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Aid Expenditure

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the United States authorities about overseas aid expenditure.     [39937]

Mr. Hanley: My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has not held such discussions. However, my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for Overseas Development last held discussions about overseas aid expenditure with the US authorities when she visited Washington in June this year.

Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government plan a reduction in the proportion of gross national product currently spent on overseas aid.     [39940]

Mr. Hanley: Future levels of aid will depend on the outcome of the public expenditure survey, which is currently under way.

Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what comparison he has made between the proportion of gross national product spent on foreign aid by the United Kingdom and (a) Denmark and (b) Sweden.     [39941]

Mr. Hanley: The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden spent the following proportions of gross national product on aid in the last three years.


Percentage                             

                   |1992|1993|1994     

---------------------------------------

(a) United Kingdom |0.31|0.31|0.31     

(b) Denmark        |1.02|1.03|1.03     

(c) Sweden         |1.03|0.99|0.90     

Women's Programmes

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Government's recent proposals for the overseas aid budget will affect those programmes aimed at helping women in the developing world to which the Government committed itself at the UN women's conference in Beijing.     [39939]

Mr. Hanley: Programmes aimed at helping women in the developing world will continue to be an important priority for ODA. Future spending plans are currently under discussion.


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NATIONAL HERITAGE

Millennium Exhibition

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will issue guidance on entrance charges to the proposed millennium exhibition.     [40082]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: This is a matter for the Millennium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

Millennium Funding

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what study or consideration she has given to the relative income generation potential of the bids for millennium funding in Wales from the Welsh national stadium and the Cardiff Bay opera house.     [38048]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: This is a matter for the Millennium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) what consultations she has had in relation to the compliance with the publicly stated conditions for funding from the Millennium Commission of (a) the redevelopment of the Welsh national rugby stadium and (b) the Cardiff Bay opera house;     [37819]

(2) if she will list the reports prepared for the Millennium Commission in relation to the bids for funding (a) the Cardiff Bay opera house and (b) redevelopment of the Welsh national rugby stadium; and what were the main positive and negative recommendations contained in each report with respect to the project under review;     [37823]

(3) what estimate she has of the level of matching private funds available corresponding to the bids for assistance from the Millennium Commission for (a) the Cardiff Bay opera house and (b) the redevelopment of the Welsh national rugby stadium;     [37821] (4) what estimates she has made of the relative levels of public support in Wales for the proposals to obtain Millennium Commission funding for (a) the redevelopment of the Welsh national rugby stadium and (b) the Cardiff Bay opera house; and if she will make a statement;     [37820]

(5) what deadline she has given for the determination of the bids for funding from the Millennium Commission of (a) the Cardiff Bay opera house and (b) the redevelopment of the Welsh national rugby Stadium.     [37822]

Mrs. Bottomley [holding answer 19 October 1995]: This is a matter for the Millennium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what consultations she has had with the organisations applying to the Millennium Commission for funding; and what guidance she has issued to them concerning their eligibility or otherwise for funding where geographically applicable from (a) the European regional


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development fund, (b) the Wales tourist board, (c) the Welsh Development Agency and Development Board for Rural Wales and (d) other public grant-aiding bodies; and what proposals she has to issue further clarification in the guidelines.     [38416]

Mrs. Bottomley [holding answer 20 October 1995]: This is a matter for the Millennium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what special measures she proposes for ensuring that appropriate tests of public support are carried out in respect of millennium fund projects submitted from Wales; and if she will make a

statement.     [40724]

Mrs. Bottomley [holding answer 31 October 1995]: This is a matter for the Millennium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

PRIME MINISTER

Remploy Consortium

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has had from the trade union side secretary of the Remploy Consortium; what reply he is sending; what action he is taking; and if he will make a statement.     [40934]

The Prime Minister: I have received one such representation, which will be responded to in due course by my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Education and Employment.

