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Written Answers

Volume 978: debated on Friday 15 February 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 15th February 1980

Education (Tayside)

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the severe effects to education in Dundee, including the effects of the dismissal of 130 teachers in the Tayside region, she will reconsider the education policy of Her Majesty's Government; and what steps she proposes to take to fulfill the commitment in the Gracious Speech to maintain and improve the quality of education, so far as the Tayside region is concerned.

No. The Government's policy is designed to protect the quality of education. On the basics of education—the classroom work in primary and secondary schools—we have allowed for an increase in expenditure per pupil from £538 in 1979–80 to £548 in 1980–81.

Soviet Union

asked the Prime Minister (1) if, in the light of her speech of 28 January setting out the Government's policy of restriction on contacts with official representatives of the Soviet Union, and on restriction on the exchange of scientific information with the Soviet Union, she is satisfied that the attendance by a British delegation, including a representative of the Foreign Office, at the scientific forum, convened under the Helsinki agreement, at Hamburg on 18 February and subsequent days, for the purpose of exchanging scientific information, is in accord with that policy;(2) in the light of Government policy as set out in her speech in the House on 28 January on relations with the Soviet Union, if she will ensure that the British delegation to the scientific forum, convened under the Helsinki agreement, which will meet on 18 February and subsequent days in Hamburg, for the purpose of exchanging scientific information, will raise with the Soviet delegation to the scientific conference the treatment by the Soviet authorities, in contravention of the Helsinki agreement of dissident Soviet scientists, such as Professor A. Sakharov and Mr. Y. Orlov.

The Government have already deplored the actions of the Soviet Government against Dr. Sakharov and other scientists, which are inconsistent both with the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act and with the aims of the Hamburg scientific forum. I feel sure that the Government's views will be taken into account by the British scientists attending the forum, which flows from the Helsinki Final Act.

United Kingdom Information Service

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the combined total amount of money is from public sources paid in each year to the United Kingdom Information Service, previously called the Chemical Society Research Unit in Information, Dissemination and Retrieval.

The following are the sums which have been awarded to the United Kingdom Chemical Information Service by the former office of Scientific and Technical Information and by the British Library, of which that office has been part since 1973. They relate to research by the service itself and its technical support to other research. I cannot answer for other possible sources of public funds.

£000
1966–676·7
1967–6856·0
1968–69
1969–7020·5
1970–71137·1
1971–7255·0
1972–73164·4
1973–7443·7
1974–7511·5
1975–7614·7

Algardi Bust

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is satisfied that the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art were aware of the syndication of ownership of the bust of Algardi when an export licence was originally sought.

The proceedings of the reviewing committee, and all information supplied to it, are confidential.

Education And Science

Space Research

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list the space research projects which his Department sponsors both within the United Kingdom and with the European Space Agency; and how much is being spent on each of these in the financial year 1979–80.

£'000£'000
(i) NATIONAL AND COLLABORATIVE MISSIONS
Satellites in orbit—
ARIEL V (United Kingdom satellite)30
ARIEL VI (United Kingdom satellite)354
IUE (international ultraviolet explorer)60
Satellite in preparation (in collaboration with NASA and the Netherlands)—IRAS (infra-red astronomy satellite)628
Studies of future projects61
Sounding rockets1,121
2,254
(ii) OTHER MISSIONS CARRYING UNITED KINGDOM EXPERIMENTS
ESA mission
GEOS 1
ISEE-2
GEOS 2
EXOSAT
ISPM
NASA missions
SMM
SPACELAB
NIMBUS
PIONEER
VOYAGER
ARIES
COPERNICUS
EINSTEIN OBSERVATORY
These experiments are funded by research grants to universities by the Science Research Council (£1,512,000) and by expenditure in Science Research Council establishments (£274,000)1,786
(iii) UNITED KINGDOM CONTRIBUTION TO THE ESA SCIENCE PROGRAMME8,029
Total12,069

Defence

Royal Air Force (Aircraft)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish details of the total numbers of Royal Air Force aircraft on charge in each of the years since release of the previous figures to Parliament in December 1976, using the same basis of calculation as that given in the answer to a parliamentary question on 2 July 1968.

My Department's funds support, through the Science Research Council, (i) projects in which the funds are used to provide all or, in collaboration with other nations, part of the vehicle or ground control installation; (ii) projects in which involvement is limited to the provision of such experiments—mainly by university researchers—as are accepted for flight on European Space Agency (ESA) or United States National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) vehicles; (iii) the United Kingdom contribution to the science programme of the ESA. For the year 1979–80 the expected expenditure on these activities is:

The figures for 31 December in each year are as follows:

19771421
19781458
19791493
They are not directly comparable with the figures given to my hon. Friend in December 1976, although they are comparable with those given in July 1968.

Aircrew Wings

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will allow aircrew wings to be worn on woollen pullovers now that they are regarded as part of standard working dress.

This question is currently under study. The views of the Service at large will be an important consideration.

Battle Tank

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations he has had with the French and German Ministers of Defence about the joint development and production of a new battle tank; and why he has in consequence decided that the procurement of a new tank for the British Army should proceed unilaterally.

Discussions with the FRG on a possible collaborative future main battle tank broke down in 1977 after several years of negotiations. Since then work has been proceeding on project definition studies for a new main battle tank, MBT 80, which, when it enters service in the late 1980s, will fully match the Soviet threat. This is considered the most appropriate eventual replacement for Chieftain though, in the meantime, we

NATIONALISED INDUSTRIES
Subsidies compensation and other payments made in the period April 1974 to March 1979 £ millionCapital debt and revenue deficits written-off in the period April 1974 to January 1980 £ million
Outturn prices1979 survey pricesOutturn prices1979 survey prices
National Coal Board622·6846·3
Electricity (England and Wales)526·7792·0
Electricity (Scotland)114·2148·7
British Gas Corporation70·6112·5
British National Oil Corporation
British Steel Corporation155·4174·8
Post Office439·8659·329·741·5
British Airways Board—*
British Airports Authority22·729·8
British Railways Board2,417·03,129·3188·7330·8
British Transport Docks Board
British Waterways Board64·277·7
National Freight Corporation82·295·353·153·1
National Bus Company72·488·2
Scottish Transport Group32·539·7
British Aerospace50·050·0
British Shipbuilders38·440·9
Totals4553·36,109·7426·9600·2
The above totals represent about £250 (£335 at 1979 survey prices) per United Kingdom household.
* A Bill is before the House providing for the write-off of £160 million of British Airways public dividend capital.
A Bill is before the House providing for the cancellation of Government investment in British Aerospace; and the Government have also announced that the British Shipbuilders commencing capital debt will be set at zero. The precise amounts of the write-offs involved have yet to be determined

are studying further ways of improving our armoured capability in the short term. We are, nevertheless, contiuing to keep in close touch with our Allies, including the United States, in the search for common elements of a new tank. We shall take their plans into account when we make a decision on whether to proceed with full development on MBT 80 towards the end of this year.

