Written Answers To Questions
Monday 4 August 1980
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he is taking to investigate the identity of the buyer of substantial minority holdings in Dunlop in recent weeks.
On 25 July 1980, the Secretary of State appointed inspectors under section 172 of the Companies Act 1948 to investigate and report on the membership of Dunlop Holdings Limited, and to do so with special reference to recent changes in the beneficial ownership of the company's shares. This appointment was made at the request of the company.
North Thames Gas Consumers' Council
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has received the report for 1979–80 from the North Thames Gas Consumers' Council sent to him by the chairman in June; what the total costs of this council in staff, officers and offices, and so on, have been; what action he has taken or proposes to take to reduce the costs of this council; how these costs compare with the previous year; and what benefits he considers have been brought by the activities of this council.
I have received a copy of the North Thames Gas Consumers' Council annual report from the chairman. I consider that the principal benefits deriving from the activities of the council are the help given to consumers in resolving individual problems and complaints and its influence in persuading North Thames Gas to adopt policy and procedural changes in the general interests of consumers.The total costs of the North Thames Gas Consumers' Council for 1979–80 were £63,000. Although some provision has been made in the current financial year for salary increases and inflation, this and the other gas consumers' councils are subject to the general constraints on public expenditure and this will require economies to be made.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will estimate the financial loss to United Kingdom companies resulting from political frustration of overseas export or project contracts, such as the unfair calling of performance bonds or bank guarantees over the past 10 years.
This information is not available. However, the vast majority of United Kingdom companies which obtain major export contracts and projects insure them with the Export Credits Guarantee Department and are thus protected against the major part of financial loss on such contracts arising from political frustration. In addition, the private market and ECGD offer a range of facilities providing cover against the unfair calling of bonds. ECGD's "Trading Results", copies of which are available in the Library, give some information about business covered and claims paid in recent years.
Engineering Industry (Warner Report)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action the Government are taking to implement the recommendations of the Warner report on standards and specifications in the engineering industry.
The Warner report called for action by the Government in four principal areas: greater use of standards in public purchasing; increased use of standards in legislation; an acceleration in the process of metrication; and rationalisation of quality assurance procedures.On public purchasing, major purchasing departments and nationalised industries are giving high priority to ensuring that their requirements are related to standards and progress is being monitored.On legislation, increasing reference to standards is being made under the Consumer Safety Act 1978. The Upholstered Furniture (Safety) Regulations 1980 that were made in May are an example of this. I also understand that the Health and Safety Executive is examining specific standards to see if greater use of standards can be made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.On metrication, there are no legislative obstacles to prevent the change in the engineering sectors; the pace of change rests with the industries concerned.On quality assurance, my right hon. Friend has consulted interested bodies and intends to present a paper to NEDC in the autumn on this subject.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) whether, as a consequence of the tanker "Energy Concentration" breaking in two in the port of Rotterdam, he will approach the Netherlands Government about possible joint initiatives by the British and Netherlands Governments within the EEC and the International Maritime Consultative Organisation, respectively, to improve further the international rules and regulations about tanker safety;(2) whether, following the publication of the report of the Republic of Ireland tribunal of inquiry into the "Betelgeuse" tanker fire at Bantry Bay, he will approach the Government of the Republic of Ireland about possible joint initiatives by the British and Irish Governments within the EEC and the International Maritime Consultative Organisation, respectively, to improve further the international rules and regulations about tanker safety;(3) whether, in the light of recent major accidents to large oil tankers in different parts of the world, he is satisfied that the International Maritime Consultative Organisation rules and regulations about tanker safety are sufficiently comprehensive and are being enforced; and if he will make a statement.
My officials are studying the report of the tribunal into the "Betelgeuse" disaster at Bantry Bay: several of the report's recommendations are already included in United Kingdom regulations or IMOCO protocols. In the light of our study of the report and any report which may emerge on the incident in Rotterdam involving the "Energy Concentration", I will consider what further action might be appropriate.
We are, however, already working both nationally and internationally with IMCO and with other European Governments both inside and outside the Community to improve international standards of tanker safety, and this will be discussed at the European ministerial meeting on marine safety and pollution prevention to be held in Paris later this year.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in accordance with section 21(5) of the Airports Authority Act 1975, he will request the British Airports Authority to provide him with information relating to the authority's policy on the size of Stansted airport at the end of the century, in view of the statement by the chairman of the authority that Stansted would then be as big as Heathrow; and if he will make a statement.
No. The authority has applied for outline planning permission to develop Stansted airport to a capacity of 15 million passengers per annum, and this application will be the subject of a public inquiry. Any proposal to expand Stansted beyond that level would depend upon the rate of growth of air traffic, which at present cannot be foreseen with any degree of certainty.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has had from the trades unions of the man-made textile industry; and whether he will expedite consideration of ways of assisting the industry in exporting its produce in order to avoid redundancies.
A number of representations have been received expressing concern at increased imports of manmade fibres and textiles. At the request of the United Kingdom the EC Commission has imposed quotas on certain imports of polyester filament and nylon carpet yarns. In addition, the Community has introduced a definitive anti-dumping duty on acrylic yarn from the United States and a formal investigation has been opened into the pricing of American polyester filament yarn. I am always seeking ways to assist the industry to increase its exports.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will tabulate in the Official Report the tonnage, and value of all solid fossil fuels, by category and in total, including coke, coking coal, coal, and coal for electricity generation exported from and imported into the United Kingdom between 1 January and 1 July comparing this with the figures for the previous five six-month periods;(2) if, from information available to him, he will tabulate his assessment of the value, tonnage, and in consequence cost per ton of each export source of coal, and coal products, imported into each EEC country and in total per annum at present.
I will reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
Buy American Act
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what estimate he has made of the effect of the Buy American policy on the exports of computers to the United States of America.
It is not possible to estimate the effect of the Buy American Act of 1933 on the sales of British computers in the United States. However, particular attention will be given to the potential opportunities for British manufacturers in the United States Federal procurement programmes once the GATT Government procurement code is implemented on 1 January 1981.
Latin America (Ministerial Visits)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if, in view of the record of the present Government of Argentina on human rights, he will ensure that the Minister of State does not promote or permit trading agreements for the supply of arms and equipment which could be used against dissidents, during his forthcoming visit to that country;(2) if, in view of the record of the present rulers of Chile on human rights, he will ensure that the Minister of State does not promote or permit trading agreements for the supply of arms or equipment which could be used against dissidents, during his forthcoming visit to that country.
Arms exports are subject to export licensing. Each application is considered on its merits taking into account all relevant factors—political, commercial and those relating to national security. The Minister of State's main purpose in visiting Argentina and Chile is to promote our civil trade.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will make a statement about British Airways' financial results for 1979–80 and the airline's failure to make a return consistent with its current financial target.
The reasons for British Airways' poor results in 1979–80 are set out in the airline's report and accounts for the year. The predominant problem was very high increases in fuel costs. Also, the continued strength of the pound reduced the sterling value of revenue earned abroad.I accept that these factors were beyond the control of British Airways. I am confident that the airline's management has done a great deal to minimise the adverse effects of these factors and that it is also taking appropriate action to meet the difficulties which are now affecting the whole of the international aviation industry.Pending a flotation of its shares, British Airways' current financial target requires an average 6 per cent. real return on net assets revalued at replacement cost over the three years 1979–80 to 1981–82. I expect the airline to make continuing efforts to produce results which reflect this required return and recover as much of the ground lost in 1979–80 as may be possible in the remaining two years.In the meantime BA must look beyond the concept of a fixed financial target to its forecast profits and loss account for this period, including any further necessary action to reduce costs, bearing in mind the need to make a successful flotation of its shares as soon as reasonably possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the value of all imports of aluminium into the United Kingdom in 1979; from which countries it came; what was the value of all exports of aluminium from the United Kingdom; and to which countries it was exported.
