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Written Answers

Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 19 June 1980

Trade

Multi-Fibre Arrangement

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what improvements would be needed to the multi-fibre arrangement to ensure better protection for the British tufted carpet industry, and man made fibres.

Most United Kingdom imports of these products come from developed countries and the action taken on man-made fibres and considered on tufted carpets was in relation to article XIX of the GATT rather than the multifibre arrangement. While we would like to see—and the European Community is seeking—certain improvements in the provisions of that article, the essential problem is not the provisions themselves, but the general international understanding of when protective action is acceptable in particular cases.

Textile Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what his estimate is of the effect on the garment making industry of a temporary ban on all clothing and knitwear imports.

I see no point in making such an estimate. A ban would damage our wider trading interests and be inconsistent with our international obligations.

Balance Of Trade

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for the European Economic Community countries and for the rest of the world, the visible balance of trade for (a) total trade less crude oil and precious stones and (b) manufactures less precious stones, for the first four months of the current year.

In the period January to April 1980, for total trade less crude oil and precious stones, the United Kingdom had crude deficits of £1·4 billion with the European Community and £0·5 billion with the rest of the world ; for trade in manufactures less precious stones, there was a crude deficit of £1·2 billion with the Community and a crude surplus of £1·4 billion with the rest of the world.

South Africa (African Workers)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if the latest report submitted by Lonrho under the EEC code of conduct regarding payment of black African workers employed by British companies in South Africa was completed in standard form and fully comprehensive ; and whether, as previously published, all 1,781 workers previously paid by Lonrho below the poverty datum line are now paid above this standard.

The report to which the hon. Member refers is available for inspection in the Library of the House.

Civil Service

Personal Secretaries

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many officers of the rank of assistant secretary and below are entitled to a personal secretary ; and how many do not have a secretary because of staff shortages or for other reasons.

Allocation of personal secretaries—or secretarial assistance—is made according to need. No central records are kept of the numbers of officers of the rank of assistant secretary and below who have need of such assistance.

Departmental Policy

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will make a statement on the results of his Department, after 13 months of the present Government, in achieving the policy programme which he set it on assuming office.

When we took office, my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord President and I had as our main objective to achieve a smaller, more efficient Civil Service embodying the best in modern management practice. Considerable progress has already been made towards that aim and more can be expected from work still in hand. Staff in post in Government Departments on 1 April 1980 stood at 705,100 as against 732,300 on 1 April 1979. This is the biggest drop in any year for over 20 years. Recent CSD initiatives on postage and telecommunications, on the formulae used to determine staffing levels in a number of Departments, on typing and messengerial services and on transport have already identified annual savings of £4½ million. Much more can be expected to follow from these and other studies by CSD of activities common to Departments. In addition, savings as high as £40 million are expected through extending the life of computer equipment. The Civil Service Department will ensure that the lessons to be learnt from Sir Derek Rayner's programme of departmental scrutinies receive the widest possible application. The drive for greater efficiency, which is carried out in close co-operation with other Departments, will continue throughout the duration of this Parliament. It will be a major factor in the Government's plans, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 13 May 1980—[Vol. 984, c. 1050–1]—to reduce the size of the Civil Service to about 630,000 over the next four years.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 19 June.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her her official engagements for 19 June.

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 19 June.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her public engagements for Thursday 19 June.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 19 June.

I refer my hon. Friends and the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner).

President Carter

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister when she next plans to meet the President of the United States of America.

I shall meet President Carter in Venice at the economic summit meeting next Sunday and Monday.

Northern Ireland

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister what plans she has to visit Northern Ireland.

Fluorochlorocarbons

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister, in view of scientific concern that the incidence of ultra-violet radiation penetrating the ozone layer and reaching the earth's surface may be increasing due to the increase in fluorochlorocarbons through human agencies, if she will institute a programme of research into the effect of fluorochlorocarbons on the ozone layer.

The Department of the Environment continues to fund research into the effects of chlorofluorocarbons on stratospheric ozone. It first did so in 1976.

Heads Of Government Meeting (Venice)

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister what subjects she intends to raise at the forthcoming meeting of Heads of Government of major Powers, including the United States of America, in Venice on 22–23 June.

I shall wish to discuss all the major economic problems confronting the international community, particularly our respective economic policies and the many pressing issues in the energy field.

Albania

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Albania.

We have proposed to the Albanian Government that diplomatic relations should be restored without waiting for a resolution of the financial problems that have stood in the way. Regrettably the Albanians have not agreed but the offer remains open. Meanwhile we are continuing to pursue a resolution of the financial questions.

Top Salaries Review Body

asked the Prime Minister if she will take steps to prevent implementing the fourteenth report of Lord Boyle's Top Salaries Review Board ; and if she will make a statement.

I have now received the fourteenth report of the Top Salaries Review Body. A statement will be made in due course when the Government have fully considered the recommendations.

Ministerial Responsibility

asked the Prime Minister what is the practice of her Administration with regard to actions by Ministers in their official capacity to assist in the promotion of the sales of private facilities which are within their departmental responsibilities when such facilities are also provided by the public services.

There are no rules which cover the circumstances described by the hon. Member. Any cases would be for consideration on their merits.

Energy

Electricity Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether, in assessing the impact of rising electricity prices on domestic consumers, he will in future use the average domestic user's average price per unit of electricity.

Figures for the average price per unit of electricity consumed by the average domestic consumer are derived from the total revenue in a full year from all domestic consumers divided by the total electricity consumption of domestic consumers in a full year. The size of an increase for the average domestic consumer would be calculated on this basis.

North Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy, at the end of each of the last 12 years, what has been the estimated level of (a) discovery, (b) depletion and (c) outstanding reserves of oil in the British sector of the North Sea.

As regards discoveries and outstanding reserves estimates for oil on the United Kingdom continental shelf over the last 12 years, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 10 June.—[Vol. 986, c. 43–44.]Production of oil from the United Kingdom continental shelf since 1975 has been as follows :

YearTonnes (million)
19751
197612
197738
197854
197978

Gas Gathering (North Sea)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what plans the Government have for a gas gathering system in the northern North Sea.

