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1991 - PMQT Written Answers 29th April 1991

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 29th April 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

St. John Ambulance Brigade

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make facilities available to staff in his office to contribute to the appeal that has been launched for people with the name of John to help raise £5 million for the St. John Ambulance Brigade.

The Prime Minister : Arrangements exist for officials to contribute by deduction from pay to charities of their choice. The decision by members of my office about which charitable appeals to support must be a matter for them.


Drink Driving

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Prime Minister if he, with his colleagues responsible for transport in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will consider consultations on ways to let the public know whether a driver killed in a road crash had consumed alcohol.

The Prime Minister : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply he received from my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) on 22 April 1991 at columns 350-51.


Management Consultants

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister what was the total sum paid out in fees by the Prime Minister's office to management consultants in 1979-80 and in each following year; and what is his estimate for 1990-91 and budget for 1991-92.

The Prime Minister : There has been no expenditure by my office on fees to management consultants since 1979-80, and none is planned for 1991-92.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister what was the total sum paid out in fees by the Cabinet Office to management consultants in 1979-80 and in each following year; and what is his estimate for 1990-91 and budget for 1991-92.

The Prime Minister : The expenditure by the Cabinet Office, including from its creation on 1 October 1987, the Office of the Minister of the Civil Service, on management and computer consultancies, including certain consultancies relating to the civil service as a whole, in the financial years from 1983-84 is as follows :

Year    |£              

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

1983-84 |152,000

1984-85 |423,818

1985-86 |329,334

1986-87 |505,092

1987-88 |417,778

The figures for each year since then, which exclude the cost of computer consultants, are as follows :

Year       |£                    

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

1988-89    |70,608

1989-90    |51,500

1990-91    |<1>182,000

1991-92    |<2>242,735

<1>Estimate.                     

<2>Budget.                       

Note:                            

The figures for 1990-91 and 1991-92 reflect increases in management consultancies undertaken by the Cabinet Office for the civil service generally.


Press and Public Relations

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister what was the total expenditure by the Cabinet Office on press and public relations in 1979-80 and in each following year; and what is his estimate for 1990-91 and budget for 1991-92.

The Prime Minister : Expenditure on press and public relations by the Cabinet Office was :

        |£              

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

1984-85 |247,495

1985-86 |232,980

1986-87 |224,813

1987-88 |215,925

1988-89 |201,837

1989-90 |205,650

The latest estimate for 1990-91 is £165,088 and the budget for 1991-92 is £213,323.

Similar information is not available for the years prior to 1984-85.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister what was the total expenditure by the Prime Minister's office on press and public relations in 1979-80 and in each following year; and what is his estimate for 1990-91 and budget for 1991-92.

The Prime Minister : Expenditure by my office on press and public relations was not recorded separately before 1987-88. The total expenditure for each year since then and the budget for 1991-92 are as follows :

           |£                    

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

1987-88    |377,987

1988-89    |419,326

1989-90    |427,802

1990-91    |<1>553,010

1991-92    |<2>554,748

<1> Estimate.                    

<2> Budget.                      

Note: The figures for 1990-91 and 1991-92 include notional superannuation costs which are excluded from the figures for earlier years.


Departmental Staff

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will give for each year from 1979-80, including 1991-92, the number of staff actually employed on 1 April and the full complement of staff, including vacant posts, by grade, in the statistical divisions in the Cabinet Office; and if he will differentiate between staff in statistical posts and staff in administrative posts.

