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Written Answers

Volume 974: debated on Sunday 11 November 1979

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 28 November 1979

Nuclear Safety

asked the Prime Minister what discussions she has had with the Government of Holland on the security risks involved in the Khan incident at the nuclear centrifuge establishment at Urenco, Almelo, Holland.

I have had no discussions with the Dutch on this matter, but our concern about the Khan incident has been made very clear to our partners.

Education And Science

Cash Limits

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, if he will make a statement about his Department's cash limits for the financial year 1979–80 and, in particular, the effect on grant available to universities in that year.

I have reviewed the cash limit for Vote 4—Universities etc—announced in the Government's White Paper on cash limits (Cmnd. 7604) to take account of the revised forecast cost of pay settlements in the financial year 1979–80. The cash limit has been increased to £872.730 million. Subject to parliamentary approval, the recurrent grant available to the University Grants Committee for distribution to universities will be increased by £31.85 million. This announcement should enable delayed pay negotiations to be resumed soon. The only other change is in the cash limit on DES/LAI—value of building projects started—which is being revised from £234.6 million to £201.6 million to reflect the reduction in the education building programme for 1979–80 announced in June.

Educational Establishments (Accident Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will institute a programme of collecting accident statistics in educational establishments.

Schools (Safety Measures)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated cutback in school supervisory staff; and if he is satisfied that adequate safeguards against playground injuries will remain.

My Department's estimates for educational expenditure in 1980–81 do not assume any cutback by local authorities in midday supervisory staff, though it will be for individual authorities to decide how to make the required reduction in expenditure. I am confident that local authorities will continue to ensure that pupils are safeguarded against playground accidents.

Children (Departmental Responsibilities)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list his Department's responsibilities relating to children and the statutes from which these arise showing which branch or division within his Department and which Minister deals with each of these responsibilities; who is responsible for co-ordinating the various responsibilities relating to children within his Department; and who is responsible for co-ordinating his responsibilities for children with those of other Departments.

My Department is concerned with the education of children from the age of 2 and its responsibilities arise from the Education Acts 1944–1979. My noble Friend, the Minister of State has special responsibility for school and pre-school matters. There are three schools branches which have responsibility for questions relating to pupils in primary and secondary education. The branch with the main interest in the subject matter assumes a co-ordinating role. My colleagues and I discuss matters relating to children with Ministers of other Depart- ments whenever necessary and there is day-to-day contact between Departments at official level.

Overseas Student

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received and what personal meetings he or any of his colleagues have had with those responsible for providing further and higher education concerning the interrelated interest of overseas students, Her Majesty's Government and institutions of higher and further education.

My right hon. and learned Friend has received representations from about 160 organisations and individuals including the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, the Trades Union Congress, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, the United Kingdom Council for Overseas Student Affairs and the National Union of Students. He has had meetings with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education.

School Transport

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the difficulties experienced by the parents of children attending denominational schools who find that the cost of travel is high on account of the distance to these schools, if he will make special provision for these children; and if he will make a statement.

There is provision within the Education Acts empowering local education authorities to assist parents by paying all or part of the reasonable home to school travelling expenses of their children, and authorities make use of these powers.

School Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which are the two schools for which he has, since 4 May, declined to approve proposals submitted under section 13 of the Education Act 1944 for cessation of maintenance by local education authorities; and, in each case, what were the grounds for his decision.

The two schools concerned were Spring Park upper school, Bromley and Park Street CE (aided) primary school, Cambridge.In considering closure proposals generally, my right hon. and learned Friend has to weigh a whole series of factors—the fall in rolls in a particular area; the quality of education in the schools and in the alternative schools; the condition of the buildings; the savings to be made, the weight of objections; the value of the school to the community and other factors. He concluded in these cases that the balance lay in favour of rejection.

Medical Research

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions he has had with the Medical Research Council on its research programme; and how he expects the research programme to be affected by the cut in the grant to the Medical Research Council.

The Advisory Board for the Research Councils—ABRC—advises my right hon. and learned Friend on the distribution of the science budget after considering the forward plans of the research councils and other bodies financed from the science budget, and in conjunction with them. The medical research council, like the other research councils, is free to deploy the funds thus provided amongst its research programmes.

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether he is satisfied with the numbers of qualified physics teachers in schools; what were the numbers of physics teachers entering secondary schools for the years 1974 to 1979; what percentage of those teaching physics in secondary schools are unqualified in the subject; and what percentage of physics classes in secondary schools are taken by unqualified teachers;(2) what were the numbers of chemistry teachers entering secondary schools for the years 1974 to 1979; what percentage of those teaching chemistry in secondary schools are unqualified in the subject; and what percentage of chemistry classes in secondary schools are taken by unqualified teachers.

My right hon. and learned Friend is not satisfied with the number of qualified physics teachers in schools. Some of the information is not available in the form requested. The most recent information on shortage comes from the 1977 secondary school staffing survey which showed:

Percentage of teachers teaching subject without a qualification in itPercentage of all tuition given in the subject by unqualified teachers
Physics3222
Chemistry2110
The number of physics and chemistry teachers entering secondary schools between the years 1974 and 1979 is not held by the Department.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to increase the number of qualified teachers of physics and chemistry in secondary schools.

Teacher training institutions have been asked to give priority to the shortage subjects, including physics and chemistry, within the reduced training system. Retraining courses continue to be available for qualified teachers, as do Manpower Services Commission awards and grants for training and retraining mature people with appropriate backgrounds and experience to become teachers of these subjects.

Student Numbers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has made any estimates of the number of courses that will have to close down, the number of staff redundancies and the number of universities that will close if there is a fall in student numbers of 5 per cent., 10 per cent., 15 per cent. or 20 per cent in the current year over 1978.

No. It is estimated that the number of full-time and sandwich course students in universities in the current academic year exceeds that for 1978–79 by about 1 per cent., so the various percentage reductions in student numbers hypothesised in the question are not pertinent.

Some fall in the total number of overseas students is anticipated in the academic year 1980–81 but it is not possible at this stage to predict what the proportion will be or what, therefore, the effect will be, particularly as this would be expected to vary between individual institutions, departments and subjects. My Department, with the help of the University Grants Committee, will, however, be keeping a close watch on developments.

Adult Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, if he has any proposals to extend the basic adult education to assist the long-term unemployed to acquire marketable skills.

It is for local education authorities to determine how far they can extend the provision they make to help adult students improve their standards of literacy and basic mathematics, and their ability to find jobs. My right hon. and learned Friend is studying the case for some continued central support for work in adult literacy and in work related to the basic skills needed for employment.

University Teachers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, if he will make a statement on the current state of negotiations regarding the university teacher's pay settlement; whether he will allow the university employers to restore the value of the Leggatt arbitration award; and whether he will consider, with the agreement of the parties, referring this matter to the Clegg Commission on pay comparability.

Negotiations are to be resumed next week. My right hon. and learned Friend will undoubtedly consider referring the university teachers to the Standing Commission on pay comparability. If such a reference were made, it would rest with the Commission to recommend the appropriate pay levels at the present time.

School Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the level of public expenditure on the provision of school meals in Great Britain and in each of the EEC member nations.

[pursuant to his reply 21 November 1979, c. 189] gave the following revised information: Net expenditure on the school meals service in England and Wales in 1978–79 was £400 million. The school meals service in Scotland is the responsibility of my hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I have no information about expenditure on the school meals service in other EEC countries.

Employment

Strategic Planning

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he is taking to ensure that jobs available match the numbers of people in the work force within the next decade.

No Government can ensure that the number of available jobs will equal the number of people in the work force. It is the Government's aim to provide the economic climate which will enable and encourage industry and commerce to expand and create the jobs which are likely to be needed in many parts of the country.

Standing Commission On Pay Comparability

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will invite a member of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers to become a member of the Standing Commission on pay comparability.

No. I refer the hon. Lady to the reply I gave her on 16 November—[Vol. 973, c. 792.]

Long-Term Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the latest numbers of long-term unemployed by regions, sex and age group.

