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Written Answers

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 16 June 1980

Scotland

Lands Tribunal

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases have been heard by the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in each of the last three years.

Information about the business of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in 1976, 1977 and 1978 is contained in Table 16 of the Civil Judicial Statistics Scotland, Cmnd. 7365, November 1978, and Cmnd. 7762, January 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the grades of staff employed full-time by the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, together with their qualifications and the number in each grade.

There are five full-time staff employed in the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in the following grades :1 Higher Executive Officer (Clerk to the Tribunal)1 Executive Officer1 Clerical Officer1 Specialist Typist1 MessengerThe two senior staff are seconded from the Department of the Registers of Scotland and have experience in compiling and searching the register of sasines.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in how many cases heard by the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in each of the last three years the person raising the action was legally aided ; and if he will estimate the average costs received by a party making an application to the Lands Tribunal.

No applications for legal aid were made in the last three years in connection with cases heard by the Lands Tribunal.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has for the provision of legal aid for applications to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland, in terms of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Bill.

Legal aid is already available, subject to the general conditions of financial eligibility, in proceeding before the Lands Tribunal for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the cost of running the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in each of the last three years.

The following is the information readily available in relation to completed financial years :

1977–78£51,284
1978–79£49,076*
1979–80£59,580*
* Excludes in part in 1978–79 and wholly in 1979–80 the salary of the President who has been remunerated from the Consolidated Fund since entering joint appointment in October 1978 as Chairman of the Scottish Land Court.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what increase in staff establishment and running costs in connection with the Lands Tribunal for Scotland he expects as a result of the operation of the Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Bill.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) on 21 January 1980.—[Vol. 977, c. 78.]

Schools (Corporal Punishment)

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland whether he will make a statement about the implications for Scots law of the complaints to the European Commission of Human Rights about the use of corporal punishment in Scottish schools.

Complaints to the European Commission of Human Rights have no implications for Scots law. After investigation by the Commission, a complaint may come before the Court of Human Rights and the Court will give judgment upon it. This judgment has no direct effect on domestic law.

Northern Ireland

Employers' Liability Premiums And Compensation Law

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he hopes to publish the report of the working group that is considering the matter of employers' liability premiums and compensation law in Northern Ireland.

That part of the report of the working group which contains its findings on the costs of insurance premiums for industry in Northern Ireland was issued to interested parties on 21 May 1980. Copies are now available in the Library.

Sports Council

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has completed his review of the Northern Ireland Sports Council; and if he is in a position to make a statement.

The review of the Sports Council for Northern Ireland has now been completed. The purpose of the review was to determine the most suitable future role for the council, given the need to exercise restraint on public expenditure and, where possible, to improve efficiency in the public service, as well as taking into account existing arrangements for the provision of grant-aid for sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland. The review has also taken into account the present high administrative costs of the Sports Council.As a result of the review, it is accepted that there is a need for a central body representative of the various sports and physical recreation interests to advise the Department of Education for Northern Ireland on the continuing development and co-ordination of sporting and recreational activities, on the payment of grants, and on the organisation of conferences, courses of training, and research into and studies concerning these activities. Since local government reorganisation the district councils have been rapidly building up considerable expertise at local level to an extent which now calls into question the overlapping of functions of the district councils, Department of Education and an executive Sports Council in an area as small as Northern Ireland with a population of 1½ million.The Government propose, therefore, to seek parliamentary approval to amend the relevant legislation, which would have the effect of making Sports Council for Northern Ireland an advisory body without executive functions. Secretarial support for the Sports Council, and for any sub-committees it may establish from time to time, would be supplied from the Department of Education for Northern Ireland, and this would mean that the council would no longer have its own paid staff and premises. District councils will be invited to use their existing powers to take over management of a grants scheme for voluntary bodies as well as continuing with the summer opportunities scheme, sports for all, sportstown etc. These new arrangements should lead to elimination of much of the present duplication of effort and overlapping of functions and result in significant savings in administrative costs, to the benefit of sports organisations.

Overseas Development

Jamaica

49.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy towards, and assistance for, Jamaica.

52.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussions he has had with other donor countries about the need for assistance to Jamaica.

We expect Jamaica's economic problems to be discussed when the Caribbean Group for Co-operation in Economic Development meets next week in Washington. We shall take due note of any conclusions reached there. In general, however, we consider that we should not be justified in providing a new aid loan to Jamaica in the absence of an economic programme which has international support.

Zimbabwe

51.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has now received on the amount of aid allocated to Zimbabwe.

We have had discussions with the Zimbabwe Government about our aid programme, most recently during the visit of three Zimbabwe Ministers on 5 and 6 June and the ODA Mission, which has just returned this weekend. Various organisations and individuals in this country have told us their views on the size of our programme. Their views are equally divided between those who say it is too much and those who say it is too little.

53.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on expenditure so far from the £7 million of British aid allocated to emergency assistance for Zimbabwe.

As yet there has been no expenditure. The Zimbabwe Government have recently produced their detailed list of reconstruction requirements, and administrative arrangements for our £7 million are now being completed. The first payments will be made very shortly.

56.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what consultations he has had with the voluntary organisations working in Zimbabwe about the likelihood of famine in that country.

Our High Commission in Salisbury has had discussions with the International Committee for the Red Cross and others, and we are keeping a close watch on the situation.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will specify the British grants and loans given to or proposed for Zimbabwe since its independence.

Our plans for aid to Zimbabwe remain as announced by my right hon. Friend on 15 April.—[Vol. 982, c. 1015–16.] Until the proposals for the allocation of our £75 million aid are finally agreed, I cannot specify the relative proportions of grant and loan within this sum. Separately from the aid programme, assistance is being provided with training of the Zimbabwe forces.

Angola And Mozambique

54.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the current value of British technical assistance to Angola and Mozambique; and to which principal activities it is given.

Our technical cooperation with Mozambique cost about £½ million in 1979 and is now running at a rather higher rate. It includes consultants for a rural roads project, for the installation and commissioning of a power station and for a study of the railway net-work.We are now providing no technical cooperation to Angola.

Bangladesh

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he next expects to visit Bangladesh to visit projects funded by his Department.

My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal has no current plans to do so, but I hope to visit Bangladesh towards the end of this year and to have the opportunity then of seeing some of the projects assisted by my Department. I shall also have the pleasure of meeting His Excellency President Zia-ur Rahman in London this week, and I look forward to discussing aid questions with him.

