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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 12th April 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 12th April 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Birmingham

Q8. Mr. Corbett : To ask the Prime Minister when he next plans to visit the city of Birmingham.

The Prime Minister : As part of my programme of regional tours to all parts of the country I had the pleasure of visiting Birmingham only yesterday.


Efficiency Unit

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister how many hours per week his adviser on efficiency spends on matters (a) relating to work of the Efficiency Unit and (b) relating to competition and purchasing.

The Prime Minister : The time my adviser devotes to matters relating to efficiency scrutinies on the one hand and competition and purchasing on the other, and the split between the two, depends on the matters which arise or are referred to him for advice.


European Community Treaties (Veto)

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer following his statement on 29 March, Official Report, column 806, if he will list each of the extant treaties of the European Community and cite the relevant articles therein that provide Her Majesty's Government with veto powers other than those linked to the Luxembourg declaration.

The Prime Minister : The United Kingdom effectively has a veto in areas where decisions are taken by unanimity. Unanimity applies under the following articles of the treaty of Rome, as amended by subsequent treaties :

Article                                              

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

8a      |  99    |1091.5  |157     |198b            

8b      | 100    | 121    |159     |201             

8e      | 100c   | 128    |165     |209             

14.7     | 103a.1 | 130    |166     |217             

51       | 103a.2 | 130b   |168a.2  |223             

57.2     | 104c.14| 130d   |168a.4  |227             

70       | 105.6  | 130i   |188     |228.2           

73c(2)   | 106.5  | 130o   |188b    |235             

75.3     | 109.1  | 130s   |189a    | -              

76       | 109f.7 | 136    |194     | -              

93.2     | 109l.4 | 145    |198a    | -              


Kashmir

Mr. Cox : To ask the Prime Minister what requests he has made in his recent discussions with the Indian Prime Minister for an all-party delegation of hon. Members to be allowed to visit the Indian-administered area of Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I discussed the issue of access to Kashmir in general terms with the Indian Prime Minister when I met him on 14 March. I welcome the recent visit to Kashmir by some United Kingdom parliamentarians. We have frequently urged the Indian Government to allow visits by independent observers and human rights groups to Kashmir.


Darwin Initiative

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what proportion of the funds so far allocated as part of his Darwin initiative meet the recommendation of his advisory committee that projects are carried out in co-operation with local people.

The Prime Minister : There are currently 53 projects being funded under the Darwin initiative in almost 40 countries. All the projects involve collaboration with local universities and institutions, conservation organisations or individuals.


Lockerbie Air Crash

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what is the basis of evidence available to Her Majesty's Government in relation to alleged Libyan involvement in the destruction of Pan Am 103, which has provided the foundation on which the Secretary of State for Scotland has initiated legal action against the insurers of Pan Am in relation to alleged negligence at the Rhein-Main airport in Frankfurt.

The Prime Minister : The civil action is against Pan American World Airways Inc. for damage to the A74 at Lockerbie caused by the destruction of its aircraft. The action is concerned with alleged negligence by Pan American World Airways Inc. and not with alleged Libyan involvement in the destruction of the aircraft. The action is currently being settled.


Tigris and Euphrates Valleys

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what medical advice has gone to Her Majesty's Government from agencies of the United Nations and Medecins sans Frontieres about malnutrition-related disease, the lack of pharmaceuticals and the shortage of water-pump and water-filter equipment in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates.

The Prime Minister : We receive general reports on the humanitarian needs in Iraq from the United Nations agencies and others, although not from Medecins Sans Frontieres. I understand that researchers' attempts to assess nutrition in Iraq have been hampered by a lack of reliable data.


Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 12 April.

Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 12 April.

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.


Political Advisers

Mr. Hutton : To ask the Prime Minister how many political advisers were employed by Cabinet Ministers in each year since 1979; and what was the cost of these advisers in constant 1994 prices.

The Prime Minister : The information requested has not been collected centrally at regular intervals. Information available on the number of special advisers, including expert advisers' total pay bills and aggregate figures, is as follows :

Table 1: Number of special advisers                    As at:                     

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

March 1994    |39          

May 1993      |42          

November 1992 |38          

November 1991 |39          

October 1990  |33          

October 1989  |31          

July 1988     |30          

Table 2: Cost of special advisers                                      

As at:            |<1>Paybill       |<2>1993-94 prices                 

                  |£ million        |£ million                         

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

March 1994        |1.38             |1.38                              

June 1993         |1.37             |1.42                              

September 1992    |1.30             |1.37                              

September 1991    |1.10             |1.23                              

July 1990         |0.95             |1.12                              

June 1989         |0.93             |1.22                              

September 1988    |0.74             |1.02                              

<1> Not including ERNIC and other personnel overheads                  

<2> Calculated using the GDP deflator                                  


Lords Lieutenant

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 3 March, Official Report, column 803, (1) how much is paid from public funds to lords lieutenant towards the cost of their ceremonial uniform;

(2) how much is paid from public funds to lords lieutenant towards the cost of their ceremonial uniforms.

The Prime Minister : In 1993 the total contribution paid from public funds to lords lieutenant on appointment towards the cost of their ceremonial uniforms was £4,952.07. In 1992 the figure was £6,932.50.

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to advertise vacancies as and when they arise for lords lieutenant and deputy lords lieutenant in the relevant regional and local press.

The Prime Minister : No. Lords lieutenant are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on my advice under Crown prerogative. The choice of deputy lieutenants lies in the hands of the lords lieutenant.


Official Gifts

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 30 March, Official Report column 788, if he will give a breakdown of the £18,385 spent on official gifts in 1993 giving a description and the recipient.

The Prime Minister : A range of small gifts were given to a large number of individuals for official purposes.


National Insurance

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche) of 29 March, Official Report , column 794, who is the right hon. Friend to whom he makes reference.

The Prime Minister : My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


Scott Inquiry

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister whether all documents requested by Lord Justice Scott from Ministers or departmental officials have now been provided to the inquiry.

The Prime Minister : Yes, although a number of oral hearings are scheduled to take place in May and the provision of further documents and material to the inquiry will continue.


EU Rights and Objectives

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Foreign Office in asserting British interests in Europe and defending the British case in conflicts over EU rights and objectives.

The Prime Minister : I have every confidence in the ability of the Foreign Office to further British interests in Europe.


British Manufacturing and Research Company

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Prime Minister which departments or Government agencies hold papers or records relating to the affairs of the British Manufacturing and Research Company.

The Prime Minister : Records of this company are held by Companies House, an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.


General Election

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister if he will introduce legislation to ensure that a general election will occur if a Prime Minister resigns or is defeated in a party leadership contest.

The Prime Minister : No.


EC Commission

Mr. Shore : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral statement on 29 March, Official Report, columns 797-98, whether he will publish (a) the text of the oral or written assurances given by the Commission that proposals under the social chapter will not embrace in any way people or organisations in the United Kingdom and (b) the text of any Council of Ministers declaration that it is under a legal and binding obligation to seek agreement on the basis of a minority of at least 23 votes.

The Prime Minister : On (a), I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs gave to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 30 March. On (b), the text of the Council decision on qualified majority voting has already been deposited in the House.