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Written Answers

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 26th March 1980

Employment

Weekly Average Working Hours

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average number of hours worked per week by male and female workers, respectively, in Wales, Scotland, and all the regions of England for the last five years.

AVERAGE TOTAL WEEKLY HOURS* WORKED BY FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES† WHOSE PAY WAS NOT AFFECTED BY ABSENCE
April 1975April 1976April 1977April 1978April 1979
Full-time men aged 21 and over
South East42·642·342·542·642·8
East Anglia43·543·043·443·643·7
South West42·542·142·142·542·5
West Midlands42·742·643·143·043·1
East Midlands43·243·043·343·643·5
Yorkshire and Humberside43·343·043·443·743·8
North West42·942·943·243·343·3
North43·243·243·443·743·6
England42·842·642·943·043·2
Wales42·842·543·042·943·3
Scotland43·943·543·644·044·0
Great Britain43·042·743·043·143·2
Full-time women aged 18 and over
South East37·137·037·337·337·4
East Anglia37·237·137·737·338·0
South West37·337·337·037·237·3
West Midlands37·537·137·437·437·3
East Midlands37·637·437·637·737·8
Yorkshire and Humberside37·537·337·537·537·4
North West37·537·437·537·637·6
North37·537·437·537·737·6
England37·337·237·437·437·5
Wales37·937·737·737·937·5
Scotland38·037·937·938·038·0
Great Britain37·437·337·537·537·5
* Normal basic hours plus overtime hours when subject to overtime payments.
† Employees with normal basic hours of 30 hours or more or, exceptionally, for less than 30 hours where an employee is regarded as full-time—for example, teachers. Employees—mainly non·manual—without specified normal basic hours are not included in calculating the average.

Source: New Earnings Survey.

Merseyside (Ministerial Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his recent visit to Merseyside and his meeting with the Liverpool inner city partnership.

My right hon. Friend has not visited Merseyside recently. During my visit to the North West on 10 March I spent some time in Merseyside, where I met representatives of Merseyside county council and visited a local

The following figures relate to hours worked by full-time adult employees whose earnings were not affected by absence in a specified pay period in April each year.Further details distinguishing hours worked by manual and non-manual employees are given in part E of the annual publication of the new earnings survey.employer. The visit afforded me a further opportunity to discuss at first hand the problems of Merseyside with those who live and work in the area.The meeting of the Liverpool inner city partnership planned for that day had unfortunately to be postponed.

Revenue-Earnings Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the normal criteria which are used by the Manpower Services Commission to assess the viability of revenue-earning schemes, particularly enterprise workshops (a) at point of application and (b) at mid-term review stage.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it is no longer operating special arrangements under the STEP to assist enterprise workshops to become financially viable. The criteria for those currently funded have been that forecasts of accounts should indicate that the scheme could become self-financing within the period of MSC funding—a maximum of two years—and that the forecasts should be feasible. Assessment at the point of application has been based on technical capability and potential sales and overall profitability. The mid-term assessment examines performance during the first period of funding as well as prospects for the second.

GroupEstimated percentage increase in earningsEstimated cost of award in financial year 1980–81
£ million
Local Authority Manuals10·9236·5
NHS Ancillaries11·783·2
Ambulancemen23·018·6
University Manuals6·31·9
Nurses and Midwives19·6311·0
Professions Supplementary to Medicine14·219·6
British Waterways Board Salaried Staff4·80·2

European Community

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the European Economic Community Commission's claims in Camera Care v. European Economic Community Commission, she will instruct Departments not to agree to any proposal which could subsequently be interpreted by the European Economic Community Commission to extend its powers in a way which would not be tolerated under United Kingdom law.

In this case, there is no question of the EEC Commission extending its powers. The Court of Justice has ruled that regulation 17/62, which implements the Community's competition rules and was adopted before the United Kingdom acceded to the Treaty of Rome, includes the power to take interim measures which are indispensable for the effective exercise of its functions

Clegg Commission Awards (Cost)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the estimated cost during the financial year 1980–81 of awards by the Clegg Commission since its inception; and what percentage increase that figure represents on the salaries of those receiving the awards.

The following table which excludes the award for university technicians, which was of an interim nature, and the award for municipal airport manual workers, the cost of which will depend on a grading exercise still to be undertaken, gives the information requested on the basis of the standing commission's published estimates. An adjustment has been made to the published estimate for the salaried staff of the British Waterways as the final stage of the award is not to be paid until September 1980.under the regulation. The power to grant interim relief is frequently available in United Kingdom legislation.

asked the Prime Minister if she will take steps to protect United Kingdom citizens from having their homes searched by officials of the European Economic Community Commission without the authority of the courts.

Rights of entry into premises conferred on officials of the Community in connection with their duties to investigate abuses of Common Market benefits or breaches of competition rules, are linked with business, industrial or agricultural activities. I am not aware of any powers to search homes, except perhaps if they were used as a base for such activities.In any event, unless there is a voluntary submission to the search, it cannot take place without judicial authority.

asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in relation to raids by the European Economic Community Commission on the premises of British companies; and whether she is satisfied that the raid which occurred in June 1979 was not an infringement of civil liberties.

The EEC competition rules, which are directly applicable in the United Kingdom, give officials of the European Commission the power to investigate suspected breaches of those rules, including the power to enter business premises. Firms have to submit to investigations when ordered by a decision of the Commission. Such decisions may be the subject of an appeal to the Court of Justice. In view of this safeguard, the power conferred on the Commission by the competition rules does not I believe represent an unacceptable infringement of civil liberties. In the case to which I assume the hon. Member is referring, I understand that the firm is appealing against the Commission's decision.

Education And Science

Educational Disadvantage

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much of the £300,000 saved on abolishing the Centre for Information and Advice on Educational Disadvantage will be spent on combating educational disadvantage.

When, on 15 November, my right hon. and learned Friend announced his decision to close the centre, he did not have in mind any specific new expenditure by his Department in this field. Opportunities do arise from time to time, however, to support activities which help to combat educational disadvantage. These will continue to be considered on their merits, and this Department will continue to be closely involved through the work of Her Majesty's Inspectorate and the Educational Disadvantage Unit.

Weelsby Hall School, Grimsby

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when Weelsby Hall school for maladjusted boys, Grimsby, was last inspected by his Department; and how many inspections have been carried out in the two years prior to that.

Weelsby Hall school was the subject of a full inspection by Her Majesty's inspectors in November 1979. In the two years prior to that date the school was visited by Her Majesty's inspectors on three occasions and three further visits have been made this term.The proprietor has informed my Department that the school will close at Easter, and eight of the 20 pupils have already left the school.

Medical Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the publication of the Flowers report, if he will set up an investigation into conditions in the provincial centres of medical education, because of the substantial difficulties in some of the newer centres, such as Southampton and Nottingham, and also in well-established centres, such as Leeds, where the expansion of student intake has had to be considerably reduced.

The Flowers report is the report of an internal working party set up by the University of London to consider the particular problems facing medical education in London. I see no need for a separate inquiry into medical education outside of London where student intake has, in general, continued to expand. The UGC is, at present, conducting a series of meetings with universities, including those with medical schools, to discuss their future plans.

School Transport

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions he has had with the Association of County Councils about the decision not to allow county councils to make a modest charge for school transport.

