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Written Answers

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 19 February 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 19 February 1980

Education And Science

Examinations (16-Plus)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about school examinations taken at 16-plus years.

The present dual system of GCE O-level and CSE examinations has serious deficiencies. I informed the House last July that the Government believed it to be right to seek to remedy those deficiencies provided that could be done without putting educational standards, particularly those represented by O-levels, and public confidence in those standards, at risk.To that end my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have consulted the main parties concerned. In the light of our consultations the Government have decided in favour of reform based on two main principles:

  • i. the separate grading systm of GCE O-level and CSE must be incorporated in a single consistent system of clearly defined grades;
  • ii. national criteria must be established fox syllabuses and assessment procedures to ensure that all syllabuses with the same subject title have sufficient content in common, and that all boards apply the same performance standards to the award of grades.
  • The Government believe that a reformed system based on these principles can be established and operated by close co-operation and joint working where appropriate by groups of CSE and GCE boards, with the GCE boards retaining responsibility for the standards of the

    (000's)

    Numbers at June of year

    Lecturers and Teachers

    Other Staff

    Full-time

    Part-Time

    Full-Time

    Part-Time

    1965339117144254
    1966350127154269
    1967360132167292
    1968377141173315
    1969389143181348
    1970407147181370
    1971429149189387
    1972453162201401
    1973477170207422
    1974505171211444
    1975517161222490
    1976528145223495
    1977533137218496
    1978535142213497
    1979543150213504

    higher grades. The maintenance of the standards of the present GCE 0-level within the new system of grades is an essential feature of our proposals. We see no need for new regional examining authorities of the kind proposed in the previous Government's White Paper (Cmnd. 7368), although some mergers of boards and modification of CSE board areas may be desirable.

    The Education Departments will shortly open discussions with the examining boards and others concerned about the implementation of these decisions.

    I believe that these changes will make the examination system fairer to pupils and more intelligible to parents, employers and the public generally. I also believe that they will eliminate some weaknesses which have developed in school examinations and support other measures the Government are taking in regard to the curriculum and standards of performance in our schools.

    Teaching—Non-Teaching Staff Ratios

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the ratio of teaching to non-teaching staff employed by the local authorities; and what has been the ratio of teaching to non-teaching costs, in each year since 1965 to the latest year for which figures are available.

    The following numbers of staff employed by local education authorities in England and Wales have been published in the Department of Employment Gazette:

    The most meaningful comparison would be that in which both categories are expressed as full-time equivalents. However, factors for converting to full-time equivalents are not available for the whole period and are approximate for the years in which they are. In June 1979 the respective totals of teaching and non-teaching staff expressed as full-time equivalents were approximately 573,000 and 430,000.

    The other figures are:

    RATIOS OF GROSS TEACHING TO OTHER COSTS

    Financial year

    Ratio of teacher salary costs to non-teaching staff salary costs

    Ratio of teacher salary costs to overall non-teaching costs

    1965–661:0·211:0·88
    1966–671:0·211:0·92
    1967–681:0·311:1·16
    1968–691:0·321:1·20
    1969–701:0·311:1·18
    1970–711:0·331:1·18
    1971–721:0·341:1·36
    1972–731:0·341:1·12
    1973–741:0·371:1·15
    1974–751:0·331:0·93
    1975–761:0·341:0·95
    1976–771:0·351:0·98
    1977–781:0·351:1·03
    1978–791:0·361:1·08

    School Accidents

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when the last official survey of school accidents was; and if he is planning to conduct a further survey this year.

    In 1965 my Department, in conjunction with chief education officers, principal school medical officers and head teachers, investigated all accidents in maintained schools in 10 local education authorities in England and Wales that caused fractured bones or an absence from school for half a day or longer. My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to repeat the investigation this year.

    School Buses (Safety)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidance is issued to local authorities concerning the safety of children on school buses.

    There are two sections dealing with this subject in the Department's booklet "Safety at School: General Advice", number 6 in the DES safety series. The second edition of this booklet was published earlier this month. A copy was placed in the Library. The section, on page 34, which deals with pupils generally and is headed "The journey to school" draws attention to a number of potential hazards associated with travel on buses. It concludes:

    "Pupils using buses should be reminded of the hazards of misusing automatic entry doors, tampering with emergency doors and getting on or off moving buses".

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied that there are adequate precautions taken by local authorities to ensure the safety of children traveling on school buses; and if he will make a statement.

    The prevention of accidents requires constant vigilance on the part of all concerned. While it will never be possible to be entirely satisfied that all possible precautions are taken, I have no doubt that local education authorities are aware of the dangers and take steps to minimise them.

