Written Answers To Questions
Friday 20 June 1980
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing the number of personal secretaries employed by the Civil Service in London, broken down between agency and career staff.
The number of full-time equivalent personal secretaries employed by the Civil Service in London on 1 January 1980 was 2,600. Little use is made of agency staff. Details of these are not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Lord Privy Seal if the British Ambassador to the Soviet Union will be present in Moscow during the holding of the 1980 Olympic Games.
The ambassador will be absent from Moscow during the Olympic Games.
Civil Service (Efficiency And Work Rate)
asked the Prime Minister, in the light of the fact that most Departments are now taking between four and five weeks to send interim replies and as long as three months for full replies to hon. Members, when their letters raise matters where the answers are known and readily available but constituents wish for a ministerial reply, whether she will request the Rayner committee to investigate the lack of efficiency and work rate of the Civil Service.
I doubt that an inquiry into this subject would be profitable, but I hope that the hon. Member will bring to the attention of the Ministers concerned any examples of excessive delay in dealing with correspondence. My colleagues all recognise the need to answer letters from hon. Members as expeditiously as possible.
House Of Commons
asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, to what extent the responsibility for authorising the choice of food supplies is delegated to officers of the Refreshment Department.
I have been asked to reply.This is a matter of day-to-day management for which the General Manager of the Refreshment Department is responsible, but the Commission would expect him to consider carefully any views brought to his attention by the Catering Sub-Committee.
asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what use the Commission proposes to make of the proceeds of the 50 per cent. profit on the cost of items sold in House restaurants and cafeterias.
I have been asked to reply.The 50 per cent. profit is a gross profit, simply reflecting the excess of receipts over the cost of food, drink and other items. Once overtime for permanent banqueting staff, the wages of casual banqueting staff and all overheads (the largest items of which are contract cleaning, staff meals, and repairs and renewals of crockery, cutlery and glassware) are taken into account, it is estimated that the net profit will be very low. It is too early to give a precise estimate, and no decision has so far been taken on the use of any surplus.
asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what is his estimate of the total cost of permanent and casual staff of the Refreshment Department in salaries and other payments for 1980–81.
I have been asked to reply.The total cost of the permanent staff as shown in the Estimate for the House of Commons (Administration) Vote (Class XIII A) is £1,549,000. This figure does not include payments for overtime working on banqueting. It is impossible to make an estimate of the cost of the casual staff since this depends to a large extent on the demand for banqueting services. The costs of casual staff, like permanent staff overtime for banqueting, are, under the new arrangements, borne on the trading account.
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what procedures are pursued by the Catering Sub-Committee in authorising the choice of food supplies to the Refreshment Department.
I have been asked to reply.This is one of many matters on which the Sub-Committee would expect to be consulted before any major changes of policy could be put into effect; equally, the Sub-Committee could initiate inquiries of its own if it thought fit.
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when and in what document trading accounts of the Refreshment Department were made available to hon. Members ; and in respect of what period.
I have been asked to reply.The accounts for 1977–78 were published in the first report of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) of Session 1978–79.
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what were the total trading receipts of the Refreshment Department in the year 1979–80.
I have been asked to reply.The total trading receipts in the Refreshment Department for 1979–80 were £1,039,870. This figure is subject to audit.
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total cost of permanent and casual staff of the Refreshment Department in salaries and other payments, respectively, in 1979–80.
I have been asked to reply.The total cost of all staff in the Refreshment Department in salaries and other payments in 1979–80 was £1,172,604, of which £1,143,758 was for permanent staff and £28,846 for casual staff. These figures are subject to audit.
Strangers (Westminster Hall)
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are the rules governing the behaviour of visitors in Westminster Hall; and whether they include the prevention of consumption of food.
This matter has not so far been considered by the Services Committee and I am referring it to the Committee.
MacKay asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes have been made to the Scottish Office cash limit for Class XIII Vote 24.
Subject to the approval of Parliament, expenditure by the Scottish Office on the purchase of computer equipment, and hence the cash limit for Class XIII Vote 24, will be reduced by £0·52 million. This reduction will provide for :
Glasgow (District Courts)
asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland what consultations have been held about the decision of the procurator fiscal service not to attend district courts convened on Saturday mornings by Glasgow district council; if he has authorised this change; and if he is satisfied that this withdrawal of labour is proper, in the light of the fact that the Bail (Scotland) Act makes the holding of Saturday courts optional and the power to convene such courts lies with the district council.
The senior town clerk depute of the city of Glasgow wrote on 14 March 1980 to the procurator fiscal stating that the licensing committee had determined that the district court should continue to be held on Saturdays. The licensing committee did not consult the procurator fiscal prior to making that decision.My right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Advocate is aware of the fact that the Glasgow district court is sitting on Saturdays, but he has instructed the procurator fiscal not to bring cases before either the district or the sheriff court on Saturdays unless there is some unusual circumstances which necessitates such action. As a result of the passing of the Bail (Scotland) Act, the procurator fiscal is entitled to bring an accused before a Saturday court but there is no duty upon him to do so.We consider that, apart from exceptional circumstances, the resources available to the procurator fiscal should not be used to present cases to courts on Saturdays, and that these resources are more properly used in the public interest by their allocation to sittings during the week.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the present level of rent arrears owed to the Housing Executive ; how the figure compares with a year ago; and what steps are being taken to reduce these arrears.
On 31 March 1980 arrears due to the Housing Executive were about £10 million, which was an absolute increase of £1·3 million over the previous year. The Executive's policy is to attempt to prevent debt occurring in the first instance, to obtain agreement to repay arrears based on what the tenant can afford and, where this fails, to take recovery action either through the courts or under the Payments for Debt (Emergency Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971. From November this year the rent direct scheme will replace the present benefit allocation procedures for the recovery of arrears from persistent defaulters in receipt of supplementary benefits.Emphasis is placed on personal contact with tenants in arrears and the completion of computerisation of rent accounting in the Executive's district offices will enable staff to increase the number of visits to tenants.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the annual reports of civil servants, or any other merit rating, are to be scrutinised by the Fair Employment Agency.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the staff of the Fair Employment Agency, who are to be given special access to the personal files or other papers of civil servants, are to be given security clearance so that individual civil servants may be assured that no unauthorised person is likely to be put in possession of information that could be passed to the Irish Republican Army.
It is not proposed to give staff of the Fair Employment Agency access to personal files or other management records.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the personal files of civil servants are to be removed from their existing cabinets and transported to the offices of the Fair Employment Agency ; and what measures are proposed for their security and safe keeping.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the religious denomination of civil servants is recorded on an officer's confidential file or on any of the documents that may be scrutinised by officials of the Fair Employment Agency.
Sport And Recreation
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give an assurance that nothing was discussed and no arrangements made during the recent visit of the Minister of State to the Republic of Ireland that would impair any future provision for the administration of sport and recreation in Northern Ireland.
