Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 984: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1980

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

Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 6 May 1980

Overseas Development

Turkey

asked the Lord Privy Seal how the proposed £15 million aid to Turkey is to be distributed.

The £15 million programme aid loan which Her Majesty's Government pledged at the recent OECD meeting will be available for purchase of United Kingdom products conducive to the economic, commercial and industrial development of Turkey.

Employment

Trade Union Law

asked the Secretary of State for Employment on how many occasions he has written to the Confederation of British Industry concerning changes in the law relating to trades unions; and whether he has also written to the Institute of Directors on the same occasions.

My right hon. Friend has consulted both the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors on all the working papers we have published on our proposals for changing the law on industrial relations. My right hon. Friend has also had discussions and corresponded with both organisations on various issues arising from their comments on the working papers and subsequently on the Employment Bill. My right hon. Friend will be meeting representatives of the Institute of Directors again later this month to discuss further points it has raised about the law on industrial relations.

Education And Training Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the total annual cost of education and training undertaken by his Department.

The total annual cost of training of non-industrial staff employed in the Department of Employment group in the training year ended July 1979 has been assessed as £15 million. This covers training internally at the Civil Service college and externally. Salary and accommodation costs of the students themselves are included, but travel and subsistence costs related to staff training were not readily available and are excluded.The estimated expenditure in 1979–80 of the training services division of the Manpower Services Commission is £328 million, of which £98 million relates to training in industry and £230 million to the training opportunities scheme run by the MSC itself.

Preston

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many notified vacancies existed in the Preston travel-to-work area at the latest known date.

At 2 April the numbers of notified vacancies remaining unfilled at employment offices and careers offices in the Preston travel-to-work area were 933 and 66, respectively, Vacancies notified to employment offices are estimated to be about one-third of all vacancies in the country as a whole. Because of possible duplication the figures for employment offices and careers offices should not be added together.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of the working population in the Preston travel-to-work area was registered as unemployed at the latest possible date.

At 10 April the provisional unemployment rate in the Preston travel-to-work area was 6·8 per cent. The rate is based on the estimated number of employees—employed and unemployed—which differs from the working population in that it excludes self-employed people and members of Her Majesty's Forces.

Standing Commission On Pay Comparability (Report No 1)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in respect of the Standing Commission on pay comparability report No. 1, local authority and university manual workers, National Health Service ancilliary staffs and ambulancemen, he will list the outside comparators in respect of pension schemes provided by the Office of Manpower Economics and the Pay Research Unit to the Government Actuary's Department, referred to in Appendix 7, paragraph 1, page 60.

Young Persons (South Yorkshire)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people are unemployed in the county of South Yorkshire; and how many young people in South Yorkshire he expects to leave school and require employment in the current year.

Engineering Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has to match supply and demand for skilled engineering labour.

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the job creation, job subsidisation, special employment and other special measures, excluding training and work experience, at present used by the Government to alleviate unemployment; and what is his estimate (a) of the cost of each scheme and (b) of the numbers of participants in the current financial year.

Unemployed Persons (Exchequer Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average cost to the Exchequer in terms of social security and other payments, and lost income tax and other receipts, of an unemployed school leaver and a married man with two children.

Career Review And Development Courses

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have completed career review and development courses in each year they have operated since their introduction in 1975; and what have been the annual costs of the courses in each year.

Manpower Services Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of staff employed by the Manpower Services Commission in each of its divisions.

Disablement Advisory Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Employment which groups he has consulted about the future of the disablement advisory committees; if the majority opinion was in favour of reducing the number of their meetings or integrating them with local manpower committees; and when he expects to make a decision on the future of the disablement advisory committees.

Health And Safety

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what qualifications the Health and Safety Executive considers it necessary for an inspector to have before he can be authorised to enforce The Electricity (Factories Act) Special Regulations 1908; and if he is satisfied that only persons having those qualifications have been so authorised.

[pursuant to his reply, 29 April 1980, c. 322]: All those appointed as Her Majesty's inspectors of factories are regarded as qualified to enforce The Electricity (Factories Act) Special Regulations 1908 and 1944, and are authorised accordingly. Where necessary, advice and assistance is provided by specialist electrical inspectors.

Bischloromethyl Ether (Exposure Studies)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects the Employment Medical Advisory Service to complete the study of workers exposed to bischloromethyl ether; whether any financial contribution to the study is being made by Diamond Shamrock Chemicals and Rohn and Hass; if so, why; and if he will make a statement.

Health And Safety Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the Pliatzky report as it affects the Health and Safety Executive; and whether it will mean a lowering of safety standards in order to avoid costs in applying safety measures.

InspectorateApril
197519761977197819791980
Her Majesty's Agricultural (joined HSE 1976–77)5178175179177
Her Majesty's Alkali and Clean Air384546474647
Her Majesty's Explosives101313131312
Her Majesty's Factory660753805846888919
Her Majesty's Mines and Quarries125122120118115113
Her Majesty's Nuclear Installations8910311611088*85
* The drop in numbers of NI inspectors between 1978 and 1979 is accounted for by a transfer of inspectors to work on radiological protection elsewhere in HSE.

Industrial Health And Safety Centre, Horseferry Road

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has for the future development of the Industrial Health and Safety Centre in Horseferry Road.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 592]: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has carried out a cost-effective study in relation to the Industrial Health and Safety Centre in Horseferry Road, which indicated that the cost per head for visitors was higher than for comparable methods of bringing relevant information to the public. The cost of the centre is not justified in relation to the total resources of the Health and Safety Commission, and the Commission has accordingly decided that the centre shall be closed.

