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Written Answers

Volume 982: debated on Monday 31 March 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 31 March 1980

Education And Science

Hester Adrian Research Centre

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has had from Professor Peter Mittler of the Hester Adrian research centre further to their meeting on 3 March; what reply he has sent or will be sending with regard to the assurance asked for; and if he will make a statement.

Professor Mittler wrote to my right hon. and learned Friend on 17 March seeking an assurance that the Government had not changed their policy on special education since their meeting on 3 March and he is replying to Professor Mittler reassuring him on that point. As allowed for in their expenditure plans—Cmnd. 7841—the Government's policy is to maintain expenditure on special education at broadly its current level.

Ethnic Minority Children

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science on what basis he estimates that the completion of the work of the committee of inquiry into the education of children from ethnic minority groups will save £12,000 per annum.

Expenditure incurred by the committee in carrying out its work—including the travel and subsistence costs of members—is estimated to be £12,000 for each of the financial years 1979–80 to 1982–83. On submission of the committee's main report this expenditure will cease.

Academically-Able Children

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science in which local education authority areas the needs of academically-able children are not fully provided for by the local authority and voluntary aided schools.

It would be misleading and unfair to local education authorities to attempt to categorise their areas in these terms.


Manpower Services Commission (Job Creation)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what powers the Manpower Services Commission exercises in relation to the creation of permanent jobs either via the Special Programmes Division or the Disablement Resettlement Service or in other ways.

The Manpower Services Commission does not have powers to create permanent jobs, but, under the special programme it operates for the unemployed, provides work experience and training opportunities for unemployed young people and temporary jobs for the long-term unemployed. In addition, as agent of the Secretary of State for Employment, the MSC makes capital and revenue funds available under the Disabled Persons Employment Acts, 1944 and 1958 for the provision of sheltered employment in Remploy factories and in sheltered workshops and sheltered industrial groups run by local authorities and voluntary bodies. The employment and training services operated by the commission can also assist the Government's economic, industrial and regional policies, but while they help people into permanent employment they cannot of themselves create jobs.

Grunwick Strike Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received asking him to launch an investigation into the alleged misuse of the "Grunwick" strike fund.

As my hon. Friend is aware, some hon. Members have shown interest in this subject; I am not, however, aware of any such representations having as yet been directed to my Department by any member of the public.

Employment Transfer And Job Search Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to increase the grants and allowances which are available under the employment transfer scheme and the job search scheme.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the grants and allowances available under the employment transfer and job search

Grant or allowancePresent rateRate from 1 April 1980
CONTINUING LIABILITY ALLOWANCE£17 per week (maximum)£20 per week (maximum)
DISTURBANCE ALLOWANCE (payable to workers without dependants who transfer from Special Development Areas to areas of lower assisted status or to non-assisted areas):
First 3 months£14 per week£17 per week
Subsequent 9 months£7 per week£8·50 per week
RETENTION OF LODGINGS ALLOWANCE£7 per week£8·50 per week
TRANSFER GRANT (for workers with dependants, and workers without dependants who owned or rented unfurnished property in their home areas, who move to unfurnished property in the new area):
(i) Ex-TOPS Trainee rate (for workers who have completed a course of training under the Training Opportunities Scheme)£800£900
(ii) Enhanced rate (for workers moving from Special Development and Development Areas to Areas of lower or non-assisted status; for workers from Special Development and Development Areas who are ex-textile and clothing industry workers or who are eligible under the Skill Shortage Mobility Experiment)£575£700
(iii) Basic rate (for workers not entitled to the enhanced rate or ex-TOPS rate)£175£200
LEGAL EXPENSES GRANT (¾ of the total of estate agent's fees and legal etc. expenses up to a maximum of):
(i)Sale£300 (maximum)£360 (maximum)
(ii) Purchase£195 (maximum)£235 (maximum)
LODGING ALLOWANCE (paid to those who are looking for work in a new area under the arrangements for a Speculative Temporary Transfer):
First night£5·75£6·50
Subsequent nights£4·00£5·00

Youth Employment (Wythenshawe)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current youth employment rate at local employment offices serving the Wythenshawe constitutency of Manchester.

The information asked for is not available. Information on the age of those in employment is available from the biennial labour force survey at the national and regional level, but not for smaller areas.

Training Opportunities Scheme (Hammersmith And Fulham)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many places he estimates will be lost on the preparatory

schemes are to be increased from 1 April 1980. Each grant and allowance is subject to a number of entitlement conditions. Details of these conditions can be obtained from jobcentres and employment offices. The increased grants and allowances are as follows:

training opportunities scheme in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham as a result of the cuts imposed by his Department.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it does not expect that the cuts in expenditure will lead to any reduction in the provision of TOPS preparatory courses in this area.

Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers (Safety Measures)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what studies are being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive as regards the safety of liquefied natural gas tankers discharging at British ports; whether steps are being taken to ensure that no liquefied natural gas tanker of the kind recently found to have developed design faults is allowed to discharge at any British port or to be brought to Canvey Island for testing; and what instructions have been issued to ensure that no risks are taken by allowing such vessels into British coastal waters.

I am consulting my colleagues in the Departments of Transport and Trade who have an interest in the matter and I shall write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Community Industry Programme (Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what study his Department has made of the effect of the community industry programme in helping handicapped and other disadvantaged young people in Manchester; if consideration is being given to increasing the number of places available; and if he will make a statement.

Skillcentre (Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he is taking to ensure that Manchester will secure the proposed new skillcentre at the earliest possible date; and if he will make a statement.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that no decision has yet been taken on the proposed new skillcentre in Mancheser. It accepted in January that the skillcentre network should be rationalised and improved, but is still considering the various proposals relating to existing and proposed centres in the light of consultations with regional and local interests. The commission will take its decisions in April.

Permaflex Limited (Fire And Explosions)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ask the Health and Safety Commission to hold a public inquiry into the fire and explosions at the warehouse of Permaflex Ltd., Longport, Stoke-on-Trent, in view of the widespread public concern and dissatisfaction which continues to be expressed.

Medical Profession (Hay Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make available in the Library a copy of the Hay report, commissioned by the Clegg Commission, on the medical profession.

Work undertaken by consultants for the commission is confidential to the commission. Copies of the commission's report on the professions supplementary to medicine—to which I assume the hon. Member is referring—were placed in the Library of the House on 10 March 1980.

South Crofty Tin Mine (Radon Gas)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the presence of radon gas at South Crofty tin mine, Cornwall, on the investigations that have been carried out and on any interim findings and recommendations.

[pursuant to his reply, 27 March 1980, c. 532]: The Mines and Quarries Inspectorate is aware of the problem of concentrations of radon and its daughter products at South Crofty tin mine and has advised the mine management and workpeople on steps to reduce the concentrations. Much work has been done to improve the situation in the mine.Between 20 and 24 March 1980 a joint survey by the South Crofty mine ventilation officer and specialists from the Camborne School of Mines showed that about one-third of the measurements taken gave indications of levels which, if maintained throughout the year, would moderately exceed the upper exposure level recommended by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) of 4 WLM—working level months—per year. The current Euratom directive on radiological protection specifies an upper exposure level equivalent to 40 WLM per year; this directive is under review. The Health and Safety Executive has recommended that the exposure levels should be kept as low as practicable and should not exceed those recommended by the NRPB (4 WLM per year). Work to improve the ventilation at the mine is proceeding to achieve this end.