School Leaving Age

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will consider seeking to relax the raising of school leaving age legislation.

My right hon. and learned Friend is keeping under review the operation of the school arrangements which were last amended by the Education (School Leaving Dates) Act 1976. He has no present plans to change the law.

University Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will circulate in the Official Report a statement showing the staff age structure and prospective retirement position through to 1990 in respect of each of the universities whose funding is principally serviced from the Government by way of the University Grants Committee.

This information is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

University And Polytechnic Places (Cost)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the current average cost of a university place and a polytechnic place; what proportion of that cost is paid for directly by overseas students; and how this compares with the figure five years ago.

The figures are as follows:

(a) AVERAGE GROSS INSTITUTIONAL COSTS PER STUDENT
Outturn prices
Financial years
1974–751978–79*
££
Polytechnics in England and Wales:
non-advanced students1,0401,430
advanced students1,6802,220
Universities in Great Britain:
all students1,7252,525
* The latest year for which figures are available.
(b) PROPORTION OF (a) REPRESENTED BY RECOMMENDED FEE LEVELS FOR OVERSEAS STUDENTS
Academic years
1974–751978–79
Per cent.Per cent.
Polytechnics in England and Wales:
non-advanced students1427
advanced students1532
Universities in Great Britain:
undergraduates1428

Fircroft College, Birmingham

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether any future grant to Fircroft college, Birmingham is conditional on the non-appointment of former members of the staff; and if he will make a statement.

No. While the former tutors have no automatic right of appointment to the academic staff posts currently being advertised by the new governing body of Fircroft college, it is, of course, open to them to apply. My right hon. and learned Friend has agreed in principle to resume grant-aid to Fircroft to open as a long-term residential college, in autumn 1980, following agreement by the new governing body that it could be run within the stringent financial limits specified. Formal confirmation of this decision is subject to our satisfaction on a number of other points.

Home Department

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied that county emergency planning officers have sufficient knowledge about the distribution and use of radiac instruments in time of war.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Rugby, Official Report, 14 March, what standards he uses to judge the progress made by local authorities in their planning for the provision of civil defence.

Those in the Civil Defence (Planning) Regulations 1974; and there is informal contact between my officials and local authority staffs with emergency planning responsibilities.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Rugby on 18 March, what level of provision of survey meters and dosimeters he regards as sufficient for essential radiological monitoring purposes.

Various factors determine operational requirements: numbers of survey metres needed to ascertain the fallout picture are based on land area; survey meters and dosimeters for use by those performing essential tasks, on population. County councils have been informed of their provisional allocations.

Exegesis Programme

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish a full inquiry into the cult known as the exegesis programme.

No. Indications that the activities of this cult may involve breaches of the law should be reported to the police.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the law so far as it relates to the forcible detention of persons attending meetings of religious cults, such as the exegesis programme.

Yes. The unlawful detention of someone against his will is a criminal offence.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list all the places in the United Kingdom to which persons resident or staying in Greater London were invited to travel for the purpose of interviews concerned with entry clearance and related matters; and how many such interviews were carried out at each location in 1979.

According to where they live in the Greater London area and the availability of immigration service staff at offices in and around this area persons may be invited to travel for interview at any of the following offices:

LocationNumber of Interviews in 1979
Adelaide House (London Bridge)61
Gravesend210
Harmondsworth (Heathrow)342
Sheerness1,653

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list all the places in the United Kingdom where the imigration service is located; and how many interviews concerned with entry clearance and related matters were carried out at each location in 1979.

Ports where members of the immigration service are stationed are listed below under their district organisa- tion. Numbers of interviews concerned with entry clearances are given for districts as these are not readly available from individual ports.

Districts

North East

  • Blyth
  • Goole
  • Grimsby
  • Hartlepool
  • Hull
  • Immingham
  • Middlesbrough
  • Newcastle on Tyne
  • Newcastle airport
  • South Shields

Number of Interviews in 1979, 369.

East Anglia

  • Felixstowe
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Harwich
  • Norwich airport

Number of Interviews in 1979, 29.

Metropolitan

  • Gravesend
  • London (Adelaide House)
  • Sheerness
  • Southend airport

Number of Interviews in 1979, 1,924.

London Airports

  • Harmondsworth
  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • Newhaven

Number of Interviews in 1979, 360.

Midlands Airports

  • Birmingham airport
  • East Midlands airport
  • Luton airport
  • Stansted airport

Number of Interviews in 1979, 1,337.

South Eastern

  • Dover
  • Folkestone
  • Lydd airport
  • Ramsgate Hoverport

Number of Interviews in 1979, 13.

Southern

  • Bournemouth airport
  • Portsmouth
  • Southampton

Number of Interviews in 1979, 47.

South Western

  • Avonmouth
  • Barry
  • Bristol airport
  • Cardiff
  • Falmouth
  • Milford Haven
  • Newport
  • Plymouth
  • Swansea

Number of Interviews in 1979, 73.

North Western

  • Liverpool
  • Manchester airport
  • Preston

Number of Interviews in 1979, 348.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

  • Aberdeen airport
  • Belfast
  • Edinburgh airport
  • Glasgow
  • Glasgow airport
  • Prestwick airport

Number of Interviews in 1979, 51.

Scotland

Energy Conservation

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he is taking to encourage conservation of energy in Scotland; and, in particular, what measures he is taking to encourage home insulation.

Responsibility for policies of energy conservation in the United Kingdom and for publicity for them rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy.The Scottish Office implements these policies in Scotland in functional areas for which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible and as agent for the Department of Energy in certain other fields.As regards home insulation, grants are available to owners, tenants and landlords in the private sector and to tenants in the public sector towards the cost of providing basic insulation in uninsulated houses. District and islands authorities are encouraged to give priority to the insulation of their uninsulated housing stock and provision has been included for this purpose in their capital expenditure allocation for 1980–81.

British Broadcasting Corporation (Educational Programmes)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has replied to the request by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Scotland to the Scottish Office for financial support for the educational broadcasting programmes which it produces for schools in Scotland.

The British Broadcasting Corporation, Scotland, has been informed that, while I have no doubt that these programmes are greatly appreciated by schools in Scotland, I take the view that it would not be acceptable in principle for the Government to provide any financial support for these programmes. While recognising that it is for the corporation to decide how the resources available to them should be used, I have expressed the hope that it will be prepared to reconsider this aspect of its proposals.

Overseas Development

Tanzania

asked the Lord Privy Seal what aid has been provided to Tanzania specifically in order to help that country with the burden incurred in assisting in the liberation of Uganda and in maintaining troops and police in Uganda in order to help restore stability.

Zimbabwe

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to have determined the total amount of British aid to be made available to Zimbabwe; and if he will make a full statement to the House at that time.

As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Hunt) on 21 March—[Vol. 981, c. 364]—we have offered an immediate grant of £7 million for reconstruction. My right hon. Friend will tell the House as soon as possible the total amount of aid to be offered to Zimbabwe.

Civil Service

Government Information Service

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what are the total numbers in post of the following grades in the Government Information Service (a) deputy secretary, (b) executive director (middle branch), (c) chief information officer "A", (d) chief information officer "B", (e) principal information officer, (f) senior information officer, (g) information officer, and (h) assistant information officer.

