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Written Answers

Volume 987: debated on Friday 27 June 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 27 June 1980

House Of Commons

Galleries (Conduct)

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Ravensbourne (Mr. Hunt), Official Report, 23 June, column 22, on what basis the authorisation is given to representatives of the Press with authorised access to the Press Gallery; and whether such authorisation limits their reporting on the proceedings to their authorised Press interests only.

Seats in the Press Gallery are allocated to the various newspapers represented there, and are occupied by reporters nominated by the editors concerned.The use made by reporters of their material is entirely a matter for the editor of the newspaper.

Select Committees

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, whether he will provide all the costs and charges so far incurred in the present Parliament by each Select Committee on visits outside Westminster, giving a detailed breakdown of the purposes of each visit; dates and itineraries.

Civil Service

Official Report Of Debates

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the price of the Official Report.

In order to contain the losses on Hansard within the agreed subsidy for 1980–81 it is now necessary to increase the price of the daily edition from 45p to 80p and the weekly edition from £1·25 to £2·20. There will he corresponding increases in the prices of indexes, Standing Committee debates, bound volumes and subscription rates. The scale of charges for reprints of Members' speeches appearing in the Official Report will also he raised. The revised prices will come into effect as soon as possible but annual subscriptions immediately become renewable at the new rates. Despite these increases, the publication of Hansard will still incur a substantial financial loss.

Afghanistan

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the light of Russian aggression in Afghanistan, there was any discussion at the Venice summit of the case for stopping further provision of export credits to the Russians at consensus rates of interest; and whether it is her policy for taxpayers in the West to continue to strengthen the economic base of the Russian war effort.

The Venice summit noted that a consensus exists on interest rates for export credits for many countries including the Soviet Union. The rate of interest is about to rise by three quarters of 1 per cent. to a level which is only just below average domestic interest rates in certain of the countries in the consensus. A unilateral increase in the rate of British credit would merely divert Soviet purchases from this country to others.

European Community (Spain And Portugal)

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied that in the long term the accession of Spain and Portugal to the European Economic Community will not increase the United Kingdom's budget contribution.

The accession of Spain and Portugal to the European Community will necessitate a larger Community budget, and therefore higher gross contributions by all the existing members. It is not possible to say whether this will result in a higher net contribution by the United Kingdom. This will depend on a number of factors, notably the nature of any decision taken in the meanwhile on the CAP and the results of the 1981 review of the structure of the Community budget.

Overseas Development

Somali And Eritrean Refugees

asked the Lord Privy Seal what aid is being given by the United Kingdom through the European Economic Community or otherwise to Somali and Eritrean refugees.

My hon. Friend stated on 22 May—[Vol. 985, c. 345–46]—that we planned to contribute £850,000 to the appeal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for refugee relief in Somalia; and my right hon. and noble Friend announced in another place on 18 June that part of this contribution would be provided as 5,000 tonnes of bilateral food aid. On 20 June I announced in Khartoum that we intended to contribute £850,000 of assistance this year for the resettlement of refugees in Sudan; most of these refugees are from Ethiopia.

DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION
1 January 1980 £1 September 1980* £
Highest paid Head Teacher†14,16015,732
Maximum14,16015,732
Minimum13,36814,853
Lowest paid teacher‡3,5193,780

Notes

* The actual salary rates payable from 1st September 1980, will depend on the outcome of the claim for an increase from 1st April 1980, which has been referred to arbitration.

† Head teacher, group 14 school.

‡Scale 1 teacher, lowest incremental point.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average salary paid to a teacher in England and Wales following the recent Clegg award.

Following the first stage of the Clegg award payable from 1 January 1980 the average salary of full-time teachers in maintained primary and secondary schools is estimated to be £6,030. This will be increased by the pay settlement for 1 April 1980, now referred to arbitration, and the second and final stage of the Clegg award which will be payable from 1 September 1980.

Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list in the Official Report those education authorities that have now closed So far in 1980 the European Community has contributed some £3 million for emergency aid to Somalia, £180,000 for Jibuti and £1·8 million for Sudan, and will be sending food aid to the value of at least £14 million. The United Kingdom share of these contributions is about £4 million.

Education And Science

Teachers (Pay And Conditions Of Service)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the salary of the highest-paid head of school and of the lowest-paid teacher under the recent Clegg award.

The pay settlement based on the Standing Commission's first published recommendations is being implemented in two stages, half from 1 January 1980 and in full from 1 September 1980. Information for both stages is contained in the table below.their nursery schools and classes in order to implement education cuts.

My Department has no information on any closures prior to 5 May 1980. From 5 May local education authorities have been required by section 12 of the Education Act 1980 to give two months' notice of proposals to close nursery schools. No such proposals are yet due for decision. The local education authorities for Coventry and for Hereford and Worcester have each published a proposal to close one nursery school.

School Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give, from figures available to him, a precise breakdown of a school meal, detailing the amount of money spent on wages and salaries and other overheads, and the amount spent on actual food.

In the financial years 1978–79—the latest year for which information is available—the average cost of a school meal in England and Wales was 54·3p. This was made up as follows:

food costs16·6p
Salaries and wages kitchen staff24·6
midday supervision4·2
other2·331·1p
other overheads-fuel, lighting, cleaning, maintenance6·6p
Total54·3p

Circular 1/80

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, on what date circular 1/80 was dispatched from his Department.

Copies of circular 1/80 were sent to local education authorities on 1 May 1980. Distribution continued on 2 and 6 May and was completed on 7 May.

School Books

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of the annual expenditure on education in the North-West of England is spent upon the provision of school books.

In the financial year 1978–79 expenditure on school books, educational equipment and materials amounted to 3½ per cent. and that on books alone to about 1 per cent. of the total net recurrent expenditure of local education authorities in the North-West of England.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average sum spent on the provision of school books for each child in the current academic year; and what is the estimated amount for the next academic year for (a) children in the Macclesfield parliamentary constituency and (b) Cheshire as a whole.

Figures of estimated and actual expenditure by local education authorities are not available for academic years or for the areas or parliamentary constituencies. The latest available figures of actual expenditure are for the financial year 1978–79: expenditure by Cheshire local education authority on books, educational equipment and materials, expressed per primary and secondary pupil respectively, was £9·4 and £25·5 at outturn prices. The equivalent figures for England and Wales were £12·8 and £24·2.

Employment

Private Railways

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will consider special job creation schemes in order to encourage railways at present in private ownership.

Provision already exists for railway preservation companies to sponsor temporary employment and training schemes under the special temporary employment programme and the youth opportunities programme, both of which are administered by the Manpower Services Commission.There are no plans to make separate provision for privately-owned railway companies.

