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Written Answers

Volume 977: debated on Tuesday 29 January 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 29 January 1980

Education And Science

Cystic Fibrosis (Research)

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what finance is being provided for research into cystic fibrosis.

During the financial year 1978–79, the Medical Research Council spent approximately £240,000 on research into cystic fibrosis.

Universities (Research)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the total sum spent by universities on research, and the proportion spent on medical research, in each of the past five years for which figures are available and his estimate for the current year and 1980–81; what is the value of each figure at 1979 survey prices; and if he will make a statement.

The following table gives the total estimated sums spent by universities on scientific research in each of the last five years for which the information is available.

Academic yearExpenditure at outturn prices £mExpenditure at 1979 survey prices £m
1973–74186·8361·4
1974–75211·0336·7
1975–76269·1342·2
1976–77287·4333·8
1977–78316·5333·2
It is not possible, without disproportionate cost, to extract the proportion that was spent on medical research.It is not yet possible to calculate the total sum that is likely to be spent by universities on scientific research in either the current academic year or 1980–81.

Medical Research Council

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the total amount paid in grants by the Medical Research Council in each of the past five years for which figures are available; what is his estimate of the grants that will be paid by the Medical Research Council in the current year and in 1980–81; what is the value of each year's allocations at 1979 survey prices; and if he will make a statement.

The total amounts paid in grants by the Medical Research Council for the last five years, together with the estimated figures for 1979–80 and 1980–81, in cash terms and at 1979 survey prices, are as follows:

Actual Expenditure £ millionsEquivalent at 1979 Survey Prices £ millions
1974–7510·217·7
1975–7613·918·3
1976–7715·818·0
1977–7815·416·9
1978–7916·516·8
1989–80*22·220·6
1980–81not available20·9
* Estimated

Inner London

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he intends to announce a decision about possible changes in educational administration in inner London.

Bradford

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether Bradford metropolitan district council is considering reducing school provision to one session per day with a view to providing education on a two-shift basis; whether he has had formal representations from the local authority; and what advice he proposes to give to them.

Bradford metropolitan district council has included such an arrangement among a large number of measures which it is examining as ways in which financial savings might be achieved. No conclusions have been reached and no approach has been made to my right hon. and learned Friend.

Home Department

Arrested Persons (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish the figures from reports by chief officers of police (pursuant to circular No. 74/1978) of (a) the total number of arrests in the force area during the period, (b) the total number of cases in which, following a request under section 62, the proviso has been applied and the result has been that the arrested person has been detained at the police station or other place of custody for four hours or more without an attempt being made to convey the intimation, and (c) the total number of such cases in which the corresponding delay has been 24 hours or more, since 30 November 1978 when the figures were last given.

The information for 1978 was published in the "Report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary 1978" (HC 1351) and the "Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for the year 1978" (Cmnd. 7580). Information for 1979 will be published towards the end of March in a Home Office statistical bulletin, a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House.

Red Army Choir

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will refuse visas to members of the Red Army Choir who are due to visit the United Kingdom in May.

We have told the Russians that we expect them to cancel the tour and I do not, therefore, expect applications for visas to be made.

Parish Council Elections

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will examine the possibility that smaller parishes might organise their parish council elections on a less formal and costly system than is currently possible and report to the House on any implications for electoral law at an early date.

This proposal is being sympathetically considered as part of our general review of electoral law and procedures.

Totalisator

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the report on the Tote prepared by Mr. Aglionby; if he will publish it; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aglionby has completed his inquiry into the Tote's procedures for the inclusion in its on-course pools of bets made off the course. I shall publish his findings as soon as possible.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for bail were made to an adjudicator or the Immigration Appeal Tribunal in the third and fourth quarters of 1979; and how many such applications were successful.

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

Number of applications for bailNumber of cases in which bail granted
1979—
3rd quarter87
4th quarter76
Note:
The number of applications heard is not necessarily equal to the number of persons applying for bail since one person may make more than one application.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present average delay in the hearing of an appeal under the Immigration Act 1971 (a) before an adjudicator and (b) before the immigration appeal tribunal on appeal from an adjudicator; and if he will give a breakdown of the delays at the different appeal centres.

There have been no significant changes since the reply I gave to a question by the hon. Member on 24 July.—[Vol. 971, c. 105–6.]

Immigrants (Police Questioning)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue a circular to chief constables incorporating the terms of the guidelines to the police in the Metropolis concerning the questioning of persons as to their immigration status.

Home Office guidance to chief officers of police already invites them, while carrying out their duty to investigate cases where they have reasonable cause to suspect that someone may be an illegal entrant, to avoid any action which might be construed as harassment of immigrants, such as a request to inspect the passport of someone who comes to notice in connection with a minor offence but whom there is no reason to suspect of being in the country illegally.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what advice has been issued to the police by the Home Office concerning the conduct of police offcers who arrest or take into custody persons subject to deportation or removal under Immigration Act powers; in particular whether such persons are allowed similar access to a lawyer as a person charged with a criminal offence; and whether a relative or friend must be informed of their arrest;(2) whether persons detained in police stations under Immigration Act powers are given the same facility to contact a lawyer as persons arrested on other criminal charges.

The Judges' Rules and administrative directions to the police and section 62 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 apply to all arrested persons, including those arrested by the police in the exercise of their powers under the Immigration Act 1971. Home Office circulars on the Judges' Rules and section 62 were issued in 1978, and copies placed in the Library of the House.

Director Of Public Prosecutions

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will dismiss the Director of Public Prosecutions, following his decision on the Jimmy Kelly case; and if he will make a statement.

Equal Opportunities Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the amount of grant given to the Equal Opportunities Commission for each year since it was set up; and if he will announce the level of grant for the forthcoming financial year.

The annual grant-in-aid since the Equal Opportunities Commis- sion was established in December 1975 has been:

1975–76£118,870
1976–77£850,430
1977–78£1,460,699
1978–79£1,644,650
1979–80£2,251,000 (estimated)
Estimated expenditure for 1980–81 will be included in the Supply Estimates which will be published in due course.