National Finance

Nationalised Industries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total cost of public funds between 1974–75 and 1979–80, or the latest year for which figures are available, of subsidies, writings-off actual or prospective, and other losses for each nationalised industry (a) in money terms and (b) in 1979 survey prices; and what was the total cost of the above, in money terms and at 1979 survey prices; per family in the United Kingdom.

Fishermen (Income)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will grant fishermen the same rights as given to farmers to average out their income for tax purposes over a two-year period.

Departmental Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for each Department for 1978–79, what was the proportion of public expenditure taken up by (a) wages, (b) salaries, (c) pensions and (d) national insurance contributions; and what were the comparable figures for 1968–69.

The following table provides, for major Government Departments, expenditure on wages and salaries and employers' national insurance contributions and, separately, civil superannuation in 1978–79 as a percentage of total public expenditure in that year excluding debt interest and as defined in Command 7746. Wages and salaries etc. have been defined as including those of local authorities, Armed Forces and the National Health Service and attributed to the relevant sponsor Department.

DepartmentExpenditure on wages and salaries etc. as a percentage of total public expenditure %
Ministry of Defence4·7
Department of Education and Science7·1
Scottish Education Department0·9
Department of the Environment2·7
Department of Health and Social Security6·3
Home Office2·3
Scottish Home and Health Department0·9
Inland Revenue0·5
Department of Transport0·5
Welsh Office1·0
Other departments2·9
Total wages and salaries and national insurance contributions29·8
Civil superannuation0·6
Grand total30·4
I regret that it is not possible to provide a similar breakdown for 1968–69. Expenditure on wages and salaries, employers' national insurance contributions and civil superannuation in that year was 29.2 per cent. of total public expenditure excluding debt interest and as defined in Command 5519. The figures may not be strictly comparable due to changes in definition between the two White Papers.

Capital Gains Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek to amend section 399 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970, as amended by paragraph 42 of schedule 6, Finance Act 1971, so that the happening of a chargeable event is deemed to be a capital gain and not part of an individual's income for income tax purposes.

Section 399 forms an integral part of provisions designed to prevent abuse of the tax advantages associated with life assurance policies. I do not think it would be right to treat the gains with which it is concerned as capital instead of income; that would greatly detract from its effectiveness.

North Sea Oil Industries (Foreign Nationals)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if Americans and other foreign nationals employed in North Sea oil industries, directly or indirectly related, are able to have their earnings remitted to accounts in Jersey for income tax purposes; and if so, why.

There is nothing to prevent Americans and other foreign nationals employed in the North Sea oil industry from arranging to have their earnings remitted to accounts in Jersey, but this does not affect their liability to United Kingdom income tax.

Tax Evasion

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in 1979 were detected in evading value added tax and income tax; what was the total amount involved; and what is the estimate for the loss of revenue by these frauds.

The Inland Revenue estimates that in the year to 31 October 1979 the yield of tax, interest and penalties arising from the detection of evasion amounted to about £91 million in about 54,000 cases. Customs and Excise dealt with 563 cases of VAT evasion during 1979 involving 772 person or firms. The total amount of VAT involved was £3·9 million. A proportion of the evaded VAT was recovered as a result of the investigations but it would not be possible without disproportionate expenditure of resources to estimate the amount of revenue finally lost.It would be noted that the figures for the two Departments are not directly comparable. Customs and Excise also recovered about £75 million VAT arising from 138,000 cases of underpayment discovered on control visits.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average length of time taken by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise to process claims for the repayment of value added tax; and how this compares with the position in the five previous years.

Personal Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of additional personal allowances currently claimed by (a) single parents and (b) married men whose wives are totally incapacitated and who receive child allowance for a child living with them.

About 425,000 lone parents benefit from the additional personal allowance in 1979–80. A further 10,000 or so married men also benefit from the additional personal allowance since their wives are totally incapacitated by physical or mental infirmity and they have dependent children resident with them. It is no longer possible to claim a child tax allowance for a child residing with the claimant except in the case of a very small number of children who are students.

European Community Finance Council

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Economic Community Finance Council in Brussels on 11 February.

:The EEC Finance Council met in Brussels under Italian presidency on 11 February.

The Council had a brief exchange of views on the latest Commission communication of 5 February 1980 entitled "Convergence and Budgetary Questions", in which I re-emphasised the need for an adequate and lasting solution to the United Kingdom's net contribution problem. I welcomed the demonstration in the Commission's communication that the Community should have no difficulty in finding a way of implementing such a solution. The president concluded by inviting delegates to consider the communication further with a view to resuming discussion at a later stage.

As requested by the European Council last December, the Council examined the financial implications of the package of economy measures which had been proposed by the Commission as a means of curbing the growth of expenditure on the common agricultural policy. The Council endorsed the need for economies of the order proposed by the Commission but, at my insistence, made it clear that the overall objective of these proposals could be secured only if the Community adopted a prudent policy for agricultural support prices. There will be another discussion of this issue in the Finance Council following further technical exchanges at official level.

The Council also discussed the latest developments in the economic situation in the Community and a proposal for an increase in the minimum interest rates which apply under the guidelines for officially supported export credits.

Rhodesia (Import And Exchange Controls)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will send a team of Treasury officials to Rhodesia to study its successful techniques of (a) import control, (b) import substitution, (c) exchange control and to report on their relevance to Great Britain.

Personal Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instruction he has given to the Inland Revenue with regard to the level of personal allowances to be used in the preparation of code numbers for 1980–81.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 February 1980]: None; as in previous years, the Inland Revenue will use the present year's levels of personal allowances for 1980–81 PAYE codes until effect can be given generally to any changes in allowances resulting from the Budget.

Dundee

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is considering designating Dundee as a free enterprise zone.

I have nothing to add to the answer given to a similar question on October 31 1979 from the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun)—[Vol. 972, c. 575.]

Private Investment

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the total private investment funds available during the past five years has been invested outside the United Kingdom.

