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31. Mr. Connarty: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the average proportion of post-tax profits paid as dividends in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the OECD as a whole in the last year.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: United Kingdom dividends accounted for 62.1 per cent. of profit after tax, interest and depreciation in 1992. Comparable figures are not available for the OECD as a whole, and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Page: My Department has received many representations on this subject, mainly about imports from China. United Kingdom manufacturers of ceramic products want the Government to support retention of the present quotas which limit imports into the European Community while many traders and retailers argue strongly that they are unjustified on economic grounds and should be removed.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Seven different types of textphones have received approval from the British Approvals Board for Telecommunications. Whilst the development of aids of this type for disabled people is obviously important,I do not believe the companies involved in these developments need special support from my Department.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The countries of the near east include many of the top 80 United Kingdom markets and dedicated desk officers and export promoters have been appointed to cover these. Their efforts have made a
Column 245significant additional contribution to the encouragement and support of trade with the area. Regular promotional seminars are held, and we support numerous trade missions, as well as participation by United Kingdom firms in trade fairs and exhibitions.
As my hon. Friend knows, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, accompanied by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade will be visiting the area shortly accompanied by a team of senior business men.
36. Mr. Illsley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received regarding the imposition of three-year fixed-term contracts on workers within the coal mining industry.
Mr. Heseltine: The Government's policies are geared towards improving the competitiveness of the whole economy, including the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing industry continues to perform strongly: the latest CBI survey shows export orders at their highest level since April 1977, and over the last year productivity has grown by almost 6 per cent. and output by nearly 4 per cent.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: I have received no representations about the levels of terrorism insurance premiums which post-date my announcement of the premium arrangements for 1995, on 16 December 1994, Official Report , columns 850-51.
Mr. Eggar: My Department has today published the results of an extensive review of their prospects for future energy use in the United Kingdom and of the associated emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the major greenhouse gases.
The report, "Energy Projections for the UK: Energy Use and Energy-Related Emissions of Carbon Dioxide in the UK 1995 2020", Energy Paper No. 65 (EP65), updates the energy and carbon dioxide projections published in Energy Paper No. 59 (EP59) in 1992. The new projections provide a framework to monitor the development and direction of energy markets in the UK; to keep track of whether the UK is on target to meet its aim of returning carbon dioxide emissions to their 1990 levels in 2000; and to inform debate on possible future carbon dioxide commitments beyond 2000.
Column 246The new figures show that, on the assumptions about the climate change programme described as follows, the outturn for carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 is expected to be between 7 and 14 million tonnes of carbon--MtC--below the Government's target for that year. The full range of carbon dioxide projections for 2000 and later years in million tonnes of carbon is as follows.
|Energy Paper 59 |Energy Paper 65 |reference scenario ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |158 |158 2000 |144-152 |169 2005 |154-165 |182 2010 |154-167 |194 2015 |164-182 |207 2020 |171-197 |219
The EP59 reference scenario implied that, in order to meet its carbon dioxide commitment, the Government should aim to achieve savings of 10 MtC by the year 2000. The new projections show that, compared to the reference scenario, savings of 17 to 25 MtC are now expected to be achieved.
These savings, and those in later years, are due to the following factors.
First, the revised projections incorporate the carbon savings expected to arise from the climate change programme. The projections have been constructed on the assumption that virtually all the elements of the climate change programme set out in Cm 2427 are in place. The fiscal measures are those announced in the 1994 Budgets. It has also been assumed that the amounts of energy saved by the non-fiscal measures are the same as those assumed in producing Cm 2427.
Secondly, the revised projections reflect new assumptions about future fossil fuel prices and about the responsiveness of energy demand to the price of energy and to changes in incomes and output. They also incorporate changes in the assumptions about the way in which energy is likely to be supplied. While EP59 assumed that there would be 12 GW of combined cycle gas turbines CCGT the projections now assume that, by the year 2000, some 16 to 18 GW of CCGT will be operating. The estimates also assume, on the evidence of recent performance, that the output of nuclear generating stations will be significantly higher than was anticipated in 1992.
These various changes in supply side assumptions and in estimated demand relationships are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by between 7 and 17 MtC in 2000, compared with the scenario adopted for the climate change programme.
The new projections alter the previous estimates of the carbon saved by the measures in the climate change programme. In part this reflects changes arising from the 1994 Budgets, particularly relating to VAT on domestic energy. The further assumed switch from coal to gas for electricity generation reduces the carbon savings attributable to reductions in electricity demand. The new projections assume a weaker link between changes in energy prices and changes in energy demand in the domestic sector.
These changes work in different directions. Their net effect is that the savings associated with the programme of measures included in the original climate change
Column 247programme, allowing for the adjustments to the fiscal measures announced in the 1994 Budgets, would be between 8 and 9 MtC in 2000. This is what is included in the projections.
Taking account also of reduced assumptions for the Energy Saving Trust, the net effect is now expected to be between 7 and 8 MtC. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is making an announcement today on the implications of the new energy projections for UK climate change policy.
