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Written Answers

Volume 983: debated on Friday 25 April 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 25 April 1980

Civil Service

Civil Servants (London Weighting)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what was the total cost of the London allowance paid to civil servants in 1979–80.

Rochester Court, Kent

asked the Attorney-General on what date the Rochester court in Kent was opened to deal with the backlog of Maidstone Crown court cases; what were the costs of this new court; how many staff are employed and at what annual costs; why it closed just after Easter; when it is likely to reopen; and whether he will make a statement.

The Crown courtroom at Rochester was opened on 7 January 1980. It is administered from Maidstone without additional staff costs. The cost of adapting existing accommodation was £68,000. The courtroom was not used after Easter as expected; this was because no verbatim shorthand writer was available, and attempts to substitute and monitor tape recording equipment were unsuccessful. Arrangements are being made to resume sitting there on 28 April.

Public Record Office

asked the Attorney-General if he will make a statement as to the changes to be introduced by the Public Record Office in the storage and public availability of public records at Chancery Lane, Ashridge and Kew.

asked the Attorney-General what arrangements he intends to make, when the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane closes, for the public display of both the Domesday Book and the Chancery Lane copy of Magna Carta.

These documents, together with other exhibits, are on public display in the Public Record Office museum at Chancery Lane. There is no plan to alter this arrangement.The Public Record Offices in Chancery Lane is not closing. The proposal is to close the search room.

National Finance

Departmental Manpower

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the proposed reductions in the number of civil servants employed in the departments for which he is responsible; and what reduction so far has been carried out.

Including staff on short-term engagements, the number of staff in the Chancellor's departments at 1 April 1980 was 8,534 lower than when the Government took office. A further reduction of the order of 3,900 staff is expected to come from the continuing implementation of the reductions agreed as part of the review of the size and cost of the Civil Service, as announced by the Minister of State, Civil Service Department, on 6 December 1979—Vol. 975, c. 627–640—from the 2½ per cent. reduction in manpower costs in 1980–81 announced by the Minister of State on 14 March 1980—Vol. 980, c. 748–749—and from measures proposed in the Chancellor's Budget Statement. Taken together, the eventual reductions are expected to amount to well over 9 per cent.

Duty-Tree Liquor (Aircraft Journeys)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now consider for safety purposes making duty-free liquor available at the end rather than at the beginning of an overseas journey in an aircraft.

No. I understand that the authorities responsible for matters of aircraft safety do not consider that there is any special risk attached to the carriage of liquor provided that it is properly stowed.

Gilt-Edged Securities (Indexation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to be able to give a substantive answer to the hon. Member for Abingdon's question which was due for priority written answer on 21 April relating to indexation of gilt-edged securities.

I now refer my hon. Friend to my substantive answer of 23 April. I am sorry that it was not possible to reply on the day requested.

Trade

Textiles (Trade Deficit)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the cumulative trade deficit in textile goods for January, February and March 1980.

In the period January to March 1980 the crude deficit—exports valued fob minus imports cif—on trade in textile goods* was £174 million.

*(SITC (Rev. 2)) Division 65, Groups 266, 267, 268 part, 842 to 847.

Air Traffic Control Radar System

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether a signficant proportion of the work and component production for the air traffic control radar system currently being considered by the Civil Aviation Authority would be carried out in the United Kingdom.

I understand that among the tenders being considered by the Civil Aviation Authority are some from foreign

October–December 1979January–March 1980
Federal Republic of Germany25,20493,355
Belgium-Luxembourg4,77414,875
Netherlands102
Spain8

Note:

SITC(R2) Item 001.21.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affadis

Recognition Of Governments (Procedure)

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the Government have completed their re-examination of British policy and practice concerning the recognition of Governments; and what is the result of that re-examination.

Following my undertaking on 18 June last—[Vol. 908, c. 920] firms. These include in their proposals varying proportions of equipment to be produced in the United Kingdom.

Raspberry Pulp (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what has been the volume of imports of raspberry pulp directly into the United Kingdom from non-EEC countries in the last 12 months;(2) what has been the volume of imports of raspberry pulp into the United Kingdom from non-EEC countries through other EEC States in the last 12 months.

This information is not available. The overseas trade statistic do not distinguish cooked preparations of raspberries—including pulp—from those of blackcurrants and strawberries, or fresh raspberries—including pulp—from red-currants.

Sheep And Lamb Exports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many British sheep and lambs were exported to Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany and Spain during the last quarter of 1979 and the first quarter of 1980; and what proportion of these animals was then re-exported to France.

No information is available on the numbers of sheep and lambs of United Kingdom origin re-exported to France by other countries. The remaining information is as follows:—we have conducted a re-examination of British policy and practice concerning the recognition of Governments. This has included a comparison with the practice of our partners and allies. On the basis of this review we have decided that we shall no longer accord recognition to Governments.The British Government recognise States in accordance with common international doctrine.Where an unconstitutional change of regime takes place in a recognised State, Governments of other States must necessarily consider what dealings, if any, they should have with the new regime, and whether and to what extent it qualifies to be treated as the Government of the State concerned. Many of our partners and allies take the position that they do not recognise Governments and that therefore no question of recognition arises in such cases. By contrast, the policy of successive British Governments has been that we should make and announce a decision formally "recognising" the new Government.This practice has sometimes been misunderstood, and, despite explanations to the contrary, our " recognition " interpreted as implying approval. For example, in circumstances where there may be legitimate public concern about the violation of human rights by the new regime, or the manner in which it achieved power, it has not sufficed to say that an announcement of "recognition" is simply a neutral formality.We have therefore concluded that there are practical advantages in following the policy of many other countries in not according recognition to Governments. Like them, we shall continue to decide the nature of our dealings with regimes which come to power unconstitutionally in the light of our assessment of whether they are able of themselves to exercise effective control of the territory of the State concerned, and seem likely to continue to do so.

European Community Legislation (Implementation)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list all EEC regulations, resolutions, directives or decisions at present being implemented by his Department.

There is a great deal of Community legislation concerning overseas aid and Community external relations for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible, either directly or through the Overseas Development Administration. All of this will have been published in the official Journal of the European Communities, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The preparation of a comprehensive list could be done only at disproportionate expense.

Zimbabwe

asked the Lord Privy Seal why the Government took no action on the request made by both Houses of the Zimbabwe-Rhodesian Parliament, that the clause dedicating its country to Almighty God should be restored to the constitution.

Neither of the visiting delegations at the Lancaster House conference requested such a dedication clause.

