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Written Answers

Tuesday, 16th May 1995.

Tourism: Tax Revenue

The Earl of Bradford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Pursuant to their Written Answer of 3rd April (WA3), whether they agree with the World Travel and Tourism Council's estimates that the UK travel and tourism industry contributed £22.5 billion in taxes in 1992 and is expected to contribute £26.2 billion in 1995, compared with Government funding of tourism of £89.8 million; and if not, whether they will give their own estimate of revenues.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Viscount Astor): Tourism will have an impact on the tax revenues raised from a wide range of different industries. No precise estimates are available.

Security Facilities Agency: Targets

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What targets have been set for the Security Facilities Agency for 1995–96.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): For 1995–96, the agency has been set the following targets. They require the agency to make further improvements in its performance particularly in the quality of the service it delivers, with the exceptions of the targets for surplus and sales turnover, where a marginal reduction on the previous year acknowledges the reducing need for expenditure on security.

Category Measure Target
Financial Cost Recovery in Accruals Terms 100 per cent. cost recovery including 6 per cent. cost of capital
Outturn on the Vote A surplus of £1 million
Outturn on Net Running Costs Break even
Sales Sales Turnover Turnover of £40 million
Efficiency Unit Costs 2 per cent. reduction in real terms
Quality of Service* Customer Surveys 90 per cent. satisfaction rating
Management Achieve and maintain ISO 9000 standard on quality management systems
Environmental Management Achieve BS 7750 standard on environmental management systems
Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Annual average of 25mpg for GCS and IDS fleets

*The Quality of Service Target in addition to requiring an overall 90 per cent. satisfaction rating in customer surveys, comprises also a number of separate targets applying in different ways to each part of the Agency's business, viz:


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Government Car Service—90 per cent. customer satisfaction targets for driver appearance, punctuality, driving standards, vehicle presentation; at least 70 per cent. of pool service calls to be met by in-house drivers; all customers to be visited at least once a year to review delivery and needs.

Inter-Despatch Service—To implement service enhancements resulting from the service's market test, and implement new performance measuring system; both by June 1995.

Special Services Group/Security Furniture—To keep within 90 per cent. of approved project timetables and estimates; deliver 98 per cent. of SFS standard items within 15 days.

Custody Service—To achieve a monthly target of 99.5 per cent. productive hours as percentage of total hours; a nil target for entry violations; have at least yearly liaison visits to customers; improve image with new uniforms and conduct code.

Social Security Legislation: Regulation-making Powers

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many regulation-making powers are contained in each of the following: the Social Security Act 1986; the Social Security Act 1988; the Social Security Act 1989; the Social Security Act 1990; the Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance Act 1991; the Child Support Act 1991; the Social Security (Incapacity For Work) Act 1994; and the Jobseekers Bill 1995.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The department does not have detailed information of the type requested in relation to the legislation enacted before 1994. However, in the department's memorandum to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Scrutiny of Delegated Powers on the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill 1994 and on the Jobseekers Bill 1995, we explained that the former Bill had 39 subsections, and the latter Bill 87 subsections and 17 paragraphs in Schedule 1, which contain powers to create delegated legislation.

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Similar information in relation to the other Acts mentioned (some of which have now been repealed and which amend or insert powers in other legislation dating back to 1973) requiring an analysis of each section, subsection and paragraph can be provided only at disproportionate cost. I can, however, set out the number of sections and schedules in each Act which contain regulation-making powers, excluding those sections which make amendments to earlier Acts:

Legislation
Social Security Act 1986 37 sections and 2 schedules
Social Security Act 1988 2 sections
Social Security Act 1989 3 sections and 2 schedules
Social Security Act 1990 3 sections
Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance Act 1991 3 sections
Child Support Act 1991 36 sections and 2 schedules
The Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act 1994 3 sections
The Jobseekers Bill 1995 22 clauses and 1 schedule

Science and Engineering Research: Review

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the Director General of Research Councils to publish his review of the science budget portfolio.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earle Howe): Copies of the director general's review have today been placed in the Libraries of both Houses by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster along with copies of the research councils' own analyses of the strengths and weakness of the UK science and engineering base and a summary of the centres that the director general visited and the organisations that he met. This is an excellent assessment of the state of science and engineering research in Britain today. It shows that we have major strengths in many areas and that we are continuing to build on those strengths for the benefit of Britain and British industry. Although there are no serious problems in the science and engineering base, the review exposes some weaknesses and describes the corrective action taken in the expenditure allocations announced by my right honourable friend on 2 February 1995.

