Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 981: debated on Tuesday 18 March 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 18 March 1980

Trade

Nationalised Industries (Consumer Councils)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to be able to announce the outcome of his review of 43 nationalised industry consumer councils.

I shall announce the outcome of my review of the nationalised industry consumer councils when consultations with my colleagues with responsibilities for the nationalised industries have been completed. If there are any proposals for changes these will be brought to the House in due course.

Consumer Protection Advisory Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to introduce legislation to abolish the Consumer Protection Advisory Committee.

No decision has yet been taken whether or not to abolish this committee.

Manufactured Goods (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Grimsby of 21 February concerning imports from the United States of America, whether he considers imports of 4 per cent. of domestic consumption by area, weight, volume or price constitutes material or serious injury to domestic industry.

Neither "material injury" in the context of the anti-dumping code, nor "serious injury" in the context of safeguard action, is defined quantitatively either in the GATT or in the parallel Community legislation. The figure for import penetration will in any event by only one of the factors involved; the rate at which imports have increased may be equally important. But import penetration of 4 per cent would not normally be regarded as sufficient to constitute serious injury for the purposes of safeguard action. We sought action on imports of tufted carpets from the USA because we recognised the need to deal with downstream products; not because of the level of import penetration.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will circulate in the Official Report a list of United Kingdom industries which produce goods of which more than 4 per cent. of consumption originated in the European Economic Community.

The detailed information requested cannot be provided without disproportionate cost. Overall, imports of manufactured products from the other members of the European Community accounted for 13 per cent. of United Kingdom consumption in the 12 months ended September 1979.

Herbicide 2, 4, 5-T

asked the Secretary of State for Trade from what countries the chemical 2, 4, 5-T has been imported in each of the last five years.

As I advised the hon. Member in my reply dated 22 January—[Vol. 977, c. 201]—this substance is not separately distinguished in the Overseas Trade Statistics. I am therefore unable to identify the countries from which any imports of it have come.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many staff working in support of information officers, were employed in his Department in each of the last five years.

The number of staff in my Department working in support of information officers is as follows:

1 January 197540
1 January 197641
1 January 197740
1 January 197840
1 January 197953
1 January 198045
The figures for 1 January 1976 to 1979 inclusive include staff in the Department of Prices and Consumer Protection which has since been absorbed in the Department of Trade. In 1978 some functions previously performed in the Department of Industry were transferred to my Department.

Woolworth's Store, Piccadilly, Manchester (Fire)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what account he has taken of the findings of the coroner's inquest into the fire last May at Woolworth's, Piccadilly, Manchester, in considering his Department's draft regulations on polyurethane upholstery; what action he has taken or is taking; and if he will make a statement.

My decision to proceed with the preparation of the Upholstered Furniture (Safety) Regulations was influenced by an awareness of all the hazards presented by modern upholstered furniture if it is ignited, including the limited time available for escape to which the Manchester city coroner alluded during the inquest on the victims of the fire last May at the Manchester branch of Woolworths. The draft regulations will be re-laid before Parliament shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is being kept informed of the scope and progress of the inquiry by a sub-committee of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils into the circumstances and implications of the fire last May at Woolworth's, Piccadilly, Manchester; and if he will make a statement.

My officials are being kept fully informed of the progress of this inquiry. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department will be making a statement when it has been completed.

Takeovers

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, if he is satisfied that there are adequate provisions to ensure that one party in a takeover bid is not given information concerning a company's performance that is not generally available to other shareholders; and what action there is available to him currently to prosecute those in default on such a matter.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1980]: This is dealt with in the non-statutory rules of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, so a defaulter would not be liable to prosecution. I am not aware of any case for importing these rules into statute. The Companies Bill now before Parliament will make insider dealing a criminal offence, so the authorities will in certain circumstances be able to prosecute persons who have dealt on the basis of price sensitive information.

Car Radios (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many car radios and car radios incorporating a tape player were imported into the United Kingdom in 1979; what were the figures for 1978; and what percentage increase these represent.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 March 1980]: The information is as follows:

Percentage increase
19781,469,269
19792,574,13575.2
Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom (SITC(R2) Sub-group 762.1).

London-Peking (Scheduled Air Services)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade on what date he anticipates the commencement of regular scheduled air services between London and Peking.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1980]: A British Airways team is currently in Peking for discussions about the technical and operating arrangements for services between London and Peking. These discussions are still continuing, and until they are completed I cannot say when services will start. British Airways hopes to be able to start its services by the end of April.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Fluoride

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether fluoride may be added to manufactured foods; and what regulations govern the matter.

The addition of fluoride to manufactured food is not prohibited, but the presence of fluoride in certain foods—including food additives—is limited by the Fluorine in Food Regulations 1959, as amended, and the Miscellaneous Additives in Food Regulations 1974, as amended.

Norfolk Broads

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much of the 45,000 acres of grazing marshland present in 1960 in the Broads area will be left by the year 1990; and what measures he proposes for conserving wildlife that depends upon these marshlands for its existence.

I regret that I am not able to forecast how much grazing land will remain in the Broads area in 1990.In the exercise of any of its functions relating to land, my Department will continue to have regard to the desirability of conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside, together with its fauna, as set out in sections 11 and 49(4) of the Countryside Act 1968.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in the light of the fact that no information is available on the current value of marshland and agricultural land in the Norfolk Broads, on what basis the analysis of costs and benefits determined for the Yare barrier proposal was made; and how he determines priorities currently in the allocation of drainage grants in this region.

As I have already explained, the decision whether to go ahead with the Yare Barrier is initially for the Anglian water authority. Any assessment of costs and benefits is therefore also a matter for the authority at this stage.Priority in the choice of drainage schemes in their area for submission to my Department for grant aid is a matter for decision by the water authority in the light of its capital investment allocation and of its knowledge of local conditions and needs.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the value of grants given to increase the efficiency of arable production in the Nor- folk Broads region within the last two years; and what criteria he uses when refusing applications for such grant aid in order to conserve the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside.

