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1992 - PMQT Written Answers 13th May 1992

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 13th May 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Security Services

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister whether he proposes to bring the operation of the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service under parliamentary scrutiny.

The Prime Minister : The security and intelligence services are all subject to close ministerial oversight, and Ministers are responsible to Parliament. There are now also commissioners for the Security Service and interception of communications who produce an annual report to Parliament. Those who have grievances have access to tribunals and sources of redress. There will be an opportunity for Parliament to debate such matters when legislation is brought forward.


Police Authority

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the police authority for all the non-Home Office official police forces and/or constabularies.

The Prime Minister : A number of bodies have powers under legislation other than the Police Act 1964 to appoint persons having some of the powers of a constable. A full list of such organisations is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The larger forces include the British Transport police, the Ministry of Defence police, the Royal Parks constabulary and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority constabulary. The performance of the duties and functions associated with police authorities normally rests with the Government department, local authority, or private company responsible for the constables concerned.


European Community

Mr. Temple-Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what priority, during the United Kingdom's approaching presidency of the European Community, he gives to making progress on creating a stable future for United Kingdom agriculture as opposed to other issues such as enlargement or EC institutional change.

The Prime Minister : The Government set out the right approach for the future of agriculture in the United Kingdom in the statement published last autumn, "Our Farming Future". This stressed the importance of the need for effective and substantial CAP reform. We shall pursue that objective during our presidency alongside our other objectives for the future of the Community.


Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to call for a 30 per cent. reduction in levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom by the year 2000.

The Prime Minister : No. The United Nations intergovernmental negotiating committee on a framework convention on climate change unanimously adopted a draft convention on 9 May which would commit developed countries to adopt policies and measures aimed at returning emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to their 1990 levels by the year 2000. The convention will be open for signature during the United Nations conference on environment and development next month.


Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Mr. David Martin : To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the responsibilities of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The Prime Minister : In addition to his duties in relation to the Duchy, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible to me for the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service (OMCS), and the new Office of Science and Technology (OST).

He will be responsible for development of the citizens charter initiative ensuring sustained improvement in public services; this includes the charterline and the charter mark scheme, the toughening up of inspectorates, and the extension of contracting out and market testing. Above all, the Chancellor is responsible for ensuring that those who provide public services are practising the charter principles.

The Chancellor of the Duchy is also responsible for the "next steps" programme, improving efficiency and effectiveness in the civil service, and the market testing initiative; for advice on duties and standards in the civil service, the recruitment and development of civil servants, senior and public appointments, equal opportunities, occupational health and certain other non-financial aspects of personnel management. He will take responsibility for three executive agencies : the Civil Service College, the Recruitment and Assessment Services and the Occupational Health Service.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be responsible for policy on open government, with a view to identifying areas of excessive secrecy and carrying forward moves towards greater openness. He will lead a review of specific statutory restrictions on the disclosure of information and the scope for greater access to personal records, while safeguarding personal privacy. The Chancellor of the Duchy will also be responsible for science and technology issues and for the Office of Science and Technology (OST). The OST will be responsible for the Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACOST) and for the Advisory Board for the Research Councils (ABRC); for the Office of Science and Technology budget which includes the science budget; and also for the five research councils.

The Treasury will remain responsible for financial management, civil service pay, industrial relations, other pay related aspects of personnel management, relocation policies and civil service manpower statistics.

Departmental Ministers remain responsible for the progress of individual charters, management issues within their departments and the operation of their executive agencies.


National Heritage

Mr. David Martin : To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for National Heritage.

The Prime Minister : The Secretary of State for National Heritage will be responsible for many of the central areas of our national life which enhance its quality or contribute significantly to our sense of national identity. These include the present functions of the Office of Arts and Libraries--the arts, museums, galleries and libraries--together with film and the export licensing of antiques, functions which are to be transferred from the Department of Trade and Industry. He will be responsible for broadcasting, notably the review of the BBC's charter, the press--including work on the recommendations of the Calcutt committee--and the safety of sports grounds, all duties to be transferred from the Home Office; sport, from the Department of Education and Science; tourism, from the Department of Employment; and heritage from the Department of the Environment. He will be responsible for the Historic Royal Palaces Agency.

The Secretary of State will be responsible for the proposed national lottery and, in consultation with the Home Secretary, the legislation required to create it. The Secretary of State will also be responsible for the Millennium Fund.


Cabinet Committees

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Prime Minister if he will retain Cabinet committees dealing with overall environmental issues and with energy efficiency in particular.

The Prime Minister : The full list of Ministerial Cabinet Committees, with their terms of reference and membership, will be published shortly.


CSCE Meeting

Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to announce the membership of the United Kingdom delegation for the forthcoming meeting in Budapest of the new Assembly of Europe of the conference on security and co-operation in Europe; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The appointment of the delegation is a matter for discussion through the usual channels. I will make an announcement in due course.


Kurt Klebeck

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government will now take steps to ask the German authorities to extradite Kurt Klebeck to the United Kingdom over Nazi crimes in the Channel islands.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 11 May 1992] : Mr. Klebeck is a German national. We understand that Germany does not extradite its own nationals because of a prohibition in its constitution. We would co-operate fully with the German authorities if we were asked by them for assistance in connection with any possible proceedings in Germany.


War Crimes

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if he will now release in the public domain documents relating to the wartime Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands which remain classified; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 11 May 1992] : Any records relating to the wartime Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands which remain closed to the public domain will be released at the appropriate time, under the criteria of the Public Records Acts of 1958 and 1967. I will however look into the matter raised by the hon. Member.