The table below shows the relevant number of staff in post in central Government Departments at 1 January 1980:

Deputy secretary0
Unified intermediate pay point (lower)*1
Under-secretary1
Executive directing (middle band)7
Chief information officer (A)21
Chief information officer (B)37
Principal information officer123
Senior information officer328
Information officer552
Assistant information officer173
Total1,243
* This grade falls midway between deputy secretary and under-secretary.
Unified Intermediate Pay Point (Lower)Chief Information Officer AChief Information Officer BPrincipal Information OfficerSenior Information OfficerInformation OfficerAssistant Information Officer
£££££££
18,25214,25011,7508,8507,3505,950Entry Age
15,00012,7509,2007,6006,150
15,75013,7509,5507,9006,350183,200
16,50015,0009,9508,2006,575193,325
17,00010,3508,5506,850203,450
Executive Directing (Middle Band)10,7508,9007,250213,600
11,250223,750
11,750233,900
244,050
£254,525
17,000Main
4,4004,200
4,5254,500
4,6504,750
4,8005,050
4,9755,325
5,1755,700
5,400
5,700
There are no information service posts at deputy secretary level—present salary £20,314. Instead the table shows the salary for the unified intermediate pay point (lower). Salaries above chief information officer (

A) are paid as flat rates. All salaries in the table attract London weighting, where appropriate, in addition to the basic pay shown. London weighting is currently £780 per annum for inner London and £325 per annum for outer London.

1975–76

1976–77

1977–78

1978–79

(£ million) 1979–80 (estimated)

Chancellor of the Duchy74·595·8102·6122·0150·4
Secretary of State for Scotland3·94·43·94·76·0
Secretary of State for Wales3·33·53·96·16·8
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland2·12·83·74·65·9

I am afraid that a detailed breakdown of this expenditure and that incurred by local authorities for the four countries and the English regions would involve

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what are the pay scales of the following grades of the Government Information Service on 1 January (a) deputy secretary, (b) executive director (middle branch), (c) chief information officer 'A' (d) chief information officer 'B', (e) principal information officer, (f) senior information officer, (g) information officer and (h) assistant information officer.

Arts (Regional Assistance)

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much money was allocated to the arts in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and all the regions of England, in each of the past five years.

Expenditure on arts bodies, museums, etc., for which the relevant Ministers are responsible was as follows:disproportionate expenditure. I am writing to the hon. Member to explain why this is so.

Victoria And Albert Museum

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, in view of the current exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum stimulating the importation of Japanese goods, he will reduce the grant made to that museum in 1981.

House Of Commons

Waste Paper

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he is satisfied with the contract and price fetched by the sale of House waste paper for recycling.

Transport

Vehicle Excise Duty

asked the Minister of Transport what progress he has made with his proposals for improving vehicle excise duty administration.

When I announced the Government's decision to retain VED, I proposed a number of changes to improve its administration. Together these were designed further to reduce the number of civil servants involved by over 1,000 and to save £7 million in administrative costs.I gave further details of my plans for transferring virtually all relicensing work to an increased number of post offices on 19 March. I have now completed the consultation I promised on the proposals to change the minimum licensing period from four to six months and to introduce a savings stamps scheme.In the light of this, and with the agreement of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I have decided to go ahead with both proposals. Five-pound stamps will be on sale in post offices from 11 August. They will be able to be used in whole or part payment for any vehicle licence issued either by post offices or my local vehicle licensing offices.

I propose to make the change from four to six monthly licences beginning on or after 1 October 1980. I will lay the necessary orders before the House during the summer.

These changes will be made in Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the same time.

M602 Salford Docks Spur

asked the Minister of Transport what grant will be made by Her Majesty's Government towards the construction of the M602 salford docks spur.

Since, on completion, the M602 is to become a trunk road, a 100 per cent. specific grant is to be paid to Greater Manchester council for the construction of the proposed extension to Salford docks.

Motor Coaches (Safety)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a further statement on the implementation of proposals for roofs, brakes, and seats aimed at improving coach safety.

Technical requirements for roof strength are now being finalised, and will be discussed in June in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. It is hoped to persuade other countries to adopt the requirements on an international basis. The proposals for seat strength will be discussed at the same time. We hope by the end of May to have started formal consultations on new braking requirements.

Disabled Persons (Orange Badge Scheme)

asked the Minister of Transport what reactions he has now had from organisations of and for disabled people to his proposals for revising the orange badge scheme of parking concessions for disabled people; what further action he will be taking; and if he will make a statement.

These organisations generally accepted that changes were necessary in order to curb abuse of the scheme and supported a number of our proposals, but most considered that the proposed eligibility criteria were too restrictive. We are now considering the views expressed by these organisations and by other bodies consulted.

Trade

Imports (Promotional Exhibitions And Demonstrations)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will introduce legislation to prevent the stimulation of imports to the United Kingdom which is caused by promotional exhibits and demonstrations of foreign goods.

United Kingdom manufacturers rely on exhibitions overseas to promote their exports and any attempt to interfere with exhibitions in the United Kingdom would invite retaliation.

Live Animals (Export)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is considering lifting the export licensing restriction on sending live cattle to the Middle East for slaughter; and if he is satisfied as to the conditions under which such animals would be slaughtered.

I have been asked to reply.The Department of Trade will, on my Department's advice, continue to refuse licences to export food animals to any country which does not have satisfactory welfare arrangements. No Middle Eastern country wishing to import such food animals has been able to offer welfare safeguards which we have considered adequate.

Environment

European Community Grants

14.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many European Economic Community grants, in respect of work which is the normal responsibility of his Department, have been paid direct to the beneficiary in each of the last three years; and if he will announce their total value and express that as a percentage of EEC grant paid to or via his Department.

All grants for infrastructures in England from the Euro- pean regional development fund are paid to the implementing authority via my Department. In the case of infrastructure not within my Department's field, payment is via both my Department and the other Department concerned. Of the successful applications for such grants, those in my Department's field numbered 156 in 1977, 144 in 1978 and 96 in 1979. These qualified for £51·8 million grant payable as expenditure is incurred. Those not within my Department's field qualified for £37·7 million in the same period. The Community has also made grants via my Department for flood relief works. In 1977–78, £312,835 went to local authorities in England and in 1979–80, payments of £83,961 are going to local authorities in England for onward transmission to householders whose properties have suffered flood damage. Of all these grants, totalling £89·5 million the proportion due to beneficiaries in my Department's field is approximately 58 per cent.

Housing Stock (Damp)

15.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of the housing stock his Department estimates is badly affected by damp.

Information collected in the 1976 English house condition survey indicates that about 1½ million dwellings in England are affected by damp to some degree. Information on how many of these are badly affected is not available.

Tower Silos

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many claims for compensation under section 169 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 in respect of refusals by planning authorities for consent to erect tower silos at agricultural premises have been made within the past five years; and how much compensation in respect of such refusals has been paid during that period.

The information is not readily available; claims are made to and determined by local planning authorities.

New Towns (Health Care)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much his Department expects to allocate for the provision of health care in the new towns budget for 1980–81 and 1981–82, respectively; and how much of the total will be allocated to Peterborough New Town Development Corporation.

Allocations for health care are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.I imagine that my hon. Friend has in mind the transfer of resources from my Department's new towns programme to the DHSS programme for the years 1978–79 to 1981–82 for the provision of health service facilities in Milton Keynes, Northampton and Peterborough. Cambridgeshire health authority's share in 1980–81 for use in Peterborough is £178,000 at outturn prices.

