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Written Answers

Volume 12: debated on Wednesday 11 November 1981

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 11 November 1981

Prime Minister

National Health Service (Staff)

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied that the proposed increase of 41,500 in National Health Service staff between 1980 and 1982 at an extra cost of £106 million is in accordance with the tight monetary policy which she has been pursuing.

As indicated in Cmnd. 8175, the Government's plans for public expenditure, which are formulated within our overall economic policy, have specifically provided for some growth in hospital and community health services expenditure—about 75 per cent. of which is attributable to staff costs—in order to meet rising costs associated with demographic changes and improvements in medical techniques, and so on.The manpower figure quoted by my hon. Friend derives from a comparison between the total number of staff—in whole-time equivalent terms—employed in the NHS in Great Britain in September 1979–939,700—and a tentative estimate of likely staffing levels in September 1981–981,200—based on the expenditure plans for the NHS in Cmnd. 8175. These allowed for an increase in current expenditure on hospitals and community health services from. £5,407 million in 1979–80 to £5,635 million in 1981–82, at 1980 survey prices, an increase in real terms of just over 4 per cent. over the two financial years. The projected increase in NHS manpower over the same period is broadly in line with the planned increase in total revenue expenditure. The manpower figure cannot meaningfully be related however to the figure of £106 million which appeared in the Supply Estimates. This was derived for a different purpose and covered one financial year, as the Financial Secretary explained in his letter of 14 September to my hon. Friend.

Councillor Trevor Brown

asked the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government will now indemnify county councillor Trevor Brown, an employee of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, who did not disclose any information but was severely reprimanded and retired seven years early.

No. Mr. Brown has exercised his right of appeal under normal departmental procedures. He has had every opportunity over a quite considerable period to submit any and all representations which he felt relevant, and he has done so. His appeal has been rejected, and the reasons have been explained to him in detail and in writing. I see no basis on which to justify reconsideration of his case.

Spastics Society

asked the Prime Minister what representation she has received from the director of the Spastics Society acting on behalf of the Reform VAT Group; what reply she is sending; whether she proposes to take any action; and if she will make a statement.

The director of the Spastics Society wrote to me on behalf of the Reform VAT Group on 4 November. I expect to reply shortly.

Lough Foyle

asked the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have obtained or sought from the Government of the Irish Republic acknowledgement or acceptance of Her Majesty's Government's position that the whole of the waters of Lough Foyle are within the United Kingdom.

The Government of the Republic of Ireland are aware of the position of Her Majesty's Government on this matter, namely, that Lough Foyle falls within the United Kingdom. The Government of the Republic of Ireland dispute this claim.

National Finance

Oil Revenue

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current level of the United Kingdom North Sea oil revenue.

Government revenues—comprising royalties, supplementary petroleum duty, petroleum revenue tax and corporation tax before ACT set-off—from North Sea oil and gas production for 1981–82 were estimated at the time of the Budget to be £5,880 million.

Value Added Tax (Pornographic Publications)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider introducing an amendment to schedule 4, group 3 to the Finance Act 1972 to ensure that publications of a pornographic character are fully rated for value added tax.

No. I have considerable sympathy with the feeling that has prompted my hon. Friend's suggestion. I regret to say however, that in the absence of a clear and objective definition of "pornographic" in the law, it would not be a practical possibility to ensure that publications of a pornographic character are fully rated for value added tax while other publications are zero-rated.

Royal Mint

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the procedure for authorising the Royal Mint to produce medallions or plaques bearing the effigy of Her Majesty the Queen.

The procedure for authorising the Royal Mint to manufacture medallions or plaques bearing the effigy of Her Majesty depends on whether it is an official United Kingdom issue, or is to be produced for one of the Royal Mint's other clients, in this country or overseas.Designs for all official United Kingdom medallions and plaques are submitted to the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, the selected design then being submitted by the Master of the Mint to Her Majesty for approval. Designs for all other issues are primarily the responsibility of the Royal Mint's client, but in cases involving the use of Her Majesty's effigy the Royal Mint invariably seeks confirmation that no objections have been raised by any of the interested parties before proceeding with a commission.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated loss of revenue in a full year of a reduction in the present 15 per cent. rate of value added tax to 12½ per cent.; by how much such a reduction would decrease the retail prices index; and whether, and to what extent, he estimates that this would facilitate employment growth.

