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Written Answers

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 11 February 1980

Education And Science

Nursery Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of three-year olds and what percentage of four-year olds attend nursery schools in each local education authority in England.

The information is not available in the detail requested. The latest available percentages of three and four-year olds combined, in nursery education in each local education authority, were published in the Official Report for 18 December 1979.—[Vol. 976, c. 274–276.]

Scotland

Trunk Roads

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many miles of (a) new trunk motorway route, (b) new trunk dual carriageway route, (c) new trunk single carriageway route and (d) substantially improved trunk route were opened for use in each of the last five financial years; and what are the estimated figures for 1979–80 and 1980–81.

The information available is as follows:

MILEAGE OF NEW TRUNK ROADS
Calendar yearMotorways openedDual carriage-way openedSingle Carriage-way opened
197411337
19753916
19761218
19776615
19784139
1979838
1980*15715
* Forecast.
Information on improvements of other kinds such as works on bends, junctions and bridges cannot be described in the form requested.

Partially-Sighted Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what facilities, if any, each area health board in Scotland is providing to assist the partially-sighted to use that sight which they have with the assistance of low vision aids; and what consideration his Department is giving to the potential use and availability of auxiliary magnifiers and other low vision aids as a means of assisting partially-sighted people to become more self-reliant.

The provision of low visual aids for the partially-sighted is concentrated at the four low visual aid clinics in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, but a limited range of services is also provided in Paisley and Ayr. It is for the consultants concerned to decide which visual aids would best assist partially-sighted people to become more self-reliant, and for the health board to supply these.

Hill Livestock (Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what delays have taken place in the past six months in the processing and payment of hill livestock compensatory allowances in the Borders region; and whether he is satisfied that all current claims are being received and paid expeditiously.

Farmers are asked to submit claims for hill livestock compensatory allowances between 1 and 31 January and the claims are usually paid in the period from February to May; accordingly, the question of delay in the past six months does not arise. I am satisfied that claims for the current year are being processed as quickly as possible.

Rating

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his letter of 4 February to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill concerning the excess payment of rates by three constituents as the result of an error of survey in the valuation of their houses by the assessor, what guidance he gives to rating authorities concerning repayment using the general statutory powers in sections 69 and 83 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and section 20 of the Local Government (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1963.

Guidance in this respect would not be appropriate. As explained in my hon. Friend's letter of 4 February to the hon. Member, it is for each local authority to decide on the basis of its legal advice whether to act under these general powers.

Grunwick Strike Fund

asked the Attorney-General whether he will refer the activities of the managers of the Grunwick strike fund to the Director of Public Prosecutions, with a view to prosecution for fraudulent conversion.

I referred the matter to the Director for his consideration last week.

Wales

Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many men are now in employment in Wales; and how this compares with the position five, 10 and 15 years ago.

It is provisionally estimated that 690,000 men were in employment in Wales in June 1979. Comparable data for 1965, 1970, and 1975 are 790,000, 721,000 and 698,000 respectively.

Welsh Development Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied that the Welsh Development agency is undertaking its statutory responsibilities to maintain and safeguard industrial employment in Wales.

I am satisfied that the Welsh Development Agency is having considerable success in fulfilling the purposes for which it was set up.

Housing Investment Programmes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library copies of housing investment programmes submitted by local housing authorities for the year 1980–81.

It is intended to place copies of the next housing investment programmes submitted by local authorities, which should be received in the autumn, in the Library of the House.

Agriculture Land Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the average price paid for agricultural land in Wales in 1979; what were the corresponding figures for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

The information is as follows:

AGRICULTURAL LAND PRICES IN WALES*
Period during which sales reported to Board of Inland Revenue (Year ending September)Year during which most of the bargains struck (Calendar year)Average price (With and without vacant possession) (£/hectare)
19701969304
19711970306
19721971393
19731972672
19741973952
19751974809
19761975814
19771976910
197819771,215
197919781,655
19792,118‡
* Figures collected and analysed by the Board of Inland Revenue and published by the Welsh Office covering all sales of agricultural land of 5 hectares (4 hectares before October 1978) and over, excluding sales for non-agricultural purposes, and gifts, but including inter-family sales and sales where the vendor retained certain rights over the land.
† There is a delay between the date on which a sale is agreed and the date on which it is notified to the Inland Revenue and then included in the series. There is no definite information on the extent of the time-lag but it is thought to average between 6 and 9 months. This means that the average reported prices for the 12 months ended 30 September reflect, very approximately, the prices of land sold during the previous calendar year. The format of the table allows for this lag.
‡Estimate based on the percentage change in vacant possession agricultural land prices as indicated by the ADAS/AMC Agricultural Land Prices series.

Employment (Caernarfon-Bangor)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table indicating for the Caernarfon-Bangor area (a) the number of employees in employment in each main heading of the industrial classification and (b) the num- ber of unemployed persons whose last employment was in each of these categories of industrial classification.

Standard Industrial Classification 1968Employees in employment (mid year annual census of employment) (June 1976)Numbers registered as unemployed (quarterly analysis by industry) (November 1979)
Primary Industries (orders I and II)29234
Manufacturing Industries (orders III to XIX)3,586242
Construction (order XX)1,728303
Gas, Electricity and Water (order XXI)46311
Distributive Trades (order XXIII)2,005149
Miscellaneous Services (order XXVI)1,722152
Public Administration (order XXVII)2,098131
Other Service Industries (orders XXII, XXIV and XXV)6,924159
Not classified by Industry270
Total, All Industries and Services18,8181,451

Home Department

Detention Centres (Regime)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are now being taken to establish the tougher regimes pilot project in two detention centres.

Detailed planning is being undertaken, and the pilot project will commence in or soon after 21 April 1980. To prepare the way for this, a circular is today being issued to the courts revising detention centre catchment areas with effect from 25 February 1980, giving general information about the regime, and indicating that, unless offenders are physically or mentally unfit for the regime, or are sentenced to periods of more than three months, those sentenced after 21 February who go to New Hall or Send detention centres may complete their sentences under the more rigorous regime. A copy of the circular is being placed in the Library of the House

Knottingley Fire Station

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present position in respect of his consideration of proposals submitted to him by West Yorkshire county council concerning the future for Knottingley fire station.

The council's proposals for reductions in the establishment scheme for the West Yorkshire fire brigade, of which Knottingley fire station

The details, based on the latest available statistics, are as follows:forms part, are being carefully considered, together with the representations about them which have been made by the hon. Member and others. I am not yet in a position to reach a decision on the proposals.

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Rugby on 24 January on the protection for the public in time of war, he will now take steps to (a) advise the public on protection that can be taken now, and (b) ensure that local authorities have prepared plans for a speedy and efficient evacuation of women and children from the cities to the country, designate reception areas for their use, and ensure that appropriate stocks of essentials are available for their use.

