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30 Mar 1995 : Column WA95

Written Answers

Thursday, 30 March 1995

Public Sector: Trades Union Status

Lord Molloy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied with the status afforded to UNISON in negotiations with management in the public sector; and whether they consider that that status sufficiently reflects UNISON's creation from a range of other unions.

Lord Inglewood: The status which public sector managements afford to trade unions is a matter for them.

Mothers in Employment Report: Consultation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department of Employment consulted the Department of Social Security before responding to the Report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Mothers in Employment.

Lord Inglewood: Employment department Ministers have not yet formally responded to this report; they will do so in due course, having consulted all other relevant departments.

YT Allowance: Up-rated Worth

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What youth training allowances would be worth at present had they been up-rated in line with the Rossi Index since their introduction.

Lord Inglewood: The current level of YT allowance were introduced in 1988: up-rating since then, by the Rossi Index would give £41.06 for the allowance for 16 year-olds and £48.71 for the allowance for those 17 and over.

YT Bridging Allowance: Up-rated Worth

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the £15 Bridging Allowance for Youth Training would be worth at present if it had been up-rated in line with the Rossi Index since its introduction.

Lord Inglewood: The allowance would be worth £20.88 if up-rated since its introduction in 1988.

Georgia: UN Report

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What reports have been made by General Hvidegaard, the commander of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), concerning incidents of armed attacks on either side of the ceasefire line between Abkhazia and Georgia; on what dates these reports are normally submitted; and whether they will place copies in the Library of the House.

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): UNOMIG reports incidents of this nature to the UN Secretariat in New York. We would not expect to see such internal UN reports. Periodically, the UN Secretariat then brief the Security Council. The most recent briefing took place on 24 March and mentioned UNOMIG reports concerning violent action in the Gali region. The Secretariat undertook to keep the situation under review and to keep the Security Council informed. The UN Secretary-General reports formally to the Security Council on UNOMIG's activities on a regular basis. He submitted a written report on 6 January and a further interim report on 6 March. Both reports give an account of violent incidents either side of the Inguri River. Copies are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Sarajevo Ceasefire: Enforcement

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action is being taken to enforce the ceasefire in the area around Sarajevo, and in particular to prevent Serb forces cutting supply routes and firing at aircraft, the airport and civilians and their houses.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: UNPROFOR continues with its efforts to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement. We have repeatedly called on all parties to refrain and to agree to extend the agreement. We are very concerned at the deteriorating situation. All sides now appear to be pursuing the war option. We have urged them not to take it and to cooperate with the UN and the Contact Group in searching for a peaceful solution.

Turkey: Human Rights Incidents

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What inquiries they and the United Kingdom's allies have made of the Turkish Government concerning: (a) The killing of Mr. Faik Candan near Ankara, and of Mr. Zeki Atlig in Batinan and the deaths of 87 other members of the HADEP, DEP and HEP parties in recent years. (b) The trial in Ankara of Messrs. Yavuz Onen, Akin Birdal, Husnv Ondal and three other members of Human Rights Association in Turkey, on charges of separatism.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Our Embassy in Ankara are monitoring the trials of members of the Human Rights Associations in Turkey. We understand that Mr. Yavuz Onen has been acquitted. The trials of the others continue. While we have not raised separately the killings of Faik Candan and Mr. Zeki Atlig, our many representations to the Turkish Government about their human rights performance have included expressions of grave concern at the many incidents of persecution and unlawful killing of lawyers, journalists and others critical of the government. We shall continue to seek progress on democratic reform.

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The Court Service: Agency Status

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Court Service is to be established as an executive agency.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): Further to my Answer of 27 May 1993 to my noble friend, Lord Davidson (Official Report, 27 May 1993, col. WA 36), I am pleased to confirm that I shall establish the Court Service as an executive agency on 3 April 1995. I will arrange for a copy of the framework document for the Court Service to be placed in the Library. The following table sets out the key performance targets which I have set for the Court Service for 1995–96:

The Court Service—key performance targets for 1995–96

Business area Performance indicator Target
Crown Court 1. Percentage of defendants committed for trial waiting 16 weeks or less 70%
2. Unit cost of a productive courtroom hour £462.40
County Courts 3. Percentage of administrative process dealt with within target time 90%
4. Unit cost of an hour of administrative work as measured by the business management system £53.39
High Courts 5. Percentage of administrative process dealt with within target time 93%
Enforcement 6. Number of warrants paid as a percentage of number of correctly directed warrants 65%
Quality 7. Percentage of courts meeting all courts charter standards 95%
Cost recovery 8. Percentage of the costs of civil business recovered 75%

Agriculture Council, 27–28 March

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the Agriculture Council held in Brussels on 27 and 28 March 1995.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): At this meeting the Council again considered possible rules on the transport of live animals. The Commissioner floated some new ideas which would protect animal welfare better than those in the current Presidency compromise. It was agreed that these should be examined at official level before the Council returns to the subject in May with a view to reaching a final conclusion. The Council also discussed the agri-monetary effects of the recent

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turbulence on international currency markets, as a result of which certain green currencies may need to be revalued according to the Community rules. A further Council will be held on 10 April to take decisions on this aspect, but the Commission indicated they would use their powers to ensure that revaluations did not come into effect before 5 May.

The 10 April Council meeting is also expected to take decisions on the reform of the Community sugar regime. At this meeting we again argued that any cuts in sugar quotas necessary for the Community to meet its GATT commitments should be targeted on those countries with the largest surpluses.The Council extended the marketing years for milk and beef since farm prices for 1995–96 have not yet been set.In other discussions the United Kingdom strongly opposed any proposal to place limits on nitrates in lettuce which cannot be fully justified by the scientific evidence.

EU: Restrictions on Movement of Dogs between States

Lord Houghton of Sowerby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United Kingdom is the only country in the European Union that imposes restrictions on the free movement of dogs between member states.

Earl Howe: No. The Republic of Ireland imposes very similar restrictions to our own. In Sweden pet dogs and cats can only enter under licence. To obtain such a licence dogs must have been vaccinated against rabies and a blood sample taken 120 days later must have shown a protective level of rabies antibodies. They must also be vaccinated against leptospira, and distemper and both dogs and cats must have been treated for echinococcus. In addition both dogs and cats need to be individually identified by implanted microchip or tattoo and certified within ten days of importation as clinically free from disease. European Council Directive 92/65 sets out the requirements for movements of commercially traded dogs and cats between EU Member States, including specific conditions for movement into UK or the Republic of Ireland.

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