Overseas Development

Developing World (Private Sector Investment)


asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will estimate the value of British private sector investment in the developing world at 31 December 1978.

The latest available information is for 1974, when the book value of British net direct investment in developing countries was around £2,400 million. This excludes investments in oil, insurance and banking for which figures are not available. Figures for 1978 should be available later this year.

Brandt Commission Report


asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish a Green Paper indicating the general response of the Government to the Brandt Commission report and invite comment from interested bodies.

The Brandt Commission was an independent body which presented its report to the United Nations Secretary-General. We should wish to complete our study of the report before deciding what response we should make. But we have already given our preliminary views both here and in another place.


asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps he proposes to take, in conjunction with his European Economic Community colleagues, to implement recommendations of the Brandt Commission regarding overseas aid.

We have yet to form any final view. Within the Community substantial and increasing contributions to help developing countries are being made through the European development fund and the other Community aid programmes. Our economic circumstances preclude the possibility of an early increase in our aid programme.


asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will take an initiative, together with the other European Economic Community countries and the Commonwealth, to implement recommendations of the Brandt Commission report.

We should wish to complete our study of the report before deciding what response we should make. We shall undoubtedly be discussing the report in the course of our normal exchanges with our Community and Commonwealth partners.

Multilateral Agencies


asked the Lord Privy Seal what proportion of overseas aid will be allocated to multilateral agencies and to continuing capital development projects, respectively, for 1980–81 and 1981–82.

Provision for multilateral aid in the Supply Estimates for 1980–81 amounts to just over 27 per cent. of the gross aid programme, but the eventual proportion could be somewhat higher. Because of inherited commitments the share in 1981–82 is likely to increase. Bilateral aid including continuing capital development projects will absorb a smaller share than at present.

Kwa Zulu


asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make assistance available to Kwa Zulu, in particular for educational purposes.

Last November we began a small programme of educational assistance to black South Africans in general, including people from Kwa Zulu. Officials are currently considering detailed proposals for the 1980–81 programme which will be directed mainly at English language, mathematics and community development training.

University Of Juba

asked the Lord Privy Seal why the European development fund is delaying seven million European units of account for the permanent site of the university of Juba, following its first agreement in principle in 1977.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Lambeth, Central (Mr. Tilley) on 28 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 692.]



asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement regarding future aid to Zambia.

As my hon. Friend said in reply to the hon. Gentleman's question of 13 February—[Vol. 978, c. 1528–29]—a £10 million agricultural project loan to Zambia was signed on 24 January. Other substantial aid to Zambia pledged in the past has still to be spent. My hon. Friend has no further statement to make at present.

Christian Aid

asked the Lord Privy Seal what grants his Department makes to Christian Aid; and for what purposes.

£200.000 was allocated to Christian Aid under the joint funding scheme in the year 1979–80, for grants towards the cost of specified development projects in developing countries, principally in the fields of health, agriculture and non-formal education.


asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussions he has had with the Turkish Government regarding financial and other assistance.

We have been in close touch with the Turkish Government in recent weeks about Turkey's economic situation. The main international effort to help Turkey is being coordinated in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose pledging meeting in Paris on 26 March adjourned to 15 April.The British Government are ready to take part in this international effort by providing a further programme aid loan in addition to the £15 million loan agreed in 1979, by participating in further negotiations for the rescheduling of Turkey's official debts and by discussing with our Community partners what further assistance the European Community might give.

Small Claims Courts

asked the Attorney General how many cases were brought in small claims courts in 1979; what was the approximate average charge made by the court; whether any estimate can be made of the court charge as a proportion of the sum recovered; and whether he is satisfied with the working of these courts and with the present limit of their jurisdiction.

In 1978, the latest year for which figures are available, 1,692,211 proceedings were commenced in the county courts, of which 11,842 resulted in judgments following arbitration before a registrar—which is often called the small claims court.A fee is taken on the issue of a county court summons based on the amount claimed; the current fee is 10p for every £1 claimed, subject to a minimum of £2·50 and a maximum of £24. The approximate average fee taken in 1978 was £9·50. No estimate can be given of the average charge made by the court as a proportion of the sum recovered.Following the National Consumer Council report "Simple Justice", proposals are currently under consideration for further improvement and extension of the arrangements for arbitration in county courts.

Law Of Contempt

asked the Attorney-General if he plans to publish a White Paper outlining the Government's proposals to reform the law of contempt of court.

The Lord Chancellor intends to announce the Government's proposals in another place in the near future.


Footwear Industry


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that, in the operation of the retail commitment for the footwear industry, the obligations given to the Price Commission have been met.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in the light of the report on the operation of the retail commitment for the footwear industry, he is satisfied that the obligations given to the Price Commission have been met.

The Price Commission is not responsible for monitoring the retail commitment. Following the Commission's report in 1978, certain footwear distributors gave assurances to the previous Secretary of State that they would adhere to the Retail Commitment and that they would support the establishment of machinery to monitor compliance with that Commitment. The Footwear Industry Economic Development Committee plays an active part in supervising the Commitment.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action is proposed by his Department to increase the prospects for free and fair trading in footwear.

I am very much aware of the difficulties facing the footwear industry in competing for export markets. My Department is continually working, both bilaterally and through the EEC Commission, to seek a reduction in the barriers to our exports. My right hon. Friend raised the issue during his recent visit to South Korea and will continue to do so as opportunity arises.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report details of applications made in the last six months by the British footwear manufacturing industry for the imposition of anti-dumping duties; and what were the results of each application.

There have been no applications from the British footwear manufacturing industry for the imposition of anti-dumping duties during the past six months.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list in the Official Report the countries which exercise restraints on the imports of footwear and house footwear.

Virtually all countries outside the European Community and EFTA maintain tariffs on imports of footwear and many impose quantitative restrictions as well. On the other hand, over a quarter of our footwear imports are subject to some form of restraint.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what effect any United Kingdom Government or European Economic Community representations have had on the restrictions imposed on the import of footwear into Canada; and what restrictions now exist.

We believe that the representations made by the European Community influenced the Canadian Government to grant some concessionary access for certain specialised types of footwear. The Canadian global footwear quota is administered on a non-discriminatory basis at 32·5 million pairs per year and is due to expire at the end of November 1980.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take action to strengthen the trading prospects of the United Kingdom footwear industry.

I press continuously, both bilaterally and through the EEC Commission, for the reduction of barriers against United Kingdom exports of footwear. There are a number of restrictions on imports from low-cost sources.

Car Tyres (Dumping)


asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to receive the report of the European Commission into the dumping of cross-ply and fabric-braced radial car tyres on the European Economic Community market.

I understand that the Commission is in the final stages of its work and expects to announce the outcome shortly.

European Community (Trade Commissioner)


asked the Secretary of State for Trade when next he intends to meet the European Economic Community Trade Commissioner.

