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Written Answers

Volume 984: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 14 May 1980

National Finance

Inland Revenue (Search And Entry Powers)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will name the members of the committee to inquire into the powers of the Inland Revenue for search and entry and its terms of reference.

My hon. Friend no doubt has in mind the committee to review the enforcement powers of Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise, which I announced in reply to my hon. Friend

million)
1979–801980–81
PetrolDervPetrolDerv
(a) value added tax425*520*
(b) excise duty1,9756552,535750
* Not available, but likely to be small.

Value Added Tax (Motor Vehicles)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue from value added tax on motor vehicles in 1979–80 and 1980–81.

Enterprise Zones

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the first construction work to start in the first enterprise zone.

The fiscal and other proposed concessions for each zone will not come into effect until the date specified in the designation order. I expect the first enterprise zones to be designated in the new year.

Migration Of Companies (Advisory Panel)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last received written advice from the Advisory Panel—(section 482, Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1980); and what action he has taken as a result.

My right hon. and learned Friend received confidential advice from the Advisory Panel on 10 the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mrs. Fenner on 28 February—[Vol. 979, c. 700–1]. The selection of members of the committee is not yet complete. A further announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Taxation Revenue

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue from (a) value added tax and (b) excise duty on motor spirit and derv, respectively, in 1979–80 and 1980–81.

The estimates are:April 1980 concerning an application for Treasury consent under section 482. He subsequently reached a decision in this case in the light of the advice, including that of the advisory panel, submitted to him.

Nationalised Industries (Investment Programmes)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what impact on the Government's economic policy he would envisage in removing limitations on the nationalised industries from embarking on major investment programmes financed by sources other than Her Majesty's Government.

Quangos

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last received written advice from the Review Board for Government Contracts; and what action he has taken as a result.

The Review Board for Government Contracts undertakes periodic reviews—normally at three-yearly intervals—of the profit formula arrangements, and customarily makes recommendations when reporting on them. Reports are submitted to the Treasury and the Confederation of British Industry, and form the basis of discussion between them. The board last reported in July 1977. The recommendations then made were accepted by both sides, and were acted upon. The 1977 report was published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office under the title " Report on the Second General Review of the Profit Formula for Non-Competitive Government Contracts ".

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last received written advice from the Royal Mint Advisory Committee; and what action he has taken as a result.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he last received written advice from the Advisory Panel on Treasure Trove in Scotland; and what action he has taken as a result; (2) when he last received written advice from the Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee; and what action he has taken as a result.

Both the advisory panel in Scotland and the reviewing committee have been able to carry out their tasks without reference to me.

British Railways Board

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will take steps to enable the British Railways Board to borrow sterling in the United Kingdom in the same way as it can borrow in terms of foreign currency;(2) if the British Railways Board, in the light of the Government's regulation of exchange control, is now able to borrow money abroad without limit; and if not, if he has any proposals to remove the restriction on the amount it may borrow.

Textile And Clothing Industries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give details of investigations into illegal trade practices, involving false declaration of product particulars including country of origin, among textiles and clothing goods, which have been undertaken by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise since 1 January 1973; and if he will make a statement regarding the Government's policy on enforcement of import regulations by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of domestic ratepayers; how many income taxpayers are not also ratepayers; and how many ratepayers pay no income tax.

[pursuant to his reply, 9 May 1980, c. 280]: The estimated number of domestic ratepayers at April 1979, the latest information available, is about 21·4 million.I regret that the further information required is not available from administrative sources.The number of taxpayers—counting married couples as one—in both 1979–80 and 1980–81 is about 21·3 million. Inland Revenue records do not distinguish taxpayers who are or are not ratepayers.The family expenditure survey results for 1977 indicate that at that time about a quarter of ratepayers were not taxpayers, and about a quarter of taxpaying units—counting married couples as one—were not ratepayers, though the survey information does not give a precise determination of a person's tax position.

Employment

Economically Active Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the size of the economically active population in (a) Great Britain, (b) the North-West, (c) Merseyside and (d) Birkenhead for each year since 1945; and if he will subdivide the data accordingly to whether they were male or female and according to whether they were aged (i) under 25 years, (ii) 25 to 55 years, (iii) 55 to 60 years, (iv) over 60 years, or according to other convenient age bands.

Following are the numbers economically active in 1971. The data are taken from the results of the 1971 census of population and relate to areas as constituted in that year. Comparable

ECONOMICALLY ACTIVE POPULATION 1971
Thousands
Age
15–24 years25–54 years55–59 years60 years and overAll ages
Birkenhead County Borough
Males8·623·73·84·140·3
Females6·312·52·21·822·8
Merseyside Conurbation
Males75·7211·334·339·9361·3
Females58·1120·522·017·9218·4
North West Region
Males379·71,177·5185·3214·91,957·3
Females280·9692·6119·694·31,187·3
Great Britain
Males3,018·79,597·81,502·51,797·815,916·9
Females2,242·75,320·9871·4751·09,186·1

Manufacturing Industry (Import Penetration)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate his Department has made of the number of job losses in United Kingdom manufacturing industry as a result of import penetration in the 1970s; and if he will make a statement.

No estimate has been made of job losses in manufacturing industry as a result of import penetration. Import penetration reflects the growth in world trade, which has lead to increased exports as well as increased imports.

Unfair Dismissals (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of employees claiming unfair dismissal in Scotland were successful in being reinstated in their employment by appealing to an industrial tribunal during 1979.

Information on the outcome of unfair dismissal cases is available only for Great Britain as a whole, and not the regions. The figures for 1979 are not yet available. In 1978, however, of the employees whose claims of unfair dismissal were upheld by an industrial tribunal, 2 per cent.—or 70—obtained orders for reinstatement and 1 per cent.—or 36—obtained orders for re-engagement.

Advisory Committee On Women's Employment

parable information for earlier and later years is not available.