Local Authority Associations

25.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when next he will meet the officers of the London Boroughs Associations.

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to meet representatives of the local authority associations

49.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when next he intends to meet the chairman of the Association of District Councils.

On 15 April, when I chair the next meeting of the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance.

Housing Investment Programmes

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many housing authorities will underspend on their housing capital investment programmes in the current financial year; and what is the total sum involved.

Until firm information on actual expenditure for the year is available it will not be possible to say how many authorities have underspent in 1979–80.

On our best present estimate the total outturn for English authorities in 1979–80, expressed in outturn prices, is likely to fall within the range of an underspend of £95 million to an overspend of £55 million.

28.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total and percentage underspend under the housing investment programme allocations in each financial year between 1975–76 and 1978–79.

The information is as follows. Figures are shown at outturn prices for the year in question.

  • 1975–76—£42·3 million (11·9 per cent.)
  • 1976–77—£97·7 million (15·7 per cent.)
  • 1977–78—£31·8 million overspend (1·5 per cent.)
  • 1978–79—£291·4 million (11·7 per cent)
Allocations for 1975–76 were for improvement of local authority dwellings only. Those for 1976–77 included in addition lending to private persons. Allocations for 1977–78 and 1978–79 related to total local authority housing investment. The system of local housing strategies and investment programmes (HIP's) was introduced for the year 1978–79.

48.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received over the housing investment programme.

By 21 March, 25 of the 367 housing authorities in England had written to the Department to say that their HIP allocations for 1980–81 were insufficient.

Urban Development Corporations

27.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further steps he has taken in relation to the setting up of the proposed urban development corporation.

Following my announcement of the names of the shadow chairman and shadow deputy chairman of the London UDC, the chief executive appointment has been advertised. I am considering further the area to be designated, and appointments to the boards of the shadow UDCs.

29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is yet able to announce the names of the members of the board of the proposed Merseyside urban development corporation.

Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce the conclusions of his review of the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977.

Single Person Households

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the proportion of the population accounted for by single person households; and whether he expects this proportion to increase.

It is estimated that one-person households currently account for about 8½ per cent. of the population, and that about two-thirds of them are over retirement age. Extrapolation of past trends suggests that the proportion may rise to 11 per cent. by 1991.

West Yorkshire Structure Plan

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the closing date for objections to his proposed modifications to the West Yorkshire structure plan.

The closing date for representations on the modifications to the West Yorkshire structure plan will be six weeks after they have been advertised by the county council in the London Gazette and elsewhere. The council advertised the modifications on 24 March 1980.

Local Authority Housing (Costs)

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the average cost of building a local authority dwelling.

The present estimate of the average cost of providing a local authority dwelling started in the fourth quarter of 1979 is about £19,250, including a sum—likely to be subject to considerable variation from scheme to scheme —of about £6,250 for land, site works and fees.

Waste Management Advisory Council

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environmet if he will call a meeting of the Waste Management Advisory Council.

The Government nave not yet reached a conclusion on the future pattern of work in this field.

New Town Housing Assets (Transfer)

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what financial provisions have been agreed for the transfer of new town housing assets to districts councils.

For the first round of housing transfers, which took place on 1 April 1978, the local authorities concerned received a transitional grant under section 10 of the New Towns (Amendment) Act 1976.

Vauxhall Bridgefoot Site

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the future development of the Vauxhall Bridgefoot site.

The public inquiry into alternative proposals for its development closed on 23 January. I have not yet received the inspector's report, and it would be improper for me to make any statement now.

Homes Insulation Act

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will ensure that a specific allocation of resources is made available through the Homes Insulation Act for the elderly and disabled in the coming year.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Bowden) and the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) earlier today.

Privately-Owned Houses (Sale Advertisements)

40.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek powers to enable local authorities to publish and advertise details of privated owned houses for sale within their area; and if he will make a statement.

Housing Mobility

39.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of new lettings and re-lettings under the new housing mobility scheme will be allocated to people who wish to move for employment reasons.

The scheme is intended to cater for urgent moves both for employment and personal reasons: the balance between them will depend upon the decisions made by individual local authorities.

Domestic Rates

41.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the current compilation and sending out of domestic rate demands; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has assessed the impact of the National and Local Government Officers Association's decision to cease all work relating to the issuing of rate demands by the local authorities; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that individual local authorities and the local authority associations are considering the implications of the industrial action currently affecting the preparation of rate demand notes. It is primarily for the authorities themselves to consider these matters, and it would be premature for me to comment at the present time.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the level of rate increases reported for 1980–81.

No. Some authorities have clearly made no serious attempt to reduce their expenditure levels and this is reflected in their rates.

46.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the rate increases proposed for 1980–81 for each of the Greater London boroughs in both poundage and percentage terms.

The figures for those London boroughs from which information has been received are:

Increase in general rate
Poundage pPercentage
City of London17·3022·24
Camden26·7725·25
Greenwich16·7019·55
Islington34·0033·27
Lambeth41·5040·53
Lewisham34·0038·20
Southwark34·0234·36
Tower Hamlets28·0029·17
Wandsworth11·9014·02
Barking22·0022·92
Barnet15·0018·18
Brent30·5031·28
Bromley11·5013·94
Croydon6·008·11
Ealing23·0025·70
Enfield20·0022·99
Haringey35·0030·43
Hillingdon11·1011·37
Harrow22·0022·45
Havering22·0023·78
Hounslow29·1532·75
Kingston14·0016·09
Merton16·0018·60
Richmond14·0015·73
Sutton15·0018·40
Waltham Forest36·0034·95

50.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities in England and Wales have announced a rate of less than £1·19 for 1980–81.

Rate details have been received for 324 of the 402 rating authorities in England and Wales. Of these 207 are levying a rate of less than £1·19 for 1980–81.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the average rate bill demanded from ratepayers in the London area for the year 1979–80; and how this compares with a similar ratepayer in the Isle of Wight.

The estimated average domestic rate payment in 1979–80 is £200 in London compared with £156 in the Isle of Wight.

Rural Counties (Government Funding)

43.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what repre- sentations he has secured from the Suffolk county council concerning the continuing inequity in central Government funding terms in the rural counties.

A number of hon. Members for Suffolk constituencies, including my hon. Friend, have made representations on the council's behalf.While I note the approval of the county council that the drift away from shire counties was ended in this year's distribution, I can confirm that we are working with the local authority associations on more satisfactory methods of assessing needs in future years.

Planning Applications

44.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish full details of his proposals for the application, incidence and scale of charges for planning applications.

Development Commission (Report)

45.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to complete his consideration of the report of the review group on the Development Commission and its associated organisation, the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Hicks).

Internal Drainage Boards (Payments)

47.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether payments made by district councils to internal drainage boards in accordance with agreements made under section 81 of the Land Drainage Act 1976 are relevant expenditure for the purposes of the rate support grant.

Wildlife And The Countryside

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a Green or White Paper on wildlife and countryside matters.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Waller) on 27 February.—[Vol. 79, c. 1346–47.]

Local Authorities (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what he now expects the total expenditure of local authorities to be during the present financial year; and what account he has taken of the views expressed by councillors on this subject in making his estimate.