At today's high energy prices, and with growing industrial demand for natural gas, our offshore gas reserves represent an increasingly precious national resource. The Government are determined to make the most of that asset and to eliminate uneconomic waste of gas by flaring. I particularly welcome therefore the report from the study team from the British Gas Corporation and Mobil, which is published today as energy paper No. 44. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.The report recommends that a new offshore gas pipeline system should be built consisting of a 36 in. diameter trunk line from the Statfjord area via quadrant 16 to St. Fergus, with a northern spur from Magnus and a larger southern spur from Fulmar. Fields along the route would be connected by lateral lines, and provision made to link in later fields. The system would be designed to take a high proportion of natural gas liquids, to minimise offshore processing costs.At a terminal at St. Fergus gas to British Gas specifications would be separated from the natural gas liquids. The report has concentrated on piping those liquids for fractionation at Nigg Bay, but also considers other possibilities. The total cost of the project is estimated at about £1·1 billion.The Government have given careful consideration to the study team's report and the implications for the nation of the general recommendations. Applications for pipeline authorisations and planning permissions will need to be made in due course. We consider, however, that a pipeline system along the general lines recommended would be in the national interest. The integrated gas gathering concept would, through its economies of scale, both allow the development of smaller gas accumulations and facilitate the most economic collection of larger gas deposits. It should also reduce wasteful offshore flaring, and encourage further exploration within its catchment area. On land, it should help maintain supplies of gas and an integrated approach to disposal of the liquids should provide valuable opportunities for petrochemical development. Once flows have built up the pipeline would each year land gas and liquids worth some £1½ billion.Various schemes have been proposed for the possible use of the gas liquids and these will require careful consideration. Where there are alternatives it will be necessary to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages in terms of maximising the value obtained by the nation from the natural gas liquids and of strengthening the United Kingdom's position in petrochemicals.The Government consider it important that a gas gathering system should be constructed as quickly as possible, with the aim of bringing gas ashore from 1984–85. I have therefore invited British Gas, Mobil and BP to form, together with a financial adviser, an organising group. This will develop proposals for how a pipeline organisation could best be structured and financed as a private utility transmission company outside the public sector. I envisage British Gas taking up 30 per cent. of the equity of such a company, with the remainder of the equity being offered in appropriate proportions to financial institutions, licences and customers for the NGL and, if Norwegian gas should be committed for transmission through the system, Norwegian concerns. I also envisage that the company would be financed substantially by loan finance raised from the markets, and without Government guarantee. The impact of BGC's participation in the pipeline company will be minimal in terms of public expenditure. The organising group intends to progress its work so that a pipeline company can be formed in the autumn.The detailed design of the facilities will require active assistance from the licensees of the fields from which the gas will be transmitted. I hope that all those licensees will give every assistance to the project.

Overseas Development

Nicaragua

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will provide development assistance to Nicaragua ; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens) on 18 March.—[Vol. 981, c. 365–66.] Britain is providing major help to Nicaragua through multilateral organisations, principally the European Community, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Inter-American Development Bank. The shares met from the British aid programme since mid-1979 have now risen to over £3 million of which European Community aid accounts for just over £2 million. There is every likelihood that these and other multilateral organisations in which Britain participates will contribute also to Nicaragua's development once the rehabilitation stage has been completed.At a time when we are having to cut public expenditure we cannot afford to start a continuing programme of bilateral aid as well ; but we expect to spend a little more than £100,000 in the current financial year on various short-term projects for Nicaragua.

Commonwealth Development Corporation

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will publish in the Official Report a list showing which of 10 board members of the Commonwealth Development Corporation received £5,000 or more per annum, which of those were part-time, the number of hours or days per week they give to this employment and which member received a salary of between £30,000 to £30,500 per annum ; what was the actual amount ; whether this employee is full or part-time ; and, in view of the Government's policy of cutting public expenditure, which action has been taken or will be taken to reduce these payments.

With the exception of the chairman of the corporation, who is shown in the accounts as having recived £15,000, no member of the board received £5,000 or more in 1979. The accounts show that in 1979 there were altogether 10 board members in addition to the chairman, and that their joint emoluments totalled £14,000. All CDC board members are part-time and, with the exception of the chairman, are paid on the basis of one day a fortnight. During 1979 the chairman worked three-and-half days a week on CDC business, and was paid accordingly. Payment of CDC board members is covered by the recommendations of the Top Salaries Review Board. No action will be taken to reduce these figures. No member of the board received emoluments of between £30,000 and £35,000 ; these figures in the accounts refer to the salary of one full-time corporation employee. Under schedule 1 to the Commonwealth Development Act 1978 the corporation is free to determine the salaries of its employees.

European Community (Aid To Non-Associates)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what British proposals have been put forward to the Development Council of the European Economic Community concerning aid to non-associates.

[pursuant to his reply, to a supplementary question by the hon. Member, 16 June 1980, c. 1122–23]: The list is as follows :

Projects proposed by the United Kingdom to the Commission

(The Commission has expressed a definite interest in those projects marked with an asterisk.)

Bolivia :

Bolivian geological service (Geobol): Aerial geophysical survey of NE Bolivia.

Costa Rica :

New library for agricultural research centre*.

Yemen Arab Republic :

TC for technical training institute*.

Sri Lanka :

Water supply project.

Bangladesh :

Cotton development*, Livestock development*, Pesticide disposal, Forestry development, Rice project*, Coastal fisheries. Edible oils project*, Tea gasification (for drying tea), Dacca leather complex.

1980 Projects already approved

Nepal :

Livestock development.

Thailand :

Co-operatives training.

Nicaragua :

Rural planning and development.

East Africa (Drought)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what study the Overseas Development Administration has made of the extent of drought in East Africa ; whether Her Majesty's Government have received any appeals for assistance ; and what response was made.

We have not made such a study, but the problem has been well documented and widely reported : it is also well established that the natural disaster has been exacerbated by the very large refugee population in the area. There have been a number of appeals for assistance by national and international agencies, such as the British Disasters Emergency Committee and the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees. The Government have pledged £850,000 to the UNHCR to help with the situation in Somalia and has spent or committed over £110,000 to assist relief work in Northern Uganda. We are urgently considering what more could be done in Uganda. I am attending the Sudan Government's conference on refugee problems in Khartoum on 20–22 June and hope to indicate there out proposals for poviding help in Sudan.Since March this year the European Community has committed some 9 million European units of account in response to appeals for assistance in East Africa, of which the United Kingdom share is about £1 million.

Wales

Potatoes (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he has taken and proposes to take to protect the early potato market in Wales from the dumping of the commodity by other European Economic Community countries.

I have no evidence of subsidisation of exports of potatoes by other EEC countries.

Urban Programme (Finance)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the normal period allowed between the publication of application forms and circulars and the receipt of applications for funding under the urban programme ; and whether he regards this period as adequate.

Housing Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish an estimate of the number of homes in Wales owned by single persons living alone and aged (a) above the retirement age and (b) above 75 years ; and how many of these homes are classified as being (i) in good structural condition and (ii) unfit.

It is estimated that 57,000 persons above retirement age live alone in owner-occupied dwellings in Wales ; of these 22,000 are estimated to be over 75 years old. Information on the structural condition of these dwellings is not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish an estimate of the number of homes in Wales owned by couples living by themselves where the husband is aged (a) 65 years and over and (b) 75 years and over ; and whether these homes are in good structural condition or unfit.