Committee on Women's Employment is being continued; and to what extent it duplicates advice available from the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Macclesfield

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many people were employed in the following industries in the Macclesfield constituency as an average in 1979 (a) man-made fibres production, spinning, doubling and weaving and filament yarn processing, (b) woollen and worsted, knitting, (c) carpets, (d) finishing, (e) clothing and (f) other textile sectors;(2) How many people were employed in the paper and board industry in the Macclesfield constituency as an average in 1979.

Race Relations Advisory Board

asked the Secretary of State for Employment why the Race Relations Advisory Board is being continued; and to what extent its functions duplicate the work of the Commission for Racial Equality.

If the reference is to the Race Relations Employment Advisory Group chaired by my noble Friend the Minister of State for Employment, the group is being continued because it provides Ministers with useful practical advice on matters relating to the employment of the ethnic minorities at negligible cost. The functions of the group, which includes the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality among its membership, do not duplicate the work of the CRE, which has itself sought views from the group on a number of issues.

Fishermen (Casualties)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many

Fatal (a) accidentsIncidence rates per 100,000 at risk
Year
Industry
FishingCoal miningConstruction
196130114·539·822·1
196244168·645·122·0
19632496·446·919·7
196430123·538·420·6
196547196·744·617·0
196633143·536·021·1
19672088·136·115·8
196884385·331·419·1
196930140·930·622·4
197023111·729·918·5
197126122·624·219·6
197223104·122·118·7
197328123·929·621·6
197473320·218·716·0
197529135·524·717·7
197630143·519·615·3
197728153·815·813·1(b)
197845247·325·412·1(b)
(a) Includes missing at sea.
(b) Provisional.
Source:
Fishing: Department of Trade.
Others: Health and Safety Executive.

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he last received written advice from the Special Programmes Board; and what action he has taken as a result.

[pursuant to his reply, 29 April 1980, c. 424]: The Special Programmes Board reports to the Manpower Services Commission on the progress and development of the youth opportunities programme and special temporary employment programme.My right hon. Friend last received written advice from the Manpower Services Commission about special programmes in a letter of 3 December 1979 from its chairman, Sir Richard O'Brien, concerning the commission's recommendations about provision in 1980–81. My right hon. Friend announced the Government's

fishermen have been lost at sea or killed in accidents in each year since 1960; what is the fatality rate per 1,000 employed; and what is the comparative fatality rate in the coal mining and construction industries.

Following is the information. It is customary for accident incidence rates to be stated per 100,000 at risk.decision on provision in 1980–81 in a statement to the House on 14 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 1755–56.]

asked the Secretary of State for employment when he last received written advice from the Advisory Committee on the Resettlement of Ex-Regular Members of Her Majesty's Forces; and what action he has since taken as a result.

[pursuant to his reply, 29 April 1980, c. 424]: The Advisory Committee on the Resettlement of Ex-Regulars advises the Manpower Services Commission on arrangements for the resettlement in civilian life of ex-Regular Service personnel. The most recent meeting of the committee was on 15 January 1980. Advice given by the committee is being taken into account in reviewing MSC services for ex-Regulars in the light of expenditure and staffing reductions.

Wages And Salaries (Clegg Awards)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will tabulate all the Clegg awards as a percentage of the original wage; what were the dates on which they were awarded; how many employees were affected; what was the total annual cost; what percentage of the award was a comparability award as opposed to a normal annual increase; and what was the total annual cost of the award and the total of these last totals.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 May 1980, c. 303]: The following

GroupNumber in groupEstimated percentage increase in earningsImplementation datesEstimated cost in a full year £ million
Local Authority Manuals1,100,00010·91 August 1979 1 April 1980236·50
University Manuals31,0006·31·90
NHS Ancillaries270,00011·783·20
Ambulancemen17,00023·018·60
Nurses and Midwives491,00019·6311·00
Professions Supplementary to Medicine37,00014·219·60
British Waterways Board Salaried Staffs8306·13 September 19790·27
1 September 1980
Teachers600,00018·21 January 1980 1 September 1980640·00
1,311·07

Asbestos

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has now completed the process of consultation on the final report of the Advisory Committee on Asbestos and when he expects to make regulations to implement the recommendation of the report.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 May 1980]: Since my answer to the hon. Member on 20 March—[Vol. 981, c. 265]—further comments on the advisory committee's final report have been received by the Health and Safety Executive, and I understand that the outstanding observations are expected to arrive before the end of May. When all the submissions have been collated the Government will decide as soon as possible on their response to the report's recommendations.

table shows for each group on which the commission has so far reported, the number in the group, the commission's estimate of the percentage increase in earnings resulting from its award, the implementation dates of the award—all the awards were to be implemented in two equal stages—and the commission's estimate of the annual cost of the award when all stages are in payment. The table excludes the award for university technicians, which was of an interim nature, and the award for municipal airport manual workers, the cost of which will depend on a grading exercise still to be undertaken. The commission's awards were all entirely based on comparability.

Home Department

Drunkenness Offences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many receptions into prison there were in 1979 of persons convicted of drunkenness offences.

The number of receptions into prison department establishments in England and Wales of persons convicted of offences of drunkenness is published annually in " Prison Statistics, England and Wales" (tables 3.2, 4.1 and 5.1 of the issue for 1978, (Cmnd. 7626). Figures for 1979 are not yet available.

Licensing Compensation Funds

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money currently is contained in the licensing compensation funds.

The latest available returns from the 58 compensation authorities show that on 31 December 1978 the total amount held in the funds was £4,200,895.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total number of people admitted from abroad into the United Kingdom for (a) permanent residence and (b) on a temporary basis during 1979; and what proportion came from the New Commonwealth and the Indian Subcontinent.

The numbers accepted for settlement on arrival in the United Kingdom and the numbers admitted for a limited period are published annually by nationality/citizenship in the Command Paper " Control of Immigration: Statistics, United Kingdom "—tables 1 (a) and 1(b) of the issue for 1979, Cmnd. 7875 published on 18 April 1980. Of those accepted for settlement on arrival in 1979, 65 per cent. were citizens of New Commonwealth countries and Pakistan and 45 per cent. were citizens of countries of the Indian Sub-continent. For those admitted for a limited period the corresponding percentages were respectively 7 per cent. and 2 per cent.