My right hon. Friend or I normally meet the Commissioner responsible for external affairs, including trade, at meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council. The next meeting of this Council will be on 21–22 April and either my right hon. Friend or I expect to attend if trade matters are on the agenda.

Raw Material Imports


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what raw materials, excluding food, the United Kingdom imports from other members of the European Economic Community; and what per centage these form of total raw material imports, excluding food.

Imports consigned from the Community accounted for 17 per cent. of total imports of raw materials in 1979. With permission I will circulate the remaining information in the Official Report. The raw materials of which the highest proportion of our imports come from other members of the European Community are animal and vegetable oils and fats, crude and processed, other crude vegetable and animal materials and synthetic rubber.

The following is the remaining information:


SITC (R2) Division and Description

Percentage of Value (cif) of Total UK Imports

26 Textile fibres not made into yarn or fabric23·8
29 Crude vegetable and animal materials nes48·4
27 Crude fertilisers and crude minerals29·0
28 Metalliferous ores and metal scrap10·5
23 Crude rubber (mainly synthetic43·1
42 Fixed vegetable oils and fats27·1
21 Raw hides, skins and fur-skins21·9
41 Animal oils and fats42·4
43 Processed animal and vegetable oils and fats52·4
24 Wood and Cork2·9
22 Oil seeds and oleaginous fruit4·8
25 Pulp and waste paper2·1

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom, SITR(R2) Sections 2 and 4 (raw materials other than fuels, food, beverages and tobacco).

Manufactured Goods


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give his estimate of the growth of exports of manufactured goods as compared with the import of such goods in the coming year.

Carpets (Imports)


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his policy on future quotas in respect of American carpet imports.

The EEC Commission rejected our application for a quota but recognises the need for safeguard action should present import trends continue and cause damage to our industry. I shall continue to monitor the situation very closely in the light of this undertaking.



asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he plans to make a further statement on metrication.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he plans to make a further statement on metrication.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend, the Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate) on 14 November 1979.

European Community


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the latest estimate of the likely trade deficit with the European Economic Community in manufactured goods and other goods and services, respectively, for 1979–80 and 1980–81.

Official forecasts of this kind are not available. The latest available data show crude deficits on our trade with the Community in 1979 of £2·7 billion for manufactures and £0·3 billion for other goods, and a balance of payments deficit for services, which includes substantial Government military expenditure overseas, of £0·1 billion in 1978.

Tariff Barriers


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in the light of the Brandt Commission report, he will review tariff and other trade barriers against developing countries.

The Government are examining the report of the Brandt Commission with great care but have reached no conclusions upon it. General reductions in barriers to trade and special and favourable treatment for developing countries were agreed in the recent multilateral trade negotiations and a review of the longer term structure of the European Community's generalised system of preferences after 1980 is already under way.

Export Credit (Interest Rates)


asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the working of the international consensus on interest rates for export credit.

There is room for improvement but I am satisfied that the consensus is performing a valuable function in limiting self-defeating and wasteful competition over credit terms in international trade.

Manufacturing Competition


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what evidence he has that British manufacturers are being subjected to unfair competition from their foreign competitors, both in the domestic and export markets.

I am very ready to take up cases where evidence of unfair trading practices can be produced.

Insurance Companies


asked the Secretary of State for Trade it he has any plans to meet representatives of the insurance companies in the near future.

Price Inflation


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the current level of price inflation.

The retail price index increased by 19·1 per cent. in the 12 months to February.

European Commission (Anti-Dumping Measures)


asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that the meaures so far taken by the Commission of the European Communities adequately protect British industries from foreign dumping.

Yes. My right hon. Friend and I visited Brussels last year to impress on Commission officials the importance we attach to the efficient opera- tion of anti-dumping procedures. We were given evidence that the Commission are very conscious of the need to defend a Community industry quickly and effectively where anti-dumping or countervailing action is justified, and we received assurances that they would continue to do so.My Department retains an anti-dumping unit to advise and help United Kingdom industry in the preparation of its cases, and I have also issued a booklet to given guidance to British industry on the procedures to be followed in putting up cases.

Vehicles (Imports)


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what were the volumes of imports from Comecon countries in 1970 and 1979 of the following types of vehicles (a) passenger cars and estates, (b) four wheel drive vehicles and (c) commercial vehicles.

The available information is as follows:

1970 1979
Passenger cars (including station wagons and estate cars) (1)2,85845,292
Commercial vehicles (2)3742,077

Source: UK Overseas Trade Statistics ((1) SITC(R1) Sub-groups 732.1 and.6 and (2) 732.2 to.5 and 732.7 and corresponding headings under SITC(R2))

Note: Four wheel drive vehicles cannot be separately distinguished within the overall figures above

Municipal Airports


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has about the profitability or otherwise of municipal airports; and if he will place in the Library details of the accounts of each which are available to him.

I refer my hon. Friend to the publication of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy entitled "Accounts and Statistics of Local Authority Airports 1978/79 and 1979/80 (estimated)" a copy of which is in the Library.

Man-Made Fibres And Carpets

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what bulk chemicals are used in the manufacture of man-made fibres; and to what extent these chemicals are on offer from the United States of America at a landed price, including duty, which is less than the price at which the same chemicals are available in the United States of America.

The chief bulk chemicals used in man-made fibre manufacture are:

  • Nylon 6—Caprollactam,
  • Nylon 66—Cyclohexane, Ammonia, Hydrogen,
  • Polyester—Ethylene Glycol, Terephthalic Acid,
  • Acrylic—Acrylonitrile.
Information on relative prices in the United States and the United Kingdom markets is not readily available.

Sperm Whale Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how much sperm whale oil, by weight and by declared

£ thousand (cif)
Complete raw furskins of sea-lions, fur seals and other seals670470277192
Tanned or dressed furskins (including plates, crosses, etc.)781554365432

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom (ex SITC Group 212.0 and 613.0).

Petrol Stations (Tenancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will refer to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission the practice of certain major oil companies in terminating, or threatening to terminate, tenancies of petrol stations in order that they can run these stations as company-owned and managed operations.

Monopoly references are normally made by the Director General of Fair Trading. The 1979 report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission considered the effects of company ownership of retail sites and concluded that the 1977 level of company-owned sites, whether directly managed, tenanted, or licensed, did not operate against the public interest and that there was no specific evidence that managed outlets were used aggressively or unfairly in local competition. As the Commission suggested, the Director General is keeping

value, was imported in 1977 and 1978; and what were the countries of origin of this oil in each of these years.

Details of imports of sperm oil in these years were given to my hon. Friend on 14 June in my reply to two previous questions on this subject [Official Report, Vol. 968, c. 297.] The countries of origin of imports of 50 tonnes or more of oil in 1977 were Australia, the Netherlands and Norway and in 1978 Australia and Norway.

Seal Skins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total value of seal skins imported to the United Kingdom in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures in each of the previous five years.

Information is available only from 1976 onwards and is as follows:the level of company ownership under review. In the light of this review the Director General will decide whether or not a further reference is justified.

Building Societies (Price Fixing)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will refer the common price fixing agreements of building societies to the Monopolies Commission.

No. References to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission are normally made by the Director General of Fair Trading. I understand that he has no current plans to make a reference of the building societies' agreement on interest rates.