I shall not be in a position to estimate the provisional outturn of local authority expenditure for 1979–80 or the planned expenditure for 1980–81 until the preliminary analysis of the annual return of expenditure and rates has been completed—late spring or early summer. Until then I cannot add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 10 December 1979.—[Vol. 975, c. 477.].

Nature Reserves

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to encourage the Nature Conservancy Council to seek private capital in order to acquire and manage nature reserves.

Beauty Spots

asked the Secretary of State, for the Environment what representations he has received from the Nature Conservancy Council regarding the renegotiation of agreements and leases affecting beauty spots in the United Kingdom.

The Nature Conservancy Council has no responsibility for beauty spots per se. However the council, in its annual report for 1978–79, has drawn attention to the need to take account of substantially increased land values when it reviews leases and agreements affecting 44 national nature reserves which are due to expire in the 1980s.

Employment Agencies

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total number of schemes within the urban programme, referred to in the reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North Official Report, 22 February, column 364, which provide advice and services to the unemployed, together with the total cost of these schemes.

Olympic Games

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will raise with the Confederation of British Industry, pursuant to his declaration in the treatment of public employees who propose to take part in the Olympic Games, Official Report, 17 March, c. 155–56, the position of employees of private industry who propose to participate in the Games.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to raise this matter with the CBI. We naturally hope that all United Kingdom citizens, including employees of private industry, will heed our continuing advice against going to the summer Olympic Games in the Soviet Union in the present circumstances. But it is for private employers themselves to decide what advice they give their own employees.

Local Government Staff (Redundancies)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local government officers and employees in England and Wales have been made redundant since May 1979.

Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, from the figures available to date, what will be the likely national average rate increase.

According to the latest figures available the average non-domestic and domestic rate increases are estimated to be 23 per cent. and 27 per cent. respectively.

Water Charges Equalisation Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he has received representations for the repeal of the Water Charges Equalisation Act; and if he will make a statement;(2) if Her Majesty's Government have any plans to repeal the Water Charges Equalisation Act.

On 17 December 1979, when the House debated the draft Water Charges Equalisation Order 1979, I announced that the Government had it in mind that the Act should be repealed, but that before legislation was introduced officials would be asked to consider the whole question and to recommend what, if anything, might be done in the future. I expect to receive a report from officials soon.Since the debate I have received no written representations for the repeal of the enabling Act of 1977.

Water Sprinkler Systems (Charges)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current charge made by the North-West water authority for the installation of fire equipment water sprinkler systems; and how these compare with other water authorities.

In the current financial year 1979–80, the North-West and Northumbrian water authorities levy annual charges for the availability of supply to sprinkler systems as follows:

North West: From £5·50 to £1,793 according to size of connection, however these charges will be reduced from 1st April 1980.
Northumbrian: Different charges in three Divisions:
Wear: £12 per installation.
Tees: From £6 to £30 according to size of connection.
Northumberland-Tyne: £10 per inch diameter of connection.
The Anglian and Thames water authorities make annual charges, but these cover the costs of periodic inspection and similar activities and are not comparable with the charges made by the North West and Northumbrian authorities. They are, respectively, £3·50 per annum per 100 sprinkler heads and £2·18 per annum per 100 sq. ft. of protected floor area.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further reduction in the charges for fire equipment water sprinkler systems are being considered by the North-West water authority; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Northwich (Mr. Good-lad) on 18 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 161–62.]

Leisure Plots

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department has had any recent representations about the need for legislation on leisure plots; and whether he regards this matter as still requiring legislation to regulate it.

I have received representations calling for both tightening and loosening of planning controls over leisure plots. Decisions made in enforcement appeals about leisure plots at Blackwater Estuary are at present being challenged in the High Court. I shall review the need for legislative change when the court has reached its decision.

Waste Paper (Recycling)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue a circular to local authorities on the need to institute effective recycling schemes for waste paper, along the lines of the cardboard recycling project being undertaken by the Covent Garden Market Authority and the Thames Waste Paper Group.

The Government are pleased to note the arrangements made between the Covent Garden Market Authority and the Thames Waste Paper Group for the reclaiming of packaging materials from market refuse. Such arrangements are not uncommon, and the Government consider that no further advice is needed at the present time.

Local Authorities (Housing Transfers)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his analysis of the effect the industrial action being taken by the National and Local Government Officers Association will have on housing transfers.

It is for the local authorities concerned to assess the effect of such action.

Defence

Royal Aircraft Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will indicate whether the Royal Aircraft Establishments, Farnborough, Bedford and Cardington are subject to Government economies; what savings have been imposed; and what form they are likely to take.

The Royal Aircraft Establishment, like other establishments of the Ministry of Defence, is subject to the Government's drive for greater efficiency and economy in the public service. Its roles and functions are being examined as part of a review of R & D establishments by a steering group under the chairmanship of my noble Friend the Minister of State for Defence. A reduction in manpower at the establishment and its outstations will also be required in the context of the reductions in Civil Service staff announced in the House on 6 December 1979—[Vol. 975, c. 627]—and on 14 March 1980—[Vol. 980, c. 748.] The implications of these reductions have yet to be worked out in detail for individual establishments. Meanwhile, however, restrictions on recruitment have been introduced.

Cruise Missiles

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if any contracts have yet been agreed or any work commenced to provide for the basing of cruise missiles in the United Kingdom.

No decision has yet been reached on the basing of cruise missiles. No contracts have therefore been let or work services commenced.

Main Battle Tanks

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is intended that the next generation of United Kingdom main battle tank will be of British design and manufacture.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) on 15 February 1980.—[Vol. 978, c. 821.]

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost to Her Majesty's Government of maintaining the British forces in Northern Ireland over the past five years to the latest available date.

The estimated extra costs of military operations in Northern Ireland since 1975 are as follows:

1975–76£60 million
1976–77£65 million
1977–78£69 million
1978–79£81 million
1979–80£96 million
The figures are based on the January forecast of outturn for each year.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimate to Her Majesty's Government for maintaining British forces in Northern Ireland in the next financial year.

It is estimated that Northern Ireland extra costs in 1980–81 will be about £100 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if his Department has made any plans for a gradual withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland in the long term; and if he will make a statement;(2) what is the total number of troops of Her Majesty's forces currently in Northern Ireland.(3) if there are any plans for a reduction in Her Majesty's forces in Northern Ireland or their gradual withdrawal to barracks in the immediate future.

Twelve major units of the British Army, together with a wide range of supporting elements, and small numbers of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel, are currently deployed in Northern Ireland. There are also 11 UDR battalions, making in all nearly 20,000 members of Her Majesty's Forces. The forces deployed now and in future depend on a number of factors, including the level and type of violence and the increasing capability of the RUC. These are kept under close review and it would not be helpful to discuss future plans, which can anyway change at short notice.Subject to these considerations, it remains our intention to lower the regular Army force level in Northern Ireland and return soldiers to their main NATO role. Thus, one "roulement" unit was not replaced earlier this year. Further changes will be made only when we are satisfied that they will allow the fight against terrorism to continue unabated.In the longer term, and subject to all these considerations, I look forward to the time when it will be possible to withdraw more regular units from the Province and for those that remain to return to their normal role and training.

Royal Air Force (Flying Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current daily rate of flying pay for each rank in the Royal Air Force.

