Miss Widdecombe: We recognise that volunteering can help unemployed people keep in touch with the labour market and contribute to improving their prospects of getting a job. The potential advantages of undertaking voluntary work while unemployed are set out in an Employment Department leaflet entitled "Voluntary Work When You're Unemployed", copies of which are available in the Library. There are special arrangements in the benefit rules for unemployed people undertaking voluntary work. They are allowed 48 hours' notice to be available for work; and voluntary work is taken into account in determining whether someone is actively seeking employment.
Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what trials or pilot schemes of anticipated jobseeker's allowance procedures have been undertaken by his Department; where they have been held; how long they lasted; what they covered; and what were the results. 
Miss Widdecombe: The jobseeker's allowance implementation project team is setting up trials of the jobseeker's allowance process in 20 locations throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Three trials, in Newton Abbot, Barnstaple and Exeter, started during April. Other locations where trials are likely to start during June are Bathgate, Alnwick, Jarrow, Middlesbrough, Cheetham Hill, Goole, Porthmadog, Madeley, Halesowen, Norwich, Gabalfa and Victoria Park. Discussions are under way with the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency in other locations where trials might take place.
The trial offices will simulate the jobseeker's allowance process as closely as possible under existing legislation. Evaluation of the trials will inform development of operational procedures.
Column 378made to each member of the committee; what are the anticipated on-going costs; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the Nolan committee's first report, which was published last week and states that the committee's total estimated cost to the end of April 1995 was £317,200.
Lord Nolan, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King), the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) and Ms Diana Warwick do not receive emoluments for their Nolan committee work as they already receive a salary from other public funds. Other members of the committee were paid a salary of £1,000 per month from November 1994 to April 1995. They are now receiving an attendance fee of £155 per day. Members travel and subsistence expenses are met from public funds.
The on-going cost of the committee is estimated to be £500,000 a year.
The Prime Minister: I have established a new ministerial committee to co-ordinate the Government's programme of deregulation and consider how the burden of deregulation on business, charities and individuals can be kept to a minimum. Copies of the terms of reference and membership are in the Library of the House.
MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON DEREGULATION (EDD)
President of the Board of Trade (Chairman)
Lord President of the Council
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Secretary of State for Employment
Lord Privy Seal
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry
Other Ministers will be invited to attend as necessary.
Terms of Reference
"To co-ordinate the Government's programme of deregulation and to consider how the burden of regulation on businesses, charities and individuals can be kept to a minimum."
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners (1) if he will list the estimates the Commission has been given by the House of Bishops on the estimated number of resignations and claims which will be made to the Ordination of Women (Financial Provisions) Measure 1993 up until the expiry of the Measure;
(2) what estimates the Church Commission has made of the number of priests who will claim compensation under the Ordination of Women (Financial Provisions) Measure 1993 for each year until the expiry of the Measure.
As at 30 April 1995, 265 clergy eligible for financial assistance under the Measure had resigned and so far have received £3.5 million in resettlement grants and periodic payments. A further 40 clergy have indicated their intention to resign. It is difficult to predict the final number of resignations. However, actual expenditure in 1994 and illustrative costings based on a possible total of 350 resignations are set out in the following table. These reflect the pattern of expenditure to date.