Most houses in this country offer a reasonable degree of protection against radioactive fallout from nuclear explosions, and protection can be substantially improved by a series of quite simple do-it-yourself measures. The material is ready now for an intensive publicity campaign if war should threaten. There may well be advantage in offering more advice to the public in normal times, and this is one of the matters we are considering in the current review of home defence arrangements. This will cover all aspects of public protection, including evacuation.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of an increase in international tension if he is yet in a position to give details of the review undertaken on civil defence; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make the booklet "Protect and Survive" widely and freely available to members of the public.

As I explained in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire East (Mr. Stewart) on 1 February, this is one of the matters being examined as part of my current review of home defence arrangements.—[Vol 977, c. 820.]

Patrick Joseph Conlon

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on how many occasions Patrick Joseph Conlon was considered for parole and refused it; and what were the dates upon which the refusals were notified to him;(2) why no consideration was given to the release of Patrick Joseph Conlon on licence in view of the chronic lung condition from which he suffered and the real possibility that he would die from it.

Mr. Conlon was considered for, and refused, parole twice; he was notified of these refusals on 23 November 1978 and 28 November 1979. Medical reports on prisoners are automatically included in case papers submitted to the parole board. What weight to attach to medical factors in relation to other factors is for the board to decide but it is not considered appropriate that parole should be determined on health grounds alone.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why it was necessary to have an armed police guard on Patrick Joseph Conlon whilst he was in Hammersmith hospital.

The decision to provide an armed police guard was an operational matter for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

King Hussein Of Jordan

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give, for the longest and most convenient stated period of time, the number of visits made to Great Britain by King Hussein of Jordan, and the purpose of the visits.

British Passport Holders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that the same criteria for entry are applied to British passport holders resident in former colonies as to American film stars, Iranians, Arabs and the like, who wish to visit friends and relatives or spend holidays in the United Kingdom.

The immigration rules for control on entry which relate to visitors, make no distinction on grounds of citizenship or nationality. I have no information which suggests that the rules are not applied impartially.

Iranian Nationals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Iranians are currently resident in the United Kingdom.

Risley Remand Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what parts of Risley remand centre, Warrington are affected by the use of high alumina cement; how long the building works will take; what is their estimated cost; how many males and females will be moved to other prison establishments; and if he will make a statement.

The answer to the first part of the question is "None". Remedial work, the present estimated cost of which is £350,000, will, however, be necessary to a number of buildings, principally the hospital. The timing of this work, and its implications for transfers to other establishments, are still under consideration.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will reduce, on a permanent basis, the number of males and females, adults and young persons, being remanded to Risley remand centre, Warrington.

I am preparing plans to relieve the overcrowding at Risley remand centre of the male population aged 17 and above by reducing, on a permanent basis, the number of courts it serves. With regard to females, there is no suitable alternative establishment to which courts could be directed to remand women, but measures are being taken to transfer sentenced women more quickly from Risley to training establishments in order to relieve overcrowding.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to expand Risley remand centre, Warrington to take more males and females, adults and young persons.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the recommended ideal number of males and females, adult and young persons, that should be detained in Risley remand centre, Warrington;(2) what is the recommended maximum number, and absolute maximum number, respectively, of males and females, adults and young persons, that should be detained in Risley remand centre, Warrington; and on how many days in the last three months the absolute maximum number of males and females, adult and young persons, has been exceeded.

The current certified normal accommodation for Risley is 565 males and 85 females. Adults and persons under 21 years are kept apart but there is flexibility in the allocation of accommodation for them. The maximum numbers that can be held at any establishment are dependent on a variety of factors of which the amount of accommodation is only one. The maximum number that can be accommodated at Risley is currently 933 males and 187 females; at no time during the three months up to 31 January 1980 has the population exceeded these figures.

Police (Complaints)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average length of time spent incorporating a police report regarding a com- plaint against the police to be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions; and what was the longest such period among cases referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions in the last two years.

I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. Paragraphs 18 to 22 of the report of the Police Complaints Board 1978 contain information about the time taken to complete the investigation and consideration of complaints against the police.

Hazardous Materials

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he is satisfied that the fire service is kept fully informed of hazardous materials stored on industrial premises;(2) whether the fire service is able, in the event of an explosion at the premises of any firm storing hazardous materials, to get an instant up-date of those materials, their quantities and disposition;(3) whether the fire service receives regular up-dated information about hazardous materials stored at industrial premises;(4) whether the fire service is satisfied with the information it receives from the Health and Safety Executive on the storage of hazardous materials on industrial premises;(5) whether he will initiate discussions between the fire service and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure there is a proper flow of information concerning the storage of hazardous materials to enable them to deal with possible fires and explosions.

Under section 1(1)(d) of the Fire Service Act 1947 fire authorities have a statutory responsibility for making arrangements for obtaining information required for fire fighting purposes about the fire risks in their area. I have no reason to believe that fire authorities are failing to take all reasonable steps to discharge this responsibility. However, additional means by which fire brigades might be made aware of the presence of hazardous substances, including those stored on industrial premises, are currently being examined by the Health and Safety Executive, in consultation with the Home Office and with the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council, on which fire authorities and the fire service staff associations are fully represented.

Equal Opportunities Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the trivial nature of many of its inquiries, such as the alleged sexism of the cartoon strip "Harold Hare" in the children's comic "Jack and Jill", he will bring forward legislation to abolish the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Prisoners (Privileges)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what changes he intends to prisoners' privileges other than those made in April 1979.

No further changes are planned, but I am keeping the position under review.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what items have been withdrawn from prisoners, and in which dispersal prisons, as a result of the harmonisation of privileges.

Apart from items which have been withdrawn because alternatives are supplied officially, the personal possession of the following is no longer permitted in dispersal prisons: chest expanders, weight lifting boots, lampshades, metal combs, hair colourant, hair tonic, fish, fish tanks and accessories, saw blades, cassette players, headphones, maps, navigation charts, night lights and pentographs. These items were previously permitted in one or two dispersal prisons only. The harmonisation of privileges has, however, resulted in an increase in the number and range of personal possessions available to prisoners generally.

Jimmy Kelly

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the accommodation to be provided for the press at the Whiston coroner's court for the inquest on Mr. Jimmy Kelly in March.

The arrangements for holding an inquest are entirely a matter for the discretion of the coroner, in which Ministers have no authority to intervene. I understand, however, that the coroner in this case intends to arrange for adequate accommodation to be available for members of the local and national press.

Mufti Squad

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to strengthen the minimum use of force tactical intervention squad; and if he intends to allocate extra financial resources to the minimum use of force tactical intervention squad.

As I explained in the reply I gave on 1 November 1979 to a question by the hon. Member, the plan is eventually to train all members of the governor and prison officer grades—except hospital officers—whoare medically fit in tactics in the use of minimum force to retain control of prison service establishments.—[Vol. 972, c. 589.] I have no plans to increase expenditure beyond that required to complete and maintain the programme of training and the provision of equipment.

Woolworths Store (Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now received the report of the sub-committee of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council on the fire at Woolworths store in Piccadilly, Manchester; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that completion of the report is dependent upon the results of research, which are not likely to become available until next month.