Eurobonds

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to change the status of interest on Eurobonds as a charge upon income.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what amount per capita personal disposable income has risen since April 1979 in money terms, in real terms and in percentage terms on each basis.

[pursuant to his reply, 14 February 1980]: Monthly figures of per capita personal disposable income are not available. The latest estimates on a quarterly basis, seasonally adjusted, up to the third quarter of 1979 are given on page 14 of the January 1980 edition of Economic Trends, in money terms—current prices—and real terms—1975 prices.

Overseas Aid

Developing Nations (Fishing Industries)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what amount of aid Her Majesty's Government currently are giving to assist the fishing industries of the developing nations; and to what countries.

Capital aid to the fishing industries of the developing countries is estimated at £2·3 million in the current financial year. The main countries involved are Burma, Gilbert Islands, Lesotho, Malawi, St. Helena, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Tanzania and Tuvalu. In addition, we provide technical assistance in various forms and I shall write to my hon. Friend forwarding additional details as soon as possible.

Food Aid

asked the Lord Privy Seal what criteria govern decisions taken by the EEC Commission to suspend food aid to any particular country.

The EEC Commission could be expected to suspend food aid if the conditions of the agreement under which it was being supplied were not being observed by the recipient country. In addition, the Council has suspended food aid where the internal circumstances of the country were such as to make it unlikely that the food would reach the intended beneficiaries.

Wales

Welsh Language

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he will be in a position to issue a statement as to the current evaluation of extra Government money to revive the Welsh langauge within communities.

My right hon. Friend proposes to make an announcement as soon as possible.

Housing Investment Programmes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total spending by local authorities in Wales on the housing investment programmes for 1978–79.

£104·557 million, excluding the energy conservation measures on which £1·506 million was spent.

Wales Tourist Board (Bank Loans)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what he estimates the effect on the cost to public funds would be if bank loans guaranteed for up to 80 per cent. were made by the Wales Tourist Board.

The Wales Tourist Board has no powers to offer guarantees for bank loans, and it is not possible to estimate what the effect on public funds of such a scheme would be because of the difficulty of predicting the take-up of loans or the extent to which guarantees would be called upon.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the Northern Ireland Civil

GradeBelfastHer Majesty's MillislePrison/Borstal ArmaghMagilligan
Chief officer class II1
Principal officer411
Senior officer13133
Officer1026442
Clerk class II2
Clerk class III43
Trades officer III51
The staff complements at Her Majesty's prison, Maze, and Her Majesty's young offenders centre, Hydebank Wood, are currently under review and it is not possible to give any figures for prison officer acancies at those establishments.

Republic Of Ireland Residents (Benefits)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people who are residing in the Republic of Ireland are in receipt of United Kingdom retirement pensions, or other welfare benefits payable by the Department of Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland; and what is the total amount payable.

Redevelopment (Belfast)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern. Ireland when construction will commence on new dwellings

Service are currently employed at the Northern Ireland Office; and what positions they held.

The number of Northern Ireland civil servants employed at the Northern Ireland Office, mainly on law and order functions, at the end of January 1980 was 1,313. This figure was made up as follows:

Administration group492
Civilian search officers318
Typists141
Scientific staff72
Security guards65
Law clerks57
Other grades168

Prison Officers (Vacancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prison officer staff vacancies there are, by grade, in each prison in Northern Ireland.

As at 25 January 1980 vacancies in the prison officer grades of the Northern Ireland prison service were as follows:in redevelopment areas No. 19 and 22N, respectively; and how many dwellings will be involved in the first phase of each of those areas in Belfast.

These are matters for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive but I understand that the first phase of 19 dwellings in redevelopment area No. 22N is due to begin in August 1980. In redevelopment area No. 19 work is still progressing on the identification of a site for the first phase and a starting date has not yet been determined.

Monitor American Meats Company

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the amount of Government financial assistance given to the Monitor American Meats Company, enabling this company to establish

a plant in the Province, will be published in the appropriate section of annual Government expenditure; and, if so, why he will not disclose the sum now.

The total amount of assistance provided by the Department of Commerce to industry is included under Class 11 of the Northern Ireland Appropriation Accounts, but details of assistance to individual companies are not published.Details of investments by the Northern Ireland Development Agency are provided in their annual reports.

Multiple Sclerosis

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when construction will begin in respect of the new unit for multiple sclerosis sufferers in Northern Ireland; and what is the proposed location.

The Eastern Health and Social Services Board is taking a number of interim measures to improve facilities at Musgrave Park hospital. However, the nature of the accommodation makes substantial adaptations impracticable and consideration is being given to how best to provide care for these patients in the longer term.

Rent Arrears

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the amount of rent arrears owed by the tenants of Divis flats in West Belfast up to the latest possible date in 1979; and what is the number of dwellings in this complex.

This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I understand that there are 795 dwellings in the Divis complex and that the total rent and rate arrears—including past tenant arrears—at 31 January 1980 were £338,131.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the amount of rent arrears owed by the tenantts of Annadale flats in South Belfast up to the latest possible date in 1979; and what is the number of dwellings in this complex.

This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I understand that there are 464 flats and houses in the Annadale complex and that the total rent and rate arrears—including past tenant arrears—at 31 January 1980 were £38,452.

Knockeden And Flush Park Housing Estate

asked the Secretary State for Northern Ireland when the refurbishing programme will commence in respect of the Knockeden and Flush Park housing estate; and if he will give the commencement and completion dates for the flats and houses schemes separately.

This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I shall be asking the chairman of the executive to write to the hon. Member.

Property (Disrepair Certificates)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many certificates of disrepair have been issued, respectively, by each district council in Northern Ireland since the inception of the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1978 to the end of 1979; and how many certicates have been withdrawn because property owners have discharged their responsibilities in respect of the repairs.

The information is as follows:

CouncilNumber
Antrim2
Ards2
Armagh5
Ballymena1
Ballymoney1
Banbridge
Belfast1,878
Carrickfergus1
Castlereagh8
Coleraine7
Cookstown
Craigavon20
Down
Dungannon2
Fermanagh
Larne19
Limavady
Lisburn22
Londonderry
Magherafelt
Moyle
Newry and Mourne4
Newtonabbey
North Down90
Omagh
Strabane
The Rent (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 does not provide for the withdrawal of a certificate of disrepair when the necessary works have been completed.

