Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contribution the United Kingdom Government intend to make to the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Mr. David Davis: The nuclear non-proliferation treaty is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It has established an international norm against the spread of nuclear weapons and provides for effective International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to verify compliance. We are working hard to secure the treaty's indefinite and unconditional extension at he review and extension conference in April and May.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the achievement of an international agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons is an objective of the United Kingdom Government.
Mr. David Davis: We are committed to article VI of the nuclear non- proliferation treaty, whereby we undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
Column 197For our part, we have made a number of important changes to our nuclear forces: we have announced the elimination of our land and surface maritime tactical nuclear capability; we have substantially reduced the number of nuclear bombs carried by our aircraft; and we have decided that Trident will carry fewer warheads than originally envisaged. The overall effect of these changes will be that, when Trident is fully in service, the explosive power of the United Kingdom's entire operational nuclear inventory will have been reduced by more than 25 per cent. since 1990.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Indonesia about the arrest and subsequent treatment of East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao; and when he next intends to raise this case with the Government of Indonesia.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: With our EU partners, we made representations to the Government of Indonesia during the course of Xanana Gusmao's trial in 1993. We have urged the Indonesian Government to allow representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross regular access to him, and will continue to monitor developments in his case.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Indonesia about the arrest and subsequent treatment of Mr. Muchtar Pakpahan and Amosi Telaumbanua, of the Indonesian Welfare Labour Union; and when he next intends to raise these cases with the Government of Indonesia.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The European Union expressed concern in a public statement on 22 November 1994 about Mr. Pakpahan's conviction and sentencing on 13 February 1995 about the increased sentences given to him and Mr. Telaumbanua on appeal. With other EU embassies in Jakarta, we will continue to monitor their situation.
Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the report of the hearing on 28 January into the case of Harjit Singh has now been prepared by his officers in the high commission in New Delhi.
Mr. Baldry: At the 28 January hearing in the Harjit Singh case, a deputy superintendent of the Punjab police gave evidence. A senior police superintendent has since given evidence at hearings on 10 February and 3 March. The next hearing is due to take place on 11 March, when the police lawyer will give evidence. The case continues.
Column 198for restrictions on the international transportation of nuclear waste in discussions on the future of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Mr. David Davis: No. The international transport of nuclear waste resulting from civil nuclear activities is a matter for the commercial utilities. Provided that strict adherence is paid to international regulations governing safety of material and transportation, we would not interfere.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 6 December 1994, Official Report, column 172, what were the exact dates that staff attached to the Jakarta embassy visited East Timor in November 1991.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: There are currently 1,696 refugees from Vietnam in Hong Kong, as well as 21,802 Vietnamese migrants who have been screened out as non-refugees, and 120 Vietnamese migrants awaiting screening.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in his Department have (a) children in fee-paying schools for whom Her Majesty's Government meet the bill because the officials are posted abroad and (b) children in fee-paying schools for whom Her Majesty's Government meet the bill after the officials have returned because their children remain in the school; and if he will detail the cost for the last three years for each of these two categories.
Mr. Baldry: In 1994 95 (a) 278 officers serving overseas and (b) 184 officers serving in the United Kingdom, have children at fee-paying schools in the United Kingdom. Costs in these categories are as follows:
£million |1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 ---------------------------------------- a) |3.97 |3.95 |4.13 b) |3.76 |3.93 |4.04
The FCO does not meet the whole bill for each child. It makes a contribution towards basic fees but up to a ceiling based on the average fees of schools in the headmasters' conference.
Column 199have left his Department's employment in the last five years; and which public positions they have been appointed to subsequently.
Lankester--ODA--have left this Department in the last five years from 1 March 1990. Ministers have not offered them any public appointments.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the German authorities in respect of denying access by the media to Mr. Nick Leeson.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 6 March 1995]: The United Nations' identification commission is continuing the work of drawing up the voting list for the referendum in Western Sahara. UN Security Council resolution 973, adopted on 13 January this year, provided for an increase in the size of the identification commission. The UN sent a multi- disciplinary technical team to the area in February to plan the return of refugees, as provided for under the UN's settlement plan.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings are held between representatives of Her Majesty's Government and different political parties in Mexico; and what monitoring is undertaken of human rights in the Chiapas region.
