Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to receive British Coal's sixth report on the administration of the coal mining subsidence damage repair and compensation scheme.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what considerations he has given to introducing a statutory responsibility for British Telecom to extend caller line identification to the emergency services.
Mr. Ian Taylor: BT operators already provide the emergency services with information about callers, including caller identification where technically possible. BT is also working to provide a direct CLI service in London, where it has been requested by an emergency authority.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the likely effect on United Kingdom trade in 1996, 1997 and 1998 of reconstruction in the former East Germany; and if he will make a statement on his assessment of the extent to which the United Kingdom will become less competitive than Germany.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Germany is the United Kingdom's largest export market. Over 1,000 British firms have subsidiaries or joint ventures there, and this country is among the leading investors in the new La nder.
Annual growth of 8 to 10 per cent. is expected in the new La nder over the next few years, and 2.5 to 3 per cent. in Germany as a whole. Britain's market share is on the increase, and there is no reason why this should not continue.
The Government have been active in developing trade promotion initiatives in key sectors of the new La nder which will help British companies, in the United Kingdom and in Germany, to capitalise on trade openings in 1995 and beyond.
Some of the newly established German plant in the new La nder is likely to be highly competitive but the prospects for UK firms are excellent. The gap in manufacturing productivity between this country and Germany has narrowed since 1979, and the Government remain committed to creating the right framework for improving industrial competitiveness. The United Kingdom's continuing ability to attract very significant inward
Column 648investment is a testament to the competitiveness policies that the Government are pursuing.
Year |Cost £ ------------------------------ 1994-95 |<1>44,055 1993-94 |52,618 1992-93 |65,595 1991-92 |62,006 <1> To end of January.
Miss Widdecombe: The project to implement jobseeker's allowance, subject to parliamentary approval of the Jobseekers Bill, is on schedule for implementation in April 1996. Planning guidance has now been issued to the Employment Service and Benefits Agency field organisations. An external review of the project is under way and will report in early April.
Miss Widdecombe: I am pleased to announce that key members of the delegation to represent the Government at the fourth UN world conference on women vote held in Peking from 4 to 15 September, have now been agreed. Three Ministers will be in attendance during the period of the conference: myself, my noble Friend the Minister for Overseas Development, and my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mrs. Browning), the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Government appointed co-chairman of the Women's National Commission.
They will be joined by Kamlesh Bahl, chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Great Britain, Joan Smyth, chair and chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Northern Ireland, and Liz Bavidge, elected co-chair of the Women's National Commission. We also expect to include delegates from Hong Kong, Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, further representation from non- governmental organisations with expertise on women in development and officials from the
Column 649relevant Government Departments to support the work of the delegation.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration he gives to regional differences when developing plans for employment initiatives; and what initiatives will be the subject of legislation in the near future.
Miss Widdecombe: The Department's initiatives are targeted primarily on those who need it most, particularly those who have been unemployed for some time. Other than provisions in the Jobseekers Bill, no legislation on initiatives is planned for the near future.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the Government's policy on increases in productivity being rewarded by increases in pay; and what evidence he has of the extent to which that principle has been followed in the (a) manufacturing and (b) service industries.
Mr. Oppenheim: The extent to which increases in productivity are rewarded by increases in pay is a matter for organisations to decide in the light of their particular circumstances. However, productivity is one of many factors which need to be taken into account when making such decisions. The Employment Department does not collect data on how far productivity influences such decisions, but whereas both productivity and pay stagnated from 1974 1979, both productivity and real pay at all levels have risen sharply since 1979. The Government, however, also believe that increases in pay need to be more than matched by improvements in productivity in order to free resources for investment, which in turn will feed through to greater competitiveness.
Mr. Paice: The total amount of money owing to individual contractors which submitted claims for payment for work carried out for South Thames training and enterprise council is a matter for the receiver.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if the hours of guided learning undertaken by a student (a) in the evening and (b) on Saturdays will count towards the new 16-hour limit for guided learning allowed to unemployed students who are required to be available for work; and if he will make a statement.