European Community

Council Of Foreign Ministers

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 21 and 22 April.

My right hon. and noble Friend represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 and 22 April.The Council discussed final preparations for the European Council in Luxembourg on 27 and 28 April. Ministers agreed that the adaptation of the financial mechanism and provision for supplementary Community expenditure in the United Kingdom provided the appropriate basis for an immediate solution to the problem of the United Kingdom contribution to the Community budget. My right hon. and noble Friend emphasised that such a solution must be a durable one and that the Community needs to find a better balance in its budgetary expenditure if the present unacceptable situation is not to re-emerge.The Council discussed the preparation of the Community's position for negotiations with Turkey in the framework of Turkey's association agreement with the Community. This subject was remitted to officials for further urgent work, taking into account the political importance of Turkey's relations with the Community.Ministers considered the question of the Community's relations with the Gulf States and the recent contacts there have been with those states about possible economic co-operation agreements with them.Agreement was reached in principle to accept an application from Zimbabwe for accession to the Lomé convention once such an application was formally made by Zimbabwe to the ACP/EC Council of Ministers, which will meet next month in Nairobi.The Council agreed on directives for the Community position in negotiations for a new international tin agreement.The Council approved draft directives for negotiations with Egypt on a voluntary restraint arrangement for cotton yarn. A Co-operation Council with Egypt took place on 21 April.There was a ministerial level negotiating meeting with Spain, in the context of Spanish accession negotiations, on 22 April.Meeting in political co-operation the Foreign Ministers issued a statement expressing their concern about recent developments in South Lebanon, in particular the brutal murder of two unarmed soldiers in the Irish battalion of UNIFIL. The Nine gave strong support to the efforts of the contributing countries to ensure that UNIFIL is permitted to fulfil its mandate. A copy of the statement issued is being placed in the Library of the House.As regards their discussions on Iran, I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made to the House on 23 April by my hon. Friend the Minister of State.—[Vol. 983, c.464.]

Environment

Footpath Maps

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will issue guidance to county authorities advising them to sell copies of the definitive footpath maps for their areas.

No. This is a matter which is best left to individual authorities to decide in the light of circumstances in their areas.

Stress Housing Areas (Council House Starts)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what reduction he expects in starts in council house building in stress housing areas during the next 12 months.

The number of council house building starts in the next 12 months will depend on the extent to which the local authorities decide to use their single-block housing investment programme allocations for new building rather than for other purposes.

Public Buildings (Access For Disabled Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations his Department has had from the director of the Disabilities Study Unit on access for disabled people to public buildings; what replies have been sent; and if he will make a statement.

The director of the Disabilities Study Unit recently wrote to my Department about the Snow-don working party on the integration of the disabled. The reply was that compulsory requirements for access for the disabled to public buildings were still under consideration, but it was possible that persuasion and an increasing awareness would prove to be more effective.

Enterprise Zone (Wandsworth)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now considering any other site in Wandsworth to become an enterprise zone, apart from the one mentioned in his reply to a parliamentary question on 31 March.

In the recent discussions with the local authority a more extensive area than that mentioned in my previous reply was considered. Besides the area between the new Covent Garden market and Battersea power station, an extension westwards to take in the old Wandsworth gasworks site is now under consideration.

Wales

Working Population (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the latest figures of the number, and the proportion of the total work force in Wales, of persons employed in extractive, manufacturing, construction and service industries in Wales; and how these compare with the figures for 1966, 1971 and 1976.

The information requested is given in the following table. The 1976 figures are the latest available.

1966

1971

1976

Number ('000s)

Percentage of total work force

Number('000s)

Percentage of total work force

Number ('000s)

Percentage of total work force

Total civilian labour force1,152·5100·01,112·8100·01,173·0100·0
Extractive industries123·510·777·77·067·45·7
Manufacturing industries317·027·5324·229·1302·725·8
Construction77·06·768·86·269·15·9
Service industries487·942·3471·142·3536·645·7
Others*147·112·8171·015·4197·216·8

* Includes Registered unemployed, Employers and Self-Employed, and those employed in the Utilities.

Migration

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing the net outward or inward migration to or from Wales of (a) persons of working age and (b) persons of over working age, for each of the past 15 years for which figures are available.

Information on the age of migrants within Great Britain is available only from the census. The table below gives net migration between Wales and the rest of Great Britain in the year preceding the 1966 and 1971 censuses.

Persons of working age*Persons over working age*
1966 Census−640+680
1971 Census+510+770
* Working age is defined as 15–64 for males and 1559 for females. The data are derived from a 10 per cent. sample.
196619711976*1979*
Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.
Proportion of farms over 600 standard man-days in Wales16·820·319·021·9
* Farms over 500 standard man-days.
Source: June Agricultural Censuses for each year.

Economic Activity Rates

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the latest figures which are available to show the activity rates for men and women, respectively, for each of the eight counties in Wales.

The latest reliable information on economic activity rates by county relates to 1971 and is contained in the following table:

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY RATES
Malespercentages Females
Clwyd78·334·6
Dyfed76·532·1
Gwent80·637·2
Gwynedd74·231·6
Mid Glamorgan78·935·9
Powys77·935·9
South Glamorgan79·240·3
West Glamorgan79·535·9

Source: 1971 Census of Population.

Farms (Employment Generation)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest figure for the proportion of farms in Wales which generate 600 standard man-days of work; and how this compares with the proportion in 1966, 1971 and 1976.

Figures are readily available only for farms over and under 500 standard man-days for 1976 and 1979. The figures are not strictly comparable owing to changes in the standard man-day values of the various crops and livestock in 1968 and 1976 and in the minimum size of holdings included in the agricultural census between 1966, 1971 and 1976. The numbers of holdings covered in the censuses have also been affected by the statistical amalgamation of holdings while about 6,400 statistically insignificant holdings were excluded from 1968 onwards.

Net Farm Incomes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the latest estimates for the percentage change in net farm incomes in real terms in Wales since the United Kingdom entered the EEC for farms classified, respectively, as (a) specialist dairying, (b) mainly dairying, (c) sheep, (d) cattle and sheep and (e) mixed; and what is the average percentage for all full time farms in Wales.

The available information is shown below. Changes in farm incomes between 1973 and the latest year available cannot be shown in the form requested due to the changes in farm classification and treatment of depreciation. Figures for all full time farms are not available owing to the coverage of the survey on which the figures are based.