The following tables give for 11 October, the latest date for which the quarterly analysis is available, the number of people who had been registered as unemployed for more than 52 weeks, analysed by region, sex and age group:

MALES
Under 18181920–2425–2930–3435–4445–4950–5455–5960–6465 and overTotal all ages
South-East1222345513,4353,7643,6936,4373,4964,5837,08213,71553647,648
East Anglia2017482543433356134125999721,838245,475
South-West50841741,2021,2991,2952,3001,3091,7782,9595,85613318,439
West Midlands2393045902,7092,3602,2854,0982,3162,9063,5525,91515627,430
East Midlands52761871,1361,0891,0432,1711,3011,6532,1535,46116116,483
Yorkshire and Humberside861363491,8861,7031,6833,2592,0612,7263,5867,0979224,664
North-West4966461,2785,4194,8814,4547,9434,0164,7355,2087,10029946,475
North1632085172,4392,2352,1943,6862,2272,8663,7456,0334926,362
Wales79982721,6301,7321,6542,6751,3481,7012,3424,05611017,697
Scotland3583227963,6693,2023,0756,1373,3543,6013,9795,66611534,324
Great Britain1,6652,1254,76223,77922,65821,71139,31921,84027,14835,57862,7371,675264,997
FEMALES
Under 18181920–2425–2930–3435–4445–4950–5455–5960–64Total all ages
South-East1142013951,7681,1408441,4451,1171,7072,77515511,661
East Anglia21265618213593186138216395111,459
South-West851061738495353435824446891,170565,032
West Midlands2563085521,9648995891,0086929531,311678,599
East Midlands7293232695410316539374507709383,985
Yorkshire and Humberside1541714101,3135984226675818721,222386,448
North-West4415268782,7141,3859541,4039341,1871,8009312,315
North1631664511,405760421666532753972406,329
Wales1221502831,106683478659418512691205,122
Scotland3382356322,2961,4868471,5219471,2011,5008311,086
Great Britain1,7661,9824,06214,2928,0315,3078,6766,1778,59712,54560172,036

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ask the Manpower Services Commission to bring forward proposals to assist the long-term unemployed to acquire marketable skills and to become more mobile and adaptable.

Retail Price Index (Mortgage Interest)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the amount of mortgage assumed for the purpose of the retail price index; what weight is given in the index to the payment of mortgage interest; what is the assumed rate of interest; what effect each 1 per cent. change in interest rates has on the index; and whether account is taken of changes in taxation rates when calculating the effect of interest changes on the index.

The weight for mortgage interest, as with other items in the retail prices index, is calculated from actual payments by households in the family expenditure survey. It is based on average payments of mortgage interest after deduction of income tax relief, and in January 1979 was 31 in 1,000. The interest rate used is that recommended by the Building Societies Association; an increase of 1 per cent. in the mortgage interest rate would add about one quarter of 1 per cent. to the current level of the retail prices index. Changes in the basic rate of income tax are taken into account in the calculation of changes in mortgage interest payments.

Community Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are engaged in community industry.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 8 November 1979 there were 6,062 young people and 1,004 adults engaged in community industry in Great Britain.

Thomas Hadden, Edinburgh

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what redundancies have been notified to him under the 90-day rule with regard to the closure in November 1979 of the firm of Thomas Hadden of Edinburgh, craftsmen in metals and other materials.

I understand that Thomas Hadden employed less than 10 employees, and therefore was not required to notify redundancies to the Department of Employment.

Special Temporary Employment Programme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of people engaged in the special temporary employment programme.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 2 November 15,642 people were in employment supported under the special temporary employment programme.

Clegg Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish details in the Official Report of the qualifications and professional status of the members of the Clegg Commission.

I refer the hon. Lady to the replies which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Carlton (Mr. Holland on 10 July. I understand that as from 1 October Professor Clegg is a research fellow with the title of professor at Warwick university.—[Vol. 970, c. 135–7.]

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he is taking to enforce the 3 per cent. rule for the employment of disabled workers; how many prosecutions have been taken under the appropriate legislation; what was the number of offending firms; and if he will make a statement.

It is not an offence for an employer to have less than the 3 per cent. quota of registered disabled people. However, employers in this situation have certain obligations concerning the recruitment and retention of registered disabled workers. Infringement of these obligations is an offence under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 and details of prosecutions under the Act were given on 12 November in my reply to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field).—[Vol. 973, c. 497–8.]I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) that an annual inquiry is made of employers subject to quota, that is, those with 20 or more workers, to determine their quota positions. Those employing less than 3 per cent. of registered disabled people are reminded of their obligations under the 1944 Act. The Act requires employers subject to quota to keep records, which are liable to inspection by officers authorised by the MSC. MSC's disablement resettlement officers are able to advise employers about the recruitment and retention of both registered and unregistered disabled people.Quota figures only reflect the employment of a minority of disabled people—those who choose to register and are employed in firms subject to quota. The number of registered disabled people is now insufficient to enable all employers subject to quota to satisfy the 3 per cent., although the majority of such employers would probably do so if all their disabled workers could be counted. The present quota scheme is therefore no longer fully effective as a method of protecting the employment prospects of disabled people generally. The MSC is therefore to review the scheme next year, and is at present considering comments on future policy options, expressed by a wide range of interested organisations and individuals in response to a discussion document which was issued in May.In the meantime, the MSC will continue to emphasise the importance of giving full and fair consideration in all aspects of employment to disabled people, whether registered or unregistered, in particular through its current "Fit for Work" campaign and award scheme, the response to which has so far been encouraging.

House Of Commons

Aid To Political Parties

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how the figure of £1,400 paid to the United Ulster Unionist Coalition in 1979 was calculated.

In accordance with the resolution of the House of 20 March 1975, as amended by the resolution of the House of 13 February 1978, the formula for calculating the amount of financial assistance to Opposition parties is as follows: £550 for each seat won by the party concerned plus £1·10 for every 200 votes cast for it at the preceding general election.The figure of £1,400, which is within the maximum allowance calculated in accordance with this formula, is the amount of expenses claimed by the United Ulster Unionist Coalition for the quarter ending 31 March 1979.

Wales

Local Authorities (Functions)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has completed his review of the functions of Welsh local authorities; and whether he will make a statement.

After consulting the local authority organisations, I have decided that the present arrangements in relation to planning and highways functions should be improved in ways similar to those proposed for England by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services in his statements on 18 July and 23 November.—[Vol. 970, c. 761–3; Vol. 974, c. 383–5.]The responsibility for development control will be placed entirely with district councils except for applications for the development of minerals, including rail aggregate depots, marine aggregate wharves and aggregates processing plants, and applications straddling the boundaries of national parks: these cases will be determined by county councils. Development control arrangements within the national parks will remain as at present. The county councils will have no formal powers of call-in or direction except for highway purposes. Districts will have the following statutory duties: to have regard to the provisions of structure plans; to adhere to prescribed departure procedures; and to consult county councils on strategic applications. Guidance on what should be regarded as strategic matters will be given in a code of practice which is being developed by a joint working party of the local authority associations and Government. We do not propose to change county or district councils' powers to acquire deemed planning permission for their own developments. In Wales, district councils will continue to determine private planning applications for waste disposal sites, since, unlike district councils in England, they are waste disposal authorities.As regards local plans and concurrent planning powers, the Government accept in principle, for Wales as well as for England, the proposals agreed by the local authority associations. We also propose to apply to Wales the same rationalisation of concurrent planning powers as is proposed for England.As regards arrangements for highways and traffic management, we have concluded that there are no grounds for transferring responsibilities to district councils; but we will look for ways of improving the operation of agency agreements between counties and districts, on the basis of the code of practice referred to by my right hon. Friend in his statements.I believe that these changes will result in an improvement in the service that Welsh local authorities give to the public. I am not proposing other changes at this time, because local government now needs a period of stability free from any major upheaval.

Building And Construction Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the effects in Wales of the public expenditure cuts for 1980–81 upon the job opportunities of those employed in the building and construction industry; and if he will make a statement.

The plans for capital programmes set out in the White Paper on public expenditure will alter the pattern of demand on the building and construction industry. The effect on employment in Wales, which depends on a variety of factors, cannot be estimated in detail.

Energy

Coal Mining (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the planned capital expenditure on mining in Scotland for the current year; what proportion this represents of overall capital expenditure; and what proportion of coal pledged to the South of Scotland Electricity Board is being produced.

This is a matter for the National Coal Board and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Gentleman.

Coal Output

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the average output per man over the last five years among miners employed by the National Coal Board.

