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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 28th November 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 28th November 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Special Advisers

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement concerning the cost to public funds of employing ministerial special advisers in his Department.

The Prime Minister: There are five special advisers in No. 10 Downing Street.

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 or, in some cases, at a rate appropriate to a relevant civil service grade. Appointments are non-pensionable, and the salary spine reflects this.


Christmas Expenditure

Mr. Bayley: To ask the Prime Minister how many official Christmas cards he intends to send out in 1994; and how much these will cost.

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 22 November 1994, Official Report, column 89.


Internet

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to provide information via the Internet; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: My office is currently studying options to provide information via the Internet.


Mohamed Al-Fayed

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the considerations which led the Cabinet Secretary not to interview Mohamed Al- Fayed in his investigations into allegations of improper behaviour by Government Ministers.

The Prime Minister: The Cabinet Secretary indicated his reasons in his report, which I published on 25 October 1994, Official Report, columns 521-22, and I have nothing further to add.

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Prime Minister if the Nolan committee will be interviewing Mohamed Al-Fayed in its examination of standards in public life; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: It is for the Committee on Standards in Public Life to decide whom it wishes to invite to give oral evidence.


Crown Appointments Commission

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Prime Minister who are the current members of the Crown Appointments Commission.

The Prime Minister: The Crown Appointments Commission is a standing commission of the General Synod of the Church of England. Its membership is set out on page 38 of the current edition of the "Church of England Year Book", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.


Utility Regulators

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Prime Minister if he will review the powers of the (a) gas and (b) other utility regulators over boardroom salaries, shareholdings and perks.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 November 1994]: The utility regulators' role is to promote competition and operate price caps in areas of monopoly. Within this framework it is for each company and its shareholders to exercise control of board membership, pay and conditions.