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Written Answers

Volume 986: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1980

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Written Answers To Questions 508

Wednesday 18 June 1980

Employment

Nuclear Inspectors

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what contribution is being given to salary increases for the Nuclear Inspectorate so as to match more closely salaries in the electricity industry and improve recruitment of nuclear inspectors.

The establishment of pay levels for civil servants is a function of the Civil Service Department. The most recent pay settlement for the professional and technological group, to which nuclear installation inspectors belong, gave average increases of 18·5 per cent with effect from 7 May 1980. The salaries of NI inspectors are determined by negotiation on the Civil Service Pay Research Unit's reports for the P and T group which are based on comparisons with similar jobs outside the Civil Service including organisations within the electricity industry. The CSPRU has started work on this year's round of surveys for implementation on 1 April 1981.Nuclear installations inspectors are included in a job evaluation study of all HSE inspectors, but this study is not yet complete.

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the cost to his Department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

The latest available information in respect of my Department is contained in part 3, pages 144–147 of the "Report on Non-Departmental Public Bodies" (Cmnd. 7797). The total administrative cost—including costs incurred by the MSC and HSC—in relation to all the bodies mentioned in the report is £15·564 million. A subsequent saving in support services of £273,085 has since been estimated as a result of the abolition of the Advisory Committee on Asbestos and the Royal Commission on the distribution incomes and wealth, and a reduction in the number of wages councils from 41 to 34 and of district manpower committees from 125 to 88.

Radon Gas (Employee Protection)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the mines in the United Kingdom which are affected by radon gas ; and what is the current practice for protecting miners working underground.

Traces of radon gas may be found in many mines, but it is only in some Cornish tin mines that concentrations regularly approach the maximum levels recommended by the National Radiological Protection Board.The Mines and Quarries Inspectorate has advised management and workpeople at those mines on the steps that can be taken to reduce such concentrations; with changes in mine ventilation, much has been done to improve working conditions.The Health and Safety Executive has recommended that exposure levels to radon should be kept as low as practicable and should not exceed those recommended by the National Radiological Protection Board.

Unemployment Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the cost to the Government of an unemployed married man with two children, compared with employing the same man in the special temporary employment programme.

Wolverhampton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East on 6 March, if he will list in the Official Report the occupa-pational groups of those registered for employment in the Wolverhampton area in September 1979, December 1979 and at the latest convenient date; if he will break these down again into relevant age groups; and if he will now publish similar figures for the West Midlands as a whole.

Health And Safety Inspectors

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will issue a direction to the Health and Safety Commission under section 12(b) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, requiring the commission to ensure that the Health and Safety Executive appoints health and safety inspectors by an instrument in writing specifying which of the powers conferred on inspectors by the relevant statutory provisions are to be exercisable by the person appointed.

No. The Health and Safety Executive is already required to do this by section 19(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Tripartite Steering Group

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the programme of his Department's work research unit for the next 12 months ;(2) when his Department's tripartite steering group last met ; when it will next meet ; and with what agenda.

[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1980, c. 247–48]: The tripartite steering group on job satisfaction (TSG) last met on Wednesday 4 June with Lord Gowrie, Minister of State, in the chair. The meeting received a report from the director of the work research unit (WRU) covering its activities since the previous meeting in January this year. The future programme of the unit for the period 1980 and 1981 was also considered and approved. The next meeting of the steering group will be held towards the end of October 1980, when a further report of the director of the WRU will be discussed.The future programme of the unit will shortly be published and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House. The principal objective of this programme will be to :

"increase the number of organisations that are successfully implementing changes to improve the quality of working life of the people employed in hem and that are developing resources to continue to manage such changes".

Particular emphasis will be placed on the opportunities presented for improving the quality of working life by the introduction of new technology and the development of new investment projects The WRU will pursue this aim by providing advice, assistance and information and by holding conferences and publicising the work of the unit.

Trade

Seafarers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in view of the continuing racial discrimination in the payment of wages to seafarers on British flagships, he will put into effect the recommendations of the working group on the employment of non-domiciled seafarers to review progress after January of the current year with regard to ending such racial discrimination in pay; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) on Wednesday 14 May.—[Vol. 984, c. 491–92.]

Severn-Trent Water Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he intends referring the Severn-Trent water authority to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission ; and what the terms of the reference will be.

My right hon. Friend intends to refer the authority to the commission this autumn. Terms of reference have yet to be settled finally, but will cover the authority's efficiency and costs in general.

Manufactured Goods (Export Prices)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing estimated relative export prices of manufactures in dollar terms, for each quarter of 1979 and the first quarter of the current year, for each of the counties listed in table F2 of the "Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics", based on a projection of export prices and rates of inflation.

Figures on the same basis as those in the monthly review could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on a slightly different basis is compiled by the International Monetary Fund and published in International Financial Statistics. The latest available data are given on page 43 of the June issue, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the cost to his Department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

Marine Communication And Traffic Control

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress has been made by his Department alone or in

UNITED KINGDOM IMPORTS FROM IRISH REPUBLIC
Percentage increase in
January-March 1980 compared with January-March 1979March 1980 compared with March 1979
(a) Numbers of live animals of the bovine species(excluding pure-bred breeding stock).1628
(b) Weight of fresh, chilled or frozen meat of bovineanimals (with bone in, boned or boneless).3733

Source : Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom, SITC (R2) Sub-groups : ( a)—001.1 and (b)—001.1.

Note : Figures for the early months of 1979 may have been distorted by the effects of industrial disputes; the percentage changes should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Trade Marks Registry

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the negotiations for the establishment of a European trade marks registry in London.

The requirement for a European Community trade mark office depends upon the outcome of the Commission's proposal for the establishment of a Community trade mark system. This proposal is expected to be transmitted to the Council of Ministers in the next conjunction with other Government Departments in developing a view data system so as to improve marine communication and traffic control.

My Department has been co-operating in a project sponsored by the Department of Industry to test the feasibility of such systems. A preliminary trial has been successful and it is expected that proposals for further trials of a more advanced nature will shortly be presented by the industry.

Cattle Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what was the percentage increase in imports of (a) live cattle, and (b) beef and veal carcases from the Republic of Ireland into the United Kingdom between the first quarter of 1979 and the first quarter of the current year ;(2) what was the percentage increase in imports of (

a) live cattle and ( b) beef and veal carcases from the Republic of Ireland into the United Kingdom between the month of March 1979 and the corresponding month in the current year.

The information is as follows :few months, but negotiations on the choice of site for the office are unlikely to take place for some time. Nevertheless, I can say that the Government are firm in their desire to locate the office in London and will shortly reconfirm this position in Brussels.

