Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 16 April 1980
Fazakerley Hospital (Cross-Infection Of New-Born Babies)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of cross-infection of new-born babies have occurred at the maternity unit at Fazakerley hospital in the latest period for which figures are available; and how these compare with other units and hospitals in the region.
I shall let the hon. Member have the information as soon as possible.
Health Service (Restrictive Practices And Bogus Incentive Schemes)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what evidence he based his conclusion as to the existence of bogus incentive schemes and other unsatisfactory working practices, Official Report, 31 March, columns 40 and 46; and what guidance he has given to health authorities to assist them in dealing with these problems.
Report No. 1 of the Standing Commission on pay compara-
|Judicial Separations made in the High Court and County Courts†|
|Year||Marriages||Divorce decrees absolute*||High court||County court||Total|
|† Judicial separations are granted in the High Court under section 17 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. In addition, section 1(1) of Matrimonial Causes Act 1967 allows judicial separations to be heard at county courts where the court concerned is a court of trial.|
bility, which covered NHS ancillary staffs and ambulancemen, suggested that the opportunity should be taken to overhaul inefficient practices designed to boost earnings and to review and prune unsound incentive bonus schemes. There are established procedures for both technical and financial audit of schemes and health authorities are required to correct any defects that come to light. Individual cases of failure to tackle these problems and to secure the necessary savings will be taken up with the appropriate authorities.
Marriage And Divorce Statistics
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will give, for each of the last 20 years, the numbers of (a) divorces, (b) legal separations in magistrates' courts, (c) legal separations in the High Court, (d) marriages, and (e) married couples; and whether he can give any indication of the number of those married couples who were in fact living apart.
The available figures in respect of England and Wales relating to parts (a), (c) and (d) of the question are as follows:
In answer to part ( b) of the question, I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department that detailed statistics relating to the Matrimonial Proceedings (Magistrates' Courts) Act 1960 are not maintained centrally and the cost of obtaining them would be disproportionately high.
In answer to part ( e) of the question, annual estimates are not available of numbers of married couples. The available estimates relate to numbers of married men and women, and include persons whose spouses were residing for a year or more outside England and Wales.
|ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF MARRIED PERSONS|
Information for the years 1973 to 1978 from the general household survey, relating to Great Britain, showed that around 2½ per cent. of married women and 1½ per cent. of married men lived in private households without a spouse being usually resident with them. There are a number of factors contributing to these figures, which cannot be taken to relate solely to broken marriages.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why it took his Department until 2 April to reply to a communication dated 29 February from the hon. Member for Newham, North-West, regarding the general question of the national insurance death grant; what was contained in this communication which necessitated this delay; who had to be approached; whether he will give details of the reasons for the delay; and whether he will take action to expedite replies in the future.
I am sorry that the hon. Member should feel the reply to his letter has been unduly delayed. The Department handles a very large volume of correspondence from hon. Members as well as from the general public. Every letter is given the fullest consideration and our aim is to provide a reply as quickly as possible. The speed of replies is governed as much by the number of letters we receive as by their content.The death grant, the subject of the hon. Member's letter, has attracted a large number of representations which are being dealt with as fast as staff resources allow.
Disabled Persons (Access To The Skies Programme)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice and support he is giving to organisations concerned with the success of the "Access to the Skies" campaign for disabled, chronically sick and elderly persons to travel by air; if he will give an estimate of the number of such persons and their families who might benefit from success in such a campaign; if he will indicate what initiatives he has and will take in this campaign; and if he will make a statement.
The "Access to the Skies" programme is being promoted by Rehabilitation International. Its United Kingdom affiliate, the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) which is grant-aided by the DHSS, is closely involved in the programme.I recently met representatives of organisations for the disabled (including RADAR), the Air Transport Users Committee, United Kingdom carriers and the major commercial aircraft manufacturers, to discuss the needs of disabled people travelling by air. The discussion took account of the "Access to the Skies" campaign. I was pleased to note the interest taken in the needs of the disabled by the representatives of the carriers and manufacturers and I plan to hold a further meeting shortly.I have no way of estimating how many people could benefit from such a campaign.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what was the cost of invalidity benefits for the year 1979–80 or for any last convenient annual period; and what would be the additional yield to the Inland Revenue in 1980–81 if invalidity benefits were assessed as taxable income;(2) how many persons are estimated to have been in receipt of invalidity benefit continuously throughout the year 1979–80 or throughout any last convenient annual period; what is the estimated cost of invalidity benefit for such persons for the year 1979–80, or for the same convenient annual period as previously referred to; and if invalidity benefit were assessed as taxable income during the year 1980–81, what would be the additional yield to the Inland Revenue.
It is estimated that in 1979–80, expenditure on invalidity benefit was of the order of £1,009 million, of which some £650 million went to the 400,000 people estimated to be in receipt of the benefit continuously throughout the year. An estimate of the yield to Inland Revenue in 1980–81 if invalidity benefit was taxable can only be tentative and subject to a wide margin of error, but it would be of the order of £80 million, most of
|PROGRAMME 13: OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES*|
|£ million at 1979 survey prices|
|Parliament and Privy Council||—||—||—||—|
|Economic and financial administration||23||20||20||20|
|Central management of the Civil service||—||—||—||—|
|Records, registrations and surveys||5||10||—||—|
|*All figures have been rounded; 1980–81 to the nearest £1 million; subsequent years to the nearest £10 million; and they do not necessarily sum to the totals.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what provision he has made for expenditure on the Scottish Office Road Safety Unit in the estimates for road and transport published in Cmnd. 7841, public expenditure White Paper.
In Cmnd. 7841 about £36,000 has been provided for salary costs of the Scottish Office Road Safety Unit in 1980–81. There has been no specific allocation of expenditure in subsequent years which would derive from those receiving the benefit for only part of the year.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for how much of the period since invalidity benefit was introduced it has been payable at a different rate from the retirement pension.
Since its introduction in 1971, the rate of invalidity benefit for men whose incapacity began before age 60 (for women age 55) has always been higher than the prevailing standard rate of basic retirement pension.
Public Expenditure White Paper
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give a breakdown for the years 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84 of the heading "other public services" in table 4.1. in Cmnd. 7841, the public expenditure White Paper.