Race Relations (Unfair Dismissal Claims)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many complaints of unfair dismissal under the Race Relations Act were heard by industrial tribunals in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979; how many were supported by the Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the present number of inspectors in each of the inspectorates of the Health and Safety Executive; and how this compares with each of the last six years.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 692]: The number of inspectors in post for each of Her Majesty's inspectorates in the Health and Safety Executive at the beginning of April 1980 and for the beginning of April in each of the last five years are as follows:for Racial Equality each year, and what percentage of these cases was successful.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 592–93]: The information about complaints of racial discrimination in dismissal brought under the Race Relations Act 1976 which were heard by industrial tribunals is as follows:

Number of complaintsNumber upheldPercentage upheld
13 June 1977 to 30 June 1978240
1 July 1978 to 30 June 19795224
In the period 1 July 1979 to 31 December 1979 a further 18 cases were heard, none of which was upheld.I understand from the Commission for Racial Equality that the information requested about the applications it supported is not available from the records it keeps of applications for assistance under section 66 of the Act.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of members of industrial tribunals hearing cases of unfair dismissal under the Race Relations Act came from ethnic minority groups; and if he is satisfied that such groups are sufficiently represented.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 592–93]: Some 3 per cent.—or 67—of members of industrial tribunals have special knowledge or experience of race relations in the employment field. They are specially selected to sit on tribunals hearing cases under the Race Relations Act, and I am satisfied that the interests of ethnic minority groups are sufficiently represented in this way.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment in how many of the successful complaints of unfair dismissal made to industrial tribunals under the Race Relations Act it was

Compensation (£)July 1977 to June 1978July 1978 to June 1979July 1979 to December 1979
1–491
50–993102
100–14921
150–199121
200–2992
300–3991
400–499
500–749
750–9991
1.000 and over1
4195

Trade

Scheduled Passenger Air Journeys

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many scheduled passenger air journeys within the United Kingdom were conducted by private airlines in the past 12 months; how this compares with the previous 12 months; and if he will encourage further competition between airlines for domestic journeys.

The latest convenient period for which figures are available is the calendar year 1979, when private sector airlines carried 2,500,178 pasengers on 113,874 domestic stage flights. The comparable figures for 1978 were 1,949,052 and 89,002 respectively.Any British airline already has the ability to apply to the Civil Aviation Authority for a licence to begin a service on any route on which it thinks that it can operate successfully, but experience suggests that most domestic routes do not

found that the complainant had (

a) suffered discrimination and ( b) suffered injured feelings; and what was the average compensation in each instance in each year since 1976.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 592–93]: Under the Race Relations Act 1976 two complaints of dismissal on grounds of racial discrimination have been upheld by industrial tribunals. Both were heard in the period 1 July 1978 to 30 June 1979.I regret that I cannot separately identify amounts of compensation relating to such complaints. The amounts of compensation awarded by industrial tribunals in respect of all upheld complaints under the employment provisions are:generate enough traffic to support more than one airline profitably.Provisions in the new Civil Aviation Bill are designed to create the conditions in which sensible competition can flourish.

Aircraft (Night Flights)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade by what criteria he judges it relevant to place restrictions on night flights at airports; if he is aware that night flights have been introduced at Hum airport; if he was consulted; and if he will intervene to prevent such flights until local consultation has taken place.

The criteria by which the need for restrictions on night flights is judged depend on the circumstances at the particular airport. I was not aware of, nor was I consulted about, the introduction of night flights at Hurn airport, and as the airport has not been designated under section 29 of the Civil Aviation Act 1971 I have no powers to intervene.

European Comunity (Fuel Price Policy)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representation he has made to the EEC Commission, or to the Governments of other EEC countries, about unfair competition arising from differences in fuel price policy.

Air Crash, Tenerife

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if the flight data and the cockpit voice recorder of the Dan Air Boeing 727 which crashed in Tenerife on 25 April have now been read out; at what location or locations the read-outs were undertaken; and if he will make a statement on what they reveal about the circumstances and cause of the disaster.

The flight data recorder of the Dan Air Boeing 727 which crashed at Tenerife on 25 April 1980 is now in the process of being read out in Madrid by Spanish and United Kingdom experts. The cockpit voice recorder has now been

United Kingdom Importsmillion cif)
19751976197719781979
Iran701·31,048·2789·0527·8243·6
Israel91·2128·7162·3187·3227·6
Saudi Arabia858·5985·51,132·4870·51,108·6
Syria4·97·75·34·37·0
Iraq102·6279·4332·1496·7393·7
Jordan0·70·82·06·17·9
Kuwait418·2587·3554·9606·0743·1
Egypt44·470·389·499·9252·7
Libya128·1166·6141·798·062·2
United Kingdom Exportsmillion fob)
19751976197719781979
Iran495·5515·7659·0752·0231·8
Israel237·8250·2276·1243·4270·7
Saudi Arabia200·2409·0601·1785·7893·6
Syria35·264·457·257·766·7
Iraq137·3152·1167·4216·7201·2
Jordan37·056·148·967·486·9
Kuwait100·2149·6253·8331·9233·4
Egypt107·9174·1191·9205·1264·5
Libya107·5134·9173·9214·3253·2

Source:

United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics

Fish (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what were the imports, by country, of fish into the United Kingdom in the years 1977 to 1979; and what was the percentage of total imports in each case.

flown to the United Kingdom and is at the Accident Investigation Branch (AIB) read-out facility at Farnborough. The cockpit voice recorder is substantially damaged by impact forces but AIB experts are hopeful that information will be extracted from it later today.

Representatives from the Spanish Commission of Investigation and the United States National Transportation Safety Board together with the United Kingdom accredited representative to the investigating commission will be present at the readout.

A statement wil be made to the House when additional information relating to the accident becomes available.

Middle East

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the (a) exports and (b) imports between the United Kingdom and Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Libya, respectively, for each of the last five years.

Hotels (Room Prices)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what discussions he has had with the hotel and travel industries about proposals that the price of every hotel room should be prominently displayed.

None. The Tourism (Sleeping Accommodation Price Display) Order 1977 already requires establishments having a stated minimum number of bedrooms or beds to display at reception maximum and minimum price for each basic type of room.