Overseas Development

Overseas Trade Unionists (Grants)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the total sum of public money that has been paid to help with the training and education of overseas trades unionists in the current year; in which countries these trades unionists have citizenship; and what future plans he has for this grant.

Since 1 January 1980, £53,748 has been advanced to the Trades Union Congress under arrangements agreed by the previous Administration for the training and education of trades unionists from developing countries.. In 1979, trade unionists from the following countries received training under these arrangements:

BahamasLesotho
BarbadosMalaysia
BelizeNigeria
BermudaPakistan
EgyptPapua New Guinea
FijiSeychelles
GhanaSierra Leone
GrenadaSingapore
GuyanaSri Lanka
IndiaSt. Lucia
JamaicaTanzania
KenyaTrinidad
KiribatiZambia
A few technical co-operation awards were also made to countries in this list.A decision on the future of the grant will be taken shortly.

Bolivia

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has received about the Bolivian mining project aid programme.

I have received letters in support of this project from 15 Members of the House of Commons and two from the House of Lords and a total of 42 other letters from religious groups, charities, interested organisations and members of the public.

Aid

asked the Lord Privy Seal if there are any countries, other than Turkey, where balane of payments difficulties are a major factor in determining the volume of United Kingdom aid.

Balance of payments considerations have been taken into account recently in providing United Kingdom aid to Bangladesh, Ghana, Zambia and Jamaica as well as Turkey.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 29 January.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q40.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 January.

Q41.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

Q42.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 29 January.

I refer the hon. Members and my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand).

Economic Policy

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister what changes in the Government's general economic policies she intends to make in the light of recent economic developments.

Our policy remains to reduce inflation through responsible fiscal and monetary control and to create the right environment for industry and commerce to prosper.

May Day Public Holiday

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister what representations she has received for and against the continuance of the May Day public holiday.

I have received about 50 letters suggesting that the May bank holiday should be transferred to St. George's Day or abolished.

Tuc

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister when she plans to meet the Trades Union Congress.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister when she expects to meet representatives of the Trades Union Congress.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister when last she met Trades Union Congress leaders.

Nurses And Midwives (Pay)

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the recommendations of the Clegg Commission on pay comparability regarding the pay of nurses and midwives.

I am satisfied that the Standing Commission on pay comparability has produced a comprehensive report and recommendations based on a careful investigation of the pay of nurses and midwives. I note that the commission's recommendations represent an overall increase averaging 19·6 per cent., with increases of up to 25 per cent. for particular grades. These are in addition to the 9 per cent. increases in April 1979. I welcome the recommendations which provide higher increases for qualified staff directly involved in the care of patients. The Government are providing additional funds to implement the award although the previous Administration had made no provision for this.

Public Expenditure

asked the Prime Minister whether she will publish the projections for future public expenditure based on 10, 15 and 20 per cent. Civil Service staff cuts.

The revised cash limits for 1979–80 allow for a level of expenditure on Civil Service staff and related costs of approximately £4,275 million. The Government's public expenditure plans for the medium term are expected to be published in March.

Rhodesia

asked the Prime Minister what discussions she has had with the Governor of Southern Rhodesia regarding arrangements for hon. Members to visit Southern Rhodesia to observe the elections.

The Governor has told us that he is making arrangements for a wide range of services to be made available to the small all-party group of hon. Members from both Houses who will be visiting Rhodesia to observe the elections. Discussions on the composition of the group are continuing through the usual channels.

Cabinet Ministers

asked the Prime Minister if she will obtain and publish the directorships or shareholdings currently held by members of her Cabinet.

No. The rules have been drawn to the attention of Ministers, and they are expected to comply with them. I see no reason to go beyond that, or to change the rules which do not require publication.

Employment

Public Employees

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the percentage of those in the United Kingdom employed (a) by central Government, (b) by the local authorities and (c) by public corporations and the nationalised industries.

The latest available figures relate to mid-year 1978 and were given in the article "Employment in the public and private sectors 1961–1978", in the November 1979 issue of Economic Trends. They show that 9·3 per cent. of the United Kingdom employed labour force was employed by central Government—including Her Majesty's Forces—12·1 per cent. by local authorities and 8·3 per cent. by nationalised industries and other public corporations. Detailed definitions of the coverage of these figures are given in the article in Economic Trends.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the number of (a) adults and (b) young people unemployed in (i) Kirkby, (ii) Ormskirk, (iii) Merseyside, and (iv) the North-West for each month since May 1979.

An age analysis of the registered unemployed is made in January, April, July and October. The following table gives the available information from April 1979 for those under 18 years of age, those aged 18–19 and those aged 20 and over in the areas specified. The figures for Merseyside and the North-West for January 1980 will

Aged Under 18 yearsAged 18–19 yearsAged 20 years and over
Kirkby employment office area
April 19793956034,040
July 1979*9355913,931
October 1979†6736404,165
January 1980 (provisional)5376824,457
Ormskirk employment office area
April 19793467631
July 1979*19486621
October 1979†6992656
January 1980 (provisional)4683691
Merseyside Special Development area
April 19796,19710,20365,994
July 1979*16,73210,68864,239
October 1979†10,01310,66366,334
North West Region
April 197912,58320,361160,000
July 1979*42,53522,983152,037
October 1979†20,77722,252157,941
* The July figures include considerable numbers of school leavers, particularly in the under 18 age group, which are not present in the figures for other months.
†The figures from October 1979 are not quite comparable with those for previous dates because they are affected by the introduction of fortnightly attendance and payment of benefit. This raised the figure for all unemployed in the North-West region by about 2,600. Estimates are not available for areas below standard regional level but for the country as a whole the figures are about 1½ per cent. higher than they would have been under weekly attendance.

Farm Safety

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in future, a record will be kept of spot checks in relation to farm safety inspections.

