Monday, 1st June 1998.
Office Of Science And Technology
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Lord Peyton of Yeovil's starred question of 11 May (H.L. Deb., col. 818), what means of consultation they will use to discover the views of the scientific community on whether the Office of Science and Technology should be located in the Cabinet Office or in the Department of Trade and Industry. [HL1893]
My noble friend Lord Simon of Highbury made clear in response to the noble Lord Peyton of Yeovil's question of 11 May that we have no plans to move the Office of Science and Technology from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Eu And South Africa: Free Trade Negotiations
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will press for a trade agreement between the European Union and South Africa for substantial but differential reductions in tariffs. [HL1947]
The Government strongly support the creation of a free trade area between the EU and South Africa. As Presidency we have pressed for this to have comprehensive product coverage in line with WTO rules. The current negotiations aim to achieve free trade over a period of 10 years in which the EU will in general dismantle its tariffs at a more rapid pace than South Africa.
Turkish Nurses: Qualifications
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether or to what extent Turkish nursing qualifications are recognised in the NHS. [HL1894]
The United Kingdom Central Council is the statutory regulatory body for nursing, midwifery and health visiting. It is responsible for the setting of standards for training which nurses must meet in order to register to practise in the UK.We understand that nurses with Turkish qualifications are asked to do additional training and/or adaptation and orientation in the UK before being admitted to the register.
asked Her Majesty's Government:How much they spent on the promotion of breast-feeding in each of the years 1992–93 to 1997–98; and how much is budgeted for this purpose for 1998–99. [HL1834]
The information is shown in the table and comprises publicity expenditure on promoting breast-feeding and grants awarded under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 to voluntary organisations concerned with promoting breast-feeding. It does not include the incidental expenditure of those attending meetings to discuss the promotion of breast-feeding. We are currently discussing the pattern of publicity expenditure for 1998–99, which includes an element for the promotion of breast-feeding. The 1998–99 figures shown in the table, therefore, relate to those budgets which have been finalised.
|1 Figures for Scotland are not available.|
|2 Estimated outturn.|
|3 Finalised budgets only.|
Nhs: Millennium Compliance
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 18 May (
WA 141–2), what is the "further rigorous guidance" about work not yet done on the year 2000 problem on computers, issued to NHS organisations on 15 May; and [HL2012]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 18 May ( WA 141–2), when they expect the detailed picture of the state of readiness of the NHS to deal with the year 2000 problem on computers to be available to Ministers: and whether it will be made available to Parliament. [HL2013]
For the National Health Service in England, the "rigorous" guidance was issued on 15 May in the form of a Health Service Circular HSC 1998/091, copies of which are available in the Library. This will ensure that all health authorities and NHS trusts are fully accountable for their progress towards Year 2000 compliance and for strengthened monitoring arrangements to enable the NHS Executive to check progress. The guidance comes after progress updates to March this year were received from every NHS trust and health authority.Chief Executives of health authorities and NHS trusts are required to continue to give their personal attention to their organisation's programme of action to deal with the Year 2000 problem, dealing with it as the highest non-clinical priority.The guidance includes: a new quarterly reporting procedure from June 1998 to the end of 1999 to identify any particular concerns and the actions to be taken: involvement of healthcare professionals in the issues to be resolved, in particular in risk analysis and planning for the continuity of care; a checkpoint at 30 September 1999 to ensure all parts of the NHS are fully prepared or have effective contingency plans in place.Regional offices of the NHS Executive will analyse returns from hospitals and health authorities and, by 15 June 1998, report to the Chief Executive of the NHS identifying any particular concerns and action they have taken to address them. Monitoring will be continuous and, as recommended by the National Audit Office, regional offices will intervene where faster progress is necessary.To underline local accountability, all reports for central monitoring must be considered by NHS boards in the public sections of their meetings.Once the information from the NHS quarterly returns has been fully analysed, it will be consolidated into the quarterly statement on the public sector and NHS presented to Parliament by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Commonwealth Education Ministers' Conference
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have decided to hold the forthcoming Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in the United Kingdom; and, if so, where and when it will take place. [HL2008]
The Government have no plans to offer to host the next Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in the United Kingdom. Britain will play a full and positive part in the conference wherever the Commonwealth decides it should be held.
