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Written Answers

Volume 979: debated on Thursday 28 February 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 28 February 1980

Employment

Industrial Disputes (Lost Working Days)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many days have been lost in strikes since 3 May 1979.

These statistics are not complied for parts of a month. The number of working days lost through industrial disputes from 1 May 1979 to 31 January 1980 was 24·5 million.

Skill Shortage Mobility Experiment

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the outcome of the skill shortage mobility experiment.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the skill shortage mobility experiment was introduced in January 1979 for a trial period of 12 months. A premium of £500 was paid to the unemployed or redundant workers in 18 selected occupa

Department of EmploymentManpower Services CommissionHealth and SafetyAdvisory, Conciliation
Commission/Executive and Arbitration Service
Staff£Staff£Staff£Staff£
197619114,30025140,9001385,600322,000
197721129,80029174,00018119,700323,700
197821147,80034215,60024169,700432,300
197921161,10038273,70024185,300435,800
198020198,10038355,20023233,500447,200
The information officer group, in addition to press and public relations officers, includes specialists in exhibitions, publications, paid publicity, marketing, and so on.

Disabled Persons (Concessionary Travel)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the increased costs of motoring and public transport which are causing severe mobility problems for many disabled people, he has any plans to extend to other areas the free transport scheme operated by Coventry social services department and financed by the Manpower Services Commission.

tional groups who were prepared to move to fill long standing vacancies in certain sectors of manufacturing industry. The premium was paid in addition to the normal assistance under the employment transfer scheme.

The number assisted under the experiment was less than had been anticipated. However, the Commission decided that it should be extended for six months so that in this period consideration could be given to whether there should continue to be special arrangements to promote the geographical mobility of people taking up particular kinds of vacancies, and if so what these should be.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

The number and cost of permanent staff in the information officer group in the DE Group at these dates was as follows:

[pursuant to his reply]: 26 February 1980, c. 505]: No. The scheme is run by Coventry social services department and funded by the Manpower Services Commission under the special temporary employment programme. As STEP projects can no longer be renewed or approved in Coventry the scheme will end later this year unless another source of finance is found by the city council. It is for the MSC to consider approving any similar schemes which may be proposed in areas where STEP is still available provided that such schemes meet the programme's criteria.

Industrial Training Boards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total cost of the industrial training boards in each of the years 1977, 1978 and 1979 and the estimated cost for 1980.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that figures for calendar years are not available but that by financial years the total cost of the industrial training boards, including their training services and expenditure on training grants, and the cost borne on public funds were as follows:

Total Cost:
£ million
1976–77172·1
1977–78193·7
1978–79200·0
Of which, borne on public funds:
£ million
1976–7769·1
1977–7885·4
1978–7993·4
The total cost for 1979–80 will not be known until the board's accounts are presented later this year.

Jobcentres And Employmentexchanges

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobcentres and employment exchanges there are in England; if he will give the number and the names of those where the unemployment rate is (a) below the national average, (b) between one and two times the average, (c) between two and three times the average and (d) four times or more the national average.

Energy

Atomic Energy Reactors

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what studies have been undertaken by his Department to ascertain the decommissioning procedures to be adopted for Central Electricity Generating Board Magnox reactors and other atomic energy reactors.

Studies and associated development work on the problem of decommissioning reactors are being carried out by the UKAEA, the CEGB and the Health and Safety Executive. The EEC has also recently adopted a five-year research programme costing about £4 million. The first step in decommissioning is the removal of the fuel for reprocessing in the ordinary way. This removes the great bulk of the radioactivity. The studies referred to are therefore directed to the problems of dismantling and disposing of the reactor structure, which is itself radioactive making its early demolition difficult.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of a likely period when the 26 Magnox reactors now operating on 11 sites in the United Kingdom will have to be decommissioned.

Current estimates indicate that Magnox reactors are likely to have been withdrawn from use for generation of electricity by the mid 1990s. Actual dates will be determined in the light of experience, having regard to the need to meet safety requirements and the benefits of maximising output from these reactors.Decommissioning would begin with the removal of the nuclear fuel. Surveillance and safety requirements for the remaining structures, containing only relatively small amounts of radioactivity would then be minimal. How long it would be before these were removed would depend on the balance between removal costs which will decline as the residual radioactivity decays, and the value of the site for other uses.Questions concerning the Magnox reactors at Hunterston are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Windscale (Contaminated Water Seepage)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects the Health and Safety Executive to publish a report on the seepage of contaminated water from a storage silo at Windscale found in October 1976.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today published a full report on this incident. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.The report describes the very thorough review carried out jointly by the nuclear installations inspectorate (NII) and radiochemical inspectorate (RCI). British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) has cooperated fully with the inspectorates and has conducted much supportive research into possible remedial actions and into the radiological effects of the leak.The report's conclusion is that the leak does not constitute a hazard to the safety of workers at the site; to the environment beyond the immediate vicinity of the leak; or to the public. The greater part of this activity which has leaked from the silo is retained in the soil close to the silo and above the water table. It is estimated that nuclides not absorbed by soil would take some years to migrate to the site boundary, during which time their radioactivity would decay to a negligible level. In view of this, the report concludes that the primary objective (though it will take some time to achieve) should be to empty the silo and dispose of its contents safely rather than attempt to seal the leak with the silo full, which, besides being hazardous and of uncertain effectiveness with present techniques, could prejudice the possibility of emptying the silo later. The company has accordingly been required to develop the necessary techniques for emptying the silo.However, HSE also considers it important that contingency plans should be available to seal the leak or to stop the spread of activity should the monitoring of the area reveal that the rate of leakage is increasing, or that activity is spreading away from the immediate vicinity of the silo.The Company has, therefore, been required to continue to monitor activity and assess the environmental impact of potential activity; and to develop contingency plans to seal the leak or erect a curtain wall outside the silo. Development work on a means of sealing the silo will include work on a means of sealing from the inside which will not prejudice the retrieval of material from it. If a practicable technique is developed, it could be used to prevent further discharges from the silo pending its emptying.The report also notes that the silo no longer receives waste. The first extension, now in use, is of different construction, having cavity walls permitting for, and recovery of, any water leakage. A further extension, now under construction, has double containment of the base as well as cavity walls.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

