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Arms Sales

Mr. Cohen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to her answer of 4 February 1998, Official Report, column 662, on payments due on arms sales to far eastern countries, if she will list (a) the countries involved, (b) the currencies involved and (c) the amounts involved, where payments may be due in a currency other than sterling or US dollars. [28531]

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Mrs. Roche: Only on some long standing defence equipment cash contracts on Malaysia has ECGD a contingent liability in a currency other than sterling or US dollars. This is in Malaysian ringitts and is currently estimated at £21 million.

Nabarro Nathanson Solicitors

Mr. Clapham: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the total sum paid to Nabarro Nathanson solicitors for legal services in (a) 1995-96 and (b) 1996-97. [28268]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 9 February 1998]: Payments by the DTI amounted to £48,495 in 1995-96. There were no payments in 1996-97.

Electricity Companies

Dr. Gibson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a request to the European Commission under the terms of the European Merger Regulation to ensure UK jurisdiction over the regulatory aspects of any takeover bid made for a UK regional electricity company. [28337]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 9 February 1998]: I understand from Directorate General IV of the European Commission that currently no bids for UK regional electricity companies have been notified to them under the European Community Merger Regulation. Were such a bid to be so notified my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade would consider the handling of the case on its merits at the time.

Gas Suppliers

Helen Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans she has to regulate door to door selling by gas suppliers. [29602]

Mr. Battle [holding answer 16 February 1998]: During meetings with the Director General of Gas Supply, I expressed my concerns over the misleading marketing techniques adopted by some gas suppliers. At the end of January the Office of Gas Supply introduced a new licence condition to regulate such activities. My Department will consult in the near future on possible modifications to strengthen the Consumer Protection (Cancellation of Contracts Concluded away from Business Premises) Regulations 1987. Both of these initiatives should enhance consumer protection with regard to doorstep selling.

Textiles

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations she has received regarding the dumping of textile products onto the world market, with particular reference to thread from Thailand; and what action she is taking on this matter. [26223]

Mrs. Roche: When dumping is alleged to be taking place in the European Commission that has the power to investigate complaints by the EU industries concerned and to propose anti-dumping measures, as necessary. In recent months, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has received a considerable number of representations about Commission investigations into

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unbleached cotton fabric and bedlinen originating in a number of countries, but not about the dumping of thread from Thailand.

Enterprise Bodies

Mr. Swinney: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a statement on the assistance she has provided to enterprise bodies in (i) the Docklands area, (ii) London, (iii) the South East of England and (iv) England in the last year for which figures are available. [30165]

Mrs. Roche: My Department provides assistance to enterprise bodies primarily in the form of a contribution towards the development of services provided by Business Link partnerships. Funding is available for both setting up Business Links (pump-priming grants) and as a continuing contribution to the cost of services. The table sets out such expenditure in 1996-97, the last full year for which expenditure is available.

DEFENCE

Military Exercises

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list military exercises in Europe in 1997 to show (a) British participation in major NATO exercises, (b) British national exercises involving forces from other nations, (c) exercises conducted in Europe with participation of British forces and (d) British participation in NATO/PfP exercises, in each case indicating the nations involved. [29447]

Dr. Reid: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Deployment

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each country where British armed forces are deployed by (a) service and (b) ship, unit or aircraft excluding loan service personnel, minor short-term training deployments and personnel in administrative and command posts overseas. [29451]

Dr. Reid: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Fighter Aircraft

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the projected maximum offensive payload and range of the Eurofighter; [28022]

Mr. Spellar: The table provides details of the maximum offensive payload for each of the aircraft types listed. The actual payload configuration will, of course, reflect the particular needs of an operation which, in turn,

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would determine the range of an aircraft operating without air to air refuelling. The range figures quoted therefore represent a typical radius of operation.

Aircraft typeMaximum offensive payload (Kg)Combat radius of operation (nm)
Tornado F31,500600
Tornado GR1/1A/44,500550
Harrier GR73,000500
Jaguar GR1A/32,900400
Eurofighter(15)6,500(15)750

(15) Representative figures quoted by Eurofighter GmbH, the prime contractor responsible for development and production of the aircraft.


Correspondence

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy for responding to letters received in the (a) Scottish Gaelic, (b) Welsh, (c) Urdu, (d) Hindi and (e) Chinese language. [28049]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 10 February 1998]: The MOD complies with the Welsh Language Act 1993 which established the principle of equality between the English and Welsh languages in all public business. Letters written in Welsh therefore receive a signed reply in Welsh. Under our current policy letters written in Scottish Gaelic, Urdu, Hindi and Chinese receive a signed reply in English only.

Ministerial Travel

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the engagements he undertook in the United Kingdom in the course of his duties during January indicating in each case which were accessed by (a) car, (b) train, (c) aeroplane and car, (d) aeroplane and train and (e) other means. [28930]

Mr. George Robertson [holding answer 10 February 1998]: During January 1998 I undertook the following engagements in the course of my duties:

DateEventAccessed by
15 JanuaryAddress at Joint Service Command and Staff College, BracknellCar
15 JanuaryDinner with Defence Secondary Care Agency, LondonCar
19 JanuaryHosted lunch for the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of HungaryCar
20 JanuarySeminar with Council of Territorial Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve Associations, LondonFoot
23 JanuaryDinner at HM Naval Base, FaslaneCar
26 JanuaryBilateral meeting with Dutch Defence Minister, SalisburyAeroplane, car and helicopter
29 JanuaryLunch with Charterhouse Bank LondonCar
29 JanuaryVisit to Northern IrelandAeroplane, car and helicopter


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Dockyard Workers

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) past and (b) present Rosyth Dockyard employees have (i) made a claim for compensation and (ii) been awarded compensation under the Government's compensation scheme. [29438]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 16 February 1998]: Former MOD employees and those currently employed by Babcock Rosyth Defence Limited (BRDL) at Rosyth Dockyard are entitled to compensation under the nuclear industry's no fault Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases. My Department joined the scheme in August 1994 and BRDL joined in 1997. Since August 1994, seven compensation claims have been submitted in respect of civilians who have at some time worked at Rosyth, including those now employed by BRDL. No-one has yet been awarded compensation but five of the claims are currently under investigation.

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to publicise the health and compensation schemes available to Rosyth Dockyard workers. [29441]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 16 February 1998]: MOD joined the nuclear industry's Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases in 1994. Since then the Department has publicised the Scheme to current MOD employees through Defence Council Instructions and is currently considering a number of options for advertising the Scheme more widely to former MOD employees and their families.

MOD civilian workers at Rosyth Royal Dockyard became employees of Babcock Rosyth Defence Limited (BRDL) on 1 April 1987. Ownership of the Dockyard passed to BRDL on January 1997, the same year in which the company became a member of the nuclear industry's Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases. BRDL publicised the scheme in its weekly newsletter of 23 January 1998, a copy of which was issued to all employees.

The Ionising Radiation Regulations 1985 require the Appointed Doctor, a recognised physician appointed by the Health and Safety Executive's Employment Medical Advisory Service, to undertake an annual health review of classified radiation workers. Rosyth Royal Dockyard workers are made aware of the annual health reviews through the company's radiation safety training.

In addition, BRDL issued a Company Notice to all industrial employees on 4 June 1997, publicising the MOD's scheme for the counselling of radiation workers and giving details of the company's own scheme.


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