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Written Answers

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 14 February 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 14th February 1980

Home Department

John Subirenski

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department who was responsible for deciding not to recall John Subirenski to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence following the recommendation of the probation officer concerned that he should be recalled; and if he proposes to take any disciplinary action.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) on 7 February.—[Vol. 978 c. 283–4.]

INDICTABLE OFFENCES IN WHICH AIR WEAPONS WERE REPORTED TO HAVE CAUSED INJURY, BY DEGREE OF INJURY
England and Wales
TotalFatal injurySerious injuryNumber of offences Slight injury
196951272440
197058680506
197175667689
19721,0001101898
19731,2941421,152
19741,35511291,225
19751,689*1*1381,550
19762,14111511,989
19772,1241641,960
19782,3122162,096
* Revised since the issue of Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1975 Cmnd. 6566.

Prison Officers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the policy of his Department in allowing prison officers to buy their own housing; and what financial help is given.

Our policy is that prison officers who wish to buy their own homes rather than living in free official quarters should be allowed to do so when ever possible. An officer with permission to live in private accommodation receives a rent allowance. In addition, an officer who provides his own accommodation following a transfer at public expense to another prison receives the same assitance as civil servants generally.

Air Weapons (Accidents)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total number of fatal, serious or slight injuries caused by air weapons in each of the last 10 years.

Numbers of indictable offences in which air weapons were reported to have caused fatal, serious and slight injuries are published annually in "Criminal Statistics England and Wales (see Table 3·7 and paragraph 3·8 of the volume for 1978, Cmnd. 7670). Figures for 1969–78 are given in the table below. No information is available on accidental injuries caused by air weapons.has been the net increase of prison officers coming into the prison service during the last three years after allowing for the 1,322 resignations from the service.

There was a net increase of 622 in the number of trained officers in England and Wales for the three years 1977–79 after allowing for a total loss of 1,943 including 1,322 resignations.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officer staff vacancies, by grades, there are in each prison in England and Wales.

The number of prison officer vacancies in each prison in England and Wales were given in my reply to a question by the hon. Member for Battersea, South, (Mr. Dubs) on 6 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 215–6.] To obtain this information separately for each of the 28 prison officer grades (including specialists) at each of the 115 establishments would involve disproportionate cost, but if the hon. Member has any particular point in mind I shall be glad to provide him with what information is available.

Bus Lanes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions of motorists for ignoring bus lanes have been instituted by the Metropolitan Police in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how this compares with the first 12 months of the existence of bus lanes.

In the Metropolitan Police district in 1978, 4,287 prosecutions were brought against motorists for driv-

INDICTABLE OFFENCES RECORDED BY THE POLICE IN WHICH AIR WEAPONS WERE REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN USED, BY AGE OF PRINCIPAL SUSPECT
ENGLAND AND WALES
Number of offences
TotalUnder 1414 and under 1616 and under 1717 and under 1818 and under 2121 or overAge not known
19741,859185340135118119131831
19752,4892474381901231731841,134
19763,1712975132291391811811,673
19773,6712885132291391782032,121
19784,2352955302321772291962,576

Special Patrol Group

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to publish the report into the role and organisations of the special patrol group undertaken by Mr. Kavanagh.

I shall report to the House when I have received and considered the Commissioner's recommendations.

Parliamentary Boundary Commission For England

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he was requested by the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England to appoint Mr. M. H. Johnson, Mr. M. Weisman, Mr. A. M. Walton Q.C., Mr. F. E. F. Wybrants, Mr. T. F. H. Cassel and Mr. J. H. G. Sunnucks, respectively, as assistant commissioners; and for what term or purpose each of them was appointed.

ing in bus lanes; in 1974, the first year for which comparable figures are available, here were 1,095 such prosecutions. The first bus lane in the Metropolitan Police District was introduced in February 1968 and the number of bus lanes has increased continually since then.

Children And Young Persons (Airguns)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total number of indictable offences committed by children and young people with air weapons in each of the last 10 years in the following age categories (a) under 14 years, (b) under 16 years, (c) under 17 years, (d) under 18 years and (e) under 21 years.

The information available is given in the following table; corresponding information is not available for earlier years. For many offences the age of the principal suspect is not known.

I understand that in April 1976 the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England requested that assistant commissioners be appointed to inquire into, and report to the commission upon, representations which have been or may be made to the commission about their provisional recommendations. I understand also that as a result of that request, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Weisman, Mr. Walton, Mr. Wybrants, Mr. Cassel, Mr. Sunnucks and others were appointed in October 1976 to serve as assistant commissioners until 31 December 1978 and that their appointments were subsequently extended until 31 December 1981.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any assistant commissioner appointed by him at the request of the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England has any authority to act in that capacity at a time when the number of members of the commission itself is less than the statutory quorum.

Yes. An assistant commissioner may, during the term of his appointment, inquire into, and report to the commission upon, those matters in respect of which he was appointed, notwithstanding that the commission itself cannot act on any such report until it has the statutory quorum.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what dates the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England caused local public inquiries to be held in respect of the commission's recommendations for the London boroughs of Barking, Hackney, Sutton, Lewisham, Islington and Wandsworth.

I understand that the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England decided at its meetings on 5 October and 30 November 1979 that local inquiries should be held into its provisional recommendations for constituencies in the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Sutton, Lewisham, Islington and Wandsworth.

Send And Newhall Detention Centres

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on what date did the new tougher regimes will begin at Send and Newhall detention centres;(2) in what respects the new regimes to be introduced at Send and Newhall detention centres will differ from the present regimes.

The pilot project will commence on or soon after 21 April 1980. I will announce details of the regimes before they begin.

Cash Limits

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any changes have been made to the cash limit for 1979–80 in respect of Home Office manpower and related costs, since his announcement of 27 November 1979.

The cash limit on the relevant Home Office cash block (HO1) has been raised from £313,867,000 to £315,867,000 to cover additional expen- diture arising from the need to make payment retrospectively of tax compensation on rent allowances paid to prison staff. Corresponding provision will be sought in a spring Supplementary Estimate.

Equal Opportunities Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are employed by the Equal Opportunities Commission; and what is the annual cost to public funds of employing them.

I understand that on 1 February 1980, 159 staff were employed by the Equal Opportunities Commission. In the current financial year this item of the Commission's budget is expected to cost some £900,000.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many New Commonwealth immigrants have returned home under the voluntary repatriation scheme of the Immigration Act 1971 for each month since May 1979; and what has been the cost to public funds.

I understand from the International Social Service of Great Britain (which administers this scheme on the Government's behalf) that the information is as follows:—

1979
May11
June2
July12
August15
September8
October14
November31
December7
1980
January8
Total108
These figures include three people who were repatriated to a third country and may include some children born in this country.The estimated cost to public funds is £66,300.

Nationality And Citizenship

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present waiting period for an application for British nationality to be approved.

Applications for British nationality are of different types, some needing more inquiries and consideration than others, and consequently waiting periods vary considerably. The most straightforward types of application for registration currently take three to four months, while applications for naturalisation currently take about 25 months.

Steel Industry (Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will call in the Armed Forces to ensure adequate safety cover of blast furnaces and coke ovens in the steel industry.

