Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 14th July 1993.
Trade Facilitation Groups
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what trade facilitation groups have been set up in Peru, Colombia and Mexico in the wake of his visit ; and what advantages have accrued to Britain as a result of agreements and understandings arrived at during his visit.
The Prime Minister : On my visit to Colombia last year I agreed with President Gaviria that we should establish a trade facilitation group and that the United Kingdom and Colombia should begin negotiations for an investment promotion and protection agreement and a double taxation agreement. The trade facilitation group has now reported back on obstacles to bilateral trade and how to overcome them and has identified many opportunities for British businesses. We hope to sign an IPPA and a DTA soon. I did not visit Peru or Mexico.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the steps taken by his Government to ensure that Government Departments pay outstanding bills within 30 days of their receipt ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : “Government Accounting” requires all Departments to pay outstanding bills in accordance with the terms of the contract or generally understood terms of business, or within 30 days of the receipt of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice or similar demand for payment, whichever is the later, if no terms are specified.
Departments are responsible for monitoring their payment performance. The results for 1991-92 were published in written parliamentary answers on 13 July 1992. The results for 1992-93 will be published shortly and Departments will, in future, also be required to publish details of their payment performance in departmental reports.
Child Migrant Scheme
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will place in the Library all Government records relating to the child migrant scheme;
(2) what discussions he has had with representatives of the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Governments concerning the welfare of United Kingdom child migrants; what is the Government’s policy towards the compensation of those who have suffered as a result of this scheme; if he will take steps to increase Government grant assistance to the Child Migrant Trust; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : It would not be right to place personal record files in the Library. Other records are considered for deposit in the Public Record Office in the usual way.
I have not raised the subject of child migrants with the Heads of Government in Australia, New Zealand or Canada, nor have they raised the subject with me. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health is contacting the Australian authorities.
I know there have been allegations of physical and sexual abuse of a number of child migrants some years ago in Australia, but any such allegations will be a matter for the Australian authorities. I am not aware of any allegations involving the British authorities or claims against them for compensation.
The Child Migrant Trust applied for Government funds and has received a section 64 grant of £25,000 from the Department of Health for the current year.
Any future application will be considered by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.
No. 10 Downing Street
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell), of 5 July, Official Report, column 11, what charges are made to organisations or persons holding non-official events at 10 Downing Street in respect of overheads or indirect costs associated with such functions.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 9 July 1993] : The practice under this and previous Administrations is that the organisers are responsible for all catering and staff costs, as well as other miscellaneous direct costs. No charges are levied for overheads or indirect costs.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newham North-West (Mr. Banks) on 5 July, Official Report, column 11, whether all political parties represented in the House can apply to use 10 Downing Street for fund raising and other social purposes.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 9 July 1993] : As under previous Administrations, the use of 10 Downing Street for non-official or party functions is a matter for the Prime Minister.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 5 July, Official Report, column 11, which Ministers have hosted non- official or party receptions or functions in 10 Downing Street since 1979.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 1993] : I have hosted all such events since November 1990.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 5 July, Official Report, columns 11-12, if he will give details of the occasions upon which No. 10 Downing street was used for functions for which tickets were sold for the benefit of political parties since 1979.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 1993] : As I said in the reply to which the hon. Member refers, that is not a matter for the Government.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 5 July, Official Report, column 12, on attendance by Mr. Asil Nadir at functions at No. 10 Downing Street, which of the functions attended were Government functions; and who issued the invitation in each such case.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 1993] : The only Government function was the dinner for the President of Turkey. For all the functions, invitations would have been issued in the name of the Prime Minister.
Foreign Heads of State (Visits)
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the official visits made by heads of foreign states to Northern Ireland in each of the last three years, the engagements carried out by them during each such visit, and indicating which engagements were private, public and official.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 1993] : There have been no official visits made to Northern Ireland by heads of foreign states in the last three years.