Local records of spot checks in relation to farm safety inspections are already kept by Her Majesty's Agricultural Inspectorate. There are at present no plans to introduce central records.

Unfair Dismissal And Redundancy Claims

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many, and what percentage, of claimants and of

Applicant Legally No. of casesRepresented % of casesApplicant Trade No. of caresUnion Represented % of cases
October 19775153324216
October 19784473420916
October 19794683718615
Information is not available for earlier years or on the outcome of these cases. My Department has estimated, however,

become available shortly and I shall send them to the hon. Member.

respondents, respectively, in unfair dismissal or redundancy claims brought before industrial tribunals have been legally represented; how many claimants have been represented by trade union officials, in industrial tribunal proceedings for unfair dismissal or redundancy, during each year since 1971 for which records are available; and in how many and what percentage of such cases the claimant or respondent represented in this way succeeded.

The Central Office of the Industrial Tribunals (England and Wales) has collected figures on representation of applicants at tribunal hearings under all jurisdictions for the month of October in the three years 1977–1979. These are as follows:from a small sample of unfair dismissal cases in 1978, that applicants were successful in approximately 35 per cent.

of cases in which they had legal representation and 20 per cent. of cases in which they were represented by their trade union.

The corresponding information on the legal representation of respondents before tribunals is as follows:

Central Office of the Industrial Tribunals

Respondent Legally No. of cases

Represented percentage of cases

October 197775449
October 197870753
October 197968154

The Department of Employment sample of unfair dismissal cases in 1978 suggests that respondents with legal representation were successful in 73 per cent. of cases.

Greater London Council Area

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what major closures of industry have taken place in the Greater London Council area for the years 1977, 1978 and 1979; and how many redundancies were caused by these closures.

For the Greater London Council area, the intended closures involving 300 or more employees that were notified to the Department of Employment in 1977, 1978 and 1979 under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 are as follows:

Number of closuresNumber of employees
19771360
1978711,960
197974,830
Employers are not required to notify the Department if proposed redundancies and closures do not take place. I am unable to give the names of the firms concerned, since they have been given to my Department in confidence.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many men and women are registered as unemployed in the Greater London Council area.

At 10 January the provisional numbers of males and females registered as unemployed in the Greater London Council area were 106,679 and 36,757, respectively.

Jobcentre, Liverpool (Advertisements)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied that the advertisements in the jobcentre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, for jobs as nude photographic models for 18 to 20-yearold girls is a proper use of public funds.

Lost Working Days

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, consequent upon his reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick, Official Report, 14 December 1979, column 805, if he will now give the figure for working days lost in the United Kingdom from 1 May 1979 to the latest available date.

The number of working days lost in industrial disputes in the United Kingdom from 1 May 1979 to 30 November 1979 was 21·3 million—provisional estimate.

Work Permits

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many work permits have been granted, and for what professions, in each of the last three years.

The 1979 statistics of work permit issues are not yet available.Analyses of the total number of work permits issued for 1978 and 1977, including a breakdown by occupational groups, were published in the

Department of Employment Gazette, which is available in the Library. The figures were published as follows:

1978 figures—June 1979 (Volume 87, No. 6).

1977 figures—April 1978 (Volume 86, No. 4).

The 1976 work permit figures published in May 1977 (Volume 85, No. 5) did not include an occupational analysis, but I am sending the hon. Member this information.

Statistics of work permit issues for individual occupations or professions could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Codot Major Groups

I

II

III

IV

V

Managerial occupations (general management)

Professional and related occupations supporting management and administration

Professional and related occupations in education, welfare and health

Literary, artistic and sports occupations

Professional and related occupations in science, engineering, technology and similar fields

Minor Groups

00

03

04

05

Others

09

11

Others

17

Others

21

22

25

Others

Foreign348485297278104316553615,25115629359914747
Commonwealth531527683241142,47841524651921577820
Total4016373733611284303,0311025,77522148575622567

Codot Major Groups

VI

VII

X

VIII, IX and XI-XVIII

Managerial occupations (excluding general management)

Clerical and related occupations

Catering, cleaning, hairdressing and other personal service occupations

All other occupations

Grand Total

Minor Groups

27

28

31

32

Others

43

44

Others

Foreign1852581898782,0792,7193641114,907
Commonwealth246283382565336223745,563
Total209320272125102,6443,0555878520,470
An estimated 2,150 issues were unanalysed as a result of industrial action.

Skillcentre (Doncaster)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what recommendation has been made by the Manpower Services Commissioner about the future of the skillcentre at Doncaster.

Northern Ireland

Handicapped And Elderly Persons (Telephones)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the number of telephones installed in the homes of handicapped and elderly people by area boards in the past 10 years.

A scheme to assist handicapped and elderly persons with the installation and rental costs of telephones was introduced in Northern Ireland in June 1973. The number of households assisted with installation costs in each year since 1974, which was the first full year of operation of the scheme, is as follows:

Year ended 31 DecemberNumber of Households
197470
1975102
1976125
1977191
1978842
The large increase for 1978 is due to the scope of the scheme being extensively widened in June of that year. Figures for 1979 are not yet available.

Coastal Vessels (Surveillance)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the co-operation between the security forces in Northern Ireland and Her Majesty's forces in the rest of the United Kingdom regarding the surveillance of vessels around the coasts of Northern Ireland and the coasts of the Republic of Ireland; and whether any steps have been taken to improve the watch on such vessels in recent years.

Constitutional Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will detail the other expenses incurred in the preparations for the constitutional conference not covered in the written answers given to the hon. Member for Armagh on 22 January.

The extra costs to public funds incurred in the preparations up to the beginning of the conference on 7 January additional to those given in paragraphs (a) to (e) of the reply given to the hon. Member on 22 January—[Vol. 977, c. 108]—were:

£
Stationery2,300
Travel and Subsistence935
Installation of Telephones590
Transport and preparation of furniture and office equipment5,000
Staff were detached temporarily from their parent departments to make preparations for the conference at no extra cost to public funds other than those mentioned above. Furniture and office equipment were drawn from Government stores and will be returned or used elsewhere when the conference ends.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what have been the takings in (a) the two bars provided for participants at the Stormont conference and (b) the press bar, up to 25 January.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money has been claimed or paid to the participants at the Stormont conference up to 25 January; and how many individuals have claimed.