    Energy

    Departmental Manpower

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the latest number of personnel employed by his Department in Wales; and how this figure compares with that of 3 May 1979.

    My Department currently employs 16 part-time personnel in Wales, the same number as on 3 May 1979.

    Pneumoconiosis

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he intends to take any action to allow the compensation for the pre-1970 widows, under the coal industry pneumoconiosis compensation scheme, to be improved.

    Yes. I have been aware for some time of the problems caused by the flat-rate compensation arrangements for these widows, official records for whom do not now exist. I am glad to say that the Government have decided to ease these problems by providing finance, as suggested by the National Union of Mineworkers with the support of the National Association of Colliery Overmen Deputies and Shotfirers and the British Association of Colliery Management, to enable the minimum compensation under the coal industry Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme to be increased to £600. The cost of the modification to the compensation arrangements will be a once for all payment to the National Coal Board not exceeding £7 million in 1980–81. The payment will, of course, be subject to parliamentary authority and provision will be taken for the payment in the 1980–81 Main Estimates.

    Bradwell Nuclear Power Station

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the defects in the Bradwell nuclear power station which have led to the closing down of both reactors.

    Reactor 1 at Bradwell nuclear power station was shut down for planned statutory inspection and extended overhaul in May 1979. During this inspection some defects have recently been discovered in the bellows units of the bottom coolant gas ducts using newly developed ultrasonic techniques. The defects are in the welds attaching the bellows primary restraints to the duct walls. They are similar to those found at Dungeness A (the only other magnox station with similarly designed gas circuits), details of which were given in my answer to the hon. Member on 17 January 1980 —[Vol. 976, c. 826–8.]—The CEGB in consultation with the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has considered it prudent to shut down Reactor 2 at Bradwell in advance of its next statutory inspection planned for September 1980 for similar investigations to be carried out.There has been no health hazard either to the public or to staff at the power station, and the defects are in places where the radiation levels permit investigative and remedial work without undue exposure of personnel. The inspection and repair will be subject to the approval of the NII and the station will not be returned to service until the Inspectorate is satisfied.

    Overseas Aid

    Tanzania

    Disbursements vary from one year to another. In 1978–79 they were some £17 million; in 1979–80 they are expected to be about £20 million.

    Scotland

    Unemployment

    59.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to alleviate unemployployment in Scotland.

    I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my reply to the hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. O'Neill) on Wednesday 6 February 1980.—[Vol. 978, c. 222–3.]

    Unemployment (Lanarkshire)

    60.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on unemployment figures in Lanarkshire with particular reference to school leavers.

    On 10 January 24,042 people were registered as unemployed in Lanarkshire, with unemployment rates of 13.0 per cent. in North Lanarkshire and 12·3 per cent. in South Lanarkshire. Of the total number unemployed, 1,960 were school leavers. The measures being taken by the Government to improve employment prospects for both young people and adults were explained in my answer to the hon. Gentleman on Wednesday, 6 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 223–4.]

    Licensing Hours

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his assessment of the effects of the introduction of more flexible licensing hours in Scotland over the past three years; and if he will make a statement.

    Provisional assessments of the early effects of the later evening hour and the opening of some public houses on Sundays suggest that the changes have not significantly affected average consumption; those drinking have tended to do so at a more leisurely pace. There has been some increase in the number of people drinking in licensed premises on Sundays. Some licensing boards have exercised their powers to grant regular extensions to permit licensed premises to stay open throughout the afternoon; it is not possible to say what effect this has had. Generally these results tend to support previous suggestions that the changes in the licensing laws have had no adverse effect, though they cannot be claimed to have had any major impact on the serious problem of misuse of alcohol in Scotland.

    Agriculture (Autumn Review)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the results of the 1979 autumn review of agriculture broken down by region.

    Details of store livestock market prices were collected by my Department for the autumn review of hill farming and an analysis by broad regions within Scotland is available. If it would be helpful to the hon. Member I should be clad to send him that information.

    Psychiatric Nurses

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he proposes to take to reduce the shortage of trained community psychiatric nurses in Scotland: and if he will establish a training course in Scotland for community psychiatric nurses.

    The allocation of psychiatric nurses to community nursing duties is a matter for individual health boards, but I am not aware of any general shortage of trained psychiatric nurses willing to undertake such work. The Committee for Clinical Nursing Studies has published a syllabus for community psychiatric nursing and Glasgow college of technology hopes to begin a course based on that syllabus in the autumn.