Rates of flying pay in the Royal Air Force are dependent upon both rank and aircrew category. The current daily rate of flying pay for each rank and aircrew category is given in the following table.

Daily Rate
Flying Paywef 1 April 1979
£
(i) Officer aircrew except specialist aircrew and Air Loadmaster
Acting Pilot Officer3·17
Pilot Officer3·17
Flying Officer3·47
Flying Officer after 2 years3·78
Flight Lieutenant4·00
Squadron Leader4·00
Wing Commander3·78
Group Captain2·77
Air Commodore2·15
(ii) Air Loadmaster2·46
(iii) NCO aircrew
(a) Pilots and Navigators
Sergeant1·98
Flight Sergeant2·46
Master Aircrew2·77
(b) Air Electronic Operators, Air Engineers(A) Air Signallers
Sergeant1·68
Flight Sergeant1·98
Master Aircrew2·46
(c) Air Loadmasters
Sergeant1·03
Flight Sergeant1·39
Master Aircrew1·68

Daily Rate

Flying Pay

wef 1 April 1979
£
(iv) Specialist Aircrew (except Air Load-master and Branch Officer Specialist Aircrew)
Flight Lieutenant on appointment as specialist aircrew at the 38/16 point5·76
After 5 years continuous service beyond the 38/16 point as specialist aircrew6·59
After 9 years continuous service beyond the 38/16 point as specialist aircrew7·42
After 13 years continuous service beyond the 38/16 point as specialist aircrew8·26
(v)Specialist Aircrew Air Loadmaster
Flight Lieutenant on appointment as specialist aircrew at the 38/16 point3·51
After 5 years continuous service beyond the 38/16 point as specialist aircrew4·02
After 9 years continuous service beyond the 38/16 point as specialist aircrew4·53
After 13 years continuous service beyond the 38/16 point as specialist aircrew5·04
(vi)Branch Officer Specialist Aircrew (except Air Loadmaster)
Flight Lieutenant (Branch Officer) on appointment as specialist aircrew4·46
Flight Lieutenant (Branch Officer) after 5 years continuous service as specialist aircrew and thereafter4·93
(vii)Branch Officer Specialist Aircrew Air Loadmaster
Flight Lieutenant (Branch Officer) on appointment as specialist aircrew2·72
Flight Lieutenant (Branch Officer) after 5 years continuous service as specialist aircrew and thereafter3·01

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many general duties pilots in the rank of flying officer are in receipt of flying pay;(2) how many general duties pilots in the rank of flight lieutenant are in receipt of flying pay;(3) how many general duties pilots in the rank of squadron leader are in receipt of flying pay;(4) how many general duties pilots in the rank of wing commander are in receipt of flying pay;(5) how many general duties pilots in the rank of group captain are in receipt of flying pay;

(6) how many general duties pilots in the rank of air commodore are in receipt of flying pay.

The number of pilots in the GD (Flying) Branch of the Royal Air Force who, on 1 March 1980, were holding each paid rank from flying officer to air commodore inclusive is given in the following table. Such officers are generally entitled to receive flying pay on a continuous basis provided they remain appointable to flying duties. The number not so appointable—for example, for medical reasons—and consequently not receiving flying pay is not known.

RankNumbers
Air Commodore53
Group Captain163
Wing Commander406
Squadron Leader890
Flight Lieutenant1,942
Flying Officer1981
Note 1: Trainees who have not yet commenced advanced flying training are excluded.

National Finance

European Community Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in figures and in percentage terms in the United Kingdom's gross contributions to the budget of the European Community, from the latest figures for which information is available, is represented by the United Kingdom levy payments and duties on imports from non-European Economic Community countries divided between (a) foodstuffs and agricultural products, and (b) finished industrial goods, and (c) raw materials; and what is the pro rata extrapolation of the above figures in respect of the United Kingdom estimated net contribution of £1·310 million in 1980.

[pursuant to his reply 24 March 1980, c. 450]: The latest available information, based on United Kingdom sources, in respect of the calendar year 1979 is shown in the table below. The figures for 1980 have been based on a pro rata attribution of the 1979 percentages for categories (a), (b) and (c) to the Commission figure of £2,233 million for the United Kingdom gross contribution in 1980 given to my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton,

£ million or percentage
19791980
AmountPer cent.Amount
United Kingdom gross contribution of which:1,958100·02,233
(a) foodstuffs and agricultural products*39019·9445
(b) finished industrial goods†48524·8553
(c) raw materials including petroleum and petroleum products‡70·48
*SITC 0 and 4.
† SITC 7 and 8.
‡ SITC 2 and 3.33.

Industrial And Provident Societies

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many bodies are regarded by the Inland Revenue as (a) industrial and provident societies and (b) co-operative associations in relation to section 96 of the Finance Act 1972; and, for the latest available year, how much corporation tax was paid by each of these groups.

19791980
££
The Queen's Civil List2,281,3002,716,300
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother207,500244,000
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh102,700135,000
HRH The Princess Anne, Mrs. Mark Phillips65,40085,000
HRH The Prince Andrew20,00020,000
HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon71,50082,000
HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester30,00035,000
HRH The Duke of Gloucester57,00065,000
HRH The Duke of Kent78,70089,000
HRH Princess Alexandra, Mrs. Angus Ogilvy74,50085,000
HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone8,0009,000
Total2,996,6003,565,300
Refunded by HM The Queen218,200248,000
2,778,4003,317,300
Notes:
1. These figures combine the sums payable directly from the Consolidated Fund with the supplements provided by the Royal Trustees from the grant made to them in the Vote for Economic and Financial Administration: Treasury (Class XIII, Vote 4). For 1979, they include the additional provision made in a Winter Supplementary Estimate. All the increases are directly linked to increased expenses incurred in carrying out the Royal duties.
2. The figures for 1980 make provision for price increases consistent with those for cash limits on central government expenditure generally. No provision is made for staff pay increases from 1 April 1980; these are covered in the central pay Vote (Class XIII Vote 31). Where appropriate, the figures for 1980 include provision for stationery etc. hitherto met from the Stationery and Printing Vote (Class XIV Vote 3 in 1979–80 Supply Estimates) accounted for by Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
3. A sum of £20,000 a year is payable from the Consolidated Fund in respect of HRH The Prince Andrew from 19 February 1978 when he attained the age of 18. Her Majesty has made an order under section 4 of the Civil List Act 1952 limiting the amounts to be paid to him from 1980 to £4,500 per annum; the balance will be accumulated by the Royal Trustees.
4. Her Majesty paid £218,200 into the Consolidated Fund in respect of payments made in 1979 to the four members of the Royal Family whose expenses are met under section 3 of the Civil List Act 1972; a similar payment of £248,000 will be made for 1980.

North (Mr. Marlow on 25 February— [Vol. 979, c. 440–42].

Civil List

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the total amounts payable to the Royal Family under the Civil List Acts in the calendar years 1979 and 1980.

Personal Credit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has made any estimate of the extent to which restrictions upon credit cards and store accounts would lead to increases in other forms of lending such as loans, hire-purchase and overdrafts; and what advantages and disadvantages exist in the application of selective as opposed to overall means of influencing the volume of personal sector credit.