Wales

Bridgend (Unemployed)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the current number of registered unemployed at the job-centre in Bridgend; and how many jobs, and of what designation, have not been filled.

In mid January 1980 1,212 males and 491 females were registered as unemployed at the Bridgend jobcentre. A total of 101 notified vacancies remained unfilled. Detailed analyses of unfilled vacancies are avail-

NOTIFIED VACANCIES REMAINING UNFILLED (DECEMBER 1979)
Codot
Occupational Group
*IManagerial (general management)
*IIProfessional and related supporting management and administration3
*IIIProfessional and related in educational welfare and health1
*IVLiterary, artistic and sports
*VProfessional and related in science, engineering, technology and similar fields4
VIManagerial (excluding general management)2
VIIClerical and related10
VIIISelling6
IXSecurity and protective service6
XCatering, cleaning, hairdressing and other personal service22
XIFarming, fishing and related1
XIIMaterials processing (excluding metal)2
XIIIMaking and repairing (excluding metal and electrical)10
XIVProcessing, making, repairing and related (metal and electrical)31
XVPainting, repetitive assembling, product inspecting, packaging and related6
XVIConstruction, mining and related not identified elsewhere6
XVIITransport operating, materials moving and storing and related13
XVIIIMiscellaneous4
127
Note
Some notifications take the form of "standing orders" for an unspecified number of jobs in a particular occupational group. For statistical purposes each "standing order" is counted as one vacancy, though in practice the number of vacancies arising from each standing order can be expected to be larger.
** Vacancies in these categories are, in the main, appropriate to the Professional and Executive Register.

Wales Tuc

asked the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions since he was appointed Secretary of State for Wales he has met the Wales Trades Union Congress.

Handicapped And Elderly Persons (Telephones)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of telephones installed in the homes of handicapped and elderly people by local authorities in the past 10 years.

A total of 7,024 in the period April 1972 to March 1979. Figures for earlier years are not available.

Steel Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what plans are proposed by his Department to accommodate redundant staff from the announced steel redundancies.

able only quarterly: the latest analysis, by occupation, was conducted in December 1979 and is given below:

in the areas affected. We have already announced our plans in connection with the ending of iron and steel making at Shotton. As for South Wales, now that the British Steel Corporation has made its intentions clear, we are considering urgently what remedial measures can be taken.

Defence

Reme Properties (Bordon)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the £7,000,000 spent on the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers properties at Bordon.

Havannah barracks, Bordon, caccommodates the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, 9 Field Workshop REME and the permanent staff of the Central Volunteer HQ REME: an overall total—including student population—of 100 officers, 452 wos/sgts and 1,395 junior ranks. All living accommodation was well below standard and overcrowded—the need for its modernisation was accepted in 1964 when the project was initially approved for planning but financial restrictions led to delay of the project. Work on the site started in December 1976 and ex-

£K
New Barrack Accommodation1,490
Refurbish Existing Blocks250
Modernise and Extend Junior Ranks Mess690
Modernise and Extend Social Club590
Modernise and Extend Warrant Officers/Sergeants Mess440
New Officers Accommodation (Living accommodation and public rooms)1,130
Refurbish and extend Physical and Recreational Training Centre and Sports Facilities450
New Guard House, Armoury and Offices250
New and Refurbished Stores75
New Boiler House250
Externals625
6,240
Contingencies500
PSA Supplied Fixtures and Fittings460
7,200
Work should be completed next year, when the final cost is expected to be in the region of £10,550,000.

Missile Sites (Gainsborough)

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will examine the old Thor missile sites in the Gains-borough area, and see if those that are still in his possession would be suitable for the deployment of the cruise missile.

Three out of the four former Thor sites near Gainsborough have been entirely or largely disposed of. A number of suitable sites are being examined in connection with the deployment of the cruise missile to this country. I shall make an announcement about the choice of site or sites in due course.

Land And Barracks (Shoeburyness)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the Army land and barracks at Shoeburyness and on the use of beaches at Shoeburyness for Army purposes.

Defence land holdings at Shoeburyness comprise new ranges—about 8,000 acres—including the Proof and Experimental Establishment and other establishments, and Horseshoe barracks and old ranges—about 210 acres.There is a long-term requirement for P&EE Shoeburyness and its associated ranges. Horseshoe barracks houses the military element of the P&EE and we plan to modernise and rebuild it to

penditure up to December 1979 has been approximately £7,200,000. This is broken down as follows:

meet our current requirements. The rest of the old ranges is surplus to our requirements and we hope to discuss its future use with the local authority.

Beaches at Shoeburyness in Defence ownership will continue to be used for the testing of guns and ammunition.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Marginal Land

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to have marginal land in the United Kingdom brought within the scope of the EEC's less favoured areas directive.

We expect to be in a position shortly to make an announcement concerning designation of marginal land areas outside the existing less favoured areas.

Guaranteed Prices

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now take steps to ensure that adequate increases will speedily be made in such guaranteed prices of agricultural products as still remain under his control, and in particular the guaranteed price of milk.

On 20 December, in a written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd), my right hon. Friend announced increases in the maximum wholesale and retail prices for liquid milk, which will take effect on 1 February and 17 February respectively.—[Vol. 976, c. 344.] He will announce decisions on future support for fat sheep, wool and potatoes before the end of the current guarantee years.

Civil Service

Official Report (Index)

asked the Minister of State for the Civil Service if, consequent upon his written reply to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) Official Report, 21 January, column 96, relating to the delay in publishing the official index of the weekly report, he will explain in clear English the meaning of the phrase "originating areas" and if, in future, he will make it his practice to refrain from the use of jargon in his parliamentary answers.