    Agricultural Research And Development

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much Government money was allocated to agricultural research and development in Scotland during 1979; what were the corresponding figures for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

    The sums paid for the years in question to the eight Scottish agricultural research institutes funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and for the research and development work carried out at the three Scottish agricultural colleges and at the Department's Agricultural Scientific Services Station are as shown in the following table. As the colleges and the Department's Scientific Services Station carry out work other than research and development, these figures are approximate.

    YearCurrent expenditureCapital expenditureTotal £ million
    1978–7914·41·916·3
    1977–7813·01·714·7
    1976–7711·91·513·4
    1975–7610·81·512·3
    1974–758·51·29·7
    1973–746·41·37·7
    1972–735·51·57·0
    1971–724·81·05·8
    1970–714·10·95·0
    1969–703·30·63·9
    1968–693·00·53·5

    Society Of The Innocents

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent financial or other assistance is given to the Society of the Innocents in Scotland; how long such assistance has been given; and what sums of public money are involved.

    No financial or other support is provided to this body by Departments of the Scottish Office. Health boards and local authorities are empowered to give assistance in particular circumstances to voluntary bodies providing a local service; but information about such support is not available centrally.

    Mentally-Ill Persons (Local Units)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if it is the Government's policy to encourage the establishment of local units for the elderly with mental disability; and if he will give favourable consideration to the possibility of establishing such units in Wick and Thurso in Caithness.

    A report on services for the elderly with mental disability in Scotland was published last year and the Secretary of State asked interested bodies to let him have their views. Decisions on the report's recommendations must await full consideration of these views. The provision of local units is a matter for individual health boards and local authorities to consider, taking into account the needs of particular areas and the resources available to them.

    Hill And Upland Research And Development

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much Government money was allocated to hill and upland research and development in Scotland during 1979; what were the corresponding amounts for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

    The following table table shows the grants paid to the Hill Farming Research Organisation by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland in the financial year 1978–79 and in each of the 10 preceding years for hill and upland research and development in Scotland.The other Scottish agricultural research institutes and the Scottish agricultural colleges carry out work relating to hill and upland farming but separate costs cannot be isolated.

    YearCurrent expenditureCapital expenditureTotal £000
    1978–79988·3125·21,113·5
    1977–78845·693·7939·3
    1976–77770·0151·1921·1
    1975–76667·0121·9788·9
    1974–75508·0167·9675·9
    1973–74381·9124·1506·0
    1972–73303·0245·7548·7
    1971–72251·0195·9446·9
    1970–71203·8154·5358·3
    1969–70158·056·0214·0
    1968–69133·020·3153·3

    Prime Minister (Engagements)

    Q1.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q4.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engage Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q6.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q7.

    asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q9.

    asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q10.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    011.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q12.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q13.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q15.

    asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q18.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    019.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q21.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q22.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    026.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q27.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q29.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q30.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q.32.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q33.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q34.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q36.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q37.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q38.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q39.

    asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q40.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q42.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19th February.

    Q43.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    044.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q45.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q47.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q48.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q49.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q50.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q51.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q52.

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q53.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 February.

    Q55.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q57.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    Q58.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 19 February.

    In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. This evening I hope to have an Audience with Her Majesty The Queen.

    Nationalised Industries

    Q17.

    asked the Prime Minister when she intends next to meet the chairmen of the nationalised industries.

    I do not meet the chairmen of the nationalised industries as a group, though I see them individually from time to time.

    Prime Minister (Broadcast)

    Q23.

    asked the Prime Minister if she plans to make a ministerial broadcast.

    Industrial Disputes (Ministerial Responsibility)

    Q20.

    asked the Prime Minister if, when future industrial disputes occur, she will designate a single Minister to be responsible for dealing with the dispute.

    No. Ministerial responsibility will remain with the appropriate Department.

    Education (No 2) Bill

    Q24.

    asked the Prime Minister what representations she has received concerning the school transport provisions of the Education (No. 2) Bill.

    I have received two letters from His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the first of which covered a memorandum by the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. In addition, I have had several hundred letters from other correspondents, and one petition with 162,000 signatures protesting at the proposed school meals and transport charges.

    Stansted Mountfitchet

    Q28.

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

    Industrial Biotechnology

    Q56.

    asked the Prime Minister whether, following the recommendations of the joint Royal Society, Advisory Board for Research Councils and Advisory Council on Applied Research and Development Report under the chairmanship of Dr. A. Spinks, she will set up an inter-departmental steering group to co-ordinate ministerial action in support of an industrial research and development programme to develop industrial biotechnology in the United Kingdom.