The information requested, set out in the table below, has been prepared in a form consistent with table 2.13 of Cmnd. 7841 which, for the reasons explained in paragraph 6 of part I of the White Paper, contains only broad totals for the years after 1980–81.for the reasons given in paragraph 6 of part I of Cmnd. 7841.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the component of law, order and protective services in table 4.1 of Cmnd. 7841, the public expenditure White Paper, which relates to social work services, for the years 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83 and 1983–84.
As indicated in paragraph 19 of chapter 2.9 and paragraph 15 of chapter 2.11 of Cmnd. 7841, provision for the social work services in Scotland—including probation and after care—is contained in the health and personal social services programme—programme 11.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a breakdown of the figures in table 4.1 of Cmnd. 7841, the public
|£ million at 1979 survey prices*|
|Hospital and community health services|
|Family practitioner services|
|Personal social services|
|Local authority services|
|Central government services|
|Central health services|
|Other health services|
|Central and miscellaneous services|
|Total health and personal social services|
|*All figures have been rounded; 1980–81 to the nearest £1 million; remaining years to the nearest £10 million; and do not necessarily sum to the totals.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a breakdown of the figures in table 4.1 of Cmnd. 7841 relating to other environmental services for the years 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83 and 1983–84.
|OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (SCOTLAND)|
|£ million at 1979 survey prices|
|Water services (includes land drainage and flood protection)||104||100||90||90|
|Local environmental services|
|Community ownership of development land||—|
expenditure White Paper, relating to health and personal social services, for the years 1980–81, 1981–2, 1982–83 and 1983–84.
The information requested, set out in the table below, has been prepared in a form consistent with Cmnd. 7841 which, for the reason explained in paragraph 6 of part I of the White Paper, contains very broad totals for the years after 1980–81.
The information requested, set out in the table below, has been prepared in a form consistent with Cmnd. 7841 which, for the reasons explained in paragraph 6 of part I of the White Paper, contains only broad totals for the years after 1980–81.
£ million at 1979 survey prices
|Royal palaces and royal parks||—||20||20||20|
|Historic buildings and ancient monuments (including the heritage)||5|
|Central and miscellaneous environmental services||12|
|(1) All the figures have been rounded (1980–81 to the nearest £1 million, remaining years to the nearest £10 million) and do not necessarily sum to the totals.|
|(2) VAT paid by local authorities is excluded from the figures given in Table 4.1 of Cmnd 7841.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a breakdown of the figures in table 4.2 of Cmnd. 7841 relating to other environmental services, capital expendi-
|OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (SCOTLAND): ANALYSIS OF LOCAL AUTHORITY CAPITAL EXPENDITURE|
|£ million at 1979 survey prices*|
|Local environmental services||57||59||59||48|
|Community ownership of development land||1||1||2||—|
|Historic buildings and ancient monuments||—||—||1||1|
|*All the figures have been rounded to the nearest £1 million and do not necessarily sum to the totals.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a breakdown of the figures in table 4.2 of Cmnd. 7841 relating to other environmental services, current expendi-
|OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (SCOTLAND): ANALYSIS OF LOCAL AUTHORITY CURRENT EXPENDITURE|
|£ million at 1979 survey prices*|
|Local environmental services||168||178||179||175|
|Community ownership of development land||—||—||—||—|
|Historic buildings and ancient monuments||—||—||—||—|
|*All the figures have been rounded to the nearest £1 million and do not necessarily sum to the totals.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he will publish the breakdown of the figures for housing in table 4.1 for the years 1981–82, 1982–83 and 1983–84 in Cmnd. 7841 under the following heads (a) local authorities, (b) Scottish Special Housing Association,
ture, for the years 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80 and 1980–81.
The information is as follows:ture, for the years 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80 and 1980–81.
The information is as follows:(
c) housing corporations and housing associations and ( d) other.
For the reasons explained in paragraph 6 of part 1 and in paragraph 11 of part 2.7 of Cmnd. 7841, a breakdown of the housing programme for the years after 1980–81 has yet to be determined.
Tenants' Rights Etc (Scotland) Bill
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the cost of any publication by his Department on the terms of the Tenants' Rights Etc. (Scotland) Bill.
A sum of approximately £40,000 has been included in our estimates of public expenditure for 1980–81 in respect of publicity arising from the Tenants' Rights Etc. (Scotland) Bill. A separate figure for publications, as distinct from other forms of publicity, cannot be identified.
Scottish Tourist Board
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish details of the proposed budget for the Scottish Tourist Board for the years 1981–82, 1983–84 and 1984–85.
For the reasons given in paragraph 6 of part 1 of the White Paper Cmnd. 7841 this information is not available.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if, in view of the fact that Zambia has found sufficient resources to purchase MIG 21 fighters from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, he will end aid to Zambia.
We have no plans to suspend our aid programme to Zambia.
Inner London Colleges (Tops Courses)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will review the proposed reductions by the Manpower Services Commission of preparatory TOPS courses in inner London colleges.
No. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that in reducing the number of places in London some priority has already been given to retraining provision in inner city areas.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people became unemployed in 1977, 1978 and 1979.
The information is not available in the precise form requested. In January 1977, there were 1,390,000 people registered as unemployed in Great Britain. In January 1978, there were 1,485,000—a net increase of 94,000. In January 1979, there were 1,391,000 people unemployed—a net decrease over January 1978 of 93,000.In January 1980, there were 1,404,000 people unemployed, a net increase over January 1979 of 13,000, although the figures for these two dates are not strictly comparable due to the introduction in October 1979 of fortnightly attendance and payment of benefit, which had the effect of increasing the register by an estimated 20,000.
"Service Away From Home" Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment why invitations for an official launch of the "Service away from Home" scheme were issued before 3 April, in the light of the Under-Secretary's reply to the question of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme on that date, indicating that the scheme was being closely evaluated and that a decision on its future would be made before the expiry date of the pilot period.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Short Industrial Courses
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish, for each region and for each area of the special programmes division of the Manpower Services Commission, the number of short industrial courses in colleges of further education organised in 1978–79 and 1979–80.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission—MSC—that the following figures relate to the number of short training courses—formally known as short industrial courses—in colleges of further education organised in 1978–79 and 1979–80. A "course" is taken to run for one academic term with a fresh intake of young people three times a year.
|Special Programmes Division (MSC) Regions||Number of ST courses||Number of ST courses|
|(3) YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE|
|Northumberland, Tyne and Wear||71||84|
|Cleveland and Durham||12||13|
|*These figures do not include the Holyhead Road youth training centre.|
|† This reduction results from the dropping of the 2 and 4 week "Faster" courses.|
|‡ May not coincide with SPD London area.|
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the recent discussion between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Spain concerning Gibraltar and its status.