Seal Skins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action his Department is proposing to take with regard to banning the import of products from the culling of baby seals.

None. An import ban would be inappropriate but consumers should be given the opportunity of deciding for themselves whether or not to purchase goods made from seal skin. As a result of the deep and widespread concern within Parliament, which has been endorsed by the volume of letters received by my Department on the subject of baby seals, I and my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade have decided that consumers do need this information.I intend, subject to the necessary statutory consultation and notices, to use my powers under sections 8 and 9 of the Trade Descriptions Act to require all such goods offered for sale to indicate that they are made from seal skin and where the skins come from. I propose to publish a draft order, and as a matter or urgency to

28R (westerly)28L (westerly)10R (easterly)10L (easterly)
Departing aircraft
Boeing 70778,10062,800246,300387,600
Boeing 73710,1008,60019,00030,000
A300 Airbus4,0003,7004,9003,900
Boeing 757 and 7674,5004,0005,5004,250
Landing aircraft
Boeing 707116,600127,2005,60031,700
Boeing 73717,00012,5009003,750
A300 Airbus9,0006,4005002,200
Boeing 757 and 7678,0004,8004501,900

Anti-Pollution Measures

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what measures he intends to propose to the Council of Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation to ensure the more effective enforcement of both anti-pollution and supply measures agreed by the organisation and accepted by member countries.

The ratification, implementation and enforcement of the various marine safety and pollution prevention conventions developed under the auspices of IMCO are primarily matters for individual governments. We shall continue to do what we reasonably can nationally to secure early and effective implementation of those conventions and, both

commence the consultations with interested parties which the Act requires. The order will also extend to advertisements and to sales promotion literature.

Aircraft Noise (Heathrow)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his Department's estimate of the number of people living within the 95 PNdB noise contours around Heathrow in respect of the following aircraft: Concorde, Boeing 707, Boeing 737, Tristar, A300 Airbus, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767.

The following table shows the estimated populations living within the 95 PNdB contours around Heathrow for six of these aircraft. I regret that similar information in respect of Concorde is not available.inside and outside INCO, to urge others to do likewise.

Hotel And Catering Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the operation of the Price Marketing (Food and Drink on the Premises) Order 1979; and if he will seek to discuss the matter with representatives of the hotel and catering industry at an early date.

I have received very few complaints about the order. I shall, of course, be glad to arrange for my officials to discuss with representatives of the hotel and catering industry any problems arising from the operation of the order.

Romanian Suits

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Keighley of 25 March, if he is satisfied that the EEC-Romania bilateral agreement provides adequate protection against the import of cheap suits which are priced at a level which fails to cover the cost of materials for United Kingdom manufacturers.

The price clause in the EEC-Romania bilateral agreement provides an important supplement to the normal anti-dumping procedures in guarding against uneconomically priced imports.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress has been made in investigating the complaint by the United Kingdom clothing industry lodged under the price clause of the Romanian multi-fibre arrangement agreement.

The European Commission is still considering the evidence presented by the United Kingdom and other member States.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total value of trade between the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the 12 months ended February 1980.

Textile Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many employees of his Department ensure that import quotas of textile goods are complied with; and how many prosecutions have been undertaken during 1979 and in the current year to the most recent practicable date for breaches of quotas.

Of the 75 staff referred to in the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister for Consumer Affairs gave the hon. Member on 25 March [Vol. 981, c. 542], 66 are concerned with import licensing in respect of textile quotas. No prosecutions in relation to breaches of quotas have been undertaken by my Department during the period in question. Where offences in relation to importing occur, any question of prosecution would be a matter for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps to prevent the United Kingdom clothing and textile industries from being disrupted by imports from countries which do no allow the United Kingdom open markets; and if he will make a statement.

Some developing countries maintain restrictions on trade for legitimate balance of payments and other reasons, and these restrictions are sanctioned under the GATT. But we are continually seeking, both bilaterally and through the European Community, to persuade the more advanced developing countries to reduce their barriers. Imports of clothing and textiles from these countries into the United Kingdom are already subject to strict controls under the multifibre arrangement.

Manufactured Goods

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the amount of finished manufactures imported in each month since June 1979; and what is the amount exported of finished manufactures each month since June 1979.

The information requested up to January 1980 is available in tables C1 and B1 of the February issue of the Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics, a copy of which is in the Library. Corresponding figures for February 1980 are imports £1,643 million and exports £1,814 million.

Multi-Fibre Arrangement

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will list in the Official Report the number of new multi-fibre arrangement quotas negotiated in 1979; how many of these quotas were triggered in 1978; and if he will give full details of these; how many of these new quotas exceed the trigger level; if he will give full details of these; and if he will make a statement on the Government's policy in this matter;(2) why his Department permitted the EEC Commission at the request of third country suppliers to agree an increase in United Kingdom quotas under the multi-fibre arrangement in the following cases (

a) Romania, category 8, original quota 665,000, revised quota 765,000, ( b) Hungary, category 7, original quota 42,000, revised quota 62,000, ( c) Hungary, category 8, original quota 153,000, revised quota 183,000, ( d) German Democratic Republic, category 17, original quota 35,000, revised quota 45,000, ( e) Hong Kong, category 21, original quota 2,945,000, revised quota 4,696,000, ( f) South Korea, category 4, original quota 1,705,000, revised quota 1,735,000 ( g) Philippines, category 4, original quota 1,608,000, revised quota 1,758,000, ( h) Thailand, category 4, original quota 2,397,000, revised quota 2,557,000; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if the EEC Commission is able to seek to negotiate reductions in quotas under the multi-fibre arrangement and, if so, if he will urge this action when next discussing the multi-fibre arrangement at a Council of Ministers meeting.

This would not be practicable and would be contrary to the Community's international obligations.

Current Cost Accounting

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the new standard on current cost accounting.

Her Majesty's Government have followed with close attention the work in the inflation accounting steering group under the chairmanship of Mr. D. S. Morpeth and in the accounting standards committee under the chairmanship of Mr. T. R. Watts, which has led to the adoption by the accountancy bodies of a statement of standard accounting practice on current cost accounting.We warmly welcome this standard and the progress it represents towards realistic financial reporting. We welcome in particular the fact that the standard will leave companies free to adopt current cost accounting for the statutory accounts prepared under the Companies Acts and will not require the current cost information to be merely supplementary to historical cost accounts.Her Majesty's Government note that SSAP 16 is addressed only to listed companies and large unlisted companies—excluding companies operating in certain specialised fields—and that the accounting standards committee envisages a period in which both current cost and historical cost accounting will be used by companies in a variety of modes. Her Majesty's Government also note the ASC's intention to issue guidance notes for small firms to adopt the standard on a voluntary basis, and endorse the encouragement thus to be given to such businesses to avail themselves of the advantages of CCA.Whilst recognising the need for a familiarisation period, the Government hope that this need not be unduly protracted and that, meanwhile, users of accounts will make the fullest use of current cost information in their decisions and in assessing company performance. The Government are pleased to note that arrangements are being made by the accounting standards committee to monitor progress and prepare for further developments in the light of experience.The new standard will apply to the accounts of the nationalised industries. The Government's position on the application of the gearing adjustment to the nationalised industries was set out by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary in a reply on 21 December 1979 [Vol. 976, c.