Cannabis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his Department's estimate of the number of people currently using cannabis in England and Wales.

There is no official estimate of the number of people using cannabis. The only information readily available on such users relates to the number of persons found guilty in the United Kingdom of offences involving cannabis, published in table 5 of Home Office statistical bulletin 6/79, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Royal Commission On Criminal Procedure

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to be in a position to publish the report of the Royal Commission on criminal procedure.

I understand that the Royal Commission hopes to complete its work by about the end of this year and expects to publish its report as soon as practicable thereafter.

London Transport (Vandalism)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he holds his proposed discussions with the various authorities concerning the stopping of vandalism and disturbances on trains and buses, whether he will consider advising the introduction of the two-way radio contact system between the police being extended to include direct contact with the crews and staffs of public transport and the like.

Various proposals on these lines were considered at the conference on violence on public transport held on 6 May. The British Railways Board and London Transport Executive informed the conference that they are giving considerable thought to ways of extending and improving the present radio communication system.

Iranian Embassy

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why food was sent in to the Iranian terrorists on Friday 3 May; why special food was purchased from a Persian restaurant; what was the cost of the food and drink, and so on, supplied; and whether he will make a statement.

This was an operational matter for the Metropolitan Police. I understand that the cost was £94.

Prison Detentions (Drunken And Subnormal Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of (a) drunks and (b) mentally subnormal persons who are currently being detained in Her Majesty's prisons in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Greater London.

Arabian States (Nationals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the past, present and possible future terrorist and murder attacks made in Great Britain by persons from Arabian States, he will instruct the immigration officers at the various ports of entry into Great Britain to keep a more strict watch and control upon entrants from the Arabian States and to make sure of these people giving bona fide reasons for entry and proper addresses of residence on entry.

Immigration officers are well aware that counter-terrorist precautions are to be given high priority. In the light of recent events port and visa staff are aware of the need for extra vigilance.

Iranian Nationals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Iranian nationals have been deported from the United Kingdom since May 1979; and for what reasons in each case.

Section of Immigration Act 1971 under which deportation was authorised and Number of Iranian Nationals deported.

Section 3(5)a3
Section 3(5)b2
Section 3(5)c6
Section 3(6)26
TOTAL37

Channel Islands

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied that the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government for the good government of the Channel Islands is being fulfilled.

Former Prime Ministers (Bodyguards)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which former Prime Ministers have a bodyguard; and whether he will arrange for any who so desire to be allocated such a guard.

Trade

South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the cost to his Department of the collection and publication of details relating to British companies trading in South Africa.

The only cost incurred by my Department arises from the summary of reports made under the European code of conduct for companies with interests in South Africa—see Official Report, 16 April 1980, c. 653–54. No staff in my Department are engaged wholly, or even primarily, on this work, and costs cannot therefore be estimated with precision. Subject to that proviso, total staff and printing costs associated with this work in the past 12 months are estimated at about £7,000.

Airports (Landing Charges)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will introduce a programme of gradual equalisation of landing charges at airports, in order to alleviate the financial difficulties of certain provincial airports.

No. Charges should reflect the cost of providing airport services and should remain a matter to be determined by the airport authorities concerned.

National Consumer Council

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list in the Official Report the names of the chairman, vice-chairman and the part-time members of the National Consumer Council, stating in each case the fees and expenses paid.

The chairman of the National Consumer Council is Mr. Michael Shanks—salary £6,954 per annum—Mrs. Joan Macintosh, CBE is vice-chairman—salary £6,666 per annum—and the other members—who each receive a salary of £1,690 per annum—are:

  • Mrs. Mary Clark.
  • Mr. Maurice Chapman, M.B.E.
  • Mr. Alexander Crawford.
  • Mrs. Nan Douglass.
  • Mrs. Kate Foss.
  • Mr. Kenneth Glynn.
  • Mr. John Hatch.
  • The Rev. David Jennings.
  • Mrs. Patricia Lambert.
  • Professor Naomi McIntosh.
  • Mrs. Shelagh Salter.
  • Mr. Brendon Sewill, C.B.E.
  • Mr. Ramindar Singh, J.P.
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Stanton.
  • Mrs. Rachel Waterhouse, C.B.E.
Members receive a salary, not fees. They are entitled to claim travelling and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred on the business of the council on a basis similar to that for senior civil servants, but information concerning such expenses is available only at disproportionate cost.

Boeing 757 And 767 Airliners (Cockpit Layout)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he has had discussions with the British Airline Pilots Association concerning the two-man cockpit layout in the new 757 and 767 airliners which are being offered by Boeing to airlines, including British Airways, as an alternative to a three-seat configuration; and, if so, what has been the result;(2) if he has had discussions with British Airways concerning the two-man cockpit layout in the new 757 and 767 airliners which are being offered by Boeing as an alternative to a three-seat configuration; and, if so, what has been the result.

No. It will be for the Civil Aviation Authority, who is responsible for aviation safety, in granting a certificate of airworthiness, to specify the minimum number of flight deck crew.

Non-Domiciled Seafarers

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the Government's attitude on the recommendations in the report on the employment of non-domiciled seafarers, which had been adopted by the previous Government.

As the hon. Gentleman knows, implementation of the recommendations of the report has been delayed by objections raised by the Governments of the countries in which most of the seamen concerned are domiciled. If either side of the shipping industry has any suggestions for solving the problem the Government would be prepared to discuss them.

Marine Safety Corps

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement concerning the contribution made by Her Majesty's Government in supporting and enhancing the role of the Marine Safety Corps established by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation following an initiative by the previous Government.

Her Majesty's Government continue to support the concept of the Marine Safety Corps and endeavour to provide experts when requested to do so.

Flags Of Convenience

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the Government's attitude towards proposals by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to phase out flags of convenience.