Yes. My noble Friend's recent visit to Dublin was part of a continuing series of contacts at Ministerial and official level on matters of common interest in sport, recreation and youth activities.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will consider the desirability of extending the current provision for the supervising of children by dinner ladies to include the increasing number of children in the Bangor area who are bringing packed lunches.
The number of supervisory assistants employed to supervise pupils during the mid-day break is related to the number of children taking school meals, after allowance is made for teachers who volunteer to undertake this work. It is not proposed to increase the numbers employed by taking account of those pupils taking packed lunches.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions spent hens have died when being transported from Northern Ireland, giving dates, the number of hens involved and the reason for the cause of death on each occasion.
I understand there have been two recent reports of problems leading to the deaths of spent hens. I wrote to the hon. Member on 9 May providing information on one of these incidents, which is being investigated and may result in legal proceedings. I understand that the second case involved deaths of birds after arrival in Great Britain, and the question is therefore under investigation in Great Britain, and I will write to the hon. Member when the facts are known.
Methodist College, Belfast
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will take the necessary action to approve an increase in the quota of places available at Methodist college, Belfast, so as to relieve the pressure for grammar school places in North Down.
Intakes of day pupils to all secondary schools for September 1980 have been determined in consultation and agreement with the appropriate school authorities. This includes the Methodist college, Belfast and there has been no request from its governing body to alter the agreed figure.An increase to the agreed intakes for grammar schools would only arise from the consideration of appeals made by parents under the transfer procedure.
Government And National Enterprise Board Holdings
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will list the holdings which the Government and the National Enterprise Board have sold in the last 12 months and indicate which have been the subject of public subscriptions, rights issues, tenders by more than one investor, or purchase by private treaty.
In the last 12 months the board has disposed of all its shareholdings in Hird-Brown Ltd.; R. R. Chapman (Sub-Sea Surveys) Ltd.; and ICL Ltd.; it has also disposed of its equity shareholding in Pakmet International Ltd. (but not its preference shareholding). The method of sale in each case is a matter for the board.No shares held by my right hon. Friend have been sold in the same period but in August last my right hon. Friend disposed of £484,574 (nominal) of Dunford and Elliott Ltd. 12½ per cent. unsecured loan stock by sale on the London Stock Exchange.
British Steel Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what arrangements he is making to cover the cash limit and public expenditure implications of the payment due on 1 July to Lazard Frères in connection with the appointment of Mr. Ian MacGregor as chairman of the British Steel Corporation.
Subject to parliamentary approval of the Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit for Class IV Vote 24 will be increased by £675,000 to £41,693,000. Payment on 1 July 1980 will be met by an advance from the Contingencies Fund. There will be no additional public expenditure, because an increase in the Department's central and miscellaneous services sub-programme to cover the compensation payment will be offset by a corresponding reduction in the sub-programme for future industrial support.
Urban Programme (Finance)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has received any representations about the extension of the time available for making applications for funding from his Department under the urban programme.
I have received two representations since the beginning of June about the arrangements for phase 21 of the urban programme.
Unemployed School Leavers (Ogmore)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest figure for unemployed school leavers in Ogmore parliamentary constituency ; and what was the figure in May 1979.
On the basis of returns from those careers and employment offices wholly or mainly within the constituency, the figures were 213 on 8 May 1980 and 154 on 10 May 1979.
Long-Term Unemployed Persons
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will introduce a programme of training and work experience for the long-term unemployed in Wales.
The provision of programmes of employment and training is primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment and for the Manpower Services Commission. The long-term unemployed in Wales currently benefit both from the general training courses provided by the Manpower Services Commission and from the special facilities available within the youth opportunities and the special temporary employment programmes.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the job loss figure over the last 12 months in Wales, giving details of industries.
Precise information on the numbers of jobs lost is not available, nor can an indication yet be given of the net change in employment levels, since the Department of Employment's quarterly estimates of employees in employment for the first quarter of 1980 are not yet available.
Welsh Industry (White Paper)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a White Paper on the prospects for Welsh industry in the 1980s.
No. The medium-term prospects for industry will depend largely on the prospects for world trade; industry's success in becoming competitive in international and domestic markets; and the speed at which we can reduce the rate of inflation. I do not consider that the publication of a White Paper will contribute to the resolution of these issues.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the number of new jobs created over the last 12 months in Wales ; and if he will publish details of their location and industries.
Rate Support Grant
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will increase rate support grant cash limits to Welsh local authorities, to finance salary and wage settlements.
I have been asked to reply.No. The single rate support grant cash limit for England and Wales in 1980–81 already includes an allowance of 13 per cent. for new pay and price increases and a separate, realistic, allowance for the effects of comparability recommendations announced since November 1979.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage for increases in teachers' salaries was used in the rate support grant settlement for 1980–81, as it affected Wales.
I have been asked to reply.No distinction was made between England and Wales in the 1980–81 RSG settlement. In addition to the general 13 per cent. allowance for new pay settlements and price increases, a realistic allowance was made for the effects of all the comparability recommendations announced since November 1979, including that for teachers' salaries.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will state the number of workers declared redundant from May 1979 to May of the current year and give details of the industries involved.
Nearly 11,000 jobs are expected to arise over the next three to four years from offers of selective financial assistance made and/or Government financed factories allocated over the past 12 months. The distribution of these jobs by counties and by manufacturing and service industries is as follows :
Precise information on the total number of persons declared redundant is not available. Information derived from statutory notifications under the Employment Protection Act during the period, indicated some 54,700 proposed redundancies in Wales. Not all of these will necessarily take place.An analysis by industry is as follows :
Standard Industrial Classification
Notified Redundancies (May 1979–May 1980)
|1. Agriculture, forestry, fishing||10|
|2. Mining and quarrying||318|
|3. Food, drink and tobacco||506|
|4. Coal and petroleum products||—|
|5. Chemicals and allied industries||894|
|6. Metal manufacture||23,866|
|7. Mechanical engineering||1,185|
|8. Instrument engineering||97|
|9. Electrical engineering||2,171|
|10. Shipbuilding and marine engineering||30|
|12. Metal goods (not elsewhere specified)||2,420|
|14. Leather, leather goods and fur||20|
|15. Clothing and footwear||1,648|
|16. Bricks, pottery, glass and cement||256|
|17. Timber and furniture etc.||439|
|18. Paper, printing and publishing||66|
|19. Other manufacturing||2,085|
|21. Public utilities||35|
|22. Transport and communication||536|
|23. Distributive trades||921|
|24. Insurance, banking and finance and business services||140|
|25. Professional and scientific services||423|
|26. Miscellaneous services||3,782|
|27. Public administration and defence||68|
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many redundancies and in which type of employment have been declared in the Ogmore constituency for the periods May 1978 to May 1979 and May 1979 to May of the current year.
