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Written Answers

Volume 974: debated on Monday 26 November 1979

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 26 November 1979

Home Department

Firearms And Shotguns

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of recent crimes involving the use of shotguns, if he will consider introducing legislation to tighten existing controls over the purchase and possession of shotguns.

While I have no plans to introduce legislation at present, I am keeping the matter under review.

Animals (Experiments)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Best), Official Report, 6 November, c. 100, when he proposes to introduce legislation to amend the Cruelty to Animals Act 1879.

I invite my hon. Friend to study the remarks I made on this matter in the debate on the Protection of Animals (Scientific Purposes) Bill.

Private Security Industry

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, as part of his consultations on his Department's discussion paper on the private security industry, he will call for a report from the chief constable of Gwent on the operation of the proposed local code of practice on bouncers in Newport negotiated between the police and local club managements.

We have been in touch with the chief constable, who is providing further information on this matter.

Self-Confessed Criminals (Departmental Communications)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give, for the longest and most convenient stated period of time, the number of occasions when he or officials from his Department telephoned self-confessed criminals or their legal advisers to inform them of the intention of his Department to make a ministerial statement in answer to a tabled parliamentary question concerning such persons' criminal activities, before such parliamentary statement has been made; and what were the reasons for such telephone calls in each instance.

Occasions may arise where a person has made representations, for example, about a criminal conviction, and is given the reply to them before a parliamentary question on the same subject is answered; but it would require disproportionate effort to ascertain how many such occasions there have been.

Prevention Of Terrorism

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many writs of habeas corpus have been applied for in respect of persons detailed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, whether the applications were made within 48 hours of arrest; whether legal aid was granted; and in how many cases the courts have ordered the release of the applicants.

One, but the person was released before the application was heard and within 48 hours of his detention.

Prison Officers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he proposes to use Army staff in prisons should prison officers take industrial action following any pay disputes this winter.

Plans have been made to deal with a variety of contingencies, but it would not be in the public interest to disclose what they are.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out in the Official Report the number of immigrants who arrived at Heathrow airport for settlement on 20 November, the number of these who were fiancés, and fiancées, and the number who had work permits.

The information requested is not readily available and could not be obtained without disproportionate expense.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the minimum conditions that will have to be met by the parties to a marriage or proposed marriage to ensure that the husband or fiancé, respectively is not refused permission to enter the United Kingdom because of paragraph 50(c) or 52(c) of the draft immigration rules as contained in Cmnd. 7750.

The husband or fiancé would have to satisfy the entry clearance officer that he had met his wife or fiancé.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it will be his policy, in reviewing individual applications for entry on compassionate grounds, to take into consideration the historic, social and religious dictates of the caste system.

Any factors which appear to be relevant will be taken into account; I cannot undertake that those mentioned by the hon. Member will prove conclusive in the applicant's favour in any particular case.

Juvenile Crime (Merseyside)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that 561 children below the age of 10 years were involved in offences by the Merseyside police in 1978 and that 284 were involved in similar offences in the first nine months of 1979, if he will consider introducing legislation to place some responsibility on the parents of children involved in criminal activities.

The law already places some responsibility on parents. If a child under the age of 10 commits acts which in the case of an older child would be an offence, there may be grounds for bringing him or her before the juvenile court as in need of care and control, and the court then has power to bind the parent to take proper care of and exercise proper control over the child. In some circumstances a parent may also be held responsible in civil law for damage or harm done by his children.

Nationality

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish a White Paper on British nationality.

Telephone Tapping

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends giving statutory force to the present practice of telephone tapping by the police.

I have at present nothing to add to the reply I gave on 13 June to a question by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short).—[Vol, 968, c. 225.]

Civil Service

Royal Commissions

asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) if he will list which of the recommendations of Royal Commissions appointed since 1964 have been implemented;(2) how many Royal Commissions were appointed between October 1964 and October in the current year.

The number of Royal Commissions appointed between October 1964 and October 1979 is 19. Information about the implementation of the recommendations of those Royal Commissions which have reported in the period is not available centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionately high cost.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what subjects Royal Commissions have been asked to investigate since 1950.

The following subjects have been investigated by Royal Commissions since 1950:

  • 1950 Taxation of profits and income
  • 1951 Dundee (University College) and relationship with St. Andrew's University.
  • 1951 Marriage and divorce
  • 1952 Scottish affairs
  • 1952 Land and population in East Africa
  • 1953 Pay and conditions of service in the Civil Service
  • 1954 Law relating to mental illness and mental deficiency
  • 1955 Common land
  • 1957 Remuneration of doctors and dentists
  • 1957 Local government in Greater London
  • 1960 Police
  • 1961 Press
  • 1962 National incomes
  • 1964 Penal system in England and Wales
  • 1965 Trades unions and employers' associations.
  • 1965 Prices and income
  • 1965 Medical education
  • 1966 Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921
  • 1966 Local government in England
  • 1966 Local government in Scotland
  • 1966 Assizes and quarter sessions
  • 1969 The Constitution
  • 1969 Industrial relations
  • 1970 Environmental pollution
  • 1973 Civil liability and compensation for personal injury
  • 1974 Press
  • 1974 Distribution of income and wealth
  • 1974 Standards of conduct in public life
  • 1976 National Health Service
  • 1976 Gambling
SubjectDate of appointment by Royal WarrantDate Command Paper was tabled
Trades unions and employers' associations8 April 196511 June 1968
National Board for Prices and Incomes8 April 1965First report 28 June 1965
Final report 28 April 1971
Medical education6 August 19653 April 1968
Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 192128 February 19667 November 1966
Local government in England31 May 19669 June 1969
Local government in Scotland9 June 196613 October 1969
Assizes and quarter sessions7 November 196613 October 1969
Industrial relations1 March 196919 January 1970
The Constitution15 April 196931 October 1973
Environmental pollution10 February 1970First report 22 February 1971
Latest report 22 October 1979
Civil liability and compensation for personal injury19 March 197315 March 1978
The press23 August 1974Interim report 16 March 1976
Final report 8 December 1976
Distribution of income and wealth23 August 1974First report 30 July 1975
Latest report 23 October 1979
Standards of conduct in public life6 December 197414 July 1976
Gambling24 February 197611 July 1978
National Health Service19 May 197617 July 1979
Legal services (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)20 July 197622 October 1979
Legal services (Scotland)25 October 1976Still sitting
Criminal procedure3 February 1978Still sitting

Overseas Development

British Council

asked the Lord Privy what is the budget for the British Council English language book scheme in 1980–81; and how this compares with 1978–79 and 1979–80 in real purchasing power terms.