Deregulation

Mr. Steen: To ask the Prime Minister (1) pursuant to his oral answer of 2 May, Official Report, columns 167-68, what progress is being made towards repealing those regulations identified as unnecessary burdens to business;     [41569]

(2) if a compliance cost assessment has been completed on each regulation to be repealed; and what is the estimated saving to (a) small businesses and (b) the public funds from the repeal of each regulation.     [41570]

The Prime Minister: We have identified over 1,000 regulations for repeal or amendment and are on target to have dealt with over half of those by the end of the year. The requirement to carry out a compliance cost assessment applies to regulations imposing additional burdens on business while the programme of repeals and amendments is concerned with reducing the burden. However, to take an example, simplification of the food temperature control regulations will help small businesses and generate savings of about £40 million a year for the industry as a whole without removing any necessary public health protection.

Overseas Aid Budget

Ms Lestor: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many letters about the size of the overseas aid budget he has


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received from hon. Members since 1 September; and what was the comparable figure for the same period in the previous year;     [41664] (2) how many letters about the size of the overseas aid budget he has received from non-governmental organisations since 1 September; and what was the comparable figure for the same period in the previous year;     [41662]

(3) how many letters about the size of the overseas aid budget he has received from members of the public since 1 September; and what was the comparable figure for the same period in the previous year.     [41663]

The Prime Minister: I have received a substantial number of representations on this matter over the past 12 months.

President Chirac

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library (a) a copy of the memorandum on defence and security co-operation agreed with President Chirac of France on 30 October and (b) the text of the press conference he jointly hosted with President Chirac on 30 October.     [41473]

The Prime Minister: I have already done so.

Quebec (Ex-premier's Remarks)

Mr. Mates: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it clear to the ex-premier of Quebec Her Majesty's displeasure at his remarks about ethnic minority groups and the recent referendum.     [41327]

The Prime Minister: The outcome of the referendum is a matter for Canadians in Canada. The Canadian Prime Minister has called for reconciliation. We wish the Canadian people well in the task of working together to this end.

Official Inquiries

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list all the official inquiries he and his department have undertaken over the last five years indicating the dates they were initiated and the date when the findings were released to the public.     [41450]

The Prime Minister: I have set up no further inquiries since my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster answered a similar question from my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Forman) on 25 May, Official Report , columns 717-20.

Marriage

Mr. Patten: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to help married families since April 1992;     [40898]

(2) what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to strengthen the institution of marriage since April 1992.     [40899]

The Prime Minister: The Government are fully committed to supporting the institution of marriage. Marriage is the bedrock of family life. Stable families are good for our children. They are a source of love and discipline, and of support for weaker members. However,


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we recognise that marriage is also a personal matter. We have taken several steps to support marriage, while at the same time respecting the privacy of personal relationships and choice.

This Government believe that married couples should receive recognition in the tax system. Married couples therefore receive tax treatment on both income and capital. They pay nearly £260 per year less in tax than most single people on the same income, at a total cost of £2.7 billion in 1995, and are treated more favourably for capital gains and inheritance tax. Inheritance tax reliefs for married couples are alone worth around £950 million in 1995 96. We also believe that people should have access to help to overcome problems in their marriages. The Government have therefore given £8.5 million to marriage guidance and research organisations since April 1992.

To take this further, an interdepartmental group on marriage was set up in April this year to identify how Government can develop additional services to help couples who are considering marriage or whose marriages are in difficulty.

Housing is a crucial issue for married families. Our White Paper "Our Future Homes" sets out the aim of ensuring that a decent home is in reach of every family. We want to make sure that the allocation of social housing includes the need to support married couples who take a responsible approach to family life as an important objective. We want to take away as many barriers to marriage as possible. For this reason, the Government supported a private Member's Bill in 1994 which widened the choice of venues for couples wishing to marry by civil ceremony.

Government Ministers meet representatives from the Churches and other organisations supporting marriage on an on going basis to discuss the scope for further initiatives.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Executive Agencies

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list by grade the numbers of staff and their cost for (a) the financial year 1994 95 and (b) the estimated figures for the financial year 1995 96, for each executive agency for which he is responsible.     [39479]

Mr. Hanley: The FCO diplomatic wing has one agency, Wilton Park, for which the information requested is given in the table. For the ODA, the chief executive of the Natural Resources Institute will write shortly to the hon. Member with the details requested.


