Written Answers To Questions
Monday 10 December 1979
Obscene Publications Act 1959
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought summarily and on indictment, respectively for which figures are available; and how many in each category resulted in convictions for offences against the Obscene Publications Act 1959 in the last convenient period.
The information available relates to offences under the Obscene Publications Acts of both 1959 and 1964. In 1978, the latest year for which figures are available, 142 persons were tried summarily in England and Wales for offences under these Acts and 124 were found guilty; in the same period 41 persons were tried at the crown court for such offences and 34 were found guilty. Information on such proceedings at magistrates' courts is published annually in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales" (table 1(a)(iii) of the volume for 1978. Cmnd. 7670).
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied that the proposed new immigration rules are compatible with the United Kingdom's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to a question by the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon) on 30 November.—[Vol. 974, c. 813.]
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the result of the consideration by the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils of the implications of the increasing hazard presented by the ignitability of polyurethane foam in upholstered furniture.
I understand that the preparation of the reports on the fires at Woolworths store, Manchester, and Hartopp Court nursing home, Sutton Coldfield, in the context of which these implications are being considered, is well advanced.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Gibson inquiry is expected to report.
The regional director of the South-East region, Mr. Keith Gibson, is still conducting inquiries into the incident at Wormwood Scrubs and it is too soon to say when his report will be available.
Television Licences (Concessionary Schemes)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce a concessionary scheme in respect of television licences for pensioners which will be available to every pensioner within the United Kingdom.
Local Government Elections (Wirral)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will be in a position to rule on whether committes will be assigned or whether there will be an election of the whole council for the metropolitan borough of the Wirral in May 1980.
The order made on 23 November 1979 providing new electoral arrangements for the borough of Wirral includes provision for the assignment of all the serving councillors to the new wards. One of the three councillors for each new ward will be elected at the elections to be held on 1 May 1980.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to his answer of 5 December, he will list the listening devices which are used in the detection of alleged fraud.
I am not in a position to do so; the use of equipment is an operational matter for each chief officer of police.
Camp Hill Prison (Disturbance)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many medical officers were present at the disturbance at Camp Hill prison on 20 September; where they came from; if any prisoners were injected; if so, with what and for what purpose; if any were forcibly injected; if he will make a full statement on the events leading up to the disturbance; and what steps were taken to control it and afterwards.
The medical officer for Camp Hill prison saw all the inmates involved in the demonstration in St. George's hall immediately after it took place. No inmate was injured and no treatment of any sort was required or administered. As to the circumstances and control of the demonstration, I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave to his questions on 5 and 15 November.—[Vol. 973, c. 13–15, 721–22.… All the inmates who had taken part in the demonstration were adjudicated upon on 21 September, when the normal regime of the hall resumed.
Overseas Visitors (Overstaying)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the proportion of visitors to the United Kingdom which is subsequently checked for possible overstaying, the proportion of those so checked which has in fact overstayed and the proportion of those which has overstayed which cannot be located within a three-month period; and what is the proportion of those which is located which is subsequently deported.
I regret that this information is not available. I referred to the problem of overstayers in the course of the debate on 4 December. It is the normal practice to report those overstayers who are detected and who have no claim under the immigration rules to remain and do not leave voluntarily.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to his answer relating to monthly admissions of Iranian nationals to the United Kingdom in the Official Report, 4 December, column 99, he will publish a breakdown of the figures of entries for each month (a) by reason of entry, (b) by length of permitted stay, (c) by number subsequently asking for an extension of stay and (d) by number granted an extension.
I shall reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action is taken to measure the effectiveness of the immigration service as a whole, by port of entry, and the individual effectiveness of each member of staff.
The work of the immigration service generally and of its individual members is not of a kind which enables quantifiable measurement of its effectiveness to be made.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice is given to parents registering a child born as a result of artificial insemination by donor as to the legal requirements relating to parenthood.
I have been asked to reply.At birth registration, the registrar asks for the names of the father and mother of the child and it is the informant's responsibility to give the information to the best of his or her knowledge and belief. Advice about the legal status of any child that may be born following artificial insemination by a donor should be given to the mother and her husband by their medical or legal advisers.
Health And Safety At Work (Prosecutions)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many prosecutions have been brought under section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974; and how many and what percentage of such prosecutions has resulted in convictions and how many in acquitals.
The chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that 74 prosecutions have been brought by Health and Safety Executive inspectorates under section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act involving 91 informations. Of these, 76 (84 per cent.) resulted in convictions; 12 were dismissed and 3 withdrawn. Information in this detail is not available about prosecutions by local authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many deaths at work and how many reportable accidents were reported in each six-month period from 1 January 1974 to 1 July 1979, respectively.
The chairman of the Health and Safety Commission has provided me with the figures in the table below. Before 1978, some inspectorates compiled figures annually only. From 1978, the figures include accidents in the field covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, not reportable under previous legislation. An estimate for 1978 excluding these "new entrants" is shown in the table for comparability.
|REPORTED ACCIDENTS AT WORK|
|Excluding "new entrants"||498||329,200|
|Including "new entrants"||621||346,015|
|†Excluding non-serious accidents in mines, other than NCB, and quarries, for which only annual figures are available.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the increase in deaths on farms from 17 in the first six months of 1978 to 34 in the first six months of 1979, he will seek to amend the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act so as to require farmers to give access to trade union safety representatives.
I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that there are no plans at present to recommend changes to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to require farmers to give access to trade union safety representatives.
Fatalities due to agricultural operations in 1978 were the lowest on record, the comparative figures for recent years being:
|(to 30/11/79) 72, with a further 20 waiting confirmation.|
As there is no set pattern for the incidence of fatal accidents comparisons between 1978 and other years, or parts thereof, can be misleading.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will reduce the redundancy rebate payable to Airfix Ltd. resulting from the closure of Meecano, Liverpool, by the maximum of 10 per cent.; and if he will institute proceedings under the Redundancy Payments Act in view of the fact that it has failed to issue the statutory 90 days' notice;(2) whether his Department was notified by Airfix Ltd. of its intention to claim special circumstances with regard to its failure to issue 90 days' notice of redundancy to the employees of Meccano Ltd.; and if so, what reasons it has given for its action.
The Department has written to both Meccano Ltd. and the parent company Airfix Ltd. asking, as a matter of urgency, whether there were special circumstances rendering it "not reasonably practicable" to give the Department the 90 days' notice of redundancy required under the Employment Protection Act 1975, and, if so, what these were. Until a reply is received, it is not possible to say whether or not a penalty is appropriate.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what adjustment would be needed in each of the limits listed in the draft statutory instrument, The Employment Protection (Variation of Limits) Order 1979, to restore them to their values at the time of introduction.