Compensation Payments

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the practice of clerks of magistrates' courts sending out letters to persons to whom compensation has been awarded, suggesting that they might consider forgoing the compensation to enable the guilty individual to have a fresh start; and if he will terminate this practice forthwith.

In my reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on 23 July 1979 I announced my intention to issue revised guidance on this subject to magistrates' courts in England and Wales.—[Vol. 971, c. 17–18.] Previous Home Office advice had been to the effect that, in order to give the offender a fresh start, compensation orders outstanding against young offenders sentenced to borstal training or detention in a detention centre should not normally be enforced. While it is for the courts to decide, in the circumstances of each case, whether or not to seek a victim's agreement to forgo compensation, I am determined to see that the interests of the victims of crime are not overlooked, and the revised guidance issued in Home Office circular No. 122/1979 on 27 July 1979 therefore places the emphasis on continued effort to secure the enforcement of the order in the interests of the victim.

Community Homes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that local authorities have been given freedom of choice in deciding where cuts in spending shall fall, what the responsibility of his Department will be in maintaining the cost for community homes for young offenders.

I have been asked to reply.There is no reason to change present responsibilities. When local authorities are reviewing their priorities. I would expect them to balance the maintenance of residential places in community homes against the development of intermediate treatment and other community-based methods of dealing with young offenders.

Energy

British Gas Corporation

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will seek to remove British Gas's monopoly purchase of the gas supply, following his recent announcement on targets for the gas industry.

I have no plans at present to amend the British Gas Corporation's statutory position in relation to the purchase of gas.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what profit the British Gas Corporation is expected to make in the coming year.

The precise level of forecast profits is a matter for the British Gas Corporation but on the basis of the recently announced financial target I would expect profits in the coming financial year to be of the order of £600 million before tax.

Gas-Gathering Pipeline

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he intends to make a statement on the feasibility of a gas-gathering pipeline.

I shall make a statement when I have enough evidence to allow a judgment of the feasibility of a gas-gathering pipeline.

Electricity Supply Industry

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on what proposals he now has to reorganise the electricity supply industry in England and Wales.

Coal Industry

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to introduce legislation to establish a new financial regime for the coal industry.

My right hon. Friend will inform the House as soon as he is ready to bring forward any new coal industry legislation.

Gas Prices

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many representations he has received in the past month from organisations and individuals against the proposed gas price increases; and what reply he has sent.

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many letters he has received on the subject of the proposed increases in gas prices.

Since my statement about gas prices on 16 January I have received over 2,000 letters on the subject. I will send the hon. Members a copy of one of my replies.

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when next he will meet the chairman of the British Gas Corporation.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when next he expects to meet the chairman of the British Gas Corporation.

I am in regular contact with the chairman of the British Gas Corporation, but I have no present plans for a further meeting.

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations

FUEL COSTS
Industrial Fuels
TimeCoalGasHeavy Fuel Oil
March/June 197910·0412·6414·31
July/September 197911·6712·3317·86
Pence/Therm
TimeCoal*80 therms/AnDomestic Fuels Gas† 400 therms/An1,200 therms/AnDomestic Heating Oil‡ (Gas Oil)
30 June 197919·0025·7020·3617·7929·89
15 January 198021·0025·7020·3617·7937·07
Source: Energy Trends.
*Average retail domestic price throughout the country.
†Typical prices for West Midlands Gas region
‡Typical prices in General Zones for deliveries of 500 gallons.
The figures for industrial fuel costs for the second quarter of 1979 are based on information collected from a survey of some 800 large industrial consumers. The survey was increased to cover some 900consumers for the third quarter and consequently does not provide figures comparable with those for the second quarter. Fourth quarter figures and estimates of prices in June 1980 are not available.Domestic fuel prices vary according to geographic location, quantities purchased and in the case of coal and heating oil individual merchants. The figures given for coal are based on the average retail domestic price of household coal throughout the country. The figures for gas and domestic heating oil are based on typical prices in the West Midlands gas region. Estimates of prices in June 1980 are not available.

he has received from the Gas Consumers Council regarding the proposed increase in gas prices.

I expect to meet representatives of the National Gas Consumers' Council in the very near future. I understand that the council has already released the text of the letter that it sent to me on the subject of gas prices.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will compare the price per therm for (a) coal, (b) gas and (c) heating oil on (i) 30 June 1979, (ii) now and (iii) as expected on 30 June of the current year.

The following tables show the price in pence per therm for coal, gas and heating oil in the industrial and domestic sectors.

North Sea Oil

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consideration he is giving to the auctioning of those North Sea blocks that oil companies request to be included in the seventh licensing round.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a further statement on the progress of the seventh round of offshore licences; and what is his policy towards auction bid methods of allocation of licences.

I refer my hon. Friend and the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 29 January to the hon. Member for Wolver Hampton, North-East (Mrs. Short).

Gas (Tariff Structure)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with the existing gas tariff structure for domestic and industrial consumers.

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will issue a general direction to British Gas not to alter the price per therm of gas supplied to consumers through slot meters.

Details of gas tariffs are statutorily a matter for the British Gas Corporation. I do not intend to issue any direction to the corporation not to alter the price per therm of gas supplied through coin meters.

Coal Industry

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much support the British coal industry received from the European Community in 1979 in the form of grants and loans.

In 1979 the National Coal Board received loans from the ECSC amounting to £151 million. It signed research contracts with the ECSC to the value of £6 million. The NCB and the Government jointly received £7·4 million in re-adaption grants to help areas where there are colliery closures.

Fuel Supplies (Rural Service Stations)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will have discussions with the major oil companies and wholesale distributors to ensure that no rural service stations will have their supplies of fuels cut off, or contracts terminated, so long as a community need and amenity can be proved.

The companies principally concerned have already given my Department assurances which I have conveyed to the House on 29 October and subsequently.

Gas And Electricity (Savings Stamps)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions are taking place to enable post offices to sell gas and electricity savings stamps.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Cartwright) on Friday 8 February.

Fuel Prices

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report each price increase of (a) premium petrol, four star, (b) regular petrol, (c) Derv, (d) heating oil, including paraffin oil, and (e) heavy fuel oil, to commercial companies for internal use, and for retail sales at the pumps, respectively, during the last three years for which this information is available up to the date of the most recent increases.

I regret that some of this information is not available, and the remainder could be supplied only at disproportionate cost. The hon. Member will find some of the requested information in my Department's "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 1979", tables 84–90.

Opec

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he intends to meet representatives of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries in the near future.

I have no firm plans to meet representatives of the OPEC countries in the near future. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State visited Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq in early January. He expects, as the opportunity arises, to have further meetings with OPEC Ministers and senior officials.

North Sea Oil (Licences)

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy, what unwelcome results could arise if the allocation of future offshore licences by auction were determined solely by the highest cash bid.

As the right hon. Member will know, licences have generally been awarded on the basis of several factors including applicants' capabilities and past record and performance. A system relying entitrely on cash bids would by definition exclude such matters and, in the absence of safeguards the orderly and effective development of UKCS resources could be adversely affected. As I mentioned in my reply of 28 January to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis), I shall continue to keep the matter under review.