[pursuant to his reply, 25 July 1980, c. 402]: The information for unwrought or simply-wrought aluminium and aluminium alloys is as follows:
|I. U.K. IMPORTS (£ million cif)|
|of which consigned from:|
|Federal Republic of Germany||66·4|
|United States of America||28·1|
|II. U.K. EXPORTS (£ million fob)|
|of which destined to:|
|Federal Republic of Germany||44·7|
|United States of America||10·2|
Source: U.K. Overseas Trade Statistics (SITC (Rev. 2) Group 684).
Note: Because of rounding, there may be slight discrepancies between the totals shown and the sums of the constituent items.
Manpower Services Commission
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those activities of the Manpower Services Commission formerly undertaken by his Department, and the latest manpower figures for the staff employed in those activities; and if he will publish a comparison of these numbers, together with the total currently employed by his Department with the total staff employed by his De- partment prior to the creation of the Manpower Services Commission.
Following is a list of activities currently undertaken by the Manpower Services Commission which broadly correspond with functions formerly carried out by my Department, together with the number of permanent staff employed on them at 1 April 1980.
|Training services, including recruitment||8,350|
|General placing service||7,960|
|Statistics, labour market and manpower intelligence||1,460|
|Services for disabled people||1,430|
|Professional, executive recruitment||760|
|Geographical mobility schemes||160|
Young Persons (North-West)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the numbers of unemployed young people under 21 years of age in the North-West region at the most recent date; and how many of them are already on Government schemes.
At 10 July the provisional number of young people under 20 years of age registered as unemployed in the North-West region was 85,041. Information for those under 21 years of age is not available. The latest information on numbers of young people who are not unemployed, on the youth opportunities programme and community industry in the North-West shows a total of some 17,800 in June.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what are the numbers of careers officers in the Employment Services Agency; and if he will specify where each is and the total cost;(2) what is the total cost of the careers service as estimated in the last financial year.
Careers officers are employed, not by the employment services division of the Manpower Services Commission, but by local education authorities. The number of posts for careers officers in each authority in England at 1 April 1980 was as follows:
|CAREERS OFFICER POSTS IN ENGLAND (INCLUDING UNEMPLOYMENT SPECIALISTS)|
|Local Education Authority||Careers Officers|
|Hereford and Worcester||36|
|Inner London Education Authority||190½|
|Isle of Wight||7|
|Kingston Upon Thames||5|
|Local Education Authority||Careers Officers|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne||33|
|Richmond Upon Thames||8|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what support is given by the Manpower Services Commission in the provision of courses connected with defence sales to other countries; what courses they have supported at Teesside polytechnic; and what is the amount and nature of the support given to Major David Le Sueur in connection with his military market research survey in Argentina.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it gives no support to courses specifically connected with defence sales to other countries.In each of the last two years three transfer of employment courses at Teesside polytechnic have been supported by the MSC under the training opportunities scheme (TOPS). In addition, a number of individuals have been supported on other courses running at the polytechnic, as follows:
|Diploma in Management Studies (European)||10||4|
|Diploma in Management Studies (U.K.)||3||6|
|Diploma in Personnel Management||9||10|
|Private Secretaries Diploma||16||2|
|HND Business Studies||1*||1*|
|Diploma in Computer Studies||1||-|
|(*Disabled person on 2 year course)|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment in what respect the Equal Pay Act 1970 conflicts with the requirements of the 1975 EEC directive on equal opportunity.
The European Commission has alleged that the Equal Pay Act does not apply fully the terms of directive 75/117/EEC which defines the principle of equal pay as the elimination of discrimination on grounds of sex with regard to remuneration
The Commission considers that in the United Kingdom a female worker could not demand equal pay for work to which equal value is attributed unless a valid job evaluation scheme is applied in the employing establishment. The Commission takes the view that section 1(4) of the Equal Pay Act, in using the notion "like work", does not include the concept of work of "equal value"; and that the concept of equal value used in section 1(5) is not adequate because it is dependent on a job evaluation scheme applying in the undertaking in question. The Government are considering what their response to the Commission should be."for the same work or for work to which equal value is attributed".
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figure for the number of persons on short-time working in the county of Derbyshire.
Information is not available at county level, but in the week ended 17 May there were 21,100 operatives in manufacturing industries on short-time working, either for the whole or for part of the week, in the East Midlands region.
Disabled Persons (Early Retirement)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what would be the cost of extending the early retirement scheme to all registered disabled persons over 60 years of age; and if he will consider amending the scheme in this way.
The additional gross cost of extending the job release scheme for a year to cover registered disabled men over 60 years of age on the unemployed register would be about £20 million during that year and about a further £42 million over the following four years.In accordance with normal practice decisions about the future of the job release scheme will be made as part of the annual review of special employment, and training measures.
Lost Working Days
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number of days lost in working time in the following categories: sickness, industrial
|WORKING DAYS LOST IN THE UNITED KINGDOM|
|Sickness and Invalidity*||…||…||…||…||335·1||366·9||386·2|
|Injuries (Accidents and Prescribed diseases)*||…||15·1||15·7||15·6|
|* Figures relate to the year up to the beginning of June.|
|† The figures shown for unemployment are very approximate estimates, based on assumptions tha if all the unemployed persons were employed, their working hours and absences for holidays, sicknes etc. would correspond with those of employed persons.|
Mobility Of Labour
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he has taken or intends taking to facilitate the unemployed in Consett and Wales to move to areas in England where job vacancies occur to take these vacancies.
The Manpower Services Commission has introduced special assistance under the employment transfer scheme for unemployed people who are moving away from Consett, Port Talbot, Llanwern and Scunthorpe. I gave details of these measures in the Official Report on 14 July.—[Vol. 988, c. 462.]
Unemployment (International Comparisons)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will give the most recent comparative figures of unemployment in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.
The most recent comparable unemployment rates are for April 1980 and are:
Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment on United States definitions as a percentage of civilian labour force.
Health And Safety Inspectors
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many inspectors are now employed by the Health and Safety Executive; and by what
injury and disease, strikes and industrial disputes and unemployment for each of the last three years.
Annual statistics for three of the categories and very approximate estimates for working days lost through unemployment are as follows:percentage the number of inspectors has been reduced during the previous 12 months.
The Health and Safety Executive had 1,443 inspectors in post at 1 July 1980. This is an increase of just over 1 per cent. Compared with the number of inspectors in post at 1 July 1979.
Job Creation And Training Measures
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update his reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North, Official Report, 7 December 1979, c. 358, showing each of the employment, job creation and training measures to alleviate unemployment since 1970, the date when each scheme commenced, the gross and net costs to date, the main purpose of the scheme, the age groups affected, the number of job anti training places provided, the weekly wage or allowance paid and whether or not the latter is taxable.Mr. Jim Lester: I shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
British Gas Corporation (Safety Arrangements)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the British Gas Corporation complied with the second enforcement notice served on it by the Health and Safety Executive in respect of safety arrangements required to be completed by 31 July.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the individual current annual costs of each of the wages councils.
This information is not available in the form requested. The total expenses of all wages councils, including their secretariat, is estimated at £280,000 for 1979–80.
Training Opportunities Programme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many women took part in the training opportunities programme in each year since 1975; and what proportion of the total numbers undergoing such courses this represented in each case;(2) if he will list all the training opportunities programme for each year since 1975; and how many men and women undertake these courses each year.