Fair Employment Agency

asked the Secretary of Sttet for Northern Ireland whether the functions of the Fair Employment Agency extend to employment by area boards.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many non-salaried members are involved in the Fair Employment Agency in Northern Ireland; and what is the total amount of allowances, travelling expenses and subsistence payments from 1 September 1976 to the latest possible date.

At present the Fair Employment Agency has 10 non-salaried members.Allowances and travelling and subsistence expenses paid to non-salaried members of the agency during the period from 1 September 1976 to 8 February 1980 amounted to £11,822.

Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether applicants for vacancies at the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast, are appointed without the Eastern Health and Social Services Board considering their religious and political affiliations.

Yes. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 18 January.—[Vol. 976, c. 871.]

Adoption

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) on how many occasions an adoption placement committee has been convened by the health and social services area boards in Northern Ireland which has drawn one or more members from the same district as the child whose adoption was being decided;(2) if it is Government policy that adoption placement committees should not include social workers from the same district of a given health and social services board from which the child whose adoption is being decided comes.

Housing Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what is the expenditure for maintenance on Northern Ireland Housing Executive property undertaken by private building contractors in Northern Ireland during the year 1978–79;

  • (2) what is the total expenditure for the year 1978–79 in respect of wages, expenses and equipment, respectively, for direct labour squads employed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive;
  • (3) how many persons are employed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in direct labour squads;
  • (4) what is the total expenditure for maintenance on Northern Ireland Housing Executive property, undertaken by the direct labour squads of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for the year 1978–79.
  • This is matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and I shall ask the chairman of the executive to write to the hon. Member.

    Iveagh Special Care School

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will site the Iveagh special care school in South Belfast when it is moved from its temporary location at Finagh, and not return it to its former location in West Belfast.

    No. Iveagh school will return to its original purpose-built premises at Broadway, Belfast and alternative accommodation is being sought for the social services staff at present occuping the Broadway premises.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Rhodesia

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what complaints have been made in the Election Council in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia about the presence of armed men at election campaign meetings; and what is the outcome of the Governor's investigation of those complaints.

    No specific complaints about the presence of armed men at election meetings have been made at meetings of the Election Council. However, most parties have complained at intimidation and harassment which in some cases have prevented the holding of election meetings by the political leaders.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal how voters in the common-roll elections in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia this month will know when the mobile polling booths are to be at particular locations.

    Detailed schedules of the stops and order of stops to be made by mobile polling stations will be published by posters and other means well in advance of the elections.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if the perimeters of any of the ceasefire assembly points in Rhodesia were mined before occupation.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has any proposals to withdraw the Commonwealth monitoring force from Rhodesia before polling day or before the election result is declared.

    Decisions on the timing of the monitoring force's withdrawal will be taken in the light of developments. The Government will announce their intentions in due course.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what measures he proposes to take to ensure that Rhodesian forces and the guerrilla forces are kept apart after polling day.

    The Government expect that both sides will continue to observe the ceasefire agreement. Decisions on the future of the armed forces will be for the newly elected, independent Government. We are pursuing arrangements for the Patriotic Front forces in the assembly places.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has any proposals to ask the Commonwealth for a larger force to maintain the peace in Rhodesia during the period immediately after the election.

    No. It was made clear at the Lancaster House conference that we would not provide a peacekeeping force.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will now set a date for the withdrawal of (a) the Governor and (b) the monitoring force, from Rhodesia.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements exist for a party in the Rhodesian elections to substitute another candidate for one suspended or prevented from standing by the Governor.

    The Governor does not have the power to prohibit a candidate from standing in the election. He may suspend a candidate from further participation in the election campaign. The provisions for substitution of candidates—designed to cover those put forward without their consent—and late nominations—enabling those detained by ZANU (PF) in Mozambique to stand in the elections—expired on 11 and 12 February respectively. No arrangements for substitution can, therefore, now be made.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal how many cars belonging to ZANU (PF) have been stopped at the Rhodesian border on the orders of the Governor; and why.

    Eight vehicles belonging to ZANU (PF) are waiting at the Mozambique border for customs clearance. Special arrangements have been made to facilitate the clearance of election material, including vehicles for the political parties. The vehicles will be able to enter Rhodesia as soon as these arrangements have been complied with.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what procedures are in force to prevent guerrillas from leaving the assembly areas in Rhodesia; how such departures are monitored; and at what stage they will be allowed to leave.

    Any ZIPRA or ZANLA personnel leaving the assembly areas are in breach of the ceasefire agreement, and have been warned of this. The monitoring force reports any departure to the police and to the Patriotic Front commander at the assembly area. A roll call is held every morning. Arrangements for the final winding up of the assembly areas have not yet been made.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will give the numbers of guerrillas in the assembly points at the start of the assembly period and at the latest available date.

    On 5 January, the first day after the agreed deadline for the assembly process, approximately 17,700 members of the Patriotic Front forces had assembled. On the morning of 12 February the figure was 22,162.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements are being made for guerrillas in the assembly camps to vote; and whether their votes will be counted in their home areas.

    Arrangements are being made for those members of the Patriotic Front forces in the assembly places to vote. Their votes will be counted at the provincial capital of the electoral district in which the given assembly place is located.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, after the election result in Rhodesia is announced, the Governor will act in an analogous role to that of a constitutional monarch on behalf of Her Majesty or whether he will be enabled to play an active part in possible negotiations for a coalition Government.

    The Governor will act in accordance with the relevant constitutional provisions.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied with the number of breaches of the ceasefire reported in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia by the Ceasefire Commission; how many reports of breaches of the ceasefire in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia he has now received; and what further steps the Governor is taking to enforce its terms.

    The Ceasefire Commission considers allegations of ceasefire violations submitted by its members; it does not, as a body, report them. The Commission has so far reached a decision on 159 breaches of the ceasefire. The Governor has recently invited the ZIPRA and ZANLA military commanders to broadcast a further order to those of their forces which have not assembled to report immediately to the assembly places, and to those already assembled not to leave the assembly places.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps the Governor is taking to combat the increase in intimidation in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia during the build-up to the election.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) on 13 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 1530.]

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements have been made for Members of Parliament to observe the elections in Rhodesia.

    The Government have invited a number of Members of both Houses of Parliament to observe the elections in Rhodesia. They are leaving this weekend. The members of the all-party group are as follows:Geoffrey Rippon (Leader).Lord Chelwood.John Concannon.Peter Emery.Lord Fortescue.Russell Johnston.Joan Lestor.Ted Rowlands.Ivor Stanbrook.Lord Underhill.

