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OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION

Belize

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy that no British funds or loans will be disbursed for the paving of the Belize southern highway until the

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necessary social and environmental safeguards for the protection of the rainforest and the Maya peoples of Toledo district are in place. [9509]

Dr. Liam Fox: Our appraisal of the Belize southern highway project will take fully into account the social and environmental impact of paving the road before a decision is made on Britain's financial contribution.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Tea Room

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee (1) what was the total number of supervisors and managers responsible for the supervision of services provided by the House of Commons Tea Room in each year from 1990 to 1995; [9020]

Sir Colin Shepherd: These are matters for the Director of Catering Services. I have asked her to write to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee what consultations took place with hon. Members prior to introducing the most recent changes in the House of Commons Tea Room. [9022]

Sir Colin Shepherd: Between 3 March and 5 May 1993, as part of its inquiry into refreshment services for the House of Commons, the Catering Committee took formal oral evidence from the hon. Members for Warrington, North (Mr. Hoyle), for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. Turner) and for Burnley (Mr. Pike), on behalf of the parliamentary Labour party, from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) and from the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood). The evidence from these hon. Members included comments on the Members' Tea Room.

Written submissions, dealing in part with the Members' Tea Room, were also received from the hon. Members for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood), for Wrexham (Dr. Marek) and for Reading, West (Sir A. Durant).

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These submissions were received in response to a notice inserted in the "All Party Notices," inviting comments from all hon. Members on the various aspects of the proposed refurbishment of Refreshment Department outlets and premises.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee if he will place in the Library copies of the consultation documents relating to organisational changes in the Tea Room. [9023]

Sir Colin Shepherd: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the First Report from the Catering Committee, Session (1993-94), HC (1993-94) 75-I and -II, which includes relevant documentation.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee what was the total capital cost of those changes to the House of Commons Tea Room introduced in 1996. [9021]

Sir Colin Shepherd: The refurbishment of the Tea Room was carried out in conjunction with the construction of the new Terrace cafeteria kitchen, which also serves the Tea Room. It is not, therefore, possible to allocate the costs of the various elements of the project meaningfully between the two areas.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee what estimate he has made of the average amount of time it will take an average customer in the House of Commons Tea Room to be served hot food when all facilities are fully operational. [9029]

Sir Colin Shepherd: As the new service has been in operation for less than two weeks, it is not possible at this stage to forecast the average time that it might take for a customer to be served hot food. I have, however, requested the Director of Catering Services to monitor the time taken to serve hon. Members; the Catering Committee will, of course, continue to keep the matter under review.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee what surveys he intends to undertake on customer attitudes to the changes introduced in the House of Commons Tea Room over the last 12 months. [9030]

Sir Colin Shepherd: The Catering Committee is keeping the matter under constant review through informal consultation with hon. Members, scrutiny of the comments book in the Members' Tea Room and through discussions with the Director of Catering Services. Any formal survey would be conducted by the management of the Refreshment Department, and although I am not aware of any such plans at present, the Department has conducted annual in-depth surveys in June or July in each of the last three years.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Legislation

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Attorney-General how many items of legislation relating to his Department have been repealed since January 1994; how many statutory

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instruments were introduced during the same period; and how many of the latter were (a) deregulatory and (b) fee orders. [9368]

The Attorney-General: I refer to the hon. Member to the answer given today by my hon. Friend the Paymaster General.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

"New Labour's Public Expenditure Plans"

Mr. Derek Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what costs quoted in the document, "New labour's Public Expenditure Plans", were prepared in his Department; what detailed assumptions and interpretations were provided to officials in his Department to enable preparation of each cost; and what was the total cost to public funds of preparing each estimate. [6351]

Mr. Hanley: This Department, in conjunction with the Treasury, prepared factual material relating to costings published in "New Labour's Public Expenditure Plans" numbered 1, 2, 3 and 86. The detailed assumptions and interpretations that were provided to officials were set out in my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary's reply to the hon. Member of today. It is not the normal working practice to keep a record of the time spent in providing factual information to Ministers and it is not therefore possible to offer a reliable estimate of costs involved.

Hong Kong Governor

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what allowances are paid to the Governor of Hong Kong; and how they are treated for tax purposes. [9141]

Mr. Hanley: The Governor, like his predecessors, receives entertainment, education and leave allowances from the Hong Kong Government. These allowances are not subject to Hong Kong tax.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current salary paid to the Governor of Hong Kong; and what tax treatment applies to that salary. [9142]

Mr. Hanley: The Governor's current salary, paid by the Hong Kong Government, is HK$3,036,000 per annum, equivalent to about £237,000 at present exchange rates. This figure is set at 125 per cent. of the Hong Kong Chief Secretary's salary. The Governor's salary, like that of his predecessors, is not subject to Hong Kong tax. An independent review of the Governor's salary and tax position was commissioned in 1993, which recommended that there should be no change in the calculation of his salary or in its tax free status.

Children (Payment of Airfares)

Sir Alan Haselhurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many children under the age of 16 years had air fares subsidised (a) wholly and (b) partly by reason of their relationship to service personnel and employees of his Department for travel between the United Kingdom and (i) other EU

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states and (ii) non-EU states in the last year for which information is available; and what was the total cost of the subsidy. [9321]

Mr Hanley: This Department does not distinguish by age between children in receipt of children's concessionary journeys. Officers serving overseas may claim the whole cost of no more than:




In 1995-96, the last full year for which figures are available, this Department--diplomatic wing and Overseas Development Administration--paid for 145 air fares in respect of 120 children to EU countries, and for 1,091 air fares in respect of 728 children to non-EU countries. Total expenditure was £1,009,109.


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