Man-Made Fibre Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, in view of possible redundancies in Halifax, what proposals he now has for assisting the tufted carpet industry, in view of the fact that quota restrictions have been placed on United States-made nylon carpet yarn but not upon United States man-made fibre tufted carpet imports.

The European Commission rejected the United Kingdom application for quota restrictions on imports of tufted carpets, on the grounds that import penetration had not reached a level at which such restrictions would be justified under the rules of the GATT. But the Commission recognised the need for safeguard action if imports continued to increase and caused injury to the United Kingdom industry. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Export Promotion

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the £16·5 million cuts in export promotion; and which industrialists, manufacturers' organisations and trade unions were (a) consulted and (b) gave consent to the proposals.

Details of the estimated total savings of £16·5 million which are to be made in the Government's export promotion services during the four-year period from 1980–81 to 1983–84 will be found in the table annexed to the " Action Document " on Sir Derek Rayner's report on these services that my right hon. Friend placed in the Library of the House on 30 April in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Grant). The changes in the export promotion services were made on the advice of the British Overseas Trade Board and after consultation with the British Overseas Trade Advisory Council. Both bodies include industrialists and trade unionists.

Education And Science

Non-Advanced Farther Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated expenditure for non-advanced further education in 1980–81, compared with the figure for 1979–80.

The Government's expenditure plans, as embodied in the 1980–81 rate support grant settlement, allow for expenditure on non-advanced further education in England and Wales of some £580 million, before allowing for the introduction of full cost fees for new overseas students from September 1980. This is some £20 million higher than our best estimate of expenditure on non-advanced further education in 1979–80.

School Leaving Assessment

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received any proposals for a school leaving assessment for the lower 30 to 40 per cent. of the ability range of children.

I have received no such detailed proposals, but I believe there is much to be said for offering all children a documentary record when they leave school.

Handicapped Children

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek to improve the educational facilities for handicapped children.

The Government remain committed to the maintenance and improvement of the quality of all education. Our plans provide for the maintenance of expenditure on special education at its present level and, to the extent that the numbers of handicapped children may fall, scope exists for modest improvements. It is, however, for local authorities to decide how best to deploy the resources available to them.

Advanced Further Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what estimate is available of the global capped pool for advanced further education in 1981–82; and if he will make a statement.

The Government's expenditure plans assume a small reduction in expenditure on home students in higher education and account will be taken of this in the size of the advanced further education pool for 1981–82. I shall be consulting the local authority associations before determining the exact sum later in the year.

17-Plus Examination

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the current position on proposals for a less academic public examination to be taken at the age of 17-plus.

I am considering the recommendations in the Keohane report in the light of comments and alongside other proposals relating to examinations at 17-plus. However, I have not yet reached decisions on these complex issues.

Pupil-Teacher Ratios (Primary And Secondary Schools)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the present pupil-teacher ratio in primary and secondary schools.

The overall pupil-teacher ratio in primary and secondary schools in England in January 1980 is estimated at 18:7:1.

Overseas Students

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are his latest estimates of the effect of increases in overseas student fees on the number of overseas students entering the United Kingdom and on the range of countries from which they come.

It is not possible to make reliable predictions of the precise effects of the fee increases on demand nor on the way in which different countries may be affected.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total cost to the taxpayer in 1978–79 of providing university education below cost for students from Europe, the United States, Iran, Kuwait and Nigeria; and what percentage this represented of the total provision of university education below cost for overseas students.

£23·5 million. This represents 32 per cent. of the total subsidy to overseas students in universities in the academic year 1978–79.

Assisted Places Scheme

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the current state of progress in the assisted places scheme.

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he has made in plans for the assisted places scheme in private schools.

Provisional expressions of interest in the scheme have been received from 469 schools, including all the direct grant grammar schools that are becoming independent. Local education authorities have been informed of the response from schools serving their areas and invited to make known to the Secretary of State their views on the operation of the scheme in their areas. Schools will be invited to submit formal applications for membership of the scheme later this term as soon as it is possible to let them have details of the likely content of regulations relating to the scheme and also of the income scale to be used, following consultations on the proposals for an income scale contained in my right hon. and learned Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Shelton) on 7 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 288.]

Educational Disadvantage

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has reconsidered his decision to close the Centre for Information and Advice on Educational Disadvantage.

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to be able to make a further statement on the future of the Centre for Information and Advice on Educational Disadvantage.

I have given careful consideration to the representations I have received from the centre's governors and others about my decision to close this body, including a detailed document submitted by the governors which described the centre's current work and argued for it to remain open. I have, however, concluded that my decision to close the centre should stand, and I have written accordingly to the centre's acting chairman.

Home And Overseas Students (Definition)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what changes he has made in the definition of home and overseas students; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the right hon. member to my answer on 25 April to the hon. member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short).—[Vol. 984, c. 302.]

School Books (Financial Provision)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average sum for each child in both primary and secondary schools which he expects to be provided by local education authorities during 1980–81 for the purchase of books; and how this figure will compare with provision in 1979–80.

For 1980–81 the Government's expenditure plans embodied in the rate support grant settlement assume that, nationally, per capita standards in schools should be maintained in real terms; it is, however, for each local authority to determine its own pattern of expenditure in the light of local needs and circumstances. Details of actual expenditure by local education authorities in 1979–80 are not yet available, but in 1978–79 average expenditure on books per pupil in primary schools was £4·20 and in secondary schools, £7—November 1978 prices.

11-Plus Examination

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which education authorities are still using the 11-plus selection examination for secondary eduction; and if any authorities have added themselves since the recent Education Act was passed.

Information about examinations or other arrangements adopted by local education authorities for the admission of pupils to their schools is not held by the Department. However, in September 1980 admission to secondary schools in parts of 36 local education authorities will be based on selection according to ability. These are listed below. There have been no additions to this number since the passage of either the 1979 or of the 1980 Education Acts.