I have been asked to reply.No. The British Steel Corporation tells me that it has made adequate arrangements with the trades unions and with management to carry out this essential work.

Civil Service

Departmental Staffs

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the numbers of staff in each of the main Departments who are working on 25-week contracts and 51-week contracts at the latest date and 12 months ago.

This information is not collected centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Energy

Gas Explosions

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many people have been killed or injured in domestic gas explosions in the last 10 years.

Reliable figures prior to the establishment of the British Gas Corporation in January 1973 are not available. It is not, therefore, possible to provide the information requested for the full 10 years.In the table below the injuries recorded are those resulting from explosions which caused damage of value greater than £100 and they exclude minor injuries where hospital treatment was not required. Included in the fatalities are nine which are believed to have been suicides.

Numbers killedNumbers injured
1972–73859
1973–741040
1974–751355
1975–761060
1976–779102
1977–78381
1978–791260
April-December 1979 (provisional)426

Soviet Scientists (Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a full statement on the visit by five Soviet scientists to Dounreay; what consultations there were between the Atomic Energy Authority and his Department on this matter; and whether he himself or others of his Department's Ministers were consulted personally about the propriety of this visit in the light of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State on 11 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 1038.]

Departmental Press And Public Relations Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many staff are employed in his press and public relations department; and what was their expenditure in the last year for which figures are. available.

Ten information officer group and four support staff are employed on press office work by my Department. Their cost is £132,000.

Oil Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will circulate a table in the Official Report showing (a) the average increase since 1972 in the £ sterling cost per ton in cash terms of crude oil used in United Kingdom refineries, (b) the corresponding figures for the wholesale price of the principal petroleum products including naphtha net of all taxes and (c) details of (a) and (b) for France and the Federal Republic of Germany.

Table 1 below shows

  • (i) the increase in the average cost per ton in Sterling of crude oil acquired for United Kingdom refineries between the year 1972 and Q3 1979, and also between the year 1973 and Q3 1979, with the corresponding increases in the average cost per ton in sterling of imported crude oil for France and the Federal Republic of Germany;
  • (ii) the increase in the £ sterling per ton of the United Kingdom manufacturers average Net Selling Value, ex-
  • TABLE 1
    (i) CRUDE OIL
    Average cost £/ton
    Percentage increase
    19721973Third quarter 1979From 1972 to third quarter 1979From 1973 to third quarter 1979
    United Kingdom refinery acquisitions8·8911·6073·70729535
    Federal Republic of Germany imports cif9·0812·8976·20739491
    France imports cif9·0410·8066·97641520
    (ii) Petroleum Products in the United Kingdom
    Manufacturers average net selling value £/tonPercentage increase from 1973 to third quarter1979
    1973Third quarter 1979
    Motor spirit25·0134·7439
    Aviation kerosene17·4107·6518
    Burning oil16·9127·5654
    Gas/Diesel oil18·0114·9538
    Fuel oil9·458·0517
    Bitumen12·565·3422
    Naphtha13·4121·0802
    Table 2
    Overall ex-refinery netbacks
    First quarter 1977Third quarter 1979
    United Kingdom100146
    Federal Republic of Germany100150
    France100130
    N.B. Indices in National currencies converted to Sterling equivalent.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Soviet Scientists (Visit)

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what consultations there were between his Department and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority regarding the visit of five Soviet scientists to Dounreay; what advice his Department gave to the authority; whether ministerial authority was given for the visit to go ahead, in the light of the Government's reaction to the Soviet invasion of clusive of duty and taxes, for the principal petroleum products between the year 1973, the earliest for which data is available, and Q3 1979.Figures for oil products selling values comparable to those shown in Table 1 are not available for France and Germany. However, since Q1 1977 the EEC has compiled for each member country estimates of net sales proceeds in national currencies. These figures have been converted to their sterling equivalent and are shown in Table 2.Afghanistan and in particular the recommendation to curb contacts and exchange of scientific information; and if he will make a statement.

    Following the invasion of Afghanistan, our policy is to avoid high level and ministerial contacts with the Soviet Union for the time being. Other working contacts and visits where there is a clear British interest may continue. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority sought advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before confirming arrangements for the visit of this Soviet delegation of experts. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was satisfied that the proposed visit would meet the above criteria.

    Dr Sheila Cassidy

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether it is normal policy to accept the statement of an undemocratic Government in preference to the sworn testimony of a British citizen, as in the case of the Chilean Government's letter expressing concern at any improper treatment which Dr. Sheila Cassidy may have received.

    No. I do not in any way doubt the truth of Dr. Cassidy's testimony. But the Chilean Government do not accept her account and I have been unable to reach a definitive conclusion, as to what happened, with them. They know that we remain dissatisfied with the lack of a full and proper explanation and that we do not regard the case as closed.

    Chile

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the lack of progress in investigating the disappearance of Mr. William Beausire was taken into account in coming to the decision to exchange ambassadors with Chile.

    This was one of a number of aspects of our relations with Chile which were carefully considered before we decided that our best interests were no longer served by the absence of Ambassadors. The Chilean courts are continuing their investigations into Mr. Beausire's disappearance. The Chilean Government have given us assurances that they will give the legal tribunals maximum cooperation. Our ambassador will be ready to assist in whatever way he can.

    Rhodesia

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in the light of the escalating violence in Rhodesia, he will make arrangements for a fully armed Commonwealth force to maintain the peace in Rhodesia during and immediately after the elections.

    Overseas Development

    Zaire

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he proposes increases in the bilateral programme to Zaire, or in a United Kingdom contribution to multilateral assistance to Zaire.

    Her Majesty's Government will honour the pledge, first made in 1978, of £2 million as a contribution in support of the multilateral effort to assist in the rehabilitation of the Zaire economy.Beyond that, however, the general question of aid levels for future years, including aid for Zaire, is still under consideration.

    Compensation Payments

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland whether there is any parallel in Scotland to the current procedure in England whereby clerks of magistrates' courts send out letters to persons to whom compensation has been awarded, suggesting that they might consider forgoing the compensation to allow the guilty individual to have a fresh start; and if he will make a statement.

    Sheriff Courts (Witness Costs)

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many witnesses have been called to sheriff courts in cases where the accused when represented by solicitor or counsel has pleaded guilty when appearing on the second diet; and what has been the total cost to the public purse and the average value of expenses paid to witnesses in the years 1978 and 1979.

    This information is not readily available. I shall write to my hon. Friend later.

    River Tweed (Pollution)

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if he will instruct the procurator-fiscal of Berwick shire to investigate pollution of the Tweed and its tributaries, following the shutdown of sewage treatment works in recent weeks, with a view to possible prosecution of the Borders regional council under the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Act 1965.

    I have instructed the Procurator-Fiscal at Duns to carry out an investigation and report to me. I shall write to the hon. Member in due course.

    Arts Council

    asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish in the Official Reportthe dates on which the Arts Council grant has been announced in each of the last four years; and why it is not possible to give more substantial notice.