With changing technologies in the printing industry the expression "originating areas" is coming to replace "composing room" as the designation for the work area and the operations involved in setting up material to be printed in a form in which it can be placed on the press. I always avoid the use of jargon in replying to questions, but where technical matters are concerned it is sometimes necessary to use expressions with specialist meaning.

Manpower

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how the current number of employees in the Civil Service compares with May 1979, in total and as a perecentage.

At 1 January 1980 there were 707,800 staff in post in the Civil Service. This represents a decrease of 24,500, or 3·3 per cent., over the total of 732,300 in post at 1 April 1979. Figures are not available centrally for May 1979.

House Of Commons

Library

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much of the £1,791,000 estimated increase in capital cost for the proposed House of Commons Library indexing system is attributable to a requirement to provide for compatibility with any future system such as text retrieval.

The five factors tending to increase the costs of the House of Commons Library computer indexing system since the 1976 estimates are identified in paragraph 12 of the background paper submitted by the Librarian and the Computer Development Officer to the Computer Sub-Committee of the Services Committee and published in the minutes of evidence taken by that Sub-Committee on 12 July 1979 (HC 427—i, p. 5). These include:

  • (a) increases due to delay in implementation, including both inflation and the need for suppliers to increase management effort in order to abridge the development phase; and
  • (b) expansion of the system to take account of future applications in Parliament, which implies both the ability to increase the hardware to cope with such applications and also greater versatility of the programmes themselves.
  • There is naturally interaction between the several factors and it is not feasible to quantify the effect of any one of them. However, as regards the inflation aspect, the retail price index increase since February 1976 has been estimated to be over 50 per cent.Factor (

    b) is of course a significant element of the costs. But its effect should be to facilitate future new developments and hence mitigate their cost.

    asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley), as representing the House of Commons Commission, when approval was given to increase the scope of the proposed House of Commons Library computer indexing system to provide for expansion into a text retrieval system.

    Financial approval for the revised scheme was given by the Commission on 24 July 1979.

    Energy

    Power Stations

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many power stations in the United Kingdom have been closed since 1960: and if he will list them.

    I am asking the chairman of the CEGB to write to the hon. Member with details of power station closures since 1960.Power stations in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the sites under consideration for possible future nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom.

    The investigation of sites which may be suitable for nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the generating boards concerned. However, before the Central Electricity Generating Board can construct a nuclear station on any particular site in England and Wales it needs my consent together with deemed planning permission and a nuclear site licence. Should the board apply for my consent, the statutes provide that its proposals should be advertised and all concerned given the opportunity to object should they wish to do so. Power stations in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Gas Prices

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give the real price of gas as expressed in 1970 £ sterling values for 1970 and 1980.

    The average price of gas in 1970 for a domestic customer using 400 therms a year was 10·5 pence per therm, and for a domestic customer using 800 therms a year was 8·9 pence per therm. It is estimated that the real price of gas in January 1980 at 1970 prices would be 6·7 pence per therm for the consumption of 400 therms a year, and 5·9 pence per therm for the consumption of 800 therms a year.

    Gas Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will readjust the financial targets set for the British Gas Corporation to prevent the need to increase prices by 54 per cent. to the glass bulbs factory at Harworth.

    No. The price of gas charged to individual industrial customers is a matter falling within the British Gas Corporation's day-to-day management responsibility.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether it is his policy to sell off any part of the gas industry.

    Commercial Fast Reactor 1

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will outline his proposals for dealing with inquiry and investigation of the economics and safety of commercial fast reactor 1.

    Any proposal to build a full-scale commercial demonstration fast reactor in the United Kingdom would be subject to a full and thorough inquiry, but no decision has yet been taken about its form.

    Pressure Water Reactors

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what examination has been given by his Department to alternative designs of presssure water reactor to the Westinghouse design; and what United Kingdom licence agreements in respect of alternative designs exist or have been proposed.

    Selection of Westinghouse as licensor for the PWR followed a review by the National Nuclear Corporation and the Central Electricity Generating Board of possible licensing arrangements for the United Kingdom, including the competitive designs of the other manufacturers. The Government have approved the selection by the industry of the Westinghouse design.

    Oil Import Tax

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on EEC proposals for an oil import tax; how it is intended that the tax would function; and if he will make a statement.

    The Commission has made no formal proposals on this subject. Her Majesty's Government will study carefully any that are made.

    North Sea Oil (Licences)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he is satisfied with the present method of allocating North Sea oil licences; and what possible changes he is considering to the present method of allocating them;(2) what discussions he is having, and with whom, on possible changes in the way licences are allocated in the North Sea in the forthcoming seventh round; and if he will bring forward proposals to produce additional revenue from the allocation of North Sea oil licences.

    Successive Administrations have relied almost exclusively on the present method of allocating offshore oil and gas licences, which has achieved the objective of encouraging the exploration and development of our Continental Shelf. It is, nonetheless, sensible to keep valid alternatives under examination. As part of that examination I have asked for the industry's comments on cash bidding for licences but entirely without commitment in regard to the seventh round. I have also invited comments about arrangements for the round from organisations within and outside the industry. I shall make a statement about the definitive arrangements when I have completed the consultations.

    Nuclear Installations (Health And Safety)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what body or organisation is responsible for (a) formulating and (b) controlling health and safety standards for workers in establishments involving nuclear energy; what body is responsible for making recommendations about the permissible level of radiation; and on what basis these recommendations are arrived at.

    Responsibility for determining, enforcing and developing nuclear health and safety standards for workers in the United Kingdom rests with the Health and Safety Commission and its executive. International recommendations for the protection from manmade radiation are made by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). This is a group of scientists chosen every four years by the International Congress of Radiology on the basis of their individual scientific reputation and independence. The ICRP recommendations are expressions of opinion based on deduction from scientific fact. It is United Kingdom policy to remain well within their limits and for this purpose the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), which has a statutory responsibility to advise those concerned with radiological protection, provides an authoritative point of reference.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will initiate a survey of the safety standards over the whole field of nuclear energy.