In the view of the OECD Governments represented at the UNCTAD meeting in January the discussions failed to establish the case for coercive international action to phase out registries.

Bulk Liner Code

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the Government's attitude towards proposals advanced in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for a bulk liner code.

There are no proposals for an international convention on the bulk trades on the model of the United Nations liner code. At UNCTAD V, all the industrialised countries voted against resolution 120 (v) which supports the principle of cargo-sharing in bulk trades. The Government continue to believe that bulk trades are best served by a freely competitive regime.

Textile And Clothing Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what steps he has taken to identify the extent of existing outward processed trade in textiles and clothing goods; and what steps he has taken to suggest amendments to import forms, and production inquiries for the textiles and clothing industries, and importers, prior to the approval of the European Commission's draft regulation on outward processing;(2) if he has considered both the direct and indirect effects of the draft regulation on outward processed trade on the textiles and clothing industry in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement on the indirect effects of the proposal.

The draft regulation on outward processing will establish an administrative framework for separate quotas for outward processed traffic with the Mediterranean countries. The United Kingdom Government have no current plans to establish any such quotas, so the question of special arrangements to administer them does not at present arise. In the absence of such quotas the regulation will have no direct effect on the United Kingdom industry. I would not expect any significant indirect effect, from new administrative arrangements in other member States, either. Separate statistics for outward processed trade from the United Kingdom are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, in the light of his answers to the hon. Member for Batley and Morley on 30 November 1979 and 13 March 1980, what are the reasons for the recent increase in time taken for completion of textile and clothing dumping investigations; and what steps he intends to take to assist industry in the completion of the European Commission's dumping questionnaire, and to place pressure on the European Commission to give priority to textile and clothing dumping investigations.

The single case referred to in my answer given to the hon. Member on 30 November 1979 was of unusual complexity in view of the nature of the products involved. It would be wrong to draw generalised conclusions from one case. I do not believe that it would be right to place pressure on the European Commission to give priority to textile and clothing investigations at the expense of the legitimate interests of other sectors of industry. The Commission is well aware of the importance which my right hon. Friend and I attach to the speedy conclusion of all investigations. To that end my officials are always ready to give what assistance they can to any United Kingdom industry faced with dumping problems.

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites; and what action he has taken as a result.

The Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites meets regularly three times each year. At its most recent meeting on 26 March, it made various recommendations to my Department about the designation of a new historic wreck site and about a number of applications for licences to survey and excavate existing designated sites. These recommendations have been accepted and are now being implemented.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Household Electrical Equipment; and what action he has taken as a result.

The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Household Electrical Equipment does not submit written advice, but the views of the members, who represent a wide range of interests, are invaluable in helping discharge my Department's responsibilities for the safety of electrical equipment, including the administration of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations (1975).

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the British Overseas Trade Advisory Council, and what action he has taken as a result.

The British Overseas Trade Advisory Council meets two or three times a year and these meetings constitute the principal channel by which the council tenders advice. The last meeting of the council, at which my right hon. Friend presided, was on 23 April, when the council advised on changes in the Government's export promotion services and on some current problems in international trade. While the council does not normally submit collective written advice, individual members do write to my Department about matters arising at the council's meetings. The council's advice, whatever the form in which it is given, is taken into account in formulating policy on the matters in question.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Cinematograph Films Council; and what action he has taken as a result.

Last month. It concerned a request from a trade body to amend a recent statutory instrument on the Eady levy. The council advised that it was too soon to review the amendment and I agreed. The trade body concerned has been informed.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Distribution Statistics Advisory Committee; and what action he has taken as a result.

The committee's function is to advise the Department of Trade on matters concerning distribution statistics. It does not normally give advice direct to Ministers, but its recommendations are incorporated in official submissions to Ministers whenever proposals are made for new statistical inquiries into the distributive trades or for changes to existing inquiries. The most recent occasion was in November 1979 when proposals for the 1980 retailing inquiry which had previously been agreed with the committee were submitted for the approval of departmental Ministers.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Export Guarantees Advisory Council; and what action he has taken as a result.

It is not the function of the Export Guarantees Advisory Council to provide myself or my right hon. Friend with written advice. The council is a body of senior business men and City representatives who give their time free of charge and who meet regularly, usually monthly, to discuss the provision of guarantees under section 1 of the Export Guarantees and Overseas Investment Act 1978 and to set limits for individual markets.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Insurance Advisory Panel; and what action he has taken as a result.

The Insurance Advisory Panel does not provide me with collective written advice. The insurance advisers are usually consulted individually about matters within their own particular expertise and experience and their advice is taken into consideration in relation to the exercise of my responsibilities under the Insurance Companies Act 1974.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Overseas Projects Board; and what action he has taken as a result.

On 31 January 1980 the Overseas Projects Board advised that the powers of the British Airports Authority be extended by legislation to enable it to play an enhanced role in exports. This advice has been accepted by the Government and an amendment will be brought forward to the Civil Aviation Bill.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) when he last received written advice from the Standing Advisory Committee on Patents; and what action he has taken as a result;(2) when he last received written advice from the Standing Advisory Committee on Trade Marks; and what action he has taken as a result.

The practice in respect of both committees is for meetings to be held to discuss matters on which advice is desired, but on individual topics the Department often consults the committee members by correspondence. The last round of correspondence was in February for patents and April for trade marks. The advice received assisted the Department in formulating amendments to the Patent Rules 1978 and in deciding whether Her Majesty's Government should intervene in a case before the European Court of Justice.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last received written advice from the Standing Advisory Committee on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods in Ships; and what action he has taken as a result.

The Standing Advisory Committee on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods in Ships meets at roughly monthly intervals to consider and advise my Department on technical, shipping and environmental matters concerned with the safe transport of dangerous goods in ships. The committee's recommendations are reflected in the Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Rules 1978 (as amended), my Department's Blue Book and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. The committee's recent recommendations concerning durable labelling and also the transport of explosives on passenger ships are expected to be implemented shortly.