  • Barnet.
  • Bexley.
  • Bromley.
  • Enfield.
  • Kingston-upon-Thames.
  • Redbridge.
  • Sutton.
  • Birmingham.
  • Walsall.
  • Wolverhampton.
  • Liverpool.
  • Wirral.
  • Bolton.
  • Trafford.
  • Calderdale.
  • Kirklees.
  • Avon.
  • Berkshire.
  • Buckinghamshire.
  • Cheshire.
  • Cumbria.
  • Derbyshire.
  • Devon.
  • Dorset.
  • Essex.
  • Gloucestershire.
  • Hereford & Worcester.
  • Kent.
  • Lancashire.
  • Lincolnshire.
  • Norfolk.
  • North Yorkshire.
  • Shropshire.
  • Staffordshire.
  • Warwickshire.
  • Wiltshire.

Medical Research Careers (Report)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received " The Call for Careers in Medical Research " by the Association of Researchers in Medical Science; what are the views of his Department concerning this report; and whether he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend has only recently received this document and he is considering it.

National Finance

Tobacco And Tobacco Products

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give for the longest and most convenient stated period of time the amounts of revenue obtained by the Treasury from the tax upon cigarettes, cigars, tobaccos and snuff.

In the period from 1 January 1978, when the conversion to the tobacco products duty was completed, to 31 December 1979, excise duty revenues from cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products were £4,294·9 million, £132·9 million and £365·7 million, respectively. In this period snuff has been exempt from excise duty.It is estimated that in these two years the amount of VAT charged on sales of cigarettes was about £650 million and on all other tobacco products about £100 million.

Sterling Deposits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the sterling deposits in United Kingdom banks owned by overseas banks on a weekly basis since the abolition of the exchange control.

Monthly information on various categories of sterling deposits—for example separating those of overseas residents from those of United Kingdom residents—for three types of overseas banks—American, Japanese and " other "—are published in Financial Statistics—respectively tables 6.11, 6.12 and 6.13 in the latest issue—April 1980. Figures for total sterling deposits, including certificates of deposit, covering all three types of overseas banks are provided below for end-banking month dates since the abolition of remaining exchange controls from 24 October 1979.

STERLING DEPOSITS WITH UNITED KINGDOM BRANCHES AND SUBSIDIARIES* OF OVERSEAS BANKS
(£bn)
1979
November 2113·9
December 1214·2
1980
January 1613·7
February 2014·3
March 1914·5
Source: Financial Statistics, Tables 6.11, 6.12 and 6.13.
* Consortium banks, that is banks which are owned by other banks but in which no one bank has a direct shareholding of more than 50 per cent., and in which at least one shareholder is an overseas bank—could arguably be
included. Their sterling deposits are relatively small, amounting to £0.8 bn on 19 March 1980—see Table 6.14 of Financial Statistics.
Weekly information is not available.

Clegg Commission Awards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the total full year cost of all recommendations made by the Clegg Commission to date.

Coinage (Metal Content)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value of the metal content of the ½p coin was at the latest date for which the figure is available.

Mortgage Interest (Tax Relief)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the saving if mortgage tax relief were paid at the same rate as life insurance premium tax reliefs.

Child Benefit (Financing)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what percentage (a) the duty on tobacco and (b) the duties on alcoholic drinks would each have to be raised beyond the increases proposed in the Budget, in order each to yield the cost of an increase in child benefit to £5·20 per week (i) in a full year and (ii) in the current financial year instead of £4·75 as proposed; and what would be the effect on the prices of 20 cigarettes, a pint of beer, a bottle of spirit and a bottle of wine.

Consolidated Fund

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is the case that two payments from the Consolidated Fund, namely class VIII vote 6, subhead D2 and class X, vote 32, subhead C2, constitute accounting events Which form part of a closed cycle of transactions internal to government, at no stage of which any actual transfer outside the public sector of voted money in fact takes place.

[pursuant to his reply 2 May 1980]: No actual transfer outside the public sector of voted money takes place. The payments constitute public expenditure for the reasons set out in my written answer to the hon. Member on 14 April.—[Vol. 982, c. 517–18.]

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated cost to each current income tax payer of transferring the total cost of all local government spending to the central Exchequer.

I have been asked to reply. The yield of domestic rates in Great Britain in 1979–80 was approximately £2·8 billion and the yield of non-domestic rates was approximately £4 billion. If the yield from both domestic and non-domestic rates had been raised instead from individiuals who paid income tax, the average burden would have been of the order of £260 per taxpayer.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 6 May.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 6 May.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 6 May.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 6 May.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 6 May.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for Tuesday 6 May.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 6 May.

I refer my hon. Friends and the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Stirlingshire, West (Mr. Canavan).

European Community (Defence Matters)

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the light of developments in Iran and Afghanistan, she considers that the Treaty of Rome should be amended to permit regular discussion of defence matters by European Economic Community Ministers and the European Parliament.

I do not think Treaty amendments of the sort suggested would be either necessary or desirable. Our defence is based on NATO to which we are fully committed.Under its own rules of procedure the European Parliament can and does discuss matters outside the direct responsibility of the European committees, including defence. Defence is, of course, discussed by Members of Parliament in the Assembly of the Western European Union and in the North Atlantic Assembly.

Government Achievement

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the achievements of the Government's first 12 months of office.

We have accomplished a great deal, but I am never fully satisfied.

Brandt Commission (Food Security)

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Brandt Commission proposal that international food security should be assured through the early establishment of an international grains arrangement, larger international emergency reserves, and the establishment of a food financing facility; and whether Her Majesty's Government will take an international initiative in this matter.

The Government are studying the detailed recommendations of the Brandt Commission's report and will make their views known as soon as possible. As regards international food security, we agree generally with the basic aims of the Commission's proposals. In particular, we shall continue to work with our Community partners for a new international grains arrangement, including internationally controlled reserves, which we believe would be an important element in improving food security in the world.

Nationalised Industries (External Financing Limits)

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister whether she is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Treasury and the sponsoring Ministries regarding the application of external financing limits to the nationalised industries.