The Further Education Funding Council has introduced the definition of guided learning hours in place of the distinction between part and full- time courses. This reflects the fact that courses are increasingly delivered flexibly, to meet the needs of individuals. The
Column 650Government's proposals for the rules under jobseeker's allowance are designed to accommodate this change, while ensuring that the same number of people will be able to benefit as do so now.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland 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. Lang: These procedures are kept under constant review. A number of improvements were introduced in the procedures adopted in a recently completed round of temporary shrieval appointments. Consideration is now being given to the further development of these procedures and their application to the appointment of permanent sheriffs. it is proposed that applications will be sought, by annual advertisement, for these appointments and that suitable candidates will be interviewed by a panel, whose membership will include lay representation. Consultation on the proposals will take place shortly and I shall arrange for copies of the consultation paper to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, when he proposes to publish his report on the discharge of his duties for further education in Scotland as required under section 1 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang: I am pleased to say that the report entitled "Further Education in Scotland 1994: Report by the Secretary of State for Scotland" has been published today and has been laid before each House of Parliament. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House.
The report shows that good progress has been made in further education colleges in 1994. Members of the college boards of management and college staff continue to manage enthusiastically the changes and challenges arising from incorporation. The colleges have built on the success of the first year of incorporation and are working hard to continue to raise standards and increase efficiency.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if Ministers in his Department have on any occasion in the last seven days met representatives of (a) Messrs C. S. M. Parliamentary Consultants Ltd., (b) Dewe Rogerson Ltd., (c) Decision Makers Ltd., (d) G.J.W. Government Relations Ltd., (e) G.P.C., (f) G.J.W., (g) Ian Greer Associates Ltd., (h) Market Access Group, (i)
Column 651Politics International, (j) Westminster Communications Group, (k) Westminster Strategy, (l) Good Relations, (m) Rowland Sallingbury Casy, (n) Lowe Bell, (o) Profile Corporate and Political Relations and (p) Shandwick Consultants Ltd. and discussed issues relating to the clients of these companies.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Attorney-General when he expects decisions to be announced regarding (a) the possible transfer to agency or private status of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office and (b) the possible merger of the fraud divisions of the Crown Prosecution Service with the Serious Fraud Office.
The consideration of merger group has reported its findings. The report is at present under consideration.
Decisions will be announced as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has asked for an initial report on this matter from South Thames regional office in the near future. A report will be published as soon as possible thereafter, and any issues arising will be further investigated. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral Statement of 9 March, Official Report, columns 455 56, which companies provided the independent financial and legal advice to the Government on the question of whether to proceed with the sale of National Power and PowerGen; and when the advice was received.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 14 March 1995]: The Treasury took advice on the evening of Friday 3 March from its financial advisers, Barclays de Zoete Wedd Limited and Kleinwort Benson Limited and its legal adviser, Slaughter and May.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what expenditure will be incurred in the current financial year on the commemorations to mark the 50th anniversary of the end in Europe of the second world war.
Mr. Dorrell: The cost in 1994 95 of commemorations to mark the 50th anniversary of the end in Europe of world war II is expected to be £3,000,000. I announced on 17 January, Official Report, columns 424 25, that parliamentary approval for this new service would be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department of National Heritage's film, tourism, sport and broadcasting vote, class XI, vote 5. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure of up to £3,000,000 will be met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage for this year and each of the past three years how many employees in (i) his Department and (ii) all executive agencies for which his Department is responsible who have been employed on temporary contracts of (a) 51 weeks or (b) less than 51 weeks duration are re-employed in the same or similar position at a later date.
Year DNH RPA HRPA |Less |Less |Less |than |than |than |51 |51 |51 |51 |51 |51 |weeks|weeks|weeks|weeks|weeks|weeks ------------------------------------------------ 1990 |- |- |- |- |Nil |19 1991 |- |- |- |- |Nil |22 1992 |- |- |- |- |Nil |52 1993 |Nil |Nil |Nil |Nil |Nil |62 1994 |Nil |1 |Nil |Nil |Nil |51 1995 |Nil |1 |Nil |Nil |Nil |58
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, how many employees in (i) his Department and (ii) all executive agencies supervised by his Department have been employed on temporary contracts of (a) 51 weeks or (b) less than 51 weeks duration for this year and each of the past three years, in each case specifying what percentage of the respective total work force these employees constitute.