    Arts Council grants-in-aid for the succeeding financial year were publicly announced on 17 March 1976, 22 March 1977, 14 February 1978 and 14 February 1979. The council is given by long-established custom considerably longer notice of the planned level of arts subsidies in the Government's White Papers on public expenditure for future years which set out expenditure plans at constant prices. The actual cash grant-in-aid is, however, revalued to current prices, so that the precise figure submitted to Parliament in the Estimates is dependent on the allowance to be made for inflation; this is not determined until shortly before the beginning of the relevant financial year.

    asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what has been the Arts Council grant to provincial theatre in each of the last three years; how many theatres shared this money; and if he will express the grant given to the National Theatre as a percentage (a) of the total Arts Council grant and (b) of the Arts Council grant to other theatres.

    Detailed information, from which it will be possible to answer the hon. Member's questions, is available in the Arts Council, but it has not proved possible to assemble it in a satisfactory form in the time allowed. I have therefore asked the Arts Council to write direct to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

    Industry

    British Steel Corporation

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what discussions he has had with the British Steel Corporation about writing down (1) its debts or reducing its interest payments;(2) what understanding has been given to the British Steel Corporation about reorganisation of its capital structure and revaluation of its assets.

    We have indicated to the BSC that we adhere to the policy of the previous Government that capital reconstruction should wait until there is reasonable assurance of a return to profitability by the BSC. Meanwhile, as the corporation stated in its report and accounts for the 1978–79 financial year, it is currently revaluing its fixed assets. We are of course discussing this with the corporation.

    Assisted Areas

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proportion of the land surface of each region containing assisted areas currently have assisted area status; how the proportion will change when his July 1979 decisions are implemented; and how the area within each category of assisted area status will change in each region.

    Post Office

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what representations have been made asking him to vary the cash limit for the Post Office; what have been the arguments put forward in support of those representations; what has been his response; and whether he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has received representations from the Post Office Engineering Union and the Council of Post Office Unions arguing that the assumptions on which the Post Office's current external financing limit was based were unrealistic and that such limits are inappropriate to a trading organisation like the Post Office.In his replies my hon. Friend the Minister of State made it clear that the present public sector borrowing situation made it impossible for the Post Office to increase its borrowing in order to meet wage settlements and other costs that had proved higher than expected when the limit was set and that the difference would have to be made good in other ways.However, as my right hon. Friend explained in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Montgomery) on 31 October 1979—[Vol. 972, c. 549]—the Government are prepared to adjust the Post Office's external financing limit to take account of the delayed payments outstanding at 31 March 1980 as a result of the interruption in billing. These payments will be recovered in 1980–81 and a corresponding adjustment will be made to that year's external financing limit.

    National Enterprise Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Reporta complete list, instead of providing amendments to lists as given on 27 June 1979 and 7 December 1979, of all the shareholdings of the National Enterprise Board, 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.

    Loan Guarantees

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will make a statement as to what loan guarantees are available for those who either work in, or intend to set up manufacturing or services businesses in (a) the inner city partnership areas, (b) the inner city or programme areas, (c) other urban areas, (d) special development areas and (e) intermediate areas;(2) what Government loans or grants are available for (

    a) starting a small business, ( b) extending business premises and ( c) the purchase of capital equipment in a small business.

    [pursuant to his reply, 12 February 1980]: Government-backed loan guarantees are not available generally in any of the areas mentioned. The Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies do, however, have powers to guarantee lending to small firms and the Welsh Development Agency has recently commenced a pilot scheme involving three major banks. There are no nation-wide loan or grant schemes available to small businesses as such.The Government operates an exchange risk guarantee scheme for loans in assisted areas from the European Investment Bank, and reconversion loans for the European Coal and Steel Community. The Government also give a guarantee of repayment on EIB loans of £17,000 to £2,500,000 for which they act as the EIB's agent. Small businesses are also eligible for most other forms of Government assistance to industry—subject to the various rules of these schemes about geographical location and type and size of eligible projects.If my hon. Friend will send me details of particular examples which he has in mind I will give more details of the relevant schemes.

    Assisted Areas

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proportion of the working population is currently in (a) special development areas, (b) development areas and (c) intermediate areas within each region with assisted areas; and how these proportions will change when his July 1979 proposals are implemented.

    House Of Commons And European Parliament

    Members (Pay And Allowances)

    asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish in the Official Report a detailed comparison of all moneys, expenses and allowances paid to hon. Members of the House of Commons and to Members of the European Assembly.

    The information is given in the following table:

    PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF MPs AND MEPs
    MP (Paid by UK Exchequer)MEP (Paid from European Parliament Funds)
    Salary£9,450 pa£9,450 pa
    NotesNotes
    (1) Abated for Ministers(1) Dual mandate members receive ⅓ (ie £3,150) in addition to full MP's salary.
    (2) Supplement of £546 for members representing London constituencies.(2) Paid by United Kingdom Government, under s. 1 of the European Assembly (Pay and Pensions) Act 1979.
    PensionNumber of years served/60 Xsalary on retiring None, but Secretary of State may by Order make provision, under s. 4 of the European Assembly (Pay and Pensions) Act 1979.
    Contribution of 6 per cent, of salary annually
    Travel allowancesAllowed for travel:Allowed for travel:
    (a) between Westminster and constituency (untaxed)(a) to each meeting of Parliament from notional point of departure half way between national Parliament seat and MEP's home address.
    (b) between Westminster and home (taxed)(c) between constituency and home (taxed)
    (d) within constituency (untaxed)(b) between place of arrival and place of work, during meetings of the Parliament
    (e) between constituency and local and regional offices of government agencies relevant to the constituency (untaxed).(c) other travel, with prior authorisation, to attend meetings of other community bodies or as a Parliament representative.
    (f) limited free travel for wives.
    Mode of transport allowed:Mode of transport allowed:
    (i) by car—flat rate allowance of 18·7p per mile—by most direct route, or(i) normal flat rate of 0·34 EUA per km (about 15p per mile) for first 400 km and 0·13 EUA per km (about 5p per mile) for subsequent km
    (ii) by first class rail, or
    (iii) by air, up to limit of corresponding first class rail fare and(ii) official cars from place of arrival to place of work—free up to 20 km, thereafter MEP must contribute 0·3 EUA per km (about 13·5p per mile), or
    (iv) by sea, as necessary.(iii) free taxi, up to 20 km
    (iv) outside EEC, air fare by most direct route.
    MP (Paid by UK Exchequer)MEP (Paid from European Parliament Funds)
    Subsistance allowanceAllowed for:
    (a) Provincial member with London home staying overnight to carry out Parliamentary duties in constituency.(1) 92 EUA (£59) per day of registered attendance at meetings of Parliament and its organs and for up to 4 days (or cost of alternative return travel) in between meetings.
    (b) Provincial member with constituency home staying overnight in London or elsewhere in the constituency on Parliamentary business.(2) Outside EEC, 60·95 EUA (£39) per day plus free accommodation
    (c) Member with home neither in London nor in constituency, either for nights in London or for nights in the constituency (ie not for both).
    Rate:
    Maximum £3,866 pa
    Research and secretarial allowanceAllowed for general office expenses, research and secretarial assistance necessarily and exclusively incurred on Parliamentary duties.(i) Flat rate allowance of 500 EUA (£308) per month paid directly to the MEP.
    Maximum £4,600 pa(ii) Further 400 EUA (£246) per month paid on declaration of expenditure.
    Members liable to pay National Insurance contributions of employees.(iii) Up to 1,800 EUA (£1,108) per month paid on submission of employment contracts.
    Total maximum is 32,400 EUA (£19,935) pa Employees responsible for their own taxes, social security payments, etc.
    Miscellaneous allowances(a) Free stationery, free inland telephone and postal service from the Palace of Westminster.(a) free telephone calls from Parliament
    (b) free medical treatment required in attending a meeting or journeying to do so, up to BF100,000 (about £1,550) per illness
    (b) severence grant equivalent to 3 months salary if Member loses his seat following a General Election or if displaced following boundary changes
    (c) free accident and property insurance cover
    (d) life assurance premiums paid during MEP's term of office. DM20,000 (£5,000) and bonuses and interest paid at age 60, or (if later) after 10 years' service.