PERCENTAGE CHANGES IN NET FARM INCOMES IN WALES IN REAL TERMS (1) (2) (3)
(A) Old Farm Classification(4)

Specialist Dairy

Mainly Dairy

Livestock Mostly Sheep

Livestock Cattle and Sheep

Mixed

All Types Shown

1972–73 to 1973–74-7-2+33+ 8+ 15+ 5
1973–74 to 1974–75-35-48-42-36-19-38
1974–75 to 1975–76;+ 43+ 56+ 9+ 33- 9+28
1975–76 to 1976–77;+ 5- 3+ 33+ 12+ 70+ 10
1976–77 to 1977–78;+ 11- 5+ 5− 1−410
(B) New Farm Classification(5)

Hill and Upland (LFA)

Specialist Dairy

Mainly Dairy

Sheep

Cattle and Sheep

Lowland Livestock

All Types Shown

1977–78 to 1978–79(6)+ 22- 1+ 9+ 17+ 1+12
(1) Based on average figures for farms from 275 to 4,199 smd's in the old farm classification and 4–100 European size units in the new farm classification. The figures shown under the new farm classification are based on allowing for depreciation of machinery at current or replacement cost, whereas previously this was computed at historic cost. The figures are based on farm accounts which end on average in February each year.
(2) Based on net farm incomes excluding breeding livestock stock appreciation.
(3) The figures have been expressed in real terms by allowing for the changes in the retail price index.
(4) This farm classification is based on the standard man days requirement of the crops and livestock of farms in the survey.
(5) This farm classification is based on the standard gross margins of the crops and livestock of farms in the surveys with size measured in European size units(1 ESU—1000 European units of account of standard gross margins at average 1972–74 values).
(6) Provisional.

Source:

Farm Management Survey.

Steel And Coal Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing the number of persons employed in the steel and coal industries, respectively, in Wales for each of the past 15 years.

The information requested is contained in the relevant volumes of the "Digest of Welsh Statistics ", copies of which are available in the Library.

Employment

Departmental Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the proposed reductions in the number of civil servants employed in his Department; and what reductions so far have been carried out.

As a result of the Lord President's programme, and the further reduction of 2·5 per cent. in staff costs, savings amounting to 8,001 staff will be made in the DE group. Since 1 May 1979 there has been a reduction of 2,624 permanent and 323 casual staff.

Occupationally-Related Cancers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration his Department has given to the findings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Departmental of Labor as published in the Federal Register of 22 January, that up to 20 to 40 per cent. of cancers in the United States of America in the coming decades will be occupationally related in connection with the situation in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement in respect of the British position.

The findings referred to in the United States of America Federal Register of 22 January 1980 were taken from a study carried out in the United States of America in 1978 by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The methodology of this study has been severely criticised by scientists in the United States and in the United Kingdom. In the view of the Health and Safety Executive no reliable estimate of the percentage of deaths from cancer that are due to occupational factors can be determined. There is no pathological distinction between non-occupational and occupational cancers, and in many instances a combination of contributory factors exists.

North Sea Floating Structures (Health And Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will extend the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act to all floating hotels and other floating structures in the North Sea.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 already applies to those floating structures which are engaged in exploration for and exploitation of mineral resources in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea. All the " floating hotels " which are currently operating in that sector fall within the relevant definition, and the Act applies to a wide range of specified activities on attendant vessels. I therefore see no immediate need to extend the Act to any other floating structures or activities, but I am asking the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission to keep this under review.

North Sea Oilfields (Safety Committees)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many safety committees have been established in the North Sea oilfields.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make safety committees mandatory in North Sea oilfields.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 April 1980, c. 2]: The Health and Safety Commission has agreed to develop proposals for regulations to extend the current provisions dealing with safety representatives and committees to offshore areas. These draft regulations will be subject to statutory consultation with industry and other interested bodies before being submitted to the Secretary of State.

Retail Price Index

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the retail price index in the latest month for which figures are available; and what the corresponding figure would have been if tobacco and cigarettes had been excluded.

The retail price index for March is 252·2—with January 1974 as 100. An index exclusive of cigarettes and tobacco would have been 251·1 (January 1974=100).

Unemployed Persons (Job Offers)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what record is kept of the number of offers of jobs made to claimants on the unemployment register.

Records are kept in respect of every benefit claimant who is registered at a jobcentre or employment office for employment. These records include notes of submissions of the registrant to prospective employers as well as subsequent offers of work by them. These confidential records are normally destroyed a year after the registrant finds employment.

Employment Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the average level of employment for each year since 1945;(2) how many unemployed workers aged 19 years and under there have been in each year since 1970; what are the individual figures for (

a) London and ( b) Merseyside; and if he will present these data as percentages of all workers aged 19 years and under.

Unemployment Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing for England the proportion of unemployed persons who (a) have been unemployed for more than four weeks and (b) who are under the age of 20 years for 1966, 1971. 1976 and for the latest time for which comparable figures are available.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1980, c. 132]: The following table gives the proportions of unemployed people in England under 20 years of age who had been registered for more than four weeks at January in each of the years specified and at January 1980, the latest date for which information is available.

Per cent.
January 19664·3
January 19715·9
January 197613·6
January 198012·8

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing for England, the average percentage total unemployment for each year from 1966 to 1980.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1980, c. 732]: The following table gives the annual average unemployment rates for England from 1966 to 1979:

per cent.
19661·2
19672·0
19682·1
19692·1
19702·3
19713·0
19723·4
19732·3
19742·3
19753·9
19765·4
19775·7
19785·6
1979*5·2
* The average for 1979 is not strictly comparable with those for earlier years because of the introduction of fortnightly attendance and payment of benefit. This had the effect of raising the monthly unemployment figures for England by about 16,300 from October 1979; but this has a negligible effect on the average rate.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the numbers who have been registered as unemployed for less than three months at the latest available date.

At 10 January, the latest date for which the quarterly duration analysis is available, there were 569,505 people who had been registered as unemployed in Great Britain for fewer than 13 weeks.

Redundancies (Wolverhampton)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms and companies in the Wolverhampton area notified redundancies to his Department for January, February and March; how many workers were affected in each case; and if he will list the similar figures for the 12 months of 1979.

