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Written Answers

Monday, 30th October 1995.

UN World Conference on Women, Beijing: Congressman Chris Smith's Statement

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): A copy of this statement will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

UNFPA Population Award to Dr. Qian Xinzhong

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Government of China contributed $100,000 to the UNFPA Population Award in 1983. Copies of the acceptance speech of Dr. Qian Xinzhong and statements from the UN Secretary-General and the Chairman of the Population Award at the Population Award ceremony will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Rangoon: Suggested Trade Fair

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have no plans to hold a trade fair in Rangoon next year.

Human Rights: Duty of Compliance

Lord Lestor of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave him on 9 January, at col. WA1.

European Convention on Human Rights: Protocol No. 9

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Her Majesty's Government have no intention at present to ratify Protocol 9.

Organophosphates in Sheep Dipping: Study

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Lucas: To know the dose-response relation is a great help in the control of any toxic substance. The usefulness of epidemiological information is greatly increased if it can be used to establish one.

The Government do not accept that it is impossible to establish exposure levels for organophosphates. The take-up of organophosphates by the human body immediately following exposure can be assessed by measuring the effects on relevant biochemical processes. Moreover, a key objective of the major new epidemiological study on organophosphate sheep dipping, which the Government announced on 26 October will be to develop a method for estimating exposure directly from the characteristics of the dipping operation. The final results of the study should enable a dose-response relation to be constructed. In particular, they should reveal whether any such relation is one which all exposed people show some effects, increasing progressively with dose, one in which a small proportion of the population is highly sensitive to small exposures and the rest relatively unaffected; or takes some other intermediate or quite different form.

Even if it proves difficult to develop a method for estimating exposure accurately, the study is designed still to yield valuable information. It will still establish whether there is a causal link between low level exposure to organophosphate sheep dip, even if unquantified, and the neurological indicators being measured. It will also usually examine what such neurological effects mean in terms of actual ill-health.

Stonehenge: Conference on A.303 Improvement Proposals

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The conference on the A.303 Amesbury to Berwick Down improvement scheme is a non-statutory procedure and has no formal status under planning law. The aim of the conference is to give all interested parties an opportunity to explore and debate possible ways of overcoming the traffic problems on this length of trunk road. Conferences on other schemes have been successful in identifying a consensus on the major issues and possible ways forward.

The consultation which was held in 1993 cost about £32,000 for the exhibition, the brochure and the archaeological seminars. This figure does not include the salaries of the Highways Agency staff and consultants who would have been working on the scheme even if the consultation had not taken place. The possible routes which have been considered thus far were shown at the public exhibition for no other reason than to provide information for those who will be attending the conference. It was made clear in the conference brochure that the Yellow and Grey routes were withdrawn in July 1994; and that the conference will not be restricted to the routes illustrated.

Written submissions can be made to the chairman of the conference. All written submissions received by the chairman will be made available to those who attend the conference but they will only be debated and considered by the conference at the chairman's discretion.

Throughout the preparation of the scheme, the Highways Agency have consulted the National Trust on all issues of interest to them, including the possible effects on inalienable land. The National Trust have indicated that they will attend the conference.

The Highways Agency have also consulted the Ministry of Defence, who have no objection to the holding of the conference and will be sending a delegate to represent their interests.

The costs incurred so far on the conference and exhibition are £44,000. The Highways Agency anticipate further costs amounting to £34,000. We are satisfied that the procedures do give the taxpayer good value for money, in view of the importance of the issues being debated and the very high costs of some of the solutions suggested.

The conference brochure states that tunnels were carefully considered and specifically that various long tunnels were "considered but rejected as being unaffordable".

The Highways Agency have carried out cost benefit analyses. The estimated cost of the "long tunnel alternative" passing north of Stonehenge and under the Cursus and Fargo Plantation as suggested was between £250 and £300 million with a benefit cost ratio of 0.3 (where 1 represents break-even).