Commonwealth Development Corporation

57.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to complete the review of the operations of the Commonwealth Development Corporation ; and when he expects to be able to make his promised statement.

The review is a wide-ranging one, and accordingly may take some time to complete. It is too soon to say exactly when this will be. Any statement covering a change of policy towards the corporation will have to await ministerial consideration of the findings of the review.

Cyprus (Higher Education)

58.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if, since there is no university in Cyprus, he will provide special assistance to enable qualified Cypriots to pursue higher education in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

About half of the aid programme provision for Cyprus, intended for the benefit of both communities, is allocated for training awards in this country, including places at institutions of higher education.

Ethiopia

59.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what amount of aid is given to Ethiopia ; and for what specific purposes and projects the money has been given.

Our bilateral aid programme for Ethiopia has never been large, and now reflects simply the fulfilment of commitments made by the previous Administration. In 1980–81 we expect continuing awards for Ethiopian trainees in the United Kingdom, two British experts in Ethopia and an administration building for the Ethiopian water resources authority to cost about £200,000.

Development Aid

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his estimate of the percentage cut in bilateral official development assistance for the years 1980–81 and 1981–82 as compared with disbursements in 1979–80.

It is not the practice to publish forward planning figures for individual elements of the aid programme, because such figures are based on intentions and assumptions which may not be realised. Because of the pressure of multilateral aid commitments, however, the share of bliateral aid is expected to fall.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what were the disbursements of bilateral official development assistance for the financial year 1979–80 ; what are the latest estimates for bilateral official development assistance for the financial years 1980–81 and 1981–82 ; and if he will make a statement.

Final expenditure figures for the financial year 1979–80 will not be available for some months. The preliminary estimate for bilateral aid expenditure in 1979–80 is £586 million. Forecast of expenditure in 1980–81 and 1981–82 cannot be given, for the reasons set out in my reply today to my hon. Friend's question about the percentage reduction in bilateral aid expenditure.

Home Department

Data Protection

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce data protection legislation on the lines of that already enacted in Sweden, West Germany, France, Austria, Norway, Denmark and Luxembourg, in order to enable British firms to undertake data processing services for customers in those countries.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now introduce legislation implementing the recommendations of the Lindop committee; and if he will make a statement.

I am considering the recommendation of the Data Protection Committee in the light of the outcome of the consultations on the report initiated by my predecessor. I am conscious of the concern that has been expressed by British firms about the possibility of foreign restrictions on the flow of data to this country for computer processing and shall take this fully into account in reaching my conclusions. Meanwhile, if hon. Members have any information about the effect on British firms of such restrictions I shall be glad to receive it.

Foreign Visitors

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the official estimate of those gaining admission to the United Kingdom as visitors and failing to return home in the year 1975 to 1979 on an annual basis.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many visitors to the United Kingdom, having been granted temporary admission following representation from an hon. Member of this House, failed to return to their country of origin within the allowable time ;(2) how many representations were made by hon. Members of this House requesting temporary admission for visitors to the United Kingdom in the years 1975 to 1979, on an annual basis.

New Commonwealth Visitors

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the annual figure of visitors from the New Commonwealth between the years 1975 to 1979.

The information requested is available in columns 3 and 4 of table 1(a) in the annual Command Papers "Control of Immigration : Statistics": the latest of which (Cmand. 7875) contains the 1979 figures.

Hong Kong And Chinese Citizens

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what difference in nationality status and residence entitlement there is between citizens naturalised in Hong Kong, citizens born in Hong Kong and Chinese subjects naturalised in the United Kingdom.

All are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies.Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies of Chinese origin naturalised in the United Kingdom have the right of abode under section 2(1)(

a) of the Immigration Act 1971. Those who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth in Hong Kong or by naturalisation by the Governor in Hong Kong do not have the right of abode by virtue of that birth or naturalisation. Such people may, however, have the right of abode by descent, residence or marriage under the provisions of sections 2(1)( b), 2(1)( c) or 2(2) respectively.

Visiting Forces Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been returned to their country of origin under the Visiting Forces Act 1952 in each of the last 10 years; and to which countries.

This information is not held by the Department, but we are making inquiries to see what statistics may be available ; and I shall then write to my hon. Friend.

Nationality

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish the White Paper on nationality.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 1 May to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Melton (Mr. Latham).—[Vol. 983, c. 1595–96.]

Transmitters (Licences)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time taken for an application to be granted to a private individual for a licence for a short-range transmitter ; and if he will list the powers he has to grant and revoke licences.

Over 70 different classes of licence for radio transmitting equipment are issued by this Department. The time taken to issue a licence depends on the complexity of the application and the current level of demand, and varies between a few days and several weeks. I shall be pleased to consider any particular case which my hon. Friend has in mind.The requirement for a user of radio equipment to hold a licence and my right hon. Friend's power to revoke licences are contained in section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949.

Prison Population

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what, in each case, would be the effect on the daily prison population of (a) repealing the offences of simple drunkenness, drunk and disorderly and drunk and incapable, (b) repealing the offence of soliciting, (c) repealing the offence of possessing cannabis, (d) repealing the sanction of imprisonment for maintenance default, (e) repealing the sanction of imprisonment for fine defaults, (f) repealing the sanction of imprisonment for a first offence on summary conviction, (g) granting 50 per cent. remission on all sentences of 18 months imprisonment or less, (h) granting 50 per cent. remission on all sentences and (i) removing all mentally ill prisoners to secure hospitals.

The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 8 November 1979—[Vol. 974, c. 665·67]—and to my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey, North-West (Mr. Grylls) on 15 May 1980—[Vol. 984, c. 644]. In addition, on 31 December 1979, 446 persons in prison department establishments in England and Wales were classified as suffering from mental disorder—that is, mental illness, subnormality, or psychopathic disorder.

Life-Saving Attempts (Casualties)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been killed and how many injured in attempts to save life as a result of fires, in drowning incidents and in other emergencies, respectively ; and how many and what percentages of such persons were fire or police officers or other professionals and how many were private citizens.

Open Channel Radio

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the discussion document on open channel radio will be published ; and what will be the time limit for replies.

I have nothing to add at this stage to the reply I gave to a question by my hon. Friend on 15 May—[Vol. 984, c. 644·45.]

Civil Service

Statistical Services

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what statistical services currently carried out by Government Departments he is considering transferring to private enterprise; how much he expects this to save in manpower costs ; and how much he expects it would be necessary to spend in order to buy this information back from private enterprise.