[pursuant to his reply, 24 July 1980, c. 304–5]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that for each year since 1975 the total number of people completing training under the training opportunities scheme and the proportion of women included was as follows:
|TOPS COMPLETIONS BY SEX AND BY COURSE GROUPS|
|Education, Health etc.||…||…||1,345||713||946||531||1,163||524|
|Science and Technology||…||…||146||964||135||901||202||1,169|
|Shorthand and Typing||…||…||17,361||328||14,486||233||15,526||329|
|Office Machine Operating||…||1,198||257||1,016||407||1,735||650|
|Materials Processing excluding Metal||…||…||…||…||84||193||113||168||60||179|
|Metal Making etc.||…||…||306||16,324||261||16,775||351||16,101|
|Carpentry and Joinery||…||…||27||2,349||15||2,414||25||2,395|
|All figures include young people under 19.|
Proportion of women as percentage of total
These figures include both completions under the training opportunities scheme itself and completions by young people aged 16–18. Training arrangements for these young people have been undertaken since 1978 as part of the youth opportunities programme.
The number of different types of courses available was 524 in April 1980 (the latest month for which figures are available). Detailed lists of courses for each year could not be produced except at disproportionate cost. However, a copy of the latest edition of the TOPS course register which lists all courses currently available has been placed in the library.
The MSC regrets that information on the numbers of men and women attending each of the individual courses in the register is not readily available, but the following table provides the information required by broad course groups for the years 1977 to 1979. Comparable information is not readily available for earlier years.
Job Mobility Allowance
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will consider the creation of a job mobility allowance as an encouragement to people to move to jobs in other areas; and if he will make a statement.
I shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will give the number of deaths involving tractors in each year since 1945 with breakdowns showing how many were (a) workers, (b) farmers and their families and (c) children under 16 years of age;(2) if he will give the number of people killed and injured, separate figures, in farm accidents in Great Britain in each year since the war, with a breakdown giving the number of workers and the number of farmers and their families with sub-totals showing children under 16 years, also the totals of hired workers and farmers and their families for those years, and the ratio of deaths against total farm work force and the ratio reported injuries against total farm workforce for each year.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those employment offices in England which in July had more registered job vacancies than they had registered unemployed, not seasonally adjusted, for their area.
[pursuant to his reply, 30 July 1980, c. 674–5]: There are no local employment offices in England at which unfilled vacancies exceed the numbers unemployed. It should be noted, however, that only about one-third of all vacancies are notified to my Department.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people were being trained as apprentices (a) by industry and (b) by training boards at the latest convenient date: and how this compares with the figures for one year ago.
[pursuant to his reply, 31 July 1980, vol. 989, c. 782–3]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information requested is not available in respect of young people trained as apprentices by industry.The numbers of young people whose initial training was sponsored by ITBs under training award schemes were 1,361 in the 1979–80 training year and 4,263 in the 1978–79 training year.In addition, nearly 20,000 apprenticeships and other forms of long-term training for young people were supplied under the training for skills programme in 1979–80, and approximately 33,000 under the earlier special measures programme.
European Community Citizens
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many United Kingdom citizens were employed in the other countries of the EEC in 1979; and how many EEC citizens were employed by United Kingdom employers in the same year.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 August 1980, c. 871]: For United Kingdom citizens employed in other European Community countries, the available figures for the various countries relate to different periods between 1975 and 1979. The total of these figures gives an estimate of 72,000 employees excluding those working in the Irish Republic, for which corresponding information is not available. Based on partial information for the Irish Republic, it is estimated that the total for all other European Community countries would be of the order of 80,000.For citizens of other European Community countries employed in the United Kingdom the latest estimate, relating to 1977 and derived from the labour force sample survey, is 340,000 employees of which 260,000 were citizens of the Irish Republic.
Woodworking Industry (Redundancies)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies in the British woodworking industry have been notified to his Department in the first six months of the current year for (a) the whole of the United Kingdom; (b) the North-West region.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 August 1980, c. 871]: Information in the form requested is not available.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it has so far received notifications of redundancies of 10 or more due to occur in the first six months of 1980 involving 4,200 workers in the timber and furniture industry. This figures does not include Northern Ireland. The corresponding number for the North-West region is 985.
Low Wage Earners
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish his Department's estimate of how many people in fulltime employment receive gross wages of £21·60 per week or less; and if he will state that figure as a percentage of the total number of people in full-time employment.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 August 1980, c. 871–2]: A precise estimate is not available from official surveys, but the number would be very small and less than 0·1 per cent. of all full-time employees.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the three lowest determinations, in terms of minimum wage rates, of wages councils or similar statutory bodies in the last 12 months for which figures are available.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 August 1980, c. 871–2]: The three lowest weekly statutory minimum time rates current for adult workers employed in main provincial areas which have been determined in the last 12 months are:
|Hairdressing Undertakings Wages Council (GB) (18 December 1979)||31·00|
|Licensed Residential Establishment and Licensed Restaurant Wages Council (6 October 1979)||41·20|
|Made-up Textiles Wages Council (GB) (23 October 1979)||45·00|
|Ostrich and Fancy Feather and Artificial Flower Wages Council (GB) (23 October 1979)||45·00|
Departmental Officials (Telephone Inquiries)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether persons employed by his Department who deal with the public by telephone are required to identify themselves at the citizen's request; whether any, and if so what, category of employee of his Department is forbidden to give his name at the request of a member of the public who speaks to him by telephone; if so, on what occasions and for what reasons; and whether he will instruct all those employed by his Department who have contact with the public by telephone to give their names at the caller's request.
Members of my Department are encouraged to identify themselves when dealing with telephone calls from the public. They are neither required nor forbidden to do so. I do not consider any further instruction to them to be necessary.
House Of Commons
asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what have been the numbers employed by Select Committees of the House and related organisations whose emoluments have been at the annual rate in each bracket of £2,000 from £0–£2,000 upwards in the first year of operation.
[pursuant to his reply, 9 July 1980, c. 213]: Seventy staff work full-time for one or more Select Committees. Their salaries are in the following bands:
|£ 2,000–£ 3,999||Nil|
|£ 4,000–£ 5,999||24|
|£ 6,000–£ 7,999||13|
|£ 8,000–£ 9,999||6|
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the planned level of local authority spending on library services contained within the aggregate level of spending on arts, libraries and museums for each year covered by Cmnd. 7841.
The figures given in table 2.10 represent intermediate planning totals, and it would be unrealistic to subdivide them between the different services involved.
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to make a statement on the report of the Library Council (England) on the future development of libraries.
I am still considering the Library Advisory Council's report on "The Future Development of Libraries: The Organisational and Policy Framework", and the comments on it, which I have received, and hope to let the council know my views soon.
Rashid Al-Din's World History
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, in view of its importance and the fact that its companion volume is owned by Edinburgh university, he will arrange that a special grant should be made to purchase for a British institution Rashid Al-Din's World History, a Persian manuscript of 1314 which was sold at Sotheby's recently for £850,000.
The question of financial help in such a case could arise only if an export licence were withheld and a public collection wishing to acquire the item did not have the necessary funds to pay the specified price.
asked the Attorney-General when the Director of Public Prosecutions expects to be in a position to make a statement about the possibility of further prosecutions in the Confait case; and whether the investigations which the Director has been conducting throw further on the verdict of the Court of Appeal in Regina v. Leighton, Lattimore and Salih on 17 October 1975 and on the findings of Sir Henry Fisher as to the balance of probabilities in the report of the inquiry into the circumstances leading to the trial of Ronald Leighton, Colin Lattimore and Ahmet Salih on charges arising out of the death of Maxwell Confait and the fire at 27 Doggett Road, London, SE6, presented to the House on 12 december 1977.