The weekly earnings limit for redundancy payments was fixed at £40 in 1965. An increase to approximately £160 would be necessary to keep in line with increases in the retail price index to September 1979. The earnings limits for the insolvency provisions and for basic awards under the unfair dismissal provisions of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 have, since their introduction, been the same as that applied to redundancy payments.The limit for guarantee pay was fixed initially at £6 per day in February 1977. Based on the RPI increase to September 1979, a current figure of £8 would have the same value.
Consett And Stanley
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the numbers and percentage rates of unemployment at Consett and Stanley for men, women and young persons.
In the area covered by the Consett and Stanley employment offices, the numbers of males and females registered as unemployed at 8 November were 2,277 and 1,132 respectively. The November figures for Stanley include Lanchester, which was previously a separate employment office area. The unemployment rates for the Consett travel-to-work area, which comprises the Consett and Stanley employment office areas, were 11·3 per cent. for males and 10£1 per cent. for females.Unemployment figures for young people can be obtained from the quarterly age analyses, the latest of which was for 11 October. The numbers unemployed at that date were 2,074 males and 1,110 females, of which 332 males and 350 females were under 20 years of age. Rates of unemployment for young people are not calculated for local areas.
Shell Tanker Drivers
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has been brought into the dispute concerning Shell tanker drivers; and if he will make a statement.
I understand that ACAS has held a joint meeting with representatives of management and the Transport and General Workers Union and that the parties have subsequently held separate discussions. No agreement has yet emerged but ACAS remains in close touch with both sides.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment from which organisations he received representations, or which organisations he consulted, about the Bakery Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954 before reaching the view that it was anomalous and unsatisfactory.
I have received representations from the National Association of Master Bakers, Confectioners and Caterers and the Federation of Bakers.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what new factors have emerged since the report of the Rees committee in 1951 which made its recommendation as embodied in the Bakery Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954, anomalous and unsatisfactory in the opinion of his Department; and if he will make a statement.
In accordance with the hopes expressed by the Rees committee, voluntary agreements have in fact regulated night baking for many years past. Accordingly, exemption orders have been made which relieved the bakers concerned from the statutory restrictions. The agreement covering the master bakers has however been amended under pressure from the bakers' union to include a union recruitment clause which is unacceptable to the majority of master bakers. This clause has nothing to do with the purpose of the Act, and I regard it as highly anomalous and unsatisfactory that a workers' welfare Act should be capable of being used to bring pressure to bear on master bakers to observe such a clause.
asked the Attorney-General what is the present annual cost of criminal and civil legal aid, respectively.
The Supply Estimates for 1979–80 provide for a net cost in England and Wales of approximately £62·2 million for criminal legal aid, and of approximately £49 million for civil legal aid and advice and assistance. Civil legal aid, legal advice and assistance and legal aid in criminal cases in magistrates' courts fall on the Vote of the Lord Chancellor, while criminal legal aid in the higher courts falls on the Vote of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.
asked the Attorney-General what is the estimated percentage of the population eligible for legal aid.
Eligibility for the civil legal aid depends upon a number of factors and it is not possible to give a precise answer. However, it is estimated that about 75 per cent. of the adult population is eligible. It is not possible to gibe a similar estimate for criminal legal aid because there is no eligibility.
Court Proceedings (Delay)
asked the Attorney-General how long, on average, the cases currently in the warned list of cases of motions for hearings in the Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division of applications for judicial review or orders of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, other than cases in the expedited list, have been waiting for hearing since leave to apply for such relief was granted; and how long the greatest delay has been to date in waiting for hearing of such a motion.
The average waiting time for these cases is approximately two years. The greatest delay to date has been two years, three months. In order to reduce waiting time, two divisional courts are now sitting instead of one.
asked the Attorney-General how many cases of possible prosecution for treason or under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act have been considered by him since he took office in May.
Apart from my consideration of the Blunt case which I explained fully to the House in the Adjournment debate on 21 November, there has been only one case under section 1 which has been reported to me and which I am currently considering.
asked the Attorney-General what consideration he has given to the question of the compatibility of the new immigration rules with the United Kingdom's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
It would not be in accordance with accepted principles with regard to the confidentiality of Law Officers' advice for me to disclose the legal questions upon which I have been consulted.
asked the Attorney-General whether he is satisfied with the arrangements for granting immunity to traitors.
I am satisfied with the arrangements as stated in the House by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 21 November.
asked the Attorney-General if he has concluded his consideration of the guidelines on jury vetting.
I refer the hon. Member to the oral answer, which I gave earlier to the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Dubs).
Director Of Public Prosecutions
asked the Attorney-General when he plans to meet the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Search Inquiries (House Purchase)
asked the Attorney-General if he is satisfied that the information that local authorities need to supply in response to search inquiries is adequate to protect house purchasers.
It is not considered that this information is inadequate for the purposes for which it is sought. The Lord Chancellor will be writing to the hon. Member about the case he has raised in correspondence.
asked the Attorney-General when he now expects action by the Director of Public Prosecutions on matters referred to him arising out of the Bingham report.The Attorney-General: I shall be making a statement to the House as soon as possible.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many Iranian students are currently studying at (a) United Kingdom schools and (b) United Kingdom colleges and universities.
In 1977–78, the latest year for which information is available, there were 10,079 students from Iran studying at universities and maintained, grant-aided and assisted establishments of further and higher education in the United Kingdom. Additional information, from the British Council, about students at private colleges and in professional training indicates that the total including them would be about 12,000.My Department does not collect this information for schools.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list by individual establishment the numbers of Iranian students currently enrolled in universities or other institutes of higher education.
This information is not available, on grounds of disproportionate cost. For the total number of such students I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown) today.
University Teachers (Pay)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress was made in the negotiations on university teachers' salaries at the meeting arranged for 3 December; if the principles laid down in the Leggatt arbitration award 1974 were taken into consideration; and if he will make a statement.
Negotiations began and a further meeting has been arranged. It would not be helpful to seek to conduct pay negotiations in public.
Nursery Education (Oxfordshire)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what reply he has received from Oxfordshire county council to his letter requesting details of its decision to discontinue nursery classes.
I have been informed by the county secretary that the Oxfordshire county council has proposed to reduce expenditure on nursery education by £386,500 by 1982–83. This would involve the closure of several, but not all, of its nursery schools and nursery classes. The council has also instructed its chief education officer to prepare a report for consideration in the new year on the provision of alternative arrangements for the education of under-fives.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what reply he has made to the notification sent to him by Bexley local authority under section 13 of the Education Act 1944 concerning the future of Erith school.
None as yet. The proposals are still being examined.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East on 20 November, if he will list in the Official Reportwhat school buildings could be provided for £399,000.
£160,000 of Wolverhampton's planning allocation for school building in 1980–81 is earmarked for energy conservation: it is for the authority to decide how to use the balance of £239,000. Additional places could be provided on a permanent or temporary basis; existing school buildings could be replaced, remodelled or improved or a combination of such projects could be undertaken. The allocation would permit about 250 primary or 150 secondary places to be built in permanent construction.
