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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 14th April 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 14th April 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Green Minister

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Prime Minister how many times the green Ministers nominated from each Government Department have met as a group during the past year.

The Prime Minister : It is a fundamental principle of our approach to green issues that environmental considerations are taken into account in all policies and at every level. Green Ministers are charged with integrating environmental considerations into the strategy and policies of their own Departments. They have met once in the past year. Mechanisms for co-ordinating policies between Departments include the annual White Paper process and official networks. There is a separate Ministerial Committee on the Environment, EDE, to handle major cross-departmental issues.


Irish Republic

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he plans to make to the Irish Government regarding the present policy in the Irish Republic of bail for terrorists, following the murder of Special Constable Glenn Goodman and the attempted murder of Police Constable Sandy Kelly.

The Prime Minister : We have made clear to the Irish Government the very serious implications of judicial decisions in extradition cases in which bail has been granted. The Irish Government have informed us that, while decisions on bail applications in individual cases are a matter for the courts, Irish law relating to bail is governed by the provisions of the constitution. We will continue to express our concerns on this subject, with a view to a wider area of discretionary judgment being afforded to the judiciary in such cases, for the greater protection of the public.

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of security co-operation with the Irish Republic following the murder of Special Constable Glenn Goodman and the attempted murder of Police Constable Sandy Kelly; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Security co-operation between the RUC and Garda Siochana is at a high level. British and Irish Ministers are determined to maximise the effectiveness of co-operation and will continue to seek ways to enhance it.


Nuclear Test Veterans

Mr. Churchill : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that all files relevant to the claim for compensation by United Kingdom nuclear test veterans will be released; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Much information about the British nuclear test programme is already in the public domain and further files are being reviewed for possible release in due course. Dose records and medical data on each participant are available to the individual concerned. Successive Governments have confirmed that appropriate safety precautions were taken at the time of the tests to protect the participants from harm.


Service Pensions

Mr. Harvey : To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to amend levels of service pensions to take account of the effect of pay restrictions in force from 1976 to 1978.

The Prime Minister : The retired pay or pensions awarded to personnel of the armed forces whose service ended during the period of pay restraint from 1976 to 1978 were calculated in accordance with the rules of the armed forces pension scheme in force at the time. We have no plans to modify the awards that were made.


Market Testing

Mr. Michael : To ask the Prime Minister which businesses have been identified for market testing by more than four Government Departments since January 1992; and what percentage of the work force in each Department is (a) female, (b) part-time and (c) clerical or administrative grade.

The Prime Minister : Departments are responsible for their own market testing programmes and definitive information is not held in the form requested. However, the information available centrally indicates that the following broad areas are included in the programmes of more than four Departments.

Accountancy

Estate and Building Management

Information Technology

Hardware Maintenance

Software Design and Maintenance

Internal Audit

Legal

Conveyancing

Library Services

Office Services

Payroll

Record Storage and Retrieval

Recruitment

Reprographic

Security Guarding

Statistical Surveys

Training

Typing

The information on staff numbers cannot be given except at disproportionate cost, but statistics on staff, including breakdowns by gender, grade and department, are contained in "Civil Service Statistics 1992 Edition", published by Her Majesty's Treasury.


Egypt

Mr. Alton : To ask the Prime Minister what steps he took during his recent discussions with President Mubarak, of Egypt to raise the issue of human rights abuses and curtailment of religious practices among Coptic Christians in Egypt.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 April 1993] : I discussed a wide range of subjects with President Mubarak, including the situation in Egypt. He is determined to maintain law and order in Egypt in the interests of all Egyptians. The position of the Copts was discussed with the Egyptian Foreign Minister who accompanied President Mubarak.

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has made to President Mubarak about the Egyptian authorities' refusal to redress the grievances of the United Kingdom company WENA Hotels.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 April 1993] : The Foreign Secretary raised the question of WENA Hotels with the Egyptian Foreign Minister during President Mubarak's recent visit to London, urging the Egyptian authorities to encourage the Egyptian party to the dispute to go to arbitration as soon as possible. Our embassy in Cairo is following this up.


Bosnia-Herzegovina

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Prime Minister what recent communications he has received from Dr. Radovan Karadzic regarding the current situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 April 1993] : Dr. Karadzic wrote to me on 31 March about the peace process under the international conference on the former Yugoslavia and about the ban on flights in the airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is replying to Dr. Karadzic, stressing the urgent need for a peaceful settlement and the importance of the Bosnian Serbs signing the peace package. He is also emphasising the further pressure which will be put on the Serbs if they refuse to sign.