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Column 476Any proposals from the European Commission for revision of the directive will be deposited for parliamentary scrutiny in accordance with the usual procedures.
Mr. Dorrell: Grant in aid to the English tourist board supports a range of development and marketing programmes which benefit tourism in all parts of England. Many of these are delivered by the regional tourist boards, including the Cumbria tourist board, which receive substantial funding from the ETB. The CTB will receive a block grant of £342,000 in the current financial year, and can also bid for support for specific projects from the ETB's £2.25 million tourism development fund.
Tourism in west Cumbria also benefits from the overseas activities of the British Tourist Authority. The CTB is now part of the BTA's marketing consortium "England's North Country" which provides a higher profile for the area in overseas markets.
Mr. Dorrell: The National Heritage memorial fund's guidelines to applicants for lottery funds state that grants can be made to library buildings which are of recognised importance to the heritage. Copies of these guidelines are available in the Library of the House. The Arts Council of England has stated that it can make grants out of lottery funds for the enhancement of library facilities through the provision of space for activities such as readings, literary events, exhibitions, concerts and performances.
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what directives he has issued to the Director General of the National Lottery in pursuit of the policy of Her Majesty's Government not to stimulate the demand for gambling.
Mr. Dorrell: Under section 11 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993, my predecessor as Secretary of State for National Heritage issued a number of directions to the Director General of the National Lottery. These include a direction which requires the director general to exercise his functions under sections 5 and 6 of the Act in such a way as to ensure that no licence is granted which authorises the promotion of any lottery which in his opinion encourages excessive participation or does not have sufficient controls to prevent the participation of young people under the age of 16. A complete set of the directions issued to the director general are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans he has to require the Camelot Group plc to publish regularly its profitability derived from the operation of the national lottery.
Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what discussions he has held with football clubs and the Football Association in the aftermath of the recent Dublin riot, about the involvement of extremist political organisations in crowds at football matches.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when Her Majesty's Government expect to receive notification of the EU's media II programme; and what parliamentary proceedings it will be subject to.
Mr. Dorrell: We have yet to receive the European Commission's formal proposal, although we have seen an informal draft. According to the current timetable, we would expect to receive the final proposal by 22 March. Normal parliamentary scrutiny arrangements would apply.
Mr. Dorrell: The European Commission's Green Paper on European Audio -visual policy raised wide-ranging issues about the future of the European programme production industry and the measures which member states and the European Community should take to promote and strengthen it.
In the light of the response to the document, and of the audio-visual conference held in Brussels on 30 June to 1 July, the Commission on 8 February adopted a proposal for a new programme, media II, to replace the existing EC media programme, and this has now been communicated to the Council. Discussions between member states on the proposal, which will be deposited for parliamentary scrutiny in the usual way, have now begun in an ad hoc Council working group. I cannot say when they will be completed. We expect the Commission to bring forward further proposals arising from the Green Paper in due course.
Mr. Dorrell: We have yet to receive the Commission's formal proposal. Although we broadly support the approach set out in an informal text, for a more focused programme, which concentrates resources on training, development and distribution, we have yet to agree details of how media II would be implemented.
Mrs. Maddock: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of those accepted for the fast stream entry for which his Department is responsible (a) in 1991, (b) 1992, (c) 1993 and (d) in 1994 were women.
Mr. Jack: I refer the hon. Member to the Civil Service Commissioners Report for 1991 and 1992 for the figures requested. The figures for 1993 and 1994 are not published in the form requested. For the years 1993 and 1994, the percentage of women recruited into the Department's fast stream in the administration, legal statistician and economist groups was 50 per cent. and 58 per cent. respectively. The European fast stream, for whom the Cabinet Office is responsible, is excluded.