Lisa James And Jacqueline Nutt
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the delays in reaching a decision which have prevented the children concerned from attending a school of their choice since 2 September, if he will as a matter of urgency make a direction, in accordance with the provisions of section 37 of the Education Act 1944 for the placing of Lisa James and Jacqueline Nutt into Hanham high school in the county of Avon where there are places available for them.
I am informed that the Avon local education authority has agreed to admit both girls to Hanham high school from 10 December.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what controls exist for the Government to monitor the number of overseas students overall and at individual establishments of higher education in the public and the private sectors, respectively.
Information on numbers of overseas students at universities and public sector institutions is obtained by way of annual statistical returns. Government control currently consists in making provision in university grant and rate support grant consistent with a planned total number of such students. My right hon. and learned Friend has no responsibility in this respect as regards the private sector.
Non-Advanced Further Education
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the amount of money to be allocated to the expansion of non-advanced further education to which reference is made in paragraph 33 of Cmnd. 7746; over what period it will be allocated; and by what means it will be made available, whether through rate support grant or otherwise, to ensure its expenditure on the declared objective.
The Government's plans for 1980–81 allow for provision for home students in non-advanced further education to increase by some £20 million compared with the estimated level in 1978–79. This is reflected in the rate support grant settlement for local authorities announced on 16 November.
Dental Health Lessons
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many dental health education lessons and projects were carried out in nursery, junior and secondary schools in 1978.
The information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on continuity of fuel supplies for British glasshouse growers during the current winter.
Overall supplies of fuel oil are expected to be adequate this winter, provided there is no interruption to crude oil supplies.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) when he expects to receive the report of the Health and Safety Executive into the radiation leak at Wind scale first discovered on 10 October 1976; and why this leak has not yet been stopped;(2) what further reports into the operations at Windscale he expects to receive, and when, from the Health and Safety Executive;(3) what discussions he has had with the Health and Safety Executive concerning British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. over a second radiation leak at Windscale; and what action he intends to take;(4) what is his assessment of the danger to the public caused by the radiation leaks at Windscale; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 5 December 1979, c. 222…: The first leak to which the hon. Member refers, of contaminated water from the B38 storage silo, was found on 10 October 1976. The bulk of the resulting activity is at present confined to within a few metres of the site of the leak. BNFL and the Government Departments and agencies concerned are checking regularly to determine whether any migration is occurring. There is no evidence of any hazard to workers at Windscale; to the environment beyond the immediate vicinity of the buildings concerned; or to the public generally.BNFL has been advised that the most effective way to stop this leak would be to empty the silo of water, solid and semisolid waste and reprocess these. The company is pursuing urgently the development of schemes to do this, but it will be a considerable time before the necessary remote control equipment, techniques and ancillary processes can be developed and installed. Attempts to seal the silo from the inside without emptying it would be of doubtful effectiveness. They might also prejudice the possibility of emptying the silo, as the result of solidification of contaminated sealing material. Attempts to seal from the outside would involve exposure of workers to radioactivity, besides being of uncertain effectiveness. Since the evidence is that the additional activity which may leak out in the next few years will be small compared with the amount which has already been released and that this is contained in the vicinity of the silo, the company is to continue with the development of the emptying route. But in parallel with this, the company has been required by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to develop contingency plans for sealing from the inside without emptying, and also for undertaking the major engineering work involved in building a curtain wall round the silo should the results of monitoring make either necessary.The second leak, of high activity liquid, from a building no longer in operational use, was stopped as soon as it was discovered. In this case also the bulk of the resulting activity is confined to the immediate area of the leak. The activity is being monitored regularly and, as was made clear in an interim report published by the Health and Safety Executive on 17 May, there is no evidence of any hazard to site workers, the environment beyond the area concerned or to the public.The HSE is to publish three separate reports on safety at Windscale. The present position on these is as follows:
National Coal Board Farms
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will instruct the National Coal Board to sell off the National Coal Board farms.
I understand that the policy of the National Coal Board, which it has pursued for many years, is to sell agricultural land which is surplus to its future deepmined and opencast operational requirements. Under this policy the Board sold 1,700 acres in 1978–79.
Power Stations (Coal Costs)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimate he has made of the likely average price of imported coal delivered to United Kingdom power stations for the next year.
No such estimate has been made. Import prices depend upon contracts between the electricity boards and their suppliers and freight carriers, and are commercially confidential.
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.
[pursuant to his reply, 26 November 1979, c. 427–28…: I propose, subject to the necessary consultation procedure, to reduce from 68°F to 66°F the temperature above which it is illegal to use fuel to heat non-domestic buildings.
Nuclear Waste (Transportation)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he hopes to receive the report of the study announced by the Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, 15 November column 724, into a situation which assumes that a flask of steel, carrying irradiated fuel elements has been damaged with a hole in it; and if he will make a statement.
Arrangements for the study are being made, and it will be completed as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what cash grants have been made by the Exchequer to the Royal Welsh National Eisteddfod in the last decade.
Grants amounting to £325,000 have been made, all since 1977–78 and entirely towards costs associated with the Eisteddfod pavilion. In addition, up to £70,000 will be paid in the current financial year.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the representations he has received from Wales concerning the complaints about the use of the weedkiller 2,4,5-T, and if he will make a statement.
I have received no representations or complaints.
British Steel Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met the chairman of the British Steel Corporation to discuss the future of the steel industry in South Wales
On 28 November.
Development Board For Rural Wales
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the proposed financial allocation to be given to the Development Board for Rural Wales for the year 1980–81; and how much of a cut this represents as compared with the board's allocation for the year 1979–80.
The planned allocation to the Development Board for Rural Wales for 1980–81 based on the figures in Cmnd. 7746 is £6 million. This compares with £9·4 million actually allocated for 1979–80, which included a supplementary of £3·8 million transferred from other Welsh Office programmes over the original £5·6 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met a deputation from the Development Board for Rural Wales; who were the persons present from his office and the Development Board for Rural Wales, respectively; and what subjects were discussed.
I met the chairman and two members of the board on 4 December. The chief executive and the development director of the board and officials of my Department were also present. We discussed the future work of the board.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of the Development Board for Rural Wales' financial allocation for the year 1980–81 will be allocated for spending (a) in Newtown and (b) outside Newtown; and what proportion of its allocation is proposed to be allocated to its social development fund.
It is anticipated that £3·3 million of the board's planned allocation of £6 million for 1980–81 will be made available for Newtown. The board's provision for carrying out its social development powers under section 4(1)(d)(ii) of the Development of Rural Wales Act 1976 will be published in due course in the 1980–81 Estimates.
Young Persons (Job Creation)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the progress of discussions between his Department and the European Commission about the availability of Community funds for the creation of jobs for young people in Wales.
If the right hon. Member is referring to the designation of regional priority areas for youth unemployment under the European social fund, this is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment. I remain in close touch with him on developing our policy on this with the European Commission.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his Department has estimated the industrial effect of any decision to repay value added tax quarterly to those traders who currently opt to receive repayment monthly.