On 22 April 1972 the body of Maxwell Confait was found at 27 Doggett Road, Lewisham. The house had been set on fire but was quickly extinguished. Confait had been murdered.On 24 November 1972 Ronald William Leighton was convicted of the murder of Confait, Colin George Lattimore was convicted of the manslaughter of Confait on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and Leighton, Lattimore and Ahmet Salih were convicted of arson at 27 Doggett Road.On 17 October 1975 all these convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).On 28 November 1975 Sir Henry Fisher was appointed to inquire into the circumstances leading to this trial and to report.On 19 October 1977 Sir Henry Fisher made his report, which was published in December 1977.Sir Henry found that Confait died not later than midnight on 21/22 April 1972 and probably before 10.30 pm on 21 April. He accepted that Lattimore was at a youth club until about 11.30 pm and that he was not present at and did not take part in, the killing of Confait.At the inquiry, counsel for Leighton, Lattimore and Salih made it clear that he did not allege that the record of the boys' oral and written admissions was
"a deliberately wicked concoction of a written record which was a travesty of what (the boys) said in the questions and answers (and) in their statements."
On the balance of probabilities, Sir Henry found that the confessions of Leighton, Lattimore and Salih to have taken part in the arson were true; and that both Leighton and Salih were involved in the killing.
On the evidence before Sir Henry, death could have occurred at any time between 6.30 pm and midnight on 21 April but it was improbable that it occurred after 10.30 pm.
In January 1980 new information came into the possession of the Director of Public Prosecutions who ordered further investigations to be made in the case and subsequently instructed counsel to advise.
Counsel's opinion was delivered on 23 July. I am satisfied that Confait died before midday on Friday 21 April.
I am also satisfied that if the evidence now available had been before Sir Henry Fisher he would not have come to the conclusion that any of the three young men was responsible for the death of Confait or the arson at 27 Doggett Road.
Counsel have advised, and the Director of Public Prosecutions and I agree, that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute any other person in respect of the death of Confait or the arson.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I are agreed that no further inquiry is necessary.
Court Proceedings (Access To Transcripts)
asked the Attorney-General if he will bring forward proposals to facilitate public access to transcripts of court proceedings.
Where proceedings in open court have been recorded, a transcript may usually be obtained on payment of the shorthand writer's fee.
Criminal Proceedings (Short Transcripts)
asked the Attorney-General if, in view of the fact that a constituent of the hon. Member for Epping Forest who was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment at Inner London Sessions has been in gaol for five months and has been prevented from lodging an appeal because his solicitor has been unable to obtain the short transcript of the trial which he asked for in April, because it has not been typed, he will take steps to remove such delays.
This transcript has now been delivered.The time taken to produce transcripts has already been somewhat shortened. It is expected that this improvement will continue.
asked the Attorney-General if he will publish in the Official Report the percentage refusal rates for adult legal aid for each magistrates' court in England and Wales distinguishing between (a)summary trial of indictable offences, (b)summary trial of non-indictable offences and (c) committal proceedings.
Information collected centrally relates to petty sessional divisions and not to individual courts except for the Metropolitan Police District. Numbers of applications for and refusals of legal aid for all criminal and care proceedings are published annually by petty sessional division in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales" (Table 25 of the volume for 1978, Cmnd. 7670). The figures requested could be published in the Official Report only at disproportionate cost, but, if the hon. Member desires information on any particular petty sessional division, I shall be pleased to provide it.
asked the Attorney-General how many representations he has received against the removal of facilities to study and inspect public records to Kew; and if he will make a statement.
Approximately 300 letters. The proposal remains under active consideration.
asked the Attorney-General if he will extend the hours for the study and inspection of public records at Kew to counteract the difficulties faced by many students and scholars in carrying out research as the result of the removal to Kew.
asked the Attorney-General if it is the policy of the Lord Chancellor to encourage Metropolitan stipendiary magistrates to apply for appointment as circuit judges if formally qualified for the purpose.
All applications for appointment to the circuit Bench from suitably qualified persons are equally welcome whether or not they are serving as stipendiary magistrates.
asked the Attorney-General how many circuit judges were appointed in each of the last five years, respectively; and how many were formerly stipendiary magistrates in each case.
The figures are:
|Year||Number of Circuit judges appointed||Of whom the following were stipendiary magistrates on appointment|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for each of the last five years, how many prison officers for acts involving maltreatment of prisoners, have been (a) prosecuted and convicted. (b) required to resign, or (c) disciplined in other ways.
During the past five years 13 officers have been prosecuted and convicted for offences relating to the maltreatment of prisoners (two in 1976; one in 1977, seven in 1979 and three in 1980). Three of these officers have been dismissed from the service, seven are suspended from duty pending appeals to the courts and the Civil Service Appeal Board, and three have resigned with their appeals against conviction and dismissal still outstanding. Departmental action has been either deferred or placed in abeyance pending decisions in the outstanding appeals.During the same period six officers have been disciplined in other ways for offences relating to the maltreatment of prisoners (three in 1976; one in 1978 and two in 1979).
Parliamentary Elections (Deposits)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will place in the Library a copy of the paper he has circulated to local authority associations on the Public Order Act, in which reference is made to the level of the deposit in Parliamentary elections.
A copy of the paper was made available to the Select Committee on Home Affairs in connection with its study of the law relating to public order and was published with its minutes of evidence for Monday 28 January 1980.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many black prisoners there were at the most recent convenient date in Her Majesty's prison, Gartree;(2) how many black prisoners there were at the most recent convenient date in Her Majesty's prison, Parkhurst.
The information requested is not collected.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many men who have committed suicide in the last 12 months were registered as unemployed at the time of death.
The information requested is not available centrally.
Lord Harris Of Greenwich
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the changed circumstances since his appointment and his connection with political and business controversy, he will remove Lord Harris of Greenwich from chairmanship of the Parole Board.
Police Manning Levels
asked the Secretary and of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the
|Metropolitan Police||Other police forces in England and Wales*|
|31 December 1960||…||20,458||17,112||59,508||55,140|
|31 December 1961||…||20,553||17,661||60,610||57,561|
|31 December 1962||…||20,749||18,079||62,494||59,707|
|31 December 1963||…||21,009||18,301||64,862||61,395|
|31 December 1964||…||21,325||18,317||68,300||62,363|
|31 December 1965||…||25,617||18,680||72,884||65,260|
|31 December 1966||…||25,629||19,192||78,929||67,313|
|31 December 1967||…||25,956||19,996||81,480||70,644|
|31 December 1968||…||26,052||20,458||82,093||70,324|
|31 December 1969||…||26,058||20,682||82,886||71,080|
|31 December 1970||…||26,055||21,057||83,361||72,691|
|31 December 1971||…||26,055||21,354||84,014||75,490|
|31 December 1972||…||26,055||21,305||85,179||78,376|
|31 December 1973||…||26,045||20,783||87,133||79,783|
|31 December 1974||…||26,628||20,850||89,178||81,236|
|31 December 1975||…||26,628||21,227||90,548||85,911|
|31 December 1976||…||26,628||22,245||91,473||87,231|
|31 December 1977||…||26,628||22,012||91,651||86,189|
|31 December 1978||…||26,589||21,961||92,378||87,114|
|31 December 1979||…||26,589||22,528||93,039||90,781|
|30 June 1980||…||…||26,577||22,859||93,433||92,494|
|* Including interforce units and officers on central service.|
Republic Of Ireland (Extradition)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effect the agreement concerning the application of the European convention on the suppression of terrorism among member States of the European Community has on the existing arrangements for extradition between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland; and what consequential changes, if any, will be needed in United Kingdom law.
