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Written Answers

Volume 973: debated on Wednesday 14 November 1979

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 14 November 1979

Education And Science

School Activities (Children's Participation)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will issue a circular directing that children should not be excluded from school visits, games and cookery classes on account of the inability of their parents to pay for fares or special equipment; and if he will make a statement.

This is a matter for individual local education authorities and schools, within the framework of the Education Acts. My right hon. and learned Friend does not at present consider that further guidance is required.

School Curriculum

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when the report on local authority arrangements for the school curriculum will be published; and if he will make a statement.

The report has been published today by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, price £4·25. Copies are available in the Vote Office and in the Library of the House.DES circular 14/77—Welsh Office circular 185/77—asked authorities a series of questions about their curricular arrangements. The report contains a summary of their replies, prefaced by a commentary which proposes that the Government should seek a national consensus on a framework for the school curriculum. Two further documents are in preparation: a statement of Her Majesty's inspectorate's views on the curriculum, deriving from its work in schools; and a document by the education departments suggesting the form a curricular framework might take and the ground it should cover. The latter will be the subject of consultations within and beyond the education service early next year.

Home Department

Prisoners (Drug Treatment)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking in respect of the recommendations made by the Howard League to the Expenditure Committee that more use should be made of non-chemical means of relieving stress in prisons.

I am, of course, concerned to reduce stress in prisons, and am considering the various recommendations that have been made about this.

Prison Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he proposes to maintain appropriate differentials in the prison service to ensure continued acceptance of responsibility in the higher grades, or whether he is prepared to contemplate the further closing of differentials pursuant to paragraph 8.64 of the May report.

All the observations and recommendations contained in the May report are being carefully studied and we shall have regard to the committee's recommendations contained in paragraph 8.64 in future consideration of pay scales.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the rates of pay and allowances recommended by the May report will suffice to aid recruitment into the prison service; and how rates of pay in the police and the prison service compare at the initial stages.

Recruitment to the prison service has shown a welcome increase since the summer, and I hope that this trend will continue.Because of differences in pay structures and conditions of service, I think it better not to make comparisons with other groups.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what allowance is made in the earnings of prison officers for the injuries that may be sustained at the hands of mentally unstable prisoners whom regional health authorities are unable to accommodate at special establishments and if he will give a comparison of the average rate of pay of a prison officer of five years standing and the average rate of pay in manufacturing industry for men over 21 years.

Factors of this kind are not separately identified in fixing the pay of prison officers, but a prison officer who is on sick leave as a result of an assault by any inmate receives full pay and an averaged overtime payment throughout the whole period of absence. Differences in pay structures and conditions of service make strict comparisons impossible.

Citizens Of The Irish Republic (Voting Rights)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any further statement to make regarding the designation on the electoral registers of persons qualified only as being citizens of the Irish Republic.

My reply of 26 October to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) described the position in Great Britain where citizens of the Irish Republic are not separately identified on the electoral register.—[Vol. 972, c. 327.] In Northern Ireland, however, the electoral register contains a marker against the names of those who are entitled to vote in Westminster and European Parliament elections but not in local elections. There are 4,986 such electors on the 1979 register, almost all of whom would be citizens of the Irish Republic. But there are also on the Northern Ireland electoral register other citizens of the Irish Republic who are not separately identified. It would not be possible without disproportionate cost to estimate the number in either of these two groups who voted in the United Kingdom general election of 3 May.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizens from Pakistan and the New Commonwealth have re-emigrated in each of the last five years (a) with assistance from Goverment schemes and (b) without assistance.

With regard to (a), my right hon. Friend is responsible for arrangements for assistance under section 29 of the Immigration Act 1971 and under section 90 of the Mental Health Act 1959. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services is responsible for matters relating to a scheme operated by the Supplementary Benefits Commission.

Section 29 Immigration Act 1971

Information in the form requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the total numbers of people assisted under this scheme since 1974—the majority of whom are thought to come from the New Commonwealth—are as follows:

1974–75156
1975–76221
1976–77112
1977–78130
1978–79173

Section 90 Mental Health Act 1959

The information is as follows:

19745
19751
19761
19773
19782

With regard to ( b) the information requested is not available.

Trunk Road Schemes (Public Inquiries)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of the police presence necessary at public inquiries into trunk road schemes in (a) 1978 and (b) to date in 1979.

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

Prison Department (Lifers' Unit)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the present annual cost is of the lifers' unit in the prison department; and how the work of this unit relates to the Parole Board for England and Wales.

The life section in the prison department costs £46,515 per annum. It provides professional advice to the Parole Board and to my right hon. Friend on the allocation of male adult life sentence prisoners and their progress through the prison system.

Local Authority Reception Centres (Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the additional costs which local authorities have to incur in providing education services to Vietnamese refugees in reception centres in their areas.

The Government have decided, subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary additional expenditure, to reimburse in full the salary costs of necessary staff, and the cost of materials and transport. Where appropriate, assistance will be given towards the running costs of premises. To meet the increased expenditure the cash limit on the relevant Home Office cash block (HO2) will be raised by £1 million.

Camp Hill Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if a prisoner at Camp Hill had his nose broken

CountryProjectFormulation period (months)Costs* incurred £
BangladeshSecond World Bank project (United Kingdom contribution).10165
Caribbean (regional)Family planning training301,800
GhanaRegional Institute for Population Studies12150
NepalVarious small projects from UNFPA report1Nil
PhilippinesResearch with ILO7Nil
TurkeyCankiri province36Nil
World fertility survey film6Nil
*This excludes a costing of the time of officials; time spent on individual projects cannot realistically be separated out from the casework handled by them.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Sheepmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will veto any attempt to impose a common EEC sheepmeat regime.

All important Council decisions are in practice taken by unanimous decision; and I do not, therefore, foresee any need to exercise a veto on proposals for a sheepmeat regime. We have made it clear that any regime must recognise the needs of the United Kingdom as the Community's major producer

during the disturbance on 20 September which was quelled by the minimum use of force tactical intervention squad.

No inmate was injured at any stage of the sit-down demonstration at Camp Hill prison on 20 September, nor did any of the prison officers equipped and trained in the use of minimum force to retain control of prison service establishments present at the time come into contact with the demonstrators.

Overseas Development

Population Projects

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the various population projects which have been abandoned before formal Government commitment; what was the period of time taken in the formulation of each project; and what was the relevant cost incurred on each project by Her Majesty's Government.

The information requested in regard to projects under consideration in 1979 is as follows:and consumer of sheepmeat, and provide for unhindered access of adequate supplies of New Zealand lamb to the United Kingdom market.

Public Officials (Powers Of Entry)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what training is given to officers in his Department and in public bodies ultimately answerable to him, who have powers to search and entry, with regard to surveillance techniques and methods of gaining entry into premises.

[pursuant to his reply 6 November 1979, c. 33]: No such training is given. The powers available rarely need to be invoked.

European Community (Council Of Agriculture Ministers)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) meeting in Brussels on 12–13 November.

Industry

Chrysler (Uk) Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if there have been any changes in the liability of Her Majesty's Government to assist Chrysler (UK) Ltd. (Talbot).

Yes. I have placed in the Library of the House a supplemental deed to the agreement of 16 December 1978 between the Government, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Chrysler France and Chrysler United Kingdom which releases Her Majesty's Government from any guarantee to a consortia of English and Scottish clearing banks for medium-term lending of £35 million. Allowing for the associated liability for interest, this reduces Her Majesty's Government's total liability under that agreement to £119 million. Of this total £64 million is in respect of loss subventions, of which £59 million has been paid and up to £5 million may be paid in respect of losses incurred in 1979: £55 million is in the form of loans, of which £9 million remains to be advanced.

Post Office

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to present a Bill regarding the Post Office monopoly.

As has already been announced, a Bill will be presented in due course to create a new telecommunications corporation and to transfer to it the appropriate rights and duties of the Post Office. Before introducing this Bill we intend to complete both our present review of the postal monopoly and also the consultations now in progress on possible modifications of the telecom- munications monopoly. The provisions included on these subjects will, therefore, reflect whatever decisions have by then been taken.