Information on the average output per man year at NCB collieries is published in the Department's annual "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics", copies of which are available in the Library of the House. For convenience, the figures for the past five financial years are given below:

Output per man year* (tonnes)
1974–75475
1975–76463
1976–77448
1977–78442
1978–79449
*Output of saleable coal divided by the average number of men on colliery books.

Disabled Drivers Checkpoint Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to encourage the oil companies to implement schemes similar to the disabled drivers checkpoint scheme introduced in Northampton by the Total Oil Company.

This socially responsible initiative is much to be commended and is an example to others in the industry. I trust that this question and answer will themselves encourage others to follow suit.

Home Department

Custodial Remands

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many remands in custody are occasioned arising from the fact that the defence is unable to proceed.

This information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr Anthony Blunt

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much Mr. Anthony Blunt was paid by the KGB for spying.

I have nothing to add about the facts of this case to the statement of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 15 November and her speech in the debate on the Adjournment on 21 November.

Immigrant Communities (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was allocated in the last financial year to each individual local authority for tackling various forms of racial disadvantage under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966; and what estimates he has of allocation under this section in the current financial year.

Under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 grants are paid to local authorities to meet 75 per cent. of eligible expenditure. The grants advanced to local authorities in respect of expenditure under section 11 in 1978–79, and the grants expected to be advanced in respect of this expenditure in 1979–80, are as follows:

1978–791979–80
County Councils:££
Avon293,727357,436
Bedfordshire662,835664,410
Berkshire284,601387,429
Buckinghamshire209,876227,179
Cambridgeshire109,384132,462
Derbyshire309,150416,644
Gloucestershire41,91742,525
Hampshire51,40351,473
Hertfordshire117,590119,040
Kent56,22963,680
Lancashire516,037523,665
Leicestershire1,217,3451,154,186
Northamptonshire51,21659,241
Nottinghamshire429,990445,114
Oxfordshire47,53455,215
Salop4,1634,206
Staffordshire23,50924,024
Suffolk10,26010,348
Warwickshire187,070197,653
West Sussex3,2293,388
Districts:
Aylesbury Vale DC360306
Birmingham, City of1,718,9681,959,502
Blackburn Borough5,7916,450

1978–79

1979–80

££
Bolton MBC144,556143,467
Bradford, City of1,138,7021,159,246
Calderdale MBC174,427191,640
Charnwood Borough115115
Coventry, City of470,695538,998
Derby City C526545
Dudley MBC221,996281,242
Gloucester, City of322355
Gravesham Borough428471
Ipswich Borough555555
Kirklees MBC474,197491,571
Leeds City C461,342479,638
Leicester City C5,5506,160
Luton Borough2,6782,858
Manchester, City of432,131461,084
North Beds Borough C8,2378,511
North Herts DC571628
Northampton Borough C302311
Nottingham, City of529428
Oldham MBC174,579207,338
Oxford, City of609521
Pendle District C3,8554,246
Preston Borough553583
Reading Borough1,8521,895
Rochdale MBC205,168220,631
Rotherham Borough29,03735,234
Rugby Borough460477
Sandwell MBC748,327784,708
Sheffield, City of160,639175,887
Slough District C11,07512,136
Southampton, City of1,6661,756
Tameside MBC45,44335,457
Trafford Borough84,67288,781
Walsall MBC695,425707,863
Warwick District C1,058953
Wellingborough BC4652
Wolverhampton MBC1,023,3551,036,552
Wycombe District C2,1952,329

London Authorities:

Barking41,91940,508
Barnet183,870202,842
Brent1,407,8471,645,671
Camden34,06211,137
Croydon264,213269,073
Ealing1,267,6441,305,079
Enfield99,904104,020
Greenwich19,71121,628
Hackney13,73713,397
Hammersmith39,00138,294
Haringey827,644976,155
Harrow97,588101,374
Hillingdon71,06882,223
Hounslow176,111187,574
ILEA5,911,4685,939,861
Islington12,52831,739
Kensington and Chelsea29,16232,423
Lambeth10,3209,322
Lewisham41,56837,435
Merton82,54882,549
Newham490,986517,991
Redbridge141,626170,226
Southwark61,225
Tower Hamlets40,112
Waltham Forest572,734574,448
Wandsworth34,53542,878
Westminster13,0247,052
GLC3,655
25,004,98726,500,577

These amounts are based on estimates of expenditure provided by the authorities concerned and are subject to adjustment in the light of returns of actual expenditure incurred.

Offenders (Reconviction Rates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research findings there are on the reconviction rates of offenders who have received attendance centre sentences.

There were two early studies of the reconviction rates of boys given attendance centre orders in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the report of the Advisory Council on the Penal System on "non-Custodial and Semi-Custodial Penalties" gave reconviction data on youths passing through the senior attendance centres in 1962 to 1965. The most recent information on reconviction rates relates to offenders given senior attendance centre orders in 1973. This was published in chapter 10 of "Prison Statistics, England and Wales 1977" (Cmnd. 7286). Some information about reconviction rates for offenders given attendance centre orders in January 1971 will be included in chapter 3 of "Previous Convictions, Sentence and Reconviction", No. 53 in the Home Office "Research Studies", which is due to be published in December.

Walsall (Boundary Changes)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will be signing the order for the ward boundary changes in the borough of Walsall.

PERSONS SERVING SENTENCES IN DEFAULT OF PAYMENT OF A FINE, THOSE COMMITTED FOR NON-PAYMENT OF MAINTENANCE AND THOSE HELD UNDER THE IMMIGRATION ACT 1971 IN PRISON DEPARTMENT ESTABLISHMENTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES ON 30 JUNE 1979
Number of persons
Type of prisonerAdultYoung PrisonersTotal
Prisoners under sentence—Fine defaulters744180924
Aged 21 and overAged under 21
Non-criminal prisoners*—Maintenance defaulters170170
Persons held under the Immigration Act 197117016186
* Within a total of 496 non-criminal prisoners after conviction for a misclassification of 90 criminal prisoners as non-criminal prisoners, which affected the answers to three questions on 8 November 1979.—[Vol. 973, c. 245–46.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many adults and young offenders in prison department custody on 30 June, including fine defaulters, had been convicted of (a) drunkenness, (b) offences

An order implementing, with modifications, the new electoral arrangements proposed for Walsall by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England was made on 14 November 1979.

Security Services

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the direction issued by the then Home Secretary (Sir David Maxwell Fyfe) to the director-general of the security services on 24 September 1952.

I have nothing to add to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in the debate on the Adjournment on 21 November.

Prisoners (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many adults and young offenders in prison department custody on 30 June were imprisoned for (a) fine default and (b) maintenance defaults; and how many were imprisoned under the immigration laws.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 November 1979, c. 247]: The following table provides the information requested for fine defaulters. As the distinction between young offenders and adults applies only to sentenced prisoners, the information on maintenance defaulters and those held under the Immigration Act 1971 is divided between those aged under 21 years of age and those aged 21 or over.relating to prostitution, (

c) possession of cannabis, ( d) other drug offences, ( e) breach of a probation order, ( f) breach of a community service order, ( g) breach of a conditional discharge, ( h) breach of a suspended sentence, ( i) criminal damage,

( j) theft, ( k) handling of stolen goods, ( l) robbery, ( m) burglary, ( n) fraud, ( o) forgery, ( p) murder, ( q) other homicide and attempted homicide, ( r) wounding, ( s) assaults, ( t) cruelty to children, ( u) other offences of violence (to be specified), ( v) rape, ( w) buggery and indecency between males ( x) gross indecency with children, and ( y) other sexual offences, with details of these offences.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 November 1979, c. 247]: Information is not available in the form requested: several of the offences specified are not separately recorded centrally and separate statistics for adults and young offenders could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Provisional figures for those offences for which information is available are shown in the attached table.

