Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 128: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1988

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 2 March 1988

Home Department

Electronic Surveillance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken to regulate the purchase and use of devices for electronic surveillance; and what plans he has to introduce further regulations governing this area.

We do not believe that such controls would be an effective way to deal with these issues.

Government Data Network

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make a decision as to whether the Government data network is suitable for use by the police national computer; and if he will inform right hon. and hon. Members when his decision is made.

We shall be able to decide whether to use the Government data network for the police national computer when we are satisfied that the Government data network, if implemented, would meet the police national computer's requirements and that the terms and conditions for the supply of the service would be acceptable. We will inform the House at the proper time.

Summer Time

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the options being considered for the United Kingdom by his Department as a part of the proposals for the harmonisation of summer time in the European Commission.

We hope shortly to announce proposals to enable us to assess support for any changes to summer time arrangements both in respect of harmonisation with other member states and in respect of those who seek extended daylight hours.

Ms Inna Badanova

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that Ms. Inna Badanova of London NW6 will be readmitted to the United Kingdom following her visit to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I have replied today to the hon. Member's letter of 12 February giving full details of the steps which Ms. Badanova should take to ensure her readmission to this country.

Independent Television

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what provisions he plans to make to safeguard the position of drama and live music under any reorganisation of Independent Television;(2) if he will make a statement on the future of Independent Television.

We have been giving careful thought to the recommendations of the Peacock committee on the future of broadcasting and shall announce our conclusions in due course. There will continue to be proper safeguards for the range and quality of programming.

Press Council (Adjudications)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in the light of the recent adjudication by the Press Council in favour of Professor Colin Blakemore against the Sunday Mirror and the lack of prominence given by that newspaper to the council's findings, he has any proposals to seek to establish a system whereby such adjudications are printed on the same page and in the same format as the original story complained of to the Press Council; and if he will make a statement.

No. These are matters for the Press Council and the newspaper in question.

Professor Colin Blakemore

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he has given to representations from Professor Colin Blakemore, Wayneflete Professor of Physiology in Oxford, about harassment of scientists engaged in medical and ophthalmic research; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of the campaign of harassment and intimidation against Professor Blakemore and his family. My right hon. Friend has made clear to Professor Blakemore that we believe all such activities to be disgraceful.

Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what categories of applicant for settlement in the United Kingdom will be exempt or subject to reduced fees under clause 8 of the Immigration Bill.

No firm decision has yet been taken on how the powers in clause 8 of the Immigration Bill might be implemented. Regulations under clause 8 may prescribe different fees for different categories of applicant, including the possibility of exemptions from the fee. At first sight, we think that there may be a case for reductions in the case of refugees and those, such as spouses and fiancé(e)s, who are admitted on conditions specifically with a view to settlement. Final decisions will be taken when we come to draw up regulations under clause 8.

Local Government Act 1966

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications are pending for funding for section 11 posts under the Local Government Act 1966.

[holding answer 1 March 1988]: At 31 January 1988, the latest date for which information is readily available, there were 162 applications for some 1,040 new posts under consideration. In addition, there were five outstanding applications, covering 1,025 posts for replacement of social services posts previously funded under an outdated system relating grant to the size of the local ethnic minority population and seven applications for continued funding of some 1,900 mainly teaching posts arising from reviews of existing section 11 provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long on average it takes to respond to local authority applications for funding under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966.

[holding answer 1 March 1988]: Between 1 October 1986, when the current arrangements for the administration of the grant were introduced, and 31 January 1988, the latest date for which information is readily available, the average time taken to complete consideration of an application for grant has been between three and four months. At the latter date, of the 162 outstanding applications for new posts, 58 had been with the Home Office for less than three months; 50 for more than three but less than six months; 48 for more than six but less than 12 months; and six for more than 12 months. These periods include varying times spent waiting for responses from local authorities whose initial applications provided insufficient information for decision making.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long on average it takes to deal with more detailed applications sent in response to an initial refusal of funding under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966.

[holding answer 1 March 1988]: This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Scotland

Fire Retardant Furnishings (Prisons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is his policy on the issue of fire retardant furnishings, in particular bedding and mattresses, to inmates in Scottish prisons;(2) how many prisoners in Scottish prisons have been issued with fire retardant furnishings, in particular mattresses and bedding; and what proportion this represents of the Scottish prison population.

The information is not available in the form requested. Two establishments are furnished with highly fire resistant mattresses for all inmates, and 12 other establishments have such mattresses for prisoners regarded as at risk. Fire-retardant sheets, pillowslips and mattress covers are being phased in. Appropriate steps are taken to minimise the opportunity of fire raising. Suitable accommodation is provided and precautions taken for known fire raisers.

Travelling People

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many sites have been established for travelling people in Scotland in the last five years; and what are their locations.

Seven permanent sites and one temporary site. These are located as follows:

Local authority DistrictSite
Permanent Sites
Argyll and ButeDunchologan, Lochgilphead
ClackmannanWesthaugh, Alva
EdinburghDuddingston, Edinburgh
FalkirkRedding, Falkirk
GlasgowCarmyle, Glasgow
HamiltonSwinhill, Larkhall
InvernessLongman, Inverness
Temporary Site
StirlingCraigforth, Stirling

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the amount of Government expenditure on sites for travelling people in Scotland in each of the last five years; which local authorities were in receipt of Government funds for that purpose; and how much they each received.