Air Services (United Kingdom-Hong Kong)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations have been made to him in connection with the appeal currently pending relating to the provision of additional air services to Hong Kong ; what replies he gave ; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made yesterday. Formal submissions under the procedure laid down by the Civil Aviation Regulations 1972, as amended, were made by the appellants—Cathay Pacific Airways and Laker Airways—and by other parties to the appeals—British Caledonian, British Airways, the Government of Hong Kong and the Civil Aviation Authority. These were taken into account in my consideration of the appeals.Representations were also made by hon. Members and others and these received replies to the effect that it would not be appropriate for me to comment while the appeals were pending.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what discussions have taken place between him, his officials or other authorised representatives and any of the parties involved in the appeal currently pending relating to the provision of additional air services to Hong Kong or any other interested parties ; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made yesterday. Parties to the appeals have made written representations in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Civil Aviation Regulations 1972, as amended. Neither I nor my officials have had any discussion with the parties.

Shipping Policy (Greece)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement relating to the discussions which took place in Greece at the beginning of June between the Under-Secretary of State and the Minister of Mercantile Marine.

When my hon. Friend met the Greek Minister of Mercantile Marine in Athens on 3 June their discussions covered a variety of shipping matters relevant to Greece's forthcoming membership of the European Community. In particular, they included marine safety, the non-competitive shipping practices of the Soviet bloc and UNCTAD's proposals for cargo sharing in the bulk trades.

My hon. Friend found a considerable measure of support for our own shipping policies, in particular a freely competitive shipping environment.

Air Services (Sino-British Agreement)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a further statement concerning the delay in implementing the Sino-British air services agreement signed in November 1979.

A date for the commencement of services between the United Kingdom and China has not yet been agreed. Her Majesty's Government are in touch with the Chinese authorities and I hope that British Airways will soon be in a position to make an announcement about the opening of its service.Cathay Pacific Airways and CAAC, the Chinese Airline, are planning to commence scheduled services between Hong Kong and Shanghai on 21 June.

Director General Of Fair Trading (1979 Report)

asked the Secretary of Stale for Trade when he intends to publish the report by the Director General of Fair Trading for 1979.

The sixth annual report by the Director General of Fair Trading is being published today. It covers the period 1 January 1979 to 31 December 1979. Copies of the report have been laid before Parliament.

Questionnaires

asked the Secretary of State for Trade 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.

[pursuant to his reply, 16 June 1980, c. 442]: The number of statistical forms sent out by the Departments of Industry and Trade, which share a common statistical service, was 643,000 in 1979. Details were given in the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhin-ney) on 11 June—[Vol. 986, c. 190–92].37,000 forms per year have been discontinued since 3 May 1979. Without disproportionate cost it is not possible to identify those addressed to businesses with up to £1 million turnover, but they represent the majority.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Jordan

1.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he intends to pay an official visit to Jordan or to meet the Jordanian Ambassador to discuss current Middle East initiatives.

I have no present plans to visit Jordan. We are of course in close touch with the Jordanian Government. Ministers and officials regularly discuss the Middle East with the Jordanian and other Arab Ambassadors.

Palestine

4.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress he has made in conjunction with his European Economic Community colleagues in the development of a new initiative towards solving the Palestinian problem.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister told the House on 16 June—[Vol. 986, c. 1126–27]—the European Council issued a statement on the Middle East in Venice on 13 June. The Nine will determine their future action in the light of the contacts with the parties concerned called for in the statement. The Nine's objective is to reconcile Israel's legitimate security concerns with the political rights of the Palestinians.

Palestine Liberation Organisation

7.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what contacts Her Majesty's Government have had at any level, within the past year, with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

We maintain occasional and informal contacts with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation at official level in London and elsewhere, including Arab capitals and New York. These have continued during the past year. There have been no ministerial contacts other than an occasional encounter on social occasions.

Afghanistan

8.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what further initiatives he will be discussing with his European Economic Community counterparts in regard to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

We continue to seek an arrangement which would allow Afghanistan to return to its traditional position as a neutral and non-aligned State. This initiative receives the full support of the Nine.

New Territories (Hong Kong)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied with the present situation concerning the Peking convention of 1898 and the lease of the New Territories, Hong Kong.

Disarmament

15.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what practical proposals he intends to make to carry out the United Nations programme of action on disarmament ; and if he will make a statement.

The United Kingdom is actively participating in most of the negotiations outlined in the programme of action agreed at the United Nations special session on disarmament. Our first priority is to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion. Regrettably, recent events in Afghanistan have reduced the chances of early results.

Helsinki Agreement

16.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has received about the forthcoming Madrid conference to renew the Helsinki Agreement on European co-operation and security.

As part of their preparations for the Madrid meeting Ministers and officials continue to receive and take note of representations from individuals and organisations concerned with implementation of the Helsinki Final Act.

29.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what latest discussions he has had with ambassadors from Warsaw Pact countries regarding the implementation of baskets 1 and 3 of the Helsinki Agreement.

Questions relating to the Helsinki Final Act have been discussed by Ministers and officials with representatives of Warsaw Pact Embassies on a number of occasions. We have continued to emphasise the importance we attach to proper implementation of the Helsinki Final Act by all signatory States.

Uganda

18.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what recent communications have been received from the present military régime in Uganda and from former President Binaisa, respectively ; and if he will make a statement.

We are dealing normally with the Uganda Government. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister sent a brief reply to Mr. Binaisa's published letter of 16 May. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal received the Uganda High Commissioner in London on 12 June.

New Hebrides

17.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on progress in maintaining the unity of the New Hebrides.

20.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement about the current political situation in the New Hebrides.

22.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a further statement about the rebellion on Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides.

There is little I can usefully add to my statement to the House on 16 June.—[Vol. 986, c. 1147.] We are committed to preserving the territorial integrity of the New Hebrides. While it is too soon to predict a result. I am encouraged that talks are to take place tomorrow between representatives of the New Hebrides Government and of Mr. Stephens.

Zimbabwe

21.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about relations with Zimbabwe.

Close co-operation between Britain and Zimbabwe continues. A substantial enlargement of our military assistance and training programme was announced on 5 June in response to a request from Mr. Mugabe. An Overseas Development Administration mission has just completed a visit to Zimbabwe to discuss targets for our £75 million aid commitment. A second round of talks was held in London from 9 to 13 June on the settlement of the debts of previous Southern Rhodesia Governments, at which good progress was made.

Iran

28.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will assist the Iranian Government's current investigation into allegations that the American Government, with the aid of officials in NATO, were engaged in matters connected with interference in the internal affairs of Iran by making available to the Iranian Government any papers, documents or information in the possession of Her Majesty's Government which will assist or disprove these allegations.

Middle East

19.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussions he has had with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the current situation in the Middle East ; and if he will make a statement.