PERSONS SERVING SENTENCES IN PRISON DEPARTMENT ESTABLISHMENTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES ON 30 JUNE 1979: BY TYPE OF OFFENCE*
All offences35,702
Violence against the person:
Murder1,090
Other homicide and attempted homcide664
Wounding3,631
Assaults522
Cruelty to children23
Other violence against the person578
Sexual offence:
Buggery and indecency between males293
Rape577
Gross indecency with children122
Other sexual offences701
Burglary10,352
Robbery2,361
Theft, handling, fraud and forgery:
Theft of a motor vehicle47
Taking and driving away2,545
Other thefts5,481
Handling stolen goods758
Fraud1,313
Forgery170
Other offences:
Arson328
Criminal damage424
Drugs offences772
Immigration Act 197125
In charge or driving under the influence of drink or drugs136
Other motoring offences524
Offences relating to prostitution74
Drunkenness124
Begging, sleeping out10
Other1,063
Not known994
* Provisional estimates after correction for a misclassification of 90 criminal prisoners as non-criminal prisoners which affected the answers to three questions on 8 November 1979.—[Vol. 973, c. 245–46.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in prison department custody on 30 June were first, second, third, fourth, fifth and more than fifth time offenders.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 November 1979, c. 247]: Persons serving sentences in prison department establishments in England and Wales on 30 June 1979 by number of known previous convictions (1):

No previous convictions2,090
One previous conviction1,701
Two previous convictions1,966
Three previous convictions2,214
Four previous convictions2,161
Five or more previous convictions19,909
No information available4,737
Total sentenced population (2)34,778
(1) Provisional estimates after correction for a misclassification of 90 criminal prisoners as non-criminal prisoners which affected the answers to three questions on 8 November 1979 [Vol. 973, c.

245–46.]

(2) Excluding fine dafaulters for whom information on previous convictions is not generally recorded centrally.

Committee On Obscenity And Film Censorship (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the report of the Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship.

I am arranging for the report to be published today I would like to thank Professor Williams and his colleagues for the clear and incisive way in which their arguments are presented. The Government will want to make a careful study of the committee's proposals, and to take account of parliamentary and public opinion.

Civil Service

Her Majesty's Stationery Office

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether the Government contemplate any changes in the financial arrangements for Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

Following the views expressed by the Public Accounts Committee in 1978 and the Expenditure Committee in 1977, the Government have decided that, subject to the approval of Parliament, Her Majesty's Stationery Office will be financed by means of a trading fund with effect from 1 April 1980.This decision continues the steps which have been taken in recent years to place the operations of the Department on a more commercial basis.

Scotland

Secondary Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the statutory duties of regional authorities regarding the provision of individual subjects in Scottish secondary schools.

Under section 1 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1962, education authorities are required to secure that adequate and efficient provision is made for the teaching of Gaelic in Gaelic-speaking areas; and under section 8 of the Act an education authority may not discontinue religious

ROAD EXPENDITURE £'000—SCOTLAND
New construction and improvementsMaintenance
Total expenditure on public roadsTrunk roadsOther roadsTrunk roadsOther roadsAdministration All roads
1976–77
Tayside32,61522,1582,4701,2852,6212,426
Scotland192,33243,85047,78110,61748,20613,258
1977–78
Tayside34,81222,7621,5691,0434,5492,302
Scotland230,49357,69342,42512,24370,70819,383
1978–79
Tayside*19,828*1,570**
Scotland*58,285*14,131**
* Not available.

Scottish Sports Council

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the amounts awarded last year by the Scottish Sports Council to organisations in Dundee.

Information about grants is in the Council's annual report for 1978–79, a copy of which has been sent by the council to the hon. Member.

Drivers (Drink Convictions)

observance or the provision of instruction in religion unless a resolution to that effect has been submitted to a poll of the local government electors for the education area and approved by a majority of those voting. Education authorities have no specific statutory duties in relation to the provision of any other subjects.

Roads

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the total expenditure on public roads in Tayside and Scotland in each year since 1976; and if he will provide a breakdown showing the amount spent on new construction and improvements, maintenance and administration.

The information for financial years 1976–77 and 1977–78 is set out below.For 1978–79 figures are shown for expenditure on trunk roads which are the responsibility of the Secretary of State; details of expenditure by local authorities on principal and other roads are not yet available.have been convicted of drunken driving in Dundee in each year since the introduction of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976.

The number of persons convicted of drunk driving in Dundee in the years 1976 to 1978 is as follows:

YearNumber of persons in Dundee1 convicted of drunk driving
1976378
1977395
1978418
1The figures include offences of driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle when unfit to drive through drink or drugs; driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle when the
proportion of alcohol in the blood exceeds the prescibed limit; failing to provide a specimen of breath or urine for testing.

Northern Ireland

Departmental Contractors (Cash Limits)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if private contractors carrying out reimbursable cost contracts for his Department will be subject to the cash limit constraints which apply to public sector employers, and in what way, or if such contractors will be automatically reimbursed for extra labour costs irrespective of the level of wage and salary settlements they may enter into.

There is a limit on the funds available in any one financial year to meet expenditure on contracts placed by Northern Ireland Departments. Any unexpected increase in the cost of existing contracts would reduce the volume of other work which could be undertaken in that year.Contractors carrying out reimbursable cost contracts, understood to mean prime cost contracts, will not be reimbursed automatically for extra labour costs irrespective of the level of their wage and salary settlements. Reimbursement of operatives' wages is in accordance with the conditions of contract which provide for increases only in accordance with the appropriate working rule agreement. The conditions for Northern Ireland Departments set by the Department of Finance exclude reimbursement of any increased costs in respect of salaried staff. Reimbursement is therefore controlled by the conditions of contract.

School Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the advice given or instructions issued by the Department of Education regarding the closure of schools for the visit of His Holiness the Pope to the Irish Republic in 1979; and what discretion was given to schools principals.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 November 1979, c. 551]: The Department of Education for Northern Ireland advised all schools authorities that any school which wished to close on 1 October might do so and that this closing should be regarded as exceptional and therefore additional to those holidays which are otherwise authorised under the Department's regulations for schools.It was a matter for individual school authorities to decide how much discretion should be given to school principals.

Parliamentary Constituencies

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made by the Northern Ireland Boundary Commission in the delineation of the new parliamentary constituencies; and whether he will make a statement.

The Boundary Commission informs me that it hopes to publish its draft proposals shortly after Christmas.

Trade

Safety At Sea

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many fishermen have been killed or seriously injured when boarding or leaving their vessels for each year since 1976; and what proportion occurred in British harbours.

The information as regards deaths is set out below. Figures for serious injuries are not available.

Number of deaths on boardingNumber of deaths on going ashore
YearBritish harboursOther harboursBritish harboursOther harbours
19778010
19781000

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many British fishermen have died by accidental death in British-registered fishing vessels for each of the years since 1976.

The information is as follows:

YearTotal accidental deaths on United Kingdom registered fishing vessels
197725
197845
Information for 1979 is not yet available. The above figures cover trawlers and inshore boats and include deaths due to casualties to vessels and to missing at sea. Deaths due to disease, homicide and known suicides are excluded.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the injuries and fatalities which occurred during fishing operations on seine net vessels for the current year and for each year from 1955 to 1978.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 November 1979, c. 529]: I regret that the information is not available in the detailed form requested. From 1958 onwards data as to fatal and non-fatal accidents were collected only in respect of deep sea trawlers and are available in the final report of the committee of inquiry into trawler safety (Cmnd. 4114) (1958–1967 inclusive) and in the Department of Trade publications "Deep sea trawlers—Casualties to vessels and accidents to men" (1967 to 1971 inclusive) and "Casualties to Vessels and Accidents to Men" (1972 to 1976 inclusive). The latter publication includes additionally data on fatal accidents on fishing vessels

1969197019711972197319741975197619771978
England and Wales3324544922
Scotland52136

Price Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many members of the Price Commission are still holding office; and at what annual salary.

The membership of the commission was reduced to three on 1 August 1979 following the expiry of all but two of the member's appointments. The appointments of Mr. Leslie Pincott and Mr. Roger Opie were continued, but their annual salaries were scaled down to £3,856 and £2,670 respectively in order to reflect the reduced time which they now devote to the commission's work. Sir Nick Larmour was reappointed to the commission as the third member and has elected not to receive a salary.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what duties are currently being performed by (a) members and (b) staff of the Price Commission.

Members and staff are arranging for the orderly rundown of the commission's activities, fol

other than deep sea trawlers. Figures for 1977 and 1978 have not yet been published, but the following table sets out the number of accidental deaths which occurred in fishing vessels other than deep sea trawlers in each of these years:

197719
197818

Companies (Registration)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish a table showing, for each of the last 10 years, the number of concerns in England, Scotland and Wales which have transferred their registration from the Companies Acts to the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts.