The allocation of funds for 1980–81 is still under consideration. Expenditure in 1978–79 was £1·54 million and in 1979–80 is expected to be about £1·6 million—in cash terms.

1976 Legal services (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

1976 Legal services (Scotland)

1978 Criminal procedure

asked the Minister for the Civil Service in each case since 1964, what was the period of time that elapsed from the date of appointment of each of the Royal Commissions to the date upon which their findings were laid upon the Table of the House.

The period of time elapsing between the date of the Royal Warrant and the tabling of the Command Paper embodying the report for each of the Royal Commissions appointed since 1964, is shown below:took part in the British Council's younger scientists exchange scheme in 1978 and 1979; and what is the estimate for 1980.

Numbers are as follows:

Financial year 1977–7919
Financial year 1978–7920
Financial year 1979–8016
No visits have been arranged for 1980–81.

"Food For Peace" Programme

asked the Lord Privy Seal how much British aid is included in the "Food for Peace" programme.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how much of the total "Food for Peace" programme was accounted for by tobacco; what proportion of British aid was for tobacco.

"Food for Peace" is an American programme and no information is available to me as to the total accounted for by tobacco. The question of British aid does not arise.

asked the Lord Privy Seal which countries were the recipients of aid under the "Food for Peace" programme.

Third World (Tobacco Industry)

asked the Lord Privy Seal how much British aid has been given for the development of the tobacco industry in the Third world in the past decade.

The figures from 1974 onwards are as follows:

Belize£119,000
Malawi£ 67,000
In addition, a further £3,188,000 was invested by the Commonwealth Development Corporation in Malawi and Zambia. Earlier figures are not available.

Mr Anthony Blunt

asked the Attorney-General whether the immunity from prosecution granted to Mr. Blunt was unconditional or whether it could be rescinded in the light of any new evidence concerning his activities.

I refer my hon. Friend to my speech in the House on Wednesday, 21 November 1979.—[Official Report, Vol. 974, c. 511–520.]

Information Services

51.

asked the Paymaster General how he publicises the policies of Her Majesty's Government.

52.

asked the Paymaster General whether he is satisfied with the public relations of the Government.

I refer the hon. Members to my reply to the hon. Members for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) and Newton (Mr. Evans) on 29 October.—[Vol. 972, c. 820.]

House Of Commons

Register Of Members' Interests

41.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will propose to the House an extension of the provisions of the Register of Members' Interests.

Any such extension would in the first instance be a matter for consideration by the Select Committee on Members' Interests.

43.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many hon. Members are now recorded in the Register of Members' Interests.

I understand that 623 hon. Members have so far registered their interests.

Palace Of Westminster

External Cleaning

42.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much he estimates that it would now cost to clean the exterior of the Palace of Westminster; and how much it would be in one year's, two years', three years', four years' and five years' time, respectively.

The estimated cost of cleaning the exterior of the Palace of Westminster at current prices is £5· million. The work involved is based on a survey carried out in 1973. The future cost cannot be estimated. This would depend on rises in costs over the next five years.

House Of Commons

Members' Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what allowances are available to Members of Parliament.

Members may, where appropriate, claim secretarial allowance, additional costs allowance, London supplement and certain travel expenses within the limits defined by resolutions of this House.

Refreshment Department (Apples)

45.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will ensure that good English apples are available every day in each catering outlet in the House.

I have been asked to reply.English apples are and will continue to be available in the Refreshment Department.

Press Catering Facilities

46.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the subsidy paid on meals in the Press Gallery in the last available year, the number of meals served and the subsidy per meal.

I have been asked to reply.With regard to the loss on Press Gallery catering, I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) on 14 November [Vol. 973, c.

669]. Fifty meals are served daily in the press dining room. There are no facilities for checking accurately, but approximately 300 covers are served daily in the cafeteria.

Regional Repertory Theatres

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will take steps to ensure that no regional repertory theatres have to close as a result of reductions in the Arts Council's budget.

It is for the Arts Council to decide its own priorities for the distribution of its budget. I have no reason to suppose that the level of Arts Council grants in the current year will result in the closure of any regional repertory theatres; future years' grants have yet to be decided.

Royal Commissions

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many reports of Royal Commissions were debated in the House between November 1964 and November in the current year; and what percentage this represents of the total number of Royal Commission reports published during that time.

A total of 29 reports were published during this period, of which 11 (37·9 per cent. of the total) were debated.

Attlee Statue

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will now make a statement on the arrangements which Her Majesty's Government have made for a permanent record to be made available of the speeches made on the occasion of the unveiling of the Attlee statue in the House.

I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Gentleman that arrangements are being made for a permanent record of the speeches made on that occasion to be issued as a publication of Her Majesty's Stationery Office in the near future.

Public Lending Right

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to publish the consultative document on public lending right.

The document has now gone to press and I hope to publish it before Christmas.

Arts Sponsorship

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress he has made in obtaining sponsorship for the arts, with particular emphasis on the regions.

The response from businesses and from the arts world has been very gratifying, and it is now widely accepted that the private sector has a vital part to play in arts support. Many constructive initiatives are coming from the regions.

Energy

Crude Oil Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the British National Oil Corporation regarding its recent price increases for crude oil above the ceiling presently set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries; and if he will make a statement.

United Kingdom North Sea oil prices are determined by world market prices for equivalent crudes, and not by the Government. With regard to the price increases announced earlier this month, I sought and obtained the collaboration of United Kingdom continental shelf producers not to raise their prices earlier despite considerable market pressures, and the increase was made only after all three of the major OPEC producers of equivalent crudes had announced similar price increases.