I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 14 April about the agreement reached between my right hon. and noble Friend and the Spanish Foreign Minister on 10 April.—[Vol. 982, c. 800–1.]
asked the Lord Privy Seal if it is the intention of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to have the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly in Gibraltar present at any further talks which may be held to discuss the lifting of the restrictions on Gibraltar which were imposed by the Spanish authorities 11 years ago; and if he will make a statement.
As I said on 14 April, the Gibraltarians will be represented in all future negotiations.—[Vol. 982, c. 803.]
asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) if he will make a statement on the discussions which the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had with the Spanish Foreign Minister in Lisbon when the subject of the Spanish restrictions against Gibraltar are understood to have reached a stage which could result in the Spanish frontier gates being re-opened for free movement on the land area between Gibraltar and Spain;(2) if he will make a statement on the outcome of the talks which the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar on the subject of future negotiations with the Spanish Government relating to the lifting of restrictions by the Spanish authorities against Gibraltar.
I have nothing to add to the statement that I made to the House on 14 April.—[Vol. 982, c. 800.]
asked the Lord Privy Seal if it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to hold a referendum in the territory of Gibraltar before any decision is taken on the re-opening of the Spanish gates at the border separating Gibraltar and Spain.
No. I have already made clear in the House on 14 April that both the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and the Leader of the Opposition expressed themselves satisfied when my right hon. and noble Friend and I saw them on 14 April.—[Vol. 982. c. 807.]
Lethal Gas (Ussr)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on his increasing concern that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is using lethal gas in Afghanistan or is preparing for its use elsewhere.
Reports of Soviet use of chemical weapons in Afghanistan are disturbing, particularly when added to those that suggest use in South-East Asia. The Government have no hard evidence that would confirm the allegations. There is, however, no doubt that the Soviet Union holds large stocks of chemical weapons and that Soviet troops are fully trained to use them.
Bacteriological Weapons (Sverdlovsk Incident)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the implications for the United Kingdom of the recent incident at Sverdlovsk in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in which large numbers of civilians died after coming into contact with an agent banned under the convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons and on their destruction, signed in London, Moscow and Washington on 10 April 1972.
The Soviet Union has said that there was a natural outbreak of anthrax at Sverdlovsk a year ago. Some features of the reports remain puzzling and the Government support the United States' efforts to obtain further clarification. We shall then assess our own position in consultation with our Allies.
asked the Lord Privy Seal how many recent representations he has received concerning current questions between Israel and her neighbours.
The Government regularly receive a large number of representations from many quarters about the Arab-Israel dispute. These representations take many forms and it is not possible to add them up.
Brandt Commission Report
asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to have completed his study of the Brandt commission report; and if he will publish the Government's conclusions on it before the EEC summit meeting in June.
The Government's study of the Brandt commission report continues. We hope to set out our views by the end of May.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on arrangements for the independence of Zimbabwe.
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement about Zimbabwe.
I have nothing to add to the statement I made yesterday.—[Vol. 982, c. 1015.]
Israel (Foreign Minister)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he has any plans to meet the Foreign Minister of Israel.
My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement on relations between the United Kingdom and France.
Her Majesty's Government attach great importance to the maintenance of good relations with France. Contacts between the two Governments are frequent across the whole range of foreign policy and European Community affairs, and there are exchanges on many matters of domestic policy also. Trading, cultural and personal contacts between France and Britain are continually increasing. Within the Community, recent differences of attitude and of national interest between Britain and France have attracted much attention as a number of difficult problems affecting the Community have had to be tackled. But France and Britain share deep underlying interests, and I believe that such differences as exist can be overcome.
Television Programme (Saudi Arabian Embassy Protests)
asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps he took to inform the television company concerned about the protests made by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London regarding the programme "The Death of a Princess"; and if he will make a statement.
Protests were not made by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London. Saudi concern at the programme was expressed to our embassy in Saudi Arabia by the Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal. It is not open to us to ban television programmes even though they may be offensive to ourselves or our friends. At the same time, it was considered quite proper to inform the company of the concern the Saudis had expressed—and I spoke to the managing director of ATV.
Helsinki Agreement (Madrid Review Conference)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the latest arrangements for the Madrid Review Conference of the Helsinki Agreement.
As agreed at the Belgrade meeting of 1978, the Madrid review meeting will begin on 11 November this year and the appropriate arrangements for this meeting will be decided at a preparatory meeting, also in Madrid, starting on 9 September. Preparations for these meetings are continuing.
Straits Of Hormuz (Freedom Of Passage)
asked the Lord Privy Seal, following the revolution in Iran and the occupation of Afghanistan by the USSR, what guarantees he has obtained from Governments of all the different countries in the Persian Gulf as to the continued freedom of passage of merchant ships of all nations through the Straits of Hormuz.
No specific guarantees have been offered or sought. The rules of international law clearly provide for the freedom of passage of ships of all nations through the Straits of Hormuz.
United States Ambassador
asked the Lord Privy Seal when last he met the United States Ambassador.
My right hon. Friend last had a general discussion with the ambassador on 9 April.
Council Of Foreign Ministers
asked the Lord Privy Seal when he plans next to meet his EEC counterparts.
asked the Lord Privy Seal when next he will attend a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
I refer my hon. Friends to the reply I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken).
Political Parties (Foreign Funding)
asked the Lord Privy Seal which European Economic Community Governments have regulations banning the funding of political parties by foreign Governments; and if he will make a statement.
According to information available to us, no European Community member State has regulations banning the funding of political parties by foreign Governments.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will take steps to improve
|Staff in post||Salary cost (£)|
|1st April 1979 1st Jan. 1980 1st April 1979||1st January 1980|
|Grade||per head||total||per head||total|
|Senior executive officer||8,102||8,079||7,810||63,277,000||8,989||72,622,000|
|The table covers the staff in post in the Home national Civil Service. The salary cost excludes employers' national insurance contributions.|
asked the Minister for the Civil Service to what extent there would be an annual saving to the Exchequer if the positions of under- secretaries and senior executive officers were abolished and their work done by those in the grades below or above; and whether he will take action along these lines in accordance with the Government's policy of cutting public expenditure.