It is estimated that 49,000 couples in which the husband is aged over 65 live in owner-occupied dwellings in Wales; in 12,000 of these households the husband is aged over 75. Information on the structural condition of these dwellings is not available.

Education And Science

Political And Moral Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will set up a working party to investigate political and moral education in schools, and the need for balance in all areas of the curriculum ; and if he will make a statement.

No. My Department is currently supporting a research project by the University of London Institute of Education, in conjunction with the Hansard Society and the Politics Association, into the provision of political education in schools. A political education working party has also been set up within Her Majesty's Inspectorate. Much work relating to moral education has been undertaken by the Schools Council ; and the Social Morality Council, which published a national plan for moral education in 1978, has established a resource and information centre with support from my Department. It remains the responsibility of individual local education authorities and schools to consider the balance of emphasis within these subject areas and across the curriculum generally.

Further Education Colleges

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the number of further education college lecturers paid under the present Burnham further education arrangements ; and how many are appointed to each of the following lecturer grades (a) lecturer grade I, (b) lecturer grade II, (c) senior lecturer and (d) principal lecturer.

The provisional totals of full-time teachers in maintained and assisted establishments of further education in England and Wales who are paid under the Burnham arrangements are, for 31 March 1979 (the latest date available), as follows :

Total in all grades and establishments Further education establishments :74,904
Lecturer Grade I22,373
Lecturer Grade II19,037
Senior Lecturer22,026
Principal Lecturer5,824
Agricultural and horticultural establishments :
Lecturer Grade IA300
Lecturer Grade IB295
Lecturer Grade II367
There are no distinct grades of senior or principal lecturer on the staff of local education authorities at agricultural and horticultural establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will state the present number of student contact hours per lecturer class contact hour in further education colleges.

In establishments of further education other than polytechnics and specialised institutions, the average number of student contact hours per lecturer class contact hour was 13·9 in the academic year 1978–79. This represents the average class size.

Computer Instruction

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools in the county of Derbyshire provide instruction in computer programming.

My Department does not collect this information. I understand, however, that about half the county's 84 secondary schools have introduced work involving computers into the curriculum.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he now intends to provide additional funding for computer instruction in primary and secondary schools ; and if he will make a statement.

It is intended that projects to stimulate and improve the use of computers in primary and secondary school teaching will be supported under the microelectronics development programme for schools and colleges announced on 4 March.—[Vol. 980, c. 226.)

Cruelty To Animals Act 1876

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list the establishments registered under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 for which he is ministerially responsible.

Teachers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether a teacher employed by a local authority, placed on the maximum incremental point for a graduate on scale I of the Burnham scale who subsequently gains the Open University diploma in reading development, qualifies for placing on incremental point 14 on the Burnham scale, assuming that the graduate does not hold an honours degree.

Under the provisions of the Burnham salaries document for teachers in primary and secondary schools, only teachers who are classed as good honours graduates for salary purposes and those who hold specified qualifications for teaching blind, partially sighted, deaf and partially hearing pupils and who are engaged in such teaching, are entitled to proceed beyond point 13 of scale I.Any change in the provisions of the Burnham document would be a matter for the Burnham committee.

Information To Parents (Regulations)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has had representations from the local authority associations regarding the cost of implementing in full the draft regulations on information to parents.

There are as yet no draft regulations. Mv right hon. and learned Friend hopes shortly to embark on formal consultations with the local authority associations, voluntary school bodies, teacher unions and other interested bodies on his proposals for the content of regulations to be made under sections 8(5) and (7) of the Education Act 1980 and will of course take account of any representations received when preparing draft regulations following these consultations

University Grants Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will ensure that any overspending by the University Grants Committee during the current financial year does not lead to extra public expenditure.

Yes. The payment of funds which are distributed to universities by the University Grants Committee, as well as the staffing and administrative costs of the Committee, are controlled by my Department

University Teachers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why he has not yet approved the joint salary

NameLikely completion datePublication
Advance Disclosure of the Prosecution CaseNot yet knownNo decision taken
Extradition1981No decision taken
Review of Traffic LawSeptember 1980No decision taken
Statutory Controls over the Probation and After-Care ServiceMakes recommendations to Secretary of State at various stagesNot applicable
Capital Expenditure Controls—Police, Magistrates Courts and Probation Service BuildingsOctober 1980No
Police CadetsDecember 1980No decision taken
Special ConstablesNovember 1980No decision taken
Domestic SheltersSeptember 1980Guidance based on report will be published
Police Inspectors' TrainingDecember 1980No
Police Command TrainingDecember 1980No
The Administration of the Broadcast Receiving Licence SystemJuly 1980 (Annual Report)Yes
Local RadioDecember 1980 (Third Report)Yes
Categorisation of Prisoners1981No decision taken
Working parties of officials which are set up as required in the ordinary course of internal administration have been excluded.

Scientologists

50.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he will not publish the information and documentary evidence in the possession of his Department on which he bases his continuing ban on the entry of Scientologists.

The reasons for the policy of refusing admission to people subject to immigration control who wish to come here to study, work for or promote the

proposals arrived at by the university authorities and the Association of University Teachers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Havering, Upminster (Mr. Loveridge) on 11 June.—[Vol. 986, c. 198–99.]

Home Department

Departmental Working Parties

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the titles of the departmental working parties currently in progress, the date when their reports are likely to be completed and which of them will be published.

The information is as follows :interests of Scientology were set out in the statement made on 25 July 1968 by the then Minister of Health. The matter is under review.

Shoplifting (Prosecutions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, of the 80,000 people tried in England and Wales for shoplifting in 1978 of whom 5,000 were not convicted, how many and what percentage pleaded not guilty ; how many and what percentage who pleaded not guilty were acquitted ; and of those who pleaded not guilty and were acquitted, how many and what percentage were men and women, respectively.

Of the 80,000 defendants of all ages tried for offences of shoplifting in all courts in England and Wales in 1978, about 1,000 were not convicted because the charge was withdrawn before full evidence was heard. Of the remaining 79,000 persons, our records show that about 8,800—11 per cent.—pleaded not guilty of whom 4,100—47 per cent.—were acquitted. 1,800—44 per cent.—of those acquitted were males and 2,300—56 per cent. were females. Corresponding information on persons aged 17 and over is published in table 4·9 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1978" (Cmnd. 7670).

Sunday Trading

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present law on Sunday trading ; what representations he has received for changes in the law ; and if he will make a statement.

A number of hon. Members and others have drawn my attention to the anomalies in the present law on Sunday trading, and we are examining the restraints which the Shops Act 1950 places on shopping hours and trading on Sunday. But we do not expect there to be an early opportunity for Government legislation on this subject.