I regret that statistics on the value of grants paid are not kept separately for the Norfolk Broads area. The statistics which are collected do not distinguish between grant-aided investment in arable or non-arable production.Each application for grant is considered on its merits in relation to the need to conserve the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside. If it is considered that the damage to the environment outweighs the agricultural benefits in a specific case grant may be refused.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consultation he has had with the Anglian water authority concerning the proposed Yare barrier.

Four years ago my Department approved an application by the Anglian water authority for grant aid under the Land Drainage Act 1976 towards the cost of a study into the feasibility of protecting agricultural land in the Yare basin from periodic flooding. Since then the water authority has kept my Department informed of its consultations with other bodies. The authority is aware that the Department is unable to express any views on the proposal until an application for grant is submitted supported by the necessary technical and financial data.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers live within the Broadlands area defined by the internal drainage district of the East Suffolk and Norfolk river authority; and what is the average size and value of their holdings.

Drainage Grants

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the occasions in the last two years when drainage grants have been refused in pursuance of his statutory obligation under the Water Act 1973 to have regard to the interests of conservation and amenity; and what criteria he uses when he refuses an application on this ground.

There has been one instance in the last two years in which grant under the Land Drainage Act 1976 has been refused primarily on conservation grounds. Normally my right hon. Friend would have regard to advice from the Nature Conservancy Council in cases of this kind, but on the occasion in question the decision to refuse grant was taken following a public inquiry.

Countryside (Conservation)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his attitude towards the recommendation of the Strutt report of May 1978 that landscape and wildlife criteria be built into the relevant grant-aided schemes as conditions of eligibility and that provision be sought for paying grants to farmers and landowners for certain conservation works.

In considering applications for grant aid my Department has regard to the desirability of conserving the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside as required by section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968.We are able, for this purpose, and in the context of an agricultural investment, to grant-aid expenditure intended for amenity purposes to the extent that the total approved expenditure is justifiable by the agricultural purpose for which it is intended. We are not able to assist expenditure incurred solely for amenity purposes.Responsibility for the payment of conservation grants as such rests with the countryside agencies which are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Information Officers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many staff, working in support of information officers, were employed in his department in each of the last five years.

There are currently 52 staff supporting information officer group grades and equivalent administration group grades engaged on information work in my Department. Precise figures for earlier years are not available but there has been no significant change in the last five years.

Whales

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many whales larger than minke whales were killed by the cold harpoon in 1979.

Overseas Development

Rhodesia

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has made any contingency plans for awarding compensation to European Rhodesians who may have their property and land confiscated after independence.

We have no plans for such a use of United Kingdom Government funds. I would draw my hon. Friend's attention to the reply I gave on 26 October 1979 to the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies).—[Vol. 972, c. 334.]

Scotland

Colleges Of Education

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each college of education (a) the number of students for which the college is intended, (b) the number of students in the college during 1980, (c) the number of teaching staff, (d) the staff to student ratio, (e) the total annual cost of the college, (f) the current cost per student, (g) the maximum first year intake, (h) the first year intake for the current academic year and (i) the proposed first year entry for academic year 1980–81, differentiating between primary schools and secondary entrants.

The information requested, so far as available, is set out in the following table. Because exact information about the number of students involved in courses of in-service training is not available, student to staff ratios cannot be accurately calculated. No meaningful estimate can be made of the maximum first-year intake. No decisions have yet been taken on student intake numbers for the 1980–81 academic session.

Student Capacity*

Number of Students on pre-service and non-teacher Training Courses

Number of Teaching Staff

Total Annual Cost (Net)ş 1978–79

Cost per Student (Net)ş 1978–79

First Year Intake in 1979–80 Session

££

Primary

Secondary (including BEd)

Aberdeen1,3006911271,907,9111,822112249
Callendar Park40020241801,8932,35980
Craigie40020548796,7272,27095
Craiglockhart30022035534,9791,7097060
Dundee1,8005141041,848,7622,30570155
Dunfermline50048068878,6961,667110
Hamilton750312641,370,1392,5569055
Jordanhill2,6002,0902974,639,8831,777160681
Moray House2,2001,3752072,952,3181,654155412
Notre Dame9006951071,712,2691,797115225

Notes

* Figures show student capacity at the beginning of the 1979–80 academic session: Certain of the figures are approximate, pending completion of negotiation for disposal of surplus accommodation and adaptations to existing accommodation.
† Derived from the latest information available from college returns. In addition, significant numbers of students are taking in-service training courses based in colleges or schools, but the number cannot be exactly stated because of variations in duration of courses.
‡ Estimates of numbers of teaching staff at 13 March 1980. These numbers include staff engaged on in-service training work (both inside and outside colleges), as well as those engaged in teaching students on pre-service and non-teacher training courses.
ş 1978–79 is the latest financial year for which figures are available. The net cost shown excludes expenditure which is covered by income, predominantly from student fees.

Manpower Services Commission (Fife Survey)

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the Manpower Services Commission survey of labour skills in Fife.

The survey carried out by the Manpower Services Commission into skill shortages in Fife revealed shortages of skilled manpower, mainly in the engineering and electronics industries. The findings of the report, published last month, are being used by the Commission in the development of its employment and training services in Fife, and the Commission will shortly be meeting representatives of industry, trade unions and local authorities in Fife to decide how best to implement the report's recommendations.

Bellshill Skillcentre

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will visit the skillcentre in Bellshill.

Unemployment (Greenock And Port Glasgow)

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the percentage increase in unemployment in Greenock and Port Glasgow over the comparable figure in 1979 with that of the latest date available in 1980.