Illustration of costs for 350 resignations |Net |Gross costs |Housing |Housing |to be met |Capital |Capital Year |£ |£ |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1994 |2,452,000 |5,011,000 |747,000 |5,011,000 1995 |3,439,000 |4,770,000 |1,872,000 |4,770,000 1996 |3,216,000 |1,370,000 |1,899,000 |1,370,000 1997 |2,434,000 |355,000 |1,226,000 |54,000 1998 |1,731,000 |213,000 |706,000 |(100,000) 1999 |1,250,000 |111,000 |433,000 |(215,000) 2000 |890,000 |85,000 |272,000 |(254,000) 2001 |851,000 |88,000 |412,000 |(264,000) 2002 |707,000 |91,000 |413,000 |(274,000) 2003 |625,000 |95,000 |437,000 |(285,000) 2004 |415,000 |- |321,000 |(396,000) 2005 |289,000 |- |244,000 |(411,000) 2006 |216,000 |- |197,000 |(428,000) 2007 |211,000 |- |204,000 |(445,000) 2008 |211,000 |- |209,000 |(463,000) 2009 |217,000 |- |216,000 |(361,000) 2010 |221,000 |- |221,000 |(375,000) 2011 |226,000 |- |226,000 |(390,000) 2012 |233,000 |- |233,000 |(406,000) |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- Total |19,834,000 |12,189,000 |10,488,000 |6,138,000 Notes: (a) The number of resignations shown, 350, is a broad estimate, and the final costs may vary substantially. (b) Actual costs based on 232 resignations are shown in respect of 1994. A similar pattern of costs has been assumed for future years. (c) The figures make allowance for future increases in house prices and stipends. (d) It has been assumed that 50 per cent. of resigners will require housing assistance. (e) The net figures take account of such variables as stipends savings-assuming at least a temporary reduction in the payroll-allowance for retirement housing provision which would otherwise have arisen on retirement, and the possibility of some people redeeming loans or leaving rented accommodation once they have obtained alternative employment.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners what redundancy and other terms are being awarded to clergy who have left the Church of England to join the Roman Catholic Church.
Mr. Alison: Clergy who resign from ecclesiastical service and apply for assistance under the Ordination of Women (Financial Provisions) Measure 1993 are entitled to the various payments stipulated by the Measure, irrespective of whether they join another church. Provision is made for periodical payments and a
Column 380resettlement grant. Additional discretionary payments may be made in cases of hardship, and access is also granted to the Church's housing assistance for the retired ministry scheme. Clergy in receipt of assistance under the Measure are obliged to disclose the income or other benefits derived from any new employment or office, and their periodical payments may be reduced or terminated to take account of this.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library (a) a copy of the paper on the United Kingdom's activities relating to the objectives of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to which reference was made by Sir Michael Weston in his presentation to main committee I of the non- proliferation treaty conference on 19 April, (b) all other working papers submitted by the United Kingdom delegation to the main and sub-committees, (c) details of responses made by other delegations to United Kingdom submissions and (d) a copy of the final declaration from the conference; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of the non-proliferation treaty review and extension conference.
Mr. David Davis: Copies of the paper have been placed in the Library providing information on the activities and views of the United Kingdom on the principal objectives of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and of our statements to main committees I, II, and III. Copies of the verbatim records of the open debates in the main committees will also be placed in the House Library. It is not our practice to disclose working papers. The conference did not adopt a final declaration. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made a statement to the House on 16 May, Official Report, columns 151 61.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to China about the nuclear weapons test conducted in China on 14 May. 
Mr. David Davis: We have made no formal representations to the Chinese. We have noted their repeated commitment to abide by a comprehensive test ban treaty and look forward to their active participation in the negotiations on that treaty, which we hope will reach an early conclusion.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what indication the Chinese delegation at the recent nuclear non-proliferation treaty conference in New York gave to the United Kingdom diplomatic delegation of the intention of China to conduct a nuclear weapons test on 14 May. 
Column 381information has been provided to Her Majesty's Government by the Government of the United States concerning the technical capability and aspirations of Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. 
Mr. David Davis: We remain in close touch with the US Government on this issue. However, it is not our practice to reveal details of confidential exchanges with other Governments. We have grave concerns about the nuclear weapon aspirations of Iran, and we continue to work closely with the United States and our European partners to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Ms Hodge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many posts were lost in (a) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) agencies for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible, listing the total lost posts agency by agency in (i) 1993 94 and (ii) 1994 95; and how many posts are proposed to be lost in 1995 96. 
