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Vat on Fuel (NHS)

Ms Primarolo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 12 March, Official

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 107

Report, columns 552-53, what estimates he has made of VAT receipts in respect of expenditure on fuel from the NHS in each year 1979 to 1995. [21398]

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: All supplies of fuel and power were zero-rated before 1 July 1990. Estimates of VAT receipts in respect of expenditure on fuel and power by the NHS are given for each year from 1990 to 1994. Figures are not yet available on which to base an estimate for 1995.

£ million
199070
1991180
1992200
1993200
1994200

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Executive Agencies

Mr. Cummings: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions in each of the past five years Ministers in his Department have passed (a) hon. Members' letters and (b) hon. Members' questions to agencies for response; and what this figure is as a percentage of the total number of letters and questions received. [19419]

Mr. Lang: I refer the hon. Member to the following table.

YearPassed to agenciesPer cent. of total
Letters
19915015.6
19927567.9
19931,1049.0
19941,0798.3
19951,41612.5
PQs
19910n/a
199240
19930n/a
199420
199510

Company Board Members (Termination Settlements)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what statutory provisions govern challenges by shareholders to a termination settlement for a board member of a publicly quoted company; [20897]

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 108

Mr. Oppenheim: Sections 312 to 316 of the Companies Act 1985 make various provisions in respect of compensation payments to directors for loss of office. They apply only in cases where the director does not have a contract with the company; they do not cover bona fide payments by way of damages for breach of contract or by way of pension in respect of past service. Under section 312 of the Act it is unlawful for a company to make a compensation payment without particulars of the proposed payment, including the amount, being disclosed to members of the company and approved by the company. Section 313 makes such payments unlawful when made in connection with the transfer of the whole or part of the undertaking or property of a company and when made by third parties, unless particulars have been disclosed to shareholders and approved by the company. Section 314 provides that where such a payment is to be made to a director of a company in connection with the transfer of all or any shares of the company resulting from an offer to shareholders, it is the duty of the director to take all reasonable steps to include particulars of the proposed payment with any notice of the offer given to shareholders.

Under section 318 of the Companies Act 1985, where a director has a written contract of service the company must make available a copy of the contract for inspection by any member of the company without charge. Where the contract is not in writing, the company must make available for inspection a written memorandum setting out the terms of the contract. However, these requirements do not apply where the unexpired portion of the term for which the contract is to be in force is less than 12 months, or where the contract can, within the next ensuing 12 months, be terminated by the company without payment of compensation.

I have no plans to introduce further legislation on these subjects.

Export Licensing

Sir David Steel: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to publish a consultation paper including proposals for (a) the content of new legislation in place of the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939 and (b) an export licensing system as recommended by Sir Richard Scott. [21298]

Mr. Lang: I have agreed to publish a consultation paper covering export control legislation and licensing procedures. The aim is to issue the paper by this summer.

Sir David Steel: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to make available for public inspection applications for military equipment export licences in advance of the licence application being considered; and if he will make a statement. [21545]

Mr. Lang: As a response to the recommendations of Sir Richard Scott in his report, I have agreed to publish a consultation paper covering export control legislation and licensing procedures. This will cover consideration of the extent to which details of licence applications should be published. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has agreed to a review of the convention by which replies to parliamentary questions on arms sales are refused, and an information paper on this has already been placed in the Library of the House.

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 109

Fur Trade

Mr. Heppell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate he has made of the number of retail businesses involved in the fur trade in each of the last five years. [21372]

Mr. Oppenheim: None.

Public Sector Research Establishments

Mr. Connarty: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on his policy towards public sector research establishments. [21259]

Mr. Ian Taylor: The Government set out their policy towards public sector research establishments in their response to the "Multi-departmental Scrutiny of Public Sector Research Establishments", published in September 1995, Cm 2991.

This initiated a programme of prior options reviews of establishments, to allow Ministers collectively to take a strategic view of the UK's public sector research establishments. Each review is addressing the relationship of the establishment concerned to others in similar or related fields and will consider, among other things, the potential for privatisation or rationalisation.

The results of these reviews will be considered by Ministers collectively, with the aim of completing the major part of the work by the end of 1996.

Inward Investment

Mr. Renton: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the most recent figures for inward investment into the United Kingdom over the past five years from (a) within the European Union and (b) outside the European Union; and how many jobs this investment (i) created and (ii) maintained. [21554]

Mr. Oppenheim: According to figures notified to my Department's Invest in Britain Bureau for the financial years 1990-91 to 1994-95, the number of projects, new and safeguarded jobs from within and outside the European Union are as follows:

Number of projectsJobs newJobs safeguarded
EU
1990-911275,14118,061
1991-921365,77214,212
1993-931084,55020,727
1993-941275,03143,492
1994-95(4)1036,93015,094
Total60127,374111,586
Non EU
1990-9123718,67942,839
1991-9221716,80116,891
1992-9322513,27223,098
1993-9430625,61026,262
1994-9535231,42138,764
Total1,337105,783147,854

(4) Figures do not include Austria, Finland and Sweden who joined the European Union in January 1995.


19 Mar 1996 : Column: 110

All the figures are based on numbers of projects notified to the Invest in Britain Bureau at the time of the decision to invest. Companies are under no obligation to notify their investment decisions and the figures take no account of subsequent developments.

PRIME MINISTER

Far East (Visit)

Mr. Parry: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his recent official visit to the far east. [19934]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townsend) on 7 March, Official Report, columns 315-16.

Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 19 March. [20054]

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 19 March.[20055]

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today.


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