    I recently received the working party's report, and am giving careful consideration to its recommendations and to the need for inter-departmental machinery to co-ordinate activity in this area.

    Lothian Region

    Q35.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will make an official visit to the Lothian region.

    Rhodesia

    Q46.

    I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal to the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) on 13 February.

    Armed Forces And Civil Defence Forces (Command Structure)

    Q60.

    asked the Prime Minister if, in the interests of greater efficiency in the event of a possible war, she will establish a single command structure for the Armed Forces and civil defence services.

    No. Under the Civil Defence Act 1948, local authorities are responsible for civil defence measures in their areas.

    Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

    Q61.

    asked the Prime Minister if she intends to make further representations to the Government of Pakistan in connection with their linkage of acceptance of the non-proliferation Treaty with parallel action by India.

    As I explained to the hon. Member in my reply on 8 February, the United Kingdom has worked hard to encourage wider adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We shall continue to press for this in discussions with the Governments concerned in the Sub-continent and elsewhere.

    Committee On Safety Of Medicines

    Q62.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will review the work of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, with a view to establishing more effective control over drug safety.

    No. I am satisfied that the Committee on Safety of Medicines serves as an effective and invaluable source of advice to the licensing authority on questions of drug safety.

    Steel (Labour Costs)

    asked the Prime Minister if she will take steps to ensure that information is gathered by Her Majesty's Government as to how the unit labour cost of producing a ton of steel in the United Kingdom compares with that of the United Kingdom's principal competitors.

    Useful comparisons of labour productivity are already published by the European Coal and Steel Community and other international bodies. The NEDC is currently conducting a study on "State aids and State finance" and I believe that further relevant information will come from that.In view of these facts, I would be reluctant to place an additional burden on the Government's Statistical Service.

    Treaty Of Rome

    asked the Prime Minister whether the Treaty of Rome prevents Parliament from enacting a provision that no agreement entered into by Her Majesty's Government would have legislative force in the United Kingdom until it had been approved by Parliament.

    The Treaty of Rome would not prevent Parliament from enacting such a provision in respect of agreements which member States alone may sign. This provision could, however, not apply to other agreements signed by one of the Communities (and not by Her Majesty's Government), which bind member States under Article 228(2) of the Treaty of Rome. The application to "mixed" agreements, which may be signed both by a Community and by member States is less clear, but United Kingdom ratification and the ability of a Community to participate might be affected.

    European Community

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will publish in the Official Report a list of the substantial economic advantages which the United Kingdom receives solely as a result of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Economic Community and the extent to which this offsets the estimated £2·2 billion cost to the British public of the common agricultural policy and the trade deficit of £4·1 billion in manufactures with the European Economic Community Six.

    The Government are in no doubt about the value of British membership of the Community and the benefits which it offers. A domestic market of 250 million people, strength in international economic negotiations and primary position in world trade give us an unparalleled opportunity. They complement our efforts to put our house in order, to regenerate British industry and revitalise the British economy. Already some 42 per cent. of our exports go to the Community compared with 30 per cent. before we joined. The political case for membership is all the stronger at the present time.It is not possible to set out all the economic advantages which the United Kingdom has derived solely as a result of membership of the European Community; although the statistics are precise in some fields, in others there is a wide range of estimates. The same considerations apply to figures relating to the resource costs to Britain of the common agricultural policy. It would be wrong to attribute our deficit in trade in manufactures with our Community partners to membership of the European Community as we all know there are other factors. But trade with the Community has increased substantially in both directions.

    Marine Affairs (Departmental Responsibility)

    asked the Prime Minister if she will review the responsibilities of all Government Departments concerned with marine affairs with a view to the creation of one single new department for all marine affairs.

    Nuclear Installations Inspectorate

    asked the Prime Minister what reply she has sent to the letter sent to her in November 1979 by the London branch of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.

    An official reply was sent on my behalf on 29 November by the Civil Service Department.

    Employment

    Trade Union Representation

    15.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied that the provisions of the Employment Bill will enable an individual to attend or not attend his place of work of his own free will without interference or threat by organised trades unions, and with no risk to his future employment.

    No legislation can itself guarantee that there will be no interference with or threat to individuals.But by the provisions for picketing, and for a new and enforceable right not to be unreasonably excluded or expelled from a union in a closed shop, in particular, the Bill substantially strengthens protection for the freedom of an individual to work.

    Retraining

    16.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what priority he gives to the retraining of workers as part of his policy of containing and reducing the levels of unemployment.

    28.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what priority he gives to the retraining of workers as part of his policy of containing and reducing unemployment.