The effect on industry would be carefully considered before any such decision were taken.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the annual amount of value added tax payments which are illegally evaded; and to what extent he considers that the amount of evasion is related to the rate at which value added tax is levied.
The only relevant estimate available is one made some years ago following a special exercise by Customs and Excise. This suggested that the net loss to the Exchequer through under-declaration was around 1 per cent. to 1½ per cent. of the total yield. Changes in the rates at which any tax is levied are likely to have some effect on the level of evasion.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate for the year 1979–80 of the total number of repayment traders who have opted for and are currently receiving monthly repayments of value added tax from Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, broken down by trading classifications as in the answer to the hon. Member for Gosport, dated 23 November 1979; and what is the estimated amount of value added tax that will be repaid to each such group during 1979–80.
I will let my hon Friend have a reply as soon as possible
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether in fixing the monetary target in the range 7 to 11 per cent. compared with the forecast rate of inflation of 17 to 20 per cent., it is the Government's intention to reduce real wages in manufacturing industry by 10 per cent.
The short-term relationship between monetary growth, inflation and real incomes is complex and variable. In the short term, the relationship between monetary growth and prices and output depends on the velocity of circulation; and, except in the very short-term, the growth of real incomes is inversely related to inflation. In the long run, however, the velocity of circulation is broadly stable, there is a close relationship between monetary growth and inflation, and real incomes grow in line with productivity.The Government's policies, which are aimed firmly at the long run, are designed to secure a progressive reduction in monetary growth and inflation, which in turn will provide the best possible base for sustainable increases in productivity and hence real incomes.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he estimates that British industry can increase its output in the absence of an increase in the money supply to match the increase in the cost of living without a cut in real wages; and, if not, how existing output will be sold in the home market in the face of the reduced demand.
It is possible for output to rise when the money supply grows more slowly than the cost of living even if real wages are not reduced. Furthermore, one of the conditions essential for reducing inflation is that the money supply should grow less quickly than nominal GDP, in which circumstances the velocity of circulation necessarily rises. As inflation comes under control, and provided real wages are at levels which permit proper levels of profits, the rate of growth of real output can be expected to increase, and the rates of growth of money supply and nominal GDP to approximate more closely to one another.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increase in M3 would be required to finance an increase in exports to eliminate the expected deficit on the current account balance of payments in 1979–80; and how the increase in exports could be financed within the present target range for M3 in the absence of overseas borrowing without a reduction in the supply of goods and services to the home market.
There would be little purpose in attempting to make an estimate of this kind. To the extent that a tight monetary policy acts as a constraint on the finance of exports, it also restrains the purchase of domestically-consumed imports.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the reason why he considers that in present circumstances an increase in the money supply over and above the target rate will lead to an increase in prices if (a) it is saved, (b) it is spent on imports, (c) it is spent on United Kingdom manufactures, (d) it is spent on services or (e) it is spent in some other way.
An increase in money supply must be associated with an increase in price, output or the velocity of circulation, or a combination of them. In the long run, output growth is determined by the growth of productive potential, and velocity does not change very much. Increases in monetary growth are therefore reflected in increases in inflation. This is true whatever the initial response to the increase in money supply is.In the short run, the relationships are much more complex. It would require disproportionate time and effort to explain all the relevant factors.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect on the level of economic activity the successful achievement of the target increase in the money supply will have, given that the rate of price inflation is greater than the above target increase.
This will depend on how quickly pay increases respond to the lower rate of monetary growth.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will circulate a table in the Official Report showing the estimated value of owner-occupied housing in each of the years 1952 to 1978 in comparison with the total stock of assets, the value of ordinary shares held by individuals, and the capital invested in manufacturing industry.
There are no official statistics of the value of owner-occupied housing: any estimate would have to be based on assumptions and could be misleading. There are also difficulties in making the comparisons requested. I shall, however write to the hon. Member giving such help as I can.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average number of unemployed in the first half of 1979; and what was the average amount spent on unemployment benefits, job creation schemes etc. and unemployment-related supplementary benefits etc.
The number of unemployed is published in the Department of Employment Gazette. I have been informed from the Departments concerned that, in the first half of this financial year, the total spending on unemployment benefits was £280 million, selective employment schemes £163 million, and unemployment-related supplementary benefits £320 million.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in making his forecast of public expenditure for 1980–81 what unemployment figures he was assuming for England, Wales and Scotland.
As I informed the House on 1 November, a broad working assumption of unemployment in Great Britain was used for the calculation of the social security programme. It is not necessary for this purpose to make separate assumptions for the individual countries and the information requested is not available.
United Kingdom—Republic Of Ireland (Growth Rates)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his reply to the question from the hon. Member for Grimsby on 23 November comparing the growth rate in the United Kingdom and in the Republic of Ireland, in the light of the information in table 16 of the Eurostat basic statistics, whether he will supplement the table which he has already circulated with the corresponding figures for earnings and retail prices in both countries; why the figures he has given for the increase in the money supply in the Republic of Ireland differ from those given in table 138 of
|Comparison of rates of growth of average earnings*||Comparison of price movements|
|Republic of Ireland||Great Britain||Republic of Ireland||United Kingdom|
|Percentage increase on previous year|
|* Average earning in manufacturing industry, hourly—Republic of Ireland, weekly—Great Britain.|
|OECD Main economic indicators.|
|Historical Statistics 1960–75.|
|OECD Main economic indicators October 1979.|
|For United Kingdom:|
|General index of retail prices.|
|Department of Employment Gazette.|
|For Republic of Ireland:|
|Consumer price index, International Financial Statistics Year Book (IMF).|
Eurostat Basic Statisticsare of M1 (amounts outstanding at mid-December); the figures for the Republic of Ireland appear to be for a similar narrowly defined aggregate. Judgment on the reliability of the two Republic of Ireland measures is a matter for the Irish monetary authorities.—[Vol. 974, c. 402.…
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update the reply given to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North Official Report,31 July 1978, column 66, comparing total net annual tax liability, income tax plus national insurance contributions, less child benefit where appropriate, for each of the following categories: a single person, two
the Eurostat publication; and which he estimates to be the more reliable.
Pursuant to my answer of 23 November, such corresponding figures as are readily available for earnings and retail prices are given in the table below:single people, a married couple, a two-wage married couple, a married couple with two children, and a married couple with four children, assuming earnings equal to 50 per cent., 75 per cent., 100 per cent., 150 per cent., 200 per cent. and 300 per cent. of average male manual earnings, and that the taxpayer is contracted into the State pension scheme and itemising the increase or decrease in net tax liability since May 1978 in every case.
