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improvements and reductions in contributions agreed at the time of the last report.

Taking account of the improvement in the lump sum death in service benefit, the assessed long-run total cost of the pension benefits under the scheme is now 24 per cent. of salary, compared with 23.5 per cent. at the 1990 valuation. The Member contribution was reduced in 1990 to 6 per cent., as a result of an SSRB recommendation. Under section 3 of the 1987 Act, the Exchequer pays the balance of costs, as recommended by the Government Actuary. Without the increase in benefits, the Exchequer contribution would have remained at its level following the 1990 valuation, of 6.8 per cent. of pay, for a further six-month period. Taking account of the benefit improvements recommended by the SSRB in the report published today, the actuary recommends that the Exchequer contribution from April should be 7.6 per cent. until September 2000. Assuming future experience is in line with the assumptions made for this valuation, the Exchequer contribution can then be expected to increase to 18 per cent. As required by section 2 of the 1987 Act, I shall consult about the changes to the scheme with the trustees of the scheme and other interested parties. As is customary, the Government will hold a debate on an amendable motion to give the House a chance to consider both reports, as well as the draft regulations implementing the SSRB recommendations.


Mr. Fisher: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to his answer of 20 March, Official Report , column 50 , if he will publish the name of (a) the architect, (b) the designer employed on a consultancy basis by the House of Commons Commission (c) the annual cost of each consultancy and (d) the annual amount of time for which each consultant is contracted.      [16185]

Mr. Beith: This is a matter for the Director of Works and I have asked him to write to the hon. Member.

Fire Fighters

Mr. Cohen: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the provision of fire fighters to tackle a fire in the Palace of Westminster; what changes have been made to the staff complement in each of the last three years; and what particular provisions apply to deal with the special nature of the building.      [16519]

Mr. Beith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) on 8 March 1995, Official Report , column 218 . As a result of the recent review of the fire section by the staff inspector in conjunction with the staff adviser of the House of Lords a complement of one principal fire officer, four senior fire officers and 24 fire officers has been agreed. This will be subject to review in two years' time. Particular provisions to minimise the fire risk within the Palace of Westminster are specified in the fire strategy for the Palace of Westminster and parliamentary outbuildings which was approved by the relevant Committees of both Houses in 1993. I have asked the Serjeant at Arms to write to the hon. Member with further details.

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Sittings of the House

Mr. Graham Allen: To ask the Lord President of the Council what assessment he has made of the effects of the implementation of the procedural reforms in respect of the sittings of the House on attendance in the House.

Mr. Newton: The reforms to which the hon. Member refers will be reviewed and assessed towards the end of the experiment.


Business Sponsorship Incentive Scheme

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make a statement on the outside consultancy practice assisting the inquiry into the links between the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts and Welsh Fourth Channel Authority S4C; what remit they have been given; on what date the inquiry started; when it is anticipated to be completed; and if he will make a statement.      [17299]

Mr. Dorrell: As I told the hon. Member on 27 February, Official Report , column 680 , my Department has commissioned a report from a senior Treasury official, Mr. John Beastall. The terms of reference of the review are:

To review the circumstances of the applications for matching funding under the business sponsorship incentive scheme made by Pengwyn Pinc and certain other Welsh bodies. In particular, the review will consider:

(a) the reports already produced by the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts and the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority; (b) the financial and other relationships between S4C and the bodies which applied to BSIS; between S4C and Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru; and between S4C and organisations which applied to them or to TAC for sponsorship;

(c) the understanding, in S4C, TAC and the bodies which applied to BSIS, of rules for applying to BSIS, including any guidance and procedures they may have circulated;

(d) the understanding of BSIS rules within ABSA and the information and advice that ABSA and its staff provided to S4C and the other bodies involved about the rules and operation of BSIS; (e) the criteria adopted by S4C, TAC and the bodies which applied to BSIS for supporting an application for sponsorship; and

(f) the action that was taken by S4C and ABSA in response to the discovery of irregularities in applications and in the operation of their internal procedures.