Mr. David Davis [holding answer 6 March 1995]: Our embassy in Mexico City maintains close contact with the ruling political party and the main opposition parties of Mexico. They monitor human rights observance in the whole country, with particular attention to Chiapas at present.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are currently on invalidity benefit in Northern Ireland; what percentage of the population this represents; what the figures were in (a) 1979, (b) 1983 and (c) 1987; and if he will make a statement.
Invalidity Benefit Statistics |Percentage of Year |Recipients |Population -------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |29,330 |1.9 1983 |33,935 |2.2 1987 |40,840 |2.6 1994 |71,275 |4.4
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which permanent secretaries have left his Department's employment in the last five years; and which public positions they have been appointed to subsequently.
Sir John Wheeler: Sir John Blelloch and Sir Kenneth Bloomfield have retired as permanent secretaries in the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments in the five years from 1 March 1990. Ministers have subsequently appointed them to the following positions:
Sir John Blelloch
Chairman of the Committee for Monitoring Tobacco Advertising and Sponsoring
Chairman of the GB Committee of the NI Partnership.
Member of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.
Member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Public Records.
Trustee of the RAF Museum.
Sir Kenneth Bloomfield
Member of Queen's University Senate.
Member of the Law Reform Advisory Committee for NI.
Non-Executive Director of Green Park Health and Social Services Trust.
Chairman of NI Higher Education Council.
Mr. Moss: The Northern Ireland social fund discretionary budget for 1994 95 will be increased as a result of continuing better than expected loan recoveries by the Social Security Agency and adjustments will be made to take account of pressures and easements in the budgets of a number of the agency's 11 districts.
Column 201The overall budget for loans will be increased by £230,000 while the budget for grants will be increased by £20,000, increasing the original allocations to £20,693,600 and £9,756,400 respectively. There will also be a small internal adjustment to the grants budgets for
Column 202several districts to reflect variations in demand for assistance from the fund at local level.
Details of the revised budgets have been placed in the Library.
Social fund budget 1994-95: proposed revised allocations Loans Grants |Current |Additional |Current |Additional District |allocation |February 1995|Revised total|allocation |Reduction |February 1995|Revised total ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Belfast North |1,943,032 |25,000 |1,968,032 |959,544 |- |- |959,544 Belfast south And Down |1,813,183 |- |1,813,183 |813,294 |- |- |813,294 Belfast west |2,349,324 |90,000 |2,439,324 |957,128 |- |- |957,128 Central |1,874,063 |55,000 |1,929,063 |920,545 |- |20,000 |940,545 East |1,551,236 |- |1,551,236 |790,586 |- |- |790,586 Laganbann |1,656,630 |- |1,656,630 |974,053 |- |- |974,053 Mourne |1,666,609 |- |1,666,609 |827,611 |- |- |827,611 North east |1,681,632 |- |1,681,632 |795,930 |30,000 |- |765,930 North west |2,379,068 |30,000 |2,409,068 |925,935 |- |- |925,935 South east Antrim |1,735,170 |30,000 |1,765,170 |805,300 |- |- |805,300 West |1,813,653 |- |1,813,653 |966,474 |- |30,000 |996,474 Total |20,463,600 |230,000 |20,693,600 |9,736,400 |30,000 |50,000 |9,756,400
Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many domestic properties are currently owned (a) by his Department, (b) by his Department's agencies and (c) by contractors working under his Department's directions; and what is the estimated value of this stock.
Day-to-day responsibility for properties purchased in connection with the trunk roads programme rests with the chief executive of the Highways Agency. At 1 March 1995 there were 4,038 such properties. The stock of properties held by the HA is being revalued on 1 April 1995 and I will write to my hon. Friend with this information as soon as it is available.
A further eight domestic properties are held, in the name of the Secretary of State, by the Coastguard Agency. These properties are currently being valued as part of an overall asset valuation being undertaken by the agency and expected to be concluded in April. No properties are purchased by contractors on behalf of the Secretary of State.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when and what measures he intends to introduce to give effect to the Council directive-- 91/439/EEC--on driving licences adopted in July 1991 to give effect to a separate theory testing as part of the driving test.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the LGV accident record on the Isle of Man following the introduction of the new law for instructors three years ago; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has carried out in the last five years into the relationship between the HGV accident rate and the number of hours driven immediately before an accident.