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 15 March 1995]: The Department of National Heritage was created in April 1992. It has two agencies--the Royal Parks Agency created in April 1993 and the Historic Royal Palaces Agency created in October 1989. The information requested is shown in the following table.
(a) Less than 51 weeks Years DNH RPA HRPA Total |Number of |Percentage of|Number of |Percentage of|Number of |Percentage of|Number of |Percentage of |casuals |total staff |casuals |total staff |casuals |total staff |casuals |total staff -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |- |- |- |- |66 |19.4 |66 |19.4 | (340) 1991 |- |- |- |- |66 |18 |66 |18 | (365) 1992 |- |- |- |- |69 |19.4 |69 |19.4 | (355) 1993 |1 |0.3 |- |- |127 |33 |128 |13.3 | (961.5) 1994 |11 |3.4 |11 |4.4 |103.5 |22 |125.5 |11.9 | (1,059) 1995 |3 |0.8 |13 |4.6 |48.5 |10.3 |65 |6 | (1,084.5)
b) 51 weeks Nil for all years
Explanatory note: These figures are based on staff in post returns for 1 April each year, except for 1995 where they are based on the most recent staff in post return--1 January. Figures in ( ) represent total staff in post for each year.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, how many people he expects to employ in (i) his Department and (ii) all executive agencies for which he is responsible on temporary contracts of (a) 51 weeks or (b) less than 51 weeks duration in the next three years, in each case specifying the number of employees who had previously been employed in a similar position on the same contract.
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 15 March 1995]: The information for the Department of National Heritage and its two agencies--the Royal Parks Agency and the Historic Royal Palaces Agency--is as follows. The Department of National Heritage does not anticipate recruiting any staff on temporary contracts over the next three years. The Royal Parks Agency expects to recruit two full-time staff and one part-time member of staff on temporary contracts of less than 51 weeks duration. The Historic Royal Palaces Agency expects to employ 53 members of staff on contracts of less than 51 weeks duration during 1995, 21 in 1996 and 22 in 1997. It is not possible to say, for any of these anticipated vacancies, whether previous temporary staff will fill the posts.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, what positions in (i) his Department and (ii) all executive agencies for which his Department is responsible are filled by employees who are employed on temporary contracts of (a) 51 weeks or (b) less than 51 weeks duration.
|Contracts of less |than 51 weeks --------------------------------------------------------------------------- DNH |Administrative assistant |Administrative officer |Personal secretary |Statistical officer RPA |Administrative officer |Grooms HRPA |Administrative assistant |Administrative officer |Warders |Shop staff No positions in the Department of National Heritage or its two agencies are filled by employees who are employed on temporary contracts of 51 weeks.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) if he will publish the full terms of employment as specified to employees in his Department and all executive agencies for which he is responsible who are employed on a temporary contract of (a) 51 weeks or (b) less than 51 weeks duration;
(2) what guidance has been issued in respect of the recruitment and appointment of non-permanent employees in (i) in his Department and (ii) all executive agencies supervised by his Department.
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 15 March 1995]: The Department and its agencies--the Royal Parks Agency and the Historic Royal Palaces Agency--have their own independent personnel units which produce separate recruitment and appointment documentation. The terms of employment are set out in letters of appointment and I have placed copies of these for the Department and each of its agencies in the Library of the House.
In the recruitment and appointment of casual employees the Department and its agencies are guided by the relevant civil service central policies. These policies are contained in the personnel management section of the civil service management code which sets down the principal recruitment rules for casual staff and is consistent with the provisions of the Civil Service Order in Council Regulations. I have placed copies of the relevant extracts of these documentations as annexes to the appointment letters in the Library of the House. My Department and its agencies also operate all recruitment within current employment legislation.