Figures are not available on a constituency basis, or by type of employment.
asked the Lord Privy Seal what adjustment is being made to the aid programme cash limit for 1980–81.
In order to accommodate assistance to Zimbabwe, it has
|Ashford, Middlesex :||Ashford, hospital|
|Bath, Avon :||Royal United hospital North||(Bath area central laboratory)|
|Bedford :||Bedford general hospital||(Microbiology department)|
|Billericay, Essex,||St. Andrews hospital||(Microsurgery laboratory)|
|Birkenhead :||St. Catherine's hospital|
|Birmingham :||Birmingham accident hospital||(Pathological laboratory)|
|Park House||(Endocrine department)|
|East Birmingham hospital||(Pathology department)|
|Dudley road hospital|
|Selly Oak hospital|
|Blackburn :||Royal infirmary|
|Bournemouth :||Royal Victoria hospital||(Pathology department)|
|Brighton :||Royal Sussex County hospital||(Pathology department)|
|Burnley:||General hospital||(Central pathology laboratory)|
|Camberley :||Brompton hospital country branch|
|Cottingham, Humberside :||Castle Hill hospital|
|Croydon :||Mayday hospital||(Pathological laboratory)|
|Derby :||Microbiology laboratory|
|Edgware :||Edgware general hospital|
|Epsom, Surrey||West Park hospital||(Area pathology laboratory)|
|Grimsby :||General hospital||(Pathological department)|
|Guildford :||St. Luke's hospital||(Department of nuclear medicine)|
|Isleworth :||West Middlesex hospital||(Pathology departments)|
|Kingston Upon Thames :||Kingston hospital||(Pathological laboratory)|
|Leeds :||St. James's hospital||(Pathology department)|
|Killingbeck hospital||(Regional thoracic surgical centre)|
|Liverpool :||Royal infirmary|
|London :||Brompton hospital|
|Chelsea hospital for women||(Departments of pathology and endocrinology)|
|Hither Green hospital Lambeth hospital||(Southern group laboratory)|
|London hospital and medical School||(Medical, dental and scientific laboratories)|
|New Cross hospital||(Poisons reference service)|
|Queen Charlotte's maternity||(Research laboratories)|
|Queen Mary's hospital||(Professional department of obstetrics and gynaecology)|
|Royal Dental hospital of London and School of Dental Surgery|
|Royal Free hospital||(Medical and Scientific departments)|
|University College hospital||(X-Ray departments)|
|West London hospital||(Pathology department)|
been agreed that £8 million in 1980–81 should be made available from the public expenditure contingency reserve. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit for overseas aid (Class II, 10) will be increased by £8 million to £906,560,000. [Vol. 982, c. 1015–6.]
Cruelty To Animals Act 1876
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will list the establishments registered under Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 for which he is ministerially responsible.
The currently available information is as follows :
|Manchester :||Booth Hall children's hospital||(North Manchester regional virus laboratory)|
|Christie hospital and Holt Radium Institute|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne :||Newcastle General hospital Royal Victoria infirmary||(Regional neurological centre)|
|Northwood, Middlesex :||Mount Vernon hospital||(Laboratories and X-ray departments)|
|Oswestry :||The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt orthopaedic hospital|
|Oxford :||Churchill hospital||(Haemophilia centre)|
|(Department of radiotherapy)|
|John Radcliffe hospital||(Pathology department)|
|Portsmouth :||St. Mary's hospital||(Transplant research unit)|
|Reading :||Royal Berkshire hospital|
|Sheffield :||Children's hospital annexe Royal infirmary Western Park hospital|
|Shrewsbury :||Copthorne hospital||(Department of pathology)|
|Slough :||Wexham Park hospital||(Plastic surgery laboratory)|
|Smethwick :||Midlands centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery|
|Southampton :||General hospital||(Pathological department)|
|(Tenovus research laboratory)|
|Stevenage :||Lister hospital||(Department of pathology)|
|Stockport :||Stepping Hill hospital||(Department of pathology)|
|Stoke Mandeville :||Stoke Mandeville hospital|
|Stoke on Trent :||Hartshill||(Central pathology laboratory)|
|Swindon :||Princess Margaret hospital||(Area pathological laboratory)|
|Wigan :||Royal infirmary||(Pathological laboratory)|
|Wolverhampton :||Royal hospital|
|2. National Blood Transfusion Service|
|Blood Products laboratory|
|Blood group reference laboratory|
|Regional blood transfusion c centres at :||Bristol|
|Plasma fractional unit, Churchill hospital, Oxford.|
|3. Public Health Laboratory Service|
|Central public health laboratory|
|Public health laboratories at ;||Bristol|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne|
|Centre for applied microbiology and research|
|4. Other establishments|
|National Radiological Protection Board.|
|National Institute for Biological Standards and Control.|
|Department of Health and Social Security Toxicology Laboratory.|
Private Psychiatric Hospitals For Children
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many private psychiatric hospitals for children there are; what are their names; and how many children were accommodated in them at the latest available date.
Private hospitals providing nursing care or other medical treatment for mentally-disordered patients are required to be registered under the Nursing Homes Act 1975 as mental-nursing homes.At 31 December 1978, (the latest date for which central returns are available), there were in England 59 registered mental nursing homes, only one of which (the Regents Park nursing home, London, NW8) indicated that a specific provision of 28 beds was made for the treatment of children under 16 suffering from mental illness. In the case of St. Andrew's hospital, Billing Road, Northampton, it is known that in December 1979 facilities were available for the treatment of children under the age of 16, although the number of beds for children in this age-group was not specified.Of the remaining 57 registered mental-nursing homes, the 1978 returns indicated that 53 did not make provision for the treatment of children under 16. In the other four instances information on the use of beds by age was not specified. There is no central collection of data on the number of patients accommodated in registered mental-nursing homes.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps have been taken to ensure that the replies of local offices to inquiries concerning pension entitlement are accurate and up-to-date, in the light of the experience gained from a recent case investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, and reported upon by him on 11 June.
Local office procedure for dealing with these inquiries is being reviewed, so that difficulties such as those which arose in the case referred to by the right hon. and learned Gentleman can be avoided in future.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy on the participation by nurses or midwives in the termination of pregnancies by monitoring and controlling under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner the administration of abortifacient drugs.
Since the question relates to both England and Wales and Scotland, I have consulted my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and it is our understanding, based on the advice of my right hon. and learned Friends the Law Officers of the Crown, that nurses and midwives may participate in the termination of pregnancies where that participation includes the monitoring and control, under proper supervision by a registered medical practitioner, of the administration of abortifacient drugs.We understand that this view is taken after careful consideration of the whole of the Abortion Act 1967, section 1 of which provides in certain circumstances a defence in respect of an offence under the law relating to abortion. I can best summarise that advice as follows.The defence is provided to "a person" and clearly this is intended to cover more than just the registered medical practitioner. It would certainly require to cover the patient whose pregnancy is terminated, and I am advised that it would cover a nurse or midwife or other person participating in the treatment. This is obviously envisaged in section 4 of the Act which says that
"no person shall be under any duty … to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act".