Defence

Air Traffic Controls

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the operational controls on the movement of air traffic, civilian and military, at the following points of deployment of British forces: Cyprus, Gibraltar, Belize, the Falkland Islands, Hong Kong and Diego Garcia.

RAF Akrotiri and RAF Gibraltar are MOD owned and operated airfields and all air traffic movements there are under the direct control of the responsible RAF commanders. The airfields at Belize, the Falkland Islands and Hong Kong are civil airports and operations there are a matter for the local administration. However at all these five locations landings by foreign military aircraft are subject to prior diplomatic approval by the British Government. The arrangements for the control of flights at Diego Garcia are as set out in the 1976 exchange of notes between the United Kingdom and United States Governments concerning the United States Navy support facility on the island.—Cmnd. 6413.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Diplomatic Bags

32.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what current study he is making of the use of modern electric scanners to ensure that diplomatic bags are not abused by the carriage of weapons.

Diplomatic missions have been left in no doubt that a very serious view would be taken if evidence emerged that any mission was abusing the diplomatic bag to import weapons into this country covertly. They have also been reminded of our regulations on the import, possession and carrying of firearms and explosives. We keep ourselves up to date on the techniques mentioned by the hon. Member, but it would not be in the public interest to be more specific about the steps we take to enforce the regulations.

Iran

8.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has yet taken a decision on the economic areas in which the United Kingdom will support United States sanctions on Iran.

The Iran (Temporary Powers) Bill enabling the Government to bring into force certain sanctions on Iran is now before Parliament. The Bill provides for entry into force on 17 May. However, no decisions on specific measures to be introduced against Iran under this and other legislation will be made until after the European Community Foreign Ministers meeting on 17 May which is to agree a common approach amongst European Community member States.

15.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what assessment he has made on the extent to which the imposition of sanctions on Iran would accelerate the release of the United States hostages.

If it is decided to impose economic sanctions in the absence of decisive progress towards the release of the hostages, they will be designed to indicate to all concerned in Iran that they cannot expect to enjoy prosperity in cooperation with the West if they persist in this breach of international law.

17.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what recent consultations have taken place with the United States authorities over Iran.

My right hon. and noble Friend visited the United States on 3–6 May. Iran was one of the main issues which he discussed with the American authorities.My hon. and noble Friend assured the President of the Government's full support for further peaceful steps which seem likely to assist in securing the release of the hostages. He made it clear that we would not be prepared to support military action in Iran. The President expressed appreciation for our support on the issue of sanctions.

22.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the latest situation in Iran.

27.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the latest situation in Iran.

I refer my hon. Friends to the reply I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Mr. Temple-Morris).

30.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the latest position with regard to the United Kingdom's diplomatic relations with Iran.

The Nine decided in Luxembourg on 22 April to reduce the size of their embassies in Tehran and to call for a reduction in the size of the Iranian embassies in their countries. In the light of this, and other circumstances, our Embassy was reduced on 23 April. Its size is being kept constantly under review.

Bishop Tutu (Passport)

13.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what reply he has received to the representations he has made to the South African Government following the confiscation of the passport of Bishop Tutu.

We have not received any formal reply. I am, however, satisfied that the South African Government are fully aware of the extent of the concern in this country over the withdrawal of Bishop Tutu's passport.

United States Of America

14.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to meet his United States counterpart to discuss communications between Governments.

My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans for a meeting. Communication and consultation between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Administration are close and constant. The hon. Member will have noted the successful visit which my right hon. and noble Friend paid to Washington last week.

Commonwealth Governments (Consultations)

16.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to consultations with Commonwealth Governments on important issues of foreign policy.

It is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to consult Commonwealth Governments, both collectively and individually, on such issues as are deemed appropriate.

Summit Conference

19.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will propose the calling of a summit conference of world leaders to discuss the deteriorating world situation.

We are in close and continuous consultation with our partners and allies. My right hon. and noble Friend, for example, paid a very useful visit to the United States last week. A meeting of Allied Foreign and Defence Ministers is taking place in Brussels today. Several Western leaders will be meeting in Venice on 22/23 June. It is not clear, however, that a specially convened summit conference of world leaders would help to reduce international tension at this stage.

Lebanon

18.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what further steps he proposes to take in conjunction with his European Economic Community colleagues to assist the role of the United Nations forces in Southern Lebanon and to restore the authority of the Lebanese Government in that area.

We and our partners in the Nine have both publicly and privately expressed our concern about the situation in Southern Lebanon. We still continue to support efforts to enable UNIFIL to fulfil its mandate and we welcome the initiatives being undertaken by the UNIFIL contributor countries to improve the effectiveness of the force.

Afghanistan

20.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a further statement on the Government's intentions following the invasion of Afghanistan by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Government continue to condemn the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Only the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops will resolve the problem.

Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty

21.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what are the most recent representations he has made to the United States of America regarding the strategic arms limitation treaty.

The future of the SALT 2 treaty is often discussed at all levels between ourselves and the Americans, most recently on 5 May when my right hon. and noble Friend was in Washington. The Americans are well aware of the Government's hope that the treaty will be ratified in due course.

Middle East

23.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the Middle East initiative being considered by the EEC Foreign Ministers.

The European Council repeated at its meeting on 28 April its belief that only a comprehensive settlement can bring peace to the Middle East. Foreign Ministers of the Nine are to report on the problem at the Council's next meeting in June. We have no wish to undermine current peace efforts but, with our partners in the Nine, are looking for ways in which we might be able to contribute helpfully to the search for a settlement.

Diego Garcia

24.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the Diego Garcia base.

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in the House on 29 April — [Vol. 983, c. 1144.]

Cyprus

25.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what further initiatives the United Kingdom now intends to make following the recent report of Dr. Waldheim to the United Nations about the prospects for a settlement in Cyprus.

The Government continue to regard intercommunal negotiations under Dr. Waldheim's auspices as offering the best hope for progress towards a settlement. We continue to give full support to United Nations efforts to reconvene the talks, and do not think it appropriate to take any initiative that would risk cutting across those efforts.