The figures are as follows. They are on the same basis as the previous answer but have been updated now that the April 1978 and April 1979 new earnings survey figures of average earnings are available.The assumed level of average earnings for May 1979 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 3-month moving average of the whole economy index of average earnings of all employees.
|ANNUAL FIGURES BASED ON EARNINGS IN MAY|
|Single person||Two single people||Married couple||Two-wage married couple||Married couple with 2 children aged under 11||Married couple with 4 children aged 16, 14, 12 and 9|
|A. 1978–79 (May)|
|1. Income tax plus NIC minus child benefits|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||463·20||184·00||292·70||91·30||-24·50||-375·40|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||887·40||522·20||705·90||312·30||372·70||-5·00|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||1,311·60||926·50||1,130·10||648·40||796·90||419·00|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||2,146·70||1,774·80||1,965·20||1,448·30||1,632·00||1,254·20|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||2,855·40||2,623·10||2,673·90||2,248·30||2,340·70||1,962·90|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||4,830·90||4,293·30||4,528·40||4,012·50||4,151·20||3,709·00|
|2. Income tax plus NIC minus child benefits as a percentage of earnings|
|50%xAverage manual earning0073||…||…||21·6||8·6||13·6||4·2|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||27·5||16·2||21·9||9·7||11·6|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||30·5||21·6||26·6||15·1||18·5||9·6|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||33·3||27·5||30·5||22·5||25·3||19·5|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||33·2||30·5||31·1||26·2||27·2||22·9|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||37·5||33·3||35·1||31·1||32·2||28·8|
|B. 1979–80 (May)|
|1. Income tax plus NIC minus child benefits|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||509·80||191·40||320·20||104·40||-95·80||-11·80|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||958·20||578·40||763·20||333·00||347·20||-68·80|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||1,406·90||1,019·60||1,211·60||714·00||795·60||379·60|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||2,280·60||1,916·40||2,085·60||1,555·60||1,669·60||1,253·60|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||3,017·70||2,813·20||2,822·70||2,397·10||2,406·70||1,990·70|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||4,928·40||4,561·20||4,635·90||4,226·50||4,219·90||3,803·90|
|Single person||Two single people||Married couple||Two-wage married couple||Married couple with 2 children aged under 11||Married couple with 4 children aged 16, 14, 12 and 9|
|2. Income tax plus NIC minus child benefits as a percentage of earnings|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||20·7||7·8||13·0||4·2|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||26·0||15·7||20·7||9·0||9·4|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||28·6||20·7||24·7||14·5||16·2||7·7|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||30·9||26·0||28·3||21·1||22·7||17·0|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||30·7||28·6||28·7||24·4||24·5||20·3|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||33·4||30·9||31·4||28·7||28·6||25·8|
|C. Change in net tax liability between 1977–78 and 1978–79|
|1. Increase in pounds|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||40·40||76·30||43·30||18·70||-19·40||-197·00|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||92·50||48·70||84·40||64·70||5·70||-54·60|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||144·60||80·90||136·50||46·30||57·80||-2·50|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||244·60||185·00||236·50||137·30||157·70||97·50|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||284·20||289·20||306·70||228·20||229·90||169·70|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||404·80||489·20||397·10||413·10||351·20||323·00|
|2. Change in the percentage of earnings represented by net tax liability|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-1·0||+2·8||+0·3||+0·3||—||—|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-0·8||-0·7||-0·2||+0·9||-1·5||—|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-0·7||-1·0||-0·2||-1·0||-1·1||-1·5|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-0·6||-0·8||-0·3||-0·8||-1·0||-1·1|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-1·1||-0·7||-0·5||-0·8||-1·0||-1·0|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-1·9||-0·6||-1·7||-0·9||-1·6||-1·3|
Two single people
Two-wage married couple
Married couple with 2 children aged under 11
Married couple with 4 children aged 16,14, 12 and 9
|D. Change in net tax liability between 1978–79 and 1979–80|
|1. Increase in pounds|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||46·60||7·50||27·50||13·10||-71·30||-136·40|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||70·80||56·20||57·30||20·70||-25·50||-63·70|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||95·30||93·10||81·50||65·70||-1·20||-39·40|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||133·90||141·60||120·40||107·20||37·60||-0·60|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||162·30||190·10||148·80||148·80||66·00||27·80|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||97·50||267·80||107·50||213·90||68·70||94·90|
|2. Change in the percentage of earnings represented by net tax liability†|
|50%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-0·9||-0·8||-0·6||—||—||—|
|75%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-1·5||-0·5||-1·2||-0·7||-2·2||—|
|100%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-1·9||-0·9||-1·6||-0·6||-2·3||-2·1|
|150%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-2·4||-1·5||-2·2||—1·4||—2·6||—2·5|
|200%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-2·5||-1·9||-2·4||-1·8||-2·7||-2·6|
|300%xAverage manual earnings||…||…||-4·1||-2·4||-3·7||-2·4||-3·6||-3·0|
* Negative figure
|†i.e. Income tax plus national insurance contributions minus child benefits.|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing bank lending to the private sector each year since 1970 and each quarter since 1 January 1978 with a breakdown by class borrower, including manufacturing industry and importers of goods and services; and whether he will provide an explanation of any change in the share taken by manufacturing industry, particularly in recent months.
An industrial analysis of net bank lending to United Kingdom residents is provided in table 6.17 of the current issue of Financial Statistics and equivalent tables in earlier issues. There was a change in the coverage of the statistics in 1975 and complete data are not available for that year. For a more comprehensive picture of the size and direction of bank lending—particularly in recent months—the hon. Member will wish to include the data on bank acceptances in Financial Statistics table 6.18.In both tables, data are provided for quarters ending in mid February, May, August and November. Importers of goods and services—some of which are manufacturing firms—are not distinguished in the analysis, which is based On the Standard Industrial Classification.Changes in the share of bank borrowing between various industries reflect changes in economic activity, trading conditions and the effects of industrial disputes.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the current scale of fees charged for the registration of credit unions under the Credit Unions Act; and if he will confirm that these fees will remain operative for some time.
The full scale of fees currently payable by credit unions for registration and other services provided by the Registry of Friendly Societies is set out in schedule 2 to the Industrial and Provident Societies (Credit Unions) regulations 1979 (SI 1979/937).
A new scale of fees for these services is contained in the Industrial and Provident Societies (Credit Unions) (Amendment of Fees) Regulations 1979 (SI 1979/1556), which were laid before Parliament today, and will come into operation on 1 January 1980.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the current annuities and other payments made on the Civil List; and what increases are contemplated in the next four months.
I will let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
European Community (Balance Of Trade)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1970 the amount of capital invested by the United Kingdom in the rest of the EEC and the amount invested by the rest of the EEC in the United Kingdom, including figures for manufacturing, distribution, property and petroleum.