A review of all Government statistical services is going on. Until this is complete it is impossible to say what, if any, statistical services at present provided by Government Departments might be left to the private sector to perform.

Trade

British Goods (Exports)

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his analysis of the principal factors which affect the level of exports of British goods.

The principal factor is the ability of British industry to meet the demands of overseas customers while making an adequate return. Design, quality and delivery are often paramount, with price sometimes, but not always, a crucial determinant.

Monopolies And Mergers Commission (Merger Examinations)

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many merger proposals he has recommended be examined by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and in how many he has given clearance from examinations since the beginning of the current year; and how these figures compare with those for the same period in 1979.

Since coming into office my right hon. Friend has referred four mergers to the commission ; all these were referred during 1980. During the year to date, approximately 76 merger proposals qualifying for reference under the provisions of the Fair Trading Act were not referred to the MMC.In the period 1 January-16 June 1979, three mergers were referred to the commission ; and approximately 96 mergers qualifying for reference were not referred.

Competition Act 1980

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he is taking to measure the effectiveness of the Competition Act 1980.

I shall follow closely the work of the Director General of Fair Trading and the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the Act. I shall also make full use of the director general's annual reports on his activities and those of the commission.

Imports From Third World Countries

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of United Kingdom imports came from Third World countries at the latest convenient date.

In the 12 months ended April 1980, imports from the developing world—which includes oil-exporting countries—accounted for 19 per cent. of total United Kingdom imports.

South Africa

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take action to ensure that British firms operating in South Africa pay all their African employees at least above the poverty datum line.

Much as I deplore the injustices of apartheid, I share the view of the previous Government that a voluntary procedure is the most appropriate method of reminding British firms of their obligations. I am not prepared to take compulsory powers.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will now remove South Africa from the Customs and Excise Office's "C" list.

Product Liability

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what discussions have taken place with the European Economic Community on the draft directive on liability for defective products.

There have been three meetings of the Council working party to discuss the draft directive since it was submitted to the Council by the Commission. Officials of my Department have attended these meetings.

European Community (Hairdressing Directives)

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if his Department was represented at the meeting of the working party in Brussels on 17 April to consider the draft European Economic Community directives on hairdressing; and if he will make a statement.

My Department was represented at that meeting. As I explained to my hon. Friend in my letter to him of 2 June, it was agreed at that meeting that the previous draft directive should be withdrawn and that work should begin on drafting a new proposal aimed at promoting mobility within the enlarged EC of those wishing to operate a hairdressing business.

Goods And Services (Exports)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the value of exports of goods and services, expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product in the years 1970, 1975 and the most recent year for which figures are available ; and how this performance compares with other major industrialised countries.

For the United Kingdom, the share of exports of goods and services in GDP at market prices was 24 per cent. in 1970, 27 per cent. in 1975 and 30 per cent. in 1978. For each year, this has been higher than for any of the other major industrial countries.

Finished Manufactures

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the crude balance of trade for finished manufactures in the latest month for which figures are available.

In April 1980 the crude balance of trade in finished manufactures was a surplus of £116 million.

Angola And Mozambique

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many trade missions will go to Angola and Mozambique during the course of the current year.

The British Overseas Trade Board has received no proposals for assistance under its outward mission scheme for Angola or Mozambique in 1980.

Merchant Shipping Act

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he now expects the pilotage provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act to be fully implemented.

Subject to further advice from the Pilotage Commission when it meets later this week, it is hoped to activate almost all of the remaining pilotage provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1979 on 1 July, including those relating to pilotage certificates for EEC nationals. Detailed implementation of these provisions is the responsibility of the local pilotage authorities and the Pilotage Commission.

Air Safety Standards

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with air safety standards which affect British citizens at home and abroad.

Air safety standards affecting passengers in British-registered civil transport aircraft are the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority, and I am satisfied that the authority is carrying out competently its statutory obligations in this regard. In the case of foreign aircraft the responsibility for air safety standards is a matter for the State of registry concerned in accordance with the ICAO convention.

Estate Agents Act

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps to make the commencement order to bring the Estate Agents Act into force ; and if he will make a statement.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he will complete his consultations about regulations to implement the Estate Agents Act.

It is important that new duties should not be placed upon estate agents without allowing adequate time for preparation. It is also essential that regulations as to clients' money and detailed accounting requirements should be made only after the fullest consultation and consideration. My aim is to complete the consultations—which have already started—in sufficient time to make a commencement order early next year with a view to bringing into operation some six months later certain provisions, including sections 1 to 15, 18, 20, 21 and 23, and the regulations governing accounts and their audit and appeals against orders made by the Director General of Fair Trading.

Competition Act 1980 (Price References)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what references of prices of general economic importance he proposes to make under section 13 of the Competition Act 1980.

My right hon. Friend has no specific proposals in mind at present.

£ Sterling

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what effect the recent rise in the value of the £ sterling will have on the prospects for British exporters.

In the short run, because of an adverse impact on competitiveness, our export prospects may well be reduced. But a strong exchange rate should help to contain inflation, which is fundamental for improving our longer-term export performance.

British Airports Authority (Airport Provision)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has given any direction to the British Airports Authority or had any consultations with a view thereto under section 2(7) of the Airports Authority Act 1975, in regard to the exercise and performance of its functions in relation to the acquisition of land and applications for planning permission in connection with airport provision.

Doorstep Selling

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will legislate to control doorstep selling.

The Hire Purchase Acts already require a cooling-off period for hire purchase agreements negotiated on the doorstep. I expect to use my powers under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 shortly to introduce a cooling-off period for a wider range of credit transactions negotiated on the doorstep.

Beer

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will refer the price of beer to the Director General of Fair Trading under section 13 of the Competition Act.

No. My right hon. Friend does not consider that such an inquiry would be appropriate. Furthermore, the beer industry was recently the subject of Price Commission investigations.

Competition Policy

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what he estimates will be the effect on the rate of inflation over the next year of the operation of competition policy.

The effects of competition policy are not separately identifiable. But there is no doubt that effective competition can contribute significantly to cost and price restraint.

Air Passengers (Liability)

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the current limits, expressed in £ sterling, of liability for air passengers on scheduled international flights under the Warsaw Convention/Hague Protocol; when last these were increased ; and whether he is taking any action to secure agreement to a further increase.

