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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 24th July 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 24th July 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Publicity

Ms Hodge: To ask the Prime Minister how many staff are assumed in his Department's budget to be employed (i) full time and (ii) part time, (a) to work on press and media and (b) to provide information and publicity in 1996-97.

The Prime Minister: Ten people are employed in press, media, information and publicity.

Ms Hodge: To ask the Prime Minister how many staff were employed full time or part time (a) to provide information and publicity and (b) on press and media in (i) 1995-96, (ii) 1994-95 and (iii) 1993-94.

The Prime Minister: Ten people were employed, on a full-time basis, to work in information publicity press and media, in each of the years 1995-96, 1994-95 and 1993-94.

Ms Hodge: To ask the Prime Minister what was the cost of staff employed full time or part time (i) to provide information and publicity and (ii) to work on the press and media in (a) 1995-96, (b) 1994-95 and (c) 1993-94.

The Prime Minister: The cost for staff employed in the No. 10 press office for each year since 1993-94 is as follows:

1993-94: £450,000

1994-95: £450,000

1995-96: £480,000

Ms Hodge: To ask the Prime Minister what is the cost budgeted for staff employed full time or part time to provide information and publicity in 1996-97.

The Prime Minister: The expenditure on staff in the No. 10 press office in 1995-96 was £480,00. The outturn expenditure in 1996-97 will be published after the end of the financial year.

Ms Hodge: To ask the Prime Minister what is the cost assumed in the budget of people employed full time or part time to work on the press and the media in 1996-97.

The Prime Minister: The expenditure on staff in the No. 10 press office in 1995-96 was £480,000. The outturn expenditure in 1996-97 will be published after the end of the financial year.

Ms Hodge: To ask the Prime Minister what is his Department's budget in 1996-97 for consultants to assist with information, publicity, press and media.

The Prime Minister: My office does not use consultants to assist with information, publicity, press and media.


Honours Awards (Health Service)

Ms Harman: To ask the Prime Minister what percentage of honours awarded in each of the last five years were awarded to people working in the health service.

The Prime Minister: The percentages are as follows:

Year | Percentage

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

1992 | 7.1

1993 | 6.1

1994 | 6.5

1995 | 6.1

1996 | 6.1


Independent Tribunal Service

Sir Terence Higgins: To ask the Prime Minister which Government Department is responsible for the operation of the independent tribunal service.

The Prime Minister: The independent tribunal service is an independent statutory body, sponsored by the Department of Social Security. The President is responsible for its operation. He and its full and part-time chairmen are appointed by the Lord Chancellor's Department.


Ministers' Pay

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Prime Minister how many Ministers (a) will be and (b) will not be accepting the pay increases recommended by the senior salaries review body and approved by the House.

Sir Raymond Powell: To ask the Prime Minister how many Ministers (a) will be and (b) will not be accepting the pay increases recommended by the senior salaries review body and approved by the House.

The Prime Minister: These are private matters for the individuals concerned.


European Movement

Mr. Neil Hamilton: To ask the Prime Minister what financial assistance the Government made to the European Movement in 1985; and what plans he has to offer financial assistance in future years.

The Prime Minister: I will write to the hon. Member shortly.


Government Statistics

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will make it his policy to require Ministers within his Government to read and initial answers to parliamentary questions which relate directly to the work of their Departments when those answers are prepared by the Chancellor of the Exchequer following his assumption of responsibility for the preparation of Government statistics; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what specific steps he has taken to ensure that individual Ministers within his Government are made aware of each of the answers being given to parliamentary questions relating directly to the work of their Department in those cases where the answers to those questions are given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer following his assumption of responsibility for the preparation of Government statistics; what steps he is taking to ensure that those Ministers are required to record their awareness of such questions on each occasion upon which they arise; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what public policy objectives are served by having the Chancellor of the Exchequer respond to written parliamentary questions dealing with abortion statistics;

(4) what assessment he has made of the extent to which the handling by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Government statistics relating to the work of other Government Departments is consistent with the enhancement of the constitutional role of the House in scrutinising the actions of the Executive;

(5) what consultation he had with right hon. and hon. Members prior to the decision that questions in respect of certain Government statistics were to be handled in future by the Chancellor of the Exchequer rather than by the Minister to whose actions and policies they refer.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 17 July 1996]: The arrangements for answering parliamentary questions relating to the work of the Office for National Statistics have been reviewed, the aim being to enhance the accountability of Ministers to Parliament for the policies for which they are responsible and to emphasise that the statistics themselves are the responsibility of the director of the ONS, thereby improving public confidence in them.

With effect from the start of the 1996-97 Session the following procedures will apply:

all oral questions, and written questions which have some policy aspect, will be answered by the relevant Minister in whichever Department has responsibility for the subject concerned;

written questions simply seeking statistics that are the responsibility of the director of the ONS, will be delegated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the director of the ONS for answer, which will also be printed in the Official Report; and

the director of the ONS will routinely copy his answers to whichever Ministers he considers may have an interest.