Rights Of Audience In The Higher Courts
asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps they have taken to consult the legal profession and the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct on their proposals for extending rights of audience in the higher courts. [HL1896]
I have had preliminary discussions on a confidential basis with, amongst others, the Lord Chief Justice, the Chairman of the Bar Council, the President of the Law Society, the past chairman of my Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct, and the new chairman. I hope to make a public announcement of my proposals in due course and to publish a consultation paper.
Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee On Legal Education And Conduct: Chairman
asked Her Majesty's Government:When the appointment of the Chairman of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct, to replace Lord Saville of Newdigate, who resigned on 4 February, will be announced. [HL1897]
I am pleased to announce that the right honourable Lord Justice Potter has accepted the appointment.
Family Law Act: Implementation
asked Her Majesty's Government:The present timetable for bringing into force each provision of the Family Law Act 1996 not yet in force. [HL1936]
The following provisions of the Family Law Act have not yet come into force.
Raf Trainer Aircraft
asked Her Majesty's Government:What will be the monthly savings from replacing the RAF's 30 year-old Bulldog trainer under the proposed Light Aircraft Flying Task contract; and when a procurement decision will be made. [HL1934]
We have sought "best and final offers" from the shortlisted bidders and their responses were due back on 20 May 1998. A decision will be made on the preferred bidder and choice of aircraft as soon as possible after evaluation of final bids. The anticipated level of monthly savings is sensitive at this stage of negotiations and I am, therefore, withholding this information under Exemption 7 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Details of savings will be released when contract negotiations have been completed.
Gulf Deployments: Costs
asked Her Majesty's Government:What has been the cost to date of the deployment of British forces in connection with events in Iraq which are not to be met by the United Nations; and on which Votes these costs are to be borne. [HL1856]
The most up-to-date additional costs of recent British deployments to the Gulf are those covering the 1997–98 financial year. These will be finalised at the end of May and are expected to be in the region of £8 million. The costs are mainly the preparation, deployment/redeployment costs, plus the costs of additional equipment purchased for the operation. None of these costs is met by the UN. Costs fall to Defence Votes, specifically Class 1 vote 1, operational and support costs, and Class 1 vote 3, systems procurement and research.
Campsfield House: Management Contract
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish, in whole or in part, the contract between the Home Office and Group 4 for the management of Campsfield House. [HL1892]
Copies of the contract between the Home Office and Group 4 Total Security Ltd. for the management, maintenance and operation of Campsfield House, excluding those parts which relate to security or are commercially confidential, will be placed in the Library.
Access To Museums And Galleries: Consultation
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied with the extent of dissemination of their consultation paper
Access to Museums and Galleries; and to whom or to which public museums and galleries this paper was sent; and [HL1675]
How many comments they received in response to the consultation paper Access to Museums and Galleries; from whom they received such comments; what was the text of these comments; and whether, in the interests of wider public discussion and access, they will publish these comments in full, and place a copy in the Library of the House; and [HL1676]
Whether their consultation paper Access to Museums and Galleries was sent directly to public authority museums and galleries or organisations representing such museums. [HL1677]
The consultation paper Access to Museums and Galleries was issued by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in December 1997. It was sent to the national museums and galleries sponsored by the department and to the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC) and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Offices for wider distribution. The MGC sent it to all of the Area Musuem Councils (AMCs). In addition, the consultation paper was publicised in the Secretary of State's interim access announcement made at that time and in associated press coverage. A copy was made available on the department's web-site. We are, therefore, satisfied that the access paper was made widely available.Over 60 responses have been received from national museums and galleries, AMCs, arts and museums organisations, local museums and local authorities, and interested members of the public. Comments were not requested on the understanding that they would be made public, but a list of the organisations which have responded has been placed in the Library of the House.We are continuing to consider ways of increasing access to museums and galleries as part of the departmental spending review. That will be completed by the summer, when a further announcement will be made. The revised Access Code is likely to be issued at the same time.