Industrial Development Advisory Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report the names, qualifications, current employment, and dates of appointment of the members of the Industrial Development Advisory Board.

Chairman

Sir Robert Clark; lawyer and merchant banker; Chairman, Hill Samuel & Co. Ltd.
Appointed May 1973.

Members

  • Sir William Barlow BSc. Tech.; Hon. D.Sc. (Cranfield); F.Eng.FI.Mech.Eng. FIEE; Chairman, The Post Office.
  • Appointed October 1972.
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Brown PC; former Chairman, The Glacier Metal Co. Ltd.
  • Appointed March 1975.
  • D. R. Chilvers FCA; Institute of Management Accountants; Senior Investigation Partner, Coopers & Lybrand.
  • Appointed January 1975.
  • Sir Campbell Fraser B.Com; Chairman and Chief Executive, Dunlop Holdings Ltd.
  • Appointed November 1977.
  • E. A. B. Hammond; Executive Councillor, Electrical, Electronic, Tele-Communications and Plumbing Union.
  • Appointed March 1977.
  • C. A. Hogg MA; MBA Harvard Business School; Chief Executive and Chairman designate, Courtaulds Ltd.
  • Appointed January 1976.
  • J. D. Hughes MA; Principal, Ruskin College, Oxford.
  • Appointed January 1975.
  • J. R. Ibbs; Mechanical Engineer and Barrister, Commercial and Planning Director, Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.
  • Appointed December 1978.
  • S. Thomson FCCA: Finance Director, Ford Motor Company.
  • Appointed July 1978.

Returnable Bottles And Containers

79.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to receive the report of the Waste Management Advisory Council on returnable bottles and containers for liquids.

The working party carrying out the study is now completing evaluation of the data it has collected. I understand its final report should be available early in 1980.

National Enterprise Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will consider extending the March 1980 deadline for the National Enterprise Board to make disposals to the value of £100 million; and if he will make a statement.

Employment

Work Permits

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what changes he is proposing to make in the arrangements for the issue of work permits.

This Department is proposing to make changes in the arrangements for the issue of work permits in order to strengthen the protection which the work permit scheme affords for the employment opportunities of resident workers and of those from other member States of the EEC who may wish to work here. At a time of high unemployment it should be quite exceptional for an employer to seek to recruit a worker from overseas. We appreciate, of course, that the existence of nationwide skills shortages sometimes makes the engagement of an overseas worker essential and that refusal of a work permit in some such cases could lead to the loss of job opportunities for resident workers. The fact that a suitable worker is not available here or in the EEC is not of itself, however, a sufficient reason for an employer to seek a worker for overseas. Before doing so he should consider carefully whether the vacancy can be filled by promotion or transfer of any of his existing workers or by the provision of suitable training.In general, work permits will, in future, be available only for overseas workers holding recognised professional qualifications or having a high degree of skill or experience. An application for a permit will be considered only if the vacancy necessarily requires such a worker and is normally in an occupation serviced by the professional and executive recruitment service. The employer will be expected to notify the vacancy to the nearest employment office and to allow at least four weeks for a suitable worker to be found. For most occupations the minimum age for the issue of a permit will be increased from 18 to 23. This is the lower age at which an overseas worker is likely to have acquired the necessary skills and experience. Other requirements of the existing scheme are unchanged.A separate announcement will be made later about the special arrangements under which a limited number of resident domestics and other semi-skilled or unskilled workers have been allowed to come from certain countries to work here.Young people from overseas will continue to be allowed to come here for limited periods of on-the-job training or work experience but will not be allowed to remain here in normal employment.We hope that these new arrangements will result in a steady decrease in the number of long-term work permits issued. The Department will keep this under close review and we shall not hesitate to make further changes should these prove to be necessary.The following are the details of the new arrangements which will apply from 1 January 1980:

  • 1. Except as provided in the immigration rules, any person, other than EEC nationals, subject to immigration control coming to work in the United Kingdom is required to have a work permit. Permits are issued for employment in Great Britain by the Department of Employment and for employment in Northern Ireland by the Department of Manpower Services.
  • 2. The arrangements described in the subsequent paragraphs are those that apply in Great Britain. The same conditions apply in Northern Ireland but references to the "Department of Employment" and the "Manpower Services Commission" should be read as references to the "Department of Manpower Services" and to "professional and executive recruitment (PER)" as to "professional and executive personnel (PEP)".
  • 3. The prospective employer must apply to the Department of Employment for a work permit for a named overseas worker and for a specific job. The permit will be issued for an initial period not exceeding 12 months. Only workers between 23 and 54 years of age are eligible for permits. A permit will not be issued if in the opinion of the overseas labour section of the Department of Employment after consultation with the Manpower Services Commission suitable resident labour is available to fill the post offered nor if the wages or other conditions of employment offered are less favourable than those obtaining in the area for similar work.
  • 4. With the exceptions referred to later, permits will be available only for workers in the following categories who can satisfy the Department that they possess the necessary qualifications and experience which should normally have been acquired outside the United Kingdom:
  • (a) those holding recognised professional qualifications;
  • (b) administrative and executive staff;
  • (c) highly qualified technicians having specialised experience; and
  • (d) other key workers with a high or scarce qualification in an industry or occupation requiring specific expert knowledge or skills.
  • The worker will also be expected to have an adequate command of the English language.

    5. In general, an application for a work permit will be considered only if the vacancy is in an occupation serviced by the professional and executive recruitment service (PER) and which necessarily requires a worker having the qualifications referred to in paragraph 4 above. when applying for the permit the prospective employer must satisfy the Department of Employment that a genuine vacancy exists, that no suitable resident labour is available and that he has made adequate efforts to find a worker from that source and from the EEC. The employer is expected to notify the vacancy to the nearest PER office, jobcentre or employment office and to allow four weeks for a suitable worker to be found. He is also expected to advertise the vacancy in the press or appropriate trade and professional journals and to undertake to pay the travelling expenses of any worker resident in this country who comes from a distance for a pre-arranged interview or to take up employment.

    6. Work permits are available for highly skilled and experienced workers for senior posts in hotel and catering establishments who have successfully completed appropriate full-time training courses of at least two years' duration at approved schools abroad or, exceptionally, have acquired other specialised or uncommon skills and experience relevant to the industry.

    7. Permits are available for entertainers and sportsmen who meet the appropriate skills criteria—the lower age limit referred to in paragraph 3 does not apply to these permits. Professional sportsmen taking part in competitions of international standing do not normally require permits.

    8. A permit may be issued to any person if, in the opinion of the Secretary of State for Employment, his employment is in the national interest.

    9. Permits may be issued for on-the-job training or work experience with employers which can be put to use in the trainee's home country but not acquired there. This arrangement is primarily intended to benefit developing countries and their citizens. The training must be for a limited period, as far as possible agreed in advance, and extension of approval beyond one year will be given only if satisfactory progress is being maintained. Approval may also be given for employment in a supernumerary capacity, normally not lasting longer than a year, of young overseas nationals of non-EEC countries who come here to widen their occupational experience and in some cases also to improve their knowledge of English. The overseas national will not be allowed to remain here for ordinary employment at the end of the approved period of training or work experience. The age limits and the resident labour requirement referred to in paragraph 3 do not apply to these permits.

    10. Overseas students who wish to take paid employment in their free time or during their vacations must first obtain the consent of the Department of Employment. A student must provide satisfactory evidence from his college that employment will not interfere with his course of study. Permission will be given only where there is no suitable resident labour available and the wages and conditions of employment are not less favourable than those obtaining in the area for similar work. An overseas student is not entitled to remain in the country for employment on completion of his studies except that overseas student and pupil nurses and pupil midwives trained by NHS authorities and needed to meet their staffing requirements may be given permission to remain in employment as State registered nurses, state enrolled nurses or State certified midwives provided no suitable resident labour is available. The lower age limit referred to in paragraph 3 does not apply to nurses or midwives.

    11. The holder of a work permit is not permanently restricted to the particular job for which the permit was issued but will be expected to remain in the same occupation and will require the consent of the Department of Employment for any change of job. A change will be approved only if the proposed employment would have satisfied the relevant conditions for the issue of a permit to a person overseas.