Staffing levels |1994-95        |1995-96                        

----------------------------------------------------------------

HCS 5           |1              |1                              

HCS 6           |1              |1                              

HCS 7           |5              |5                              

EO              |8              |8                              

AO              |2              |3                              

PS              |3              |3                              

CM III          |1              |1                              

CHEF II         |3              |3                              

SGB II          |8              |8                              

                                                                

Total cost      |£630,538       |£664,000                       

Figures are gross and include national insurance contributions and superannuation.

Letter from Anthony Beattie to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 3 November 1995:

Natural Resources Institute--Staffing--

In his reply of 30 October to your question to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs about staffing in executive agencies, Mr Hanley indicated that I would write to you separately about the position in the Natural Resources Institute (NRI). I now attach the information which you require. It needs some explanation.


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The first point is that staffing levels in NRI are highly variable. They reflect day to day changes in the large number of individual projects and contracts which make up our business. It is therefore not meaningful to speak in terms of absolute numbers in a particular grade for a complete year as the numbers will change significantly over that period.

We have therefore based the data on the number of man-years of employment in each grade over the two years about which you have asked.

There is a further complication in respect of the estimated figures for 1995/96. We are currently in the process of implementing a voluntary redundancy programme which has as its aim the reduction of staffing levels to 360 by 1 April 1996. We do not know - and cannot reasonably speculate about - the identity of the staff who will volunteer to accept redundancy or when precisely they might be released. We have therefore compiled the 1995/96 estimate on the assumption that the volunteers will be evenly distributed across all grades and that the timing of their departures will occur on a straight-line basis between the end of September (when the first departures began to occur) and 31 March 1996.

All this does mean, I am afraid, that the 1995/96 estimate is subject to a considerably greater degree of uncertainty that might ordinarily be the case.


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Numbers of staff in NRI by grade, and their cost in 1994-95 and 1995-96                      

                                       1994-95 (actual)      1995-96                         

                                                  (estimated)                                

                                      |Man years |Pay cost £|Man years |Pay cost £           

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Grade 3                               |1.0       |76,054    |1.0       |78,008               

Grade 5                               |4.7       |264,851   |4.2       |202,494              

Department Regional Vet Officer       |1.7       |97,372    |0.9       |38,632               

Grade 6                               |22.4      |1,258,534 |22.7      |965,257              

Advisory Officer 1                    |16.4      |660,537   |10.4      |367,966              

Grade 7 (Accountant)                  |1.0       |35,253    |0.9       |28,783               

Grade 7                               |106.6     |4,107,098 |93.2      |3,105,853            

Advisory Officer II                   |2.6       |111,848   |2.3       |64,016               

Senior Scientific Officer             |74.2      |2,329,698 |66.5      |1,724,471            

