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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 14th February 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 14th February 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Consultancies

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Prime Minister how much the Government spent on employing private sector consultants for each year from 1979.

The Prime Minister : This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with any of his EU counterparts on the environmental and proliferation implications of THORP.

The Prime Minister : I meet my European Union counterparts from time to time, when we discuss a range of issues.


Sir Peter Levene

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish the report of Sir Peter Levene into the Government's use of external consultants.

The Prime Minister : At this early stage of the scrutiny no specific decision to publish has been taken but it is the normal practice for efficiency unit reports to be published.


Northern Region

Mr. Bates : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will list the results of the Government's policies in the northern region since 1983; and if he will make a statement;

(2) whether he will list, by Government Departments, the principal aid given to the northern region in each year since 1983.

The Prime Minister : Since 1983, Government policy and programmes have helped with the transition of the economy of the north-east region to its present more diversified base.

This process has been substantially helped by overseas investment of over £2 billion. The Department of Trade and Industry has also committed over £1 billion in assisting industrial and commercial projects, helping to create or safeguard around an estimated 50,000 jobs. Unemployment in the north-east has fallen from a peak of 19.6 per cent. in 1986 to 12.7 per cent. now.


Visits, Scotland

Mr. Salmond : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 28 January, Official Report, column 406, what were the dates and locations of each of his 13 visits to Scotland.

The Prime Minister : In 1991, I made five visits to Scotland, including Edinburgh, Glasgow--twice--Perth and Deeside.

In 1992, I also made five visits to Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, Strathclyde and Deeside.

In 1993, I made three visits to Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Deeside.


Railway Manufacturing

Mr. Bayley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the representations made to him by the Design Council about the future of the British railway manufacturing industry and a copy of his response to the Design Council.

The Prime Minister : As far as I am aware, I have received no such letter.


Car Industries

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will urge the German, French and Italian Prime Ministers to encourage the sale of their indigenous car industries.

The Prime Minister : The commercially-driven trend towards more cross-border, joint ventures and strategic alliances is expected to continue in the European car industry. I am sure that my German, French and Italian opposite numbers will not stand in the way of this process, which will strengthen Europe's global competitiveness. I am delighted that the French Government are following the United Kingdom's example and going ahead with their plan to privatise Renault.


Cyprus

Mr. Cox : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the President of Cyprus on the talks now taking place under the role of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

The Prime Minister : I discussed United Nations efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem with President Clerides during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting last October. I have not had any discussions with him about the talks due to begin on 17 February. However my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has been in close touch with the parties. He met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Michaelides, on 2 February.


Biodiversity Convention

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what action he is taking to co-ordinate the policy of the FCO and the Department of the Environment in relation to the ratification of the biodiversity convention to include the land and marine environments of Ascension Island, British Indian Ocean territory, the Cayman Islands, Chagos Archipelago, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, St. Helena, South Georgia and the south Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands and Virgin Islands.

The Prime Minister : The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has overall responsibility for the administration, and direct responsibility for certain external relations, of the United Kingdom's 14 dependent territories and two dependencies.

Policy towards the territories is co-ordinated through an inter-departmental group, including the Department of the Environment, chaired by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. That group has endorsed a strategy for consultation with the dependencies on whether they wish to be included in the United Kingdom's ratification of the biodiversity convention and, if not, whether they envisage the convention being extended to them at a later date.

As part of that process dependent territory Governments need to consider taking on the new commitments arising from Rio. The FCO is helping the dependent territories to assess the costs and benefits to them of any new legislation required.


Government Car Service

Mr. Soley : To ask the Prime Minister what is the procedure for recording the use of ministerial cars; and what arrangements are made to allow inspection of it by hon. Members.

Mr. Baldry : I have been asked to reply.

The procedure is that car log sheets are maintained for recording the use of all ministerial cars. The log sheets are retained as internal documents.