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Coal Authority

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the annual report and accounts of the Coal Authority will be laid before Parliament. [39009]

Mr. Lang: I have today laid a copy before each House of Parliament.

Brick Industry

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what share of the brick supply industry would be held by (a) Ibstock plc, and (b) Hanson plc, were the proposed acquisition of Redland Brick plc by Ibstock Buildings Products Ltd. to be allowed to proceed. [38038]

Mr. John M. Taylor [holding answer 18 July 1996]: I am advised by Ibstock that it would have approximately 30 per cent of UK brick manufacturing capacity after the proposed divestment of the plants to which my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade referred in his announcement of 11 July and that it believes Hanson has approximately 31 per cent.

Mr. Winterton: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the total output and product range of each of the brick plants which it is proposed by the Director General of Fair Trading should be divested under the terms of undertakings to be given by Ibstock Building Products Ltd. in connection with the proposed acquisition of Redland Brick plc by Ibstock Building Products Ltd. [38037]

Mr. Taylor [holding answer 18 July 1996]: The total manufacturing capacity of each of the plants is as follows:


Each of the plants produces a full range of facing bricks for housing and commercial use. In addition, Chailey produces a range of pavers.



    Source: Ibstock.

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 37

Tender Documents

Mr. Tipping: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what tender documents were produced by the Government office for the east midlands in February calling for a strategy for marketing the competitiveness agenda for the east midlands; if he will place copies in the Library; how many companies responded to the request; what framework was used to evaluate the bids; which companies were successful; and if he will make a statement. [38344]

Mr. Page: On 7 February 1996, the Government office for the east midlands, GO-EM, telephoned four local companies, inviting them to provide quotations for a small, short-term contract to help develop a plan for marketing competitiveness in the region. Each company was given the same oral briefing on GO-EM's requirements. Two of them requested--and were granted--meetings to discuss these requirements in more detail.

Three of the companies provided quotations. These were evaluated on the basis of value for money--that is, price and suitability. The contract was awarded to Audax Communications.

I am satisfied that GO-EM's actions in this case were wholly in accordance with the Government's public purchasing policy.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Anti-racist Year

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now support the European Union proposal to nominate 1997 as an anti-racist year; and if he will make a statement. [38224]

Mr. David Davis: We support the draft resolution designating 1997 as the European Year against Racism. We expect the resolution to be adopted by the Council in the near future.

Bermuda (Asbestos)

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Bermudan authorities about disposal of asbestos; what has been his response; and if he will make a statement. [38226]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: The Bermudian authorities have asked the United Kingdom on a contingency basis to consider the possibility of disposing of asbestos by landfill in the UK. The Bermudians are also investigating other possible landfill options outside Bermuda. The feasibility of disposal in the UK is being considered as an option.

Royal Visits

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official visits aborad were made by Prince Michael of Kent in (a) 1993-94 and (b) 1994-95; on what dates; at what cost; and which visits were made by use of the Royal Squadron. [38441]

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 38

Mr. Rifkind: Prince Michael of Kent made no official visit overseas during this period.

Entry Clearance

Mr. Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applicants for visit entry clearance during 1995 and 1996 to the latest convenient date were dealt with under the pre-sift procedure at the British post in (a) Bombay, (b) New Delhi, (c) Islamabad, (d) Dhaka, (e) Manila, (f) Moscow, (g) Kingston and (h) in total; how many people at each post were (i) informed they could proceed to make application, (ii) informed they should not proceed with the application and (iii) asked to produce more documents; how many people in (ii) and (iii) proceeded with the application; and how many of them were (1) granted and (2) refused entry clearance. [38427]

Mr. Hanley: The following are the figures for entry clearance applicants dealt with under the pre-sift procedure during 1995:

Number
Bombay4,260
New Delhi6,101
Islamabad13,717
Dhaka419
Manila209
Moscow0
Kingston1,254

The information required to answer the remainder of this question is not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Western Sahara

Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons his representative at the United Nations Securities Council voted in May to suspend the MINURSO votes registration project in Western Sahara; and if he will make a statement. [37724]

Mr. Hanley: We, and other members of the Friends of the Secretary General on the Western Sahara, agreed with the UN Secretary-General's recommendations temporarily to suspend the voter registration process in view of the lack of progress.

We continue to urge Morocco and Polisario to co-operate with the UN and its operation in the territory, MINURSO, so that voter registration can proceed and lead to a referendum on self-determination.

Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the suitability of the United Nations voter registration project in Western Sahara for creating the conditions for a fair referendum on the future of Western Sahara. [37726]

Mr. Hanley: We believe that the UN operation in the Western Sahara, MINURSO, has developed strict criteria which should result in only those being eligible to vote being included in the electoral register for the referendum.

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 39

We urge both parties to put their trust in the process and co-operate with the UN Secretary-General and MINURSO so that voter registration can be resumed.

We continue to believe that a referendum of self-determination represents the best solution to the conflict in the Western Sahara.

Equal Rights

Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the provisions in the Euro Mediterranean Association agreement in respect of the equal rights of all peoples to self-determination; and if he will list the states which are signatories to the treaty. [37725]

Mr. David Davis: The Euro-Mediterranean Association agreements, so far concluded with Tunisia, Morocco and Israel, state that respect for human rights and democratic principles constitute an essential element of the agreement. The principle of self-determination is not specifically mentioned in the association agreements, but in the declaration which was adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean conference at Barcelona in November 1995, 15 EU member states and the 12 Mediterranean partners undertake


Indonesia

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have recently made to the Government of Indonesia concerning human rights abuses; and if he will make a statement. [38199]

Mr. Hanley: We regularly raise our concerns about human rights with the Indonesian Government. Most recently I discussed human rights on 15 July in Jakarta with the Indonesian Foreign Minister and others.

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what visits have been made by (i) Her Majesty's ambassador to Indonesia and (ii) embassy staff to East Timor; and what reports have been made available to him concerning East Timor. [38115]

Mr. Hanley: Since 1994 British embassy staff in Jakarta have visited East Timor three times: twice in 1995 and once in 1996. On the most recent visit the FCO desk officer accompanied. Her Majesty's ambassador to Indonesia has not visited East Timor. We have received numerous reports concerning East Timor, including from non-governmental organisations and other Governments, in addition to those from our embassy in Jakarta.


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