The values shown in the cost benefit analyses known as COBA are measurable savings in such things as accidents, time and vehicle running costs. We do not believe it is possible to put a monetary value on a unique monument such as Stonehenge. COBA is only one element considered in the overall assessment, which takes account of other non-measurable benefits—such as improvement in the setting of Stonehenge—and disbenefits. The assessment of the routes identified so far is contained in the Preliminary Assessment Reports, which are available to the public. These issues will be open to debate at the conference and would be subject to close scrutiny at any future public inquiry, should a preferred solution be identified.

The planning conference is in addition to the normal statutory procedures under the Highways Act 1980 and will not affect the rights of individuals and organisations to object to or make representations about any subsequent proposals which may be published by the Highways Agency.

Expenses: Taxation Policy

Lord Chapple asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): None that I am aware of. An employee may claim a deduction for tax purposes from his remuneration for expenses he is necessarily obliged to incur travelling in the performance of his duties. He may also claim a deduction for any other expenses which are incurred wholely, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of his duties.

Lord Chapple asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Mackay of Arbrecknish: The general rule is that tax relief is not available for the normal costs of home to work travel. But if an employee travels to a temporary place of work, relief is available for the cost of the journey from home or from the normal place of work, whichever is the lower.

An employee who is temporarily transferred to work away from his normal place of work can get relief for the cost of travel and subsistence for up to 12 months.

Expenses of Inland Revenue Employees: Taxation

Lord Chapple asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The current rates of travel, subsistence and overnight expenses paid to Inland Revenue employees are as follows:

Night Subsistence Allowance Discounted Undiscounted
Inner London
Class 1 £65.15 £97.40
Class 2 £65.15 £71.25
Class 3 £62.20 £67.25
Elsewhere
Class 1 £62.40 £86.20
Class 2 £56.50 £62.70
Class 3 £51.65 £57.30

Day Subsistence Allowance Over 5 hours Over 10 hours
£4.25 £9.30
Lodging Allowance
Inner London
Classes 1 and 2 £32.45
Class 3 £31.00
Elsewhere
Classes 1 and 2 £31.00
Class 3 £29.20
Mileage Allowances
Allowance rates shown are pence per mile
Single Standard Rate
Motor cars 36p
Public Transport Rate
All vehicles (including motor cycles) 23.8p

Inland Revenue employees are subject to tax on their travel, subsistence and overnight expenses in the same way as all other employees and office holders.

Discounted rates are payable to Inland Revenue employees who stay in hotels with which the Inland Revenue have negotiated special accommodation rates. There are many of them at locations around the country. If Inland Revenue employees can find no accommodation available at a suitable hotel on the list, then they may claim the "undiscounted" rate.

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The £2 Coin

The Marquess of Ailesbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will increase, rather than discontinue, the supply of £2 coins.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Two types of £2 coin have been issued this year. The first commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the second the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. In 1996, a commemorative £2 coin will be issued to mark the European Football Championship to be held in England.

The question of the issue of a general circulation £2 coin is under consideration as part of the United Kingdom coinage review, about which an announcement will be made in due course.

Prison Libraries: Texts on Criminal Law and Procedure

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the availability of texts on criminal law and procedure in prison libraries to assist inmates in preparing petitions to the Home Secretary and appeals to the Courts.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Windlesham from the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 30/10/95.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the availability of texts on criminal law and procedure in prison libraries to assist inmates in preparing petitions to the Home Secretary and appeals to the Courts.

Circular Instruction 20/1992, a copy of which is attached, defines all the texts on criminal law and procedure which must be held in the prison library and be available to all prisoners.

Prison libraries are provided by the local Public Library Authority (PLA). They are regarded as branches of the public library service. Every Prison Service establishment now has a chartered librarian, employed by the PLA, working in the prison library. Prisoners can make special requests to the Librarian for the loan of stock which is not held in the prison library. The requests will be met from a stock held elsewhere in the PLA or beyond. This service is used extensively. The chartered librarian is available to all prisoners to offer advice and guidance on book selection.

CI 20/1992 is currently being revised. We will be consulting other criminal justice agencies on its revision.

