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1992 - PMQT Written Answers 2nd June 1992

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 2nd June 1992.


PRIME MINISTER:

Leith

Q9. Mr. Chisholm : To ask the Prime Minister if he intends to pay an official visit to Leith in the near future.

The Prime Minister : I visited Scotland yesterday. I have no immediate plans to visit Leith, but I shall be visiting Scotland again in the near future.


Telephone Rental Charges

Q10. Mr. Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received regarding the regulation of telephone rental charges; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have received various representations on this subject. The regulation of British Telecom's rental charges is a matter for the Director General of Telecommunications in the first instance. I understand that he hopes to complete his current review of BT's prices shortly.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 2 June.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.


Press and Public Relations

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will give the total expenditure by the Prime Minister's Office on press and public relations in 1979-80 and in each following year up to and including 1991-92; and if he will give an estimate for 1992-93.

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 is as follows :

Year       |£

1987-88    |377,987

1988-89    |419,326             

1989-90    |427,802             

1990-91    |553,068             

1991-92    |<1>606,933          

1992-93    |<2>629,649          

<1> estimate                     <2> budget                      

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

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will give the total expenditure by the Cabinet Office on press and public relations in 1979-80 and in each following year up to and including 1991-92; and if he will give an estimate for 1992-93.

The Prime Minister : Expenditure by the Cabinet Office on press and public relations for the years from 1984-85 is as follows :

Year       |£

1984-85    |247,495             

1985-86    |232,980             

1986-87    |224,813             

1987-88    |215,925             

1988-89    |201,837             

1989-90    |205,650             

1990-91    |165,088             

1991-92    |<1>217,358          

1992-93    |<2>229,471          

<1> estimate                     <2> budget                      

In addition, there was expenditure on publicity and public information associated with the citizens charter of £1,014,045--estimate--in 1991-92. Similar expenditure in 1992-93 is provisionally estimated at £1,280,000.

Similar information is not available for earlier years.


Consultants Fees

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 up to and including 1991-92; and what is his estimate for 1992-93.

The Prime Minister : The expenditure by the Cabinet Office, including, from its creation on 1 October 1987, the Office of the Minister for 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 was 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 consultancies, are as follows :

Year       |£

1988-89    |70,608              

1989-90    |51,500              

1990-91    |182,000             

1991-92    |<1>194,390          

1992-93    |<2>343,060          

<1> Estimate.                    <2> Budget.                     

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 up to and including 1991-92; and what is his estimate for 1992-93.

The Prime Minister : There has been no expenditure by my office on fees to management consultants since 1979-80, and none is planned for 1992-93.


EC (Enlargement)

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on Government policy in respect of Chancellor Kohl's proposed veto on the enlargement of the EC; and what means exist of overcoming this veto under the Maastricht treaty.

The Prime Minister : I am not aware of any such statement by the German Government. The Maastricht European Council agreed that accession negotiations could start as soon as the negotiations on future financing are concluded. Under the terms of the treaty on European union decisions to admit new members are taken by unanimity.


Public Opinion Surveys

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the public opinion surveys carried out by (a) the Prime Minister's Office and (b) the Cabinet Office since 1 November 1991.

The Prime Minister : No such surveys were carried out for my office or the Cabinet Office during the period in question.


Earth Summit

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Prime Minister what attempts have been made by Her Majesty's Government (a) to publicise the issues to be discussed and decisions to be taken at the Earth summit in Rio in June and (b) to publicise Her Majesty's Government's policies and proposals for the Earth summit ; and what has been the cost to Her Majesty's Government of publicity promoted by all Departments of Government and the United Nations conference on environment and development.

The Prime Minister : We have taken an active and positive role in disseminating information on the forthcoming Earth summit. The United Kingdom's approach has been set out to Parliament, in speeches, articles and correspondence, and media briefings. We have produced booklets and videos, commissioned reports and kept in close touch with local authorities and the non-governmental community. The directly attributable publicity costs have fallen within the budgets of the Departments concerned.

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received since 9 April on the Earth summit to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June; and what responses he has made.

The Prime Minister : The Government have received many thousands of representations from interested organisations and individual citizens. Replies have confirmed that I will be going to Rio de Janeiro : that the Government are committed to working for a successful and productive outcome to the Earth summit; that we are aiming for international conventions on climate change and biological diversity; and that we will be working for a statement on the sustainable management of the world's forests, a Rio declaration of international environmental principles, and a coherent, realistic and measurable plan of action for the 21st century, agenda 21.

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with counterpart heads of government on the prospects for the Earth summit in Brazil since 9 April.

The Prime Minister : I have discussed the Earth summit with many of the Heads of Government I have met since 9 April.


Third World Environment

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Prime Minister what responses Her Majesty's Government intends to make to the World bank's call for greater multilateral investment to be made in the world's poorer countries to improve the environment.

The Prime Minister : The Government broadly agree with the analysis in the 1992 world development report published by the World bank last month. This suggests that the bulk of the investments required to meet the costs of a better environment will be paid for by the customers of the private and public enterprises responsible for the damage and by the beneficiaries of improved environmental conditions.

The World bank notes that Governments will have to spend more too, primarily from increased domestic savings; but that international finance, private and official, will also have a crucial role. Britain intends to participate fully in the replenishments of the multilateral funds which will help to provide developing countries with the necessary resources.


Disabled Employees

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister what percentage of the total work force in his office are registered as disabled; what steps he is taking to encourage the employment of disabled people within his office; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : No current members of my work force are registered as disabled. For recruitment purposes my office is part of the Cabinet Office which is an equal opportunities employer, and continually seeks to encourage the employment of people with disabilities.


Advertising

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will give separate figures for the spending by the Prime Minister's Office on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material in 1979-80 and in each following year up to and including 1991-92; and what is his latest estimate for 1992-93.

The Prime Minister : My office has incurred no expenditure on advertising or promotional material and there are no plans for any such expenditure in 1992-93.


Libya

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will assess the results of sanctions against Libya.

The Prime Minister : Members of the United Nations were required to report by 15 May on the measures they have taken to implement the sanctions imposed by United Nations Security Council resolution 748. The United Nations secretariat is now assessing their responses. Sanctions are being widely implemented. I hope they will achieve their objective : to make Libya comply in full with Security Council resolutions 731 and 748.


Radar Station, Fylingdales

Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to refuse any request made by the US administration to modify the radar station at Fylingdales; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 June 1992] : RAF Fylingdales is a ballistic missile early warning site whose operation is the subject of a bilateral agreement drawn up in 1960 between the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States. There has been no request for any change to this agreement.


India (Treaty)

Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister if the extradition treaty agreed between Britain and India has been ratified by both Governments; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 June 1992] : We and the Indian Government have not yet signed the treaty, but we intend to do this as soon as possible. Ratification will follow in due course.


Ministerial Sub-committee on London

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement on the role of the ministerial sub-committee on London as a policy forum for discussions on the future of London ; when the sub- committee has met; and what was its agenda;

(2) what plans he has to publish the proceedings and decisions of the ministerial sub-committee on London.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 22 May 1992] : The terms of reference of the ministerial sub-committee on London, together with those of all other ministerial committees and sub-committees of the Cabinet, were given in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Mr. Hayes) on 19 May at columns 110-18.

The Government will continue to make their decisions known to Parliament and the public. I do not, however, propose to give details on the topics discussed by individual committees, the timing of meetings or their proceedings.