    Chile

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the sale of arms to Chile; and if he will make a statement.

    I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill) on 17 January.—[Vol. 976, c. 1875.]

    Falkland Islands And Antarctica

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what research and development is planned for fisheries and associated industries in the Falkland Islands and Antarctica.

    The White Fish Authority has produced a report for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on fishing opportunities in the South-West Atlantic, particularly the waters around the Falkland Islands. It will be published soon. The British Antarctic Survey is engaged in extensive research on the marine living resources in the Antarctic.

    Scientific Forum (Meeting)

    asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) if he will make a statement on the meeting of the scientific forum, beginning on 18 February, in Hamburg, convened under the Helsinki agreement;

  • (2) if he will list the members of the British delegation to the scientific forum, convened under the Helsinki agreement, starting on 18 February in Hamburg; and if he will give the estimated cost of this meeting to British funds;
  • (3) if he has consulted or will consult his European Economic Community partners in order to co-ordinate with them, and with the United States of America, a joint approach over raising the question of imprisonment, exile, or harassment of Soviet dissident scientists, such as Professor A. Sakharov and Mr. Y. Orlov, at the opening plenary session of the scientific forum in Hamburg on 18 February.
  • (4) what advice he has issued to members of the British delegation, including the Foreign Office reprsentative in that delegation, to the scientific forum in Hamburg starting on 18 February, convened under the Helsinki agreement, regarding the making of public representation to the Soviet Union delegation to the scientific forum over the treatment by the Soviet authorities of Soviet scientists,
  • Latest cash limit (£'000)

    Vote 1 Overseas representation: diplomatic and consular services.145,831Due to the continuing strength of sterling and increased passport receipts.
    Vote 3 BBC: external services42,176Correction made for arithmetical error in previous calculation but the planned level of activity remains unchanged.
    Vote 4 British Council28,924
    Vote 5 Foreign and Commonwealth Services.16,999Deferment of payment originally scheduled for current year.

    Energy

    Gas Prices

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether, following the proposed gas price increases, all gas

    such as Professor A. Sakharov and Mr. Y. Orlov. in contravention of the human rights provisions of the Helsinki agreement.

    Regarding the question of human rights, I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) on 29 January. The United Kingdom has, of course, discussed the forum with its partners in the Nine and in NATO in the context of its general approach to the CSCE process. Western reprsentation in Hamburg will be by leading personalities in science and will be non-governmental. The United Kingdom scientists attending the forum are listed below. The cost of the forum, as of all other CSCE meetings, to Her Majesty's Government will amount to 8·8 per cent. of the total expenditure incurred by the host Government, together with the travel and other expenses of the United Kingdom delegation.

    United Kingdom Scientists Attending the CSCE Scientific Forum

    Delegation Leader: Lord Todd, OM, FRS.

    Deputy Leader: Sir Ieuan Maddock, CB, OBE, FRS.

    Professor John Goodwin, MD, FRCP.

    Professor Peter Hall, MA, PhD, FRGS.

    Sir William Hawthorne, CBE, FRS.

    Sir William Henderson, FRS.

    Dr. Michael Stoker, CBE, MD, FRP, FRS.

    Mr. Keith Wheeler, BSc, FRGS.

    Cash Limits

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether any changes have occurred in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cash limits for 1979–80.

    The cash limits published in Cmnd. 7604 have been revised as follows:prices throughout the United Kingdom will be based on a common tariff and regional variations will be abolished immediately.

    The setting of tariffs in Great Britain is a matter for the British Gas Corporation. I shall ask the chairman to write to my hon. Friend.

    Algardi Bust

    asked the Attorney-General whether he will refer to the Director of Public Prosecutions the circumstances of the acquisition at auction of the bust of Algardi by three art dealers, and its proposed sale to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, with a view to prosecution under the Auction (Bidding Agreements) Act 1927.

    No complaint has been made to me nor have I yet received any information which would justify my referring the matter to the Director. If the hon. Member has any which he would like me to consider I shall be pleased to receive it.

    Social Services

    Nursing Qualifications (European Community Directive)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost of the implementation of the European Economic Community directive on the harmonisation of nursing qualifications; and how many extra teaching courses, in, for example, English language, have had to be established.

    It is not possible to identify a figure which can be described as the direct costs of implementing the directives, but I have no reason to believe that these costs will be significant. However, in deciding the planned level of expenditure within the National Health Service the directives are one factor which the health authorities will have taken into account. No information is collected centrally about these direct costs or concerning the number of training courses, including courses in English language.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many extra European Economic Community nationals must be employed in National Health Service hospitals to bring the present staff complement up to the level of the directive on harmonisation of nursing qualifications.

    EEC directive—number 77/453/EEC—is concerned with the framework of common training necessary to secure freedom of movement in the community for the registered general nurse. This directive does not deal with hospital staffing complements and so the question of employing EEC nationals does not arise.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the effect on National Health Service staffing levels of the implementation of the European Economic Community directive on recognition of nursing qualifications; and how many European Economic Community nationals have been employed since it became law.

    I understand from the General Nursing Council for England and Wales, which is the competent authority responsible for implementing the directives, that since June 1979 12 general nurses from EEC member states have been admitted to the register. It is not known how many of these nurses have found employment in the National Health Service. In any case recognition by the GNC does not guarantee employment in the NHS as employing authorities are free to select the most suitable candidate for any particular post.

    Benefits

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of the fact that a man with a wife and a mistress and 22 children is currently drawing £150 a week in social benefits, he is satisfied with the operation of the social security system.

    If, exceptionally, a man claiming supplementary benefit has a wife and a mistress, both of whom have children by him, either the wife or the common law wife will normally live in a separate household. In such a situation, the woman with whom the man is not living is required to claim separately and her benefit is assessed and paid separately. I am not aware of any case where a man is himself drawing benefit of £150 for two families.

    Nurses

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what was the number of hospital nurses per 1,000 population in the Greater Manchester region in the years 1977, 1978 and 1979; and how this compares with England and Wales over the same period;(2) what was the number of hospital nurses per 1,000 population in the Yorkshire region for the years 1978 and 1979; and how this compares with the numbers for England and Wales over the same period.

