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22 Nov 1995 : Column WA7

Written Answers

Wednesday, 22nd November 1995.

Wilton Park

Viscount Davidson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will report on the outcome of the recent review of the Wilton Park Agency.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): A Prior Options Review has been carried out on Wilton Park, which has been an Executive Agency of the FCO since 1991. The review concludes that Wilton Park conferences organised on behalf of the FCO fulfil a valuable function, and that Wilton Park should continue to operate as a Next Steps Agency. The review also makes recommendations for involving FCO geographical commands and departments more closely in Wilton Park conferences; for improving the marketing of the conferences among potential participants and for the market testing of the commercial (i.e. non-conference) operation at Wilton Park. The outcome of the review has been endorsed by Ministers, and action to implement it is in hand. A summary of the review's findings has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Taiwan: UK Visas

Viscount Davidson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have reviewed their policy on placing visas for the UK in Taiwan passports.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have compared our practice of issuing visas with a number of other countries who, like us, do not recognise Taiwan. We have agreed, with effect from 1 December, that visas for the UK should be placed in travel documents issued by the Taiwan authorities. We regard such travel documents as no more than confirming the identity of the holder. Our change in practice does not involve recognition of Taiwan or constitute acceptance by Her Majesty's Government of a Taiwanese nationality.

Health Authority Membership: Armed Forces Personnel

Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any members of the Armed Forces have applied to serve on health authorities; whether they have been accepted; and whether they are being encouraged to apply.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): A number of ex-members of the Armed Forces have been accepted and appointed to health authorities. People from all sections of the community are encouraged to

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apply to be considered for National Health Service non-executive appointments to health authorities.

Abortion Procedure

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of the recent United States House of Representatives vote to outlaw partial birth abortion, it remains their intention not to introduce this method of abortion into this country.

Baroness Cumberlege: I refer the noble Lord to my earlier reply of 5 June at cols. WA 84-85.

A.66 Penrith to Scotch Corner: Trans-European Network

Lord Hothfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of fresh supportive representations from the Government Office for North West and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, they will now support the addition of the A.66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner to the Trans-European Road Network.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): We considered very carefully the case for proposing the A.66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner for inclusion in the Trans-European Road Network. We decided in the light of other competing priorities not to put it forward.

Answers to Parliamentary Questions

Lord McIntosh of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the period from October 1994 to January 1995 (the period referred to in paragraph 3.83 of the Learmont Report), how many documents passed from the Home Office to Prison Service Headquarters; and how many of these related to parliamentary Questions; and

    In the period between October 1994 and January 1995, how many of the documents submitted by Prison Service Headquarters to the Home Office related to parliamentary Questions; and

    When parliamentary Questions are passed by the Home Office to the Director General of the Prison Service for answer, in what proportion of cases are draft answers seen by Home Office officials before the Answer is sent to the Member or Lord concerned; and

    When parliamentary Questions are passed by the Home Office to the Director General of the Prison Service for answer, in what proportion of cases are draft answers seen by Home Office Ministers before the Answer is sent to the Member or Lord concerned.

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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Paragraph 3.83 of the Learmont report says that the Prison Service submitted just over 1,000 documents to Ministers from October 1994 to January 1995. One hundred and five of those documents related to parliamentary Questions. All draft replies to Home Office parliamentary Questions, including those passed to the Director General of the Prison Service and other agency chief executives for reply, are seen by Ministers before the reply is sent to the Member or noble Lord concerned. Information about the number of documents passed to the Prison Service from other parts of the Home Office, and about the number of draft replies to parliamentary Questions which are seen by Home Office officials (other than Ministers' private offices), is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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Crown Copyright

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

    Whether they will consider introducing an amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 so as to abolish Crown Copyright in primary and subordinate legislation or in the copying of parliamentary or judicial proceedings.

Baroness Blatch: No. Copyright legislation offers valuable protection against inappropriate use of information, for example in connection with advertising. It does not in itself determine policy on licensing and charging, which is the responsibility of the originating authority--i.e., the House in respect of parliamentary proceedings.

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