The information is set out in the tables:

Expenditure on sites for travelling people 1982–83 to 1986–87
£
1982–83Nil
1983–84538,350
1984–85487,583
1985–86523,351
1986–87108,299
TOTAL1,657,583
Local authorities in receipt of grant 1982–83 to 1986–87
Local authorityAmount received
£
Grampian Region256,870
Perth and Kinross District287,900
Strathclyde Region13,440
Kirkcaldy District7,956
Lothian Region466,187
Central Region255,707
Falkirk District261,224
Cunninghame District108,299
TOTAL1,657,583

Aberdeen Maternity Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the estimated costs to his Department of the establishment of 28 additional beds at Aberdeen maternity hospital.

The 28-bed development at Aberdeen maternity hospital is a minor capital scheme which Grampian health board is carrying out. I understand that the provisional estimate for the work is in the region of £267,000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the costs to his Department's health budget of the 56-bed additional unit at Aberdeen maternity hospital.

The estimated cost of the proposed 56-bed unit at Aberdeen maternity hospital is £1·6 million.

Maternity Consultant Units

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the total costs to the health budget, including the employment of consultants and ancillary staff, of the maternity consultant units in Perth, Melrose and Forfar; and if he will list the total number of births per annum in each of these units, giving an average cost per birth per unit.

In 1985 (the latest year for which figures are available) the total number of births in the consultant unit at Perth royal infirmary was 1,159 and in the GP unit at the Fyfe Jamieson maternity home, Forfar, was 133. Data for the consultant unit at Melrose are not available because the hospital has not yet been commissioned. I regret that the other information requested is not held centrally.

Trade And Industry

Newsprint

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what complaints the Office of Fair Trading has received about alleged price fixing in the supply of newsprint; and what action is being taken.

The Office of Fair Trading received a complaint from the Newspaper Publishers' Association about apparent collusion in the level and timing of price increases for newsprint. The office investigated this complaint and received assurances from United Kingdom manufacturers and importers that they were not involved in any such agreement. However, the office is keeping the matter under review.

Photographic Film

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total domestic output of photographic film (882.22,25), the percentage exported and the share of the domestic market taken by imports in each year since 1975.

Radio And Television Cabinets

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total domestic output of radio and television cabinets (764.93), the percentage exported and the share of the domestic market taken by imports in each year since 1975.

The available information for radio and television cabinets is as follows:

United Kingdom manufacturers' salesExportsImports
£ million£ million£ million
197533·76·71·1
197636·35·80·9
197745·22·11·4

United Kingdom manufacturers' sales

Exports

Imports

£ million

£ million

£ million

197846·22·22·2
197956·21·92·6
198048·41·22·9
198143·52·83·9
198235·72·93·8
198340·73·25·5
198440·73·76·6
198541·92·79·1
198641·31·912·9

United Kingdom manufacturers' sales up to and including 1980 are for firms employing 25 or more people for both wooden and plastic cabinets. From 1981 onwards the figures relate to firms employing 50 or more for plastic cabinets and 35 or more for wooden cabinets. Therefore, figures for export and import ratios are not given as they are likely to overstate the true position.

Sources:

Business Monitors PQ472 and PQ496 (up to and including 1980). PQ4671 and PQ4836 (from 1981 onwards).

Definitions:

United Kingdom manufacturers' sales cover wooden cabinets for radio, TV and gramophone (including combination cabinets); plastic cabinets and lids for radio, TV, gramophone, tape recorder cabinets and lids.

Exports and imports: The tariff codes used are:

1975–77

1978–84

1945–86

Cabinets of wood8515–62718515–41008515–7700
8515–6182
Cabinets of materials8515–62718515–49008515–7900
8515–6588

Fixed Investment

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries spend a greater proportion of their gross domestic product on fixed investment than the United Kingdom.

Comparisons for most OECD countries are readily available only for 1985. In that year the following OECD countries spent a greater proportion of their GDP on gross fixed capital formation than the United Kingdom:

Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United States. The United Kingdom spent 17 per cent. gross domestic product on fixed investment, compared with an OECD average of 20 per cent., an EEC average of 19 per cent., and 19 per cent. in the United States of America.

Source: OECD National Accounts.

Consumer Safety

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has to introduce legislation further to extend consumer safety.

The safety of consumers has been greatly improved by the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. From 1 October 1987, under the general safety requirement, it became a criminal offence to supply any consumer product that is not reasonably safe. The Act also implements the European Community directive on product liability and means that from 1 March 1988 it will be much easier for people damaged by defective products to obtain redress through the courts.In addition to the general safety requirement, the safety of a range of products is covered by specific regulations. New regulations are to be introduced covering the flammability of upholstered furniture and bedding; and it is the intention to introduce further regulations to implement a number of EC directives, including those covering the safety of toys and certain electrical products.

Eukaryotic Genetic Engineering

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which firms are involved in his Department's newly launched Link collaborative research programme on eukaryotic genetic engineering.

Four companies are committed already to collaborative research under the newly launched Link programme, eukaryotic genetic engineering. Glaxo and British Biotechnology are collaborating with the University of Oxford in pharmaceutical application. Dalgetty and Whitbread are collaborating with the University of Leicester in food applications. Six further companies are in discussion of collaboration with institutes of the Agriculture and Food Research Council.

Business Advertisements

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will introduce a further order to amend the Business Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977 so as to require the words "trade sale" to be used in advertisements whenever a sale is conducted in the course of a trade or business; and if he will make a statement.

No. the Business Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977 already makes it illegal to place advertisements unless it is made reasonably clear that the goods advertised are to be sold in the course of a business.

Motor Car Sales

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has any proposals to introduce an obligatory code of practice in connection with all motor car sales; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has any proposals for the introduction of a scheme whereby motor traders would be required to provide to purchasers of used motor vehicles essential information concerning history and condition; and if he will make a statement.

