Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 961: debated on Tuesday 23 January 1979

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 23rd January 1979

Cbi

Q3.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister when he will meet the representatives of the CBI.

I meet representatives of the CBI from time to time, at NEDC and on other occasions. Further meetings will be arranged as necessary.

Industry

Strategic Raw Materials (Stockpiling)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what industrial countries in the Western world outside North America stockpile strategic raw materials; and if he will make a statement of the Government's attitude thereto.

I understand that stockpiles of raw materials are held in France, Japan and Sweden. The supply situation of essential raw materials and the need to introduce measures, including stockpiling, to safeguard against potential shortages is kept under constant review by my Department.

Chrome, Manganese, Cobalt And Platinum

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will indicate the major suppliers of the following metals: chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum and the percentage of total freeworld output produced by South Africa; and what steps Her Majesty's Government propose to take to ensure continuity of supplies to British industry.

The world's major supplies of chrome, manganese, platinum and cobalt are as follows:

Chromium: South Africa, the Soviet Union, Turkey, Albania, Rhodesia and the Philippines.
Manganese: South Africa, Gabon, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Australia and India.
Platinum: South Africa, USSR and Canada.
Cobalt: Zaire, Zambia, Australia, the Soviet Union, New Caledonia, Morocco, Cuba, Canada and Finland.
The percentage of world mine production excluding that of the Soviet Union accounted for by South Africa is approximately chrome 45 per cent., manganese 40 per cent., and platinum 85 per cent. Cobalt is not mined in South Africa.My Department keeps a close watch on matters affecting the security of supply of all raw materials. Responsibility for procurement lies in the first instance with industrial users, but there is continuing and frequent contact between industry and Government on the supply situation.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what he estimates would be the cost to Her Majesty's Government of instituting a stockpile of the following metals based on the equivalence of two years' consumption: chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum.

The initial cost of a stockpile of chrome, manganese, cobalt and platinum to cover two years' usage by United Kingdom industry is estimated to be approximately £300 million based on current market prices.

Meridan Co-Operative

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement concerning the Government's future intentions for the support of the Meriden Co-operative.

Any proposals by the Meriden Co-operative for further support from the Government will be considered on their merits.

Concorde

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the total sum to date from central Government funds which has gone into the development and production of Concorde.

The net cost to central Government funds of the development and production of Concorde up to 31 December 1978 was £792 million.

Electric Cars And Buses

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied that sufficient planning has taken place to ensure that Great Britain takes the lead in the manufacture of electric cars and buses once the major research problems have been overcome.

The major research problems associated with electric vehicles relate particularly to batteries and controllers, the work on these and other subjects being continuous, will be applied progressively to improve the performance of electric vehicles—not only cars and buses. Demonstration and pilot production phases will, I understand, provide the basis of information for the planning decisions on full-scale production.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what research is currently being undertaken into the technology of electric cars and buses; how this compares with that in the United States of America, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany and France; and if sufficient planning has taken place to ensure that Great Britain is in a position to take the lead in the full-scale manufacture of this technology.

Research is concentrated mainly upon batteries and controllers for use in electric vehicles. The degree of interest in United Kingdom work shown from overseas suggests that we compare favourably with other countries. Demonstrations of the application of technologies and pilot production are the natural fore-runners of full-scale manufacture and are proceeding.

Employment

Youth Opportunities Programme

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a progress report on the youth opportunities programme.

I am informed by the MSC that of the 687,000 school leavers estimated to have been seeking jobs or training, some 24,000 were unemployed and had yet to receive an offer of a place under the youth opportunities programme at 7 December 1978. Up to November, 82,000 young people had benefited from the YOP and good progress is being made in securing the Government's undertaking that no Easter or summer school leaver of 1978 who remains unemployed at Easter 1979 should be without the offer of a place on the YOP. However, in some areas of very high youth unemployment, particularly Merseyside, Glasgow and some parts of Inner London, a considerable task remains in providing opportunities.

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the youth opportunities programme and its impact in Coventry.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that from 1 April 1978 to the end of December 1978, 2,145 places for young people were created under the youth opportunities programme in Coventry, and a total of 1,667 young people had joined the programme by the end of December.

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the youth opportunities programme and its impact in West Gloucestershire.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that from 1 April 1978 to the end of December 1978, 85 places for young people were created under the youth opportunities programme in West Gloucestershire, and a total of 89 young people had joined the programme by the end of December.Good progress is being made in the West Gloucestershire area towards securing the objective that no Easter or summer school leaver of 1978 who remains unemployed at Easter 1979 should be without the offer of a suitable place on the youth opportunities programme. On 7 December 1979 there were 22 unemployed school leavers covered by this undertaking in the West Gloucestershire area who had not received such an offer but on the same date 52 places in the programme and 15 job vacancies were available in the area.

Pay Policy (Cadbury Schweppes Employees)

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received on behalf of UCATT members employed by Cadbury Schweppes at Bournville, Birmingham, whose job and pay regrading agreement has been so far rendered nugatory by phases 1, 2 and 3 of Her Majesty's Government's wages policy.

Unemployed Persons

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the level of unemployment at the most recent count; and what was the comparable figure in the same month in 1974.

At 11 January, 1,391,220 people were registered as unemployed in Great Britain compared with 597,691 in January 1974.

Elderly Persons

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures available for the number of men over 60 years of age who are in full-time employment; and if he will study the effect on unemployment of reducing the pensionable age of men to 62 and 60 years, respectively.

From the latest available figures it is estimated that, in 1977 in the United Kingdom about 1 million male employees, aged 60 and over, were working full time.Consideration has been given to the effects on unemployment of reducing the pensionable age and I refer my hon. Friend to the article in the March 1978 issue of the

Department of Employment Gazette. Government thinking on the pensionable age is set out in the discussion document "A Happier Old Age" issued in June 1978 by the Department of Health and Social Security and the Welsh Office.

Young Persons

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will indicate in specific detail, including cost, what action has been taken by his Department to reduce youth unemployment in the North-West with special application to Bolton.

Under the youth opportunities programme, 5,700 schemes offering nearly 17,000 places have been approved in the North-West; 224 schemes and 599 places in Bolton. The YOP allocation for the North-West for 1978–79 is £22·3 million. Financial support is being provided for apprentice training. In addition, 102 posts have been added within the careers service and 585 community industry places provided.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people below the age of 18 years were unemployed at the latest available date.

At 12 October, 141,885 young people under 18 years of age were registered as unemployed in Great Britain.

Southampton (Industrial Relations)

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the services of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service have been used in order to improve industrial relations in the port of Southampton.

ACAS has been approached for advice by a number of employers in the port of Southampton. It has not been invited to intervene in recent disputes in the port but its conciliation services are available whenever required.

Manpower Services Commission

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he proposes to meet the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission.

My right hon. Friend last met the chairman on Friday and will do so again shortly.

Alnwick, Berwick And Amble

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the unemployment rates in the Alnwick, Berwick and Amble areas in February 1974 and at the most recent available date; and by how much these rates differed from the national level of unemployment.

At 11 January, the unemployment rates in the Alnwick and Amble travel-to-work area and in the Berwick employment office area were 9·0 and 6·3 per cent., respectively, compared with 6·0 per cent. in Great Britain. The comparable rates at 11 February 1974 were 4·1, 2·4 and 2·6 per cent.