The size of any saving to the Exchequer if the grades of under-secretary and senior executive officer were abolished would depend on whether and to what extent there would need to be compensating increases in the number of practical co-operation within the EEC; and if he will make a statement.
The Government work constantly to improve practical co-operation within the European Community in ways which will benefit Britain and the Community as a whole. We support, for example, improved policies affecting trade, transport, energy and regional development. This would help balance the excessive proportion of the budget spent on the common agricultural policy. We also strongly support the development of a common approach to foreign policy issues.
Under-Secretaries And Senior Executive Officers
asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will give at 11 April, the total number of under-secretaries and senior executive officers employed in the Civil Service, their individual and collective salaries, and any other perks, such as free travel and Government cars, to which they are entitled; and how these figures compare with May 1979.
The numbers and salary costs of these staff, for the nearest available dates, are shown in the table below:staff in other grades. The numbers and the use made of particular Civil Service grades, are kept under constant review.
Education And Science
Maintained Schools (Charities)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many maintained schools are registered as charities in respect of funds they raise for educational purposes.
This is not a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend, as the Department's powers under the Charities Act 1960 were transferred to the Charity Commission by the Education Act 1973. It is open to the hon. Member to approach the Charity Commission direct.
Ruskin College, Oxford
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what public funds are paid to Ruskin College, Oxford, in the current academic year; and how this compares with the previous year.
My Department expects to make a deficit grant to Ruskin College amounting to some £340,000 on its recurrent expenditure in the current academic year, compared with £296,000 in 1978–9. We have also made capital grants of £22,000 this year and £10,000 last towards building improvements, and in both years paid between £38,000 and £39,000 in tuition fees to the college in respect of those students receiving State bursaries. The Department of Health and Social Security also makes a grant to the college in connection with students taking social studies courses.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement about the effect on Wales of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget Statement.
The Budget Statement set out the Government's strategy for the recovery of the United Kingdom economy based on reducing inflation, creating incentives and removing obstacles to enterprise and freedom of choice. Wales will share the benefits this strategy will bring.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many civil servants are now employed in his Department at Cardiff; what recent reduction in numbers has taken place; and what further reductions are contemplated.
A total of 1,600 permanent staff, or about two-thirds of the total staff of the Welsh Office, were employed in Cardiff on 1 April 1980, a reduction of 64 since 1 July 1979. Further staffing reductions are envisaged but it is not yet possible to give a precise figure for the total at Cardiff.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing the number of unoccupied houses in (a) the public sector and (b) the private sector in each district council area of Wales.
The numbers of vacant local authority dwellings reported at the end of 1978 are as follows:
|Authority||Number of vacant dwellings at Authority 31st December 1978|
|Alyn and Deeside||12|
|Vale of Glamorgan||75|
|Cwmbran New Town||43|
|Newtown New Town||167|
|*At end of March 1979.|
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take further action to reduce unemployment in Wales.
The Government's economic strategy remains to bring inflation under control and create the right climate for investment and new employment. This will benefit Wales together with the rest of the United Kingdom. In addition, substantial resources are being made available to support the work of the development and promotional agencies in attracting new employment, particularly in areas affected by steel closures or de-manning.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what authority is required for the use of nuclear weapons by Royal Navy helicopters and Nimrod maritime patrol aircaft; and what measures have been undertaken to avoid their use by accident, mistake or disobedience.
The authority of the United Kingdom Government is required before United Kingdom nuclear weapons are used by Royal Navy helicopters, and of both the United Kingdom and United States Governments before United States nuclear weapons are used by Nimrod aircraft. Most stringent measures are taken to ensure that nuclear weapons can never be used without proper authorisation at the highest level, but I am not prepared to give details.
Ulster Defence Regiment Bases
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ulster Defence Regiment bases have been closed in Northern Ireland in the last year; where these bases were located; and how many bases it is planned to close in the next 12 months.
One UDR base, in Northlands Place, Dungannon, has been closed in Northern Ireland since the beginning
|Norwegian waters||Faroese waters|
of 1979. In order to free UDR soldiers currently engaged in guarding tasks for other operational duties we plan to close five bases during the coming 12 months. These are at Loughgall, Newtownstewart, Maghera, Ballyclare and Lisburn—Denryvelgie House. Soldiers currently serving at these bases will be able to transfer to neighbouring companies, nearby.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is yet able to make a further statement about the scheme of aid announced on 13 March for the fishing industry through producer organisations.
Copies of a paper setting out the terms and conditions of the fish producer organisations subsidy scheme 1980 have been placed in the Library and are being sent to the organisations themselves. Payments under the scheme will be made as soon as the fish producer organisations have completed their own plans for disbursing money under the scheme and are able to submit claims.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are his estimates for the most recent available years of the catch and species taken by (a) Norway and (b) Faroes within the British 200-mile fishing limit and of the return catches and species taken by Great Britain in their waters.
United Kingdom vessels took the following quantities of fish in Norwegian and Faroese waters in 1978 and 1979 under reciprocal agreements negotiated by the European Community:
Figures for Norwegian and Faroese catches within the United Kingdom 200-mile fishing limits are not available. However, during the same period the following
|‡ Not yet available.|
Fourth Television Channel (Wales)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters he has received opposing his proposals for the use of the fourth channel in Wales; from which public bodies he has received letters; and how many letters he has received in favour of his proposals for the use of the fourth channel in Wales.
We have received 170 letters opposing and six letters in favour of the Government's proposals for the use of the fourth channel in Wales. We have received letters from the following public bodies:
- Dyffryn Clydach Community Council
- Ceredigion District Council
- Cynwyl Elfed Community Council
- Llanycil Community Council
- Cyngor Bro Llanfihangel y Creuddyn Uchaf
- Llangadog Community Council
- Carmarthen Town Council
- Islwyn Borough Council
- Cymdeithas yr faith Gymraeg
- Eidda Community Council
- Pentrefoelas Community Council.
Prisoners (Contact With Next Of Kin)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the next of kin of prisoners who died in prison service establishments for the period 1977 to 1979 inclusive quantities were taken in the waters of all member States under the same reciprocal agreements:were notified when the prisoner (
a) became seriously ill or sustained a severe injury and ( b) died.
