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Written Answers

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 8 May 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 8 May 1980

Energy

Gas Flaring

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much gas has been flared off from all United Kingdom sea fields each month from September 1979 to March 1980.

Gas from United Kingdom continental shelf fields was flared at the following average daily rates from September 1979 to March 1980, expressed in million cubic metres a day:

September 197920mmcm/d
October 197916mmcm/d
November 197915·5mmcm/d
December 197914mmcm/d
January 198014mmcm/d
February 198014·5mmcm/d
March 198013·5mmcm/d

Advance Oil Sales

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the instruction not to sell oil more than two years in advance, Official Report, 28 July 1977, column 380, stands or has been withdrawn.

I believe that there is a case for oil companies preserving their long term flexibility in disposing of North Sea oil to provide for changes in the world oil supply situation. I would, therefore, expect companies as a general rule not to commit substantial quantities of North Sea crude for more than two years ahead.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will state her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official duties for Thursday 8 May.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q23.

Meacher asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements on 8 May.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 8 May.

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 8 May.

Q40.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 May.

I have been asked to reply.I refer my hon. Friends and the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson).

Prime Minister (Speech)

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will place in the Library a copy of her public speech a Birmingham on 21 April on the subject of British industry.

European Community (Heads Of Government)

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister what major current international issues she will seek to raise at the next meeting of European Economic Community Heads of Government.

I have been asked to reply.European Councils have no fixed agenda. It is too early to say what topics my right hon. Friend will wish to raise.

Olympic Games

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a further appeal to the British Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision to send a team to the Olympic Games in Moscow, in the light of events since the decision was taken.

I have been asked to reply.Developments are still taking place. A crucial decision for Europe will be that of the National Olympic Committee of the Federal Republic of Germany on 15 May. The question of a further appeal to the British Olympic Association is being considered.

Aberystwyth

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she has any plans to visit Aberystwyth.

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

Tuc

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister when she expects next to meet the Trades Union Congress.

I have been asked to reply.I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer).

Collieston

Q36.

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

Trade

Fish (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the value and amount of each major species of fish, respectively, imported into the United Kingdom in each of the last 18 months.

Details of imports of fresh, chilled or frozen fish—excluding fillets—are published in table IV of the monthly issues of the Overseas Trade Statistics under sub-groups 034·1 and 034·2. The genus or species to which the individual 8—digit code numbers under these sub-groups relate are set out in the Guide to the Classification for Overseas Trade Statistics for the appropriate year. Copies of these publications are in the Library.

European Community (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.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 9]: The Government are strongly opposed to all forms of unfair competition and this view is well known to the European Community Commission and to other EEC Governments. Where differences in fuel price policy lead to unfairness I am ready to consider appropriate action with our Community partners.

Limited Companies (Profit Sharing)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he proposes taking to encourage limited companies to share their profits with their employees.

I have been asked to reply.Amounts paid by a company to its employees by way of bonus under a profit sharing arrangement will normally qualify as a deduction for corporation tax purposes in the same way as the payment of wages. The present Finance Bill contains proposals to improve the income tax reliefs, available to employees who participate in schemes approved by the Revenue under the Finance Act 1978.

Scotland

Scottish Development Agency (Equity Projects)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the equity involvements of the Scottish Development Agency, giving in each case their initial cost to public funds and estimated current market value.

Details of investments made by the Scottish Development Agency up to 31 March 1979 are contained in its annual reports, copies of which are in the Library. No estimate is available of the current market value of these investments as the private companies involved are unlisted. If my hon. Friend wishes to have more detailed and up-to-date information than that contained in the Agency's annual reports, I would refer him to the Agency which will provide such information as it can within the limits of commercial confidentiality.

Schoolchildren (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of Scottish schoolchildren were being educated at independent, grant-aided and State schools at the most recent date for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures for each of the previous 10 years.

In 1978–79, 978 per cent. of primary schoolchildren in Scotland were attending education

PrimarySecondary
EAGAIndependentEAGAIndependent
1968–69.97·31·41·393·44·12·5
1969–70.97·41·41·393·64·02·4
1970–71.97·41·31·393·73·92·4
1971–72.97·51·31·293·93·82·3
1972–73.97·51·31·294·03·82·3
1973–74.97·51·31·294·33·52·2
1974–75.97·51·31·294·43·42·2
1975–76.97·61·21·294·63·22·2
1976–7797·71·21·194·63·22·2
1977–7897·81·11·194·73·12·2

Higher Leaving Certificates (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the higher leaving certificate passes was obtained by pupils at independent, grant-aided and State schools at the most recent examinations for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figure for each of the previous 10 years.

EAGAIndependentTotal passes (=100 per cent.)
1968–6986·610·82·666,999
1969–7085·711·32·967,400
1970–7185·711·13·174,415
1971–7286·310·73·080,339
1972–7386·110·53·482,071
1973–7485·810·83·584,745
1974–7585·111·13·881,072
1975–7685·211·13·879,436
1976–7785·410·73·984,403
1977–7885·410·44·283,672

Matrimonial Causes (Costs)

asked the Attorney-General if he will make a statement concerning changes in the law and practice recommended by the House of Lords in Hanlon v the Law Society in respect of which judgment was given on 1 May.

The Lord Chancellor has asked the Legal Aid Advisory Committee to consider the operation of the Law Society's charge in matrimonial cases in the light of the suggestions made by the House of Lords in this case and his Department is discussing authority school; 1·1 per cent. at grant-aided schools; and li per cent. independent schools. The figures for secondary school children for the same year were 95·l for education authority; 2·8 for grant-aided; and 2·2 for independent. Comparable figures for each of the previous 10 years were as follows:

Pupils leaving secondary schools in 1979 obtained a total of 81,556 passes at higher grade of the Scottish certificate of education. Of these 86 per cent. were obtained by pupils from education authority schools; 9·9 per cent. by pupils from grant-aided schools; and 4·1 per cent. by pupils from independent schools. Comparable figures for each of the previous 10 years were as follows: the implications of the judgment with the Law Society.

Court Of Appeal

asked the Attorney-General whether his future references to the Court of Appeal will be heard by a court of five as recommended by Professor Granville Williams in the Criminal Law Review 1980, page 281.

The constitution of a court of five judges for any given case is not the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor or the Attorney-General but is a matter for the judicial authority..