Senior Research Officer               |19.5      |476,447   |15.1      |311,292              

Senior Executive Officer (Accountant) |0.5       |17,069    |0.9       |20,736               

Senior Executive Officer              |3.4       |100,922   |5.2       |124,417              

Senior Information Officer            |2.0       |35,603    |1.7       |42,648               

Higher Scientific Officer             |54.0      |1,338,217 |45.5      |895,525              

Higher Executive Officer              |4.2       |131,632   |3.1       |64,929               

Higher Graphics Officer               |1.0       |24,301    |0.9       |18,492               

Higher Mapping and Charting Officer   |1.0       |24,617    |0.9       |18,672               

Scientific Officer                    |30.8      |601,838   |29.0      |463,804              

Information Officer                   |1.0       |41,431    |0.9       |15,972               

Librarian                             |1.0       |3,857     |0.9       |17,439               

Executive Officer                     |19.3      |355,919   |14.4      |220,618              

Typing Manager                        |2.0       |36,821    |1.7       |27,296               

Administrative Officer                |44.5      |559,503   |42.0      |458,823              

Assistant Scientific Officer          |17.3      |285,597   |12.8      |168,750              

Administrative Assistant              |2.6       |27,492    |2.5       |21,463               

Assistant Information Officer         |1.0       |18,270    |1.7       |27,670               

Assistant Librarian                   |2.5       |37,337    |1.7       |26,750               

Graphics Officer                      |1.0       |10,256    |0.9       |10,780               

Mapping and Charting Officer          |1.0       |21,790    |0.9       |16,609               

Mapping and Charting Tech Grade 1     |1.0       |15,256    |0.0       |0                    

Personal Secretary                    |11.8      |217,873   |9.2       |126,001              

Professional and Technology Officer   |2.0       |39,346    |1.7       |9,964                

Support Grade Band 1                  |8.5       |108,272   |6.9       |73,124               

Support Grade Band 2                  |12.3      |135,968   |10.4      |95,823               

Tech Grade 1                          |5.9       |92,098    |5.2       |69,078               

Typist                                |8.3       |87,614    |8.3       |95,375               

                                                                                             

                                      |490.0     |13,786,591|426.3     |10,017,526           

Iraq

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what information Her Majesty's Government had received on activities conducted since 1985 in connection with (a) the BADR 2000 missile, (b) project 144 on missile modification,


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(c) project 1728 on liquid propellant rocket engines and (d) the Karama project on production of missile guidance and control by Iraq, prior to the publication of the eighth biannual United Nations Special Commission report on the visits of the UN Special Commission on Iraq, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 687 of 1991;     [41505]


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(2) what information Her Majesty's Government had received on activities conducted since 1985 at (a) the Muthanna state establishment, (b) the Al Hakan facility, (c) the Al Hazen Ibn Al Haythan Institute in Al Salman, (d) the single cell protein plant at Tajis, (e) the Sammarra drug factory and (f) the Muhammadiyat weapons test range in Iraq, in regard to development of biological and chemical weapon or precursor agent development, prior to the publication on 11th October of the UNSCOM eight biannual report on its mission to Iraq.     [41504]

Mr. David Davis: It is not our practice to comment in detail on information given to us in confidence by UNSCOM. Nor do we comment on intelligence matters.

Mr. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional assistance has been offered by Her Majesty's Government to meet the acute shortage of funds detailed at page 35 of the UNSCOM eighth biannual report on its mission in Iraq pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 687 of 1991.     [41472]

Mr. Davis: We strongly support the work on UNSCOM and make a major effort to supply personnel, equipment and expertise. The funds which the United Kingdom commits to this have been about £1 million per annum. We have no plans to increase this.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 27 October, Official Report , column 862 , if he is following up any evidence that British companies have supplied materials relevant to Iraqi programmes to acquire weapons of mass destruction; and if he will make a statement.     [41433]

Mr. Davis: Inspections by the UN Special Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency have revealed the names of many companies from Britain and other countries which have traded with Iraq. UNSCOM and the IAEA inform us in confidence of British equipment found in order to help verify Iraqi statements. However, it is not our practice to comment on information passed to us by these organisations or to publish the names of the companies. Any evidence of wrong-doing will be investigated and, if appropriate, will be a matter for the courts.

Crown Colonies (Governors)

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Foster) of 30 October, Official Report , columns 10 11 , if the obligation to restrict political activities also applies to governors of Crown colonies.     [41280]

Mr. Hanley: Most governors of our dependent territories are diplomatic service officers and are therefore subject to diplomatic service regulations which restrict political activities. Where politicians are appointed as governors, on contract, these regulations do not apply and they may make political statements in their personal capacity.


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Sri Lanka

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the current situation in Sri Lanka and on reports of the recent massacres of civilians in the north and east.     [42020]

Mr. Hanley: We condemn the recent brutal massacres of civilians which have taken place, especially those in villages in the north and east of Sri Lanka. These outrages bear all the hallmarks of operations carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam--LTTE--and deserve the condemnation of the entire international community. We deplore the loss of life and destruction resulting from this conflict, and urge both the Government and the LTTE to take all possible steps to avoid further civilian casualties.

