The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1996Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 14 October 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 14th October 1996.



Departmental Salaries

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister how many persons working in (i) No. 10 Downing Street and (ii) the Cabinet Office are paid more than £43,000 per annum.

The Prime Minister: The number of payees whose national salary is more than £43,000 per annum in No. 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, including the Office of Public Service and its agencies, is as follows:

No. 10: 12

Cabinet Office (including the Office of Public Service and agencies): 116.


Oman University

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what reports he has received regarding the involvement by Mr. Mark Thatcher, in respect of companies in receipt of export credit guarantees from the ECGD, in the construction of a university in Oman; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what reports he has received that part of the university of Oman has been used for the storage of military equipment or for other military purposes; if these purposes were known to Her Majesty’s Government when export credit guarantees were given by the ECGD in relation to the construction of the university; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: As far as my office is aware, none.


Parliamentary Recall

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his letter to the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) and the hon. Member for Linlithgow of 9 September, if he will state the conditions in which he believes the public interest requires Parliament to be recalled, with particular reference to the involvement of British personnel on active service.

The Prime Minister: A decision to recall Parliament depends upon the prevailing situation. It is made after consultation with colleagues and through the usual channels.


Academy of Sports

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister what advice he sought from voluntary coaches and administrators in (a) athletics, (b) rowing, (c) canoeing, (d) swimming and (e) cycling (i) prior to and (ii) since his original announcements concerning his proposed academy of sports.

The Prime Minister: Details of the Government’s proposals for the British Academy of Sport were included in the sports policy statement, “Sport: Raising the Game”, which was published on 14 July 1995. The policy statement invited the Sports Council to bring forward proposals on what the structure and content of the academy might be, and to consult widely with the sports world on the ideas that might emerge. On 6 December 1995, the Sports Council published a consultation paper on the academy and comments were invited by the end of January. The Sports Council also held a series of consultation meetings with groups of administrators, coaches, performers and specialists from all sports, including representatives of the sports listed.

A prospectus inviting bids to establish the academy was published jointly by the Department of National Heritage and the Sports Council on 24 July. A summary of the consultation was published with it. Bidders have until 31 October to submit their bids.


British Legion

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Prime Minister what further correspondence has been received in his office from the Royal British Legion in relation to its call for the setting up of an ex-service affairs unit; what reply has been sent; what action he will be taking; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: I have received one recent letter directed from the Royal British Legion regarding the setting up of an ex-service affairs unit. A reply has been sent. The position remains as I detailed in my answer to the hon. Member on 11 March, Official Report, columns 434-35.


Poverty Resources

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what policies Her Majesty’s Government have established in support of the 1996 United Nations Year for the Eradication of Poverty: and what additional resources have been committed in support of these policies.

The Prime Minister: The United Kingdom has extensive social protection and assistance arrangements, among the most comprehensive in the world. It is by working to maintain and improve living standards through economic and social policies that we will fulfil the aspirations of the United Nations Year for the Eradication of Poverty, and in a way relevant to our society. The most effective way of eradicating poverty is to promote flexible labour markets since this reduces the level of unemployment. Claimant unemployment has already fallen by over 125,000 so far this year. The UK has more of its people in work and a lower unemployment rate than any other major EU country.