No. A pre-sales inspection report for each used car offered for sale is already a requirement of the code of practice for the motor industry which is operated by member of the Motor Agents Association, the Scottish Motor Trade Association and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. I have no plans to make this a statutory requirement.

East Anglia

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement about his Department's facilities serving East Anglian businesses.

All the Department's national services are of course available to business in East Anglia. The Department's south-east regional office is responsible for maintaining day-to-day contact with East Anglian business, and in particular for ensuring that the region's industry and commerce are able to take full advantage of the enterprise initiative.To ensure close contact with its East Anglia customers, the Department will in the spring be opening a new area office at Cambridge. This office, supported by recently appointed local representatives in Norwich and Chelmsford, will play a leading role in promoting and ensuring the effective application within East Anglia of the policies set out in Cm. 278.

Consultants

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will give the cost to his Department of employing management or computer consultants for each year from 1983 to 1987.

[holding answer 29 February 1988]: My Department's expenditure from 1983 on computer consultants in support of central management services are as follows:

£000
1983–841,686
1984–853,309
1985–865,488
1986–875,520
11987–885,280
1 Estimated.
Expenditure on management consultants is not recorded separately from other consultancy spend.

Energy

Petroleum Production

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what are the Government's latest forecasts of levels of United Kingdom petroleum production.

The latest forecasts for United Kingdom petroleum production in the years 1988 to 1992 are as follows:

Million tonnes
1988150 – 125
1989100 – 120
189090 – 120
199180 – 110
199270 – 105
As in previous years, the forecasts are presented in the form of a range of outcomes for each year. These ranges take into account the many uncertainties involved. The figures cover forecast production of stabilised crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and condensates. NGL and condensate production accounts for some 6 million to 9 million tonnes of the annual totals.

Wales

Perinatal Mortality

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library the replies his Department received from each health authority in Wales requesting information on their needs following the perinatal mortality initiative report.

There was no requirement on the Department as a consequence of the perinatal mortality initiative report to collect information on maternity service needs. However, health authorities have been invited to submit bids for central funding for essential equipment for special care baby units and have been consulted on proposals for the creation of a regional neo-natal intensive care service. If the hon. Gentleman has a specific query, I would be happy to try to answer.

Regional Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether, since 1979, his Department has instigated any studies into regional government, and regional departments of central Government, in other European Community member states, with a view to formulating proposals for improvements in the structure and administration of the work of his Department; whether he has any plans to instigate any such studies in the near future; and if he will make a statement.

No such studies have been instigated by my Department and none are proposed.

Leptospirosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on measures being undertaken by his Department to control the incidence of leptospirosis in cattle in Wales.

The Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (ADAS) offers a leptospirosis control programme as part of its cattle health scheme, the aim of which is to provide a pool of cattle herds of recognised health status for domestic and export trade. Farmers may seek either elite herd status, where all cattle are serologically negative for leptospirosis, or controlled herd status, in which infected cattle can become clear of infection by a planned programme of antibiotic treatment and vaccination.Any farmer suspecting or concerned about leptospirosis in cattle should consult his local veterinary surgeon.

Farms (Plant And Machinery)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, for the last year for which full figures are available, what was the level of investment in plant and machinery in farms in Wales; and what are the corresponding figures both at outturn and real prices for each year since 1979.

Based on the aggregate income calculation for Welsh agriculture, investment in plant and machinery in 1986 amounted to £31 million. For the period since 1979, the corresponding figures in current money terms and at constant 1980 prices were as follows:

YearCurrent pricesConstant 1980 prices
£ million£ million
197929·032·4
198023·023·0
198117·016·4
198229·026·6
198330·026·3
198427·023·1
198530·024·2
198631·024·7

Radiation (Compensation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress is being made towards resolving cases of farmers in Wales affected by the Chernobyl disaster, who have still not been granted compensation; and when he hopes to come to a decision on these cases.

These cases are being given careful and detailed consideration and I hope to reach a decision soon.

Milk

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will seek to ensure for Welsh milk producers an increase in the amount of milk they may produce without paying the super levy on excess output similar to those increases secured recently for producers in Belgium, France and West Germany; and if he will make a statement.

In order to accommodate changes in the pattern of marketing,. EC legislation allows member states to seek approval from the Commission under management committee procedure for the transfer of specified quantities of quota between their direct sale and wholesale allocations. This is what was recently approved for France, Germany and Belgium and similar approvals have been given to other member states, including the United Kingdom, in the past. These transfers do not increase the total amount of quota allocated to any member state. I do not believe that such a transfer would be justified in the United Kingdom under present circumstances.

Health Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give for each district health authority (a) the outturn figures for 1986–87, and (b) the estimated outturn for 1987–88.

The income and expenditure outturn figures for district health authorities in Wales for 1986–87 are as follows:

District Health Authority

Revenue Expenditure

Capital Expenditure

Total Expenditure

(£ Thousands)

(£ Thousands)

(£ Thousands)

Clwyd82,8185,96688,784
East Dyfed52,6412,56155,202
Gwent100,1196,970107,089
Gwynedd51,3891,24852,637
Mid Glamorgan119,4125,198124,610
Pembrokeshire17,5502,38619,936
Powys23,1521,18624,337
South Glamorgan134,8436,441141,284
West Glamorgan83,09110,83593,926
WALES665,01342,791707,804

Note:

Figures may not add due to rounding.

Source: Health Authorities' Annual Accounts.