National Union Of Mineworkers

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he intends to meet the president of the National Union of Mineworkers.

I have no plans at present to meet the president of the National Union of Mineworkers. But, as my hon. Friend knows I meet him regularly.

Oil Companies (Profits)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will take powers to prevent excessive profits by the oil companies resulting from increases in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' prices.

No. Powers already exist, and are in use, to tax oil companies at the appropriate rates.

Oil Prices

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on his Department's submissions to the EEC on the operations of the spot market for oil.

I support the moves made by the EEC towards developing a better understanding of how the spot market works and of the price levels of oil traded internationally. I will consider carefully with EEC colleagues whether genuine improvements in the spot market mechanism can be made. In accordance with the agreement reached at the Tokyo summit last July, I have urged United Kingdom oil importers to moderate their spot market transactions.

Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish details of the safety record of advanced gas-cooled reactors.

Operators of nuclear installations are required to report to me or my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, as appropriate, all incidents of safety significance occurring at their installations, including AGRs. Details of such incidents are published quarterly in a statement by the Health and Safety Executive.

Gas Prices

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on the likely level of gas prices in the coming year.

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his policy on the level of gas prices.

Oil worries and soaring oil prices mean a vast surge in the demand for gas. Any attempts to meet this in the short term could lead to interruptions. The position for some industry is especially difficult. The British Gas Corporation is advancing extra sums for capital investment to provide greater capacity, and it will be paying four to six times as much for future gas out of the North Sea as it pays under present contracts for older gas fields.The unavoidable move to higher energy prices which this means must be careful and gradual, but we cannot be insulated from the need for greater consistency in all energy pricing. Nor can we go on burning up our limited North Sea gas resources wastefully. This may bring relief today but it guarantees chaos and shortage in the future. Discussions are continuing with the aim of settling a three year financial target for the British Gas Corporation and the associated pricing strategy in order to restore a balance in gas supply and demand for the future. I will make an announcement to Parliament on these as soon as possible.

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with the price and availability of gas supplies; and if he will make a statement.

The Government have been reviewing gas pricing policy with the aim of setting the British Gas Corporation a three year financial target. Discussions on this are still continuing. As regards supplies, the Corporation is doing all it can to meet the current unprecedented demand for gas which far exceeds its planned rate of expansion.

Rural Petrol Stations

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with the recognition by oil companies of the need to assure supplies to small petrol stations.

Yes. As I have informed the House on a number of occasions recently, the oil companies concerned have given assurances that they will continue to supply small rural petrol stations if such stations have difficulty in finding alternative supplies and there is no other filling station within a reasonable distance.

Conservation

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the potential savings from energy conservation in 1980, 1990 and the year 2000, respectively.

Estimating "potential" savings with precision is always difficult. However in "Energy Projections 1979", recently published by my Department, it was assumed that the impact of energy conservation would reduce consumption by about 20 per cent. in the year 2000. This would be additional to the effect of normal technological progress.

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to announce further initiatives aimed at achieving greater energy conservation and a more rational use of energy.

In accordance with this policy, we have recently announced a modification of the homes insulation scheme to cover public sector tenants and to give special assistance to pensioners; an extension of the energy survey scheme to assist consideration of combined heat and power schemes in industry; and our intention to introduce a Bill later this Session to take powers relating to several energy conservation measures.

Oil-From-Coal Plants

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what further proposals he has for the development of oil-from-coal plants.

Further proposals for the development of oil-from-coal plants must await the outcome of the pilot plant design and feasibility studies for which the Government are providing financial assistance to the National Coal Board.

Electricity Generation

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what percentage of electricity generated by nuclear power in the past 12 months was produced by the advanced gas-cooled reactor stations; and what percentage of total electricity generation this represents.

I am advised by the Central Electricity Generating Board that 16·5 per cent. of the electricity supplied by the CEGB nuclear power stations in the 12 months to end October 1979 was produced by its AGR station at Hinkley Point. This represented 1·9 per cent. of total electricity supplied by the CEGB in that period. Power stations in Scotland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Smokeless Fuel (Ancid Process)

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action is proposed on the National Coal Board's request for Government financial assistance to introduce the ancid process to produce smokeless fuel in the National Smokeless Fuels Aberaman plant.

I am discussing with the Board its proposal for partial replacement of the plant.

Nuclear Policy

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he proposes to take to initiate informal public discussion on future nuclear policy; and if he will make a statement.

We believe that public discussion about nuclear power is important and can best be promoted if all concerned contribute to the debate in a fair and balanced way, making relevant information available and explaining the issues clearly. The Government will encourage this process.I intend, for instance, that the assessments I have requested from the nuclear installations inspectorate and the CEGB of the implications of the Kemeny report on the Three Mile Island accident should be made public; and I have made it clear that any decision to build a commercial demonstration fast reactor in Britain will be subject to a full public inquiry.

Lasers

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made in the use of lasers for isotopic separation; and when he expects to be able to use lasers as a safe, quicker and cheaper method of processing nuclear waste.

A lot of work is under way in the United States on the issue of laser-based processes for uranium isotopic separation. A number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, are also studying such processes. There are no clear indications yet that any such process has reached a production scale. Therefore it is not yet possible to assess accurately whether it will eventually become competitive with the centrifuge process for uranium enrichment.

Offshore Oil Exploration

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the rising rate of offshore oil exploration.

There has been a substantial increase in the number of exploration wells started in the last five months, not yet matched by a pick-up in the number of appraisal wells being drilled. Thus, although the substantial decline in exploration and appraisal drilling which occurred in 1978 has been halted, it would be premature to say that the level of activity in this respect is yet rising.

British National Oil Corporation

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to be able to announce detailed plans for the introduction of private capital into the British National Oil Corporation.

As my right hon. Friend previously told the House we are currently considering a number of options for achieving our objective of introducing private capital into BNOC's oil producing business. My right hon. Friend will be making a statement on this in due course.

Fast Breeder Reactors

35.

asked the Secertary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the present position of the fast breeder reactor project in general and the expected date for the opening of the inquiry into the commercial fast breeder reactor.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what plans he has for holding an inquiry into the proposed construction of a commercial demonstration fast breeder reactor.

