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Mr. Eggar: "Energy Paper 65" was published as soon as it was ready. The timing of the sale of shares in the electricity generators was not a consideration in determining the publication date. The prospectus for the sale of shares in National Power and PowerGen included a reference to the new projections.

British Coal

Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, if he will make a statement on the future of British Coal's ex-employee liabilities.      [17965]

Mr. Heseltine: Acting on behalf of my Department, British Coal and the trustees of the British Coal pension schemes, Touche Ross yesterday invited applications from potential bidders to pre-qualify to tender for the services undertaken by British Coal's Centris division in administering pensions, concessionary fuel entitlements, personal injury claims and other benefits. As well as ensuring value for money, a key objective in the tender process will be to ensure continuity in the high-quality services provided to beneficiaries. The tender will not affect the security of the pension and concessionary fuel entitlements of former British Coal employees and their dependants which the Government are committed to safeguarding.

Post Office

Mr. Waterson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the performance targets for the Post Office.      [18274]

Mr. Eggar: The Government have in recent years set the Post Office performance targets on a three-year basis. The current three year targets expire at the end of the 1994 95 financial year. I therefore need to set the board new targets.

During the current target regime, the Government carried out a review of the structure and organisation of

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the Post Office. But it is now several years since there was a detailed external study of the operational efficiency of the Post Office. A performance review would clearly be desirable before setting further three-year targets and my Department will be appointing consultants shortly to carry out such a review. This review will not, however, be completed until the autumn. In order to ensure that the Post Office has targets applying from the beginning of the financial year, I have agreed with the Post Office board that the existing three year targets should be extended on an exceptional basis to create a four-year set of targets to cover the period 1992 93 to 1995 96.

I therefore propose to set the board the following targets:

Annual return on capital employed                                                       

Royal Mail            |Post Office Counters |Parcelforce                                


18 per cent.          |9.5 per cent.        |Break even (before                         

                                            |  exceptional items)                       

Reduction in Unit Costs (financial years 1992-93 to 1995-96)   

Royal Mail           |Post Office Counters                     


5.5 per cent.        |6.5 per cent.                            

This RUC target compares to a three-year target for Royal Mail and Post Office Counters of 4 per cent. and 3 per cent. respectively for the three years to 1994 95. They take account of progress towards those targets in the three years to date, which both Royal Mail and Post Office Counters are likely to over-achieve in the three years to 1994 95. Parcelforce is not set an RUC target as it is subject to the competitive marketplace.

I believe these performance targets are realistic and will continue downward pressure on the Post Office's costs in the interest of taxpayers and consumers. They will continue to be matched by stretching quality of service targets for both Royal Mail and Post Office Counters which are set after consultation with the Post Office Users National Council.

Business Links

Dr. John Cunningham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish the internal audit by his Department on business links; and if he will make a statement.      [15182]

Mr. Heseltine: It is not the practice to publish internal audit reports.

Gas Bill

Mr. Dafis: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to seek to amend clause 1 of the Gas Bill to provide, in the event of an agreement being reached at the first conference of the parties for the climate change convention to negotiate a protocol to the treaty establishing targets for carbon dioxide emissions

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beyond 2000, for the promotion of energy efficiency to become one of the regulator's duties and objectives.      [17001]

Mr. Eggar: The Gas Bill will provide new opportunities for companies to market energy efficient services and packages. In a competitive market, this strategy can allow a supplier to gain business from other firms, while saving energy.

The Bill provides that the Secretary of State and the director shall each have a duty to exercise his functions in the manner he considers best calculated to promote the efficient use of gas conveyed through pipes. No amendment to clause 1 is therefore needed to enable energy efficiency to be one of the regulator's duties.

Public Relations

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what guidelines his Department has issued to its agencies and other public bodies under its authority in respect of the employment of public relations companies and the procedures to be adopted in relation to requesting tenders for public relations companies.      [16222]

Mr. Heseltine: Guidance on Government use of public relations companies is contained in "A Working Guide for Government Information Officers", copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Overseas Licensing

Mr. Dunnachie: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what role Her Majesty's Government have in the procedure for licensing the manufacture of equipment, with special reference to Land Rover vehicles, in countries other than the United Kingdom; what account it take of those countries' human rights records when making the licensing arrangements; and if he will make a statement.      [17141]

Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 30 March 1995]: It is a matter for manufacturers' commercial judgment as to whether they wish to have their products manufactured overseas under licence. Vehicles and related equipment, specially designed or modified for military use and components therefore specially designed or modified for military use are controlled under schedule 1, part I, group 1 of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, category ML6.

Exports of equipment and technology for the production of all goods specified in group 1 of the Export of Goods (Control) Order are also controlled (category ML18). Any application for licence to export such vehicles, equipment or technology would be considered against internationally agreed criteria governing the control of exports of military equipment. These criteria include consideration of the human rights record of the country to which the goods would be exported. There are military equipment embargoes imposed by the European Union against Burma and China which were put in place as a result of those countries' record on human rights.

Energy Charter

Mr. Elletson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about funding for the energy charter secretariat.      [17210]

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Mr. Ian Taylor: In common with many other international organisations, the energy charter treaty secretariat will be funded by contributions from contracting parties according to a scale agreed in the course of negotiation. Depending on the final number of signatories, the United Kingdom contribution is likely to be about 7 per cent. of the budget which is expected to be agreed at the provisional charter conference on 5 and 6 April.