The number and cost of information officers employed by my Department at the beginning of each of the last four years were

NumberCost £
197623152,145
197724168,771
197825191,376
197924230,377
198025257,268
The information officer group, in addition to press officers, includes information specialists in press and television advertising, publications, exhibitions and other paid publicity media.

Information Officers

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

No information officers are employed by my departments.

Overseas Development

Expenditure

asked the Lord Privy Seal by what percentage reduction his aid spending has fallen in real terms for the present financial year.

It is estimated that planned net expenditure on overseas aid in 1979–80 will be less than one per cent. below 1978–79 outturn revalued into 1979 survey prices.

United Nations Conference, Delhi

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) which Foreign Office Minister represented the United Kingdom at the recent United Nations conference in Delhi;(2) if he will place in the Library a copy of the speech delivered by a Minister from the Foreign Office at the recent United Nations Conference in Delhi.

The United Kingdom was represented at the recent third general conference of the United Nations industrial development organisation in New Delhi by Mr. Peter Blaker, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. A copy of his speech to the conference has been placed in the Library.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

Changes in ministerial responsibilities prevent direct comparisons with the period before May 1979. The figures for the years 1976–79 relate to staff employed in the office of the Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons. The 1980 figure relates to my offices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Leader of the House and Minister responsible for the Arts.

YearInformation OfficersCost £
1976212,524
1977213,815
1978214,817
1979216,394
1980219,840

asked the Paymaster General what was the annual cost of the Government Information Service in 1970, 1975 and 1979; how many staff were em-played on those dates; what has been the increase in the cost of the service over the last 10 years; and if he is satisfied that the cost of the service represents value for money.

Details of the provision in Supply Estimates for the costs of the Government information service are contained in table 8 of the Chief Secretary's memorandum for the years in question.

The corresponding figures for staff in post at 1 April were 1,239 in 1970, 1,367 in 1975 and 1,292 in 1979. Since I became responsible for co-ordination of Government information services I have been satisfied that the cost of the services does represent value for money, although of course I shall continue to seek ways of improving their efficiency. I cannot, of course, form a judgment about the position in past years.

asked the Paymaster General if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if she will state her official engagements for 28 February.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her public engagements for 28 February.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will state her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister is she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q41.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

Q42.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

Q43.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

44.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 28 February.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 February.

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

Common Fisheries Policy

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister what measures Her Majesty's Government propose to introduce to protect the British fishing industry from the consequences of the failure of the European Community to agree to a new common fisheries policy.

I am aware of the difficulties currently being experienced by the fishing industry. The industry has made proposals which are being considered urgently.

Child Benefit

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister whether it is Government policy to increase incentives to work by reducing the gap between child benefit and the national insurance or supplementary benefit for children.

In considering incentives to work we recognise that the level of child benefit is a significant factor. We also recognise that any increase in child benefit is expensive, each 10p costing about £56 million, at a time when we are critically examining public expenditure.

Rhodesia

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the Rhodesian situation.

Engineering Industry

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the effectiveness of the administrative co-ordination between the Department of Industry, the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Employment, the Department of Energy and the Scottish Office, in relation to those engineering matters covered by the Finniston report.

Parliamentary Questions

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister why her Government have refused to answer more questions than any other on the grounds that it would be too expensive to provide the information.

I am aware of no evidence to support the hon. Member's assertion.

National Economic Evelopment Council

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister when next she expects to meet the National Economic Development Council.

Information Officers

asked the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by her Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

The number and total cost of information officer group staff in my office, the Civil Service Department and the Central Statistical Office on these dates were as follows:

NumberCost £
Prime Minister's Office
1 January 1976759,000
1 January 1977758,000
1 January 1978762,000
1 January 1979767,000
1 January 1980565,000
Civil Service Department
1 January 19761490,000
1 January 19771496,000
1 January 19781178,000
1 January 1979969,000
1 January 1980995,000
Central Statistical Office
1 January 1976217,000
1 January 1977218,000
1 January 1978325,000
1 January 1979327,000
1 January 1980337,000
In the Civil Service Department, the information officer group, in addition to press officers, includes information specialists engaged on publications, and recruitment advertising and publicity. Information staff in the Central Statistical Office are engaged on press liaison, paid publicity and publications.