Remanded Persons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the prisoner held on remand in custody in Pentonville prison for 561 days on 1 May is still on remand in custody ; and if not, what was his sentence.

The prisoner in question is no longer on remand in custody ; he was sentenced on 6 June to eight years' imprisonment.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the prisoner held on remand in custody in Ashford remand centre for 377 days on 31 March is still on remand in custody ; if not, what was his sentence ; and what is his age.

The prisoner in question is no longer on remand in custody ; he was sentenced on 2 April 1980 to three years' imprisonment. He is 20 years old.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the prisoner held on remand in custody in Winson Green prison for 325 days on 29 February is still on remand in custody ; and if not, what was his sentence.

The prisoner in question is no longer on remand in custody ; he was sentenced on 12 March 1980 to 10 years' imprisonment.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the prisoner held on remand in custody in Bristol prison for 287 days on 31 March is still remanded in custody ; and if not, what was his sentence.

The prisoner in question is no longer on remand in custody ; he was sentenced on 23 May 1980 to life imprisonment.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period of time that a prisoner currently in Liverpool prison has been held on remand in custody ; and what is the offence with which he is charged.

Liverpool prison does not serve as a remand establishment and there are no prisoners currently on remand in custody there.

Borstals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) boys and (b) girls were in celled confinment in borstals at the latest available date.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member on Thursday 12 June.—[Vol. 986, c. 279–80.]

Republic Of Ireland Passport Holders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimates he has made of the number of persons born (a) in EEC countries other than the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, (b) in other foreign countries and (c) in Commonwealth countries, who enter the United Kingdom on Republic of Ireland passports or obtain Republic of Ireland passports after entry ; and if he will monitor such numbers by appropriate sampling.

No such estimates are available : We have no plans to monitor such numbers, which could be done only at disproportionate expense.

Drag Smuggling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the growing practice of persons engaged in drug smuggling entering Great Britain from Asia and the European Economic Community countries, whether he will take whatever action may prove necessary to tighten up the rules, regulations and methods of entry of people into Great Britain.

Full use is made of the powers in the Immigration Act to deal with people subject to immigration control who are discovered smuggling drugs, and to assist Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in preventing such activity.

Wakefield Prison (Life Prisoners)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long each of the five life sentence prisoners currently segregated for good order and discipline at Wakefield prison has been so segregated.

There are four prisoners serving sentences of life imprisonment at Wakefield prison who are currently segregated from other prisoners under the provisions of rule 43 of The Prison Rules 1964 for good order or discipline and they have been so segregated for 98 weeks, 44 weeks, 36 weeks and 14 weeks.

Drags Offences (Forfeiture Of Assets)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the light of the decision in Regina v Cuthbertson, Todd and McCoy, if he will introduce legislation to ensure that those convicted of conspiracy, rather than under a specific provision of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971, will not be able to benefit from the proceeds of their crime.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to amend the law so that a man who has profited from illicit drug manufacture and distribution and later been convicted may have the profits of his crime and relevant assets forfeited to the Crown.

Horserace Betting Levy Board (Chairman)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the salary paid to the chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board at the latest stated date ; how many hours are given to this part-time employment ; and what other perquisites such as expenses, travel and entertainment, are claimable in addition to the salary.

The chairman's salary of £11,046 with effect from 1 April 1980 is calculated on the basis of a three days a week commitment. The expenses paid to him in 1979–80 amounted to £3,158.

Nuclear Alert

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what system the Government would use to warn every person in the United Kingdom of a nuclear attack ; and if he is satisfied that arrangements in this regard are adequate, efficient and not totally dependent on computers.

The public warning system operated by the United Kingdom warning and monitoring organisation does not involve computerised procedures. I am considering, as part of my present review of home defence arrangements, what improvements in the system may be called for.

Police Radar Detectors

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will introduce legislation to prohibit the use by members of the public of radar detectors ;(2) if he proposes to license a police radar detector marketed as "Super-Snooper" ; and if he will make a statement.

It is already an offence under section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 to use such radio equipment except under authority of a licence issued by the Secretary of State ; and it is not our policy to issue licences to members of the public authorising the use of radio devices intended to detect the presence of police radar transmissions.

Mr M L Kofi

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in granting British nationality to Mr M. L. Kofi of 52 Portelet Road, Stoneycroft, Liverpool L13, whose application was submitted to his Department on 5 May 1978 ; and what further information is required to come to a decision in view of the request for further information from his Department on 12 December 1978 and the reply by Mr Kofi on 20 December 1978 containing the information requested.

This application, along with others made at the same time, has now been considered and we shall be writing to Mr. Kofi very shortly.

Employment

Bradford

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been out of work in Bradford for at least 12 months.

At 10 April, the latest date for which the analysis by duration of unemployment is available, the number of people who had been registered as unemployed in the Bradford employment office area for over 52 weeks was 2,801.

Redundancies (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies were notified in Scotland under section 100 of the Employment Protection Act in each of the last 12 months.

The number of proposed redundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 for Scotland, from 1 June 1979 to 31 May 1980, is as follows :

EmployeesEstablishments
1979—
June9,62191
July3,49563
August4,62893
September5,47287
October12,557108
November9,618161
December6,570111
1980—
January5,850136
February8,061133
March5,311130
April6,695142
May9,794161
Total87,6721,416
During the same period 17,820 redundancies at 263 establishments were formally withdrawn. There is no statutory requirement to notify my Department when proposed redundancies do not take place.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of redundancies notified to it as due to occur in Scotland from 1 June 1979 to 31 May 1980 is as follows :
Employees
1979—
June2,783
July2,420
August2,140
September3,731
October2,472
November3,697
December6,990
980
January2,844
February4,163
March5,523
April3,190*
May2,812*
Total42,765
* These figures are provisional since some notifications are received late.
Both Department of Employment and Manpower Services Commission figures are for redundancies involving 10 or more employees.

Unemployment Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the percentage of the working population unemployed as an average for each year since 1960 up to the latest year for which figures are available ; and what was the size of the working population in each year of the same period.

It is my Department's normal practice to calculate unemployment rates as a percentage of the latest available mid-year estimate of employees—employed and unemployed—which differs from the working population in that it excludes self-employed people and members of Her Majesty's Forces.The following table gives average percentage rates of unemployment on this basis for each year from 1960 to 1979.

19601·5
19611·4
19621·9
19632·3
19641·6
19651·4
19661·4
19672·2
19682·4
19692·3
19702·5
19713·4
19723·7
19732·6
19742·6
19754·1
1976*5·6
19776·0
19786·0
19795·6
*Average of eleven months.
The following table gives figures for employees—employed and unemployed—for Great Britain at each mid-year from 1960 to 1979.
196022,333
196122,627
196222,944
196323,063
196423,209
196523,417
196623,554
196723,293
196823,152
196923,083
197022,928
197122,336
197222,417
197322,728
197422,813
197523,041
197623,326
197723,516
197823,544
197923,593

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of unemployed people in the United Kingdom ; and how many of them are under 25 years of age.