Criminal Trials (Waiting Period)

asked the Attorney-General what was the average waiting time in custody between committal and trial in London in (a) 1975 and (b) 1979

The average waiting times for defendants in custody between committal and trial in the Crown court in London was 125 weeks in 1975 and 19·5 weeks in 1979.

Education And Science

Adult Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish in the Official Report the annual expenditure on adult education in each of the last five years, together with the projected expenditure for the year 1980–81.

The figure for 1979–80 is not yet available. The figures for the previous five years with planned expenditure for 1980–81 are as follows:Net recurrent and capital expenditure by Local Education Authorities, Department of Education and Science and Welsh Office on Adult Education in England and Wales

*

Financial years

£ million 1979 Survey Prices

1974–7547
1975–7652
1976–7750
1977–7845
1978–7951
1980–8139

* Excluding certain expenditure by university extra mural departments, Workers Educational Association and the Welsh National Council of the YMCA.

National Finance

European Community (Own Resource Arrangements)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the United Kingdom customs duties paid to the EEC as own resources in 1979, broken down by two-digit standard industrial classification headings.

I assume that my hon. Friend requires a list by standard international trade classification headings. The Vol. 984 gross amount of customs duties of about £870 million in 1979 is broken down as follows:

SITC (Rev. 2) Divisionmillion)Amount
000·1
0152·3
0310·4
041·0
0562·0
063·1
078·5
080·4
093·5
118·9
1234·2
240·4
260·9
2701
280·1
293·1
332·8
410·1
424·7
430·5
5111·4
523·4
532·1
542·4
552·0
560·3
5813·0
594·4
6123·7
623·1
6311·3
6420·4
6549·2
666·3
6710·3
686·7
6911·3
715·5
7229·1
735·5
7465·2
7534·7
7644·5
7738·6
7861·6
792·5
810·7
824·2
834·1
8485·1
8513·1
8717·0
8845·1
8932·7

Elderly Persons Housing (Rating Assessments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance he has given to rating and valuation officers to ensure that the development in the private sector of purpose-built flatlet houses for the elderly is not discouraged by assessing them for rating purposes in comparison with local authority homes.

My right hon. Friend will be aware that the valuation officer is required by law to arrive at rating assessments in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions. It would not be appropriate for me to give him guidance as to how he should carry out these duties.

School Journey Costs (Value Added Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a school journey to a youth hostel is or is not eligible for value added tax refund.

Short-Term Bonds

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his Budget Statement, Official Report, 26 March, column 1481, whether a short-term bond proposal accepted by letter from an insurance company dated 25 March 1980 will be affected by the new life assurance premium proposals.

Coinage (Designation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member of 24 May 1979, he has now had time to prepare the necessary legislation for the removal of the word " new " from the coinage as recommended in the report " Decimal Currency in the United Kingdom", Cmnd. 3164, 1966, paragraph 20.

The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits.

British Gas Corporation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he decided not to impose a windfall profits tax on the future earnings of the British Gas Corporation; and if he will make a statement.

The Government have decided in principle to impose a levy on the British Gas Corporation in respect of gas purchased from the United Kingdom continental shelf, and sold to the corporation under contracts not subject to petroleum revenue tax (PRT). The corporation's financial target set for three years will be modified to compensate for it. The North Sea gas levy will therefore have no effect on gas prices during the target period.This will mean that some of the financial benefits which would otherwise accrue to the corporation will be permanently transferred to the benefit of the nation as a whole.Legislation will be required and this will be introduced as soon as possible.

Industry

Mr Ian Macgregor

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how much is to be paid to Russell Reynolds for helping recruit Mr. Ian MacGregor; and who will pay it;(2) whether the payment or payments to Russell Reynolds for helping recruit Mr. Ian MacGregor will be related to his pay to the payments to be made to Lazard Frères, or to any other factors.

Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. was engaged on standard terms, namely, a fee calculated on the basis of a proportion of the first year's remuneration received by the new BSC chairman, if he was appointed with its assistance. Russell Reynolds is also being reimbursed for its expenses incurred during the search for a new chairman. The payments are made by the Department of Industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many people Russell Reynolds interviewed in the course of its efforts to recruit a new chairman of the British Steel Corporation.

Russell Reynolds supplied a list of 31 people whom it had approached or considered for the BSC chairmanship.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many people Russell Reynolds recommended to him as possible candidates for chairmanship of the British Steel Corporation; and how many of them were British.

Russell Reynolds presented seven possible candidates, of whom five were British.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether any payments or inducements in cash or kind, additional to those outlined in his statement of 1 May, are to be made by the Government or the British Steel Corporation to Mr. MacGregor; and if he will list them.

Mr. MacGregor will serve as part-time deputy chairman of the British Steel Corporation from 2 May to 30 June at a salary of £15.000 a year. From 1 July he will serve as chairman on the terms indicated in my statement on 1 May. No other payments in cash or kind are to be made by the Government or BSC to Mr. MacGregor, beyond the £48,500 annual salary referred to in that statement, except to the extent that Mr. MacGregor is entitled to allowance for travel, accommodation and other expenses appropriate to his position as chairman of BSC.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the involvement of Lazard Freres in assessing the results achieved by Mr. Ian MacGregor at the British Steel Corporation will mean that this United States bank will be involved in determining at the outset the output, productivity and other targets of the British Steel Corporation.

No. BSC's financial and other objectives will as hitherto be set in consultation between the Government and the corporation's management. The assessment of Mr. MacGregor's performance, in which Lazard will have a say through the performance review committee, will be done separately.

Overseas Development

Aid Policy

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the total amount of British foreign aid; and what proportion of this is tied to the purchase of British goods and services in the current year.

The gross aid programme in 1980–81 will be £961 million. It is not possible to estimate in advance the proportion of bilateral aid which is tied to the purchase of British goods and services because the conditions attached to individual loan and grant agreements vary. In 1978, the most recent year for which statistics on tying are available, the proportion of United Kingdom bilateral aid—excluding technical cooperation—fully tied was 55 per cent. A further 16 per cent. was limited to procurement in this country or the recipient countries.

Fishing Projects

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the fishing projects financed by Her Majesty's Government abroad, the countries, and the sums allocated to each.

The information requested will take a little time to assemble and I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Employment

Trade Union Subscriptions

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has of the weekly rates of subscription payable by members of the five largest trade unions; and if he will publish the figures.