European Community (Common Energy Policy)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he supports proposals for an EEC common energy policy.

The main thrust on energy developments comes from national programmes. The Community can, however, play a valuable role in international discussions and also in setting broad energy objectives and providing complementary action in appropriate cases. I have seen no specific new proposals for an EEC common energy policy, but I am prepared to examine carefully any precise proposals which are made.

Combined Heat And Power Schemes

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if his Department will initiate studies in combined heat and power schemes in connection with the redevelopment of the London dockland area.

As I said in my reply to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), the Government's policy on combined heat and power is under consideration in the light of the Marshall report. The consideration of the suitability of particular locations would be premature at this stage.

Coal Board (Farmland Purchase)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what acreage of farmland in the United Kingdom has been purchased by the Coal Board during the last six months; what price was paid; and what is the purpoe of these purchases.

These questions do not fall within the competence of my Department but are for the National Coal Board. I have asked the chairman to write to my hon. Friend.

Nuclear Reactors

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the present position of the fast nuclear reactor programme and the progress it is hoped to make.

I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Member for Cannock (Mr. Roberts) on 14 January.—[Vol. 976, c. 577.]

Liquid Petroleum Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what quantities of (a) butane liquid petroleum gas, and (b) propane liquid petroleum gas were produced, delivered, and shipped into the United Kingdom during the past 12 months to the latest convenient date; and of the totals, what quantities of each were made available for (i) use by private industry as an energy source, (ii) non-energy use, (iii) nationalised industries and (iv) export.

The information for the 12 months ended 30 November 1979 is as follows:

Butane (thousand tonnes)Propane (thousand tonnes)
Production including indigenous receipts1,204873
Arrivals9341
Inland deliveries:
Energy use851516
Non-energy use4745
Shipments378361
I regret that a split of deliveries between private industry and nationalised industries is not available. Differences between supply and disposals reflect refinery use and stock change.

Microprocessors

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the use of microprocessors for energy saving; and what plans he has to extend this usage.

Microprocessors have potential applications in the optimum control of energy use, in building and vehicles for example. They are beginning to be installed commercially, in control of building environments and industrial processes with consequent energy savings. Work is already being carried out under the Department of Industry's microprocessor application project and the Department of Energy's energy conservation demonstration scheme with a view to extending their usage in more effective controls, by demonstrating and publicising their application and potential benefits.

Power Generation (Radioactivity)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what is the ratio of radioactive emission from a typical or average (a) nuclear power station, (b) coal-fired station and (c) an ash disposal site, compared with the natural emission of a green field site.(2) what evidence there is of disease attributable to radiation for employees working in nuclear power stations, non-nuclear power stations, and ash disposal sites used for coal-fired power stations; and if any of these sources create a public health hazard.

Common Energy Policy

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to encourage a common energy policy within the EEC.

The main thrust on energy developments comes from national programmes. I have, however, made clear the Government's view that the Community can play a valuable role in international discussions and also in setting broad energy objectives and providing complementary action in appropriate cases.

Energy Saving

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the available figures, with suitable breakdowns, of energy-saving achievements and energy-saving targets, in the domestic, industrial, commercial and public administration sectors; and if he will make a statement.

Department of Energy estimates suggest that from 1974–1977 energy consumption was up to 6 per cent. below what it would have been in the absence of higher energy prices and Government energy conservation measures. An explanation of the problems associated with the measurement of energy saving was given in my answer to the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) on 20 December 1979. No sectoral breakdown of these estimates is available.There are no formal targets for energy saving either on an overall or on a sectoral basis. The Department' senergy projections 1979 include an allowance of about 20 per cent. for energy conservation in the year 2000. However, this is an assumption, not a formal target.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what study he has made of the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment sector working party report indicating it is cheaper to waste energy than to provide additional energy-saving equipment; what further incentives he is providing for industrial energy saving; and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.The sector working party's progress report 1980 is being considered by Her Majesty's Government and a response will be made to the SWP's recommendation on energy conservation in due course.

Overseas Development

Training

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will amplify subhead 18 of Appendix II of Class II, Vote 7, of the Appropriation Accounts 1978–79 relating to expenditure of £556,743 on the further training for British experts.

In certain disciplines it is no longer easy to meet the demand for British personnel with high qualifications and experience of developing countries. The funds were used for specialised training and providing practical experience for experts engaged, or to be engaged, under the air programme.

Kampuchea

asked the Lord Privy Seal how much aid has been given into Kampuchea in the last 12 months period for which figures are available.

In the last 12 months British official aid for the people in Kampuchea has consisted entirely of humanitarian relief. The estimated total cost is some £7 million, of which about half is Britain's share (about 20 per cent) of the total cost of the emergency assistance given by the European Community. Of our aid the services of the RAF Hercules aircraft (costing about £200,000), the charter of the civilian CL44 transport aircraft (costing about £45,000), and 2,300 tonnes of rice, out of a total grant of 5,000 tonnes, through the world food programme (being distributed, but account not yet received) constituted aid going directly to Phnom Penh or Kompong Som. As explained in my written reply of 15 January to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rhodes James)—[Vol. 976, cols. 698–99]—the disasters emergency committee (to which we have given about £480,000) and the joint ICRC/UNICEF appeal (to which we have given about £1,930,000) are free to use our grants at their discretion for relief operations either in Kampuchea itself or among Kampuchean refugees in Thailand, according to where the aid can, in their judgment, be most effectively used. As I told the House on the same occasion, we expect the aid given by the European Community (United Kingdom share of the cost, some £3.5 million) to be split about 50–50 between refugees in Thailand and on the Thai-Kampuchean border on the one hand and the rest of Kampuchea on the other.

Trades Union Congress

asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the excess expenditure incurred by the Trades Union Congress under the overseas aid programme as shown under Appendix II of Class II, Vote 7, of the Appropriation Accounts 1978–79.

The figure of £140,000 in the Supplementary Estimates HC 199 of 1978–79 (Class II, Vote 7 Appendix 2) was based on information available when the Estimates were prepared. Actual expenditure at £171,606 was greater than forecast but was within the ceiling of £180,000 agreed by the previous Administration, and did not cause excess expenditure under the subhead as a whole.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will end the annual grant to the Trades Union Congress under the overseas aid programme as disclosed under item 38 of Appendix II of Class II, Vote 7, of the Appropriation Accounts 1978–79.

Trade

Fastnet Yacht Race

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in his consideration of the report of the inquiry into the Fastnet yach race in August 1979, he will examine whether the organisers of the race could have caused the race to be abandoned once warnings of the storm were received; and, if so, whether the organisers should pay some of the cost of the rescue operation.

There was little prior warning of the storm and at that time the yachts which subsequently got into difficulties were a long way from shelter. I am satisfied that an order by the organisers to abandon the rate at that stage would have had no significant effect on the outcome.

Companies (Limited Liability Status)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps to remove the limited liability status from those limited companies which fail to carry out their obligations under the Companies Act.