I saw the Secretary General of the United Nations when he visited London on 16 April ; he had talks with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and noble Friend on the international situation on a subsequent visit from 20 to 23 May. These discussions naturally covered the Middle East and the need for progress towards a settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute.

25.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy on Palestinian self-determination as a factor in settling conflict in the Middle East.

We believe that a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East will need to include the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination within the framework of negotiated peace, as well as Israel's right to live in peace and security.

26.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if any new initiatives are proposed by the member States of the European Economic Community on the Middle East.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply earlier today to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley).

Hong Kong (Housing)

23.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many people were accommodated in the net increase in housing produced in 1979 in Hong Kong.

177,500 people, including 21,107 transferred from demolished old public housing, were accommodated in the 32,998 new flats completed in the public sector in 1979–80. It is estimated that a further 140,000 people were accommodated in the 27,000 new units completed in the private sector in 1979–80.

British Council (Scandinavia)

24.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what estimate he makes of expenditure by the British Council in Scandinavia in the current financial year and of comparable expenditure by the Federal Republic of Germany through the Goethe Institutes in those countries.

British Council expenditure in Scandinavia is as follows :

Denmark£225,000
Finland£242,000
Norway£204,000
Sweden£118,000
The figures include an element of headquarters expenditure.The British Council is not represented in Iceland.In the time available it was not possible to obtain comparable figures for the Goethe Institutes. When this information is to hand I shall send it to my hon. Friend.

South Africa (Sports Council Visit)

27.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he plans to meet the Foreign Minister of the Republic of South Africa in the near future to discuss the recent report by the Sports Council on its visit to South Africa.

Cyprus

30.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is proposing any new initiative to resolve the problem of Cyprus.

In his report to the Security Council on 13 June the Secretary-General of the United Nations made it clear that his initiative to reconvene inter-communal talks continues. The Government will continue to support Dr. Waldheim's initiative.

European Community

Political Co-Operation

40.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has any proposals for further strengthening political cooperation within the European Economic Community.

As I have told the House before, the Government attach great importance to political co-operation with our European partners, which it wishes to strengthen and intensify. My right honourable and noble Friend and I are seeking ways to improve the working of political co-operation and are engaged in contacts to this end.

Declining Industries

41.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will seek to place on the agenda at the next European Foreign Ministers' Council meeting the problems of declining industries.

The Commission is expected to make revised proposals soon on measures to aid industries in crisis and declining industries but these are unlikely to be included on the agenda of either of the Foreign Affairs Councils in July. However, I understand that particular measures to aid the steel industry are likely to be discussed then. We are in regular contact with the Commission on these matters.

Methods Of Operation (Discussions)

42.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to meet other European Economic Community leaders to discuss methods of operation of the European Economic Community ; and if he will make a statement.

The Community's methods of operation have been discussed during our consideration of the report of the Committee of Three on the institutions of the European Community. I made clear the Government's attitude to this report in the debate in this House on 10 June,—[Vol. 986, c. 487–90.] It is for the Italian Presidency to decide how to carry forward consideration of the report.

Home Department

Firearms

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he uses when he assesses the effectiveness of existing controls on the possession and use of firearms.

In making a judgment about the effectiveness of firearms controls we must take account of the extent to which firearms are used in crime and the seriousness of the offences, and, in the light of these factors, the views of the police, of those who shoot, and of the public generally.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the relevant costs that were taken into account in assessing the size of the proposed increase in fees charged under the Firearms Act 1968 ; and whether his Department or the police determined their relevance

The costs taken into account by the police are as set out in a Home Office letter of 10 June 1977 to chief constables, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. The system used to assess costs is, however, being reviewed. Therefore, although the results of a costing exercise undertaken in 1979 suggested an increase of the order of 100 per cent., the revised fees provided for in the Firearms (Variation of Fees) Order 1980 reflect only part of that increase. The appropriate level of fees will be reassessed when we have completed a review of the present system.

Wet Shelters

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will use a term other than "wet shelter" for the hostels established to assist alcoholics.

We are looking for an alternative term, and shall be glad to consider suggestions.

Open Channel Radio

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the discussion document on open channel radio is to be published.

I have nothing to add at this stage to the reply I gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 15 May.—[Vol. 984, c. 644–45.]

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost to his Department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

I refer my hon. Friend to the columns showing the Home Office expenditure as sponsoring Department in appendix A of part three of the "Report on Non-Departmental Public Bodies" (Cmnd. 7797). In respect of advisory bodies, the expenditure includes not only staff support costs, but also fees and expenses paid to appointed members. I also refer to the reply I gave to questions by my hon. Friend on 24 January and 1 May,—[Vol. 977, c. 315–16; Vol. 983, c. 632–33.] The estimated cost of the working party to review traffic law is £1,200.More recent information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Coloured Persons (Illegal Residents)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of coloured people taken to court are liable to deportation as being illegally resident in the United Kingdom.

Prison Population

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the progressive effect on the prison population over the last five years if the courts had given half the sentences actually administered (a) on all offences and (b) on non-violent offences.

Complex estimates of the kind requested, which require decisions to be made regarding a number of assumptions, can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Police (Firearms)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied that the procedure regarding the use of firearms by the police in dealing with kidnappings is adequately defined.

The use of firearms by the police is an operational matter for individual chief officers. The general policy is that a police officer would use a firearm only when it appeared necessary to do so in order to protect his own life or that of some other person. I have no reason to think that this policy is not adequately reflected in police orders and training.

Rampton Hospital

asked the Attorney-General if he will explain the reasons for

("000 tonnes)
19791980
Jan-DecJan-March
European Community
Belgium241
Denmark2,910608
France2,662705
Netherlands6,9591,523
W. Germany9,6283,652
Sub-Total22,4006,488
Other
Finland536116
Norway2,751338
Sweden3,928877
Spain93
Canada17880
U.S.A7,2021,879
Bahamas1,065
Netherlands W. Indies748
Sub-Total (non-EC)16,4003,290
Total Overseas38,9019,778
Total Disposals77,08119,674
the delay by the Director of Public Prosecutions in giving a decision on whether or not to prosecute on the cases submitted to him by Nottinghamshire police on Rampton hospital.

I am satisfied that the Director has not delayed making a decision on any of the five cases which have been reported to him. In respect of the first he decided last October to take no action. The final report on the second case he received on 6 May and he asked counsel to advise on 27 May. The third case he received on 29 May and the police have been requested to make further inquiries. The first reports on the remaining two cases were received on 5 and 13 June respectively and are being considered.

Energy

North Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what percentage of North Sea oil is exported ; to what countries it is exported ; and what revenues are received.