There is a clear distinction between the participation in treatment (which is the termination of pregnancy) and the actual termination by a specified person i.e. a registered medical practitioner, and Parliament envisaged that there would be persons other than the registered medical practitioner who would be involved in the process of termination of pregnancy. In other words, a termination does not cease to be by a registered medical practitioner because another person participates in it.
At the time when the Bill which became the 1967 Act was proceeding through its Parliamentary stages, the methods generally adopted for termination of pregnancy were surgical procedures that took place in the operating theatre where the role of the nurse is as one of the theatre team. In these circumstances it would have been inconsistent with the usual operating theatre procedures to terminate a pregnancy without the active participation of a nurse.
In the procedure in question, the doctor is no less the principal participant in that the treatment for the termination is initiated by him and throughout the treatment he remains responsible for its overall conduct and control. The role of the nurse or midwife is of the sort in which nurses frequently engage under a doctor's direction in other spheres of clinical work.
We are advised that to interpret the words
"terminated by a registered medical practitioner "
in a way which would preclude the participation of nurses or midwives or other members of the clinical team in the manner described would be to produce an unreasonable result which would be at variance with the intention of Parliament in passing the 1967 Act.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many patients were re-admitted to each of the four special hospitals in the last year for which figures are available.
In the year ended 31 December 1979, 45 patients were readmitted to the four special hospitals ; 10 to Broadmoor, 22 to Rampton, 12 to Moss Side and one to Park Lane. Three of the re-admissions to Rampton and two to Moss Side were from the Eastdale unit at Balderton hospital.
"Income During Initial Sickness : A New Strategy"
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the organisations which have sent comments to him on "Income During Initial Sickness : A New Strategy", Cmnd. No. 7864, at the latest convenient date.
At Thursday 19 June, the following organisations had made comments on the Green Paper, "Income During Initial Sickness : A New Strategy" :
British Decorators Association (Doncaster and district branch)
Federation of Personnel Services
Fife Psychiatric Division
General and Municipal Workers' Union
Horsforth Chamber of Trade
Lancashire Footwear Manufacturers' Association
Hayes (Kent) Chamber of Commerce
National Food and Drink Federation
National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses—Cornwall
National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses—Merseyside
In addition, comments had been received from 21 individual employers, and 26 members of the general public.Private Sector Payrolls Group.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in how many cases work on the "achievements" for disabled people listed by the Minister with special responsibility for the disabled in the debate, Official Report, 12 June, c. 840–41, was begun before the present Government took office.
The improvements in help to disabled people which I listed during the Supply Debate on 12 June were the result of decisions made by this Government in their first year in office. The hon. Member will appreciate that I am not privy to the extent that the previous Administration had considered these matters and decided not to implement the changes.—[Vol. 986, c. 840–841.]
Sun-Tan Creams (5 Methoxypsoralen)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, whether any sun-tan creams that contain 5 methoxypsoralen are sold in the United Kingdom in a form that is undistilled.
I have been asked to reply.As suppliers of cosmetic products are not generally required to specify the contents of their goods this information is not available. However, I understand that at least one sun-tan product may contain oil of bergamot in an undistilled form and so 5-methoxypsoralen may be present in that product.
asked the Secretary of Stale for Social Services if he will arrange for an exhibition relating to perinatal mortality to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.
I understand that arrangements have been made with the authorities of the House for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from 23 to 27 June.
European Community Budget Council
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the meeting of the European Community Budget Council on 17 June.
The Budget Council met in Luxembourg on 17 June to consider the revised 1980 Community budget proposals presented by the Commission. In reaching its decision on these proposals, the Council took into account the views expressed by a delegation from the European Parliament.The Council discussed the question of provision in the 1980 budget for advance payments to the United Kingdom in respect of the supplementary measures which the Council agreed on 29–30 May should form part of the solution on the United Kingdom's budget problem. One member State emphasised that because of severe domestic budgetary constraints in 1980 it could not at this stage agree to substantive provision for advances in the 1980 budget. However, these difficulties would not affect the financing of the 1981 budget so that payments to the United Kingdom could be made early next year, that is within the United Kingdom's current financial year 1980–81.I made it clear that the United Kingdom attached great importance to an entry to cover the reference in the agreement to the right of the United Kingdom to ask for advance payments. I also mentioned that later in the year there might in any case be the possibility of transfers from elsewhere in the budget where provision might be underspent and the Council should look at this matter later in the year.I also obtained the Commission's confirmation that provision for the full amount estimated to be payable to the United Kingdom in respect of 1980 would be made in its 1981 preliminary draft budget proposals to the Council. The Council decided on the inclusion of a token entry to advances in the 1980 budget and recorded in its minutes that it had noted that, in agreeing on this token entry in the 1980 budget for supplementary measures in the United Kingdom, first, this did not prejudice arrangements for establishment of the 1981 budget, and, secondly, this did not prejudice the right of the United Kingdom to ask for advance payments in 1980 in accordance with the agreement of 29–30 May once the necessary regulation had been adopted.The European Parliament thought that this expenditure should be classified as non-obligatory. The Commission, however, explained that since the sums were fixed and the duration of the agreement was limited, it had no doubt that this expenditure should be classified as obligatory. The Council supported this view.For the budget as a whole, the Council decided on the form of a proposal to be put to the European Parliament. The proposal was that if the Parliament were prepared to adopt the budget in a single reading at its session on 26–27 June, the Council for its part would be prepared to see non-obligatory expenditure increased by a total of some 240 MEUA (about £146 million at current rates of exchange) compared with the draft budget agreed by the Council on 23 November last.The Council decided to support a declaration drafted by the Commission which it hoped would meet the Parliament's views on the future structuring of the budget with particular reference to agricultural expenditure.In deference to the Parliament's wishes it also agreed to improve the information relating to borrowing and lending in the Community budget.The Council also decided to inform the Parliament that it would be prepared to give the Parliament detailed information on the financial arrangements regarding the European development fund and to reconsider the question of the inclusion in future of the EDF in the Community budgetThe Council's proposals for the 1980 budget are now being considered by the European Parliament.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North, Official Report, 23 May, column 467, if he will now list the 10 countries with the highest top rates of income tax, including investment incomes.
The information available is given in the table below :
|TEN COUNTRIES WITH HIGHEST TOP RATES OF INCOME TAX ON INVESTMENT INCOME|
|Including local income tax|
|Excluding local income tax|
- Belgium and Japan : The rates which apply to the majority of the population.
- Italy : The universal rate of local income tax. Sweden : The Stockholm rate.
