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1993 - PMQT Written Answers 14th December 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 14th December 1993.


PRIME MINISTER:

Government Car Service

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Prime Minister what was the annual cost to the Department of the car service for Ministers in 1990-91; and how many vehicles were involved.

The Prime Minister : The charge to my office for ministerial use of the Government car service during 1990-91 was £117,952. Two vehicles were involved.


Special Advisers

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister what arrangements are made to ensure that special advisers to Ministers in his Department do not have access to the kind of information, and are not involved in the type of business, that would be likely to create suspicion of impropriety in relation to subsequent employment.

The Prime Minister : Care is taken to ensure that special advisers do not have access to the kind of information likely to create suspicion of impropriety. They are not involved in evaluating tenders or letting contracts.


Identification Numbers

Sir Ralph Howell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the smallest number of separate identification numbers in use by any Government department that a person with a driving licence and a passport can have; and how many persons are employed in the various Departments of state to administer these separate registers, giving the number employed in each case.

The Prime Minister : A person with a driving licence and a passport would have a driver number, a passport number, a national health service number and is likely to have a national insurance number. Driver numbers are automatically generated by computer when a licence is issued and require no additional staff effort. The Passport Agency employs 32 people at the central records unit at Hayes whose job it is number and the administration of records are part of the general work of departmental staff. The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys employs 180 staff at the national health service central register in Southport whose duties include administration of national health records as well as other responsibilities.


Local Government Review

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister what guidance he has given to the Minister for Local Government and Planning in relation to the announcements anticipating the Government's response to the Local Government Commission's final report on the North Yorkshire review.

The Prime Minister : I have nothing further to add to the reply I gave the hon. Member on 29 November, Official Report, column 325.


Nursery Places

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister if it is Government policy to provide nursery places for all three and four-year-olds whose parents want it.

The Prime Minister : The Government's policy is to promote choice and diversity of educational and other forms of provision for the under-fives, within the resources available. The scale and pattern of provision locally are matters for individual local authorities and other local providers.


Departmental Refrigerators

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to direct all Departments of State to purchase ozone-friendly fridges when replacing existing stocks of departmental refrigerators.

The Prime Minister : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment emphasised the importance of phasing out the use of ozone-depleting substances at a recent meeting of green Ministers. Information on ozone-friendly fridges was circulated to all departments in July this year. Each Department is responsible for its own environmental strategy and purchasing decisions.


Employment Policy

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister what is the Government's policy on trying to ensure that full employment exists in Britain.

The Prime Minister : Economic growth and jobs are generated by businesses and their employees, not by Governments. But Governments do have a responsibility for ensuring that markets work properly and that the regulatory and tax burden on business is kept to an absolute minimum.

The Government also have the essential task of establishing a macroeconomic framework, which provides the stability that businesses need to plan for the future. This means that inflation and public finances need to be kept under control.

These are the policies that the Government believe will create wealth and jobs, not just in the United Kingdom, but in the European Community as a whole.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 December.

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.