454]. We are pleased to note that the standard reflects this. This should provide the basis for greater consistency in the nationalised industries' accounts.

Inflation also raises serious problems for the taxation of business profits. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget Statement that the Government will be publishing a Green Paper later this year, reporting the results of their general re- view of the present corporation tax provisions. The Chancellor confirmed the Government's undertaking that there will be full consultation before changes are made.

The EEC fourth company law directive would debar companies from preparing their statutory accounts on a current cost accounting basis unless specific provision had been made in national law. As indicated in my consultative document on "Company Accounting and Disclosure" (Cmnd. 7654), I shall include such provision when I bring forward legislation on the fourth directive. Accordingly, as allowed by article 33 of the fourth directive, the Government have now declared to the Commission their intention to legislate to permit current cost accounting methods of valuation in the United Kingdom.

Feedstock Equalisation Tariff

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what consideration he is giving in the light of representations he has received from the British chemical industry for a Common Market feedstock equalisation tariff, particularly in relation to styrene and vinyl acetate, in the light of the United States two-tier gas pricing system; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 28 March 1980, c. 702]: I have received no such representations.


Munn And Dunning Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his intentions towards the reports of the Munn and Dunning committees.

I have today published a paper, "The Munn and Dunning Reports: The Government's Development Programme", setting out my intentions towards the recommendations of the two committees. Copies have been placed in the Library.My paper outlines a programme of development work to establish the requirements of a revised curriculum and assessment system. The programme will begin immediately and will take a minimum of three years to complete. The results obtained should enable me to reach a decision in 1983 on whether to introduce new syllabus and assessment arrangements in certain subjects from 1984, leading to corresponding awards at foundation, general and credit levels in a national certificate from 1986. That decision will, of course, need to take account also of the public expenditure and other circumstances then prevailing.The programme reflects important principles. First, I consider it vital that all pupils should have the opportunity to realise their full potential. Differentiation into three syllabus levels, namely, foundation, general and credit, is, in my view, the best way to achieve this, but the programme will need to pay particular heed to establishing links between adjacent levels.Secondly, I consider that all pupils should be given worthwhile goals. Thus the programme will aim to elucidate some of the different issues involved in establishing assessment and certification arrangements which will enable pupils of all levels of ability to receive an appropriate level of award in a national certificate.Thirdly, I regard it as vital that the standards of the national examination system should not be compromised by any changes which may come to be made. The development programme will, accordingly, proceed on the basis that, at foundation level, syllabuses and assessment will contain both internal and external elements but that at the general and credit levels syllabuses and assessment will be mainly external in accordance with current O-grade practice. I do not consider that a move towards significant internal elements at the credit and general levels can be justified in terms of either the potential educational benefits or the need to maintain standards.Fourthly, new syllabuses and assessment arrangements cannot be developed outside the context of an agreed framework for the curriculum. I consider that the eight modes of study proposed by the Munn committee provide such a framework. I do not intend to stipulate a precise pattern for the curriculum which individual schools should adopt; it will be for education authorities and schools to establish the curriculum which, though based on the eight modes of study, best suits their particular circumstances and the needs of their pupils. The Government consider it essential that all pupils in the later stages of compulsory education should study English, mathematics and science.My Department will take the lead in the development work but will work in close consultation with local authorities, the Consultative Committee on the Curriculum and the Scottish Certificate of Education Examination Board. Other educational bodies and parents have a right to be kept in touch with what is happening and my Department will therefore publish progress reports from time to time. I shall undertake consultations where appropriate during the course of the programme, and the conclusions reached as a result of it will also be the subject of consultation prior to my taking the decisions on subsequent implementation.

Rate Support Grant (Revenue Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the percentage increase in relevant revenue expenditure in Scotland for rate support calculations, for each of the years from 1975–76, to the estimates for 1980–81, including increases due to price changes.

Building (Prescribed Fees) Regulations

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he intends to propose a statutory instrument for Scotland similar to the Building (Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1980 (S.I., 1980, No. 286), which was laid before Parliament on 11 March; and what discussions he will have with interested parties before instigating the procedure.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him on 28 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 706.]

Art Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will rectify the anomaly whereby English art students can begin training as art teachers at 16 years of age with a foundation course, whereas the Scottish students cannot begin training as art teachers until they are 17 years of age.

Arrangements for education in art and design differ in England and Scotland as they do for other subjects. In England, entry to a first degree course in art and design is normally after successful completion of a one-year foundation course. In Scotland, there is no tradition of foundation courses and entry to first degree or diploma courses is normally made direct from school with higher-grade qualifications. Entry requirements to these courses are primarily the responsibility of the institutions concerned.

Civil Service

Senior Civil Servants (Industrial Appointments)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many civil servants of senior rank have left their employment since 3 May 1979 to take up jobs in industry in an area of activity covered by those Departments.

My Department has no information about jobs actually taken up by former civil servants. Applications for the Government's assent to take up jobs are received in accordance with the business appointments rules. Since 3 May 1979, four such applications have been considered and approved from serving or retired members of the Home Civil Service of the rank of under-secretary and above to take up jobs in industry in an area of activity covered by the Departments in which they served.


asked the Minister for the Civil Service if it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to ensure that Government Departments purchase computers made by British manufacturers wherever possible; and what is defined as a British manufacturer in this context.

There has been no change in Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the purchase of computers for Government Departments. This was fully set out by my predecessor on 27 July 1977.—[Vol. 936, c. 227.] Neither in acquiring large computers by single tender from ICL nor in seeking to include a system manufactured in the United Kingdom among competitive tenders is it necessary to define a British manufacturer. This policy is under review in the light of the EEC and GATT rules which will apply from next year.

Home Department

Prisoners (Compassionate Leave And Release)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions within the last period for which figures are available a prisoner has been granted (a) compassionate leave or (b) early release on compassionate grounds by him or his predecessors; and on how many occasions such leave or release has been refused.

Between 1 January 1970 and 31 December 1979, 58 prisoners were granted early release on compassionate grounds by the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. None of the other information requested is available.

Embassies And Consulates (Security)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the security of embassies and consulates in London, in the light of the recent bomb attack at the Italian Consulate.

Arrangements for the protection of diplomatic premises in London are an operational matter for the Commissioner, and it is not the practice to disclose details. I understand that the Italian Ambassador is satisfied that proper protection is being given to Italian diplomatic premises.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of the instructions to immigration officers in respect of non-professional seamen; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave to questions the hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell) on 18 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 117–20.]

Prison System

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on his plans for a revision of the prison system; and to what extent he estimates such plans will increase or reduce Government expenditure.

I intend to announce my decisions on a number of issues arising from the report of the May committee after Easter. Those decisions will be taken in the context of the Government's general policy on public expenditure.

Suspected Persons (Arrests)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the replies I gave to questions by the Oldham, West on 17 March, if he will ascertain from the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis why it would be disproportionately costly to provide the information on arrests under the "sus" laws.