West Bank

28.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the Government's policy in relation to the West Bank of the River Jordan.

We regard the West Bank as occupied territory from which, as part of a peace settlement and subject to any minor border rectifications negotiated between the parties, Israel will have to withdraw in accordance with Security Council resolution 242. The future of the West Bank after Israeli withdrawal is a matter for negotiation between the parties directly concerned.

Helsinki Agreement

29.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied with the present way in which the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and other East European countries are carrying out their obligations under the Helsinki agreement.

No. We expect to report fully within the next few weeks when a further six-monthly assessment of the implementation of the Helsinki Final Act will be made to the House.

Libyan Embassy Staff

31.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if, in view of Colonel Gaddafi's recent threat to the lives of Libyan nationals living in Great Britain and the recent killing of two Libyan exiles, in the United Kingdom, his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will order the immediate expulsion of Libyan Embassy staff from the United Kingdom.

I have nothing to add to the statement I made to the House on 12 May.—[Vol. 984, c. 846–47.]

Danny De Souza

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations are being made to try and secure the early release of Danny de Souza, a British subject, sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment in Turkey on 7 May 1973.

Mr. de Souza was convicted and sentenced on 29 December 1975 in accordance with Turkish law for a drugs offence. There are currently no grounds upon which we can base representations. I understand that there is provision in Turkish law for remission of sentence subject to good behaviour which could substantially reduce the length of Mr. de Souza's term of imprisonment.

Raoul Wallenberg

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will raise the case of Raoul Wallenberg at the forthcoming Madrid conference for review of the Helsinki Agreement.

We are considering the most appropriate way to demonstrate at the Madrid meeting our concern about abuses of human rights in the Soviet Union. Meanwhile we shall continue to do all we can to help the Swedish Government in their inquiries about Mr. Wallenberg.

Zimbabwe (British Residents' Funds)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the total amount of funds of British residents now blocked in Zimbabwe; and what steps he is taking to get these funds released.

No figure is available for the total amount of funds of British residents now blocked in Zimbabwe. This issue has been raised with the Zimbabwean officials who are at present in London to discuss debt questions.

Industry

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, further to his reply of 8 May, either his Department or the British Steel Corporation will insure Mr. Ian MacGregor; if so, at what cost; what the benefits will be; and who will be the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

My Department has not insured Mr. MacGregor and does not intend to do so. What BSC does is a matter for it.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if any other persons were offered the post of chairman of the British Steel Corporation prior to the present chairman-designate's appointment; and, if so, whether the post was offered to them on similar terms and conditions.

No formal offer was made to any other person for the post of chairman of the British Steel Corporation. Serious discussions were held with several people considered suitable, but no one of them was then prepared to take on the task in principle. So the question of terms and conditions did not arise, although we had indicated that we were prepared to be flexible if necessary.

Letters, Postcards And Parcels

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many letters, postcards and parcels have been (a) mislaid and (b) lost in the United Kingdom on average for each of the past 10 years.

Shipbuilding And Textile Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Industry in which way the European Commission's draft proposals for the establishment of the industrial restructuring and conversion fund for the shipbuilding and textiles industries was considered to be unsatisfactory, and the Government could not therefore give the proposals their support; and if he will make a statement on the present position of the proposal and the progress which is expected by the European Commission during the remainder of 1979.

The European Commission put forward in 1978 a draft regulation for financial aid towards restructuring or conversion of a number of industrial sectors which would have included shipbuilding and textiles. No member State supported the Commission.The United Kingdom opposed the measure because it placed insufficient emphasis on conversion, and as drafted would not necessarily have directed aids to those sectors and areas most in need. More generally we considered that it would have been preferable to allocate any available money to existing Community instruments.It is now for the Commission to make fresh proposals during the course of this year.

Textiles And Clothing Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Industy if he has yet received any representations, assessments, or studies from any textile or clothing trade association, economic development council, or trade union, on the effect on United Kingdom industry of accession of Greece, Spain and Portugal to the European Community; if the Government have instituted a deadline for the submission of any such representations, assessments or studies; and if he will make a statement on the present state of negotiations and discussions in relation to these industries.

On assessments and studies, I refer the hon. Member to my answers on 12 February—[Vol. 978, c. 579–80]—and 17 March—[Vol. 981, c. 52–53]

We have received repeated representations from most parts of the textiles and clothing industry, and the unions, about the problems likely to be caused for the United Kingdom industry as a result of enlargement of the Community. No deadline has been set by the Government for the submission of any representations, assessments or studies on this subject, nor is one contemplated.

As far as Greece is concerned, the Treaty of Accession has already been signed. There is a general safeguard provision enabling the Commission to authorise member States to take appropriate measures in the event of imports causing serious disruption during the transitional period. In the case of Spain and Portugal we are pressing in the Community for specific transitional arrangements to be secured for textiles and clothing before the treaties of accession are concluded.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will urge the European Commission to make immediate and sufficient financial resources available to enable the establishment of a European textile and clothing information system.

Financial provision for a textile information system was sought by the EEC Commission in its 1980 budget proposals. However, since the budget as a whole has been rejected by the European Parliament, the final content of the budget cannot yet be decided. Also, no formal proposals for a policy decision on the textile information system have yet been put by the Commission to the Council. Any such proposals would be considered carefully by Her Majesty's Government on their merits.

Nationalised Industries (Investment Programmes)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if it is his policy to encourage the nationalised industries for which he is responsible to raise funds from sources other than Her Majesty's Government with which to finance their investment programme; and if he will make a statement.

Environment

Households (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish figures, on the basis of the latest family expenditure survey figures available, showing the estimated number of households with head below retirement

TENURE DISTRIBUTION FOR SELECTED INCOME RANGES: ENGLAND AND WALES HOUSEHOLDS WITH ECONOMICALLY ACTIVE HEADS —1978
Percentages of totals
Gross weekly household incomeOwner occupiersLocal Authority tenantsPrivate sector tenants (unfurnished)Other tenures (including furnished)All tenuresSample base (No. of households)
Under 4025401619100212
40–593441916100352
60–794634911100569
80–1195828771001,335
120–1596921461001,001
160 and over761725100904
All incomes5926681004,373

Source: Family Expenditure Survey 1978.