The Warsaw Convention of 1929 set a limit of liability of 125,000 Poincare gold francs—equivalent at present to £4,836—and this was revised by the Hague Protocol of 1955 to 250,000 Poincare gold francs—equivalent at £9,672. The convention, however permits airlines to enter into a special contract with its passengers to raise the limit of liability and United Kingdom airlines are required by virtue of a standard condition in air transport licences to contract in respect of international carriage for a limit of not less than US$58,000—about £25,000. The largest proportion of international carriage by air is now subject to this limit or higher ones.

The United Kingdom supports the adoption of the 1975 Montreal Protocol No. 3 which would raise the Warsaw-Hague limit to 100,000 special drawing rights—about £56,000—but this is not yet in force. The Civil Aviation Authority has recently published a proposal that limit set by the relevant condition in air transport licences should be revised to 100,000 special drawing rights, and consultations are now in process.

Heathrow (Air Transport Movements)

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade why he is currently allowing air transport movements at Heathrow to exceed an annual rate of 275,000 ; and why he plans to limit the number of such movements to that figure when the fourth terminal is in operation.

The Government do not believe that it would be reasonable to impose a limitation on the number of air transport movements at a time when the capacity of Heathrow is effectively limited to that of the existing terminal buildings. The decision to impose a ceiling on the number of air transport movements when the fourth terminal opens was taken in response to the recommendations of the inspector in his report of the public inquiry.

Nylon Carpet Yarn

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is able to make any arrangements that would allow British manufacturers to compete on a basis of equality with the United States of America manufacturers of polyester filament yarn and nylon carpet yarn, who benefit from cheap oil and oil-based products.

Imports into the United Kingdom of polyester filament yarn and nylon carpet yarn from the United States and other sources are controlled by quota. The Commission has opened an anti-dumping investigation on imports of United States polyester filament yarn into the Community. And the EC-US discussions under article XXIII of the GATT about the effects of United States domestic energy policy on their synthetic textile producers are continuing.

Trade

Footwear Industry

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the present import and export arrangements in relation to the boot and shoe industry.

There is a range of restraint arrangements on imports of footwear, or types of footwear, from low-cost sources. These arrangements are monitored and enforced, and we remain ready to consider further arrangements should circumstances justify them. I am not satisfied with the export opportunities in certain markets, and I am constantly seeking improvements both bilaterally and through the European Community.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what are the present arrangements, country by country, to control the imports of footwear, especially from State trading countries or from Brazil or Portugal; in what ways he has strengthened the controls over his period of office; and what further action he intends to take to protect the industry ;(2) what recent representations he has received from the British Footwear Manufacturers Federation regarding the current state of trade, especially in the East Midlands ; what replies he has sent ; and what action he is taking.

All these restrictions have been in operation for some years and are being maintained at levels which take account of the situation in the British footwear industry.There is a countervailing duty on United Kingdom imports of certain men's leather fashion footwear from Brazil which is under review by the European Community. The result of that review will depend on the level of subsidies currently available to the Brazilian footwear manufacturers.Recent representations by the BFMF have related to imports of leather footwear from Brazil, Czechoslovakia and Poland. The current levels of imports of leather footwear from Brazil—just under 3 per cent. of the United Kingdom market—do not justify emergency safeguard action under the GATT rules at the present time. However, during his recent visit to Brazil my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade left the Brazilians in no doubt about the serious concern felt by Her Majesty's Government about the difficult problems which would be caused by further increases in their imports.I am currently seeking arrangements for the continuation of the voluntary export restraints undertaken by Czechoslovakia, Poland and Romania.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action he intends to take to prevent imports of footwear from Italy marked "made in Italy", when they have been manufactured in a third country other than Italy.

I have no evidence at present of this practice. If the hon. Member will let me have details of specific cases, I shall ensure that they are fully investigated. False origin marking is an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 1978.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the value of exports of United Kingdom footwear products in the first quarter of the current year ; and what was the value of imports from all sources for the same period into the United Kingdom.

Argentina

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, following representations by Argentina's Economy Minister, he intends to pursue increased trade with the military régime in Argentina ; and if he will make a statement.

In common with the policy of previous Governments, and where compatible with our international obligations, I believe civil trade with other countries should be determined by commercial considerations and not by the character of the Governments concerned. It is my objective to increase our trade world wide.

European Community (Manufactured Trade)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the deficit in manufactured trade with other Common Market countries for the first four months of 1980 compared with 1979 and 1978 ; and what was the surplus in trade in manufactured goods with the rest of the world for the same periods.

The information is as follows :

UNITED KINGDOM CRUDE* TRADE BALANCE IN MANUFACTURES
£ billion, not seasonally adjusted
With ECWith rest of World
January to April 1980−1·0+1·3
Year 1979−2·7+4·4
Year 1978−1·6+5·6
* Exports (fob) less imports (cif).

Severnside (Airport)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of the opposition being raised to the Government's proposals to develop Stansted as the site of a third international airport, he will investigate the possibility of developing Severnside for this purpose, as is currently being suggested by those in local government in Wales.

The report of the Advisory Committee on Airports Policy considered the possibility of developing Severnside but concluded that a new airport there would involve a huge commitment of public funds with no guarantee that the capacity would be needed. A new Severn tunnel and bridge might be required, Cardiff and Bristol airports would eventually have to close and the attractiveness of the airport to those travelling to and from other parts of the country would be limited. The Government have decided, in the light of this advice, that this idea should not be pursued.

Iran

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what arrangements he is making to advise the producers and exporters of plates and unperforated films that their products are exempt from the restrictions on exports to Iran;

(2) what arrangements he is making to advise the producers and exporters of magnifying glasses that their products are exempt from the restrictions on exports to Iran ;

(3) what arrangements he is making to advise the producers and exporters of sunflower seed extracts that their products are exempt from the restrictions on exports to Iran.

Exporters have been advised to study the Iran sanctions orders which are obtainable from Her Majesty's Stationery Office. These products fall within the tariff headings in part II of schedule 1 of each order and are therefore exempt when sold or supplied for use solely or mainly for medical or surgical purposes. They will also be exempt if exported under contracts or other exempted business commitments entered into before 30 May 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what arrangements he is making to advise the producers and exporters of preparations known as dental wax or dental components that their products are exempt from the restrictions on exports to Iran ;(2) what arrangements he is making to advise the producers and exporters of knitted or crocheted elastic or rubberised stockings and other pharmaceutical articles such as elastic knee-caps and belts that their products are exempt from the restrictions on exports to Iran.