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that information concerning arrests followed by no further action is not collected centrally in the Metropolitan police district and to obtain it would require an extensive manual examination of the entries in a large number of registers held at individual police stations. Such a procedure would be extremely costly, and as some entries may not be sufficiently detailed any resultant statistics could be unreliable.

Republic Of Ireland Citizens

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the voting rights in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of citizens of the Republic of Ireland; and how they compare with the voting rights of United Kingdom citizens in the Republic of Ireland.

Citizens of the Irish Republic who are registered for electoral purposes in the United Kingdom may vote at Westminster and European Parliament elections throughout the United Kingdom, but at local elections in Great Britain only.I understand that United Kingdom citizens who are registered for electoral purposes in the Irish Republic may vote at local elections and at elections of Irish representatives to the European Parliament, but not at elections to the Dail.

Voluntary Services Unit (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the grants paid by the voluntary services unit to voluntary organisations in 1979–80, and the estimates for 1980–81.

The following grants were agreed in 1979–80:

Grant Applications Agreed by the Voluntary Services Unit 1979–80
Action Resource Centre20,000
Association of Researchers into Voluntary Action and Community Involvement (ARVAC)717
British Association for Counselling12,000
British Association of Settlements24,000
British Council of Churches (Community Work Resource Unit)6,042
Brixton Neighbourhood Community Association43,552
Community Projects Foundation478,089
Community Service Volunteers327,000
Community Transport29,825
Design Resource Association15,000
Aide a Toute Detresse42,326
Cambridge House and Talbot27,871
Camden Family Service Unit14,230
Croydon Gingerbread13,404
Defoe Day Centre42,669
Liverpool Personal Service Society14,180
London Voluntary Service Council39,768
Institute of Community Studies14,050
Fair Play for Children29,100
Federation of Community Work Training Groups1,000
Gamblers Anonymous500
Girls Alone in London Service (GALS)13,020
Govan Resource Centre46,834
Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Service (Development Officer)7,700
International Voluntary Service19,784
International Year of the Child32,000
London Voluntary Services Council (Resource Centre)59,521
Melting Pot Foundation26,000
Merseyside Council for Voluntary Service (Development Officer)7,700
Midland Public Service Announcement Scheme6,000
National Association for Asian Youth28,400
National Association of Victims Support Schemes5,000
National Council of Social Service:
Community Development Officers38,847
Festival Welfare Service10,506
Management Services4,000
London Voluntary Service Council2,192
Campaign Books3,400

International Council of Social Welfare2,500
National Playing Fields Association50,000
National Youth Bureau:
National Association of Young People's Counselling and Advisory Services12,678
Young Volunteer Resource Unit66,375
Voluntary Service Opportunities Register5,765
Newham Community Renewal Programme31,500
Newham Homeless Young People's Project15,000
North Kensington Amenity Trust6,000
North Association for Community Care (Bendrigg Lodge)29,000
Onward Industries50,600
Princedale Trust (Release)37,500
Piccadilly Project10,000
Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation9,000
Runnymede Trust8,750
Scoutreach Nottingham3,500
South Wales Anti-Poverty Action Committee (Resource Centre)68,750
Southampton Community Service Council—Public Service Announcement Scheme1,000
Stockport Council of Voluntary Service—Volunteers Job shop1,500
Student Community Action Resources Programme14,000
Task Force59,206
Time for God2,000
Volunteer Centre317,513
Media Project (Volunteer Centre)29,056
Wales Playing Fields Association8,500
West End Co-Ordinated Voluntary Services68,558

Note: Responsibility for the grant to the British Council for Aid to Refugees, which in 1978–79 received £342,918 from the voluntary services unit, has now been transferred to another administrative division.

Not all the estimates for the organisations in this list to which the voluntary services unit will be paying grant in 1980–81 have yet been finalised. The best provisional estimate that can be made for the total of these grants is some £2.9 million.

European Community Budget

asked the Prime Minister if she will undertake to resolve on its own 28,400 merits the United Kingdom's long-term 5,000 and short-term budget deficit problem with the European Economic Community without reference to, and in advance of, decisions on other major community issues, such as fish, oil and the common agricultural policy.

I made clear to the House on 20 March that we shall continue to treat major outstanding issues facing the Community on their merits.

asked the Prime Minister if she will undertake to seek the approval of the House for the outcome of Her Majesty's Government's negotiations on the budget deficit problem with the European Economic Community.

The House has already given me its support in my efforts to secure agreement at the next European Council to action which will bring about a substantial, immediate and lasting reduction in the United Kingdom's net contribution to the Community budget. I shall report the outcome of the Council to the House in the usual way.

Hereditary Peerages And Baronetcies

asked the Prime Minister what are her plans regarding recommending to Her Majesty the Queen the conferment of further hereditary peerages and baronetcies on distinguished citizens.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made in the House on 26 November 1979.




asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many options to purchase Concorde are now outstanding.

None. The remaining options held by Iran Air, and by Machimpex on behalf of the Chinese national airline, were cancelled in 1979 and their deposits returned.

Microprocessor Projects

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how long it is taking to process applications relating to microprocessor application projects; and what can be done to speed up the grant of approval for registered Mapcon consultants.

Time taken to process microprocessor application projects varies. Some take four weeks; when the financial and technical appraisals are more complex, the timescale can lengthen. Where a MAPCON consultant has a client in view, his application for registration should not exceed six weeks. If my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind, perhaps he would write to me with the details.

Mr J Lippitt

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are the terms and conditions under which a deputy secretary, J. Lippitt of his Department is now joining the General Electric Company Ltd.: what area of work was covered by Mr. Lippitt; what activity he will be undertaking in the General Electric Company Ltd.; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lippitt was formerly the Deputy Secretary in this Department responsible for industrial and commercial policy. No conditions have been placed on his taking up an appointment as group director for exports at GEC. This reflects the Government's view that Mr. Lippitt can make a greater contribution to the country's interests in his new capacity.

Disused Premises

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much money from European Economic Community funds was paid for the conversion of disused industrial premises for each of the last five years.

No money from European Economic Community funds was paid specifically for the conversion of disused industrial premises, but some industrial projects in respect of which aid from the European regional development fund quota section has been given may have involved the conversion of such premises.


asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much was paid from European Economic Community funds in each of the last five years for the promotion of industrial innovation.

No Community financial aid has been directed specifically towards the promotion of industrial innovation. Community funds are available for such purposes as research and development, demonstration projects in the fields of alternative energy and energy conservation, and support for data processing that in a broad sense may be regarded as contributing to industrial innovation, but it is not possible to distinguish accurately the elements of the aid that contribute directly.


asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will raise at the next meeting of Ministers of Industry the need for each member State to honour to the letter the full meaning of sub-paragraph (f) of article 3 of the Treaty of Rome or the European Economic Community, and report thereon to the House of Commons at the earliest possible date.

The Council of Ministers programme of meetings does not include one for Industry Ministers of the member States. Besides the terms of article 3(f), there are other provisions of the Treaty of Rome, and implementing regulations which established procedures to be followed by member States in respect of the Community's rules of competition. The EEC Commission has the responsibility of ensuring that these procedures are respected.

Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

Rhodesia House (Oustanding Rates)

asked the Lord Privy Seal, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Paddington's question of 21 January, if he will now report on the outcome of consultations with regard to the outstanding rates of £324,000 in respect of Rhodesia House; and when the money will be paid to the City of Westminster council.

Following a meeting on rating questions with the chief executive and other senior officials of the Westminster city council, we have reminded Rhodesian officials and representatives of the incoming Government of the the need to settle the account for arrears of rates on Rhodesia House. I understand that Rhodesian representatives have recently been in touch with the Westminster city council about the outstanding rates.

South African And Chilean Consulates

asked the Lord Privy Seal which cities in Great Britain have consulates representing South Africa and Chile.

South Africa

  • London
  • Glasgow


  • Bristol
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Southampton

Consulates (Dundee)

The following countries have consular offices in Dundee:

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Sweden

Uranium Supplies

asked the Lord Privy Seal if, in the light of the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2145 of 1966, the Security Council Resolution 269 of 1969 and the United Nations Decree No. 1 of 1974, United Nations member States are entitled to seize cargoes of uranium from Namibia en route to Great Britain.

No. The Security Council cannot take decisions that are generally binding on member States or that entitle them to take action which is in the nature of sanctions, unless there has been a determination under article 39 of the United Nations Charter of the existence of a threat to peace, a breach of the peace or an act of aggression. There has been no such decision over Namibia.The United Nations Charter confers upon the General Assembly powers which, with certain exceptions of very limited scope, are recommendatory. Neither it, nor a subordinate body, in this case the Council of Namibia, was competent to take executive or legislative decisions of the kind in question.Successive Governments have maintained, therefore, that these provisions do not oblige member States to refrain from importing uranium from Namibia, nor do they entitle member States to seize cargoes of uranium from Namibia en route to this country or elsewhere.


asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is considering supplying cash or military aid to help the State of Somalia.

Her Majesty's Government are providing economic aid to Somalia and, through the international organisations, have contributed support for the provision of humanitarian aid to Africa, including Somalia.We do not give military aid to Somalia. We are, however, prepared to consider applications from United Kingdom suppliers for the sale of licensable equipment to Somalia according to the standard criteria.

Council Of Ministers

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish in the Official Report, a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.

The usual written forecast of Community business was deposited on Friday 28 March. Heads of State and Government will meet in the European Council in Brussels on a date to be arranged. At present five meetings of the Council of Ministers are scheduled for April.The Finance Council is expected to meet on 21 April to discuss preparations or follow-up to the postponed European Council (depending on the date of its meeting). Ministers are also expected to exchange views on the international economic situation, with particular reference to the meeting of the IMF interim committee on 25 and 26 April.A joint foreign affairs/finance council is expected to meet on 21 April to discuss budgetary priorities and perspectives for the 1981 Community budget.

The Foreign Affairs Council is expected to meet on 21–22 April to discuss preparations or follow-up to the postponed European Council. Foreign Ministers may also discuss the request from the Court of Justice for an additional advocate general; a short list of developers and projects to construct a new council building to meet accommodation needs following enlargement; preparations for a ministerial meeting in the accession negotiations with Spain; arrangements under the EC-Turkey association agreement; Community relations with the Gulf States; preparations for a cooperation council with Egypt; a new commercial agreement with India; preparations for the annual meeting of the EC-ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) Council of Ministers, due to be held in Nairobi in May; preparations for a meeting of EC and Andean Pact Foreign Ministers, also to be held in May; and textile negotiations with Egypt and Bolivia.

The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 21–23 April to continue discussion of the Commission's proposals on the common agricultural policy prices for 1980–81 and economies in the CAP to help balance the markets and streamline expenditure. Discussion is also expected to continue on proposals on policy concerning agricultural structures and the common organisation of the market in sheepmeat and French import controls.

The Environment Council is expected to meet on 29 April for an informal session devoted to general discussion of environmental matters. The main topic will be an evaluation of the Community's environment policy. Ministers may also discuss soil management, energy and the environment, and lead pollution in the environment.

European Assemblies (Delegation Costs)

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what have been the respective costs to the British Government of travel overseas by members of the British delegations to the Council of Europe Assembly, the North Atlantic Treaty Assembly and the Assembly of Western European Union, respectively, for plenary sessions and committee meetings; and what has been the travel cost of attendance by Officers of the House at each of these Assemblies in the most recent year for which figures are available.

Details of the travel and subsistence costs borne on the House of Commons Vote for meetings in the year 1978–79 were as follows:

Council of Europe£63,819
Western European Union£39,776
North Atlantic Assembly£19,097
The cost to the House of Commons Vote for Officers and Officials attending meetings of the three Assemblies during 1978–79 was £6,320.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what has been the acreage used for tomato growing in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years;(2) what was the tonnage of tomatoes imported into the United Kingdom for each of the past five years; what were the principal sources of supply; and what was the comparable production of the local industry in each of these years;(3) what is the total annual consumption of tomatoes in the United Kingdom, and the percentage derived from imports.

Information on the area and the output of the United Kingdom crop, and the tonnage and proportion of imports, appears in table 11 of Cmnd. 7812—'Annual Review of Agriculture 1980'. Total United Kingdom consumption is indicated by the series for 'total new supply'. The principal sources of supply (apart from the Channel Islands) are the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, and the Netherlands.

Council Of Agricultural Ministers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Council of Ministers, Agriculture, meeting in Brussels on 26 and 27 March.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made to the House today.


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many badgers in total have been killed by officials from his Department in pursuance of the policy regarding bovine turberculosis.

I regret this figure cannot be provided, as badger sets are sealed after gassing.

Social Services

Health Authorities (Extension Of Medical Procedures)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the proposal by one outer London area health authority to extend certain complex medical procedures hitherto carried out by trained medical staff, he will consider the need for a national policy, under the control of his Department, rather than leaving such matters to individual area health authorities in the light of the considerable medico-legal complications that such a policy might cause.


asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will study the medico-legal situation which may arise from the introduction of the Medicover service in North London; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether he is satisfied that adequate family medical services can be maintained if an alternative private scheme for domestic consultations, such as the Medicover scheme at present operating in the London area, also operates.

A family doctor is obliged by the National Health Service terms of service to make a home visit when this is necessary because of the patient's condition but he may appoint a deputy to make the visit. This is his choice and responsibility, (subject to the family practitioner committee's consent where a commercial deputising service is used) and he remains responsible for continuity of treatment.The Medicover service, paid for by the patient, cannot be the means through which a general practitioner discharges his obligations under his terms of service without infringement of the requirements as to the acceptance of fees. I know that representatives of family doctors are just as keen as I am to ensure that NHS arrangements are mantained on the basis of continuous personal responsibility of the family doctor for the primary medical care of his patients.

Hyper-Ventilation And Hypnosis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will take steps to prevent the use of hypnosis and other mind bending practices on any person by unqualified practitioners;(2) if he will undertake a study of the dangers to the mental and physical health of persons induced to undertake hyperventilation and hypnosis at meetings of religious cults, such as the Exegesis Programme.

Visits To Doctors (Charges)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what revenue would accrue if visits to National Health Service doctors were charged at the same rate as visits to National Health Service dentists.