Government Securities

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the annual take-up of Government securities if, as a condition of gaining full tax relief on pension contributions by employers, 50 per cent. of total pension contributions were required to be invested annually in Government loans.

No. There is no question of imposing such a requirement on employers or pension funds. This would be an undesirable restriction on their freedom to invest pension contributions to the best advantage of beneficiaries.

Advertising Expenditure (Levy)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated yield from (a) a 10 per cent. and (b) a 20 per cent levy on all advertising expenditure, presently allowable as a deduction from corporation tax liability by corporate bodies, based on the returns for the most recent year.

I regret that the data are not available from which to estimate a yield.

Government Borrowings (Interest)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the cost of interest on Government borrowings in each of the past three years; and what percentage of total Government spending in each year each figure represents.

Oil Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the oil companies' profit the Government take in taxes.

[pursuant to his reply, 9 November 1981, c. 12]: The taxes on UKCS oil production will dominate United Kingdom tax paid by oil companies. Since profits are calculated in different ways for each tax, the profits returned by companies for each tax will vary according to the tax for which the return is made and will in any case differ from the measure of profits shown in the accounts. Thus it would not be meaningful to express Government revenues as a percentage of profit.About 45 per cent. of gross revenues from North Sea oil and gas production will be taken in royalties and taxes in 1981–82. This figure will tend to rise as companies work through tax allowances.

Home Department

Criminal Law Act 1977 (Remand Hearings)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what use is made of section 41 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, allowing remand hearings to be transferred to a court nearer the prison where the prisoner is held; and whether he will take steps to increase its use, in the light of the overcrowding in Brixton and other remand prisons.

Section 41 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 has now been superseded by section 130 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980. A recent survey has shown that it is used "quite often" by only a small number of courts. Magistrates' courts are encouraged to use the provision where the journey from the prison to court would otherwise be lengthy or inconvenient or where it could involve a significant security risk. The results of the survey are being examined to see whether further guidance could usefully be given to courts but the use of the section must be limited by the availability of time in courts near to prisons.

Boundary Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what grounds the number of assistant commissioners to the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England was recently increased from 35 to 43.

The increase was made at the request of the commission, which considered such action to be necessary if it was to complete the holding of all local inquiries into its provisional recommendations and its general review of parliamentary constituencies by the end of 1982.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the 1981 electorates of the parliamentary constituencies proposed for Greater London in the revised recommendations of the Boundary Commission for England published on 8 October.

I understand that under the commission's revised recommendations for Greater London the names or boundaries of 37 proposed constituencies differ from those included in the provisional recommendations. The 1981 electorates for all 84 proposed constituencies are as follows:

London BoroughConstituency1981 Electorate
Barking & DagenhamBarking*53,690
Dagenham*63,839
BarnetChipping Barnet58,578
Finchley55,555
Hendon North54,363
Hendon South54,447
London BoroughConstituency1981 Electorate
BexleyBexleyheath59,745
Erith & Crayford55,295
Old Bexley & Sidcup*50,776
BrentBrent East61,143
Brent North63,186
Brent South63,007
BromleyBeckenham59,008
Chislehurst*54,968
Orpington*58,454
Ravensbourne*58,990
CamdenHampstead & Highgate*68,428
Holborn & St. Pancras71,370
CroydonCroydon Central56,579
Croydon North East*63,035
Croydon North West*58,248
Croydon South64,748
EalingEaling, Acton*61,246
Ealing, North*66,785
Ealing, Southall*70,233
EnfieldEdmonton†63,942
Enfield North†67,246
Enfield, Southgate*†64,272
GreenwichEltham55,473
Greenwich52,532
Woolwich55,945
Hackney North & Stoke
HackneyNewington*66,082
Hackney South & Shoreditch*70,494
Hammersmith & FulhamFulham*52,646
Hammersmith*47,098
HaringeyHornsey*73,853
Wood Green & Tottenham*79,810
HarrowHarrow East80,091
Harrow West73,379
HaveringHornchurch62,333
Romford56,445
Upminster67,087
HillingdonHayes & Harlington57,405
Ruislip-Northwood56,056
Uxbridge61,539
HounslowBrentford & Isleworth*71,886
Feltham & Heston*80,807
IslingtonIslington North*60,129
Islington South & Finsbury*60,482
Kensington & ChelseaChelsea54,982
Kensington51,268
Kingston-upon-ThamesKingston-upon-Thames57,728
Surbiton46,802
LambethNorwood*55,847
Streatham61,339
Vauxhall*64,188
LewishamLewisham, Deptford*59,443
Lewisham East*61,574
Lewisham West*63,615
MertonMitcham & Morden63,107
Wimbledon64,754
NewhamNewham North East*64,499
Newham North West*51,060
Newham South*51,931
RedbridgeIlford North61,076
Ilford South59,175
Wanstead & Woodford57,680
Richmond-upon-ThamesRichmond & Barnes*56,532
Twickenham64,101
SouthwarkDulwich57,414
Peckham59,063
Southwark & Bermondsey56,698
SuttonCarshalton & Wallington*68,868
Sutton & Cheam63,434
Tower HamletsBethnal Green & Stepney54,243
Bow & Poplar56,912
Waltham ForestChingford56,892
Leyton*58,886
Walthamstow*49,309
London BoroughConstituency1981 Electroate
WandsworthBattersea66,134
Putney64,099
Tooting68,804
Cities of London & WestminsterWestminster North*72,216
The City of London & Westminster South*71,809
* Name and/or boundary change.
† 1980 Electorate. 1981 figures not available.

Alien Registration Fee

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the rate of increase of the alien registration fee.

The fees prescribed under the Immigration (Registration with the Police) Regulations and payable at the time of registration are intended to recover the administrative costs involved in the registration process. The large increases between 1975 and 1980, from 25p to £19, eventually achieved this end; the smaller increase to £21 in May this year maintained it.

Criminal Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in respect of table 2.8, classification numbers 28 to 31 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1980", what is the average value of property recovered for each classification.

The average value of property recovered per offence in which property was stolen can be calculated from the figures given in the first, second and fourteenth columns of table 2.8, "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1980", Cmnd. 8376. The average value of property recovered per offence for which some property was recovered could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, because the number of offences for which property is recovered is not collected centrally.

New Prison (Woolwich Arsenal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the present position of the new prison development proposed for the Woolwich Arsenal site.

The London borough of Greenwich has formally objected to the proposal by the prison department of the Home Office to use some of the Ministry of Defence land at the Woolwich Arsenal east site for prison purposes. On the receipt of those objections, the prison department brought the matter to the attention of the Department of the Environment in accordance with paragraph 14 of D.O.E. circular 7/77. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has decided to hold a non-statutory local public inquiry as provided for in paragraph 15. It is expected that the arrangements for this inquiry will be announced shortly.

Immigration Control (Deportation Orders)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is yet in a position to announce the conclusions of his review of the arrangements under which the police report to his Department the convictions of persons liable to deportation.

Revised guidance to the police is contained in Home Office circular 104/1981, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. It continues to be necessary for the Home Office to receive reports in appropriate cases of the convictions of persons subject to immigration control so that my right hon. Friend is aware of cases in which he would wish to make a deportation order on the grounds that this would be conducive to the public good but where the convicting court made no recommendation as to deportation. As from now the police are asked to make reports only in the following circumstances:

(a) in respect of a person who is settled in the United Kingdom and has been here for at least five years, whether or not his stay has at any time been subject to conditions, a conviction should be reported only if it results in an immediate or suspended sentence of imprisonment—or a hospital order;
(b) in respect of a person whose stay in the United Kingdom is still subject to a time limit or of a person who has been here for less than five years, a conviction should be reported for any offence punishable with imprisonment, irrespective of the sentence.

Solicitor-General For Scotland

Solvent Abuse

42.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions and referrals for offences which involved solvent abuse there were in 1980.

I indicated to the hon. Gentleman on a previous occasion—[Vol. 2, c. 953–54]—that there is no separate register kept by procurators fiscal of the numbers of prosecutions for offences involving solvent abuse, as solvent abuse is itself not illegal. The charge libelled in any prosecution where an accused has inhaled solvent will depend on the circumstances. In most cases, I understand, these circumstances merit proceedings in the district court on a charge of breach of the peace. I am unable to supply information concerning referrals involving solvent abuse.