    12. Leave to remain may be granted by the Home Office to permit holders who continue in approved employment. After four years in approved employment they may apply to the Home Office for the removal of the time limit on their stay. If the time limit is removed they may take any employment they wish without reference to the Department of Employment.

    Trade Union Law

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the names of the organisations and individuals that have sent in submissions on his proposals for the reform of trade union law.

    Some 90 organisations and many individuals have commented on our proposals on picketing, the closed shop and union ballots and for amending employment protection legislation. The main organisations are in the attached list. We are still receiving comments on our proposals.

    • The Confederation of British Industry
    • Trades Union Congress
    • Engineering Employers Federation
    • General Council of British Shipping
    • National Federation of Retail Newsagents
    • Leeds Chamber of Commerce
    • Institute of Directors
    • Association of British Chambers of Commerce
    • National Chamber of Trade
    • Food Manufacturers Federation
    • Brewers Society
    • The Association of Yorkshire and Humberside Chambers of Commerce
    • Association of County Councils
    • Newspaper Society
    • Federation of Master Builders
    • Chemical Industries Association
    • West Midlands Metropolitan County Council
    • Co-operative Employers Association
    • Coventry Chamber of Commerce
    • Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
    • Incomes, Data Services Limited
    • The Managerial Professional and Staff Liaison Group
    • United Kingdom Association of Professional Engineers
    • Institute of Journalists
    • Engineers and Managers Association
    • Conservative Trade Union Group
    • Federation of Professional Officers Associations
    • Union of Post Office Workers—Norwich Telephone Section Night
    • The Association of Public Service Professional Engineers
    • Council of Engineering Unions
    • Conservative Trade Union Nottingham Group
    • United Commercial Travellers Association—South Avon Branch
    • National Association of Head Teachers
    • Globe Electric Thread Co
    • National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses Ltd
    • National Federation of Medium and Small Employers
    • The Unquoted Companies Group
    • National Association of Independent Businessmen
    • Association of Independent Businesses
    • Cossor Electronics Ltd
    • institution of Industrial Works Managers (affiliated to the British Institute of Management)
    • Institute off Personnel Management
    • Industrial Society
    • The Royal Institute of Chemists
    • Council of Engineering Institutions
    • The Law Society of Scotland
    • Institution of Mechanical Engineers
    • Institution of Metallurgists
    • Federation of Professional Associations
    • British Institute of Management
    • Walsall Council for Community Relations
    • Kelloggs Ltd
    • Turner and Newall Ltd
    • Royal Insurance Ltd
    • Phillips Industries Ltd
    • British Aerospace
    • Chloride Group Ltd
    • Caterpillar Tractor Co Ltd
    • Bradbury Controls
    • Norman Hargreaves (Machine Tools) Ltd
    • Vauxhall Motors
    • English China Clays
    • Provident Financial Group Bradford
    • Hiatt and Co
    • Goonvean Rostowrack China Clay Co Ltd
    • Lindustries
    • Waterfront and Industrial Pioneer Newspaper
    • International Harvester
    • East Midland Allied Press
    • H Tempest Ltd
    • Westminster Foods
    • Taylor Woodrow Ltd
    • Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service
    • Post Office
    • Nationalised Industries Chairman's Group
    • Aims:
      • The Free Enterprise Organisation
      • The Freedom Association
      • Electoral Reform Society
      • Board for Social Responsibility (Church of England)
      • Business Education Council Twickenham Conservative Association
      • Conservative Central Office West Midlands Area
      • Trade Union Office
      • Pride Cleaners Ltd
      • National Federation of Retail Newsagents
      • Women in Media
      • Basildon Constituency Labour Party
      • The Alliance of Small Firms and self-employed people
      • Barking Constituency Labour Party
      • National Union of journalists (West Essex and South Herts)

    Public Officials (Powers Of Entry)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many categories of officials have a statutory right to enter premises under the Truck Acts; what are the current numbers in each category; and whether he has any plans to review this entry right.

    Only officers specifically appointed under the Truck Acts, as amended by the Truck Acts 1831–1896 (Enforcement) Regulations 1974—SI 1974 No. 1887—have a right to enter premises. There are currently 82 officers so appointed. I have no plans to review this right of entry.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many categories of officials have a statutory right to enter premises under the Road Haulage Act 1938; what are the current numbers in each category; and whether he has any plans to review this right of entry.

    Only officers specifically appointed under the Road Haulage Wages Act 1938 have a right to enter premises where road haulage workers are employed on work with statutory remuneration. There are currently 191 officers so appointed. I have no plans to review this right of entry.

    Subcontractors

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he expects to introduce to prevent trades unions from putting pressure on employers to use only trades union members as subcontractors.

    My right hon. Friend published proposals on 24 October for legislation to protect employers against industrial action which is intended to coerce employees into becoming union members against their will. He has no present plans to add to these.

    Hotels And Catering Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how the Wages Inspectorate ensures that the level of guaranteed earnings is paid in the hotels and catering industry as covered by wages councils;(2) if he is satisfied that employers in the hotel and catering industry are complying with the minimum wage guarantee levels in wages councils orders; and how many checks are made to ensure this;(3) if the Wages Inspectorate has any records of how many employers in the hotels and catering industry have written agreements about making up the guaranteed minimum earnings, made up of the minimum rate and gratuities.

    Maternity Leave

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the number of women who have exercised their right to maternity leave under sections 33 and 45 of the employment protection legislation each year since June 1976.

    No figures are available for the number of women who have exercised the right to return to work under sections 33 and 45 of the Employ- ment Protection Act. The only relevant figures available are the number of women who have received maternity pay under section 34 of the Act and in respect of whom rebate has been paid to the employer by my Department under section 39. They relate to the period from 6 April 1977 when the right to maternity pay became effective.The numbers are:

    April 1977-March 197867,366
    April 1978-March 1979107,953
    April 1979-September 197955,139

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a table comparing the maternity leave, including the right to return to work, and maternity pay provisions of the United Kingdom with other member countries of the EEC.

    I shall publish a table containing the information in the Official Report as soon as possible.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the costs to the maternity pay fund of the maternity leave provision of the Employment Protection Act since 6 April 1977.

    The costs to the maternity pay fund, that is rebate payments to employers, direct payments to employees and administrative costs, since 6 April 1977 have been as follows:

    April 1977-March 1978£15,020,309
    April 1978-March 1979£26,356,147
    April 1979-September 1979£14,207,966

    Asbestos (Simpson Report)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement concerning his plans to implement the recommendations of the Simpson report on asbesos.

    The final report of the advisory committee on asbestos was published on 24 October 1979 by the Health and Safety Commission with an invitation to comment on its contents by 31 January 1980. In the light of comments received and advice from the Health and Safety Commission, I and my hon. Friends will decide on the appropriate action to take in response to the report.

    Wales

    Roads

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales which road projects have been moved back in the road preparation pool as a result of the £10·7 million reduction in public expenditure for the year 1980–81, as announced by the Minister on 1 November.

    It is not possible to relate changes in public expenditure in 1980–81 to individual schemes in the Department's preparation pool, since they are at an early stage of design. I expect the reductions to fall mainly on smaller schemes in the Department's firm programme, selected according to progress with statutory procedures and contractual arrangements. I hope that new starts will include Colcon phase I, the Hawarden bypass, the Carmarthen southern bypass, the widening of the M4 between Coldra and Caerleon interchanges and, among smaller schemes, the Pontyfenni diversion on the A40.

    Local Planning Authorities (Income)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much income he anticipates will be raised for the year 1980–81 by allowing local planning authorities in Wales to (a) charge for planning permission and (b) charge for the enforcement of building regulations.

    Charges for planning applications are intended to recoup a substantial proportion of the costs of development control, which are estimated at about £3 million a year in Wales. The precise level of fees and the date of introduction next year have not yet been settled. Charges for the enforcement of building regulations are estimated to recoup approximately £2 million in Wales.

    Energy

    Coal

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many tonnes of coal have been imported into Great Britain in each of the last 10 years; and what is his projection for the next two years.

