17 Jul 2000 : Column: 1W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 17 July 2000


Queen Mother's Birthday

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister how much public money will be spent as a result of marking the 100 birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. [128809]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 3 July 2000]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) on 10 July 2000, Official Report, column 376W.

Civil Service Management Code

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the occasions since May 1997 on which civil servants have been disciplined for failing to comply with the rules in sections 4.2 to 4.4 of the Civil Service Management Code. [129183]

The Prime Minister: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Okinawa Summit

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 27 June 2000, Official Report, column 455W, on the G8 Summit, what representations he has received on the funding of the Russian plutonium fuel programme; and what response he has made, indicating the dates of (a) representations and (b) replies. [130022]

The Prime Minister: There has been discussion among officials over funding for the disposition and management of weapons-grade plutonium designated as no longer required for defence purposes.

The issue will be on the agenda at the G8 Okinawa Summit.

Euro (Leaked Documents)

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister what steps he takes to prevent the leaking of official documents from Government departments relating to the Government's policy on the euro; and if he will make a statement. [129444]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 10 July 2000]: The "Ministerial Code" and the "Civil Service Code" set out the respective responsibilities of Ministers and civil servants in relation to their duties of confidentiality.

17 Jul 2000 : Column: 2W

Lord Levy

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Prime Minister if Lord Levy has been entertained at public expense at Chequers since May 1997. [130282]

The Prime Minister: I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals. As with previous Administrations it is not my practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Severance Payments (Ministers)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if Ministers who receive severance payments following resignation or dismissal are required to repay such payments on being reappointed to ministerial office. [130397]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 2000]: Under the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, all Ministers (except the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor as well as the Speaker) are entitled to receive a severance payment of a quarter of their ministerial salary when they leave office. However, Ministers who are appointed to another paid office within three weeks of leaving office are not eligible for severance pay. For this reason, no severance payment is made within three weeks of a Minister leaving office in these circumstances.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Prime Minister if he was consulted over the Eurofighter cannon deselection; and if that aircraft, in its original planning phase, had a secondary ground assault capability. [130785]

The Prime Minister: The decision to delete the 27 mm Mauser cannon from Eurofighter was taken by the Secretary of State for Defence on the advice of RAF and MOD officials. The minimal operational utility of the cannon on Eurofighter in any role is outweighed by its support, fatigue and training cost implications.

The original 1985 European Staff Requirement included both air defence and offensive air support for Eurofighter, but with air defence as its priority. This position remains unchanged.

Lobby Briefings

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Prime Minister how often he has meetings with (a) his Press Secretary and (b) the senior civil servant who now briefs the Lobby daily. [130719]

The Prime Minister: Regularly.

Govan Shipyard

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the recent petition in support of the Govan shipyard signed by 80,000 people from Scotland and delivered to him. [130955]

The Prime Minister: I received the petition to which my hon. Friend refers on 5 July 2000. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has written to my hon. Friend confirming this.

The Ministry of Defence received the revised offers from the bidding consortiums in its Strategic Sealift competition on 6 July and is currently assessing them.

17 Jul 2000 : Column: 3W


Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister what (a) discussions and (b) consultations took place between the Government and the board of trustees at Dorneywood before the recent refurbishment programme was agreed. [129706]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 7 July 2000]: I have been asked to reply.

None. The trustees act independently of the Government.


Portcullis House

Mrs. Roe: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee if he will make a progress report on the completion and occupation of Portcullis House. [130940]

Sir Sydney Chapman: I am pleased to advise my hon. Friend that the work will be substantially complete by the end of this month. Hon. Members and their staff will, therefore, be able to start to occupy the building during September, as planned.

Most of the accommodation will be handed over this month. Already, the four office floors, with their furniture, have been handed back ahead of schedule; the remaining two floors should be complete by the end of the month, with the exception of the installation of specialist equipment in the committee rooms and the main entrance.

My hon. Friend will wish to note that the conference and interview rooms will be available for use by hon. Members with effect from 18 September. The four Select Committee rooms and the two multi-purpose rooms will be available from 26 October. I am pleased to announce that my Committee has agreed that these latter rooms should be named after prominent Parliamentarians, rather than numbered; and that they are to be named "Boothroyd", "Attlee", "Grimond", "Macmillan", "Thatcher" and "Wilson".

During the Summer Adjournment work will be carried out around the periphery of the building. This work will include the installation of the bridge link to the Norman Shaw South Building, restoration of the roads and pavements and the installation of the shop fronts.

Work to repair and restore the subway under Bridge street is being carried out by London Underground and the project team. The intention is that it would be reopened at the beginning of September. This will then provide a direct route between the Palace and all the parliamentary outbuildings north of Bridge street and a covered route to the Underground Station.

Negotiations are proceeding satisfactorily with prospective tenants for the three shop units, which it is intended will be open by the time the House returns. Based on responses from hon. Members to the type of shops they wished to see provided, there will be a small supermarket, a coffee bar and a dry cleaners.

Finally, my hon. Friend will wish to note that the forecast final cost of Portcullis House is now £230 million.

17 Jul 2000 : Column: 4W


Fishing Quotas

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his policy is on quota trading; and if he will make a statement on his analysis of the impact of such trading on the United Kingdom fishing fleet. [130548]

Mr. Morley: The trade in quota has been initiated by fishermen themselves. Transfers of quota between groups with quota management responsibilities must be conducted in accordance with the rules on quota management drawn up by the Fisheries Departments in the UK. These rules are the subject of regular consultation with the fishing industry and those affecting the trade in quota are currently under review by a working group comprising representatives of industry and the Fisheries Departments. A report on possible modifications to the quota management rules, including arrangements for adjusting the fixed quota allocation units attached to fishing vessel licences to take account of transfers between fishermen, is expected shortly.

Regional Service Centre Costs

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the costs of RSC administration of the organic farming and rural economy programmes in the current and next financial years. [131442]

Mr. Nick Brown: The costs of RSC administration of the organic farming and rural economy programmes are estimated to be:

Organic farming (RSC administration) CP:0409287
Rural economy (RSC administration) CP:050765732

Table 10.5 and Annex 5 of MAFF's Departmental Report 2000 included scheme costs against these programmes in error. A corrigendum to the report will be issued shortly.

Next Section Index Home Page