The rates of subscription/contribution payable by members of the five largest trade unions, for the highest level where there is more than one scale of membership, are understood to be:

Transport and General Workers Union: 33p per week
Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (Engineering Section): 45p per week
National Union of General and Municipal Workers: 35p per week
National and Local Government Officers Association: £2.43 per month
National Union of Public Employees: 25p per week

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.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 3]: At 10 January 1980, the latest date for which an age analysis of the unemployed is available, the number of young people aged under 20 registered as unemployed at employment offices and careers offices in the metropolitan county of South Yorkshire was 7402.The figures for April 1980 will become available shortly and I shall write to the hon. Member.It is estimated that about 19,000 pupils will leave school without any known plans to enter full-time further education in the county of South Yorkshire in 1980.

GROSS WEEKLY EARNINGS (£) OF FULL-TIME MALES AGED 21 AND OVER WHOSE PAY WAS NOT AFFECTED BY ABSENCE
April 1976April 1977
MeanMedianMeanMedian
Manual employees
Tayside59·356·866·261·2
Scotland66·262·272·568·0
Great Britain65·162171·568·2
Non-manual employees
Tayside82·068·583·573·8
Scotland80·873·788·079·8
Great Britain81·673·988·981·1
All employees
Tayside67·760·072·665·6
Scotland71·665·878·371·8
Great Britain71·865·878·672·3
April 1978April 1979
MeanMedianMeanMedian
Manual employees
Tayside69·765·182·578·9
Scotland81·476·293·687·6
Great Britain80·776·893· 088·2
Non-manual employees
Tayside96·388·6105· 096·3
Scotland99·891·911·30104·1
Great Britain100·791·8113·0103·6
All employees
Tayside79·770·891·084·4
Scotland88·581·5101·293·3
Great Britain89·182·0101·493·9
Source: New Earnings Survey.
The figures of mean earnings for April 1979 shown above differ from those given in a related earlier question—[Vol. 977, c. 22]—where the figures for Tayside and Scotland were inadvertently transposed

TaysideScotland
££
Full-time manual women54·254·3
Full-time non-manual women61·563·0
All full-time women58·960·4
Differences in mean or median earnings between areas will reflect differences in the composition of the labour force, including

Weekly Earnings (Males)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the mean and the median gross weekly earnings of male employees in Dundee, Scotland, and Great Britain in each of the past four years.

Since separate figures for Dundee are not readily available, figures are shown for Tayside—including Dundee. The data in respect of the four years up to 1979 are:The figures of average gross earnings in April 1979 for women aged 18 and over in the earlier answer should have been:those arising from the structures of industry, and do not necessarily imply a difference for comparable jobs.

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) whether any work permit issued to the British Steel Corporation for the employment of a chairman is or will be for an initial period not exceeding 12 months, in accordance with the rules of the work permit scheme;(2) if he considers that a work permit should be issued for the employment of Mr. Ian MacGregor by the British Steel Corporation because it is in the national interest; and, if so, on what date such a decision was taken;(3) on what date he received an application for a work permit for Mr. Ian MacGregor to be employed as chairman of the British Steel Corporation;(4) what steps were taken to ensure that the pending vacancy for a chairman of the British Steel Corporation was notified at the relevant employment office and was advertised, in line with rules of the work permit scheme;(5) what consideration has been given in the case of Mr. MacGregor and the British Steel Corporation to the work permit scheme rule that only workers between 23 and 54 years of age are eligible for permits.

Mr. MacGregor was born in Scotland and is to the best of our knowledge still a patrial. He would not, therefore, be subject to immigration control and the question of a work permit does not arise.In the unlikely event of a work permit being required, Mr. MacGregor would fulfil the skill criteria necessary.

Engineering, Foundry And Engineering Construction Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of skilled manpower needs of the engineering, foundry and engineering construction industries over the next five years; how this compares with the number of training places that will be available; and if he is satisfied that supply and demand of skilled manpower will be in balance.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 69192]: The prime responsibility for industrial training, including the balance between the supply and demand for skilled labour, rests with individual firms and industries, which receive advice and assistance from their industry training organisations. Neither my Department nor the Manpower Services Commission makes statistical estimates of the manpower needs of individual industries. Nevertheless, I am informed that the MSC, through the training policies of its operating divisions, such as the training for skills programme, seeks actively to ameliorate the effects of any imbalances which may arise, particularly where the skills concerned are used in a number of industries.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the manual occupations in the engineering and allied trades which his Department classifies as skilled.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 69192]: My Department does not attempt to define which occupations are skilled. For statistical purposes selected occupations in CODOT—and key list—groups XII to XVI and XVIII are classified as skilled. Of these the 68 occupations in CODOT group XIV cover engineering and allied trades.The Following occupations from group XV may also be included:

Foremen—product inspection
Inspectors and testers (skilled) (metal and electrical engineering)
Viewers (metal and electrical engineering).

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the level of financial support from his Department for the training activities of the Engineering Industry Training Board; and how this compares with each of the last five years.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980 c. 691–92]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it will make available £13·4 million to the Engineering Industry Training Board in the 1980–81 financial year for training activities. This sum excludes funds for computer training on which agreement has yet to be reached. MSC grants to the board for the preceding five years were 1979–80, £13·6 million (estimate): 1978–79 £15·1 million; 1977–78 £16·3 million; 1976–77 £12·7 million and 1975–76 £5·6 million.

In addition, the MSC will make available £91 million to meet the board's operating expenses in the 1980–81 financial year, which includes support for its training advisory services. MSC support for the board's operating expenses in the preceding five years was—1979–80 £7·9 million; 1978–79 £7·3 million; 1977–78 £6·3 million; 1976–77 £5·5 million and 1975–76 £4·4 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many women and girls are at present in apprenticeships in the engineering, foundry, and engineering construction trades.

Lester [pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1980, c. 691–92]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that reliable information can be given only in respect of women and girl craft and technician apprentices recruited by firms in scope to the Engineering Industry Training Board and its foundry industry training committee and who follow approved courses of training. The latest available figures for women and girl apprentices are 823 in the engineering, nil in engineering construction trades and one in foundry trades in the 1978–79 training year.