    Coal imports to the United Kingdom over the last 10 years were as follows:

    thousand tonnes
    19692
    197079
    19714,230
    19724,996
    19731,668
    19743,541
    19755,083
    19762,837
    19772,439
    19782,352
    In the first eight months of 1979 imports totalled 2,154 thousand tonnes. The major importers have not yet finalised their plans for the next two years but imports are likely to be somewhat higher than in the last year or two.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the estimated levels of coal production in Scotland for each year up to the year 2000.

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

    Electricity And Gas (Disconnections)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will bring forward legislation to provide that electricity and gas disconnections may be carried out only by order of a county court.

    Electrical Goods (Labelling)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received from the Consumers Association regarding energy labelling on electrical goods; and what has been his reply.

    None. Discussions between officials of my Department and the Consumers Association about energy labelling have, however, taken place on many occasions, and continue.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received from the association of manufacturers of domestic electrical appliances regarding energy labelling on electrical goods; and what has been his reply.

    I have received representations regarding the implementation of a programme of energy labelling of electrical appliances. My Department has replied saying that the Government are proposing at this stage to seek only powers to enable such a programme to be established in the future after consultation with those affected.

    Coking Coal Subsidy

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the amount per tonne of coking coal subsidy in each of the past five years and the figure for the current year.

    Coking coal subsidy was £0·87 per tonne in 1974–75 and £1·43 per tonne in 1978–79. No subsidy was paid in the intervening years and none has so far been agreed for 1979–80.

    British National Oil Corporation

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to the Minister of State's answer, Official Report, 29 October, c. 382, what is the relationship between the British National Oil Corporation Exploration and Development Company and the proposed Crown bulk purchase and selling agency.

    As my right hon. Friend told the House, we intend that BNOC's trading activities, together with its access to oil through participation options, should continue as at present, but that the public should be given the opportunity to participate directly in the Corporation's oil producing business. A number of possible options for achieving this latter objective are under consideration, and we shall be making a statement in due course.

    Liquefied Petroleum Gas

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many domestic customers the British Gas Corporation supplies with liquefied petroleum gas.

    That is a matter for the Corporation. I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Gentleman.

    Uranium (Security)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how and why 15,400 lbs. of toxic uranium products have been lost; why for the second year running several tons of natural uranium worth £40,000 a ton is missing; whether such proven lapses of security could happen regarding radioactive materials; and whether he will make a statement.

    The hon. Member asked about apparent loss of nuclear material in the United Kingdom. Annual figures for "Material Unaccounted For" (MUF) in the United Kingdom back to 1970 have been published by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. The figures for the year 1978–79 have just been released.Accounts of nuclear materials are maintained at all nuclear sites in the United Kingdom. At intervals, comparisons are made between their physical and "book" inventories. The arithmetical difference between these two inventories is the "Material Unaccounted For". This difference is sometimes positive, indicating an apparent "gain", and sometimes negative, indicating an apparent "loss". The occurrence of positive MUF figures does not mean that material has in some way been created; similarly, a negative MUF figure does not signify an actual loss of material. The apparent losses of uranium appearing in this year's MUF figures are not out of line with the fluctuations between apparent losses and gains reported in previous years. These fluctuations arise from the unavoidable uncertainties of measurement. UKAEA and BNFL are actively engaged in research to improve their measurement techniques, but it is not to be expected that MUF can be eliminated.It is not the case that these "accounting" figures indicate a real loss, nor that they represent "proven lapses of security". The amount of uranium unaccounted for represents less than one half of 1 per cent. of the annual throughput at the plants concerned.There is no evidence whatsoever of any deficiency in the physical security measures in force at the sites, which are designed to ensure that nuclear material is not stolen. The measurements of nuclear material leaving UKAEA and BNFL sites are sufficiently precise to ensure that the accidental discharge of material would be detected.

    J H Sankey & Sons Ltd

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will instruct the National Coal Board to sell its holding in J. H. Sankey & Sons, Ltd.

    I have no plans at present to propose that the Board disposes of its holding in J. H. Sankey & Sons Ltd.

    National Finance

    Production And Unemployment Statistics

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing the increase in profitability in each year since 1970, on the basis of 1970=100, of the main divisions of (a) the financial sector and (b) manufacturing industry.

    The latest estimates of rates of return on capital employed for non-financial companies, including divisions of manufacturing industry, were published in Trade and Industry for 28 September 1979; comparable figures for financial companies are not available.Information on trading profits—before deducting stock appreciation and depreciation—for divisions of manufacturing industry is provided in the upper half of table 5·8 of National Income and Expenditure: 1979 Edition, together with that for insurance, banking, finance and business services as an overall total. No information is readily available for divisions of the latter group.

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much more income tax an average wage-earner with two children would be paying per week, at the most recent date for which figures are available, if the standard rate of income tax were raised to 38p in the pound.

    If the basic rate of income tax were raised to 38 per cent., a married man on average manual earnings in July 1979 would pay an extra £3·90 per week in income tax.

    This figure assumes that the first £750 of taxable income continues to be charged at the lower rate of 25 per cent.

    The assumed level of average earnings for July 1979 used in this calculation has been obtained by updating the new earnings survey estimate of average earnings of full-time adult male manual workers in April 1979 taking account of movements in a centred three-month moving average of the whole economy index of average earnings of all employees.

    Maintenance Payments

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the system for taxing maintenance payments.

    I refer my hon. Friend to a leaflet produced by the Board of Inland Revenue—IR 30—Income Tax: Separation and Divorce—available from all tax offices and PAYE inquiry centres, which explains the system for taxing maintenance payments. Copies of the leaflet are in the House of Commons Library.

    Unemployment

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the loss of revenue to the Exchequer in a full financial year at current rates of incomes, prices and taxation as a result of an increase of 300,000 in the numbers of unemployed broken down into (a) income taxes, (b) value added tax and (c) other indirect taxes.

    I regret that I am unable to give the hon. Member the information he requests. An increase in unemployment will affect tax revenues in a variety of ways depending on the reason for the increase and the subsequent effects it has on the economy. Realistic estimates could be produced only from a simulation on a complex economic model. The estimates would depend on a number of assumptions, including those about monetary and exchange rate policies. These in turn would depend on the particular context and would require detailed discussions between the questioner and the operators of the model. The estimate would, moreover, be subject to wide margins of error due to our uncertain knowledge of the underlying economic relationships.

    I am unwilling to commit my Department's resources to carrying out such a simulation as it would be costly and would displace other work. The hon. Member may wish, however, to pursue his inquiry via his access to the Treasury's economic model through the Library at the House.

    Labour Costs

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he believes that a comparison of relative normal unit labour costs is a meaningful measure of international competitiveness; what account this measure takes of changes in productivity in manufacturing; and whether he believes that in 1978 British exports were in fact more competitive than they were in 1974 and 1975.

    There are many ways of measuring international competitiveness; discussion of the merits of the various measures was published in the Treasury's Economic Progress Report in February 1978. Academic research has generally shown that relative normal unit labour costs is helpful in explaining movements in the United Kingdom's exports of manufactures; an example of these research findings was published in the Bank of England's Quarterly Bulletin for June 1978. The productivity trends used in the calculation of relative normal unit labour costs are based on those estimated by J. R. Artus and A. C. Turner of the IMF's Research Department*. The different measures of competitiveness show differing movements between 1975 and 1978: on some measures we were less competitive in 1978 than in 1974 and 1975 and on others, including relative normal unit labour costs, we were more competitive.

    *"Measures of Potential Output in Manufacturing for Ten Industrial Countries 1955–1980" (Mimeo May 1978).

    Money Supply

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing for each quarter since 1970 the percentage increase in the money supply and the percentage increase in retail prices two years later.