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UN Human Rights Committee: Recommendations

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they will take, in accordance with the UN Human Rights Committee's recommendation (CCPR/C/79/Add.55, 27th July 1995) that the UN Human Rights Committee's comments and information about the dialogue with the committee should be distributed to non-governmental organisations and to the public at large; and

    Whether they intend to give effect to the recommendation of the Human Rights Committee (UN Document CCPR/C/79/Add.55 of 27th July 1995) that the United Kingdom should give wide publicity to the Government's report and to the reporting procedure and should distribute the committee's comments and information about the dialogue with the committee to interested non-governmental groups and to the public at large.

Baroness Blatch: The Concluding Observations issued by the Human Rights Committee on 27 July, following the United Kingdom's oral examination on its Fourth Periodic Report, have been made available in the Library of the House. The corrected summary records of the hearing will be made similarly available, once these have been issued by the committee. Both documents are published by the United Nations, and copies may be obtained from that source. Copies are also freely available from the Home Office on request.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take to meet the concern expressed by the Human Rights Committee (UN Document CCPR/C/79/Add.55 of 27th July 1995) that the practice of the United Kingdom in contracting out to the private commercial sector core state activities which involve the use of force and the detention of persons weakens the protection of rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Baroness Blatch: The Government do not intend to make any changes to current arrangements for the use of contractually managed prisons and immigration centres, or private companies for court or immigration escort services, which already adequately protect the rights of those detained.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take to meet the concern expressed by the Human Rights Committee (UN Document CCPR/C/79/Add.55 of 27th July 1995) at "incidences of the use of excessive force in the execution of deportation orders" and the lack of "adequate legal representation" for asylum seekers effectively to challenge administrative decisions.

Baroness Blatch: In January 1994, my right honourable friend, the Home Secretary, accepted the

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA141

recommendations of a Review of Removal Procedures carried out by the Home Office and the Police following the tragic death of Mrs Joy Gardner. The recommendations are now reflected in the handling of all removal cases.

All asylum seekers have access to free legal advice and representation.

The Government has noted the observations of the Human Rights Committee following its oral examination of the United Kingdom on our Fourth Periodic Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, we do not plan any further measures in the light of the Committee's views.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to give effect to the Human Rights Committee's recommendation (UN Document CCPR/C/79/Add.55 of 27th July 1995) that the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and the equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland be reviewed in order to ensure that the provisions which allow inferences to be drawn from the silence of accused persons do not compromise the implementation of various provisions in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Baroness Blatch: The Government do not accept that the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 on inferences from silence, or the comparable legislation in Northern Ireland, contravene in any way the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take to give effect to the recommendation of the Human Rights Committee (UN Document CCPR/C/79/Add.55 of 27th July 1995) that the reservations entered by the United Kingdom to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be reviewed.

Baroness Blatch: The Government have recently considered whether they can withdraw any of their reservations to the covenant but have concluded that these remain necessary. The reservations are kept under review, and will be withdrawn as soon as they are no longer needed.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to take further action in accordance with the recommendation of the Human Rights Committee (UN Document CCPR/C/79/Add.55 of 27th July 1995) to tackle the remaining problems of racial and ethnic discrimination and of social exclusion.

Baroness Blatch: The United Kingdom already has a good record on race relations which is significantly better than that of most comparable countries. Through the Commission for Racial Equality, it funds a number

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA142

of campaigns and initiatives along the lines suggested by the Human Rights Committee.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to take action (a) to meet the concern expressed by the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/79/Add.55, of 27th July 1995) at the extent to which the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is impeded by the combined effects of the non-incorporation of the covenant into domestic law, the failure to accede to the first Optional Protocol, and the absence of a constitutional Bill of Rights, and (b) to give effect to the committee's recommendation that the United Kingdom "take urgent steps to ensure that its legal machinery allows for the full implementation of the Covenant" by examining the need to incorporate the covenant into domestic law or introducing a Bill of Rights, and reviewing its position under the Optional Protocol.