Income and expenditure data are not collected on a formal or a routine basis in-year since Departmental monitoring of health authorities' expenditure relates to

District Health Authority

Revenue

Capital

Total

(£ Thousands)

(£ Thousands)

(£ Thousands)

Clwyd90,7545,70296,456
East Dyfed57,5012,20359,704
Gwent111,0646,457117,521
Gwynedd56,2293,04159,270
Mid Glamorgan130,4175,673136,090
Pembrokeshire19,8972,58222,479
Powys26,0991,10127,200
South Glamorgan150,8785,057155,935
West Glamorgan91,58610,781102,367
WALES734,42542,597777,022

Source: February Financial Information System Returns.

Overseas Development

Southern Africa (Aid)

84.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial aid the United Kingdom now gives to the front-line states in southern Africa.

In 1986, the latest year for which figures are available, the United Kingdom provided gross bilateral aid totalling over £80 million to the front-line states (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

The Arts

Arts Council

To ask the Minister for the Arts what information he has on the number of Arts Council employees in (a) 1978 and (b) the current year.

The Arts Council had 382 employees in 1978. The current figure of 531 includes 175 staff of the South Bank board (excluding the art department), considerably fewer than the staff previously employed by the Greater London council to perform the same functions.

their statutory duty to contain cash spending within notified cash limits. The latest estimates of cash outturn for 1987–88 are as follows:

National Finance

Sherry

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much extra excise duty would be gained in a fiscal year if British sherry were taxed on the same basis as sherry.

British and Spanish sherries are taxed on the same basis, according to alcoholic strength. British sherry may incur less duty either because of a lower alcohol content or through blending after payment of duty.

Cash Limits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there are any changes in the cash limits set for 1987–88 on his Department's Votes.

The Vote for 1987–88 for Customs and Excise (class XIX, vote 2), of £441,125,000 is to be reduced by £243,000 to £440,882,000. This is due to a corresponding overspend on the Department's Vote for 1986–87. It is standard practice for such an overspend to be deducted from the following year's cash limit. The small overspend arose mainly as a result of difficulties with a new computerised accounting system.

Developing Countries (Financial Flows)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the net financial flows from developing countries to developed countries recorded by the World Bank have flowed to the United Kingdom in each of the last four years.

Environment

London Docklands Development Corporation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of any letter written to the London Docklands development corporation by Messrs Robson Rhodes concerning the annual accounts of the corporation, together with any respective responses which have been made.

No. The Department is shortly to discuss with Messrs Robson Rhodes and the LDDC issues arising from the corporation's 1985–86 external audit. I shall then consider what further statement should be made to the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of the 1986–87 performance review of the London Docklands development corporation which was considered by its board in May 1987.

No. The document was produced for internal management purposes only. Details of LDDC's performance are published in the corporation's annual reports and accounts, and in its corporate plan.

Cement And Concrete

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish in the Official Report tables setting out United Kingdom imports and exports of (a) cement and (b) precast concrete products over the past five years.

The information is as follows.

Cement
1Imports2Exports
TonnesValueTonnesValue
000£000000£000
1983430·015,329393·116,434
1984500·517,726127·211,285
1985618·923,668113·512,059
1986650·229,331107·512,288
1987978·337,01396·011,841
Articles of Cement, Concrete and Artifical Stone
1Imports2Exports
TonnesValueTonnesValue
000£000000£000
198328·25,03397·38,086
198477·08,86393·38,090
198535·06,35372·68,655
198648·38,69469·95,746
198761·311,09581·46,928
1 Imports C.I.F.
2 Exports F.O.B

Source:

Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom

Standard International Trade Codes 661·2 and 663·32

Construction Firms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department has any information on the numbers employed by construction firms which are subsidiaries of foreign companies.

While the Department is aware that some construction companies are subsidiaries of foreign companies, it is not our practice to collect such information in a formal way.

London Docklands (Compulsory Purchase)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the reasons for the postponement of his decision on the London Docklands (East Docklands) Compulsory Purchase Order 1985; and when he now expects to announce his decision.

The London Docklands (East Docklands) Compulsory Purchase Order is an unusually large order covering 745 acres of urban land and embracing 337 separate plots. A large number of interrelated issues have required resolution. My right hon. Friend expects to announce the decision within the next few days.

Glc (Country Homes)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the current position in respect of the disposal of former Greater London council seaside and country homes, and in particular the position in respect of the ownership of the former Greater London council estate at The Parks, Minehead, Somerset.

The London Residuary Body expects to complete arrangements for the disposal of the whole of the seaside and country homes portfolio, including The Parks, Minehead, Somerset, to North British Housing Association by the end of March. Necessary consents required in connection with the disposal were issued by my Department on 29 February.

Council House Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will update the table giving information on sales of dwellings by each local authority in England, referred to in the answer given to the hon. Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies) on 11 December 1987, Official Report, column 275.

I have today placed in the Library the latest version of table 2 giving information reported by each local authority in England on the progress of council house sales up to the end of September 1987.

Southern Water Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received second responses from the Southern water authority and the six water companies concerned to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on water supply in the Southern water authority area; and if he will make a statement.

I have received the responses. I can confirm that Southern water and the six water companies, namely, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Mid Kent, Mid-Sussex, Portsmouth and West Kent have made real progress in taking forward the recommendations made by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The MMC report stated that Southern were on the whole effectively managed and compared satisfactorily with other public sector bodies. The second response from Southern is thorough and detailed. It has also been positive and constructive and has illustrated well its continuing commitment to improving management and efficiency. The response is most encouraging following Southern's record of achieving recent performance aims.Good progress has been made on the setting of regional standards of service, including water supply, sewerage and water quality, culminating in the issue of a standards of service booklet, while survey work on establishing shortfalls continues. The costs involved in rectifying these should be fully assessed by the summer of 1988.Southern water's overall record on cost reduction is good, and demanding future performance aims have been set. It has also taken forward the MMC'c recommendations on the management of capital projects, and has reviewed and amended its capital projects procedures.The six water companies have generally continued to make progress, particularly with corporate planning, with the exchange of information on levels of service and the setting of medium term quantified targets for meeting service standards, and for cost control.Although the companies have shown good progress in their work on corporate planning, it is important that they ensure that current levels of service are identified and clear objectives set for the future.I have placed a copy of the second responses in the Library. I shall also draw the attention of other water authorities to the second response from Southern water and invite them to consider the extent to which these responses might be appropriate to their own operations.The final response from Southern water and the six companies will be required in April 1989. It will be a final progress report on the recommendations as a whole recording what has been done and setting out the improvements achieved in accordance with the commission's recommendations.