The obligations imposed by the Companies Acts are many and various. There are procedures which may be invoked by my Department and others when companies or their officers do not comply with the law. I do not consider that it would be fair to shareholders to add an automatic sanction which imposed unlimited liability on shareholders for the debts of their company.

"Aeolian Sky"

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has on the number of canisters containing toxic chemicals which were on the sunken "Aeolian Sky"; how many have so far come ashore; and what organisations are responsible for the cost of disposing of them safely.

My Department holds a copy of the complete cargo manifest of the "Aeolian Sky", together with the list of declared dangerous substances.Responsibility for dealing with packages which are washed ashore lies with the local authorities. Reports received from them by my Department indicate that, up to 7 February, some 750 packages had recently been recovered in the Isle of Wight and on the neighbouring mainland coastline. However, not all of the contents of these packages were toxic, nor could they all be identified as coming from the "Aeolian Sky".The ordinary rules of law will apply to any attempts by the local authorities to recover their costs.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that the owners of the ship "Aeolian Sky" met all United Kingdom safety requirements for the carriage of dangerous chemicals before sailing on her last voyage; and if he considers any amendments to existing safety regulations are necessary.

I am satisfied that the "Aeolian Sky" had on board a dangerous goods cargo manifest as required by the relevant safety rules. My Department is examining a copy of this document together with the vessel's main cargo manifest in relation to the requirements of the rules. It is proposed to amend the Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Rules 1978 to require containers used for dangerous goods to be durably marked so as to remain identifiable following immersion for at least three months in sea water.

Birmingham And Midland Counties Trust

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will arrange for his Department to undertake an investigation under Companies Acts of the affairs and activities of the Birmingham and Midland Counties Trust and its associated companies.

Man-Made Fibres

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action the EEC Council of Ministers now propose to take, following its meeting of 4 to 5 February, to counter the disruption of Community markets by United States imports of manmade fibres given artificial advantage through the United States energy dual-pricing policy.

The Council of Ministers on 4 to 5 February decided that there was no case for Community-wide action against imports of synthetic textiles from the United States. But it recognised the problems arising in certain regions of the Community and that action in certain cases might be justified. I have accordingly applied to the Commission for restriction by quota of imports into the United Kingdom of polyester filament yarn, nylon carpet yarn and tufted carpets of man-made fibres. Restrictions would not apply to countries with which the Community has preferential trading agreements or bilateral agreements under the multi-fibre arrangement.

Industry

Post Office

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will give a general direction to the Post Office to maintain sub-post offices without reducing either their services or the remuneration of sub-postmasters.

No. The services provided to sub-post offices and the remuneration of sub-postmasters are matters for negotiation between the Post Office and the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters respectively.The effects of any significant proposed change of business volume on the sub-post office network will however be subject to the most careful consideration and proper consultation.

Textile Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish details of output and employment in man-made fibres and in natural wool textile fibres for each quarter of 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 in the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Belgium and West Germany.

PRODUCTION OF MAN-MADE FIBRES*
Thousand tones
1976197719781979 January-September
United Kingdom632·9568·4619·6552·9‡
Benelux§211·4205·1207·8
France333·5323·5320·6
Germany(Federal Republic)909·6844·3879·3
Italy515·1484·0†489·6†
* Excludes glass fibre, olefin monofil heavy denier and film fibres including protein fibres.
† Includes Polyproypylene filament.
‡ Not fully comparable with earlier years.
§ Separate figures for Belgium are not readily available.
Sources:
1976–78: C.I.R.F.S. (International Rayon and Synthetic Fibres Committee).
1979: United Kingdom Man-Made Fibres Producers' Committee. Other countries not readily available.
Quarterly figures on a comparable basis are not readily available.
EMPLOYMENT IN THE MAN-MADE FIBRE PRODUCING INDUSTRY* (OPERATIVES AND ADMINISTRATIVE AND TECHNICAL DEPARTMENTS)
197619771978
United Kingdom34,100†32,980†29,630‡
Benelux‡║13,55012,43011,470
France‡18,40016,55014,900
Germany (Federal Republic)§40,20036,00031,900
Italy‡38,30033,67032,500
* Excludes glass fibres and olefins.
†Mid year.
‡End year.
§Monthly averages.
║Figures for Belgium are not readily available.
Source: C.I.R.F.S. (International Rayon and Synthetic Fibres committee). Comparable figures for 1979 have not yet been published.
Details of output in natural wool textile fibres for all the countries listed are available only for wool and hair tops
Thousand tonnes
United KingdomBelgiumFranceGerman Federal RepublicItaly
Years:
197656·519·593·141·157·1
197752·317·585·332·748·9
197848·716·874·031·747·2
Quarters:
1976—
First quarter13·84·724·110·314·6
Second quarter14·55·124·310·214·6
Third quarter13·54·619·210·212·4
Fourth quarter14·75·025·510·415·5
1977—
First quarter15·35·525·88·915·9
Second quarter13·95·423·97·814·5
Third quarter11·13·115·87·99·4
Fourth quarter12·03·519·98·19·1
1978—
First quarter13·64·621·38·311·0
Second quarter12·84·521·68·212·3
Third quarter10·83·612·97·610·7
Fourth quarter11·54·118·27·613·2
1979—
First quarter11·94·620·08·315·0
Second quarter11·85·121·17·914·1
Source: Wool Quarterly published by the Commonwealth Secretariat in conjunction with the International Wool Study Group and the International Wool Textile Organisation.
Employment figures for natural wool textile fibres are not available.

The available information for man-made fibres is as follows:(including carded sliver). They are as follows:

Steel Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, for the period 1973 to 1979, what is the relative effect on the price of steel of (a) the change in productivity in the period, and (b) the change in the valuation of sterling vis-à-vis Japan, Italy, France and the United States of America.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry which plants are to be closed by the British Steel Corporation; and what is (a) the estimated cost of closure, redundancy pay and maintenance in each case, (b) the production capacity for tonnage of each, (c) the variable costs, excluding overheads, of running each one per ton of steel produced and (d) the weighted average price per ton, at current prices, of output or full capacity.

The British Steel Corporation recently announced plans for the closure of its works at Consett and Hallside, and for substantial reductions in manned capacity at Scunthorpe, Llanwern and Port Talbot. Plans for the ending of iron and steel making at Shotton and Corby had previously been announced. Questions on operational and accounting matters at BSC works, and on the precise costs of closures, are for the BSC.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the cost of interest payments per employee in the British Steel Corporation.

Interest paid by BSC for 1979–80 is expected to be about £180 million. On the basis of an average number of employees, about £1,000 interest will be paid for every employee.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what increases in pay he discussed with the British Steel Corporation when fixing the new cash limits.

Warren Spring Laboratory

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proposals he has in mind for the future of Warren Spring laboratory.

My right hon. Friend intends Warren Spring laboratory to continue to be one of the research establishments of the Department of Industry, although it will, of course, bear its share of the economies in public expenditure.