North-West

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what special steps to reduce unemployment in the North-West he has in view for the first six months of 1979.

The Government are concerned that full advantage be taken of the existing measures—TES, YOP, STEP, JRS, SFES and AES. To this end I urge employers, trade unions, local authorities and community groups to do all they can to increase the impact of these measures on unemployment in their areas.My right hon. Friend will be announcing in due course the programme of special employment measures which the Government will be introducing from 1 April.

Job Sharing Schemes

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons are currently in employment directly as a result of job saving arrangements made by his Department.

As part of the special employment measures, the temporary employment and the short-time working compensation scheme help employers preserve jobs. At the end of December 1978, 107,400 people were being supported by the former and a further 8,335 by the latter.

Quoted Public Companies

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the total number of people employed by quoted public companies.

Sunderland

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement on the effect of the special measures introduced by the Government on the level of unemployment in Sunderland.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that from 1 April 1978 to the end of December 1978 1,330 places were created under the youth opportunities programme in Sunderland and 135 under the special temporary employment programme. In this period a total of 1,943 young people joined the youth opportunities programme and 62 adults joined the special temporary employment programme.Good progress is being made in the Sunderland area towards securing the objective that no Easter or summer school leavers of 1978 who remains unemployed at Easter 1979 should be without the offer of a suitable place on the youth opportunities programme. On 7 December 1978 there were 489 unemployed school leavers covered by this undertaking in the Sunderland area who had not received such an offer but on the same date 612 places in the programme were available in the area.

Redundancy Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Employment further to his reply, Official Report, 16 January, c. 701, if he will provide an annual breakdown of the total number of employees who received payments and the cost to the redundancy fund, and the respective annual totals of male and female employees involved.

An annual breakdown of the numbers of employees who received payments under the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 and the approximate cost to the redundancy fund in rebates to employers and direct payments to employees is given below.Separate figures for male and female employees are not available.

YearNumber of employeesCost to the fund £000
6th December 1965 to 31st December 1966138,89519,986
1967249,78237,721
1968264,49146,377
1969250,76438,579
1970275,56338,956
1971370,30657,106
1972297,12050,775
1973176,91934,520
1974182,16138,555
1975340,21594,131
1976313,728101,269
1977267,23487,904
1st January 1978 to 31st October 1978216,74669,261

Industrial Disputes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received from the British Textile Employers' Association relating to the lorry drivers' strike; and if he will make a statement on his Department's assessment of the number of temporary lay-offs and the long-term loss of jobs resulting from this strike, the dispute involving the tanker drivers and the unofficial industrial action being taken by certain employees of the North-West water authority.

I received a telex message from the British Textile Employers' Association on 8 January about the effects on the industry of shortage of fuel and the road haulage strike. No precise figures are available on numbers of employees affected but the best estimate that I have is that between 175,000 and 200,000 employees have so far been laid off as a result of the road haulage dispute. It is too early to attempt an assessment of any possible long-term job losses. I am not aware that any employees are currently laid off as a result of the industrial action by tanker drivers or employees of the North-West water authority, but if there are the number is very small.

Public Services

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of people employed in national and local government service, including the nationalised industries and businesses wholly owned by Her Majesty's Government or public corporations.

The latest information is shown in the following table:

UNITED KINGDOM
Employment in central government, local authorities and public corporations, mid-1977
Thousands
Central Government (including HM Forces)2,305
Local authorities2,999
Public corporations (including nationlised industries)2,089
Total7,393
NOTE: The sectors are those used in the national accounts; in particular, central Government includes the National Health Service and local authorities include the education services. Full definitions are given in "National Accounts Statistics: Sources and Methods", and brought up to date by the notes in "National Income and Expenditure 1967–1977", the Blue Book. Companies which are subsidiaries of other public co-operation are classified as public corporations and, their employees are included in the above figures. Most companies which are wholly—or partly—owned directly by the Government, and companies which are subsidiaries of the National Enterprise Board, are classified to the companies sector which forms part of the private sector. Separate employment figures for those companies are not available.

Self-Employed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the numbers of self-employed persons and also of persons employed by unquoted companies, partnerships and sole traders, including farming, at the latest available date.

The latest available information is for 1975, based on the EEC labour force survey for that year, and shows that there were 1,825,000 self-employed people, with or without employees in Great Britain. Estimates based on the 1977 survey will be available during this year and I shall write to the hon. Member.Estimates of the numbers employed by unquoted companies, partnerships and sole traders are not available.

Merseyside (Company Closures)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the names of all the companies on Merseyside which have closed over the past two years and those which have given notice of their intention to close in the near future.

Education And Science

Colleges Of Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many former colleges of education had, at 31 December 1978, become part of universities; how many had merged with polytechnics; how many had merged with other colleges of further education; how many, including voluntary colleges, had become part of formal or informal federations, together with other colleges of education or colleges of further education; how many remained free-standing but offering or planning to offer courses of general higher education; how many remained free-standing and offering and planning to offer only courses of teacher education; how many had closed since 1974; and how many more it is her policy should close by 1981.

As at December 1978, five former colleges of education in England and Wales had become part of universities, 34 had merged with polytechnics, 27 had merged with other colleges of education and 27 with colleges of further education; 10 had become part of formal or informal federations, 20 remained freestanding as diversified higher education institutions and 10 continued as monotechnics or near monotechnics; 14 had closed. A further 21, including 11 which have merged together or with other institutions, are to cease initial teacher training by the summer of 1981.

Dyslexia

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidance she has given to local education authorities about the need to make special and separate provision for children diagnosed as dyslexic; what special conditions are recommended for dyslexic children in taking examinations; and if she will make a statement.

The committee of inquiry into the education of handicapped children and young people was established in 1974 and no guidance was given while that inquiry was in progress. The Government are now considering the report of the committee, which was presented to Parliament in May 1978, and my right hon. Friend will decide what guidance can be given to local education authorities about meeting the needs of children with learning difficulties of various kinds.It is for the examining boards to decide whether to make special provision for such children; practice varies, and the Schools Council has recently asked the examining boards to look again at their arrangements to see if a uniform approach can be established.

Open University

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is her Department's estimate of the cost of providing mandatory awards to part-time students attending the Open university.

The cost of extending mandatory awards to Open university undergraduate tuition and summer school fees alone would be some £4·9 million. However, it would be inequitable to discriminate in favour of Open university students and the cost of extending mandatory awards to tuition fees for all part-time students on designated courses would be some £8 million. If an allowance for travelling and books, similar to that for part-time student teachers were to be added, the total for all such students would be about £23 million.

Ethnic Minorities (Local Authority Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the proposed new grant to local authorities for ethnic minority needs will be regarded as a substitute for the provision now being made for ethnic minorities under the urban and inner cities programmes, or additional to it; and whether she will arrange for guidance to be sent to local authorities to the latter effect.

I have been asked to reply. Expenditure on grants to local authorities under the new legislation would be additional to any expenditure incurred under the urban programme in respect of ethnic minority needs. Appropriate guidance will be issued in due course.

Defence

Defence Industries

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed in defence industries in the United Kingdom.

Some 200,000 jobs in the United Kingdom are estimated to be directly sustained by the defence equipment programme; about 70,000 to 75,000 jobs are directly sustained by export sales of defence equipment.

Trade

Foreign Shareholdings

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish and place in the Library a list of those British companies where the percentage of foreign shareholding ownership exceeds 50 per cent., and of those British companies where the percentage is more than 25 per cent. but less than 50 per cent; and whether he is satisfied that effective safeguards exist against surreptitious extension of foreign influence and control.