Lloyd's Underwriters: Tax Payments
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will give, on a constant price basis using the price index of the gross domestic product at market prices (with reference to the January to March quarter for 1998), the net tax paid by, or repaid to, underwriting members of Lloyd's during each of the 16 years 1982–83 to 1997–98. [HL1919]
The reply I gave on 2 December 1997 to an earlier question by the noble Lord (Official Report cols. 162–163) listed figures up to October 1997 on (a) tax charged on individuals as initial assessments for underwriting profits and gains and (b) income tax and capital gains tax repaid to individual Lloyd's underwriters by the underwriters unit of the Inland Revenue. These figures related to 1995–96 and earlier tax years.The introduction of self assessment for 1996–97 and later tax years means that it is not possible to provide figures on assessments and repayments made during the second half of 1997–98, or for later periods, relating to underwriting activities. Self assessment brings all sources of income together; there are no longer separate assessments on Lloyd's income. As a result it is not possible to strip out any meaningful figures for the amount of tax paid on income from Lloyd's, as opposed to tax paid on all sources of income taken together.
Heavy Industry And Agriculture: Employment Data
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will estimate the number of persons employed in the United Kingdom in the years 1938, 1948, 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988 and 1998 in each of the following industries:
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter to Lord Marlesford from the Director of the Macro-Economic Statistics and Analysis Group of the Office for National Statistics, Mr. J. Kidgell, dated 24 May 1998.
In the absence of the Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary Question on the number of persons employed in the United Kingdom, by industry, and year.
The figures that are available are set out below. Data for 1948, 1958 and 1968 are taken from British Labour Statistics Historical Abstract 1886–1968, a copy of which is available in the House of Lords Library. For other dates, figures are based on censuses of employment in the nearest available year. Please note
that the industry classification has changed several times since 1938, which means that some estimates are not strictly comparable over time.
Employee jobs in United Kingdom
|Ports and docks2||156||156||136||66||33||32|
(a) British Labour Statistics Historical Abstract 1886–1968. Figures for 1948 and 1958 figures based on Standard Industrial Classification 1948. Figures for 1968 based on Standard Industrial Classification 1958.
(b) GB, 1978 Census of Employment. Figures based on Standard Industrial Classification 1968. Northern Ireland estimates have been especially constructed for this year.
(c) GB, 1989 Census of Employment. Figures based on Standard Industrial Classification 1980. Northern Ireland Department for Economic Development (NIDED) Census figures 1989.
(d) GB, 1996 Annual Employment Survey. Figures based on Standard Industrial Classification 1992. Northern Ireland Department for Economic Development (NIDED) Census figures 1995.
1 For 1989 the description for this industry is "deep coal mines and opencast coal working" and for 1996 "mining and agglomeration of hard coal".
2 For the years 1948, 1958 and 1968 this industry includes "port, river and canal transport, harbour, dock and canal conservancy". For 1978—"port and inland water transport", 1989—"supporting services to sea transport" and 1996—"inland water transport and other supporting water transport activities".
3 The content and description of this industry has remained consistent over the years shown in the table.
4 The figures shown in the table for this industry include iron and steel. It is not possible to identify some parts of steel manufacture separately (i.e., melting and rolling).
5 The content and description of this industry has remained consistent over the years shown in the table. All of the figures include the manufacture and repair of ships and boats.
6 The content of this industry has remained consistent over the years shown in the table. The description for the years 1948 to 1989 is "agriculture and horticulture", and for 1996 "agriculture, hunting and related service activities".
Notes And Coins: Decrease
asked Her Majesty's Government:In view of the Bank of England's Statistical Releases published between 1963 and 1997 which disclose a decrease in the supply of notes and coins (MO) from 21 per cent. to 3.7 per cent. when the remainder of the money supply (M4) is interest bearing, whether they intend to take any measures of compensation for this loss of interest-free money as part of the total money supply. [HL1953]
The decrease in notes and coins as a proportion of the total money supply partly reflects the considerable innovation in the banking sector over the last 35 years which has allowed the velocity of circulation of notes and coins to increase. Reduced costs of transfer between interest bearing and non-interest bearing money mean that agents now wish to hold a smaller proportion of their assets in the latter form. Any attempt to reverse the trend would place a burden on consumers and firms alike, unnecessarily reducing the efficiency of financial intermediation.