Mrs. Browning: The Commission draft proposal was circulated widely, on 8 February, to interested organisations and individuals for their comments. The Commission working group has had one meeting so far and further meetings are expected before it is discussed in the Council.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he is making to the European Commission to obtain additional funds from the European quality beef promotion scheme; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jack: The Government are making representations to the European Commission to improve the suitability of the European quality beef promotion scheme to the UK market. However, we are not seeking an increase in the overall funds available for the scheme in the European Union. This is because it is not clear that in the UK at least, the scheme is currently achieving its aim of increasing beef consumption.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he had with British protesters objecting to the humane transport and export of animals in Brussels on the occasion of the Agriculture Council meeting in Brussels on 20 February, and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Browning: My right hon. Friend the Minister and I met with animal welfare organisations in advance of the Agriculture Council on 16 February to discuss the prospects for discussions on animal welfare issues. My right hon. Friend talked to protesters demonstrating outside the Council building in Brussels on 20 February, and welcomed their presence as a useful contribution to raising public awareness of animal welfare issues in other member states. He also received a petition organised by
Column 479the RSPCA, which had been signed by a large number of members of the public from several EU member states.
Mrs. Browning: The sale of food containing genetically modified organisms is controlled under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 1992, as amended. The safety of foods produced using genetic modification is assessed by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes whose approach to safety assessment is held in high esteem worldwide. The Food Advisory Committee considers the labelling of genetically modified food on a case-by-case basis.
Mrs. Browning [holding answer 27 February 1995]: There are at present no legislative limits for ochratoxin A in foods. The European Commission has initiated negotiations to set regulatory limits for ochratoxin A in some foodstuffs. The Department of Health's Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment has recommended that levels of ochratoxin A should be reduced to the lowest technologically achievable. The European Commission's Scientific Committee for Food has recently concluded "that an acceptable safe level of daily exposure of ochratoxin A would fall in the range of a few nanograms per kilogram body weight per day".
Mrs. Browning [holding answer 27 February 1995]: It is accepted that ochratoxin A is a genotoxic carcinogen and causes kidney cancer. The mycotoxin that produces ochratoxin A occurs naturally in the environment and is an opportunistic contaminant of a variety of foodstuffs, not only coffee beans. The levels found in UK food are generally low. MAFF surveillance of ochratoxin A in coffee began in October 1994 and will be completed in late 1995. The results will be published in the "Food Safety Information Bulletin". MAFF-funded research to investigate the effects of decaffeination, roasting and brewing on levels of ochratoxin A in coffee is planned to start in April 1995. It is expected that the results from this study will be published in the scientific literature.
Column 480policy appraisal and (2) fair treatment to the Industrial Development Board.
Mr. Ancram: Revised Government guidelines on the policy appraisal and fair treatment initiative, which came into effect in January 1994, contain provisions for an annual report. The first report is currently being prepared and will include reports on individual Departments. The Department of Economic Development's report will cover the Industrial Development Board.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to evaluate the implementation of the policy appraisal and fair treatment scheme and the targeting social need scheme; and what documentation on the results of the schemes is available.
Sir John Wheeler: Annual reports will be published on the implementation of the policy appraisal and fair treatment initiative. The first is currently being prepared. During 1994, the Department of Economic Development commissioned management consultants to undertake a review of how the objectives of targeting social need related to those of the Department and its agencies. Their report made a number of recommendations, which are currently being implemented. A summary of these recommendations will shortly be published in a DED strategy review and I will ensure that the hon. Lady receives a copy.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the contribution of (a) policy appraisal of fair treatment and (b) targeting social need to the creation of employment opportunities for women.
Mr. Ancram: The aim of the policy appraisal and fair Treatment initiative is to ensure that issues of equality and equity condition policy making and action in all spheres and at all levels of Government activity in Northern Ireland. It is not directly concerned with the creation of employment opportunities.
Targeting social need is a public expenditure priority established to ensure that resources are directed towards areas identified as socially and economically disadvantaged and that community differentials are thereby reduced. No assessment has been made of the effect of TSN specifically on employment opportunities for women.