Unemployment in the Greenock and Port Glasgow employment office areas increased by 17·3 per cent. between February 1979 and February 1980.

Department Of Agriculture And Fisheries (Manpower)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many reductions have been made in staffing levels in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland during 1979; and what was the breakdown between administrative and scientific grades.

During the year 1979, the numbers of staff in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland fell by 49. Of that number 33 were administrative staff and 7 were in scientific grades.

Primary And Secondary Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list (a) primary and (b) secondary school rolls at the start of session 1979–80, and the projected rolls for future years.

Provisional figures at September 1979 indicate that there were 545,223 pupils in education authority primary schools, and 410,226 pupils in education authority secondary schools.Projections for future years suggest that the number of children in primary schools is likely to fall to 445,000 in 1985–86, rising to about 560,000 by the end of the century. The number of pupils in secondary schools is likely to fall to 288,000 in 1991–92, rising to about 350,000 by the end of the century.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) primary and (b) secondary school teachers qualified from colleges of education in 1978, 1979; and what are the projected numbers for 1980 and future years.

The following table sets out the information available:

PrimarySecondary
1977–781,6711,691
1978–791,0841,720*
1979–80800†1,950†
*Including 98 students who successfully completed additional mid-session courses of secondary training at Hamilton and Notre Dame Colleges in December 1979.
†These figures are estimates based on the numbers of students in their final year of pre-service teacher training.
The output of newly qualified teachers in the years beyond 1980 will be dependent on decisions about future intake to courses of teacher training which have not yet been taken.

Births

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many births there were in Scotland in 1977, 1978, 1979; and what are his projections for 1980 and future years.

There were 62,342 births in Scotland in 1977, 64,295 in 1978 and 68,145 in 1979. The 1978-based projections of the population of Scotland published in the Registrar-General's quarterly return for the March quarter 1979 provide estimates of future births based on information available at the time the projections were made.

Social Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many social workers have been dismissed as part of the cuts in public expenditure in each county of Scotland for each month since May 1979 up to the most recent month for which figures are available.

Information in the form requested is not available centrally, since levels of social work staffing are a matter for decision by local authorities.

Local Authority Services

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what evidence he has to suggest that services provided by councils in Scotland which have announced lower than average rate increases are less effective than those provided by councils who have announced above average rate increases.

I have no evidence suggesting that services provided by councils which have announced lower than average rate increases are any less effective than others.

Police Officers (Dismissal)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to his reply of 6 March, how many of the 20 police officers, who were convicted following complaints alleging assault, were as a result of conviction, dismissed from the police force during each of the years 1975 to 1979, specifying in each case the penalty that had been imposed by the court.

None. The 20 convictions relate to 18 police officers. Three officers resigned from the police service prior to disciplinary proceedings and one was required to resign as an alternative to dismissal at the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing. The remainder were dealt with under the Police Discipline) (Scotland) Regulations 1967 and received lesser punishments.

Scottish Islands Sea Transport (Government Assistance)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to announce the results of his examination of the structure of Government assistance to sea transport to the Scottish islands.

I have published a consultative paper making known the conclusions of my review. Copies of the consultative paper, which I have had placed in the Libraries of both Houses, have been sent to all Scottish Members and interested authorities and organisations, and further copies are obtainable from the Scottish Office. I sincerely hope that the paper will be widely read and given the serious consideration which a matter of such importance to the Highlands and Islands deserves.

Civil Service

"Members Of Public Boards Of A Commercial Character"

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when the last edition of "Members of Public Boards of a Commercial Character" was published; and when the next one will be available.

The last edition of the list of members of public boards of a commercial character was published in December 1978 (Cmnd. 7417). I am considering when it would be appropriate to publish another edition.

Central Office Of Information (Export Promotion)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what would be the saving in (a) manpower, (b) wages and salaries and (c) materials, accommodation and other expenses at the Central Office of Information if public expenditure on export promotion ceased.

The total expenditure by COI, on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Overseas Trade Board, on export promotion publicity in the current year is estimated at £8 million. This is made up of £3·5 million on wages and salaries, and £4·5 million on production, distribution, materials, accommodation and other expenses. The work involved represents the effort of about 500 staff.

Pensions

asked the Minister for the Civil Service, further to his reply dated 21 February concerning Civil Service pensions, what is the notional contribution by the Government as employer to Civil Service pensions as a percentage of salary; how this compares with the employee's contribution; and whether he is now in a position to give the information concerning the Government contribution.

In his report on the adjustment for differences in superannuation benefits in the 1979 pay research exercise, the Government Actuary estimated that Civil Service pension benefits were equivalent to 17·3 per cent. of salary, excluding the effect of the State pension scheme. The amount paid by the civil servant varies from grade to grade, but in 1979–80 amounted on average to about 7 per cent. of salary. The difference represents a notional employer contribution.

Home Department

Prison Governors

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison governors are expected to retire at age 60 years under the early retirement scheme over the next three years; and what is being done to ensure that they are adequately compensated.

The minimum retirement age for prison governors, as for most civil servants, is 60, and it is normal for a governor in charge of a prison, and for many more junior governors, to retire on or shortly after reaching that age; this does not constitute early retirement. On retirement a prison governor qualifies for a pension and lump sum, calculated according to length of service, under the principal Civil Service pension scheme.

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many survey meters and dosimeters are available for immediate use; and whether he is satisfied that there are adequate numbers to provide sufficient information to help the civil population in time of nuclear war.

Stocks maintained in Home Office stores are sufficient for essential radiological monitoring purposes.

Advisory Committee On Radio Interference

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to introduce legislation to abolish the Advisory Committee on Radio Interference.

Poisons Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to seek to abolish the Poisons Board.

This depends to some extent upon the progress of work on certain EEC directives concerning dangerous substances; but I expect legislation to abolish the board to become feasible within the period 1982–84 as recommended in Sir Leo Pliatsky's report.

