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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 29th March 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 29th March 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Political Parties (Funding)

Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Prime Minister (1) what plans he has to introduce new laws relating to the organisation or funding of political parties; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will consider legislation to require political parties to make public their financial supporters.

The Prime Minister : I have no plans to introduce any such legislation.


Bill of Rights

Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will consider the introduction of a Bill of Rights or a written constitution during the lifetime of this Parliament; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : No.


Environment

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the speeches he has made on the environment since April 1992; and what commitments he has made to additional investment in the environment.

The Prime Minister : The Government consider that environmental concerns should be reflected across the whole spectrum of policy. The environment has accordingly figured frequently in the speeches which my colleagues and I have made. The environment was central in my speech to the Earth summit at Rio in June 1992, as it was when I spoke in Birmingham last week at the global technology partnership conference.

The Chancellor's autumn statement included figures for public investment in the environment, but investment by private enterprises and individuals is even more important. Accurate figures are hard to derive, but we estimate that about 2.5 per cent. of our gross domestic product is spent directly on environmental purposes.


Equal Opportunities

Mr. Janner : To ask the Prime Minister how many and what percentage of officers in each grade from 1 to 7 and overall in the Cabinet Office are (a) women, (b) from ethnic minorities and (c) disabled people.

The Prime Minister : The figures for women employed in the Cabinet Office, including its executive agencies, are as follows :

Grades (and equivalents)     |Women           |Total           |Percentage women                 

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

1                |0               |5               |0                                

2                |2               |8               |25                               

3                |1               |25              |4                                

4                |0               |3               |0                                

5                |16              |41              |39                               

6                |19              |45              |42                               

7                |63              |264             |24                               

                 |-------         |-------         |-------                          

Overall          |1,330           |2,634           |50

The ethnic monitoring programme was carried out on a voluntary basis and did not extend to the Cabinet Office's agencies. Of those who responded, 62 people (2.3 per cent. of the total) chose to register as non-white. One of these is at grade 7 level.

The Cabinet Office's figures on staff with disabilities include only those who have chosen to register as disabled. Twenty-eight people (1 per cent. of the total) are so registered. None is at grade 7 level or above. The Cabinet Office employs other staff with disabilities who have chosen not to register. The Cabinet Office is an equal opportunities employer, and emphasises this fact in its advertisements.


Full Employment

Mr. Soley : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 2 March, Official Report, column 138, what percentage of unemployment is consistent with his aim to seek full employment.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 8 March 1993 at column 392.


South Africa

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister when he was informed of the testing of nuclear devices by South Africa in the Kalahari.

The Prime Minister : We have no evidence that South Africa has conducted nuclear tests. We have noted President de Klerk's statement that South Africa never carried out a clandestine nuclear test.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister when he was informed of the existence of South Africa's nuclear bombs.

The Prime Minister : I was informed that South Africa had built six nuclear devices by President de Klerk's statement on 24 March.


Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 22 March, Official Report, column 467, what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the resumption of negotiations towards a comprehensive test ban treaty during 1993.

The Prime Minister : I have nothing to add to the reply I gave the hon. Member on 22 March at column 467.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the possible contribution of the comprehensive test ban treaty towards the outcome of the non-proliferation treaty extension conference.

The Prime Minister : We believe the indefinite extension of the non-proliferation treaty is in the interests of all signatories. The case for its extension is strong regardless of progress towards a comprehensive test ban, and we believe it is wrong to see NPT extension as dependent on achieving a comprehensive test ban.