Mr. Ancram: The average length of time taken to deal with a fair employment tribunal case is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The average direct cost to the fair employment tribunal of dealing with a complaint is approximately £290. The cost estimate excludes rent/rates, capital works, furniture/equipment and costs of the parties involved.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of complaints taken up by the fair employment tribunal since the implementation of the Fair Employment Act 1989 concluded in a pre-trial settlement.
Column 481Relations Agency or agreed between the parties and a further 43 per cent. of complaints were withdrawn by the complainants. Reasons for withdrawal are not required to be notified.
Sir John Wheeler: The last advertisement period for recruitment to the RUC was from 28 November 1994 to 13 January 1995. The number of applicants perceived to be from the Roman Catholic community was 512.
Sir John Wheeler: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) on 17 February 1995, Official Report , column 833 .
Mr. Jim Marshall: To ask the Prime Minister if he will consult the people of Northern Ireland on the acceptability of the draft framework document as a basis for discussion and negotiation through a referendum in the event that Unionist parties in Northern Ireland do not agree to enter into discussion and negotiation.
The Prime Minister: The proposals contained in "Framework for the Future" provide a basis for discussion, consultation and negotiation with the political parties in Northern Ireland. If agreement is reached in the negotiations, the outcome will be put to the people of Northern Ireland in a referendum.
The Government will not put proposals to the people of Northern Ireland in a referendum before there is a widespread agreement between the main political parties.
The Prime Minister: The number of salaried Members of the Government, including Whips, was 106 in May 1979 and is 108 now. The total salary bill for all Government Ministers and Whips is currently some £3.6 million per annum. Information about ministerial salary costs in earlier years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many special or political advisers to Ministers are currently employed in the civil service; in which Departments they work; and on which grades they are paid;
(2) what is the role of special advisers appointed to serve Ministers and Departments; what guidance is issued relating to the scope of such advisers to become involved in party political activity in the course of their duties; what is the salary range for such posts; and if he will make a statement.
Numbers Department |Political |Expert ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Agriculture, Fisheries and Food |1 |- Chief Whip's Office |1 |- Defence |1 |- Education |1 |- Employment |1 |- Environment |2 |2 Foreign and Commonwealth Office |2 |- Health |1 |- Home Office |2 |- Lord Privy Seal |1 |- Northern Ireland Office |1 |- Office of Public Service and Science |1 |- Prime Minister's Office |4 |- Lord President |1 |- Scottish Office |2 |- Social Security |1 |- Trade and Industry |1 |2 Transport |1 |- HM Treasury |2 |- Welsh Office |1 |-
Political advisers assist Ministers with that part of their work which is partly governmental and partly political, and expert advisers complement advice given to Ministers by their Departments with that of their particular professional fields. In the course of their duties, advisers are subject to the same rules of conduct as other civil servants. Special advisers are bound generally by the rules on political activity applicable to civil servants, but with specific exemptions. They may, with the approval of their Ministers, attend party functions and maintain contact with party members, and take part in policy reviews undertaken by the party. In addition, and also subject to approval by their Minister, special advisers are allowed to undertake all forms of local political activity, apart from local activities in support of national political activities. Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 34 points ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary spine reflects this.
Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister what is the total number of people employed (a) directly and (b) indirectly by Government-funded sources in the United Kingdom on a (i) full-time and (ii) part-time basis in each year since the introduction of (1) privatisation or
Column 484denationalisation, (2) next steps agencies and (3) NHS trusts; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister: Information showing the number of employees in the public sector is published in the January 1995 edition of Economic Trends . A copy of this publication is available in the Library.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report , column 22 , what action the Russian officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to take on the issue of seal pup slaughter.
The Prime Minister: Russian officials have taken note of British opposition to the practice of seal culling but have not agreed to take any action as a result of our representations. Embassy officials are in regular contact with the Russian ministry of foreign affairs on this subject.