    The information requested will take some time to collect and I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

    Benefits (Payment)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations he has received regarding

    YearEstimated IncomeEstimated ExpenditureEstimated Surplus/Deficit
    197912,047,00012,691,000-644,000
    198017,045,00019,065,000-2,020,000
    The above figures are shown on an "accruals" basis, which is the normal convention for memorandum trading accounts. This means that fees are not credited to the account until the test is taken: because of the backlog of tests the higher fees will only begin to be reflected in the account about six months after they are introduced. In cash terms, the service is expected to break even in 1980–81.

    asked the Minister of Transport what was the number of driving examiners in Dundee in November 1979 and at the latest available date; how many new examiners have been recruited since November 1979 and are under training; and what other action has been taken to reduce the waiting lists.

    There were five examiners at Dundee in November 1979. This has temporarly dropped to four, but a further examiner is due to take up post in March. Seventy-eight new examiners have been recruited nationally since 1 November 1979, of whom 26 are still under training.The key to reducing delays is to recruit sufficient examiners to meet the current demand for tests and clear the accumu-

    the proposal to change the arrangements for paying social security benefits.

    I refer the right hon. and learned Gentleman to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McKay) on 14 February.

    Transport

    Driving Tests

    asked the Minister of Transport what was the surplus income from driving test fees during 1979; and what is the estimated expenditure on driving test services during 1980, assuming that the driving test fee will be increases as proposed from £7·30 to £10·30.

    Final figures for 1979 are not yet available, but the estimated income and expenditure for learner driving tests in 1979 and 1980 is as follows:lated backlog. There is already some improvement; the waiting time at Dundee is now 22 weeks compared with 26 weeks in November 1979.

    asked the Minister of Transport what was the pass rate at the Dundee driving licence examination centre for 1979, in the following categories (a) males passing first time, (b) females passing first time, (c) males passing second time and (d) females passing second time.

    This information is not available.The overall pass rate for L-test candidates at Dundee in 1979 was 46·5 per cent.Periodic surveys indicate that the national average pass rate for men taking their first test is about 48 per cent. and for women 34 per cent.

    Seat Belts

    asked the Minister of Transport, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Oldham, West on 28 January regarding seat belt tests, if the two recent Transport and Road Research Laboratory studies investigated the quality and effectiveness of all brands of seat belts; and, if so, whether more tests will be made of the brand involved in the recently reported accident a month ago when a man wearing a seat belt was thrown through the car window in a crash and killed.

    :The Transport and Road Research Laboratory report No. 811 concerned the effectiveness of seat belts in general and the accident sample on which it is based covered a wide cross-section of belts in use. TRRL report No. 882 was concerned solely with aspects of the performance of particular models.We are still evaluating the implications of what happened in the accident referred to.

    Environment

    Derelict Land (Exhibition)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange for an exhibition relating to derelict land to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

    I understand that arrangements have been made with the authorities of the House for such an exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 18 to Friday 22 February.

    "Aeolian Sky" (Wreckage)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he has undertaken to identify and dispose of the highly dangerous chemicals being washed ashore on the South Coast from the wreck of the "Aeolian Sky".

    Identification and disposal of these chemicals is being undertaken by the local authorities concerned in accordance with their contingency plans for such incidents.Advice is available to them from the Chemical Industries' Association's "Chemsafe" scheme, and the Harwell hazardous materials service as well as from Government Departments. The authorities have been given details of the cargo from the dangerous goods manifest and the general cargo manifest is being checked for further information.

    Housing Investment Programmes

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by which date he intends to announce the housing in- vestment programme allocation for the city of Manchester for the year 1980–81.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now announce the block allocation for the financial year 1980–81 to local authorities to cover new housing, improvement grants, housing associations and other related district council housing functions; and if he will make a statement.

    Housing investment programme allocations will be made as soon as this is possible.

    National Tenants Organisation

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what financial and other help his Department has given to the National Tenants Organisation in 1977, 1978 and 1979; and what help he intends to give to the National Tenants Organisation during the current year.

    No financial or other help has been given by my Department to this organisation. My Department has explained to the National Tenants Organisation that current expenditure constraints preclude financial assistance.

    Urban Development Corporations

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what salaries will be payable to the chairman of the proposed urban development corporations.

    The salary for the London chairman will be £12,000 per annum, and for the Merseyside chairman £9,000 per annum. These salaries are calculated with reference to national scales appropriate to public appointments of this nature and take account of the fact that both chairmen will, in fact, be working for two days a week. Now that the House has agreed the Second Reading of the Local Government, Planning and Land (No. 2) Bill, the salaries and other shadow UDC expenses will be met from my Department's Administratioin Vote.

    Cash Limits

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether further changes are being made to the cash limits set for his Department since those announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Cmnd. 7604.

    [pursuant to his reply 8 February 1980, c.367–68]: My reply should have said that the resultant cash limit for Vote VIII, 7 is £101·435 million.

    Scotland

    Household Survey

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will publish in the Official Report the latest available information on tenure by length of residence of head of household in Scotland, as prepared for the general household survey;

  • (2) if he will publish in the Official Report tables showing characteristics selected by heads of households in Scotland as reasons for housing dissatisfaction by tenure, as prepared for the 1978 general household survey;
  • (3) if he will publish in the Official Report all the results of the 1978 general household survey into housing satisfaction in Scotland.
  • I refer the hon. Member to my replies to the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) on 4 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 95–96.]

    Borders Regional Council

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many members of headquarters administrative staff were employed by the Borders regional council during each of the last five years.

    Dundee

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when next he intends to visit Dundee to discuss with representatives of the trade union movement the problems of dealing with unemployment in the city.

    My right hon. Friend has no present plans to visit Dundee, but he and I are fully aware of the city's employment difficulties. Our confirmation of the city's special development area status and the SDA's initiatives in the area will enhance its attractive- ness to potential investors, but a reduction in unemployment here, as elsewhere, can only be achieved on the basis of the sound and prosperous economy which our policies are directed to create.

    Scottish Economy

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the growth rate in the Scottish economy in the coming year.

    The official forecasts published in December 1979 under the terms of the Industry Act 1975 suggested that the United Kingdom gross domestic product might fall by 2 per cent. in 1980: this reflected both difficult world conditions and the competitive position of the United Kingdom. In such circumstances a fall in Scottish output would also seem likely over this period.

    Adult Literacy

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland which regions in Scotland run an adult literacy scheme; which have since discontinued the scheme; and at what date.

    All the regional councils established adult literacy schemes in 1976, and these schemes are still in operation.

    Remploy Ltd, Dundee

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many are employed by Remploy Ltd., in Dundee; and how many vacancies exist.