Engineering Industry

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

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 3]: It is primarily for

Financial year 198081
MeasureCost of Scheme (estimated £m.)Number of participants(estimated)
Temporary Short-time Working Compensation *40·0350,000
Small Firms Employment Subsidy6·030,000
Job Introduction Scheme0·51,750
Job Release Scheme138·080,000
Community Industry20·010,000
Special Temporary Employment Programme55·025,000
* The figure shown is based on the estimated number of approved applications and relates to workers employers propose to put on short-time working in order to avoid redundancies rather than the number of redundancies averted.

Disablement Advisory Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Employment which groups he has consulted about the future of disablement advisory committees; if the majority opinion was in favour of reducing the number of their meetings or integrating industry itself to decide what skilled engineering labour it requires and to make appropriate arrangements to meet the demand.MSC is, however, giving considerable support to industry's effort through the training for skills programme, and substantial funds are being made available through the EITB and other national training organisations to meet key objectives including apprentice recruitment.MSC also contributes directly to skill needs through the training opportunities programme (TOPS) and through direct training services (DTS) provided at a charge to employers. TOPS and DTS trained respectively about 16,500, and about 14,000 people last year in engineering and related occupations.

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; and what is his estimate (a) the cost of each scheme and (b) the numbers of participants in the current financial year.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 3]: The following schedule includes all those who it is estimated will be covered by the special employment measures referred to by my hon. Friend at any time during the current financial year.them with local manpower committees; and when he expects to make a decision on the future of disablement advisory committees.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980 c. 4]: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon.

Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Park) on 1 May—[Vol. 983, c. 594.]

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.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 3]: In order to estimate the cost to the Exchequer of a person who is unemployed it would be necessary to make a whole series of assumptions about his employment income and family circumstances. For an illustration of this point, my hon. Friend may wish to refer to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Treasury to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) on 18 January.—[Vol. 976, c. 893–94.]

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.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 3–4]: The Manpower Services Commission aggregate statistics of career review and development courses with statistics of transfer of employment courses, career development conferences and career development courses since these courses are all similar in duration—two to three weeks—content and objective. The yearly figures are:

Number of completionsAnnual cost (course fees and training allowances)
£
1975–76*£*
1976–77703200,000t
1977–78905250,000t
1978–791,620538,228
1979–802,001709,725
* Only a few pilot courses were run late in the year
† Estimated.

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.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980. c. 45]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 1 April 1980 the total number of staff employed by the Manpower Services Commission in each of its divisions was:

ESD14,772
TSD8,425
SPD1,175
Support Services1,491
Total25,863

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 Haas; if so, why; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 4–5]: The Employment Medical Advisory Service (EMAS) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is not conducting a study of workers exposed to bischloromethyl ether (bis CME). A mortality study of workers employed in the manufacture of bis CME in two factories in Great Britain was set up by EMAS in August 1971 to investigate whether excess mortality was observed in workers who might have been exposed to bis CME. When further information regarding the hazards of bis CME became available from other sources, the HSE advised that exposure to the chemical should be kept as low as is reasonably practicable.The mortality study was taken over for completion and reporting by the Department of Occupational Health and Hygiene (DOHH). University of Newcastle upon Tyne. HSE no longer has any direct involvement in the study. I am informed that the DOHH has received contributions towards expenses from the two firms concerned, namely, Rohm and Haas (UK) Ltd. and DiaProsim Ltd., a subsidiary of Diamond Shamrock Corporation, but I understand that completion of the study has been temporarily delayed by lack of funds. As HSE already acknowledges the hazards associated with bis CME EMAS does not recommend priority for further HSE funding of the study.

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 would mean a lowering of safety standards in order to avoid cost in applying safety measures.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1980, c. 5–6]: The Health and Safety Commission is taking steps to implement Sir Leo Pliatzky's recommendation that it should publish appraisals of the cost to industry and employers of the measures it proposes, together with estimates of the gains from those measures. This will not lead to any lowering of existing safety standards. But it will help to ensure that the implications of proposed new requirements are systematically examined.

Home Department

Senior Police Officer's (Public Statements)

27

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why, in view of the growing practice of senior police officers using the media to declare their personal views on politically controversial matters which fall within the purview of Ministers, he will not take steps to require such statements to be cleared by Ministers in the same way as applies to statements made by civil servants.

The Government are not responsible for the statements of chief constables.

Libyan Nationals (Police Protection)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to protect the lives of Libyan nationals resident in the United Kingdom whose lives have been threatened by Colonel Gaddafi.

The Metropolitan Police will continue to give advice to those who feel themselves to be threatened. My right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary are actively considering what steps the Government should take.

Category C Prisons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which four category C prisons are under consideration for an extension of the removal of restrictions on the contents of letters; and what reasons are advanced by the Prison Officers Association for opposition to this removal.

As an experiment it was decided to relax the censorship of prisoners' letters at Channings Wood, Haverigg, Highpoint and Ranby prisons. Although the Prison Officers Association acquiesced in the experiment, the local branches withheld co-operation and their National Executive Committee have stated they will not press their members to participate in the experiment. Opposition has been based on the belief that in category C prisons censorship helps to maintain control and is in the interests of prisoners' welfare.

Fish And Chip Shops (Sunday Trading)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to amend the Shops Act 1950 to permit fish and chip shops to trade on Sundays in the same way as other shops providing hot food to take away.

We are currently looking at the question of the restraints which the Shops Act 1950 imposes on shopping hours, including Sunday trading. But there is unlikely to be time available in the foreseeable future for Government legislation on the matter.

Pickets (Police Duties)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he issues to chief constables on special training for police duties on picket lines; whether such training is included at police colleges; whether it will be extended; and if he will make a statement.

Responsibility for training within a force rests with the chief officer of police. Home Office guidance recommends training of probationers in handling trade disputes.Courses at police training centres and the Police Staff College, Bramshill, include aspects of public order and crowd control.

Pucklechurch Remand Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a full statement on how and for what reason prisoners at Pucklechurch remand centre are being denied association.

Association at Pucklechurch remand centre is organised on a rota basis and every effort is made to maintain this programme. It is occasionally curtailed when, for example, sickness reduces the number of staff available for supervision.

Prisons (Pay Telephones)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which (a) men's and (b) women's prisons are being considered as candidates for the extension of the experiment with pay telephones; and if he will speed up and extend this experiment.

Askham Grange is under consideration for women and Rudgate for men. Extension of the experiment is the subject of continuing consultations with the Prison Officers' Association.

Community Service Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total estimated cost of community service order schemes in 1979–80.