The Prime Minister: The principal aid given to the area covered by the Government office for the north east--which covers Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Cleveland--since 1979 is as follows:
£ million Year Department |Department of |Employment |Trade and |Department of |Department of |Ministry of |Agriculture, |Transport |Department |Industry |the Environment |National Heritage |Fisheries and Food | CY/FY<1> |FY |FY |CY |FY |FY |FY -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |- |- |9.909 |- |- |- 1980 |n/a |n/a |14.035 |184.740 |1.629 |n/a 1981 |n/a |n/a |19.902 |169.414 |1.821 |n/a 1982 |n/a |n/a |17.597 |179.524 |2.248 |n/a 1983 |n/a |n/a |13.177 |183.959 |2.481 |n/a 1984 |n/a |n/a |13.542 |167.435 |2.612 |n/a 1985 |30.637 |n/a |15.182 |143.667 |2.813 |n/a 1986 |33.845 |n/a |16.243 |134.979 |3.483 |0.013 1987 |37.954 |n/a |26.302 |135.973 |5.184 |18.333 1988 |51.313 |n/a |41.912 |145.973 |5.830 |16.980 1989 |59.695 |n/a |51.064 |210.957 |7.421 |17.825 1990 |89,581 |124.2 |23.694 |464.622 |8.783 |23.501 1991 |95,075 |119.1 |31.649 |502.481 |16.593 |28.947 1992 |91,849 |129.1 |33.488 |520.557 |16.928 |31.005 1993 |110,704 |126.0 |29.735 |544.698 |18.328 |70.084 1994 |103,094 |164.7 |22.781 |467.967 |10.697 |n/a 1995 |n/a |132.1 |- |- |- |- <1> FY-Financial year ending 31 March; CY-Calendar year ending 31 December.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: A study is currently under way to advise me on the suitability of Chessington computer centre for privatisation and how best to achieve it. An announcement will be made at the appropriate time.
Column 486House on 17 November 1994, contributions to the review were welcome from those with an interest in Chessington and its work. All contributions that were elicited are covered by an undertaking of confidentiality.
Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what items of correspondence were received by Ministers in his Department from Messrs Ian Greer Associates in the last month.
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the amount in cash, in real terms, and the percentage allocated for (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales of (i) the science budget and (ii) the research councils' budget in each of the last three years.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The science budget is allocated on the basis of the United Kingdom as a whole. Research councils' expenditure over the last three years, excluding overseas spend, is analysed as follows:
£ million |England |Scotland |Northern Ireland|Wales |Total ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1991-92 Cash |689.3 |82.6 |3.7 |35.6 |811.2 1994-95 prices |753.3 |90.3 |3.9 |39.0 |886.5 Percentage |85.0 |10.2 |0.4 |4.4 |- 1992-93 Cash |805.9 |95.3 |5.2 |34.5 |941.0 1994-95 prices |847.2 |100.2 |5.5 |36.3 |989.2 Percentage |85.6 |10.1 |0.6 |3.7 |- 1993-94 Cash |887.5 |109.4 |6.3 |33.8 |1,037.0 1994-95 prices |905.2 |111.6 |6.4 |34.5 |1,057.7 Percentage |85.6 |10.5 |0.6 |3.3 |-
Mr. David Shaw: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how he intends to require public companies to state their payment policies in their directors' reports as announced in the White Paper on Competitiveness (Cm. 2563).
Mr. Jonathan Evans: The Government wish to bring about a change in business culture to encourage shorter payment times. We announced in the Competitiveness White Paper a package of measures to achieve this.
As part of this, my Department proposes that directors of public companies should state in their annual reports what their policies are towards paying their suppliers. This will provide suppliers with information about how they can expect to be treated by their major customers. At the same time, we intend to ensure that the compliance costs for public companies are not onerous.
Under the proposals, companies which follow the CBI prompt payment code or an equivalent--such as a British standard for prompt payment currently under