The provision of such lists which would probably not be comprehensive would involve breaches of confidentiality and a disproportionate cost. I consider that effective safeguards exist.

Tanker "Utopia" (Oil Spillage)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what conclusions he has drawn from the report he received on the oil spillages from the tanker "Litopia", and if he will publish them together with the report.

As I told the hon. Member on 1 December, the contingency arrangements for dealing with this oil spillage from a ruptured discharge hose forming part of the terminal equipment at the Anglesey marine terminal were activated quickly and were largely successful. The report on the part we played in this operation was written for internal purposes.We have concluded that those arrangements are basically adequate for dealing with a spillage of modest proportions, such as that on 10 November. Nevertheless, since the possibility of a larger spill in the Anglesey area cannot be ruled out, we are considering the scope for enhancing our capability for dealing with oil spills in that area in the context of the follow-up work to the report "Accidents at Sea Causing Oil Pollution: Review of Contingency Measures", published last August. We hope to publish the results of that follow-up work next month.

Malta

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what were the amounts, in volume and price, of imports of textile goods from Malta to the United Kingdom for each of the last five years and similar figures for exports of textile goods from the United Kingdom to Malta for the same period, expressing these figures as a percentage of the whole of the United Kingdom's trade with Malta.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what embargo exists on trade in textiles between the United Kingdom and Malta; what steps he is taking to get this lifted; and if he will make a statement.

Since 1 January 1979 there have been no restrictions on United Kingdom textile imports from Malta, although I understand that the EEC Commission has informed Malta of indicative levels for her exports to the Community and has said that no safeguard action will be taken during 1979 if those levels are not exceeded.Following the publication on 8 November 1978 of the safeguard regulation which introduced restrictions on certain textile imports from Malta, the Maltese Government said they would ban imports of all textiles from the United Kingdom. This ban has not subsequently been lifted. This ban may be contrary to the EEC-Malta association agreement and we are currently pursuing the matter with the Commission.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the quota for textile imports from Malta into the United Kingdom for each of the last five years; and what percentage of that quota has been taken up.

Textile imports from Malta were not subject to quota until November 1978 when, at our request, the EEC Commission suspended imports from Malta of cotton cloth, trousers and woven shirts for the remainder of 1978 and introduced the following quotas:

Cotton yarn274 tonnes
Knitted shirts365,000 Pieces
Blouses304,000 Pieces
These quotas, which were fully taken up, expired on 31 December 1978.

Home Department

Illegal Entrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider the introduction of a system of formal or informal discovery of the documentary evidence held by the Home Office in respect of people who it is alleged are illegal entrants, with a view to accelerating the disposal of the cases of people detained in prison under his administrative powers.

I could not agree to make Home Office documents relating to individuals detained as illegal entrants available to them or their representatives; but it is already the practice to provide detainees and their representatives with information as to the grounds on which they are regarded as having entered the country illegally.

Deportation

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has established a means of monitoring the effects of the circular HOC 113/1978 issued to all courts on 13 July 1978 with regard to the powers to direct release following recommendations for deportation.

Existing records show the proportion of cases detained following recommendations by the courts. In the second half of 1978 the courts made 496 recommendations for deportation and detention followed in 128 cases. The corresponding figures for the first half of 1978 were 484 and 137. It is not possible to say to what extent this slight reduction in the proportion of detained cases is due to the issue of the Home Office circular.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions during the second, third and fourth quarters of 1978 he exercised his powers to detain people against whom a decision to make a deportation order under section 2(2) of schedule 3 to the Immigration Act had been made; and on how many such occasions (a) bail has been granted by the appellate authorities and (b) the decision to detain has been reversed.

Sixty-five detention orders were made during the last nine months of 1978 under paragraph 2(2) of schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971. I regret that the remaining information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases in the latest period for which information is available his Department has agreed to supervise departures of non-patrials in place of deportation following recommendation by a court.

Immigration Appeals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for bail have been made to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal and quarter of 1978; and how many such the immigration adjudicators in each applications were successful.

The only readily available figures relate to bail applications made to adjudicators at the appeals centre at Harmondsworth. I regret that comprehensive figures could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The Harmondsworth figures are as follows:

1978Number of applications for bailNumber of cases in which bail granted
1st quarter74
2nd quarter53
3rd quarter106
4th Quarter64

Note: The number of applications heard is not necessarily equal to the number of persons applying for bail since one person may make more than one application.

Immigrants (Detention Centres)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been detained under Immigration Act powers at the Harmondsworth and Gatwick detention centres administered by Securicor Ltd. during 1977 and to the latest convenient date in 1978.

3,767 people were taken to the immigration service detention centre at Harmondsworth and detained in 1977 and 5,128 in 1978. The corresponding figures for the centre at Gatwick were 1,771 and 1,689.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the longest periods during which people were detained under Immigration Act powers at the Harmondsworth and Gatwick detention centres administered by Securicor Ltd. during 1977 and to the latest convenient date in 1978.

Harmondsworth is the only detention centre under the control of the immigration service where detention may exceed five days. The longest periods of detention there in 1977 and 1978 were 128 days and 198 days respectively. In the latter case the detention ended on 12 January 1979.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions during the second, third and fourth quarters of 1978, respectively, he has exercised his powers to order temporary release of people detained in prisons as alleged illegal immigrants pending consideration of representations made on their behalf.

During the second quarter of 1978, 56 persons detained in prison or elsewhere as illegal entrants solely on the authority of an immigration officer were released from detention and granted temporary admission pending consideration of their cases and any representations made on their behalf. The figures for the third and fourth quarters of 1978 are 62 and 59 respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of those held in custody in (a) 1977 and (b) the first six months of 1978 while awaiting deportation or removal under the provisions of the Immigration Act were subsequently allowed to remain in the United Kingdom.

The number of persons who were released after being detained pending deportation was 70 in 1977 and 16 in the first six months of 1978.Information about the number of persons who were released after being detained pending removal under the provisions of the Immigration Act 1971 is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Immigrants (Local Authority Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those projects that benefited from the £941,400 grant under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 in Walsall for the year 1977–78.

The figure of £941,400 given in the reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, West (Miss Boothroyd) represented expenditure incurred during 1977–78 by Walsall and notified by that authority as eligible for grant under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966.—[Vol. 960, c. 312–4.] Grant is payable at the rate of 75 per cent. of audited figures. The breakdown of the figure is:

£ (nearest 100)
Teachers815,200
Other education staff116,000
Environmental health officers4,400
Other staff5,800

European Assembly (Elections)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to make provision for holidaymakers to vote in the European elections which are to be held in June by enabling them to vote in an official place up to two weeks before polling day.