Research And Development

asked the Prime Minister if she will list the membership of the Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development.

I have appointed six new members to ACARD and have invited Dr. Alfred Spinks to become chairman of the Council. The membership is now:

  • Dr. Alfred Spinks, CBE (Chairman) formerly Director of Research, ICI Ltd.
  • Sir Henry Chilver (Deputy Chairman) Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield Institute of Technology.
  • Sir John Atwell, CBE Chairman, Scottish Offshore Partnership Sir Robert Clayton, CBE Technical Director, GEC Limited.
  • Mr. D. Downs, CBE Chairman and Managing Director, Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd.
  • *Dr. D. L. Georgala Head of Laboratory, Unilever Researchv *Professor W. B. Heginbotham, OBE Director-General, Production Engineering Research Association.
  • *Dr. B.C. Lindley Director of Research, Dunlop Limited.
  • Mr. J. Lyons General Secretary, Engineers' and Managers' Association.
  • Sir Ieuan Maddock, CB formerly Chief Scientist, Department of Industry.
  • *Sir Alec Merrison Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol, Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils.
  • *Mr. A. M. Muir Wood Senior Partner, so William Halcrow & Partners Dr. L. Rotherham, CBE formerly Vice Chancellor, University of Bath *Mr. J. L. van der Post Chief Executive Water Research Centre.
  • Mr. G. H. Wright, MBE Regional Secretary for Wales Transport and General Workers Union
*new members

Foreign And Commonwealthaffairs

Political And Publicity Organisations(Nato Grants)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what funds, drawn from the contributions of member States, NATO has provided to political and publicity organisations in the United Kingdom over the last five years; which organisations received grants; and what were the sums paid in each case.

I am informed that over the last five years NATO has allocated £48,190 to such organisations for educational and publicity purposes. This figure has been distributed as follows:

to the Labour and Trades Union Press Service:
1976£6,000
1977£6,600
1978£6,050
1979£6,535
1980£7,150 (earmarked)
to British Atlantic Youth:
1976nil
1977£1,000
1978£1,200
1979£2,000
1980£2,000 (earmarked)
to the European Atlantic Movement:
1976nil
1977£1,600
1978£1,600
1979£5,800
1980nil
In addition, the British Atlantic Committee received £655 from NATO in 1979. This payment was a management fee for the organisation of an international conference held in this country and funded by the NATO Information Service.

Information Officers

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department, at the beginning of each of the last four years.

The number and cost of officers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's news department were as follows:

Numbers of staffAverage cost per head
1 January 1976137,100
1 January 1977137,500
1 January 1978128,500
1 January 19791210,600
1 January 19801211,800
The information officer group in the Overseas Development Administration including specialists in exhibitions, publications and publicity in addition to press and public relations officers, numbered as follows:

Numbers of staffAverage cost per head
£
1 January 1976117,800
1 January 1977107,800
1 January 1978108,800
1 January 1979910,800
1 January 1980912,100

Ussr (Trade Inspectors)

asked the Lord Privy Seal how the number of Soviet trade officials in the United Kingdom compares with each other country in the European Community and the United States of America with Canada.

Detailed information is not available to Her Majesty's Government. The number of Soviet trade officials in the countries mentioned is, of course, a matter for the Governments concerned.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many of the Soviet trade inspectors of industrial equipment being exported to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Two are in Scotland, one is in Wales, and three are in Northern Ireland.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many of the 65 Soviet trade inspectors in the United Kingdom are accompanied by their families.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the longest length of stay of any one of the 65 Soviet trade inspectors in the United Kingdom.

British Trade Inspectors (Communist Countries)

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many British inspectors are at present in Communist countries monitoring the manufacture of goods and equipment to be delivered to Great Britain under trade agreements.

Neither British firms nor individuals concerned are required to tell the Government of such activities on their part.

Communist Countries (Trade Inspectors)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list in the Official Report the names of those Communist countries which have trade inspectors working in Great Britain monitoring the manufacture of goods and equipment to be exported to their countries; and if he will give the number of trade inspectors per country.

I shall circulate in the Official Report as much information as is available as soon as it has been assembled.

Ussr Officials (United Kingdom Residents)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the present fixed limit on the number of Soviet officials who are resident in the United Kingdom for more than three weeks: and what it was on 1 March 1974.

The following fixed limits are placed on the number of Soviet officials resident in the United Kingdom for periods longer than three months:

Soviet Embassy93
Soviet Trade Delegation47
Other Soviet organisations, including commercial organisations, press, etc106
Temporary appointments to the Soviet Trade Delegation for periods of 1–3 months13
These limits have remained unchanged since 1971.

Trade

Copyright Acts

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has any proposals to amend the Copyright Acts.

The Whitford committee to consider the law on copyright and designs, which reported in 1977, made a great many recommendations for legislative changes covering all aspects of this very complex area of law. The Government are studying these recommendations in the light of the many comments they have received on the report, with a view to putting forward some proposals for public discussion in due course.