External financing limits are set after discussion between the Treasury, sponsoring Departments and the industries. In monitoring the industries' progress towards meeting them there is similar consultation between the Treasury and the Departments. The system is very far from perfect.

Tuc

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister when next she will be meeting the Trades Union Congress.

I meet representatives of the TUC at NEDC and on other occasions. Further meetings will be arranged as necessary.

Ussr-United Kingdom (Trade)

asked the Prime Minister what is her policy on trade with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and what discussions she has had with manufacturers' associations regarding such trade.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade informed the House on 4 February, the Government believe that trade should continue where this is genuinely in the interest of both countries. We continue ready to act with our allies against trade which is not in our interest. My right hon. Friend maintains contact with organisations concerned with trade with the Soviet Union.

Olympic Games

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the decisions by the United States to resume grain shipments to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and by the European Economic Community to resume the supply of cheap butter, she will reconsider the policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding the Olympic boycott and her subsequent advice to British athletes.

No. Nothing has happened to cause us to alter the advice we have given to British athletes.

Home Department

Prison Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why there has not been a chief nursing officer for the prison service since October 1978; what steps he has taken to fill the vacancy; and when it is expected to be filled.

The chief nursing officer resigned in October 1978. Since then the management of nursing and hospital staff in the prison service has been under review. Firm conclusions as to the future of the post will be reached as soon as possible.

Mentally-Disordered Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the mentally-disordered prisoner who has been waiting for a place in a hospital in the Wessex regional health authority since 2 December 1977 is still waiting; if so, where the prisoner is held; what is the prisoner's age; from what he or she is suffering; and why a hospital place has not yet been found.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the

PrisonUnder 1 month1 to 3 months3 to 6 months12 months to 2 years
Parkhurst1 (23)1(44) 1(25)
Pentonville1 (69)
Winchester1 (28)
Wormwood Scrubs3 (25, 32 and 41)1(23)3 (21, 31 and 44)1(25)
Birmingham1(27)
Wakefield1(32)
Wandsworth1(47)1(33)
Dartmoor1(26)
Lincoln1(42)
The Lincoln prisoner suffers from severe subnormality within the meaning of section 4 of the Mental Health Act 1959; all the others suffer from mental illness within the meaning of that section.Three prisoners have been accepted in principle for admission to hospital. Nine cases have only recently been submitted mentally-disordered prisoner who has been waiting for a hospital place in the area of Oxford regional health authority for between 13 months and two years is still waiting; if so, where the prisoner is held; what is the prisoner's age; from what he or she is suffering; and why a hospital place has not been found yet.

This prisoner was discharged from Dartmoor prison on 29 April on the expiry of his prison sentence. He is 26 years old and has been diagnosed as suffering from mental illness within the meaning of section 4 of the Mental Health Act 1959. The regional health authority did not offer him a place in a local psychiatric hospital and it was not considered that he met the criteria for admission to a special hospital.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Ormskirk on 3 March, he will give the, details of the age, sex, illness and location of those mentally-disordered persons who are still in prison awaiting transfer to National Health Service hospitals and indicate, in each case, the length of wait and the reason for the delay.

On 22 April 1980, 19 male prisoners recommended for transfer to local psychiatric hospitals under section 72 of the Mental Health Act 1959 were awaiting vacancies. The distribution of these prisoners in the prison system showing their ages in parenthesis and the length of time during which they had been awaiting transfer is given below:and the appropriate regional health authorities are still making enquiries about the availability of hospital vacancies. Five prisoners are considered by regional health authorities to need a greater degree of security than is available in local hospitals in their regions; efforts to find suitable vacancies for them are continuing. In two similar cases, the prisoners concerned have been released to out-patient care after 22 April 1980 on the expiry of their sentences.

Remanded Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the prisoner who had been held on remand in custody in Holloway for 440 days on 31 January is still in custody.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the person who had been held on remand in custody in Pentonville prison for 483 days on 31 January is still on remand in custody.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the prisoner who had been held on remand in custody in Brixton prison for 566 days on 31 January is still on remand in custody.

Government Contracts

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that Government contracts are placed with employers who have endorsed and are enforcing guidelines recently drawn up by the Commission for Racial Equality.

Government contractors, like other employers, have a responsibility to comply with the general provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 and this is reinforced by a standard clause which has formed part of all these contracts since 1969. If the reference to guidelines relates to the code of practice recently published by the Commission for Racial Equality, this is a draft issued in accordance with the provisions of section 47 of the Act for the purpose of consultation.

Police And Black Youths (Relations)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take immediate action to improve relations between the police and black youths pending the results of the inquiries that are shortly to be started.

I think it is right to await the outcome of the inquiries mentioned in my statement to the House on 28 April about the recent disturbances in Bristol. Meanwhile, I know that in those areas where problems exist chief officers of police devote considerable effort to improving relations between the police and all sections of the community.

Police Complaints Procedure

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the lime scale for the taking of evidence for the first triennial review of the police complaints procedure under the Police Act 1976; how many submissions he has had already; and when he expects to publish his conclusions.

Section 8 (6) of the Police Act 1976 requires the Police Complaints Board to keep under review the working of the relevant provisions of the Act and to make to me a report thereon at least once every three years. I received the board's first triennial review report on 18 April and I am carefully considering what it says. It is my intention to publish the report in due course.

Robberies (Metropolitan Police Area)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West, written answer, 23 April, on robberies in the Metropolitan Police area, he will give for the years as stated, the number of arrests made in each of the years where the number of prosecutions successful and otherwise and the amounts of the stolen property recovered out of the total loss of £35 million on either an annual or collective basis.

Equal Opportunities And Racial Equality Commissions

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to the possibility of combining the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission on Racial Equality into a single commission.

This would require legislation and we see no advantage in such a merge.I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a supplementary question by the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summer-skill) on 1 May.