Capital Allowances Act 1968
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will seek to amend section 51 of the Capital Allowances Act 1968, to permit an allowance to be made against tax in respect of land acquired for the dumping or storage of mineral waste, analogous to the acquisition of mineral-bearing land, for and prior to the examination of minerals.
I have noted my hon. Friend's suggestion.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied with the operation of section 37 and the ninth schedule to the Finance Act 1963, covering mineral depletions ; and what complaints he has received from the industry.
I have received, and carefully noted, a number of suggestions for changing the mineral depletion allowance.
Inland Revenue And Customs And Excise
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is now in a position to announce the composition and terms of reference for his inquiry into the methods of investigation used by the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham and Crawley (Mr. Hordern) on 14 May.—[Vol. 984, c. 477–78.]
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a list of all the benefits detailed in the Official Report, 27 March, columns 1674–78, showing (a) those which are already taxable, (b) those which he proposes to make taxable in 1982 and (c) those which he proposes to leave tax free.
I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 12 February [c. 602–3] and on 3 June [c. 649–50.]
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83 and 1983–84 of granting capital allowances for new retail buildings, at the 20 per cent. hotels rate, from 5 August.
I will let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, at the latest most convenient stated date, how many persons were in custody on remand awaiting trial who had been in prison or custody for one week or more.
It is estimated that on 30 April 1980 nearly 4,000 persons held on remand to await trial had been in custody for one week or more.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he now intends to make a statement on civil defence.
I now expect to be able to make a statement before the Summer Recess.
Immigration Appeals Procedure
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what change in the immigration appeals procedure he is considering.
A general indication of the matters which are under consideration was given in the speech which I made to the annual conference of the United Kingdom immigrants advisory service on 12 April. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House. Priority is being given to a review of the rules of procedure of the appellate authorities.
Prescribed Industrial Diseases
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now withdraw the circular 18/80 issued to coroners and others on the need for pathologists to collaborate with pneumoconiosis medical panels upon the death of persons adjudged to have been suffering from prescribed industrial diseases ; and if he will make a statement.
I am not aware at present of any grounds for doing so. The circular reflects the importance attached by the Brodrick committee to effective liaison between coroners pathologists and pneumoconiosis medical panels.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of students in maintained secondary schools now stay in school after the compulsory school-leaving age for one, two and three extra years, respectively.
From information relating to the school year 1978–79, it is estimated that the proportion of pupils in maintained secondary schools in England who were staying on at least one extra year was 24 per cent. at least two extra years 16 per cent. and three years 1 per cent.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from the Council of Local Education Authorities regarding spending in educational and technical colleges.
I have recently received a submission from the Council of Local Education Authorities on the government of further education colleges, an annex to which refers amongst other things to overspending by some colleges. I am currently considering the submission as a whole and shall shortly be discussing it with representatives of the local authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place a copy in the Library of the report sent to him by the Council of Local Education Authorities concerning spending in colleges.
As explained in my reply today to my hon. Friend, the reference which he probably has in mind forms part of a communication on a broader subject which is to be the subject of further discussion with the Council of Local Education Authorities. It is not for me to make this document public at this stage.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will set up an inquiry into overspending and squandering of public money by local educational colleges.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent the revenue costs of capital expenditure on new schools are taken into account when calculating the rate support grant; and whether the new system of calculating the rate support grant will take account of current rather than historic populations.
The revenue implications of capital expenditure are treated in the same way as other revenue expenditure for the purposes of calculating the total of relevant expenditure for rate support grant purposes. The method of calculating each authority's "standard expenditure" or share of that total relevant expenditure for the purposes of the new RSG No. system is currently under discussion with the local authority associations, and decisions have yet to be taken.
Industrial Language Training Units
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many students were under industrial language training units' tuition during the year 1979–80; and how many full-time teacher equivalents were anointed to tutor them.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information available about students on industrial language training courses relates to completions only. During the financial year 1979–80, 1,936 students completed an industrial language training course and 2,563 managers, supervisors and workplace representatives completed background and awareness courses.It is not possible to calculate the full-time teacher equivalents engaged on this training, partly because detailed information about part-time working in the local training units is not available centrally, and partly because of changes in the number of teachers in the units during the year. However, the number of full-time teachers in post in such units were 62 in April 1979 and 78 in March 1980. Practice among the units varied but, on average, 53 per cent. of the time of the units was spent on the conduct of training courses.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many students are taught for each hour during which a tutor is employed in an industrial language training unit; and what is the average cost of teaching each student per hour in such a unit.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information is not available; but I will write further to my hon. Friend on this.
Road Transport Industry Training Board
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has for the improvement, scrutiny and control of the Road Transport Industry Training Board; and whether he will make a statement.
Scrutiny and control of the administrative activities of industrial training boards, including those of the Road Transport Industry Training Board, is exercised through the Manpower Services Commission, whose staff discuss plans and budgets with ITB staff each year. ITB proposals for grant aiding training have to be approved by the MSC, and proposals for levy and levy exemption have to be approved by the MSC and Secretary of State for Employment.The Government will decide whether further action needs to be taken in the light of the report of the MCS's review of our industrial training arrangements generally, including the operation of the ITBs. The report is expected next month.
Industrial Training Boards
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total level of expenditure incurred by each industrial training board and the amount raised by levies in the industries affected.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) on 3 June.—[Vol. 985. c. 685–86.] Pursuant to that reply, the additional information asked for is as follows :
|Gross income from levy (1978–79)|
|Air transport and travel||5·053|
|Ceramics glass & mineral products||2·863|
|Chemical and allied products||11·830|
|Clothing and allied products||3·202|
|Cotton and allied textiles||3·042|
|Food, drink & tobacco||23·180|
|Footwear, leather and furskin||2·301|
|Foundry industry training committee||4·287|
|Furniture & timber||4·321|
|Hotel & catering||5·825|
|Iron & steel||10·005|
|Knitting lace & net||1·209|
|Paper & paper products||3·739|
|Printing & publishing||7·425|
|Rubber and plastics||6·656|
|Wool, jute & flax||1·353|
* There are great differences between the policies of boards on exemption from levy. These figures include the amounts of levy income which have been received had boards not operated levy exemption arrangements.
Employment And Training Act (Report)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects the report on the operation of the Employment and Training Act 1973 to be presented to the Manpower Services Commission ; and whether it will be made available to the public.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it hopes to consider the report of the review body on the Employment and Training Act at its meeting on 22 July 1980. I will ask the Commission to give consideration to the publication of the report.
Trade Unions (Immunity)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the proposed Green Paper on trade union immunities planned for the autumn will allow for the possibility of revoking the particular immunity made lawful, if clause 16 of the Employment Bill becomes law.