Water Companies (Privatisation)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has put proposals to the water industry for modifying the areas of appointed water utility companies after privatisation.

Earlier this year the Department sent a discussion document on water utility company functions and areas to the Water Authorities Association and the Water Companies Association. That document is now under consideration between the Department and the industry, and does not represent policy settled in all its details. I am, however, placing a copy of the document in the Library of the House.

Maintenance Work

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the level of outstanding maintenance work from 1979 to the latest date for which data are available.

Estimates of the cost of outstanding high priority maintenance work on Government Department's civil accommodation have been made only since 1984. For work within the responsibility of the Property Services Agency, the figures are:

£million
198596
1986103
1987103
All estimates are at September 1987 prices. The 1987 assessment of £103 million reflects the transfer of some delegated works responsibilities from PSA to Departments under the property repayment services system.Substantial additional provision for civil maintenance was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in last year's Autumn Statement, and by the Secretary of State for the Environment in the

Official Report, at columns 664–66, on 3 November 1987. The provision for maintenance has been increased to 105 million in 1988–89 and £120 million in the following two years.

Maintenance programmes on the Defence estate are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

Lead-Free Petrol

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the bodies with which his Department has discussed the conversion of vehicles to operate on lead-free petrol

All aspects of the introduction of unleaded petrol, including the conversion of vehicles to operate on unleaded petrol, are regularly discussed at meetings under my chairmanship with the following bodies:

  • Automobile Association
  • Association of Car Fleet Operators
  • Association of UK Oil Independents
  • British Tourist Authority
  • British Motorcycle Federation
  • British Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association
  • Campaign for Lead-Free Air (CLEAR)
  • Consumers' Association
  • European Year of the Environment (EYE)
  • Federation of Petroleum Suppliers
  • Highlands and Islands Development Board
  • Mid-Wales Development Board
  • Motor Agents Association/Petrol Retailers Association
  • Motor Cycle Association
  • Royal Automobile Club
  • Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
  • UK Petroleum Industry Association

Enterprise Zones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his Department assesses the cost of each job created in enterprise zones; what that national figure is currently assessed to be; and what the assessed figure is in each existing enterprise zone.

The costs to the Exchequer of the enterprise zones comprise payments to local authorities for rate revenue forgone in the zones; tax revenue forgone as a consequence of allowances claimed for expenditure on industrial and commercial buildings there; and public investment in infrastructure and construction that would not otherwise have been made had the zones not been designated.

The number of jobs in the zones at the time of designation is deducted from the number present at the time of the assessment to give the number of net additional jobs on the zones.

The Department commissioned consultants to evaluate the experiment. They estimated that, at the end of 1986, the public cost of each net additional job within the enterprise zones in Great Britain was £8,500. Separate assessments have not been made for individual enterprise zones.

The consultants report ("An evaluation of the Enterprise Zone Experiment" Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1987) also includes a more refined method of assessing the cost per job, which takes account of the effects of the zones on employment in the areas around them. Copies of this report were placed in the Library on 22 December 1987.

Rating Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated cost of administering the proposed community charge in inner London.

The estimates given in the financial memorandum to the Local Government Finance Bill, apportioned in a similar way to the costs of rate collection, would produce a range of between £30 million and £35 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to collect the community charge from tramps and vagrants.

With limited exceptions, every adult will be subject to the personal community charge in the area where he has his sole or main residence. In deciding the scale of resources to devote to registration for and collection of the community charge, local authorities will be entitled to have regard to what can reasonably be achieved.

Rural Areas (Assistance)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the total amount of all central Government assistance to rural areas in England on a per capita basis for the last financial year.

Housing Co-Operatives

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 17 February,

Water Authority1978–791979–801980–811981–821982–831983–841984–851985–861986–871987–88
Water Supply
North West100·00109·50139·92155·07164·47164·47167·37190·55210·14224·39
Northumbrian100·00105·32127·50158·63185·46209·68225·24240·97251·61260·84
Severn Trent100·00114·72138·40164·25182·87187·20194·19209·28225·54241·93
Yorkshire100·00110·17136·34151·26167·05174·18184·50206·30227·52245·45
Anglian100·00117·23153·88176·76190·43192·55201·76223·03250·32266·01
Thames100·00113·78142·80156·81171·26189·30204·26224·82231·54244·20
Southern100·00105·26136·84153·16171·58178·79187·37207·95226·11238·21
Wessex100·00123·23141·68155·56163·27167·37169·70184·85202·58213·33
South West100·00114·06131·40149·23162·05171·17177·10184·65196·64204·40
English averages100·00112·42140·15158·24172·38181·32189·04210·21225·80239·29

Official Report, column 966, what proposals for the funding of housing co-operatives were discussed when he met the Housing Corporation.

The matters discussed were the Housing Corporation's financial support for AXLE Co-operative Housing Services Limited, and the funding of housing associations which provide agency services for primary co-operatives.

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the location and status of all buildings within his Department located in London and the annual cost of rents, rates and maintenance of each.