Probation and after-care committees, which are responsible for administering community service schemes, do not account for expenditure on community service separately from that on the service as a whole. The booklet " Probation Service Statistics Based on Estimates " 1979–80, produced jointly by the Conference of Chief Probation Officers and the Society of County Treasurers, gives an estimated expenditure of £4·2 million on community service in England and Wales (excluding inner London).

Remand Centre, Ashford

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to improve the sanitary conditions at the Ashford remand centre.

The sanitary facilities at Ashford are being improved in a phased programme which is well on its way to completion.

Fourth Television Channel

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the fact that the preponderance of the representations made to him have opposed the Government's change of policy in relation to the fourth television channel in Wales, he will now reconsider this matter and make a statement.

Mrs Kakar

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has yet reached a conclusion on the virginity test case concerning the payment of compensation to Mrs. Kakar; and if he will make a statement.

I am sorry that consultations with interested parties are taking so long. We hope shortly to be in a position to let the hon. Member know the outcome of our consideration of the request for compensation to Mrs. Kakar.

European Convention On Human Rights

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the judicial status in British domestic law of the European Convention on Human Rights, ratified by the United Kingdom on 8 May 1951; and whether the efficacy of the provisions of that convention would be enhanced by their incorporation into statute law.

The provisions of an agreement between the United Kingdom and other sovereign States do not ordinarily have legal force in the domestic legal systems of this country except to the extent that they are embodied in United Kingdom legislation. There is no such legislation embodying the European Convention on Human Rights. The extent to which United Kingdom courts have regard to the Convention was examined in a Home Office memorandum submitted in June 1977 to the Select Committee of another place on a Bill of Rights. The memorandum, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. Friend, was published by the Select Committee with its Minutes of Evidence—HL 81 of 1977–1978, pages 84–86. The possible advantages and disadvantages of a Bill of Rights, which might embody the convention in our domestic law, have been a matter of public debate for some years and were considered in a discussion document " Legislation on Human Rights" published by the last Government in 1976 and in the Select Committee's report—HL 176 of 1977–1978. As we made clear in the manifesto, the Government intend at a suitable time to propose all-party talks about a possible Bill of Rights.

Place Of Safety Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each year since 1975 the numbers of applications to magistrates courts for place of safety orders in respect of children, together with the numbers of such orders granted.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is available to magistrates hearing applications for place of safety orders in respect of children as to the procedures they should adopt and the principles upon which they should act.

Magistrates hearing applications for place of safety orders under section 28 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 have available to them the advice and assistance of a clerk who is trained in these matters. The principles upon which they should act are set out in section 28; there are no special procedures involved.

Prostitution

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women were received into prison following sentences of immediate imprisonment for offences relating to prostitution in 1979.

Information on the number of receptions of females into prison department establishments in England and Wales for offences relating to prostitution is published annually in Prison Statistics, England and Wales—tables 3·2 and 5·1 of the issue for 1978, Cmnd. 7626. These figures include any sentenced to borstal training. Figures for 1979 are not yet available.

Fine Defaulters

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many female fine defaulters were received into prison in 1979

Information on receptions of females into prison department establishments in England and Wales in default of payment of a fine is published annually in Prison Statistics, England and Wales—table 7·1 of the issue for 1978, Cmnd. 7626. Figures for 1979 are not yet available.

Importuning

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many men were received into prison following sentences of immediate imprisonment for importuning in 1979.

Information on the receptions specified could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Iranian Citizens

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will use his powers under section 3(5)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971 to deport from the United Kingdom any Iranian citizens who may be found not to be observing the conditions attached to their leave to enter the United Kingdom, or to be found remaining in the United Kingdom beyond the time limited by the leave.

Aliens (Expired Work Permits)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with existing procedures for checking and ensuring that aliens entering the United Kingdom for specific periods leave the United Kingdom after their work or entry permits have expired.

We hope that the arrangements to replace the existing manual record-keeping of arrivals and departures by a computer system will provide more accurate and timely information as to whether a passenger has overstayed. Since the manpower which the police and officers of our Department can devote to following up records suggesting that a passenger may have overstayed is bound to be limited, it is important to concentrate effort where it will be most effective.

Social Services

Smallpox

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the implications for the United Kingdom of the eradication from the world of smallpox: and if he will make a statement.

The World Health Assembly today agreed a resolution confirming that smallpox has finally been eradicated from the world. This historic event is the culmination of a long and intensive campaign by the World Health Organisation and its success marks a landmark for mankind.Many countries have contributed to the success of the campaign, not least the United Kingdom. Edward Jenner was the first to demonstrate the value of vaccination to the world and this was the first country in which vaccination against smallpox was made available free. It was also the first country which, in the light of the early success of the WHO eradication campaign, ceased recommending routine vaccination against the disease.Sir George Godber, formerly a chief medical officer in the Department, was one of the most influential people in supporting the WHO campaign and a former principal medical officer, Dr. William Bradley, devised in this country the methods which led to the eradication of the disease here. It was only with the application of these methods in parts of the world where the disease was endemic that eradication became feasible and was achieved.

Professor Dumbell of St. Mary's Hospital Medical School and the late Professor Bedson of the Birmingham Medical School were leading advisers to the WHO and Professor Dumbell has been a member of the Global Commission for the Declaration of Smallpox Eradication, the WHO body mainly responsible for the work of the last few years. Several United Kingdom doctors have recently assisted the WHO as members of International Commissions certifying the freedom from smallpox of countries in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, among them one of the present members of the medical staff of the Department.

The United Kingdom has also made special contributions to help finance the eradication programme and has also provided supplies of vaccine. It should not be forgotten, however, that it is not only the countries which formerly suffered from endemic smallpox which have benefited from the success of the campaign. The benefits to the developed countries are also considerable.

The World Health Assembly resolution to which I referred above makes a number of recommendations on vaccination policy and other matters relating to the control and surveillance of smallpox. It will now be possible to modify the guidance given by the Department to health and local authorities on these and other aspects of smallpox control, including the hospital requirements for accommodating patients with suspected smallpox. Work on this is well advanced and guidance should be issued shortly.

Hypothermia (Fatalities)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the data from the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys on deaths from hypothermia in winter.