At 10 April, the latest date for which the quarterly age analysis is available, the number of people registered as unemployed in the United Kingdom was 1,522,927, of whom 551,105 were under 25 years of age.

Advisory, Conciliation And Arbitration Service

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he proposes to seek to remove from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service the duty to encourage the extension of collective bargaining.

Weekly Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the numbers of full-time males aged 18 years and over in each of the counties of Wales and for each of the standard economic regions of the United Kingdom in the following bands (a) under £40, (b) £41 to £50, (c) £51 to £60, (d) £61 to £70, (e) £71 to £80, (f) £81 to £90, (g) £91 to £100, (h) £101 to £110, (i) £111 to £120, (j) £121 to £130, (k) £131 to £140, (l) £141 to £150 and (m) over £150.

The table below gives the latest estimates of the percentage distribution of gross weekly earnings from the new earnings survey. I regret that this analysis is not available for men aged 18 and over and I have therefore quoted figures on the usual basis for the new earnings survey results, males aged 21 and over.The survey is based on a 1 per cent. sample of employees. Only a very small number of employees will appear in some cells of the table and because of response and sampling variation the total number of employees in particular earnings bands cannot be confidently inferred from the number in the sample.

DISTRIBUTION OF GROSS WEEKLY EARNINGS, APRIL 1979—FULL-TIME MALES AGED 21 AND OVER WHOSE PAY WAS NOT AFFECTED BY ABSENCE

Percentage with gross weekly earnings in the range

Under £50

£50 to £60£60 to £70£70 to £80£80 to £90£90 to £100£100 to £110£110 to £130£130 to £150

Over £150

All ranges

Number in sample

Wales3·26·710·212·713·413·710·715·27·86·41003,589
Clwyd-West4·74·818·210·112·916·28·816·25·42·7100148
Clwyd-B7;East1·95·09·76·514·115·615·318·87·55·6100320
Dyfed (excluding Llanelli)7·214·312·413·113·69·510·47·56·45·6100251
Gwent1·54·29·212·116·016·111·115·68·75·5100597
Gwynedd5·711·812·916·014·111·76·99·16·55·3100263
Powys4·811·119·823·811·17·210·38·70·82·4100126
Mid Glamorgan3·64·78·615·811·813·19·715·28·19·5100591
South Glamorgan3·38·08·412·012·611·010·615·59·69·0100575
West Glamorgan (including Llanelli)1·95·18·911·413·016·511·318·78·25·0100718
England2·45·510·112·813·913·010·614·67·89·310067,010
South East2·14·38·711·313·111·710·815·49·313·310024,391
East Anglia3·07·714·614·912·212·88·512·06·67·71002,394
South West3·38·514·114·115·313·18·611·75·55·81005,634
West Midlands2·05·09·014·315·415·111·814·36·96·21008,009
East Midlands2·26·211·813·514·314·410·114·56·07·01005,612
Yorkshire and Humberside2·56·110·512·814·113·010·715·17·87·41007,393
North West2·46·310·013·413·713·911·214·17·47·61008,898
North2·45·79·912·814·612·810·915·37·77·91004,679
Scotland2·96·411·712·712·011·810·614·58·19·31007,365

Source : New Earnings Survey.

Industrial Training Boards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many representatives of small businesses there are on the existing industrial training boards ; and how they are distributed amongst them.

Employer members of industrial training boards represent sectors of industry rather than businesses of any given size and many sectors contain a variety of different sized businesses. There is no generally applicable definition of a small firm for training purposes. However, the assessment of the training boards themselves is that some 50 employer members represent sectors of industry containing a significant number of small businesses. They are distributed amongst boards as listed :

Air Transport and travel3
Carpet
Ceramics, glass and mineral products1
Chemical and allied products2
Clothing and allied products3
Construction
Cotton and allied textiles2
Distributive3
Engineering1
Foundry ITC3
Food, drink and tobacco3
Furniture and timber2
Footwear, leather and furskin4
Hotel and catering4
Iron and steel
Knitting, lace and net2
Man-made fibres
Paper and paper products2
Petroleum2
Printing and publishing1
Road Transport6
Rubber and plastics processing2
Shipbuilding2
Wool, jute and flax2

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what representations he has received from small businesses on the working of the industrial training boards ; and what response he has made;(2) what proposals he has received from the Manpower Services Commission for reducing the burden imposed by industrial training boards on the operations of small businesses.

Since taking office my right hon. Friend and I have received a considerable number of representations —both written and verbal—from small businesses about the working of industrial training boards. In each case these have been drawn to the attention of the Manpower Services Commission, to which boards are responsible in the first instance. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that all industrial training boards which impose levies have arrangements for excluding small firms from levy, though the definition of a small firm for this purpose varies from board to board. The Manpower Services Commission is currently reviewing the operation of the industrial training boards, and expects to consider a report on this next month. The Government will then decide what action needs to be taken.

Disablement Resettlement Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many disablement resettlement officers have lost their jobs since May 1979.

There was no significant change in the staffing of disablement resettlement officer (DRO) work between May 1979 and 1 April 1980 when a revised system for determining staffing was introduced.Before 1 April there was a national total of 512 DRO posts.The implementation of the new system was expected to result in little change in the total number of DRO posts. It now appears that the number may be affected somewhat more than expected and this is being examined.

Civil Servants And Journalists (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing the starting pay for an executive officer of the Civil Service and a journalist based in London in 1950, 1960, 1970 and the years 1972 to date.

Relevant information about the salaries of Civil Service executive officers is given in the following table. I regret that no comparable information is available for journalists.

1950

1960

1970

1970

1972

1973

1973

1974

1975

1975*

1978

1979

1979

1980

1980

Scales effective from

1.10.47

1.10.58

1.7.69

1.4.70

1.1.72

1.4.73

7.11.73

1.1.74

1.1.75

1.4.75

1.4.78

1.4.79

1.8.79

1.1.80

7.5.80

£££££££££££££££
Minimum2304406837418609511,2701,3871,7851,8852,5492,8312,9583,2003,775
Maximum650 (Male and London) rate1,110 (Male and national) rate Additions to officers in London of £7–£301,691 (Men and Women) London Weighting1,8352,1502,2882,6002,7823,4923,6704,5795,0435,2725,7006,745
Inner London 125125175175228228410410524780780780780
Outer London 75759090110110260260 from 1.7.75275275325325325
Inner London £465
Outer London £275

*

1975–78

Pay policy

Pay supplement of £313·20 from 1 April 1976; variable threshold payments of 5 per cent. of total earnings (minimum of £130·50 per year) from 1 April 1977. Both these supplements were consolidated into the 1978 minimum salary quoted above.