[pursuant to his reply 25 March 1980]; It is not possible to construct estimates of this sort. Even in the hypothetical case of controls being applied to credit card use without comparable measures being taken at the same time to restrain other forms of consumer borrowing, much would depend on the type of controls that were imposed, their duration, and the underlying economic and monetary conditions. There would, however, certainly be some diversion to alternative sources of credit which would grow with time: this would progressively diminish, although not necessarily eliminate, the net effect of such controls. The additional disadvantages of selective controls are that they produce distortions in the choices facing consumers and discriminate between different types of lender and different industries. Against this, controls can be used to give a relative advantage in credit markets to borrowers who are thought to deserve a higher priority and can produce a much quicker effect on monetary conditions and expectations than more generalised measures. Controls of this sort can never, however, be permanent substitutes for a monetary policy based on an appropriate fiscal stance and interest rates.

National Savings Bank Investment Account (Interest Rate)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his policy for the rate of interest paid on deposits in the investment accounts of the National Savings Bank, and for the financing of those accounts.

The Post Office Savings Bank Act 1966, later consolidated in the National Savings Bank Act 1971, provided for deposits to be invested in gilt-edged stocks and other public sector debt, and for the income from those investments to be used to pay interest to depositors and the expense of managing the accounts. The then Assistant Postmaster-General said that the interest rate paid to depositors would be adjusted to match variations in the fund's income and expenses.—[Vol. 721, c. 1864.]The greater variability in interest rates in recent years has caused difficulties with this arrangement, since the income of the fund does not vary as quickly as do interest rates on competing deposits of comparable maturity. There has been some scope within the existing framework for varying the interest rate somewhat more than the income, by building up or running down the reserves. But this could only be a limited expedient.The Government consider that for the future it would both be fairer to depositors and enable the National Savings Bank investment account to continue to play a significant role in funding the PSBR if the rate of interest were fixed by the Treasury from time to time in relation to market rates on competing deposits. As now at least, one month's notice of changes would continue to be given.In these circumstances, the separate investment account fund would no longer have a useful role. It is therefore proposed that for the future, deposits will be paid into the national loans fund, and that the principal and interest due to the depositors will become a charge on that fund. The investment account fund will be wound up, and the proceeds of the sale or redemption of its securities paid into the national loans fund.The necessary legislative provision for this will be included in this year's Finance Bill, subject to the House approving the necessary procedure and financial resolutions which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is tabling with the Budget resolutions today.

Cash Limits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will announce the 1980–81 cash limits.

The cash limits on expenditure voted by the House are published today in "Supply Estimates 1980–81". The remaining public service cash limits are set out below:

DepartmentBlock numberDescription of blockCash limit (£ million)
Bank of EnglandBOE 1Financial management69·2
Department of Education and ScienceDES/LA 1Value of building projects started in 1980–81 under the aegis of the Department of Education and Science, local authorities, and other public bodies and the universities, for schools, further education and teacher training and higher education (England) and for universities (Great Britain)221·2
Department of EmploymentDEM/LA 1Capital expenditure by local authorities on employment services1·2
Department of the EnvironmentDOE/LA 1Borrowing allocations made for capital expenditure within the locally determined sector in England and Wales115·0
DOE/LA 2Gross capital expenditure on housing by local authorities and new towns (other than that included in DOE/LA 1) excluding lending associated with the sale of public sector houses2,353·0
DOE/LA 3Value of housing associations projects approved by the Housing Corporation368·4
DOE/LA 4Capital expenditure by local authorities on reclamation of derelict land, acquisition of land for development and coast protection work38·9
DOE/LA 5Urban Programme: expenditure by local authorities206·1
DOE/NT 1New towns'industrial and commercial investment (net)36·2
Department of the Environment and Welsh Office.RWA 1External financing requirements of the regional water authorities in England and Wales395·0
Department of Health and Social SecurityDHSS/LA 1Value of capital projects for personal social services approved by the Department of Health and Social Security58·4
Home OfficeHO/LA 1Capital expenditure on police, courts and probation26·9
Department of TransportDTP/LA 1Key sector loan sanctions for capital expenditure on roads and other transport in England and Wales154·7
SCOTLAND
Scottish OfficeSO/LA 1Capital expenditure by local authorities on roads and transport, water and sewerage, general services, urban programme, police and social work, school buildings, further education and teacher training369·6
SO/LA 2Gross capital expenditure on housing by local authorities, new towns, the Scottish Special Housing Association and the Housing Corporation excluding lending associated with the sale of public sector houses; and new industrial and commercial investment by new towns475·6
WALES
Welsh OfficeWO/LA 1Gross capital expenditure (other than that included in DOE/LA 1) by local authorities, new towns and the Housing Corporation on housing; capital receipts from the sale of land and dwellings; capital expenditure by new towns on roads and commercial and industrial investment; net expenditure by the Land Authority for Wales; expenditure by local authorities on coast protection and urban programme159·0
WO/LA 2Value of building projects started in 1980–81 under the aegis of the Welsh Office and local authorities in Wales for schools, further education and teacher training, and higher education15·9
WO/LA 3Value of capital projects for personal social services approved by the Welsh Office3·1
NORTHERN IRELAND
Northern Ireland DepartmentsNID 1Services analogous to Great Britain services covered by cash limits1,611·0

Social Services

Census (Ethnic Questions)

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the proposals to include questions on "ethnic minorities" on the next United Kingdom census have been dropped.

Because tests and consultations have shown that it is not practicable to devise questions which would give reliable results and at the same time secure the wide measure of acceptability which is needed in a census.

Overseas Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of the publication of the findings of the Policy Studies Institute on the relationship between overseas doctors and the National Health Service as being one of unequal treatment both in training and the job market, if he will consider methods of correcting this.

I have already indicated to overseas doctors that I will treat the Policy Studies Institute's findings with the utmost seriousness and am initiating discussions with those concerned with a view to working out approaches to deal with the problems which the report discusses.

1975197619771978
Northern Region2,4712,6572,6922,735
Yorkshire and Humberside Region3,8853,8103,9103,940
North Western Region4,3614,6644,7144,803
West Midlands Region3,8264,0404,1093,880
East Midlands Region2,4752,5242,5222,539
London North Region3,1623,1543,2543,157
London Region7,2237,4317,4477,225
Southern Region*3,7503,6363,5293,402
South Western Region1,8921,9791,9041,817
* Includes both Wessex and South Eastern Regions.

Ambulance Service (London)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many additional ambulance men were recruited into the London ambulance service following the television campaign in 1976; what was the cost of that campaign; what is the present shortage of ambulance men in London; and whether he has any proposals for a further television recruitment campaign.

Mobility Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will extend the mobility allowance scheme to provide for loans to those disabled drivers to enable them to acquire specially-adapted vehicles from Motability Ltd. so that they can use their mobility allowances to cover running costs and loan repayments.

In the present economic climate my right hon. Friend has no plans to extend the mobility allowance scheme. I shall, however, continue to give every encouragement to Motability in its efforts to assist disabled people to obtain the maximum benefit from their allowance.

Community Homes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many places there were for children in community homes in each of the regions of England for each of the past five years.

Places available for children at 31 March each year from 1975 to 1978 in maintained and controlled community homes are shown below. Figures for places in assisted community homes are not collected annually. Figures for the present children's planning regions are not available before 1975.

This information is not available centrally. Responsibility for the management of the London ambulance service rests with the South-West Thames regional health authority and the hon. Member may like to contact that authority direct.