Exporters have been advised to study the Iran sanctions orders, which are obtainable from Her Majesty's Stationery Office. These products are exempt as medical products under the tariff headings in part I B of Schedule 1 of each order.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the level of United Kingdom trade with Iran over the latest period for which figures are conveniently available.

Details of trade with Iran are given on page 25 of tables II (imports) and V (exports) of the monthly Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom, copies of which are in the Library.

Coastal Shipping

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his estimate of the current nominal value of the cargoes carried by coastal shipping in British waters ; and what percentage is represented by the amount of oil and related petroleum products.

Information on the value of cargoes carried by coastal shipping in British waters is not available, and to ascertain whether reliable estimates could be made would involve disproportionate cost. Information on the tonnage of these cargoes is available from National Ports Council statistics. For 1978, the latest year for which complete figures are available, the tonnage of coastwise cargoes was 62 million tonnes, of which about four-fifths was crude petroleum and petroleum products.

Air Transport (Liability)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what, expressed in £ sterling, is the current limit of liability for (a) passengers and (b) air freight on scheduled United Kingdom internal flights; whether he is satisfied that the limits fixed by him pursuant to the Carriage by Air Act are still appropriate; and when he intends to raise these limits.

The current limit of liability for passengers and air freight on scheduled United Kingdom internal flights is determined by the Carriage by Air Act (Application of Provisions) Order 1967, as amended by the Carriage by Air Act (Application of Provisions) (Second Amendment) Order 1979. For passengers the limit is 58,000 special drawing rights—about £33,000—and for freight 17 special drawing rights—about £9·60—per kilogramme.The Civil Aviation Authority has recently published a proposal to revise the limit followed by United Kingdom airlines in respect of the international carriage of passengers from US $58,000—about £25,000—to 100,000 special drawing rights—about £56,000. When consultations have been completed, consideration will be given to the possibility of bringing the current domestic limit into line with what is expected to be a higher limit for international carriage.

Fasteners

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has received over the import into the United Kingdom of fasteners ; how many fasteners were imported into the United Kingdom in 1977–78 and 1979; and if he will make a statement.

We are in contact with the British Industrial Fasteners Federation about a number of allegations of unfair competition from various overseas countries. Further details are awaited from the federation.Details of imports of nuts, bolts and washers. screws, rivets, cotters, cotterpins and similar articles of iron and steel and of copper are published in table IV of the annual 1977 and 1978 editions and the December 1979 issue of the

Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom. For 1977 they are given under SITC (Rev 1) Items 694·21 and 694·22, and from 1978 onwards under SITC (Rev 2) Items 69402 and 694·03, excluding 7415–2000. The descriptions appropriate to each individual eight-digit code number are set out in the "Guide to the Classification for Overseas Trade Statistics" for the relevant year. Copies of these publications are in the Library.

The total weight of these imports were :

1977

1978

Tonnes 1979

(i) of iron or steel32,48139,99147,263
(ii) of copper264409448

Corresponding information by numbers is not available for all the articles covered.

Tenerife Air Crash

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has received from the Spanish authorities documentary proof that the holding pattern given to the pilot of the Dan Air Boeing 727 which crashed in Tenerife on 25 April was known to exist among pilots using Los Rodeos airport; if he will request such proof if it has not been provided already ; and if he will make a statement.

It is the duty of the Spanish commission of investigation, with the assistance of the United Kingdom accredited representative and his advisers, to establish, amongst other things, whether the pilot of the Dan-Air Boeing 727 which crashed at Tenerife was properly informed of the details of the holding pattern at Los Rodeos airport. Until the commission has completed its work and presented its report it would be inappropriate for me to comment on this or other aspects of the investigation.

Laboratory Glassware

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will refer to the European Economic Community the dumping of laboratory glassware from East Germany and Czechoslovakia.

If the industry feels that it is being injured by unfairly priced imports from Eastern Europe, my Department will be happy to advise on the preparation of an application to the European Commission for anti-dumping action.

British Manufactured Goods (Counterfeiting)

asked the Secretar of State for Trade (1) if he will list in the Official Report examples bought to his attention of the counterfeiting of British manufactured goods; if he will study such counterfeiting; and if he will make a statement;(2) what negotiations have taken place with the Taiwanese and other Governments on the counterfeiting of British manufactured goods by unauthorised overseas manufacturers; and what progress has been made in such negotiations ;(3) what representations he has received about the counterfeiting of British manufactured goods; and if he will make a statement.

A case involving the counterfeiting of United Kingdom hosiery by a South Korean manufacturer was taken up with the Korean Government and has been resolved. As the hon. Member is aware, we are unable to treat in a similar way cases that have arisen in respect of Taiwan. Here the United Kingdom manufacturers concerned have been advised to make direct representations to those concerned either directly or through the Anglo-Taiwan Trade Committee. I have received no specific information to support allegations of

counterfeiting by manufacturers in other countries.

Waste Paper

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total weight of waste paper exported from the United Kingdom to all sources in 1979.

Wooden Doors (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the value of doors made from wood imported into the United Kingdom from the following countries in 1979 (a) Portugal, (b) Taiwan and (c) Indonesia ; and if he will make a statement.

Ammonia, Sulphur, Phosphate And Potash

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the percentage rise in landed costs for the following so far in the current year (a) ammonia, (b) sulphur, (c) phosphate and (d) potash.

Christmas Cards

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will use his powers under the Trade Descriptions Act to require that Russian Christmas cards be marked with their country of origin when being offered for sale.

Inquiries by my Department suggest that this trade is coming to an end. But I now put the USSR on notice that if the problem should persist I shall not hesitate to use the powers of the 1968 Act.

House Of Commons

Safety Policy

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, if he has drawn up a safety policy for the House; where this policy is available to employees; and if he will place a copy in the Library.

A statement of policy on health and safety for the House was agreed on 6 February 1976 by the heads of the then five Departments, after consultation with the recognised unions. It was made available to all members of staff at that time and was subsequently included as an appendix in the second edition of the staff handbook, copies of which were given to all staff employed in June 1976 and have been given to all new entrants since then. Steps are being taken to make copies available to staff of the refreshment department who became employees of the Commission on 1 April 1980. I am arranging for a copy of the statement to be placed in the Library.

National Finance

Wholesale Price Index

44.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the wholesale price index published by his Department to show single figure inflation.