Gross Domestic Product: Scottish Share
asked Her Majesty's Government:What was Scotland's percentage share of (a) the United Kingdom's; and (b) the British gross national product for each year from 1979 to date. [HL1992]
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter to Lord Selkirk of Douglas from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Mr. Tim Holt, dated 29 May 1998.
As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question on Scotland's share of UK and GB gross national product from 1979 to date.
Information on Scotland's share of (a) the United Kingdom's, and (b) Great Britain's gross domestic product from 1979 to 1996 is given in the attached table. Estimates of regional gross national product are not available.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Scotland's GDP as percentage of:
1 Scotland as a percentage of UK and GB totals, which exclude GDP not allocated to any particular regions, e.g. the profits generated on the Continental Shelf.
Car Owning Households
asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the percentage of households in Scotland owning a car for each year from 1979 to date. [HL1996]
What was the percentage of households in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland owning a car for each year from 1979 to date. [HL1997]
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter to Lord Selkirk of Douglas from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Mr. Tim Holt, dated 29 May 1998.
As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary questions on the percentage of households owning a car in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The attached table shows information from the Family Expenditure Survey for the period from 1979. The figures relate to those households owning or having continuous use of at least one car or van. The data are subject to sampling errors, so while general trends can be seen, care should be taken in interpreting short-term changes in the data.
Percentage of households with one or more cars or vans, 1978–97
Data for years 1978–79 to 1990–91 cover a period of two calendar years.
Data for years 1992 and 1993 relate to single calendar years.
Data for 1994–95 to 1996–97 relate to single financial years.
ONS, Family Expenditure Survey.
Imported Works Of Art: Vat Rate
asked Her Majesty's Government:What estimate they have made of the effect, in terms of diverting sales of international art from the United Kingdom to unregulated markets outside the European Union, of the European Commission's proposal to enforce VAT at 5 per cent. and to introduce
droit de suite. [HL1950]
Goods imported into the UK normally bear VAT at the standard rate (17.5 per cent.). Under the terms of EC law implemented in the UK in 1995 certain works of art, antiques and collectors' pieces are eligible until 30 June 1999 for an effective rate of VAT at importation of 2.5 per cent. After that date the UK should increase the VAT rate to at least the normal minimum reduced rate of 5 per cent.No official estimates have been made of the effect on the UK art market of increasing the rate of VAT on fine art imports to 5 per cent. The annual values of UK imports of works of art and antiques from non-EC countries show considerable quarterly fluctuations and have no discernible pattern. This hampers considerably the ability to identify trends or make forecasts.The EC Commission, however, is committed to re-examining this year the effect of VAT on imported works of art, and other factors which may affect the competitiveness of the Community art markets. The UK will be actively involved in that review, and will ensure that the special position of the British art market is properly represented.It is also impossible to be certain about the effects of introducing
droit de suite into the UK. However, a study made by the Department of Trade and Industry estimates that if the sales of all works eligible for the right transferred abroad were lost to foreign markets. British dealers and auctioneers could lose fees of up to £68 million per annum and up to 5,000 jobs. If only non-EU originated trade was lost, the losses could amount to £17 million and 1,300 jobs.
Civil Servants: Non-Executive Directorships
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether civil servants are still allowed to become directors of companies in the private sector; if so, how many of them are such directors; whether any work in the Ministry of Defence; and whether they are allowed to conceal the fact from members of the public with whom they deal as civil servants. [HL1960]
Civil servants are allowed to become non-executive directors of companies with the approval of their department. It is the Government's policy to encourage Civil Service interchange with other sectors of the economy. The total number of non-executive directorships held by civil servants across all sectors of the economy was 118 in 1996–97, the latest year for which detailed figures are available. This figure includes two senior civil servants working for the Ministry of Defence who held non-executive appointments as part of the department's interchange programme. There is no specific requirement for civil servants to reveal to members of the public any non-executive directorships that they may hold. But they are required to seek the approval of their department for such appointments and to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
Old Sarum Park And Ride Site
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they plan to fund the park and ride car park in the vicinity of Old Sarum which is proposed by Salisbury District Council; and, if so, what account they have taken of local objections. [HL2004]
No specific funds have yet been allocated to this scheme but careful consideration will be given to any future bid for funding the Salisbury transport package received under the transport policies and programme bidding process. A public inquiry will be held on 9 June to hear objections to the draft compulsory purchase and site roads orders relating to the park and ride site.