    The figures are as follows:

    QuarterPercentage increase in money supply*Percentage increase in index of retail prices two years later
    1968—1st-1·61·9
    2nd3·42·5
    3rd1·01·1
    4th4·02·0
    1969—1st-2·02·7
    2nd-0·83·7
    3rd1·01·3
    4th4·31·2
    1970—1st-2·61·6
    2nd4·31·8
    3rd2·31·7
    4th5·42·3
    1971—1st0·21·8
    2nd2·63·1
    3rd2·51·6
    4th8·13·4
    1972—1st1·84·0
    2nd7·56·0
    3rd4·32·5
    4th8·74·5
    1973—1st2·76·0
    2nd6·09·5
    3rd7·64·3
    4th7·93·5
    1974—1st0·43·6
    2nd1·73·6
    3rd1·72·3
    4th6·14·6
    1975—1st-1·15·0
    2nd2·74·4
    3rd2·81·6
    4th2·11·5
    1976—1st-0·71·7
    2nd3·72·8
    3rd3·91·7
    4th2·31·7
    1977—1st-2·53·1
    2nd4·23·7
    3rd2·66·7
    * Sterling M3—end quarters, not seasonally adjusted.
    † General index of retail prices—all items (quarterly average of monthly indices), not seasonally adjusted.
    ‡ Percentage increase in third quarter 1979, the latest available.

    Exports

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he believes that a comparison of movements in wholesale and export prices for manufactures is a reliable indicator of changes in the relative profitability of exports; and if he will circulate in the Official Report the evidence he has to show that United Kingdom exports were more profitable relative to the home market in the first quarter of the current year than they were in 1977.

    A comparison of the movements in wholesale prices and export prices for manufactures will be a reasonable measure of the relative profitability of export and domestic sales to the extent that the cost structures of production for the export and domestic markets are similar. Information on this measure was given in my right hon. and learned Friend's reply to the hon. Member on 22 October.—[Vol. 972, c. 56–60.]

    Companies (Government Holding)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list in the Official Report in which companies the Government have a holding; and what is the value of each holding.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) on 11 July.—[Vol. 970, c. 210–14]. The holdings concerned are largely unquoted. I am afraid, therefore, that current valuations are not readily available. My hon.

    £ million
    Commodity group19781979 quarter 11979 quarter 2
    Cereal and cereal products161·841·041·0
    Milk and milk products49·01·30·1
    Sugar0·2
    Beef and veal4·80·61·1
    Pig meat7·21·52·3
    Eggs0·3
    Poultry meat0·60·10·1
    Others4·51·21·2
    Total228·445·745·8
    The net amount of levies charged in the third quarter of 1979 is not yet available.The amount of customs duties and other protective charges collected on imports of food, drink and tobacco was £203 million in 1978 and £57 million, £60·4 million and £52·4 million in the first three quarters of 1979, respectively. These figures exclude live animals chiefly for food and feeding stuff for animals but include animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes.

    Hotel And Catering Industry

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether, for the purposes of the Inland Revenue, gratuities in the hotel and catering industry are deemed to be earned or unearned income;(2) if he will publish the criteria by which the Inland Revenue assess the actual earnings through gratuities of employees

    Friend will be aware that since July the Government have sold their holding in Drake and Scull and announced the sale of their holding in Suez Finance Company. They have also announced that they are selling about 5 per cent. of British Petroleum shares, and allotments have now been made accordingly.

    Eec Levies

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was collected in the United Kingdom by way of EEC levies on each of the products subject to such levies in 1978 and in each of the first three quarters of 1979; and how much was collected by way of customs duties and other protective charges on imports of food, drink and tobacco.

    The net amount of levies charged on food imported was:in the hotels and catering industry;(3) how much is raised annually by the Inland Revenue through the taxation of gratuities in the hotels and catering industry.

    Personal Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when the computerisation of the personal income tax system will be completed;(2) when he plans to publish the Green Paper on eliminating discrimination against women in the taxation system;(3) if he has any plans to make further changes to the personal income tax system to reduce discrimination between the sexes; and if he will make a statement;

    (4) if, in any further financial measures for which he is responsible, he will ensure that no further discriminatory measures between the sexes will be included in the personal taxation system;

    (5) whether he has any plans to narrow the gap between the married man's tax allowance and the single person's tax allowance.

    (6) what is the cost of the computer installation for the personal income tax system and the cost of its reorganisation.

    (7) whether it would be necessary to write a new computer programme for the personal income tax system if equal taxation were introduced by virtue of the repeal of section 37 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act.

    Expenditure

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the difference in £ million at 1979 survey prices between Cmnd. 7439 and Cmnd. 7746, listing health expenditure separately from personal social services.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the percentage change in the volume of public expenditure before shortfall and special sales of assets between the provisional outturn in 1978–79 and the expected out-turn in 1979–80, according to Cmnd. 7746; and what was the corresponding percentage change forecast between the estimated outturn in 1978–79 and planned expenditure in 1979–80, according to Cmnd. 7439.

    Isle Of Man

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the Isle of Man's current contribution to the United Kingdom Exchequer in the form of the Imperial Contribution; and what changes have been effected in that contribution in the last two years.

    [pursuant to his reply. 13 November 1979]: The Isle of Man's voluntary contribution to the United Kingdom Exchequer for 1979–80 is estimated to be £540,000. The contribution made in 1977–78 was £716,377 and in 1978–79 was £414,571. The Isle of Man Government have reduced the contribution to enable them to pay an unexpectedly large bill in connection with the rebuilding of the landing stage at Liverpool, which is used by boats going to the Isle of Man.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total of duties, levies, and so on, collected under the common purse agreement with the Isle of Man; what was the distribution between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom in the last full year; and what will be the effect on that distribution of the new formula proposed in the Isle of Man Bill.

    [pursuant to his reply, 13 November 1979]: The total common purse revenue and the Isle of Man's share for the four financial years ending in April this year plus an estimate for the current financial year are shown in the table below. The Isle of Man share is attributable to goods and services consumed on the island and distribution on this basis of the revenue collected is not affected by the provisions in the Isle of Man Bill.

    Financial yearTotal common purse revenue (£ million)Isle of Man's share (£ million)
    1975–768,140·111·0
    1976–779,900·913·0
    1977–7811,183·614·6
    1978–7912,675·916·9
    1979–80 (estimate)17,045·021·8

    Income And Corporation Taxes Act

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to seek to abolish section 37 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970.

    Value Added Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to end the imposition of value added tax on educational visits by organised school parties, which has been imposed as from 1 November.

    Taxation

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update the information sent to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr following the answers given in the Official Report, 3 August 1978, c. 625, on income tax and national insurance deductions.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 November 1979, c. 362–63]: The percentages of income taken in tax and national insurance for wage earners on a. 25 per cent. average earnings, b. 50 per cent. average earnings, c. average earnings, d. twice average earnings, e. five times average earnings, f. 10 times average earnings, (1) assuming that they were receiving the following reliefs: mortgage tax relief on a mortgage of three times annual salary and superannuation at 5 per cent. of annual salary and (2) assuming that they were receiving no reliefs other than personal allowances, are as follows:

    1979–80(1) Per cent.(2) Per cent.
    25 per cent. of average earnings4·94·9
    50 per cent. of average earnings5·610·1
    Average earnings12·123·2
    Two times average earnings17·927·6
    Five times average earnings30·239·0
    Ten times average earnings42·949·3
    The assumed level of average earnings for 1979–80 has been obtained by updating to July 1979 the new earnings survey estimate of average earnings of full-time adult male manual workers in April 1979 taking account of movements in a centred three-month moving average of the whole economy index of average earnings of all employees.National insurance contributions are at the not contracted out rate. Mortgage interest relief is calculated on the assumption that the interest is payable on a loan for the full amount specified, subject to the restriction to £25,000.The method of giving relief on life policies was changed from 1979–80, and accordingly such relief has not been taken into account in these figures, though it was in the figures for earlier years sent to the hon. Member.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    British Council

    asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) what redundancy terms will be offered to locally recruited staff of the British Council overseas who are dismissed as a result of public expenditure cuts;(2) how many British Council staff are currently serving in countries in Africa; and how many are likely to be dismissed as a result of cuts in public expenditure;(3) what reductions will be made in British Council staff in the United Kingdom as a result of public expenditure cuts;(4) what reductions will be made to British Council staff in India as a result of public expenditure cuts;(5) what reductions will be made in the services offered to overseas students in the United Kingdom as a result of cuts in British Council expenditure.