In 1979 about 50 per cent. of North Sea oil was sold overseas and this pattern has continued in the first quarter of 1980. The quantities sold to individual countries are set out below. The estimated value of these sales was £2·7 billion in 1979 and £10 billion in the first quarter of 1980.

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the cost to his Department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

Secretariat and support services are provided to five non-departmental public bodies to which I appoint members other than civil servants. The cost to the Department at 1979–80 prices is about £56,000 per annum.

Oil Production

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the volume of average daily oil production from offshore fields during the last three months ; and what is his estimate of the total motor spirit which was or could be produced.

For the three months February to April, average production was approximately 1,600,000 barrels per day.Output from refineries depends on many factors but, based on the average 1979 refinery pattern for the United Kingdom, this amount of crude oil could produce some 250,000 barrels of motor spirit per day.

Newry Courthouse

asked the Attorney-General what steps he proposes to take to improve the accommodation at Newry courthouse.

Since 1976, three separate schemes to improve this accommodation have been investigated, but none has been found to be practicable. However, steps are being taken to see that on the few occasions when the magistrates' court must sit in the juvenile courtroom the amount of business conducted is not such that inconvenience is caused to the resident magistrate, lawyers or the public.

Civil Service

Northern Ireland (Motor Car Insurance Premiums)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether the recent decision of the Civil Service Department to reimburse civil servants serving in Northern Ireland the additional cost of motor car insurance premiums will mean distinctions in the conditions of service of locally recruited civil servants and of those who are recruited elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Officers who are posted for a limited tour of duty to Northern Ireland may have to pay higher insurance premiums than would otherwise be the case on transfer anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Reimbursement of additional expenditure incurred as a direct consequence of transfer represents one of the special arrangements introduced for United Kingdom civil servants posted to the Province on limited tours in the public interest. None of these is appropriate to indigenous United Kingdom civil servants in Northern Ireland.

Civil Servants (Transport)

31.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service why, to save time and contribute to efficient working, he will not extend the tax-free use of a Government car and driver to take them to their offices and railway stations when leaving and returning to their homes from the 12 top-paid civil servants either to the top-paid 500 civil servants or to all employed in Whitehall.

Scotland

Noise Insulation

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total expenditure of local authorities in Scotland on noise insulation schemes in each of the past three years for which figures are available ; and what estimates he has made of the expenditure on such schemes in each of the next three years.

I regret that this information is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Dundee (Hospitals)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to visit hospitals in Dundee

My right hon. Friend has not yet been able to visit hospitals in Dundee, but I visited the Dundee dental hospital and the Dundee limb fitting centre on 21 August 1979. As part of my series of visits to all health boards in Scotland, I intend to meet the Tayside health board in Dundee next month and a further hospital visit in Dundee may be included on that occasion if time permits.

Tay Road Bridge

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how the volume of traffic using the Tay road bridge has been affected since the opening of the Friarton bridge ; and if he will make a statement.

Quarterly figures of vehicle crossings of the Tay road bridge in 1977, 1978, 1979 and the first quarter of 1980 are shown below. The reduction in traffic in 1979 is broadly in line with national traffic trends and so no conclusion can be drawn from the figures as to any effect the Friarton bridge may have had.

TAY ROAD BRIDGE
Vehicle numbersPercentage change*
1977—
1st quarter1,007,323—1·4
2nd quarter1,227,6130·0
3rd quarter1,361,942+ 1·0
4th quarter1,189,187+ 7·2
Annual4,786,065+ 1·7
1978—
1st quarter1,063,861+ 5·6
2nd quarter1,331,903+ 8·5
3rd quarter1,446,860+ 6·2
4th quarter1,197,275+0·7
Annual5,039,899+ 5·3
1979—
1st quarter1,046,029—1·7
2nd quarter1,316,601—1·1
3rd quarter—1,390,790—3·9
4th quarter1,240,619+ 3·6
Annual4,994,039—0·9
1980—
1st quarter1,113,230+6·4
* Percentage change on same quarter of previous year or in previous year's total.

Scottish Development Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the future investment programme of the Scottish Development Agency.

The Government's policy for the SDA's investment function was set out in the revised investment guidelines agreed last year and the agency will continue to arrange its investment programme accordingly

Sheltered Houses

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many sheltered houses are provided by each district council in Scotland.

The information is in the table below. A further 1,756 sheltered houses had at the same date been provided by the Scottish Special Housing Association, new town development corporations and housing associations. Details will be published shortly in Scottish Housing Statistics.

SHELTERED HOUSING BY LOCAL AUTHORITY AT 31 MARCH 1979
Number of
Local AuthoritySheltered dwellings*
SCOTLAND†5,766
Borders228
Berwickshire42
Ettrick and Lauderdale91
Roxburgh53
Tweeddalet†42
Central285
Clackmannan56
Falkirk†147
Stirling†82
Dumfries and Galloway63
Annandale and Eskdale†16
Nithsdale22
Stewartry25
Wigtown
Fife766
Dunfermline171
Kirkcaldy553
North East Fife†42
Grampian827
Aberdeen City523
Banff and Buchan108
Gordon82
Kincardine and Deeside48
Moray66
Highland225
Badenoch and Strathspey17
Caithness69
Inverness28
Lochaber6
Nairn22
Ross and Cromarty75
Skye and Lochalsh
Sutherland8
Lothian147
East Lothian34
Edinburgh City92
Midlothian
West Lothian21
Strathclyde2,161
Argyll and Bute18
Bearsden and Milngavie94
Clydebank40
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth139
Cumnock and Doon Valle60
Cunninghame191
Dumbarton40
East Kilbride145
Eastwood60
Glasgow City327
Hamilton153
Inverclyde100
Kilmarnock and Loudoun123
Kyle and Carrick205
Lanark79
Monklands79
Motherwell154
Renfrew134
Strathkelvin20
Tayside875
Angus187
Dundee City598
Perth and Kinross90
Islands Councils189
Orkney Islands10
Shetland Islands173
Western Isles†6
*Including sheltered wheelchair housing.
†Where current information is not available figures from 1976 Survey have been used.

Chiropody Services

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give an estimate of the number of beds occupied by elderly people who are directly or indirectly incapacitated as a result of the lack of chiropody treatment ; if he will give an estimate of costs of such bed occupancy ; and if he will make a statement.

I have no information which suggests that any hospital beds are occupied by elderly patients solely because they are incapacitated through lack of chiropody treatment.

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the cost to his Department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

Part three of the "Report on Non-Departmental Public Bodies" (Cmnd. 7797) sets out under "Sponsoring Department's Expenditure" the latest available information on the cost to the Department of its own work in dealing with the bodies covered in the 1979 Government review.Comparable information for the bodies excluded from the review is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Arisaig—Mallaig (Unimproved Road)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the up-to-date timetable of the anticipated dates of completion of the unimproved road between Arisaig and Mallaig.