Summary Jurisdiction Limit

43.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland what consultations he held prior to the doubling of the summary jurisdiction limit.

The increase in the upper financial limit in the summary cause was effected by an Order in Council, the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 (Summary Cause) Order 1981, S.I. 1981/842. Before this order was made, a draft of it was laid before Parliament and was approved by a resolution of each House.

Criminal Prosecutions

44.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many criminal prosecutions have been dropped as a result of the recent industrial action in the Scottish sheriff courts.

The industrial action taken by civil servants was confined to Glasgow and Edinburgh sheriff courts. As a result of this disruption, it is estimated that some 10,000 summary criminal prosecutions have been dropped.

Wales

Further Education

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what is his Department's estimate of the consequences of the Government's cuts in 1981–82 and the planned Government spending cuts in 1982–83 on the non-advanced further education colleges in Wales; and, particularly, how many colleges it is estimated will have to close and how many teaching posts will be lost;(2) what is his Department's estimate of the possible consequences of the Government cuts on polytechnics and colleges in Wales which offer degree courses, particularly with regard to the possibility of closure of some colleges and the number of teaching posts which will be cut.

The Government's expenditure plans published in Cmnd. 8175 implied a reduction of about 500 lecturers in further and higher education in Wales during the period 1979–80 to 1982–83. Since then, the Prime Minister has announced that additional money will be provided in 1982–83 to enable more young people to stay on in school or college. In Wales this will be an extra £3 million. Each local education authority is responsible for deciding its expenditure priorities including the number of lecturers in its maintained colleges and the level or work on which they are employed. I am not aware of any proposal to close a polytechnic, any other college offering a degree course, or any college offering non-advanced further education.

School Leavers (Financial Assistance)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make provision for those teenagers who left school in the current year and are still without jobs who prefer to return to school rather than to take a youth opportunities programme course, with full-time education, to improve their knowledge, efficiency, and work experience, particularly in the new technologies; and if he will compensate them financially as if on a youth opportunities programme or on a training opportunities programme course.

An additional £3 million will be made available in 1982–83 to enable young people in Wales to stay on in school or college. The Government are keeping arrangements for financial support for 16–19-year-olds in full-time education under review but have no plans at present for changes.

Unemployment And Health

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if his Department has figures for Wales on the effect of high unemployment on ill health.

The Government have sponsored research into several aspects of the relationship between unemployment and ill-health and further research is under consideration. Existing statistics do not demonstrate a precise relationship.

Intensive Care Cots

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the numbers of intensive care cots with mechanical ventilatory respiratory support available in each of the major obstetric centres of health authorities in Wales; and if he will list the hospitals where such cots are located giving the numbers in each case.

Free School Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many children qualify for free school meals in Wales; what were the corresponding figures for the last three years; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not available in the Welsh Office.

(£ million 1981 prices)
197519761977*197819791980†1981
Central Government Cash Ceiling640629682656639675
Central Government PSO payments*648571552591640639644
Passenger services paid by Passenger Transport Executives42485559596164
Level crossings grant20191717171717
Total710638624667716717725

Notes:

* Since 1978 the PSO grant has included a special replacement allowance, which is fixed at a constant level of £80·3 million in 1981 prices.

† The figures for 1981 relate to claims agreed for the year, and do not include adjustments to be made in the light of actual results.

Traffic Signs

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will refuse his authorisation to the Greater London council for the erection of traffic signs on the roads leading into London reading "You are now entering a nuclear free zone"; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, if we receive any such request, although no requests to authorise signs of this kind have been made to us. Traffic signs should not be used for political slogans.

Defence

Royal Naval Reserve Minesweeper

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to have funds available to place orders for the overdue Royal Naval Reserve minesweeper (medium).

I have nothing to add at this stage to the statement on this subject in Cmnd. 8288.

Woolwich Arsenal (Vacancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many vacancies for (a) skilled and (b) unskilled industrial staff at the QAD (Ordnance) Woolwich Arsenal remain unfilled at the most recent available date.

