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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 18th January 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 18th January 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Engineers

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to restrict the use of the term "engineer" in official Government documents to only chartered or incorporated engineers.

The Prime Minister : In referring to engineers, Government documents should make it clear whether particular qualifications are envisaged but, in the absence of any general restriction on the use of the term "engineer", it would not be appropriate to restrict its use to specified categories of engineer which form only part of the wider engineering profession. The Fairclough initiative is, however, examining this issue and the Government will consider its recommendations when received.

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Prime Minister what recent representations he has received from the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

The Prime Minister : I have recently received a letter from the institution concerning vocational qualifications and my office will respond in due course.


Travel Expenses

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his reply on 9 December 1992, Official Report, column 668, if he is now in a position to publish the total cost to the Exchequer for his travels within the European Communities since 1 July 1992.

The Prime Minister : The total cost of my travels within the European Communities between 1 July and 31 December 1992 is estimated to be £328,000.


Polling Stations (Access)

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has to co -ordinate policies between Scotland and England and Wales on the operation of schemes to purchase temporary ramps to improve access to polling stations; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : None. In England and Wales and in Scotland, a grant of 50 per cent. of the cost is available towards the purchase of temporary ramps to provide access to polling stations for disabled voters.


Standards of Conduct

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will introduce legislation to require (a) political parties in advertisements, (b) lawyers in court and (c) journalists in newspapers to (i) tell the truth, (ii) provide equal length or space to a right to reply, (iii) submit controversial claims to a statutory tribunal and (iv) submit themselves to fines for transgressing or for appearing at the time of judgment to have transgressed good taste or a code of conduct.

The Prime Minister : I have no plans to do so.


Forestry

Mr. Hanson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will bring forward proposals to introduce an integrated United Kingdom policy on forestry, covering (a) consumption of forests, (b) problems caused by deforestation, (c) the links between forestry and third world debt and (d) import controls on hardwoods.

The Prime Minister : The Government are committed to working for the effective implementation of the statement of principles on the world's forests agreed at the United Nations conference on environment and development in Rio last June. As part of this process we are preparing a United Kingdom national plan for forests. Policies on the issues listed in the question need to be integrated and co-ordinated with our broader environmental aid and trade policies. Co-ordination is achieved by regular contact between the Government Departments responsible for these matters.


Office and Travel Costs

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister what is the total cost to public funds of overseas travel by himself and those accompanying him on official business since he has held his present position to the most recent available date.

The Prime Minister : The total cost of my overseas official visits undertaken between 22 November 1990 and 31 December 1992 is estimated to be £1,816,000.

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister what are the total costs of running his office, including travel, in each year since 1989-90.

The Prime Minister : The costs are as follows :

          |£                  

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

1989-90   |7,669,276

1990-91   |8,225,816

1991-92   |8,663,758

Note:  Salaries and wages, notional pension liability, administration costs, the costs of office and the grant-in-aid to the Chequers Trust are included. The Prime Minister's salary is excluded.                     


Jamaica

Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make representations within the European Community for the suspension of all economic aid to, and favourable trade arrangements with, Jamaica until that country improves its human rights record.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 1993] : We discuss aid policy towards specific developing countries regularly with other member states and with the European Commission. Full account of human rights considerations is taken in these discussions. We have no plans to argue for the suspension of economic aid to, and favourable trade arrangements with, Jamaica.


Company Directors

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the progress made to date in his policy of encouraging company directors to voluntarily keep their wages and other remunerations at levels that do not promote wage inflation.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 1993] : As I have previously made clear, pay in the private sector is a matter for the private sector to determine. However, I am encouraged by evidence that average boardroom pay increases are now falling to more realistic levels.


Press Office

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Prime Minister how many staff were employed by his press office in each year since 1979.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 January 1993] : Ten people including support staff are currently employed in 10 Downing Street on press and public relations activities. Detailed figures were not recorded separately prior to 1987-88, but until 1 April 1992 the complement was eight. This was then increased to 10 by the addition of one press officer and one typist, to enable the press office to respond effectively to the growing number of press inquiries.


Value Added Tax

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe on the level of value added tax on bloodstock in the United Kingdom and the rates levied in France and Ireland, Official Report, 28 October 1992, column 288, what subsequent representations he has received on the issue; what replies were made ; what action has now been taken; and if he will make a statement on the Government's current policy on this issue.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 10 December 1992] : The Commissioners of Customs and Excise have just received the Jockey Club's report to the Paymaster General on this subject. It is being considered as quickly and constructively as possible.