UNITED KINGDOM TRADE IN MANUFACTURES*
EXCLUDING ERRATICS †
Indices1975 = 100
OTS basis
ExportsImports
VolumeUnit ValueVolumeUnit Value
196761N/A49N/A
196869N/A56N/A
196978N/A59N/A
197079526653
197186557153
197286588555
1973976410367
19741048011087
1975100100100100
1976109120110123
1977115141119142
1978117155135150
1979117169159161
N/A not available
* SITC sections 5 to 8
† These are defined as ships and North Sea installations (together comprising SITC (Rev 2 793). aircraft (792) and precious stones (667)

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

The number of information officers employed by my Department and the average cost of salary plus employer's national insurance contribution is as follows:—

Number of staff and Average cost: 1.1.76, 123, £5,304; 1.1.77, 124 £6,000; 1.1.78, 118, £6,501; 1.1.79, 120, £7,131; 1.1.80, 121, £8,889.
The figures for 1 January and subsequently to 1 January 1979 include the staff in the Department of Prices and

Manufactures

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing the indices of trade in manufactures, excluding erratics, from 1967 onwards on the same basis as shown in the latest press notice on the January trade figures.

The available annual information in respect of manufacturers excluding erratics is given in the table below. More detailed information from 1970 will be published in the next Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics, which will be published early in March.Consumer Protection which has since been absorbed in the Department of Trade.The information officer group, in addition to press and public relations officers, includes information specialists in exhibitions, exhibition design and paid publicity.

Imports And Exports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the cost and volume, that is value at constant prices, of United Kingdom imports and exports as a whole and for each individual EEC country for each of the last 10 years.

The information requested on the value of United Kingdom trade with EEC countries is readily available in published statistics, and I refer my hon. Friend to Tables B2 and E20 of the January issue of the Monthly Review of Exttrnal Trade Statistics. A copy of this publication is in the House of Commons Library.Information on the volume of United Kingdom trade with specific areas of countries is not available in the United Kingdom statistics.

Company Directors (Penalties)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many of the 1,375 penalties imposed during 1979 under section 4(1) of the Companies Act 1976 were on individual directors as opposed to penalties against the defaulting company.

Ussr (Exports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the value of industrial equipment exports to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics by British firms which have Soviet inspectors attached to them; and how this compares with the position before the appointment of such inspectors.

The information requested by my hon. Friend is not readily available and could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost.

Lead Acid Batteries

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list in the Official Report the quantity and total value of the import and export of sealed lead acid batteries for the latest available year.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 February 1980]: The information is not available. Sealed lead acid accumulators are not separately identified in the Overseas Trade Statistics.

Social Services

Social Security (Entitlement)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many managers of local security offices have requested public co-operation in the campaign against those who may not be entitled to social security; and if he will make a statement.

The Department's policy in dealing with suspected cases of social security fraud and abuse is perfectly clear and has not changed for many years. We neither expect nor encourage members of the public to investigate such cases on our behalf. But we are always prepared and indeed regard it as our duty, to follow up any positive information brought to our attention which suggests that fraud or abuse is taking place. All members of the Department, including the managers of local social security offices, are expected to observe this policy. I am aware of recent press reports which imply otherwise, and which have no doubt prompted the right hon. Gentleman's question. These reports have either misunderstood or mis-stated the views of officials and whilst I have no reason to believe that the policy is not properly carried out, I am reminding managers of it in view of the interest shown by the right hon. Gentleman and others in the matter.

Information Officers

asked the Attorney-General if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department and by the Lord Chancellor's Office at the beginning of each of the last four years.

No costs have been incurred by either Department as neither has nor has had over the last four years an information officer.

Industry

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report the number, and the average cost, of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

The number of information officers employed by my Department and the average cost of salary plus employer's national insurance contribution is as follows:

Number of Staff and Average Cost: 1.1.76, 57, £5,754; 1.1.77, 59, £6,545; 1.1.78, 53, £7,018; 1.1.79, 54, £7,638; 1.1.80, 54, £9,590.
The information officers group, in addition to press and public relations officers, includes information specialists in exhibitions, publications and paid publicity.

Industrial Assistance

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what was the total Government assistance to industry for the financial years 1974–75 to 1978–79, inclusive, for the Northern region of England and for Wales, respectively;(2) what was the average assistance to industry per head of the population for the years 1974–75 to 1978–79, inclusive, for the Northern region of England and for Wales, respectively.

Expenditure
YearNorthern region £ millionPer head of population £Wales £ millionPer head of population £ million
1974–7562·1*19·8*46·616·9
1975–76116·737·367·424·4
1976–77171·855·076·527·6
1977–78154·049·489·132·2
1978–79163·952·9107·738·9

Notes:

(1) This includes expenditure on regional development grants, selective financial assistance under sections 7 and 8 of the industry Act 1972, and on land and factories. Since 1 July 1975 regional selective assistance under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 to firms in Wales has been administered by the Welsh Office, and since 1 January 1976 factories there have been built by the Welsh Development Agency. Expenditure under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 excludes payments made to individual firms and payments made under the offshore supplies interest relief grant scheme as it is not always possible to allocate payments made in these cases to specific regions or areas. Expenditure under section 7 of the Act excludes the following payments to the Ford Motor Company which were shared between the North-Western region of England and Wales but which cannot be allocated specifically:

1977–781978–79
£m£m
4·352·0

(2) All figures are at outturn prices. They are gross and include payments to the nationalised industries of regional development grants and selective Financial assistance.