Mr. Congdon: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answers of 1 and 20 December to the hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) Official Report , columns 807 and 1046-47 , if he has now laid an order bringing further amendments to the Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a Licence) Order 1990 into effect.
Mr. Eggar: I have today laid before Parliament an order which will bring into effect two amendments to the Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a Licence) Order 1990. The first amendment will extend until March 1998 the transitional period in which companies who generated or supplied electricity before the electricity industry was vested are exempt from the requirement to hold generation or supply licences, and the second amendment will help clarify the position of on-site generators who belong to the electricity pool and supply qualifying consumers on the same site through a distribution or transmission system belonging to a third party. I have also taken the opportunity to consolidate the 1990 order and the two amending orders that were laid in April and June 1994.
Sir Jeffrey Sterling
Mr. Ian Taylor: The distance selling directive is on the agenda for the meeting of the Consumer Council on 30 March. The current text is broadly acceptable to all member states and the French presidency hopes to reach agreement on a common position. If a common position is achieved the directive will be submitted to the European Parliament, where the co- decision procedure will apply.
Mr. Needham: The delegation went to Baghdad on its own initiative. It was not given assistance by the Government. Companies or individuals visiting Iraq with a view to discussing trade require a licence permitting them to do so from my Department. The organisers were advised of this requirement and asked to draw it to the attention of those travelling as part of the delegation. My Department has contacted known participants and will check to ensure they held, and complied with, the appropriate licences.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the income to the Post Office during the past year from the sale of Post Office buildings; what was the cost of establishment from new Post Office buildings; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Page: The income to the Post Office in the financial year 1993 94 from the sale of Post Office buildings was £13.5 million. The cost of establishment of new Post Office buildings is not recorded separately. Investment in land and buildings--including leased premises--in the financial year 1993 94 was £114 million. This figure includes the costs of refurbishing and adapting existing buildings.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if the implications for the future of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty will be included within the scope of his Department's current review of policy on nuclear power.
UK steel<1> production and imports |Imports as |Production |percentage of Year |(000 tonnes) |Imports |production ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |16,816 |3,859 |23 1980 |10,389 |4,707 |45 1981 |12,689 |3,399 |27 1982 |11,835 |3,925 |33 1983 |12,259 |3,429 |28 1984 |12,563 |3,646 |29 1985 |13,073 |3,865 |30 1986 |13,141 |4,233 |32 1987 |15,011 |4,391 |29 1988 |16,681 |5,225 |31 1989 |16,879 |5,497 |33 1990 |16,081 |5,411 |34 1991 |15,032 |5,576 |37 1992 |14,902 |5,465 |37 1993 |15,103 |4,917 |33 1994 |15,669 |n/a |n/a Source: Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau. Notes: <1> Products of the steel industry as defined by the Standard Industrial Classification (1980), groups 221, 222 and 223. <2> Includes deliveries to home market and exports.
(2) what proportion of first-class mail is currently delivered within the first-delivery timescale, as currently defined.
Mr. Page: I understand from the Post Office that there has been no change in the first delivery timescale since 1975 and that information on the proportion of first-class mail currently delivered within the first delivery timescale is not available. However, taking into account that the general target timescale for first postal deliveries in rural areas is longer than in town areas, overall 88 per cent. of all classes of mail nationally is delivered on the first delivery.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the board of Trade if he will make a statement on the distribution of investment between nuclear and non-nuclear sources of energy as sponsored or sanctioned by his Department.
Mr. Page: The distribution of expenditure by my Department between nuclear and non-nuclear sources of energy is given in "Trade and Industry 1995: The Government's expenditure plans 1995 96 to 1997 98" (Cm 2804), copies of which are available in the Library of the House. This includes information about the
Column 250financing of public corporations in the energy sector: further information about their expenditure can be obtained from their annual reports and accounts, also in the Library of the House.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consultations took place between (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department with (i) British Nuclear Fuels and (ii) Scottish Nuclear during their negotiations for additional reprocessing contracts and wet storage for spent nuclear fuel, announced on 28 February.
Mr. Eggar: Such contractual negotiations between British Nuclear Fuels plc and Scottish Nuclear Ltd., are a commercial matter for the companies concerned. BNFL has kept officials from the Department of Trade and Industry informed in general terms.
Mr. Soley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on how a computer disk in the possession of his Department containing information on Mr. Terry Venables became public.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: It appears that the information concerned was improperly copied. The circumstances are the subject of an investigation by the police who are in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.
Mr. Dover: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has obtained written confirmation from the European Commission that in the list of qualifying areas for Konver II funding, Preston is the travel-to-work area embracing Chorley and South Ribble.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 7 March 1995]: No; contrary to earlier expectations, the Commission has not yet published any list of areas in the Official Journal . But the list of British Konver II areas in the Government's programme, sent to the Commission on 1 March, includes Preston travel-to-work area.