    It was announced on 1 November that reductions in Government grants to the British Council in 1980–81 total £5·2 million, consisting of:

    £3 million grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
    £2·2 million in grants from the Overseas Development Administration.
    Redundancy terms for locally engaged staff overseas vary from country to country according to local laws and conditions of service. A total of 81 United Kingdom-appointed and 454 locally engaged British Council staff are currently serving in countries of Africa; these numbers will be reduced by seven United Kingdom-appointed and 31 locally engaged posts. In India there will be a reduction of one United Kingdom-appointed post; the reduction in locally engaged staff is still under consideration but is likely to be in the region of 15 to 20 posts. In the United Kingdom there will be a reduction of 336 Council posts although involuntary redundancies will number less than 20.The Council's services to students in this country are likely to be affected as follows:

  • (a) current expectations are that six of the 25 British Council United Kingdom regional offices which provide services for students will be closed although the timing has yet to be decided. Students will be able to make use of the remaining offices;
  • (b) the London overseas students centre will continue to operate but at a reduced level;
  • (c) the Council's accommodation service to students will continue but will be reduced;
  • (d) the Council's services to private students will be phased out.
  • Western Sahara

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will confirm that Her Majesty's Government's own policy of not supplying arms for use against those fighting for the territorial integrity of the Western Sahara remains unchanged.

    Individual arms sales to the Maghreb, as to other parts of the world, continue to be considered on their merits. In making these decisions we take into account our anxiety not to increase tension in the area.

    British Petroleum (Nigeria)

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what compensation has been offered by the Nigerian Government for that part of BP which is being nationalised; and if he is satisfied with the outcome.

    Detailed discussions between British Petroleum and the Nigerian Government on compensation for British Petroleum's assets nationalised by the federal military Government have not yet taken place. The amount of compensation payable, which is primarily a matter for British Petroleum and the Nigerian Government, has yet to be agreed. But Her Majesty's Government naturally expect prompt, adequate and effective compensation to be paid.

    Kashmir

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will seek to raise at the United Nations the issue of Kashmir with a view to pressing for a plebiscite of its peoples so that they may determine whether they wish to become independent or be governed by India or Pakistan.

    No. It is for the Governments of India and Pakistan to resolve this issue and to decide how to settle their differences in a peaceful manner.

    Scotland

    Educational Topics

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultative papers he expects to issue on educational topics over the next few months; when he expects these to be issued; and what length of time will be allowed for views to be submitted.

    In the course of the next few months I propose to issue consultative papers on a number of topics including parental choice of school, school councils and the assisted places scheme. The length of the period allowed for comment will vary according to the subject matter.

    South Of Scotland Electricity Board (Membership)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the names of the members of the South of Scotland Electricity Board, along with the dates their appointments expire or fall to be renewed.

    Member and Date of Expiry of Current Appointment

    • Mr. D. R. Berridge, Chairman 31 March 1982.
    • Mr. A. Barr, part-time member 31 December 1981.
    • Mr. W. D. Coats, part-time member 31 December 1981.
    • Mr. W. G. P. Fraser, part-time member 31 December 1980.
    • Dr. J. Kane OBE, part-time member 31 December 1980.
    • Professor J. A. Kennerley, part-time member 31 December 1979.
    • The Lord Kirkhill JP, part-time member 31 December 1982.
    • Mrs. E. McCullock JP, part-time member 31 December 1980.

    Electricity (Demand)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the projected demand for electricity in Scotland for each year up to 2000.

    The forecasts underlying the current capital investment programmes of the Scottish Electricity Boards envisage demand for electricity in Scotland increasing on average at about 3½ per cent. per annum into the 1990s.

    Tayside, Fife And Grampian Regions (Aid)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what sums of regional aid, respectively, above and below £25,000 were disbursed in each of Tayside, Fife and Grampian regions in 1970, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978; and what is the number of successful applications involved;(2) what sums of section 7 assistance, respectively, above and below £10,000 were disbursed in each of Tayside, Fife

    Offers of £10,000 or moreOffer of less than £10,000
    YearNumberValueNumberValue
    ££
    TAYSIDE
    197571,827,800Nil
    19769223,55012,400
    1977101,052,502Nil
    19787504,680Nil
    FIFE
    19759368,950Nil
    197681,398,56011,560
    197781,627,80815,558
    19787911,31317,600
    GRAMPIAN
    1975121,958,13034,655
    19769323,152Nil
    197712934,025Nil
    19786592,395Nil
    Assistance under Section 7 was not available before 1972.

    North Of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board (Membership)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the names of the members of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, along with the dates their appointments expire or fall to be renewed.

    Member and Date of Expiry of Current Appointment

    • The Lord Kirkhill, JP—Chairman 31 December 1982.
    • Mr. K. R. Vernon, CBE—Deputy Chairman 31 December 1980.
    • Mr. D. R. Berridge—part-time member 31 March 1982.
    • Mr. I. S. Campbell—part-time member 31 December 1981.
    • Mr. D. D. S. Craib, CBE—part-time member 31 December 1979.
    • Mr. D. F. Hardie, CBE—part-time member 31 December 1979.

    and Grampian regions in 1970, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978; and what is the number of successful applications involved.

    Information on the various forms of regional aid is not available in the form requested and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.The number and value of offers of section 7 assistance, respectively, above and below £10,000 made in each of Tayside, Fife and Grampian regions in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978 were as set out below. The information relates to offers on which a first payment has been made.

    • Mrs. A. G. Keay—part-time member 31 December, 1981.
    • Mr. W. Kemp, MBE—part-time member 31 December 1980.
    • Mr. C. A. MacLeod—part-time member 31 December 1981.

    Coal Burn

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated coal burn of the electricity supply industry in Scotland for each year up to the year 2000.

    The fuelling of power stations in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Electricity Boards and I am asking the chairmen to write to the hon. Member.

    Electricity Generating Capacity

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the projected composition of Scotland's electricity generating capacity at 1980, 1990 and 2000.

    The planning of future generating capacity in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Electricity Boards and I am asking the chairmen to write to the hon. Member.

    Civil Service

    Pay Research Unit

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish in the Official Report the names, qualifications, and past and present employments of the current membership of the Pay Research Unit board.

    The current membership of the Pay Research Unit board is as follows:

    Chairman—The Right Hon. Lord Shepherd, P.C. Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords 1974–76; Chairman, National Bus Company; Chairman, Medical Research Council.
    Deputy Chairman—Sir Derek Rayner. Joint Managing Director, Marks and Spencer Limited since 1973.
    Voting Members—Professor J. R. Crossley, Professor of Industrial Relations, Leeds University since 1970.
    L. A. Mills. General Secretary, Banking Insurance and Finance Union since 1972. Baroness Pike. Member of Parliament for Melton 1956–74. Chairman, Women's Royal Voluntary Service since 1974.
    Non-Voting Members—F. G. Burrett, C.B., Deputy Secretary, Civil Service Department. J. E. Pestell, Under-Secretary, Civil Service Department.
    W. L. Kendall, Secretary General, Civil Service National Whitley Council: Staff Side.
    B. A. Gillman, General Secretary, Society of Civil and Public Servants.
    V. T. Morgan, Director, Civil Service Pay Research Unit.

    Social Services

    Disabled Persons (Wheelchairs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why severely handicapped persons, living in areas with steep slopes, are not provided with appropriate wheelchairs by the National Health Service; if he will investigate the difficulties faced by such severely disabled persons; and if he will make a statement.

    Wheelchair users may find difficulty in mounting or descending a steep slope and it will be appreciated that it is quite impracticable for a wheelchair, whether powered or non-powered, safely to negotiate some of the steeper slopes. A wide range of non-powered wheelchairs is available, some of which are more suitable for use on slopes than others. A severely disabled person who needs to be pushed outside in a wheelchair and who lives in an area with steep slopes which make pushing very difficult may be provided with a powered wheelchair for operation by the attendant. Powered outdoor occupant controlled wheelchairs are not provided by the Department and there are no plans to extend the range to include this type. We have under consideration the supply of a slope aid that will prevent an occupant controlled wheelchair running back when being propelled up a slope and of service brakes to assist control when descending slopes.If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind and will provide the details it will, of course, be investigated.

    Hotel And Catering Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much each year is lost by his Department refusing to assess national insurance contributions in the hotel and catering industry on total earnings, including gratuities.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the mechanical obstacle to assessing gratuities in the hotels and catering industry for the purpose of national insurance, as is used for income tax purposes by the Inland Revenue.