Job Release Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will take steps to extend the job release scheme, so as to enable more men to retire from jobs where younger unemployed people are anxious and willing to take over those jobs.

We do not propose to make any changes in the current job release schemes which are due to end on 5 April 1981. Decisions on the future of the schemes after that date will be made as part of the annual review of the special employment and training measures which will take place later this year.

Industrial Training Boards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are employed by each industrial training board; and what is the level of total expenditure on wages and salaries in each case.

BoardNumber of full-time staff 1 April 1980Wages and salary costs 1979/80*£m
Air Transport and Travel760·769
Carpet140·090
Ceramics, Glass and Mineral Products1120·952
Chemical and Allied Products1581·137
Clothing and Allied Products700·442
Construction8124·914
Cotton and Allied Textiles760·589
Distributive4362·878
Engineering8235·165
Food, Drink and Tobacco1751·349
Footwear, Leather and Furskin450·336
Foundry Industry Training Committee660·487
Furniture and Timber1000·872
Hotel and Catering2582·143
Iron and Steel550·516
Knitting, Lace and Net470·320
Man-made Fibre50·048
Paper and Paper Products750·547
Petroleum1010·852
Printing and Publishing1631·437
Road Transport8716·593
Rubber and Plastics960·860
Shipbuilding870·529
Wool, Jute and Flax580·412

Notes

* Salary figures include employers national insurance and pension contributions but exclude all other employment costs (eg travel, subsistence, accommodation, etc)

Northern Region

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the number of notified redundancies and closures of firms in the Northern region in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available.

Proposed redundancies (including closures)Closures
EmployeesEstablishmentsEmployeesEstablishments
1979—
June2,252382596
July2,8715730912
August2,0024145310
September5,079591,15620
October3,6247870117
November3,5456083718
December5,3587461819
1980—
January7,1781321,70623
February6,3901062,44427
March6,23010978021
April6,882901,49127
May9,0451072,94433
Total60,45695113,698233
During the same period, 12,198 redundancies at 122 establishments were formally withdrawn. There is no statutory requirement to notify the Department

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information is as follows:

The number of proposed redundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975, including closures, in the Northern region, in each of the last 12 months is as follows: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 occur in the Northern region in each the last 12 months is as follows:

Employees
1979—
June2,401
July1,627
August678
September1,363
October880
November1,869
December1,175
1980—
January1,866
February2,508
March1,541
April2,074*
May1,677*
Total19,659
*These figures are provisional since some notifications are received late.
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay
Scotland5,8508,0615,3116,6959,794
(5,766)(5,363)(6,404)(5,712)(5,298)
Northern7,1786,3906,2306,8829,045
(8,184)(1,028)(4,246)(2,799)(3,219)
North-West12,18612,33911,68915,16815,509
(8,403)(9,389)(8,835)(5,800)(4,960)
Yorkshire and Humberside7,1508,4159,7898,73512,410
(4,575)(3,460)(5,705)(4,679)(4,580)
Midlands11,63114,75717,60117,53725,250
(8,144)(9,310)(9,221)(10,074)(5,845)
Wales13,8817,7636,9484,7175,192
(1,883)(1,478)(3,552)(1,778)(1,236)
South-West3,7603,1982,3412,4695,707
(1,883)(2,777)(2,400)(1,503)(2,054)
London6,8166,3416,0038,3287,586
(3,166)(4,066)(4,377)(5,119)(4,187)
South-East7,93810,7756,8344,9147,811
(3,487)(6,042)(5,374)(2,449)(4,311)
Great Britain Totals76,39078,03972,75675,44598,304
(45,491)(42,913)(50,114)(39,913)(35,690)
During the same periods the following redundancies were formally withdraw:
Scotland5,740 (5,855)
Northern8,626 (3,576)
North-West17,733 (7,978)
York & Humberside12,770 (8,396)
Midlands18,556 (14,756)
Wales8,420 (3,177)
South-West1,516 (3,235)
London1,488 (2,508)
South-East6,801 (6,335)

Both Department of Employment and of Manpower Services Commission figures are for redundancies involving 10 or more employees.

Redundancies

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give on a regional basis the number of redundancies notified to his Department in each month of the current year and the comparative figures for last year.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 June 1980, c. 35]: The number of proposed redundancies notified to my Department under the redundancy handling provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975, in each of the regions during the first five months of 1980, with the comparative figures for 1979 (in brackets), is as follows: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 each of the regions during the first five months of 1980, with the comparative figures for 1979, is as follows:

January

February

March

April

May

Anglia209269341237241
(343)(32)(422)(262)(56)
East Midlands2,6963,3533,5942,5222,202
(424)(424)(572)(598)(507)
West Midlands2,6013,2023,7083,6212,978
(1,745)(1,296)(1,089)(977)(1,526)
North1,8662,5081,5412,0741,677
(502)(583)(1,840)(1,037)(1,030)
North-West4,1515,5496,5956,3545,422
(2,789)(2,866)(3,696)(5,076)(2,279)
Scotland2,8444,1635,5233,1902,812
(1,239)(825)(1,916)(2,524)(2,277)
South-East4,8855,6216,3063,5633,289
(1,767)(1,870)(2,231)(2,443)(4,576)
South-West1,5428982,1821,7891,264
(338)(229)(917)(677)(709)
Wales1,2763,5004,1751,7731,880
(1,359)(845)(955)(604)(702)
Yorkshire and Humberside2,6172,3713,0011,4782,208
(1,299)(650)(1,336)(1,484)(1,443)
Great Britain Totals24,68731,43436,96626,60123,973
(11,805)(9,620)(14,974)(15,682)(15,168)

The figures for April and May 1980 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.

Scotland

Employment (Dundee)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the net job loss in Dundee over the past five years.

The total number of employees in employment in the Dundee employment office area rose by 1,721 in the period 1972–1977, the latest period for which information is available.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the current level of unemployment in Dundee.

We are deeply concerned about current levels of unemployment, but the problems of Dundee—and of the country as a whole—can be solved only by a fundamental improvement in our economic performance and this is what our policies are designed to achieve.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many new jobs have been created in Dundee since it was granted special development area status; and how many jobs were lost in the same period.

Comprehensive information is not available in the form requested. However 2,305 new jobs were associated with offers of selective financial assistance made since 14 April 1977 to firms in Dundee under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972, and a further 962 were safeguarded. I have been informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of workers involved in redundancies of 10 or more notified as due to occur in Dundee from April 1977 to May 1980 was 6,020.

Health Services (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the amount of underspending or overspending on Health Service expenditure in the last available year.