The FES is not grossed up to national totals. Estimates of the total number of households whose heads are under pensionable age for each tenure are available for England.

Millions of households

Number of households with heads under pensionable age6·83·41·30·512·0

Source: National Dwelling and Housing Survey 1977.

Housing Investment Programme (London Borough Of Brent)

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give consideration to the application of the London borough of Brent's call for an increase in the housing investment programme strategy allocation, with particular regard to the sums the ratepayers have to pay for bed and breakfast accommodation and the enormous waiting list for homes by families needing accommodation.

I cannot hold out any prospect of additions to the housing investment programme allocations which have been announced for 1980–81. Authorities will, however, be able to benefit next year from housing capital receipts that are unspent as at 1 April 1981 in the way set out in my speech to the Institute of Housing on 24 April, a copy of which is in the Library.

age, and at different income levels who were ( a) owner-occupiers, ( b) local authority tenants, and ( c) private sector tenants.

Information on the tenure distribution of householders whose head is under retirement age is not readily available. The following table gives information for households with economically active heads:

Anti-Blast Shelters (Raf Bases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement regarding the latest cessation of work on the aircraft anti-blast shelters at the RAF bases leased to the United States Air Force in East Anglia.

London Borough Of Lambeth (Auditor's Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of the district auditor's report for the London Borough of Lambeth 1978–79; and if he will make a statement on the findings of the district auditor.

As my hon. Friend will be aware, auditors' reports are made to the local authority concerned, and it is for them to decide what action should be taken on the auditor's findings. I understand that Lambeth council considered the report at its meeting on 13 May.

Crown Estate Tenants

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has concluded his review of the legal position of Crown Estate tenants.

The Government have tabled a new clause and schedule to the Housing Bill which will enable tenants of the Crown Estate Commissioners and the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall to benefit from formal Rent Act protection.It has been the practice of the Crown Estate Commissioners to apply the Rent Acts administratively. Nevertheless, in the light of recent representations and a review of their arrangements in which tenants' associations were consulted, the Commissioners have concluded that their tenancies should be formally included within the Rent Acts and associated legislation in order that their tenants should have no doubts about their rights and status. The Duchies have decided that they wish to do likewise. The Government agree with these conclusions. As well as applying the Rent Act 1977, the new clause and schedule also apply the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 and part I of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Education And Science

Social Science Research Council

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why he has no plans to abolish the Social Science Research Council.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to his question on 7 May concerning the functions of the Social Science Research Council.—[Vol. 984, c. 124.]The Social Science Research Council was created under the provision of the Science and Technology Act 1965 and was granted a Royal Charter later that year. There are no legislative plans for the abolition of this council.

Student Unions

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in the light of his policy that public expenditure on students' unions should become fully accountable, and in view of the distribution of a poster supporting the Trade Union Congress's day of action by the National Union of Students, if he will take steps in future years to prevent students' unions from using public funds for political purposes.

No. Within the requirements of the new arrangements for student union financing, the students should be free within legal limits to spend their money as they themselves choose.

Transport

Vehicle Testing Centres

asked the Minister of Transport, having regard to the laxity of some garages in the provision of MoT certificates, what safeguards he will require before disposing of heavy goods vehicle testing centres to the private sector.

The Government are considering various options for involving the private sector in the testing of heavy goods vehicles. We shall attach particular importance to the need for effective safeguards to ensure that current testing standards are maintained and remain impartial. Under any new arrangements the Department will need to retain a supervisory role.In the MoT testing scheme for cars, our control is as strict as our resources allow. If my hon. Friend knows of any instance of the improper issue of a test certificate, I shall arrange for the matter to be investigated. The scale and nature of the MoT testing scheme for cars makes its supervision a quite different problem from that which will be involved in heavy goods vehicle testing, however.

Heavy Goods Vehicles

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the total of 20,000 heavy goods vehicles, particularly as regards the 4,000 vehicles which are statistically dangerous, which are operating under exemption certificates due to delays at testing centres; and when he expects these figures to be appreciably reduced.

20,000 exemptions at any one time is far too many. The cause goes back to industrial action and recruitment problems in 1979. The number was much higher in November last year, when about 29,000 were outstanding. By March this year the number had been reduced to 17,000 but increased calls on our testing capacity, which always arise in the spring and which have produced 2,000 more test applications a week than last autumn, have temporarily reversed the downward trend. We expect a steady improvement in the position from June onwards.

Roads (Sleeping Policemen)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider expanding the experimental scheme to provide more sleeping policemen on roads; and what have been the results so far.

The experiments so far conducted have established that properly sited and constructed road humps—sleeping policemen—can improve road safety. No further experiments, therefore, are proposed.

asked the Minister of Transport whether any noticeable difference has occurred in the number of accidents following the introduction of sleeping policemen bumps in the road on council housing estates.

Five experiments undertaken with road humps—sleeping policemen—on residential roads showed that humps can contribute to reducing casualties, and three of these were on roads on or adjacent to local authority housing estates. The findings of these experiments were published in the Transport and Road Research Laboratory's Report No. 878, available in the Library.

Residential Properties (Blight)

asked the Minister of Transport how many residential properties are currently owned by the Department of Transport as a result of blight caused by road proposals.

asked the Minister of Transport how many residential properties acquired under the blight provisions for proposed roads, have been returned to the private sector during the last five years because they are no longer required.

I regret that this information is not readily available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. Our policy is, however, to dispose of any properties as soon as it becomes clear that they are surplus to requirements.

Motor Cycles (Carriage Of Children)

asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the large number of children who are killed and injured as passengers on motor cycles, if he will seek to alter the law to make it illegal to carry children under 10 years on motor cycles.

