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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 31st March 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 31st March 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Proton Cars

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Prime Minister how many Proton cars were purchased by the Cabinet Office in each of the last 10 years for which information is available; and at what cost.

The Prime Minister : None.


Official Entertainment

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Prime Minister what was the total cost of his official entertaining in each year since 1990-91; if he will list the receptions held in each year at his office's expense; and what was the cost of each reception.

The Prime Minister : The total cost of official hospitality by my office, for each year since 1990-91, is as follows :

Year    |Cost        

        |£           

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

1990-91 |23,830      

1991-92 |40,976      

1992-93 |30,023      

An outturn for 1993-94 is not yet available.


Former Prime Ministers

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister

(1) what restrictions govern the spending by former Prime Ministers of their annual allowances;

(2) if he will list the total allowances paid to each former Prime Minister in each year since 1991;

(3) what mechanisms are in place to monitor the use of allowances paid to former Prime Ministers.

The Prime Minister : On 1 April 1991, I introduced an allowance to assist former Prime Ministers with the continuing heavy burden of office and secretarial costs arising from their special position in public life. The allowance is similar in purpose and amount to the parliamentary office costs allowance but is paid in respect of public not parliamentary duties.

The total payments from the allowance are as follows :

Year       |Payment             

           |£                   

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

1991-92    |88,956              

1992-93    |124,981             

1993-94    |<1>130,000          

<1> Estimate.                   

I do not think it right to disclose the amounts claimed by individual former Prime Ministers, any more than the House discloses details of claims by individual Members under the office costs allowance.

Payments from the allowance are subject to the same scrutiny and controls as other payments from voted monies.


Local Government Legislation

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the Acts of Parliament and Consolidation Acts that affect local government which have been introduced by his Department since 1990.

The Prime Minister : None.


Injunctions

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions, and when, since January 1990 the Government have met costs of injunctions against publications; at what cost; against which publications and on behalf of which Departments or Ministers.

The Prime Minister : There are no centrally held records of such cases.


Interception of Communications Act 1985

Mr. Batiste : To ask the Prime Minister when the annual report of the commissioner appointed under the Interception of Communications Act 1985 will be laid before the House; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : A copy of Sir Thomas Bingham's second annual report, for 1993, has been laid before the House today in accordance with section 8(7) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985. The confidential annexe to the report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with section 8(8) of the 1985 Act. I am grateful to the commissioner for his report. I note in particular his observations that the Secretaries of State take great care to satisfy themselves that the warrants are necessary for the purposes stated in the Act, and that the system for the issue of warrants is working as intended by Parliament.

Sir Thomas Bingham's appointment as commissioner will end on 10 April. I am grateful to him for the work he has done in that capacity. He will be succeeded, with effect from 11 April, by Lord Nolan.


Security Service Act 1989

Mrs. Angela Knight : To ask the Prime Minister when the annual report of the commissioner appointed under the Security Service Act 1989 will be laid before the House  and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : A copy of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith's fourth annual report, for 1993, has been laid before the House today in accordance with section 4(6) of the Security Service Act 1989. The confidential annexe to the report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with section 4(7) of the 1989 Act. I am grateful to the commissioner for his work in reviewing the issue of warrants and in providing assistance to the tribunal as provided in the Act. His report confirms that he is satisfied that the Secretaries of State have exercised their warranty powers in accordance with the provisions of the 1989 Act.


Sarajevo

Mr. Bates : To ask the Prime Minister what progress has been made with the initiative which he and President Clinton announced for the reconstruction of Sarajevo.

The Prime Minister : The draft report of the United Kingdom-United States civil planning mission for Sarajevo is now available. It is being circulated widely among donors, and President Clinton and I hope to transmit the final version to the United Nations Secretary-General shortly. I shall place a copy in the Library of the House.

When I was in Sarajevo, I announced a United Kingdom contribution of £5 million for the most immediately needed activities. These are under way. They include help to restore electrical power more widely in Sarajevo, immediate repairs to the gas system to enable domestic gas consumers to use their facilities again safely, the extension of the tram system, and a programme of help to the hospitals in Sarajevo to support the work which is being done there.

I am pleased to say that the United States is making available a similar immediate contribution. Discussions are now taking place with the United Nations and other donors on how best to take forward the recommendations in the report.


Union (Scotland)

Sir Fergus Montgomery : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on Scotland's position in the Union.

The Prime Minister : The Government stand firmly behind Scotland's place in the Union. That is the basis on which we fought the last election and, as a result, were the only party to increase both our share of votes and number of seats in Scotland.

I intend to continue to reaffirm the Government's commitment to Scotland's position at every possible opportunity, including during future visits to Scotland.

I regret that, in answering a question from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall) on 10 March, I stated that the data for the opinion poll to which he referred were collected before my most recent visit to Scotland. I subsequently ascertained that they were collected after the visit.


Council of Europe

Sir Michael Grylls : To ask the Prime Minister what changes there are to the United Kingdom delegation to the Council of Europe and the Western European Union.

The Prime Minister : Baroness Lockwood has resigned as a substitute member of the delegation, and has been replaced by Baroness Gould of Potternewton.


Iraq (Pharmaceutical Products)

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 16 March, Official Report, column 704, what action he is taking on the document concerning pharmaceutical products required in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, and on the provision of water pumps and water filters to Baghdad.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 30 March 1994] : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave on 23 March, Official Report, column 260.


Institute of Irish Studies

Mr. Parry : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the hon. Members who have written to him asking for his support for the funding of a chair at the institute of Irish studies at the university of Liverpool; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 30 March 1994] : I have received representations from the hon. Member. I will reply in due course.


Friendly Countries

Mr. Byers : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) of 23 March, Official Report, column 259-60, if he will list those countries and Governments presently regarded as friendly.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 30 March 1994] : These countries would include all those which share our objective of seeking a stable international order characterised by the peaceful settlement of disputes, the international rule of law, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and good government and respect for human rights.