For 1979–80 it is provisionally estimated that, on the income and expenditure basis used in health board accounting, the boards will be overspent on hospital and community health services combined current and capital account by some £11 million. On a cash basis—that used for Vote accounting—there is likely to be a small underspending on those and other cash-limited services.There is also likely to be an underspending, estimated at some £6 million, on the non-cash-limited family practitioner services. Expenditure on those services is determined by demand and the estimated underspending is due mainly to lower than expected demand on the pharmaceutical and general dental services.

Teacher Supply

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of primary teachers and secondary teachers registered as unemployed in each region and island authority in Scotland.

The numbers of primary and secondary schoolteachers registered as unemployed in each region and island authority in Scotland on 13 March 1980—the latest date for which unemployment figures analysed by occupation are available—are set out in the table below.

RegionTeachers registered as unemployed
PrimarySecondary
Borders68
Central5515
Dumfries and Galloway214
Fife4820
Grampian5032
Highland1114
Lothian177107
Strathclyde300115
Tayside7437
Orkney
Shetland12
Western Isles26
745360

Prestonpans Community Centre

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give East Lothian district council consent to proceed with the construction of the Prestonpans community centre; and what has caused the delay in reaching a decision.

Local authorities' financial plans contemplate a level of capital expenditure on leisure and recreation considerably higher than allowed for in Cmnd. 7841. I am, therefore, examining proposals in this area with particular care. I hope to reach a decision very shortly on the Prestonpans community centre.

Wales

Office Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) at the most recent date, what was the percentage of office employment to total employment in each of the employment exchange areas in Wales.

Northern Ireland

Rural Cottages

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many rural cottages are still to be improved in each council district in Northern Ireland; and of these how many in each area are not yet programmed.

This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I understand that the position is as follows:

District CouncilNumber of cottages still to be improvedNumber of cottages not yet programmed
Antrim103
Ards283274
Armagh101101
Ballymena4724
Ballymoney352318
Banbridge10021
Belfast99
Carrickfergus
Castlereagh4444
Craigavon134134
Coleraine244187
Cookstown
Down10793
Dungannon7029
Fermanagh1212
Larne1313
Limavady1111
Lisburn255191
Londonderry20
Magherafelt77
Moyle7474
Newry and Mourne1010
Newtownabbey33
North Down4643
Omagh66
Strabane3220
1,9901,627

Royal Ulster Constabulary (Training)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the training courses attended by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary outside

CourseDuration (weeks)*Number of RUC members who attended
197719781979
CID1–10120122121
Student Instructors89414
Crashed Aircraft Drill134
Crashed Aircraft117
Crime Prevention4548
Crime Prevention (Refresher)191
Fraud Investigation3394
Drugs Detection1234
Port Training2–4233
Police Riflemen33
Advanced Driving Instructors6435
Communications Officers62
Computer Applications and the Police2 days6
Methods of Investigation28
Fingerprint (Advanced)215
Closed Circuit Television1–217
Summer School in Alcoholism111
Communications22
Use of Protective Shields3 days9
Mountain Rescue and Cave Rescue Training1224
Manpower Planning2 days1
Colour Photography2 days2710
Weapon Training12
Scenes of Crime Officers41
Ilfospeed Processor3 days2
Police Driving Course42
National Checkpoint Scheme2 days1
Police Dog Instructors' Course822
All Arms Search16
Traffic and Road Safety121
Stolen Motor Vehicles218
Police Snipers2–324
Management Instructors212
Communications Officers62
Negotiations21
Key Point Surveyors212
Army Liaison324
HGV Examiner41
Home Defence11
Security Services231
Police War Duties11
O & M31
Computers (General)14
Senior Management145
Inspectors1218
Special Care522
Command Training12–268
Mountain First Aid112
Mapping212
Community Relations41
Search Adviser27
Movement of Hazardous Substances2 days3
* Unless otherwise stated.
All the above Courses were held in Great Britain.

Small Dwellings Acquisition

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Department of the Environment will decide

Northern Ireland and give the length of the course, the number attending and the country in which the course was held for each of the past three years.

The information requested is as follows:the total amount which will be available for lending by all local authorities under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act in 1980–81; and when the district councils will be informed.

This has not yet been decided. The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland will, however, be writing to district councils in the near future.

Historic Buildings Council

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether, following the review of non-departmental public bodies in Northern Ireland, he has any plans to abolish the Historic Buildings Council.

Fixed Penalty Notices

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many fixed penalty notices were issued by traffic wardens in each of the past four years and how many drivers failed to pay the fixed penalty; and how many were prosecuted and how many were convicted in each year.

The number of fixed penalty notices issued by traffic wardens in each of the last four years was as follows:

197625,779
197742,469
197853,340
197946,535
Fixed penalty notices are issued by traffic wardens and members of the RUC and records of non-payment and subsequent prosecutions are not maintained separately, so it is impossible to identify the cases where the notice was originally issued by a traffic warden. Records of convictions in cases where fixed penalty notices were issued but not paid are not maintained and the number could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Members' Correspondence

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the reason for the delay experienced by the hon. Member for Down, North in obtaining replies to letters sent to the Minister responsible for the Department of the Environment.

Every effort is made to deal expeditiously with hon. Members' correspondence and I would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to the hon. Gentleman by any delays. The hon. Gentleman should be aware that time is taken to consider carefully replies to hon. Members.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the strength of (a) the Royal Ulster Constabulary, (b) the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve, full-time, and (c) the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve, part-time, at 1 June of the current year.

The information is as follows:

Royal Ulster Constabulary6,793
Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve (Full-time)1,481
Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve (Part-time)3,142

Trade

Herbicide 2,4,5-T

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what were the imports of formulated products containing derivatives of 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy acetic acid and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy proprionic acid in value terms and in tonnages for each of the years 1975 to 1979.

Herbicides derived from 2,4.5-T are included with a number of other herbicides in the Overseas Trade Statistics under SITC (R2) sub-group 591.3, but are not separately identified The information requested is, therefore, not available.

European Community Countries(United Kingdom Balance Of Trade)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the United Kingdom's balance of visible trade with each European Economic Community country for manufactures less precious stones for each year since 1970 and the current year to date, together with the volume of imports and exports of manufactures in each case.