Routine statistics based on a single cause using the International Classification of Diseases are an incomplete measure of the number of deaths involving hypothermia and therefore a special count of all death registrations which mention hypothermia—whether alone or with other causes—is carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. The figures, for all ages and all circumstances in which hypothermia was mentioned on death registrations in England and Wales in recent December and March quarters, are as follows:

Quarter of registration
December quarter 1974 March quarter 1975128
March quarter 1975217
December quarter 1975150
March quarter 1976291
December quarter 1976203
March quarter 1977343
December quarter 1977138
March quarter 1978420
December quarter 1978144
March quarter 1979535*
* Provisional.
Interpretation of the trend in these figures needs to take into account the extent to which hypothermia is being clinically recognised and diagnosed more often because of publicity.

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing progress since 1971 towards the objectives of the White Paper " Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped " for places in adult training centres, giving statistics for each county in England.

At 31 March 1979, there were 41,614 adult training centre places in England or about 90 places per 100,000 population compared with 25,461 places or about 56 places per 100,000 population on 30 December 1970. As local government was reorganised in 1974 it is not possible to provide comparable figures by county, but the following table gives figures for each local social services authority (non-metropolitan counties, metropolitan districts and London boroughs) as at 31 March 1979.

ATC PLACES FOR THE MENTALLY HANDICAPPED
Rate per 100,000 estimated
Local AuthorityNumberpopulation
Cleveland581102·3
Cumbria37679·6
Durham56693·7
Northumberland329113·8
Gateshead252117·6
Newcastle upon Tyne400137·2
North Tyneside200102·6
South Tyneside185112·7
Sunderland345114·9
Humberside77491·6
North Yorkshire38858·7

Barnsley21295·5
Doncaster305106·6
Rotherham286115·3
Sheffield695126–8
Bradford43493·7
Calderdale15179·4
Kirklees85694·2
Leeds761104·5
Wakefield28492·2
Cheshire81888·9
Lancashire1,23890·4
Bolton17968·8
Bury191107·6
Manchester47296·5
Oldham230102·5
Rochdale261124·8
Salford350136·7
Stockport21874·9
Tameside252115·0
Trafford18581·9
Wigan29193·5
Knowsley226124·0
Liverpool773146·4
Sefton24079·7
St. Helens283149·3
Wirral418121·3
Hereford/Worcester45374·3
Salop35597·0
Staffordshire80180·3
Warwickshire34172·6
Birmingham88384·8
Coventry370108–8
Dudley364122·8
Sandwell27488·5
Solihull235118·5
Walsall22584·7
Wolverhampton25196·3
Derbyshire981109·5
Leicestershire82899·4
Lincolnshire588110·9
Northamptonshire50497·6
Nottinghamshire97199·7
Bedfordshire41283·3
Berkshire64295·5
Buckinghamshire32060·9
Cambridgeshire43876·8
Essex1,35894·6
Hertfordshire70374·2
Norfolk62792·2
Oxfordshire41176·0
Suffolk42070·9
Camden12263·6
Greenwich259126·7
Hackney231120·7
Hammersmith9456·4
lslington16498·6
Kensington3522·8
Lambeth15456·6
Lewisham18275·8
Southwark17981·2
Tower Hamlets123*82·8*
Wandsworth13549·0
Westminster6932·9
City of London117·9
Barking186123·3
Barnet26892·4
Bexley16275·8
Brent295115·7
Bromley14348·9
Croydon355110·7
Ealing22376·3

Local Authority

Number

Rate per 100,000 estimated population

Enfield14154·3
Haringey15066·0
Harrow11859·8
Havering18978·7
Hillingdon19083·3
Hounslow13868·7
Kingston upon Thames10073·5
Merton14991·4
Newham244107·4
Redbridge16472·2
Richmond upon Thames14085·5
Sutton1710·2
Waltham Forest15872·0
Dorset605103·2
Hampshire1,27087·4
Isle of Wight6254·2
Kent1,13478·3
Surrey55856 1
East Sussex61393·9
West Sussex437690
Wiltshire44085·2
Avon9311010
Cornwall24959·8
Devon1,097115·7
Gloucestershire47595·9
Somerset20549·9
Isles of Scilly00

* 1978 figures.

Maternity Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the fact that over 50,000 of those women currently drawing maternity allowances have earned incomes below the level of their personal tax allowances, he will make arrangements for the 5 per cent. abatement of the maternity allowance over the next two years to be made up by supplementary benefit or some other form of allowance.

While I can understand my hon. Friend's concern, I am afraid we cannot ensure that the abatement proposals in the Social Security (No. 2) Bill will apply only to those beneficiaries who would be liable to tax.For women on their own, or in the case of a married couple, where the husband is not in full-time work, supplementary benefit would be available where resources fell short of requirements.

Hospitals (Catering And Other Services)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider, along with the consultative statements on the structure and management of the National Health Service, the possibility of hospital catering and other services being put out to tender by private contractors as a further option.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Grant) on 5 November 1979.—[Vol. 973, c. 52.]

Biotechnology (Spinks Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to implement the various recommendations of the Spinks report on biotechnology as far as his Department is concerned; and if he will make a statement.

The report is under consideration; the Government hope to publish their response in July.

Wales

A5 (Maerdy, Clwyd)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether further progress has been made with plans to eliminate the dangerous bends in the A5 trunk road in, and in the vicinity of, Maerdy, Clwyd.

As I indicated to my hon. and learned Friend on 24 October—[Vol. 972, c. 191]—a route study of the A5 is being undertaken to determine what improvements may be needed. This route study covers the area of Maerdy.

Social Services

Birth Registrations (Ethnic Origin)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the numbers and proportions of births by ethnic origin for each of the last four years, divided into the smallest periods for which such statistics are available.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 April 1980, c. 710]: The following table shows numbers of births occuring in England and Wales analysed by the birthplace of the mother for half years for the period mid-1975 to mid-1979.

BIRTHS OCCURRING IN ENGLAND AND WALES, ANALYSED BY BIRTHPLACE OF MOTHER
Thousands
Country of birth of mother2nd half 19751st half 19762nd half 19761st half 19772nd half 19771st half 19782nd half 19781st half 1979
TOTAL292·6301·9282·3285·2284·0291·6304·8320·8
United Kingdom255·8265·6245·6248·6245·9253·8264·0279·4
Total outside United Kingdom36·335·936·536·437·837·640·541·2
Irish Republic6·35·95·55·25·14·94·95·0
Old Commonwealth1·11·11·01·11·11·11·11·3
New Commonwealth Total and Pakistan20·520·421·621·622·822·725·225·5
Bangladesh0·50·60·80·80·80·81·01·0
India6·15·96·16·06·36·06·56·5
Africa3·13·33·43·73·84·04·34·5
West Indies3·83·73·53·43·53·53·63·6
Mediterranean1·41·41·41·31·41·41·51·5
Remainder of New Commonwealth1·81·81·91·91·92·02·32·4
Pakistan3·73·74·54·45·15·26·05·9
Remainder Foreign8·58·58·48·58·88·99·29·5
Not stated0·40·40·30·30·30·30·30·3
Note: Figures are rounded independently and may not cast to totals.