Clause 16 does not confer any new immunity on secondary action in furtherance of a trade dispute, but severely restricts the almost unlimited immunity established by the last Government's legislation. However, the Green Paper will review the whole question of trade union immunities, including the extent, if any, to which there should be immunity in respect of such secondary action.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied that under clause 16 of the Employment Bill there will still remain lawful opportunities for unions to take sympathetic or blacking action designed to increase pressure on an employer, his customers and suppliers.
The clause removes immunity from the indiscriminate secondary action which has been a common feature of recent disputes. It confirms immunity, as regards secondary action in furtherance of a trade dispute, to action whose purpose and likely effect is directly to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods or services to or from the employer in dispute under a subsisting contract.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether it is his intention that, under clause 16 of the Employment Bill as presently drafted, a union in dispute with "A" but not with "B" or "C" can lawfully instruct its members not to handle the goods of "C" at "B's" premises in order to bring pressure upon "A". and that neither "B" or "C" will have any legal redress against the union.
It is my right hon. Friend's intention by clause 16 to restrict very severely the almost unlimited immunity for secondary action in furtherance of a trade dispute established by the last Government's legislation, but not to withdraw immunity in all circumstances from all such action.Accordingly, clause 16 confines such immunity to action whose sole or principal purpose, and likely effect, is directly to prevent or disrupt the supply of goods or services to or from the employer in dispute under a contract then in existence. Whether the action described in the question would attract immunity would depend upon whether on the full facts of the case these conditions were fulfilled.The clause provides no immunity for instructing action by "B's" employees with the sole or principal purpose of disrupting business between "B" and "C" as an indirect means of disrupting "B's" business with "A".
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many epileptics are currently registered with the disablement resettlement officer in Ipswich ; and how many were so registered in each year since 1975.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that in April 1980, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 34 people with epilepsy registered as disabled with the disablement resettlement officer in Ipswich. The numbers registered at the same time in preceeding years are as follows :
Public Sector Employees (Pay)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the percentage increase in the current year's pay awards negotiated so far in each of the different segments of the public sector, stating against each one how much of the percentage increase is attributable to comparability
|June 1979 to May 1980||…||…||…||…||…||…||56||2,260|
|June 1978 to May 1979||…||…||…||…||…||…||72||3,007|
and catching-up awards and how much to an ordinary annual increase.
The information required is not available to me. My Department does not monitor pay settlements in detail.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what was the increase in percentage and actual terms in unemployment among ethnic minorities, showing age groups and, in particular, young people, for the latest 12 months for which figures are available; what were the comparable figures for the increase in total unemployment; and what were the comparable figures in those regions which account for most ethnic minority unemployment;(2) what statistics or other information he has about the duration of unemployment among young people from the ethnic minorities.
I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms have ceased trading in Birmingham during the last year; and what is the comparable figure for the previous year.
The number of establishments in Birmingham whose intended closure has been notified to the Department of Employment under the redundancy-handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975 during the last year and the preceding year is as follows :
Maternity And Nursery Facilities
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what study he has made of the publication "Workplace Attitudes to Maternity and Nursery Facilities" published by the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staffs; a copy of which has been sent to him by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe; what action he has taken ; and if he will make a statement.
I have noted with interest this case study, which I received on 19 June 1980. The statutory maternity provisions constitute a minimum and the Government's views on the extent to which they need to be amended are represented in the Employment Bill. Subject to these provisions, there is nothing in the legislation to prevent employers and employees from negotiating voluntary agreements on these matters, including paternity leave and nursery facilities, on the lines suggested in the study.
"Fit For Work" Campaign
asked the Secretary of State for Employment at what date the Manpower Services Commission first began to prepare for the "Fit for Work" campaign.
I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that preliminary planning for its "Fit for Work" campaign on behalf of disabled people began early in 1978. The decision to mount the campaign was taken by the commission in September of that year, whereupon detailed preparation commenced, culminating in its launch on 17 September 1979 by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.
Employers Of Graduates
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he forwarded to the Standing Commission on pay comparability for consideration in report No. 17 (Teachers) a copy of the annual survey of the Standing Conference of Employers of Graduates.
No. The Office of Manpower Economics, which services the commission, obtained the survey in confidence direct from the Standing Conference of Employers of Graduates.
Staflex International Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is yet in a position to announce the redundancies declared by Staflex International Ltd. in addition to the 208 employees made redundant from the five main subsidiary companies.
[pursuant to his reply, 133 June 1980, c. 248]: To trace the other four subsidiary United Kingdom companies of Staflex International Ltd. and to obtain the information requested could only be done at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of redundancies notified to his Department for the Consett travel-to-work area in the 12 months following May 1979.
[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1980, c. 452–53]: From June 1979 to May 1980 the number of proposed re dundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975, for the Consett travel-to-work area involved 1,719 employees at 22 establishments.During the same period 277 redundancies at five 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 Consett travel-to-work area in the same period involved 770 employees. This figure is provisional since some notifications are received late.Both Department of Employment and Manpower Services Commission figures are for redundancies involving 10 or more employees.
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.
[pursuant to his reply, 18 June 1980, c. 508]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the average gross cost of employing a person on the special temporary employment programme is £72·20 per week. Unemployment and supplementary benefits payable to an unemployed married man with two children range from £42·00 to £52·20 per week according to the age of the children and the length of his unemployment.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will explain the circumstances, following the reply on 22 May by the Parliamentary Secretary to the hon. Member for Melton, whereby incorrect information on the total United Kingdom sales of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (trichlorophenoxyacetic acid) came to be made public by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides.
This information, which related to usage rather than sales of these products, was not the responsibility of the advisory committee. Usage estimates prepared by my Department were given to the committee in December 1978 and published in its March 1979 report. They were later quoted by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in its seventh report (Cmnd 7644).Annual usage of active ingredient was estimated at about 1 ton each for forestry, agriculture and other purposes, i.e. some three tons in all. It is now clear that far more was being used in the late 1970s, and my inquiries suggest three main reasons why the estimates were deficient.First, in those days there seems to have been a general assumption, as illustrated by a weed research organisation study published in 1977, that
"almost all 2,4,5-T sold in Britain was used for woody plant control" ;
and again that
"the use of the herbicides in Britain is small and almost confined to forestry".
This may have been so in the late 1960s when the Forestry Commission was using upwards of 40 tons a year, mainly to clear derelict woodlands ; but the Commission's usage, temporarily suspended in the early 1970s, had declined to about 1 ton by 1977.
Similarly, local authority returns of usage, e.g. in parks and gardens, showed a decline of over 40 per cent. to less than 0.3 tons, between 1973 and 1978. However, there are now indications that this decline in use of 2,4,5-T as a brush-killer, notably in forestry, may have been either accompanied or followed by an increase in its use on farms, alone or in mixtures, and especially for general or spot treatment of permanent grassland.
