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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 11th July 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 11th July 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

European Commission

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 30 June to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) Official Report, columns 660-61, regarding the presidency of the European Commission, if he will now set out the criteria he will apply to candidates for the appointment.

The Prime Minister : I shall consider candidates on their merits. I will need to be satisfied that the next President will run an efficient and accountable Commission, and act in the interests of the European Union as a whole.


Meetings with Members

Mr. McCartney : To ask the Prime Minister how many hon. Members and right hon. Members he has met at official meetings on constituency matters at No. 10 Downing Street in 1993-94; what were their political parties; and in which regions were their constituencies.

The Prime Minister : I regularly have meetings with right hon. and hon. Members, at both No. 10 and the House of Commons, to deal with specific and general matters which relate to their constituencies and interests.


Lowe Bell Communications

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his reply of 26 April to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice), Official Report, column 47, how much Sir Tim Bell has claimed in expenses in connection with the D-day public relations contract awarded to Lowe Bell Communications.

The Prime Minister : To date, Lowe Bell has claimed a total of £11,346, net of VAT, for administrative costs and expenses. This is within the agreed upper limit of £12,500, net of VAT.


Government Information

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what is the policy of the Government on the supply of information to the media on economic performance and distribution of earnings, where the information can be obtained directly or indirectly from the Central Office of Information data bank.

The Prime Minister : This is a matter for individual Government Departments.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will make it his policy that all Departments should provide substantive replies to hon. Members' questions rather than referring them to the Library.

The Prime Minister : No.


Child Care

Mr. Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister what provision his Department makes for child care facilities for staff; what is the extent of subsidy to nursery places and holiday play schemes; if his Department (a) subscribes to Childcare Solutions and (b) makes child care vouchers available; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 7 July 1994] : For these purposes my office is part of the Cabinet Office. I therefore refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 7 July 1994, Official Report, columns 323-24.


Ecological Sustainability

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Prime Minister what steps he is taking to ensure that there is a full discussion of ecological sustainability at the Group of Seven summit in July.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 8 July 1994] : At my initiative the members of the Group of Seven industrialised countries have already adopted an action plan to give practical effect to the agreements reached at Rio. At the Naples Group of Seven summit the United Kingdom will continue to stress the importance of the environment as a priority for international co-operation.


Contracts

Mr. Byers : To ask the Prime Minister on what occasions in the last 10 years he has given a direction to civil servants to award a contract against the advice of the civil service; what was the subject matter of the contract and its value; and when it was awarded.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 8 July 1994] : There have been no such occasions in respect of myself or my predecessor.


Ex-service Personnel

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what steps he will be taking to give effect to the decision taken by the House on 1 July on the welfare of ex-service people.

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Prime Minister what action he is taking to implement the resolution on welfare of ex-service people approved by the House on 1 July.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 8 July 1994] : We already have in place substantial administrative arrangements to meet the special needs of ex-service personnel, which involve close liaison between the relevant Departments; we believe these arrangements most effectively serve the welfare needs of the ex-service community. The Government attach great importance to achieving high quality services, and will continue to keep areas of concern to veterans under review.