No. The Government have accepted the recommendation of the Select Committee on Direct Elections that in general the normal United Kingdom parliamentary electoral law

RECEPTION OF GIRLS INTO PRISON DEPARTMENT ESTABLISHMENTS UNDER CERTIFICATES OF UNRULINESS SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER 1978
MonthCourt of Summary JurisdictionOffenceEstablishment to which remanded*Period of remand (days)
SeptemberLiverpoolCriminal damageRisley7
HydeTheftRisley7
WidnesBurglaryRisley5
BilstonUnauthorised taking of vehicleRisley2
WolverhamptonBreach of bail. Unauthorised taking of vehicle.RisleyCommitted for trial.
ChersterfieldArsonRisley7
ShirehallArsonHolloway5
ChelmsfordTheft, obstructing policeHolloway11
NewhamGrievous bodily harmHolloway6
OctoberGrimsbyAssault occasioning actual bodily harm.Low Newton7
SheffieldAssaulting police officer (two counts).Risley14
WiganUnauthorised taking of vehicle, no insurance.Risley14
Leamington SpaCriminal damagePucklechurch3
Leamington SpaCriminal damagePucklechurch3
BirminghamRobberyRisley7
Brimingham†RobberyRisley7
Brimingham†RobberyRisley5
WolverhamptonAssaulting police officerRisley7
WalsallPossessing offensive weaponRisley7
MansfieldFalse declaration to obtain benefit.Risley7
Chesterfield†ArsonRisley7
ShirehallTheftHolloway5
Newham†Grievous bodily harmHolloway6
BarnetCriminal damageHolloway3
WillesdenRobberyHolloway7
WillesdenRobberyHolloway7
Newham (West)Assault occasioning actual bodily harm.Holloway1

should apply to the conduct of European Assembly elections.

Certificates Of Unruliness (Girls)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report details of all the certificates of unruliness issued in respect of girls in England and Wales in September, October and November 1978, showing in each case the court at which the order was made, the nature of the offence, at which establishment the girl made the subject of the order was accommodated and the length of the period of remand in that establishment.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 15 December 1978; Vol. 960, c. 502], gave the following information:The following table gives particulars of girls received into prison department establishments in England and Wales under certificates of unruliness in September-November 1978. The 40 certificates of unruliness issued were in respect of 35 girls, four girls having received more than one remand.

Month

Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Offence

Establishment to which remanded

*

Period of remand (days)

NovemberMiddlesbroughBurglaryLow Newton7
NewcastleBurglaryLow Newton5
CreweAssault occasioning actual bodily harm (two counts). Damage.Risley6
StaffordArsonRisley9
BirminghamBurglaryRisley7
WarleyTheftRisley7
NottinghamTheftRisley8
ChesterfieldAssault occasioning actual bodily harm, assaulting police officer.Risley6
ChelmsfordTheftHolloway14
WoolwichUnauthorised taking of vehicleHolloway21
LittlehamptonAssault occasioning actual bodily harm.Holloway8
Arundel†Assault occasioning actual bodily harm.Holloway21
CardiffTheftPucklechurch3

* All are remand centres except Holloway.

† Second or subsequent remand.

Overseas Development

Angola

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's aid programme to Angola.

There has so far been no aid programme to Angola. I am at present considering assistance to Angola for the Benguela railway, and a study by British consultants financed from the aid programme is currently being carried out.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Bbc (Foreign Broadcasting Service)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is being spent in the current financial year from central Government funds to assist the BBC foreign broadcasting services dealing with English-speaking broadcasting and foreign language broadcasting, respectively.

Provision so far made for expenditure of central Government funds in the current financial year 1978–79, excluding capital costs, for all broadcasting activities by the BBC's external services is £33·4 million. English language broadcasts account for approximately £13·1 million and foreign language broadcasts approximately £20·3 million.

Assaf Harofeh Hospital, Israel

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the decision was taken to present an electrocardiographic recorder to the Assaf Harofeh hospital at Sarafand in Israel; and whether this is the normal practice of his Department.

Heads of mission in over 100 countries are allowed, within certain limits, to make gifts of British equipment with a developmental or welfare purpose to appropriate institutions. The presentation to the Assaf Harofeh hospital was a case in point.

Ministers (Overseas Visits)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the overseas visits made during the Christmas Adjournment by Ministers of the Crown, together with the reasons for such visits and the costs involved.

I have been asked to reply.The information is set out in the table below:

MinisterDate of visitPlace of visitObject of visitCost
£
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food17th-20th December 1978BrusselsEEC Council of Ministers2,045
Minister of State for Foreign and Common-wealth Affairs.17th-20th December 1978GenevaFalkland Islands talks3,043
Minister of State for Foreign and Common-wealth Affairs.19th December 1978BrusselsEEC Council talks517
Secretary of State for Energy20th-21st December 1978BrusselsEEC Energy Council1,640
Minister of State for Energy20th-21st December 1978BrusselsEEC Energy Council
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy.20th-21st December 1978BrusselsEEC Energy Council
Minister of State of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.21st December 1978BrusselsAfrica, Caribbean, Pacific, Lome422
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.28th-29th December 1978AlgiersFuneral of President3,200
Minister for Overseas Development2nd-13th January 1979West AfricaAid Negotiations6,300
Secretary of State of Trade2nd-11th January 1979Singapore, Malaysia, ThailandTrade talks8,000
Secretary of State for Social Services2nd-5th January 1979United States of AmericaInward investment2,100 (estimate)
Minister for Disabled2nd-13th January 1979Hong KongFacilities for Disabled People3,800 (estimate)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Army.2nd-4th January 1979GibraltarVisit to British Forces3,040
Minister of State for Foreign and Common-wealth Affairs.2nd-19th January 1979Rio de JanieroFalkland Island talks4,000
Minister of State, Civil Service Department3rd-5th January 1979West Germany and HollandDiscussions on the recruitment and training of civil servants.750 (estimate)
Minister of State for Foreign and Common-wealth Affairs.3rd-9th January 1979Yugoslavia and LebanonBilateral talks2,000
Minister of State for Defence3rd-9th January 1979Hong KongVisit to British Forces8,930
Prime Minister4th-8th January 1979GuadeloupeFour Power consultation official visit28,000
9th January 1979Barbados
Parliamentary Under secretary of State for the Royal Navy.5th-15th January 1979United States of AmericaVisit to United States Navy and Marine groups.1,440
Minister of State for Energy6th-8th January 1979Los AngelesDiscussions with oil companies and offshore industry.4,880
Minister of State for Energy8th-15th January 1979MexicoDiscussions with Mexican Government and industry re: co-operation of oil and nuclear matters
Minister of State for Industry8th-13th January 1979United States of AmericaInward Investment4,500
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.15th January 1979BrusselsEEC Council of Foreign Ministers1,059
Minister of State for Foreign and Common-wealth Affairs.15th January 1979BrusselsEEC Council of Foreign Ministers

Falkland Islands

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what areas of scientific research in the Falkland Islands the recent agreement between Great Britain and Argentina covers; and what are the proposals if oil is discovered.

The outline scheme agreed in principle and ad referendum to Governments by the British and Argentine delegations at the last round of Falklands negotiations relates to co-operation in scientific research activities in and around the dependencies of the Falkland Islands. It is not concerned with the Falkland Islands or with exploration for oil. The two Governments are now considering the scheme, as are the Falkland Island councillors.

World Assembly On Ageing

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans Her Majesty's Government have to give official and financial support to holding a World Assembly on Ageing in 1982, planned by the United Nations.

The United Kingdom supported the recent United Nations General Assembly resolution proclaiming the world assembly. No estimate of the cost will be available until completion of the Assembly's draft programme, to be prepared by the United Nations Secretary-General in consultation with Governments.

National Finance

European Community (Budget)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government propose to vote the necessary contribution to the enlarged EEC budget approved by the European Parliament; and whether he will make a statement.