Volume data for United Kingdom trade by country are not available in United Kingdom official statistics. The remaining information is as follows:

UNITED KINGDOM CRUDE TRADE BALANCES IN MANUFACTURES* LESS PRECIOUS STONES†
£ million OTS basis

Trade with

Belgium/Luxembourg

Denmark

Federal Republic of Germany

France

Irish Republic

Italy

Netherlands

1970+39+97-94+60+147+24+74
1971+57+75-166+47+146-0+77
1972+32+58-306+6+155-35+47
1973+25+75-620-82+220-70+2
1974‡+17+94-878-94+245-108-59
1975+2+125-746-142+267-184-5
1976-10+226-1,030-108+353-187+8
19770+257-1,333-278+486-375+273
1978-45+178-1,857-499+726-650+150
1979-203+146-2,499-683+923-775+69
January to May 1980§-291+58-1,071-326+363-209+88

Notes

* SITC 5–8.

†Taken as SITC 66 as full details of trade in precious stones are not available. In value terms precious stones make up more than three quarters of the United Kingdom's exports to the European Community under SITC 66.

‡Figures up to 1974 are on an SITC Rev 1 basis, subsequently on Rev 2. The resulting discontinuity is, however, very small.

§Not seasonally adjusted.

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.

Russia

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list conveniently available figures for United Kingdom trade with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, over the months from January 1978 until May of the current year.

The information is as follows:

United Kingdom Imports £millionUnited Kingdom Exports cif£ million fob
January 197845·516·0
February47·036·3
March39·368·6
April39·732·9
May61·236·2
June58·736·4
July61·425·2
August75·026·9
September67·933·8
October63·736·6
November65·739·2
December78·635·9
January 197956·029·4
February58·916·6
March55·934·4
April93·626·3
May39·052·0
June52·152·4
July48·834·3
August70·916·0
September100·348·6
October95·148·2
November51·323·0
December78·138·3
January 1980109·453·0
February72·641·3
March49·036·9
April30·631·3
May33·147·0

source:

United Kingdom

Overseas Trade Statistics (SITC/R2).

Note:

The effects of industrial disputes may have produced distortions in the allocation of trade to individual months in the first seven months of 1979 Figures for these months should therefore be interpreted with caution. More generally, it should be noted that figures for individual months omit subsequent corrections incorporated in the latest published cumulative figures.

Aviation Security Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many of the staff of his Department are involved with the administration of the aviation security fund.

Nine, an increase of one over the number of staff who administered aviation security expenditure before the fund began.

New Zealand Lamb

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the estimated saving made in the United Kingdom's external trade balance by the import of New Zealand lamb as opposed to importing lamb from the EEC countries.

Ammonia, Sulphur, Phosphate And Potash

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

[pursuant to his reply, 16 June 1980, c. 372]: Details of imports of (a) ammonia and of (b) crude and other kinds of sulphur are not available for publication for reasons of commercial confidentiality. The tonnage and cif value of imports of (c) natural calcium phosphates, natural aluminium phosphates, apatite and phosphate chalk and of (d) potassic mineral or chemical fertilisers are given against SITC (rev 2) sub-groups 271·3 and 562·3, respectively, in table III of the monthly issues of the Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom. Copies of this publication are in the Library.

Foreign And Commonwealthaffairs

Zimbabwe

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about diplomatic and consular appointments between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.

The appointment of Mr. R. A. C. Byatt CMG as British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe was announced on 18 April. His staff includes a consul. The Zimbabwe Government have not yet appointed any diplomatic or consular staff to the United Kingdom.

European Commission (Northern Ireland)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about the representation of the European Commission in Northern Ireland.

The European Commission opened an information office in Belfast on 29 May. It has a staff of three, shortly to be increased to four. The office carries out similar work in Northern Ireland to that done by the commission's information offices in Scotland and Wales.There will be a formal ceremony in the autumn at which the office will be opened officially by the President of the Commission, Mr. Roy Jenkins.

Brussels on 18 December 1979, came into effect on 1 April 1980.

Wooden Doors (Imports)

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

[pursuant to his reply, 16 June 1980, c. 372]: The information is as follows:

Indonesia

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many meetings have taken place between members of his Department and diplomats of the Indonesian Embassy since January; and whether he plans to visit Indonesia before the end of the current year.

Members of the Department are in frequent contact with the Indonesian Embassy but no record is kept of the number of such contacts. My right hon. and noble Friend met the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Professor Mochtar, at the EC/ASEAN meeting on 6 March. Professor Mochtar called on my right hon. Friend and me in the same month, and I met him in Geneva at the Cambodia relief meeting on 26 May. My right hon. Friend has no plans to visit Indonesia this year but I was there in September 1979, shortly before the State visit of President Soeharto to this country.

Defence

Command Ordnance Depot, Chilwell

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in regard to the disposal of command ordnance depot, Chilwell, and its possible use as a site for Associated Television, East Midlands, whether any other commercial or industrial interest has been shown in the site; by what means any further interest is to be canvassed; what progress has been made in identifying the area of land and premises which are for sale; and if he will ensure that normal disposal procedures do not inhibit their earliest possible sale to those who have shown the means and will to proceed.

The Ministry of Defence has identified the area of land and buildings which are for sale. Planning the future use of the site to create alternative employment opportunities and canvassing commercial and industrial interests have been co-ordinated by the local authority. The disposal procedures are a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Environment.

National Gas Turbine Establishment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are his intentions with regard to the future of the national gas turbine establishment at Pyestock.

The national gas turbine establishment was included in the major review of the functions of the R & D establishments described in the Statement on the Defence Estimates Cmnd. 7826 paragraph 748. The report of the reviw is now being considered, and consultation with staff interests and others concerned will follow as soon as possible. I am not yet, therefore, in a position to make a statement.

Home Department

Magistrates' Courts (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is being made to provide new magistrates' courts within the Greater London area; how many courtrooms this will provide; and what is the time scale for such provision.

Approval has been given to the providing authorities concerned for forward planning on five major magistrates' courthouse replacement schemes in the Greater London area which, when completed should provide between 30–40 new courtrooms, an overall increase of 10–15 courtrooms. One scheme is due to start in 1981–82 and another in 1982–83; each should be completed within about four years. No start dates can be given for the remaining schemes.

Horse Race Betting Levy Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to reduce the present salary of the part-time chairman of the Horse Race Betting Levy Board from its current level of £11,046 per annum for a three day week plus £3,158 expenses.

Private Investigators

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward proposals to license private investigators in order to afford protection to members of the public, to make available a formal complaints procedure, to lay down a specific code of practice and to provide for controlled access to sensitive information sources.

The question of statutory control over private investigators is being considered as part of the current review of the private security industry. We hope to be able to indicate the Government's views in the near future.

Animals (Experiments)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many animals were killed during sanctioned experiments in 1979; and if he will list them by species.

Information is not available in the form requested. Statistics of experiments on living animals commenced in 1978, under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876, by species of animal, are published in "Statistics of experiments on living animals: Great Britain 1978", Cmnd. 7628. The corresponding statistics for 1979 will be published later in the year.

