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1990 - PMQT Written Answers 30th November 1990

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 30th November 1990.


PRIME MINISTER:

Security Service Commissioner

Mr. Allason : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to publish in full the annual report of the Security Service Commissioner under the terms of the Security Service Act 1989.

The Prime Minister : Subsections 4(6) and 4(7) of the Security Service Act 1989 require me to lay the Security Service Commissioner's annual report before Parliament subject to the proviso that any matter which it appears to me, after consultation with the Commissioner, would be prejudicial to the continued discharge of the functions of the service may be excluded.


Cabinet Collective Responsibility

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister what steps he is taking to strengthen collective Cabinet responsibility.

The Prime Minister : None is needed.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list each category of parliamentary questions which it is his policy not to answer.

The Prime Minister : Of those not transferred, none.


Management Consultants

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the studies commissioned inside the Cabinet Office and Prime Minister's offices by management consultants and others during the last week naming the consultancy, cost and subject in each instance.

The Prime Minister : No studies were commissioned inside the Cabinet Office and my office by management consultants and others during the last week.


Government Policy

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister what changes he has made to the discussion and implementation of Government policy since assuming office.

The Prime Minister : Government decisions have been and will continue to be reached and implemented on the basis of collective responsibility.


GCHQ

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to allow trade unions to organise at GCHQ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The ban on national trade unions at GCHQ remains in force. All GCHQ staff are free to join the GCHQ Staff Federation, which is listed as a trade union under the terms of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974.


Rented Accommodation

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if the Government intend to take any measures financially to encourage local authorities to build rented accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Implementation of the Government's housing policies is a matter for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment, for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland. The Government's view is that greater diversity of supply of rented housing is desirable, and that generally housing associations should be the main providers of new subsidised housing for rent. Substantial increases are planned in public expenditure provision for capital investment by housing associations financed through the Housing Corporation in England; announcements about the distribution of public expenditure provision in Scotland and Wales will be made by the Secretaries of State concerned in the near future. In Northern Ireland district councils have no housing responsibilities; the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is the sole public housing authority.


Concessionary TV Licences

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if the Government will reconsider their policy of opposition to the concessionary television licence being applied to a larger group of pensioners.

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


Single European Language

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the promotion by the European Community of an officially approved single language throughout Europe.

The Prime Minister : The Government are not aware of any such proposal in the Community. The official languages of the Community (Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) have equal status under the treaty.


Policy Advisers

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the official policy advisers employed in his office.

The Prime Minister : Those currently employed in my policy unit are Miss C. Sinclair and Mr. J. Mills, both serving civil servants.


Strategic Nuclear Deterrent

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it the policy of Her Majesty's Government to publish an indicative list of circumstances in which Her Majesty's Government would authorise the use of the strategic nuclear deterrent.

The Prime Minister : No.


Correspondence

Mr. Parry : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish a copy of the letter sent by the right hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) to the Roman Catholic archbishop of Baghdad in September.

The Prime Minister : It is not my normal practice to do so.

Mr. Parry : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his practice to place in the Library copies of any official correspondence sent to him by any religious leaders.

The Prime Minister : No.


Question Time

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will bring forward proposals to extend the period of Prime Minister's Question Time to that of the other major Departments of state.

The Prime Minister : The present arrangements were agreed by the House on 18 July 1971. I have no plans to change the period of Prime Minister's Question Time, and any such proposals would best be examined in the first instance by the Procedure Committee.


10 Downing Street

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make arrangements for hon. Members to visit No. 10 Downing Street.

The Prime Minister : No.


Community Charge

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister what changes the Government are proposing to table over the poll tax.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to start the review of the community charge.

The Prime Minister : Some of the changes announced by my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for the Environment on 31 October have still to come through. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will shortly start a careful review of the community charge.


Taxes

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to introduce no new taxes before the next election.

The Prime Minister : I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement, but since 1979 five major taxes have been abolished, and in my 1990 Budget statement I announced that two more--composite rate tax and stamp duty on securities--will be abolished.


Clockwork Orange

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will institute a full review of project Clockwork Orange.

The Prime Minister : No.


Mr. Charles Powell

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if he intends to retain Mr. Charles Powell in the same position that he has hitherto occupied in the Prime Minister's office; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Mr. Powell is a civil servant and decisions about his future will be taken in due course in the normal way.


Child Abuse

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on current progress of the inter departmental group on child sexual abuse.

The Prime Minister : Since May 1989 the inter-departmental group on child abuse has met five times. It has made good progress in addressing a wide range of issues in relation to child care, including research and the co-ordination of Government guidance.