Mr. Goodlad: Details of reductions in job slots resulting from efficiency measures taken in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Overseas Development Administration up to 1993 94 have been published annually in the citizens charter White Paper.
The number of job slots reduced in 1994 95 was: FCO, 1985; ODA, 32; and Natural Resources Institute, 49. The following reductions in 1995 96 have also been identified: FCO, 92; ODA, 50; and NRI, 140. There have been no reductions in slots at Wilton Park, the FCO agency, nor are there plans for reductions in 1995 96.
Ms Hodge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes there have been in the numbers of staff employed by (a) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) agencies for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible, listing the changes in the number of staff agency by agency in (i) 1993 94 and (ii) 1994 95; and what changes are projected for 1995 96. 
Mr. Goodlad: The members of permanent and casual staff employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office diplomatic wing and its executive agency and the Overseas Development Administration in 1993 94, projected outturn for 1994 95, and plans for 1995 96 are published in this Department's annual report, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
The breakdown for the Overseas Development Administration and its agency, the Natural Resources Institute, is:
|1993-94 |1994-95 |1995-96 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ODA Civil Service full-time equivalents |1,190 |1,137 |1,120 Overtime |21 |17 |17 Casuals |56 |63 |70 |--------|--------|-------- |1,267 |1,217 |1,207 NRI Civil Service full-time equivalents |428 |341 |341 Overtime |3 |3 |3 Casuals |25 |25 |25 |--------|--------|-------- |456 |369 |369
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a decision is to be taken on the application made by Arshad Iqbal--ref: IMM/C8387--to the post in Islamabad to join his wife in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Baldry: I have asked the high commission in Islamabad for details and will arrange for the hon. Member to receive a substantive reply from the migration and visa correspondence unit as soon as possible.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the size and membership of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and United Nations Family Planning Association delegations to the UN conference on women to be held in Beijing and of his Department's delegation. 
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We have no information on the size or composition of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Family Planning Association delegations to the fourth world conference on women. On the British delegation, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Employment on 16 March, Official Report , column 648 .
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the human rights implications of choosing Beijing as the venue for the UN conference on women; what consideration was given to China's population programme in the choice of venue; what were the reasons for the choice; what representations Her Majesty's Government made to the conference organisers on the issue; and what provision is being made on the agenda to discuss the programme.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: Peking was nominated as the venue for the fourth world conference on women in accordance with the United Nations principle of geographical rotation. Population will be discussed in one of the critical areas of concern in the global platform for action.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to send a delegation of hon. Members and military experts to East Timor to assess whether British arms including Hawk aircraft are being used against the local civilian population by the Indonesian army. 
We have closely considered the latest allegations that Hawk aircraft have used to attack villages in East Timor and found no evidence from any source to support them.
Our embassy staff visit East Timor regularly, as do other western diplomats. The all-party Anglo-Indonesian parliamentary group visited East Timor from 17 to19 September 1994.
Column 383has received that Scorpion tanks exported to Indonesia will not be used against either Indonesia or East Timorese civilians. 
Sir John Gorst: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made by Her Majesty's Government to promote and sustain the reform process in Romania; and what results have been achieved by the establishment of the Romania information service. 
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We continue to support the reform process in Romania through a variety of means including the know-how fund. Romania is now a member of the Council of Europe and has an association agreement with the European Union. We also support financially the Romanian information centre which responds to the needs for advice and support for over 500 British charities and non-governmental organisations working in Romania.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the representatives of the Governments of India and Pakistan following the destruction of the holy shrine Charar-e-Sharief; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Baldry: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has not had any discussions with the representatives of the Government of India and Pakistan following the destruction of the holy shrine at Charar-e-Sharief.
Mr. David Young: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent actions he has taken to ascertain the fate of Kuwaiti military personnel and civilians abducted by the Iraqis; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We raise this issue at the United Nations at every opportunity and did so most recently when the Security Council reviewed sanctions against Iraq on 12 May. We have made it clear to the Iraqis that the lack of progress to date is unacceptable. We will continue to play a leading role in the tripartite commission and its technical sub-committee set up last December to speed up the review of case files on the detainees.
Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the harassment of Christians in Uzbekistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We have received reports of a meeting in Tashkent in April 1994 at which all religious organisations in Uzbekistan were warned against missionary activity, in particular the publishing and distribution of religious literature. We are not aware of any specific cases of harassment of Christians in Uzbekistan.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice has been given to his Department to (a) the Secretary of State for Defence and (b) the President of the Board of Trade on the transfer of weapons that can be used for torture overseas. 
Mr. David Davis: A wide variety of weapons could conceivably be used for torture. If this Department judged that defence equipment, if transferred, would be likely to be so used, it would advise against the transfer.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what are themain conclusions of his Department's report on mortgage arrears and repossessions; if he will identify, specifically, all the conclusions which refer to problems associated with the widespread promotion and uptake of private insurance to cover mortgage interest inthe event of redundancy; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will list all the individuals, companies and organisations which were consulted by his officials in preparing their report on mortgage arrears and repossessions;  (3) what has been the cost of producing his Department's report on mortgage arrears and repossessions; and if he will be arranging a press conference to publish that report; 
(4) when he intends to publish the full results of the report undertaken by his Department on mortgage arrears and repossessions; if he intends to circulate that report with an appropriate press release to the media; if he will make it his policy to make copies of that report immediately available through the Vote Office to allright hon. and hon. Members, and if he intends to make a statement in the House on the conclusions of thatreport; 
(5) what plans he has to make available to the Secretary of State for Social Security copies of his Department's report on mortgage arrears and repossessions. 
Mr. Curry: On 18 May 1995, my Department published the report of a £313,000 study commissioned from the university of Loughborough and the Policy Studies Institute into mortgage arrears, possessions and voluntary surrenders. Copies of the report, entitled "Mortgage arrears and possessions: perspectives from borrowers, lenders and the courts", have been placed in the Library. Copies have been sent to other Government Departments with an interest in the study, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Association of British Insurers, the Audit Commission, the Housing Corporation and the local authority associations. Further copies are available from HMSO outlets. In the course of the study, the researchers carried out surveys and interviews with representative borrowers, lenders and district judges. The methods used and number of respondents of each type are described on pages 115
Column 385to 121 of the report. The main conclusions of the study are set out in pages 107 to 113 of the report, and those relating to mortgage protection insurance are on pages 60 to 62.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the dumping of low- level radioactive waste on the Milton landfill site; and how many of them were in favour of the proposal to dump low-level radioactive waste on the Milton landfill site. 
Mr. Atkins: Low-level radioactive waste from "small users" such as hospitals and research laboratories has been disposed of by "controlled burial" at the Milton landfill site for a number of years. The Department's consultation document, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Preliminary Conclusions", published in August 1994, suggested that greater use should be encouraged of controlled burial by radioactive waste producers including the nuclear industry. No proposals were made for specific sites. The conclusions of the radioactive waste review will be published in a White Paper in the summer.
The Department has received 220 letters opposing the disposal of low-level radioactive waste from the nuclear industry at the Milton site, together with two petitions--one with 766 signatures, the other with five. I also understand that the operators of the Milton site have said that they will not accept radioactive waste from the nuclear industry.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance on appraisal, covering environmental, economic and financial costs to industry, he has given to the National Rivers Authority to assist it when it draws up its recommendations for statutory water quality objectives for the pilot rivers; and what arrangements he has made for the appraisals to be made available to the public. 
Mr. Atkins: It is for the National Rivers Authority to support its recommendations for statutory water quality objectives with an assessment of the anticipated costs and benefits of achieving them. It is intended that this should form part of the public consultation document on the proposals.
Mr. Thomason: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what provisional resources his Department makes available to assist low-income households improve the energy efficiency of their homes. 