It is the practice for next of kin—when known—to be notified of death, or when illness or injury is considered to be serious enough to warrant it, but the number of such occasions is not readily available.
Prevention Of Terrorism Act
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many instances and in what circumstances the powers under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts have been used in Wales.
Table 2 of Home Office Statistical Bulletin 1/80, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, gives figures of detentions under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts 1974 and 1976 by police forces in Wales from 29 November 1974 to 31 December 1979. In the same period four exclusion orders were made following applications from police forces in Wales, as provided for in sections 3 to 6 of the 1976 Act.
Easter Monday (Disturbances)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many persons were arrested in Southend-on-Sea and at other seaside resorts, respectively, during the disturbances on Easter Monday; how many were subsequently prosecuted; and what was the range of penalties imposed on those found guilty of crimes and offences;(2) if he will call for a report from the chief constables concerned on the disturbances which took place at Southend-on-Sea and other seaside resorts on Easter Monday; and whether he will invite chief constables from the areas affected to discuss ways in which his Department can assist police forces in dealing with such holiday disturbances.
We understand from the chief constables of the forces concerned that considerable disturbance was caused in a number of resorts during clashes between rival groups of youths. The number arrested for various offences included 90 in Southend, 76 in Brighton, 62 in Weston-super-Mare, 40 in Margate, 29 in Scarborough, 28 in Clacton and six at Great Yarmouth; most have yet to appear in court.Arrangements for policing disturbances of this sort are an operational responsibility of the chief constables concerned. Our Department is in touch with them and we shall consider carefully any points they may wish to put to us on this matter.
Police Registration Certificates
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he proposes to alter the fees paid by foreign nationals for the issue of police registration certificates under the Immigration Act 1971.
These fees, which remained at 25p until 1975, have in recent years been increased with the object of moving towards recovering the cost of the service.The present fees are as follows:
|for normal initial registration||£10|
|for the initial registration of a spouse or child under 18 where a family registers together; or for the issue of a replacement certificate when the original has been lost or is full||£3|
Commission For Racial Equality
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to replace the five members of the Commission for Racial Equality whose contracts have not been renewed; and if he will make a statement on his policy towards the direct representation of the black community on the commission.
Yes. Members of the commission are appointed in an individual capacity and not as representatives, but we would wish to ensure that the commission has members from the main ethnic minority communities.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which ethnic groups are represented on the Commission for Racial Equality.
Members of the commission are not appointed as representatives of particular ethnic minority communities but the commission has at present three members of West Indian origin, a Punjabi, an Asian from Kenya, a member from Bangladesh and one from Pakistan.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what will be his immigration policy towards citizens of the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans will in general be expected to qualify for leave to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom under the immigration rules. Applications for exceptional treatment outside the rules will continue to be considered on their individual merits. Those who were admitted between 1 January 1973 and 16 October 1975, and have remained here lawfully, will, on application, be given one further exceptional leave to remain of six months' duration at the end of which, unless they qualify to remain under the rules, they will normally be expected to depart. A desire to avoid conscription into the Armed Forces of Zimbabwe will not be regarded as a reason justifying exceptional treatment. Zimbabwean students already granted leave to remain without restriction on taking employment in order to further their studies will be allowed to remain on those conditions until their courses are completed. All applications for leave to remain should be made to the Immigration and Nationality Department of the Home Office in the normal way.
George House Group
asked the Secretary of State for Trade, in view of the fact that the firms of George House Consultants 1176901, George House Holdings 1079527, and George House Southern 1091530 have still not made their company returns in accordance with the law, whether he will now take action, as promised, against them.
The outstanding accounts from each company have now been received together with the annual returns for 1979. No further action to ensure compliance will now be necessary.
West Somerset Free Press
asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to publish the report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the proposed transfer to Bristol United Press Ltd. of the newspaper West Somerset Free Press; and if he will make a statement.
The commission's report is published today.The commission concluded unanimously that the proposed acquisition by Bristol United Press Ltd. of 75 per cent. of the shares of Cox, Sons & Co. Ltd., proprietors of the
West Somerset Free Press, from Farnham Castle Newspapers Ltd., might be expected to operate against the public interest.
The report is the ninth by the commission on a newspaper transfer since control of newspaper mergers was introduced in 1965. It is the first such report in which the commission has concluded that the proposed transfer might be expected to operate against the public interest.
The commission considered whether any conditions might be attached to any consent to the transfer in order to prevent the transfer from operating against the public interest and concluded that there were no such conditions.
The commission considered that the acquisition should not be allowed mainly because of the desirability of preventing greater regional concentration of ownership of the press, and also because acquisition of the West Somerset Free Press by Bristol United Press would be less likely to lead to competition in the area than if it remained in the hands of the present owners, Farnham Castle Newspapers Ltd.
The commission stressed that in saying this it implied no criticism of either Bristol United Press or Associated Newspapers. (Under the newspaper merger provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 Associated Newspapers is a newspaper proprietor in relation to the newspapers of Bristol United Press and its subsidiaries.) The commission's conclusion rested not so much on the nature and behaviour of either of these two organisations as on an objection to the progressive concentration of ownership of the provincial press about which the Royal Commission on the Press in its final report of July 1977, and the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in its earlier reports on specific newspaper mergers, had expressed concern.
I share the general concern of the two commissions about concentration of ownership in the provincial press. In the light of the conclusions of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in its report my right hon. Friend has decided to refuse his consent to the proposed transfer.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what discussions he has had with the British Airports Authority and other national and local authorities on the future of Southend airport; and if he will make a statement.
None, except with the Civil Aviation Authority, from which my Department sought advice on an application for key sector loan sanction for the removal of obstacles at the end of the runway.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade 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.