Column 655to information on Government business supplied by Ministers to staff employed by them as House of Commons secretaries and researchers; and if such staff are governed by a code of conduct analogous to the Official Secrets Act for civil servants with respect to such business.
Mr. David Hunt: House of Commons secretaries and researchers are not employed by the Government and are not therefore subject to rules of conduct applying to the civil service. Like other citizens, they are subject to relevant provisions of the Official Secrets Act.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent reports have been received concerning leakages of information concerning Government business from staff employed by Government Ministers as House of Commons secretaries and researchers.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) how many requests for information have been made to Departments following the introduction of the open government code; how many of these requests have been (a) met and (b) refused; and in how many cases of requests, Departments have had to review refusals to release information;
(2) if he will give the current figures of charges made by individual Departments and agencies for information requested under the open government code;
(3) when the Government's review of the operation of the open government code will be published.
Mr. David Hunt: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply today to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey). Copies of the Government's report on the implementation of the code of practice on access to Government information during 1994 are available in the Library of the House. Appendix 1 of the report gives figures for the numbers of code requests received by Departments in 1994, the numbers of requests refused in full or in part, and the numbers of internal reviews conducted by Departments. A schedule of departmental charging schemes for information requested under the code is included as appendix 4.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when legislation will be introduced to give effect to the commitment in the Open Government White Paper, Cm 2290 1993, to create a right of access to personal records and a right of access to health and safety information.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has recently made to the Turkish Government regarding (a) the killing of civilians, (b) the destruction of homes and villages and (c) general abuses of human rights.
Mr. David Davis: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised our concerns about human rights in Turkey with the Turkish Foreign Minister in London on 2 February. My right hon. Friend subsequently met the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister at the EU-Turkey Association Council on 6 March. They were left in no doubt of our human rights concerns and those or our European partners. We shall continue to take every opportunity, at ministerial and official level, to remind the Turks of the need for improvement in their human rights performance.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations to the Turkish Government he has made regarding the activities of Turkish special intelligence--MIT-- in Britain.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the numbers of Kurdish refugees from Turkey in northern Iraq; what contribution is being made towards UNHCR programmes in that area; if he will list the British non- governmental organisations which are involved in implementing the relief programmes; and what representations he has made to the Turkish authorities regarding their military activity against the civilian population in the border areas with northern Iraq.
Mr. David Davis: The following British registered non-governmental organisations are receiving assistance from ODA for helping with relief work among the Kurds: British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Kurdish Life Aid, Mines Advisory Group, Oxfam and Save the Children Fund.
We frequently make clear to the Turkish Government, at ministerial and official level, our view that the conflict in the south-east of Turkey must be settled within the rule of law and with due respect for human rights.
We are seeking the further information requested by the hon. Member. I shall write to him with this information as soon as it is obtained.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received regarding the involvement of the Turkish Government in crimes of violence in London; what representations he has made to the Turkish authorities; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received that Turkish military aircraft have penetrated northern Iraq and bombed refugee camps; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Davis: We are not aware of any recent reports of Turkish military aircraft bombing refugee camps in northern Iraq. We have made clear to the Turkish Government our view that the conflict in the south- east of Turkey must be settled within the rule of law and with due respect for human rights.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 15 February, Official Report, column 686, if he will provide details of the contract, firm, designate, costs and outcome of the arbitration case involving his Department and a consultancy.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at which British post overseas Mr. Zia Rahman Farooqi, the leader of the Soldiers of God, based in Pakistan, was issued with a visa to visit the United Kingdom; if the application was referred to London; if the application was referred to the Foreign Secretary or ministerial colleagues in his Department or to the Home Office for a recommendation prior to the decision being taken on Mr. Farooqi's application; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry: Mr. Farooqi was last issued with a United Kingdom visa by our high commission at Islamabad in July 1994. He already held multiple entry visas for the United States and Australia and had been issued with UK visas in 1991 and 1992. At the time he appeared to meet the requirements of the immigration rules, so his application was not referred to London.
Sir David Steel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Government of Kenya concerning the arrest and imprisonment of opposition Member of Parliament, Mr. Njenge Mungai.