Sheep Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the state of the sheep industry in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

The sheepmeat regime has improved producers' returns and thereby restored confidence. The Welsh breeding flock now stands at a record 4·05 million.

Transport

British Railways Board

133.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the total public service obligation grant to the British Railways Board, in constant prices, since 1975; and how this has compared with the cash ceiling imposed since 1976.

In the course of running down to the approved overall manpower target for 1 April 1982, about 10 vacancies for industrial staff are likely to occur at the QAD (Ordnance) in Woolwich. It is not possible to distinguish between skilled and unskilled at this stage.

Contract Cleaning And Catering Services

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many redundancies have occurred or are likely to occur as a result of the introduction of contract cleaning and catering services at defence establishments in the Woolwich and Greenwich areas.

Two cleaning contracts in defence establishments in the Woolwich and Greenwich area began earlier this year. As a result, a total of 55 part-time cleaning staff were declared redundant, of whom 29 were subsequently engaged by the incoming contractors.The possibility of introducing contract cleaning or catering at some other defence establishments in the area is being or will be examined, case by case. I cannot at this stage forecast the likely number of redundancies if all these examinations resulted in decisions to contract the work out. In the area at present, about 150 full-time and about the same number of part-time civilian staff' are employed on cleaning and catering work which might be contracted out, but even if all the establishments concerned did change to contract for these tasks, the number of staff actually declared redundant as a result would probably be less than these figures, because of transfers to alternative Government employment, retirements, and other factors. Based on experience, many of those made redundant could expect to be offered jobs by the incoming contractors.

Gruinard Island

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the estimated period during which it will be unsafe for (a) human beings and (b) animals to land on Gruinard Island;(2) what is the estimated cost of decontaminating Gruinard Island from anthrax spores.

A survey of the island was undertaken in 1979 to establish the level and extent of continuing contamination. The results are expected to be published soon. In the light of the survey the likely duration of contamination, methods of decontamination, their potential effectiveness, and their cost are being intensively reviewed.

Service Personnel (Redundancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether it will be necessary to make any Service personnel redundant in order to achieve the reductions in the strength of the Armed Forces set out in "The United Kingdom Defence Programme: The Way Forward", Cmnd. 8288.

Most of the planned reductions of 8,000–10,000 in the Royal Navy and about 7,000 in the Army will be effected by natural wastage. But some redundancies are likely to be necessary, some of them in 1983. Redundancy terms have been agreed, and applications for redundancy will be invited. No redundancies are expected to be necessary in the Royal Air Force.

Hms "Endurance"

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will supply a detailed breakdown of the annual cost of operating HMS "Endurance".

The estimate average cost of running HMS "Endurance" is about £2 million a year at current prices. In addition, it costs some £2 million a year to refit the ship.

Hms "Dreadnought"

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if his figures on the size of SSN fleet contained in "The United Kingdom Defence Programme, The Way Forward", Cmnd. 8288, included HMS "Dreadnought", and when he expects to announce details of her planned refuelling and refit.

As we have explained, we aim to achieve the planned rise in the numbers of nuclear submarines—SSN—announced in Cmnd. 8288 by the end of the decade. HMS "Dreadnought" is not included in this figure, since, as our oldest SSN, she is expected to have paid off by then. Her planned work programme and refuelling are still under consideration and I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Destroyers And Frigates

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will state by name or type the number of destroyers and frigates he expects to have in commission or in reserve, respectively, in 1984–85 in addition to HMS "Bristol", 14 Type 42, seven Type 22 and eight Type 21 together with eight Leanders in the standby squadron.

No final decisions have yet been taken about the detailed shape of the surface fleet in 1984–85. By the mid–1980s, however, we expect to have in service about 50 destroyers and frigates, some 20 of which will be Leanders.

Mellen Charles, Loch Ewe

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the operations and expenditure undertaken by his Department at Mellen Charles, Loch Ewe, Wester Ross; what is the purpose of the installation and operation being undertaken on the loch; what is the number of staff employed; what was the last time any operational use was made of this installation; what use is made of the facilities by naval personnel for holiday or vacational use; and what was the cost of making the accommodation acceptable for holiday and leisure activities.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the Royal Navy establishment at Mellon Charles, Aultbea, Loch Ewe. It is regularly used by the Royal Marines and also by the Army as a base for resource and initiative training. The only maintenance carried out is the minimum required to keep a number of huts wind and weatherproof. No staff are employed at the camp; personnel using the facilities for training purposes do so on a strict self-help basis. Six caravans are located at Aultbea for holiday use by Royal Navy personnel. These caravans were purchased, and are maintained, from nonpublic funds.