This length of road will be improved in four stages. On present public expenditure plans, work on the northernmost section through Mallaig is due to start in the financial year 1981–82. This will be followed in 1982–83 by the improvement of the section between Kinloid and Kinsadel. It will take about two years to complete each section. Schemes to improve the remaining two sections are in preparation but have not been allocated a place in the trunk road programme.

Environment

Regional Water Authorities

asked the Secretary of state for the Environment what are the latest quarterly staff figures for each of the regional water authorities ; and how they compare with the previous year.

Provisional figures, which incorporate some amendments to the figures for 1979 previously reported to the House are as follows :

Water authority19791980
Anglian6,8866,769
North-West9,2879,218
Northumbrian2,3362,299
Severn-Trent11,18510,928
Southern4,1354,163
South-West2,4732,457
Thames12,02911,960
Wessex2,3532,364
Yorkshire6,2716,377
Total56,95556,540

Private Rented Property

asked the Secretary of state for the Environment for the latest full year for which figures are available, what is the number of dwellings in the private rented sector ; and what are the figures for each of the previous four years for the purposes of comparison.

The national dwelling and housing survey estimates that at the end of 1977 there were 2·2 million dwellings in the private rented sector in England. The previous comparable figures is 3·0 million based on the 1971 census of population.

Empty Dwellings

asked the Secretary of state for the Environment what is the most reliable estimate available to him of the number of empty dwellings at present in the private and public sectors ; and whether he is able to break this down into London, other inner-city areas, other metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.

Local authorities, in their housing investment programme (HIP) returns, have estimated the following numbers of vacant dwellings :

VACANT DWELLINGS, APRIL 1979: ENGLAND
Thousands
Public sector*Privaite sectorTotal
London5071121
Other Metropolitan areas44102146
Non-Metropolitan areas59312371
England153485638
* Includes local authorities, new town, housing associations, government departments ' forces 'accommodation etc.
Estimates for individual local authorities are available on their HIP returns, copies of which are in the Library.

Unrebated rents atUnrebated rent as a
April 1979 prices (£)*percentage of earnings †
March 1968May 1973April 1979March 1968May 1973April 979
Northern4·936·855·626·77·45·7
Yorkshire and Humberside5·336·655·457·37·45·7
North-Western5·537·366·057·37·y6·3
East Midlands5·096·905·766·87·66·1
West Midlands6·437·626·187·97·96·5
East Anglia5·837·526·148·28·36·4
South-East7·819·447·429·79·77·3
South-Western6·608·086·479·29·07·1
Wales6·337·506·328·28·06·6
* Figures of unrebated rents derived from CIPFA rent returns and inflated by the monthly Retail Price Index (for United Kingdom).
† Unrebated rents as a proportion of regional average male manual full-time earnings for October of each year.
Regional estimates of council house rents for earlier years are not available.

Rent Assessment Panels

asked the Secretary of State for the Enviroment if he will make an announcement concerning the

Local Authorities (Housing Programmes)

asked the Secretary of State for the Enviorment what representations he has made to local authorities regarding the adequacy of their housing programmes ; and if he will name and list the ones with the poorest records.

House Building

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information is available to him concerning the number of dwellings now under construction below Parker Morris standards and the number which would conform to those standards were they still enforced.

At the end of April, about 3,500 of the 135,600 public sector dwellings under construction in England were being built to below one or more of the standards based on the recommendations of the Parker Morris committee.

Rents

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing at five-year intervals since 1945 the average regional levels of council house rents both in real terms and as a proportion of average industrial earnings.

Following is the available information :opportunities available to the public and organisations to make nominations of persons to serve on rent assessment panels.

Any organisation or member of the public can put forward to my Department the names of candidates for consideration for membership of rent assessment panels.

Rent Rebates And Housing Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the best estimate available of the current take-up rate for rent rebates and housing allowances ; and if he will publish figures for previous years for the purpose of comparison.

The latest estimates of the take-up of rent rebates and rent allowances are given in table XX of Housing and Construction Statistics No 32, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Inland Waterways Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why there is no consumer representation on the British Inland Waterways Board ; and if he will make a statement upon the basis of appointments to the board.

Because the main aim has been to strengthen its business and managerial expertise. Members are appointed under section 1(6) of the Transport Act 1962 ; briefly, this requires that they should have relevant operational, managerial or administrative experience.

Water (Metering In Commercial Premises)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what evidence he has that the metering of water consumption in commercial premises is leading to a significant reduction in water rate bills.

We understand that meter monitoring trails undertaken by the Severn-Trent water authority in conjunction with the National Association of Independent Businessmen showed that it was possible for commercial consumers to reduce their water bills by opting for the installation of a water meter.

Local Authorities (House Building)

the Government's intention to have a moratorium on new local authority construction projects.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) on 13 June. The Government will consider what, if any, action should be taken in the light of the revised expenditure plans from local authorities.

Housing Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the regional representations on the board of the Housing Corporation.

Members of the Housing Corporation board are not appointed on a regional basis. Two members are, however, appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland and one by the Secretary of State for Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list the current allocation by region to the Housing Corporation for units to be rehabilitated ; and how this compares with 1979's figures in real terms.

The Housing Corporation divides the total funds available to it between each of its regions. The table below compares the tenders approved last year, region by region with the provisional allocations for this year. The figures relate to units to be rehabilitated.

Tenders approved 1979–80Provisional allocation 1980–81Region
London3,9174,000
South-East504500
South-West488400
East Midlands463600
West Midlands1,5111,500
North-East1,8661,350
North-West3,0182,500
Total11,76710,850

Fluorochlorocarbons

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment following the report of the Stratospheric Research Advisory Committee, if he plans to take Steps to limit the use of fluorochloro-carbons for non-essential purposes, especially in aerosol sprays.

The United Kingdom, acting together with its partners in the European Communities, has recently agreed to reduce the amount of chlorofluoro-carbons 11 and 12 used in aerosols by at least 30 per cent. and not to increase the capacity to manufacture these two substances. The text of the decision is published in the Official Journal of the European Communities dated 3 April 1980, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Lichfield Rugby Club

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when, following his Department's letter of 30 May to the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth, he expects to announce his decision on the planning application by the Lichfield rugby club for the erection of a rugby club with changing facilities, club house and bar, four pitches and car parking on 14 acres of land at the rear of the Horse and Jockey public house, Darnford Lane, Lichfield, which has been referred to him in accordance with paragraph 12 of circular 75/76.