The numbers of proposed redundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 in the Wolverhampton travel-to-work area for January to March 1980, and 1979 were as follows:

EmployeesEstablishments
1980—
January3665
February1575
March4507
Total97317
1979—
January1192
February8617
March4019
April1,9675
May2376
June8505
July1823
August2795
September2946
October2425
November412
December3146
Total5,78761
During the period January to March 1980, 209 redundancies at three establishments were formally withdrawn; and in 1979, 1,124 redundancies at 13 establishments were formally withdrawn.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of redundancies notified to it as due to occur in the Wolverhampton travel-to-work area for January to March 1980, and 1979 was as follows:
Employees
1980—
January40
February44*
March125*
Total209

Employees

1979—
January40
February205
March
April75
May692
June41
July395
August242
September438
October38
November393
December103
Total2,662

*Figures are provisional to take account of late notifications.

Home Insulation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many houses have been insulated using people, employed under various Manpower Services Commission programmes during each of the most recent three years; and what is his estimate of the number of houses to be insulated under such programmes in the future.

[pursuant to his reply, 14 April 1980, c. 418–9]: I regret that the information sought is not available. As I told the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 27 March 1980—[Vol. 981. c. 627–8]—the Manpower Services Commission is carrying out an inquiry into the number of schemes currently running under the youth opportunities programme, the special temporary employment programme and the community industry scheme involving home insulation and the number of people participating in them. I shall publish that information as soon as it becomes available.

Clegg Commission Awards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the annualised cost of all Clegg increases where awards have been above the average rate for increase in wages over the period for which they have been awarded.

[pursuant to his reply, 18 April 1980, c. 670]: the comparability commission has not made recommendations relating to any particular period, although it has made recommendations appropriate at certain points in time. I am unable therefore to provide the information required.

Employee Activity Rates

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the employee activity rates for males and for females, respectively,

ACTIVITY RATES
Per cent.*
1966197119751977†
Males83·981·479·778·6
Females42·943·446·245·5
* The percentage of the population aged 16 and over which is in the civilian labour force. The 1966 and 1971 figures are based on the census of population and those for 1975 and 1977 on the biennial EC labour force survey adjusted to be comparable with census of population coverage and definitions. This survey is based on a sample of about 100,000 households throughout the United Kingdom and the results are subject to sampling errors. Small differences in the results, therefore, may not be significant.
† Provisional

Senior Civil Servants (Conduct)

asked the Prime Minister what instructions are given to senior civil servants regarding direct access to them by (a) hon. Members, (b) journalists and (c) official visitors from abroad.

No specific instructions are issued centrally to senior civil servants on these matters. However, all civil servants are governed by general principles of conduct which are contained at paragraphs 9870 to 9988 of the Civil Service Pay and Conditions of Service Code, a copy of which is in the Library.

Clegg Commission

asked the Prime Minister what were the original terms of reference of the pay comparability commission.

When announcing the establishment of the Standing Commission on pay comparability on 7 March 1979, the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) described its purpose as being:

"To examine the terms and conditions of emloyment of particular groups of workers referred to it by the Government in agreement with the employers and unions concerned, and to report in each case on the possibility of establishing acceptable bases of comparison, including comparisons with terms and conditions for other comparable work and of maintaining appropriate internal relativities ".

for England for each year from 1966 onwards.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 April 1980, c.205]: Estimates of male and female activity rates in England for 1966, 1971, 1975 and 1977 are shown below. Estimates for other years are not available:The commission is given specific terms of reference for each group of employees which the Government refer to it.

Northern Ireland

Territorial Waters (Oil Pollution)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will seek to amend section 7 of the Territorial Waters Jurisdiction Act 1878 so that its provisions will cover the three-mile limit of territorial sea off the coast of Northern Ireland, in order that acts of oil pollution within the three-mile limit can be brought within its scope.

No. I am satisfied with the existing arrangements, but I keep them under review.

Countryside And Nature Reserves Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what are the functions, composition, staff and cost to public funds of the Ulster Countryside Committee; and to what extent district councils act on its behalf;(2) what are the functions, composition, staff and cost to public funds of the Nature Reserves Committee; and to what extent district councils act on its behalf.

The Ulster Countryside Committee and the Nature Reserves Committee each consist of not more than 12 members appointed by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland under sections 4(1) and 5 of the Amenity Lands Act (Northern Ireland) 1965. The countryside committee advises the Department on questions affecting the natural beauty or amentities of any area or place in Northern Ireland, while the Nature Reserves Committee advises on matters relating to the establishment and management of nature reserves or areas of scientific interest. Both are advisory committees with no funds or staff of their own and their members do not receive any remuneration. Secretarial services are provided by the Department and the cost of these, together with members' expenses, in the last financial year amounted to approximately £9,000 in the case of the countryside committee and £8,000 in the case of the Nature Reserves Committee. District councils do not act on behalf of these committees.

Kidney Machines

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the hospitals in Northern Ireland that now have kidney machines in use and the number in each hospital.

The Belfast city hospital is the regional centre for the treatment of kidney diseases, and there are 18 machines available at that hospital.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether or not the number of kidney machines will be reduced or increased in the next financial year; and by how many and in what hospitals.

There are no plans to alter the number of kidney machines in Northern Ireland in the next financial year.

Kidney Transplants

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons in Northern Ireland are at present awaiting a kidney transplant.

Poisons And Drugs

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to implement the working party's report on poisons and drugs.

The proposals of the working party have now been accepted by the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland and by the health and social services boards. The Eastern board, which will be responsible for the implementation of the proposals, is presently examining the provision of suitable accommodation for the poisons and drug information centre.

Hospital Admissions

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients are on the waiting lists for admissions to hospitals in each area board, and how many in each area have been waiting for more than one year.

The latest date for which information is available is 30 September when the following numbers of patients were on waiting lists:

Eastern Board16,382
Northern Board2,367
Southern Board2,570
Western Board2,466
Total23,785
Information is not routinely available on the length of time patients have been on waiting lists. However, my Department carried out a special survey in 1978, which showed that at 31 July of that year the following numbers of patients had been on waiting lists for more than one year:
Eastern Board4,613
Northern Board787
Western Board375
Southern Board890
Total6,665

Unemployment (East Belfast)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons are unemployed in East Belfast; and what are the corresponding figures for the past 10 years.

The number of persons unemployed in the parliamentary constituency of East Belfast on 10 April 1980 was 3,618. The information is not available for previous years.

Dialysis Treatments

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total number of patients who have received treatment under the National Health Service in Northern Ireland on kidney machines in the past five years.

This information is not readily available. The number of dialysis treatments given in the period 1974 to 1978 was 13,300, but it is not possible without disproportionate effort to relate these treatments to individual patients.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many new patients have been treated on kidney machines under the National Health Service during each of the past three years in Northern Ireland.