Dalkon Shield

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if, having regard to the conflicting evidence on the extent of use of the Dalkon shield, he will commission a survey in order to ascertain the number of women wearing the Dalkon shield and the number of injuries that have been sustained by wearers;(2) if, having regard to the fact that 10,000 Dalkon shields are currently being worn, he will take steps to recall them.(3) having regard to the new evidence that substantial numbers of Dalkon shields are still in use, if he will take steps to update the figures of injuries to women caused by the Dalkon shield.

I am advised that the evidence at present available to the Department suggests that the current use of the Dalkon shield is not so extensive as some recent reports have suggested. However, I have recently written to the professional bodies concerned inviting their views on the extent to which the device may still be in use and on the frequency with which complications allegedly associated with its use are seen among patients wearing the device.

Drugs (Adverse Reactions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) further to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, at what level of degree of risk of danger to the foetus the Committee on Safety of Medicines refuses to give approval to a drug;(2) further to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, if the studies by Smithells and Sheppard and Shapiro, et al, used the same methods and criteria; if all of these studies were strictly comparable in clinical and statistical terms; and if he will define a clinically-significant increase in malformation, both in clinical and statistical terms.

There is little I can add to my previous reply to the right hon. Gentleman on 30 April.—[Vol. 983, c. 525.]The two controlled studies referred to by the right hon. Gentleman did not use the same methods and criteria and consequently cannot be regarded as strictly comparable. Both studies, however, found no evidence to implicate Debendox as a teratogenic agent causing malformation of the foetus. It is not practicable to give a single definition of what constitutes either a clinically or a statistically significant increase in malformations. Any such figure would depend upon the background incidence and pattern of congenital abnormalities in the population studied.

Invalidity Pension

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the savings to his Department of extending the period on sickness benefit before entitlement to invalidity pension by (a) six days, (b) 24 days and, (c) 78 days.

The estimated saving at current benefit rates and retaining the linking period provision at 13 weeks would be of the order of (a) £5 million, (b) £20 million and (c) £60 million.

Residential Centres, Grimsby And South Humberside

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many places currently are vacant at county-run residential centres for the handicapped in Grimsby and South Humberside, respectively.

At 28 April, the latest date for which information is available, there was one such vacancy in Grimsby and none in other parts of South Humberside.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many places currently are vacant at county-run residential centres for the elderly in Grimsby and South Humberside, respectively;(2) how many places in old persons' homes in the Grimsby area currently are unfilled owing to the residential social workers' dispute.

The latest available figures indicate that there are at present 47 vacancies in county-run residential homes for the elderly in the Grimsby division, and 34 in homes throughout the rest of South Humberside. It is not possible to estimate how many of the vacant places in the Grimsby division are unfilled as a result of industrial action by residential social workers.

Non-Contributory Invalidity Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, following enactment of clause 3 of the Social Security (No. 2) Bill, there will be any change in the length of time for which a young person receiving non-contributory invalidity pension may undertake work in order to assess his capacity for employment without having to wait a further 196 days before re-establishing entitlement to non-contributory invalidity pension if he is unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to her reply, 1 May 1980, c. 659–60]: Following is the corrected information.The reply which I gave on 1 May inadvertently referred to "contributory invalidity pension". This should of course have read "non-contributory invalidity pension"; so the complete reply would read:—

" The new provision will mean that a former recipient of non-contributory invalidity pension will have a period not exceeding six weeks after he relinquished the benefit during which he may re-claim without having to satisfy the 196 days qualifying condition again."

Wales

Planning Permissions

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many directions under article 4 of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977 he has (a) confirmed, and (b) rejected since 3 May 1979.

Gower Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish in the Official Report the number of communications he has received regarding his decision in respect of the Gower area of outstanding natural beauty.

Environment

St Martin's House, Bull Ring, Birmingham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment for what purposes the Property Services Agency has leased the first and second floors at St. Martin's House, Bull Ring, Birmingham; and what accommodation will be vacated as a result of the new commitment.

The Property Services Agency has leased the first and second floors of St. Martin's House, Bull Ring, Birmingham for the purpose of rehousing the Birmingham local vehicle licensing office.The accommodation to be vacated as a result of the new hiring forms part of a former factory in Oozells Street, Birmingham, now owned by the local authority.

General Development Order 1977

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has had from organisations, specifying which organisations, and individuals to his Department's consultation paper on proposals for amending the General Development Order 1977; what were the types of responses made; and when he expects to be in a position to put forward concrete proposals.

Comments have been received from many sources, including the local authority associations, professional bodies and local and national societies. A statement will be made when the comments have been analysed. Implementation of the changes proposed depends on prior enactment of related provisions in the Local Government, Planning and Land (No. 2) Bill.

Ancient Monuments Inspectorate

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what intentions he has to divest the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate of ownership and maintenance of various ancient monuments now in State guardianship to their owners or other custodians.

I have under consideration the possibility of transferring to willing local authorities the guardianship of some monuments now in the care of the Department, in accordance with the provisions of the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act 1913. The considerations have not been taken to a stage when I can announce my decisions.

Biotechnology (Spinks Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to implement the various recommendations of the Spinks report on biotechnology as far as his Department is concerned; and if he will make a statement.

The recommendations made in the Spinks report are under consideration and the Government hope to publish their response in July.

Industrial Development Areas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act will apply to the industrial development areas to be set up following the Chancellor's Statement.

Local Authorities (Building Contracts)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he intends to give to local authorities of the recognition, if any, which they should give for the purposes of building contracts let under the RIBA standard form to any wage settlement reached by the Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council if that organisation should fix a rate or rates of wages different from those agreed by the National Joint Council for the Building Industry; what action the Property Services Agency will take regarding its contract GC/WKS/I; and whether he will make a statement.

The Department does not plan to issue any advice to local authorities on this matter. Any advice that may be necessary is a matter primarily for the bodies responsible for the forms of contract.