Mr. Bradley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the estimated average additional costs of purchasing private insurance to protect against sickness or unemployment after October 1995 to a homeowner with a £50,000 mortgage (a) if they are self employed, (b) if they are in full time permanent employment and are not disabled and (c) if they are full time permanent employment and are disabled.
Mr. Jonathan Evans [holding answer 7 March 1995]: Insurers currently charge standard rates of about £7 for every £100 of monthly mortgage payment and do not generally charge different rates for different situations.
Column 251Following the Budget announcement on changes to social security assistance, some insurers appear to be beginning to tailor their products more specifically to individual needs. However, it is too early to say whether this will have a significant impact on costs.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department takes to changes to the size of the defence industry; and how many job losses have been recorded by his Department since July 1990.
Mr. Freeman: My Department monitors public announcements of job losses by United Kingdom defence contractors. Since July 1990, when "Options for Change" was announced, some 65,500 job losses have been recorded in this way.
This figure includes those announcements of which my Department is aware either through the press or by direct notification from the company. It may not include job losses sustained by smaller companies, including sub- contractors and component suppliers, which have gone unreported. It may, however, include some announced job losses which in fact relate to the civil rather than the defence business of the company concerned. The figure is of announced job losses, not all of which may yet have been implemented. It does not include jobs created in the defence industry as a result of new orders.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions between 1 January and 31 December 1994 HMS Brazen was used to transport fertiliser from the United Kingdom to Gibraltar for use at the official service residence; what quantity was involved; and at what estimated cost.
Mr. Soames: HMS Brazen transported fertiliser from the United Kingdom to Gibraltar for use at the official service residence on one occasion between 1 January and 31 December 1994. She transported four bags of fertiliser weighing 1 cwt. each. The transport of the fertiliser incurred no additional cost, as it occupied spare capacity on a ship already planned to visit Gibraltar.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons documents relating to his Department's policy on sex discrimination are classified; in what circumstances they can be handed to employment appeal tribunals in cases of pregnancy dismissal by his Department; what considerations apply when they cannot be handed over; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: No special considerations apply to the disclosure in industrial tribunal proceedings of documents relating to my Department's policy on sex discrimination. Such a document would therefore be subject to disclosure if it was relevant to the issues to be determined in the proceedings and there were no other reasons such as legal
Column 252professional privilege which would give the respondent cause to object to its production. In the context of pregnancy dismissal cases before tribunals, documents relating to sex discrimination policy are not considered by my Department to be relevant. This is because the only issue to be decided by the tribunal is that of quantum; the Ministry of Defence has accepted liability to compensate those service women who were unlawfully discharged on the ground of pregnancy.
Mr. Freeman: A joint official level United States-United Kingdom working group established under the Polaris sales agreement meets at regular intervals to discuss a range of technical, financial, logistics, planning and safety issues relating to the Polaris and Trident strategic weapon systems. Details of these exchanges are classified.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 February, Official Report, column 825, what amount of money is in the assistant chief scientific adviser (nuclear)'s intermediate higher level budget; and if he will provide an estimate, in percentage terms, of how much of this budget is spent on administration of the atomic control office, London.
Mr. Freeman: The assistant chief scientific adviser (nuclear)'s cash allocation for the current financial year is £1,285,000. It is estimated that between 5 and 10 per cent. of this will be spent on the administration of the atomic control office.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much it will cost in total to transfer and establish the proto II x-ray simulation facility, presently at the Sandia national laboratory, to AWE Aldermaston; and what proportion of this cost is to be met by the United Kingdom Government;
(2) if he will make a statement on the proposal to transfer to Atomic Weapons Establishments (UK) the proto II x-ray simulation facility presently at the Sandia national laboratory and the plans to establish this facility at AWE Aldermaston as outlined in the United States Department of Energy fiscal year 1996 budget request for atomic energy defence activities.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 February, Official Report, columns 823 24, if he will make a statement on the role and function of the United Kingdom person stationed at (a) Laurel, Maryland, (b) Lawrence Livermore laboratory, (c) Dahlgren, Virginia, (d) Kings
Column 253bay, Georgia, (e) New London, Connecticut and (f) Crystal city, Arlington, Virginia.
Mr. Freeman: The United Kingdom personnel stationed in the United States as part of the Polaris sales agreement, as amended for Trident, provide direct liaison with US strategic systems project staff, supply staff and contractors on technical, financial, logistics, planning and safety matters. The individual stationed at the Lawrence Livermore laboratory is an employee of the Atomic Weapons Establishment on a short term appointment associated with the 1958 agreement, not the Polaris sales agreement as suggested by my previous reply.
Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many US personnel are stationed in the United Kingdom as part of (a) the 1958 US/UK mutual defence agreement, (b) the Polaris sales agreement and (c) the Trident sales agreement; and where they are located.
Mr. Freeman: There is one US employee stationed at the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston under the terms of the 1958 mutual defence agreement. There are five US employees in the United Kingdom as part of the Polaris sales agreement, as amended for Trident. These are as follows:
Barrow in Furness:1