Port Stanley (Fuel Supplies)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has received from the Falkland Islands Government for the use of Royal Naval Lighter 0852 for supplying fuel to vessels using Port Stanley; what examination he has made of the commercial advantages of so doing; and if he will make a statement.

A proposal to use the Royal Navy fuel depot at Port Stanley and its associated lighter to refuel visiting vessels was raised by His Excellency the Governor of the Falkland Islands at the beginning of this year. My hon. Friend also raised the proposal by letter with my right hon. Friend on the former's return from a visit to the Falkland Islands. The scope for such use of the fuel depot is dependent upon the future of the depot, which will be surplus to Royal Navy requirements following the planned paying off of HMS "Endurance" next spring. The matter is under consideration, and I shall write to my hon. Friend when the position is clearer.

House Of Commons

Scottish Business

asked the Lord President of the Council how many minutes each year, from 1965 to 1980, have been spent on the Floor of the House on Scottish business.

The information requested is as follows:

SessionTotal timeAverage per sitting day
1965–667 hours 23 minutes7 minutes
1966–6746 hours 12 minutes11 minutes
1967–6838 hours 32 minutes13 minutes
1968–6945 hours 9 minutes17 minutes
1969–7022 hours 9 minutes11 minutes
1970–7142 hours 16 minutes12 minutes
1971–7237 hours 53 minutes13 minutes
1972–7357 hours 19 minutes21 minutes
1973–748 hours 9 minutes8 minutes
19749 hours 8 minutes6 minutes
1974–7567 hours 14 minutes20 minutes
1975–7667 hours 40 minutes21 minutes
1976–77154 hours 37 minutes*1 hour 2 minutes
1977–78180 hours 16 minutes†1 hour 4 minutes
1978–7918 hours 30 minutes13 minutes
1979–8079 hours 50 minutes20 minutes
1980–8182 hours 34 minutes30 minutes
* of which 134 hours 9 minutes is accounted for by the Scotland and Wales Bill.
† of which 161 hours 28 minutes is accounted for by the Scotland Bill.

Note: The figures for 1965–66 to 1972–73 do not include time spent on Scottish Questions; such figures for this period are unobtainable. The figures do not include the daily Adjournment debate, statements, PNQs, applications for debates under S.O. 9 or Scottish business as part of the Consolidated Fund or holiday Adjournment motion debates, because it is frequently impossible to put such business firmly into a Scottish category.

Environment

Time-Sharing Tenancy Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received any complaints about timesharing tenancy schemes; and if he has any proposals to amend the law as this relates to tenancy rights.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Mr. Scott) expressed concern about the planning aspects of a particular scheme in his constituency, and if existing planning controls are shown to be inadequate, we shall consider whether any amendment would be justified. Tenants in blocks of flats for which a time-sharing scheme is proposed enjoy rights under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and under the terms of their agreement with the landlord. Moreover, those who are regulated tenants also have full security of tenure under the Rent Act 1977.

New Prison (Woolwich Arsenal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what estimate has been made by the Property Services Agency of the likely cost of building a new prison at Woolwich Arsenal;(2) whether he has yet authorised a full feasibility study by the Property Services Agency on the proposed new prison at Woolwich Arsenal; and when he expects a detailed report.

A full feasibility study is in progress and I am hoping to receive its report next summer. This report will include a preliminary order of cost.

Woolwich Arsenal (Surplus Land)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made on the sale of surplus Woolwich Arsenal land adjacent to Beresford Square, SE18, following the result of the site investigation.

It has not been possible to reach agreement to offer for sale as one site the adjacent surplus land owned by the Crown, the Central Electricity Generating Board and the London borough of Greenwich. The disposal of the land owned by the Crown is being reviewed urgently in the light of this; the discovery of contaminants in the soil; and the possibility that a new Ministry of Defence headquarters building might be constructed on part of this site, permitting other land at the Arsenal to be declared surplus instead.