Belvoir Park Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action has been taken to provide a high-risk isolation unit at Belvoir Park hospital.

SECTOR OF INDUSTRY
YearProductionManufacturingServicesTotal
19711,7445,0581,4678,269
19721,6532,8821,8686,403
19731,1801,9841,2164,380
19741,0591,6498923,600
19751,3586,3141,7099,381
19761,1745,0451,7777,996
19771,4143,5221,6486,584
19781,3402,6232,8956,858
19791,0203,9991,5086,527
1980 (first quarter)3451,3133081,966
Total12,28734,38915,28861,964

De Lorean Cars Limited

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he now expects the production of De Lorean cars to commence; and whether a further financial contribution is to be made to De Lorean Cars Ltd.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1980, c. 202]: I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 3 April 1980—[Vol. 982, c. 636.]

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the value of the contract between De Lorean Cars Ltd. and Lotus Cars Ltd.

I am satisfied that there is a need to provide a high-risk isolation unit at the Belvoir Park hospital. Detailed plans have already been drawn up and my Department is now considering the priority of this project in relation to other projects and to the availability of funds.

Redundancies

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many redundancies have occurred for each of the past 10 years; and in which sectors of industry these redundancies have occurred.

The information requested is not available. However, during the period January 1971 to March 1980 the following number of redundancies in the production, manufacturing and services sectors of industry were notified to the Department of Manpower Services in connection with claims for rebate under the Contracts of Employment and Redundancy Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 1965:

[pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1980, c. 202]: This is a matter for the company.

Defence

Boots And Shoes

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether all boots and shoes issued to defence personnel are British made.

No. In the financial year 1979–80, which can be regarded as typical, just under 99 per cent. of boots and shoes, costing £5·96 million, issued to defence personnel were British made. The remainder, comprising comparatively small quantities of boots costing £68,000, were mainly specialist footwear for use in unusual, specific operations.

Chile (Arms Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. McKelvey) of 15 April, whether the sale of arms to Chile as listed means that the embargo on such sales as given in ministerial assurances no longer applies.

No. The embargo on arms sales to Chile continues. The items supplied to Chile during 1979 were spares and support equipment related to contracts existing at the time the embargo was established.

Quality Assurance Directorate

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what effect he expects the recommendations of the steering group on quality assurance manpower to have on the work load and staffing levels of the Quality Assurance Directorate establishment at Woolwich Arsenal.

Bearing in mind that further studies into this area are required it is not possible for me to quantify the staff savings and changes in work load that may arise when all the recommendations of the report have been implemented. However, I do not expect the numbers and work load at Woolwich to be greatly affected.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to complete consultation on the report of the steering group on quality assurance manpower; and what bodies are being invited to comment on the report's recommendations.

I am not able to say when consultations on the report of the steering group on quality assurance manpower will be completed. As indicated in the report itself, some aspects of the recommendations need to be studied further. Moreover, I think I should allow industry and the staff and trade union sides, which I am consulting, adequate time to formulate their views.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out (a) the approved establishment and (b) the numbers currently employed at each Quality Assurance Directorate establish ment at Woolwich Arsenal.

The currently approved establishment—complement—of quality assurance posts at Woolwich is 1,742. Strength in post on 22 April 1980 was 1,590 and was divided between the three quality assurance directorates as follows:

Approved complementStrength(22 April 1980)
QAD (Ordnance)1,2521,117½
Materials QAD418½407½
Directorate of Naval Ordnance Services7265
Total1,742½1,590

Anti-Submarine Helicopters

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of the programme to replace the Sea King anti-submarine helicopter.

Project definition of a successor to the Sea King has not yet been completed and it is too early to give an estimate of likely costs.

Polaris Missile Replacement

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he intends to publish a Green Paper on the alternative proposals for a Polaris replacement, including the projected costs, manpower involvement, diversion of resources and extermination power of the alternatives.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a Green Paper setting out the choices before Great Britain in its search for a Polaris replacement.

Education And Science

Home And Overseas Students (Definition)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what changes he has made in the definitions of home and overseas students; and if he will define the phrase " ordinarily resident " for these purposes.

At present a student is expected to pay the overseas rate of tuition fee if he has neither been resident nor ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for three years before the start of his course. If the student has, within the 12 months preceding the start of his course, attended an advanced course in the United Kingdom, the three-year period is reckoned back from the start of that course. There will be no change in these rules for students already on courses, but students starting new courses on or after 1 September 1980 will be classified as home students only if they have been ordinarily resident for three years prior to the start of their course. It is not possible to give a definitive definition of the term " ordinarily resident " since the question whether a person is ordinarily resident in a particular place could involve a wide variety of factors. In simple terms, however, it can be said that a person is " ordinarily resident " in a place if his home is there.

Further Education Curriculum Review And Development Unit

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied with the work of the Further Education Curriculum Review and Development Unit.

I am entirely satisfied that the Further Education Curriculum Review and Development Unit is making a valuable contribution to the general development of further education curricula along the lines set out when it was established in January 1977.

Overseas Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidance has been given to universities in respect of those overseas students who are part-time, continuing students, and

Total number of widow's receiving widow's allowanceNumber with dependent childrenNumber receiving earnings-related addition to widow's allowance
197482,28021,97050,180
197576,63019,55046,170
197676,82020,09047,080
197773,13019,48045,640
197874,95020,17046,010

Lone Parents

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in each of the last five years, how many lone parents have received (a) unemployment those whose status may have changed since they were accepted for a course in 1980–81.

It is for the University Grants Committee to give guidance, where necessary, to universities about part-time students; I understand that it is one of the subjects being considered by the committee in its present review of university planning. With regard to the second part of the hon. Member's question, I assume that she is referring to arrangements for tuition fees under the Race Relations Act 1976, and I am sending the hon. Member copies of papers which relate to that topic.

School Milk And Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East on 17 April, if he will begin collecting comprehensive information about how local authorities are carrying out their new functions with respect to providing free school milk and meals in their schools.

Social Services

Widow's Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in each of the last five years, how many women have received widow's allowance; how many of them had dependent children; and how many received in addition the earnings-related supplement.

For the last five years for which figures are available, the information requested is as follows:benefit, (

b) sickness benefit and ( c) maternity allowance; and, in each case, how many have received earnings related supplement.