Departmental Staff (Telephone Inquiries)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines are issued to staff regarding the handling of telephone inquiries from individuals not known personally who seek potentially sensitive information concerning clients with whom the Department's staff may be dealing; and whether there are plans to revise these guidelines, in the light of any such information having been improperly transmitted.

All Home Office staff are advised of the need for discretion and care in ensuring that an inquirer on the telephone is a proper person to receive the information requested. There are no plans to revise the existing instructions but, if the hon. Member has information which suggests that they have not been complied with, I shall look into the matter.

Industry

Ferranti

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the General Electric Company or any other company has expressed an interest in acquiring the

PetrolHeating oils*
Date of changeRate of duty (per gallon)Change in† duty (per gallon)Rate of duty (per gallon)Change in† duty (per gallon)
pppp
194534½
1947l5 Aprilnil-3½
195018 April60+30½
1951l0 April71+14½
195211 March86+21
19564 December100½+28½
19579 April71-28½
196117 April4+4
196210 April68½+6½
196411 November75½+11½
196711 April75½+74
196819 March80½+7
196915 April86+114
19769 April51½+13
197729 March52½+7½+2
8 August43-7
197912 June44+8
198026 March47½+9
*Fuel oil and gas oil. Kerosene was generally chargeable with the same effective rate of duty as other heating oils until March 1977 when the Budget left unchanged the effective rate on Kerosene, other than aviation kerosene.
†10 per cent. surcharges were imposed on hydrocarbon oils from 26 July 1961—9 April 1962, 21 July 1966—11 April 1967 and 22 November 1968—15 April 1969.

Tax Returns

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the action planned by the Inland Revenue in the light of the finding of the 1979 sample survey of a 24 per cent. error in the examination of tax returns.

The Inland Revenue will reinforce methods of supervision and management in local offices. It will also

National Enterprise Board's shareholding in Ferranti; and what is the Government's policy regarding the disposal of these shares.

The intentions of companies in respect of the NEB's shareholding in Ferranti are a matter for them; my right hon. Friend has undertaken to inform the House of his decision in respect of the Government's policy.

National Finance

Excise Duty

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will circulate a table showing the amount and changes in the excise duty on petroleum spirit and heating oils since 1945 in terms of current prices.

At May 1980 prices, the information is:strengthen regional office management by the introduction of approximately 60 inspectors whose function will be, by selective sampling, to monitor the quality of work performed by staff in tax districts and bring the results to the attention of management so that any remedial action can be taken.

Motability

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total value added tax paid by Motability on each of the cars in its range before and after the Budget of 12 June 1979.

Investment Income Surcharge

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the number of taxpayers subjected to the investment income surcharge for each year since the surcharge's inception.

The estimated numbers of taxpayers liable to investment income surcharge are as follows:

Numbers (thousands)
1973–74296
1974–75652
1975–76729
1976–77889
1977–78704
1978–791690
1979–801345
1980–811380
1Provisional

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what would be the loss of income in a full year if the standard rate of value added tax were reduced to 12½ per cent.;(2) what would be the loss of revenue in the fiscal year 1980–81 if the standard rate of value added tax were reduced as from 1 August 1980 to 12½ per cent.; and what would be the corresponding effect on the public sector borrowing requirement;(3) what will be the effect on the retail price index of a reduction in the standard rate of value added tax to 12½ per cent.

Excluding the change in tax paid by central Government, a reduction in the rate of VAT to 12½ per cent. would cost about £1,600 million in a full year and about £600 million if implemented from 1 August. The impact effect on the index of retail prices would be a reduction of about 1·2 per cent. I am unwilling to commit my Department's resources to giving the right hon. Member an estimate of the effect upon the public sector borrowing requirement for the reasons I gave in my answer to the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) on 14 November. [Vol. 973, c. 622–623.] The right hon. Member may wish, however, to pursue his inquiry via his access to the treasury's economic model through the Library at the House.

Objects In Lieu Of Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, with reference to his written answer to the hon. Member for Warley East, Official Report, 19 June, column 629, regarding the elimination by administrative practice of 75 per cent. of the statutory tax exemption in respect of objects surrendered to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in lieu of tax, an effect on tax debtors of such elimination by the commissioners is to benefit the commissioners financially in the first instance by increasing the amount payable in cash from the private sector by tax debtors to the commissioners, irrespective of any accounting procedures internal to the public sector which might subsequently ensue.

Life-Saving Attempts (Compensation)

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

Retail Price Index

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the effect on the retail price index of an increase of 5 per cent. on the price of derv, setting out the effect on the retail price index after one month, two months, three months, six months, one year and two years, respectively.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 June 1980]: Derv does not enter the RPI directly. An increase in derv will, however, raise industrial costs, but the impact of these higher costs on prices is uncertain. The effects of such an increase can be examined using the Treasury model, which is available for hon. Members' use via the House of Commons Library.

Private Vehicles

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cars were acquired by enterprises in each of the years 1975 to 1979 for their own or their employees' use; and what is his estimate of the amount by which the

YearTotal 000sNon-company Address 000sCompany Address 000sPer cent.
19771,27871556344
19781,55890665242
19791,70394575845
Estimates of the amount by which the demand for cars under a company address would fall if measures of the kind described were taken are not available.

Transport

Road Building

asked the Minister of Transport, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Bedford, Official Report, 4 June, column 746, why no information is readily available on the provisional outturn for 1979–80 for the following (a) requirements for new schemes proposed to start in 1978–80 costing in excess of £1 million and (b) requirements for other schemes costing less than £1 million each; when he asked for such information to be made available; and if he will publish such information when available in the form requested on 4 June.

The analysis of expenditure carried out for the purpose of monitoring the road programme does not provide information in the form requested. To do so it would be necessary to identify out-turn expenditure on the individual schemes concerned, which would involve more staff time and public expenditure than can be justified.

Invalid Tricycles (London)

asked the Minister of Transport how many licensed invalid tricycles there are in the Greater London area at the present time.

demand would be reduced if effective measures were taken to offset any benefit to the employees arising out of the private use of such vehicles.

I have been asked to reply.Figures are not available in the form requested. New registrations data show the number of cars licensed under either a company address or a non-company address:

British Railways (Sale Of Assets)

asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to announce a decision regarding the sale of assets of British Railways, in particular Sealink and British Transport hotels.

Local Bus Services

asked the Minister of Transport if he has any proposals to encourage local authorities to run voluntary local bus services similar to that initiated by Northampton county council.