Bail Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have committed offences whilst on bail since the new Bail Act came into effect; and how many people committed offences whilst on bail during a similar period prior to the new Bail Act coming into force.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Mr. Aspinwall) on 2 April.—[Vol. 982, c. 225.]

Firearms Act 1968

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his intention to lay an order before the House with a view to seeking alterations in the existing Firearms Act 1968; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) on 6 March.—[Vol. 980, c. 293.]An order increasing the level of fees charged in England and Wales under the firearms legislation was laid before the House on 30 April.

House Of Commons

Telex Service

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what facilities are available for hon. Members to receive urgent telex messages at the House; and if none exist, if he will take steps to provide such a service for hon. Members.

Telex facilities are available in the House only on a very limited basis.The Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee of the Services Committee has examined a number of proposals for providing a fuller service, but came to the conclusion that none of them could be recommended for implementation.

Rhodesia Sanctions Order (Prosecutions)

asked the Attorney-General what has happened to the one prosecution awaiting appeal and two others in the pipeline which he mentioned in his statement on the Rhodesian sanctions order, Official Report 19 December 1979, column 639.

The appeal was allowed in part and no proceedings were instituted in respect of the two matters still under consideration on 19 December 1979.

Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

Continental Shelf (Irish Sea)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the outcome of the latest discussions at official level with the Government of the Republic of Ireland concerning the delimitation of the continental shelf between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Officials met in Dublin on 17 and 18 April to continue discussion on the modalities of the proposed arbitration. Satisfactory progress was made.A further meeting will take place in June.

Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

Diplomats (Medical Treatment)

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether free medical treatment and education are made available to any foreign diplomats resident in the United Kingdom.

Foreign diplomats who are in post in the United Kingdom are eligible for National Health Service facilities on the same basis as other people ordinarily resident in this country. This also applies to members of their families who accompany them, but it does not extend to any dependants who might come to the United Kingdom specifically for treatment or to staff who might be posted to the United Kingdom for the same purpose.If a foreign diplomatic wishes his child to attend a maintained school—at which no fees are chargeable—this would normally be possible: but for higher and further education establishments tuition fees must be paid.

asked the Lord Privy Seal which countries afford to United Kingdom diplomats the provision of free medical treatment and education.

Under the terms of the relevant social security conventions, diplomatic service staff are eligible for free medical treatment in Bulgaria and Romania: and for limited free treatment in European Community countries and in Austria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary. New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, the U. S. S. R. and Yugoslavia. The terms of the conventions with Finland, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Turkey exclude diplomatic service staff, who are therefore not entitled to free treatment in these countries, or in other countries with which the United Kingdom has no Convention.I do not have full information about which countries provide free education for members of the diplomatic service. Eligibility depends on local practice and legislation rather than on inter-Governmental agreements. Factors such as language, curriculum and ideology necessarily influence the extent to which facilities for free education can be used in practice.

Energy

North Sea Oil And Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the average volume of gas flared each day and how much offshore oil was exported in the first quarter of the current year.

European Community (Gas And Fuel Oil)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what taxes are imposed on fuel oil used by industrial consumers in each of the EEC countries, including the United Kingdom.

The following table shows the excise duty and VAT imposed on fuel oil in each of the EEC Countries as at 1 April 1980.

Excise duty £/tonneVAT Per cent.
Belgium1·486
Denmark26·0220·25
France0·0817·6
Germany3·5513
Ireland4·090
Italy0·0514
Luxembourg1·485
Netherlands3·2718
United Kingdom8·000
Currencies have been converted at the exchange rates current on 1 April 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the present costs to industrial consumers of gas and fuel oil; and how this compares with the costs of the same fuels to consumers in each of the other EEC countries.

Based on a Department of Energy survey of some 900 large industrial consumers in the United Kingdom during the period October to December 1979 the average prices of heavy fuel oil and gas were £76.1 per tonne and 14.10p per therm respectively.

During the same period the average prices realised in new and renewed contracts to industrial consumers for heavy fuel oil and gas were £84.5 per tonne and 21.3p per therm respectively.

There are difficulties in making reliable international comparisons of fuel oil prices since, for example, the proportions sold under contract may vary in the different countries. The latest available price comparisons—15 February 1980—compiled by the EEC for high sulphur fuel oil deliveries of less than 24,000 tonnes per annum—inclusive of duties and taxes—are as follows:

Country

£ per tonne
Belgium74.63
Denmark106.70
France79.47
Germany85.21
Ireland97.11
Italy82.32
Luxembourgnot available
Netherland81.09
United Kingdom92.74

It is necessary to bear in mind that the method of collecting the data in each country may not be identical and therefore makes direct comparison difficult. Furthermore, the quality of fuel oil used in the various countries may differ.

For the latest available figures, on the average price of gas to industrial consumers in EEC countries I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 23 January 1980—[Vol. 977, c. 225–28]—to the hon. Member for St. Helens (Mr. Spriggs). The prices are based on tariffs in force on 1 January 1978.

North Sea Oil And Gas (Licensing)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what further discussions he has had with oil companies and representatives of the Scottish fishing industry on the code of practice which it is intended to bring into use when allocations are being made for the seventh licensing round on oil and gas exploration in the North Sea; and if he will make a statement.

I am presently considering proposals put forward by representatives of the fishing industry. I have in mind that a code of practice concerning oil and fishing activities should be prepared in consultation with the representatives of the two industries, and with the Fisheries Departments, and my Depart- ment will be undertaking discussions to that end.

North Sea Rigs (Hollow Steel Structures)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with the testing of hollow steel structures built for use in the North Sea; what information has been gained from the accident to the Alexander Kielland rig; and what inspection and testing procedures he proposes to institute.