The Department of the Environment, including the PSA, occupies accommodation in 93 buildings in the Greater London area, ranging from its main HQ building at 2 Marsham Street, down to small stores attached to the PSA's district works offices. Civil accommodation for all Government Departments is held in the name of the Secretary of State for the Environment and managed by PSA. Some properties are held freehold; the rents of leasehold buildings are determined on a strictly commercial, and therefore confidential basis. The total annual rent paid by the PSA to landlords for civil accommodation held in London in 1986–87, the last complete year for which figures are available, was £133 million. Comparable figures for contributions in lieu of rates, and for PSA expenditure on the maintenance of buildings on the civil estate are £116 million and £38 million respectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the location and status of all buildings within his Department located in London arid the annual cost of rents, rates and maintenance of each.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him today. In the case of the Department of Energy, the Department occupies accommodation at Thames House South, Millbank SW1.

Water Supplies

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the price of water from each water authority from 1978–79 until the latest date available taking the 1978–79 price as a base of 100.

[pursuant to his reply, 9 February 1988, c. 128]: A number of the figures which formed part of the answer were incorrect. The table gives the correct figures.

Water Authority

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

1982–83

1983–84

1984–85

1985–86

1986–87

1987–88

Welsh100·00112·83135·63163·36200·84209·84209·84231·59242·57267·84
National average100·00112·43139·76158·56174·72183·62190·55186·97227·49241·28

House Of Commons

Sessional Index

To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will seek the reintroduction in the Library of a sessional running index using the strip index system of written and oral answers in departmental date order of reply.

No. An index by subjects and Members' names of written and oral answers is already provided on POLIS, the Library's Parliamentary On-Line Information System. The reintroduction of the strip-index system referred to, which was discontinued on 1 June 1981 in accordance with the Resolution of the House of 26 January 1978, would have additional staffing implications, and would serve only to duplicate the information already available on the Library's computer-based system.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

2.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when next he plans to meet the secretary general of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to discuss foreign policy issues confronting the Alliance.

My right hon. and learned Friend is today attending with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister the NATO summit meeting in Brussels, at which these issues are being discussed.

Persian Gulf

13.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will initiate discussions at the United Nations with a view to establishing an international peace-keeping force in the Persian Gulf.

No. Discussions in New York are rightly concentrating on finding ways to implement Security Council resolution 598. This may well require the imposition of an arms embargo. Until there is a peace to keep, discussion of a peace-keeping force is entirely premature.

16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement about the situation in the Gulf.

The situation in the Gulf remains tense. Although there is currently a lull in the Gulf itself, though not of course in the land war, this year so far there have already been a large number of successful attacks on shipping by both Iran and Iraq. We continue to urge both sides to end these attacks through the implementation of Security Council resolution 598.

Arms Control

14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement about British arms control policy with particular reference to achieving a verifiable worldwide ban on chemical weapons.

We continue to play an active role at the negotiations at the conference on disarmament in Geneva for a comprehensive, verifiable and global ban on all chemical weapons. Some progress was made last year. However, complex issues remain to be resolved in order to construct a resilient international security agreement.

Hong Kong

15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to visit Hong Kong to discuss the future of the colony.

At present my right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to visit Hong Kong. We are in close touch with the Governor of Hong Kong over all aspects of the territory's future. My right hon. and learned Friend will be seeing him in three weeks' time during one of his regular visits to London.

32.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the people of Hong Kong on the proposed timetable for direct elections.

On 10 February the Hong Kong Government published their White Paper announcing the decision to introduce 10 directly elected seats into the Legislative Council in 1991. We have since received no representations from the people of Hong Kong concerning this timetable.

68.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will bring forward proposals for human rights legislation in Hong Kong, together with proposals to make it justiciable in the courts of Hong Kong.

It is for the Hong Kong Government to introduce legislation in Hong Kong. We are not aware that the Hong Kong Government at present have any intention to introduce such legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on the question of timing of direct elections in Hong Kong since the publication of the White Paper on 10 February.

Kampuchea

17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about Her Majesty's Government's policy towards Kampuchea.

We are in touch with various Governments and individuals about our policy towards Cambodia. This policy is clear. We seek the withdrawal of all Vietnamese forces from Cambodia and a settlement which would allow the Cambodian people to determine their own future, free from outside interference, through free and fair elections.

20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new steps the United Kingdom Government have taken to encourage the peace process in Kampuchea.

Our policy remains as set out in my speech during the Adjournment debate on Cambodia on 21 January.

Austria

18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent communications his Department has had with the Austrian Government about Anglo-Austrian relations.

My Department maintains necessary contacts with the Austrian Government appropriate to maintaining relations between our two states.

83.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a further statement on the current state of relations between the United Kingdom and Austria.

Relations between the United Kingdom and Austria are good and reflect the common interests of our Governments and peoples.

Falkland Islands

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from other Governments concerning the forthcoming training exercise in the Falkland Islands.

A number of Governments in the region have expressed concern about the exercise; we have made absolutely clear that it is a routine exercise, and an integral part of our policy to maintain minimal troop levels in the Falklands as a contribution to reducing tension in the South Atlantic region.

22.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to visit Port Stanley, to discuss political developments in the Falkland Islands.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no current plans to visit Port Stanley.

37.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the governor of the Falkland Islands; and what was discussed.

My right hon. and learned Friend saw the governor of the Falkland Islands in London on 28 January 1988. They reviewed recent political and economic developments in the islands and the outlook for the future.

South Africa

21.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have recently made concerning the trial in South Africa of Moses Mayekiso and others; and if he will make a statement.