The agreement has been signed by all the present member States of the European Communities but not, as yet, ratified by any. It can enter into force only when it is ratified by all nine States. The Suppression of Terrorism Act 1978 confers power to make orders that would enable the United Kingdom to discharge the agreement's obligations.If the agreement entered into force, and on the assumption that the Republic of Ireland made the declaration allowed by article 3·3, the main effects on the arrangements for the return of fugitives from the United Kingdom to the Republic and vice versa would be as follows.Within the United Kingdom, a request for the return to the Republic of Ireland
manning levels for the Metropolitan Police and police in the rest of England Wales for the last 20 years.
The figures are as follows:of a person accused or convicted of an offence described in articles 1 or 2 of the European convention on the suppression of terrorism could not be refused on the ground that the offence was of a political character. Within the Republic, any case in respect of which a request for the return to the United Kingdom of a person accused or convicted of an offence described in article 1 of the convention were refused on the ground that the offence was of a political character would have to be submitted to the Republic's prosecuting authorities.
Boundary Commission (Merseyside And North-West)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when the new parliamentary government boundaries for the North-West region will be announced;(2) when the new parliamentary government boundaries for the Greater Manchester area will be announced.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the question by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry) on 30 July.-[Vol. 989, c. 698].
Prisoners (Drug Addiction)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will consider allowing voluntary agencies into prisons to provide help for drug addicts;(2) if he is satisfied with the present treatment of drug addicts in prison; and what plans he has to improve this;(3) if he will take steps to increase the preparation that drug addicts receive in prison before they are released.
Recommendations made by the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs about the treatment of drug addicts in prison are presently under consideration, including suggestions for improving the arrangements for access to prisons by voluntary agencies and the preparation of addicts for release.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to make the law of civil trespass apply to the use of a bugging device.
This would be a matter for the Lord Chancellor, who would need to be satisfied that it was appropriate to extend the law of civil trespass to cover activities different from those to which it now applies.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that two suicides have taken place in United Kingdom prisons during recent weeks, if he will examine the situation to ascertain whether the regulations governing prisoners thought liable to commit suicide are adequate, and also whether supervision of prisoners requires strengthening; and if he will make a statement.
A suicide in prison is a matter of great concern and reports are always prepared on the circumstances. These are studied to see whether general procedures need to be changed to improve existing precautions. We have up to now been satisfied that precautions are as good as they can be, including those for the supervision of prisoners, but are still studying some recent reports. It is, of course, impossible to order prison life so that a determined person could never take his own life.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in his White Paper on nationality, he treats men and women and children of men and women equally or, if not, if he will set out these circumstances in which any unequal treatment is contemplated in his proposals.
Yes. Our intention is that the transmission of citizenship to their children born overseas, and in the acquisition of citizenship by virtue of marriage to a British citizen, men and women shall be treated equally.
Local Authorities (Production And Supply Of Heat)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in respect of section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966, if there is a common form by which local authorities apply for grants under the said section; and if he will place in the Library the claims for grant and all supporting documents submitted in 1979–80 by the following local authorities (a) Avon county council, (b) Bedfordshire county council (c) Berkshire county council (d) Aylesbury Vale district council, (e) city of Birmingham district council, (f) Blackburn borough council and (g) Wolverhampton Metropolitan borough council.
Local authorities provide details of their claims for grant under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966, and estimates of future eligible expenditure, in a standard form (a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member). However applications concerning the eligibility of new posts for grant, (section 11 grant is available only on staff costs) are dealt with by correspondence and vary according to the nature of the post.It would not be appropriate to place in the Library details of correspondence between the Home Office and individual local authorities, but I will write to the hon. Member with the details of the eligible expenditure in 1978–79, on which the local authorities referred to submitted claims for grant in 1979–80.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report the number of houses or apartments which have been allocated by each local authority in the United Kingdom to refugees from Vietnam.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a question by the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Best) on 13 June and my pursuant reply on 3 July. Information regarding Northern Ireland is not immediately available and I shall write to the hon. Member. [Vol. 987, c. 670.]
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report the number of houses or apartments which have been allocated by new town authorities in the United Kingdom to refugees from Vietnam.
I understand from the Joint Committee for Refugees from Vietnam that the information is as follows:
|Development Corporations||Offers||Taken up|
|* Offers made prior to 30 June.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total strength of the civil defence organisation in 1950, 1960, 1970, and 1980.
The number of people engaged by central and local government in civil defence is over 600 full-time and 400 part-time. Precise figures are not readily available; nor are figures for 1970 and earlier years.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Inspector John Maclennan (Commission Of Inquiry)
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will consult the Hong Kong Government about the need for an independent element in the commission of inquiry into the death of Inspector John MacLennan; and whether the Government will help with the cost of legal assistance and independent experts such as forensic scientists who may be employed by parties who want to give evidence to the commission.
An independent element already exists. The appointed commissioner is a judge of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong. The counsel for the commission is a Treasury counsel from London. Provided that the commission is of the opinion that the evidence in question consists of material which the commission should consider, the Hong Kong Government will be prepared to help with costs.
Departmental Officials (Telephone Inquiries)
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether persons employed by his Department who deal with the public by telephone are required to identify themselves at the citizen's request; whether any, and if so what, category of employee of his Department is forbidden to give his name at the request of a member of the public who speaks to him by telephone; if so, on what occasions and for what reasons; and whether he will instruct all those employed by his Department who have contact with the public by telephone to give their names at the caller's request.
Staff are generally encouraged to identify themselves to members of the public, but it is not obligatory for them to do so. No one is forbidden to give his or her name if asked.
asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has made to the Government of South Africa concerning their intervention in Angola.
We have conveyed to the South African Government our concern and dismay at the South African raid into Angola on 30 July. This is the latest in a number of cross-border incidents, and for this reason we renew our appeal to all parties to exercise restraint in the interests of achieving a negotiated settlement in Namibia.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will ensure that, on his forthcoming visit to Paraguay, Lord Trefgarne raises the need for an improvement in human rights and in the treatment of dissidents in that country in order to improve relations with the United Kingdom.
Her Majesty's Government recognise the improvement that has taken place in the treatment of human rights in Paraguay. During his recent visit, my noble Friend Lord 1 refgarne raised the issue with the Paraguayan Government and was assured of their intention to maintain this improvement.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will ensure that, on his forthcoming visit to Uruguay, Lord Trefgarne raises the need for an improvement in human rights and in the treatment of dissidents in that country in order to improve relations with the United Kingdom.
My noble Friend Lord Trefgarne will raise the issue of human rights with the Uruguayan Government and urge them to continue the improvements in the situation that have taken place.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest assessment of patterns of exports of coal and coal products exported from the United Kingdom, and imported to the United Kingdom and the EEC, which he will be using as the basis of discussions in setting targets and forecasts with the Commission of the EEC over the next 20 years.
Over the past five years United Kingdom exports of coal and coal products have varied between 2·6 and 3·8 million tonnes per year and United Kingdom imports between 2·4 and 5·2 million tonnes per year. We expect the bulk of United Kingdom coal requirements to continue to be supplied by domestic production and both exports and imports to remain marginal by comparison. Imports of coal from third countries to the European Community as a whole are expected to increase rapidly over the next 20 years to perhaps treble their present levels by the year 2000.
Gas And Electricity Prices
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report the increases in price of (a) a unit of electricity and (b) a therm of gas for the years 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80.