The figures given in the table below are in respect of women who received an increase of benefit for one or more dependent children but not for an adult

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF WOMEN WHO RECEIVED AN INCREASE OF BENEFIT FOR ONE OR MORE CHILDREN:

Year

Unemployment Benefit (i)

Sickness Benefit (ii)

Maternity Allowance (iii)

19741,0003,8009,300
19751,8004,3007,000
19763,2003,9009,700
19773,7003,7007,800
19783,9004,8007,900
19792,500not yet availablenot yet available

Sources:

(i) 5 per cent. sample of registered unemployed—1974 to 1978—and of claimants to unemployment benefit or credits—1979—on a day in May each year.
(ii) 2½ percent. sample of claimants 1974 and 1975 and 2 per cent. sample 1976 to 1978 on a day in June each year.
(iii) 2½ per cent. sample of awards made throughout each year ending 31 March.

Medical Appeal Tribunals

asked the Secretary of "State for Social Services whether he will give the total actual or estimated costs of an appeal made to medical tribunals against cuts or reductions in medical benefits, and a breakdown of these costs; and state whether, where the costs of such tribunals are likely to be more than the suggested cuts in benefits, he will maintain benefits to the claimant.

The estimated gross cost of the treatment of an appeal to a medical appeal tribunal is £150. The net cost of dealing with an individual appeal, that is excluding the standing costs of operating the tribunals, is estimated to be £50.Medical appeal tribunals deal with appeals against decisions by medical boards. Both these bodies are independent adjudicating authorities and benefits can be paid only in accordance with their decisions on diagnosis and disablement. It would be wrong to introduce a cost element into the consideration of such matters of medical fact.

Hospital Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many hospitals were closed from March 1974 to May 1979; and how many have been closed since May 1979.

A total of 280 hospitals were closed between 1 January 1974 and 31 March 1979. During the period 1 April 1979 to 31 December 1979, the dependent. Separate totals for those who received earnings-related supplement are not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.latest date for which figures are avail able, health authorities decided on the permanent closure of 21 whole hospitals or units: not all will yet have taken place. Sixteen of the 21 were already being considered for closure when this Government took office.

Area Health Authorities (Surplus Land)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to discover how much land, suitable for development but not required for National Health Service purposes, is owned by each area health authority in the United Kingdom.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to him on 3 April½[Vol. 982, c. 389]½explaining the status of National Health Service land. As I have no need to collect further details about surplus NHS land awaiting disposal, the expense of obtaining such information would not be justified.

Tobacco Smoking

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what assessment he has made of the medical evidence regarding the respective damage to health caused by the smoking of equal numbers of high tar, medium tar and low tar cigarettes respectively; and if he will make a statement.

The Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health advises my right hon. Friend and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the scientific aspects of smoking and health. It maintains that no cigarette can ever be regarded as completely safe, and that if the dreadful toll of some 50,000 early deaths each year and much preventable illness is to be reduced then consumption of cigarettes must continue to go down. There is little evidence available yet on the effects on people who have smoked low tar cigarettes over a long period. The committee will continue to evaluate all the evidence on this as it becomes available and will report its findings to my right hon. Friends and me in due course.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give details of studies which have been carried out in the past year, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, into the effects on non-smokers of being with smokers and the damage it might do to their health.

Scientists at the University of California recently concluded from an extensive study of subjects attending a physical fitness course that:

" chronic exposure to tobacco smoke in the work environment is deleterious to the non-smoker and significantly reduces small airways function ".
I refer the hon. Member to the report which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (

302, 720–723) for a full account of this study, a copy of which I enclose for the hon. Member.

I know of no other study carried out in the past year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much he plans to spend in the current year on activities related to the discouragement of cigarette smoking; and if he will provide figures on a similar basis to replies on education against alcohol abuse given, Official Report, 26 March, c. 609.

The Department has recently agreed to make a grant for 1980–81 of £80,000 to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Measures to discourage smoking will continue to feature in the Health Education Council's activities during the coming year, but it is not yet possible to identify separately the relevant expenditure. The sums spent under these heads during the preceding five years are as follows:

ASH grantHEC expenditure on smoking and campaigns
££
1975–7618,500749,000
1976–7731,000265,500
1977–7841,500228,500
1978–7959,500325,500
1979–8070,000397,000*
* Estimated.
Advice designed to discourage smoking is also included in the tar and nicotine tables which the Department produces to inform smokers about the tar and nicotine yields of the various brands of cigarettes.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has on the numbers of cigarettes sold in the United Kingdom in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available; and what were the comparable sales in the same 12-month period in each of the previous 10 years.

The tobacco industry's estimate of the number of cigarettes sold in the United Kingdom in 1979 is 124,300 million. Comparable estimates for the previous 10 years are:

YearMillions
1978125,200
1977125,900
1976130,600
1975132,600
1974137,000
1973137,400
1972130,500
1971122,400
1970127,900
1969124,900

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimates have been made of the consumption pattern among smokers who switch to lower tar brand cigarettes; and what further reductions in the tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide level of cigarettes are planned.

The changes which occur in smoking behaviour when smokers switch to lower tar brands are complex, and little can be said with certainty. There are, however, indications that some smokers who switch subsequently smoke more cigarettes or inhale more deeply.

Tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels are among the matters being considered in the context of our continuing discussions with the industry about what should follow the present voluntary agreement.

Tobacco Industry (Discussions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the discussions he is having with the tobacco industry; and what proposals he has put to it.

No. The discussions between the Government and the tobacco industry on what should follow the existing voluntary agreement are still in progress. Both parties are agreed that the talks should remain confidential until a conclusion is reached.

Public Places (Non-Smoking Areas)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of the health risks to non-smokers of being with smokers, if he will take steps

StaffIncrease in pay over April 1979 levels (£)Amount of increase previously paid as interim award from 1 August 1979 (£)Balance of increase payable from 1 April 1980 (£)
Radiographer Superintendent I719601118
Speech Therapist Teacher511511Nil
Occupational Therapist Teacher511511Nil

Smoking-Related Diseases (Treatment Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest estimate of the total annual health care costs incurred by the hospital, family doctor and general pharmaceutical services in the treatment of smoking-related diseases.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. (Eastham) on 9 July 1979.—[Vol. 970, c. 49.]

Family Planning (Film)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions he has had with the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the British Board of Film Censors concerning the to ensure that those non-smokers who do not wish to be with smokers in public places do not have to do so.

In his general review of policy on smoking and health my right hon. Friend is considering what additional steps might be taken to further the present encouraging trends to provide more non-smoking areas in public places.