    Remploy Ltd. currently employs 130 workers at its Dundee factory. There are no vacancies at present.

    Disabled Persons, Dundee

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number and percentage unemployment rate of disabled registered in Dundee; and what is that rate expressed as a percentage of Dundee's percentage unemployment rate.

    On 10 January 1980, 293 registered disabled people were also registered as unemployed in the Dundee employment office area—11·4 per cent. of the total number of registered disabled people in the area at April 1979 and 3·1 per cent. of the total number of people registered as unemployed in Dundee on 10 January 1980.

    Home Department

    Harmonsworth Detention Centre

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of people at present detained in the Harmonsworth detention centre; and for what period of time each person has been detained.

    A total of 49 people were detained at Harmonsworth during the night of 7–8 February 1980. Their dates of admission are as follows:

    Date of Admission 1980No. of people
    5 January2
    6 January2
    13 January1
    14 January1
    26 January2
    27 January2
    31 January1
    1 February1
    2 February2
    7 February35
    Total49

    Nationality And Citizenship

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for British nationality are under consideration by his Department on 1 February.

    Immigrants (Marriages Of Convenience)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many males who have entered the United Kingdom with a limited right of entry for the purpose of marriage have, thereafter, been deported on the ground that the marriage was one of convenience, expressed both numerically and as a percentage of the total number of males who so entered.

    The only readily available information is that up to 30 September 1979, 472 applications to remain on the basis of marriage were refused under the changes in the rules introduced on 22 March 1977. Information relating to the numbers subsequently deported is not readily available. 15,757 men were allowed to remain during the same period, a rate of refusal of 2·9 per cent. The number who entered as fiances was 6,052 but the refusals did not necessarily relate to applications for further stay from them.

    Prison Officers

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officer class civil servants have died in service during the last 10 years.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what grade in the Civil Service the pay of prison officer is aligned.

    The report of the Committee on Remuneration and Conditions of Service of Certain Grades in the Prison Services—Cmnd. 544—which was presented by Mr. Justice Wynn-Parry in 1958 recommended that movements in the pay of prison officer grades should be linked to the movements of pay of other civil servants in pay ranges similar to those for the officer grades. With the agreement of the Prison Officers Association the pay of the following civil service grades is taken into account for this purpose:—Clerical officer.Executive officer.Higher executive officer.Professional and technology officer grade II.Professional and technology officer grade III.Professional and technology officer grade IV.Scientific officer.Higher scientific officer.

    Illegal Immigrants And Overstayers (Birmingham)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average length of detention in Winson Green prison, Birmingham, of suspected illegal immigrants or overstayers before a decision is reached on the merits of their case.

    I regret that the information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many residents in the city of Birmingham have been detained or removed from the United Kingdom as illegal immigrants or overstayers in the last five years.

    Language Schools

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will institute a study into the operation of language schools with a view to monitoring the extent to which they are used as a means of entry prior to illegal staying.

    Inquiries are made whenever there are grounds for suspecting that any educational establishment may be engaged in deliberately facilitating the admission of bogus students, and the immigration rules provide for appropriate checks to be made on the bona fides of individuals applying to enter or remain as students. The proposals in Cmnd. 7750 will make it easier to prevent short educational courses from being used to prolong stay indefinitely.

    Parliamentary Boundaries (Birmingham)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the review of parliamentary boundaries in Birmingham to commence.

    I understand that the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England is unlikely to publish its provisional recommendations for constituencies in Birmingham before the end of the year.

    Firearms Certificates

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice he has issued to chief constables regarding the format of forms issued by them for the purpose of enabling applications to be made for the grant, renewal or variation of firearms certificates.

    The Firearms Rules 1969 prescribe the form in which applications must be made. Advice has been given from time to time on the content of explanatory notes which are not part of the prescribed form.

    King Hussein Of Jordan

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he will not 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.

    Because it is not the practice to make public records of the movements of individuals unless there is some strong public interest overriding the entitlement of the indivdual to privacy.

    Detained Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) black and (b) white persons were, respectively, stopped and searched and later detained under (i) the drugs laws and (ii) the laws relating to being a suspected person, and so on, in each of the last five years.

    I shall publish the available information in the Official Report as soon as possible.

    Remand Centres

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to provide a new remand centre in North-West England; and if he will make a statement.

    There are no such plans at present but I am reviewing the current prison building programme in the light of the May committee's recommendations.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convicted young persons, male and female, are serving the whole or part of their sentence in Risley remand centre.

    On 31 January 1980 there were 18 young persons—15 males, 3 females—serving sentences of imprisonment in Risley remand centre. In addition there were 27 young persons—24 males, 3 females—sentenced to borstal training who were awaiting allocation to a training borstal.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions he has had with the Risley branch of the Prison Officers Association and other appropriate trades unions about reducing on a permanent basis the number of males aged 17 years and over remanded to Risley remand centre;(2) which courts, which at present remand males over 17 years to Risley remand centre, he intends to instruct to send their remand cases to prison establishments other than Risley; and to which establishments such cases will be sent.

    One option for affording permanent relief to Risley remand centre is the transfer of responsibility for serving the Greater Manchester courts from Risley to Manchester prison. This is being discussed with the Risley and Manchester branches of the Prison Officers Association and other staff associations affected will also be consulted. The stage of considering directions to courts has not been reached.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what will be the reduction in staff, prison officers and auxiliaries, arising from his decision to reduce on a permanent basis the number of males aged 17 years and over remanded to Risley remand centre.

    It is too early yet to say what the effect of a reduction in the male population at Risley remand centre would have on the complement for prison officers and prison auxiliaries. The planning of measures needed to achieve a reduction in population are still in progress. Discussions with the Prison Officers Association involving possible redeployment of prison officer grades are continuing.

    "Protect And Survive"

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the document "Protect and Survive" lodged in the Library is not available to the public; why it may not be photographed or removed; how many copies are in circulation; and by whom they are held.

    The reasons for its limited availability to date are given in the Home Office circular ES 9/76 lodged with the booklet. A total of 2,250 copies of the booklet were printed; most of these were distributed to Government Departments, local authorities, chief constables and chief fire officers. The question of making the booklet more widely available is one of the matters being examined in the current review of home defence arrangements.

    Steel Industry Dispute (Pickets)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many pickets have been sentenced to periods of imprisonment since the beginning of the steel strike.

    National Tenants Organisation

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce his decision on the application from the National Tenants Organisation for three years' funding; and if he will take steps to ensure the organisation's survival.