On the basis of article 10 of regulation 2891/77, the United Kingdom payment to the Communities' budget on 1 January 1979 was based on the amounts provided for in the draft budget for 1979, the level of this payment being unaffected by the difference between the Council and the Assembly on the adoption of the budget. The next contributions of member States are due on 1 February and the basis of the United Kingdom payment then will reflect the view of the Council that the Assembly's declaration of the adoption of the 1979 budget did not comply with the provisions of the Treaty.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish an estimate of the cost in 1978–79 of increasing the retirement relief on capital gains tax to (a) £100,000, (b) £200,000, and (c) £250,000.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 22 January 1979; Vol. 961, c. 32], gave the following information:For (

a) the full year cost would be about £5 million and for ( b) and ( c) about £10 million.

Self-Employed Persons (Retirement Annuities)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek to amend the rules in respect of self-employed retirement annuities, allowing earnings such as commissions, tips, bonuses etc. to be taken as part of the total in respect of which a percentage can be used to purchase a pension.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 22 January 1979; Vol. 961, c. 26], gave the following answer:I do not think that such an amendment is necessary. The maximum relief allowable in respect of premiums on a retirement annuity contract taken out by a self-employed person, or one in non-pensionable employment, is calculated with an overriding cash limit, by reference to a percentage of his "net relevant earnings", that is, his assessed earnings less certain deductions. Commissions, tips, bonuses, and so on, which are assessed to tax already enter into the calculation.

Civil Service

Advertising (Expenditure)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is his estimate of Government expenditure on advertising in each year since 1974–75.

Total Government expenditure on advertising during the last four years was as follows:

£million
1974–7515·6
1975–7617·5
1976–7713·9
1977–7817·6
Up to the end of December 1978 Government advertising expenditure in the year 1978–79 was approximately £14 million.

Transport

Bingham, Nottingshamshire (Bypass)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made in plans for a bypass around the village of Bingham in Nottinghamshire.

We received last month a report from Nottinghamshire county council on possible improvements to the section of the A52, east of Nottingham. The various options include a possible bypass of Bingham. I shall make an announcement as soon as we have studied the reports.

M42 (Castle Donnington)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to announce his preferred route for the Castle Donington section of the M42 motorway.

Analysis of the results of public consultation is nearly complete and I hope that it will be possible to announce a preferred route this spring.

Railways

asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many train miles per year are driven by British Railways drivers and how many miles are driven per man shift; and what are the equivalent figures for each national railway in the EEC;(2) what proportion of trains run by British Railways are one-man operated; and what is the equivalent proportion for each national railway in the EEC.

This information is not readily available. I shall write to the hon. Member.

British Railways (Employees)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport, of those employed by British Railways for the purpose of driving trains, how many are drivers, how many secondmen and how many trainees.

I understand from the British Railways board that the total number of staff employed to drive trains as at 31 December 1978 was 26,025. Of these, 19,558 were drivers, 6,329 drivers, assistants—secondmen—and 138 traction trainees.

Regional Emergency Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will list the number of persons working on the regional emergency committees, giving their salaries, and specifying the number receiving less than £65 per week; and what is the estimated total costs of these activities.

The number of members of the emergency committees in Scotland, Wales and the English regions are:

Scotland21
Wales12
English regions
Northern16
Yorks & Humberside15
East Midlands16
Eastern14
London12
South East17
South West12
West Midlands18
North West16
Total169
All the members are senior officials representing a number of Government interests and earning more than £65 per week. The work falls alongside their normal duties. The time devoted to it is not identified and they receive no extra remuneration.

Greenford Roundabout, Middlesex

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he is satisfied with the progress of the improvement work and flyover at Greenford roundabout. Middlesex; and if he will give the estimated date of completion.

Yes. The flyover is expected to be open to traffic in October this year and the whole scheme will be substantially complete by December.

Methanol

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates he has of the number of cars, buses and lorries fuelled by coal-derived methanol.

The Department has no evidence that this fuel is used for vehicle propulsion in this country.

Yorkshire And Lancashire (Communications)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what studies have been made by his Department of trans-Pennine communications between South Yorkshire and South Lancashire and the relative roles of road and rail transport in providing freight and passenger services in this area.

No further studies have been made by this Department since the detailed one which resulted in the announcement in February 1977 that my right hon. Friend had decided a comprehensive new road between Manchester and Sheffield would not be justified on economic grounds.

Driving Tests

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is now the average waiting period for applicants for driving tests (a) at the Brighton test centre, (b) in the South-East traffic area and (c) in the United Kingdom; and what were the equivalent periods in January and July 1978.

The average waiting periods were as follows:

6th January 19781st July 19785th January 1979
(weeks)(weeks)(weeks)
Hove132027
South Eastern Traffic Area112024
Great Britain121722

Northleach Bypass

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will announce his decision about the route for the North-leach bypass.

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for the Environment expect to announce their decision in about two weeks.

Coaches

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was the increase in the number of passenger coaches operating in England and Wales over the last five years and the number of accidents involving such coaches over the same period, expressing these latter figures as a percentage of the total of road accidents.

I regret that the information is not available in the precise form requested. The following information is available:

PUBLIC SERVICE VEHICLES*:
GREAT BRITIAN: 1973–77
Public service vehicles operating at 31st DecemberPublic service vehicles involved in injury accidentsPublic service vehicles involved in injury accidents as a percentage of all motor vehicles involved in accidents
197374,30617,7434·47
197476,77416,6414·51
197576,79716,9534·54
197675,41616,0394·04
197773,43715,5483·78
* Public service vehicles includes buses and coaches

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what special qualifications are required for drivers who drive coaches carrying children or elderly persons; if he is satisfied with them and with the safety of such coaches generally; and if he will make a statement.

The qualifications required of drivers of passenger vehicles are the same, whether or not they are carrying children or elderly persons. With the limited exception of certain minibuses, if the passengers are being carried for hire or reward the vehicle is a public service vehicle and its driver must hold a current and valid public service vehicle driving licence. Moreover, the driver of any vehicle with more than nine seats overall must be 21 years of age or over. Interested parties have been consulted about whether special qualifications should be required for drivers of vehicles with more than 17 seats overall not carrying passengers for hire and reward and consideration is being given to the possibility of a change.We take a close interest in all road safety matters, including those relating to coaches, and propose to examine very carefully the requirements for all coaches when implementing EEC directive 77/143 about roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers.

Fuel Alternatives

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what financial support is given by the Government and private industry, respectively, to testing alternative automotive fuels in an urban environment.

I have been asked to reply.No financial support is given at present by Government to the testing of alternative automotive fuels in an urban environment. Private industry is conducting such tests under normal commercial conditions.

Essential Supplies (Picketing)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will investigate immediately the refusal of the Transport and General Workers' Union and its pickets to allow Reddish Chemical Co. Ltd. of Cheadle Hulme, suppliers of essential detergents to farmers and dairies, to collect vital supplies from ICI Chemicals Ltd. at Northwich; and if he will make a statement.

The North-West regional emergency committee is holding discussions with local TGWU officials to seek to ensure the movement of essential supplies from ICI Chemicals Ltd., Northwich to Reddish Chemical Co. Ltd.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will investigate immediately the refusal of the Transport and General Workers' Union and its pickets to allow vehicles out of a tallow factory in the Wirral, resulting in health hazards at a slaughterhouse and the probable temporary closure of that slaughterhouse, creating unemployment and a meat shortage.