Motorways: Ragwort Control
asked Her Majesty's Government:What action has been taken to prevent the spread of ragwort along the verges of motorways in England and Wales; and what has been done in the case of other trunk roads. [HL1927]
The policy in England and Wales is to control ragwort in accordance with the code of practice for routine maintenance. However, in England, financial constraints in 1996 and 1997 meant that a more reactive policy in response to complaints was adopted. For this financial year, it is expected to move, once again, towards meeting the full requirements of the code. This code is used as a means of ensuring uniform standards and the right level of maintenance across the network for all managing agents.
Government Car And Despatch Agency: Instructions To Drivers
asked the Chairman of Committees:Whether he will make arrangements for instructions to be given to all car drivers to switch off their engines when stopped in the parking areas allocated to the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster. [HL1966]
I understand from the Government Car and Despatch Agency that their drivers are under clear instructions to keep their engines running whenever possible. This is because all their cars are fitted with catalytic converters which only operate properly when hot and because their security vehicles are fitted with a number of electrically powered security devices which could not be powered from the car battery alone for extensive lengths of time.
Ec Legislatures: Salary Levels
asked Her Majesty's Government:Which nations within the European Community have a bicameral legislature; what (in euros or ECUs) is the approximate annual salary of members of each; and whether the House of Lords is the only national legislative body within the European Community whose members serve without pay. [HL1757]
Bicameral. The annual salary for Members of the Austrian Nationalrat (Lower House) is 1.4 million Schillings (i.e. approximately £70,000 or 100,719 ECU). The annual salary of members of the Bundesrat (Upper House) is 700,000 Schillings (i.e. approximately £35,000 or 50,359.50 ECU). Austrian MPs also receive substantial travel allowances depending on the distance of their main residence from Vienna.
The Belgian Federal Legislature is bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate. Members of both houses receive the same pay: ECU 63,720 per annum (gross) ECU 47,408 (net), with an allowance for costs of ECU 17,830 per annum.
Unicameral. Each MP receives approximate 48,800 ECU per annum. There are various non-taxable allowances to cover travel and other costs but these depend on the area represented and, for example, whether the MP sits on official committees.
Unicameral. MPs' monthly earnings are between Finnmarks 16,299 (ECU 2,717) and 20,816 (ECU 3.470) before tax, depending on length of service. (There are currently Finnmarks 8.8 to one pound sterling. ECU 1.467 = £1.)
Bicameral. The following figures are per month and gross. Deputies receive ECU 6,225 for staff, 5,250 for expenses and 6,167 to pay for staff. Senators are given ECU 4,873 for salary, 146 as a cost of living allowance, and 1,255 as a further allowance.
Members of the Bundestag receive a basic salary before tax and insurances of DM 12,350 per month (as at 1 April 1998). This comes to some ECU 93,988 p.a. (at DM 1.971 = ECU 1.00). This is supplemented by various allowances for office expenses; official travel; meals and accommodation; staff etc.
The Bundesrat is made up of representatives of the Lander, normally the Minister-President and senior Ministers of each Land. Members receive no salary in respect of their role in the Bundesrat. They are, however, paid their Ministerial salaries, allowances etc., by their respective Land Governments. They are reimbursed travel costs for attendance at meetings of the Bundesrat, its committees and certain other related bodies. They also receive a nominal flat rate daily expense allowance for attendance at such meetings. This was set at DM 80 per diem in September 1995, the latest date for which we have information.
Unicameral. The Greek Parliament is the equivalent of the House of Commons. Its members are elected by universal suffrage for a four-year period. The approximate annual salary is ECU 70,400.