In the light of present knowledge I am satisfied with the present procedures for testing of structures, but this is a matter which is constantly kept under review. The Department of Energy is a major sponsor of an international research programme into the fatigue, fracture and buckling of welded steel offshore structures; the results of this programme are being incorporated into the survey requirements as they become available.The results of the Norwegian inquiry into the Alexander Kielland accident which is continuing are not yet available. Close contact is being maintained with the Norwegian authorities and Department inspectors plan to visit Norway this month to review the progress of the inquiry. The report of the inquiry into the Alexander Kielland disaster will be considered in any future reviews of safety standards.At present there is no evidence on which to base changes in the inspection and testing procedures involved in the certification of offshore structures required by the Offshore Installations (Construction and Survey) Regulations 1974.

Transport

Roads (Land Use)

asked the Minister of Transport how many acres of land in rural areas and in urban areas have been taken for motorway and trunk road building; and how many for local authority road building since 1959.

I regret that the information requested is not readily available. Land requirements are considered in relation to individual road schemes, but the Department keeps no comprehensive records of land taken.

Vehicle Excise Duty

asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he will now order a survey of vehicle excise duty evasion by heavy goods vehicle operators;(2) what is the latest estimate of vehicle excise duty evasion by heavy goods vehicle operators, whether by operating unlicensed vehicles, or by paying at too low a rate.

The survey of evasion undertaken by the Department in 1977–78 suggested that the level of evasion for goods vehicles might be 10 to 13 per cent.,

VEHICLE EXCISE DUTY: PENALTIES AND BACK DUTY 1979
London AreaElsewhere in Great Britain
All VehiclesGoods VehiclesOther Vehicles
£££
Fines431,238251,0211,468.105
Mitigated penalties in lieu of prosecution*174,666177,5601,177,112
Back Duty†408,600612,201766,680
* includes an element for back duty
†ordered by the Courts or collected as a result of Departmental check weighing.

Railway Subsidies (European Comparisons)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will list the subsidies to the railway operation in each of the countries of the European Economic Community; and how this compares with the

State intervention (£)
Stale interventionmillion)*per head of national populationper rate kilometreper passenger kilometre
BRB—Great Britain3766·90·020·01
CFL—Luxembourg59163·90·222·46
CIE—Ireland3310·30·020·04
DB—West Germany1,79629·30·060·05
DSB—Denmark8817·30·040·03†
FS—Italy70512·50·040·02
NS—Netherlands212 61015·30·070·03
SNCB—Belgium61062·10·140·08
SNCF—France1,22023·00·040·02
Sources: EEC, International Union of Railways (UIC).
Notes
* Converted at 1977 market exchange rates.
†Includes shipping.

British Railways (Modernisation Programme)

asked the Minister of Transport what effect his policy on cash limits is having on the British Railways programme of electrification, rolling stock replacement and station modernisation. but the survey related primarily to cars. A new survey on goods vehicles would be expensive and time-consuming, but I intend to devote enforcement resources to reducing evasion.

asked the Minister of Transport what are the latest available figures for back duty and penalties collected from vehicle excise duty evaders, categorised into heavy goods vehicle operators, motorists and others.

Records are not kept in the precise form requested. The information available is:United kingdom, per head of population, per route mile and per passenger mile.

The latest informations is for 1977 and is dervied from the EEC Commission's second biennial report on the economic and financial situation of railway undertakings. It is given in the following table.

It is for the Railways Board to decide what management action is necessary to remain within its cash limits. There are a number of options open to it to keep within the limits, including increased productivity and efficiency.

asked the Minister of Transport whether any proposals have been put to him by British Railways for investment in new rolling stock for catering purposes; and what effect current limits on British Railways investment will have on planned modernisation in this area.

It is for the Railways Board to determine investment priorities within the overall ceiling set by the Government. Catering rolling stock forms an integral part of all the high speed train sets being introduced by the board; I approved four additional sets on 26 December.

(£000)
Paid by 1976–77*Department of 1977–78Transport to 1978–79RoSPA 1977–78
(1) Costs of Training, Development and Liaison Unit122138147177
(2) Aid towards cost of Publicity Material29313636
(3) Contribution to Central Services33414862
(4) Costs of Road Safety Education Development Unit38395040 †
(5) Totals222249281315
* Includes payments made by the Department of the Environment before the creation of the Department of Transport.
†Final quarter's payment not yet claimed by RoSPA.

asked the Minister of Transport whether, as a consequence of the contributions to the budget of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, he makes any nomination to the society's executive committee.

Yes. My right hon. Friend has nominated his Director of Road Safety to the society's executive committee.

Environment

Villages (Community Co-Operatives)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will request the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas to consider the promotion of community co-operatives in villages so that these may be responsible for the maintenance of essential services such as petrol stations, sub-post offices, public houses and a bus service and, if necessary, to liaise with the Co-operative Development Agency to achieve this end.

No. My right hon. Friend is currently reviewing the functions and operations of both the Development Commission and COSIRA.

No separate proposals have been put to me for investment in catering rolling stock.

Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents

asked the Minister of Transport how much his Department has paid to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in each of the last four years; and if he will provide a breakdown of the figures.

Jubilee Hall, Covent Garden

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to protect Jubilee Hall, Covent Garden, from demolition.

As Jubilee Hall stands in a conservation area it is already protected by a statutory requirement to obtain listed building consent before it could be demolished. I cannot anticipate the outcome of such an application.

Agrement Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in the light of his decision that the Agrement Board should remain independent, he will now make a statement on the proposed methods of improving the financial position of the board and the marketability of agrement certificates.

These are matters which I shall be considering in consultation with the board and in the context of our review of the present system of building control.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what appointments he has made to the Agrement Board since his decision that it should remain independent; and whether he will now review the level of fees paid to board members, in view of the fact that they have remained unchanged since 1966.

No new appointments have been made to date. However, Mr. W. S. Jones, who has acted as chairman of the Agrement Board since the death of Lord Peddie in 1978, has indicated to me his wish to stand down this year. The level of fees paid to board members is being reviewed.

Enterprise Zones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had about the creation of the new enterprise zones with representatives of the partnership authorities and programme authorities.

