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1995 - PMQT Written Answers 28th February 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 28th February 1995.


PRIME MINISTER:

Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 28 February.

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister, if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 28 February 1995.

The Prime Minister: This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.


Northern Ireland

Mr. Jim Marshall: To ask the Prime Minister if he will consult the people of Northern Ireland on the acceptability of the draft framework document as a basis for discussion and negotiation through a referendum in the event that Unionist parties in Northern Ireland do not agree to enter into discussion and negotiation.

The Prime Minister: The proposals contained in "Framework for the Future" provide a basis for discussion, consultation and negotiation with the political parties in Northern Ireland. If agreement is reached in the negotiations, the outcome will be put to the people of Northern Ireland in a referendum.

The Government will not put proposals to the people of Northern Ireland in a referendum before there is a widespread agreement between the main political parties.


Ian Greer Associates

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Prime Minister what items of correspondence were received by Ministers in his Department from Messrs Ian Greer Associates in the last month.

The Prime Minister: As far as I am aware, none.


Ministerial Payroll

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Prime Minister what has been the cost of the ministerial payroll; and how many ministers it has covered in each year since 1979.

The Prime Minister: The number of salaried Members of the Government, including Whips, was 106 in May 1979 and is 108 now. The total salary bill for all Government Ministers and Whips is currently some £3.6 million per annum. Information about ministerial salary costs in earlier years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Prime Minister if the duties of accountability set out in paragraph 27 of "Questions of Procedure" for Ministers apply in all respects to departmental agencies.

The Prime Minister: Yes.


Departmental Advisers

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many special or political advisers to Ministers are currently employed in the civil service; in which Departments they work; and on which grades they are paid;

(2) what is the role of special advisers appointed to serve Ministers and Departments; what guidance is issued relating to the scope of such advisers to become involved in party political activity in the course of their duties; what is the salary range for such posts; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: There are currently 32 special advisers, 28 political and four expert advisers, serving Ministers in the following Departments:

                                      Numbers                        

Department                           |Political |Expert              

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food      |1         |-                   

Chief Whip's Office                  |1         |-                   

Defence                              |1         |-                   

Education                            |1         |-                   

Employment                           |1         |-                   

Environment                          |2         |2                   

Foreign and Commonwealth Office      |2         |-                   

Health                               |1         |-                   

Home Office                          |2         |-                   

Lord Privy Seal                      |1         |-                   

Northern Ireland Office              |1         |-                   

Office of Public Service and Science |1         |-                   

Prime Minister's Office              |4         |-                   

Lord President                       |1         |-                   

Scottish Office                      |2         |-                   

Social Security                      |1         |-                   

Trade and Industry                   |1         |2                   

Transport                            |1         |-                   

HM Treasury                          |2         |-                   

Welsh Office                         |1         |-                   

Political advisers assist Ministers with that part of their work which is partly governmental and partly political, and expert advisers complement advice given to Ministers by their Departments with that of their particular professional fields. In the course of their duties, advisers are subject to the same rules of conduct as other civil servants. Special advisers are bound generally by the rules on political activity applicable to civil servants, but with specific exemptions. They may, with the approval of their Ministers, attend party functions and maintain contact with party members, and take part in policy reviews undertaken by the party. In addition, and also subject to approval by their Minister, special advisers are allowed to undertake all forms of local political activity, apart from local activities in support of national political activities. Salaries for special advisers are negotiated individually in relation to their previous earnings, and are confidential. They are, however, normally paid on a special advisers' salary spine of 34 points ranging from £19,503 to £67,609. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary spine reflects this.


Public Sector Employees

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Prime Minister what is the total number of people employed (a) directly and (b) indirectly by Government-funded sources in the United Kingdom on a (i) full-time and (ii) part-time basis in each year since the introduction of (1) privatisation or denationalisation, (2) next steps agencies and (3) NHS trusts; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: Information showing the number of employees in the public sector is published in the January 1995 edition of Economic Trends. A copy of this publication is available in the Library.


Russia (Seal Killing)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report, column 22 , what action the Russian officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to take on the issue of seal pup slaughter.

The Prime Minister: Russian officials have taken note of British opposition to the practice of seal culling but have not agreed to take any action as a result of our representations. Embassy officials are in regular contact with the Russian ministry of foreign affairs on this subject.