Profits And Money Supply

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for manufacturing industry, or the nearest equivalent (a) trading profits, before and after tax, and retained profits in both current and 1975 prices, (b) the percentage of capital funds derived from retained profits, bank advances, capital issues and overseas borrowing and (c) the real rate of increase in the money supply, in each case for each year since 1970.

The data given in columns 1 to 8 of the table below have been obtained from the Department of Industry's regular analysis of large companies' annual published accounts, of which 1,000 to 1,300 have been companies whose main activity is manufacturing.The profits and income figures given, and the figures of depreciation used, are on the basis of recorded (that is historic) costs. Figures at 1975 prices are not compiled.The figures in columns 1 to 4 are on an accruals basis; those in columns 5 to 8 have been calculated on the basis of receipts and payments during the year. Overseas borrowing is not separately identified.There is no ideal way of calculating the growth of the real money supply between years. The figures in column 9 are for mid-year on mid-year changes of £3 million deflated by the implied index of total domestic expenditure prices. The results are sensitive to the exact definition

LARGE MANUFACTURING COMPANIES
£ million
Gross trading profitTotal income before taxTotal income after taxRetained earnings
(1)(2)(3)(4)
1970*3,5514,1173,155789
19713,9704,4643,469839
1971*3,9374,4193,433830
19724,8625,3614,1731,250
1972*5,126†5,622†4,440†1,239
19736,4787,1675,1471,676
1973*6,4717,1555,1391,676
19747,1537,8425,6041,491
1974*7,1877,8855,6501,520
19757,5878,3156,0011,339
1975*7,5318,2605,9551,311
197610,08011,2237,9642,612
1976*10,00911,1437,9132,593
197710,94512,0288,8042,283
* Comparable in coverage to the following year.
†Above the line the figures are after deducting short-term interest.
Notes:
Column (1)—before deducting interest, hire of plant and machinery and tax; depreciation and stock appreciation.
Column (2)—column (1) plus income from investments, prior year adjustments other than tax, other revenue income and other capital receipts.
Column (3)—column (2) less current United Kingdom and overseas tax, transfers to deferred taxation and prior year tax adjustments.
Column (4)—total income after deducting hire of plant and machinery, depreciation and amounts written off, accruals of taxation, interest and dividends and transfers to asset renewals and replacement reserves.
Source:Various issues of annual Business Monitor MA3—Company Finance.
PROPORTIONS OF TOTAL SOURCES OF FUNDS
Internal funds less depreciationDepreciationBank borrowingOther external fundsPercentages Annual Percentage change in real money supply
(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)
197024·744·319·511·5
197134·551·4-7·021·1+1·0
197251·038·50·79·8+12·4
197344·728·319·77·3+13·6
197436·429·131·13·4-2·4
197545·537·0-1·018·5-12·9
197651·124·611·213·1-5·2
197750·228·68·612·6-5·1
1978n.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.+5·5
1979n.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.+0·2
Notes:
Column (5)—income retained, other than depreciation provisions, after the payment of interest, tax and dividends.
Column (8)—cash from ordinary and preference shares and long-term loans.
Column (9)—mid-year on mid-year, seasonally adjusted £M3 deflated by implied index of total domestic expenditure prices.
Sources: Annual articles "Structure of company financing" published in Trade and Industry (now British Business) based on data in Business Monitor MA3; for column (9), Financial Statistics and Economic Trends.

British Shipbuilders

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether British Shipbuilders is expected to remain within its loss limit

of money supply and the price index used, as well as the choice of quarter for making annual comparisons.

for the financial year 1979–80; and if he will make a statement on British Shipbuilders' results for the nine months ended 31 December 1979.

Yes. British Shipbuilders' most recent public financial statement was its interim statement for the six months ended 30 September, in which it expressed its belief that its trading loss for the full financial year 1979–80 would be within the loss limit set by the Secretary of State.

National Enterprise Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what sales the National Enterprise Board has made of its holdings since May 1979.

Since May last the Board has disposed of all its shareholdings in Hird Brown Ltd. and ICL Ltd. It has also disposed of its equity

COMPANIES IN WHICH THE NEB's HOLDING HAS CHANGED
CompanyNumber and description of shares held by NEBPercentage of nominal value of total equityCost £'000
Aqualisa Products Ltd.24,000 £1 ordinary40·024
65,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity65
80,000 £1 redeemable preference80
Doyce Electronics Ltd.3,334 £1 ordinary25·017
63,330 £1 redeemable preference63
Data Recording Instrument Co. Ltd.4,820,337 £1 ordinary89·74,844
8,000,000 £1 ordinary (75p paid)6,000
1,000,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity1,000
Hydraroll Ltd.14,625 £1 ordinary46·115
109,875 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity110
Inmos International Ltd1,850,000 5p ordinary67·393
550,000 £20 preferred ordinaryNot equity11,000
Innotron Ltd.1,308 £1 ordinary29·044
50,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity50
Insac Group Ltd.7,100,000 £1 ordinary 100·07,100
Nexos Office Systems Ltd.155,990 £1 ordinary79·8156
6,100,000 £1 redeemable preference6,100
Systime Ltd.929 £1 ordinary29·5405
476 £1 part preference218
Wholesale Vehicle Finance Ltd.7,246,250 £1 ordinary77·57,246
In addition to these changes there have been movements in the Stock Exchange prices of certain shares in companies in which the NEB has not changed the size of its shareholdings. At 31 January fast these prices were:
Barrow Hepburn Group Ltd30p
BL Ltd17p
Brown Boveri Kent Ltd.41p
Ferranti Ltd.465p
Negretti and Zambra40·5p
The NEB has also disposed of its shareholdings in ICL Ltd. and Hird Brown Ltd.

Textile And Clothing Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will give details similar to those published in the supplementary memorandum by the Departments of Trade and Industry on page 33 of the sixteenth report of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities (Session 1978–79) of those

shareholding in Pakmet International Ltd., but retained its preference shareholdings.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the total shareholdings of the National Enterprise Board at 31 January, the number and type of shares held, the percentage of total equity this represents, the total cost of the shares and, where appropriate, the market value of the shares at 31 January.

The reply which I gave on 27 June 1979—[Vol. 969, c. 188–94]—and amended on 7 December 1979—[Vol. 975, c. 374–78] should be further amended in respect of the following items:specific European Commission documents which have been issued for discussion since June 1978 and which derive from the principles contained in the Commission document R2118–78, on textiles and clothing industries; and, where a response by the Government to the Commission has already been made, what that response was.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 February 1980]: Document R/2118/78 touched on a number of issues which the Commission saw as elements of a Community policy for textiles and clothing industry.As brought out in the supplementary memorandum referred to, the Commission subsequently put forward proposals for a framework regulation for community aid for industrial restructuring and conversion (R/2821/78) which was the subject of an explanatory memorandum by the Department of Industry on 11 December 1978. Commission proposals to designate the shipbuilding and textiles industries as eligible to receive aid under the above proposals were contained in draft instrument R/4301 /79 of 16 January 1979. An explanatory memorandum was submitted by the Department on 19 February 1979. Amendments to R/2821/78 and R/4301/79 were put forward by the Commission in draft instrument R/7705/79 of 18 June 1979, the subject of an explanatory memorandum dated 13 July 1979. Member States have not so far found these proposals acceptable.As an interim measure the Commission proposed that ad hoc assistance should be made available to deal with the specific problem of over-capacity in the man-made fibre industry. This proposal, which was agreed by the Council of Ministers of 20 December 1979, was contained in draft instrument R/1875/79, the subject of an explanatory memorandum submitted on 21 January 1980.In draft instrument R/6150/79 of 4 April 1979 the Commission put forward proposals for a second EEC research and development programme for textiles and clothing. The Department submitted an explanatory memorandum on 22 June 1979. While the United Kingdom has supported this proposal, other member States have not yet felt able to do so.