Rehabilitation Centres

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many employment rehabilitation centres have been closed since May 1979.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that there have been no closures of employment rehabilitation centres since May 1979.

Corby Iron And Steel Works

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of workers currently employed directly or indirectly by the Corby iron and steel works and supporting companies live outside the Corby travel-to-work area.

Stoke-On-Trent

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take steps to assist those workers in Stoke-on-Trent who have lost their jobs in the last year to find alternative employment.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 421] : I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission, which is responsible for the employment and training services, that when it was notified of redundancies due to occur in Stoke-on-Trent during the past year every effort was made to make its services available to those concerned at the earliest opportunity. These services include information and advice on the alternative employment opportunities available ; the facilities for training and retraining and the grants and allowances that may be payable to those wishing to take up employment in other areas. No precise details are available of the numbers of workers in Stoke-on-Trent still seeking jobs, but many have obtained alternative employment. There are increasing problems, however, particularly for the unskilled and those seeking only part-time employment.Redundant workers are eligible for the full range of courses available in the Stoke-on-Trent area under the training opportunities scheme. The MSC will shortly be mounting a publication campaign to encourage employers in the area to advise the MSC of any vacancies in prospect.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what number of firms has closed down in the last year in Stoke-on-Trent ; and what was the comparable figure for the preceding year.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 421] : The number of establishments in Stoke-on-Trent whose intended closure has been notified to the Department of Employment under the redundency handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 during the last year and the preceeding year is as follows :

Establishments
June 1979—May 198026
June 1978—May 197921
Employees
June 1979—May 19801,994
June 1978—May 19791,739
Employers are not required to notify the Department when proposed closures do not take place.

West Midlands

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the numbers of closures which were notified to his Department in the West Midlands region in the 12 months following May 1979.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 422] : From June 1979 to May 1980, the intended closures of 260 establishments in the West Midlands region were notified to the Department of Employment under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975.Employers are not required to notify the Department when proposed closures do not take place.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the total number registered as unemployed in the West Midlands region ; and how many have been unemployed longer than three months, six months and nine months, respectively ;(2) how many of those unemployed in the West Midlands area are under 21 years ; and how many have been unemployed for longer than three months, six months, and one year respectively.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 422] : Following is the information for the West Midlands region at 10 April, the latest date for which the quarterly age and duration analysis is available. The analysis identified those aged under 20 years but not those under 21 years of age.

Duration of unemployment in weeksAged under 20Total
Up to 1314,93755,283
Over 13 and up to 264,60925,930
Over 26 and up to 392,68817,029
Over 39 and up to 521,62510,135
Over 521,46834,619
Total25,327142,996

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies were notified to his Department for the West Midlands region in the 12 months following May 1979.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 422] : From June 1979 to May 1980 the number of proposed redundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 for the West Midlands region involved 101,246 employees at 1,512 establishments.During the same period 19,287 redundancies at 321 establishments were formally withdrawn. There is no statutory requirement to notify my Department when proposed redundancies do not take place.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of redundancies notified to it as due to occur in the West Midlands region in the same period was 28,797. The figures are provisional, since some notifications are received late.Both Department of Employment and Manpower Services Commission figures are for redundancies involving 10 or more employees.

Walsall

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many closures were notified to his Department in the Walsall travel-to-work area in the 12 months following May 1979.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 422] : From June 1979 to May 1980 the intended closures of 25 establishments in the Walsall travel-to-work area were notified to the Department of Employment under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975.Employers are not required to notify the Department when proposed closures do not take place.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies were notified to his Department in the Walsall travel-to-work area in the 12 months following May 1979.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 422] : From June 1979 to May 1980 the number of proposed redundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975, for the Walsall travel-to-work area, involved 61,196 employees at 147 establishments.During the same period 1,044 redundancies at 36 establishments were formally withdrawn. There is no statutory requirement to notify my Department when proposed redundancies do not take place.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of redundancies notified to it as due to occur in the Walsall travel-to-work area in the same period was 1,927. The figures are provisional since some notifications are received late.Both Department of Employment and Manpower Services Commission figures are for redundancies involving 10 or more employees.

Training For Skill

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in view of the unnecessarily haphazard and uncertain fashion in which grants paid to youngsters wanting to train for a skill are at present funded partly by rates and partly by the industry through a levy, if he will take steps to alter the present system.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 423] : There is a wide range of provision for vocational training and education of young people. The Manpower Services Commission is at present reviewing the working of the Employment and Training Act 1973 so far as it relates to arrangements for the promotion of training for employment, together with the provision of further education closely associated with industrial training. The report is expected next month. The Government will consider in the light of the review report and other recent studies what action needs to be taken.

Footwear Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies there have been in the British footwear industry in each month in the current year up to the latest date for which figures are available.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 422] : I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of employees involved in redundancies of 10 or more notified to it as due to occur from 1 January to 31 May 1980 in the footwear industry in Great Britain is as follows :

January 1980248
February325
March163*
April186*
May321*
TOTAL1243
* These figures are provisional since some notifications are received late.

National Finance

Minimum Lending Rate

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what working assumption is made by Her Majesty's Treasury within its econometric model, or generally, of the effect of a change in the public sector borrowing requirement equivalent to 1 per cent. of gross domestic product upon the level of the minimum lending rate.

The effect of changes in the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) on interest rates depends on the cause of the initial change and on the response of expectations. The hon. Member may pursue the question via access to the Treasury model through the Library of the House.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what further representations he has received concerning the abolition of zero rating value added tax for children's clothing; and whether he will make a statement;(2) what reply he has given to the general secretary of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers in response to its letter to him expressing its members' worries about the abolition of zero rated value added tax for children's clothing.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer received a letter on 5 June from the general secretary of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers. A reply will be sent shortly. Those views, together with all others which have been received, will be fully taken into account by the Government in their consideration of the Customs and Excise review of this zero-rating relief. I shall, of course, inform the House of our conclusions in due course.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff are currently employed in the collection of value added tax.

Departmental Policy

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the results of his Department, after 13 months of the present Government, in achieving the policy programme which he set it on assuming office.

I am satisfied that, despite the difficulties we inherited, and the further major increase in world oil prices and the price of other commodities during the past year, we are making substantial progress towards achievement of our medium-term economic objectives.

European Community (United Kingdom Receipts)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Northampton North, Official Report, 12 June, column 246, what are the day to day decisions taken by the Community on which the phasing of the United Kingdom receipts from the European Economic Community depend.