(3) Aside from expenditure on land and factories, there is no predetermined allocation of regional preferential expenditure between separate areas or regions. Expenditure under such schemes depends, therefore, on the level of applications from eligible firms within the areas or regions concerned.

* The 1974–75 figures for the Northern region exclude expenditure on land and factories. They are therefore not comparable either with the corresponding figures for Wales for the year, or to figures for the later years.

Shipyards

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what study his Department has made of the system of subsidy for shipyards operated by the Belgian Government, in the light of the paper "A Profile of British Shipbuilders" by Mr. John Parker, of the board of British Shipbuilders, a copy of which has been supplied to him.

The Belgian authorities have confirmed in respoinse to an official enquiry that no production subsidies are given to the Belgium shipbuilding industry. Aid to their domestic shipowners, through preferential credit,

I regret the information is not available in the form requested.Much of the assistance given to industry by the Government cannot be broken down for individual regions without disproportionate staff time and cost. However, total expenditure in the years specified on the main forms of regional preferential assistance to industry and on national schemes of assistance under section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 is estimated as follows:has been in existence for many years. Under the EEC fourth directive such aid is not regarded as aid to the shipbuilding industry provided it is available on ships built in any EEC yard.

Microelectronics

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are the terms of reference and aims of the microprocessors application project; how much has been spent on this project since its inception; and what further funds are to be allocated for 1980–81.

[pursuant to his reply 25 February 1980, c. 460–61]: The central aims of the microprocessors application project are to raise the awareness of key decision makers to the significance of microelectronic applications, to increase the training and retraining facilities for engineers in industry, and to provide incentives for feasibility studies and project developments. The figures for actual spend and so far committed are £3£897 million, £18,220 million respectively. The allocation for 1980–81 has not yet been finalised but we expect to spend about £15 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list those projects and schemes which have been wholly or partly funded by his Department to promote and extend the microelectronic industry; how much has been spent in each case over the past three years; and what percentage of his Department's budget this represents.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 February 1980, c. 460–61]: Spending by the Department in support of the microelectronics industry in the past three financial years has been as follows:

£
Microelectronics support scheme6,579,000
Electronic components industry scheme318,000
Microelectronics industry support programme1,168,000
Computers, systems and electronics requirements board1,750,000
Advanced computer techniques project350,000
Total:£10,165,000
Individual projects within these groups are generally commercially confidential. The spend represents about 0·5 per cent. of the Department's spend in support of the private sector of industry as a whole during the same period. It does not include spend by the National Research Development Corporation or the National Enterprise Board.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish a comprehensive list of microprocessor surveys, and their costs, funded by his Department.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 February 1980]: Since the inception of the microprocessor applications project in 1978 my Department has commissioned and funded the following general microprocessor surveys with various objectives:—

  • (i) Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Microprocessor Applications—Cases and Observations.
  • (ii) Market Opinion Research International Ltd.: Microelectronics—The Views of Senior British Management.
  • (iii) National Computing Centre: The Impact of Microprocessors on British Business.
  • (iv) Stanford Research Institute: Status Report on Microprocessor Technology and its Implications for the United Kingdom.
  • (v) Systec Ltd.: Review of European National Support Programmes in Microelectronics.
  • In additon, the Department has paid a fee for access to a study commissioned by a number of clients of Arthur D. Little Inc. on the strategic impact of intelligent electronics in USA and Western Europe 1977–87.The total cost to the Department was some £85,00 though there will be some offset by receipts from sales of published surveys.

    Platt Saco Lovell

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what loans or grants Platt Saco Lovell has received in each of the last five years under industrial aid schemes; which schemes were involved in each case and what sum per year under each scheme; and what information he has about how the money was spent in each case.

    Offers totalling £2,941,809 were made to this company in 1978 under the textile machinery industry scheme, to assist the company to restructure its manufacturing facilities in Lancashire. I regret that it is not the practice to publish additional information in individual cases for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

    Post Office Pension Fund

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what consideration has been given to the future of the Post Office pension fund in the discussions on the future construction of the corporation; what discussions he has held and with whom about the future of the pension fund; what representations he has received; and if he will make a statement.

    The Post Office is consulting its unions and the trustees of the fund and will put proposals to my right hon. Friend in due course. No specific representations on the subject have been received.

    European Community (Steel Production And Consumption)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will set out five tables, one for each of the last five years,