The report will make recommendations about action to be taken. Mr. Beastall commenced his review on 20 February and expects to deliver his report to my Department shortly after Easter.

Telephone Conversations

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans he has to introduce legislation which fill the gaps which exist in relation to the protection of private telephone conversations, as indicated on 14 January 1993, Official Report , column 1068 ; and if he will make a statement.      [17215]

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Mr. Dorrell: The Government will announce their conclusions, on this as on other matters, in their response to the National Heritage Committee's report on privacy and media intrusion. We will publish this response when we have completed consideration of the legal issues surrounding the proposed criminal and civil remedies.

Child Care

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what are the child care or nursery facilities within his Department; and what is the breakdown in their use (a) by grade and (b) by gender.      [15224]

Mr. Dorrell: The provision of child care facilities within my Department is two-fold: one nursery place for a child aged between six months and five years at the Stepping Stones nursery based at Napier Hall, Pimlico. A female senior information officer in this Department used the nursery between November 1993 and August 1994. Since that date, no DNH member of staff has expressed an interest in securing a place at the nursery. My Department has therefore offered the place to the Department of the Environment on a temporary basis. DNH staff can also use places at the Westminster holiday playscheme which caters for children aged between five and 12 years old and which operates during all the main school holidays. The playscheme is currently used by two DNH female members of staff at grade 7 level.

Royal Palaces

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what was the total cost to his Department of the maintenance and running costs of the occupied and unoccupied royal palaces in 1993 94.      [16921]

Mr. Sproat [holding answer 28 March 1995]: The cost to my Department in 1993 94 of maintaining and running the occupied royal palaces was £19.8 million. The cost for the unoccupied royal palaces was £6.7 million.

Royal Household Fuel Bills

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list the fuel bills paid by his Department on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.      [16922]

Mr. Sproat [holding answer 28 March 1995]: My Department pays for Her Majesty the Queen's fuel bills incurred for official purposes through its grant-in-aid payment to the royal household. The 1993 94 fuel bill was £826,000 and included the cost of electricity, gas, oil, coal and other fuels.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will ensure that his ministerial management information system for establishing objectives for his Department, includes deregulation objectives (a) for him and (b) for each of the Ministers within his Department.      [15575]

Mr. Sproat [holding answer 27 March 1995]: This is already a high priority for me and my officials.

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Joint Service Command and Staff College

Mr. Merchant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the location of the proposed Joint Service Command and Staff college.      [18009]

Mr. Soames: During the "Front Line First" consultation process on the establishment of a Joint Service Command and Staff college, my Department received responses from a number of individuals and organisations to our proposals.

All these responses have received the most careful and sympathetic scrutiny, and I have thoroughly reviewed the costings associated with our proposal. Although there was general support for the proposal to establish a Joint Service Command and Staff college, there have been understandable local concerns, especially in Greenwich. However, no significant arguments have emerged, nor have any new suggestions been made which have caused us to alter our original proposals. The costings continue to demonstrate that Camberley is the most cost effective option.

I can therefore confirm that we shall establish the Joint Service Command and Staff college at Camberley, and that we plan to open it and close the colleges at Bracknell and Greenwich in late 1997. We shall not develop our plans along the lines indicated in the consultative document. The Bracknell site will be considered for disposal.

With regard to the future of Greenwich, I reaffirm the Government's commitment to finding suitable occupants for this most important and historic site. Our work on this continues. In terms of defence candidates, we have concluded that a restructured Defence school of languages would be one suitable occupant. This would generate at least the same level of occupancy as the two staff colleges currently at Greenwich. The nature of this establishment is such that, unlike the Joint Services Command and Staff college, it would be able to move in with only very minor changes to the fabric of the buildings and at a capital cost of only some £6,000,000.