The table below shows the average annual price increases in pence per KWh for a unit of electricity and in pence per therm for a therm of gas for each of the past three years. The information is based on the average unit value for total sales by the fuel industries in the United Kingdom during the first three months (Q1) of each year. Data for 1980 is provisional.
|Period||Electricity (pence/KWh)||Natural Gas (pence/therm)|
|First quarter 1977 to first quarter 1978||0·278||1·83|
|First quarter 1978 to first quarter 1979||0·166||0·82|
|First quarter 1979 to first quarter 1980||0·488||2·50|
Business statistics office.
Business Monitor PQ 601, 602.
Offshore Oil Drilling (Environmental Protection)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will require licensees to prepare studies of the implications for the marine environment, other users of the sea and local coastal areas of exploratory drilling programmes which he will authorise for blocks 11/25, 12/21, 12/25 in the Moray Firth and 98/11, 98/17, 98/19, 99/12, 99/13 and 99/16 in the English Channel or for any other blocks on offer in the seventh round of offshore oil drilling; and whether he will make a statement.
Two of the blocks listed, 12/25 and 98/19, are not on offer in the seventh round. The other blocks specifically identified by the hon. Member are located near to shore and, as announced on 1 May, I will expect that the process of preparing a development plan for a discovery near to shore will normally include a study into the matters mentioned. I would also expect licensees to take account of marine interests and the environment in making their plans for exploration drilling. I do not, however, consider it necessary to require licensees to prepare detailed studies on the matters noted by the hon. Member, before exploration drilling takes place.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what advice he has received from the Nature Conservancy Council and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds regarding the importance of blocks 11/25, 12/21 and 12/25 in the Moray Firth currently on offer in the seventh round of offshore licensing, for large concentrations of seabirds vulnerable to oil pollution; if he will draw the attention of potential licensees to this feature: and whether he will make a statement.
Block 12/25 is not on offer in the seventh round, but as regards the other two blocks:
Oil Field Development (Compensation)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to powers exercised under model clauses 15 and 16 (Seaward Areas) of the Petroleum (Production) Regulations 1976/1129, he for any reason defers development of a field where a commercial oil discovery has been made, what compensation is payable to the licensees affected; and how it is calculated.
The Petroleum (Production) Regulations 1976 No. 1129 contain no provision for payment of compensation if development of a field is deferred pursuant to the powers contained in model clauses 15 and 16.
North Sea Oil (Depletion Policy)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has decided, in the interests of depletion policy, to constitute any part of the North Sea continental shelf as a national reserve.
No. I have no plans to designate a specific reserve.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether it is proposed that flexible depletion rules will apply only to commercial fields above a specified barrelage.
No. Decisions will be taken on a case by case basis in the light of all relevant factors.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many oil discoveries to date on the United Kingdom continental shelf have become eligible for depletion under the rules announced by his predecessor on 6 December 1974.
I refer my hon. Friend to appendix 2 in my report to Parliament of June 1980 "Development of the oil and gas resources of the United Kingdom"—the "Brown Book". That appendix lists 23 oil discoveries announced between the beginning of 1976 and the end of 1979 which would in principle be eligible for development delay within the terms of the assurances given by the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) on 6 December 1974 and which we have reaffirmed.My right hon. Friend made clear in his written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) on 23 July that we would take decisions to a case by case basis giving emphasis to the need to limit the sharpness of the peak in production in the mid-1980s.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he proposes to announce his proposals for encouraging the exploitation of marginal fields on the United Kingdom continental shelf.
I refer to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) on 22 July 1980.—[Vol. 989, c. 150.]
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many participation agreements have been negotiated between the British National Oil Company and companies operating on the continental shelf; and whether provision has been made in all or any of them for the benefit to be assigned or transferred to a third party at his choice.
Participation agreements have been concluded with the 62 companies listed in appendix 13 to my report to Parliament of July 1979 "Development of the oil and gas resources of the United
|IMPORTS AND EXPORTS OF COAL, COKE AND BRIQUETTES* 1979|
|'000 tonnes||Imports £ million (cif)||£/tonne||'000 tonnes||Exports £ million (fob)||£/tonne|
|Federal Republic of Germany||…||10,587||243||23·0||27,789||1,256||45·2|
|* Division 32 of the Standard International Trade Classification (Revision 2). The figures include intra-Community trade.|
Kingdom"—the "Brown Book". Most of the agreements entitle the British National Oil Corporation, subject to various qualifications, to assign all or part of its rights under the agreements to a subsidiary, to another State corporation or to a subsidiary of another State corporation.
British National Oil Company (Exploration)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy in which countries outside the United Kingdom he has authorised the British National Oil Company to search for and get petroleum, pursuant to section 2(4A) of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975; and what condition has been imposed.
I have granted no such statutory consents at present. However, with my approval BNOC is currently involved in negotiations which may result in its participating in two exploration ventures overseas. Details are at present commercially confidential.
Coal And Coal Products
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will tabulate, from information available to him, his assessment of the tonnage and value expressed in total and cost per ton per annum at the present time of coal, and coal products imported into and exported from each EEC country and in total, relating this to the latest Commission forecasts for 1985, 1990, and 2000.
The information is as follows:
The latest forecast from the European Commission is that coal imports to the Community from third countries may rise to between 87 and 157 million tonnes by 1990 and 195 and 335 million tonnes by 2000. It is not likely that substantial quantities of coal will be exported from the Community in the period.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his assessment of the level of coal stocks now held at pit heads, by the Central Electricity Generating Board, and by other parties including stockists, and in total within the United
|STOCKS OF COAL* AT END OF PERIOD: GREAT BRITAIN|
|Power stations†||Coke ovens||Other‡||Collieries||Opencast sites, etc.||Total|
|* Excluding those held in merchants' yards and by industrial users (except conversion industries), statistics for which have not been collected since 1973.|
|† Operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board and the South of Scotland Electricity Board.|
|‡ Including gas works and patent fuel plants.|
Nationalised Industry Officials (Telephone Inquiries)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will issue a general direction to the nationalised industries for which he is responsible that all those employed by them who have contact with the public by telephone shall give their names at the caller's request.
No. This is a matter for the nationalised industries concerned.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the names of organisations which have made representations to him regarding the prices charged by the British Gas Corporation in line with Government policies; what fears have been expressed to him about employment prospects as a result of these prices in the face of lower continental prices; and if he will make a statement.
Kingdom; and if he will compare them with the level on 1 August and 1 February for each of the previous five years.
Information on coal stocks is published in my Department's monthly bulletin Energy Trends and in the annual "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics", copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The latest available information is for end June, 1980. For convenience, these figures, with comparable figures at six monthly intervals for the previous five years, are tabulated below:
Since 1 January 1980 the organisations listed below have made representations to my Department about the price of domestic and industrial gas. In addition, representations have been received from 90 companies, some of whom have expressed fears about employment prospects. As regards industrial gas prices in Britain and on the continent, I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) on 31 July.The evidence available for the first quarter of this year does not suggest that on average industrial gas prices are higher in Britain than in other EEC countries.
- Association of Conservative Clubs Ltd.
- Biddulph Town Council
- Blackburn Conservative and Unionist Association
- Bristol S. E. Conservative Association
- British Pensioners and Trade Union Action Committee
- Chemical Industries Association
- Cleethorpes Borough Council
- Conservative Trade Unionists
- Council of Ironfoundry Associations
- Erdington Conservative and Unionist Association
- Flixton Conservative Branch
- Garforth Conservative Association
- General & Municipal Workers Union
- Glass Manufacturers Federation
- Great Yarmouth Trades Council
- Hull and District Association of Master Bakers
- Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- National Farmers Union
- National Federation of Clay Industries
- National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses Ltd.