    Within the context of a reduced overall public expenditure burden, the Government attach high priority to training measures which can assist the redeployment of unemployed workers into skilled occupations in demand by employers.

    Scottish Tuc

    18.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when next he intends to have an official meeting with the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

    East Midlands

    17.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what level of unemployment he expects in the East Midlands by the end of the current year.

    Future levels of unemployment are very difficult to forecast, but it is widely expected that unemployment generally will rise in the coming months. I would hope that unemployment in the East Midlands will continue to remain well below the national average. Improvements in the overall employment position will depend on the ability of industry to increase its productivity and competitiveness.

    Training Schemes

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what recent discussions he has had with the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress about the provision and and improvement of industrial training; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has had no recent discussion with the CBI and TUC on this subject, but has had discussions with the Manpower Services Commission in which he has made clear the view that there is scope for improving the effectiveness of our industrial training arrangements to meet the skill needs of the 1980s. My right hon. Friend welcomes the fundamental review the MSC is now making of our industrial training arrangements and looks forward to receiving the report of its review in July.

    33.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of people attending a Government training scheme find employment within six months of leaving that scheme.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that about 70 per cent. of ex-trainees completing courses run under the training opportunities scheme during 1978–79 were in employment three months after completion of training. The figure varies considerably as between different parts of Great Britain and different types of training.

    Northern Region

    19.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the level of unemployment in the Northern region.

    No. Unemployment in the Northern region is too high. That is one of the reasons why the Government decided to concentrate regional aid on areas of greatest need, including the industrialised North-East, so that employers would be encouraged to set up or expand there and create the real jobs which are so much needed.

    32.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what further plans he has to increase employment in the Northern region.

    The Government's policies remain to create the economic climate in which industry and commerce will have the confidence to expand and so create new real jobs.I realise that parts of Northern region are currently facing serious employment problems, and that is one of the reasons why the Government are to concentrate regional assistance on areas of greatest need, such as the industrialised North-East, so that more employers will be encouraged to set up or expand there and broaden still further the region's economic base.

    Pay Comparability

    22.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration is given by the Clegg Commission on pay comparability to the inflation-proofing of public sector pensions; and what value is put on that advantage when considering financial awards.

    The Standing Commission on pay comparability has asked the Government Actuary to calculate the difference in the value of pensions between the reference groups and their comparators. The commission has adjusted its pay comparisons on the basis of his calculations to reflect the more favourable pension arrangements of the reference groups.

    47.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many outstanding references there are to the Clegg Commission.

    The Standing Commission on pay comparability has the following references outstanding:

    • Professions supplementary to medicine;
    • Municipal airport manual workers;
    • British Waterways Board salaried staff;
    • University technicians;
    • Ambulance officers;
    • Primary and secondary school and further education teachers;
    • University teachers;
    • Some groups of local authority craftsmen;
    • New towns staff;
    • Justices' clerks' assistants (outside inner London); and
    • Scottish local authority chief officials.
    The Government have agreed that university clerical and computer staffs should also be referred to the commission. The terms of the reference have not yet been passed to the commission.

    Preston

    23.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what immediate plans he has to provide employment opportunities in the Preston travel-to-work area.

    The measures which the Government are taking to improve the economy and restore business confidence will inevitably take some time to work through, but it remains our objective to create the conditions in which firms will be able to expand and create the jobs which are needed in Preston and in many other parts of the country.

    Shipbuilding And Ship Repairing Industry (Merseyside)

    24.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to reduce unemployment in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry on Merseyside.

    The measures for helping the shipbuilding industry announced by my hon. Friend the Minister of State Department of Industry in July 1979 are aimed at maintaining a viable shipbuilding industry in this country. Because of worldwide over-capacity and a fall in the demand for ships some contraction in the number emloyed in shipbuilding and ship repair is, however, inevitable.

    The Manpower Services Commission will do all it can to help workers who have lost their jobs in the industry find fresh employment.

    Special Employment Measures

    25.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has yet reached a decision on the future of the special employment measures.

    26.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will consider extending the compensation scheme for short-time working beyond 31 March.

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what new initiatives he intends to take to deal with growing unemployment.

    37.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any proposals to extend the youth opportunities programme; and if he will make a statement.

    40.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has yet completed his review of the job release scheme; and if he will make a statement.

    41.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what changes he proposes to make in the job release scheme.

    48.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the temporary short-time working compensation scheme.

    Mr. Jim Lester : Yes. I refer the hon. Member and my hon. Friends to my right hon. Friend's announcement to the House on 14 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 1755–66.] 36. Mr. Haselhurst asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the work of the special programmes division of the Manpower Services Commission.