[pursuant to his reply, 29 November 1979, c. 781…: Information on investment transactions between the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Economic Communiy for the years from 1973 is published in table 14.1 of "United Kingdom Balance of Payments, 1979 Edition"(the Pink Book). For earlier years, figures of direct investment (other than by oil companies) by the six member countries of the EEC in the United Kingdom and by the United Kingdom in those countries are given in table 8.6 of the Pink Book.Details of other types of investment prior to 1973 and complete, reliable information of investment in particular industries in the United Kingdom in all years are not available. The information which is available is reproduced below, including some further details of direct investment by the United Kingdom in individual industries overseas which are published in Business Monitors M4 (1975 and 1976) and MA4 (1977).
|NET UNITED KINGDOM TRANSACTIONS WITH COUNTRIES AND INSTITUTIONS OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES*|
|Overseas investment in United Kingdom public sector†||..||..||..||+166||+295||+271||+775||+743||+47|
|Overseas investment in United Kingdom private sector:|
|Direct (excluding oil companies)||+55||+37||+39||+112||+76||+97||+162||+292||+643|
|Other‡(including oil companies)||..||..||..||+522||+632||+600||+379||+494|
|United Kingdom private investment overseas:|
|Direct (excluding oil companies, including public corporations)||-78||-263||-223||-519||-364||-151||-490||-374||-811|
|Other§ (including oil companies)||..||..||..||-130||-304||-112||-28||-15|
|Investment is shown net of disinvestments. Liabilities: increase +/decrease-. Assets: increase -/decrease +.|
* Six countries in 1970–1972; eight countries in 1973–1978;
|† Largely transactions in gilts with private overseas residents and borrowing overseas by public corporations and local authorities.|
|‡Includes portfolio investment, net borrowing from banks, etc., overseas other than through United Kingdom banks and miscellaneous investment.|
|§ Includes portfolio and miscellaneous investment.|
|.. Not available.|
Hotel And Catering Industry
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much is raised annually by the Inland Revenue through the taxation of gratuities in the hotels and catering industry.
[pursuant to his reply, 14 November 1979, c. 625–626…: I regret that this information is not available. No records are kept of the total amount of tax raised in this way.
Confederation Of British Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects next to meet the Confederation of British Industry.
My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans to meet the CBI.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what plans the Government have to sustain employment in the Lancashire textile industry.
Our economic policies are designed to deal with the causes of inflation and encourage firms throughout the country to become more competitive and to make the best of their opportunities to the benefit of employment generally. As far as textiles are concerned, we are helping the industry by doing all we can to ensure that the Community's arrangements under the MFA are implemented as quickly as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to encourage the growth of small businesses in large urban conurbations.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to encourage the growth of small business in provincial towns and cities.
The Government are pursuing a number of policies designed to help small firms wherever they may be located. In addition, special assistance is available in certain parts of the country under the Department's regional policy and through local authorities under the urban programme.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what measures of assistance to small firms are currently being considered; if he is planning a Government-backed loan guarantee facility; and if he plans to use such a facility as a means of assisting small concerns registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts.
I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, East (Mr. Bright) on 12 November.—[Vol. 973, c. 894–95.…
National Enterprise Board
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what further proposals he intends to make regarding the future of the National Enterprise Board.
British Steel Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, pursuant to section 4(5)(b) of the Iron and Steel Act 1975, he will direct the British Steel Corporation to offer its plants at Corby and Shotton for purchase by a private buyer.
No. My right hon. Friend has no power under this subsection either to require or to prevent the disposal to private interests of assets used in iron and steel-making activities.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what eventual total steel making capacity is envisaged for the British Steel Corporation under the Davignon proposals.
The Davignon proposals do not embody a specific figure for the steel-making capacity either of the BSC or of any other Community producer. It is fundamental to the Commission's restructuring proposals that total capacity in the Community should be reduced to bring it into line with demand.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the United Kingdom steel industry.
[pursuant to his reply, 7 December 1979, c. 352…: Our objective is an efficient, competitive and profitable British steel industry in both public and private sectors in the 1980s. I am aware that both sectors are facing considerable difficulty at present but our policies are designed to create an economic climate in which they can achieve these objectives.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the appointment of the chairman of Rolls-Royce is his responsibility or that of the National Enterprise Board.
The board of Rolls-Royce Ltd. elects its own chairman. Under its memorandum of understanding with the National Enterprise Board the company undertook to consult the Board before appointing a new chairman. The National Enterprise Board undertook to consult the Secretary of State for Industry. After enactment of the Industry Bill Rolls-Royce Ltd. will consult the Secretary of State.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Reportthe memorandum of understanding concerning the National Enterprise Board and Rolls-Royce to which he referred, Official Report, 26 November, c. 979:
Yes. It was first published on 26 February 1976 and is as follows:
The Relationship Between The National Enterprise Board And Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited
This memorandum of understanding about the relationship between the National Enterprise Board (NEB) and Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited (RR71) is based on certain general principles:
The following provisions are designed to enable the NEB to carry out its responsibilities with the minimum disturbance to the normal operation of RR71 as a major industrial company.
Composition of the Board
Recommendations for changes in the composition of the Board of RR71 and for changes in remuneration will be put forward by the RR71 Board for approval by the NEB. It is accepted that, as sole shareholder, the NEB has ultimate responsibility for determining the composition of the Board of RR71, and approving its remuneration, subject to such arrangements for consultation with the Government as the NEB and the Government may agree from time to time.
RR71's long-range plan and annual plans will be subject to agreement by the NEB.
4. RR71 will be expected to supply to the NEB such information, in a nature and in a form to be agreed by RR71 and the NEB from time to time, as will enable the NEB to monitor the performance and financial prospects of the company.
5. RR71 will seek approval from the NEB for:
Acquisitions and disposals
6. RR71 will seek prior approval from the NEB for any proposal to acquire any of the share capital of a company:
7. RR71 will comply with the restrictions imposed by Section 9 of the Industry Act 1975 which relate to acquisitions of businesses concerned with the media.
8. RR71 will seek prior approval from the NEB for the sale of any voting shares held by RR71 or its subsidiaries.
9. In order to enable the NEB to comply with Section 8 and Schedule 2(3) of the Industry Act 1975, RR71 will not borrow from sources other than the NEB without the NEB's approval.
Wider Economic and Social Responsibilities of the NEB
10. RR71 has agreed that, in drawing up its long-range and annual plans, it will:
11. In negotiating terms and conditions of employment, RR71 will naturally ensure that settlements reached are consistent with the financial situation of the enterprise and with the requirements to be observed for the period up to 1 August 1976 as set out in the White Paper "The Attack on Inflation" (Cmnd. 6151).
Early Warning Of Major Issues
12. RR71 will be expected to warn the NEB, and the Secretary of State for Industry, in advance about any decisions which clearly have major Parliamentary implications.
Contacts With The Government
13. On all major issues affecting RR71's strategy, plans and performance and the NEB's responsibility for securing the efficient management of RR71, RR71 will deal with the NEB. The NEB will, however, be accompanied by representatives of RR71 at major discussions with Government of the plans of RR71 and will invite the RR71 representatives to explain the plans to the Government at those discussions. It will also be open to the Chairman of RR71 at any time to seek a meeting with a Minister, provided that the Chairman of the NEB is consulted beforehand and has the opportunity to attend if he wishes.