We made representations on Mr. Mayekiso's behalf in July and December 1986, while he was detained without charge. Now that charges have been laid and the trial has begun, it would not be right for us to make further representations at present. We are following the proceedings closely.

27.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will consider withdrawing any existing sanctions made against South Africa.

As I told my hon. Friend on 21 January 1987, at column 595, the restrictive measures we have adopted are designed to bring home to the South African Government the urgent need for fundamental, peaceful change. Regrettably they is no sign at present that they are prepared to take the steps needed to bring about such change.

31.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of South Africa regarding the death sentences on the Sharpeville Six.

After their appeals had been dismissed in December 1987, the German ambassador made an appeal for clemency on behalf of the European Community. We also supported a statement issued on behalf of the United Nations Security Council urging the South African Government to commute the death sentences on the six. We have since reiterated our serious concern direct to the South African Government.

57.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Government of the Republic of South Africa regarding the Sharpeville Six.

After their appeals had been dismissed in December 1987, the German ambassador made an appeal for clemency on behalf of the European Community. We also supported a statement issued on behalf of the United Nations Security Council urging the South African Government to commute the death sentences on the Six. The British ambassador has since reiterated our serious concern direct to the South African Government.

European Council

23.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about the European Council meeting in Brussels on 11 to 13 February; and if he will make a statement.

Neither my right hon. and learned Friend nor I have received representations about the European Council in Brussels on 11–13 February other than questions raised by hon. Members in the House. The results of the Brussels Council confirmed by the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 February represent a very sound outcome for the United Kingdom.

Cnd (Representations)

24.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since the Washington summit of December 1987.

We have received no direct representations from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since the Washington summit of December 1987.

Disarmament Negotiations (Geneva)

25.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to visit Geneva in connection with arms negotiations being conducted there.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no present plans to visit Geneva in connection with arms control talks. We, along with our NATO partners, receive regular briefings from the United States on the progress in the US/Soviet nuclear arms negotiations. The United Kingdom delegation at the conference on disarmament is playing an active role in the negotiations to ban chemical weapons.

Ethiopia

26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on current relations with Ethiopia.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development visited Ethiopia from 7 to 10 January, when he announced the allocation of an additional 40,000 tonnes of food aid. With this allocation our contribution to the current famine relief effort, including our share of the European Community relief programme, now totals over £36 million.My hon. Friend also used his visit to underline to Ethiopian Ministers the importance we attach to changes in their agricultural policies, and to our great concern about the continuing detention of political prisoners. We, together with our European partners, will continue to urge progress towards a peaceful solution of the internal conflicts in Ethiopia, which are causing great hardship and impeding the international relief effort.

Israel (Plo Assassinations)

28.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli Government about the assassinations in Cyprus of three members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation; and if he will make a statement.

Nicaragua

29.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement about the United Kingdom's relations with Nicaragua.

I have nothing to add to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) on 4 November, at column 726. The United Kingdom has normal diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.

41.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to pay an official visit to Nicaragua.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no present plans to visit Nicaragua.

66.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any further plans to expand United Kingdom diplomatic representations in Nicaragua.

A third United Kingdom-based diplomatic service officer was posted to Managua in February, to act as pro consul. We have no plans to expand our mission further at this time.

Unchr (Special Rapporteurs)

30.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many countries currently have a special rapporteur appointed by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

The 43rd session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights decided in March 1987 to renew the mandates, for a further year in each case, of its special rapporteurs on Afghanistan and Chile and its special representatives on E1 Salvador and Iran. The 44th session now in progress (1 February to 11 March) will decide whether or not to extend these mandates again.

33.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reappointment of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights' special rapporteurs on Chile and E1 Salvador.

We shall be supporting the renewal of the mandate of the special rapporteur on Chile. In the case of E1 Salvador, we shall consider our policy carefully with our European Community partners once a draft resolution has appeared.

54.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government supported the appointment of a United Nations rapporteur on human rights in E1 Salvador.

We voted in favour of the establishment of the mandate of the United Nations special representative on E1 Salvador at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1981. We shall consider how to vote in this year's commission once we have discussed the resolution with our European Community partners.

Disarmament, Security And Confidence Building Conferences

34.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will report on recent progress at current disarmament, security and confidence building conferences.

Progress in negotiations on a final document at the CSCE Vienna meeting remains slow. But we remain determined to secure a substantial and balanced outcome on all issues, including confidence and security building measures.Reasonable progress is being made in the conventional stability discussions in Vienna. We hope that early agreement on a mandate can be reached and that substantive negotiations can begin later this year.Negotiations on chemical weapons at the conference on disarmament at Geneva have made progress. But many complex issues remain. The bilateral talks between the United States and Soviet Union at the Geneva nuclear and space talks are continuing. United States and Russian negotiators are also meeting to discuss nuclear testing; steady progress has been made during the first phase of negotiations aimed at ratifying the threshold test ban and peaceful nuclear explosions treaties.

Jordan

35.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Anglo-Jordanian relations.

Relations between the United Kingdom and Jordan are excellent. We maintain a close dialogue with King Hussein and his Government on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

Turks And Caicos Islands

36.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealh Affairs if he will make a statement on the elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Elections are due to take place in the Turks and Caicos Islands tomorrow, 3 March.

Ussr (Ministerial Visit)

38.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealh Affairs whether, during his recent discussions in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, he raised the subject of telecommunications and interference with international radio broadcasts.

No. Jamming of the BBC vernacular services to the Soviet Union has ceased. We hope that the Soviet Union will take steps to end all jamming and will continue to make our views known in appropriate fora. My right hon. and learned Friend took the opportunity of his visit to press the need for greater access by Western media to the Soviet public, for example through free circulation of newspapers.

