what is the annual cost, of the Link road offices in (a) Wanstead and (b) Leyton.
Mr. Norris: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency.
I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Harry Cohen dated 13 February 1995:
Mr. Steven Norris has asked me to write in response to your recent Parliamentary Question about the cost of the Link Road Offices.
Our records do not disaggregate the costs of the Wanstead and Leyton offices. However, since we did not take over the Leyton premises until early 1993, very little, if any, costs for this accrued before the 1993/94 financial year. All the figures include staff costs, but since staff are not allocated specifically to one office it is not possible to split their costs between the two. The total costs of both offices are:
Financial year |Cost £ ---------------------------------------------- 1992-93 |174,976 1993-94 |260,673 1994-95 to date |172,153 Total |607,802 Our estimate of future running costs is about £200,000 annually.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he plans to prosecute those involved with the export of calves from Coventry airport on board Air Algerie aircraft during November and December 1994 for operating without the permits required under the Air Navigation Order 1989.
Mr. Norris: The question of prosecution for breaches of article 88 of the Air Navigation Order 1989 will be decided when the current inquiry has been completed and the findings assessed.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure that all British Rail trains can pick up an emergency stop signal from a control centre which does not have a blind spot; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Watts: The issue of train communication and radio black spots is being considered as part of the investigations of the accidents at Cowden, Kent and Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.
Mr. Maclennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to conclude his consultation on proposed seat belt legislation; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: We intend to go out to formal consultation shortly. We shall then consider the responses carefully before final decisions are taken.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors led to his decision to delete 35 posts from his Department's security division; and what work will cease to be done as a result.
Dr. Mawhinney: The reduction in posts in the transport security division is part of my Department's general drive for increased efficiency. In Transec's case the efficiency gains will be achieved through a combination of delayering, more efficient working and the completion of projects.
Over half the posts identified are support or managerial. The remainder are inspectorial or investigatory.
This change will make no difference to the implementation of security measures which, along with the provision of equipment and staff, is the responsibility of operators.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total expenditure on all forms of advertising by his Department and its agencies for each year since 1979 in 1994 prices.
Mr. Norris: The total expenditure on above the line advertising by the Department and its agencies for each year since 1984 in 1994 prices is:
|Transport |DVLA |RPI |Spending |Spending |(1987 base) |(1994 prices)|(1994 prices) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |90.1 |5,118,798 |0 1985-86 |95.4 |5,375,542 |0 1986-87 |98.3 |<1>12,947,094|0 1987-88 |102.4 |<1>12,610,640|0 1988-89 |108.4 |3,504,481 |0 1989-90 |116.6 |4,391,466 |0 1990-91 |129.3 |3,130,790 |563,386 1991-92 |134.6 |5,027,472 |380,392 1992-93 |139.4 |5,990,156 |692,593 1993-94 |141.9 |4,338,400 |725,790 1994-95 |145.0 |n/a |n/a n/a=Not yet available All figures provided by COI and exclude VAT. Figures prior to 1984 not readily available. Statutory and road scheme advertising figures before 1992 are not included because they were not centrally collated at the time. <1> Includes BA and BAA flotation advertising costs.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact on J. R. Manufacturing (Cardiff) Ltd. and other subcontractors of the decision by British Rail not to exercise its option to purchase 40 new Networker electric
Column 525multiple units; and what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be lost as a result of this decision.
Mr. Watts: British Rail has asked ABB and GEC Aslthom whether they wish to submit leasing proposals for further trains. Choice of subcontractors would be a commercial matter for the main supplier.
Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 25 January, Official Report, column 201, if he will now make it his policy to collate and publish statistics on the number of people disabled as a result of accidents at work in the sea-fishing industry.
Mr. Norris: It is not feasible for this Department to collect information on disabilities resulting from injuries sustained at work in the sea-fishing industry. However, major and serious injuries are required to be reported to the Department's marine accident investigation branch under the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 1994. The information is collated by MAIB for inclusion in its annual report.