The Atomic Energy Authority with the Central Electricity Generating Board and the Nuclear Power Company is at present considering the options, including the possibilities for international collaboration. I expect to have their proposals by the end of the year. Any decision to build a commercial demonstration fast breeder reactor in the United Kingdom would be subject to a full and thorough public inquiry. It is too soon to say when this would be held.

Offshore Oil Platforms

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his projection of the offshore oil platform market in 1980; and what variations in employment levels he expects.

The Government believe that there are good prospects for two or three oil platform orders being placed for the United Kingdom continental shelf in 1980. The effects on employment levels in particular yards cannot be predicted but if the contracts are placed with British yards it is reasonable to suppose that the current overall level of employment will be maintained.

Offshore Gas Flaring

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will give his estimate of the volume and value of gas flared offshore during the last three months;(2) what was the total value of the gas flared offshore during the last six months on the basis of his Department's valuation and at the level of the average price per cubic foot of gas received by British Gas.

The information requested is as follows:

Gas flared(a)
August 1979640
September 1979708
October 1979 (b)708
May-July 1979688
(a) Daily average of associated gas flared at UKCS oilfields in millions of standard cubic feet.
(b) Estimate based on September figures.
It is not possible to place a value on gas which it would be uneconomic to collect, or on gas temporarily being flared in order to allow oil production to continue. The decision I announced on 29 October will reduce associated gas flaring by 20–25 per cent. but reduce UKCS oil production by only 5 per cent. The average price per therm of gas received in 1978–79 by British Gas is 4½p.

Combined Heat And Power Group

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what work is currently being carried out by the Combined Heat and Power Group; and what practical results from its research have materialised.

With the presentation of its report to the Secretary of State for Energy in May, the Combined Heat and Power Group, chaired by Dr. Walter Marshall, concluded its work. The many complex issues raised in the report are being studied carefully and an announcement will be made in due course. I have recently announced a change in the extended energy survey scheme in order to assist detailed studies into the industrial potential of combined heat and power.

Departmental Contractors (Cash Limits)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy 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.

Contractors are not reimbursed extra labour costs under fixed price contracts but, where a contract provides for the reimbursement to the contractor of actual or calculated costs, that reimbursement will reflect the level of relevant nationally agreed wage settlements.There are, however, cash limits on expenditure which can be incurred by my Department. Any excessive increase in contractors costs would therefore mean less work for them.

Industrial Action

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the contingency plans drafted by the Electricity Council and the Central Electricity Generating Board to deal with serious industrial action in the industry.

European Community (Council Of Energy Ministers)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when the next meeting of European Economic Community Ministers is to be held; what items he expects to be on the agenda; and in what manner he expects to inform the House of any decisions made at that meeting.

The precise date of the next Council of EEC Energy Ministers, which was to have been 11 December, is uncertain. A meeting may, however, be arranged in early December to prepare, in the Community, for a meeting at ministerial level in December of the Internal Energy Authority governing board. The agenda for such a council would be a matter for the Presidency. I shall inform the House of any such meeting as soon as possible.

Wind Power

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, in order to encourage the use of wind power, he will bring forward proposals to provide for a scheme of rebates to electricity consumers who generate electricity by this means and feed surplus power into the grid, along the lines of cash incentive schemes for such users which are currently in operation in the United States of America.

The Government have no plans to introduce such a scheme. The tariff which the owner of a wind generator would receive for surplus power fed into the grid, should this be practicable, is a matter for negotiation between him and the electricity supply industry, and I am asking the chairman of the Electricity Council to write to the hon. Member on the point he has raised.

Windscale

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has received the report of the Health and Safety Executive on the safety arrangements at British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. Windscale site.

The review of safety arrangements at BNFL Windscale, which I announced on 26 July, is currently in progress. When it is completed the review team's findings will be published by the Health and Safety Executive.

Employment

Construction Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has for adequate funding of the basic training and the further education of young entrants to the construction industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Government take the view that the prime responsibility for industrial training should rest with industry itself. They will, however, continue to provide limited funds through the Manpower Services Commission's "training for skills" programme to supplement the resources of industry in certain key areas. Sums are being provided to the construction industry training board in the current financial year for this purpose; very largely in support of the initial craft training of young entrants to the industry. The Manpower Services Commission has yet to discuss with the construction industry training board the level of its support in the 1980–81 financial year.I do not propose to make a statement in advance of the outcome of those discussions.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the rules by which adjudicating authorities decide entitlement to unemployment benefit.

Entitlement to unemployment benefit is governed by the Social Security Act 1975, the associated regulations, and case law derived from key decisions of National Insurance Commissioners, which are published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

Opencast Mining (Workers' Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will refer to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service the pay dispute of the Transport and General Workers' Union with the National Coal Board in the opencast mining industry.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the dispute between the TGWU and the civil engineering contracting firms which undertake mining operations on the National Coal Board's opencast sites.I have no power to refer a dispute for conciliation by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. I understand that ACAS is in touch with the parties to his dispute but that it is currently being dealt with in the industry's disputes machinery.

Special Temporary Employment Programme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received in relation to reductions announced in the special temporary employment programme.

I have received representations about the effect of the reduction in the programme's budget on individual schemes and in specific areas of the country.

Secondary School Pupils (Career Advice)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has to ensure that adequate careers advice geared to the needs of industry and the professions is provided for third to fifth year secondary pupils.

Careers officers who give this advice are employed by local education authorities and they are trained, under the auspices of the local Government training board, in the study of industrial and professional occupations.My careers service inspectors are continually monitoring the adequacy of local arrangements for careers officers to keep themselves well informed of the changing needs of industry and the professions and to ensure that those needs are reflected in the advice they give to school children. The inspectors draw the attention of local authorities to any weaknesses they may find.

Redundancies And Job Losses

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies or job losses have been recorded by his Department since 4 May.

I regret that the information as requested is not available. However, I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, from information available to it, 80,926 redundancies were due to have occurred in Great Britain during the period May 1979 to October 1979.