Prisons (Overcrowding)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding overcrowding in Her Majesty's prisons.

The present unprecedented size of the population of the prison service establishments in England and Wales and the overcrowding to which this gives rise, notably in local prisons and remand centres, are matters which I view with considerable concern. On 10 February 1980 the latest date for which information is available, 11,846 inmates were sleeping two to a cell and 5,247 three to a cell.In the longer term, relief will come from the prison building programme, the expansion of which, as recommended by the May committee the Government by under close review. Meanwhile we generally endorse that committee's comments on sentencing and remand practices, and are examining other measures which would relieve the prison system.

Special Constables

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proposals he has to encourage people to join the Special Constabulary;(2) what is the present number of special constables operating in the United Kingdom;(3) what consultations he has had with the Police Advisory Board regarding the number and effectiveness of the special constables.

There were 15,960 special constables in England and Wales on 31 December 1979, the latest date for which figures are available. The decline in the strength of the special constabulary is a matter for concern and the Police Advisory Board, after discussing the matter under my chairmanship, has decided to

Prisons and Remand CentresMales Borstals and Young Prisoner CentresDetention CentresFemale EstablishmentsTotals
£ million£ millionmillion£ million£ million
Net current expenditure189·56639·1109·3758·316246·367
Maintenance, repairs etc.9·7552·1160·5650·39212·828
Capital expenditure19·4704·7990·4751·3276·071
Total net expenditure218·79146·02510·41510·035285·266
Average annual cost per inmate£5,798£6,206£5,638£7,301£5,894
Information about the annual cost of running each individual establishment is not readily available.

Data Banks

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to protect data banks, in view of the commercial importance of such protection for British companies in their dealings with foreign companies.

The report of the Data Protection Committee published in December 1978—Cmnd. 7341—included recommendations designed to improve the security of computerised data relating to individuals. I am considering these recommendations in the light of the outcome of the consultations on the report initiated by my predecessor, and I fully set up a new working party to consider how this decline can be reversed.

Prisons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report (a) each of Her Majesty's prisons (b) the total running costs of each per annum and (c) the cost per prisoner in each prison.

A list of Her Majesty's prisons is in Appendix 3 of the "Report on the Work of the Prison Department 1979 [Cmnd. 7619]. Appendix 4 of that report contains a breakdown of expenditure for prisons and remand centres, borstals and young prisoner centres, detention centres and female establishments, together with the average annual cost per inmate (net current expenditure) for the financial year ending 31 March 1978. The corresponding total figures for the financial year 1978–79 are as follows:appreciate the commercial importance of this matter.

Illegal Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested in January as illegal immigrants; and how many had come from the Indian Sub-continent.

The available information is that during January 113 people were detained on the authority of an immigration officer as having entered the United Kingdom illegally. Of these, 52 were citizens of Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

"Athina B" (Indian Seamen)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the five Indian seamen rescued by lifeboat from the "Athina B" were examined by immigration officers within 12 hours of landing; whether the remaining crew members were interviewed after landing; and, if so, how soon after they landed.

Shortly after some members of the crew of the "Athina B" had been brought to land on 21 January, the immigration officer made a preliminary assessment of all the crew from documentary and other evidence made available to him. At this stage it was still hoped that the vessel would reach harbour. He decided to interview five of the members of the crew who had landed, because it was not clear whether they were professional seamen. The remainder of the landed crew he treated as being on shore leave. Later in the evening the vessel was beached and the remaining crew were taken off. All the crew except the five who had already been interviewed were examined the following afternoon in connection with their repatriation.

Seamen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to consult officials of the National Union of Seamen and the International Transport Workers' Federation in considering whether instructions to immigration officers in respect of non-professional seamen require amendment.

As I have informed the hon. Member in reply to another question, the instructions have already been amended in respect of shipwrecked non-professional seamen. I see no reason to amend the instructions in other respects, but would of course consider any proposals which were put to me.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many seamen employed upon ships which arrived in British ports are known to have deserted and remained in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration controls, during each year from 1973 to the date upon which the latest figures are available; and if these figures can be listed by country of origin.

The information requested in the first part of the question is given in the following table, which also shows the number of deserters traced.

Recorded as having desertedDeserters traced in the UK*
19734441973270
19743871974226
19753491975223
19762581976240
19771461977282
19781311978203
19791131979(Not yet available)
* Those traced may have deserted in a previous year
The cost of providing details of reported deserters by their country of origin from 1973 would be disproportionate. The figures for 1979 are more readily available and are as follows:

Commonwealth
Bangladesh9
Cyprus7
Ghana1
Guyana1
India6
Nigeria7
Sierra Leone2
Sri Lanka1
United Kingdom Passport Holders subject to control1
35
Non-Commonwealth
Belgium2
Denmark8
Germany (Federal Republic)5
Egypt1
Colombia1
Finland3
Greece7
Indonesia1
Iran1
Iraq3
Lebanon1
Morocco2
Norway6
Pakistan10
Portugal3
Spain1
Sweden2
Turkey6
Other foreign countries15
78

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Commonwealth or foreign seamen employed upon ships which arrived in British ports were granted shore leave; how many were refused such leave during the last quarter of 1979 or the latest period for which figures are available; and if these figures can be listed by port of arrival.

