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14 Dec 1994 : Column WA119

Written Answers

Wednesday 14th December 1994

ENTRY CLEARANCE REFUSAL: INDEPENDENT MONITOR'S REPORT

Viscount Mountgarret asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Copies of Lady Anson's first Report have been placed in the Libraries of the House. We welcome the report and note Lady Anson's recommendations, which will be carefully considered. Some have already been implemented.

ANGOLA

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have established a new bilateral Angola Development Fund of £1 million to support British NGOs in rehabilitation and longer-term development work. We have assisted the United Nations in their detailed planning for UNAVEM II by secondment of a British officer to the UN's Mission Planning Services. We fully support the Secretary General's efforts to increase the numbers of observers to UNAVEM II to previously authorised levels. As a member of the European Union we will continue to assist the Angolan Government in its efforts to rebuild and develop Angola. However, a lasting peace depends chiefly upon the willingness of the parties to implement in full their commitments under the Lusaka Protocol.

TURKEY: HUMAN RIGHTS

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Human rights issues were discussed by the Human Dimension Working Group at the CSCE Review Conference. The final communiqué of the Budapest Summit on 5/6 December (available in the Libraries of the House), whilst making no specific mention of Turkey, includes strong statements on freedom of expression and human rights.

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TURKEY: MPs' SENTENCES

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the death penalty demanded in the trial in Ankara of six elected members of the Turkish National Assembly.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We had deplored the removal of parliamentary immunity from the MPs and their subsequent arrest and trial on charges carrying a theoretical death penalty. We were shocked to learn of the harsh sentences of long terms of imprisonment imposed by the Turkish Court on 8 December. We await the outcome of the appeal which we understand will be made.

HUMAN RIGHTS CONVENTION AND THE TURKISH CONSTITUTION

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that Article 125 of the Constitution of Turkey contravenes the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning freedom of expression, which Turkey has ratified; and if so whether they will point this out to the Government of Turkey.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is for the European Commission and Court of Human Rights to determine whether the Constitution of Turkey contravenes the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Turkey has ratified. We take every opportunity to remind the Turkish Government of the need for improvement in its human rights record.

CSCE SUMMIT MEETINGS 5th–6th DECEMBER

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been achieved at the Review Conference of CSCE in Budapest.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I refer the noble Lord to the written statement made by my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal on 7 December, at cols. WA 95-96.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FUND: LOAN APPLICATION BY TURKEY

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will resist the application by Turkey for a loan of £190 million from the Social Development Fund of the Council of Europe if it is to be used to build fortified villages in the Kurdish area of eastern Turkey; and whether they agree that any loan should be used to rehouse those already living in shanty towns at Diyarbakir and elsewhere.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We understand from the Secretariat of the Council of Europe that no request has been received by Turkey for a loan from the Social Development Fund (SDF). Although the UK is not a member of the SDF, it is open to us to make our views known about applications to the fund. It would be

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premature for us to comment in the absence of any specific request from Turkey.

NORTHERN IRELAND: NURSERY EDUCATION

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the estimated number of children aged 3 and 4 in Northern Ireland at the most recent available date; what proportion was receiving a full nursery education service; and what would be the approximate cost of providing such a service throughout the region.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: At December 1993 there were approximately 52,200 such children, of whom 15 per cent. were in nursery education. Including those 4 year-olds statutorily required to be in primary schools, some 45 per cent. of children aged 3 and 4 were receiving education.

It is not possible to derive meaningful estimates of the cost of province-wide provision because capital and running costs would depend on circumstances. However, the recurrent cost of a full-time equivalent place in a nursery school is approximately £1,900 per child.

BRITISH COAL ENTERPRISE

Lord Dormand of Easington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to wind up British Coal Enterprise, or otherwise to change its role.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Earl Ferrers): The Government and British Coal are continuing to explore options for the services provided by British Coal Enterprise. No final decisions have yet been taken about its future.

CARTRIDGES: MEASUREMENT OF SHOT CONTENT

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it will remain legal under the Units of Measurement Directive to sell cartridges in which the content of shot is measured in ounces.

Earl Ferrers: Yes.

CHERNOBYL: SAFETY OF REACTORS

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is now the safety situation of the four reactors at Chernobyl; how many reactors of similar design are still operating in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere and what is their safety condition.

Earl Ferrers: Of the four reactors at Chernobyl, only two are currently operational. Unit four was destroyed in the accident on 26 April 1986 and unit two was closed as a result of a fire in October 1991. In the light of international concerns over the safety situation at the remaining units, G7 Heads of Government proposed an action plan at the Naples Summit to secure their early

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closure, within the framework of an energy strategy for Ukraine. This plan has been formally accepted by the Ukrainian Government and detailed implementation is now under discussion.

There are thirteen other reactors of similar design currently operational in the former Soviet Union, eleven in Russia and two in Lithuania. The safety of all these reactors is the responsibility of the relevant national authorities and only they would be able to provide full details of the current status of each plant. There are no Chernobyl type reactors outside the former Soviet Union.

MILITARY EXPORTS: UNPAID CREDITS

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated cost of the loss incurred from unpaid export credits relating to military exports.

Earl Ferrers: Details of unpaid export credits are included in ECGD's accounts but these do not detail separately amounts relating to military exports. Nor can this information be provided other than at disproportionate cost.

RECOVERY VEHICLES

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many vehicles taxed as recovery vehicles:

    (a) have a gross weight of over 3,000 kgs

    (b) are exempt from plating and testing or MOT test

    (c) have a gross weight of over 7,500 kgs

    (d) have more than two axles

    (e) have more than three axles

    (f) have a gross train weight of over 32,200 kgs

    (g) have a gross train weight of over 38,000 kgs

    (h) have a gross train weight of over 60,000 kgs

    (i) have an unladen weight of over 10,000 kgs

    (j) have an unladen weight of over 17,000 kgs

    (k) have an unladen weight of over 20,000 kgs

    or the nearest equivalent figure similarly available, and if no such figures are available, why not.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The following information is based on the number of vehicles licensed in the recovery class as of 30th June:

(a) 11,681

(b) no figures are available on the number of recovery vehicles exempt from plating and testing or MOT testing. However, "breakdown vehicles" over 3,500 kgs in the recovery class are exempt from plating and testing. Records show 5,420 breakdown vehicles to be licensed in this class;

(c) 4,750

(d) 2,054

(e) 1,424

(f) 1,306

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(g) 55

(h) 24

(i) 8,522

(j) 6,953

(k) 5,542


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