I accept that it is most undesirable for children to be carried on motor cycles and I hope that this may be generally recognised; casualties to child motor cycle passengers under the age of 10 in 1978 (the latest year for which figures are available) amounted to 39 injuries and no fatalities. On that basis, other aspects of motor cycle safety perhaps call more urgently for legislation.

Builders' Skips

asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents occurred in 1979 involving builders' skips on the highways.

Vehicle Lighting Offences (Notice Of Intended Prosecution)

asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the growing problem of vehicle lighting offenders not being notified of their offence until months after it has been committed, whether he will consider extending the notice of intended prosecution procedure to embrace vehicle lighting offences.

I will consider this matter further in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Regional Highway Traffic Model

asked the Minister of Transport when he intends to publish the report of the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment into the regional highway traffic model.

Road And Rail Accidents

asked the Minister of Transport if he will publish the estimates of the costs of road and rail accidents involving injury and death in 1978 and 1979, excluding the costs of damage to vehicles and property.

Following is the information:

Personal Injury Accident Costs* GB 1978 and 1979
£ millions (June 1979 prices)
Road
19781069
1979 (P)1007
Rail2
197811
1979 (P)10
1. Excludes cost of damage to vehicles or property and costs of administration etc.
2. Excludes casualty costs of suicides and trespassers.
(P) Provisional

Towing Accidents

asked the Minister of Transport how many road accidents there were each year in which vehicles towing trailers or mobile caravans were involved for the past five years; what examination he has made of the methods whereby such trailing vehicles attached to the towing vehicle are fully satisfactory; and if he will introduce methods and techniques to improve safety and eliminate the dangers of detachment in motion.

The numbers of accidents of all kinds involving vehicles towing trailers or caravans over the last five years for which figures are available are:

19741975197619771978
Towing trailers1,1191,1741,2411,1801,373
Towing caravans337357362380387
No figures are available for trailer detachments.The Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations require all accessories including couplings, to be in such condition that no danger is caused. Most couplings on trailers and caravans in fact meet the requirements of British or International Standards, although it is not obligatory for them to do so. I am not aware of any evidence which would justify further Government action.

Cycling

asked the Minister of Transport (1) how many local authorities have submitted proposals for innovatory cycle facility schemes;(2) if he will list in the

Official Report the local authorities which have been granted funds for innovatory cycle facility schemes since their inception.

Seven local authorities have submitted such proposals. Financial support for innovatory aspects of schemes has been given or promised to Cleveland, Bedfordshire, North Yorkshire, West Sussex and Essex county councils, and to Cambridge city council as agent authority for Cambridgeshire county council. We are anxious to entertain more applications if other local authorities decide to prepare suitable schemes.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement as to how many local authorities have hired the film " Free Wheeling ".

" Free Wheeling " has been hired by 44 local authorities on 69 occasions since its issue in January 1979.

asked the Minister of Transport how many local authorities have requested copies of the local transport note on cycling.

Five copies were sent to each county and district council at the time the note was issued. Sixty-one local authorities have requested additional copies.

asked the Minister of Transport how many local authorities have purchased or have been lent the film " Free Wheeling ".

"Free Wheeling " has been purchased by five local authorities and loaned to two others which are implementing cycle schemes attracting financial support.

Car Ownership

asked the Minister of Transport what is the estimated percentage of households owning cars in each region of the United Kingdom at the latest available date.

The following are the figures derived from surveys carried out in 1977 and 1978:

Region and Households with one or more car
availableper cent.
Northern51
Yorkshire and Humberside50
East Midlands61
East Anglia65
Greater London52
Rest of South-East67
South West65
West Midlands59
North-West51
Wales (mid-1978)61
Scotland (1976–1978)47
Northern Ireland (1976–1978)53
United Kingdom57
Other information about car availability is given in "Transport Statistics Great Britain 1968–1978."

Quangos

asked the Minister of Transport when he last received written advice from the Advanced Ground Transport Working Group: and what action he has taken as a result.

I received the working group's first report earlier this year. A response is being prepared.

asked the Minister of Transport when he last received written advice from the Advisory Committee on the Landscape Treatment of Trunk Roads; and what action he has taken as a result.

I last received written advice from the advisory committee on 31 March this year. I am considering that advice together with the responses received to public consultation on the particular scheme.

asked the Minister of Transport when he last received written advice from the Inquiry on Lorries, People and the Environment; and what action he has taken as a result.

I have not received any advice from the inquiry as yet. I do not expect to receive Sir Arthur Armitage's report until the autumn. However, I understand that to date the inquiry has received some 1,800 submissions.

asked the Minister of Transport when he last received written advice from the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment; and what action he has taken as a result.

On 24 March I received two memoranda. The first gave advice on national traffic forecasts: this is being taken into account in the revision which is now in hand. The second gave the committee's comments on work in progress in my Department on reviewing certain design standards.

asked the Minister of Transport when he last received written advice from the Transport and Road Research Laboratory advisory committee; and what action he has taken as a result.

I received the advisory committee's latest annual report in July 1979 and the views expressed are being taken into account in the current review of the Department's research needs and priorities.

asked the Minister of Transport when he last received written advice from the working party on medical standards for HGV and PSV drivers; and what action he has taken as a result.

Heavy Goods Vehicles

asked the Minister of Transport by how much his Department proposes to increase the percentage of road building expenditure attributed solely to heavy goods vehicles in the road traffic cost calculation, in view of his Department's estimate that the cost of new roads has to be increased by 5 per cent. solely to cope with the increased damaging effect of heavy lorry axle loads.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will publish an analysis by gross weight category of fatal heavy goods vehicle accidents recorded for 1979 in the statistics supplied by those police forces now recording such accidents according to gross vehicle weight.

I regret that this information is not yet available: it is anticipated that detailed analysis of the 1979 road accidents data will be possible nearer the end of the year.

British Railways (Financing)

asked the Minister of Transport if he has received any proposals from the British Railways Board to raise money privately rather than from Her Majesty's Government; and what is his policy in this regard.