Secondly, Departmental pesticide usage surveys had not then extended to permanent grassland. Since 1965, these small sample surveys had been concentrated on arable and horticultural crops in England and Wales and the results, most of which have already been published, showed very little use of 2,4,5-T e.g. in orchards and hop gardens, with an estimated total of about 1¼ tons a year.
The results of the 1978–79 first-ever permanent grassland survey of England and Wales, which will incorporate data from Scotland, have still to be processed ; and spot treatments are being further studied because of the margin for error—for example, 9 tonnes would be needed to give spot treatment to 1 per cent. of permanent grassland in England and Wales.
Finally, the estimates were based only upon available returns rendered by public authorities, and available data from surveys at the point of use; and in either case these differed over both space and time. For example Northern Ireland was not included in any of the returns and surveys. Again, at one extreme permanent grassland survey data had still to be collected whilst, at the other, the main data on non-agricultural uses related to 1972–73 as published in the Department of Environment's Pollution Paper No. 3 (where 2,4,5-T herbicides are mentioned among pesticides used by British Rail and the CEGB, and where NCB usage was quoted at 0·9 tonnes).
I accept that there will always be difficulties in obtaining precise figures for overall United Kingdom usage of any pesticide at any given time; but if we are to make the best possible estimates I consider that, as the Royal Commission on environmental pollution has since recommended, other organisations concerned should be involved ; and in particular manufacturers' and suppliers' organisations should be approached for marketing data.
This is contrary to past practice, but I have insisted on it for the new survey of current usage announced in the reply given to my hon Friend on 22 May; and for which the starting point will be figures which the industry obtained for me last month, i.e. that 46, 51 and 58 tonnes were put on the market in the three years 1977–79 for eventual use in the United Kingdom. Figures for United Kingdom usage of these herbicides have to be distinguished from figures for imports of commercial 2,4,5-T for formulating ; all 2,4,5-T used in this country is imported, but over 60 per cent. of all the imported material is re-exported in formulated products.
Docklands Southern Relief Road
asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether the docklands southern relief road is eligible for aid under the European Economic Community's proposed expenditure on transport infrastructure ;(2) whether the docklands southern relief road is eligible for funding as a non-agricultural project under the terms of the renegotiation of Great Britain's contribution to the European Economic Community budget;(3) whether there is any possibility of the docklands southern relief road being financed from European Economic Community funds.
EEC grants towards the cost of road schemes are at present confined, under the European regional development fund, to those in assisted areas. I cannot yet say whether the scheme in question would qualify for Community support either under the terms of the special expenditure arrangements agreed in the renegotiation of our contribution to the EEC budget, or through the Commission's proposals for a new European transport infrastructure fund. Draft regulations on both these matters are still under discussion.
A 120 (Speed Restriction)
asked the Minister of Transport if he will now announce his consent to the extension of the 40-mile per hour speed restriction on the A120 in the vicinity of Takeley Street.
A letter of consent to this extension was sent to the Essex county council on 18 June.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish a table showing each rise in food prices since the EEC referendum which has occurred as a result of an increase in common agricultural policy prices following a devaluation of the green pound or other ministerial decision, together with the official estimate of the effect of each increase on retail food prices and on the cost of living generally ; what was the index of retail food prices at each point; and what it is at the present time.
A list of the dates and timing of major decisions on green pound devaluations and CAP price settlements is given below. It is difficult to assess the effect of these on food prices, but the estimate of my predecessor was that a 5 per cent. green pound devaluation had an effect of 1/5 per cent. on the retail price index. It is our estimate that a I per cent. increase in CAP prices in general adds about 0·04 per cent. to the retail price index. What is true of the present period is that food prices are rising far slower than prices in general.
|Date of announcement||Change|
|24 July 1975||Green pound devaluation|
|15 October 1975||Green pound devaluation|
|8 March 1976||CAP prices settlement|
|27 April 1977||CAP prices settlement and green pound devaluation|
|1 February 1978||Green pound devaluation|
|12 May 1978||CAP prices settlement|
|3 April 1979||Green pound devaluation|
|22 June 1979||CAP prices settlement and green pound devaluation|
|27 September 1979||Green pound devaluation|
|12 December 1979||Green pound devaluation|
|2 June 1980||CAP price settlement|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the active ingredients in the herbicide formulations used by the Forestry Commission ; and what tonnage of individual active ingredients was applied to Forestry Commission land during 1978 and 1979.
The following figures show the quantities of active ingredient in the herbicides used by the Forestry Commission in the last two years.
|Active ingredient Common chemical name||Amount (tonees) Year ended 30 September|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the permitted level of 2, 3, 7, 8-tetra-chlorodibenzo-p-dioxin impurity in the bactericide hexachlorophene.
I have been asked to reply.A limit of 15 parts per thousand million is applied for its presence in hexachlorophene in human medicinal products.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the guaranteed European Economic Community price for sheepmeat is payable on meat produced in all European Economic Community countries; whether, in that event, there is any variation in terms of green currencies or otherwise ; what is the current or recent market price in each country ; and whether he expects prices to be equalised as a result of the agreement reached on sheepment.
The proposed sheepmeat regulation will apply throughout the Community. There will be annual premiums to maintain incomes following the introduction of the regime, and sea-sonalised market support at a lower level either in the form of limited intervention or of variable premiums.
It is proposed to convert institutional prices using representative or green rates and there will be some differences in these prices when expressed in national currencies.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether his assumption about the limited effect of a devaluation of the green pound on the retail price of food and on the retail price index applies equally to a straightforward devaluation ; and, if not, whether he would expect prices to rise by more or by less.
There is no link between the two effects. The object of the system of green rates and monetary compensatory amounts is to insulate the prices of the products concerned from exchange rate movements. Accordingly a devaluation of the green pound affects only the prices of products covered by that system.A depreciation of sterling, on the other hand, influences the prices of a much wider range of food products and in a way which is more variable between products, usually more indirect, and impossible to quantify at all precisely.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the working of the multi-fibre arrangement and the protection the agreement affords to local firms.
I believe that the restrictions associated with the multi-fibre arrangement were the best that could have been negotiated at the time and that they are in general being satisfactorily implemented. It is not possible to assess the effect on particular firms or firms in particular regions.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether administrative methods are being used to delay commercial deals negotiated between companies based in Great Britain and customers in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics : and, in particular, whether such steps are being used in relation to goods which might relate to the Olympics.
Companies Acts (Inquiries)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade, if, in view of delays in his Department's investigations into companies under the Companies Acts, he will bring forward proposals to speed up such inquiries ; and if he will consider the appointment, where appropriate, of solicitors in place of barristers as inspectors to act jointly with accountants.
As regards my proposals for the inspection system generally, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the right hon. Member for Crosby (Sir. G. Page) on 19 May.—[Vol. 985, c. 15.] I do not exclude the possibility of appointing solicitors as inspectors in appropriate cases.