Baroness Blatch: No. The Government consider that the existing arrangements in this country already allow for full compliance with the covenant.

UN Declaration on the Elimination of Intolerance and Discrimination

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will introduce legislation in accordance with Article 7 of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance or of Discrimination based on Religion, produced by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 36/55, adopted on 25th November 1981, that everyone in the United Kingdom shall be able to avail himself of the rights and freedoms set forth in the declaration; and if not, why not.

Baroness Blatch: The Government have no plans to do so. There is no evidence to suggest that existing legislation is inadequate to deal with any problems which may exist.

Executive Agencies

Lord Denning asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Secretaries of State have established executive agencies for the carrying out of some of their functions and whether these agencies have been set up under Act of Parliament or by administrative direction, as, for instance, the Planning Inspectorate at Bristol under the Town and Country Planning Act.

Baroness Blatch: There are currently 110 executive agencies established under the Next Steps programme. Agencies are established as a matter of departmental organisation by the Minister who heads the parent department and who is responsible for the function; and

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA143

each remains part of a government department or a department in its own right. In addition, the Inland Revenue has established 29 Executive Offices and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise has established 23 Executive Units, which operate on Next Steps Lines. The aim of the Next Steps programme is to improve the management and the performance of government functions, including in some cases, those with a statutory basis, such as those carried out by the Planning Inspectorate under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act. The Planning Inspectorate was established as an executive agency in 1992.

The 110 agencies are listed below, under the Minister to whom they are accountable.

Lord Chancellor


    Court Service


    HM Land Registry (1)


    Public Record Office (1)


    Public Trust Office

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


    Wilton Park

Chancellor of the Exchequer


    Central Statistical Office (1)


    HM Customs and Excise (2)


    Inland Revenue (2)


    PAYMASTER (1)


    Royal Mint (1)


    Valuation Office

Secretary of State for the Home Department


    Fire Service College


    Forensic Science Service


    HM Prison Service


    United Kingdom Passport Agency

President of the Board of Trade


    Companies House


    Insolvency Service


    Laboratory of the Government Chemist


    National Weights and Measures Laboratory


    NEL


    Patent Office


    Radiocommunications Agency

Secretary of State for Transport


    COASTGUARD


    Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency


    Driving Standards Agency


    Highways Agency


    Marine Safety Agency


    Transport Research Laboratory


    Vehicle Certification Agency


    Vehicle Inspectorate

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Secretary of State for Defence


    Army Base Repair Organisation


    Army Base Storage and Distribution Agency


    Army Technical Services Agency


    Defence Accounts Agency


    Defence Analytical Services Agency


    Defence Animal Centre


    Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency


    Defence Evaluation and Research Agency


    Defence Postal and Courier Services


    Defence Transport and Movements Executive


    Disposal Sales Agency


    Duke of York's Royal Military School


    Hydrographic Office


    Logistic Information Systems Agency


    Meteorological Office


    Military Survey


    Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation


    Naval Recruiting and Training Agency


    Queen Victoria School


    RAF Maintenance Group Defence Agency


    RAF Signals Engineering Establishment


    RAF Training Group Defence Agency


    Service Children's Schools (North West Europe)

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


    ADAS(3)


    Central Science Laboratory


    Intervention Board (1) (4)


    Meat Hygiene Service


    Pesticides Safety Directorate


    Veterinary Laboratories Agency


    Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Secretary of State for National Heritage


    Historic Royal Palaces Agency


    Royal Parks Agency

Secretary of State for the Environment


    Building Research Establishment


    Ordnance Survey (1)


    Planning Inspectorate (5)


    Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre


    Security Facilities Executive


    The Buying Agency

Secretary of State for Wales


    Cadw (Welsh Historic Monuments)

Secretary of State for Social Security


    Social Security Benefits Agency


    Social Security Child Support Agency


    Social Security Contributions Agency


    Social Security Information Technology Support Agency


    Social Security Resettlement Agency

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA145


    Social Security War Pensions Agency

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster


    Central Office of Information (1)


