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Beaufort's Dyke (Munitions Dumping)

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when Ministers received the initial report of the second survey by the marine laboratory in Aberdeen on the munitions and other materials dumped in the vicinity of Beaufort's Dyke; for what reasons the proposed date of publication of late September has not been adhered to; when the report will be published; what arrangements he has made for (i) publishing the report and (ii) meeting with interested hon. Members to discuss its content and follow up; and if he will make a statement. [4437]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson [holding answer 18 November 1996]: My right hon. Friend has yet to receive the report of the second survey of Beaufort's Dyke by the marine laboratory in Aberdeen. Analysis of the large volumes of data collected during the survey is continuing. It is expected that the report will be published before the end of November and copies will be sent to interested hon. Members on the date of publication. This adheres to the timetable envisaged.

My noble Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment has already agreed to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss the report once it is published.

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Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information is collated centrally on (a) the long-term revenue commitments and (b) any other commitments arising as a result of private finance initiative projects agreed by (i) his Department and (ii) agencies accountable to his Department. [5078]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 20 November 1996]: The Government response to the Treasury Select Committee report on the private finance initiative agreed the importance of collecting and monitoring information on future spending commitments arising from contracts under the private finance initiative. Such information is now being collected. The response stated that aggregate projections of the level of expenditure that is anticipated to rise from signed contracts under the initiative would be published in the 1997-98 "Financial Statement and Budget Report".

Kilwinning Plant Closure

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions have taken place between his Department and (a) Robert Wilson and Sons Ltd. and (b) Hillsdown Ambient Foods Group Ltd. relating to the closure of their Kilwinning plant. [5045]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 20 November 1996]: Following the announcement by Hillsdown Holdings of its proposal to close its subsidiary Robert Wilson and Sons at Kilwinning, my officials contacted Robert Wilson and Sons to discuss the implications of this decision and the scope for providing assistance towards a project to retain production at Kilwinning. Officials from Enterprise Ayrshire were also closely in touch with local management over this period. However, discussions with the company and its parent company quickly revealed that there was no prospect of the closure decision being reversed. Enterprise Ayrshire has since concentrated its efforts on making available to those affected by the announcement its full range of counselling and training services.

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next proposes to visit the Robert Wilsons and Sons Ltd. factory in Kilwinning. [5047]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 20 November 1996]: My right hon. Friend has no plans to visit this company.

Factory Closures (North Ayrshire)

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what additional measures he intends to introduce to mitigate the impact of the closure of factories during the last 12 months within the north Ayrshire area. [5049]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 20 November 1996]: My right hon. Friend has no plans to introduce additional measures, since our existing policies are working successfully. These policies place responsibility for economic regeneration primarily with the local enterprise companies, in this case Enterprise Ayrshire. The measures necessary to address the economic impact of factory closures are among those considered closely by Scottish Enterprise when allocating enterprise company budgets. Enterprise Ayrshire and its partners are currently involved in a wide range of projects designed to stimulate the

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economy of North Ayrshire and improve the competitiveness of its companies. In addition, Irvine travel-to-work area, covering most of North Ayrshire, continues to benefit from development area status.


International Planned Parenthood Federation

Mr. Clifton Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will continue to extend financial support to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, with special reference to its work in China; and if he will make a statement. [5376]

Dr. Liam Fox: We recognise that the International Planned Parenthood Federation does valuable work throughout the world to promote reproductive health and provide effective assistance to family planning associations. We shall continue to provide financial support to IPPF from the overseas development programme, subject to the availability of resources and remaining satisfied with the value for money from our investments.

The China Family Planning Association is one of the many affiliates with which IPPF works and we have been keen to know more about the difference that IPPF and CFPA have been able to make to reproductive choice in China. The Overseas Development Administration therefore recently commissioned a review of the role of IPPF in China and its work with the CFPA. A copy of the consultants' report has been placed in the Library.

We regard this examination, led on ODA's behalf by a highly respected and authoritative expert in the population field, as an informed, balanced and realistic assessment. It concludes that IPPF has been able to play an effective and valuable role in influencing CFPA in the development of the kind of activities and role that we would expect of a non-governmental organisation. However, we should recognise that there is still clearly a long way to go.

We accept the review's conclusion that the influence of IPPF has been a force for positive change, and that the continued involvement of IPPF in China will be beneficial in helping CFPA further. These conclusions support our long-held view that it is better that organisations such as IPPF should be engaged and working to influence from within, and is the course that we believe most likely to produce the outcomes that we all seek. We shall expect IPPF to continue its efforts in this regard and be able to better demonstrate the difference it makes. We will maintain a close interest in its future work in China.

We do not envisage changing the general principle of the present funding arrangements under which our annual core grant is provided to support the work of IPPF throughout the world, and is not usually designated for use in particular countries. Exceptions to this principle will concern only those countries where we have bilateral programmes in reproductive health, which does not include China.

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Agency Letters

Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions (a) non-departmental public bodies and (b) executive agencies responsible to his Department, have provided answers by letter, copied to the Library but not published in the Official Report in each of the last two years. [3157]

Mr. Lang: Records of the number of such answers are not readily available.

When appropriate, Ministers ask non-departmental public bodies to reply directly by letter to Members and these requests are recorded in the answer given to Members which is published in the Official Report. There are currently no arrangements either to copy the letters to the Library of the House or to publish them in the Official Report.

However, when Members ask questions relating to the day to day operations of my Department's executive agencies, the Minister will ask the chief executive to respond and in all instances copies of the letters will be published in the Official Report underneath the Minister's answer.

Dounreay Nuclear Power Station

Mr. Meacher: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the statements by Mr. Gay Mitchell, President in Office for the Council of Ministers at the Council question time in the European Parliament on 13 November in respect of an environmental audit of Dounreay. [5003]

Mr. Page: The President in Office of the Council of Ministers appears to share my view about the overriding importance of the health and safety of workers and the general public. Because safety is paramount Dounreay is subject to rigorous independent regulation by Her Majesty's nuclear installations inspectorate and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency: consequently, there is no need for the Commission to undertake an environmental audit, and it has no powers to do so.

Coal Mining Industry

Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will ask the chairman of the British Coal Corporation to reply to the letters of 15 August and 9 October from the hon. Member for Normanton. [4787]

Mr. Page: I understand that the chairman of British Coal replied to the hon. Member yesterday.

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