Separate statistics in respect of each country are not available. Figures for England and Wales together and for Scotland are published in the Department's annual report on companies. Details for the last 10 years are as follows:lowing my right hon. Friend's announcement on 15 May. The commission's report for the period 1 August to 31 October will be laid before Parliament shortly.

European Community (Deficit)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the increase in the United Kingdom's deficit with the EEC Six in manufactured goods, less precious stones, in each year since 1970 and 1979 to date, in terms of 1978 prices; and to what he attributes the deterioration.

Information on the volume of United Kingdom trade is available only in aggregate and by broad commodity group in the United Kingdom statistics; information by market is not available.

Cars (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the meeting held with representatives of the Datsun Dealers' Association on 15 November; and if he will give details of any undertakings he may have made to them.

I met at their request representatives of dealers in Japanese cars, including Datsun, on 15 November 1979 to exchange views. The dealers drew attention to certain commercial problems which were causing them concern. I emphasised that these were not a matter for the Government but for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to discuss with its Japanese counterpart.

Directors

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) how many persons were disqualified from being directors by order of court pursuant to section 188 of the Companies Act 1948 in each of the years 1970 to 1978 and in 1979 to date;(2) how many persons were disqualified from being directors by order of court pursuant to section 28 of the companies Act 1976 and section 9 of the Insolvency Act 1976 in 1977, 1978 and 1979 to date.

The information available to the Department shows that the yearly figures of disqualification orders made are as follows:

(1) Under section 188 of the Companies Act 1948:
197013
197114
197213
19737
197420
19757
19768
*1977 (1 January to 31 May)2
1977 (1 June to 31 December)9
197828
197916
(to date)
(2) Under section 28 of the Companies Act 1976:
None
(3) Under section 9 of the Insolvency Act 1976:
None
* Under section 29 of the Companies Act 1976 which came into operation on 1 June 1977 a register of disqualification orders made by the Courts is maintained at the Companies Registration Office, Cardiff, and the information is also available at Companies Registration Office, Edinburgh, Companies Registration Office, London, and the bankruptcy search room at the Royal Courts of Justice. The registers are open to inspection by members of the public on payment of a small fee.

Social Services

Vaccine Damage

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many appeals have been made against adverse decisions for compensation for vaccine damage; and how many of these have so far been heard.

A total of 1,158 applications have so far been made for review by tribunals under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act. 68 of these have been heard. In 13 cases awards have been made; in 45, negative decisions have been given and in the remaining 10 a conclusion has not yet been reached.

Northern Regional Health Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the degree of under-finance to the Northern regional health authority as established by the Resource Allocation Working Party for 1980–81 under his current spending plans.

Target allocations for 1980–81 have yet to be calculated but on present assumptions the region is likely to be between 6 and 7 per cent. below target.

Darryn Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what response he has received from local authorities regarding the eight recommendations contained in chapter 16 of the report of the committee of inquiry into the death of Darryn Clarke.

None. The Department will be discussing the report with the agencies concerned in Liverpool, and examining with them what action they propose to take in the light of the findings of the committee of inquiry.

Medical Records

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions he is having with the British Medical Association concerning collection of the records of all mothers and children up to five years for inclusion on a central computer; whether he can give assurances that confidentiality is safeguarded; whether he will ensure that no records of mothers and children up to five years are collected for inclusion on a central computer until safeguards regarding confidentiality have been agreed with those concerned; and if he will take steps to destroy any information which has been collected in advance of such agreement.

There is no proposal to collect records of mothers and children on a central national computer.A third part is being developed of a computer system to assist in the health surveillance of children. The first two parts, introduced in 1975, provide a register of children by area health authority, appointments for courses of immunisation and the recording of results. Provision is also made for the recording of information about the child's birth—for example, the birthweight—and any significant medical information that might contra-indicate certain immunisation procedures. The authorities who have adopted these computer procedures use computer facilities at their respective regional health authorities.The development of the third part, known as the pre-school scheme is under the guidance of a NHS committee, the Child Health Computing Committee, whose membership comprises NHS medical, nursing and administration representatives as well as representatives of the British Medical Association, the British Paediatric Association and the Royal College of Ostetricians and Gynaecologists and the Department. The Child Health Computing Committee has agreed procedures for safeguarding the confidentiality of personal medical information held in the system. British Medical Association and British Paediatric Association representatives were members of the subcommittee which formulated these safeguards. Notwithstanding this, it now appears that the BMA has remaining doubts about the acceptability of the safeguards and the Chief Medical Officer has invited the BMA to co-ordinate the views of the medical professional interests and give an assurance that they are satisfied with the arrangements proposed to the chairman of the Child Health Computing Committee—an area medical officer—and the Department before trials of the pre-school scheme are introduced. These cannot begin before the late sum- mer of 1980 and an important aspect of them would be a practical testing of the confidentiality safeguards.

Herbicide 245-T

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set up an inquiry by his Department into the possibility of miscarriages in humans resulting from the agricultural application of the chemical 2,4,5-T in the light of the suspected case on 21 November submitted to him by the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge.

No. I know of no substantial evidence of a possible link between the agricultural application of the herbicide 2,4,5-T and human miscarriages, either from this country or the various studies conducted abroad. The use of this herbicide in the United Kingdom is controlled by the pesticides safety precautions scheme. Any evidence of adverse health effects from its use would be referred for expert examination and assessment to the Government's advisory committee on pesticides on which the Department is represented.I am looking into the case which my hon. Friend referred to me on 13 November and will write to him about the matter; I have no trace of a relevant letter from him dated 21 November.

Parkinson's Disease

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussion he has had with the Parkinson's Disease Society regarding care and rehabilitation services available for the victims of Parkinson's disease, if he will publish in the Official Report what advice his Department gives to local authority social service Departments regarding this disease; if he will indicate where successful rehabilitation training is given for this disease; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend and I attended the society's tenth anniversary celebrations on 21 November at which these matters were discussed. About two years ago officials of the Department had a meeting with the society at which it was agreed that both parties should keep in contact on matters of mutual interest and officials have visited the society's offices for a further discussion. No advice specifically about Parkinson's disease has been given to local authority social service departments. As regard rehabilitation any programme for an individual patient needs to be geared to his individual needs and circumstances, and this is a matter for the doctor in charge.

Child Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations he has had concerning the uprating of child benefit next April and from whom.

I have received a small number of representations, including those from the right hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Freeson) and the Child Poverty Action Group.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by how much child benefit would have to be increased to maintain its value as at April 1979 if uprated in April 1980.

Disabled Persons (Aids Exhibition)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will ensure that the exhibit of his Department at the next national aids for the disabled exhibition and conference will be more practical and realistic than the present one; if he will allow visitors to the exhibition to handle and try out the exhibits; if he will ensure that the exhibits show the great varieties of aids and appliances available under the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.

There are obvious constraints on the scope and functions of the Department's stand, including the need to provide circulation space for people in wheelchairs, but I am having inquiries made about the hon. Member's points and shall write to him shortly.

Christmas Bonus

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now increase the Christmas bonus for pensioners to compensate for the increase in television licence fees.

No. But the increase in television licence fees will be reflected in the general index of retail prices and will therefore be taken into account when pension rates are next reviewed.

Environment

Norman Shaw Building (Heating)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider turning down the temperature of heating in Norman Shaw North and South.

Following checks of temperatures in both these buildings the flow temperatures have been reduced.

Government Buildings (Heating)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if it is normal practice for Government buildings to be heated at weekends.

No. It is not normal practice for Government buildings to be heated outside working hours. If overtime is necessary at night or at weekends heating is provided as economically as possible.

Home Insulation Grants

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what has been the percentage take-up to date of the Government's home insulation grants in the region of West Yorkshire and the Kirklees district; and how these statistics compare with those for the rest of England and Wales;(2) what has been the percentage take-up to date of the Government's home insulation grants in the Greater Manchester region and the area of Oldham; and how these statistics compare with those for the rest of England and Wales.

Domestic Leaseholders

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the number of domestic leaseholders in the Greater Manchester region and the Oldham district; and how these statistics compare with those for the rest of England and Wales;(2) what is the number of domestic leaseholders in the West Yorkshire region

DOMESTIC LEASEHOLDERS: OWNER OCCUPIED HOUSEHOLDS: 1977
Households owning their accommodation leasehold* (thousands)Percentage of all owner occupied households in area
Oldham3467
Greater Manchester35967
Kirklees2531
West Yorkshire359
England1,39115
Source: National Dwelling and Housing Survey.
* The original lease was for a period of more than 21 years, or was extended to more than 21 years.