European Social Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take an initiative to amend the regulation of the European social fund which specifies that projects should be financed by public funds in order to qualify for the social fund assistance.

No. The requirement for a matching contribution from a public authority towards projects for which social fund assistance is sought is accepted by the Governments of the member States. It is seen as some guarantee of the viability of the applicants and the usefulness of the activities for which assistance is sought. If this requirement were to be modified or abolished the Community's taxpayers would not have a firm asurance that their money was being directed to the most appropriate ends.

Incomes Policy

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will seek to meet the Trades Union Congress to discuss his policy on the level of pay settlements.

At the meeting of the National Economic Development Council on 5 December we hope to have a full discussion of economic prospects. The level of pay settlements will no doubt be one of the subjects covered.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those organisations and bodies which have made representations to the Manpower Services Commission on the consultative document concerning the quota scheme for the employment of disabled people.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the organisations and bodies which have made representations to it on the discussion document concerning the quota scheme for the employment of disabled people are as follows:

Trade Unions

  • Trades Union Congress
  • East Ham Trades Council
  • Wisbech Trade Union Council
  • Hatfield Trades Union Council
  • Scottish Trades Union Congress

Employers

  • Confederation of British Industry
  • British Broadcasting Corporation
  • Glass and Glazing Federation
  • British Ports Association
  • Dairy Trade Federation
  • Amey Roadstone Corporation Ltd.
  • British Steel Corporation
  • Thomas Mercer Ltd.
  • British Gas
  • The Electricity Council
  • The Post Office
  • British Airways
  • Remploy Ltd.
  • Remploy Ltd.
  • Food Manufacturers' Federation Inc.
  • F. H. Gilman Ltd.
  • General Council of British Shipping
  • The H.P. Motor Policies at Lloyds
  • Electronic Instruments Ltd.
  • Plastikos Ltd.
  • The Scottish Stamping & Engineering Co. Ltd.
  • Esso Petroleum Company Ltd.
  • Haven Products Ltd.
  • Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

Voluntary Organisations

  • Disability Alliance
  • Scottish Council on Disability
  • The Partially Sighted Society
  • Standing Conference of Voluntary Social Work Organisations in Staffordshire
  • The Spastic Society
  • Wales Council for the Disabled
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health
  • National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom
  • Social Services Research Group
  • Islington Disablement Association
  • Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation
  • Apex Trust
  • Croydon Disablement Association
  • Birmingham Royal Institution for the Blind
  • British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association
  • MIND—National Association for Mental Health
  • Association for Spinal Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
  • The Royal British Legion
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind
  • Disabled Advice Service
  • Association of Disabled Professionals
  • Greater London Association for the Disabled
  • The Scottish National Federation for the Welfare of the Blind
  • The John Dennison Social Group
  • Spinal Injuries Association
  • Low Pay Unit
  • Waltham Forest Association for the Disabled

Government Departments and other Government Organisations

  • Department of the Civil Service for Northern Ireland
  • Department of Health and Social Security
  • Equal Opportunities Commission
  • Civil Service Department
  • Scottish Health Service Common Services Agency
  • Royal Mint
  • Department of Manpower Services, Northern Ireland

Other Organisations and Bodies

  • The Society of Occupational Medicine
  • Greater London Council
  • West Midlands County Council
  • Association of Metropolitan Authorities
  • Northamptonshire Area Health Authority
  • Distributive Industry Training Board
  • Borough of Langbaurgh
  • Association of County Councils
  • Kirkcaldy District Council
  • Birmingham Chamber of Industry and Commerce
  • Rehabilitation Studies Unit of Edinburgh University
  • Institution of Industrial Managers
  • Edinburgh Council of Social Service
  • Paper and Paper Products Industrial Training Board
  • East Sussex Area Health & Local Authority Joint Care Planning Team
  • The British Computer Service
  • Chemical & Allied Products Industry Training Board
  • CBI/STUC Joint Working Group

Careers Service

  • The Hampshire Careers Service
  • The Institute of Careers Officers
  • Durham County Careers Service
  • Essex County Council Careers Service
  • Salop County Council Careers Service
  • Cambridgeshire Careers Service
  • Oxfordshire County Council Careers Service
  • London Borough of Bromley Careers Service
  • London & South East Working Party of Specialist Careers Officers
  • City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Careers Centre.

In addition, 170 of the 219 disablement advisory committees have responded.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms employing over 20 workers are employing their 3 per cent. of registered disabled workers.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that at the conclusion of the annual review on 1 June 1979, 17,045 or 35·3 per cent. of employers with 20 or more workers were employing 3 per cent. or more registered disabled workers.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms employing under 20 workers in Bolton are failing to employ a 3 per cent. quota of registered disabled workers and do not possess Government permits to avoid their quota.

Only firms which employ 20 or more workers are subject to the quota provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944. Firms with fewer than 20 workers are not required to maintain records relating to their employment of registered disabled people or to obtain permits before recruiting.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many registered disabled people are employed by the local authority in Bolton; and what this represents as a percentage of the work force in each department.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission—MSC—that information provided by the Bolton metropolitan borough council in June 1979 shows that 228 or 2·3 per cent. of the council's staff were registered disabled people.As the quota obligation relates to an employer's total staff there is no requirement for the employer to provide, nor for the MSC to obtain, information about the distribution of registered disabled people within an organisation.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what checks his Department carries out to see that firms are employing disabled workers capable of employment in those firms.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission—MSC—that employers with 20 or more workers are asked each year to submit returns showing the proportion of registered disabled people employed. Similar information is provided on permit applications by below-quota employers who wish to engage workers who are not registered as disabled. In addition, officers authorised by the MSC conduct a regular programme of inspections of employers' records during which the number of registered disabled people employed by the firms concerned are verified.Disablement resettlement officers advise employers about the employment of both registered and unregistered disabled people giving guidance on the suitability of jobs, calling on medical, psychological and technical expertise if necessary.Close co-operation between firms and the disablement resettlement officer is central to the MSC's "Fit for Work" campaign, which is aimed at promoting constructive policies on the employment of disabled people.

Training

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the expected increase in unemployment, he will now consider developing an education and training service for the long-term unemployed.