During 1978, the last year for which complete figures are available, some 900,000 Commonwealth and foreign seamen arrived at United Kingdom ports as members of ships' crews, and were eligible for shore leave under the provisions of section 8(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 or after examination by an immigration officer. The numbers of those granted shore leave after such examination are not separately recorded.The number of seamen refused leave to enter for shore leave or other purposes in the last quarter of 1979 by ports of arrival was:

Commonwealth seamen
Belfast10
Bristol17
Cardiff3
Falmouth15
Felixstowe4
Glasgow3
Gravesend23
GrimsbyNil
Hartlepool9
Harwich1
Hull4
Immingham4
Leith19
Liverpool10
London11
Manchester2
MiddlesbroughNil
Milford HavenNil
Newport2
South Shields5
Southampton2
Swansea1
Tyne29
Other ports25
199
Foreign seamen
BelfastNil
Bristol1
Cardiff2
Falmouth1
Felixstowe2
Glasgow7
Gravesend19
Grimsby1
HartlepoolNil
HarwichNil
Hull1

Immingham1
Leith2
Liverpool5
London11
ManchesterNil
Middlesbrough1
Milford Haven1
NewportNil
South Shields2
Southampton3
Swansea1
Tyne11
Other ports27
99

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will place in the Library a copy of the instructions to immigration officers in respect of non-professional seamen, in view of his undertaking to consider whether these require amendment.

The instructions to immigration officers are not published. Those relating to shipwrecked seamen have now been amended to provide expressly that non-professional seamen, like regular seamen, should normally be given leave to enter when shipwrecked.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether all professional and so-called non-professional seamen employed upon ships which arrive in British ports are individually interviewed with regard to applications for shore leave; and if those who are refused are served with notice to that effect.

No. Under subsection 8(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 a member of a ship's crew may enter without leave unless the provisions at (a), (b) or (c) in that subsection apply to him. Those refused leave to enter are served with notice to that effect.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are any circumstances in which a blanket refusal of shore leave to seamen employed upon a particular ship would be decided without the service of individual notices to each seaman; and what such circumstances are.

Notice of refusal of entry may be given to a person in charge of a party in respect of any person in that party, in accordance with paragraph 6(4) of schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971. Such action would rarely be taken in respect of a group of seamen but might be resorted to, for example, when the whole group seemed likely to desert and service of notices on individuals was impracticable.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines are laid down to assist immigration officers in deciding upon temporary admission in respect of seamen who leave or are dismissed from ships which arrive in British ports and who wish to return to their countries of origin or elsewhere, with a view to joining another ship, and have insufficient funds to do so.

A seaman who leaves a ship at a port in this country for any reason other than shore leave must seek leave to enter the United Kingdom. If the immigration officer is satisfied that a seaman will comply with arrangements made for his onward travel and is acceptable in the country of his destination, he normally will give leave to enter for a limited period pending departure. If the immigration officer is not so satisfied he may refuse the seaman leave to enter in which case he may authorise his detention pending removal. Each case is dealt with on its merits. It is for the ship's owners or agents to provide for the seaman's onward travel arrangements, and maintenance if necessary.

Coloured Doctors (Alleged Discrimination)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the Policy Studies Institute finding of serious discrimination against coloured doctors when applying for medical appointments, if he will refer the report to the Commission for Racial Equality.

I understand that the report by the Policy Studies Institute is already being studied by the Commission for Racial Equality, as well as by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.

Hong Kong (Refugees)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been received into Great Britain from Hong Kong; how many remain in the camps in Hong Kong; and when he now estimates that the Government will have received into the United Kingdom the full quota agreed at the Geneva conference.

I understand from the Joint Committee for Refugees from Vietnam that during the period 1 February 1979 to 29 February 1980 the refugees received into this country from Hong Kong numbered about 3,900.The number of refugees remaining in Hong Kong on 11 March was about 46,200.It is not yet possible to say when the quota agreed at the Geneva conference will all have arrived.

Metal Detecting Devices

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people applied for licences to operate metal detecting devices in each month of 1979 and those months of the current year for which figures are available.

The only figures recorded relate to the number of licences to operate pipe-finder/metal detector devices issued under section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. For the period in question these were:

1979
January3,164
February9,415
March4,122
April2,225
May4,090
June3,722
July5,044
August3,899
September3,298
October3,033
November3,378
December2,976
1980
January4,467
February4,188

Children And Young Persons Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will carry out a review of the operation of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969.

The Government plan to introduce legislation to amend the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 to enable the courts to make a residential care order in respect of juvenile offenders. We are considering what form the order should take and whether other amendments to the law may be needed, but there are no plans to carry out a full review of the operation of the Act.

Special Patrol Group

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers are currently members of the Special Patrol Group.

There are 188 officers in the Metropolitan Police Special Patrol Group.

Commission For Racial Equality

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are employed by the Commission for Racial Equality; and at what grades.

I understand that on 20 February 1980 the Commission for Racial Equality was employing 223½ staff in grades corresponding with the following:

Under-Secretary1
Assistant Secretary3
Principal12
Senior Executive Officer40
Higher Executive Officer55
Executive Officer23
Graphics Officer Grade IV1
Clerical Officer35
Clerical Assistant11½
Senior Superintendent of Typists1
Senior Personal Secretary2
Personal Secretary12½
Typist18½
Telephonist/Receptionist2
Messenger4
Editor½
Canteen Assistant

Prisoners' Wives And Families (Financial Assistance)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the light of the fact that the wives and families of men serving prison sentences in Northern Ireland who live in England do not receive financial assistance to help them with prison visits, but that such financial assistance is available where the men are in prison in England, Scotland or Wales, if he will re-examine this anomaly with a view to providing equitable treatment for all prisoners within the United Kingdom.

Obscenity And Film Censorship

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make available all the evidence submitted to the Williams committee on obscenity and film censorship.

At the request of Professor Williams, I am arranging for copies of the written evidence submitted by the organisations and individuals named in appendix 8 to the report (Cmnd. 7772), together with the written evidence of other individuals which is mentioned in the report, to be deposited in the following Public Record Offices and libraries:

  • Public Record Office, London,
  • Northern Ireland Public Record Office, Belfast,
  • Scottish Record Office, Edinburgh,
  • National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth,
  • House of Commons Library,
  • House of Lords Library.
Evidence submitted to the committee in confidence will not be included.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q8.

asked Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q40.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q41.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q42.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q43.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

Q44.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q45.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

Q46.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 18 March.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 March.