Many local authorities already encourage and support voluntary bus services, but there is considerable scope for their further development. The Transport Bill seeks to remove unnecessary restrictions on this type of operation. Guidance notes are being prepared for local authorities and others to draw attention to the wider opportunities which the enactment of the Transport Bill will bring.

Emergency Vehicles

asked the Minister of Transport what is the present state of consultation on the application of "No Entry" and "Keep Left" and "Keep Right" signs to emergency vehicles; and when he expects to make revised regulations.

Consultations should be completed by the end of this month. The making of the revised regulations will depend on the outcome of the consultations, but I certainly hope that they will be made this year.

Track Costs

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has any plans to revise the methods by which his Department calculates and allocates track costs.

I have no such plans at present but I shall keep the matter under review.

European Community (Council Of Transport Ministers)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the inland transport matters discussed at the Council of Transport Ministers of the European Community which met on 24 June.

Agreement was reached at the Council on the form of a directive which would provide for driving licences to be based on a common model; and for citizens of one member State of the Community who go to live in another to exchange their licences—subject to certain safeguards relating, in particular to licences for heavy goods and public service vehicles. Consultations with transport interests will now be undertaken before the proposals are put to Parliament. Meanwhile the United Kingdom entered a formal reservation at the Council meeting.The Council approved in principle a proposal for common starting dates for summer time in 1981 and 1982. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department made plain in answering a question by my hon. Friend, the Member for Meriden (Mr. Mills) on 10 June 1980, that the Government welcomed this proposal and would seek the agreement of Parliament.—[Vol. 986, c. 99–100] Meanwhile the United Kingdom entered a formal reservation at the Council meeting.A directive on inland waterway statistics was agreed. Other proposals on rail statistics, rail tariffs and combined transport, were referred back to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further examination.In taking note of the European Commission's report on the implementation of the drivers' hours regulation (543/69) in 1975 and 1976 the Council stressed the need for effective and uniform application of its provisions.Progress reports were made on various other matters, including the European Commission's proposals on transport infrastructure.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Food Prices

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing the latest retail price of bread, beef, lamb, bacon, butter, cheese and sugar as a percentage of the retail price in January 1962 and the amount of the subsidy, if any; and how this compares with the increase in retail prices, excluding foodstuffs, over the same period.

The figures are as follows:

Percentage change between January 1962 and May 1980
Bread(white, wrapped and sliced)+516
Beef(home killed, chuck)+572
Lamb(home killed, leg with bone)+607
Bacon(back)+457
Butter(Danish)+399
Cheese(Cheddar type)+571
Sugar(granulated)+379
All items except food+389

Source: Department of Employment.

There is currently a subsidy of 14·2p per 500 grams on butter.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will circulate in the Official Report a table showing the latest agreed common agricultural policy price for wheat, barley, maize, beef, lamb, bacon, butter, cheese and sugar as a percentage of (a) the open market price and (b) the guaranteed price in January 1962, together with the corresponding figures for the percentage increase in the retail price of motor fuel and of other fuels and light.

The nearest available information is shown in the following table. Since January 1962 the percentage increases in the retail price of motor fuel and other fuel and light are 463 and 467 respectively to May 1980.

Common prices as percentage of

United Kingdom guaranteed prices January 1962(a)

Latest agreed common prices in sterling terms converted at £1=1·61641 ecu £/tonne

"World" Prices June 1980 (b) £/tonne

United Kingdom guaranteed prices in January 1962 Per cent.

World prices in June 1980 Per cent.

Actual s/d

Metric equivalent£/tonne

Common Wheat26/11per cwt.26·5796·44(c)72363122(c)
Barley27/7 per cwt.27·1696·44(c)66355133(c)
MaizeNone96·44(c)62N.A.141(c)
Beef (liveweight)167/- per live cwt.164·36895·10520545172
Lamb (ecdw)3/3 per lb.358·251,814·51(d)1,090(e)506166
BaconNone—(f)N.A.(f)
ButterNone1,804·00867(g)N.A.208
Cheddar CheeseNone1,528·50(h)557N.A.274
SugarBeet 128/-per ton6·30275·20(i)351(j)N.A.75(i)

Notes:

  • (a)"Annual Review and Determination of Guarantees 1961".
  • (b)Unless otherwise stated the "world" prices are the third country offer prices implied by the EC Commission's calculations of common import levies on 18 June 1980. Converted at £1 = 1·63524 ecu.
  • (c)Price for August 1980, but this is higher than the June level of £87·67 per tonne which is the one used in the comparison with the world price in the last column.
  • (d)United Kingdom guide price for variable premium under proposed regime.
  • (e) United Kingdom wholesale price for New Zealand lamb minus duty.
  • (f)No effective support price for bacon under the CAP; also no meaningful world price.
  • (g)New Zealand cif price minus the MCA.
  • (h)A notional intervention price for cheddar cheese, has been calculated to reflect the amount on which MCAs are charged.
  • (i)Price for July 1980; the common price for June 1980 of £261·69 per tonne was used for comparison with the world price.
  • ( j)Third country offer price implied by the Commission's calculation of export levy on refined white sugar. The London Daily Price can also be used as an indicator of world prices; on 18 June this price was £315 per tonne and common prices were 83 per cent. of it.

    Agricultural Land (Loss)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the total loss of agricultural land and countryside over each of the last five years.

    The average yearly loss of land from agricultural holdings in England—excluding the woodland on those holdings—during the five-year period June 1974—June 1979 is estimated as 21·2 thousand hectares (52·4 thousand acres). Information about losses to the countryside in general is not available.

    Veterinary Profession

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action has been taken regarding the recommendation of the committee of inquiry into the veterinary profession, Cmnd. 6143, that the manpower needs in the profession should be officially reviewed and reported on at intervals of approximately five years.

    A report is now available of the first five-year review which was carried out by a team comprising representatives of the agriculture Departments, the Department of Education and Science, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the University Grants Committee. Copies of the report, which is entitled "Manpower Review of the Veterinary Profession in the United Kingdom", have been deposited in the Library of the House.

    European Community (School Milk Subsidy)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the application of the European Community school milk subsidy in the United Kingdom.

    The Government are anxious that, in exercising the freedom given by the Education Act 1980, local authorities should not be prevented from taking maximum advantage of the generous subsidies which are available from FEOGA for school milk and for milk products supplied as part of the school meal. We have, therefore, been discussing possibilities with the Commission and are hopeful that it will regard the contributions made by central and local government collectively as meeting the required 25 per cent. national authorities' contribution.If this is accepted—as I believe that it will be—it should be possible for local authorities to take advantage of the available FEOGA subsidies while still making their own decisions on pricing, and without necessarily incurring any cost themselves. This should prove very attractive to local authorities and I shall be in touch with their representatives straight away. Details of the scheme will be announced as soon as possible and I hope that as many local authorities as possible will take advantage of it.