The Prime Minister : The number of staff, by grade, employed on 1 April in each of the years from 1982 in the statistical divisions of the Cabinet Office, differentiated between staff in statistical posts and staff in administrative posts, were :

                    Staff in post, with in brackets,                                          

                    where different, total complement                                         

Grade              |Members of    |Members of    |Total                                       

                   |Statistician  |Administration                                             

                   |Group         |and other                                                  

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

1982               |51.0          |153.0         |204.0         |(209.0)                      

1983               |50.0          |159.5         |209.5         |(208.5)                      

1984               |47.0          |146.0         |193.0         |(193.0)                      

1985               |50.5          |136.5         |187.0         |(186.0)                      

1986               |52.0          |148.5         |200.5         |(198.5)                      

1987                                                                                          

1a                 |1             |-             |1                                           

3                  |3             |-             |3                                           

5                  |9             |1             |10            |(9)                          

7                  |24            |6             |30            |(31)                         

Senior Executive Officer          |-             |8             |8             |(7)                          

Higher Executive Officer          |-             |23            |23            |(22.5)                       

Executive Officer  |-             |34            |34            |(35.5)                       

Administrative Officer          |-             |24            |24                                          

Personal Secretary |-             |13            |13            |(12.5)                       

Senior Assistant and Assistant                                                                               

Statistician     |9             |-             |9             |(11)                         

Cadet Statistician |7             |-             |7                                           

Chief Draughtsman      |-             |1             |1                                           

Senior Draughtsman      |-             |1             |1                                           

Higher Draughtsman      |-             |2             |2                                           

Draughtsman        |-             |6             |6             |(7)                          

Information Officer          |-             |1             |1                                           

 |-------       |-------       |-------       |-------                      

 |53            |120           |173           |(175.5)                      

1988                                                                                          

1A                 |1             |-             |1                                           

3                  |3             |-             |3                                           

5                  |9             |1             |10            |(9)                          

7                  |25            |4             |29            |(31)                         

Senior Executive Officer          |-             |8             |8                                           

Higher Executive Officer          |-             |20            |20            |(21)                         

Executive Officer  |-             |31            |31            |(37)                         

Administrative Officer          |-             |21            |21            |(24)                         

Senior Personal Secretary        |-             |1             |1                                           

Personal Secretary |-             |11            |11            |(11.5)                       

Senior Assistant and Assistant Statistician     |9             |-             |9             |(10)                         

Cadet Statistician |6             |-             |6             |(7)                          

Chief Draughtsman      |-             |1             |1                                           

Senior Draughtsman      |-             |1             |1                                           

Higher Draughtsman      |-             |2             |2                                           

Draughtsman        |-             |5             |5             |(7)                          

Information Officer          |-             |1             |1                                           

                   |--------      |-------       |-------       |-------                      

                   |53            |107           |160           |(175.5)                      

1989                                                                                          

1A                 |1             |-             |1                                           

3                  |3             |-             |3                                           

5                  |9             |1             |10            |(9)                          

7                  |25            |4             |29            |(31.5)                       

Senior Executive Officer          |-             |7             |7             |(5.5)                        

Higher Executive Officer          |-             |18            |18            |(21)                         

Executive Officer  |-             |35            |35            |(36)                         

Administrative Officer          |-             |25            |25            |(24.5)                       

Senior Personal Secretary        |-             |2             |2                                           

Personal Secretary |-             |11            |11            |(10.5)                       

Senior Assistant and Assistant Statistician     |8             |-             |8             |(11)                         

Cadet Statistician |3             |-             |3             |(1.5)                        

Chief Draughtsman      |-             |1             |1                                           

Senior Draughtsman      |-             |1             |1                                           

Higher Draughtsman      |-             |2             |2             |(1)                          

Draughtsman        |-             |4             |4             |(7)                          

Information Officer          |-             |1             |1                                           

                   |-------       |-------       |-------       |-------                      

                   |49            |112           |161           |(167.5)                      

<1>Includes all other non statistician group staff.                                           

Figures for the years prior to 1982 are no longer available, and information on the numbers of staff by grade is not readily available for the years 1982 to 1986 and cannot be obtained except at disproportionate cost.