The United Kingdom approach to funding international organisations is to require them to produce budgets which, while meeting clearly defined objectives, also reflect the need for value for money and recognise the financial constraints on all Governments.

Mr. Elletson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representation he has received about proposals to site the energy charter secretariat in London; and if he will make a statement.      [17208]

Mr. Ian Taylor: I have received no representations seeking to locate the energy charter treaty secretariat in London.

Mr. Elletson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about his Department's plans to promote the energy charter.      [17209]

Mr. Ian Taylor: In December 1994, when the energy charter treaty was signed, my Departmental issued a press notice and sent a briefing note, "The Energy Charter Treaty: Key Points For British Business", to about 500 companies and organisations with energy interests. I have today placed copies of this publication in the Library of the House. We will be discussing future plans for promoting the Treaty with UK energy organisations after the provisional charter conference on 5 and 6 April.

British Embassy, Washington

Mr. Steen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what reports the British embassy in Washington DC has made on the Democrat party administration's deregulation activities.      [17089]

Mr. Jonathan Evans [holding answer 30 March 1995]: The most recent report on the deregulation activities of the Democrat party administration from the British embassy in Washington DC was made in September 1993. The report concerned the national performance review report "From Red Tape to Results: Creating A Government that Works Better and Costs Less", copies of which are available in the Library of the House.


Mrs. Ann Taylor: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list, for 1992 93 and 1993 94, separate figures for the spending by his Department on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising, (d) other promotional materials and activities, (e) the totals in each year of (a) to (d) and (f) the proportion of (e) that was spent on recruitment

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advertising; and what are his latest estimates for the years 1994 95 and 1995 96.      [17621]

Mr. Heseltine: Expenditure from my Department's centrally managed publicity budgets has been as follows:


                           |1992-93   |1993-94   |1994-95<1>           


(a) TV Advertising         |0         |0         |0                    

(b) Radio Advertising      |1         |2         |2                    

(c) Press Advertising      |1,138     |782       |554                  

(d) Other Promotional                                                  

  Materials and Activities |8,784     |7,684     |7,337                


(e) Total                  |9,923     |8,468     |7,893                

(f) Proportion of (e) that                                             

  was Spent on Recruitment                                             

  Advertising percentage.  |0         |0         |0                    

<1> Estimated forecast outturn.                                        

The budgets for 1995 96 have yet to be finalised.

Recruitment advertising is not funded from the Department's centrally managed publicity budgets.

Departmental Report

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the cost of producing and circulating the last departmental annual report; what was the circulation list; how many copies were produced; how many copies were sold; and at what price.      [16620]

Mr. Heseltine: The cost to my Department of producing and circulating DTI's most recent departmental report--"Trade and Industry 1995", Cm 2804--was £43,378.67, including VAT, but not including staff time. In addition, £25,627.30 was the cost to DTI of the copies it purchased for internal and external circulation from Her Majesty's Stationery Office. The costs of printing and publishing, were borne by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, which aims to recover these costs from sales revenue, including revenue from the copies sold to DTI, referred to above.

The report was circulated to the top 1,000 companies in the United Kingdom, to other companies which seconded staff to the Department during 1994 or which supported such secondments; to trade associations, chambers of commerce, training and enterprise councils, business links and other key opinion formers in the business community. Copies were also sent to members of the Trade and Industry and of the Science and Technology Committees of the House of Commons and to the right hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham). Five thousand five hundred copies of Cm 2804 were printed and published. In addition to those required by Parliament and the Department, nearly 1,550 copies were produced to satisfy sales at a price of £16.80 net.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the cost of producing and circulating the Department annual report for each of the last 10 years in real terms.      [16621]

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Mr. Heseltine: Departmental reports were published for the first time in 1991. The external costs to the Department of production and circulation in real terms, including VAT, for the five years of publication were as follows:

                |Cost at 1994-95                


Year            |£                              


1991            |<2>10,560.98                   

1992            |<2>8,109.82                    

1993            |17,300.00                      

1994            |28,061.99                      

1995            |43,378.67                      


<1> The figures do not include the costs of     

copies purchased by the Department from HMSO.   

<2> The departmental report was not widely      

circulated externally by the Department in 1991,

 1992 and 1993. In addition, much of the        

production work was carried out in-house in     

these years and is not included in the figures. 

In 1994 and 1995, this work was increasingly    

contracted out.                                 

<3> The figure for 1993 is an estimate.         

Patent Office, Newport

Mr. Touhig: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the cost of the consultants employed to examine if the marketing section at the Patent Office in Newport is to be contracted out.      [17413]

Mr. Ian Taylor: The Patent Office will be looking at the feasibility of contracting out its marketing activities and consultancy advice may be sought. However, so far no consultants have been appointed.

Pergau Dam

Mr. Worthington: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what recent changes have taken place in the cost of the Pergau dam; and what is now the total cost of the dam.      [17081]

Mr. Heseltine: Whilst I am aware of press reports about possible additional costs arising in connection with the Pergau dam project, these would be matters of a commercial nature for discussions between the contracting parties. Unless made public by those parties, any revision of costs would be subject to normal considerations of commercial confidentiality.


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