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11 Jul 1995 : Column WA103

Written Answers

Tuesday, 11th July 1995.

ABM Treaty: Presidents' Statement

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider the interpretation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty embodied in the Presidents' joint statement permits either the United States or the Soviet Union to set up what they describe as "theatre ballistic missiles" in such a way as to have a "strategic" effect (such as nullifying the deterrent role of Britain's Trident missiles).

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): It is not for us to comment on the detail of a statement reflecting discussions between the Presidents of the United States and Russia. The Trident System will provide the United Kingdom with a credible minimum deterrent against all foreseeable developments well into the next century.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their understanding that the "transparency" referred to in the joint statement issued after the summit meeting between Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton on 10 May 1995 is to apply between themselves, or between themselves and the international community, including the US' NATO Allies and OSCE Associates.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The statement issued by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin was the result of bilateral contacts between the United States and the Russian Federation. It did not refer to any wider multilateral agreement.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What meaning they attach to that part of the Clinton-Yeltsin joint statement where it is said that "tactical missile defence systems shall not be developed by Russia and the United States to use them against each other"; what the implications of this are for the deployment of such systems against the UK, France or China; and what "the development of bilateral co-operation in the development and use of efficient tactical missile defence systems" implies for other states.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The passages quoted by the noble Lord refer to proposals for confidence-building measures in the context of a bilateral treaty, to which the United Kingdom is not party. We continue to monitor these developments and are in close touch with the United States. But it would not be appropriate for us to seek to interpret these statements or to comment publicly on their possible implications for third parties.

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Counter-Proliferation Initiative: NACC Talks

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    If the consultations on the subject of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction which they have had with North Atlantic Consultative Council partners included discussion of the United States Defense Counter-proliferation Initiative.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The information requested is not readily available. I will reply to the noble Lord shortly.

US/Middle Eastern States: Defence Co-operation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will instigate discussions in the Middle East on the prospect of a new arms race in the area in anti-missile systems, such as United States-funded Arrow in Israel, and the United States provided Peace Shield in Saudi Arabia (which is capable of anti-missile enhancement).

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have no plans to hold discussions in the Middle East on this subject. Defence co-operation between the United States and Israel and between the United States and Saudi Arabia are matters for the governments concerned.

Employment Service: Course Fees Cost Limit

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in reviewing the £100 limit for course fees, in Employment Service guidance, used by employment officers when considering whether to refer to an adjudication officer the question whether an unemployed person is available for employment.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): I wrote to the Chief Executive of the Employment Service on 13 June to ask him to review the level of course fees in guidance that employment officers use to help them when considering whether to question a person's availability for employment and to refer the case to an independent adjudication officer. He has agreed to raise the threshold from £100 to £250.

Motor Vehicles: Lighting Requirements

Lord Alport asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the interests of road safety and after consultation with motor organisations, they will make it compulsory for all motor vehicles to have lighted side and rear lights when travelling on the public highway.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): Front, rear and side marker lamps are required to be kept lit between sunset and sunrise or in conditions of seriously reduced visibility. There are no plans to require them to be lit at other times.

Transport Research Laboratory: Information for Bidders

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library a copy of the Information Document for bidders for the Transport Research Laboratory.

Viscount Goschen: No. The Information Memorandum contains commercially confidential information, the disclosure of which would be prejudicial to the sale process and the laboratory's competitive position. The document has been prepared for the information of possible bidders and will be made available to a bidder only on signature of a confidentiality undertaking.

Motorway Service Area Proposals

The Earl of Harrowby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the letter and enclosure to the Earl of Harrowby from Viscount Goschen of 20th June 1995 concerning new motorway service area proposals.

Viscount Goschen: Yes, copies have now been placed in the Library. The map showing existing and proposed motorway service areas which was enclosed with my letter is currently being updated; a copy of that, too, will be placed in the Library shortly.

Cleveland

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What decision they have reached on the recommendation of the Local Government Commission that the County of Cleveland should be abolished and its area divided, for ceremonial and related purposes, between the historic counties of Durham and Yorkshire.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): In his answer of 18 January 1994 in another place to the honourable Member for Langbaurgh [Official Report, vol 235, col 581–582], my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment said that he had accepted in principle that the County of Cleveland should be abolished, but deferred a final decision until he had reached decisions on the Commission's recommendations for Durham and North Yorkshire. In the light of his decisions on those two counties, and following consultation, he has now confirmed his decision that the County of Cleveland should be abolished. He has also decided that, for ceremonial and related purposes, the county area north of

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the River Tees should be associated with County Durham, and the area south of the River Tees with North Yorkshire, restoring the traditional boundary between Durham and Yorkshire.

Somerset House

Lord Houghton of Sowerby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What conclusions they have reached on the future of Somerset House.

Earl Ferrers: I am not yet able to add to the Answer which was given by my right honourable and noble friend Viscount Ullswater on 29 June 1995 [Official Report, col. WA 62].

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991: S.3 Convictions

Lord Houghton of Sowerby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of the 630 cases of convictions under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 during 1992 and 1993 were convictions of aggravated offences under Section 3 of the Act.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): In England and Wales in 1992 and 1993 there were 285 convictions for aggravated offences under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Home Office Senior Management Review

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which former Home Office Ministers and special advisers were interviewed as part of the department's Senior Management Review.

Baroness Blatch: The following former Ministers and Special Advisers were interviewed in the course of the department's Senior Management Review:

Former Ministers


    The Rt. Hon. Douglas Hurd


    The Rt. Hon. John Patten


    The Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Lloyd


    The Rt. Hon. Dame Angela Rumbold

Former Special Advisers


    Mr. Edward Bickham


    Mrs. Tessa Keswick


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