The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 21 March 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 21st March 1995.




Mr. Beith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will name the consultancy to which he referred in his oral answer to the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown), Official Report, column 140, on 7 March as having achieved savings of tens of millions of pounds; and what were the savings and consultancy fees involved.

The Prime Minister: The example related to a Welsh Office roads project. On one particular five year project the final certificate for the main contract was substantially greater than the original tender price because of the effects of inflation and unforeseen conditions encountered during construction. A consultant quantity surveying firm was employed in assisting departmental staff to consider the appropriate price for the overall contract. This work cost around £50,000, but the advice helped to inform the negotiations with the contractor, which led to a settlement £80 million less than the contractor’s claim.



Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 21 March.

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 21 March.

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today.



Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will hold discussions with the United States Government about the action of the CIA in arresting Juval Aviv, former agent of the Israeli intelligence service, and on Mr. Aviv’s report of September 1989 for Pan Am.

The Prime Minister: I have no plans to do so.


Teachers and Administrators

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to oral answer of 16 March, Official Report, column 1021, concerning the ratio of teachers to administrators or other staff within the ambit of local education authorities, what are the statistical bases and arithmetical calculations on which his statement was based.

The Prime Minister: Figures collected by the Local Government Management Board show that in June 1994 local education authorities in England employed 376,665 full-time equivalent teachers and lecturers and 316,244 full-time equivalent other manual and non-manual staff involved in education, making a ration of around 2.5 non-teaching staff to every three teachers.


Ministerial Committees

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Prime Minister what new Ministerial Committees of the Cabinet have been established since the updated list of membership and terms of reference of Cabinet Committees and Sub-Committees was published on 22 November 1994.

The Prime Minister: I have established a new Ministerial Committee to consider the co-ordination and presentation of Government policy. A copy of the terms of reference and membership is in the Library of the House. The details are as follows:



Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Chairman)

Lord President of the Council

Lord Privy Seal

Minister without Portfolio

Other Ministers will be invited to attend when necessary. Terms of reference

“To consider the coordination and presentation of Government policy”.


Civil Servants

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Prime Minister what was the total number of civil servants employed by (a) his Department, (b) the agencies under his department’s responsibility and (c) public and other bodies under his Department’s responsibility, for each year since 1979, divided into (i) full-time equivalents, (ii) overtime, (iii) casuals and (iv) other; and whether he will also provide for each year his estimates of (A) civil service job reductions due to privatisations, (B) civil service jobs due to contracting out, (C) civil service job reductions resulting from other transfer of responsibilities, (D) the total of all other staff undertaking work for his department of its agencies without being categorised as civil servants, including external consultants, researchers, agency secretarial staff and staff substitution and (E) total manpower expenditure in 1994 prices.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 March 1995]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science on 20 March.