The provision of training for employment is the responsibility of the Manpower Services Commission. I am informed by the Commission that it has at this time no proposal for changing the arrangements it presently supports to provide training for those unemployed people, including the long-term unemployed, who would benefit from it. However, the Commission will continue to keep its training programmes under review in the light of the resources available to it, and the needs of the labour market.

Standing Commission On Pay Comparability

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the work on references and cases still to be completed by the Standing Commission on pay comparability; and when he expects to begin the review of the Commission's position.

Homeworking Advisory Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the homeworking advisory committee will meet next; and what it is due to discuss.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 31 October.—[Vol. 972, c. 530.]The future of this committee is still under consideration.

Race Relations Employment Advisory Group

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the race relations employment advisory group will meet next; and what it is due to discuss.

The advisory group held its first meeting under the chairmanship of the Minister of State on 29 October and will meet again in four months' time. The agenda for that meeting has yet to be finalised.The October meeting considered the consultative draft of the CRE's code of practice, a discussion paper on religious observance by Muslim employees and the report "Special Programmes, Special Needs" prepared by a working group convened by the MSC and the CRE.

Public Bodies

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list details of the number of (a) local government authorities, (b) nationalised industries, (c) regional health authorities and (d) area health authorities which have applied for and gained permits to employ non-disabled workers for each year since 1960; and if he will express these data as a percentage of the number of authorities covered in each of the groups.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the information requested is not available centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Special Temporary Employment Programme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons are currently employed in each region of England under the special temporary employment programme.

General Labourers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of unemployed males and females in the United Kingdom who were classified as general labourers in occupation group XVIII in the last month this year for which figures are available; and if he will give comparative figures for the two previous years in that month.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 November 1979]: The following table gives, for the dates specified, the numbers of unemployed people registered at employment offices in the United Kingdom for employment as general labourers:

MalesFemales
September 1977403,54572,400
September 1978393,39477,143
September 1979364,72175,183

Work Permits

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the precise differences in the revised scheme for work permits recently announced, as compared with the previous arrangements;(2) what is his estimate of the overall size of the annual reduction in work permits, by actual numbers and as a percentage of the whole, which he expects will result from the new arrangements recently announced; and if he will give similar estimates of the expected reductions in particular job categories.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 November 1979]: I draw the hon. Member's attention to my reply to a written question from my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Waller) on 14 November in which the proposed changes in the work permit scheme were specified. It is not possible to give an estimate of the annual reduction in work permits that will result from these new arrangements, as the success of an individual application for a work permit depends, among other factors, on the current availability of home labour, which cannot be known in advance.

Retail Trades

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the percentage increases in minimum wages for the different categories of persons involved proposed by the Retail Trade (Non-Food) Wages Council (Great Britain) under the order dated 19 October; and what impact upon the rate of inflation such increases are likely to make.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 November 1979, c. 98): The percentage increases in minimum wages are within the following ranges, depending upon age and occupation of the workers, and the areas in which they are employed:

Retail Drapery, Outfitting and Footwear Trades: 5 per cent. to 5·8 per cent.
Retail Bookselling and Stationery Trades: 11·2 per cent. to 12·2 per cent.
Retail Furnishing and Allied Trade: 10·6 per cent. to 12·9 per cent.
These increases establish a new basic rate for a shop assistant in the provincial A area of £47·50 per week, which is now payable at 20 instead of 21. The increases relate to minimum rates not actual earnings. The impact upon the rate of inflation is likely to be relatively modest.

Education And Science

Schools (Safety Measures)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children were injured and killed on school premises for each year since 1970; and if he is satisfied with measures being taken to prevent accidents in schools.

My Department does not collect information about accidents to children on school premises. Prevention of accidents in schools is primarily a matter for local education authorities but Her Majesty's inspectors, in the course of their work, give attention to the need to ensure safe working in schools, and advice is included in the Department's series of safety booklets.In particular, safety booklet No. 6, "Safety at School: General Advice", suggests that accidents should be reported to schools and local education authorities in accordance with the procedure laid down by them. Accidents are always regrettable and their prevention requires constant vigilance and the exercise of imagination on the part of all concerned. The Department will do its best to keep its advice up-to-date.

Open University

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many people in the areas served by the Oldham education authority and the Kirklees education authority are

1974–751975–761976–771977–781978–79
Aberystwyth University College179217218207200
Bangor University College221224236272300
Cardiff University College323422584770890
St. David's Lampeter1618151118
Swansa University College288383486574669
Welsh National School of Medicine2429433856
University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology309393499434499
Total1,3601,6862,0812,3062,632

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps are being taken to alleviate special hardships to overseas students caused by the abrupt rise in fees, especially medical students who have a long course to follow before qualifying.

For the academic year 1979–80, a total of £800,000 is being made available by way of university grant and rate support grant to enable institutions to assist individual overseas students,

presently undertaking courses run by the Open University.

My Department does not collect this information, but the university has supplied the following, which is based on information supplied by students at registration:

Undergraduate and associate students
Oldham148
Kirklees295

Overseas Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list overseas students' fees for postgraduate courses in science and engineering departments in Scottish universities.

I understand that in the present academic year the fees charged by all Scottish universities to overseas students attending normal postgraduate courses are at the recommended level of £1,230, irrespective of subject.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many overseas students have been registered in each of the university colleges in Wales for each of the past five years for which figures are available.

Following is the information for total numbers of overseas students:whatever their subject, who face special hardship as the result of fee increases. No such provision is considered necessary for 1980–81 since the full-cost fee arrangements have been announced almost a year in advance and will apply only to students beginning courses in that year.

Curriculum Planning

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he is taking to ensure that in all curriculum planning there are adequate resources of materials and teachers to overcome the traditional view of sex roles in comprehensive schools.

My Department drew the curricular implications of the Sex Discrimination Act to the attention of local education authorities in DES circular 2/76. Authorities were subsequently asked to report on steps taken to comply with the intentions of the Act in the review of local authority arrangements for the school curriculum, published on 14 November.The planning of the curriculum, provision of resource materials and the training of teachers to meet these requirements remain matters for individual authorities and schools. In the forthcoming consultations on a national framework for the curriculum, my right hon. and learned Friend will continue to bear in mind the need to ensure equality of educational opportunity for boys and girls.