    PRODUCTION AND APPARENT CONSUMPTION OF CRUDE STEEL
    million tonnes
    1974ProductionPercentage of EEC totalApparent consumptionPercentage of EEC total
    Belgium16·210·45·54·5
    Luxembourg6·44·1
    Denmark0·50·32·42·0
    France27·017·424·820·2
    Ireland0·10·10·50·4
    Italy23·815·323·819·4
    Netherlands5·83·75·34·3
    United Kingdom22·414·423·719·3
    West Germany53·234·236·830·0
    1975
    Belgium11·69·33·63·5
    Luxembourg4·63·7
    Denmark0·60·51·81·4
    France21·517·220·419·7
    Ireland0·10·10·40·4
    Italy21·817·418·618·0
    Netherlands4·83·84·64·4
    United Kingdom19·815·821·020·3
    West Germany40·432·233·031·9
    1976
    Belgium12·19·04·33·7
    Luxembourg4·63·4
    Denmark0·70·52·32·0
    France23·217·323·520·2
    Ireland0·10·10·50·4
    Italy23·417·422·619·4
    Netherlands5·23·94·74·0
    United Kingdom22·416·721·318·3
    West Germany42·431·637·332·0
    Belgium11·39·04·23·8
    Luxembourg4·33·4
    Denmark0·70·51·91·7
    France22·117·521·119·0
    Ireland0·10·10·50·4
    Italy23·318·522·320·1
    Netherlands4·93·94·54·0
    United Kingdom20·516·220·718·6
    West Germany39·030·936·132·5
    1978
    Belgium12·69·54·33·9
    Luxembourg4·83·6
    Denmark0·90·71·91·8
    France22·817·221·019·2
    Ireland0·10·10·50·5
    Italy24·418·321·419·6

    showing the consumption and production of steel in millions of tons to the nearest tenth of a million and as a percentage of European Economic Community totals for each country in the European Economic Community.

    PRODUCTION AND APPARENT CONSUMPTION OF CRUDE STEEL {continued)

    million tonnes

    1978

    Production

    Percentage of EEC total

    Apparent consumption

    Percentage of EEC total

    Netherlands5·64·24·64·2
    United Kingdom20·315·320·218·5
    West Germany41·331·135·232·3
    1979
    Belgium13·49·6not available
    Luxembourg4·93·5
    Denmark0·80·6
    France23·416·7
    Ireland0·10·1
    Italy24·017·2
    Netherlands5·8
    United Kingdom21·515·4
    West Germany46·032·9

    Source:

    EUROSTAT

    Note:

    Apparent consumption is the production of products converted to ingot weight plus imports less exports plus consumption of scrap in rolling mills and adjustments for stock changes.

    Home Department

    Mrs Lillian Wilson

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will allow Mrs. Lillian Wilson of 33 Salisbury Road, London N.22 to remain in the United Kingdom permanently.

    As the hon. Member knows, I wrote to him about this case in August last. Leave to appeal against the adjudicator's decision was refused in September. The hon. Member has this week written to my right hon. Friend asking that the decision be reversed. When this letter has been considered I shall write to the hon. Member.

    Wormwood Scrubs

    8.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received the report of the regional director for prisons on the incidents at Wormwood Scrubs in August 1979; and whether he will make a statement.

    19.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is now ready to publish the report of the Gibson inquiry into the incident at Wormwood Scrubs.

    Following a communication made to me earlier this week by Mr. Gibson, the regional director for the South-East region of the prison department who has been conducting the investigation into the incident at Wormwood Scrubs prison on 31 August 1979, I am asking the police to investigate allegations of criminal offences by staff against prisoners.Mr. Gibson will report to me in due course on the basis of the inquiries which has has already made on other aspects of the incident. Mr. Gibson has already concluded that the deployment of the MUFTI teams to regain control of D Wing was fully justified and that prison officers must continue to be trained and equipped to deal with acts of concerted indiscipline by inmates. I fully endorse that view. I will make a further statement when I have received Mr. Gibson's report.

    Persons On Remand

    28.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are currently on remand in custody solely for the preparation of medical or probation reports.

    British Broadcasting Corporation

    21.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects next to meet the chairman of the board of governors of the BBC.

    Criminal Offences (Statistics)

    22.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many burglaries, car thefts, and robberies with violence took place (a) on Merseyside and (b) in England and. Wales during the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many motorists were cautioned or prosecuted during the same period.

    1978 is the latest year for which information on both offences and cautions or prosecutions is available. In 1978 there were recorded 53,300 offences of burglary, theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle, or robbery in Merseyside, and 896,000 such offences in England and Wales. In the same period, for offences relating to motor vehicles, 48,500 persons in Merseyside were given written warnings or proceeded against, and 1,452,000 in England and Wales.

    Citizenship Applications

    24.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why applications for British citizenship are subject to delays of up to one year; and what proposals he has to reduce the waiting period.

    The main reason for delay is that there has been a sharp rise in the numbers of applications for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies in the last two years; at the end of 1979 they had risen by over 50 per cent. compared with 1977. My right hon. Friend announced last December that the staff of the nationality division was being increased in view of these delays but that the need to restrain public expenditure limited what could be done.

    Telephone Tapping

    23.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of the law on telephone tapping.

    27.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of the law on telephone tapping.

    31.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of the law on telephone tapping.

    35.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of the law on telephone tapping.

    I refer the hon. Members to the reply I gave earlier today to questions by the hon. Members for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) Keighley (Mr. Cryer) and Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett).

    Parliamentary Candidates (Deposits)

    25.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received in the past 12 months concerning the need for an increase in the deposit payable by parliamentary candidates.

    Since taking office we have received about a dozen representations from members of the public and others advocating an increase in the deposit.

    Metropolitan Police Force

    26.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present strength of the Metropolitan Police force; how this figure compares with 12 months before; and by how much the present figure is below establishment.

    At 31 December 1979 the strength was 22,528, 567 more than a year before, and still 4,061 below the establishment of 26,589.