78.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealh Affairs if he will make a statement on his recent trip to the Soviet Union.

My right hon. and learned Friend had full and wide-ranging talks with Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Shevardnadze and others covering bilateral matters including trade, arms control, human rights and regional issues. He also met human rights activists and was able to put our views directly to the Soviet public in their press and on television. The visit was a further contribution to our active dialogue wth the Soviet leadership and to the improving atmosphere of East-West relations.

Mozambique

39.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealh Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of South Africa concerning the situation in Mozambique.

We repeatedly urge the South African Government to exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries. I made these points to the South African Deputy Foreign Minister during a stop-over on the way to Mozambique in November. We have since reiterated our concerns.

E1 Salvador

40.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to visit E1 Salvador, to discuss human rights.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no present plans to visit E1 Salvador. Her Majesty's embassy in San Salvador monitors the human rights situation closely.

42.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the position of British volunteers working at the Calle Real camp in E1 Salvador.

Her Majesty's chargé d'affaires in San Salvador has visited the British volunteers at Calle Real and reports that they are well.

61.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to pay an official visit to E1 Salvador.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no current plans to visit E1 Salvador.

European Political Co-Operation

43.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of the meeting he recently attended on European political co-operation.

My right hon. and learned Friend has met his colleagues from the Twelve to discuss European political co-operation matters on 8 February. The Twelve issued a statement expressing concern about the situation in the Occupied Territories, reaffirming support for an international conference, and welcoming recent efforts to inject new impetus into the search for a negotiated settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House. They had a separate meeting on this subject with His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan.The Twelve also exchanged views on East-West relations, Central America and Southern Africa. They approved the seventh synthesis report on the application of the code of conduct by Community companies with subsidiaries in South Africa, which has been forwarded to the European Parliament. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Central America

44.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress towards a settlement of the outstanding conflicts in Central America.

We urge all the Central Americans to fulfil all their outstanding obligations under the Guatemala accord immediately, especially those relating to democratisation.

51.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to visit Nicaragua to discuss the political situation in Central America.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no current plans to visit Nicaragua. Her Majesty's embassies in Central America monitor the political situation in the region closely. I discussed the situation in Central America with EC/Central America/Contadora representatives at the meeting in Hamburg 29 February-1 March (San Jose IV).

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy towards Arias' peace proposals for Central America in the light of the recent initiatives taken by the Nicaraguan Government.

We fully support the Guatemala agreement which aims to achieve a peaceful, negotiated solution to the problems of Central America. We urge the Nicaraguan Government to fulfil without delay the commitments made at the Central American Presidents' summit on 15 January, and to comply with the obligation in the Guatemala accord to introduce full democratic freedoms.

Third World Debt

45.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with other Foreign Ministers regarding Third world debt; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend and I regularly meet our counterparts from other countries. Debt is often discussed, particularly with the Foreign Ministers of debtor nations and of major creditor nations.

Cambodia

46.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's current policy with regard to the participation of the Khmer Rouge in any future Cambodian Government.

We withdrew recognition from the Pol Pot regime in December 1979 and have no intention of contributing to its re-establishment. We believe that free and fair elections based on United Nations principles offer the best guarantee that the Khmer Rouge does not dominate any future Cambodian Government.

Hungary

47.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when next he plans to seek to meet the Prime Minister of Hungary to discuss Anglo-Hungarian relations.

The Prime Minister of Hungary has been invited to visit Britain. We expect the visit to take place in the first half of this year. We look forward to a thorough discussion of bilateral relations, as well as of international topics.

Nato/Warsaw Pact

48.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the conventional arms imbalance between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw pact.

According to our estimates, Warsaw pact conventional forces in Europe outnumber those of the Alliance in all major areas of combat capability: they have over three times as many tanks and artillery pieces; and almost twice as many combat aircraft.

Unesco

49.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further representations he has received regarding British membership of UNESCO.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

50.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he expects further signatories to the United Nations nuclear non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement.

Turkey

52.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has had any recent discussions with the Turkish Government regarding the withdrawal of its troops from Cyprus.

During his official visit to Britain last July my right hon. and learned Friend and I made clear to the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Halefoglu, our view that his Government should reduce the number of their troops in Cyprus. we continue to press this view on the Turkish Government at every opportunity.

53.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to discuss Turkey's accession to the European Economic Community with his counterparts in the Community.

Turkey's application to join the European Community has been referred to the EC Commission, which is preparing its opinion. The European Community Council of Ministers will consider Turkey's application once that opinion is available and it has had the opportunity to study it.

82.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to support Turkey's application for membership of the European Economic Community.

Turkey's application to join the European Community has been referred to the European Commission, which is preparing its opinion. It would not be appropriate to express a view on the application until that opinion is available.

South-East Asia

55.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to visit the countries of south-east Asia.

My right hon. and learned Friend expects to visit the region again in due course. Announcements will be made as and when appropriate.

Foreign Affairs Council

56.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress was made at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 22 and 23 February towards finalising the package of stabilisers foreseen in the European Community communiqué from Brussels.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bexleyheath (Mr. Townsend) on 24 February, at column 209.

Cyprus

58.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he or his colleagues have to meet the new President of Cyprus.

Neither my right hon. and learned Friend nor I have any immediate plans to meet Mr. Vassiliou, who was elected on 21 February and assumed office on 28 February.

70.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealh Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest events in Cyprus.

Following the election of Mr. Vassiliou on 21 February, we hope the United Nations Secretary-General's new permanent special representative will be able to make early progress towards the just and lasting settlement which we all wish to see.

Middle East

59.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealh Affairs if he will report on further initiatives aimed at making progress for a middle east peace settlement.

75.