    Chessington Computer Centre


    Civil Service College


    HMSO (1)


    Occupational Health and Safety Agency


    Recruitment and Assessment Services Agency

Secretary of State for Scotland


    Historic Scotland


    Registers of Scotland (1)


    Scottish Agricultural Science Agency


    Scottish Court Service


    Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency


    Scottish Office Pensions Agency


    Scottish Prison Service


    Scottish Record Office (1)


    Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland


    Compensation Agency


    Driver and Vehicle Licensing (NI)


    Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency


    Forensic Science Agency of Northern Ireland


    Industrial Research and Technology Unit


    Northern Ireland Child Support Agency


    Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency


    Northern Ireland Prison Service


    Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland


    Public Record Office of Northern Ireland


    Rate Collection Agency


    Social Security Agency (NI)


    Training and Employment Agency (NI)


    Valuation and Lands Agency

Secretary of State for Education and Employment


    Employment Service


    Teachers' Pensions Agency

Secretary of State for Health


    Medical Devices Agency


    Medicines Control Agency


    NHS Estates


    NHS Pensions Agency

Attorney General


    Government Property Lawyers

Minister for Overseas Development


    Natural Resources Institute

Footnotes (1) Agencies that are government departments. (2) Government department operating fully on Next Steps lines.

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA146

(3) The Secretary of State for Wales is responsible for ADAS in Wales. (4) The Secretaries of State for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are responsible for the Intervention Board in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. (5) The Secretary of State for Wales is responsible for the Planning Inspectorate in Wales.

Business Appointments of Former Ministers: Guidelines

Baroness Young asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have reached a conclusion on the text of the guidelines on business appointments of former Ministers.

Baroness Blatch: My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has today placed in the Libraries of both Houses guidelines on the acceptance of appointments outside government by former Ministers of the Crown. The guidelines will come into effect from the start of the next Session of Parliament.

Civil Service Code

Baroness Young asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have reached a conclusion on the text of the proposed Civil Service Code.

Baroness Blatch: The period of further consultation on the draft Civil Service Code, published in The Government's Response to the First Report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life (Cm 2931), has ended. Subject to the required Order in Council, the Government now propose to bring the new code into operation from the start of 1996, and will finalise the necessary amendments to the Civil Service Management Code and arrangements for implementation in consultation with the Council of Civil Service Unions. The intended final text of the Code is as follows: 1. The constitutional and practical role of the Civil Service is, with integrity, honesty, impartiality and objectivity, to assist the duly constituted Government, of whatever political complexion, in formulating policies of the Government, carrying out decisions of the Government and in administering public services for which the Government is responsible. 2. Civil servants are servants of the Crown. Constitutionally, the Crown acts on the advice of Ministers and, subject to the provisions of this Code, civil servants owe their loyalty to the duly constituted Government. 3. This Code should be seen in the context of the duties and responsibilities of Ministers set out

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA147

in Questions of Procedure for Ministers which include:


    accountability to Parliament;


    the duty to give Parliament and the public as full information as possible about the policies, decisions and actions of the Government, and not to deceive or knowingly mislead Parliament and the public;


    the duty not to use public resources for party political purposes, to uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service, and not to ask civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the Civil Service Code;


    the duty to give fair consideration and due weight to informed and impartial advice from civil servants, as well as to other considerations and advice, in reaching decisions; and


    the duty to comply with the law, including international law and treaty obligations, and to uphold the administration of justice;

together with the duty to familiarise themselves with the contents of this Code. 4. Civil servants should serve the duly constituted Government in accordance with the principles set out in this Code and recognising:


    the accountability of civil servants to the Minister or, as the case may be, the office holder in charge of their department;


    the duty of all public officers to discharge public functions reasonably and according to the law;


    the duty to comply with the law, including international law and treaty obligations, and to uphold the administration of justice; and