    The Health and Safety Commision and its executive are responsible for determining and developing nuclear health and safety standards for the nuclear industry. The UKAEA is required to meet equivalent standards at its establishments. The National Radiological Protection Board provides advice to the executive on radiological protection standards. I am advised that all these standards are kept under continuing review.I am satisfied with these arrangements.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the permissible level of radiation for the average person in any one year; and what guidance he issues to those involved in the field of nuclear energy on this matter.

    Radiation dose limits in the United Kingdom are set by reference to the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection. The two main radiation dose limits are: for radiation workers 5 rems in a year; and for members of the public 0·5 rems in any one year, with the further limitation that an individual should not receive on average during his lifetime a dose greater than 0·1 rem per year.These levels are endorsed in this country by the National Radiological Protection Board, a statutory body set up to provide on, and carry out research into, radiological protection matters.The industrial radiation levels are reflected in the conditions attached to nuclear site licences issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Doses received by members of the public are not individually measured. Population exposure is monitored by statistical methods designed to determine the possible exposure of critical groups—that is groups considered to be most liable to exposure to radiation—within the general population.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what body is responsible for assessing compensation for workers suffering from the effects of radiation; and what opportunities are provided for workers or their families to appeal against such assessments.

    When an employee claims compensation against his employer the amount of the financial settlement is a matter for negotiation between the parties. In the absence of an agreed settlement compensation can be determined in the courts on the same basis as other personal injury claims, but where the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 applies it is not necessary for the claimant to establish negligence on the part of the employer. In addition, employees who consider that they are suffering from the effects of radiation arising out of their employment may claim industrial injuries benefits for prescribed disease No. 25. As with all claims for diseases prescribed under the Social Security Act 1975, such claims are determined by the lay and medical independent statutory authorities, namely local insurance officers, local tribunals, medical boards, medical appeal tribunals, and the National Insurance Commissioners, as appropriate. Social Security Act arrangements are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Security.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy in how many establishments, and on how many occasions, the permitted level of radiation was exceeded in each year from 1970; and how many workers were involved in each case.

    I have been asked to reply to the hon. Member and shall do so as soon as possible.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what body or organisation is responsible for (a) pollution and (b) waste control in establishments involv- ing nuclear energy; and if he is satisfied that sufficient controls and checking procedures exist.

    I have been asked to reply.The Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible, together with the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales, for radioactive waste management policy. One of the main elements of this responsibility is to ensure that the handling, treatment and disposal of wastes is carried out with due regard to environmental considerations. Authorisations for the disposal of radioactive waste from UKAEA and licensed nuclear sites in England are issued under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 jointly by the Secretary of State for the Environment and by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In Scotland and Wales these authorisations are the sole responsibility of the relevant Secretary of State. The Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales, and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, are assisted in the administration of the Act by the Radiochemical Inspectorate, the Fisheries Radiobiological Laboratory and the MAFF Food Sciences Division which have inspection, enforcement and advisory functions in respect of all radioactive waste discharges and disposals. The Secretary of State for Scotland is similarly assisted by Her Majesty's Industrial Pollution Inspectorate. I am satisfied that these controls and regulatory procedures are adequate.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Rhodesia

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will list the political parties who will be contesting the forthcoming common roll elections in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, together with the electoral districts they will each be contesting, and descriptions of the electoral symbols the yare each adopting.

    The following parties have registered to contest the common roll elections:

  • 1. National Democratic Union (NDU).
  • 2. National Front of Zimbabwe (NFZ).
  • 3. Patriotic Front (PF).
  • 4. United African National Congress (UANC).
  • 5. United National Federal Party (UNFP).
  • 6. United People's Association of Matabeleland (UPAM).
  • 7. Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
  • 8. Zimbabwe African National Union—Patriotic Front (ZANU (PF)).
  • 9. Zimbabwe Democratic Party (ZDP).
  • All but numbers 5 and 6 above have registered to contest all electoral districts, (that is, Manicaland; Mashonaland Central, East and West; Matabeleland North and South; Midlands; and Victoria). The UNFP is contesting five electoral districts: Mashonaland Central and East, Matabeleland North and South, and Midlands. The UPAM is contesting Matabeleland North and South.The following are brief descriptions of party symbols:

  • 1. NDU—An outline of Zimbabwe with a black and white hand shaking hands; two maize cobs and the letters "NDU".
  • 2. NFZ—An African farmer with a plough on a square ground with the letters "NFZ".,
  • 3. PF—A figure in camouflage uniform holding a baby and standing between two maize stalks with crossed hoe and axe beneath; the whole within two circles containing the words "Patriotic Front 1980".
  • 4. UANC—A shield with the letters "UANC" and crossed axe and spear superimposed with "Zimbabwe" beneath.
  • 5. UNFP—A shield with a cow's head and 6 stars (5 black, one white) with the letters "UNFP" above.
  • 6. UPAM—A southern cross (4 stars) with the letters "UPAM".
  • 7. ZANU—A black hand holding a flaming torch with "ZANU" and "Mwenje-Isibane" beneath.
  • 8.—ZANU (PF)—A circle containing a crowing cockerel and a rising sun with "ZANU (PF)" beneath.
  • 9. ZDP—Zimbabwe ruins with a lion and the letters "ZDP" beneath.
  • asked the Lord Privy Seal what limit will be applied to the hiring of transport by a political party contesting the common roll elections in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

    None of the parties contesting the election has suggested this at meetings of the Election Council, and the Election Commissioner has decided that there is no need to impose any such limitation.

    Professor Yuri Orlov

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will ask the leader of the United Kingdom delegation to the CSCE scientific forum, due to open in Hamburg on 18 February, to propose that the meet- ings should be adjourned until Professor Yuri Orlov is released.