[pursuant to his reply, 31 March 1980, c. 23]: Twenty-one new quotas were negotiated in 1979 under the basket extractor procedure provided
|Category||Product||Supplier country||First full year covered by quota||Quota level||Trigger level|
|46*||Wool tops (tonnes)||Argentina||1979||280||223|
|3*||Synthetic fabric (tonnes)||Brazil||1979||364||31|
|7*||Blouses (000 pcs)||Brazil||1979||105||47|
|46*||Wool tops (tonnes)||Brazil||1980||375||223|
|32||Pile fabrics (tonnes)||Hong Kong||1979||3,600||259|
|68||Babies undergarments (tonnes)||Hong Kong||1980||250||4|
|82||Adults undergarments (tonnes)||Hong Kong||1980||150||5|
|14B||Men's coats (000 pcs)||Hungary||1980||47||12|
|17||Men's jackets (000 pcs)||India||1980||325||36|
|11||Knitted gloves (000 pairs)||Pakistan||1979||1,500||299|
|80||Babies garments (tonnes)||Pakistan||1980||115||16|
|8*||Woven shirts (000 pcs)||Philippines||1979||265||84|
|17||Men's jackets (000 pcs)||Philippines||1980||115||29|
|21||Parkas (000 pcs)||Philippines||1980||450||116|
|71||Babies undergarments (tonnes)||Philippines||1980||36||11|
|80||Babies garments (tonnes)||Philippines||1980||100||12|
|17||Men's jackets (000 pcs)||Poland||1979||120||36|
|20||Bed linen (tonnes)||South Korea||1980||100||56|
|15B||Women's coats (000 pcs)||Taiwan||1979||42||42|
|73*||Tracksuits (000 pcs)||Taiwan||1979||150||33|
|21||Parkas (000 pcs)||Thailand||1980||500||116|
|46*||Wool tops (tonnes)||Uruguay||1979||500||297|
|50||Wool cloth (tonnes)||Uruguay||1980||165||43|
|*Imports exceeded 1978 trigger levels.|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement about companies' reports for the period 1 July 1978 to 30 June 1979 under the code of conduct for companies with interests in South Africa.
The Department of Trade has so far received 202 reports for the reporting period ended 30 June 1979 under the code of conduct for companies with interests in South Africa (Cmnd. for in the EEC's bilateral agreements with supplier countries under the multifibre arrangement. In seven of these cases imports had exceeded trigger levels in the course of 1978. The new quotas and the corresponding trigger levels are listed below. The quotas in all cases exceed the trigger levels; these represent the point at which the Community has the right under the bilateral agreements to seek consultations with the supplier countries concerned with a view to establishing a quota. We have agreed with the industry that we shall pursue with the Commission all cases where trigger levels are exceeded on 17 sensitive products. For others it is left to the industry to put a request to us for such action.Following are the figures:7233) adopted by the Governments of the nine member States of the European Community in September 1977. I am grateful to the companies for the trouble they have taken in preparing these reports. Copies of the reports, together with an analysis and summary of the reports prepared by the Department, have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and may be consulted at the Department's headquarters library. Copies are also available for consultation at the British Embassy, Pretoria, and at the British Consulates-General at Johannesburg and Cape Town.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he intends to make a statement regarding Inmos.
I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's reply on 24 March to the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Evans).—[Vol. 980, c. 920.]
"Purchases Inquiry" Form
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will exempt companies employing fewer than 100 employees from completing the form "Purchases Inquiry—PP4754".
[pursuant to his reply, 14 April 1980, c. 491]: Regretfully no. I reviewed the arrangements for the 1979 purchases inquiry last year and decided that the level of employment below which all firms are exempted be raised from 35 to 50. I am satisfied that the burden has been reduced as much as possible and to raise the exemption limit further would lead to an unacceptable loss of quality in the results which are necessary in order to update the basis of one of the wholesale price indices.
European Community Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current situation regarding the United Kingdom's contribution to the EEC budget.
The European Council will return to this subject when it next meets on 27–28 April. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be pressing for a substantial, immediate and lasting reduction in the United Kingdom's net contribution, an objective recently endorsed by the House.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report information showing (a) the total savings to the Exchequer if schedule A tax was restored on the assumptions that relief on mortgage interest and life assurance was abolished in current conditions, (b) by how much the threshold of the basic rate band could be lifted or the standard rate reduced if the whole of this amount was available for that purpose, and (c) the gains and losses in each income band for: (i) householders with no mortgage or life assurance and a typical house in that income range in Greater London and the North-East, respectively, (ii) householders in these regions with an average mortgage appropriate to their income band and (iii) householders in these regions with an average mortgage and an average life insurance appropriate to their income band.
At 1979–80 tax rates and allowances the total saving in a full year if mortgage interest and life assurance relief were abolished and schedule A tax re-introduced, assuming as in earlier questions from the hon. Member that only one-fifth of the gross rental value were allowed as a deduction to cover the cost of repairs and renewals, would be about £3,750 million. This sum would have allowed the lower and basic rates to be reduced to about 23p disregarding the consequent reduction in the yield of schedule A tax. Taking that effect into account the possible reduction of the lower and basic rates would be to about 24p. Alternatively, the main personal allowances could have been increased by some £500.I regret that the information is not available on which to answer the remainder of the hon. Member's question.
Gross Domestic Product
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current proportion of income from employment as a share of the gross domestic product.
Provisional figures for 1979 show that income from employment represented 71·3 per cent. of gross domestic product at factor cost.