Officials of my Department have had discussions about enterprise zones with the following partnership authorities:

  • Newcastle, Gateshead and Tyne and Wear
  • Liverpool, and Merseyside
  • Salford (a meeting with Greater Manchester Council has been arranged)
  • Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and the GLC
  • and the following programme authorities:
  • South Tyneside, Sunderland and Middlesbrough
  • Sheffield
  • Wolverhampton

Local Government Revenue

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the estimated total cost of replacing local government revenue raised from the present rating system with central Exchequer finance.

Rates raised about £6·8 billion in the United Kingdom in 1979–80. In the absence of rates, that revenue would have had to be found from another source.

Dog Licences

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total cost of collecting dog licence fees in 1979–80.

The final figures for 1979–80 are not yet available, but it is estimated that the Post Office's charges in acting as local authorities' agents for collection will be about £1,930,000. Twenty-five local authorities issue dog licences themselves and no information is available on the costs they have incurred.

Social Workers (Salary Claim)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many counties have settled the salary claim with their residential social workers; and how many are still in dispute.

The information requested is not available centrally. Implementation of the settlement of the social workers' salary claim is a matter for determination by individual local authorities within the framework of an agreement negotiated nationally in April 1979.

Local Authorities (Union Membership Agreements)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list in the Official Report of those local authorities that operate union membership agreements.

Union membership agreements are negotiated locally by individual local authorities and the trades unions concerned. Information on which authorities operate such agreements is not available centrally.

Water Charges

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the average charges in each water authority area during the years 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80; and what will be the average charges in each water authority in England and Wales in 1980–81 for (a) unmetered supplies, pence in the £ sterling, and (b) metered supplies, pence per 1,000 gallons.

The following table gives details of the average equated rate poundage for unmeasured water supply and average measured charge per 1,000 gallons for each year from 1975–76 to 1980–81 inclusive. The information is based on the water authorities final budget estimates for each year in question.

AuthorityAverage Equated rate poundage for Unmeasured Water Supply. (See footnote)Average Measured Charge per 1,000 gallons
1975–761976–771977–781978–791979–801980–811975–761916–111977–781978–791979–801980–81
pppppppppppp
NorthWest8·79·6010·6211·812·6015·6042·548·053·060·760·475·90
Northumbrian8·8310·2412·8812·912·7214·5737·8545·256·567·660·867·28
Severn-Trent7·28·709·009·0010·212·1042·353·057·657·665·580·00
Yorkshire10·0611·7013·8016·0017·121·0040·9150·860·2868·8374·1090·90
Anglian7·69·7011·4010·612·3815·6437·856·770·3074·786·0106·00
Thames3·854·885·495·986·868·6735·045·051·056·559·071·00
Southern6·77·508·709·510·0130·043·247·056·060·064·180·00
Wessex7·59·4011·4013·816·018·6045·7450·162·777·4687·2497·97
SouthWest9·612·1014·1014·716·018·5048·759·669·880·284·597·70
Welsh16·019·0021·2019·021·0225·2851·756·064·064·074·086·40
National Average6·878·199·229·710·7013·1842·3750·458·363·767·8282·29

Footnote

The average equated rate poundage takes account of any standing charge that are, in certain cases levied by Water authorities for unmeasured water supplies. It has not been practicable to adjust the measured charge per 1,000 gallons for standing charges.

Domestic And Industrial Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total value of domestic and industrial rates; and what increase in the standard rate of income tax would be required to raise this sum.

Rates from all sectors raised about £6·8 billion in the United Kingdom in 1979–80. This would have been equivalent to the revenue in that year from about an additional 14p on the basic rate of income tax.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what study he has made of the numbers of people who would be available for other duties if domestic rates were abolished;(2) what study he has made of the numbers of people who would be available for other duties if domestic and industrial rates were abolished.

We are currently reviewing alternatives to domestic rates. One aspect that has to be considered is the administrative cost and manpower that would be needed for any new local tax, and the offsetting savings there would be on the rating side. We are not considering the abolition of non-domestic rates, and are not making any studies of the implications of doing so.

Northern Ireland

Planning Decisions (Belfast)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in the light of the concern about the destruction of an historic part of the city of Belfast as a result of planning decisions, if he will make a statement on the reasons for these decisions and the advice on which they were based.

I understand that the hon. Member is referring to the area of Donegall Quay, Belfast, and in particular the private premises of James Tedford and Company Limited. No premises there including those of Tedford have been the subject of any recent planning decisions. In March 1979 the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland acquired property in Donegall Quay with a view to using part of it for car-parking purposes. This property includes part of the premises occupied by Tedford, but there are no plans to require that firm to vacate the premises.

Divis Flats

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will ascertain from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive the total number of dwellings to be demolished at Divis Flats, the total number of tenants in arrears and the total amount of the arrears in the section to be demolished; what steps will be taken to collect arrears; whether or not those tenants in arrears will be allocated a new dwelling while in arrears; and how this policy compares with the policy in the South-Eastern region with regard to allocations to those in arrears.

These are primarily matters for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I understand that 172 dwellings will disappear with demolition of the Whitehall and Farset blocks in the Divis Flats complex and that the total arrears of tenants in these blocks at 18 April 1980 was £44,624.

Fire Prevention

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many premises were visited by fire prevention officers in Northern Ireland in the past 12 months.

Fire Service

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many calls were answered by the Fire Service in 1979; how many were false alarms; and how many persons were prosecuted for raising false alarms.

The information is as follows:

No. of calls answered14,314
No. of false alarms2,996
ProsecutionsNIL

Easter Parades

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many parades took place on Easter Sunday, 6 April, in Northern Ireland; by whom they were organised; and for which parades the statutory notice was given by the organisers to the Royal Ulster Constabulary; and how many prosecutions have resulted.

Nineteen parades are known to have taken place in Northern Ireland on Easter Sunday, and all are believed to have been organised by various Republican groups. All the parades were traditional and therefore no notification was required, but in certain cases this was nonetheless given. The police are investigating a number of offences committed during some of the parades, but there have so far been no prosecutions.