Mr. Norris: My Department has commissioned research from the Transport Research Laboratory on sleep and driving. A composite report covering the accident involvement of heavy goods vehicle drivers in relation to sleep, together with sleepiness among male car drivers, is expected to be published by late May.
Mr. Norris: European Community regulations set limits on HGV driving time and minimum requirements for daily and weekly rest periods which effectively limit the length of the driver's working day. Currently, we do not anticipate further changes.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which permanent secretaries have left his Department's employment in the last five years; and which public positions they have been appointed to subsequently.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all major road construction projects carried out by (a) local authorities and (b) his Department in each year since 1979, giving their costs at 1995 prices.
Details of all national road programme schemes completed since 1979 by the Department and the Highways Agency, are contained in roads White Papers and departmental reports which are held in the Library. Costs are quoted as estimated outturn prices and could be updated to 1995 prices only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) men and (b) women applied for career breaks in his Department or its agencies; and how many have had their employment terminated in the last five years.
Mr. Norris: The Department does not keep a central record of applications for career breaks, but the Department's personnel information system records that in the last five years, 67 men and 716 women were given discretionary special leave with or without pay. This does not include those taking statutory maternity leave or staff on long-term sick leave, but does include those suspended. Of these, six have had their appointment terminated while on special leave.
Mr. Keith Hill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with which bodies he consulted in drawing up the UK master plan on (a) the trans -European road network and (b) the trans-European rail and combined transport network.
a) Local authority associations in England and the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, for Scotland and for Wales about the trans-European road network.
b) British Rail, European Passenger Services, Railtrack and Northern Ireland Railways on railways.
Column 204contribution to meeting the aims set out for trans-European networks in the treaty on European Union.
Net present values are calculated separately for each scheme and are normally published when individual schemes reach the public consultation stage. Not all schemes on TERN routes have reached this stage.
Mr. Keith Hill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has conducted into the indirect economic benefits to the United Kingdom of the UK section of the trans-European road network.
Mr. Keith Hill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimates his Department has made of the cost of implementing the UK sections of (a) the trans-European road network, (b) the trans-European high-speed rail network, (c) the trans-European conventional rail network and (d) the trans-European combined transport network.
Mr. Watts: None. The network plans are still in draft form pending adoption by the Council and the European Parliament. The networks will, in any case, be indicative and place no obligation on member states to commit expenditure.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what change he has made in the authorised charges to be made by Railtrack to train operating companies; what sums were previously expected to be received in total income and what sums are not expected; and what will be the effect of the difference in rail improvements and maintenance.
Mr. Watts: The Rail Regulator is responsible for approving the access charges levied by Railtrack. The regulator recently announced, following a review of Railtrack's access charges, that charges in 1995 96 should be, on average, 8 per cent. lower in real terms than their level in 1994 95. Thereafter, they will be reduced in real terms by 2 per cent. per annum. The regulator has stated that he considers that this level of income will generate sufficient cash flow to enable Railtrack to finance the investment programme needed to maintain a safe, effective and efficient network.
Total access charges levied by Railtrack on franchised passenger train operators in 1994 95 were £2,065 million.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to work with the EU in relation to its new Drive programme to develop an integrated road transport environment in the UK and Europe.
Mr. Watts: The Department of Transport has worked closely with the European Commission to design, build and manage both the previous phases of the Drive programme. We have helped the Commission to put
Column 205together the work plan for the next programme; where appropriate, we are supporting and joining consortia bidding to undertake the work; we are offering to help the Commission in its evaluation process; and we intend to participate fully in the arrangements that the Commission is making to monitor and manage the new programme itself.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects to announce his decision on the A35 Chideock-Morcombe lake bypass; and if he will make a statement; (2) when he expects to receive the inspector's report into the public inquiry on the A35 Chideock-Morcombe lake bypass.
Mr. Watts: The timing of an announcement will be subject to the receipt of the inspector's report, and the need for the Secretaries of State to give careful consideration to the inspector's conclusions and recommendations.
I understand that the inspector expects to be able to submit his report to the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport by the middle of the year.