    The Government have already made clear their repugnance at the denial of basic human rights in the Soviet Union to scientists and others—most recently over the banishment of Dr. Sakharov from Moscow. We are confident that the Government's attitude will be taken into account by the British scientists attending the CSCE scientific forum in Hamburg.

    Guyana (Prime Minister)

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on miinsterial contacts with the Prime Minister of Guyana.

    Mr. Forbes Burnham had no meetings with Ministers or officials during his stay in London.

    Yugoslavia

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what commitments have been given by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to Yugoslavia in the event of external aggression against that State.

    Mr Paul Mccartney

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has made any representations to the Government of Japan about the arrest of Paul McCartney; and whether he will make a statement.

    There has been no requirement for representations. Our embassy has, however, been in touch with the Japanese authorities about the case in accordance with normal consular procedure. Mr. McCartney was deported from Japan on 25 January 1980.

    Deep Sea Fishing (South Atlantic)

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish the White Fish Authority desk study upon deep sea fishing in the South Atlantic.

    The White Fish Authority's report has now been received. A copy has been sent to the Governor of the Falkland Islands for his views and those of councillors. When he has had an opportunity to comment, the report will be published.

    National Finance

    Corporate Taxation

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the percentage of Government revenues contributed by the corporate sector in each of the EEC member States, distinguishing

    PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL TAX REVENUES
    Corporate taxes on income, profits and capital gainsRecurrent taxes on net wealth of corporations
    19761977197819761977
    Central or federal governmentLocal or state governmentCentral and local governmentCentral and local government
    Belgium6·020·756·175·9
    Denmark3·260·583·103·2
    France5·775·584·7
    Germany1·822·795·485·80·760·85
    Ireland4·394·10NANANA
    Italy5·900·346·348·3
    Luxembourg11·985·1418·6921·42·232·16
    Netherlands6·976·766·3
    United Kingdom4·806·868·0
    Notes:
    1. The figures are derived from "Revenue Statistics of OECD Member Countries 1965–78"and the definitions follow those used in that publication.
    2. The 1978 figures are provisional.
    3. The figures are expressed as a percentage of total tax revenue of central and local Government, including social security contributions but excluding the non taxation receipts of Government for example, rent, dividends and interest.
    4. Figures for the corporate sector's share of the equivalent of United Kingdom local authority rates in other EEC countries are not available. In the United Kingdom non-domestic rates are estimated to amount to about 6 per cent. of total tax revenue for 1978. This figure relates, however, to a sector that is wider than the corporate sector.
    5. NA denotes that the figure is not available.

    Exchequer And Audit Act

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when his review of the Exchequer and Audit Act will be completed; and if he proposes to publish it before presenting new audit legislation.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. McKelvey) on 21 January 1980—[Vol. 977, c. 28–29]—in which it was indicated that the Government expect before long to publish a Green Paper on the role of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

    Per cent.
    1950196019701979*
    Table wine†13152542
    Fortified wine (15–18 per cent. alcohol)†....3140
    Beer50463932
    Cigarettes72696970
    Whisky70–72668978
    .. Price data not readily available.
    * Includes VAT at 15 per cent.
    †There is a particularly wide range of prices.

    between company and corporation taxes, employer's social security contributions, local taxes and other taxation.

    The available information; is as follows; I regret that international sources do not show the amounts of other taxes paid by the corporate sector.

    Taxation

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the percentage of tax accounted for in the retail price of wine, beer, cigarettes and whisky in 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1979.

    Retail prices vary widely, particularly between on-licence and off-licence sales in the case of alcoholic drinks. It is estimated that for typical off-licence prices for wines and spirits, typical public bar prices for beer and typical retail selling prices for standard tipped cigarettes, the tax contents were probably of the order of:

    Capital Allowances (Shops And Warehouses)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated annual cost of granting capital allowances on new shop and warehouse construction similar to those given to hotels in the Finance Act 1978.

    The latest available estimate of the annual cost of granting capital allowances on new shop construction at the hotel rates—20 per cent. initial allowance—is about £70 million, rising—at recent levels of expenditure—toabout £250 million by the end of the century. If other buildings such as retail warehouses were included, the cost would be higher. I regret that the available information is insufficient to enable it to be estimated.The above estimate assumes that sufficient profits are available to absorb the allowances in full.

    Estate Duty (Property In Lieu)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the availability of reasonable public access to a work of art while consideration is being given to its eligibility for acceptance in lieu of tax has been treated by the Inland Revenue as a factor justifying the waiving of interest charges arising during the period of such consideration; and, if so, whether the acceptance of this factor has been brought to the attention of taxpayers in any official publication.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will clarify the statement by the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment in Standing Committee F on 22 January, Official Report, column 259, that when property is accepted in lieu, there is no tax charged on the value of that property itself.

    North Sea Oil

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his current estimate of the revenue from petroleum revenue tax, corporation tax and royalties from North Sea oil in each of the financial years 1980 to 1985.

    [pursuant to his reply, 28 January 1980]; It is not the practice to publish estimates of tax receipts in the coming year in anticipation of the Financial Statement and Budget Report nor, in view of the uncertainties involved, to give estimates for individual future years.

    Departmental Staff

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

    [pursuant to his reply,28 January 1980]; I refer the hon. Member to my reply on 17 January 1980 to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis).—[Vol. 976, c. 861.]

    Trade

    Metrication

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list in the Official Report details of the United Kingdom's obligations to introduce metric weights and measures under EEC requirements, the dates by which these obligations must be complied with and the Government's proposals for compliance, bearing in mind their policy as regards metrication.

    Under an EEC directive on units of measurement we undertook an obligation to authorise the use of metric units of measurement. This obligation was fulfilled in the Units of Measurement Regulations 1976 (SI 1976 No. 1674) which came into force on 1 November 1976. This measure is purely permissive and does not imply any further compulsory metrication.

    Cutlery

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the import surveillance of cutlery; whether the surveillance is ended or is to continue; and whether he has consulted the Federation of British Cutlery Manufacturers in reaching a decision.