National Debt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average interest rate paid on new debt added to the national debt in each of the past 15 years; and what is the average interest rate to be paid on new debt raised during the current financial year.

The national debt is the total nominal liability of the national loans fund set up under the National Loans Act 1968, and it comprises many varied forms of borrowing. It is thus not possible to state the average interest rate paid in past years on new debt, nor is there any forward estimate of the national debt.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of taxable income would be paid in income tax by (a) a United Kingdom resident, with two children aged under 11 years, working in the Republic of Ireland for a gross salary of (i) 5,500 punt and (ii) 11,000 punt and having no other income and (b) a resident of the Republic, with the same family, working in the United Kingdom for a gross salary of (i) £5,000 and (ii) £10,000, and having no other income.

The information requested is as follows :

per cent.
(a) (i)17·1
(a) (ii)23·6
(b) (i)17·1
(b) (ii)24·8

NOTES

1. Under the United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland double taxation agreement, a taxpayer's place of residence determines the way he is treated for tax purposes. For a taxpayer to be resident in one of the two countries, and working in the other, but not resident there, it has been assumed that case ( a) is a United Kingdom resident commuting each day into the Republic of Ireland to work. Conversely, case ( b) is assumed to be a Republic of Ireland resident commuting each day into the United Kingdom to work.

2. The figures given relate in each case to the 1980–81 tax year, taking into account proposals in both countries' 1980 Finance Bills, which are subject to the approval of their respective Parliaments.

Prices

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate in percentage terms the extent to which price rises in 1979, as recorded by his Department's retail price index, were affected, respectively, by labour costs, the rise in manufacturers' materials and fuels, the effects of Budget changes and higher interest rates reflecting Government monetary measures.

The rise in prices in 1979 reflected several factors, including past increases in money supply and the effects of the one-off switch from direct to indirect taxes in the June budget and the impact of Government measures designed to reduce the PSBR and re-establish control over the money supply. (The latter included overdue rises in "administered" prices—such as nationalised industry charges—and the rise in interest rates and hence the mortgage rate.)It is not possible to quantify the contribution of each individual factor to the recorded change in the retail price index.

European Community

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes in the United Kingdom's financial transactions with the EEC he expects in the present and future financial years as a result of the negotiations reported to Parliament in statements on 2 June; and what are the corresponding figures for changes in the public sector borrowing requirement.

My right hon. Friends gave the House on 2 June details of the budget and agricultural settlements. The budget refunds will go to reduce the PSBR, but is too early to say how much of the refund for 1980 will be paid in time to affect this year's PSBR.

Financial yearCivil Service Per cent.Local Authorities Per cent.Total Per cent.
1960–613*5
1970–713710
1975–763811
1979–8028†
* Total Civil Service personnel costs for financial year 1960–61 are not readily available. The percentage quoted is an estimate based on the date for financial year 1961–62.
† Figures for 1979–80 are not yet available. The percentage quoted relates to financial year 1978–79.

Child Tax Allowance

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many persons receive child tax allowances for children overseas; what would be the savings to the Exchequer of phasing these out over two years; and what would be the cost, in a full year, of extending child benefit to these persons.

About 22,000 taxpayers receive the allowance in respect of some 75,000 children. The cost in 1980–81 is about £7 million, which represents the yield from phasing out the allowance over the years 1981–82 and 1982–83, as proposed in this year's Finance Bill.The cost of giving child benefit at £4.75 per week (the rate from November 1980) to 75,000 children would be £18.5 million in a full year.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to complete his review of the value added tax system; and whether he will make a statement.

Gross Domestic Product

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish figures showing the total cost of (a) the Civil Service and (b) local government personnel, as a percentage of gross domestic product, in 1960, 1970, 1975 and the latest year for which the figures are available.

Figures for the total United Kingdom cost of Civil Service and local government personnel as a percentage of GDP in the years in question are not readily available. The table below is based on the cost of Civil Service and local authority personnel in Great Britain only, for the financial years for which information is readily available.

No general review of the value added tax system is currently being undertaken.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates the revenue lost to the Exchequer of maintaining a zero rating of value added tax on children's clothing.

The estimated revenue cost of the relief for young children's clothing and footwear is of the order of £225 million in 1980–81. No separate estimate has been made for children's clothing alone. In addition, there is thought to be substantial loss to the Exchequer through misapplication of the relief—for example, zero-rated goods being bought by adults.

Enterprise Zones

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much expenditure to date has been authorised since he announced his policy to promote enterprise zones in his Budget speech.

No significant public expenditure on enterprise zones has been authorised to date.

Government Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the level of general Government expenditure on goods and services in the United Kingdom, both in money terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product, for each year

GENERAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE ON GOODS AND SERVICES* IN MONEY TERMS AND AS A PERCENTAGE OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT AT MARKET PRICES
United KingdomFrance†West GermanyItalyBelgium
£ m.%Fr. m.%Dm. m.%L.b.%Fr. m.%
19605,05319·850,15016·63,45716·082,83414·7
19615,47220·157,05017·23,76715·686,23714·4
19625,91020·766,72018·54,29415·895,59114·9
19636,24620·676,05019·95,13116·5109,26515·8
19646,86920·882,50019·65,82317·2121,97415·8
19657,49221·190,00019·66,41317·6131,35015·6
19668,21421·796,38019·76,79017·2146,71016·2
19679,19323·098,39019·97,07916·3163,62816·9
19689,85522·8103,33019·37,82316·7179,76417·3
196910,27122·2116,89019·68,36816·2197,11517·1
197011,44922·5135,24217·3137,59020·39,21915·9219,59117·1
197112,84422·6149,66717·2161,15021·410,83817·2258,11818·4
197214,41022·9164,85116·8176,11021·312,20017·7294,60318·8
197317,04023·5183 69216·5199,90021·813,83316·8322,51918·1
197420,99125·6216,84517·0232,22023·516,96116·7377,59718·0
197527,94727·2264,32818·2253,85024·620,04917·4463,39620·1
197632,09326·2297,94617·8265,42023·624,39617·0527,83020·1
197734,05524·3336,64318·0277,96023·229,73617·2582,80520·5
NetherlandsLuxembourg†SwedenUnited States of AmericaJapan†
Gld. m.%Fr. m.%Kr.m.%$m.%Yen b.%
19607,31417·514,53620·1100,13419·8
19618,05218·215,73720·0108,13720·7
19629,02319·018,02521·2116,99020·7
196310,34520·120,60122·3123,07020·7
196412,35820·423,28122·6129,24420·4
196513,66020·126,26623·2137,24020·04,26613·3
196615,19920·629,98124·3158,29521·04,92713·2
196717,10221·133,88525·4177,45722·35,43112·3
196818,96221·137,85126·7191,52022·16,28911·9
196921,20320·841,16426·8201,08421·57,25511·7
197024,17421·17,14013·346,90527·5212,86321·78,73111·9
197128,06021·68,34215·051.53828·2224,70921·210,48212·9
197230,84021·09,57815·656,63728·6242,45320·812,58913·6
197333,91020·211,66315·461,78128·2261,16420·115,70813·9
197439,65020·814,39615·870,48328·3293,55820·919,24014·2
197546,71022·317,37820·682,96628·9325,65021·322,72915·3
197652,49022·119,30119·796,53829·9347,57420·525,01014·9
197756,97021·821,98821·7115,76433·0377,53420·128,55615·3
* Including non-trading capital consumption.
† Comparable figures for France and Luxembourg before 1970 and Japan before 1965 are not available.
Source: National Accounts of OECD countries 1960–77, Volume II.