Members of the Dail are paid IR/36,648 (ECU 28,699) plus allowances, and Senators receive IR£22,885 (ECU 17,921) plus allowances (using a 1.277 exchange rate into ECUs.)
Bicameral. Members of both houses receive salaries consisting of annual basic pay (net of tax and social security contributions) and excluding allowances, extras and incentives, of approximately 55,612.7 ECU.
Unicameral. Each member of the Chamber of Deputies receives FLux 2 million (approximately £40,000 or ECU 58,680), half of which is tax free.
Bicameral. The Second Chamber is the Dutch equivalent of the House of Commons. The First Chamber sits one day per week and has Members who in general have their main job outside national politics. Gross basic annual salaries for Dutch MPs (excluding allowances) are as follows:
- First Chamber: ECU 17,631
- Second Chamber: ECU 72,243
Unicameral. Members of the Assemblia da Republica receive a monthly remuneration of 614,600 escudos plus 61,500 in allowances. As is customary in Portugal, this is paid fourteen times a year, making an annual total of 9,465,400 escudos (£32,086 or ECU 47,091 at current rates).
Bicameral. The salaries below apply equally to the Congress and the Senate (except for ex-officio Members of the Senate, e.g. Presidents of regional governments who receive only their presidential salary).
Basic salary (taxable):
- 403, 336 Pstas = 2,440 ECU
Allowances (tax free):
- 225,266 pstas = 1,364 ECU (outside Madrid)
- 102,484 pstas = 620 ECU (inside Madrid)
Unicameral. Salaries (in ECU) are as follows:
|Speaker and Prime Minister:||111,628|
|MPs' bonus for accommodation in Stockholm||5,581|
|MPs' bonus for administrative costs||7,598|
Hk33 Assault Rifle: Contract With Turkey
asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the present state of negotiations concerning the proposed licensing of the manufacture in Turkey of the HK33 assault rifle, by Royal Ordnance (owned by British Aerospace); and to what extent such a licence can be reconciled with an ethical foreign policy. [HL1783]
Her Majesty's Government understand that a contract has been signed between Heckler and Koch, a subsidiary of British Aerospace, and the Turkish Government for the supply and manufacture under licence of HK33 assault rifles. As rifle parts will be sourced at least initially in Germany, no application has been made in the UK for an export licence. The decision lies with the competent German authorities.
Romania, Moldova And Ukraine: Relations
asked Her Majesty's Government:How they define the national interests of the United Kingdom and its diplomatic objectives in relation to Romania, the Republic of Moldova and the Ukraine. [HL1881]
Her Majesty's Government want to maintain good relations with Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. We are keen to see all three countries succeed as stable and economically prosperous democracies, playing a full and constructive role in a wider Europe.
Kuwaiti Diplomat: Withdrawal From United Kingdom
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many diplomats, with their families, were withdrawn during 1997 from posts in the United Kingdom at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; in what countries' diplomatic missions they were employed; and what offences they were alleged to have committed. [HL1920]
In 1997 only one diplomat was withdrawn from his post in the United Kingdom at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The diplomat was employed by the Kuwaiti Embassy and was alleged to have committed assault/domestic violence.
Diplomatic Status: Dual Nationals
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will list those persons who hold a United Kingdom passport who are shown in the current London Diplomatic List as enjoying diplomatic status, indicating in respect of each the diplomatic mission of which they are a member. [HL1921]
According to Protocol Department's record, there are presently 10 persons accredited to 10 of the London Diplomatic missions as diplomatic agents who are dual nationals, holding UK nationality in addition to that of the sending state, and who are eligible for limited immunity associated with diplomatic status in accordance with Article 38(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. No persons of UK nationality alone are eligible for this status.
