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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 11th January 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 11th January 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Genetic Testing

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what arrangements Her Majesty's Government are making to respond to the report under the chairmanship of Professor Dame June Lloyd of the Nuffield council of bioethics relating to genetic testing ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

The Government welcome this authoritative and timely report. We will consider the conclusions and recommendations of the report and study the reaction of public and professional interests before deciding whether action by the Government is needed.


Ministers

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about ministerial responsibility and the accountability of Ministers for decisions taken by the Department.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

Guidance on ministerial responsibility and accountability is provided at paragraph 27 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers", a copy of which is in the Library.

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list each Minister who has left his Administration, with the reason for their departure in each case.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

The names of resigning Ministers, and the reasons for their resigning, have been announced on each occasion.


Documents

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to advise all Ministers that marginal notes on documents circulated between themselves or departmental officials always are made directly on to the documents and not on detachable notes.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has no plans to issue such advice.


Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister how many representations he has received in the form of coupons from the advertisement placed by the citizens of Hiroshima, Japan, in The Times of 20 December, setting out opposition to the THORP reprocessing plant at Sellafield.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has received numerous representations.


EC Directives

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor) of 17 December 1993, Official Report, column 959, how the list of 17 EC directives which the European Council agreed should be repealed or withdrawn has been made available to the general public.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

The Commission's report on subsidiarity, which includes the annex to which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister referred in his answer of 17 December to my hon. Friend, the Member for Southend, East, has been published by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. As is the practice for all official Community publications, it is available to the general public through HMSO.


Police and Magistrates

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Prime Minister what amount of new money is proposed to support the reformed (a) magistrates courts system and (b) the police authorities ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

The costs of establishing the new administrative structure for the magistrates courts service will depend on local management decisions, but during the one to two year implementation period costs in the region of £5 million a year may be incurred. The Government have reflected the additional costs of the reforms in determining future grant provision for the service.

As regards the police, the overall effect of the changes in the Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill on ongoing expenditure from the Consolidated Fund and by local government will be broadly neutral. It is expected that additional expenditure by police forces on financial and personnel management will be offset by increases in efficiency.

Some start-up costs are expected. These will arise from a period of parallel operation by the current police authorities and their successors to be established by the Bill. The new authorities will incur some costs for their own purposes and some for the purposes of the police force for whose maintenance they will become responsible from April 1995. The force may need to recruit and train new staff in areas such as personnel or finance or to purchase computer hardware. Taken together, the start-up costs of the reforms for police authorities and police forces are not expected to exceed £21 million. They will be met by central Government grant.


Press Officers

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister how many press officers his Office has employed in each year since 1983.

Mr. Newton [holding answer 17 December 1993] : I have been asked to reply.

Detailed figures were not recorded separately prior to 1987-88. From then onwards the complement remained at six, until 1 April 1992, when it was increased to seven to enable the press office to continue to respond effectively to the growing number of press inquiries.