    Electoral Rolls

    29.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his best estimate of the number of electors in England and Wales whose names appeared more than once each on the electoral registers for the latest electoral year for which the figure is available.

    Information on the basis of which such an estimate could be made is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Jurors (Regina V Bennett, Mills And Others)

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he refuses to reply to letters sent to him by the jurors in Regina v. Bennett, Mills and others.

    As far as I am aware, we have received only one such letter, a copy of which was also sent to my right hon. Friend by the hon. Member with a request for comments. My noble Friend, the Under-Secretary of State, replied on 13 February, enclosing an extra copy of his reply for the juror.

    Chief Constable Of Merseyside

    32.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to meet the chief constable of Merseyside.

    I have no immediate plans for a further meeting with the chief constable.

    Police Photograph Albums

    33.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report his Department's guidelines regarding access to police photograph albums by potential witnesses once a suspect has been picked out.

    Rules on the use of photographs for identification are contained in the memorandum attached to Home Office circular No. 109/1978, copies of which are available in the Library of the House and from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

    Civil Defence

    34.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a ministerial broadcast on civil defence.

    42.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce his review of civil defence measures.

    I shall make an announcement on the conclusions of the review as soon as possible.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he plans to consult local authority associations about reviewing their policies concerning their duties and actions in the aftermath of nuclear attack.

    I regularly consult the local authority associations on all aspects of their civil defence responsibilities.

    Short Stay Visitors

    36.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest information available to him in connection with short stay visitors to the United Kingdom who overstay.

    I refer the hon. Member to what my right hon. Friend said about overstaying during the debate on 4 December, and to the reply given on 18 December to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow).—[Vol. 975, c. 259–260; Vol. 976, c. 118–120.]

    Parliamentary Candidates (Age)

    37.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any plans to introduce legislation to lower the age at which people can stand for election to the House of Commons.

    We are considering this matter as part of our general review of electoral law and procedures.

    Vandalism And Violence (Powers Of Punishment)

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied that magistrates have sufficient powers to punish persistent crimes of vandalism and violence to the person.

    Yes. The maximum penalties available to magistrates for the more serious examples of these offences are a fine of £1,000 or six months' imprisonment or both; and they have power to commit for sentence to the Crown court in any case where, in view of the offender's character or antecedents, they consider their powers insufficient.

    Special Constables

    39.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables are currently serving in the police forces in England and Wales; and what relationships the number of special constables has to the number of regular police officers.

    A total of 15,960 special constables were enrolled at 31 December 1979, the latest date for which figures are available. There is no set relationship between the numbers of special constables and regular police officers: chief officers of police are encouraged to enrol as many special constables as they can usefully train and employ.

    Police Complaints Board

    40.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects next to meet the chairman of the Police Complaints Board.

    Diana Irons

    43.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Diana Irons will be moved from Broadmoor.

    Miss Irons was transferred from Broadmoor to another hospital on 27 February 1980.

    Demonstrations (Policing Costs)

    44.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of policing demonstrations in the Metropolitan Police district during 1979.

    The Commissioner has estimated the cost of policing all demonstrations, marches and meetings which required the presence of 100 or more police officers at about £5·75 million.

    Association Of Chief Constables

    45.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when next he will meet the Association of Chief Constables.

    I met it at its request on 20 February. I have no plans at present to meet it again.

    Immigration

    46.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on illegal immigration.

    The Government take a serious view of circumvention of the immigration control, whether by illegal entry or by breach of conditions imposed on lawful entry. Extensive measures are taken by the Immigration and Nationality Department, including the Immigration Service, and by the police to trace evaders of the control; the effectiveness of the machinery for this purpose is kept under continuing review. Substantial powers exist for dealing with people found to have flouted the immigration laws. The courts may impose substantial penalties and may recommend deportation. Except where in individual cases there are powerful arguments against it, the Government will not hesitate to make full use of the powers available to remove offenders from the country.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether immigrants who are allowed entry under the new immigration rules being dependants over 65 years will be entitled to retirement pension, supplementary benefit or free medical treatment; and whether they have the right to bring in their dependants, for example children under 18 years of age.

    The immigration rules do not directly govern eligibility for the matters mentioned in the first part of the question. These are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. The new rules do, however, state that the sponsor must be able to maintain and accommodate his dependants without recourse to public funds and that he should give an undertaking in writing to this effect if requested—though this requirement does not apply to the admission of the wife or the child under 18 of a Commonwealth citizen who has the right of abode or was settled here on the coming into force of the Immigration Act 1971. In the case of the children of elderly dependants there is the additional requirement that the sponsor must be able to maintain and accommodate not only his parents or grandparents but also any other relatives who would be admissible as their dependants.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy regarding the entry of polygamous spouses.

    The matter is being kept under review but, as my hon. Friend knows, the extent to which the entry of such wives can be controlled is limited by the interaction of the primary legislation on immigration and nationality with the law on marriage.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up a system so that for each port of entry and embarkation and centrally for the whole of the United Kingdom figures are kept on a monthly basis for the recording of the numbers of persons travelling according to country of last embarkation for those entering the United Kingdom and country of first destination for those leaving the United Kingdom.

    No. Such a system would involve disproportionate cost. The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys in its international passenger survey has, since 1964, collected data on a sample of all passengers including information on the country of last residence of incoming passengers and the country of destination of passengers embarking.