We have also concluded that we should not continue to pursue the Tri- Service Chaplaincy school as an option for Greenwich. Work on an appropriate location for this school will continue, and I hope shortly to make an announcement.

In addition to the potential defence candidates, interest in the Royal Naval college has been shown by organisations outside the Ministry of Defence, including the university of Greenwich and the National Maritime museum. We do not intend to reach any firm conclusions on the future of the Royal Naval college, Greenwich at this stage, but will shortly be seeking expressions of interest in the site from organisations able to propose uses sympathetic to the character of the buildings.

In considering the options, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will have very much in mind his role as sole trustee of Greenwich hospital, and also the imaginative proposals for Greenwich park, including the Royal Naval college, by Dame Jennifer Jenkins in her report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage. I hope to be in a position to announce firm proposals to the

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House for the future of the Royal Naval college by the end of the year.

Naval Recruiting and Training Agency

Lady Olga Maitland: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the future status of the Royal Navy's Flag Officer Training and Recruiting organisation.      [18011]

Mr. Soames: The Flag Officer Training and Recruiting organisation will be launched as a defence agency of the Ministry of Defence on 1 April 1995, and will be called the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency.

The NRTA's owner will be the Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. It will carry out its training activities at a number of training schools based in naval establishments in the south of England and operate recruiting centres in all regions of the UK. The chief executive's headquarters is collocated with that of the Second Sea Lord and Commander- in-Chief Naval Home Command with HM naval base, Portsmouth.

The agency's primary role is to recruit to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and to train and develop personnel, both service and civilian, for their individual tasks in the naval service, as and when appropriate throughout their subsequent careers.

As the first chief executive of the new agency, Rear Admiral J. P. Clarke will be offered new opportunities to build on the current organisation's professional expertise and high performance standards. In maintaining the NRTA's contribution to front-line capability, the chief executive will actively seek to improve efficiency and value for money of his organisation.

The chief executive has been set the following key targets for the financial year 1995 96:

1. To achieve 90 per cent. of deliveries of categories of personnel to the trained strength from initial training within accepted variances.

2. To achieve wastage rates for new entry officers, apprentices and ratings no greater than 25 per cent., 30 per cent. and 20 per cent. respectively.

3. By 31 March 1996, to complete the process of establishing optimum pipeline times for all categories of initial training, and determine baseline figures for overruns against which future performance can be measured.

4. To maintain a success rate in excess of 95 per cent. in career and pre- joining training.

5. By 31 March 1996, to agree with NRTA's key customers a positive feedback system and criteria for the measurement of the extent to which personnel trained by NRTA satisfy the customers' requirements.

Army Districts

Lady Olga Maitland: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to restructure the Army districts.      [18012]

Mr. Soames: Following the "Front Line First" announcement, proposals to restructure the Army districts were explained in a consultative document issued on 19 December 1994. The most significant effect of the reorganisation is the splitting of the current southern district leaving the existing headquarters at Aldershot commanding only units based in the south-east, and creating a new headquarters at Bulford, to be known as HQ3 (UK) Division, to have administrative and budgetary responsibilities for all Army units in the south-west. There

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will be changes to the subordinate brigade headquarters structure and adjustments to the boundaries of the current districts. To emphasise the operational aspects of their role, and to reflect that administrative responsibility for Army units in the UK will no longer be on a purely geographical basis, the headquarters at York, Bulford, Aldershot and Shrewsbury will be known as 2, 3 (UK), 4 and 5 Division respectively. No structural changes are planned for Scotland or London district.

In total, 17 responses to the consultative document were received from one MP, trade unions and local authorities, all of which have been given careful and sympathetic consideration. Understandable concerns were expressed about the effects on local employment where job losses will occur, and every effort will of course be made to redeploy staff where possible to alternative locations.

As part of the restructuring programme I am pleased to be able to highlight an increase of 100 jobs in the south-west; this was warmly welcomed by the local communities. The vast majority of the jobs will be filled by local recruitment and will boost the employment opportunities in the area.