    House Of Commons

    Membership Disqualification

    asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the offices and present holders, where disqualification for membership of the House would arise, except that the holder of the office receives no remuneration.

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

    Prime Minister

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q6.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q7.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q8.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q10.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q11.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q12.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q13.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q14.

    asked the Prime Minister is she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q15.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q16.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q17.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q18.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q19.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q20.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q23.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q24.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q25.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q28.

    Atkins asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q29.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q30.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q31.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q32.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q33.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q34.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q35.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q36.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q37.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q38.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q39.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q40.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q41.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q42.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q43.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    Q45.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q46.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q47.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    Q48.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 February.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 14 February.

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

    Strathclyde Region

    Q21.

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will pay an official visit to the Strathclyde region.

    Macclesfield

    Q26.

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will pay an official visit to Macclesfield.

    Nuclear Non-Proliferation

    Q27.

    asked the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply to the hon. Member for West Lothian, Official Report, 29 January, column 1023, what discussions took place with the Government of Pakistan concerning the nonproliferation treaty; and what reasons that Government gave for their refusal to sign the treaty.

    Discussions between Governments on this issue are confidential, but Pakistan has linked the possibility of her acceptance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty with parallel action by India.

    European Community (Heads Of Government)

    asked the Prime Minister when next she expects to meet EEC Heads of Government in the European Council.

    Q44.

    asked the Prime Minister when next she expects to meet the EEC Heads of Government.

    The next European Council is likely to be held on 31 March and 1 April. The Italian Presidency will judge, in the light of bilateral contacts with member States, if it would be appropriate to call an earlier meeting. I agreed with Mr. Cossiga on 30 January that there would be no point in holding an earlier meeting unless there was a real prospect of agreement on the question of our budgetary contribution.

    Military Research And Development

    asked the Prime Minister what proportion of the Government's total research and development outlays goes on military research and development; and how this compares over 10 years with research and development on basic research on space, energy, health, information, transport, pollution control, agriculture and other subjects.

    The latest published figures show that defence research and development accounted for about half of the total Government expenditure on research and development in 1977–78. The table below shows for, the ten year period to 1977–78 the proportion of expenditure on defence research and development compared with the total of such expenditure on agriculture, fisheries and forestry, aerospace, energy, environmental services (including transport), health and social security and on the Medical, the Natural Environment and the Science Research Councils, and on other Central Government research and development:1968–69 45 per cent.1969–70 43 per cent.1970–71 43 per cent.1971–72 43 per cent.1972–73 46 per cent.1973–74 46 per cent.1974–75 46 per cent.1975–76 48 per cent.1976–77 50 per cent.1977–78 (provisional) 52 per cent.

    Soviet Scientists (Visit)

    asked the Prime Minister if she was informed or consulted about the visit of five Soviet scientists to Dounreay; and whether this visit is in line with the Government's restriction, as set out in her speech of 28 January, on exchanges between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union following the invasion of Afghanistan, particularly with regard to exchanges of scientific and technological information.

    No. For the reasons explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) on 13 February, the visit was not cancelled.

    Trade

    Food Prices

    65.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the increase in food prices in the last nine months; and what was the comparable figure for the previous year.

    In the nine months ending mid-December 1979—thelatest date for which figures are available—the food price index increased by 8·9 per cent; in the same period in 1978 the increase was 6·1 per cent.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade by how much food prices have risen in the 12 months ended 31 January.

    I am unable to give the information in the form requested as the food price index for January is not yet available.During the 12 months up to mid-December 1979 the food price index rose by 14 per cent.

    Jam And Fruit Pulp

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the level of imports of jam and fruit pulp from Communist countries.

    2,117 tonnes of jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, fruit purees and fruit pastes (being cooked preparations, whether or not containing added sugar) were imported in 1979 from Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania and China. No imports were recorded from other centrally planned economies (as defined in the United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics), Cuba, or Yugoslavia.

    Company Meetings (Shareholders' Questions)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will propose amendments to the Companies Acts to ensure that auditors are obliged to answer any question put to them by shareholders at an annual general meeting without requiring the permission of the chairman of the company and that their answers be safeguarded as privileged proceedings.

    I have no present intention to change the present position whereby auditors are entitled to be heard at any general meeting which they attend on any part of the business of the meeting which concerns them as auditors. A company meeting is an occasion subject to qualified privilege because members and directors have a common interest and duty in respect of the business of the company. I am advised that there can be no real doubt that the same privilege applies to the auditor exercising the rights I have mentioned at such meetings. Fair and accurate reporting of any proceedings of general meetings of companies other than private companies is also subject to a special qualified privilege under the Defamation Act 1952.

    Companies (Reports And Accounts)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of the accounts of quoted companies is qualified by their auditors; and if he is satisfied that the interests of company members are safeguarded when accounts are so qualified in consecutive years.

    I understand from the Stock Exchange, which under its listing agreement requires any significant departure in accounts from the standards approved by the principal accountancy bodies to be disclosed and explained, that of 2,961 company accounts received by the Exchange in the year ending 31 December 1979, 176 contained auditors' qualifications, of which 137 were in respect of departures from Statements of Standard Accounting Practices. The comparative figures for the year ended 31 December 1978 were 3075, 146 and 106 respectively. I am satisfied that the provisions of the Companies Acts whereby the auditors of a company must report to the members on the company's accounts is a valuable safeguard of the interests of the members as well as of other interested parties. The extent to which a qualification is a cause for concern will of course depend on whether the qualification is technical or material.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will seek to amend the Companies Acts to provide that companies must send copies of their annual report to shareholders at the same time as they are filed at Companies' House.

    No. The director's report is already required to be sent to the shareholders not less than 21 days before the meeting at which it is to be laid before them. While the periods for laying reports before shareholders and delivering them to the Registrar are the same, it is extremely unlikely that such reports will be delivered to the Registrar before they have been sent to shareholders.

    Rhodesia

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he plans to offer any financial or other amenities to British companies which wish to invest in Rhodesia but which are concerned for the security of future investment.

    Overseas investment is a matter for the commercial judgment of the companies concerned. The Export Credits Guarantee Department would be prepared to consider approaches for cover against non-commercial risks in respect of new direct investment by British companies under the overseas investment insurance scheme. The Government are also ready to negotiate an investment promotion and protection agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe after the elections at the end of this month.

