Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 18th March 1991.
Mr. Duffy : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has to provide additional support for local authorities to improve the enforcement of the Shops Act 1950; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : Local authorities have a wide range of functions and duties of which enforcement under the 1950 Act is but one. Local authorities receive a substantial contribution towards their total spending of some £40 billion through external grants. The amount provided in external support is being increased by nearly £3 billion this coming year. It is for local authorities to decide how they allocate their resources to provide services and meet their duties.
Pensioners (Heating and Lighting)
Mr. Beggs : To ask the Prime Minister what figures the Government have for the average weekly cost to pensioners for heating and lighting in (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Peterborough, (c) north Wiltshire and (d) Richmond and Barnes.
The Prime Minister : The information requested is available only at regional levels. For data on the average weekly expenditure on heating and lighting by pensioners in Northern Ireland I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) on 13 March at columns 540-41.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Prime Minister if he intends to make any official visit to constituencies in the north-west London area.
The Prime Minister : I am making a series of visits to all parts of the country and very much hope to include constituencies in London.
Agricultural and Industrial Support
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish in the Official Report , an updated version of the table that was given in his answer to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Howell) on 17 March 1988, Official Report, columns 636-37.
The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chief Secretary on 18 February 1991 at column 13.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Prime Minister, further to his oral answer of 28 February, Official Report, column 1116, if he is now in a position to make a statement about East Timor.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 March 1991] : Through our embassy in Jakarta, we keep a close watch on developments in East Timor and have made clear to the Indonesians our concern about infringements of human rights, such as those described in the Amnesty report. We will continue to do so.
All countries have a sovereign right under the United Nations charter to secure the means of their own self-defence. Applications to export defence equipment are carefully scrutinised on a case-by-case basis. We do not allow the export of arms and equipment likely to be used against civil populations. In the case of Indonesia this criterion extends to possible use against the civilian population of East Timor.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Prime Minister from which Government Departments United Kingdom contributions to the cost of EC technical assistance to the Soviet Union will be paid; and what proportion from each Department.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 March 1991] : The Commission is continuing its exploratory discussions with the Soviet Union and will soon table a proposal on technical assistance to the Soviet Union. The Government will react in due course to that proposal.