14. RR71 will maintain its dealings with Government Departments on day to day matters, including dealings with the Department of Industry in its role as sponsor Department for the aero engine industry, dealings with the Ministry of Defence (Procurement Executive) on all matters for which it is responsible, dealings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and day to day contacts with the Department of Employment on pay questions.
15. When RR71 is brought within the Planning Agreements system, arrangements will be worked out by the NEB and RR71 in accordance with the principles set out in this memorandum.
Channels of Communication
16. The normal channel of communication on major issues will be between the Chairman of the NEB and the Chairman of RR71, supported as appropriate by contacts between senior staff of the NEB and their opposite numbers in RR71, to whatever extent is necessary to carry out the NEB's responsibilities, without intervention in the day to day management of RR71.
17. The supporting staff of the NEB will agree a programme of discussions through the RR71 Chairman's office. Their purpose is to ensure that the Chairman of the NEB is properly informed. It is not to take part in the decision-making process of RR71 itself, nor is it in any way to act as an inspecting team. Both the NEB and RR71 will do their best to make the relationship a harmonious one and one of trust.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report the letter from Rolls-Royce to which he referred in the first full paragraph of column 168 in the Official Report of Standing Committee E for 27 November.
The letter is as follows:"Dear KeithI am writing to confirm what I believe you already know—that is, that my Board are unanimously of the opinion that it is in everybody's best interests that the shares in Rolls-Royce should, in the forthcoming Bill, be transferred back to your Department.It would be much better for us, for reasons of which you are already aware, to be responsible to you direct and to deal with your officials than to remain under the NEB.My Board feel that I should write formally to express this view, notwithstanding the fact that I have just had an excellent talk with Adam Butler.Yours sincerely(signed) Kenneth".
asked the Secretary of State for Industry on how many occasions since 4 May he has met Sir Kenneth Keith; what were the dates, places and purposes of these meetings; and at which of them Sir Leslie Murphy or some other representative of the National Enterprise Board has been present.
Since 4 May I have met Sir Kenneth Keith on the following occasions:
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will now make a statement on the future of the ship repair industry in Great Britain.
The ship repair industry remains in the grip of recession. The proposals in the Shipbuilding Industry Bill to extend the home credit scheme to conversions and alterations will be of benefit.
Aircraft And Shipbuilding Industries Act (Compensation)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list, with sums of money paid and dates, all compensation payments and payments on account so far made under the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act; if he will state, with details, how many submissions to arbitration were made up to 3 May; how many have been made since 4 May; if he will explain why no compensation payments have been made since 4 May; and if he will make a statement.
For particulars of payments, I refer the right hon. Member to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Colvin) on 5 July.—[Vol. 969, c. 690–92.… Since then, the settlement of compensation for the unlisted securities of John G. Kincaid & Company Limited was announced on 22 November in the amount of £3·8 million, including £2·25 million previously paid on account.As to arbitration, references concerning two companies were made up to 3 May 1979 and one has been made subsequently. The companies concerned are Scottish Aviation Ltd., Scott Lithgow Group Ltd. and Vickers Shipbuilding Group Ltd. In the case of Scott Lithgow Ltd. the proceedings relate to a preliminary issue under section 21 of the Act.Since 3 May compensation payments have been made in respect of the final settlements of compensation for Hawthorn Leslie (Engineers) Ltd. and John G. Kincaid & Company Limited and a payment on account in respect of Scottish Aviation Ltd.Further final payments of compensation will be made as and when cases are settled by negotiation or arbitration. Further payments on account, like one in respect of Scottish Aviation Ltd. made in June, will be made in respect of cases referred to arbitration, in accordance with the previous Government's announcement on 3 April 1979.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his long-term policy on the maintenance of a pig-iron producing capacity in the United Kingdom.
The future of its pig-iron producing capacity is a matter for the British Steel Corporation. Pig-iron capacity in the private sector has all been closed or mothballed as uneconomic.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what criteria will determine any decision to dispose of the National Enterprise Board's holding in Ferranti Limited; and if he will make a statement.
The revised guidelines will invite the Board, in preparing for any disposal, to seek to secure the highest available consideration subject to the interests of the taxpayer and of the company, taking into account such other factors as the Secretary of State may draw to the Board's attention.
Iron And Steel
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the total tonnage of iron and steel produced in the years 1970 to 1979 in the United Kingdom private and State sectors.
The information is as follows:
|IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM|
|Pig iron||Crude steel|
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public money has been paid to Meccano of Liverpool over the past five years; and how this has been used.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on progress in involving the private sector in the production of titanium.
The NEB is continuing actively to seek private sector partners for the new titanium sponge plant and will be reporting to my right hon. Friend in due course.
European Assembly (Visitors' Subsidies)
asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the subsidy payable from EEC funds in respect of each visitor to the European Assembly; what is the mechan- ism for paying such subsidies; and if he will make a statement.
Approved groups of between six and 35 people visiting the European Parliament in Luxembourg or Strasbourg are paid travel expenses of Belgian Francs 1·8 (2·9p) per person per km. for the first 1,000 kms. increasing to BF 2·2 (3·6p) thereafter. Payments, from the European Parliament budget, are made in local currency when the groups arrive at their destinations. No other subsidies are payable.The small number of journalists and other selected individuals invited to visit the Parliament receive full travelling expenses and the cost of up to two nights in a hotel.
International Red Cross (Hercules Aircraft)
asked the Lord Privy Seal for how long the Government intend to continue the loan of the Hercules aircraft to the International Red Cross in South-East Asia.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil (Mr. Rowlands) on Thursday 22 November. [Vol. 974, c. 274.…
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
British Broadcasting Services (Overseas Service)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will take steps to improve the audibility of BBC external services to Eastern Europe and East Africa in view of the poor reception conditions in those areas.
Over £5 million will be available in the next financial year for the BBC external services' capital expenditure programme to improve audibility. As regards the areas which will benefit, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) on 28 November to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)—[Vol. 974, c. 688….
asked the Lord Privy Seal if, during the recent visit of the Minister of State to South America, he raised with the Argentine Government the question of the illegal occupation of Southern Thule in the Falkland Islands; and what were the results of his representations in this respect.
During my visit to Buenos Aires in July I had a general exchange of views with the Argentine Government on Anglo-Argentine relations, including the Falkland Islands. The Argentines are in no doubt of our views concerning Southern Thule.
asked the Lord Privy Seal which countries have now opened a trade centre or consulate-general in Gothenburg.
The following countries are at present represented in Gothenburg by:
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied that the replacement of the consulate-general in Gothenburg by a small consulate with only one consul and two clerks adequately reflects the importance of this post to British trade with Sweden.