    Companies (Asset Stripping)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that there exist adequate provisions to prevent the asset-stripping of a company in a way that is detrimental to public employment policy.

    I have no present intention to change the existing position, whereby there are no provisions in law to prevent a company realising its assets, although certain transactions may be set aside on winding up.

    Oil Pollution

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the serious spillages of oil from tankers within coastal waters in the last five years, stating the

    Name of TankerLocation and dateEstimated spillage (tones)Cause of spillage
    "OLYMPIC ALLIANCE"Dover Strait, 12 November 1975.2,100Collision with HMS ACHILLES.
    "ELENI V"Off Norfolk coast, 6 May 1978.5,000Collision with Bulk Carrier ROSELINE.
    "CHRISTOS BITAS"Off South Wales coast, 12. October 1978.3,780Grounding on Hats and Barrels Rocks.
    "ESSO BERNICIA"Sullom Voe Oil Terminal, 30 December 1978.1,160Contact with loading jetty.
    I am not in a position to determine the apportionment of blame in the two collision incidents. I am awaiting the final outcome of the investigations by the Greek authorities into the "Christos Bitas" incident. In the case of the "Esso Bernicia", one of the attendant tugs was obliged to cast off at a critical stage. Fuller information on the first three incidents, including the measures taken, is contained in the reorts issued by my Department concerning the "Olympic Alliance" and "Christos Bitas", and in the fourth report from the Select Committee on Science and Technology and the Government's reply thereto (Cmnd. 7249) in the case of the "Eleni V". The spillage from the "Esso Bernicia" was dealt with by the harbour authority.

    Commodity Dealings

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he is taking to ensure that United States laws on commodity dealings cannot be evaded through the United Kingdom commodity markets.

    The laws of the United States do not apply in the United Kingdom and their enforcement is a matter for the United States authorities, acting within their proper jurisdiction.

    Takeover Rules

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will take steps to ensure that the acquisition of a 5 per cent. share interest or above in a United location, date, and extent of the spillage, the cause, if known, the parties responsible, if known, and the steps taken to deal with the problem.

    Spillages of oil from tankers in excess of 500 tonnes have occurred within United Kingdom coastal waters on four occasions during the five years 1975–1979 inclusive. The following table gives details:Kingdom company by a foreign or domestic bidder is subject to the same rules so as to give neither a specific advantage.

    The Companies Acts 1967 and 1976 place the same obligations in respect of the disclosure of beneficial interests in the share capital of United Kingdom companies on foreign persons as they do on United Kingdom citizens or companies.

    Departmental Surveys

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the statistical and other surveys abolished in his Department since June 1979.

    Since June 1979 the quarterly export prospects survey and the annual survey into film distributors have been abolished. In addition plans for a retail shops inquiry for 1981 have been abandoned. The sample of firms covered in the annual inquiries directed to the distributive and service trades will also be reduced by 14,000 this year.

    Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will carry out an investigation under the Companies Acts into recent purchases of Consolidated Gold Fields shares;(2) whether he intends to appoint inspectors under the Companies Acts to discover the identity and consider the desirability of the substantial foreign interest recently acquired in Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd.; and whether he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend yesterday appointed inspectors pursuant to section 172 of the Companies Act 1948 to investigate and report on the membership of Consolidated Gold Fields Limited.

    Video Cassette Recording

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what arrangements exist for the use by individuals of video cassette recording apparatus for recording television programmes for private exhibition for which no charge is made;(2) if he is satisfied that current copyright legislation takes account of the likely development and use of the video cassette and radio cassette recorder on a massive scale; and if he is contemplating any changes designed to permit the individual owner of such equipment to use it without fear of prosecution for breach of copyright.

    The use of audio and video equipment to record copyright material without the copyright owner's permission is an infringement of copyright. I am unaware of any general arrangements which legitimise the private video recording of television programmes containing copyright material. The Whitford Committee to consider the law on copyright and designs (Cmnd. 6732) recommended that as copyright owners cannot in practice exercise their rights against infringements which take place in private, a levy should be introduced to apply to the sale of equipment suitable for private recording and the proceeds of the levy should be distributed among copyright owners. The Government are studying all the recommendations of the Whitford report in the light of comments received on it.

    Aviation Security Fund Working Group

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will bring forward proposals for streamlining the composition of the aviation security fund working group for making the process of consultation more effective for those concerned as contributors to the fund;(2) what progress was made at the meeting of the aviation security fund working group on 5 February on proposals for a system whereby airports and airlines simply meet their own security costs; and when he expects to announce a decision on the future of the fund.

    I understand that at the meeting of the aviation security fund working group on 5 February the industry was divided on the question of whether it wished the present system to continue, or be replaced by non-reimbursement. I shall be receiving a detailed report after the matter has been considered by the national aviation security committee at the end of February, and I hope to make a statement on the future of the fund after that. If the fund is to continue in its present form, the Department will examine with those concerned whether the present monitoring and consultation arrangements can be improved. The working group has the advantage of being widely representative of the industry, and one possibility is to make greater use of a smaller sub-group.

    Airlines (Airport Charges)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his estimate of the additional costs demanded this year of airlines using United Kingdom airports as a result of increases in (a) Eurocontrol charges, (b) landing charges; (c) security levy rate, and (d) terminal navigation service charges, respectively; and what is the percentage increase in each case.

    Charges for en route navigation services are not made for the use of airports. The unit rate for the United Kingdom is being increased by 21 per cent from 1 April 1980.Landing charges are determined by the several aerodrome owners throughout the country. Taking account of the forecast growth in traffic the BAA expects a revenue £41 millions higher in 1980–81 than in the current year, an increase of 53 per cent.The security levy, is expected to raise £17,800,000 more in 1980–81 than in 1979–80, assuming no change in the number of passengers, an increase of 69 per cent.Aerodrome navigation service charges are separately levied at nine aerodromes; the income expected in 1980–81 is £4·749 million more than that expected in the current year, an increase of 19·7 per cent.

    Surveyors (Scale Fees)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress he has had in discussions with the professional associations representing surveyors following the report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the supply of surveyors' services with reference to scale fees.

    Certain of the recommendations of the Commission concern services which may be subject to the restrictive trade practices legislation following the Restrictive Trade Practices (Services) Order 1976. I understand that this matter is at present the subject of proceedings in the Restrictive Practices Court.Survices of quantity surveyors are specifically excluded from the restrictive trade practices legislation. Accordingly, I and the Director General of Fair Trading have discussed action to follow the report with one of the professional associations involved, the Institute of Quantity Surveyors. The institute has written to inform me that its council has approved amendments to the Institute's byelaws which will make it clear that scales of professional charges authorised by the institute are not mandatory but are recommended for guidance of members who are free to settle charges that do not conform to those scales. Members will be expected to agree charges with clients and set out in any agreement the services to be supplied by the quantity surveyor. The byelaw which formerly prevented members from competing with one another on the basis of fees has been replaced by a new byelaw allowing competition on the basis of fees subject to a safeguard that the fee once formally submitted may not later be revised solely to take account of fees quoted by other quantity surveyors for the same service. The institute will continue to publish the scales of professional fees recommended for the guidance of its members and subsequent amendments are to be published in the journal of the institute.The institute has also informed me that any fee scales published in future by the institute will carry a form of words to make clear that the scales are recommended for the guidance of members and that clients and surveyors are free to settle fees which do not conform to these scales.