Professions Supplementary To Medicine (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what increases in pay are to be awarded to a radiographer superintendent I on the maximum of the scale, a speech therapist who is a teacher on the maximum of the scale and an occupational therapist teacher on the maximum of the scale who retain their pre-Clegg working hours.

On the basis of the settlement reached on 23 April within the professional and technical A Whitley Council the increases in pay, resulting from the Clegg award for the staff concerned, are as follows:transmission of a motivational family planning commercial by the Health Education Council; and if he will make a statement.

None. But I understand that the Health Education Council has recently been involved in discussions on such a film with the Independent Broadcasting Authority and the British Board of Film Censors and with individual television and cinema companies.

Tobacco (European Community Support Arrangements)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make representations to his colleagues in the EEC to make efforts to end Community support arrangements for tobacco.

My right hon. Friend and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are reviewing policy generally on smoking and health and will consider whether and, if so, at what time they might usefully take up the hon. Member's suggestion.

Alcohol And Cigarettes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the consumption of alcohol and the smoking of cigarettes, respectively.

The great majority drink alcohol without harm. The Government must be concerned with the harm caused to, and done by, the minority who misuse alcohol and are considering the recommendations in a number of recent reports for preventing excessive and inappropriate drinking.The object underlying the Government's policy on the smoking of cigarettes is to create a climate of public opinion in which cigarette smoking in increasingly regarded as socially unacceptable, and thus to reduce the preventable disease and early deaths associated with it.

Committee Of Safety Of Medicines

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services who appoints the members of the Committee on Safety of Medicines; and by what criteria they are chosen.

In accordance with the provisions of section 4(5) of the Medicines Act 1968, appointments to the Committee on Safety of Medicines are made by the Health Ministers.There are no specific criteria for the selection of members, nor are they representative of any particular interest; they are persons who are experts in their own scientific or professional field. The Medicines Commission is consulted on appointments to the committee.

Balderton Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many patients have ben sent to the Eastdale unit, at Balderton hospital; how many of those had to be sent back to their original place of detention, as not being suitable; and how many have committed (a) minor, and (b) violent crimes since their release, and had to be returned to prison, or other state institutions.

[pursuant to his reply, 3 April 1980, c. 400–401]: At 14 April 1980, 176 patients had been transferred from special hospitals to the East-dale unit since the unit opened in May 1974.Of that number, 36 patients had had to be returned to the special hospitals, having been found unsuitable or various reasons. Of the patients returned, nine were again transferred to the unit at a later date.Of the 84 patients conditionally discharged from the unit by 31 December 1979, and who were subject to restrictions under section 65 of the Mental Health Act 1959 with compulsory aftercare and supervision, nine have been subsequently imprisoned and one has been made the subject of a hospital order and committed to a special hospital. Information about the nature of their offences is not readily available.No record is available in respect of the unrestricted patients discharged who are not subject to compulsory follow-up.

Beer, Wine And Spirits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has on the amount of beer, wine and spirits sold in the United Kingdom in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available; and what were the comparable sales in the same 12 month period in each of the previous 10 years.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 April 1980, c. 273]: For monthly information about home consumption of alcoholic drinks, I refer my hon. Friend to table 6.14 and its predecessors in the " Monthly Digest of Statistics " series. Calendar year figures are given in table 8.81 of the Annual Abstract of Statistics (1980 Edition). There are copies in the Library of the House.

Home Department

Serious Crimes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of those sentenced to imprisonment in (a) 1974 and (b) 1979 had committed offences involving violence, sex, robbery, arson or drug trafficking.

PERSONS SENTENCED TO IMPRISONMENT FOR CERTAIN OFFENCES AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL PERSONS SO SENTENCED*
ENGLAND AND WALES
Percentage
Imprisonment
ImmediateSuspended
Principal offence1974197819741978
Violence against the person910910
Sexual offences3322
Robbery34—†—†
Arson11—†—†
Drug trafficking‡··§1··§1
Total number sentenced to imprisonment for indictable and non-indictable offences (=100 per cent.)32,29343,99229,49935,324
* Exceptionally a person sentenced to imprisonment by a magistrates' court on the same occasion for both an indictable offence and a non-indictable offence (which includes drug trafficking) would be counted twice.
† Less than ½ per cent.
‡Comprises drugs offences of unlawful production, unlawful supply, possession with intent to supply unlawfully and unlawful import and export, being the occupier or concerned in the management of premises and permitting or suffering certain activities to take place there.
§ Figures for 1974 are not available; the figures for 1973 are less than ½ per cent.

Police Forces (Investigatory Powers)

asked the Secretary of Stat for the Home Department whether the special branches of the police forces in England and Wales may investigate al suspected crimes without being required to obtain permission to do so from any Minister or official.

Overseas Development

World Food Programme (Commodity Pledge)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the present position regarding the pledge programme and the likelihood of world food programme canned mackerel contracts over the next six months and beyond; and if he will undertake not to reduce the pledge programme in the current financial year.

Mr. Neil Marten : The United Kingdom pledge to the world food programme for the 1979–80 biennium is £8 million, of which two-thirds is in commodities which are canned fish, dried skimmed milk and dried egg. The world food programme draws upon our commodity pledge throughout the period of the biennium in the light of the food requirements of its Mr. Brittan : The available information is given in the following table; figures for 1979 are not yet available.

various projects in developing countries. In the year ending 31 March 1980 the programme placed orders for 1,307 tonnes of canned mackerel. The programme has not yet indicated its likely requirements for canned fish during the coming year. The United Kingdom pledge for the current biennium will not be reduced.

Zimbabwe

asked the Lord Privy Seal how the aid so far given to the former colony of Rhodesia has been spent between the elections and 17 April.

In the period concerned we financed four teams to advise incoming Ministers on the development of the public service, the police, broadcasting and industrial training; and we also provided advice on the development of the foreign service. In addition, expenditure continued under our existing training programme for Zimbabweans.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the £75 million of aid to Zimbabwe to be given over the next three years is to be earmarked for specific projects; and, if so, how much extra will be given to help train the new Zimbabwe armed forces and police force.

As my right hon. Friend told the House on 15 April, the bulk of the £75 million will be devoted to a substantial bilateral aid programme: a mission from the Overseas Development Administration will visit Zimbabwe in June to discuss the allocation of this aid. The greater part will take the form of capital aid, including specific projects, but there will also be within the £75 million a technical co-operation programme which will finance any further assistance with police training. Assistance with military training is not financed from the aid programme.

