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Turkey: Election

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We believe that the results of the Turkish election are a fair reflection of voters' preferences. We are not aware of any evaluation of the election process by international organisations.

British Coal: Outstanding Liabilities

Lord Stanley of Alderley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The Coal Industry Act 1994 provides that the British Coal Corporation may be dissolved as soon as it appears to the Secretary of State that it is no longer necessary for the corporation to continue to exist. I would not expect the Secretary of State to reach such a conclusion without being satisfied that there was proper provision for all outstanding liabilities to be honoured.

Firearm Numbers

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): It is estimated that the 670,000 shotgun certificates and 140,200 firearm certificates on issue in England and Wales at the end of 1994 cover about 1,330,000 shotguns and 396,800 firearms respectively.

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In Scotland, 70,424 shotgun certificates and 31,952 firearm certificates were on issue at the end of 1994. Information is not collected centrally on the number of weapons these certificates cover.

All firearms, including shotguns, are subject to a firearm certificate in Northern Ireland and so directly comparable figures are not available. At the end of 1994, 87,949 firearm certificates were on issue, covering an estimated 132,438 weapons, 84,733 of which were shotguns. The remaining 47,705 weapons included 20,447 air weapons and 826 miscellaneous firearms, many of which do not require to be covered by certificates in England and Wales or Scotland.

Domestic Fuel: VAT Yield

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the average annual yield of VAT on fuel since its introduction.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The average amount of VAT raised on domestic fuel and power is estimated to be £1.1 billion per annum.

Lloyd's: Tax Treatment of Equitas Premiums

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Inland Revenue has agreed that the premium which Names at Lloyd's may be asked to pay under the proposed Equitas plan will be allowable for tax against gross income of Names for the tax year 1993-94, and if so what estimate they have made of the cost to the Revenue of tax which would have to be repaid.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Lloyd's has not yet finalised the details of the arrangements under which Names may be asked to pay premiums under the proposed Equitas plan. Accordingly, although the Inland Revenue are engaging in preliminary discussions with Lloyd's on this subject, it is not yet possible for the Inland Revenue to confirm the correct tax treatment of any such premium.

Accounts of Lloyd's syndicates either show the payment of a premium for reinsurance to close or (in cases where the syndicate is not closed) the reserves made for outstanding liabilities. These are deductible for tax purposes provided they are computed on an acceptable basis. Any premiums payable to Equitas would take the place of these arrangements. To the extent that such premiums are allowable for tax purposes, it will be as a deduction in computing the trading profits or losses of the Names concerned for

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1993-94. If this gives rise to an overall trading loss for the year in question then that will be relievable in the normal way.

Quasi-Legislative Crown Material: Reproduction Arrangements

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer given by Earl Howe on 15 January (H.L. Deb., col. WA 37), whether they will publish details about the concessionary arrangements made by the HMSO Copyright Unit for quasi-legislative material; and the commercial terms charged for reproduction in non-printed, commercial products, including the circumstances in which fees may be waived or reduced.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): HMSO's Copyright Unit has already published, in February 1995, its Notice (QLM/2) detailing standard terms for the printed reproduction of quasi-legislative Crown material. This notice was distributed, with the aid of the Publishers Association, to all major UK publishers and is freely available on request. A copy has been placed in the Library together with a copy of a more general letter to publishers of 10 March 1995 covering the circumstances in which material can be reproduced without prior permission or charge.

The standard non-exclusive licence allows holders to add material covered by the licence to their products without prior permission in circumstances where, for example, volume or urgency preclude advance application. This provision is extensively used by legal publishers. The royalty rate applicable is lower than that levied for other Crown material.

Reproduction in non-print form, which is also licensed on a non-exclusive basis, covers a variety of media and applications. Fees or royalties are negotiated in the light of the circumstances, informed by the Copyright Unit's experience and the results of market research into the arrangements prevailing elsewhere.

Details of the circumstances in which fees or royalties for both print and non-print formats may be waived or reduced are set out in the Cabinet Office's DEO letter (DEO(PM) (95)4) of 12 June 1995, a copy of which has also been placed in the Library.

Fees or royalties may be waived or reduced for use for professional, technical or scientific purposes, where profit is not a main purpose of reproduction. Consideration of reduction or remission of fees or royalties is also given to non-profit making bodies, for educational purposes and in other cases where the need for the fullest dissemination of official information outweighs other considerations.

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Both of the documents mentioned above, together with copies of general letters to Publishers and Librarians covering the circumstances in which material can be reproduced without prior permission or charge, area available on the Internet ( Copyright Unit).

National Curriculum

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for the future of the national curriculum assessment and testing arrangements.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): In January 1995 my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment asked the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) to conduct a full review of national curriculum assessment and testing arrangements for 7, 11 and 14 year-olds.

SCAA's report on its wide ranging and thorough review is published today. It draws on teachers' comments, evaluation reports, evidence from Her Majesty's Inspectors and studies by teacher associations, LEAs and other organisations.

My right honourable friend accepts in full the recommendations made by SCAA concerning the future of the assessment programme. We announced earlier this month the availability of a new grant in 1996-97 to fund additional assessment training for the primary school teachers who need it most--those at Key Stage 2.

SCAA's review showed that most teachers want a period of stability. That is what we now intend. We shall introduce changes only if they will bring real improvements and if they will: maintain rigorous and reliable assessment for all 7, 11 and 14 year-olds; be consistent with the complementary roles of tests and teacher assessment; and take into account the workload on teachers.

Some of SCAA's recommendations have already been or are being implemented to ensure that the benefits are available as soon as possible. For example, in the wake of our consultation last summer, SCAA has already set out for schools the 1996 assessment arrangements. But for the most part SCAA's review focuses on 1997 and beyond. The Secretary of State intends to carry out extensive consultation on her provisional decisions on these proposals and has today published a consultation document accordingly.

The Secretary of State has also announced today the national results of the 1995 assessments for 7, 11 and 14 year-olds and her decision to give greater access to schools' assessment results in order to raise standards, following our consultation in the autumn.

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Copies of the Secretary of State's exchange of correspondence with Sir Ron Dearing about SCAA's review; the Government's consultation document; a letter from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector; and the National Curriculum assessment results of 7, 11 and 14-year-olds have been placed in the Library.

Research Ethics Committees: Work Co-ordination Study

Lord Ashbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the grant of £104,662 by South Thames Regional Health Authority to King's College Centre

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    for Medical Law and Ethics goes towards multi-centre research projects in more than one country.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The grant is solely for work to examine how the work of Research Ethics Committees across the South Thames Region may be co-ordinated most effectively.

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