The timing of receipts depends on the section of the Community budget concerned. In the case of the guarantee section of the EAGGF, for example, advances are made to member States by the 23rd day of each month, but the amounts advanced depend on decisions by the Commission based on the forecast level of demand previously submitted by member States. In the case of receipts from the guidance section of the EAGGF, the regional and social funds, the timing of payments depends on decisions by the Commission as to eligibility of applications put forward by member States, and also depends on the timing of claims by recipients and on the time taken by the Commission to process these claims.

Member's Correspondence

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he did not reply until 13 June to a letter about capital gains tax written to him by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds on 25 April.

I very much regret that there was a delay in replying to my hon. Friend's letter. Every attempt is made to reply to hon. Members as quickly as

Total number of questionnaires
January to April
197819791980
Inland RevenueNot available*
H.M. Customs and ExciseNot available*
Department for National Savings239,000†238,000†241,000†
Royal MintNilNilNil
Chief Registrar of Friendly SocietiesNilNilNil
H.M. TreasuryNilNilNil
* The Inland Revenue and H.M. Customs and Excise cannot provide the information requested except at disproportionate cost.
† These figures all relate to questionnaires where there was no statutory requirement to complete

Objects In Lieu Of Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, with reference to his written answer, Official Report, 7 May, col. 138, stating that the Commissioners of Inland Revenue derive no financial advantage as a consequence of administrative practices relating to the acceptance by those Commissioners of possible while ensuring that their letters receive full consideration. In the case to which my hon. Friend refers, inquiries had to be made successively in three different tax offices and this contributed substantially to the delay.

Public Sector Workers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is (a) the average annual cost of a job in the public sector, (b) the average tax and national insurance remittance that a public sector worker pays, (c) the average unemployment and supplementary benefit he would be entitled to if out of work and (d) his marginal cost of employment, namely (a) less (b) and (c).

Departmental Questionnaires

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many questionnaires his Department sent out in January to April 1978, 1979 and 1980 which the recipients (a) were statutorily required to complete and (b) were not statutorily required to complete.

[pursuant to his reply, 11 June 1980, c. 202] : The answer for the Departments for which I am responsible is as follows :objects in satisfaction of tax, that answer extends to those cases in which three-quarters of the 100 per cent. exemption from tax of those objects which is provided for without qualification under statute is eliminated in the relevant computations for establishing the amount of tax credit to be made available by the Commissioners to the tax debtor in respect of the surrender of such objects to the Commissioners; and, if so, whether he will specify in what manner the Commissioners do not benefit financially as a consequence of 75 per cent. of a tax exemption being thus eliminated.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 June 1980, c. 88] : The answer to the first part of the question is "Yes". The answer to the second part was given in my written reply to the hon. Member of 11 March 1980.—[Vol. 980, c. 550]. The acquirer's benefit has hitherto accrued to the National Land Fund. In future the Vote provisions for expenditure on acceptances in lieu of tax (Class VIII, 6 and Class X, 32) will derive the benefit. The effect is to reduce the amount which is paid to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in respect of each object accepted in lieu. This means that a given provision for expenditure on acceptances in lieu goes further than would be the case if the douceur arrangements did not apply.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Human Rights (Madrid Conference)

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he intends to ensure that the question of human rights in general, and in the Soviet Union in particular, will be on the agenda for the forthcoming Madrid conference.

The first priority of the Madrid meeting will be to review the implementation of all aspects of the Helsinki Final Act and particular attention will be given to those of its provisions which have been most blatantly disregarded. The failure of the Soviet Union and certain other Governments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms will figure prominently in this review.

New Hebrides

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the French sent 100 paramilitary troops to the New Hebrides without first notifying or discussing their proposed action with his Department.

The French Government did inform us that they were sending a contingent of gendarmes to Vila. This followed a joint recommendation from the two resident commissioners that British and French troop reinforcements should be sent to the New Hebrides to deal with any disturbances which might follow the death of Mr. Yolou.

Cash Limits

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether any changes have occurred in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cash limits for 1980–81.

Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Vote 5 (Foreign and Commonwealth Services) will be increased by £2 million to £21,879,000 to provide for an expanded programme of military training assistance. This addition is being found by savings made on other cash limits.

House Of Commons

Entertainment Allowance

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, which posts in the service of the House receive a tax-free entertainment allowance of £1,500 per annum; and whether he will arrange to pay £1,500 per annum to those Officers not in receipt of this allowance.

No Officer on the staff of the House receives an entertainment allowance of the kind described. I am writing to the hon. Member.

Arts Policy

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will make a statement on the results of that section of his Department which deals with the arts, after 13 months of the present Government, in achieving the policy programme which he set it on assuming office.

When I took office I set up an Office of Arts and Libraries as an independent, though very small, Government Department with a total headquarters staff of fewer than 40 people. This staff has helped me not only to carry out the day to day administrative tasks which come within my responsibilities for the arts; it has also done the administrative work needed for the following :

National Heritage

  • 1. The National Heritage Act 1980, which received Royal Assent on 31 March 1980.
  • 2. The national heritage memorial fund, which was set up under part I of the Act and has begun its work.
  • 3. The transfer of ministerial responsibility for the acceptance of property in lieu of tax from the Treasury to the Secretary of State for the Environment and myself, under part II of the Act.
  • 4. Revision of the procedure for handling offers of property, and of the criteria for acceptances of pre-eminent objects.
  • 5. The provision by the Government under part III of the Act of wider indemnities on a statutory basis for loans of works of art.
  • Public Lending Right

  • 6. Commencement of the PLR Act 1979 which was brought into force by a statutory instrument on 22 February 1980.
  • 7. Issue of a consultative document on PLR in December 1979.
  • 8. Drafting of a detailed scheme under the Act in the light of comments received on the consultative document, with a view to its being laid before Parliament at the beginning of the next Session.
  • 9. Reduction by half of the estimate of administrative costs of the scheme.
  • Business Sponsorship of the Arts

  • 10. Provision of £25,000 to the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts to help it increase its activities.
  • 11. Appointment of a committee to advise me on a Government campaign to encourage business sponsorship of the arts.
  • 12. Preparation of a programme of research, conferences and other events to support such a campaign.
  • 13. Discussions between my Office, Inland Revenue and the Treasury leading to the introduction of tax concessions for charities in the 1980 Budget.
  • Royal Opera House

  • 14. Honouring the previous Government's commitments to contribute £1 million to the appeal fund and to acquire the freehold of the existing building for the Royal Opera House Company.
  • 15. The announcement on 4 June of a further Government contribution of £1 million to the development appeal fund.
  • Public Expenditure

  • 16. Securing that the level of central Government support for the arts has been broadly maintained and that the impact of public expenditure constraint on the arts has been kept to a minimum.
  • Quangos