Houses (Financial Statistics)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are (a) the average values of a typical three-bedroom house purchased through a building society in 1979 in the North-West and Greater London, respectively, (b) the average mortgage taken and the amount of interest payable, (c) the average, required or typical, income of the mortgagor, (d) the net annual value in terms of schedule A and (e) the estimated gain or loss to the mortgagor if schedule A tax were to be reintroduced
|(i) Average dwelling price for new purchases||(1)||16,902||25,793|
|(ii) Average advance||(1)||10,451||14,489|
|(iii) Annual interest payable on new mortgages||(2)||1,228||1,702|
|(iv) Average annual income (1)||(3)||6,420||8,089|
|(v) Net annual value (NAV)||(4)||168||282|
|(vi) Gross equivalent of NAV||234||370|
|(vii) Income tax payable after allowing mortgage interest relief||(5)||976||1,334|
|(viii) Income tax payable with no mortgage interest relief but 24.6p rate of tax||(6)||1,133||1,543|
|(ix) Schedule A tax on 80% of GRV at 24.6p tax rate||(7)||46||73|
|(x) Loss (vii-viii-ix)||-4,203||-282|
|1. The figure at i, ii, and iv are taken from the Department of the Environment's annual 5 per cent. sample survey of building society mortgages and cover all types of dwelling.|
|2. The interest payable at iii is a full year's interest at 11¾ per cent, the recommended rate in force for the calendar year 1979 (except for new mortgages taken out in the last month of the year).|
|3. The income figure at iv includes some second incomes.|
|4. The net annual value is the average net rateable value for all dwellings for the areas shown in the valuation list at 1 April 1979 regardless of any retrospective amendments made later. It includes dwellings owned by local authorities and public corporations. The gross annual values are those appropriate to the average net annual values shown.|
|5. The tax calculation is that appropriate for a married man with no tax allowances apart from the married allowance and mortgage interest relief. It is calculated on the income and interest for calendar year 1979 at 1979–80 tax rates and allowances.|
|6. The reply given on 13 March 1980 (Official Report, Vol 980, Cols 539–40) stated that a reduction of about 3¾p in the basic rate of income tax would cost £1,850 million at 1979–80 income levels, the estimated total net yield from a "Schedule A" tax at 30p basic rate on the assumptions given.|
|The abolition of tax relief on mortgage interest would by itself yield about £1,450 million, the equivalent of a reduction of nearly 3p in the basic rate of income tax in 1979–80.|
|If these two measures were introduced concurrently, however, the tax yield from Schedule A tax would be reduced giving a total possible reduction in the basic rate and lower rate of tax to 24.6p|
|7. As in the previous reply (Official Report, Vol 980, Cols 539–40) a deduction of only 20 per cent. of the gross rateable value shown has been allowed for repairs and renewals in arriving at the Schedule A tax figures.|
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are his plans for the future taxation of liquefied petroleum gas used as road fuel; and whether he has any intention of changing the relationship between the duty on such gas and that on petrol.
My right hon. and learned Friend has continued in the Budget the practice of dutying LPG for use as a road fuel at half the rate applied to petrol. I have reviewed the arguments for encouraging the use of LPG as a road fuel and I have decided that we and the standard rate of tax was reduced to compensate for the extra revenue from this and from the abolition of tax relief on mortgage interest.
I regret that the information is not available in the precise form required. The available figures are given below and relate to 1979.shall not seek, during the lifetime of this Administration, to change this relationship, unless the growth in automotive use of LPG should become such as seriously to undermine the revenue from other road fuels. In any event, we shall not seek to change the relationship in such a way as to discriminate against LPG, after taking into account relative calorific values and engine efficiencies.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer where the statement on the economic background covering the Government's expenditure plans 1980–81 to 1983–84, referred to in paragraph 5 of Cmnd. 7841, is to be found in the Red Book.
I refer my right hon. Friend to parts II and III of the Red Book.
Tax Refunds (Member's Correspondence)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why there has been no reply to the letter dated 18 February addressed to the Minister of State by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury about tax refunds.
I am sorry about the delay in replying to the hon. Member's letter. The point raised in it concerned the Department of Health and Social Security and I understand that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Social Services will be sending him a reply today.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing for April of each year since 1974 and including the current year the number of recipients of family income supplement who are also liable for income tax and the percentage of all family income supplement recipients these represent; and if he will make a similar estimate for after 24 November.
[pursuant to his reply, 14 April 1980, c. 515–16]: Information is not collected in the form requested, but the following estimates, up to the most recent date available may be helpful:
|FIS recipients||Estimated numbers above tax threshold when benefit was claimed in previous year||% of recipients|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Finance Bill to be published.
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Stevens).
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil cases have been brought each year since the introduction of value added tax against registered persons or businesses by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise seeking to recover the non-payment of the tax.
[pursuant to his reply, 14 April 1980, c. 519]: The number of civil recovery actions and bankruptcy and winding-up petitions presented in respect of VAT debts was as follows:
|Financial year||Number of actions||Number of petitions|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the fact that earnings-related supplements to unemployment and sickness benefits payable in 1982 will be based on contributions in 1980–81, he will make a statement explaining the dates used by the Financial Secretary, Official Report, 31 March, column 162.
[pursuant to his reply, 14 April 1980, c. 519]: I was referring to the effects on the national insurance funds of the abolition of earnings-related supplement. Contribution rates are set for each tax year, taking account of expected expenditure from the funds over that year. Thus, the effects of the abolition of ERS from January 1982 will be taken into account when setting the contribution rates for 1981–82. The questioner, in referring to the ruler governing entitlement, is assuming that the system operates on strict insurance lines rather than "pay as you go". If that were the case the contributions paid in the past would have had to be substantially higher or alternatively present benefit levels would be lower than they are now. In any event, as I said in the Budget debate, contributions relate to national insurance benefits as a whole, not just ERS.
Coventry District Metropolitan Council (Rate)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the domestic rate levied by Coventry district metropolitan council is above or below the average for metropolitan district councils.
The domestic rate levied by Coventry district metropolitan council is below the average for metropolitan district councils on the basis of returns so far received.
Property Services Agency
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the staffing, work load and future prospects of the Directorate-General of Design Services of the Property Services Agency.
The staffing of the Directorate-General of Design Services is being reduced in accordance with the Government's policies on Civil Service staffing. At 1 April it had 608 staff—including 113 in the design office. The Directorate-General continues to provide specialist, professional and technical support to the agency and, through the design office, to promote by example high standards of design.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that he has sufficient powers to ensure that water authorities exercise all necessary economies in their provision of sewerage and environmental services.
My right hon. Friend is able to influence water authorities through public expenditure and cash limit controls, and by encouraging the development of controls over manpower and other resources, including the use of performance indicators and aims. My right hon. Friend, the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services has been doing so in recent meetings with the chairman and chief executive of each water authority. We are not proposing to seek additional statutory powers.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to enable the appointment of a council, representative of consumers interests, for each water authority.
A measure of accountability by water authorities to consumers already exists, in that the majority of the members of water authorities are appointed by local authorities. The future of the consumer bodies for all the nationalised industries is at present under review, and we shall consider the position of the water industry in relation to that review in due course.
Building Control Consents
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment under what statutory powers and under what instruments local authorities have been authorised to levy charges for building control consents.
The Building (Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1980 were made under Section 62(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to authorise local authorities who enforce the building regulations in England and Wales to charge the fees prescribed in the regulations. Inner London, however, has separate arrangements.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will ban the importation of whale products into Great Britain.