    Yes. As my right hon. Friend announced on 14 February, we have accepted the Manpower Services Commission's proposals to provide for an increase in the number of young people entering the youth opportunities programme to 250,000 to 260,000 in 1980–81, and for the special temporary employment programme to be continued at the level of 12,000 to 14,000 filled places in special development areas, development areas and designated inner areas.

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the operation of the youth opportunities programme.

    Yes. As my right hon. Friend announced on Thursday 14 February, we have accepted the Manpower Services Commission's proposal to provide for an increase in the number of young people entering the programe to 250,000 to 260,000 in 1980–81.—[Vol 978. c. 1755–66].

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had with the organisation Youth Aid about the problems of youth unemployment; and if he will make a statement.

    I met representatives of several voluntary organisations including Youth Aid, last July when they came to discuss youth unemployment and the youth opportunities programme with my noble Friend the Minister of State, My noble Friend has also met representatives of Youth Aid on a number of other occasions. An announcement on the special employment measures for 1980–81 was made by my right hon. Friend, on 14 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 1755–66.]

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how successful the youth opportunities programme has been in achieving its two key objectives of ensuring that no young person who leaves school during the current academic year should remain unemployed at Easter without the offer of a suitable place in the programme, and to offer by March a suitable place in the programme to every young person who has been unemployed for over 12 months.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that sound progress has been made towards meeting both this year's undertakings. On 10 January, well over 100,000 unemployed 1979 school leavers had already entered this programme, there remained some 13,000 for whom provision had still to be made.On the same date there were 3,400 young people within the long-term unemployed undertaking group. Although some of these will leave the register for employment, the aim at this stage is to offer, by Easter, a suitable place in the programme to all young people within the group.The present indications are that both undertakings will be discharged completely in most areas and largely met in the few remaining areas where the level of youth unemployment is particularly high.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been unable to join the training opportunities scheme as a result of the reduction in planned expenditure.

    Secondary Industrial Action

    27.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement on his review of the law involving secondary action, following the McShane case.

    My right hon. Friend has today published a consultative paper setting out proposals for changing the law on immunities.

    43.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to bring forward proposals to regulate secondary picketing, in the light of the recent case involving private steel firms.

    Proposals to limit lawful picketing to a person's own place of work are already contained in the Employment Bill. My right hon. Friend has today published a consultative paper setting out proposals for changing the law on immunities in order to limit other forms of secondary action.

    45.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had with the Trades Union Congress or: appropriate clarification of the law regarding secondary picketing and secondary blacking.

    My right hon. Friend has had a number of discussions with the TUC about the proposals contained in the Employment Bill, including those on secondary picketing. He hopes to have further discussion with the Congress about proposals for amending the law on trade union immunities which is contained in the working paper which is published today.

    56.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether, in the light of the steel strike, he feels any further changes in industrial legislation are necessary.

    My right hon. Friend has been considering for some time the implications of the House of Lords' judgment in the case of Express Newspapers Ltd. v McShane, which confirmed that the immunity for secondary industrial action is now very wide. My right hon. Friend has today published a consultative paper setting out proposals for changing the law on immunities.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what further consideration he has given to the matter of actions taken by trade unions during an industrial dispute, which they consider to be in furtherance of that trade dispute.

    My right hon. Friend has today published a consultative paper setting out proposals for changing the law on immunities.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what further steps he intends to take to amend the law following the McShane case.

    [pursuant to his reply, 18 February 1980]: My right hon. Friend has today published a consultative paper setting out proposals for changing the law on immunities.

    Unemployed Persons

    29.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figure for unemployment; and what were the corresponding figures for 1979 and 1978.

    At 10 January 1980 the number of people registered as unemployed in Great Britain was 1,404,389, compared with 1,484,687 at January 1978 and 1,391,220 at January 1979. Because of the introduction, in September 1979, of fortnightly attendance and payment of benefit, the figure for January 1980 is not strictly comparable with the figures for the earlier years. It is estimated that the unemployment figure for Great Britain is about 22,000 higher than it would have been under weekly attendance.The figures of those unemployed, seasonally adjusted and excluding school leavers, are not affected by this factor and are comparable. They are:

    January 19781,363,300
    January 19791,282,800
    January 19801,277,400

    44.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the level of unemployment for 1980–81.