Life-Saving Attempts (Compensation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will institute a fund to compensate persons injured in, or the dependants of those who lose their life during, the course of attempts to save life in non-criminal circumstances.

since 1960; and what are the comparable figures for France, West Germany, Italy, the Benelux countries, Sweden, United States of America and Japan for each of these years.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1980, c. 322] : The latest information is given below :

I shall let the hon. and learned Member have a reply as soon as possible.

Tax Cuts And Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the consequences of, respectively, £1 billion in tax cuts and a £1 billion increase in public expenditure in terms of the effects on prices, employment, money supply, real personal disposable income, and the trade balance.

I am unable to give the hon. Member the information he requests, for the reasons given by my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State in his reply of 14 November 1979 to the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton)—[Vol. 973, c. 622—23.]

Mortgage Tax Relief

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans at present to increase the mortgage tax relief ceiling from its present ceiling of £25,000 to £50,000; and if he will make a statement clarifying the Government's policy on mortgage tax relief.

European Community Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the additional expenditure that will be incurred by the United Kingdom in accordance with article 235 of the Treaty of Rome as a result of the agreement with the European Economic Community to reduce the United Kingdom's net contribution to the European Economic Community budget by increasing Community expenditure in the United Kingdom.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1980, c. 324]: The proposed new regulation under article 235 will provide for supplementary Community expenditure in the United Kingdom. It will not provide for any additional expenditure to be incurred by the United Kingdom.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much he expects to receive as a refund in cash from the European Economic Community as a result of the new agreement above the United Kingdom contribution to the European Economic Community budget by (a) 1 September, (b) 1 November and (c) 1 January 1981.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1980, c. 324]: The precise timing of payments to the United Kingdom under the agreement reached on 30 May remains to be decided. But we expect to receive the main substance of the refund for 1980 before the end of the financial year 1980–81.

Questionnaires

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many questionnaires requesting information from firms with up to a £1 million turnover have been discontinued since 3 May 1979 and how many new ones introduced; and how many different ones are sent out at present.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Sheepmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set out how the new sheepmeat regime will prevent the dumping of the surpluses created on the world market which lower the price available to New Zealand products.

Implementation of the sheepmeat regime depends on the conclusion of a voluntary agreement between the Community and New Zealand on all matters affecting New Zealand's trading interests, including the disposal of any Community surpluses.

Cows

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cows have been taken out of dairying in the United Kingdom in response to the European Economic Community's non-marketing and conversion schemes.

Applications under the non-marketing of milk and conversion premium scheme approved up to 30 April 1980 accounted for 191,280 cows, comprising 139,930 under the non-marketing section and 51,350 under the section providing for conversion to beef or sheepmeat production. The current size of the dairy herd as shown in the December 1979 census is 3,342 thousand head.

Fertilisers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the percentage rise for all fertilisers in 1979; and what is his Department's estimate of the increased percentage crop yield which accrues from using fertilisers.

The increase in consumption of inorganic fertilisers during the year ended 31 May 1979*, the latest period for which figures are available, was

Nitrogen+ 2·7 per cent.
Phosphate+ 1·5 percent.
Potash+1·0 per cent.
Total Plant Food+2·1 percent.
*The Fertiliser Manufacturers Association : Fertiliser Statistics 1979.
Fertiliser use in agriculture cannot readily be related to individual commodities, still less to yields which vary from year to year for a number of reasons, including differences in weather. Overall use of inorganic plant foods has increased by about 19 per cent. during the last 10 years. During this period the composition of total agricultural output and the level of other inputs such as labour, capital and energy has changed, and the volume of agricultural output as measured by estimates of gross output at constant prices is estimated to have risen by some 13 per cent.

Forestry

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the importance to various sectors of industry, including the paper and board industry, if he can now say when he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's forestry policy.

Detailed proposals have yet to be formulated. An announcement will be made as soon as they are ready.

Barley And Sugar Beet

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his Department's estimate of the increase in hectares of barley for the 1979–80 season; and what is his estimate of the rise in hectares of sugar beet for the same season.

The June agricultural census returns for 1979 showed, for the 1979–80 season, a decrease of four thousand hectares to 2,343 thousand hectares in the area sown to barley and an increase of four thousand hectares to 214 thousand hectares in the area sown to sugar beet.

Defence

Armoured Personnel Carriers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about when a decision will be made as to the armament of the Army's armoured personnel carrier.

An announcement about the selection of the vehicle to meet the Army's requirement for a new armoured personnel carrier and its armament will be made within the next few months.

Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be able to announce a decision about the future of the Royal Herbert hospital, Woolwich.

It has now been agreed that there is no further Ministry of Defence requirement for the former Royal Herbert hospital. The Property Services Agency will now arrange for its disposal. I wrote to the hon. Member informing him of this decision on 10 June.

Chemical Weapons

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what response he has given to the suggestion that the United Kingdom should produce or deploy offensive chemical weapons.

Departmental Staff (Defections)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many employees of his Department have defected to Communist countries in each of the last 12 years; and if he will publish details in the Official Report.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1980, c. 152]: One private soldier defected to the German Democratic Republic in 1972 and one locally engaged civilian defected, also to the GDR, in 1979.

Armed Forces (Pensions)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will reconsider his refusal to remove the anomalies in the treatment, for pension purposes, of those members of the Armed Forces who retired between 1976 and 1978.