1978–791979–80
a) Liverpool£152,385£210,049
b) Birmingham£315,944£404,335
c) Sheffield£182,862£219,156
d) Newcastle£138,162£113,401
e) Leeds£296,642£314.590

Quangos

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the cost to his Department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

Details of my Department's expenditure on these bodies were included in part three of the "Report on Non-Departmental Public Bodies" (Cmnd. 7797, pp. 149–151). Precise information about secretariat and executive support services could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

Manchester City Council (Clegg Awards)

It is not possible to forecast a date for decision at this early stage. The council's submission is awaited and when this is received a public local inquiry will be arranged. The decision will be issued as soon as possible after the inspector's report is available.

Local Authority Building (Private Contractors)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation which will establish a fund to protect local authorities from becoming involved in additional expense when private enterprise contractors go into liquidation or otherwise default on building work for a local authority.

Home Insulation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the individual allocations for the years 1978—79 and 1979–80 for home insulation in the following cities : (a) Liverpool, (b) Birmingham, (c) Sheffield, (d) Newcastle and (e) Leeds.

The individual allocations (at 1979 survey prices) were as follows :estimate of the total cost to Manchester city council in the current year of the various reports of the Clegg commission; and if any account will be taken of this in the moneys to be made available to the council by Her Majesty's Government.

This is a matter for Manchester city council. The net cost will depend in part on its success in reducing its manpower levels. A realistic allowance for the effects of outstanding comparability awards was included within the cash limit for rate support grant for 1980–81.

Belvedere (Pollution)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of growing public anxiety about the level of environmental pollution in the Belvedere area, he will institute a public inquiry thoroughly to investigate and report on the situation.

No. I am satisfied that the local authority and the Health and Safety Executive can deal with the problems that I understand have arisen.

Nuclear Waste

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of research into the disposal of nuclear waste on or under the seabed being carried out by the United Kingdom either nationally or jointly with other countries.

As part of the programme for investigating the feasibility of disposal of high level radioactive waste on or under the ocean bed, my Department has commissioned research into identifying possible areas of the ocean that might be suitable for such disposal; studying the benthic boundary layer and the physical and chemical properties of ocean sediments; and assessing possible biological transfer mechanisms of radioactive materials between the ocean bed and the water surface. Estimated expenditure during 1980–81 is over £½ million.The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has a continuing programme of oceanographie research concerned with developing a more detailed model of the North Atlantic for the purposes of assessing the effects of the current practice of dumping low level radioactive waste at sea; and with gaining further understanding of deep ocean processes and the behaviour of transuranic elements in the deep ocean.Regular meetings are held under the auspices of the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD to co-ordinate the national research programmes of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, France and Japan.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions have taken place between officers of his Department and the Atomic Energy Authority regarding the disposal of nuclear waste on or under the seabed.

My officials and those of my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food discuss with officials of the UKAEA—who are responsible for arranging the operations for the ocean dumping of low-level radioactive waste—matters associated with the granting of authorisations under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 in accordance with international conventions and procedures. UKAEA officials also attend meetings concerned with the programme of research into the feasibility of disposing of higher level radioactive waste on or under the ocean bed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he plans to take as a result of the discussions at the first European conference on radioactive waste management and disposal : and if he will make a statement.

The conference was attended by representatives of several United Kingdom organisations, including the Department of the Environment, the Scottish Office, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and British Nuclear Fuels Limited. There was a useful exchange of views, primarily at the technical level.The purpose of the conference was to review the results of research which the Commission of the European Communities is financing; no action follows solely and directly as a result of the conference.

National Finance

Family Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish figures for 1950, 1960, 1970, 1978, and the latest available date, for a married man with two children earning average male manual earnings, showing the length of time, after taking into account family allowance or child benefit, income tax and national insurance contribution, necessary to pay for each of the following items : weekly rent of a three-bedroomed council dwelling, mortgage repayments on a newly-built three-bedroomed semidetached house, 3 lb. of beef sirloin, 21b. of fresh cod, 141bs of potatoes, a large loaf, ½ lb. of tea, 1 quart of fresh milk, 5 cwt. of coal, high quality, 5 gallons of petrol, 10 gallons of heating oil, 100 kws electricity, 100 therms of domestic gas, one monthly season ticket from Sur-biton to London, one monthly season ticket from South Kensington to Bank, postage on five letters, a call by telephone for 10 minutes off-peak London to Glasgow, 20 cigarettes, 1 pint of beer and 1 bottle of whisky.

Information on the weekly rent of a three-bedroomed council dwelling, mortgage repayments on a newly built three-bedroomed semidetached house, the price of five gallons of petrol, the price of a one monthly season ticket from Surbiton to London, a monthly season ticket from South Kensington to Bank, the cost of postage on five letters, the cost of a 10-minute

MINUTES TO BE WORKED TO EARN SUFFICIENT INCOME TO BUY ARTICLE
Items19501960197019781979
3 pounds of home killed first quality beef sirloin (without bone)137187178223225
2 pounds of fresh cod6453568378
14 pounds of potatoes3837312533
1 large loaf1011121211
½pound of tea3538222017
1 quart of fresh milk1815131111
5 hundredweights of high quality coal491506528593598
10 gallons of heating oil240169202255
100 kilowatts of electricity201123143136
100 therms of domestic gas2701458777
20 cigarettes47342524
1 pint of beer (bottled or canned)21191717

Personal Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his intention to restore the pre-1949 position by making national insurance contributions tax deductible, at the same time as he makes benefits reckonable for tax.

No. The fact that short-term as well as long-term benefits will be taxable does not affect the balance of the arguments which since 1965 have persuaded successive Governments that tax relief should not be given for National Insurance contributions.

European Community Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)

33.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when the first payments will be made to Great Britain of the European Economic Community budget rebate agreed at the European Economic Community Council meeting in Brussels on 30 May;(2) when he anticipates the first refund of payments from the European Economic off-peak telephone call from London to Glasgow and the price of a bottle of whisky are not readily available. Also, information on the prices of 10 gallons of heating oil, 100 kilowatts of electricity, 100 therms of domestic gas, 20 cigarettes and 1 pint of beer are not available for the year 1950.Assuming the worker to have gross weekly earnings equivalent to the average for all full-time manual men, and after allowing for deductions for income tax and national insurance, and for receipt of child benefits appropriate to a married man with two childen under the age of 11, the remaining information asked for in the question is as follows :Community; and whether the refund will be by means of payments for specific projects.