    I consider that the amendments to the byelaws allowing competition on fees, in conjunction with the labelling of the fee scales to make clear that they are for guidance only, appear to go a long way towards remedying the adverse effects identified by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report so far as the Institute of Quantity Surveyors is concerned. I have, therefore, informed the institute that I am willing to accept them. I do not at present propose to set up an independent committee to determine fee scales as the Monopolies and Mergers Commission recommended.

    I have also been in touch with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and I hope that discussions will be held shortly with it and with other surveyors' associations which have restrictive rules

    Imports (Origin Marking)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what plans he now has to introduce compulsory origin marking legislation as favoured by many United Kingdom clothing manufacturers, to help stop the growth in unfair and fraudulent trading practices.

    [pursuant to the reply, official Report, 13 February 1980]: My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs announced to the House on 17 December 1979—[Vol. 976, c. 18–20]—that in the light of the two consumer surveys which she commissioned she was proposing to enter into more detailed discussions with representative interests on extending our present origin marking requirements in the consumer interest. These discussions have now begun and will include the textiles and clothing sectors. A further statement will be made to the House in due course.False indications of the origin of goods supplied or offered in the course of a trade or business are already prohibited by the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.

    Clothing And Textile Industries

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade, in view of their disruptive effect on the clothing industry, what steps he proposes to take, either nationally or through the EEC, to exercise strict control at the Customs point to prevent the dumping of goods whose prices are fixed in relation to currency needs and not the costs of production such as those from COMECON countries.

    [pursuant to his reply, 13 February 1980]: Anti-dumping action may be taken by the European Commission when the criteria of the GATT anti-dumping code are fulfilled and this action can take the form of the imposition of anti-dumping duties. However, in the case of the textile industry the principal East European exporting countries have bilateral agreements with the Community under the multi-fibre arrangement and problems of disruptive imports are more appropriately dealt with under those agreements.

    Juries

    asked the Attorney-General whether he will arrange to meet together with the Lord Chancellor the hon. Member for Newham, North-West, and two of his constituents who were jurors at the recent anarchist trial, to discuss their concern at matters which happened during and after this trial.

    The Lord Chancellor and I are always prepared to meet Members of Parliament of either House by mutually convenient appointment. So far as the hon. Member's constituents are concerned, the Lord Chancellor has nothing to add to his letter of 30 January of which the hon. Member has had a copy.

    asked the Attorney-General how members of a jury panel are selected; who are the individuals responsible for doing so; and what are the procedures for checking that those on the panel comply with the necessary statutory requirements.

    Arrangements for the selection of jurors are governed by the Juries Act 1974. The electoral registers for the whole catchment area of a court are divided into three lists, some part of each parish and ward being included in each list. Each list is used in sequence in a three-year cycle. A jury summoning officer selects at random the names of electors from the list in use and a jury summons is sent to each person selected. Those summoned are required to state on a form sent with the summons whether they are ineligible, disqualified or entitled to be excused. It is an offence to refuse to give the information necessary to establish whether a person is qualified for jury service, or to give false information or to cause false information to be given. The names of those qualified to serve and not excused are made into a list known as a panel.A jury for a specific case is selected by ballot in open court from potential jurors on the panel. A juror is sworn after any challenge has been made and dealt with. It is the responsibility of the chief clerk at each centre of the Crown court to summon jurors for the Crown court at that place, except in Greater London where the under-sheriff performs this function.

    Defence

    Armed Forces (Intake)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his assessment of the reasons why 17 per cent. of Royal Air Force officers, commissioned between April 1975 and March 1979, 28 per cent. of Royal Navy officers accepted between January and August 1978, and 55 per cent. of Army officers accepted in 1977–78, came from public schools.

    The Services do not draw any distinction whatsoever between applicants from the State and independent sectors. Applications for commissions are encouraged from suitable candidates from schools of all types and acceptance depends entirely on their ability to meet the high standards of an officer.

    Departmental Manpower

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about further progress in manpower reductions in his Department.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 12 February to the hon. Member for Dunfermline (Mr. Douglas).—[Vol. 978, c. 1248–50]. Reductions in United Kingdom-based staff in this financial year have amounted to 6,700, and reductions of over 1,000 have been made in locally-engaged civilians overseas.

    Industrial Disputes (Essential Services)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out in the Official Reportthe legislative authority, including regulations, for the use of military personnel in industrial disputes, indicating any authority which allows military commanders to order action without the consent of the civil power.

    Legislative authority for the use of military personnel in maintaining essential services is contained in the Emergency Powers Acts of 1920 and 1964. Regulation 6 of the Defence (Armed Forces) Regulations 1939, which was made permanent by the Emergency Powers Act 1964, provides that the Defence Council may authorise officers and men of Her Majesty's military forces to be temporarily employed upon urgent work of national importance. Part II of Section V of the Manual of Military Law (9th Edition) (paragraphs 27 and 28) and Queen's Regulations for the Army J.11.04 restate the position. The Defence Council would not authorise such employment unless it was so requested by the civil authority, and unit commanders could not order their men to undertake such employment in the absence of an order by the Defence Council. Regulations made under the Emergency Powers Act 1920 can also authorise the use of military personnel for the maintenance of essential services.

    Education And Science

    Universities And Polytechnics

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations he has received concerning the abolition of the present system of grants for students at United Kingdom universities, polytechnics and other institutions of higher education.

    My right hon. and learned Friend has received fewer than 50 letters on the subject, mainly from interested individuals. Some have advocated abolishing grants in favour of a system of loans; others have expressed opposition to such a development.

    Primary Schools

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the primary schools in England which have been closed by local authorities in the last five years with his Department's agreement.

    I regret that information in the form, and for the period, requested by my hon. Friend could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Details of approvals in 1978 and 1979 for the closure of primary schools are as follows:1978St. Clement's CE (Controlled) Primary, Salford.Read United Reformed Primary, Lancashire.Wittan CE Primary, Lancashire.Sacred Heart RC Primary, Lancashire.Ladbroke CE (Controlled) Primary, Warwickshire.Ufton CE (Controlled) Primary, Warwickshire.Kirby Bedon County Primary, Norfolk.Denton Controlled Primary, Norfolk.Stow-cum-Quy County Primary, Cambridge-shire.Chantry First and Middle School, Harrow.La Salette RC Primary, ILEA.Radcliffe St. Thomas's CE Primary, Bury.Hoghton CE Primary, Lancashire.Priest Hutton CE Primary, Lancashire.Westby Ballam CE Primary, Lancashire.Borough CE First, Warwickshire.Waddesdon County Primary, Buckingham-shire.Waddesdon CE (Aided) Primary, Bucking-hamshire.Erlestoke CE (Controlled) Primary, Wiltshire.Great Cheverell CE (Aided) Primary, Wiltshire.Great Langton CE Primary, North Yorkshire.Ryther CE Primary, North Yorkshire.Aylmerton County Primary, Norfolk.Bridgham County Primary, Norfolk.Womenswold CE (Controlled) Primary, Kent.Farnworth St. Thomas Primary, Bolton.Denton, Christ Church CE Primary, Tame-side.Croft Junior and Infant, Knowsley.Halewood Macketts County Infant, Knowsley.Daisy Street County Primary, Liverpool.Fonthill Road Junior Mixed and Infant, Liverpool.Moss Bank CE Primary, St. Helens.St. Bride's CE Infant, Trafford.Leigh Butts Methodist Infant, Wigan.Grimston CE (Controlled) Primary, Leicester-shire.St. John's CE Primary, Staffordshire.Shuttington CE (Controlled) First, Warwickshire.Hartshay County Primary, Derbyshire.Etruria County Middle, Staffordshire.Stokesby County Primary, Norfolk.Bracon Ash County Primary, Norfolk.Elslack Primary, North Yorkshire.Bradbury and Mordon CE Junior and Infant, Durham.Lawson Infant, Cleveland.Salford County Primary, Oxfordshire.Clyffe Pypard CE Primary, Wiltshire.