We continue to believe that a lasting solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka can be achieved only through a sustainable political settlement, reached through peaceful negotiation. The Government of Sri Lanka have put forward wide-ranging proposals for constitutional reform, which we believe could provide the basis for a negotiated settlement acceptable to all Sri Lankans. We urge all who are concerned to see a lasting and peaceful settlement to the conflict to make every effort to persuade the LTTE to respond positively to the constitutional opportunities now emerging.

Arms Sales (Peru and Equador)

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on arms sales to Peru and Ecuador following the outbreak of fighting in January in the long-standing border dispute.     [42021]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: The Government's policy is to support sales of UK defence equipment where this is compatible with our political, strategic and security interests. At all times, we have followed our established and public practice of considering individual sales to Peru and Ecuador on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the international guidelines to which we are committed. We shall continue to process applications on a case -by-case basis. Some licence applications for the export of military equipment were not approved during the period of heightened tension between Peru and Ecuador. The recent reduction in tension between the two countries is encouraging.

Bosnia

Ms Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has concerning requests to UN headquarters in Zagreb in July for air strikes to protect Srebrenica; and if he will make a statement.     [41220]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary in the House on 12 July 1995, Official Report , columns 947 66 .


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Immigration

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to introduce a system whereby a reference number is allocated to each individual who contacts entry clearance staff about an application for a visitor's visa, who is advised not to proceed, and then acts upon the advice, and if he will make a statement.     [41396]

Mr. Hanley: Some entry clearance issuing posts operate a preliminary assessment system whereby an applicant may be advised by an entry clearance officer that his application is unlikely to succeed, should he choose to proceed with the application. A fee is not taken unless an application is formally lodged. It is made clear to applicants that they are not obliged to follow this advice. Posts are required to maintain a record of the number of those who accept preliminary assessment advice. Additionally, posts are required to retain a record of those individuals who accept this advice for a period of six months after their inquiry to help deal with any subsequent inquiries.

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many potential applicants in (a) 1994 and (b) January to June 1995 seeking visitors' visas at (i) Islamabad, (ii) Delhi, (iii) Bombay and (iv) Lagos have been advised not to pursue their application; and if he will make a statement.     [41397]

Mr. Hanley: The number of potential applicants for non-settlement visas who were offered and accepted advice that their application was unlikely to succeed before they had paid their (non-refundable fee) in;

(a) 1994 was:

(i) Islamabad 10803

(ii) New Delhi 8179

(iii) Bombay 1689

(iv) Lagos 916

(b) January to June 1995 was:

(i) Islamabad 4853

(ii) New Delhi 3125

(iii) Bombay 2231

(iv) Lagos 165

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out, for the most recently available 12 -month period, the figures of applications for settlement in the United Kingdom from each country in the world, categorised by reasons for application and, in each case, the number and percentage of acceptance and refusals with, where available, reasons for rejection; and if he will, as appropriate, provide the same information with regard to applications for visits.     [41712]

Mr. Hanley: Information on visas granted and refused by country of application is published in table 2.1 of the Home Office Command Paper "Control of Immigration Statistics United Kingdom 1994" issued on 10 August 1995, Cm HMSO, a copy of which is in the Library.


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Figures are not available in any format categorised by reasons for application or reasons for refusal in either settlement or visit cases. To compile such statistics would incur disproportionate cost.

Brazil

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what attempts have been made by Her Majesty's embassy in Brazil to meet representatives of the Makuxi people in Roraima concerning their land rights and the implementation of the Group of Seven policies.     [41824]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: A British embassy official met

representatives of the Makuxi people in Roraima between 8 and 15 October.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to him recently on behalf of the Makuxi Indians in Brazil; and what was his response.     [41812]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: Representatives of the Makuxi had discussions with officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 1 November.

United Arab Emirates

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's ambassador has made to the Government of the United Arab Emirates about the proposed flogging of a 16-year-old Filipina girl; and if he will make a statement.     [41628]


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