I have been asked to reply.I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown) on 21 December 1979.—[Vol. 976, c.

421–22.] I regret that I cannot hold out any hope of a change in the decision I announced then.

Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

Diplomatic And Consular Offices (Rates)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his best estimate of (a) the current annual value of local rates payable to local authorities in the United Kingdom in respect of diplomatic and consular offices, respectively, and (b) the current annual value of equivalent taxes payable by British diplomatic consular missions, respectively.

(a) The British Government paid approximately £7·8 million to local authorities during the financial year ended 31 March 1980 in respect of all premises in the United Kingdom occupied for diplomatic and consular purposes. Approximately 75 per cent. of this figure relates to offices and the remainder to official residences. It is not possible to provide separate figures for diplomatic and consular premises since in London both these functions are often performed in the same building.Between 15 per cent. and 20 per cent. of the above figure was reclaimed by the British Government from diplomatic missions, since this is deemed to represent payment for services from which they derive direct benefit.(

b) It is difficult to equate our rating system with "equivalent taxes" in other countries, in which host Governments bear a large proportion of the cost. However, in the financial year ended 31 March 1980 the amount paid by the British Government in respect of British diplomatic and consular missions overseas was £237,580 of which £32,580 was in respect of offices and the remainder for residential accommodation.

Zimbabwe

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make representations to the Government of Zimbabwe in order to ensure that no unfair restrictions are placed on citizens of the United Kingdom seeking to remove themselves and their assets to the United Kingdom.

There is no restriction on the emigration of United Kingdom citizens from Zimbabwe. The question of exchange control restrictions applied to the funds of British citizens—and companies—in Zimbabwe has been raised on a number of occasions with the Zimbabwe authorities who have assured us that exchange control restrictions are currently under review.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will publish an estimate of the total assets owned by Her Majesty's Government, by United Kingdom companies and by British citizens in Zimbabwe.

No such estimate is available. It is believed that the total funds of United Kingdom individuals and companies held in blocked accounts in Zimbabwe amounts to about £100 million.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements have been made to unblock the funds of British residents, held in Zimbabwe, who now live in the United Kingdom.

We have drawn the attention of the Zimbabwean authorities to the public concern in this country over the question of funds belonging to United Kingdom residents which remain blocked in Zimbabwe. They have assured us that they will wish to provide for an easing of present restrictions on remittances of such assets as soon as their financial circumstances permit.

Diplomats (Visits)

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) how many visits have taken place between British and Chilean diplomats since 3 May 1979;(2) how many visits have taken place between British and Argentinian diplomats since 3 May 1979;(3) how many visits involving diplomats have taken place between the United Kingdom and Paraguay since 3 May 1979.

Her Majesty's Government and the countries concerned have ambassadors in each other's capitals, in two cases appointed since 3 May 1979. I do not have figures of visits of diplomats in both directions, but activity of this nature has been at normal levels.

Pretoria (Labour Attaché)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements are being made to replace Mr. William Vose as labour attaché in Pretoria when he retires later in the current year; and if his post is to be downgraded in any respect, or combined with another diplomatic post.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) on 5 June, the successor to Mr. Vose, who is responsible for internal and labour affairs, will have the same functions.—[Vol. 985, c. 1072.] The post is not being downgraded or combined with any other diplomatic post. The job will continue to be graded at first secretary level, although Mr. Vose himself was recently promoted on a personal basis to counsellor.

Nuclear Forces (Europe)

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has agreed to any time limit being placed on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation offer to negotiate on the levels of longer range theatre nuclear forces in Europe.

There is no time limit. The American offer to negotiate, agreed with the allies last December, remains on the table. We hope that in due course the Russians will be prepared to discuss these issues without the unacceptable preconditions which they have so far attached.

Sri Lanka

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many visits have taken place between officials of his Department to Sri Lanka and officials of Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom so far in the current year.

There have been a number of ministerial exchanges between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, including visits to Britain by the Sri Lanka Prime Minister, and to Sri Lanka by the Minister for Overseas Development. Officials have accompanied their respective Ministers, but there is no information readily available on numbers involved.

Ussr (Maritime Strategy)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if his Department has received a copy of "On Countering the Soviet Global Maritime Strategy", published by the Foreign Affairs Research Institute; if it has been studied yet; and if he will make a statement on its views about Soviet maritime strategy.

I have been asked to reply. The document has been received and studied. Not every aspect of its conclusions or recommendations is endorsed. But paragraphs 401–411 of the White Paper on defence in the 1980s—Cmnd. 7826-I—which deal with the worldwide Soviet threat, indicate that we agree with its general message about the massive and continuing increase in Soviet maritime capability, and the need for us to take appropriate measures, in consultation with our allies, to equip ourselves to deal with the growing threat which this presents.

Industry

Ferranti Ltd

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, in any issue of shares in Ferranti Ltd., he proposes to place a limit on the size of applications so as to enable members of the public and, in particular, small investors and Ferranti workers to acquire an interest in the company.

The National Enterprise Board holds 50 per cent. of the ordinary shares in Ferranti Ltd. Under its draft guidelines the board is required to dispose of all its shareholdings, having regard to the interests of the company and the taxpayer and to such other considerations as the Secretary of State may draw to its attention. My right hon. Friend is considering what advice he might give to the board about the disposal of its Ferranti shares.

Small Firms

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what study he has made of the causes of closures of small firms nationally, and in Stoke-on-Trent, to assess the influence of the strong £ sterling, high interest rates and high fuel costs.

No specific studies have been made or planned. The Government are well aware of the detrimental effects that these factors can have on the fortunes of small businesses, but their biggest enemy is inflation and dealing with that must be our main priority.

Catalonia Paper Tubes Limited

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what grants have been given by his Department to Catalonia Paper Tubes Ltd., near Bradford; and if he will make a statement.

British expenditure £ millionFrench expenditure £ millionBoth countries £ million
Actual costs from 29 November 1962 to 31 December 1979 at the prices and exchange rates prevailing when the costs were incurred566548 (6,456 Fr. m.)1,114
Estimated costs from 1 January 1980 to completion of programme on 31 December 1980 at January 1980 prices and at an exchange rate of £1=9·0 francs14620
Totals5805541,134
The estimated costs from 1 January 1980 to completion of the programme relate to engine development, the development phase for the airframe being regarded as having been completed on 31 December 1978.