    Forecasts of unemployment are subject to such large margins of error that no useful purpose would be served by attempting to produce one even for 1980–81. However, it is clear that short-term prospects are gloomy. The best hope of reducing the impact of unemployment lies in both sides of industry combining to improve productivity, and hence competitiveness, and to bargain responsibility over pay and conditions.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage, and how many, of those unemployed for more than one year live in areas where unemployment is less than 5 per cent. and where registered vacancies during the past year have averaged 20 per cent. or more of the total number of registered unemployed.

    Information for small areas could be extracted at disproportionate cost and the following information relate to counties.In January 1980, out of the 66 counties in Great Britain, 21 had unemployment rates of less than 5 per cent. Of these, vacancies at all employment offices in the county were 20 per cent. or more of the corresponding numbers unemignored in this calculation. Vacancies notified to employment offices are estimated to be about one-third of all vacancies in the country as a whole. Out of a total of 335,128 people in Great Britain who had been unemployed for more than 52 weeks, 59,666–17·8 per cent—were registered in these 17 counties.

    Tuc

    31.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he proposes next to meet the Trades Union Congress.

    53.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he plans next to meet the Trades Union Congress.

    My right hon. Friend keeps in frequent contact with the TUC and is ready to meet it at any time.

    Disabled Persons

    34.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures of disabled unemployed; and if he will make a statement.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that in January 1980, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 60,020 people who were unemployed and registered as disabled, and 77,043 disabled people unemployed who were not registered.I share the concern of my hon. Friend and of the other members of this House in the employment problems of disabled people and I will be discussing these problems with the all-party disablement group when I meet it on Tuesday 4 March 1980.

    West Midlands

    39.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the present level of unemployment in the West Midlands.

    No. The dependence of the West Midlands on manufacturing industries has been its strength in the past; regrettably, however, these industries have been severely affected over the last five years. The Government's policies are designed to achieve a new climate favourable to industry and commerce; this will do more than anything to revitalise the West Midlands economy and so reduce the level of unemployment, provided we get a positive and wholehearted response from managements and work forces.

    Bottling And Bottle Manufacture

    35.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people, as at the last available date, and on a regional basis, were employed (a) in the bottling of wines and spirits and (b) in the manufacture of bottles.

    Jobcentres

    46.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the way in which job-centres are presently operating.

    I am generally satisfied with the operation and performance of jobcentres, and support the plans of the Manpower Services Commission to modernise the employment service. But it is important to avoid extravagance in developing the programmes and plans for expenditure on jobcentres are being examined by the MSC in the context of the resources now available for its programmes.

    50.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many job-centres have been opened since 1 July 1979 and at what cost; how many job-centres are planned to be opened by the Manpower Services Commission in the next 12 months and what estimates have been made of this cost; and how many of these, in both periods referred to, are in towns or localities where an employment exchange is already in existence.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) that 54 job centres were opened during the period 1 July 1979 to 31 January 1980 at a total capital cost of £2·5 million. Of these 51 were in localities previously served by an employment office, each of which was replaced by the new job-centre. The MSC expects to open about 100 jobcentres in the financial year 198081 at an estimated capital cost of £7 million. Of these about 95 will be in locations where an employment office is in existence.

    Manufacturing Industry

    42.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs have been lost in manufacturing industry as a result of the increases of manufactured imports between 1974 and 1979.

    Between 1974 and 1979, the total numbers of employees in employment in manufacturing industries in Great Britain fell by about two-thirds of a million. Because it depends on many complex interacting factors, the contribution of the effects of increased manufactured imports to this fall could be produced only by simulation of a macroeconomic model incorporating a large number of speculative assumptions and at disproportionate cost.

    School Leavers

    49.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many of the 1979 school leavers are currently unemployed; and, of those in employment, how many are benefiting from Government-sponsored work experience and training schemes.

    There were 27,165 school leavers under 19 unemployed in January 1980, who left school in the 1978–79 school year.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 10 January 1980, by which time over 100,000 unemployed 1979 school leavers had already entered the Youth Opportunities Programme, there remained some 13,000 for whom provision had still to be made.I regret that it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the number of 1979 school leavers currently engaged in the programme.

    Apprentices

    52.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the statutory position of apprentices who have been made redundant.

    An apprentice dismissed on redundancy, who satisfies the qualifying conditions as to age and length of service, may qualify for a redundancy payment under the provisions of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 in the same way as any other employee, and I think this is satisfactory.

    Stockport

    54.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are presently unemployed in the Metropolitan borough of Stockport.

    At 10 January, the number of people registered as unemployed in the area covered by the Stockport and Marple employment offices, which closely corresponds to the metropolitan borough of Stockport, was 5,225.

    West Midlands

    55.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he proposes to take about current unemployment levels in the West Midlands.