Elderly Persons (Private Institutions)

asked the Attorney-General what consideration the Lord Chancellor has given to the suggestion that legislation should be introduced to require the registration of all private institutions in which elderly persons are cared for, including in particular provisions to prevent persons either owning or on the staff of such institutions from being eligible to benefit from the persons in their care, either by way of gifts or bequests.

I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given on 31 January 1980 by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services, who has responsibility concerning the registration of private institutions for the elderly.—[Vol. 977, c. 750.] Not all dispositions made in the circumstances mentioned are necessarily improper or even undesirable. Those which are improper are likely to be affected by the law of undue influence, fraud or want of testamentary capacity. The Lord Chancellor is not persuaded that these rules of law, coupled with the availability of the services of the Court of Protection and the Official Solicitor, are not the best means of safeguarding the interests of patients.

Police Custody (Deaths)

asked the Attorney-General in how many cases over the last 10 years where persons have died whilst in police custody complaints have been made which have been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions; in which years these were; what was the cause of death in each case; in how many of these cases prosecution was recommended by the Director of Public Prosecutions; what were the results; or what other action was taken in each case.

I hope to be in a position to provide the information the hon. Member seeks shortly.

Civil Service

Manpower Costs

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will compare for 1960, 1970 and the latest year for which the figures are available, at current and at constant prices, the total cost of the Civil Service, and the average cost of each civil servant, including the cost of pensions and of employers' national insurance contributions.

The table below shows the relevant Main Estimates provisions at current prices for the staff of central Government Departments, together with the average of these costs per civil servant:

Financial yearMain estimates provisionAverage cost per civil servant
££
1961–62618,000,000881
1970–711,175,000,0001,670
1979–803,95,000,0005,500
Note: Main estimates provision includes pay, employers' national insurance contributions and, for 1970–71, selective employment tax, and superannuation.
Comparable information for 1960–61 is not held centrally.There are no indices available which would permit these costs to be shown at constant prices.

Press And Public Relations Officers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many press and public relations officers are currently employed in his Department; what is the total cost; and what are the comparable figures for June 1970, October 1974 and May 1979.

The number and cost of information officer group staff in my Department's press offices on these dates was as follows:

NumberCost
£
June 19701143,000
October 19741168,000
May 197910115,000
February 19809116,000

Public Servants (Pensions)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what body is carrying out the investigation into the contributions made by public servants for their pensions.

Racial Discrimination

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what plans he has to monitor any possible racial discrimination in the recruitment, job placement, reports on individuals and promotion of Civil Service staff; and if he will make a statement.

As the hon. Member will know from my reply of 22 October 1979 to the hon. Member for Lambeth, Central (Mr. Tilley)—[Vol. 972, c. 11]—a joint working party with the unions has been established to consider the monitoring of race relations policy in the Civil Service. It has not yet reached any conclusions.

House Of Commons

Members' Secretarial Allowance

43.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he hopes to make an announcement on the increase in secretarial allowance.

49.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the Government received the Boyle report on secretaries' and research assistants' salaries; and when the report will be disclosed to hon. Members.

The thirteenth report from the Review Body on Top Salaries, which includes recommendations on the secretarial allowance, was delivered to the Prime Minister last month. The report is under active consideration by the Government, and I shall be making a statement in the near future.

Parliamentary Questions

46.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has reached any conclusion concerning the representations he has received concerned with questions in the House relating to Foreign and Commonwealth affairs.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer during Business Questions last week to a question from the right hon. Member for Lanark (Dame Judith Hart). As I explained, I have now concluded an arrangement whereby time for general Foreign Office questions will be increased by 25 per cent. over a full year, by shifting Overseas Development questions to a different day and allowing general Foreign Office questions to run on until ten-past three instead of three as they do now.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the present position in respect of his consideration of the need to increase the length of time available for oral questions to the Lord Privy Seal on subjects other than the European Communities and Overseas Development.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply to the right hon. Member for Lanark (Dame Judith Hart) during Business Questions on 7 February 1980.The full changes will be as follows. Every fourth Wednesday, starting on 12 March, general Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions will be able to continue until 3.10 pm instead of 3 pm. European Community questions will have the remainder of the time.Overseas Development questions will be moved to the Mondays when Trade questions are first on the Order Paper, to start not later than 3.20, and this new arrangement will begin on 3 March.Church Commissioners questions will as a consequence be moved to the Mondays when Welsh questions are first on the Order Paper. Starting on 17 March, Church Commissioners questions will be taken not later than 3.10 pm. Duchy of Lancaster questions will follow not later than at 3.15 pm, and Arts questions will then be taken not later than at 3.20 pm.

Westminster Hall

50.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will now arrange for the replacement of the temporary railings on the steps of Westminster Hall.

The plans for the replacement of the temporary railings are now well advanced. The proposed design will shortly be placed before the Works of Art Committees of both Houses for their consideration.

Re-Cycled Waste Paper

48.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on action to be taken following the discussions in the Services Committee on the optional use of recycled waste paper in the House.

The Services Committee decided in December 1978 that available papers containing recycled waste were not acceptable for Members' stationery.

Since then Her Majesty's Stationery Office has reviewed regularly the available papers containing waste but has not yet discovered any of a quality significantly superior to that previously rejected by the Committee.

Pay Structure And Grading

51.

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley), as representing the House of Commons Commissioners, what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Bottomley committee; and if he will make a statement.

52.

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley), as representing the House of Commons Commissioners, what progress he has made in his review of the pay structure and grading of House of Commons staff.

The House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978 provided the necessary legislative framework for the Committee's recommendations and the Commission has been meeting regularly since the Act came into force a year ago. So, too, has the Board of Management following its appointment by the Commission. A new Whitley Committee constitution has been agreed between stall and management and is the basis of industrial relations in the House. The grading review recommended by my Committee began in October and is proceeding very satisfactorily.

Members' Salaries

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he intends to propose a full increase for 1980 in the salaries of hon. Members in addition to the £10,750 agreed by the House as part of the 1979 agreement.

As I made clear to the House in my statement on 11 July 1979—[Vol. 970, c. 476]—the Government are committed to implementing the updating to be recommended by the Review Body on Top Salaries this summer.

Library (Computer Indexing)

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaser if he will publish the invitation to tender and the specification of requirements for the House of Commons Library computer indexing system.