    My right hon. Friend announced on 21 December 1979 that national surveillance import licensing arrangements, including those affecting cutlery, would be discontinued with effect from 1 January 1980. It was not possible to hold consultations prior to an announcement of this kind, but I have written recently to reassure the federation that the ending of national surveillance licensing will not affect our ability to monitor trends in imports of cutlery and the other goods involved.

    Insolvency

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether Sir Kenneth Cork, GBE, is conducting an inquiry into the law relating to insolvency; if so, when he expects to receive this report; and whether the committee has been directed especially to consider the provisions of section 66(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1914.

    Yes. The Insolvency Law Review Committee under the chairmanship of Sir Kenneth Cork, GBE, was appointed in January 1977 to review the law and practice relating to insolvency, bankruptcy, liquidations and receiverships in England and Wales and to consider what reforms are necessary.On present information the committee is expected to report towards the end of 1980.The whole question of interest in insolvencies, including interest on debts under section 66 of the Bankruptcy Act 1914, is being considered by the committee.

    Airports (Construction)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will name the county councils, including the Greater London Council, which act on behalf of the Government in the construction of airports; which of the county councils named employ direct labour in the fulfilment of Government contracts; which county councils employ contractors; and if he will name in each case the contractor employed.

    There are no local authorities which act on behalf of the Government in the construction of airports. Construction work at local authority owned airports is a matter for the authorities concerned.

    Car Tyres

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will list those countries which have exported car tyres to the United Kingdom for the replacement market for each of the five years 1975 to 1979; and what percentage of the home market this represented in each case;(2) what discussions he is having with the European Economic Community and other countries regarding the import of car tyres for the replacement market into the United Kingdom.

    Holiday Caravans And Chalets

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in the light of increases in ground rent and other non-rate charges to owners of holiday caravans and chalets, he is satisfied with the protection available to such people; and what recent representations he has received on the issue.

    I have received a number of letters about holiday caravan and chalets owners who face increased charges or other difficulties. I hope that it will be possible to reach agreement on a code of conduct governing arrangements between site owners and holiday caravan owners and that this will provide a fair balance between the interests of caravan owners and site operators.

    Building Societies And Insurance Companies

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has any plans to bring the building societies and insurance companies within the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act relating to the publication of the true rate of interest charged by them; and what has been the recommendation of the Office of Fair Trading on this or related matters.

    [pursuant to her reply, 28 January 1980]: I have today laid regulations governing advertisements and quotations relating to consumer credit and hire facilities. They represent a major step forward in implementing the "truth in lending" provisions of the Consumer Credit Act. Their aim is to provide the consumer with sufficient information to allow him to make an informed choice between competing facilities and to enable him to obtain all the relevant details of a prospective transaction before committing himself. Among the more important disclosures which the regulations will require in some advertisements and all quotations relating to credit will be the annual percentage rate of the total charge for credit. The regulations have been framed only after extensive consultation with the credit industry as well as with consumer interests. They will not apply to local authority and building society mortgage lending, which is already exempt from most provisions of the Act.The regulations will come into operation on 6 October 1980. Traders will therefore have time to make the necessary preparations. In this they will be aided by guidance material issued by the Director General of Fair Trading.

    Transport

    Disabled Persons (Orange Badges)

    60.

    asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now introduce legislation to ensure that the distribution of orange badges for the disabled is carried out according to well-considered national criteria, and not subject to the criteria laid down by local authorities or chief constables.

    There are already national criteria for the issue of orange badges by local authorities set out in the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) Regulations 1975. We have recently consulted the interested organisations about changes in the criteria and are now considering the many views put to us.

    asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he intends to make allowance for the sufferers of agoraphobia in the proposals to amend the conditions under which the orange disabled person's badge is currently issued;(2) what representations he has received from sufferers of agoraphobia who have difficulty in obtaining an orange disabled person's badge.

    Three groups representing agoraphobics and six indi- viduals have made representations about the proposals.The object of the proposed changes to the orange badge scheme is to concentrate the assistance provided on those with the greatest difficulty in walking and the blind; I am considering all representations, but I cannot hold out hopes that it will be extended to include other categories of disabled people.

    Bedford Western Relief Road

    asked the Minister of Transport (1) why the work on the A5140 Marston Moretaine bypass received priority over the Bedford western relief road (A6) in view of the traffic congestion in Bedford;

  • (2) why the work on the A418 Ampthill bypass has received priority over the Bedford western relief road (A6) in view of Bedford's traffic difficulties;
  • (3) whether he will bring forward the Bedford western relief road (A6) owing to the congestion of traffic and pressure of heavy vehicles already apparent in Bedford.
  • Bedford western relief road, Ampthill bypass and Marston Moretaine bypass are all schemes for which Bedfordshire county council is responsible as local highway authority. The relative priorities of schemes in the county highways programme are for the county council to determine.

    Driving Tests

    asked the Minister of Transport what is currently the average time in (a) Merseyside and (b) Ormskirk between the date of application for a driving test and the earliest offered appointment; and what steps he is proposing to take to reduce the length of wait.

    The average waiting time for L-tests at Merseyside centres is 23½ weeks. This compares with a national average of 26½ weeks.There is no test centre at Ormskirk; waiting times at the nearest centres are:

    Southport23 weeks
    Liverpool—Bootle25 weeks
    —Crosby23 weeks
    —Garston23 weeks
    Wigan23 weeks
    My plans for reducing waiting times generally were contained in my right hon.

    Friend's reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Banks) on 20 December last.—[Vol. 976, c.

    397–98.]

    M25 (Swanley—Sevenoaks)

    asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to make a final decision on the line of the Swanley-Sevenoaks section of the M25.

    The position is still as indicated in my replies to my hon. Friend on 23 January.—[Vol. 977, c. 294 and 419.]

    A30

    asked the Minister of Transport what stage has been reached in dualling the A30 Whiddon Down, Devon, to Lifton Down, Cornwall road; and when completion is likely to take place.