    Social Services

    Children (Care Proceedings)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider amending the rules on legal aid to enable this facility to be available for parents whose children are the subject of care proceedings under the Children's Act.

    Sections 64 and 65 of the Children Act 1975 enable courts to grant parents legal aid in care proceedings where the court finds that there is a conflict of interest between parents and child and makes an order prohibiting the parents from acting on the child's behalf. Such orders can now be made only in unopposed proceedings for the discharge of care or supervision orders but, when additional resources become available, power to make orders and grant parents legal aid will extend to all proceedings in which courts see a conflict of interest. No amendment of court rules is necessary to achieve this.

    Community Care

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will visit the community care scheme which is being run by Kent county council and recommended to other local authorities that they pursue similar schemes.

    The Kent community care project is a potentially valuable scheme in which Ministers at this Department are taking a close interest. The Department is funding the personal social services research unit at the University of Kent to develop it in collaboration with the county's social services department. I have no plans to visit the project at present and the work is at too early a stage for me to recommend it to other authorities; authorities are, of course, free to experiment with similar schemes if they wish to do so.

    Benefit Claimants

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for each of the national insurance benefits the number of claimants (a) denied and (b)

    Date*BenefitNumbers paid at a reduced rate
    2 June 1979Sickness4,000
    10 May 1979Unemployment19,800
    31 March 1979Maternity Allowance5,800
    30 November 1978Retirement Pension:—
    (a)men104,000
    (b)women on own insurance214,000
    (c)women on husband's insurance40,000
    (d)Widows on late husband's insurance (see also (g)below)76,000
    30 November 1978Widows Benefits:-
    (e)widows pension (see also (g) below)12,000
    (f)Widowed Mother's allowance19,000
    (g)Age-related widows retirement pension and widows pension9,000

    Source:

    1 per cent. sample of sickness benefit claimants.

    Five per cent. sample of claimants to unemployment benefit or credits, 2·5 per cent. sample of maternity allowance awards in payment, 10 per cent. sample of beneficiaries of retirement and widows benefits.

    * As at the same dates as given in the table. These are the latest available dates for each benefit.

    †Widows' allowance, death grant and maternity grant are not payable at reduced rates because of a deficient contribution record.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the number of claimants denied unemployment benefit, sickness benefit and maternity benefit because they have exhausted their right to benefit at the latest available date.

    On 14 February 1980, the latest available date, the number of claimants who had exhausted their right to unemployment benefit was 338,000. People making new claims to sickness benefit under the Social Security Act 1975 do not exhaust their title to benefit; they become entitled to invalidity benefit if they remain incapable of work for more than 28 weeks. Invalidity pension is payable up to age 70 (65 for women) or the date of retirement, if earlier.Prior to the introduction of the 1975 Act, entitlement to sickness benefit was receiving reduced benefit because of incomplete insurance records at the latest available date.

    Information about claimants not receiving benefit because they failed to satisfy the contribution conditions is available only for sickness and unemployment benefit and the estimates for these benefits are 35,900* and 178,900* respectively. The estimated numbers of persons receiving benefit at a reduced rate because of a deficient contribution record are as shown in the table below:restricted to 312 days with no entitlement to invalidity benefit if insufficient contributions had been paid since the date of entry. Information as to the number of people who have not since requalified following such an exhaustion of sickness benefit is not readily available but there can be very few such cases. Maternity allowance is normally payable for a maximum of 18 weeks in respect of a confinement and the question of exhaustion of entitlement does not arise.

    Departmental Staff (Telephone Inquiries)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines are issued to staff regarding the handling of telephone inquiries from individuals not known personally who seek potentially sensitive information concerning clients with whom the Department's staff may be dealing; and whether there are plans to revise these guidelines in the light of any such information having been improperly transmitted.

    Staff have comprehensive instructions on the safeguarding of information relating to claimants and so on, all of which is treated as confidential. These instructions include guidance on the handling of telephone calls, but to publish even an outline of such instructions would not further the continued safeguarding of confidential information. I am not aware that any information is being improperly transmitted and there are no plans to revise the instructions.

    Leukaemia

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what study his Department has made of "Leukaemia—towards control" published by the Office of Health Economics; and what conclusions have been reached about it.

    Officers from the Department were consulted in the preparation of this document. Many of the arguments presented are well recognised and the subject of current discussions on bone marrow transplantation.

    Mr E J Charles

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the claim of Mr. E. J. Charles of 21 St. Monica's Avenue, Luton for mobility allowance, approved by his Department in Black-pool, has now been delayed; and when he expects the benefit to be paid.

    Claims to mobility allowance are decided by independent statutory authorities. The decision in Mr. Charles' case was given on 24 June and an award was made from the date of the claim. An order book for payment from 30 July was sent to him on the same day and a Girocheque for the arrears was despatched yesterday.

    Population Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what conclusion the Government have reached on the feasibility of enhancing the annual canvass for the electoral register for the purpose of providing better statistics of the population of local areas.

    After most careful investigation the Government have concluded that introduction of a worthwhile, uniform system could not be achieved without imposing central control, which would require substantial additional staff resources, would be costly and would run contrary to local authority responsibilities in these matters. Furthermore, because the electoral register was never designed to produce statistics, the information gained from an enhanced canvass would suffer from considerable deficiencies and the process of gathering the information would place an additional burden on the general public. For these reasons and in present circumstances the Government have decided not to proceed with this proposal.

    Environment

    Council House Repairs

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the average cost at constant prices of repairs to council houses for each of the past five years.

    Following is the information for England and Wales:

    Financial yearAverage cost per local authority dwelling of repairs at 1979/80 prices
    £p.a.
    1975–76113
    1976–77111
    1977–78121
    1978–79130
    1979–80131

    Note

    Average cost of repairs from local authorities' housing revenue accounts adjusted by the consumers' expenditure deflator.

    Housing Policy

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide estimated figures for 1980–81 for each heading which appears in the 1977 edition of "Housing Policy", technical volume II, table V.1 (assistance received by households in the main tenure through subsidies and tax relief); if he will break down each of the figures between (a) households where the head is a pensioner and (b) others; and if he will state the number of mortgages in each age group.

    Planned totals of subsidy in 1980–81 were published in table 2·6 of "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1980–81 to 1983–84" (Cmnd 7841). A subdivision between pensioner households and other households cannot be made. Tax relief in 1980–81 cannot be estimated because it will depend on mortgage interest rates over the course of the year.