Burnham Further Education Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has received a formal application for a place on the Burnham further education committee from the Association of Polytechnic Teachers; and when a reply may be expected.

Yes; my right hon. and learned Friend received such an application only within the last few days. A reply will be sent as soon as possible.

University Teachers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science further to the written reply by the Minister, Official Report, 25 October, c. 255–6, how soon he will be able to make an offer to the Association of University of Teachers and the University Authorities' Panel in relation to the pay settlement that was due on 1 October; and if it is his intention that the salary erosion over the past four years should be corrected in this pay settlement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 22 November to questions from the hon. Member for Manchester, Central (Mr. Litherland). [Vol. 974, c. 299.]

School Building

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average cost, at 1979 survey prices, of building (a) a 300-place primary school, (b) a 1,000-place secondary school and (c) a 100-place nursery school.

The information is as follows:

  • (a) £268,000.
  • (b) £1,761,000.
  • (c) £117.000.
  • The figures are purely illustrative. They are based on the average unit cost of construction for projects started in 1978–79, excluding expenditure on land, fees and equipment and the abnormally high costs of certain sites.

    Adult Education

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is prepared to make a statement on the advisory council of adult and continuing education's report "A Strategy for the Basic Education for Adults" in view of the expected termination of the adult literary unit in March 1980.

    Not yet. My right hon. and learned Friend recognises, however, the urgent need to reach a decision on the availability of central support for development work in adult basic education, including adult literacy, when the adult literacy unit's two-year term comes to an end in March 1980, and hopes to make a statement in the immediate future.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how his Department can encourage more adults to participate in higher and further education.

    In 1977–78 about 35 per cent. of full and part-time students on higher and further education courses in England and Wales were aged 25 or over. The means of encouraging even greater participation of adults on such courses is one of the matters which my right hon. and learned Friend would expect the Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education to include in the report on future policies and priorities for the development of continuing education to be presented to him this autumn.

    Education Officers (Salaries)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will rectify the situation which has arisen in respect of the salaries for education officers, in consequence of the 1975 Houghton report and the associated Soulbury arbitration, whereby many have become substantially worse off than the staff for whom they have direct responsibility; and if he will make a statement.

    The salary scales of chief education officers and their deputies are negotiated by the joint negotiating committee for chief officers of local authorities. Those of education officers who do not rank as chief officers are reviewed by the national joint council for local authorities' administrative, professional,

    ESTIMATED NET RECURRENT EXPENDITURE ON NURSEY EDUCATION IN THE FINANCIAL YEAR 1979–80
    £000s at 1979 survey prices
    Nursery schoolsNursery classes in Primary schoolsTotal
    Berkshire6505681,218
    Buckinghamshire165362527

    Further Education

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he plans to increase the participation rate of 16 to 19-year-olds in full-time education, especially in English regions and in local authority areas where the rate is below the national average.

    The Government would welcome a rise in participation in full-time education up to 16, especially in those areas where it is below average at present. Our current studies of the educational provision made for this age group, which we are undertaking in collaboration with the local education authorities, will include consideration of the factors which affect the demand for education.

    Local Authority Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied that cuts in local authority expenditure will not fall disproportionately upon the youth, community and adult education services; and if he is prepared to issue guidance to this effect to local education authorities.

    technical and clerical services. On neither of these bodies is central Government represented.

    Nursery Education (Berkshire And Buckinghamshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether Berkshire and Buckinghamshire county councils still retain nursery education in their areas; and, if so, what is the total cost in each area.

    Both local education authorities provide maintained nursery education places. It is not possible to provide an up-to-date estimate of the current cost to the authorities. The following figures are drawn from the education estimates statistics for 1979–80 published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy:

    The Government attach importance to maintaining the youth service, and our expenditure plans for 1980–81 allow for recurrent expenditure on it to be held steady. We also appreciate the importance of adult education, particularly that which has a high vocational content or is designed to promote higher standards of achievement in literacy and numeracy, but we recognise that adults may have to pay more towards the cost of some courses or that provision in some areas may have to be curtailed. It will be for individual local authorities, in the light of local circumstances and priorities, to determine what levels of expenditure are achieved locally, and I shall not issue specific guidance to them.

    Pupil-Teacher Ratio

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what the teacher-pupil ratio is in the Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire county council areas.

    In January 1979, the latest date for which information is available, the average ratios of pupils per qualified teacher within maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools for

    NurseryPrimarySecondaryTotal
    Berkshire19·323·816·819·9
    Buckinghamshire35·924·216·820·8
    Oxfordshire23·624·217·920·5

    The above pupil-teacher ratios relate to qualified teachers actually in schools at the time of survey.There are other teachers not included above being paid by the authority (e.g. seconded for other duties lasting a term or more, student teachers, instructors and those employed to cover short absences of regular teachers). The overall ratio of pupils in nursery, primary and secondary schools to all the teaching staff paid by local authorities in January 1979 were Berkshire 19·6, Buckinghamshire 20·1 and Oxfordshire 19·6.

    University College, Buckingham

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now designate University College, Buckingham, under the statutory awards regulations.

    Cabinet Papers (Press Leakage)

    asked the Prime Minister if she will investigate the leak of Cabinet papers, as pulished in The Sunday Times on 18 November; and whether she will make a statement.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will invsetigate the leaking of Cabinet papers on secret Cabinet committees to The Sunday Times newspaper as published on 18 November; and if she will make a statement.

    European Social Fund

    asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied that the European social fund gives sufficient help to voluntary organisations concerned with employment issues.

    The European social fund may meet half the cost of retraining, resettlement or rehabilitation schemes operated by public authorities.

    Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire were as follows:

    In the case of private bodies, the fund may contribute an amount equal to or not exceeding, any grant-aid from a public authority. Applications from voluntary bodies are welcomed, but few of them operate schemes which come within the scope of the fund because their work is concerned more with welfare than employment.