Sudan Peace Process
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have studied the outcome of the recent Umma Party of Sudan Congress in Eritrea; what is their assessment of (a) its potential significance as a record of the aspirations of the Islamic Anseris; and (b) how the expressed objectives on ethnic pluralism, enhancement of democracy and support for the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) might be mobilised to accelerate the peace process. [HL1922]
Sudanese political parties like the UMMA party have an important role to play and we follow closely the evolution of Sudanese public opinion. We support the need for a comprehensive negotiated settlement that respects the rights of all Sudanese. This support has been made clear to both sides in the civil war and recently reinforced through our lobbying of countries in the region prior to the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace talks held in Nairobi on 2–6 May. To maintain the talks momentum, we are presently discussing with members of the IGAD Partners Forum the convening of an urgent meeting of the Forum. The intention is to follow up on the outcome of the 2–6 May talks.
Mr Akin Birdal
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have expressed concern to the Turkish authorities about the attempted assassination of Mr. Akin Birdal, President of the Turkish Human Rights Association; and whether they will ask the Turkish authorities what steps have been taken to apprehend and bring to trial the persons responsible for the murders of ten other officials of the association since 1991. [HL1944]
As EU Presidency, the UK issued a declaration on behalf of the European Union on 13 May expressing shock and dismay at the shooting of Mr. Akin Birdal, condemning this cowardly attack on the Chairman of the Human Rights Association, and strongly supporting statements by the Turkish authorities that every effort would be made to bring to justice those responsible.The Foreign Secretary made clear the importance we attach to the proper protection of human rights during his visit to Ankara on 19 May. He took the opportunity to visit Mr. Birdal in hospital to emphasise our support for the work of the Human Rights Association. We urge the Turkish authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks on Mr. Birdal and other members of the Human Rights Association.
Sri Lanka Conflict
asked Her Majesty's Government:What initiatives they have taken, or propose to take, to assist in ending the civil war in Sri Lanka. [HL1946]
Her Majesty's Government believe a lasting solution to this tragic conflict can only be reached through a political settlement. We have said publicly that we stand ready to help in the resolution of the conflict if both sides ask us to play a role.
Former Yugoslavia: War Crimes
asked Her Majesty's Government:What representations they are making to the Government of Croatia to bring the remaining two Bosnian Croats indicted for serious war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in conformity with United Nations Security Council Resolution 827. [HL1948]What presentations they are making to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and of Republika Serbska to bring the remaining 52 persons publicly indicted for serious war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in conformity with United Nations Security Council Resolution 827. [HL1949]
Her Majesty's Government attach the highest priority to seeing all those who have been indicted for war crimes face trial in The Hague. The primary responsibility for bringing the remaining 32 war crimes indictees to justice lies with the parties to the Dayton Peace Agreement themselves. We shall continue to press them to fulfil this, and all other, Dayton obligations. However, the international community has also shown its willingness to act where others do not. The action in April by British SFOR troops to detain a further two indictees in Prijedor is the latest reaffirmation of this commitment.
Gibraltar Waters: Spanish Fishing Vessel Incursions
asked Her Majesty's Government:On how many occasions during the last twelve months Spanish fishing boats have operated or sought to operate in Gibraltar waters; and what action has been taken to prevent or deter such activity. [HL1955]
The Royal Gibraltar police recorded 194 incursions by Spanish fishing vessels over the period May 1997 to April 1998. 153 of these incursions have taken place this year. Royal Gibraltar Police policy is to request such vessels to leave Gibraltar waters, and, in particularly serious cases, to arrest offenders.
Weapons Of Mass Destruction
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answers by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 9 December 1997 (
WA 17–19), whether it is now being proposed by the United States to its NATO allies that their area of operations be extended to the Middle East and to dealing there with weapons of mass destruction as "the most overriding security interest of our time" (Mrs. Albright, quoted in the International Herald Tribune, 17 December 1997); and whether this "most overriding security" interest includes monitoring the quantities, and checking the uses Israel may make of its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and the assistance, technical or financial, it may have received towards their development and employment. [HL1956]
I refer my noble friend to the answer I gave on 12 January (Official Report, WA 124). Her Majesty's Government believe that international co-operation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is extremely important and should be strengthened wherever possible.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether MI5 or MI6 have been able to inform them as effectively about Israeli nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes as about Iranian and Iraqi (as described by the Foreign Secretary on 23 April); and, if not, why not. [HL1957]
The Foreign Secretary, in his speech on 23 April, paid tribute to the work of the intelligence agencies in a number of areas. He also said that the results of the intelligence agencies' work cannot speak for themselves, and that we cannot proclaim their achievements if we want them to remain effective.