On the timing of payments, I refer the right hon. Member and the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) earlier today.The supplementary Community expenditure in the United Kingdom under the proposed article 235 regulation will help to finance agreed expenditure programmes, not specific projects.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer further to his answer on 4 June to the hon. Member for Anglesey, if he will cause inquiry to be made into why 82.6 per cent, of value added tax returns were received back after the due date; why there were only 92 prosecutions out of 1,533,500 ; and if he will consider introducing administrative penalties to be imposed by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

It would be too great a burden to make individual inquiries about 1·5 million late returns, but without such inquiries the reason for delay would be mere speculation.In addition to 92 prosecutions for late payment of tax there were 2,030 prosecutions for failure to furnish returns by the due date. The contrast between these figures and the total number of late returns reflects the reluctance of Customs and Excise to prosecute except as a last resort and their policy of prosecuting only persistent defaulters who fail to respond to reminders and warnings.There are no present plans to introduce administrative penalties to be imposed by Customs and Excise, but my hon. Friend will have seen the proposal in clause 14 (1) of the Finance Bill to increase in certain circumstances the maximum penalty (to be imposed by the courts) for failure to render returns.

Food Prices

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what, according to the Treasury model, is the percentage increase in the price of food after (a) one year and (b) four years, as a result of a 10 per cent., devaluation of sterling, all other things being equal.

Reference to section 15 of the Treasury's macroeconomic model technical manual (October 1979), and the relevant equations, suggests that the percentage increase in the price of food on the level of 1980 Q1 following a devaluation of 10 per cent. would be approximately 1·5 to 2 per cent. all other things being equal. This increase is completed within a year of the devaluation. This is an estimate of the direct effect only and is calculated from a working relationship in the Treasury model which is subject to continuous revision. The assumption that other factors are unchanged is unrealistic.

Blind Persons (Tax Allowance)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list in the Official Report those tax-free disability payments which incur reduction of a blind person's tax allowance; if the tax allowance is reduced when the disability benefit is paid on account of a handicap additional to blindness; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 11 June 1980, c. 203]: The payments in question are :

disability pensions for blindness caused by war service,
injury and disablement benefits paid in respect of blindness under the Social Security Acts for industrial injuries,
augmentation allowances i.e. payments in the nature of compensation for loss of earning capacity made by or through local authorities to the blind who are in sheltered employment.
No reduction is made where the disability benefit is paid in respect of a handicap additional to blindness.As my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary said on 10 June in reply to a debate in Standing Committee on the Finance Bill, we are reviewing the future of the blind allowance.

Petrol (Duty)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average sum received from value added tax and excise duty from one gallon of four-star petrol ; and what is the amount of tax and duty levied on a similar gallon of petrol in the other member States of the Community.

Following is the latest available information :

DutyVAT
Country(pence per gallon)(pence per gallon)
United Kingdom4518
Belgium5721
Denmark6427
France6824
Germany4815
Ireland5512
Italy8017
Netherlands5223
Source for other Community member States : Commission Oil Bulletin No. 49 (5 June 1980). Prices and exchange rates as at 27 May 1980. Figures for Luxembourg are not available.

Quangos

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost to his department of providing secretariat and executive support services for each non-departmental public body to which he appoints members other than civil servants.

The Treasury provides secretariat and executive support services for the Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee, the Advisory Panel (Section 482, Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970) and the Committee to Review the Functioning of Financial Institutions. The cost is negligible apart from the last-mentioned where the cost in 1979–80 was approximately £83,000.In addition, the Treasury is providing the secretariat for the recently established inquiry into the value of index-linked pensions. It is too early to provide costs for this body.

Redistribution Of Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of gross domestic product is allocated to the redistribution of incomes; and if it is the Government's intention to change this proportion.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 June 1980, c. 88] : 10 per cent. of gross domestic product at market prices was allocated to expenditure on social security in 1979–80. Cmnd. 7841 sets out both the Government's plans for social security in the period up to 1983–84 and the economic assumptions on which these plans are based.

Northern Ireland

Squatters

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimates he has at present of the number of squatters in Northern Ireland Housing Executive property in each district area in the Belfast region and in the South Eastern region; how many possession orders were granted in each estate in both regions; how many possession orders have been lodged for enforcement with the Enforcement of Judgments Office for each estate; and how many were enforced in each estate since 1972 in both regions.

I understand that the chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive has already written to the hon. Member on this subject.

Deputation (Membership)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the meeting between a deputation led by the hon. Member for Down, North, and the Under-Secretary of State on 12 May; who were its members; and what interests were represented.

I was grateful for the views of the hon. Member and the deputation led by him about the suitability of the sewage disposal scheme which is currently being carried out at Portaferry. The scheme will replace the existing unsatisfactory system which discharges untreated sewage in the harbour area. The deputation, which comprised local conservation, environmental, boating and local government interests, were invited to participate in the future monitoring of the scheme and an opportunity is being afforded them to discuss details of the scheme with the independent expert who has endorsed the present proposals. It was also agreed to examine the possibility of amending the design of the pumping station to improve its visual impact.

Portaferry Pumping Station

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when work at the Portaferry pumping station ceased; and in what circumstances this occurred.

Work ceased on the construction of the pumping station in mid-March to examine the possibility of amending the design of the building to improve its visual impact.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the name of the firm which had the contract for the pumping station at Portaferry.

The construction of the pumping station formed part of a contract awarded to Public Works Services Ltd.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what is the name of the firm with which negotiations are proceeding for resumption of the contract for the laying of pipes near Portaferry in connection with the sewerage scheme;

(2) when tenders were invited for the Portaferry sewerage scheme ; what were the terms of the advertisement ; whether the lowest tender was accepted ; in what sum the contract was set ; and if any special conditions were inserted in the contract.

The construction of the scheme involves the following three separate contracts :

ContractDate of Tender AdvertisementAmount
£
Mechanical equipment17 October 197828,288
Outfall5 January 1979120,108
Main works6 April 197982,774
The terms of the advertisement were standard and no special conditions were included in the contracts. In each case the contract was awarded to the lowest tenderer.Tenders for the completion of the outfalls have been received from four firms and these are now under consideration.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) when was the last occasion when an independent expert was requested to examine proposals for the discharge of partially-treated sewage : and what action was taken on receipt of his report;(2) whether it is the normal practice for the Department of the Environment to submit proposals for the discharge of partially treated sewage to the Water Research Council; and why the Portaferry proposals were submitted to the former head of the coasts and estuaries division of the Water Research Council;(3) what is the name of the outside expert called in by the Under-Secretary responsible for environment to examine proposals for the discharge of partially-treated sewage from Portaferry into Strangford Lough.

Mr. A. L. H. Gameson was engaged on a consultancy basis in April 1980 to report on the effectiveness of the sewage disposal scheme at Portaferry and in particular to examine the possibility of marine pollution due to the discharge of partially treated sewage from the sea outfall point at Walter Rocks. Mr. Gameson was selected as an acknowledged expert to examine the scheme independently in view of local concern expressed about the method of sewage disposal.Mr. Gameson's report confirmed that the method of discharge would be satisfactory subject to careful monitoring when the scheme comes into operation. This monitoring will be undertaken in conjunction with local interests who have expressed concern about the scheme.It is not the normal practice for the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland to submit proposals for the discharge of partially treated sewage to the Water Research Council.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultations took place with local user interests in the development of the proposals for the discharge of partially-treated sewage at Portaferry.