    ethical standards governing particular professions.
5. Civil servants should conduct themselves with integrity, impartiality and honesty. They should give honest and impartial advice to Ministers, without fear or favour, and make all information relevant to a decision available to Ministers. They should not deceive or knowingly mislead Ministers, Parliament or the public. 6. Civil servants should endeavour to deal with the affairs of the public sympathetically, efficiently, promptly and without bias or maladministration. 7. Civil servants should endeavour to ensure the proper, effective and efficient use of public money. 8. Civil servants should not misuse their official position or information acquired in the course of their official duties to further their private interests or those of others. They should not receive benefits of any kind from a third party which might reasonably be seen to compromise their personal judgment or integrity. 9. Civil servants should conduct themselves in such a way as to deserve and retain the confidence of Ministers and to be able to

30 Oct 1995 : Column WA148

establish the same relationship with those whom they may be required to serve in some future Administration. They should comply with restrictions on their political activities. The conduct of civil servants should be such that Ministers and potential future Ministers can be sure that confidence can be freely given, and that the Civil Service will conscientiously fulfil its duties and obligations to, and impartially assist, advise and carry out the policies of the duly constituted Government. 10. Civil servants should not without authority disclose official information which has been communicated in confidence within Government, or received in confidence from others. Nothing in the Code should be taken as overriding existing statutory or common law obligations to keep confidential, or to disclose, certain information. They should not seek to frustrate or influence the policies, decisions or actions of Government by the unauthorised, improper or premature disclosure outside the Government of any information to which they have had access as civil servants. 11. Where a civil servant believes he or she is being required to act in a way which:


    is illegal, improper, or unethical;


    is in breach of constitutional convention or a professional code;


    may involve possible maladministration; or


    is otherwise inconsistent with this Code;

he or she should report the matter in accordance with procedures laid down in departmental guidance or rules of conduct. A civil servant should also report to the appropriate authorities evidence of criminal or unlawful activity by others and may also report in accordance with departmental procedures if he or she becomes aware of other breaches of this Code or is required to act in a way which, for him or her, raises a fundamental issue of conscience. 12. Where a civil servant has reported a matter covered in paragraph 11 in accordance with procedures laid down in departmental guidance or rules of conduct and believes that the response does not represent a reasonable response to the grounds of his or her concern, he or she may report the matter in writing to the Civil Service Commissioners. 13. Civil servants should not seek to frustrate the policies, decisions or actions of Government by declining to take, or abstaining from, action which flows from ministerial decisions. Where a matter cannot be resolved by the procedures set out in paragraphs 11 and 12 above, on a basis which the civil servant concerned is able to accept, he or she should either carry out his or her instructions, or resign from the Civil Service. Civil servants should continue to observe their duties of confidentiality after they have left Crown employment.

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Ford Motor Company: Proposed Subsidy

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the European Commission to grant them permission to offer the Ford Motor Company a subsidy of £80 million in respect of an expansion of the capacity of the Jaguar Car Company.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): Detailed discussions with the Commission are proceeding well and we are expecting clearance of that support of Her Majesty's Government for the Jaguar X200 project soon.

Fighter Aircraft: Choice

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to acquire F-16C fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): No. My department is currently examining proposals to upgrade the weapon systems of the Tornado F3 air defence fighter. As a routine part of our evaluation procedure, we are comparing the costs and operational effectiveness of this option with various alternatives, including procurement or leasing of F-16s. A decision will be made as quickly as possible on whether to proceed with the Tornado F3 upgrade.

Organophosphates: Use in Gulf War

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the considerable overlap of symptoms between Gulf War veterans and those exposed to agricultural organophosphates who could not differ more greatly in psychological profiles, and the increasing evidence of heavy use of organophosphates in the Gulf theatre, they will commission a comparative study in which medical practitioners sympathetic to the problems of organophosphates exposure can participate.

Earl Howe: We are aware of the similarity between some of the claimed symptoms of chronic exposure to agricultural organophosphates and those of the alleged Gulf War Syndrome. However, national medical statistics indicate that these non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle weakness and general debility, are also commonly reported among members of the general population. In addition there was no widespread use of organophosphate pesticides by British Forces in the Gulf theatre of war. Therefore, while we remain open minded about areas of future investigation, we currently have no plans to commission specific research into any possible connection between organophosphates and the alleged Gulf War Syndrome.