    Where gratuities are not handled by the employer there is no way for the employer's contributions to be assessed. It has therefore been the practice of successive Governments since 1961 to exempt gratuities from assessment for national insurance purposes.

    Departmental Staff (Binoculars)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pairs of binoculars have been distributed to social security offices in Wales; and in which offices these have been distributed.

    As explained in my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 31 October, two pairs of binoculars have been issued to each of our regional offices, including central office, Wales.—[Vol. 972, c. 558.]

    Staffordshire Area Health Authority (Ambulance Service)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations have been made to him about the restructuring and regrading of the ambulance service of the Staffordshire area health authority.

    None; but I understand that the local staff side's proposals on this issue are currently being discussed with it by the area health authority.

    Welfare Milk

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the anticipated saving from the proposed changes in the welfare milk scheme, indicated in Cmnd. 7746.

    £2·2 million in a full year, though the saving in 1980–81 will be rather less.

    Romsley Hill Hospital, West Midlands

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the proposed closure of Romsley Hill hospital, West Midlands, showing how the needs of the population in the Birmingham west district will be met following the closure.

    I recently concluded that I should not set aside the decision of the previous Administration approving the proposed closure of Romsley Hill hospital. In arriving at this decision I took account of the wish of the Birmingham area health authority (teaching) to realise substantial financial savings and of its view that adequate facilities of a comparable standard were already being provided at Dudley Road hospital, to which the patients now at Romsley Hill will be transferred. The timing of the closure and the precise way in which the future needs of the population are met is, of course, a matter for the area health authority (teaching). But I have pointed out to the authority that, in effecting the closure, it is important to ensure that the interests of existing patients, others in need of geriatric care and the staff, are carefully considered.

    Frauds

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many special investigations into social service frauds are at present occurring in Wales; how many special investigators are to be appointed in Wales; and what is the anticipated cost of employing these investigators and the anticipated saving in employing them.

    The number of DHSS special investigators at present employed in Wales is 27. It is expected that this number will shortly be increased, as part of the measures arising from the Government's declared intention to devote more resources to tackling fraud, but the number has not yet been decided. The estimated cost of employing a special investigator is £9,000 per annum; the anticipated saving is substantial—several times the staff cost involved.

    Retirement Pension

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider reducing the gap between the announcement of future increases in the retirement pension and the date upon which the increase takes place.

    My right hon. Friend has no proposals to alter the existing pattern whereby each year's increase in pensions and other benefits is announced at the time of my right hon. and learned Friend's Budget Statement and the increases paid from November. This is an appropriate time, just before the increase of winter with its higher bills. The new rates of benefit are announced at the time of the Budget Statement, not only to allow sufficient time to carry out the uprating of benefits for millions of people, but also because the cost of an uprating is a large item in total public expenditure and needs to be taken into account in my right hon. and learned Friend's Budget proposals.

    The interval between the announcement and the payment of the increases does not mean that their value is eroded before they are paid. The new rates of benefit take full account of the expected rate of inflation over the 12 months since the previous uprating.

    Greenwich And Bexley

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out the most recent figures for bed occupancy and the average length of stay under each of the main specialties at each of the hospitals in the Greenwich and Bexley area.

    HospitalTypeExpenditureCost per in-patient day
    £'000£
    St. Nicholas'Acute3,249·835·2
    Dreadnought Seamen'sAcute1,481·537·8
    Eltham and MottinghamAcute377·121·8
    Queen Mary'sAcute6,871·035·8
    Erith and DistrictAcute486·644·1
    Bexley and WellingAcute130·619·99
    Greenwich DistrictMainly Acute9,903·439·7
    Brook GeneralMainly Acute7,878·245·3
    MemorialMainly Long-stay1,260·627·8
    The GablesGeriatric165·512·4
    British Hospital for Mothers and BabiesMaternity917·953·6
    Bexley MaternityMaternity245·262·0
    Bexley BroomhillsMental Illness5,657·615·8
    Goldie LeighMental Handicap1,016·826·3

    Humberside Area Health Authority (Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the approximate number of persons employed in the area of the Humberside area health

    YearTotal number of persons employed by the Humberside AHANumber of clerical and administrative staff (whole-time equivalent)
    30 September 197613,8761,339·6
    30 September 197714,0821,187·3
    30 September 1978*14,3151,329·7
    * Latest date available.

    Brook Hospital, Woolwich

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the proposal for 25 additional surgical beds at the Brook hospital, Woolwich, was first approved by the Greenwich and Bexley area health authority; when it was first submitted to the South-East Thames regional health authority; and when the extra beds are expected to be in use.

    The cost of extracting the data requested is not considered to be justified.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out the most recent estimated running costs and the cost per in-patient day for each of the hospitals in the Greenwich and Bexley area.

    In 1977–78, the latest year for which figures are available, the total revenue expenditure and the cost per in-patient day at each hospital were as follows:authority at the last available date, a year ago and two years ago; and, of these, how many were clerical and administrative staff.

    The information requested is as follows:area health authority and the hon. Member may like to contact the authority direct.

    Social Assistance

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether his Department will publish the report of the responses to social assistance.

    My right hon. Friend intends to make available shortly an analysis of all the views and comments received by the Department on "Social Assistance". A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

    Supplementary Benefit Review

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made on the second stage of the supplementary benefit review; and what plans his Department has for publishing consultation papers on the questions not covered in social assistance.

    On two of the topics listed in "Social Assistance" for further study in the second stage of the review, consultation papers have already been issued. These covered, respectively, relationships with other agencies, and supplementary benefit for boarders and people in residential accommodation. Some of the topics listed will be dealt with by the proposals for reform of the scheme which my right hon. Friend will be announcing shortly. We will consider the need for consultation papers on the remaining topics in due course.

    Births

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many 1978 births were to single unsupported women; and if he will make a statement.

    The information requested is not available. Information from birth registration on illegitimate births includes cases where the mother was either single, married to someone other than the father, widowed or divorced. The figures for England and Wales for 1978 are:—

    Illegitimate live-birthsIllegitimate still-births
    Total60,637699
    We have no information on how many of the fathers were supporting the mother or child.

    Stoke Mandeville Hospital

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what effects Her Majesty's Government's public expenditure policy will have upon the Stoke Mandeville hospital; and if he will make a statement.

    General hospital services at Stoke Mandeville are the concern of the Buckinghamshire area health authority, and it is for the authority to ensure that its estimated expenditure remains within cash limits during the current financial year.The hospital's spinal injury centre, however, provides a supra-regional service; and it is therefore for the health authorities and the Department together to consider any proposals to vary the level of service within the centre.The authorities are having urgent talks this month and I am visiting Stoke Mandeville hospital on 20 November. No decision affecting the national spinal injuries centre will be made prior to that date.

    Trade

    Metrication Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement about the future of the Metrication Board.

    My right hon. Friend and I have been reviewing the functions of a number of public bodies for which we have responsibility, including the Metrication Board, to see whether they are essential. Metrication has now been extensively adopted in manufacturing industry and also in retail trade, where most prepackaged goods sold in prescribed quantities are now sold in metric sizes, so there is now very limited scope for the Board's activities, which can easily be fulfilled by my Department and by the Department of Industry.In a few months' time, after the final statutory orders made by the previous Administration prescribing metric sizes for tea and suet have taken effect, there will be few, if any, cases where public information is necessary. This is because the Government have no plans for further compulsory orders of this type. I think it is in everybody's interest that as industry continues to go metric it should proceed to expedite in an orderly way, on a voluntary basis, a programme for any future metrication.Current appointments to the Board expire on 30 April 1980. In present circumstances I do not intend to renew these or make new ones. The effect will be that the Metrication Board will then come to an end.

    I should like to thank the chairman and Board members for the work they have put into informing and guiding the public on the principles of metrication.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the total cost of the Metrication Board since its establishment.

    [pursuant to her reply, 8 November 1979, c. 254]: Including estimated expenditure for 1979–1980 the total costs to the end of this financial year will be £8,319,000.

    Metrication

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total sum of public money that has been spent to date on the promotion of the use of metric measurements.