Air Transport (Carrier's Liability)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied that the level of liability of the carrier in respect of the death or injury to a passenger on an aircraft, currently governed by legislation based on the Warsaw Convention, is adequate; and what proposals the Government have for seeking an urgent review of the law affecting passengers involved in air crashes.
I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) on 16 June 1980.—[Vol. 193, c. 369.]
asked the Secre-of State for Trade, in view of the fact that he is not obliged to await international agreement to alter Warsaw Convention limits before exercising his powers to increase air passenger liability limits in United Kingdom domestic flights, why he declines to raise domestic liability limits to a figure that is currently fair to the dependants of passengers killed in domestic accidents.
It is expected that a decision will be reached shortly on the recently-published proposal by the Civil Aviation Authority to revise to 100,000 special drawing rights (about £56,000) the limit of liability to which United Kingdom airlines are subject in respect of international carriage of passengers by air. It seems sensible to bring the current domestic limit into line with whatever figure is decided upon.Airlines must be given adequate notice of changes of this kind but it is our intention that the new limits shall be effective from 1 April 1981.
South Africa (African Workers)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the precise number of black African workers being paid below the poverty datum line by British companies, in South Africa, as revealed by the latest round of reports ; and, similarly, what was the precise number being paid below the minimum effectve level.
I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Grant) on 16 April.—[Vol. 982. c. 653–4.] All companies' reports under the code are available for scrutiny in the Library of the House.
Ussr (British Companies)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the principal companies involved in capital works in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the value of such contracts ; what discussions have been held with them by the Government; and if it remains Her Majesty's Government policy to encourage such trade.
It is not the Government's practice to disclose information on the export activities of individual companies except by arrangement with the firms concerned. We keep in touch with companies concerned with major export contracts. As my right hon. Friend told my hon. Friend for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) on 4 February, the Government believe that trade should continue to be developed where this is genuinely in the interest of both countries.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total number and value of imports of cars, trucks, vans and lorries into the
United Kingdom from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in each year since June 1970.
|UNITED KINGDOM IMPORTS FROM THE USSR|
Passenger motor cars (1)
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods or materials (2)
Value (£'000 cif)
Value (£'000 cif)
|1978||…||…||…||…||17 998||18 490||81||496|
Source : United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics ((1) SITC (Rev 2) Group 781 and (2) sub-group 782.1 and corresponding items under SITC (Rev 1)).
Equipment Exhibition, Aldershot
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether hon. Members will be allowed to visit the British Army equipment exhibition to be held at Aldershot from 23 June; and if not, why not.
Hon. Members are welcome to attend the exhibition and requests for invitations should be addressed to my noble Friend the Minister of State.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current cost of the meteorological service in the United Kingdom and the comparable cost of the service three years ago; and if he will list the current uses of the service.
The estimated voted expenditure of the Meteorological Office for 1979–80 was £33·4 million. After taking receipts of £12·2 million mainly for repayment services, into account, the net expenditure was £21·2 million. The comparable figures for 1976–77 were £28·3 million and £8·6 million a net expenditure of £19·7 million, which was therefore substantially greater in real terms.The uses of the service are for defence, civil aviation, merchant and fishing shipping, North Sea offshore operations, industry, agriculture, gas, water and electricity utilities, Government Departments
[pursuant to his reply, 5 June 1980 c. 815]: The information is as follows :and local authorities, the press, television, radio and the general public. Last year office staff answered 2·19 million enquiries from industry, the public etc., issued 2·32 million forecasts for military and civil aviation, and 330·8 million calls were made on the automatic telephone weather service.The Meteorological Office plays a leading role in major international programmes such as the world weather watch, the global atmospheric research programme and the world climate programme of the World Meteorological Organisation. It is also responsible for a major part of the national effort in meteorological research and in the professional training of meteorologists from home and overseas.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how the costs of ship repairs in Gibraltar dockyard compare with Her Majesty's dockyards in England.
Comparisons of the costs for refits of Leander-class frigates has shown that although the inclusive cost per manweek of ship repair work at Gibraltar is less than the cost in the four United Kingdom Dockyards, the overall cost of ship refits can be marginally greater. Among the reasons for this is that Gibraltar has a proportionately higher incidence of operational defect work than any United Kingdom Dockyard. This can have a disruptive affect on refit work.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what work for the Royal Navy is being carried out in Gibraltar dockyard; and what work is envisaged in the future.
Her Majesty's dockyard, Gibraltar, is now undertaking a frigate normal refit and a mine countermeasures vessel major refit. Its future programme comprises single streams of frigate and of MCMV refits. Its other main task is the rectification of defects in operational ships.
Devonport Dockyard (Apprentice Training)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many apprentices are currently undergoing training at Devonport dockyard ; and what is the projected intake for the year 1980–81, 1981–82 and 1982–83.
The number of apprentices at present undergoing training at Devon-port dockyard in 1,118 of whom 1,038 are craft apprentices and 80 are technician apprentices.The intake for 1980 has not been finally settled but a target figure is being used for planning purposes which, although less than the 1978 and 1979 intake, is of a similar order to those of 1976 and 1977, approximately 260.Entry numbers for 1981 and 1982 are not yet available. It is not the practice to decide these numbers so far in advance but to determine requirements for some six months before the entry date.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost of training one apprentice at Devonport dockyard over the full period of his apprenticeship.
The total cost of training an apprentice over the four years of his apprenticeship is of the order of £20,000, but this reduces to about £18,000 when allowance is made for the contribution by the older apprentices to production.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what number of United States Air Force personnel will be involved in operation of cruise missiles in the United Kingdom ; and if he is satisfied that such personnel will be of adequate experience and educational ability.
The total number of United States Air Force personnel who will be involved in the operation of missiles will be about 1,950. The selection of these personnel is, of course, a matter for the USAF, but I am confident that they will be of the same high calibre as those American Service men already stationed in this country.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements exist to service cruise missiles installed in the United Kingdom.
All maintenance and servicing of these missiles will be carried out by United States personnel.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if any road improvements are being planned to facilitate dispersal of cruise missiles ; and, if so, at what cost.
This is a matter which we shall be discussing with the local authorities concerned.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) to how many sites cruise missiles will be dispersed ; if nuclear warheads will be available at all sites ; and, if so, what precautions will be taken to prevent radioactive leakage or misfiring;(2) what safeguards are proposed when cruise missiles are moved from site to site ; and whether guards will be provided by the police or the United States Air Force.
As I have already informed the House, the missile flights will only be deployed away from their bases in peacetime for training purposes, when they will use dummy missiles. When dispersed in time of tension or war they would do so with their warheads already fitted, to sites which do not have to be prepared in advance.It would not be in the public interest to give details of the precise security or safety arrangements affecting operational deployments but, as I have already made clear, the most stringent safeguards will be taken at all times.