    The dependence of the West Midlands on manufacturing industries has been its strength in the past; regrettably, however, these industries have been severely affected over the last five years. The Government's policies are designed to achieve a new climate favourable to industry and commerce; this will do more than anything to revitalise the West Midlands economy and so reduce the level of unemployment, provided we get a positive and wholehearted response from managements and work forces.

    Cbi

    57.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects next to meet the director general of the Confederation of British Industry.

    My right hon. Friend keeps in frequent contact with the CBI and is ready to meet it at any time.

    Job Release

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what would be the effect of expanding further the job release scheme, so that all men might retire at 60 years and disabled men at 58 years.

    The estimated effect of the proposal would be to increase the take-up of the job release scheme to some 135,000, at a gross annual cost of approximately £300 million.

    Occupational Guidance Unit, Manchester

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has yet made any decision on the future of the occupational guidance unit in Manchester.

    Redundancies

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies have been notified to his Department since the beginning of May 1979 in respect of Great Britain as a whole and Scotland in particular.

    The number of proposed redundancies which have been notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 in the period May 1979-January 1980 is as follows:

    Great Britain

    471,645 (7,610 Establishments)

    Scotland

    63.109 (920 Establishments)

    During the same period the total number of proposed redundancies which have been formally withdrawn is as follows:

    Great Britain

    91,376 (1,280 Establishments)

    Scotland

    14,677 (179 Establishments)

    Defence

    Parachute Regiment

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department is considering the reintroduction of the brigade element of support in the Parachute Regiment; and if he will make a statement.

    There are no plans to reintroduce a brigade element of support in the Parachute Regiment.

    Research And Development

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the number of people currently employed in research and development projects in defence.

    There are about 33,400 civilians and military personnel employed on research and development by the Ministry of Defence. These include such personnel employed in Ministry of Defence R & D establishments and the Royal ordnance factories.

    Mr Jimmy Kelly (Inquest)

    asked the Attorney-General if the family of the late Mr. Jimmy Kelly have made an application for legal aid at the adjourned inquest.

    Home Department

    Privacy (Younger Committee Report)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he is satisfied that the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1969 and other legislation are adequate safeguards against the illicit use of electronic surveillance devices;(2) what action has been taken on recommendations 53(ii), (iii) and (iv) of the Younger committee report on privacy, Cmnd 5012, 1972;(3) if he is satisfied that the laws and regulations governing the importation of surveillance equipment are adequate; and whether any changes are contemplated.

    The unlicensed use of radio for aural surveillance is prohibited and the importation and manufacture of radio surveillance equipment operating on frequencies between 88 and 108 MHz is controlled under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1949 and 1967. There is no statutory control over other kinds of surveillance device. I have no current plans for legislation on the lines recommended in paragraph 53 of the report of the Younger committee on privacy.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many recommendations of the Younger committee on privacy have so far been implemented.

    The committee's 40 recommendations, made in 1972, were addressed to a wide variety of organisations, including the press, the broadcasting authorities, the banks, the universities, the medical profession and computer users. Of the recommendations addressed to the Government, some were implemented by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and by the reference to the English and Scottish Law Commissions of the law relating to breach of confidence. The need for control over private detectives is being studied as part of a review of the private security industry, and the data protection committee's proposals for legislation are also under consideration.

    Private Security Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish Her Majesty's Government's response to evidence submitted on the private security industry.

    We have nearly completed our assessment of the comments received in response to the discussion document published last year, and I hope to be able to indicate the Government's views in the near future.

    London Prisons

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many men are employed on job projects at each London prison.

    Employment for prisoners takes many forms and I am not clear which of them the hon. Member has in mind. If he will let me know I shall consider what information can be provided.

    Prison Officers (Overtime)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hours' overtime were worked during the month of January by prison officers in each prison in England and Wales.

    I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as this information is available.

    Prison Sentences

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to implement section 47 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 as to sentences partly served and partly suspended and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to a question by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) on 13 December.—[Vol. 975, c. 1519–20.]

    Elections (Candidates' Tellers)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether new guidance has now been issued to returning officers at local government and parliamentary elections so that candidates' tellers at polling stations will be accommodated indoors wherever this is practical.

    No. As I stated in my reply to a question by the hon. Member on 26 July—[Vol. 971, c. 874]—we shall bear this matter in mind when preparing a new, comprehensive memorandum of guidance to acting returning officers, to replace that issued in 1974. Its preparation must, however, await the completion of our general review of electoral law and procedures and the introduction of any changes which may flow from it.

    Prisons (Complaints Procedure)