The import of the primary products of all cetaceans is controlled under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act. For baleen whales no licences are issued but for sperm whales imports are at present allowed under licence. The United Kingdom has written to the EEC suggesting a ban on the import into the EEC of the primary products of all whales from 1 January 1982. It is understood that a draft regulation is under consideration by the Commissioner of the EEC and should be submitted shortly for agreement by the Council of Ministers.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received the communication from the hon. Member for Newham, North-West showing that an ordinary householder using the domestic water supply has had his water rate increased from £11 to £66, and that on this basis by 1985 he will be paying £½ million per
|SALE OF NEW TOWN HOUSES AS AT 31 MARCH 1980|
|New Town||Number of enquiries||Number of enquiries resulting in firm negotiations||Number of sales completed|
|Central Lancashire New Town||329||74||26|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will be in a position to announce whether Walsall is to be designated under the Inner Urban Areas Act.
The basis for the selection of districts for designation under the Inner Urban Areas Act is still under consideration.
annum in water rates; and what action he proposes to take to ensure that water rating authorities follow the Government's policy of controlling inflation.
I have received the hon. Member's letter and will reply shortly. The average increase in a domestic consumer's water services bill in the Anglian Water Authority area for 1980–81 over 1979–80 is 26·6 per cent. not 500 per cent. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services has been impressing on all water authorities the need to exercise straight economies in their expenditure.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will make a statement concerning the delay in processing certain repair grants in Belfast arising from the effects of the Northern Ireland rent order;(2) how many certificates of disrepair have been issued under the Northern Ireland rent order in the city of Belfast; and on how many the repairs have been carried out.
There has been criticism of the failure of landlords to carry out repairs where rents have been increased under the Rent (Northern Ireland) Order 1978. The problems are most acute in Belfast, where, as a result of an industrial dispute, the city council has been prevented from implementing an arrangement with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to process certificates of disrepair for grant. I understand that the Housing Executive took over the outstanding cases at the beginning of the year and that a special effort is now being made to clear these.I am informed that by 28 March 1980 Belfast city council had issued 1,985 certificates of disrepair but that no cases have yet been submitted for payment.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what steps are being taken to prevent the pollution of Strangford Lough;(2) if he will list the ways in which his Department of the Environment is seeking to deal with serious pollution to Lough Neagh;(3) if he will make a statement on the steps taken to prevent serious pollution to Belfast Lough.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases of discrimination were reported in the Province during the past year; how many were proved; and what steps were taken against those found guilty.
In the year ended March 1980, 42 complaints of unlawful discrimination involving matters within the scope of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976 were made to the Fair Employment Agency for Northern Ireland. Of these, two were not proceeded with, eight were the subject of a finding by the agency of no unlawful discrimination and 32 were still under investigation at 31 March 1980.
In the same period 95 complaints of unlawful discrimination involving matters within the scope of the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 or the Equal Pay Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 were made to the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland.
Of these, four were the subject of county court proceedings, and 37 led to applications to industrial tribunals, together with a further eight complaints which had been made direct to the tribunals and not through the commission.
Of the four complaints which were the subject of county court proceedings, two were dismissed and two were still in progress at 31 March 1980. Of the 45 applications to industrial tribunals one was allowed on appeal (the applicant being awarded arrears of remuneration), 11 were dismissed, nine were withdrawn or settled without a hearing and 24 were in progress at the end of March. In the case of the remaining 54 complaints to the commission, the matter was either resolved without recourse to litigation or the complainant decided not to proceed further.
During 1979 six complaints were also made to the Commissioner for Complaints for Northern Ireland. Although all these fell outside his jurisdiction and were not investigated by him, the complainants were advised of the bodies where their complaints might appropriately be addressed.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he proposes to initiate an examination of the cost effectiveness of those district councils which have made an increase in the rates in excess of a 20 per cent. increase over the rates for 1978–79.
No. The Secretary of State has no specific statutory authority to initiate an examination of the cost effectiveness of the services provided by a council.
asked the Minister of Transport what consultations took place in which his Department was involved, prior to the decision to omit from the 1981 census a question on the number of cars available for the use of a household.
In considering the format of the 1981 census the Government decided to drop less essential questions. This will reduce the burden of form-filling and save public expenditure. In the case of my Department's question on car availability, similar and adequate information is obtainable from other, voluntary surveys carried out on behalf of Government.
Council Of Europe (Consultative Assembly)
asked the Prime Minister if she will announce the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe will be meeting in Strasbourg from 21–25 April. I have appointed 18 delegates from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. I have also appointed a number of substitute delegates.The appointments of representatives and substitutes have been made on the basis of nominations by the leaders of the parties concerned.The same delegation will be representing the United Kingdom Parliament at the Assembly of the Western European Union.Representatives from the Government Benches will be:—
- The hon. Member for Torbay (Sir Frederic Bennett), who will act as Leader.
- The hon. Members for:—Stroud (Mr. Kershaw)
- Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins)
- Harrow, Central (Mr. Grant)
- Woking (Mr. Onslow)
- Solihull (Mr. Grieve)
- Harrow, West (Mr. Page)
- Twickenham (Mr. Jessel)
- Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight) and the Lord Reay
Representatives from the Labour Party will be:—
- The right hon. Members for:—
- Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Urwin)
- Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley)
- and the hon. Members for:—
- East Kilbride (Dr. Miller)
- Ince (Mr. McGuire)
- Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy)
- Tooting (Mr. Cox)
- and the Lord Hughes
The representatives from the Liberal Party will be:—
- The hon. Member for:—
- Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith)
The following substitutes have been appointed to act as necessary on behalf of the delegates:—
- From the Government Benches:—
- The hon. Members for:—
- Southampton, Test (Mr. Hill)
- Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Smith)
- Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson)
- Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton)
- Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson)
- Hallam (Mr. Osborn)
- Harrogate (Mr. Banks)
- and the Lord Duncan-Sandys
From the Labour Party:—
- The hon. Members for:—
- Wolverhampton, South-East
- (Mr. Edwards)
- Wallsend (Mr. Garrett)
- Ayrshire, South (Mr. Foulkes)
- Warrington (Sir Tom Williams)
- Ilkeston (Mr. Fletcher)
- Hackney, South and Shoreditch
- (Mr. Brown)
- Brent, South (Mr. Pavitt)
- Wrexham (Mr. Ellis)
- and the Lord Northfield
From the Liberal Party:—
The Lord McNair