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Structural Funds

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide details of the distribution of EU objective 3 structural funding in Scotland in respect of (a) 1994 and (b) 1995 to date. [239]

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 21 November 1995]: The amount claimed for 1994 by Scottish-based applicants is £46.3 million. This excludes a small amount of grant claimed for Scottish projects run by applicants based elsewhere in Great Britain.

For 1995, £45.3 million has so far been committed to Scottish projects. A further £1 million will be committed before the end of the calendar year.

Distribution of objective 3 moneys within Scotland, by area or agency, is not yet available.

Highlands and Islands Airports

Mr. Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to announce his conclusions on the review of Highlands and Islands airports; if he intends to publish the consultants' report; and if he will make a statement. [226]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 21 November 1995]: The report by Quayle Munro has not yet been received and no conclusions have been reached.

No decision has been made on whether the report will be published.

Invoices

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how his Department publicises payment practices other than as percentages of invoices paid late. [965]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The Department's payment practices are publicised in the departmental report and the guide to suppliers wishing to do business

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 169

with the Scottish Office--"Selling to The Scottish Office". The Department's standard terms and conditions of contract give details of payment terms and what action should be taken by suppliers on late payment of invoices. The booklet and standard terms and conditions are available on request.

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average length of time it takes for his Department to pay invoices. [923]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: In 1994-95 the Scottish Office paid suppliers on average 10 days from receipt of a valid invoice or the goods or services, whichever was the later.

This was the result of pursuing three objectives:


Flooding (Clyde)

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he holds on the impact of dredging policy and building on low-lying land on both sides of the Clyde on the likelihood of flooding; and if he will make that information available. [1225]

Mr. Kynoch: Developments on low-lying land adjacent to rivers face an inherent risk of flooding, however small. The assessment of this risk is primarily for developers and owners and a national planning policy guideline, planning and flooding, has been published to ensure that this is fully taken into account in the planning process. Strathclyde regional council, and the port authority jointly commissioned a study in 1988 of the possible effects of dredging operations reducing in line with the needs of the port. This concluded that this would have little effect on the risk of fluvial or tidal flooding but might lead to operational concerns for sewerage systems.

Tourism

Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the state of the tourism industry in Scotland. [770]

Mr. Kynoch: Tourism is a major contributor to the Scottish economy. My right hon. Friend has made clear his commitment to the industry. I am pleased to say that all the signs are that the industry has done well in 1995. In the first seven months alone, tourism trips to Scotland from within the United Kingdom were up by 24 per cent. over the same period last year, bednights up 32 per cent. and spend up by 15 per cent. Overseas trips to the UK as a whole also rose substantially and I expect Scotland to show a similar position. This success is underpinned by substantial Scottish Office support for tourism, through the Scottish tourist board and the enterprise agencies. We intend to continue to support the industry in its efforts to become still more competitive.

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 170

Local Government Reorganisation

Mr. Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what basis he will determine the allocation of borrowing consents to the new unitary authorities in 1996-97 and 1997-98; and if he will make a statement. [778]

Mr. Kynoch: On the basis of relative needs and inherited legal commitments.

DEFENCE

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all those in his Department who have authority to issue public interest immunity certificates; how many such certificates have been issued in each of the last five years; and what were the main reasons for them. [1432]

Mr. Soames: Ministers alone sign public interest immunity certificates in this Department. Since April 1992 the total number of PII certificates signed remains as stated in my answer of 16 October 1995 to the hon. Member for Clwyd, South-West (Mr. Jones), Official Report, columns 27-28. In the event, not all the certificates have been used. They cover a number of individual subjects, including the screening of certain members of the armed forces from the public at various criminal or civil proceedings and the protection of certain information from disclosure.

Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the extramural contractors to the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down, have agreed to allow disclosure of their contractual relationship with CBDE, in line with CBDE's open government initiative. [1593]

Mr. Arbuthnot: This is a matter for the Defence Evaluation Research Agency under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive, DERA, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 22 November 1995:


Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what specific measures have been implemented by the chemical and biological defence establishment to make it more open about its current activities. [1594]

Mr. Arbuthnot: This is a matter for the Defence Evaluation Research Agency under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive, DERA, to write to the hon. Member.

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 171

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 22 November 1995:


Invoices

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department publicises payment practices other than as percentages of invoices paid late. [950]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The payment of the vast majority of the Department's bills and those of its agencies is a matter for the chief executive of the Defence Accounts Agency. The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency is responsible for paying its own bills. I have asked the chief executives of these agencies to reply.

Letter from P. J. Trevelyan to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 22 November 1995:


Letter from John Chisholm to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 22 November 1995:



    You asked the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department publicises payment practices other than as percentages of invoices paid. I am replying for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.
    Details of payment practices are included in the terms and conditions of contracts sent to suppliers. Additionally we are preparing a new booklet, to be published shortly, that is intended to assist companies in doing business with DERA. This will include a section on our bill paying policies.
    I hope this is helpful.

22 Nov 1995 : Column: 172

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average length of time it takes for his Department to pay invoices. [935]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The payment of the vast majority of the Department's bills and those of its agencies is a matter for the chief executive of the Defence Accounts Agency. The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency is responsible for paying its own bills. I have asked the chief executives of these agencies to reply.

Letter from P. J. Trevelyan to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 22 November 1995:

You asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average length of time it takes for his Department to pay invoices. This matter falls to me, as Chief Executive of the Defence Accounts Agency for reply. This statistic is not recorded locally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.


Letter from John Chisholm to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 22 November 1995:

You asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average length of time it takes for his Department to pay invoices. I am replying for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.



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