English Spelling

Lord Simon of Glaisdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of the Answer of Lord Lucas on 10th May ("I celebrate the complexity of English"—H.L. Deb. col. 61), whether they consider that the anomalies of English spelling tend on balance to facilitate or hamper the acquisition of reading ability in English by (a) English schoolchildren and (b) foreign traders.

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Lord Lucas: How easily people learn to read English depends on a range of factors. The relative importance of the nature of English spelling would be difficult to ascertain.

English: International Commercial Use

Lord Simon of Glaisdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In light of the Answer of Lord Lucas on 10th May ("If the noble Lord wants an international commercial language, he may care to learn Esperanto"—H.L. Deb. col. 61), whether it is their view that it is to the advantage of the United Kingdom that English should increasingly develop as an international commercial language, or that Esperanto should be adopted as an acceptable alternative.

Lord Lucas: The increasing use of English for international commerce is likely to benefit the United Kingdom and its people to a greater extent than any increase in the use of Esperanto.

Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: UK Reservations

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the reservations entered by the United Kingdom to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Lord Inglewood: The current list of reservations entered by the United Kingdom to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women is as follows. A copy of the Convention has been placed in the Library. Declarations and reservations entered on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (a) The United Kingdom understands the main purpose of the Convention, in the light of the definition contained in article 1, to be the reduction, in accordance with its terms, of discrimination against women, and does not therefore regard the Convention as imposing any requirement to repeal or modify any existing laws, regulations, customs or practices which provide for women to be treated more favourably than men, whether temporarily or in the longer term; the United Kingdom's undertakings under article 4, paragraph 1, and other provisions of the Convention are to be construed accordingly. (b) The United Kingdom reserves the right to regard the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, the Employment Act 1980, the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, the Industrial Relations (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, the Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1982, the

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Equal Pay Act 1970 (as amended) and the Equal Pay Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 (as amended), including the exceptions and exemptions contained in any of these Acts and Orders, as constituting appropriate measures for the practical realisation of the objectives of the Convention in the social and economic circumstances of the United Kingdom, and to continue to apply these provisions accordingly; this reservation will apply equally to any future legislation which may modify or replace the above Acts and Orders on the understanding that the terms of such legislation will be compatible with the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention. (c) In the light of the definition contained in article 1, the United Kingdom's ratification is subject to the understanding that none of its obligations under the Convention shall be treated as extending to the succession to, or possession and enjoyment of, the Throne, the peerage, titles of honour, social precedence or armorial bearings, or as extending to the affairs of religious denominations or orders or to the admission into or service in the Armed Forces of the Crown. (d) The United Kingdom reserves the right to continue to apply such immigration legislation governing entry into, stay in and departure from the United Kingdom as it may deem necessary from time to time and, accordingly, its acceptance of article 15(4) and of the other provisions of the Convention is subject to the provisions of any such legislation as regards persons not at the time having the right under the law of the United Kingdom to enter and remain in the United Kingdom. Article 1

With reference to the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and other applicable legislation, the United Kingdom's acceptance of article 1 is subject to the reservation that the phrase "irrespective of their marital status" shall not be taken to render discriminatory any difference of treatment accorded to single persons as against married persons, so long as there is equality of treatment as between married men and married women and as between single men and single women. Article 2

In the light of the substantial progress already achieved in the United Kingdom in promoting the progressive elimination of discrimination against women, the United Kingdom reserves the right, without prejudice to the other reservations made by the United Kingdom, to give effect to subparagraphs (f) and (g) by keeping under review such of its law and regulations as may still embody significant differences in treatment between men and women with a view to making changes to those laws and regulations when to do so would be compatible with essential and overriding considerations of economic policy. In relation to forms

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of discrimination more precisely prohibited by other provisions of the Convention, the obligations under this article must (in the case of the United Kingdom) be read in conjunction with the other reservations and declarations made in respect of those provisions including the declarations and reservations of the United Kingdom contained in paragraphs (a)–(d) above.

