Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 18th December 1996.
Mr. Hain: To ask the Prime Minister how many (a) permanent and (b) non-permanent staff there have been in (i) his Department and (ii) executive agencies of his Department in each year since 1992.
The Prime Minister: For these purposes, my office forms part of the Cabinet Office, Office of Public Service. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the then Paymaster General on 10 December, Official Report, columns 83-84.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the (a) topics and (b) documents considered at the Heads of Government meeting at Dublin on 13 and 14 December on which he placed a United Kingdom scrutiny reserve.
The Prime Minister: The contents of the Economic and Finance Council report to the Dublin European Council on preparations for stage 3 of economic and monetary union are subject to a United Kingdom parliamentary scrutiny reserve. This point is reflected in the ECOFIN report itself and in the presidency conclusions of the European Council.
Ministers (Severance Pay)
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that the severance payment received by a Minister on resignation shall not be paid when that resignation followed criticism of the conduct of the Minister by a Select Committee of the House.
The Prime Minister: The terms under which a Minister is entitled to a severance payment are laid down in the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, which was approved by Parliament without any Divisions.
Mr. Ian McCartney: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many days of leave he plans to take during the Christmas adjournment;
(2) how many days leave he has taken in the Easter, Whitsun and summer adjournments; and how many days leave he took during the time in which Parliament was prorogued this year.
The Prime Minister: Ministers are required to be available for Government business at all times. Subject to this overall requirement they may take leave as and when Government business permits.