Homes (Toilets And Bathrooms)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many homes in the Greater Manchester region and the Oldham district are currently without the basic amenities of inside toilets or bathrooms; and how these statistics compare with those for the rest of England and Wales;(2) how many homes in the West Yorkshire region and the Kirklees district are currently without the basic amenities of inside toilets or bathrooms; and how these statistics compare with those for the rest of England and Wales.

This Department does not have precise figures, but estimates derived from the national dwelling and housing survey indicate that the position is broadly as shown in the table below. Comparable figures including Wales are not available.

Households without sole use of inside toiletHouseholds without sole use of bathroom
Per cent.Per cent.
Greater Manchester96
Oldham117
West Yorkshire76
Kirklees66
England76
Because the national dwelling and housing survey was a sample survey, the degree of confidence which can be placed in the results varies according to the size of the sample; the sample for Oldham was particularly small.

Snares

and the Kirklees district; and how these statistics compare with those for the rest of England and Wales.

Following is the available information:written answer to the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne) on 23 October, under what circumstances he would consider exemption from the proposed ban on the use of snares.

Exemption from the proposed ban on the use of snares would be allowed for landowners, occupiers of land, or persons authorised by either who may continue to use snares against pests such as rabbits and foxes. Should they consider it necessary to use one of the prohibited methods of killing or capture to control a local infestation of a species not specified as exempt from the general prohibitions in the Bill, a licence could be sought for this purpose.

Housing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the fact that building societies have increased their share of British residents' sterling deposits from 20 per cent. in 1962 to 41 per cent. in 1978, he will broaden the terms of reference of the committee which he has set up to examine ways of securing an adequate and a stable flow of funds to include a study of the financial and economic impact of devoting an increasing proportion of national resources to housing.

No. The allocation of national resources to housing raises broad issues of Government policy which it would be inappropriate for this committee to examine.

Trent Bridge (Public Inquiry)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give a date for the public inquiry on the second Trent bridge at Burton-upon-Trent.

I cannot forecast a date for the inquiry because the associated side roads and compulsory purchase orders, which are to be considered concurrently, have not yet been submitted by Staffordshire county council to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport for his consideration.

Dogs

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will review the existing statutory provisions on stray dogs with a view to introducing further measures to reduce their number.

Existing legislation relating to dogs was examined by the interdepartmental working party on dogs, whose recommendations were to a large extent aimed at reducing the numbers of strays. I explained the present position about the Government's consideration of the working party's report on 22 November in my reply to the question from the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett).—[Vol. 974, c. 339.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total number of dog licences issued in 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974 and 1978; what were the estimated numbers of unlicensed dogs in each of those years; and how many stray dogs were seized under the provisions of the Dogs Act 1906.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that the total number of dogs licensed in Great Britain was 2,721,285 in the financial year 1959–60; 2,863,947 in 1964–65; 2,905,620 in 1969–70; 2,836,643 in 1974–75; and 2,853,643 in 1978–79.No firm information is available on the size of the total dog population, on which precise estimates of numbers of unlicensed dogs can be based. The report of the interdepartmental working party on dogs, published in 1976, included rough estimates that the total dog population of the United Kingdom probably amounted to over 6 million; and that about half the dogs in the country which ought to be licensed are not.

The number of unlicensed dogs at any given time does, of course, include an unknown number in categories exempted under the Dog Licences Act 1959.

No central records are kept of the numbers of dogs seized or impounded under the Dogs Act 1906. The interdepartmental working party on dogs reported that an examination of police records for 1974 suggested that some 200,000 dogs are taken to police stations as strays each year.

Planning Applications

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to issue the consultation document on the plans to charge for planning applications and to introduce fees for building regulation approval; and whom he intends to consult.

A consultation document about building regulations charges was issued on 14 November to the local authority associations and a wide range of interested bodies. I shall be consulting similarly about proposals for planning application charges as soon as possible.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has made any changes to the procedures concerning applications from local councils to compulsorily purchase properties which have failed to be modernised or maintained by their owners if so, when these changes were made; what they are; and what were the reasonse for their being made.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications he has received from local councils compulsorily to purchase properties which have failed to be modernised or maintained by their owners in the current year; how many were approved; how long on average it took to process the applications; and how these figures compare with those for the corresponding periods since 1974.

During the first nine months of this year local authorities in England submitted 93 compulsory purchase orders made under part IV of the Housing Act 1974 to acquire and improve houses in housing action areas. In the same period 78 such orders were confirmed, the average period from submission to confirmation being 11½ months. The corresponding figures for 1978 are 124 and 55 respectively. In addition, some orders were made, submitted and confirmed under part V of the Housing Act 1957 and part II of the Housing Act 1969 for a similar purpose, but the numbers are not separately available. No figures are available for the years before 1978.

Rate Support Grant

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment in what circumstances he would be prepared to lay a rate support grant increase order before Parliament in 1980–81.

I expect to lay increase orders next November to take account of changes in pay and prices, subject to the cash limits announced in the statement on the rate support grant settlement for 1980–81 which my right hon. Friend made in reply to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Shelton) on 16 November.—[Vol. 973, c. 853–57.]

Eastney Marina

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the Eastney marina village planning application will be decided.

The decision was issued on 27 November. I am sending a copy of it to my hon. Friend.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Chile

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the United Nation's resolution on Chile tabled for debate in the present Session.

There is no separate United Nations' item specifically related to Chile on the agenda for the General Assembly. But my answer to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. Edwards) on 6 November nevertheless applies.—[Vol. 973, c. 115.]

Cyprus

10.

I was obliged to postpone the visit which I was due to make in October; I hope to visit Cyprus at a mutually convenient time in the spring.

Rhodesia

11.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what the present position is with regard to preparations for free and fair elections in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe.

21.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the proposed Zimbabwe-Rhodesian elections.

Two senior members of the staff of the Election Commissioner-Designate are already in Salisbury to make preliminary arrangements for the holding of elections under British Government supervision in accordance with the proposals agreed at Lancaster House on 15 November.

14.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he intends next to meet the leaders of the front-line States to discuss the future of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

I have no plans to meet them personally. However, we remain in constant contact with the leaders of the front-line States through their representatives in London and through our ambassadors and high commissioners in their capitals.

29.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on progress towards the provision of a Commonwealth or United Nations peacekeeping force to operate in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia prior to the election for a new Government.

We have made clear that we do not consider a peacekeeping force appropriate. We are, however, preparing a ceasefire monitoring group with contingents from the United Kingdom, Australia, Fiji, Kenya and New Zealand.

30.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the progress achieved up to the present towards a lasting settlement in Rhodesia.

31.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the latest position regarding the future of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe.

I refer the hon. Members to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor).

32.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if his noble Friend plans to visit Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

Falkland Islands

12.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the situation relating to the occupation of South Thule in the Falkland Islands by the Argentine.

The position on the Argentine scientific station on Southern Thule remains unchanged. Southern Thule is British territory; we have protested at the Argentine presence and we have thus protected our position.

34.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his estimate of the present population of the Falkland Isles; and how this compares with the population in 1950 and 1972.

Estimated present population is 1,825. This compares with a population of 1,957 in 1972 and of 2,231 in 1950.

Namibia

13.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on his recent discussions on the future of Namibia.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier to the hon. Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Ford).

Middle East

16.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement redefining Her Majesty's Government's attitude on progress towards peace in the Middle East.

We support and encourage all efforts aimed at making progress towards a comprehensive peace. A just and lasting settlement should be based on Security Council resolution 242 with full provision for the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to a land of their own.

33.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the Government's current policy towards the Middle East; and whether he will make a statement.

The Government's objective is a comprehensive peace settlement, negotiated on the basis of Security Council resolution 242 with full provision for the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to a land of their own. We support all efforts aimed at this end.

British Broadcasting Corporation (External Services)

17.

asked the Lord Privy Seal, if, further to the statement of the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) in the House during the wind-up speech on the external services of the British Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday 13 November, he will set out, in detail and by name, those areas of the world in which audibility of transmission will be improved, after the expenditure decisions of Her Majesty's Government for the external services are implemented.