Since July 1989, when the Central Statistical Office became a separate department, the Cabinet Office has had no statistical divisions.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will give for each year from 1979-80, including 1991-92, the number of staff actually employed on 1 April and the full complement of staff, including vacant posts, by grade, in the statistical divisions in the Prime Minister's office; and if he will differentiate between staff in statistical posts and staff in administrative posts.

The Prime Minister : During the period in question, there has been no statistical division within my office. There are no statisticians in post or on the staff complement, and there are no plans to create any such posts.


Iraqi Refugees

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Prime Minister whether he has any plans to increase the financial year 1991-92 budget of the Overseas Development Administration to cover the costs of emergency relief for Iraqi refugees.

The Prime Minister : Additions to the overseas aid programme totalling up to £30 million have been agreed to fund the Government's further efforts to relieve the suffering of Iraqi refugees. Within this total, up to £20 million will be provided to continue the airbridge operation, to provide urgently needed supplies, and to finance the immediately foreseeable costs falling to the aid budget of the United Kingdom's participation in Operation Haven inside Iraq. The balance of £10 million represents the Government's contribution to the Kurdish refugee appeal announced on Thursday 25 April. These additions will enable the ODA to maintain its planned development activities, and to continue to provide substantial humanitarian assistance to help relieve famine in Africa.


North Sea

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Prime Minister if he will set up a high-level task force combining all the Departments of state concerned, all industries involved and all interested parties to bring forward proposals to secure continued viability of all uses and the well-being of the North sea, once gas and oil structures are decommissioned; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Departments maintain regular contact with a wide range of organisations with an interest in many aspects of the North sea. I see no advantage in establishing an additional forum. Consideration of an abandonment programme by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy under the provisions of the Petroleum Act 1987 will take account of consultations with organisations concerned with other uses of the sea including fishing, and with environmental interests. The abandonment of offshore installations will be performed in such a way as to cause no significant adverse effects upon navigation or the marine environment, in accordance with our international obligations.


Opposition Parties (Access to Civil Service)

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Prime Minister whether he will consider allowing opposition parties equal access to civil servants and publicity budgets to enable them to prepare and publicise their own policies.

The Prime Minister : No. By long-standing convention, civil service time and Government publicity budgets are not used for party political purposes.

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the civil service trade unions regarding the effectiveness of the rules set out in the Armstrong memorandum of December 1987 on the propriety of publishing party political material using civil servants' time.

The Prime Minister : None.


Arms Trade

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has for an international register of arms sales.

The Prime Minister : At the special European Council in Luxembourg on 8 April, I proposed a register of arms sales at the United Nations to monitor the scale of arms build-up in any one country. We are taking every opportunity to urge others to support the idea of such a register. Our ambassador at the United Nations is also taking this forward in New York.


First Division Association

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister how many of the demands of the First Division Association code of civil service ethics have been incorporated into official regulations.

The Prime Minister : The Government's position is set out in the note by the former head of the home civil service on the duties and responsibilities of civil servants in relation to Ministers, issued in December 1987, subject to the further points contained in the Government's responses to the fifth report of the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee for the 1989-90 Session.


Iraqi Arms Disposal

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has put to the United Nations for a commission to monitor Iraqi arms disposal.

The Prime Minister : United Nations Security Council resolution 687 requires the Secretary-General to establish a special commission to oversee the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. We hope that the special commission will start work as soon as possible, and we shall co-operate with it fully.


Members' Letters

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 22 April, Official Report, columns 293-94, to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes), whether he will make it his aim to provide responses to Members' letters to Ministers which are as full and as helpful as possible, on a time scale similar to that for a response to a parliamentary question.

The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) on 12 February at column 393. I have nothing further to add.


South Africa

Mr. Robert Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister whether he raised with Mr. de Klerk at their meeting on 22 April the failure of the South African Government to release all political prisoners by the target date of 28 February 1991, as agreed in the Pretoria minute of 6 August 1990.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 26 April 1991] : No, not least because the target date of 30 April has not yet been reached.