    Flatlets (Construction Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Brent, East on 23 June regarding the construction cost of flatlets, what are the gross unit costs, including land and site works, for the dwellings concerned.

    Stocks held by manufacturers at end of:No. of weeks' supply
    19801979
    BricksMay87
    Concrete roofing tilesMarch812
    CementMay11
    Clinker for cement-makingMay44
    PlasterboardMay33
    Asbestos cement goodsMarch813
    Slates for roofing and damp coursesMarch813
    Timber importers held 15 weeks' stocks of softwood, for construction and other uses, at the end of February 1980 and 16 weeks' stocks a year earlier.Information about merchants' stocks of building materials is not collected.

    Public Rights Of Way

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards the upkeep of public rights of way in the countryside.

    Upkeep of public rights of way is the statutory responsibility of the appropriate local authority. Expenditure on this function is in accordance with locally determined priorities.

    Departmental Staff (Telephone Inquiries)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidelines are issued to staff regarding the handling of telephone inquiries from individuals not known personally who seek potentially sensitive information concerning clients with whom the Department's staff may be dealing; and whether there are plans to revise these guidelines, in the light of

    I regret that estimates of the cost of land and site works are not available, either for specific types of dwelling or by geographical area.

    Building Materials (Stocks)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of weeks' stock of (a) building bricks, (b) roofing tiles, (c) timber for house construction and (d) other building materials, at the latest available date; and what were the figures for the corresponding times last year.

    Following is the latest available information:any such information having been improperly transmitted.

    Standing instructions in my Department provide that when a telephone inquiry is received from a caller seeking privileged information who cannot be satisfactorily identified, the caller is asked to give a telephone number to which a return call can be made. That number is then checked before any information is disclosed. Staff are reminded annually of these instructions. I have no plans to revise the guidelines.

    House Prices

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current average cost of buying a home for owner-occupation; and what are the average monthly repayments at present for a 25 year mortgage of 90 per cent.

    The average house price in the first quarter of 1980 was £22,349. The current average costs of purchase would be:

    Stamp duty£112
    Land Registry charge (registered property)£ 57
    Building society valuation fee£39
    The stamp duty payable, the Land Registry charge, and the building society valuation fee are based on scales related to the purchase price. In addition, there would be solicitors' fees and the cost of an independent survey. These costs are not collected by the Department. Assuming an advance of 90 per cent. of the average purchase price, and a mortgage rate of 15 per cent., the average gross monthly repayments would be £259; although the average net repayments would be considerably less—£184 for a basic rate taxpayer.
    Year19751976197719781979
    Average house price£11,945£12,759£13,712£15,674£20,143
    Stamp duty£78£201
    Land registry fee£28£31£33£40£52
    Building society valuation fee£25£27£29£32£37
    The stamp duty payable, the Land Registry charge, and the building society valuation fee are based on scales related to the purchase price. In addition, there would be solicitors' fees and the cost of an independent survey. These costs are not collected by the Department.
    19751976197719781979
    Average advance£10,750£11,483£12,340£14,106£18,128
    Mortgage rate11·010·510·59·7511·75
    Average gross monthly repayments£106£109£118£127£190

    Crown Courts (London)

    asked the Attorney-General what provision is being made to provide new crown courts within the Greater London area; how many court rooms this will provide; and what consultations he holds about the location of new courthouses, having regard to the cost of transporting prisoners to and from prisons and courts.

    Under the regular building programme and the London emergency programme there are 57 permanent and 14 temporary courtrooms under construction, or planned. The Home Office is consulted about the proposed sites and the requirements of the prison service are taken into account.

    Energy

    European Community (Energy Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report, those European Economic

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for the previous five years the average cost of buying a home for owner-occupation and the average monthly repayment at a common date in each year for a 25 year mortgage of 90 per cent. or some other suitable figure for the purpose of comparison.

    The average house prices, and the average costs of buying a home, in the years 1975–79 were as follows:Assuming an advance of 90 per cent. of the average purchase price and taking the mortgage rate as that recommended by the Building Societies Association prevailing at the mid-point of each year, the average gross monthly mortgage repayments were as follows:Community countries which subsidise energy and electricity costs charged to industry; and if he will specify their nature and amount.

    I do not have details of specific subsidies, if any, granted to industrial consumers of energy and electricity within the EEC. Prices in different countries are, however, influenced by a number of factors and it is important in today's circumstances that they should be set at realistic levels. At the EEC Council of Energy Ministers on 13 May, all member States accepted the importance of economic pricing of energy based on the principle that prices to consumers should reflect conditions on the world market and should be related in particular to the cost of replacing and developing energy resources.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report, on a comparable basis in terms of energy units, the cost of heavy fuel oil, natural gas, coal, anthracite and electricity, in the United Kingdom and other European Economic Community countries.

    Up-to-date information on fuel prices for each member country of the EEC is not available for most of the fuels mentioned. The latest available information for which comparisons are possible both nationally and internationally is tabled below and relates to prices in force on 1 January 1978. Data for Denmark and Luxembourg are not readily available.In making international comparisons it must be borne in mind that difficulties can arise in times of rising prices. Further complications arise when exchange rates fluctuate and national currencies are sometimes regarded as over or undervalued. There can, moreover, be wide ranges of prices within countries.It should also be borne in mind that valid comparisons cannot be made between the prices of fuels within a given country solely on a thermal unit basis, since account also needs to be taken of the various thermal efficiencies of the appliances used.

    Following is the information:

    FUEL PRICES, 1 JANUARY 1978
    £/ 107 Kilocalories(l)

    Industrial

    Domestic

    Heavy Fuel Oil(2)

    Gas(3)

    Steam coal

    Electricity(4)

    Gas(3)

    Anthracite(6)

    Electricity(7)

    Belgium56*9165265252113564
    Denmark
    France47684121118373430
    Germany5166236111*525
    Ireland7223795341
    Italy454834227*79*76*455*
    Netherlands51663327598117513
    Luxembourg
    United Kingdom5570442119770323

    *Estimate.

    Source: OECD Publication "Energy Statistics 1974–78".

  • (1)The prices are shown for units of 107 kilocalories (tonnes of oil equivalent) which is the usual unit for international comparisons where allowances need to be made for differing calorific values between countries.
  • (2)Prices are based on an annual consumption of 5,000 tonnes (which is relatively low for the United Kingdom Industries).
  • (3)Prices are based on an annual consumption of 30,000 therms.
  • (4)Prices are based on an annual consumption of 15 Gwh.
  • (5)Prices are based on an annual consumption of 200 therms.
  • (6)Prices are based on deliveries of 500 kilo lots.
  • (7)Prices are based on an annual consumption of 3,600 Kwh.