Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1992 - PMQT Written Answers 23rd November 1992

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 23rd November 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Disabled People

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister (1) what is his policy towards introducing comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in favour of the rights of disabled people;

(2) what plans he has to prohibit discrimination on the ground of physical disability; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : We continue to work to eliminate discrimination against disabled people on the ground of their disability. We believe that this is best achieved by a combination of legislation targeted on clearly identified needs and a programme of education and encouragement.


Additionality and Transparency

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions Her Majesty's Government have had with the EC in the last three years in relation to the definition, interpretation or implementation of the principles of additionality and transparency; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : There have been a number of discussions at ministerial and official level. An announcement was made by my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 17 February. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry on 30 June at columns 525-26.

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister how Her Majesty's Government currently define and interpret the principles of (a) additionality and (b) transparency in relation to EC funding; in which ways these differ from those used by each of the other member states; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Article 9 of regulation 4253/88 requires that the structural funds have an additional economic impact in the regions concerned; and result in at least an equivalent increase in the amount of official structural aid in the member state concerned. The Government fully support these principles, which are reflected in our public expenditure arrangements, details of which were set out in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry on 30 June.

How other member states interpret the additionality and transparency requirement is a matter for the member state concerned and the Commission.


Import and Export Control Act 1990

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what plans Her Majesty's Government have to bring forward legislation to amend the Import and Export Control Act 1990.

The Prime Minister : Her Majesty's Government have no plans to amend the Import and Export Control Act 1990 which repealed section 9(3) of the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939. The Government intend, however, to introduce a new Export of Goods (Control) Order in the near future.


China

Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his meeting with the Vice-Premier of the People's Republic of China.

The Prime Minister : My meeting with the Vice-Premier offered an important opportunity to reaffirm to the Chinese leadership the Government's strong support for the Governor's proposals for constitutional development in Hong Kong and to urge the Chinese to proceed through constructive discussion rather than confrontation. I also discussed commercial issues and human rights, including the visit of Lord Howe's delegation to China in December.


Iraq

Mr. Bendall : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the cost of the inquiry by Lord Justice Scott into the sales of equipment to Iraq.

The Prime Minister : It is not possible at this stage to make such an assessment.

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Prime Minister what specific measures have been taken to prevent the unauthorised removal, destruction of and tampering with all documents relating to the sale of arms and components to Iraq, held within Government Departments and elsewhere, which might be required by Lord Justice Scott's inquiry.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 19 November 1992] : Instructions have been issued to ensure that all papers relevant to Lord Justice Scott's inquiry are kept in safe custody and are made available to the inquiry when required.

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about his response to firms other than Matrix Churchill about the conditions of arms sales to Iraq.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 18 November 1992] : Arms sales to Iraq were considered under Her Majesty's Government's guidelines for the sale of defence equipment to Iran and Iraq until August 1990, when the United Nations embargo on trade with Iraq, including all arms sales, came into effect.


European Central Bank

Mr. Darling : To ask the Prime Minister what steps he has taken to persuade his EC colleagues that the European central bank be situated in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have consistently drawn the attention of my EC colleagues to the advantages for the Community in establishing the new monetary institutions in the United Kingdom. I shall continue to do so.


Child Labour, Colombia

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Prime Minister when he will be in a position to reply to the letter of 26 October from the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby in respect of child labour in the Colombian coal mines.

The Prime Minister : I will respond to the hon. Member's letter shortly.


Militarily Sensitive Equipment

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what armaments and military sensitive equipment, and in what quantity, were licensed by Her Majesty's Government for export to (a) Iraq and (b) Yugoslavia since 1979.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 November 1992] : Details of export licence applications for Iraq were included in a Department of Trade and Industry memorandum supplied to the Trade and Industry Select Committee and published in the minutes of evidence, 26 November 1991, pages 37-106. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will write to the hon. Member about exports licensed for supply to Yugoslavia.


Party Conferences (Security)

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister what amounts have been claimed from central funds by each political party for security costs associated with conferences in each of the last three years.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 November 1992] : Claims have been made only by the Conservative and Labour parties. The figures are as follows :

                     |Conservative party £|Labour party £                           

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

1989                 |274,500             |70,500

1990                 |270,500             |76,900

1991                 |330,000             |90,500

On each occasion the expenditure was certified by the chief constable concerned as being necessary in the light of the assessed threat.


Drug and Alcohol Services

Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Prime Minister what review Ministers have made of the effects of the ending of Government funding for health education co-ordination and of ring fencing of funding for residential drug and alcohol services; and if he will review the working of the Cabinet sub-Committee on drugs misuse.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 November 1992] : Support for drugs and health education has received specific grant funding for seven years and aspects of health education are now included in the national curriculum; schools and local education authorities now have a firm basis on which to build their provision for preventative health education.

The community care special transitional grant of £539 million in 1993-94 will ring fence resources for the whole of community care; within this local authorities will be expected to allocate an amount for alcohol and drug services appropriate to their needs. The establishment of a special ministerial sub-committee reflects our firm commitment to tackling drugs misuse. We will continue to co-ordinate, and keep under review, our strategy in this area.


Staff References

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to provide new guidelines to all Welsh non-departmental public bodies concerning the obligation to insist on a minimum of two references from previous employers for all applicants for senior appointments and for each reference to be taken up and checked before any appointee commences employment; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 November 1992] : Welsh non-departmental public bodies have been sent the "Practitioners Guide for Civil Service Recruitment" as guidance; it includes a range of pre-appointment checks to be undertaken before a permanent appointment is made. It is the responsibility of the individual bodies to decide on the most suitable processes for making these checks.


Ministerial Appointments

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to amend paragraph 52 of the guidelines on public appointments set out in "Questions of Procedure" for Ministers so as to debar Ministers from appointing their own employees to be members of the boards of public bodies for which they are responsible.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 12 November 1992] : Under paragraph 52 of the guidelines set out in "Questions of Procedure", Ministers, having made such inquiries as they think appropriate, may, subject to public accountability and the requirements of the law, appoint those considered best qualified for each appointment. I have no plans to change the paragraph in question, which seems to me to be adequate and appropriate for its purpose.