Ministers are considering the financial provisions for the capital expenditure programme to improve audibility for the years 1981–82 and thereafter. Only after this will it be possible for the British Broadcasting Corporation to provide details of improvement in the audibility of transmissions.

Father Gleb Yakunin

18.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations have been made by Her Majesty's Government, as a co-signatory of the Helsinki Agreement, to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic following the recent arrest of Father Gleb Yakunin, the chairman of the Moscow Committee for the Defence of Believers Rights.

The Government are deeply disturbed by Father Yakunin's arrest and by the continuing religious suppression in the Soviet Union. They have recently taken an opportunity to convey to the Soviet authorities their concern about human rights in the USSR.

Hong Kong

19.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if there are any plans to repeal the Public Order Ordinance in Hong Kong.

No. I understand that the sections of the Ordinance dealing with public meetings and processions are under review by the Hong Kong Government; and they expect to introduce amendments in the near future.

Diego Garcia

20.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what developments are taking place, and are planned, on the island of Diego Garcia.

Under the terms of an exchange of notes dated 25 February 1976, which followed earlier exchanges, construction of a support facility for the United States Navy, consisting of an anchorage, airfield, support and supply elements, accommodation and transmitting and receiving services, is proceeding. No further developments are planned.

British-Russian Relations

22.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will initiate bilateral talks with the Russian Government with the aim of improving British-Russian relations.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had a short exchange of views with Mr. Kosygin at Moscow airport on 26 June.My right hon. and noble Friend had a talk with Mr. Gromyko in New York on 25 September and there have been other ministerial exchanges. The Government have renewed the outstanding invitations to President Brezhnev, Mr. Kosygin and Mr. Gromyko to visit this country; responses are awaited from the Soviet Government.

Afghanistan

23.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement on British relations with Afghanistan

We maintain normal diplomatic relations. There is a British Ambassador in Kabul and an Afghan Chargé in London. We are following developments in Afghanistan closely. Heavy fighting has been reported in some areas of the country. There have also been a number of unfortunate incidents involving the death of innocent foreigners. There is a small British community in the country with whom our ambassador maintains close contact. I must repeat our advice that visitors would be well advised to avoid overland journeys through Afghanistan.

Peru

24.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has plans to make an official visit to Peru.

Colombia

25.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will raise in the appropriate committee of the United Nations the question of the abuse of child labour in Colombia.

This matter was discussed in August in a working group of the United Nations sub-commission on prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities. The sub-commission's report is already on the provisional agenda for the next meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in February.

Cyprus (United Nations Resolution)

27.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the position of the United Kingdom delegation on the recent resolution on Cyprus in the United Nations General Assembly.

The United Kingdom delegation strongly supported the call for intercommunal negotiation to resume. Unfortunately, the draft resolution presented to the General Assembly contained a number of additional elements which the Government could not endorse. Their adoption was in my view unlikely to contribute to a negotiated settlement in Cyprus. The United Kingdom, together with her EEC partners, consequently abstained, and abstained on or voted against those paragraphs which were put to separate votes.

Nato

28.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when his noble Friend intends to meet his NATO colleagues.

My right hon. and noble Friend expects to meet his NATO colleagues at the ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on 13 and 14 December.

Malawi

35.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will pay an official visit to the Republic of Malawi.

Human Rights Day

asked the Lord Privy Seal what special action Her Majesty's Government propose to take to mark Human Rights Day, 10 December, in a suitable manner.

Palestinian People (Commemoration Day)

36.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps the Government are taking to commemorate the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people announced for 29 November by the United Nations General Assembly.

None. The Government are committed to support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, who should be able, within a comprehensive, durable and just settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict, to determine their own future in a land of their own. We do not however believe that the United Nations committee on the exercise of inalienable rights of the Palestinians or the special unit on Palestinian rights, under whose auspices the commemoration is organised, contribute to this end.

Tehran (Embassies)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will now consult the United Kingdom's NATO and EEC partners with a view to closing all the embassies of member States of those bodies in Tehran.

We are in close touch with our EEC and NATO partners about developments in Iran. None of them considers that the closure of our embassies in Tehran at this stage would be a helpful step.

Helsinki Final Act

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress has been made in the implementation by the USSR and Eastern European countries of the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act during the first six months of 1979.

[pursuant to the reply, 25 June 1979, c. 75–83] gave the following additional information:

Further Report on Soviet and Eastern European Implementation of the Helsinki Final Act for the period June to November 1979.

General

The record of implementation in the Soviet Union and a number of Eastern European countries has somewhat deteriorated. The denial of certain basic human rights, and of the freedom of the individual to monitor the implementation by Governments of the Helsinki Final Act, has become, if anything, more marked in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, while adverse developments in the GDR, have, with one important exception, continued. In the same countries relatively little progress has been made in improving the implementation of the human contacts provisions of the Final Act. Implementation in other areas of the Final Act has shown no significant change.

Basket I—Principles Guiding Relations between Participating States; and Confidence-Building Measures and certain aspects of security and disarmament Principles:

The Soviet Union has continued to call for the conclusion of an agreement on the non-first-use of force by CSCE States and, together with its Warsaw Pact Allies, has suggested that there should be a conference at the political level between the CSCE States to discuss this and other security matters. This emphasis on the military aspects of security, described as "military détente", has continued in the public statements of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact Allies, to the virtual exclusion of the human dimension of the Final Act.

Implementation in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms—principle VII—has deteriorated in a number of countries since the last report. In the Soviet Union four members of Helsinki monitoring groups have been arrested during the period under review, three from the Ukrainian group and one from the Armenian group. A leading Moscow human rights activist, T. Velikanova, who has been active in publicising the repression of religious and national minorities, was arrested earlier this month. Two more members of an unofficial religious seminar, V. Poresh and T. Shchipkova, were arrested and another member of the group received a four-year sentence. Father Yakunin, a leading member of the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believers' Rights in the USSR, was arrested at the beginning of this month. In October another member of the unofficial trade union group, SMOT, N. Nikitin, received an 18-month sentence, becoming the third member to be tried since May this year. There have continued to be disturbing reports about the physical condition of several "prisoners of conscience"—including Shcharansky, Ogurtsov and Orlov.

The rate of emigration of Soviet Jews has continued at the level of rather over 4,000 per month established at the end of 1978, though there have been reports of growing numbers of abitrary delays and refusals, particularly in the Ukraine, often on grounds of alleged insufficient kinship with persons abroad. There have also been reports of pressure being brought upon those responsible for an unofficial journal on Jewish cultural and religious affairs. There has been no indication that the concessions to freer movement from which Jewish applicants and those from a few other minority groups have benefited are to be more generally extended.

In Czechoslovakia, the main event in this period was the trial on 22–23 October on charges of subversion of six of the 10 arrested members of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Prosecuted, VONS. The sentences were for terms of imprisonment from three to five years; the fate of the other arrested members of VONS is still undecided. The trials were completed in two days, without foreign observers being allowed access, and despite appeals from a wide range of public and governmental opinion in both East and West. The British Government have made clear to the Czechoslovak authorities on a number of occasions that they deplore the arrests and sentences; the Government of the Republic of Ireland, acting on behalf of the Nine, have also expressed the deep concern of member States about the Czechoslovak action.

Administrative harassment of political and religious dissenters in Czechoslovakia has continued throughout the period. Reports that individual political activists have been detained in psychiatric establishments could reflect a disturbing new trend. The success of VONS in bringing official abuses to public notice may, in part, account for the determined way in which the authorities have moved against them. The procedure of granting fixed term exit permits to prominent Czechoslovak intellectuals has been used several times as a device to induce emigration: during the period, Pavek Kohout, the playwright, was refused permission to return from Austria and deprived of his citizenship.

In Romania, some negative developments have been noted during the latest period. For instance, there have been increased instances of harassment and imprisonment of members of SLOMR, the Free Trade Union of Romanian Working Men. Four members of SLOMR's leadership have been imprisoned and one, Father Calciu, an Orthodox priest, has been jailed for seven and a half years on unrevealed charges. At the same time there are indications that a new propaganda campaign is being launched to combat emigration, religious observance and human rights activism.

In the GDR measures have been introduced, as part of a tightening-up of existing legislation concerning public order, to make the passing of even unclassified information to foreigners and the publication abroad of criticism of the GDR punishable by periods of imprisonment. The GDR authorities, however, announced an amnesty for certain categories of prisoners in connection with its anniversary celebrations and stated its intention to release 20,000–25,000 prisoners. While two prominent political prisoners, Bahro and Huebner, have already been freed, it is not known what proportion of the total of those released will be "political".