The scheme was subject to the normal consultation processes. Discussions took place with the Ards borough council, covering both the planning and operational aspects and details of the scheme were advertised in the local press.

Housing Executive Houses (Sale)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many houses have been sold to tenants by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; and what are the prospects for further sales.

Between April 1974 and 31 March 1980 the Housing Executive sold 1,985 dwellings, about 1,550 of which were to sitting tenants, the remainder being sold with vacant possession. Under the new sales policy implemented by the Executive in October 1979, about 22,000 tenants have now applied to purchase their homes, and valuations have been made in about 13,000 of these cases. On 31 March 1980 formal offers had been made in 1,151 cases and of these 790 had been accepted. Applications are being processed by the Executive as quickly as possible.

Sewage

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he is satisfied that the arrangements for the discharge of sewage in the vicinity of Carrickfergus and Whitehead are working satisfactorily and that no deleterious consequences have resulted.

I am satisfied with the arrangements for the discharge of sewage in the vicinity of Carrickfergus and Whitehead. A replacement sewage treatment works is under construction at Carrickfergus to cope with projected development.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of staff of the Department of the Environment are employed in whole or in part with sewage disposal; how many are qualified in this branch of engineering; and to what extent the expertise of Queen's University and the New University is used.

Approximately 550, over 200 of whom are graduate engineers or scientists.The expertise of the Queen's University and the New University of Ulster is occasionally used on special investigations, but the need to utilise their expertise in relation to sewage disposal has not arisen.

Housing Executive Estates

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for adoption as public roads of the following roads in Housing Executive estates in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Down, South; Malcolm-son Park, Magheralin, Cross Heights, Rathfriland, Lurganare, Newry, Newtown Road. Rostrevor, Spelga Park, Hilltown, Hill Street and Stramore Road, Gilford.

The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland adopts roads for maintenance as public roads as and when these are finished to the appropriate standards, and provided they have been open to traffic for a period of one year after having been given a preliminary certificate of suitability for adoption. The initiative for starting the adoption procedure rests with the developers.The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has not yet asked the Department to adopt Malcolmson Park, Magheralin.Barr Crescent, Lurganare, Newry and the road at Cloughmore Park, Newtown Road, Rostrevor are to be adopted after May 1981 if they are in an acceptable condition.The roads at Cross Heights, Rathfriland, at Carrickbawn Park, Newtown Road, Rostrevor, at Spelga Park, Hill-town, at Stramore Road, Gilford and at Castle Hill off Hill Street, Gilford require further work by the Housing Executive before they can be accepted as suitable for adoption.

Grammar Schools (North Down)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many primary pupils in North Down were assessed this year as suitable for grammar school education; and what is the position with regard to matching such pupils to grammar school places.

The transfer procedure recognises that up to 40 per cent. of pupils are capable of following an academic education. Under the procedure these pupils are graded P (pupils thought to be especially capable of taking academic courses) and R (pupils thought to be capable of benefiting from mixed, including academic, general and practical courses).The number of pupils in the North Down area so assessed by their school principals this year was 1,168, of whom 390 were assessed as P. However, not all the parents of these children have sought places in grammar schools in the North Down area.The number of places available in grammar schools in the area for admissions in September 1980 has been provisionally fixed at 670.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the number of primary school pupils who qualified for transfer to grammar schools in North Down in each of the last four years; and how many qualified for transfer in the current year.

The number of pupils who qualified for grammar school scholarships under the selection procedure for 1976 and 1977 and who were enrolled in grammar schools in the North Down area was 583 and 564 respectively.The number of pupils who obtained non-fee paying places in these grammar schools under the transfer procedure for the years 1978 and 1979 were 662 and 664 respectively. The provisional figure for 1980 is 647.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether, in view of the fact that Regent House grammar school, Newtownards, is prepared to take additional pupils, including those graded P minus, he will instruct the South Eastern Education Board to make the necessary arrangements and thereby ease the present shortage of grammar school places in North Down.

No. Regent House grammar school is a controlled school and as such is under the management of the South-Eastern education and library board.

Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether it remains his policy that parents' preferences regarding transfers from primary to secondary schools should be accommodated so far as practicable.

Housing Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in regard to the de-centralisation of the Housing Executive ; and if he will make a statement.

The Housing Executive's management structure has been regionalised and the reorganised structure is now, with only a few exceptions, complete.Regionalisation has proceeded on the principle that the Executive is a single body with overall responsibilities throughout Northern Ireland. There continues to be a need for a strong central authority to deal with matters of policy, to ensure uniformity of standards and procedures, and to allocate performance targets and resources of staff and money to meet these targets. But it is equally recognised that regional management should have sufficient delegated authority to meet their centrally determined targets and standards.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total collectable rents of the Housing Executive; how much is actually collected; and what proportion of the annual collection is spent on payment of salaries, wages and associated costs.

This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and I will ask the chairman of the executive to write to the hon. Member.

Purchase Notices

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many purchase notices have been served on the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years; and if he will review the procedure.

Since 1973, when purchase notices were first introduced, the number served on the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland has been as follows :—

19744
19758
197613
19776
19786
19797
Up to 6 June 19802
I am not aware of a need to review the procedure.

Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many applications have been made each year from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland in connection with the Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1975; how many have been made from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland; how many have led to prosecutions; and how many successful convictions there have been;(2) how many applications which are presently pending investigation have been made to the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland under the Criminal Jurisdiction Act 1975; how many arrests have been made in relation to these applications; whether the persons concerned are known to be still in custody; what period of time has elapsed since the applications which are pending investigation were made; and whether any representations have either (a) been made or (b) are intended to be made to the Government of the Republic of Ireland with a view to reducing this time lag.

Proceedings under the extra-territorial legislation are a matter for the prosecuting authorities in whose jurisdiction the suspect is. In deciding whether to prosecute, account is taken of all the available evidence, from both the RUC and the Garda Siochana. Since 1 June 1976, when the extra-territorial legislation came into force, there have been two successful prosecutions : in one case three persons were convicted in Northern Ireland in December 1978; in the other one person was convicted in the Republic in April 1978.I understand that the authorities in the Republic are considering a number of other possible prosecutions; it would not be right for me to offer comments. In my discussions with Irish Ministers on 5 October last, we agreed that every effort should be made to make fuller use of the extraterritorial legislation.

Overseas Residents (Medical Records)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has any further statement to make on the retention of the medical records of persons who have gone abroad.

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