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

School Leavers (Social Security Entitlement)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and Health and Social Services, on removing the right of school leavers who do not get jobs to draw social security, and the effect of this regulation in encouraging pupils to leave school at Easter, rather than remain at school until the summer leaving date.

Yes, I do not believe that the delay in entitlement will significantly influence school leavers' intentions.

Airey Neave Memorial Lecture

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will place a copy of her Airey Neave memorial lecture, delivered on 3 March, in the Library.

Nationalised Industries (Employee Share Ownership)

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will publish a White Paper on the Government's plans to encourage ownership by employees and other individuals of shares in the nationalised industries.

We will be taking the opportunity offered by our plans to sell shares in certain nationalised industries to implement our policy of encouraging wider share ownership including ownership by employees, but I have no plans to publish a White Paper on this subject.

Economic Advisers

Q25.

asked the the Prime Minister if she has any plans to appoint any additional economic advisers to Her Majesty's Government.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply on 13 March to the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead).

National Economic Development Council

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister when she next expects to take the chair at the National Economic Development Council.

Energy

Nuclear Waste

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether, pursuant to his reply given on 19 November 1979, Official Report, column 19, and his subsequent reply on 18 February, column 134, he will place in the Library the further documented statement and cases prepared by Dr. Charles W., sent to him by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on 3 March, and his detailed answers.

I am considering this document, and will write to the hon. Member as soon as I can.

Offshore Safety Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if the Offshore Safety Committee is now disbanded.

Yes. As I indicated to the House in a written answer on 5 March, the committee presented its report to me that day; the publication of the report on 6 March completed the committee's task.

Industry

Information Industry (Public Procurement)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his policy towards the use of public procurement as a means of developing the British-based information industry.

I am giving urgent consideration as to how public procurement may be used most effectively to develop important sectors of British industry.

Chemical Industry (Capital Investment)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what percentage of total new United Kingdom capital investment in chemicals is scheduled to be undertaken in Scotland and in the rest of Great Britain, respectively; and if he will compare the total United Kingdom fixed capital investment in chemicals with that of other leading countries in the European Economic Community for the most recent year for which figures are available.

There are no official estimates of capital investment scheduled to be undertaken in Scotland and in the rest of Great Britain.Official historical data is collected in the "Annual Census of Production" (ACOP). Detailed final results from the 1976 ACOP were published in "Business Monitor PA" 1002, while more aggregated provisional results for 1977 and 1978 were published in "British Business" on 8 February 1980 (page 175).Table B of the Eurostat publication "Annual investments in fixed assets 1973–76", compiled by the Statistical Office of the European Communities gives, on page 202, comparable data of investment by the chemical industry in each member country of the Community.

Telematics Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he proposes any additional assistance in support of the United Kingdom telematics industry.

Not at this time.A number of financial assistance schemes are already available and being extensively used to encourage industrial investment in high technology areas such as telematics. Furthermore, through their general economic policies the Government are creating the climate in which companies will be encouraged to invest in these areas.

Companies And Manufacturing Industry (Bank Advances)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1952 the proportion of borrowing financed by bank advances in the case of all companies and manufacturing, respectively.

The information which is available on a comparable basis for all industrial and commercial companies and for manufacturing companies is given in the table below. The figures are on the basis of gross borrowing less redemptions or repayments each year. Borrowing is defined as bank borrowing, debentures, other loans and mortgages—but see footnote (c).The figures have been obtained from the regular analyses of listed United Kingdom companies' annual published accounts. The number of companies covered has varied from nearly 3,000 in the earlier years to around 1,000 of the larger ones for the more recent years. Around two-thirds were companies whose main activity was manufacturing. Companies whose activities were mainly overseas have been excluded from the analysis.The figures are not fully comparable in coverage from year to year because of changes caused by, for example, acquisitions, and liquidations have affected the composition of the panel of companies. Moreover the panel was

BANK ADVANCES AS A PERCENTAGE OF BORROWING FOR LARGE LISTED COMPANIES (a)
Manufacturing, distribution and certain other services (b) Short-term loans (c)Manufacturing Short-term loans (c)
ExcludedIncludedExcludedIncluded
1952-169ֵ-32ֵ
1953-215ֵ-130ֵ
195425ֵ11ֵ
195544ֵ41ֵ
195641ֵ42ֵ
195725ֵ24ֵ
195818ֵ4ֵ
195949ֵ33ֵ
196082ֵ89ֵ
1960*84ֵ93ֵ
196163ֵ63ֵ
196221ֵ19ֵ
196342ֵ34ֵ
196445ֵ48ֵ
1964*45ֵ48ֵ
196547ֵ50ֵ
196627ֵ28ֵ
19679ֵ9ֵ
196829ֵ23ֵ
196958ֵ60ֵ
1969*55455544
197057435743
1971-25-23-44-43
1972342987
197363576661
197492789280
1974*95799381
1975-34-1811
197674717266
197749485152
* Comparable in coverage to the following year.
ֵ Indicates not available.
Notes:
(a) All listed companies up to 1960.
(b) See Business Monitor MA3—Company Finance for a full list of all the industries.
(c) Short-term loans other than bank loans. Before 1969 these loans were included indistinguishably with trade creditors.
Source:
Various issues of Business Monitor MA3—Company Finance and the publications that preceded it, as listed at the back of MA3

Carpet Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Industry why the British carpet industry is unable to compete with higher priced imports from the United States of America; and whether he will consider with his colleagues and the Euro- revised in 1960 and every four or five years subsequently, indicated by the pairs of figures shown for 1960, 1964, 1969 and 1974.The series cover both borrowing from overseas by United Kingdom companies and local borrowing by overseas subsidiaries of United Kingdom companies whose activities are mainly in the United Kingdom, separate figures for which are not available.pean Commission the removal of tariff protection on such imports to increase the efficiency of the industry.