In accordance with the Central Computer and Telecomunications Agency procedure, the invitation to tender is simply a formal letter to short-listed suppliers containing no details of the system required. The full description of the House of Commons Library indexing system is contained in the operational requirement and I have arranged for a copy of this to be deposited in the Library for the information of Members.

Debates

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of the total time used for debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons

Total sitting time of the HouseTotal time devoted to debates*
1977–781,485 hours 3 minutes1,265 hours 20 minutes
1978–79738 hours 34 minutes612 hours 26 minutes
1979–80 (up to 7 February)968 hours 50 minutes823 hours 14 minutes
* This excludes Prayers, Questions, Private Notice Questions, Statements and Points of Order.

Arts Council

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, in assessing the grant to the Arts Council for the forthcoming year, he will take account of the special needs of regional bodies such as North West Arts, both for adequate provision and early notification of grant level; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. I hope before long to be able to announce the Arts Council grant-in-aid for 1980–81.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what amount was paid by the Arts Council to North West Arts for 1979–80; and on what date it was informed of its grant from the Arts Council.

The grant offered for 1979–80 was £466,000 and this was notified to North West Arts as a planning figure in January 1979. This offer has subsequently been supplemented.

Employment

Petrol Storage

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in view of over the last three years for which figures are available has been devoted to debating the Vote on Account, Main Estimates and Supplementary Estimates.

Time spent on Supply Days on the named categories of business, together with time spent on the related Consolidated Fund Bills, formed the following percentage of time taken by debates over the past three Sessions:

per cent.
1977–781·97
1977–785·09
1979–80 (up to 7 February)3·64

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what has been the number of hours devoted to all debates in the Chamber of the House of Commons for the last three years.

:closures of petrol retail outlets in rural areas of Wales, if he will consider seeking to relax the law by which individual farmers and others are allowed to keep only a limited quantity of petrol fuel on their properties.

No. Farmers and others who wish to keep larger quantities of petrol than are permitted under the conditions of the Petroleum Spirit (Motor Vehicles etc.) Regulations 1929 may do so providing they obtain from the local authority the issue of a licence under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928.

Coal Mine Haulage Systems

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations he is having concerning the development of safer rails for coal mine haulage systems.

Consultations with the National Coal Board, the British Steel Corporation and other interested parties have resulted in the development of a new type of rail for trials in coal mine-haulage systems.The board has placed initial orders for the rail, which is to be tested in selected mines.

I have asked the chairman of the National Coal Board to write to the hon. Member.

Employment Protection Act

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has now received asking him to abolish the Employment Protection Act; and how many of those are from small businesses.

Since we took office I and my ministerial colleagues have received 15 representations asking us to abolish the Employment Protection Act. It is not possible to tell precisely how many of these came from "small businesses" but 10 appear to have come from

1July 19701 October 1974
Staff numbersSalary costStaff numbersSalary cost
££
Department of Employment830,000949,000
Manpower Services Commission521,000
Health and Safety Commission/Executive
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
1April 19791 January 1980
Staff numbersSalary costStaff numbersSalary cost
££
Department of Employment995,000894,000
Manpower Services Commission766,000662,000
Health and Safety Commission/Executive877,000884,000
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Station Service335,000447,000

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the average number of males and females registered as unemployed for the past five years; and what these figures represent in total and percentage terms in Hull, Stoke and the United Kingdom.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of registered unemployed under 21 years in the borough of Walsall; how long they have been unemployed; and what action he intends to take to reduce the amount of youth unemployment in the Black Counry districts of the West Midlands.

smaller firms or from organisations representing them.

Press And Public Relations Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many press and public relations officers are currently employed in his Department; what is the total cost; and what are the comparable figures for June 1970, October 1974 and May 1979.

Details of the numbers of information officer group staff employed in Department of Employment group press offices are given below together with the salary costs.These staff figures are available only quarterly and in each case the nearest quarterly date has been used.

Income Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the mean and median incomes of Hull, Stoke and their standard deviations and of the United Kingdom as a whole for the past five years.

Industrial Tribunals

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of appeals made to industrial tribunals in Hull, Stoke and the United Kingdom as a whole for the past five years; what were the causes of complaint; and in how many the appeals were upheld.

I can give information only for Great Britain, as I am not responsible for the industrial tribunals in Northern Ireland. Figures are not available for application registered in particular towns and districts, but the

Jurisdiction1975*1976197719781979
Unfair dismissal34,19435,29336,20135,60533,540
Redundancy payments4,4493,8682,8122,358
Joint unfair dismissal/redundancy payments2,6832,1051,7821,713
Contracts of employment577598417360
Equal pay2,3761,377398207
Sex discrimination368357277270
Other provisions of the employment protection legislation†3012,0341,1711,901
Race discrimination208520604
Compensation appeals‡1,5721,586379361
Health and safety§7799119131169
Appeals against Industrial Training Board levy4349396354
Docks and harbours legislation and appeals against selective employment payments112318527
Totals35,89747,80446,96143,32141,244
Source: Central Offices of the Industrial Tribunals for England and Wales, and Scotland.
* Figures were not collected separately for applications concerning unfair dismissal, redundancy payments and contracts of employment.
†Items such as written statements of conditions and reasons for dismissal, itemised pay statements, maternity pay and time off for public duties.
‡These cases concern awards of compensation for loss of office and related matters under various statutes.
§These cases concern improvement or prohibition notices issued under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and, since October 1978, time off for safety representatives to perform their duties.
Information on the outcomes of these applications is not available for the total number of cases but is collected by the Department of Employment only for completed cases concerning unfair dismissal, sex and racial discrimination and equal pay. Many of these cases do not reach a hearing because they are withdrawn or conciliated. The numbers of cases upheld and mismissed at a tribunal hearing in the jurisdictions mentioned are as follows: —
UNFAIR DISMISSAL
UpheldDismissed
19753,3505,377
19764,8388,562
19773,9548,888
19783,2778,511
1979Not yet available
EQUAL PAY ACT 1970
UpheldDismissed
1976213496
197791272
19782456
1979Not yet available
SEX DISCRIMATION ACT 1975
UpheldDismissed
19762495
19771760
19781453
1979Not yet available
RACE RELATIONS ACT 1976
UpheldDismissed
13 June 1977–30 June 1978561
1 July 1978–30 June 197958130

number of applications registered in Great Britain in the last five years under each jurisdiction are as follows:

Hazardous Materials

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the Health and Safety Executive has up-to-date computerised information concerning the content of hazardous materials stored on industrial premises; and, if so, to whom it is available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will discuss with the Chemical Industries Association the procedure for notifying the Health and Safety Executive of the storage of hazardous materials.

No general arrangements have been made whereby member firms of the Chemical Industries Association notify hazardous substances stored in their premises to the Health and Safety Executive—HSE. However, officials of the HSE have from time to time held discussions with the Chemical Industries Association about the dangers associated with particular substances.The HSE is now looking at the whole question of exchange of information to see in what ways it can be improved.