- National Guild of Co-operators, Eastfield Branch
- National Labour Womens Advisory Committee
- National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers
- National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations
- Newport and District Liberal Association
- Potters Bar Labour Party
- Shipley Conservative Association
- South Angus Conservative Association
- Southern Gas Consumers Council
- South Western Gas Consumers Council
- Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
- Teesside Pensioners Association
- Torbay Conservative Association
- Tyne and Wear County Council
- Walton-on-the-Naze Residents Association
- West Bromwich Trades Council
- Westwood Branch Labour Party
- Womens Gas Federation, Young Homemakers
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he will report the outcome of the Government's consultations with the nationalised industries' chairmen over possible modifications to the industries' financing arrangements.
The Government have now completed a joint examination with the nationalised industries' chairmen's group (NICG) of three aspects of the nationalised industries' financing arrangements. Useful progress has been made and I am happy to report that proposals have been worked out which the Government have agreed and which the chairmen have welcomed as a modest but worthwhile improvement.The first points concern the way in which external financing limits (EFLs) for the industries are set and administered. The Government regard EFLs as one of the main elements in the framework of financial disciplines within which the industries are required to operate and in particular as an essential instrument for short term control of public sector borrowing. It has always been recognised, for example in the original cash limits White Paper of April 1976 (Cmnd 6440) that since the nationalised industries are trading organisations with large flows of expenditure and revenue, the EFLs cannot be immutable: but that equally there can be no presumption that a financing deficit would be met, as happened before 1976, by a further injection of external finance. We have now sought to define in broad terms the circumstances in which the Government would be prepared to consider adjusting EFLs. We have also agreed a measure of end-year flexibility. This would come into effect in 1981–82 and would allow industries to exceed the current year's EFL within limits on condition that an equal deduction was made from the following year's EFL. Provision for this would be made in the contingency reserve within the overall public expenditure plans.Second, we have agreed in principle a somewhat revised presentation of nationalised industries' financing in the Financial Statement and Budget Report designed to demonstrate more clearly the extent of the contribution of the industries' internal resources and, in particular, profits to the financing of their investment programme. The details are still being discussed.On finance, we have agreed on a more flexible approach to the determination of the terms on which industries may borrow from the National Loans Fund (NLF). The rules governing the maturity period for such borrowing have been changed so that they are determined by an agreed view between each industry, the Treasury and the sponsor Department as to what is an appropriate maturity pattern for the industry's liabilities, rather than by the present arrangement under which the majority of borrowing is for a maturity period linked directly to the asset life of the industry. For their part, the industries have agreed to provide additional information about their borrowing requirements in the immediate future, in order to assist the task of the authorities in funding the PSBR, and so maintaining monetary control.I am placing a document setting out the details of the first of these changes in the Library.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will agree in principle to full reversibility so far as tax allowances are concerned of a woman who is a dependant of her husband and a man who is a dependant of his wife.
European Community Budget (United Kingdom Contribution)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated gross £ sterling contribution to the EEC budget by the United Kingdom in the calendar year 1980 and in the financial year 1980–81.
Estimates of the gross contribution to the Community budget were published in Cmnd. 7841—"The Government's Expenditure Plans 1980–81 to 1983–84"; the gross contribution in 1980 was estimated at £1,809 million, and in 1980–81 at £1,949 million, both figures at 1979 survey prices. Since Cmnd. 7841 was published the 1980 Community budget has been adopted; this provides for an estimated gross contribution by the United Kingdom to the 1980 budget of 3,150 million EUA (£1,900 million approximately at current rates of exchange).
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what projects under the urban renewal programme will be submitted to the EEC Commission for financing as part of the recent budget agreement;(2) what projects for the exploitation of coal resources will be submitted to the EEC Commission for financing as part of the recent budget agreement;(3) what projects in transport and communications will be submitted to the EEC Commission for financing as part of the recent budget agreement;(4) what programme of advance factories will be submitted to the EEC Commission for financing as part of the recent budget agreement;(5) what housing projects will be submitted to the EEC Commission for financing as part of the recent budget agreement.
Discussions are taking place with the Commission and other member States and it is too early to say what the content of the programmes submitted to the Commission will be.
Self-Employed Persons (Retirement Annuity)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost of allowing those born before 1 January 1920 and 1 January 1930, respectively, to invest 20 per cent., 25 per cent., and 30 per cent. of their incomes in a self-employed retirement annuity in lieu of the 17½ per cent. allowed in the Finance Act 1980.
I shall let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the terms of reference and membership of the Treasury committee on small businesses, set up following the recommendation of the Bolton Committee; and if he will state how often it meets each year.
I am not aware of any such committee being set up in direct response to the recommendations of the Bolton Committee. There are normal arrangements for interdepartmental consultation on this topic.
Treasury Solicitor (Costs Department)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the estimated cost to public funds of the costs department of the Office of the Treasury Solicitor is attributable to applications for costs in respect of claims which had been settled by Government Departments, with which the Treasury Solicitor's office had not been involved at the time of settlement.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give the most recent comparative figures of inflation in the United Kingdom, West Germany and Japan.
The table below shows the rate of increase of consumer prices in June 1980 measured on a year earlier.
|United Kingdom||21·0 per cent.|
|Germany||6·0 per cent.|
|Japan||8·2 per cent.|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of the 164 tonnes of 245-T imported into Great Britain in 1979, how much was re-exported and to where; and why the British Policies Advisory Committee has been able to account for the use of only 3 tonnes in the United Kingdom.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the equity capitalisation of (a) industrial companies, (b) financial sector companies and (c) non-financial sector companies has been provided by trades union pension funds since 1974.
[pursuant to his reply, 28 July 1980, c. 479]: I regret that the information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is in a position to make a statement on the Government's review of forestry policy.
Substantial progress has been made, but we are not yet in a position to announce our final decisions. It is our intention to make a statement as soon as our discussions are complete.
Local Authority Expenditure
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the amounts received by the local authorities in Scotland towards (a) capital and (b) current expenditure in specific grant for the urban programme in 1978–79 at out-turn prices, together with provisional figures for 1979–80 and 1980–81.
Specific grant payments (at the rate of 75 per cent.) made to local authorities in Scotland in each of the last two years were as follows:—
|As grant is paid in arrears no payments have yet been made in relation to 1980–81 expenditure.|
|*Grant in relation to capital expenditure may be paid either on a lump sum basis or against annual loan charges. The determining factor is the method adopted by an authority to fund the project concerned.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list the percentages of houses below the tolerable standard in the city of Glasgow for the past five years;(2) if he will estimate the percentage of houses below the tolerable standard in the city of Glasgow for each of the next three years, on the basis of current Government expenditure plans;(3) what steps he proposes to take to reduce the percentage of houses below the tolerable standard in the city of Glasgow, which stood at 12.5 per cent. in March 1979.
Estimates provided by Glasgow district council to my Department for the past five years are as follows:
|Percentage of stock below the tolerable standard|
inter alia for grants to bring property up to the tolerable standard) have been maintained at the same level in real terms as last year and the amount allocated to Glasgow district council (£17.15 million out of a Scottish total of £64.30 million) reflects a recognition of the city's housing problems. The resources available to the Housing Corporation in Scotland, for whom inner city rehabilitation is a priority, have also been maintained in real terms. Progress in reducing further the number of houses below the tolerable standard will depend on a number of factors, including the relative priorities of the district council and the other agencies, and the decisions of private individuals.
Argyll (Wooden Safety Barriers)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many kilometres of wooden safety barriers have been removed from roads in Argyll since the current urgent programme of removals was instituted.
On trunk roads in Argyll, 27 kilometres of wooden safety barriers have been removed since the beginning of the year: 4¼ kilometres of barriers remain on trunk roads at locations where some form of barrier is considered essential to safety: these will be replaced by steel barriers as soon as possible.The information on non-trunk roads will not be available until later this week and I shall write to my hon. Friend as soon as I have the figures.