Price comparisons and the reasons for the competitive differences reflected in them are difficult to analyse. The causes of the increase in United Kingdom imports of United States of America tufted carpets to around 4·8 per cent. of United Kingdom consumption last year—8·5 per cent. in the final quarter—include the benefits of long runs in the American plants; the decline in the United State of America dollar relative to sterling; and the advantage to the American producers from cheaper synthetic fibres due to United States oil and gas price controls.The EEC tariff will fall from 23 per cent. to 14 per cent. as part of the multilateral trade negotiations concluded recently in the GATT. I would oppose reducing the tariff further at what is a difficult time for the United Kingdom industry.

MOTOR VEHICLES* IMPORTED INTO THE UNITED KINGDOM
From EEC countriesFrom non-EEC countries
Number ('000)Value (£ million)Number ('000)Value (£ million)
1965522284
19666225106
196783351611
196889432014
196993471715
1970143752627
19712511505149
1972361260128107
1973374337172162
1974280299138156
1975298385181230
1976382720184303
19775121,128227426
19785741,438281612
19797662,146375845
* Including used vehicles.
For reasons of timing and coverage, figures of vehicle imports differ from figures showing registrations of imported vehicles. The table below shows registrations of new imported vehicles, which can be directly compared with total new vehicle registrations.
REGISTRATIONS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM OF NEWLY IMPORTED MOTOR VEHICLES*
From EEC countriesFrom non-EEC countries
ThousandsPercentage of total new motor vehicle registrationsThousandsPercentage of total new motor vehicle registrations
197013610282
197121514503
1972Not availableֵNot availableֵ
1973327171709
1974250171379
19752601816211
19763392317912
19774322820613
19785493029216
19796903434617
* Prior to 1975, these figures do not include buses and coaches.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Information on registrations is not available by value.

Aircraft And Shipbuilding Industries Act (Compensation Payments)

Motor Vehicle Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the volume and the value of new motor vehicles imported into the United Kingdom from (a) other European Economic Community countries and (b) other non-European Economic Community countries in each year from 1950 to the latest year for which figures are available; and what, by volume and by value, these represent as a percentage of the total number of new motor vehicles sold in the United Kingdom in each of these years.

Following is the information:Treasury has decided to pay on the compensation sums outstanding in respect of the compensation payable to companies under section 5 of schedule 4 to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977; and whether this will be calculated on a simple or compound basis.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1980]: No compensation became payable under schedule 4 to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977. Compensation for vested securities is satisfied by the issue of Government stock under section 35 of, and schedule 5 to, the Act. Compensation paid during 1977, 1978 and 1979 was satisfied by the issue of 9¾ per cent. Treasury 1981. For technical reasons concerning the maturity of Government stock, a payment made last week was satisfied by the issue of 10 per cent. Exchequer 1983.

British Shipbuilders

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his latest estimate of the aggregate cost to public funds of subsidies payable to British Shipbuilders to cover losses to be incurred on orders bought from Geest Industries and Overseas Containers Limited, respectively.

Assistance from the intervention fund is being provided in respect of the Geest orders, but it is not the practice to disclose the amount of assistance for individual orders. Credit facilities under the home credit scheme are available for both orders.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, in view of the fact that these appointments are due to expire this month, when he will be able to announce the appointments for chairman and deputy chairman of British Shipbuilders.

My right hon. Friend is considering candidates for the chairmanship of British Shipbuilders. Admiral Sir Anthony Griffin's present term expires on 21 March 1980, and he has made known his wish to retire as chairman. He has, however, agreed to accept reappointment until the end of June 1980 pending the appointment of his successor.My right hon. Friend has reappointed Mr. Ken Griffin as deputy chairman for a period of three years from 23 March 1980.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Rhodesia

asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the cost to the United Kingdom of sending out the electoral officers, administrative staff, and police volunteers to conduct the Rhodesian elections.

It is estimated that the expenditure incurred on the salaries, allowances and travel of the team to supervise the election in Rhodesia will be about £1·3 million.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what incentives he plans to offer Europeans in Rhodesia to persuade them not to leave Rhodesia following the victory of Mr. Robert Mugabe's ZANU (PF) party in the recent Rhodesian elections.

The greatest incentive to members of the European community is a future no longer overshadowed by war, and the prospect of prosperity for their country following the lifting of sanctions and international acceptance. Property and pension rights are fully protected in the constitution.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he plans to allow Europeans who decide to leave Rhodesia following Mr. Robert Mugabe's ZANU (PF) party's victory in the recent Rhodesian elections to take out all their possessions in the form of cash resulting from the sale of their property, and in some cases, businesses.

Remittance of capital from Rhodesia is governed by Rhodesian exchange control regulations. The right to remit compensation for property which has been compulsorily acquired is, however, protected by the constitution.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what will be the responsibilities of the Minister with the portfolio for home affairs when Southern Rhodesia becomes independent.

The precise delineation of responsibilities between the Ministries will be for Mr. Mugabe and his colleagues to determine.

asked the Lord Privy Seal on what basis elections will be made to the Rhodesian Senate, particularly as regards those people who have been offered ministerial portfolios and are not members of the Lower House.

The basis for the election and appointment of all members of the Senate will be as laid down in the independence constitutional provisions.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will announce the date for the independence of the colony of Southern Rhodesia.

Rhodesia will become independent at midnight on 17 April. Independence Day will be 18 April.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many members of the ZANU wing of the Patriotic Front registered at each assembly camp in Rhodesia between the arrival in Rhodesia of the Governor and the last day before polling commenced.