    The National Tenants Organisation was informed on 11 February that it was not eligible for financial assistance from the Voluntary Services Unit.

    Nuclear Shelters

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the per capita unit cost of the provision of a nuclear shelter; how many people could be provided for; and which people would be given cover.

    Costs would vary according to size, material, mode of construction and situation. Limited research on a reinforced concrete shelter, fully sunk, for a family of six, indicates an order of cost of £1,000 per head. That cost might be lower for a range of possible improvisations or for larger designs for public use. The question of shelter provision is being examined in my current review of home defence arrangements.

    Agriculture Fisheries And Food

    Herring

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has that immature herring are being landed illegally as part of sprat catches; and what steps he proposes to stop such landings.

    It is normally not possible for fishermen entirely to avoid catching herring when fishing for sprat but regular checks on sprat catches are carried out both in ports and at sea; there is no evidence of any widespread abuse.

    Dairy Farming

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has any evidence that farmers who have accepted Government grants to switch from dairy farming to other forms of farming, have returned to dairying after the agreed five-year period is over.

    Under the provisions of the EEC dairy herd conversion scheme recipients of grant were required to give up marketing milk and milk products for a period of four years. In England, Wales and Scotland 175 producers in the scheme, representing approximately 3 per cent. of the total number who received approval, are known to have returned to dairying. No figure is available for Northern Ireland.

    Quotas (tonnesVoyages undertakenVessels employed
    North Norway/Svalbard*48,5007533
    Faroe21,70015138
    Canada1,10011
    International waters n the Northwest Atlantic1,80000
    73,10022772
    * Fishing in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea has not been included
    A variety of factors prevented the full utilisation of quotas. Had all been taken the number of voyages would have been greater. There were further limited fishing opportunities available off West Africa but these have not so far attracted British interests. United Kingdom vessels no longer have rights to fish at Iceland or off the USSR.

    "Aeolian Sky"

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish details of the information which his Department has provided for the fishermen of Mudeford, relating to their concern over claims for damage and pollution caused by the "Aeolian Sky".

    Advice was given on the safeguards which it was suggested might be taken by the fisher-

    Fishing Fleet

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he is proposing to take to prevent the disappearance of the British distant water fishing fleet.

    As my hon. Friend knows, we are in close consultation with all sections of the fishing industry about the case they have made for new measures to help them meet the problems they face.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated number of British distant water fishing vessels that can fish outside the 200-mile exclusive economic zone under agreement with third countries such as Norway, Iceland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Faroes, all traditional British fishing grounds.

    During 1979 British distant water vessels were able to fish in third country waters as follows:men. In addition, my Department has advised the Mudeford and District Fishermen's Association of the name and address of the "Aeolian Sky's" owners, which are understood to be the Proteus Maritime Company, c/o Ocean Freighters, 153 Kolokotroni Street, Piraeus, Greece.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements his Department has made, in respect of the fishermen of Mudeford and elsewhere, for obtaining compensation for damage to their gear, or pollution of their catches, caused by canisters from the "Aeolian Sky"; and if he will make a statement.

    It is the responsibility of fishermen themselves and not of my Department to claim compensation from the vessel owners in such cases. However, my district inspectors of fisheries are always willing to give informal advice to fishermen on the procedures to be followed in pursuing claims.

    Potatoes

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has received from the National Farmers Union and the Potato Marketing Board for a revised potato regime; what estimate he has made of the effect of proposed changes of raw material costs to the processors of dehydrated and French fried products; and if he will make a statement.

    The National Farmers Unions and the Potato Marketing Board made joint proposals in 1977 for a market stabilsation arrangement to operate in the United Kingdom within the context of an EEC regime for potatoes. No agreement has yet been reached in Brussels on a potatoes regime and my

    Inquiries into capital expenditure and stocks:—
    WholesalingAnnual
    PropertyAnnual
    CateringAnnual
    Road transport and other servicesAnnual
    Film exhibitorsAnnual
    Retailing inquiry (turnover, purchases etc.)Annual
    Insurance companies and private pension funds assets and financial transactionsAnnual and quarterly
    Retail sales, stocks, HP, TV rental and relayMonthly
    Finance houses and check tradingMonthly
    Finance houses assets and liabilitiesQuarterly and annual
    Catering turnoverQuarterly
    Capital expenditureQuarterly
    Investment intentionsFour-monthly
    Consumer credit grantorsAd hoc
    Wholesalers stocksQuarterly
    United Kingdom sea passenger movements inquiryOn arrival/departure
    Computer services inquiryQuarterly
    Overseas payments/receipts for film, TV material and programmesAnnual
    Earnings of United Kingdom insurance brokers on business written in overseas currencyQuarterly
    Overseas transactionsAnnual/quarterly
    Census of overseas assets and liabilitiesEvery 3 years
    Company liquidity (non-manufacturing)Quarterly
    Company uses and sources of funds (non-manufacturing)Quarterly

    Crude Oil And Gas

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he has made any representations to the EEC Commission concerning the unfair trading situation which has arisen in liquid hydrocarbons and gases and feedstock for the chemical industry as a result of regulations imposed by the United States Government on the price of crude oil and gas, which has the effect of providing a considerable subsidy for United States' chemical products in European and world markets;

    Department is continuing discussions with the interests concerned on the financial and practical implication of the NFU/ PMB proposals.

    I am aware of the importance of the cost of raw materials to potato processors. Our marketing advisers will no doubt take account of this and all other relevant factors in their report on potatoes which we hope to receive in the fairly near future.

    Trade

    Departmental Surveys

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the statistical surveys at present operated by his Department.

    The statistical inquiries, together with their frequencies, carried out by my Department in the distributive and service trades are as follows:

  • (2)if he will take steps to protect British trading interests against the effects of the regulations of crude oil and gas prices in the United States, which is causing serious distortion in the European market for hydrocarbon feed stocks;
  • (3) if, in view of the threat to British and European chemical industries from subsidised chemical feedstock exports from the United States of America, he will raise the matter in the Council of Ministers of the EEC as a matter of urgency;
  • (4) if he will approach the United States Government to allow the free export of gasoline, naphtha and gas oil from the United States of America immediately;
  • (5) if he will, as a matter of urgency, initiate discussions with the United States Government with a view to the removal of United States Government regulation of crude oil and gas prices, in view of the element of unfair subsidy to United States producers which this regulation produces.