With regard to subparagraphs (f) and (g) of this article the United Kingdom reserves the right to continue to apply its law relating to sexual offences and prostitution; this reservation will apply equally to any future law which may modify or replace it. Article 9

The British Nationality Act 1981, which was brought into force with effect from January 1983, is based on principles which do not allow of any discrimination against women within the meaning of article 1 as regards acquisition, change or retention of their nationality or as regards the nationality of their children. The United Kingdom's acceptance of article 9 shall not, however, be taken to invalidate the continuation of certain temporary or transitional provisions which will continue in force beyond that date.

The United Kingdom reserves the right to take such steps as may be necessary to comply with its obligations under article 2 of the First Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Paris on 20 March 1952 and its obligations under paragraph 3 of article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights opened for signature at New York on 19 December 1966, to the extent that the said provisions preserve the freedom of parental choice in respect of the education of children; and reserves also the right not to take any measures which may conflict with its obligation under paragraph 4 of article 13 of the said Covenant not to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject to the observation of certain principles and standards. Article 10

The United Kingdom can only accept the obligations under subparagraph (c) of article 10 within the limits of the statutory powers of the central Government, in the light of the fact that the teaching curriculum, the provision of textbooks and teaching methods are reserved for local control and are not subject to central Government direction; moreover, the acceptance of the objective of encouraging coeducation is without prejudice to the right of the United Kingdom also to encourage other types of education. Article 11

The United Kingdom interprets the "right to work" referred to in paragraph 1 (a) as a reference to the "right to work" as defined in other human rights instruments to which the United Kingdom is a party, notably article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 19 December 1966.

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The United Kingdom interprets paragraph 1 of article 11 in the light of the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 4, as not precluding prohibitions, restrictions or conditions on the employment of women in certain areas, or on the work done by them, where this is considered necessary or desirable to protect the health and safety of women or the human foetus, including such prohibitions, restrictions or conditions imposed in consequence of other international obligations of the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom reserves the right to apply all United Kingdom legislation and the rules of pension schemes affecting retirement pensions, survivors' benefits and other benefits in relation to death or retirement (including retirement on grounds of redundancy), whether or not derived from a social security scheme.

This reservation will apply equally to any future legislation which may modify or replace such legislation, or the rules of pension schemes, on the understanding that the terms of such legislation will be compatible with the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention.

The United Kingdom reserves the right to apply the following provisions of United Kingdom legislation concerning the benefits specified: (a) Social security benefits for persons engaged in caring for a severely disabled person under section 37 of the Social Security Act 1975 and section 37 of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Act 1975; (b) Increases of benefit for adult dependants under sections 44 to 47, 49 and 66 of the Social Security Act 1975 and under sections 44 to 47, 49 and 66 of the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Act 1975; (c) Retirement pensions and survivors' benefits under the Social Security Acts 1975 to 1982 and the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Acts 1975 to 1982; (d) Family income supplements under the Family Income Supplements Act 1970 and the Family Income Supplements Act (Northern Ireland) 1971.

This reservation will apply equally to any future legislation which may modify or replace any of the provisions specified in subparagraphs (a) to (d) above, on the understanding that the terms of such legislation will be compatible with the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention.

The United Kingdom reserves the right to apply any non-discriminatory requirement for a qualifying period of employment or insurance for the application of the provisions contained in article 11 (2).

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Article 15

In relation to article 15, paragraph 2, the United Kingdom understands the term "legal capacity" as referring merely to the existence of a separate and distinct legal personality.

In relation to article 15, paragraph 3, the United Kingdom understands the intention of this provision to be that only those terms or elements of a contract or other private instrument which are discriminatory in the sense described are to be deemed null and void, but not necessarily the contract or instrument as a whole. Article 16

As regards paragraph 1(f) of article 16, the United Kingdom does not regard the reference to the paramountcy of the interests of the children as being directly relevant to the elimination of discrimination against women, and declares in this connection that the legislation of the United Kingdom regulating adoption, while giving a principal position to the promotion of the children's welfare, does not give to the child's interests the same paramount place as in issues concerning custody over children.

The United Kingdom's acceptance of paragraph 1 of article 16 shall not be treated as either limiting the freedom of a person to dispose of his property as he wishes or as giving a person a right to property the subject of such a limitation.


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