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Our major energy efficiency programme for low- income households is the home energy efficiency scheme. More than 1 million households have benefited since 1991 from this scheme, which pays grants for basic home insulation measures and energy advice to householders who are over 60, receive an income-related benefit or disability living allowance. We have increased provision for the scheme substantially. During 1995 96, some £100 million will be made available for grants, and a similar sum has been set aside for each of the next two years. Over the next three years, I expect almost 2 million households to benefit from grants.
Mr. Thomason: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the results of the funding by Midlands Electricity of neighbourhood energy action projects to benefit low-income consumers in the west midlands; and if he will commend the extension of private and voluntary sector partnership to other utilities. 
Mr. Robert B. Jones: More than 20 different projects in the west midlands, ranging in scope from the provision of energy advice to non- English-speaking communities to home improvement programmes building on the energy efficiency measures available under our home energy efficiency scheme, have resulted from Midland Electricity's generous contribution to a partnership with the charity Neighbourhood Energy Action. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State visited one of these projects in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham on 20 March this year, and was impressed with the energy efficiency improvements for the benefit of low-income households. This initiative is a good example of the kind of partnership between the private and voluntary sectors which many other energy companies have already adopted or are considering.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment his Department has made of the safety of the United Kingdom's landfill sites. 
Mr. Atkins: All landfill sites are required to be licensed by waste regulation authorities in accordance with part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A waste regulation authority is required to reject an application for a licence unless it is satisfied that the landfill operation will not lead to pollution of the environment, harm to human health or serious detriment to the amenities of the locality. Conditions are attached to licences to ensure that operations do not lead to pollution or harm. Waste regulation authorities should regularly review licences to ensure that the conditions remain appropriate and effective. Authorities have powers to suspend or revoke licences if the licensed activities would cause pollution or harm.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his proposals for the allocation of standard spending assessments to the new unitary authorities created as a result of local government reorganisation in Cleveland. 
Mr. Curry: The standard spending assessments for the new unitary authorities in Cleveland will be calculated on the basis of the services which these authorities provide, using the formulae which are applied to all relevant authorities.
Details of the formulae for 1995 96 are set out in the publication "Standard Spending Assessment Handbook, 1995 96", which is available from the Library. Following the review work which we undertake each year with the local authority associations, we will publish our proposals for 1996 97 in the usual way in December.
Mr. Sheermen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment his Department has made of the progress of our European partners towards satisfying the recommendations of the United Nations conference on environment and development. 
Mr. Atkins: The primary responsibility for carrying forward the commitments entered into at the Rio Earth summit lies with individual countries. At the request of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, EU colleagues adopted an action plan to implement the Rio commitments. Progress on meeting these commitments, and reviewing them as appropriate, is discussed at international fora such as the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and the recent Berlin meeting of parties to the convention on climate change. The European Community's fifth environmental action programme, "Towards Sustainability", is linked closely to the principles and themes of Agenda 21. The UK is contributing fully to the present review of the programme by the European Commission.
Mr. Patrick Thompson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure housing management services are exempt from compulsory competitive tendering during local government reorganisation and that those authorities with only boundary changes following the review are exempted in the same way as those with structural changes. 
Mr. Robert B. Jones: On 12 December, the Government made regulations --the Local Government Changes for England (Direct Labour and Service Organisations) Regulations 1994--to exempt local authorities undergoing reorganisation from most of the requirements of compulsory competitive tendering. However, the regulations as drafted did not extend to housing management services or to authorities which will undergo functional changes but where the transferor authority has not been abolished. I have now made amendment regulations to rectify these omissions. These are being laid before the House today.
I have also taken the opportunity in these same amendment regulations to extend the exemption to local authority subject to boundary changes but not structural changes as a result of the implementation of the recommendations of the Local Government Commission made in pursuance of a direction given before the date these regulations were made. I think it only fair that such authorities are treated in a similar way as those that have been restructured. They also will face problems arising from the need to take decisions on appropriate new patterns of service delivery.