In Poland there has, however, been some sporadic but unsustained harassment of leading dissidents, including the jailing for two months in September of Adam Wojciechowski, a member of Amnesty International. The Hungarian Government's domestic policies have continued to be the most liberal in Eastern European terms. Bulgarian implementation in this area has shown neither positive nor negative movement.

Confidence-Building Measures

Advance notification was given of the major Soviet exercise "NEMAN" which took place in the Baltic military district from 23 to 27 July. On this occasion, observers were invited from NATO and other signatory countries. A number of countries, including the United Kingdom, accepted. In the event, less than four hours of direct observation were permitted. No other notifiable exercises are believed to have taken place in the rest of Eastern Europe.

In his speech in East Berlin on 6 October, President Brezhnev indicated Soviet support for the development of additional confidence-building measures. The new elements he proposed were: a reduction from 25,000 to 20,000 of the ceiling above which ground force exercises must be notified; longer notification times for such exercises; the notification of military movements involving more than 20,000 men, and an upper limit of 40,000–50,000 men in the size of ground force exercises. The proposals for the lowering of notification ceilings and for a commitment to notify movements are similar to those which Western and neutral and nonaligned countries put forward at Belgrade. Foreign Ministers of the Nine, meeting in Brussels on 20 November, reaffirmed their view that it was essential to maintain an overall balance between military and other aspects of security in the CSCE process. They agreed, taking into account the proposals made by President Giscard in 1978 for a conference on disarmament in Europe, that the Nine should work for the adoption at the Madrid meeting of a mandate for further negotiations within the CSCE framework on militarily significant and verifiable confidence-building measures applicable to the entire European Continent.

Basket II—Co-operation in the Field of Economics, of Science and Technology and of the Environment

In general there have been no identifiable trends or substantial changes in the period under review. Shortage of hard currency has led to a wider and more restrictive application by certain Eastern European countries of counter trade policies. In Romania, in particular, trade organisations are now demanding 100 per cent. compensation on most contracts. In Hungary and Poland, on the other hand, similar hard currency restrictions have led to an increasing emphasis on the development of co-operation arrangements between Western companies and local producers, both in the countries concerned and in third markets. Despite similar hard currency problems in Czechoslovakia, the latest meeting of the United Kingdom-Czechoslovak joint commission was held in a positive atmosphere and the British section of the Czechoslovak chamber of commerce has been showing increased interest across the whole field of United Kingdom-Czechoslovak trade. In the GDR a number of major industrial projects are under discussion with Western—including British—firms, and in one or two cases contracts could be awarded early in the New Year. In Bulgaria there are encouraging signs of a more flexible attitude towards foreign investment.

Business contacts and facilities

The overall situation remains as in the last report. The Soviet Ministry of Finance is in the process of negotiating a series of double taxation agreements with Western countries which may resolve some of the uncertainties which currently act as disincentives for companies wishing to establish offices in the Soviet Union. In Poland, where some 30 British companies are now established, a decree was issued in September requiring foreign firms to pay their locally recruited staff not less than 50 per cent. more than equivalent grades employed in Polish foreign trade enterprises. The implications of this decree are unclear, and our embassy is currently investigating with the Polish authorities the bases on which the provisions of the decree are to be applied. Shortages of private and business accommodation for foreign business representatives continue to be a major problem in most Eastern European countries, though efforts are being made, in a number of countries, to extend the availability of both.

Economic and commercial information

The differences in practice noted in the last report have continued. While the availability of commercial information in Bulgaria and the GDR has, if anything worsened, Hungary issued its 1979 statistics year book in English for the first time.

Science and technology

Co-operation under bilaterial agreements on science and technology and on the environment has continued satisfactorily. Earlier this month a high-level meeting on the environment was held in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), at which representatives of the countries of Europe and North America signed a convention on long range trans-boundary air pollution and endorsed a declaration on low and non-waste technology.

Basket III (Co-operation in Humanitarian and Other Fields) Human Contacts

There have been indications of some deterioration in the record of certain countries whilst others have maintained their previous levels of progress. In the Soviet Union overall implementation under this heading remains disappointing. A list of 23 long-standing personal cases, mainly involving resettlement in the United Kingdom, was submitted to the Soviet authorities in June and a further list, adding one new case, was submitted on 27 September. Only one of these cases has since been satisfactorily resolved. At least two applications for permanent residence in the Soviet Union by British wives have remained outstanding for almost a year.

In the GDR pensioners are still the main category of citizens normally granted exit visas for family reasons; they account for about 95 per cent. of successful applications. As regards non-pensioners, blood relatives are sometimes allowed to visit the United Kingdom for a family celebration or bereavement but the GDR policy in this respect has continued to be restrictive and arbitrary. In the other direction, a British subject who had previously lived in the GDR has been refused permission to visit her children and grandchildren in the GDR.

In Czechoslovakia, earlier indications that it would become easier for so-called "illegal" emigrés to normalise their status and thus facilitate visits from relatives have not so far been borne out. Tourist visits to Western countries are increasingly limited for most Czechoslovaks by the rationing and inflated rate of foreign currency allowances.

In Romania there has been some improvement since the last report in the granting of applications for family meetings. Difficulties and delays at all stages of the exit process remain common. There has also been an improvement in the Romanian performance on bi-national marriages but sustained effort remains necessary to achieve this.

The performance in this area of Poland and Hungary has been good in most respects. The latest development in Hungary makes it possible for male applicants of military age to obtain exit permits. Hungarian tourism to and from Austria has grown rapidly following a visa abolition agreement. Bulgarian implementation has shown some improvement.

Information

There has been no change in the general availability of British and other Western non-Communist newspapers and periodicals in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The only British newspaper commonly available, but in small quantities, is the Morning Star, though a few of the larger tourist hotels have occasional copies of other papers. The major exception to this general rule is Poland, where small quantities of a relatively wide range of Western newspapers

and magazines are available at normal points of sale.

One major positive development has been the steady increase in the number of British books on sale to Soviet citizens. Altogether 20 bookshops in the Soviet Union now stock Western books, six of them in Moscow.

The GDR authorities continue to impose severe restrictions on the information activities of diplomatic missions. On more than one recent occasion schoolchildren who visited the British Embassy in East Berlin for material for a school project were detained and questioned by GDR police.

Working Conditions for Journalists

The harassment of individual foreign journalists in the Soviet Union has continued. The most important case concerning a journalist representing a British newspaper in the period under review involved direct and indirect attempts by the Soviet authorities to cut short the period of the correspondent's accreditation. The restrictions on the activities of foreign correspondents in the GDR introduced in April, together with the latest amendment to the Public Order Law, remain a considerable impediment to the free flow of information about events in the GDR. The facilities provided for British newspaper and television journalists visiting Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland have continued to improve. On the other hand the practice of the Czechoslovak authorities on the granting of visas to Western journalists has remained somewhat arbitrary.

Culture and Education

The implementation of the various bilateral cultural, educational and scientific exchange agreements has been generally satisfactory, though possibilities for co-operation remain considerably restricted in some countries. Late cancellation and postponement of some agreed visits from the Soviet Union and certain other countries is a continuing problem. In Romania the promotion of educational exchanges has been made more difficult by a new education law which prevents anyone with teaching duties, including most researchers, from leaving the country except in the summer vacation.

Conclusion

The negative trends in the implementation of the humanitarian provisions of the Final Act identified in this report are viewed with concern by the Government, who continue to believe that the full and balanced implementation of the Final Act is an essential and integral part of genuine détente in Europe. Whilst the Government recognise the importance of the development of the military aspects of security in the context of the Madrid meeting, they cannot stress too strongly that, unless signatory Governments are also prepared to fulfil the existing provisions of the Final Act, including its humanitarian dimension, the necessary minimum basis for confidence and trust on which such further measures depend cannot exist. The negative developments cited in this report are unlikely to improve the prospects for the Madrid review meeting in November 1980. The Government, in their regular contacts with other signatories of the Final Act between now and Madrid, will not hestitate to bring these shortcomings to the attention of those concerned in the hope of promoting that progress in implementation which will help ensure a successful outcome to the Madrid meeting.