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 5 and 6 May.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Trade and I represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 5 and 6 May.The Council discussed the follow-up to the meeting of the European Council in Luxembourg on 28 and 29 April and completed the preparation of the Community's position for the forthcoming meeting of the EC/ACP Council of Ministers in Nairobi on 8 and 9 May.There was an exchange of views on the procedure to be followed on the United Kingdom's budget contribution and related issues. There was no substantial discussion of the level of our contribution. It was agreed that the matter would be taken up again at the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers on 17 May. The Italian Presidency emphasised that it wanted to find a solution by the end of the month.The Council approved proposals for the Community's offer to Turkey of improvements in the EC/Turkey association agreement. The improvements concern aid, migrant labour and terms of trade. The offer will now be put to Turkey with a view to holding shortly a meeting of the Association Council to conclude the negotiations.Ministers examined the shortlist of projects selected by the Belgian Government, following consultation of the Joint Committee—Presidency, Council Secretariat, Belgian authorities—for construction of a new building to meet the Council's accommodation requirements after enlargement. This is a Belgian Government initiative, conducted on their own responsibility, and it is for that Government to make the final selection of a developer in the light of the Council's comments. In the light of the discussion COREPER will now prepare an opinion for the Council to transmit to the Belgian Government. There will be continued contacts between the Council and the Belgians.

The Council took note of the resolutions passed by the European Parliament at its part-session of 14 to 18 April. It noted, in particular, the Parliament's request to be associated with ratification of ascession treaties but emphasised that this could not bind the Council, and agreed that the Parliament's views on the nomination procedure of the next President of the Commission should be taken into account in the context of the Three Wise Men's report.

EC / ANDEAN Pact

The day before Community Ministers held a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the five Andean Pact countries resulting in the issue of a joint declaration covering both economic and political subjects. I signed the declaration on behalf of the United Kingdom. In the Foreign Affairs Council itself EC Ministers formally approved Community negotiating directives for the negotiation of an economic cooperation agreement with the Andean Pact.

I also raised the question of butter sales to the USSR, with the Commission making clear our strong disapproval of the sale recently agreed by the Milk Management Committee and asking for a full report to be made to next week's meeting of COREPER.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Mr Miroslaw Chojecki

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he considers that the arrest and detention of Mr. Miroslaw Chojecki was contrary to the Helsinki Agreement, signed by both the United Kingdom and Poland; what representations he has made to the Polish Government concerning Mr. Chojecki and what evidence he has that arrest and detention for economic crimes is now being used extensively in Poland as a means of silencing dissidents.

The Government are keeping under close review the case of Mr. Chojecki, and the one other recent similar case of which we are aware, paying regard to the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. The Government's policy is to raise individual human rights cases with East European Governments when we judge that this is appropriate and might be effective. To reveal the details of our representations might undermine their effectiveness.

Falkland Islands

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement on the recent talks with the Argentine Government concerning the Falkland Islands.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), the Minister of State, met an Argentine delegation led by the Under-Secretary of State at the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Comodoro Cavandoli, for wide-ranging and exploratory talks in New York on 28 and 29 April. A Falkland Islands Councillor, Mr Adrian Monk, attended as a member of the United Kingdom delegation. The exchanges were conducted in a cordial and positive spirit. Each side was able to reach a better understanding of the other's position. No decisions were taken, though it was agreed that contacts on day to day matters between the Islands and Argentina should be expanded. Each delegation is now reporting back to its Government and we shall be considering the position reached. We hope to continue these exchanges.

Transport

Heavy Goods Vehicles (Testing Stations)

asked the Minister of Transport what representations he has received from the road transport industry on the possibility of selling the heavy goods vehicle testing stations to the private sector.

My Department's officials have met a range of the organisations, including those in the road haulage industry, concerned with the Government's decision to change the present arrangements under which civil servants test heavy goods vehicles. We have learnt their initial views about the involvement of the private sector in this way. The written representations from the Freight Transport Association urge. properly, that any new scheme must guarantee the standards and impartiality of testing—a point made generally.

asked the Minister of Transport whether staff of the heavy goods vehicle testing stations will be consulted about the possibility of selling the stations to the private sector.

The Department's stall side has been consulted about the decision to change the present arrangements for testing heavy goods vehicles. There will be further consultations with it.

asked the Minister of Transport what proposals he has for selling the heavy goods vehicle testing stations to the private sector; and what assessment has been made of their potential profitability.

I am considering various options for involving the private sector in new arrangements for testing heavy goods vehicles. I shall continue to take account of the different financial implications that these options would involve.

Heavy Vehicles (Spray)

asked the Minister of Transport if his Department has undertaken any research into clear pass rain flaps, which the makers claim suppress spray on heavy vehicles; and if so, what conclusions he has reached.

A demonstration of clear pass mudflaps took place at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory last year; the reduction in spray observed did not appear substantial. Tests will be carried out this summer with improved measuring techniques to assess the performance of clear pass more accurately and determine the reasons for any differences between British and foreign test results.

Random Breath Tests

asked the Minister of Transport, in the light of the increasing number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads, if he will now take steps to introduce random breath tests for drivers.

The consultation paper 1 issued sought views on this and other subjects. There have been many responses, and I shall be making a statement in the light of the comments I have received in clue course.

Car Taxation

asked the Minister of Transport whether it is possible to use the present road tax arrangements at Swansea to provide for a dual rate of car tax; and whether it would be feasible for such a dual rate to provide for a reduced level of car tax for those living in rural areas.

Yes, but it would not be feasible to distinguish between rural and other motorists.

Northern Ireland

Republic Of Ireland (Foreign Minister)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects next to meet the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland.

Tyrone County Hospital

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what conclusions he has reached on the report of Omagh district council regarding the future status of Tyrone county hospital.

This report was made to the Western Health and Social Services Board; it comments on the recommendations of the board's working party on future hospital services in its area. The board has now reached the conclusion that the Tyrone county hospital should continue to provide acute hospital services, but has emphasised the need for a close working relationship between that hospital and the Erne hospital in Ennis killen. The board has referred its conclusions to me and I intend to consider them carefully and consult local interests before taking a decision.

De Lorean Cars Limited

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has yet concluded his consideration of the request from the De Lorean Corporation for an additional injection of £8 million of public funds; and with what result.

Mr. Giles Shaw