Tobacco Advertising

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what sanctions he is empowered to impose on the tobacco industry in the event of a breakdown in the present negotiations for a voluntary agreement to safeguard health when the present three-year agreement expires on 31 March.

The talks between the Government and the tobacco industry are continuing and the parties have agreed that the existing voluntary agreement will continue to operate until it is superseded.

Prescription Charges (Exemptions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the specified medical conditions under which people may claim exemption from prescription charges.

The specified medical conditions which confer exemption from prescription charges are listed below:

  • (a) Permanent fistula (including caecostomy, colostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance.
  • (b) The following disorders for which specific substitution therapy is essential:
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Myxoedema
    • Hypoparathyroidism
    • Hypopituitarism
    • Addison's disease and other forms of hypoadrenalism
    • Myasthenia gravis
  • (c) Epilepsy requiring continuous anti-convulsive therapy.
  • (d) A continuing physical disability which prevents the patient leaving his residence except with the help of another person (this does not mean a temporary disability even if it is likely to last a few months).
  • National Health Service (Administration Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish figures, for the latest available year, to show the percentages of overall National Health Service resources devoted to administration by regional health authorities, area health authorities and community health councils.

    In England in 1978–79 the percentages of total National Health Service resources devoted to headquarters administration by regional and area health authorities, including district head- quarters, were 0.67 per cent. and 3.22 per cent. respectively. The expenditure of community health councils amounted to 0.06 per cent of the total resources.

    Kidney Dialysis Machines (Qualified Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff in the National Health Service are qualified to run kidney machines, to teach patients how to use them and to nurse the patients who require treatment; how many such qualified staff are estimated to be needed, and what shortage there is; and what proposals he has to increase the numbers of such qualified staff.

    The information is not available centrally. There are 16 centres which run joint board of clinical nursing studies courses in renal and urological nursing; a total of 342 staff have so far completed these courses but any qualified nurse with experience in a renal dialysis unit and under supervision can be taught to run kidney machines and to teach and nurse patients on dialysis. The shortage is generally of qualified nursing staff willing to work in renal dialysis. Assessment of staffing needs locally are for individual health authorities as these must be based on individual circumstances and policies. Recruitment is also primarily for health authorities but the Department will be co-operating with them later this year in local campaigns to attract back to nursing those nurses who have left the service for family commitments or other reasons.

    Primolut Depot

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what study his Department has made of reports that the drug primolut depot used for treatment of abortion is of no benefit and can damage the foetus; how many women use this drug at present; whether he proposes to take action in view of the warnings issued by doctors; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my right hon. Friend's replies to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 12 March and 13 March.—[Vol. 980, c. 603; Vol. 980, c. 679.]

    Children Act 1975

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give an assurance that, whatever decisions he may take about implementing those unimplemented sections of the Children Act 1975 which will require additional financial resources, he will bring into effect all those provisions which the joint working party of his Department and the local authority associations consider to have no cost implications;(2) when he will publish the report of the working party set up by his Department and the local authorities association to consider the financial and other implications of the unimplemented clauses of the Children Act 1975;(3) if he will make a statement about the Government's policy on a timetable for implementing those sections of the Children Act 1975 which have not yet been implemented.

    I expect the costing working party's report to be available in the summer. We have already said that our aim would be the speedy introduction of any provisions which can be brought in without extra resources, and I shall institute discussions with the local authority associations, once the report is available, about the priorities and timetable for implementation.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the progress of the working party considering that part of the Children Act 1975 concerning the approval of voluntary organisations.

    The working party on the approval of voluntary adoption societies is making good progress and hopes to report later this year.

    Drugs (Adverse Reactions)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what specific studies he has made of the effects of drugs on the foetus when ingested by pregnant women; what were the results of these studies; and if he will make a statement.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) on 19 December, if he has issued advice to voluntary organisations, local authorities and health authorities concerning transitional aid to voluntary organisations concerned with alcoholics; and if he will publish this in the Official Report.

    Advice was issued on 1 February. As the document is rather lengthy, I am sending the hon. Member a copy and placing a copy in the Library of the House.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will continue funding Hungerford centre to ensure that it will not have to close in the current year.

    The Department does not fund the Hungerford centre. The London Boroughs Association funds the project and will continue to be its major source of income in the next financial year.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will study the report entitled "A Recommendation for Prevention of Alcohol Related Disorders"by the Royal College of Physicians; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he is satisfied that enough is being done to warn people of the dangers of alcohol dependence and addiction; what consideration he has given to making alcohol less widely available and less advertised; and what proposals he has to extend health education against alcoholism;(3) how much was spent on health education against alcoholism in 1979; how this compares with the figures for each of the preceding five years; and how much it is proposed to spend in the current year;(4) if he is satisfied that the resources of the Health Education Council are adequate to fund a continuous and comprehensive programme about alcohol dependence.

    The recommendations of the Faculty of Community Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians will be taken into account by the Health and other Ministers concerned in our current consideration of similar recommendations in other recent reports. The role and financing of health education, the recommendations on advertising, and on measures to affect the price and availability of alcohol, all form part of this consideration. But already these reports have played an important part in warning people about the dangers of alcohol misuse which we take very seriously. I welcome the responsible contribution which the media have recently been making and believe that the problem is becoming more widely recognised.It is not possible to separate out all expenditure on health education—for example, by schools and all other agencies. The Department looks to the Health Education Council to conduct national and pilot health education campaigns. The amounts the council spent specifically to keep the dangers of alcohol misuse before the public were as follows:

    1974–75£87,825
    1975–76£7,678
    1976–77£690
    1977–78£234,266
    1978–79£190,367
    1979–80£17,600
    The projected figure for 1980–81 is £100,000 which allows for the continuation of the campaign on the North-East of England. This is experimental. We need to know more about what approaches, and what agencies, including health and local authorities, schools and voluntary organisations can play effective parts in promoting sensible attitudes to drinking before we decide what a continuous and comprehensive programme would need to include.

    Local Authority Welfare Services

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidance he has given local authorities in regard to their charging for home helps, telephones for the blind and disabled, home nursing aids, incontinence pads and similar necessities; and if he will now introduce a specially designated grant to local authorities relative to these items.

    Apart from the advice relating to charges for home helps referred to in my reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 24 March, I have given no guidance to local authorities on charges for these services, which in terms of the statutes concerned are a matter for the discretion of the individual authority. My right hon. Friend has no plans for a specific grant.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Rhodesia

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the cost to public funds of the Governor of Southern Rhodesia.

    It is estimated that the cost to public funds of the Governor of Southern Rhodesia will be about £15,250.

    Olympic Games

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what has been the cost to public funds of the Olympic attaché in Moscow; what staff he has had available to him; and what those staff are doing now.

    In accordance with previously agreed arrangements the Olympic attaché, a first secretary at the embassy at Moscow, took up his full-time duties as Olympic attaché on 25 February at the end of a normal two-year tour of duty in the Moscow Embassy chancery. Until then he had combined his Olympic Games responsibilities with those of his original chancery function at no additional cost to Her Majesty's Government. On 6 March I informed the British Olympic Association that he would be withdrawn. He will leave Moscow on 3 April. The additional cost to public funds of the Olympic attaché will be about £1,300. No additional support staff have been engaged.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the cost to public funds of the elections in Southern Rhodesia.

    Mr. Luce