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Written Answers

Tuesday, 25th June 1996.

Pensions on Divorce: Implementation of Section 166

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to bring into force Section 166 of the Pensions Act 1995 as to the court's treatment of pensions on divorce.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): It remains the Government's intention that applications for orders under Section 166 of the Pensions Act 1995 will be able to be made where the petition for divorce is presented to the court on or after 1st July 1996. The regulations and accompanying rules of court will come into force on 1st August 1996 to allow the judiciary, the legal profession and the pensions industry sufficient time to become familiar with their requirements before being asked to consider such applications.

The policy as to the content of the regulations under Section 166 of the Pensions Act 1995 has been agreed and a summary of the proposals is available in the Library. The regulations will be laid shortly. Separate legislative vehicles will be provided for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Macedonia and the United States: Bilateral Agreement

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the recent bilateral agreement between the United States and Macedonia which is described in Macedonia as regulating relations with the United States in the "identical way" as the United States regulates its relations with Japan, South Korea and Panama.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): It is not for Her Majesty's Government to comment on bilateral agreements between other countries.

Turkey: Alleged Human Rights Violations

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have concerning alleged human rights violations in Turkey, and in particular about:

    (a) recent disappearances of individuals, presumed murdered;

    (b) the trial of 98 writers, academics etc. under Article 162 of the Penal Code;

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    (c) violence in Istanbul on May Day and 8th June, allegedly instigated by government forces;

    (d) the sentence passed on Dr. Habuk Gerger, former general secretary of the United Nations Association of Turkey, for an article criticising the state of emergency (Article 312 of the Penal Code);

    and whether they have made representations to the Turkish Government about any of these matters.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have received reports on these alleged human rights violations from several sources, including our officials in Turkey and non-government organisations. We continue to raise our concerns about such reports with the Turkish authorities.

Abkhazia: Shipment of Humanitarian Supplies

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make inquiries about the circumstances in which the Russian authorities have stopped the shipment of humanitarian supplies across the frontier with Abkhazia.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have contacted the aid agencies concerned, who have confirmed that humanitarian supplies are still being delivered without undue difficulty to Abkhazia.

UN Observer Mission in Georgia

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will suggest to the Russian authorities and to the United Nations Secretary General that UN personnel and their associated equipment and consumables be shipped by air direct to Sukhum, instead of transhipping them by road from an airport in Russia; and whether they will also ask the United Nations to make, and publish, a rough estimate of the costs of using the two methods.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have no plans to intervene in the detailed management of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) which is a matter for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. We are satisfied that UNOMIG is being run in an economical and efficient manner.

Telecommunications and Gas: Objectives and Duties of Directors General

Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they measure the success of the Directors General of (i) Telecommunications and (ii) Gas in balancing the interests of (a) consumers, (b) employees and (c) shareholders; and whether the level of investment in the industries and the position

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    of UK industry as a whole in international markets is also taken into account.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The Directors General of Telecommunications and Gas are independent of government and operate within a framework of law laid down by Parliament. They must act in a way best calculated to meet certain statutory objectives and duties.

Redundancies: Trade Union and Labour Relations Act

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) on how many occasions in the five years following 1st January 1991 an employer proposed to dismiss as redundant at one establishment 20 or more employees; (b) if no such figures are available, what is their estimate of the number of those occasions.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The number of proposals notified to the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 193 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 involving 20 or more employees is as follows:


    1992: 6,883


    1993: 5,551


    1994: 4,571


    1995: 4,922

No breakdown of notifications is available for 1991.

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how many proceedings have been instituted since 1st January 1980 under Section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (and its predecessor sections) which imposes criminal sanctions upon an employer for failure to notify the Secretary of State of certain redundancies; and (b) on how many occasions in the five years following 1st January 1991 the Secretary of State has requested such information from employers, and how many of those occasions related to groups of employees fewer than 10, fewer than 20, or 100 or more in number.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: (a) It has not so far been considered appropriate by successive governments since 1975 to institute legal proceedings under Section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1978 (or its predecessor sections).

(b) Details are requested from any employer whom it is alleged has failed to notify the Secretary of State and, if appropriate, an explanation of the reasons for such failure is sought. Information on the number of such allegations is not recorded.

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Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many notifications were made to the Secretary of State in the five years following 1st January 1991 of proposed redundancies (a) of 100 or more employees under Section 193(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (and its predecessor section); and (b) of 10 or more employees under Section 193(2) (and its predecessor).

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The information is set out in the following table:

Number of notificationsYear
by redundancy size19911992199319941995
(i) 10-99 redundancies--9,8958,1016,5497,274
(ii) 100 or more--799583453577
Total11,074(1)10,6948,6847,0027,851

(1) No breakdown available by number of proposed redundancies.


Parking Permit Allocations on the Mall

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many parking permits are in issue to (a) the Royal Fine Art Commission; (b) the Museums and Galleries Commission; and (c) the Commonwealth Secretariat; and whether they will give separate figures showing which are necessary

    because of (i) unsocial hours, (ii) disability or

    (iii) because the car is essential for official business for each organisation.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): Responsibility for the subject of this Question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to the Viscount Astor from the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr. David Welch, dated 25th June 1996.

I have been asked by Lord Inglewood to reply to your Parliamentary Question about numbers of permits issued for parking on the Mall.

The Royal Fine Art Commission, Museums and Galleries Commission and the Commonwealth Secretariat have recently been asked to reassess their requirement for parking permits. The Museums and Galleries Commission have advised that they would reduce their requirement from 14 to 4. The Royal Fine Art Commission have 19 and are still considering their needs. The Commonwealth Secretariat had agreed to reduce their number of permits from 180 to 70 but have been asked to reassess their requirement with a view to reducing it further.

Each organisation is responsible for its own allocation of permits. I regret that I am, therefore, unable to provide any separate figures showing how many are necessary for each of the eligibility criteria.

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