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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 15th February 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 15th February 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Smoking

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Prime Minister what provisions govern the imposition of no-smoking policies by operators of (a) trains, (b) aeroplanes, (c) buses and (d) taxis.

The Prime Minister : The Government believe that decisions on whether or not smoking should be permitted on public transport are a matter for the operators concerned.

On the railways, British Rail has the power to ban smoking by virtue of British Rail byelaw 20. On the London Underground, smoking is banned under a London Transport byelaw made under section 67 of the Transport Act 1962, as amended by paragraph 5(1) of schedule 3 to the Transport (London) Act 1969 and section 37 of the Transport Act 1981.

Under article 53 of the Air Navigation Order 1989, the commander of an aircraft is empowered to decide on whether passengers should or should not be allowed to smoke.

Bus operators are entitled to ban smoking on their vehicles under section 6 of the Passenger Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors and Passengers) Regulations 1990.

There are no statutory provisions for taxi drivers to ban smoking in their vehicles. In line with their commitment in the "Health of the Nation" White Paper, the Government have undertaken to seek an opportunity to amend the relevant legislation to allow them to do so.


Mercenaries

Mr. Conway : To ask the Prime Minister what action the Government take to ensure that individuals known to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to have been mercenary soldiers to whom consular advice or assistance has been given are notified to the Ministry of Defence.

The Prime Minister : The Ministry of Defence would not expect the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to notify them routinely of individuals who had sought consular advice or assistance, unless there were reason to believe that the individual concerned might be a serving or former member of the armed forces.


Nuclear Materials

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to raise the matters of nuclear weapons testing, nuclear reprocessing and the international trade in nuclear explosive materials during his meeting with President Clinton on 24 February.

The Prime Minister : I expect to have wide ranging discussions with President Clinton and members of his Administration.


Scott Inquiry

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister how members of the public can contribute to the Scott inquiry.

The Prime Minister : Members of the public who have information to contribute to the inquiry may write direct to Lord Justice Scott at 1 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5HE.

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what resources Her Majesty's Government have made available to the Scott inquiry to pay for travel costs, overnight accommodation and subsistence of witnesses invited from (a) the United Kingdom and (b) abroad.

The Prime Minister : Lord Justice Scott will be provided with the resources that he considers necessary to conduct his inquiry.


World Summit for Children

Mr. Battle : To ask the Prime Minister what specific targets his Government are setting for itself in terms of allocating resources for clean water, sanitation and basic education, in light of agreements made at the world summit for children.

The Prime Minister : In the financial year 1991-92, one quarter of our bilateral aid to developing countries allocatable by sector was spent on clean water, sanitation and education.


Rural Areas

Mr. Ancram : To ask the Prime Minister what responsibilities the Department of Trade and Industry has for trade and industry in rural areas.

The Prime Minister : The Department of Trade and Industry and its regional offices liaise closely in the delivery of services with other Government Departments and agencies where necessary. This includes the Department of the Environment which has responsibility for rural development policy and the Rural Development Commission.


Coastal and Marine Issues

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Prime Minister if he will unify departmental responsibility for coastal and marine matters including incidents of oil pollution.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 12 February 1993] : No. The present division of responsibilities within Government for coastal and marine matters provides a comprehensive system of management. Coastal issues cannot be artificially isolated from the mainstream of policy-making across Government. Responsibility for preventing and responding to marine pollution lies clearly with the Department of Transport, which liaises with other Departments as appropriate.


EC Regulations

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with his EC partners concerning transfer of undertakings and protection of employment regulations.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 12 February 1993] : The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 implement the EC acquired rights directive 1977. The European Commission is expected to make proposals to revise the directive shortly.


Departmental Library

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 9 February, Official Report, column 551, what use has been made of the book by his Office; and what account the Government have taken of the substance of the final chapter of the book in considering possible prosecutions arising out of the case.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 12 February 1993] : The matters discussed in the book are the subject of Lord Justice Scott's inquiry. It is necessary to await the judge's report and recommendations.