    The total cost of the Metrication Board to date is £8·3 million. Statistics relating to the cost of central and local government time involved in the promotion of the use of metric measurements is not separately identifiable.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many letters his Department has received since the announcement of the ending of further compulsory metrication; how many were in favour of the decision; and how many were against.

    [pursuant to her reply, 8 November 1979, c. 254]: I have received a number of letters recently, many of which were solely on the subject of metrication and many others which included a reference to metrication in a more general letter. In so far as it was possible to determine a single view, a good majority of the people who wrote to me favoured my announcement.

    Tourism

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total amount of Exchequer assistance to the tourist industry in the last financial year; what provision has been made for the current year; and what restrictions are to be made in 1980–81.

    The total amount of Exchequer assistance to the tourist Indus- try in Great Britain in 1978–79 was £24,357,550. The House has approved provision for the current year totalling about £31 million. A reduction of £3 million at 1979 survey prices is to be made in 1980–81 from the provision planned by our predecessors.

    Air Services

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether the anticipated growth in aircraft movements and passenger traffic to London's airports down to 1987 could be met by the construction of a fifth terminal at Heathrow and an expansion of facilities at Stansted and Luton airports.

    These are matters which are being considered by the Advisory Committee on Airports Policy. I hope to receive its report shortly.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what long-term proposals he has to transfer air services from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to Luton airport.

    None at present. The future role of Luton airport will be considered in the light of the forthcoming report of the Advisory Committee on Airports Policy, which I expect to receive shortly.

    Hotels (Grants)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the numbers of hotels by size which qualified for grant and the amount paid out to each size group; and what conclusions were reached by the programme analysis and review as to the return to the public from the moneys thus provided.

    I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question on 27 July 1979 concerning the amount spent by the Government on the hotel development scheme in England. Information is not readily available for grant assistance given under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 on the number of hotels by size and the amount paid out to each size group. At 31 March 1979, however, out of 1,076 projects assisted in the development areas in England since 1971—when the scheme began—380 were serviced accommodation projects. Average assistance for all projects over the whole period was about £12,000, or 30 per cent. of project costs, indicating that most of the assistance benefited small businesses, which form the biggest part of the tourist industry.The benefit to the public comes from the investment geared by the assistance in those areas in greatest economic need and from the jobs thus created. Over £40 million of investment has been induced that might not otherwise have taken place, and some 3,300 jobs provided at a cost of public funds of £3,500 per job.

    Nederland Spinnerij

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether any United Kingdom Government contracts have been awarded to Nederland Spinnerij BV of Holland; if so, which Department issued the contract; and what was its value.

    [pursuant to his reply, 12 November 1979]: No contract has been placed by my Department with this company.

    Vehicles (Imports And Exports)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the value and volume of imports and exports of (a) motor cars and (b) commercial vehicles traded between the United Kingdom and, respectively, the Six and non-Six each year between 1970 and 1978 and the current year to date.

    Home Purchase (Insurance And Surveys)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) whether he is satisfied with the implementation by members of the Building Societies Association of their agreement with the Office of Fair Trading on freedom of choice in house insurance and with the publicity societies have given to their agreement;(2) if he is satisfied with the implementation by members of the Building Societies Association of their agreement with the Office of Fair Trading on the valuation and surveying of houses, especially as regards making the new arrangements known to consumers.

    [pursuant to her reply, 12 November 1979]: These are matters for the Director General of Fair Trading, who will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

    Oil Lamps

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what special provision it is proposed to employ to ensure that the Oil Lamps (Safety) Regulations 1979 are imposed on imported lamps; what standards are currently imposed; and by what means it is proposed to prevent importers circumventing the order before commencement date.

    [pursuant to her reply, 13 November 1979]: The Oil Lamps (Safety) Regulations 1979 apply to all oil lamps intended for domestic use which are sold or possessed for sale in this country, including imported lamps. Enforcement of the regulations by local weights and measures authorities will be relied upon to ensure compliance with them with effect from the commencement date. If non-complying lamps presenting a significant hazard were to be imported meanwhile, I would take appropriate action to deal with them, if necessary by using the powers provided by the Consumer Safety Act 1978.

    Defence

    Nuclear Alert

    80.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what action was taken by British forces during the recent mistakes made by the American forces and their computer which resulted in a false alarm of possible nuclear attack; and whether he will make a statement.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations have taken place with the United States of America authorities on the false nuclear alert at the end of last week: and if he will make a statement.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence at what stage he was informed of the mistaken nuclear alert on or around 12 November; if he is satisfied that British forces were kept informed throughout: and if he will make a statement.

    On Friday 9 November the North American Air Defence Command Headquarters were running a test programme on the ballistic missile early warning system computers. For reasons which the United States authorities are now investigating a test tape simulating a missile attack against North America was incorrectly transmitted. This automatically resulted in an alert being registered on the displays of the United Kingdom ballistic missile early warning station at Fylingdales and at United Kingdom operations centres. The error was detected within seconds, and confirmed by the United States command within a minute of the receipt of the alert signal, and I was subsequently informed.As the immediate discovery of the error in this case shows, there are sufficient checks in the early warning system.

    Service Accommodation

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what figures are available for the number of units of accommodation for Service families which have been occupied by squatters in the last 12 months; what action has been taken; how many units are currently occupied by squatters; and if he will make a statement.

    No accommodation held by the Ministry of Defence for housing Service families has been reported as occupied by squatters during the last 12 months although cases of occupation for less than 24 hours would not be recorded centrally. Any occupation by squatters of property handed over to the Property Services Agency for disposal would be a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many units of occupation designed for Service families have been released in the last 12 months to the Property Services Agency for sale; what was the length of time the Agency had taken to sell such units of accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

    In the 12 months ending 31 August 1979 2,161 surplus married quarters were passed to the Property Services Agency for disposal. I understand from the Property Services Agency that it has sold 334 of these properties, and the average time for sale was about seven months. The MOD will continue to review critically the requirements for married quarters based on present and forecast Service needs, and to transfer surplus properties to the Property Services Agency for disposal as quickly as possible.

    Northern Ireland (Terrorist Trends)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what gaps in the Armed Forces equipment holdings and equipment development programmes were identified and filled as a result of the paper entitled "Northern Ireland Future Development Trends".

    I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the stolen internal Ministry of Defence paper on future terrorist trends in Northern Ireland, on which I have nothing to add to my statement of 11 June 1979.—[Vol. 968, c. 162.] Equipment for the Armed Forces in Northern Ireland is under constant development.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if the paper prepared by Brigadier Glover entitled "Northern Ireland Future Terrorist Trends" has as yet been reviewed and updated as recommended in paragraph 76 of that paper.

    I have nothing to add to my statement of 11 June 1979.—[Vol. 968, c. 162.]

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now publish in the Official Report an updating of annex D to D/DINI/2003 dated November 1978.

    Naval Defence

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the present naval defence of the United Kingdom in the light of the growth of the Soviet Navy.

    The Royal Navy, which is Western Europe's largest, plays its full part in NATO's response to the Soviet Navy. A continuous programme of re-equipment is also in hand to enhance our capability in a number of fields. Vessels on order include ASW ships of the "Invincible" class; type 42 destroyers; type 22 frigates; nuclear-powered fleet submarines; and mine counter-measures vessels.

    Environment

    Rate Support Grant

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he plans to announce the allocation of the rate support grant for 1980–81.

    54.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he anticipates the composition of rate support grant will be changed to remove the present discrimination against the shire counties.

    I shall announce the 1980–81 rate support grant settlement on 16 November.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he is making in his review of the rate support grant system.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has held concerning the reform of the rate support grant.

    We are, of course, constantly in touch with those chiefly concerned about the defects of the present system and the future development of rate support grant, but I have held no formal consultations.

    59.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider abolishing the rate support grant and restoring to local authorities total responsibility for their revenue and their expenditure.

    Private Property (Lettings)

    17.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many properties were privately let in each year since 1974.

    The only recent years for which there is firm information on the number of dwellings in the private rented sector in England are 1971 and 1977: in 1971 there were just over 3 million dwellings in the sector and by 1977 the figure had fallen to 2·2 million.