After much thought we believe that our consulate in Gothenburg, aided by flexible use of the highly specialised commercial staff of our embassy in Stockholm, will look after our commercial interests in the Gothenburg area adequately.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the recent conversations between Her Majesty's Government and the Foreign Minister of the Republic of South Africa.
Our discussions with the South African Foreign Minister concerned the situation in Southern Africa, and our bilateral relations. We informed him of developments at Lancaster House. There was a useful exchange of views on Namibia, during which we urged the South African Government to accept the concept of a demilitarised zone on Namibia's northern border, which they have now done.
asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his estimate of the strength of South African forces operating on British territory in South Africa.
We have no figures for the South African forces at present in Rhodesia but have made it clear to all the Governments concerned that there is no question of any external involvement in Rhodesia under the British Governor.
asked the Lord Privy Seal when last he met the Iranian Ambassador.
Iran is at present represented in London by a chargé d'affaires ad interim, Dr. Afrouz, whom my right hon. Friend has not met. Dr. Afrouz is welcome to arrange to see Ministers at any mutually convenient time.
asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his estimate of the number of British people in Iran.
asked the Lord Privy Seal how many British citizens are currently in Iran.
I believe there are between 400 and 500 British nationals still living in Iran.
Council Of Europe (Higher Education Scholarship Schemes)
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will reconsider the decision not to participate in 1980–81 in the Council of Europe higher education scholarship schemes; and if he will make a statement.
Under the special programme for cultural contacts with Western Europe established in 1972 to celebrate our accession to the European Communities the Government gave the British Council funds for 50 scholarships for students from countries which are members of the Council of Europe. These funds were exhausted in 1976–77. But in 1977–78 the British Council found money from within its budget to fund a further 10 scholarships under this commemorative programme.In view of the reduction in its budget for 1980–81 the British Council has decided that it will not be able to continue to support the special programme established in 1972.However, under the British Council's own general scholarship programme 61 postgraduate scholarships will be offered in 1980–81 to students from countries which are members of the Council of Europe.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list in the Official Report the sanctions imposed by virtue of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 which have now expired and the sanctions which still remain in force under any enactment or as a result of ministerial obligations entered into.
The sanctions orders which lapsed when section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 expired were:The Southern Rhodesia (Property in Passports) Order 1965;The Reserve Bank of Rhodesia Orders 1965 and 1967;The Southern Rhodesia (Bank Assets) Order 1965;The Southern Rhodesia (United Nations Sanctions) (No. 2) Order 1968;The Southern Rhodesia (Immigration Act 1971) Order 1972;The Southern Rhodesia (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1977.Sanctions which remain in force under other legislation are:
asked the Lord Privy Seal if it is his policy to support the retention of the Kampuchean seat in the United Nations by the Pol Pot régime, which Great Britain no longer recognises; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the hon. Member to what I told the House at the conclusion of the debate on 6 December.—[Vol. 975, c. 759–761.…
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action he is taking following the action of the Government of Malta in limiting United Kingdom textile imports to the level of 25 per cent. by value of the level in 1978 and in the withholding of import allowances from any importer who did not buy from the United Kingdom in 1978.
Restraint of certain textile imports into Malta from the United Kingdom has in our view been in breach of the association agreement between Malta and the EEC and we are keeping the Commission fully informed of the position.Despite assurances received from the Maltese Government that there is no discrimination against imports of British textiles, my Department has continued to receive complaints that British exporters are experiencing difficulties. We have asked the Maltese authorities urgently to investigate the complaints in the light of their earlier assurances.
Iron And Steel Imports
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the money value and tonnage of imported iron and steel for the United Kingdom in the years 1974 to 1979.
I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Machinery Imports And Exports
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will publish in the Official Report a table bringing
|CHANGE IN THE US DOLLAR PRICES OF MACHINERY AND TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT EXPORTS (SITC SECTION 7)|
|United kingdom||West Germany||Japan|
|1970 to latest available date||…||…||…||+221||(a)||+157|
|1973 to latest available date||…||…||…||+153||(a)||+83|
|1974 to latest available date||…||…||…||+118||+84||+58|
|1975 to latest available date||…||…||…||+80||+55||+57|
|1976 to latest available date||…||…||…||+81||+48||+53|
|1977 to latest available date||…||…||…||+54||+31||+36|
|1978 to latest available date||…||…||…||+26||+11||+10|
|The latest available dates are October 1979 for the United Kingdom; September 1979 for Wes Germany; and July 1979 for Japan.|
|(a) figures for West Germany are not readily available prior to 1974 on a consistent basis|
|United Kingdom Trade Statistics|
|Summary Report Trade of Japan—Japan Tariff Association|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will bring up to date the information published in the Official Report, 27 July 1977, column 222, relating to the index of competitiveness.
The latest information, on 1975=100, is published on page 46 of the November issue of Economic Trends.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will introduce regulations to require textile products imported from other EEC countries to carry a certificate of origin.
My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so. Importers are however required to declare the country of origin.
Cinematograph Act 1957
asked the Secretary of State for Trade, whether he proposes to seek to amend the Cinematograph Act 1957; and if he will make a statement.
The Cinematograph Films Act 1957 covers several different aspects up to date, and including 1976, 1977 and 1978 as base years, the information given on 10 January 1977, volume 923, column 422 in reply to a question concerning the export price of machinery.
The available information is as follows:of films policy. The Bill to restructure the National Film Finance Corporation, which will be introduced as soon as possible, will also involve amendments to a number of existing statutes, including the 1957 Act.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he is taking to control the current use and storage of polyurethane foam, in view of its toxic effect when involved in a fire.
The object of the Upholstered Furniture (Safety) Regulations 1979, laid in draft before Parliament on 5 December, is to render domestic upholstered seating furniture, whether or not it contains polyurethane foam, safer, from ignition by smokers' materials (firstly cigarettes and later matches). I have no immediate plans to take further action in this field, but I shall be keeping the matter under review.Controls over the storage and use of polyurethane foam at places of work are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive. In this connection, I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment to a question by the hon. Member for Cannock (Mr. Roberts) on 5 December.—[Vol. 975, c.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report full details of the reduction of various marine functions arising from the cuts in the Civil Service announced on 6 December.
The reduction in marine functions and associated staff savings by 1982 are as follows:
|Surveyor General's organization||-55|
|Reduction in marine survey work (further small-scale delegation to classification societies, reduction in IMCO work, etc.)|
|Reduction in inspection of ships' provisions|
|Reduction in MMO functions relating to ships' documents|
|General register of shipping and seamen|
|Reduction in functions relating to ships' documents||-10|
|Minor savings (mainly HQ)||-10|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report full details of the reduction of various civil aviation functions arising from the cuts in the Civil Service announced on 6 December.
I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what changes have been made in the classifying of patents by the British Patent Office; whether consultations were held with industry on such changes; if so, what objections he has received to the changes; and if he will make a statement.