    Parton Stoke County Primary, Wiltshire.

    Cholderton CE (Aided) Primary, Wiltshire.

    Alton Barnes CE (Controlled) Primary, Wiltshire.

    Collingbourne Kingston CE (Controlled) Primary, Wiltshire.

    Prince Edwin County Infant, Liverpool.

    Salisbury County Primary, Liverpool.

    Penrhyn County Primary, Liverpool.

    Little Lever Congregational Primary, Bolton.

    Whitehorse CE Infant, Bolton.

    Lovell Park Primary, Leeds.

    Eaton Constantine CE (Controlled) Primary, Salop.

    Twywell CE (Aided) Primary, Northamptonshire.

    Longmoor County Infants, Hampshire.

    St. Mary's RC Primary, Lancashire.

    St. Ambrose CE Primary, Salford.

    Trafford Road County Primary, Salford

    Radcliffe Bridge Methodist, Bolton.

    Radcliffe New Church Primary, Bolton.

    Warmfield (Aided) Primary, Wakefield.

    Eggington Infants, Bedfordshire.

    Great Plumstead County Primary, Norfolk.

    Sloley (Controlled) Primary, Norfolk.

    Cattistock (Controlled) Primary, Dorset.

    Boscombe St. John's CE (Aided) Primary, Dorset.

    Eardisland CE (Controlled) Primary, Hereford and Worcester.

    Hamble CE Infants, Hampshire.

    Credon County Primary, Newham.

    Greengate County Primary, Newham.

    Shawell Elkington's Endowed Primary, Leicestershire.

    St. Clement's CE (Aided) Primary, Dorset.

    North Town County Infants, Somerset.

    1979

    St. Joseph's RC Infant, Lancashire.

    Warrington Parochial Infant, Cheshire.

    Aspull CE (Aided) Primary, Wigan.

    Aspull Methodist Primary, Wigan.

    Aspull St. Elizabeth CE (Aided) Primary, Wigan.

    Green Terrace Primary, Sunderland.

    Chester Road Junior and Infant, Sunderland.

    New Seaham Law Colliery Junior Girls and Infant, Durham.

    Chapman Primary, Humberside.

    Williamson Primary, Humberside.

    Devonshire County Infant, Nottinghamshire.

    Stretton-on-Fosse (Controlled) Junior and Infant, Warwickshire.

    Castle County Primary, Derby.

    St. Mary's CE (Controlled) Primary, Birmingham.

    Thornhaugh County Primary, Cambridgeshire.

    Edgefield County Primary, Norfolk.

    Hilborough (Controlled) Primary, Norfolk.

    Newark CE (Controlled) Infant, Cambridgeshire.

    St. Paul's CE Primary, ILEA.

    Solomon Wolfson Jewish Aided, ILEA

    Eridge County Primary, East Sussex

    St. John's CE Primary, East Sussex

    Wootton Rivers (Controlled) Primary, Wiltshire

    Parr Mount CE (Aided) Primary, St. Helens

    Kirkby, Quarry Green County Primary, Knowsley

    St. Oswald's County Infant, Sefton

    Hollywood County Primary, Stockport

    Oakenshaw County Primary, Durham

    Satley CE (Controlled) Junior and Infant. Durham

    Melton Ross CE Primary, Humberside

    Muker CE Primary, North Yorkshire

    Nunnington CE Primary, North Yorkshire

    Bagworth County Primary, Leicestershire

    Batham County Primary, Leicestershire

    Nailstone County Infant, Leicestershire.

    St. Patrick's RC Primary, ILEA

    St. Andrew's and St. John's CE Primary, ILEA

    Stanhoe (Controlled) Primary, Norfolk

    Poulton CE, Gloucestershire

    St. Paul's (Aided) Primary, Dorset

    Michaelstow County Junior and Infants. Cornwall

    Bridgeman Infants, Richmond-on-Thames

    St. Catherine Laboure RC (Aided) Primary, ILEA

    Melton Mowbray County Infant, Leicestershire

    Little Rissington Primary, Wiltshire

    Owersby CE (Aided) Primary, Lincolnshire

    Brunswick County Infants, Cambridgeshire

    Brunswick County Junior, Cambridgeshire

    St. Luke's CE Primary, Richmond-on-Thames

    St. John's CE Primary, Hillingdon

    Acton Wells Combined First and Middle, Ealing

    Pateley Bridge County Infants, North Yorkshire

    Lawrence County Infant, Cumbria

    Brougham County Primary, Cumbria

    Lupton CE (Controlled) Primary, Cumbria

    High Santwick Primary, Sunderland

    West Santwick Primary, Sunderland

    Manor County Primary, Nottinghamshire

    Sidney Pearson Hill County Primary, Nottinghamshire

    Aldsworth Primary, Gloucestershire

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science on how many occasions local education authorities have tried within two years of their previous application to close primary schools for which his Department had not previously accepted closure.

    There have been no such proposals since 1 January 1978, although two were resubmitted within three years. I regret that information relating to earlier years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Huntington's Chorea

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what amount has been spent by the Medical Research Council on research into Huntington's chorea over each of the past five years.

    None of the research on Huntington's chorea supported by the Medical Research Council over the past five years has been in the form of separately costed projects, but has in each case been a varying part of a wider research programme. The council estimates the costs of the relevant parts of the wider research programmes as follows:

    1976–77£16,000
    1977–78£41,000
    1978–79£30,000
    1979–80£29,000

    Ashmeadow School

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many letters have been received by his Department from pupils, parents, staff and other bodies supporting the needs of the Ashmeadow school project; what further consideration he has given to the request for the reallocation of unused funds for this project; if he will arrange for an education Minister's visit to this school site; and if he will make a statement.

    Letters about the Ash-meadow school project have been received from 726 pupils, 17 parents and 12 others. With regard to the reallocation of surrenders from the school building programme, I can add nothing to the replies I made to questions from the hon. Member on 31 January 1980. There are no plans for a ministerial visit.

    Bury And Radcliffe

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what the effect of Government expenditure cuts on education in Bury and

    UniversitiesPolytechnics*Other establishments of further and higher educationTotal
    First Degree15,9738,3131,52925,815
    Higher Degree14,90825249615,656
    * Including Ulster Polytechnic

    Student Unions

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the cost to public funds in the latest year for which figures are available of university and college student unions; and what change in that sum he forecasts as a result of his announcement of 5 February.

