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5 Nov 1999 : Column WA107

Written Answers

Friday, 5th November 1999.

Benefits Recipients: Indebtedness

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the average levels of debt among those on means-tested social security benefits.[HL 4522]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The Department does not collect information on the level of debt among people in receipt of Social Security benefits.

Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle programme.[HL 4591]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We are pleased to announce that the UK and Germany today signed a contract with ARTEC GmbH, a consortium including Alvis Vehicles Ltd from the UK, for the development of a family of armoured utility vehicles, known in the UK as the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV). The MRAV programme will provide the British Army with a modern and flexible family of armoured utility vehicles that can operate in both high intensity conflict and in rapid reaction peace support and humanitarian operations world-wide.

The contract represents a major step forward in European co-operation in armoured vehicles, and will be procured through the quadrilateral Organisation for Joint Armaments Cooperation known as OCCAR. This contract will help secure up to 500 manufacturing jobs within the UK supplier base, the majority of which will be in the Telford area over the life of the programme.

Rhine Army Units: Relocation

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans exist for the location of British Army units west of the Rhine.[HL 4564]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A study into accommodation for British Army units west of the Rhine has concluded that the best use of the available estate is to consolidate units on the Rheindahlen Military Complex and on RAF Bru ggen. This will enable Ayrshire and Hampshire Barracks in Mo nchengladbach; Bradbury Barracks, Krefeld; and Francisca Barracks, St Tonis to be vacated by the British Army. No significant redeployment of units will take place before December 2001, and it is

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expected that the relocation of the units affected and the hand-back of the estate to the relevant authorities will be complete by May 2002.

Lord Chancellor's Department: Expenditure Limit

Lord Milner of Leeds asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are any proposals to amend the Lord Chancellor's Department Departmental Expenditure Limit and running costs limit for 1999-2000.[HL4636]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate for Class V, Vote 1, the Lord Chancellor's Department Departmental Expenditure Limit for 1999-2000 will be increased by £100,000 from £2,421,144,000 to £2,421,244,000. The increase is the effect of a transfer of £100,000 from the Home Office, relating to legal aid costs in respect of reducing volatile substance abuse--gas lighter refills.

The running costs limit for the Lord Chancellor's Department will be increased by £5,386,000 from £496,817,000 to £502,203,000. The increase is in respect of funding for PFI projects in the civil courts and tribunals. This overall increase includes a reduction of £667,000 to gross running costs, with a matching reduction to running costs receipts in respect of a penalty for the running cost breach which occurred in 1998-99.

The increases will be offset by a transfer from the Home Office Departmental Expenditure Limit, as well as receipts arising from asset disposals and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

USA and Canada/UK Tariffs

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the average level of tariffs imposed by (a) the United States and (b) Canada on exports from the United Kingdom; and what were the average level of tariffs imposed by the United Kingdom on imports from (a) the United States and (b) Canada in 1972, 1982, 1992 and the latest available 12-month period.[HL4334]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): It is likely that the information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is mainly because consistent time-series for tariffs imposed by the US and Canada on UK exports, and UK tariffs imposed on US and Canadian exports are not readily available in published form.

In addition, in the case of agricultural products, tariffs are not the main means of protecting domestic producers from overseas competition, and any

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available tariff data are likely to give a misleading indication of the relative openness of the three markets in question.

However some data are available on average tariffs applicable to imports of industrial products from all Most Favoured Nation trading partners preceding and following various rounds of multilateral trade negotiations. The Table below shows average industrial tariff rates before the Tokyo Round Agreement, after the Tokyo Round Agreement, and after full implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreement. Tokyo Round negotiations took place during 1973-1979, while the Uruguay Round negotiations took place during 1986-93.

Most Favoured Nation Bound Industrial Tariff Averages Import-Weighted Averages %

USAEUCanada
Pre-Tokyo Round6.46.612.7
Pre-Uruguay Round5.45.79.0
Post-Uruguay Round*3.53.64.8

*When fully implemented. Excludes petroleum products.

Sources: GATT: The Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations Part II Jan 1980

GATT: The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations 1994


Most Favoured Nation Bound Industrial Tariff Averages Simple Averages %

USAEUCanada
Pre-Tokyo Round11.39.112.6
Pre-Uruguay Round6.36.47.3
Post-Uruguay Round3.93.74.2

*When fully implemented. Excludes petroleum products

Sources: GATT The Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations Part II Jan 1980

WTO Integrated Database

Notes:

Tokyo Round negotiations took place during 1973-1979.

Uruguay Round negotiations took place during 1986-93.

Implementation periods for Uruguay Round tariff cuts ranged up to 10 years.


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Committee for Privileges: Treaty of Union References

Lord Gray asked the Chairman of Committees:

    When the Opinions of the Lords of Appeal who sat on the reference to the Committee for Privileges on the Treaty of Union will be made available.[HL4510]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): Copies of the Opinions of the Lords of Appeal who sat on both references to the Committee for Privileges were placed in the Library today. The bound volume of the proceedings of the Committee will be published in due course.



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