    Policy Unit

    asked the Prime Minister if she will give the functions and composition of the policy unit at 10 Downing Street; what reports it has produced; and if she will publish them.

    The policy unit concentrates on economic, industrial and employment policy. It works closely with the Central Policy Review Staff. At present the staff of the unit includes two special advisers, and one civil servant on secondment from the Department of Industry. The details of its work are confidential and I have no plans to publish any of it.

    Cabinet Committees

    asked the Prime Minister pursuant to her answer on 26 October, in what way it would infringe the principle of collective responsibility to give further details of Cabinet committees and sub-committees.

    Under the principle of collective responsibility, all members of the Government are jointly responsible for all the Government's policies and decisions. The publication of details of Cabinet Committees and sub-committees would tend to imply that Ministers shared responsibility only for decisions in Committees of which they were members.

    Mr Anthony Blunt

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will give, for the longest and most convenient stated period of time, the number of occasions when she or officials from her Department have telephoned self-confessed criminals or their legal advisers to inform them of the intention of her Department to make a ministerial statement in answer to a tabled parliamentary question concerning such person's criminal activities, before such parliamentary statement has been made; and what, in each instance, was the reason for this action.

    The circumstances in which Professor Blunt's legal adviser was informed in advance of my statement of 15 November were set out in my answer of 20 November to the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) and in my speech in the House on 21 November. That is the only occasion.

    asked the Prime Minister (1) if she will lay before the House such information as has been made available to her as to why the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Attorney-General, on assuming office in October 1964, were not informed of the activities of Mr. Anthony Blunt; and what was the post of the official who was responsible for bringing this matter to their attention;(2) if she will lay before the House such information as has been made available to her as to why the new Home Secretary in November 1967 was not informed on assuming office of the activities of Mr. Anthony Blunt; and what was the post of the official who was responsible for bringing this matter to his attention;(3) if she will lay before the House such information as has been made available to her as to why the new Home Secretary in December 1965 was not informed on assuming office of the activities of Mr. Anthony Blunt; and what was the post of the official who was responsible for bringing this matter to his attention.

    Economic Policy

    asked the Prime Minister if she intends to make a ministerial broadcast of the effects on her Government's economic policy arising from the increase in the minimum lending rate and the mortgage interest rate.

    House Purchase

    asked the Prime Minister if she intends to make a ministerial broadcast on the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the position of potential first-time house buyers arising from the increase in the mortgage interest rate.

    Public Expenditure

    asked the Prime Minister what representations she has received over the Government's cuts in public expenditure relating to the social, housing and education services.

    I have received several hundred letters from members of the public and a number of petitions.

    Government (Information)

    asked the Prime Minister if, pursuant to her reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr, Official Report, 23 October, c. 131, regarding Government information, she will make a statement on the unusual kinds of material referred to in paragraph 9 of Sir Douglas Allen's letter which Her Majesty's Government have made available since 3 May.

    Scotland

    Roads And Transport Budget

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will break down the Scottish roads and transport budget for the years 1974–75 to 1980–81 into the detailed form found in table 2.6 of Cmnd. 7439 on public expenditure—January 1979.

    The following table gives the information requested relating to expenditure for which I am responsible. The figures for the years preceding 1980–81 reflect the latest information on outturn.

    ROAD AND TRANSPORT—ANALYSIS OF EXPENDITURE IN SCOTLAND WITHIN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'RESPONSIBILITY*

    £ million at survey prices

    1974–75

    1975–76

    1976–77

    1977–78

    1978–79

    1979–80

    1980–81

    MOTORWAYS AND TRUNK ROADS
    New Construction and Improvement54575467605758
    Maintenance11121414141412
    Total64696881757170
    LOCAL TRANSPORT

    Capital:

    Roads—New Construction and Improvement95766454525964
    Car Parks432222
    Public Transport Investment10182524382919

    Current:

    Roads—Maintenance84827885897883
    Road Safety etc.1114111
    Local Authority Administration13121310151313

    Passenger Transport Subsidies:

    British Rail512911121415
    Bus and Ferry8161011131715
    Concessionary Fares11181616191916
    TOTAL230238219216242232229
    CENTRAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES
    Scottish Transport Group1645444
    Other1111
    TOTAL2655456
    PORTS AND SHIPPING
    Ports6563131
    OTHER TRANSPORT SERVICES
    Roads and Transport Administration2222222
    TOTAL ROADS AND TRANSPORT304320299307325313308

    * All the figures have been rounded to the nearest £1 million and do not necessarily sum to the totals.

    Court Administration (Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people are employed in the Scottish court administration; and what increase there has been in that number over the last five years.

    The number of staff employed in the Scottish courts administration at 1 October 1974 and at 1 October 1979 was 47; the staff employed in the Scottish courts and other bodies for which the administration is responsible was 690 and 813 at 1 October 1974 and 1979 respectively.

    Departmental Contractors (Cash Limits)

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

    There is a cash limit on the amount available for procurement in my Department. Any excessive increase in the level of contractors' costs would, therefore, reduce the amount of work they can be given. In the case of cost-plus contracts, or contracts where the price may be adjusted to take account of changes in costs, the amount of reimbursement will reflect the level of relevant nationally agreed wage settlements.

    Patients (Records)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent computerised data and records about patients are kept within his Department or by health authorities in Scotland; when this was authorised; which health authorities keep such records; and what safeguards have been prescribed by him.

    Gas Supplies

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent the shortage of gas supply has hindered new industrial development in Scotland; and when these requirements will be met.

    There are difficulties, which are not confined to Scotland, about the supply of gas, but these have not led to the cancellation of any industrial projects.

    Security Services

    asked the Prime Minister if the recent freeze on Civil Service appointments applies to the security services.

    I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 27 July to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Cook).—[Vol. 971, c. 516.]

    Wales

    Severn-Trent Water Authority

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he will be meeting the chairman of the Severn-Trent water authority.

    My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State is attending a meeting with the chairmen of the National Water Council and of the water authorities, including the Severn-Trent water authority, this afternoon. I have no plans for a separate meeting with Sir William Dugdale.

    North-East Wales (Traffic Needs)