Energy

Cap La Hague Processing Plant (Accident)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will ask for a report from the French authorities on the accident at the Cap La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing plant; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will request the Health and Safety Commission to examine reports of the accident at the Cap La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing plant and publish its comments on the accident.

I am advised by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is in touch with the French nuclear regulatory authorities about the incident at Cap de la Hague. This contact is being made under the terms of a formal arrangement, concluded between the Health and Safety Executive and the French Government agency concerned, which provides for the exchange of information about nuclear safety matters. I expect to be further advised when the details have been received and evaluated and I intend the result of that evaluation to be made publicly available.

Coal (Wales)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will publish a table showing the number of (a) National Coal Board and (b) other coal mines, operating in Wales for each year since 1966; and what was the total tonnage of saleable mined coal extracted in Wales for each of these years;

(2) what are the tonnages for each year since 1966 of coal extracted from Wales which has been sold to the iron, steel and coking industries; and what proportion each of these tonnages has represented of total sales of Welsh coal for each of those years;

(3) what has been the tonnage of coal extracted from Wales that has been sold to the Central Electricity Generating Board in each year since 1966.

These are matters for the National Coal Board, and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

Magnox Power Stations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what the present output of electricity is from Magnox power stations; and how this compares with the forecasted output when these stations were commisioned.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 April 1980, c. 207]: I am advised by the CEGB that the present total net output capacity of the eight CEGB Magnox stations is 3,427 MW, equivalent to 76 per cent. of their design net output capacity of 4,486 MW. Output from these stations in 1979 was 21·280 TWh averaging about 71 per cent. of present net output capacity and 54 per cent. of design net output capacity. It was originally assumed that these stations would operate on baseload with an annual average load factor of 75 per cent. subject to fluctuations from year to year arising from inspection and maintenance requirements. Power stations in Scotland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the expected life at current levels of operation of each of the Magnox power stations.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 April 1980, c. 207]: I understand that, subject to obtaining safety clearances and continued economic operation, the CEGB expects that all its Mag nox stations will exceed their amortisation period of 20 years. Current estimates indicate that all these reactors are likely to have been withdrawn from use by the mid-1990s. Questions concerning the Magnox station at Hunterston are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the announced output of each Magnox station in 1979 compared with both performance figures notified to the European Economic Community and to original planned output.

CEGB MAGNOX STATIONS OUTPUT 1979
1.2.3.4.
Average load as a percentage of capability based on*
StationElectricity supplied (TWh)Present net capabilityOriginal net capability
Bradwell1·3846453
Berkeley1·4746161
Dungeness A1·1653224
Hinkley Point A2·7897464
Oldbury3·1838761
Sizewell3·3119065
Trawsfynydd2·7748163
Wylfa5·2007151
* The average load is the number in the year. of TWh supplied during the year divided by the number of hour in the year

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the estimated cost of boiler defects and failures at the Wylfa Magnox station.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 April 1980, c. 207]: I am advised by the CEGB that the cost of the repairs to boilers at Wylfa carried out in the period 1971 to 1976 came to a total of £3·9 million.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Wool

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the latest average price paid for wool; what was the price two years ago; and how this compares with the cost of sheep production during this period.

The latest estimate of the average price paid by the British Wool Marketing Board to producers for wool from the 1979 clip is 97·66p per kilogramme. The final average price for the 1977 clip was 93·20p per kilogramme. This increase of 4·8 per cent. compares with an increase of some 4·2 per cent. in the price obtained by the board for the sale of wool. Sheep

[pursuant to his reply, 24 April 1980, c.207]: The actuel output of each CEGB Magnox station is given below. The load factor calculated on the basis of the declared net capability is shown in column 3 and on the basis of original design net output in column 4 Information supplied to the EEC, on the basis requested by the commission, is that sat out in columns 1, 2 and 3.production costs are estimated to have risen by about 40 per cent. between 1977 and 1979, but costs were particularly high in 1979 because of the bad winter.

Fish Canning

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will consider providing direct Government assistance to the United Kingdom fish canning industry in the light of the industry's present plight.

I am not aware of particular difficulties facing the United Kingdom fish canning industry which would justify the provision of Government assistance.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the world food programme contracts which have been placed with United Kingdom fish canning factories for the year 1980–81.

No requests for the United Kingdom to supply canned fish to the world food programme have been received so far for the year 1980–81.

view of the present catches of mackerel in United Kingdom waters, he will include this species in the list of fish-canned products, which, if processed in United Kingdom fish canning factories and exported to Third world countries, will enable the industry to claim against the export refunds scheme.

The possibility of an export refund for canned mackerel is at our request currently under consideration by the EEC Commission.

Pigmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of Danish pigmeat production was exported to the United Kingdom in the last six months; by how much Danish production is to increase in 1980; and if he expects this growth in production to be matched by similar increases in exports to the United Kingdom.

Thirty-five per cent. of Danish production was exported to the United Kingdom in the six months ending November 1979, the latest date for which official figures are readily available, compared with 44 per cent. exported to other countries. Official figures forecast an estimated increase of 6½ per cent. in Danish production in the 12 months ending November 1980. The levels of exports to particular countries will depend on developments in the various markets, which cannot be precisely forecast.

Illegal Fishing

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the evidence of illegal catching of fish provided by the film shown on " World in Action " on 21 April, if he will take further action to prevent illegal fishing by foreign vessels in British waters; and if he will make representations to the French authorities about the conduct of their officials in this matter.

We maintain a substantial fishery protection effort aimed at preventing illegal fishing within our fishery limits. Our fishery protection forces carry out a large number of boardings at sea and inspections in port; and whenever we find sufficient evidence of our fisheries regulations being infringed we prosecute. This effort will continue.As regards the enforcement of fisheries regulations in other countries, this is primarily a matter for the authorities there and, where Community obligations are concerned, for the Commission of the European Community. I will, however, bear in mind allegations which have been made.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the compliance of imported poultry meat with the requirements of the European Community directive on immersion chilling.

Under the imported food regulations we have progressively been requiring non-member countries of the European Community exporting fresh poultry meat to this country to comply with the rules of the European Community poultry hygiene directives, including those relating to the immersion chilling process. With effect from 1 May, when imports from the United States will be subjected to these rules, no imports of fresh poultry meat will be permitted which do not satisfy these requirements. It is intended to apply soon the same requirements to imports of processed poultry products. This will require an amendment to the imported food regulations which is in preparation.