Sinn Fein Conference: Release Of Prisoners
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, following the day release from prison of IRA criminals to assist in the campaign for a Yes vote in the forthcoming Northern Ireland referendum, it is their intention to release an equal number of other criminals to campaign for a No vote. [HL1890]
The Secretary of State granted temporary release to four prisoners to attend a Sinn Fein conference to discuss the Belfast Agreement on 9 May. The release of those prisoners was a matter of concern and hurt to many members of the public and the Secretary of State has said that releases will not be granted for such purposes in the future.
County Armagh: Investment And Employment
asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans they have to encourage investment and increased employment opportunities in County Armagh. [HL1973]
For the immediate future, Government will be continuing with their extensive range of economic development measures; measures aimed at the promotion of investment and employment in County Armagh as elsewhere in Northern Ireland.County Armagh has benefited from these measures in the past, for example:
Bloomfield Report: Consultation
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in response to the recent Bloomfield Report, they consider particular provision should be made for the relatives of members of the security forces killed while on duty in Northern Ireland. [HL1975]
In his report Sir Kenneth Bloomfield records that those killed or injured in the cause of their public duty should be given special consideration. Although this does not form one of the recommendations, the report as a whole is being studied and further consultation will take place before any action is taken. In addition to any action taken on the Bloomfield Report £4.5 million has been made available to fund a Police Federation initiative under the police retraining and rehabilitation trust.
Independent Commission On Policing
asked Her Majesty's Government:To what extent they plan consultation with the men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in any process of reform in the organisation or reorganisation of the police service in Northern Ireland. [HL1976]
The Good Friday Agreement provides for the establishment of the independent Commission on Policing and states that it will be asked to consult widely. The Government expect that the Commission will include the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Police Authority and the three police staff associations in its consultations. The Chief Constable, Chairman of the Police Authority and Police Federation have already indicated that they will be making submissions to the Commission. The Good Friday Agreement also provides that the Secretary of State will consult the political parties and the Irish Government on the independent Commission's proposals. She will of course also consult the RUC, the Police Authority and the three police staff associations. In addition, changes where appropriate will be subject to the normal negotiating and consultation mechanisms.
Bloomfield Report: Reaction
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are in a position to announce a timetable for the implementation of the proposals contained in the recent Bloomfield Report in Northern Ireland. [HL1977]
In his report Sir Kenneth Bloomfield made 20 recommendations. Overarching these was a request that a reasonable time (up to three months) should be allowed for interested individuals to react to the report. The Government have indicated that they accept the broad thrust of the recommendations.
Immigration And Nationality Policy
asked Her Majesty's Government:What is Government policy on immigration and nationality. [HL2054]
We made it clear in our manifesto that Britain, like every country, must have firm control over immigration. However, we are also determined that applications should be dealt with speedily and fairly. All staff applying the Government's immigration and nationality policy will observe these central principles of being fair, fast and firm, and will carry out their duties without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person seeking to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or applying for citizenship.The main elements of our policy are to welcome genuine visitors and students who wish to come to the United Kingdom; support family life by admitting the spouses and minor dependent children of those already settled in the United Kingdom; ensure that asylum decisions are both swift and fair and fully meet the United Kingdom's obligations towards refugees under international law; grant entry to those who qualify for periods of work in the United Kingdom; maintain a fair, fast and effective entry clearance operation at United Kingdom posts overseas; give effect to the "free movement" provisions of European Community law while retaining controls at frontiers, operated by a civilian Immigration Service; detect and remove those entering or remaining in the United Kingdom without authority and take firm action against those profiting from abuse of the immigration laws, including effective preventative measures; and to grant applications for citizenship to those meeting the specified criteria.This statement is included in the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate Annual Report 1997, which is published today. The report covers a number of important developments which affected the work of the directorate, such as the Casework Programme, the Treaty of Amsterdam and other major policy issues, and includes a factual account of events in each element of the immigration control. A copy of the report is being placed in the Library.