It is not possible to assess a charge for visits to a doctor which would be comparable with charges for dental treatment. National Health Service dental charges are made on the basis of the treatment provided and not on the number of visits to a dentist during a course of treatment. There is no charge for a visit consisting only of examination and advice.

Kidney Machines

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current cost of a kidney machine; how many were installed in National Health Service hospitals in each of the last five years; at what cost; and what is his estimate of the shortfall in their number to service current needs.

The capital cost of a kidney machine is between £4,500 and £6,000. Information is not collected centrally on the total number or cost of kidney machines installed in National Health Service hospitals or on the shortfall in their numbers. However the number of patients being treated on kidney machines in NHS hospitals in England for the last five years for which figures are available are as follows:

1974 (30 June)579
1975 (30 June)598
1976 (30 June)619
1977 (30 June)662
1977 (31 December)747
1978 (31 December)847
In 1978, about 20 patients per million population started treatment by dialysis at hospital or home or by transplantation compared with an estimated need of 40 per million.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr, of 13 June 1979, Official Report, columns 247–8, showing how many of the 400 extra kidney machines promised in the Budget Statement of 11 April 1978 for the year 1979 had been made available for patients at the latest convenient date.

As I said in my reply to the hon. Member on 13 June 1979, in 1978–79 authorities spent about half of the additional resources for the expansion of renal services arising from the 1978 budget; resources equivalent to the remainder were set aside in 1979–80 but I do not yet know how much has been spent. Figures for the number of new patients admitted to treatment for chronic renal failure in England in 1979 are not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many deaths occurred in 1979 because of kidney failure; and whether he will make a statement on the availability of kidney machines and personnel to operate them.

The number of deaths from kidney failure in 1979 is not yet known but in 1978 in England 5,858 deaths were attributed to diagnoses commonly leading to kidney failure (ICD 580–584, 590–593) of whom 1,234 were at ages under sixty-five. It is estimated that about 40 new patients per million population need to start treatment (by dialysis or transplant) each year for chronic renal failure. In 1978 in England about 20 new patients per million started treatment.However United Kingdom treatment rates in 1978 for patients up to 45 years of age were in line with Western European rates. It is in the older age groups that the shortfall mainly lies. Very few patients aged 65 and over are at present accepted for treatment and the results are, on average, less good than for younger patients. Renal services cannot be exempted from the general economic situation or from the need to keep within cash limits.Priorities locally are a matter for individual health authorities. The previous Government allocated additional central funds to increase dialysis facilities including the development of minimal care units. We are continuing with these and, together with our measures to improve the supply of kidneys, they should help to improve the situation.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many people are at present using kidney machines in the United Kingdom; if he is satisfied with the number of staff available to operate these machines; and how many new machines will come into operation in the current year;(2) how many people have used kidney machines over the last five years; and how many qualified staff have been trained over the same period for the operating of kidney machines.

The numbers of people using kidney machines in the United Kingdom in the year 1974–1978 (the latest date for which figures are available) were as follows:

1974(31 December)1990
1975(31 December)2234
1976(31 December)2473
1977(31 December)2692
1978(31 December)2893
Information on the total number of new kidney machines which will come into operation in the current year is not collected centrally. On the operation of staffing I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 26 March. [Vol. 981, c.



asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider introducing measures to set health standards and provide minimum standards of qualifications for practising chiropodists.

Minimum conditions of service, including those appropriate to health and safety standards, are prescribed for state registered chiropodists. Chiropodists, including non-state registered chiropodists, are covered by health and safety legislation. Inspectors of the Health and Safety Executive visit their premises in response to requests for advice and to investigate, where appropriate, accidents, complaints and cases of disease which may have been attributable to their work. I see no reason for the introduction of other measures at this time.Chiropodists who practise in the National Health Service must satisfy the requirements of state registration. There is no minimum qualification required for private practice as a chiropodist. A large proportion of those in private practice are state registered and I have had few complaints about the work standards of those who are not so registered. I am, however, considering the case for limiting the title "chiropodist" to those who satisfy required standards of training or experience.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will introduce legislation to restrict the practice of chiropody to people of training and experience who genuinely earn their livelihood as full-time chiropodists; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) on 6 December 1979.—[Vol. 975, c. 313.]

State Retirement Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people of pensionable age do not receive a State retirement pension because they have not contributed to the national insurance scheme; and how much it would cost to provide such a pension to them.

About three-quarter million people who have reached pension age, including married women relying on their husband's entitlement whose husbands are not retired, receive no retirement pension because of deficient contributions records. But it would not be acceptable to pay a full-rate basic pension to these people and not to a further 2½ million receiving reduced rate pensions, because of deficient contributions records, the bulk of whom are married women receiving the lower-rate pension on their husband's contributions.The net cost of paying a full rate pension to all these people, after taking account of some saving on supplementary pensions, would be over billion at November 1979 rates of benefit.

Steel Industry Dispute

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would have been the saving to public funds if the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation had paid strike pay to its members at a rate of (a) £5 per week, (b) £10 per week and (c) £12 per week.

Up to 25 March the estimated saving in supplementary benefit would have been £ ½ million, £1¾ million, and £2¼ million respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest sum of public funds that have been paid (a) to steel strikers and (b) to their dependants since the beginning of the dispute.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost to date to the taxpayer of social security payments to (a) steel strikers and (b) their families during the current dispute.

Up to 25 March, £90,000 and £8,051,000 respectively in supplementary benefit.

Doctors (Warning Notices)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, consequent upon his agreement with the Hospital Doctors' Association to inform doctors concerned regarding "warning notices", he will now inform those doctors who were subject to such notices before 27 September.

There are no doctors who are the subject of a current warning notice issued by the Department.

Heart Operations

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, pursuant to the replies of the Minister of State to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe on 27 February, 6 and 18 March relating to the deferment of heart operations, he will now make a statement on the outcome of the Minister of State's meeting with the chairman of the Commissioners and King's College Hospital clinicians on 20 March.

At a meeting on 20 March 1980 I discussed the position of the cardiac unit at King's College hospital with two of the clinicians directly concerned, the chairman of the commissioners and officers of the RHA, the AHA(T) and the district.It was agreed that the costs of treating patients admitted to the unit had to be contained within the resources made available to the district as a whole. Allocations to the district for 1980–81 and the budget for the cardiac unit will be for the area health authority to determine when it resumes office on 1 April.The regional health authority is preparing guidelines on the scale of provision and developments of regional specialities—cardiac units are one example—and, I understand, will take appropriate account of the costs of such services in the allocations it makes to its Areas.If they so request, I have agreed to discuss the position again with the clinicians later this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update and publish in the same form the information given in answer to the hon. Member for Ormskirk on 31 July 1978 on open heart surgery.

I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member of 18 March. Vol. 981, [c. 140–142.]

Sickness Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will give an assurance that he has no proposal that employers should bear the first six weeks' payment of sickness benefit for any of their employees off work owing to sickness.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) on 17 December 1979.—[Vol. 976, c. 91–92.]

Prescription Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether prescriptions for medicines used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis in persons aged 16 years or more are obtainable without payment.

Sir George Young