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1991 - PMQT Written Answers 14th October 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 14th October 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

Citizens Charter

Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Prime Minister what is the total amount of planned expenditure funded by the Exchequer for the promotion and advertising of "The Citizen's Charter" White Paper.

The Prime Minister : The estimated cost is likely to be in the order of £916,000. This includes the costs of producing, advertising and distributing the popular version of the White Paper. The costs for printing, publishing and distributing the White Paper--Cm 1599--were met by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, which aims to recover its costs from sales revenue.

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Prime Minister when he proposes to complete the appointment of a panel of advisers on the citizens charter initiative; and if he will list the individuals who have so far agreed to serve on that panel.

The Prime Minister : I have appointed six members to the citizens charter advisory panel to serve under the chairmanship of Sir James Blyth. They are Mr. Christopher Bland, Dr. Nancy Lane, Dr. Madsen Pirie, Mr. Christopher Swan, Mr. Stan Webster and Lady Judith Wilcox.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list those proposals in the citizens charter for which new legislation will be necessary.

The Prime Minister : Legislation will be needed to extend the powers of the Audit Commission and require local authorities to respond to auditors' reports; to extend compulsory competitive tendering; to require regular independent inspection of schools and the publication of information about the performance of all schools; to require lay members independent of local education authorities to be appointed to appeals tribunals; to give the citizen a right to challenge unlawful industrial action affecting public services; to extend delegation in the civil service and deal with the problems relating to technical redundancy; to privatise British Rail; to deregulate London buses; to change arrangements for the provision of motorway service areas; to limit the Post Office monopoly, establish a new regulator for postal services and give the Secretary of State powers to set standards and targets; to bring the powers to set and ensure service standards of the regulators of the privatised utilities up to the standards of the strongest; and to make other smaller changes to the law, for example allowing juries considering their verdict to go home overnight.


Global Warming

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister what action he has taken to reduce concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to combat global warming.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stockton, North (Mr. Cook) on 22 July, at column 375. The "First Year Report on the Environment White Paper"--Cm 1655--which shows how our first set of measures to limit the United Kingdom's carbon dioxide emissions are being put into practice, was published on Wednesday 25 September.


EC Heads of Government Meeting

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister when he placed in the Library a copy of the communique issued after the meeting of Heads of Governments of member states of the European Community held on 13 September.

The Prime Minister : No communique was issued, because the European Council planned for 13 September did not take place.


Learning Difficulties

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from the National Campaign With People Who Have Learning Difficulties; what reply he is sending; if there is any action he will be taking; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have received a letter from the director setting out his organisation's concerns about the future development of services for people with learning disabilities. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Health has responsibility for these services and will be replying on my behalf; a copy of his reply will be sent to the right hon. Member.


Citizens Advice Bureaux

Mr. Wray : To ask the Prime Minister what support Her Majesty's Government are giving to the citizens advice bureaux throughout the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister : The Department of Trade and Industry funds the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux--NACAB--and Citizens Advice Scotland--CAS--which provide the central support services for the local bureaux in England, Wales and Scotland. Similarly, the Northern Ireland Office funds the Northern Ireland Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux-- NIACAB. Total grant-in-aid to NACAB, CAS and NIACAB for 1990-91 was £11.74 million. Grant-in-aid for the current financial year will be more than £12 million.

Although the Government do not fund individual citizens advice bureaux, directly, the money provided to the central organisations includes a provision to develop the local network through partnership agreements on a time limited basis.


Animals Charter

Mr. Mudd : To ask the Prime Minister if it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to prepare and publish an animals charter.

The Prime Minister : The Government place a high priority on ensuring proper safeguards for animal welfare, and have already made clear their policy for making progress on a wide range of animal welfare issues. In relation to farm animals, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is pressing in particular for measures to improve welfare standards throughout the European Community.