I understand that the problem has been to get tallow into the factory from United Kingdom Renderers Association. The North-West regional emergency committee has been in contact with local TGWU officials and arrangements have been made to allow four lorry loads of supplies for tallow processing from United Kingdom Renderers into Unichema of Bramborough in the Wirral.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Green Pound

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he intends to devalue the green pound; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend will continue to keep the level of the green pound under review in the light of all relevant considerations.

Essential Supplies (Picketing)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will investigate immediately the refusal of the Transport and General Workers' Union and its pickets to allow Reddish Chemical Co. Ltd. of Cheadle Hulme, suppliers of essential detergents to farmers and dairies, to collect vital supplies from ICI Chemicals Ltd. at Northwich; and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.The North-West regional emergency committee is holding discussions with local TGWU officials to seek to ensure the movement of essential supplies from ICI Chemicals Ltd. Northwich to Reddish Chemical Co. Ltd.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will investigate immediately the refusal of the Transport and General Workers' Union and its pickets to allow vehicles out of a tallow factory in the Wirral, resulting in health hazards at a slaughterhouse and the probable temporary closure of that slaughterhouse, creating unemployment and a meat shortage.

I have been asked to reply.I understand that the problem has been to get tallow into the factory from United Kingdom Renderers Association. The North-West regional emergency committee has been in contact with local TGWU officials and arrangements have been made to allow four lorry loads of supplies for tallow processing from United Kingdom Renderers into Unichema of Bramborough in the Wirral.

Environment

Clorius Meters

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to have the Clorius heat measurement meters used on many local authority housing estates investigated and tested for accuracy by the National Physical Laboratory or other approved testing institution.

The Clorius meter was exhaustively tested under laboratory conditions in Denmark in 1952 and, on present information, I do not consider that further laboratory tests would be helpful.However, I am satisfied that testing of the meters in use could be of value. Such tests in dwellings were started by the Building Research Establishment in 1977 and a further series will shortly be commenced. It is too early to say when conclusive results will be available.

Local Authorities (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the total amounts spent on all services by each local education authority in England and Wales in the years 1974–75, 1977–78 and 1978–79.

I shall arrange for figures on the expenditure outturn in 1974–75 and 1977–78 to be published in the Official Report. Figures on the expenditure outturn in 1978–79 will not become available until later this year.

Blast Protection (Plastic Film)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to inform local authorities and the public about the easily applied plastic film which is available to minimise blast injuries from glass; and if he will offer a subsidy to householders wishing to adopt this method of protection in designated danger areas following recent bomb incidents.

Tenants' Charter

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will include the right to own a pet, subject to suitable safeguards of the interests of the animal and the community, in the proposed tenants' charter.

No. I think this is essentially a matter for local consultation, within the arrangements for the involvement of tenants to be included in forthcoming legislation.

Energy

Gas And Electricity Industries (Financial Targets)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy, in setting financial targets for both gas and electricity industries, why he has set a return on turnover after interest in one case and a return on net assets before interests in the other, rather than establish a uniform requirement.

The nationalised industries White Paper (Cmnd. 7131) states that the main form of financial target would be a percentage return, before interest, on the average net assets employed by the industry. It recognises that in one or two cases a target might be set in terms of a percentage return on turnover. Given that gas is a largely distributive industry a return on turnover, treating interest as a cost, is an appropriate measure of performance.

Coal Extraction (Vale Of Balvoir)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will authorise seismic monitoring before the extraction of coal from the Vale of Belvoir, so that local residents in presenting their claims at a later date will have a pattern of seismic activity both before and after the extraction of coal.

My authorisation is not required for seismic monitoring, but I understand that in certain circumstances planning permission might be required under the town and country planning Acts.

Social Services

Young Chronic Sick

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if his policy to take young chronic sick patients out of geriatric wards includes a policy to exclude from geriatric hospitals wards reserved for use by young chronic sick.

We are concerned that hospital provision for younger chronically sick and disabled people should be related specifically to their particular needs. As my hon. Friend will be aware, health authorities have been asked to make arrangements to care for younger disabled patients separately from elderly patients. The aim of the policy is to ensure that younger patients are cared for in designated wards or units with separate staff and facilities. To achieve this separation, it is not essential nor necessarily desirable to exclude young patients from hospitals which also provide services for elderly patients. We would, however, be opposed to any proposal to set up a unit for the young chronic sick in an established geriatric hospital.

Prestwich And Rainhill Hospitals

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the Minister of State recently visited Prestwich and Rainhill hospitals, how many of the places provided in the secure wings were occupied; how many applications for the vacant places were unsatisfied; why the vacant places were not being filled; and what action he is taking.

The interim secure unit at Prestwich hospital has 28 places, of which 14 were occupied. Prior to the visit approximately 30 people had been refused admission since the unit opened. A number of these were considered unsuitable on clinical grounds, but I understand that admissions are also restricted because of difficulty in recruiting nursing staff and continuing opposition to the unit front certain staff working in the hospital who are members of the National Union of Public Employees and the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union. Salford area health authority (teaching) is mounting recruitment campaigns, and efforts are being made locally and nationally to secure staff co-operation.Regarding Rainhill hospital, nine out of the 14 places were occupied. In the year prior to the visit 21 cases were not accepted on clinical grounds. No suitable patient has been refused admission.

United States (Double Contribution Liability)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations have been made to the United States Government on double contribution liability for social security; and what has been the response.

The British Embassy in Washington has emphasised to the United States authorities our concern about the demands for social security and unemployment taxes now being made by the United States Internal Revenue Service in respect of British business men making short visits to the United States. These representations are now being considered by those authorities, and urgent arrangements are being made for detailed talks between officials of both Governments to explore ways of avoiding double contribution liability.

Schools (Pupils' Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, within the supplementary benefits scale rates for children aged five to 10 years, 11 to 12 years, 13 to 15 years, and 16 to 17 years, how much is allowed to meet the requirements of schools, in terms of school uniforms, travel-to-school costs, and expenditure requested as required by schools; and how far such expenditure is eligible for special needs grants.

With regard to the first part of the Question, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Bottomley) on 15 December 1978.—[Vol. 960, c. 451.] In view of the powers of local education authorities to assist with such costs as school uniforms and travel to school it is not the policy of the Supplementary Benefits Commission to make discretionary payments for them.

Childbirth (Intubation)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps have been taken by the National Health Service to ensure that all persons attending childbirth have all the equipment necessary for intubating asphyxiated newborn babies as recommended in his Department's booklet "Reducing the Risk—Safer Pregnancy and Childbirth".

I expect that all maternity hospitals in the National Health Service already to have such equipment available for hospital deliveries. With regard to all deliveries, wherever they take place, the central midwives board issued in 1968 a statement of policy on intubation to all local supervising authorities and concluded that intubation of babies was a procedure which could be taught to midwives and carried out by them in appropriate circumstances. The memorandum on maternal care by general practitioners issued in 1975 included, on the advice of the standing maternity and midwifery advisory committee, the following advice on the care of the newborn:

"It is essential therefore for the attendants including the general practitioner to be familiar with modern resuscitative techniques and they should normally have available an infant laryngoscope, endo-tracheal tubes, a bag to inflate and a mucus extractor".

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made by the National Health Service in training all persons attending childbirth in intubation of asphyxiated newborn babies as recommended in his Department's booklet "Reducing the Risk—Safer Pregnancy and Childbirth".