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We have recently issued guidelines for independent researchers which explain the degree of assistance the Ministry of Defence is able to give to those proposing their own research into Gulf health issues, a copy of which I am arranging to have placed in the Library of the House.

Open Skies Policy

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the OC-135 aircraft brought into service by the United States for use in connection with the Open Skies Treaty are to be counted as part of NATO infrastructure; where they are being based; and whether the information obtained with their use is to be shared among NATO members, WEU members, Partnership for Peace partners, and/or all signatories to the Open Skies Treaty.

Earl Howe: The American Open Skies OC-135 aircraft are national assets which will be based in the USA. The information obtained from any sensor used under the Open Skies regime will be available on request to all signatory states to the Open Skies Treaty.

University Air Squadrons Operating Costs

Lord Blease asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the annual operating costs, for each of the last five years, of each of the 16 University Air Squadron Units in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Earl Howe: The annual operating costs of individual University Air Squadrons are only available from financial year 1993/94, when the UAS task was rationalised within Commandant RAF Cranwell's budget. However, as there has been no significant variation in either the UAS establishment or flying task during the last five years, the cost of operating the squadrons would have been of a similar order in the three prior years to those for FY 93/94 and FY 94/95, which are detailed below:

£ £
University Air Squadron 93–94 94–95
Aberdeen, Dundee & St Andrews 536,000 412,000
Birmingham 549,000 560,000
Bristol 758,000 892,000
Cambridge 621,000 629,000
East Lowlands 507,000 455,000
East Midlands 721,000 592,000
Glasgow & Strathclyde 546,000 518,000
Liverpool 457,000 502,000
London 1,094,000 904,000
Manchester and Salford 700,000 748,000
Northumbrian 514,000 559,000
Oxford 436,000 537,000
Queen's 906,000 911,000
Southampton 680,000 702,000
Wales 504,000 493,000
Yorkshire 618,000 588,000
Total 10,147,000 10,002,000

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Armed Forces Honorary Medical Consultants

Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many specialist doctors and consultants are retained on a consultancy basis in each of the Armed Services.

Earl Howe: In addition to the military and civilian specialist doctors and consultants directly employed by my department, a number of civilian doctors are appointed as honorary consultants to the Armed Forces. These appointments are generally unpaid, other than for travel expenses. The number of honorary consultants by Service is as follows:

Number
Royal Navy 54
Army 58
Royal Air Force 52

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Armed Forces Medical Officers

Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how many medical officers are now regularly serving in each rank and professional grade of the Armed Services;

    (b) how many of these have applied for premature voluntary retirement (PVR); and

    (c) how many of those who have applied for PVR have been accepted unconditionally.

Earl Howe: (a) The figures requested are contained in the attached table:

(b) The figures for PVR applications are as follows:—

Number
Royal Navy 11
Army 13
Royal Air Force 21

(c) None of the PVR applications has been accepted unconditionally.


Total Consultant Senior Specialists Specialist GP Under training
Surgeon Vice Admiral 1 1
Surgeon Rear Admiral 1 1
Major General 2 2
Air Vice Marshal 2 2
Surgeon Commodore 5 3 1 1
Brigadier 11 9 1 1
Air Commodore 11 9 2
Surgeon Captain 20 14 6
Colonel 35 23 4 1 7
Group Captain 23 19 4
Surgeon Commander 79 46 7 1 25
Lieutenant Colonel 111 68 13 5 25
Wing Commander 99 45 8 7 39
Surgeon Lieutenant Commander 74 1 9 19 27 18
Major 169 19 20 33 78 19
Squadron Leader 125 15 21 8 75 6
Surgeon Lieutenant 74 74
Captain 203 3 77 23
Flight Lieutenant 68 1 2 65
Total 1,013 276 89 79 364 205



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