    Sinn Fein

    47.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to proscribe the Provisional Sinn Fein.

    Citizens Band Radio

    41.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in his consideration of the possibility of introducing citizens band radio.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now take steps to allow the use of citizens band radio.

    We are still examining the regulatory and administrative difficulties involved in legalising the use of citizens band radio which I outlined in the course of an Adjournment debate on this issue on 6 December. We hope to announce a decision before long.—[Vol. 975, c. 761–74]

    Police (Complaints)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the last 12 months for which figures are available (a) how many complaints have been made against members of the Metropolitan Police, (b) how many complaints, and what percentage of the total made, have been upheld, (c) how many policemen have been dismissed, and how many have been required to resign, (d) how many appeals have been made to the Commissioner, and how many have been upheld, and (e) how many appeals have been made to him, and how many have been upheld.

    The information requested is contained in the report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for the year 1978—Cmnd. 7580—a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The report contains the following information:

  • (a) Investigations into 8,982 complaints were completed;
  • (b) 287 (3 per cent.);
  • (c) 10; eight;
  • (d) 17—of these, plus eight which had been outstanding at the end of 1977, 13 were dismissed, one was allowed, three punishments were varied and eight were outstanding at the end of the year;
  • (e) three—of these, plus five outstanding from 1977, four were dismissed, two punishments were varied and two were outstanding at the end of the year.
  • Fingerprints

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sets of fingerprints are held at New Scotland Yard on the computerised videofile information system.

    The videofile finger-print system at New Scotland Yard is not expected to be fully operational until the end of 1980, by which time it will hold on video tape about 2·5 million sets of fingerprints at present held on paper.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the fingerprints and photographs taken of people detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act will be destroyed when the Act ceases to have effect.

    Police (Use Of Cameras)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to bring the use of cameras by the police under similar control to that exercised over telephone tapping and the interception of mail.

    Picketing (Steel Dispute)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constables concerned regarding the number of policemen present during the picketing at Hadfields steel plant, Sheffield and at Sheerness Steel, Isle of Sheppey, and the numbers of people injured;(2) what fines have been paid by pickets arrested during the steel strike;(3) what has been the cost of police attendance at the picket lines during the steel dispute.

    I understand that 680 officers were on duty outside Hadfields on 14 February; one officer was reported injured. 1,036 officers were present at the Sheerness plant on 20 February; one officer and eight members of the public were reported injured, none seriously.The rest of the information requested is not at present available.

    Police Supervision (Payment)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances organisers of private rallies, meetings and demonstrations are asked to pay for police supervision; and how much was paid in this respect in 1979 and to date in 1980.

    The police are generally present at rallies, meetings and demonstrations, at the discretion of the chief officer of police, in order to discharge their duty to keep the peace and prevent offences. There is no power to charge for their services except where special services are provided at the request of the organisers of the event. Information as to payments made in these circumstances is not available.

    Winson Green Prison

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to the annual report for 1979 of the board of visitors of Winson Green prison, Birmingham; what steps he is taking to introduce alternative treatment for prison inmates with drink or drugs problems, and the mentally disturbed; if he is satisfied with the conditions for such prisoners at Winson Green prison; and if he will make a statement.

    I have received, and am considering, the report. Treatment for prisoners at Winson Green prison who request medical help with drink or drug problems, or who are mentally disordered, is provided by the four full-time medical officers, of whom three are psychiatrically qualified, and by visiting psychiatrists. For prisoners with a drink problem there is also an active Alcoholics Anoymous group. Although I am not satisfied with the physical conditions at Winson Green for such prisoners, the staff do their best in difficult circumstances.

    Horserace Totalisator Board

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to amend the Horserace Totalisator and Betting Levy Boards Act 1972 to provide that no member or employee of the Totalisator Board may bet with the tote.

    Special Branch

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to increase the level of information on the Special Branch collated by his Department from individual police forces and made available to hon. Members.

    I am always ready to try to answer general questions from hon. Members about the work of Special Branches, but it is for each chief officer of police to decide how much information to make public about the Special Branch of his force.

    Information Officers

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the number and the average cost of information officers employed by his Department at the beginning of each of the last four years.

    The number and cost of information officer group staff employed by my Department in providing information to the press and broadcasting organisations and on publicity work at the beginning of each of the last four years were as follows:

    Staff in postEstimated annual salary cost
    £
    197624159,000
    197727188,000
    197825191,000
    197926237,000
    The figures for 1 January 1980 were 26 and £260,000.

    Equal Opportunities Commission

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has no plans to abolish the Equal Opportunities Commission.

    We are satisfied that the Equal Opportunities Commission has a useful role to play in promoting equal opportunities and eliminating sex discrimination.

    Broadcasting Criteria (Olympic Games)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what criteria he observes in deciding when to seek to intervene to dissuade the BBC and ITA from broadcasting certain events;(2) if he will hold wide-ranging discussions prior to making any firm representation to the broadcasting authorities about the coverage of the Olympic Games;(3) if he has discussed the broadcasting of the Olympic Games with the BBC and ITA or if he intends so to do;(4) when was the last occasion a British Government sought to dissuade the BBC or ITA from broadcasting any particular programme.