On 26 February 16,082 ZANLA personnel were present in the assembly places. The breakdown is as follows:

Assembly Places
Alpha1,394
Bravo720
Charlie839
Delta2,771
Echo1,025
Foxtrot5,762
Golf1,060
Hotel1,043
Juliet1,468

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many members of the ZIPRA wing of the Patriotic Front registered at each assembly camp in Rhodesia between the arrival of the Governor and the last day before polling commenced.

On 26 February 5,450 ZIPRA personnel were present in the assembly places (APs). The breakdown is as follows:

Assembly Places
Juliet931
Mike1,817
Papa1,946
Romeo756

A further 618 ZIPRA personnel were present on 26 February in the joint ZIPRA/Rhodesian Army training camp at Essexvale.

Esperanto

asked the Lord Privy Seal, in view of the official use of Esperanto by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation through the publication of educational brochures, if he will reconsider the policy of his Department that official use of Esperanto is not a practical possibility.

The Government see no reason to reconsider their view that whilst an agreed common language such as Esperanto would have many advantages in fostering mutual understanding, its official use is not a practical possibility.Esperanto is not recognised by UNESCO as an official language. To date only four documents have been published in an Esperanto version, in accordance with the 1954 UNESCO resolution to co-operate with the Universal Esperanto Association.

Czechoslovakia

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on recent arrests and expulsions of British and Commonwealth citizens in Czechoslovakia; what representation he has made to the Czechoslovak authorities regarding these; and whether the Czechoslovak authorities have breached the Helsinki Agreement in these matters.

We are aware of two recent incidents. One Canadian citizen and one British student were questioned by the Czechoslovak police and instructed to leave Czechoslovakia. There has been no requirement to make representations. The student has not so far provided information to indicate whether or not the actions of the Czechoslovak authorities were in accordance with the Helsinki Final Act.

Boarding School Allowances

asked the Lord Privy Seal what were the total amounts of boarding school allowances and overseas travelling expenses paid in 1979–80 in respect of the children of Foreign Office and Overseas Development Administration staff.

Expected expenditure on boarding school allowance for the financial year 1979–80 is £4,011,084 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and £78,482 (Overseas Development Administration).The cost of fares for children being educated in the United Kingdom to visit their parents during school holidays was £862,927 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and £45,514 (Overseas Development Administration).

asked the Lord Privy Seal what were the number and percentages of staff taking up boarding school allowances in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and in the Overseas Development Administration in 1979–80.

The number of staff in receipt of boarding school allowance in the financial year 1979–80 was 1,019 (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and 35 (Overseas Development Administration). These figures represent 20·08 per cent. of Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff in eligible categories—including seconded officers—and 1·7 per cent. of total Overseas Development Administration staff.

Social Services

National Health Service (Volunteer Help)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consultations he has had with the St. John's Ambulance Brigade regarding the supply of volunteer help in the National Health Service.

None centrally. I would expect health authorities and local branches of the St. John Ambulance Brigade and other voluntary organisations to be in close contact about the help that they can provide locally—for example in relation to major accidents.

Prescriptions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the amount of money that could be saved if the amount prescribed in 50 per cent. of those prescriptions which are included in the 25 per cent. most expensive prescriptions were reduced by 20 per cent.

The saving, based on data for 1978 for England, would be approximately £32·5 million on net ingredient cost. This calculation is based on estimated figures from a sample of approximately 1 in 200 prescriptions dispensed by retail pharmacists and appliance contractors.For the purpose of the calculation, the 25 per cent., most expensive prescriptions have been taken as those with the highest cost per individual prescription, though this group includes many preparations for which few prescriptions are issued and a number of drugs and appliances which are commonly prescribed singly or in very small quantities.

Alcoholism

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to publish the Green Paper on alcoholism.

The question of publishing a consultative document on the misuse of alcohol is under consideration with my right hon. and hon. Friends.

Heart Surgery (Waiting List)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many children with congenital heart disorders are awaiting (a) investigatory operations and (b) surgery in each of the health regions;(2) what is the total number of patients waiting for (

a) investigatory operations and ( b) open heart surgery in each of the health regions at the latest available date;

(3) what is the current waiting period for ( a) men, ( b) women and ( c) children for (i) investigatory operations and (ii) open heart surgery in each of the 14 health regions.

The information requested is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The numbers of people (all ages) on the waiting lists for cardiology and for thoracic surgery (which includes cardiac surgery) respectively in each region on 31 March 1979 are given below. The figures distinguish between urgent and non-urgent cases and also show the number of urgent cases on the waiting list for more than one month and the number of non-urgent cases on the list for more than a year.

Urgent

Non-urgent

Region

Speciality

All cases

Cases on list more than one month

All cases

Cases on list more than one year

Total of all cases

NorthernCardiology57288815145
Thoracic Surgery1268416445290
YorkshireCardiology3581303165
Thoracic Surgery806924353323
TrentCardiology12723014242
Thoracic Surgery938434933442
East AngliaCardiology986212110
Thoracic Surgery504291179
North West ThamesCardiology826719629278
Thoracic Surgery832423338316
North East ThamesCardiology704419539265
Thoracic Surgery302356586
South East ThamesCardiology8473376134460
Thoracic Surgery291911223141
South West ThamesCardiology719912106
Thoracic Surgery1313
WessexCardiology582078
Thoracic Surgery1572387
OxfordCardiology
Thoracic Surgery271340
South WesternCardiology3440
Thoracic Surgery12318110193
West MidlandsCardiology4813595280643
Thoracic Surgery367307459167826
MerseyCardiology7652646403722
Thoracic Surgery997999
North WesternCardiology342116933203
Thoracic Surgery7941501135580
Boards of GovernorsCardiology1262936312489
Thoracic Surgery20513928565488
EnglandCardiology7874053,1539743,940
(TOTAL)Thoracic Surgery1,3088762,6955884,003

National Health Service Reorganisation (Staff Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff appeals (NHS reorganisation tribunals exist; and when they will be wound up.