Compensation (Injuries And Damage)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what compensation has been paid out in the past five years by his Department to persons making claims for injury and damage for which his Department was responsible; and if he will give the figures on a year-by-year basis; and what has been the cost of buildings and equipment, for which his Department was responsible, destroyed or damaged over the same period, including losses sustained by the Armed Services, except for equipment lost in combat.
The sums paid out in compensation in the past five years to persons making claims for injury and damage were as follows:
|1975–76 5.39||1976–77 6.34||1977–78 8.04|
|1978–79 6.78||1979–80 (estimate) 10.0|
|1975–76 3.94||1976–77 2.53||1977–78 3.37|
|1978–79 3.60||1979–80 (estimate) 6.46|
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the mobilised strength of Her Majesty's Forces and the number of civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence, respectively, in 1950, 1960, 1970 and 1980.
The total strength of the Armed Forces—excluding reserves but including locally entered personnel—on the dates shown was as follows:
|1 April 1950||785,000|
|1 April 1960||559,000|
|1 April 1970||393,000|
|1 April 1980||329,000|
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement about the future of the Clegg Commission.
As the House knows, the Government have kept under review the work of the Standing Commission on pay comparability and I have now received the commission's own general report on its work. This is being published today. We have concluded that no further references should be made to the commission and that it should be wound up once it has reported on its outstanding references. I expect this to be about the turn of the year.The Government are grateful to Professor Clegg and the other members of the commission for the very considerable efforts required of them in dealing with many questions of great complexity, usually within severe time restraints.
The Government are not, however, satisfied that institutionalised comparability arrangements have proved the most satisfactory means of determining the pay of the public service groups which have been referred to the commission.
The commission itself recognises in its general report that there have been difficulties with many of the comparability systems it has had to use. Although it makes tentative proposals for developing better systems, this would take a long time; and the commission is not sure that they would prove entirely successful. Moreover, the commission has concluded that it is not possible for it to adjust its findings to take account of the relative efficiency of the groups being compared, or of the state of the labour market; and regards these as matters for negotiation.
Much of the commission's work has been concerned with the injustices and anomalies created by the previous Administration's pay policies. That is in the past. For the future, pay needs to be negotiated with full regard to the country's economic circumstances, to the need to improve the efficiency of the public services and to what the taxpayer and ratepayer can be expected to afford.
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the Government's attitude towards the case for Scottish selfdetermination which is presently under consideration by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
No. I understand that a complaint has been submitted to the sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, but it would be an infringement of the agreed procedure for the Government to comment.
Pay Review Bodies
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement about the future of the three pay review bodies.
The Government have decided that the three pay review bodies—the Top Salaries Review Body, the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body—should continue to make recommendations on the groups within their terms of reference. As I said in my statement on 7 July, nationalised industry board salaries will be removed from the terms of reference of the Top Salaries Review Body.I am glad to pay tribute to the chairmen and members of the review bodies for all that they have done in the preparation of their reports.
Policy Implementation (Consultation)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy on involving the medical profession within the Health Service in the implementation of the various policies now being formed.
I am anxious that the medical profession should be closely involved in the implementation of policies. At the national level, there are established procedures of long standing for medical views to be sought regarding the implementation of proposed policies in the health field. Doctors are members of the health authorities' management teams and this will continue.The Chief Medical Officer is presently chairing a working group to consider the advisory structure that further involves the medical profession in the management of the service. Particular consideration is also being given to the contribution community physicians make in both their management and specialist roles for health and local authorities.
Departmental Posts (Advertising)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the Criminal Investigation Department experience called for by his Department from candidates for a post advertised in The Guardian as a key investigatory and liaison role with a team undertaking investigations in connection with the Department's responsibility under the Abortion Act is a new qualification; how many of the existing team have this experience; and why it is necessary for candidates to have been police officers.
CID experience is directly relevant to the work to be undertaken. It has always been required for appointment to the team of investigators set up in 1971 to counter abuses of the 1967 Abortion Act.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many social workers are currently employed in England and Wales; and how this compares with the position in each of the last five years.
The estimated whole time equivalent number of social workers employed in local authority social service departments in England and Wales was 25,553.7 in 1978, the last year for which figures are available.Comparable figures for the four previous years are as follows:
Cirrhosis Of The Liver
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many men have died of cirrhosis of the liver in the last 12 months who at the time of death were registered as unemployed.
The information requested is not collected.
Social Security Advisory Committee
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to appoint a disabled person to the Social Security Advisory Committee.
My right hon. Friend is already required by section 9 and schedule 3 to the Social Security Act 1980 to include among the members of the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) a person who has experience of work among, and of the needs of, the chronically sick and disabled; and to consider appointing, as the member with this experience, a person who is himself chronically sick or disabled.
Lead Level (Children)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what comparative evidence he has that the lead level in children declines in direct proportion to the use of non-lead petrol.
There is no direct comparative evidence on this point; but after reviewing the available evidence relating to lead in petrol, the DHSS working party on lead in the environment chaired by Professor Lawther recommended that:
The working party's report was published by HMSO as "Lead and Health" in March and a copy is in the Library of the House."emissions of lead to the air from traffic and other sources should be progressively reduced, subject to an appraisal of any other possible effects on health of altering the constituents of petrol."
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what study his Department has made of the evidence of Professor Needleman, "New England Journal of Medicine", volume 300, page 689: 1979, that there is a direct association between the amount of lead in children's teeth and their mental performance.
The Department established an expert working party on lead tinder the chairmanship of Professor P. J. Lawther to review the overall effects on health of environmental lead. Its report "Lead and Health" was published in March and a copy is in the Library of the House.In reaching its conclusions, the working party examined the Needleman study in detail along with other studies of lead in teeth and in blood in relation to the mental performance of children. (See paras. 152–159 of the report.)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will use his powers under section 57 of the National Health Services Act 1977 to make an order controlling the maximum prices to be charged for any medical supplies required for the purposes of the 1977 Act.
I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my reply to him on 23 July. Discussions aimed at restoring acceptable arrangements without the use of formal powers are continuing.—[Vol. 989, c. 286.]
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list all the benefit rights of a woman who is a dependant of her husband as against a man who is a dependant of his wife.
No benefit rights are conferred on a person by virtue of being the dependant of another person. However, entitlement to certain benefits can be acquired on a spouse's contributions, viz. maternity grant, category B retirement pension and widowhood benefits.
War Pensioners' Vehicle Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will explain the criteria for assistance to severely disabled war pensioners under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme; and what proposals he has to restore the value of the cash allowances paid to severely disabled war pensioners under that scheme either with their vehicles or as private car maintenance allowances;(2) why the cash allowances paid to severely disabled war pensioners under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme are not reviewed annually at the same time as all other war pensioner entitlements;(3) in what circumstances severely disabled war pensioners with entitlement under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme may transfer that entitlement to the civilian mobility allowance; and why, if the additional money is available to pay mobility allowance in such cases, he is unwilling to increase the rates of the cash allowances already in payment under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme.
Under the war pensioners' vehicle scheme, mobility help is provided for those war pensioners
Claimants (Confidential Information)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether parliamentary approval has ever been sought for the practice by which confidential information about claimants is given by his Department to the police.
The practice to which the hon. Member refers, which has been in operation for many years, does not require formal parliamentary approval. The policy has, however, been explained in this House on a number of occasions, and I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) on 7 November 1979 for a recent statement of the limited circumstances in which information in the Department's records is disclosed to third parties, including the police.—[Vol. 973, c. 224.]