    The latest estimate was £13 million for 1976–77. Figures are not available on which to base a forecast of the amount of public funds to be provided Radcliffe in 1980–81 will be; whether cuts will maintain the quality and standard of education in Bury and Radcliffe; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government's plans, set out in last November's public expenditure white paper (Cmnd. 7746) and embodied in the rate support grant settlement for 1980–81, provide nationally for the maintenance of per capita standards in the essential parts of the education service. It is however for individual local authorities to determine the detailed distribution of their expenditure reductions between and within services in the light of local needs and conditions.

    Overseas Students

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many students from overseas are currently studying degree courses in United Kingdom universities, polytechnics and other institutions of higher education;(2) how many students from overseas are currently studying postgraduate higher degrees in United Kingdom universities, polytechnics and other institutions of higher education.

    In 1978–79 the latest year for which information is available, the numbers of overseas students on first degree and higher degree courses in the United Kingdom were as follows:for the new system when it is introduced in 1981–82.

    Schoolchildren (Absence And Truancy)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will issue a directive to local education authorities to compile comprehensive statistics related to unauthorised absence or truancy.

    This would not be the appropriate way to proceed. Absence from school is obviously a matter of major concern, but the regular compilation of national statistics is not likely to be the best way of arriving at an understanding of the local factors involved.

    Environment

    Local Authorities (Accounts)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities have not yet published their accounts for 1976–77, 1977–78 and 1978–79; and, in respect of 1976–77 and 1977–78, if he will list those authorities.

    As at 31 December 1979 all local authorities had completed their accounts for 1676–77 and 1977–78, but 22 had failed to complete their accounts for 1978–79. Information is not available on the number of authorities which have not yet published abstracts of accounts as audited.Current legislation requires that local authorities' accounts should be made up and balanced as soon as possible after the end of the financial year; and that they prepare an abstract of their accounts as soon as possible after they have been audited. The availability of abstracts generally follows promptly on the completion of the audit. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and the Advisory Committee on Local Government Audit are currently considering whether a dead-line should be fixed by which authorities' accounts should be made up and balanced.

    Bomb Shelters

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what role the Property Services Agency plays in the provision and upkeep of bomb shelters.

    The Property Services Agency does not provide bomb shelters. It is responsible for the upkeep of seven deep tube shelters built in London during the last war.

    Property Services Agency (Edinburgh)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many properties are (a) owned and (b) leased by the Property Services Agency in Edinburgh; and how many square feet of office accommodation is provided in the city in each category.

    The number of properties in Edinburgh owned in the name of the Secretary of State for the Environment is 80, of which 36 are offices providing 1,156,926 sq. ft. of accommodation. 97 properties are held on lease, of which 86 are offices providing 1,557,862 sq. ft. of accommodation.

    Urban Development Corporations (Merseyside And London)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he plans to seek to exempt the Merseyside and London urban development corporations from the Rent Acts and planning controls.

    Housing (First-Time Buyers)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans for a substantial grants scheme to assist first-time buyers of cheaper homes.

    As my right hon. Friend said on 30 January in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle), any such scheme must await improvements in the overall economic climate.—[Vol. 977, c. 1337.]

    Industrial Processes (Cadmium)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what studies on the public health dangers of cadmium arising from industrial use have been carried out by his Department.

    My Department, in collaboration with other Departments, have recently completed a study of environ, mental exposure to cadmium, including that arising from industrial uses, and a report will be published soon.

    Housing Corporation

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what the policy is of the Housing Corporation towards the repayment of mortgages outstanding on co-ownership homes, where both the building society and the owner are in agreement.

    Co-ownership societies cannot at present sell to their tenants and early repayment of a mortgage is therefore not normally an issue, but I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Thorne) on 30 January—[Vol. 977, c. 1325]—in which I announced my intention to bring forward amendments to the Housing Bill to enable co-ownerships to sell to their members if they wish. In such cases arrangements would be made for the repayment of mortgages.

    Environmental Preservation

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the designation of local nature reserve relates to the designation area of outstanding natural beauty in the priorities accorded by his Department to environmental preservation.

    There is no direct relationship. Areas of outstanding natural beauty are designated by the Countryside Commission and confirmed by the Secretary of State under section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, in recognition of their landscape quality. As such they are an instrument of national policy. A local nature reserve is a reserve which a particular local authority has seen fit to provide and manage as such—under section 21 of the same Act—

    "in the interests of the locality".

    Sports Authorities (Grants)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much public money in the current financial year is to be paid to the sports councils, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and other bodies giving facilities for training athletes.

    Total grant-in-aid approved by Parliament for the current financial year is as follows:

    £ million
    Sports Council15·4
    Scottish Sports Council2·8
    Sports Council for Wales1·8
    Northern Ireland Sports Council0·742
    Some of this money goes towards providing facilities for training athletes of all age groups from school children to veterans, at all levels of performance, in a wide range of sports and recreations, many of which have no international competitive activities.In addition, many athletes at all levels train in facilities provided by local authorities, schools, universities, and other bodies which are supported in varying degrees from taxpayers funds.

    Transport

    Road Accidents

    asked the Minister of Transport if the number of accidents has increased or diminished since drivers have been permitted to park their cars unlit under street lamps during hours of darkness.

    New lighting regulations were introduced on 30 April 1972, permitting unlit parking of cars on roads with speed limits of 30 m.p.h. or less, provided that they are parked more than 15 yards from a junction and facing the direction of traffic flow.It is estimated that parked vehicle involvements in accidents in darkness in the following 12 months were 36 per cent. Greater than would have been expected had the regulations not been altered. This probably reflected an increase in the number of cars parked on the road at night, rather than problems in seeing parked vehicles when they were unlit. For example, amongst parked vehicle involvements in darkness in 30 m.p.h. area outside the Metropolitan Police district in 1978, 95 per cent. Occurred on streets that were lit.

    asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider changing the procedure adopted when reporting road accidents to take account of the different uses vehicles are put to, as, for example, taxi or self-drive hire, rather than merely the standard classifications.

    The recording of information on vehicle use would add a further burden on the police at the scene of an accident. Furthermore classification by vehicle structure is used for traffic counting where it is impossible to distiguish the uses of moving vehicles. Consistent vehicle classification for both road accidents and traffic counting is useful for the derivation of casualty and vehicle involvement rates per distance travelled.

    Road Construction

    asked the Minister of Transport what steps he has taken to accelerate preparation work on small trunk road bypasses in order to take advantage of any resources released by unexpected delays to major schemes.

    We are preparing a number of schemes to be held in reserve to fill unexpected gaps in the programme; four were listed in the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Welling borough (Mr. Fry) on 4 December 1979.—[Vol. 975, c. 131–2.] I must ask my hon. Friend to await the forthcoming roads White Paper for further information.

    Rail Transport

    asked the Minister of Transport how many representations he has received concerning the monopoly of rail transport by British Railways.

    I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him on 21 December 1979.—[Vol. 976, c. 513.]

    Rubbish Skips