I can therefore confirm that the restructuring will take effect from 1 April 1995. I am confident that these changes will create a more efficient and economic structure which will enhance operational and administrative effectiveness.

We will continue to consult with staff and trade unions about the implementation of this restructuring exercise.

Military Schools

Mr. Sykes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the triennial review of the Duke of York's Royal Military School and Queen Victoria School defence agencies.      [18013]

Mr. Soames: A review of the agency status of the Duke of York's Royal Military School and Queen Victoria School is now due and will commence shortly. As next steps agencies, the performance of both schools will be evaluated and their activities will be subjected to the normal "prior options" tests.

Comments and contributions from those with an interest in the work of these agencies would be welcome and should be sent by 12 May to: Mr. W. A. Perry

Command Secretary (Adjutant General)

Ministry of Defence

Headquarters Adjutant General

(Personal and Training Command)

Trenchard Lines





Army Industrial Training Organisation

Mr. Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about defence agency status for the Army's individual training organisation.      [18014]

Mr. Soames: As originally announced to the House by the then Minister of State for Defence Procurement on 2 November 1993, Official Report , column 124 , the Army's individual training organisation has been included in the Department's list of candidate agencies. A "Prior

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Options" study of Army individual training as a whole is being undertaken to determine whether agency status would be appropriate. Any comments that interested parties may wish to contribute would be welcome and should be sent, by no later than 12 May to:

Mr. W. A. Perry

Command Secretary (Adjutant General)

Headquarters Adjutant General (Personnel and Training) Trenchard Lines




Reserve Forces Bill

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to publish the Reserve Forces Bill.      [17171]

Mr. Soames: We are today publishing the draft Reserve Forces Bill, copies of which are available from the Vote Office. Outside the House, the document is being distributed widely to reserve units, employers and others, and is available on request from the Ministry of Defence.

The Bill is an important one. It brings legislation on reserves up to date, to take account of changes in both the security environment and British society since the last substantial revision in 1966. The Bill principally provides:

(a) A new power of call-out for peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief operations;

(b) Two new categories of reserve:

--the high readiness reserve: individuals with skills in short supply who, voluntarily and with the consent of their employer, accept a greater call- out liability; and

--the sponsored reserve, which will permit us to let more support activities to contract knowing that the reserve element allows the task to be continued in an operational environment by uniformed personnel.

(c) A new opportunity to enable reservists to undertake tasks other than training in peace time;

(d) Three new safeguards:

--for individuals, powers for MOD to make payments to reservists in cases where their military pay when called out is less than their civilian pay;

--for employers, powers for MOD to make payments whenever a reservist who is also an employee is called out;

--for both, new, formal, rights to seek exemption from and deferral of call -out or recall, exercisable by employers or reservists themselves.

All this work is set within a comprehensive tri-service legal framework for the reserves, which will greatly simplify their use in the future.

Particular attention has been given to the tripartite relationship between the Ministry of Defence, the reservist, and his or her employer. Full account has been taken of the comments received following the publication of a consultation document in October 1993, and I believe the Bill will meet with widespread acceptance from those affected by it.

The Bill's publication in draft forms part of the Government's commitment to improving the quality of legislation brought before Parliament, and I look forward to receiving many constructive comments. The consultation period lasts until 15 June.

Water and Sewerage

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for

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Teignbridge of 20 March, Official Report, column 73 , if he will give such statistics as have been asked for on water and sewerage costs which can be provided without disproportionate cost.      [15999]

Mr. Freeman: Statistics can be provided for most expenditure on water and sewerage on class I, votes 1 and 2 for the years 1992 93 to 1994 95. Expenditure by the procurement executive on class I, vote 3 is not separately distinguishable from other utility costs. The figures are:

1992 93: £55 million

1993 94: £52 million

1994 95: £49 million (expenditure until 27 March 1995).

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer 20 March, Official Report, column 73 , if he will define `disproportionate'

cost.      [15998]

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