With the implementation of vocational training legislation, general practitioners will be required to be suitably trained before entering general practice as principals. This training enables those who wish to practise obstetrics to obtain instruction in current techniques and procedures, including intubation. Established practitioners are encouraged to keep up to date by attending courses at post graduate centres. In 1977 there were over 5,000 attendances at courses in obstetrics and paediatrics.

HOSPITAL MEDICAL AND NURSING STAFF

For staff—obstetric, paediatric and nursing—working in consultant obstetric units, training in this technique is regarded as an integral part of their postgraduate and postregistration training.

MIDWIVES

The theoretical consideration involved in endotracheal intubation are covered in the pupil midwives' syllabus of training and suitable training aids are used for practical instruction in this procedure.

Births

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many babies were born in the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available in maternity units which handled in that year (a) less than 200 births, (b) 200 to 500 births, (c) 501 to 1,000, (d) 1,001 to 1,500 births, (e) 1,500 to 2,000 births and (f) over 2,000 births.

The numbers of births, live and still, in NHS hospital maternity units in the United Kingdom in 1977 were as follows:

Units handling less than 200 births17,512
Units handling 200 to 500 births31,207
Units handling 501 to 1,000 births49,915
Units handling 1,001, to 1,500 births101,237
Units handling 1,501 to 2000 births122,338
Units handling over 2,000 births319,764
Total641,973

Health Education Council (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the Government grants to the Health Education Council in each of the past five years, for the current year and estimates for the next two years; if he will give details of the major programmes which he has asked the Health Education Council to undertake in the next two years; and if he will make a statement.

The amounts actually expended by the Health Education Council during each of the years 1973–74 to 1977–78 from funds provided by my Department were—£ millions—£1·696, £1·040, £1·756, £1·561 and £3·068 respectively. For 1978–79, the final outturn is expected to be £3·694 million. The preliminary provision for 1979–80 was, and for 1980–81 is, £3·274 million but in order to assist the Council to undertake an expanded programme of activities next year I am now able to say that we are making an additional £1 million available during 1979–80, making the total figure £4·274 million.In doing so I have asked the Council to consider how it can best help to supplement the measures my Department proposes to take in 1979 to reduce perinatal and neonatal mortality and morbidity.But, apart from this, I understand that the Council, which functions independently of my Department, plans to use its allocation for 1979–80 to finance continued activity in connection with its "Better Health Campaign", and to carry on further health education work in such fields as smoking, alcohol and human relationships.

Infant Mortality (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the perinatal and infant mortality statistics published by his Department are based on the place where the baby was born, the place where the baby died or the usual place of residence of the mother.

The perinatal and infant mortality statistics published by my Department and the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys are based on the usual place of residence of the mother.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the perinatal and infant mortality statistics collected by individual hospitals are based on the hospital where a baby was born or, where this differs, on the hospital where the baby died.

Neither my Department nor the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys compiles perinatal and infant mortality statistics by individual hospitals.

Clofibrate

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now ban the use of the lipid lowering agent clofibrate within the National Health Service, in the light of the ban now imposed upon its use in West Germany.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to the right hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Jenkin) on 15 January.—[Vol. 960, c. 624–25.]

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representation he has received regarding foetal alcohol syndrome; what advice he has given to the medical profession and to females of child-bearing age; and if he will make a statement.

Studies in other countries have suggested that congenital malformation occurs in some offspring of alcoholic mothers who drink excessively during pregnancy. This is known as the foetal alcohol syndrome—FAS. Other factors which may contribute to foetal abnormality, such as smoking, malnutrition, and social handicaps, are also frequently associated with such mothers.My Department's consultant adviser on alcoholism, Professor Kessel, was asked to review the literature on FAS and examine its public health aspects. His findings were published to the medical profession in the November 1977 issue of "Health Trends". He concluded that in this country FAS was unlikely to be a great problem numerically; that it should neither be ignored nor seen out of perspective; and that regular excessive drinking should be discouraged in everyone. I am arranging for my hon. Friend to be sent a copy of this article.The Health Department's booklet "Reducing the Risk" on pregnancy and childbirth, published in September 1977, included a statement that

"excessive drinking during pregnancy can damage the foetus"

and advised against such drinking at all times. This reference to alcohol received nationwide publicity at the time; and a similar warning was included in a later booklet "Eating for Health" published in September 1978.

A research project, recommended by Professor Kessel, to identify excessive drinkers among pregnant women, to record information about their drinking habits and related social and medical status, and to see whether intervention to reduce alcohol consumption may be possible, has been funded by the Government and is currently under way.

I have received inquiries from six hon. Members about representations, mainly from one source, advocating more research and publicity.

I consider that the advice already published is adequate on the information available but the matter is kept under review.

Handicapped Persons (Bathing)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to make available on National Health Service prescription soap on rope for people who have difficulty in showering or bathing due to severe physical handicap; if he will take steps to widen the knowledge of such a provision; and if he will make a statement.

I well appreciate my hon. Friend's concern to help the disabled people he has in mind and have drawn the attention of the Disabled Living Foundation which, as he is aware, disseminates information about aids for the disabled, to the possible value of this aid. As regards NHS prescription, under the National Health Service Act 1977 only drugs, medicines and certain listed appliances may be provided at Health Service expense. There is no power for other items, such as foods or toilet preparations, to be prescribed to patients being treated under the general medical services.However, in certain conditions a "food" or a "toilet preparation" may have the characteristics of a "drug" and an independent professional body, the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances, exists to advise on the circumstances in which these items may be regarded as drugs and, therefore, become prescribable at Health Service expense.The advisory committee has recommended that certain skin cleansers may be regarded as drugs in the treatment of some skin disorders and this advice is published in part XII of the current edition of the drug tariff.

St Helens And Knowsley Area Health Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the allocation of funds to the St. Helens and Knowsley area health authority; and what steps he is taking to ensure the maintenance of services.

The allocation of funds to the St. Helens and Knowsley area health authority is a matter for the Mersey regional health authority, which has recently asked the area health authority to take steps to contain expenditure within notified allocations without damaging standards of patient care.

Mobility Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what circumstances persons of retirement age can receive the mobility allowance.

The Social Security Bill now before Parliament will enable women as well as men to qualify for mobility allowance up to the age of 65, whereas at present women can only qualify up to age 60. The Bill will also enable both men and women to retain their allowance up to the age of 75. If they wish, certain disabled people who have or have had a car, a tricycle, or a private car allowance under the old vehicle scheme, can have the mobility allowance instead without any age limit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for both men and women, what age groups are now eligible for the mobility allowance; when it is hoped to extend eligibility for this allowance to all age bands; and if he will clarify the current and intended position in respect of the allowance being made available for persons of retirement age.

At present, claims are being accepted from men and women born on or after 20 December 1919. We intend to complete the phasing programme during 1979. If Parliament approves the proposal in the current Social Security Bill to enable women as well as men to qualify up to the age of 65, we expect to make commencement orders to allow both men and women age 59 to 60 to claim in March for payment from June. Two more groups will follow, namely, people aged 61 to 62, and, finally, those remaining under 65, so that everyone eligible may claim before the end of this year.A further provision of the Social Security Bill will allow men and women who have claimed successfully by the age 65 to keep the allowance till age 75.

Accident And Emergency Departments

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local authority areas throughout England and Wales with a total population of 230,000 or above have not got a hospital accident and emergency department located within their boundaries.