  • 17. Acceptance of future responsibility for the Standing Commission on museums and galleries and for three advisory bodies formerly reporting to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. Decisions to abolish the Advisory Committee on Sculpture in Royal Parks, after arranging for its work to be taken over by existing bodies, and to retain the Advisory Committee on the Purchase of Works of Art for Government buildings and, after consultation with Mr. Speaker, the Advisory Committee on Works of Art in the House of Commons.
  • Government Art Collection

  • 18. Acceptance of responsibility for the Government art collection and absorption of its staff into the Office of Arts and Libraries. Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art
  • 19. Introduction of improved procedures for the handling of cases and the submission of advice from the committee.
  • 20. A request to the committee to study possible improvements in the export licence procedure for temporary exports of works of art.
  • 21. Approval of a recommendation from the reviewing committee for an extension of the export control relating to British historical portraits.
  • Theatres Trust

  • 22. Provision of £15,000 to enable the trust to continue in operation as a body to be consulted under planning regulations before there can be any change in use of a theatre building.
  • Museums

  • 23. Improvement of the grant to the area museum councils so as to permit a measure of redistribution without prejudice to existing activities.
  • 24. Action following the Clore foundation's generous proposal to provide for the building of a new Turner gallery at the Tate.
  • 25. Approval for the replacement of the South Kensington national museums' district heating system.
  • 26. Preparations for the adaptation to museum storage use of the former National Savings Bank building in Blythe Road, and for the commencement of other museum extension and improvement schemes in the near future.
  • 27. Continuation of the building projects for the national museums which were put in hand by the previous Government.
  • 28. Authorisation of a major reorganisation of the Egyptian sculpture gallery at the British museum, financed with help from private sources.
  • Libraries

  • 29. Intensive and detailed consideration of national policy towards the future development of the library service.
  • 30. Review of the proposals for a major new building for the British Library.
  • I am certain that the creation of an independent Office of Arts and Libraries was a necessary and useful reform and that progress in the arts during the past year is evidence of its success.

    Police Custody (Costs)

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if he will estimate the cost of holding a prisoner in police custody from 10 am on a Saturday to 10 am on a Monday morning.

    I have been asked to reply.The fixed costs involved in maintaining facilities for keeping prisoners in police custody are not affected by the holding of individual prisoners over a weekend. The marginal cost of holding a prisoner for an additional 48 hours is attributable solely to the cost of supplying him with three meals a day. Since the Government no longer fix a standard meals allowance, expenditure on meals is subject to the normal financial disciplines of each police authority and will vary from one area to another. I would certainly expect, however, that the cost of six meals would be less than £5.

    Scotland

    Tied Cottages

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with the existing law governing the repossession of tied cottages; what representations he has received over the last year on the operation of the law; and if he will make a statement.

    While I have had some approaches about the circumstances of individual cases, I have had no representations against the general working of the law and have no proposals at present for changing it.

    Rural Areas (Water Pipelines)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to secure a standard national agreement for the laying of water pipelines in rural areas between the relevant authorities and bodies representing farm and landowners; and if he will make a statement.

    Vagrancy Act 1824

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions there have been in each of the last five years under section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824, as applied to Scotland by section 15 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1871.

    This information is not separately available. The number of persons proceeded against under either section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824—suspected person or reputed thief—as applied to Scotland by section 15 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1871, or section 409 of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1892—known or reputed thief or associate—is shown in the table below.

    Number of persons proceeded against
    1974563
    1975465
    1976593
    1977762
    1978504
    It is understood that most of these proceedings were under section 409.

    Housing Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will publish an estimate of the number of homes in Scotland owned by single persons living alone and aged (a) above the retirement age and (b) above 75 years; and how many of these homes are classified as being (i) in good structural condition and (ii) unfit;(2) if he will publish an estimate of the number of homes in Scotland owned by couples living by themselves where the husband is aged (

    a) 65 years and over and ( b) 75 years and over; and whether these homes are in good structural condition or unfit.

    Police Radar Devices

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received any representations from chief constables regarding the use or the effects of police radar detection devices being marketed for motor cars.

    Orkney (Electricity Generation)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of Orkney electricity is generated by gas.

    I am informed that since July 1979, when gas of an acceptable composition first became available, the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board's 3.2 MW gas turbine at Flotta has supplied 10 per cent. of the units generated on the Orkney system.

    Social Services

    Generic Drug Substitution

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the steps his Department has taken to encourage doctors to be more economical in their prescribing and in particular to prescribe generic drugs rather than their more expensive branded equivalents.

    Economical prescribing results from effective prescribing. I believe this can be achieved only when everyone—patient and doctor alike—adopts a more rational approach to the use of medicines generally.The Department's aim is to help doctors to be reliably informed about drugs and therapeutics and the effect of their own prescribing habits. It pursues the latter object through its regional medical service and increasingly, through their self-audit facility, for general practitioners who wish to study one month's detailed analysis of their prescribing. The steps we are taking to introduce computerised working in the prescription pricing authority should markedly improve the scope for providing prescribing information to general practitioners.The Department makes available to doctors free of charge information about drugs and therapeutics through such publications as

    Preservers' Journal, Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, Adverse Reactions Bulletin and British National Formulary. The next edition of the BNF is expected to appear early next year in a completely revised format, and will include a much

    wider range of drugs than previously and also an indication of relative prices. The Department also issues its own comparison charts which indicate the relative costs of alternative forms of treatment, both by generic name and brand name. Doctors are asked—and the Department is supported in this by the British Medical Association—to take account of relative costs when deciding the appropriate version of a drug.

    I also refer the hon. Member to my reply on 16 June to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Mr. Aspinwall). [Vol. 986, c. 434–5.]

    Unemployment Benefit (Holidays)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will amend the regulations so as to permit a person who had booked a holiday in good faith before being made redundant, and who is still unemployed, to claim unemployment benefit for the period of the holiday.

    Unemployment benefit cannot be paid to someone who goes abroad on holiday. It may be paid to a person who takes his holiday in this country provided that he has taken satisfactory steps to ensure that any opportunity of suitable employment will be brought to his notice without delay and that he is able and willing to take up such employment straight away. Availability for employment is an essential condition for the receipt of unemployment benefit and it would be wrong to make an exception for particular categories of claimants.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has of the numbers of unemployed persons who go on holiday for up to 13 days, especially when such a holiday coincides with the general holiday period for the area and who do not declare their intentions but draw unemployment benefit; and, in view of the resentment this situation can cause in certain cases among those who do declare their intentions, if he will make a statement.

    Cases of this kind do arise and prosecution action is taken wherever sufficient evidence can be obtained; but precise information about the numbers involved is not available. If the hon. Member has any specific information about offences of this nature I shall be glad to arrange for it to be followed up.