Hospital Admissions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many patients are awaiting operations in each of the main surgical specialties at the North Middlesex hospital, the Prince of Wales hospital and St. Ann's hospital in the London borough of Enfield and Haringey; and how many of such patients are resident in the Tottenham area;(2) how many geriatric patients are awaiting admittance to hospital from the Tottenham area of the London borough of Haringey;(3) how many casualties arising from (

a) road accidents, ( b) industrial accidents and ( c) street collapse were admitted to the Prince of Wales hospital accident and emergency department, Haringey, and also the North Middlesex hospital accident and emergency department, Enfield, London, compared with the total number of patients treated by these two departments over a period of the last 12 months for which figures are available.

The information requested in these Questions is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate expense. I shall write to my hon. Friend.

Drugs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the names of British drug firms which export to developing countries;(2) if he will list in the

Official Report the names of the medical drugs which have been banned in Great Britain in the last 10 years;

(3) if he will list in the Official Report the names of the British firms, or multinational firms with branches in Great Britain, which export drugs to developing countries which have been banned in Great Britain.

International Year Of The Child

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has received a request for funds for the children's legal centre from the United Kingdom Association for the International Year of the Child; if a sum has been granted; and, if so, how much.

The United Kingdom Association for the International Year Of The Child 1979 has asked my Department to contribute towards the cost, estimated at £10,935, of planning the establishment of a children's legal centre. No decision on the application has yet been reached.

Hertfordshire Area Health Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much of the £295,000 paid as a non-recurring allocation by the North-West Thames regional health authority in 1977–78 to area health authorities for items for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped was allocated to the Hertfordshire area health authority; and on what specific items it was spent.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much of the £319,000 paid as a non-recurring allocation by the North-West Thames regional health authority in 1978–79 to area health authorities for purposes close to reasons for which money was allocated, in particular, care and improved care of difficult patients, was allocated to the Hertfordshire area health authority; and on which specific items this money has been spent by the Hertfordshire area health authority or it is planned to spend.

Depo Provera

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make an investigation to establish whether the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera which is recommended only for short-term use in a very limited number of cases by the Committee on Safety of Medicines, is being prescribed for long-term use to many women who do not fall into the categories specified by the Committee on Safety of Medicines.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18 January 1979; Vol. 960, c. 898–99] gave the following information:I am advised that the use of Depo Provera is indicated in certain medical conditions as well as for contraceptive purposes. It is a long held principle of the National Health Service that doctors are free to exercise their clinical judgment and to prescribe any medicinal substance which they consider appropriate to the needs of their patients. An investigation of the kind proposed would therefore be inappropriate.

Scotland

Unemployment

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest rate of unemployment.

On 11 January 1979 seasonally adjusted unemployment in Scotland was 7·5 per cent. and total unemployment was 8·6 per cent.

Fish (Landing And Processing)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will intervene with the Transport and General Workers' Union to ensure that fish landed at Aberdeen is not affected by the present industrial action; and it he will make a statement.

Procedures for dealing with the movement of fish are included in the agreement reached between the Government and the Transport and General Workers' Union for the transport of essential supplies during the current industrial action. My Department is already in touch with the union through the Scottish Office emergency duty room about specific difficulties at Aberdeen.

"Amoco Cadiz" (Oil Spillage)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what study he has made of the preliminary report of the United States Department of Commerce and the United States Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America on the "Amoco Cadiz" oil spill; and what conclusion he has reached thereon.

A copy of this report is presently being studied by my marine scientists and any useful findings will be considered for inclusion in the contingency arrangements for dealing with oil spills.

Concessionary Fares

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the local authorities in Scotland which apply a concessionary fare scheme for retirement pensioners; and if he will give details of each.

Concessionary fare schemes for retirement pensioners are the responsibility of regional and islands councils. All the mainland authorities operate such schemes. Borders, Dunfries and Galloway, Fife, Grampian. Highland and Strathclyde issue cards which allow reduced price travel, Central uses a token system, and Lothian and Tayside have composite systems with permits for those living within the city boundaries which allow free or flat-rate travel on the city buses, and tokens for other areas. Of the islands authorities, Shetland already has a limited scheme but is considering extending it. Western Isles intends to introduce a scheme in April, and Orkney is considering whether a feasible scheme can be devised for its area.

Industrial Situation

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the industrial situation in Scotland.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement I gave to the House today.

Oil And Petrochemical Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will indicate the nature and extent of the investigations currently being undertaken by his Department into the potential for the development of oil and petrochemical industries in Scotland.

It is an integral part of the work of the Scottish Office to carry out investigations of all aspects of the potential for oil and gas development in Scotland. Work by Scottish Office planners, economists and research staff is carried out in close consultation with other Government Departments and public bodies, including local authorities. Where appropriate, consultants have been commissioned to investigate and advise on specific aspects.

Detoxification And Alcohol Rehabilitation

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) in what form and in what amounts grant aid expenditure will be made available to local authorities to enable them to provide any detoxification or alcohol rehabilitation facilities in pursuance of clause 4 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill;(2) what detoxification or alcohol rehabilitation facilities are proposed for each region of Scotland in implementation of clause 4 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill; and what will be the capital and estimated annual expenditure in each case;(3) what financial or other assistance he proposes to give to private or charitable bodies which have facilities which may be designated by him as suitable for the care of drunken persons in terms of clause 4 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill; and if he will list those facilities which he so far regards as suitable for the purpose.

I hope that an appropriate range of detoxification and rehabilitation facilities will gradually be established throughout Scotland. I beieve that in this field provision can best be made through local initiative in response to particuar local needs. Certain facilities already exist and we must of course ensure that the best use is being made of them. I understand that further proposals are under discussion by local authorities, health boards and voluntary organisations in a number of areas. We have not yet given detailed consideration to which of the present facilities might qualify for designation in terms of clause 4 of the Bill, but I am arranging for this to be done.On the question of finance, local authorities already have the power to provide detoxification and rehabilitation facilities for drunken offenders and others from existing resources with the assistance of rate support grant in the normal way. In addition, the Government are currently consulting with health boards and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on a proposed scheme whereby health boards would be able to provide financial support for jointly planned projects where, as in the case of detoxification and rehabilitation facilities, health interests and the social work interest of the local authorities overlap or complement each other. Funding for rehabilitation facilities may also be made available under the urban programme if certain criteria are met, and a number of alcoholism projects are already being assisted in this way. Both local authority social work departments and the social work services group of the Scottish Education Department have the power to give grants to voluntary bodies to set up and run rehabilitation facilities for alcoholics. I am not aware of any proposal to provide such facilities being frustrated because of lack of funds.The capital and current costs of designated detoxification and rehabilitation facilities will vary very greatly depending upon the nature of the premises and on the nature and level of the supportive care to be provided. It is not possible at this stage therefore to give a reliable estimate of the expenditure that will be involved.

"Education For The Industrial Society"

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the involvement of the Tayside region in his "Education for the Industrial Society" project.

Tayside regional council and the project planning committee are co-operating on an investigation into the numeracy skills which local employers expect in school leavers. The intention is to analyse the needs of potential employers and match these in school courses. The project planning committee has provided funds for the secondment of a teacher to carry out this work.

Responsibility Payments (Teachers)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many teachers in primary and secondary schools and further education colleges, respectively, in Scotland are currently receiving responsibility payments.

Mr. McElhone