District Auditors

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he has made in appointing members of private sector accountancy firms as additional district auditors to audit the accounts for 1981–82 of certain local authorities in England.

I have today appointed the following as additional district auditors. The names of the authorities with which they will be concerned are given in brackets.Mr. D. M. Booth of Messrs Price Waterhouse (Tyne and Wear County Council)Mr. R. Harbottle of Messrs. Deloitte Haskins & Sells (Durham County Council)Mr. A. Pinkney of Messrs. Coopers & Lybrand (London Borough of Kingston)Sir Douglas Morpeth of Messrs Touche Ross & Co. (Westminster City Council)Mr. T. A. J. Bedford of Messrs Robson Rhodes (Oldham Borough Council)I shall announce further appointments shortly

Heveningham Hall

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress of the sale of Heveningham Hall.

Last year I announced my decision to sell Heveningham Hall and its estate into private ownership, provided a suitable owner could be found. I said then that my inclination was to sell the freehold of the house and the estate, but to retain ownership of the furniture and seek the agreement of a new owner to keeping it in its setting and allowing some public access.I have now completed the arrangements for sale of the hall along these lines. I am pleased to announce that the new owner, Mr. A. A. Al-Ghazzi, has indicated his intentions to rehabilitate the hall, complete the restoration of the orangery and continue the landscaping of the park. He has covenanted to permit public access on at least 30 days per annum to the principal ground floor rooms of the hall, where he will display the important furniture which remains in the ownership of the Department. The hall will be open to the public again from next year.

The hall and the estate have been sold for £726,000. I announced last year that the sale proceeds would be allocated to heritage expenditure, and I can now confirm that the net receipts from the sale will be made available to the trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Ecclesiastical Buildings (State Aid)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether any decision has yet been reached on the future of the scheme under which State aid is available for ecclesiastical buildings in use.

I have decided to extend the trial period for the scheme to March 1986. This will allow time for the discussions currently continuing with the church authorities about procedures for the alteration and demolition of ecclesiastical buildings to be brought to a conclusion.

Concentration Camps (London Memorial)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider erecting on a suitable site in London a memorial to the victims of concentration camps; and if he will consult with appropriate organisations and individuals to this end.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has put forward a proposal, and this is under consideration.

Hospital Contracts

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why the catering equipment contract for hospitals, worth £1 million, which for the last three years has been awarded to the firm of Dawsons in the Penistone constituency, has now been given to an Italian manufacturer.

The three-year period contract for catering equipment previously held by Dawsons expired on 29 September 1981. A new three-year period contract has not been given to an Italian manufacturer. It has been divided between Dawsons and another United Kingdom manufacturer.

Emergency Hostel Accommodation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to replace part IX of the Public Health Act 1936 by legislation within the Housing Acts in order to establish and enforce standards for emergency hostel accommodation in line with modern housing provision; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities have wide powers under successive Housing Acts for improving standards in hostel accommodation and other houses in multiple occupation. Those powers offer a more satisfactory framework than part IX of the Public Health Act 1936. Local authorities are aware of their powers under the Housing Acts and I do not at present envisage further legislation.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

East Timor

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he now sees any scope for Her Majesty's Government to assist the Government of Portugal in seeking a peaceful settlement to the situation in East Timor; and whether any steps are being taken in this regard.

We believe it is primarily for the Indonesian and Portuguese Governments to bring about the conditions for a settlement of the East Timor question and that both desire a peaceful settlement. We would be prepared, naturally, to do whatever we usefully could to help, if the two parties felt this would assist their efforts.

Namibia

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress is being made by the Western Contact Group in bringing about a peaceful conclusion to the problem of Namibia; and whether it is intended to present a further demarche to South Africa if progress continues to be unsatisfactory.

The meeting of the Five Foreign Ministers on 24 September gave the Five's efforts renewed impetus. Officials of the Five visited a number of African countries, including South Africa, in October-November, and the Five remain in close touch with all the parties and Governments most closely concerned.

Industry

Linwood (Grants And Loans)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public money has been paid by his Department to the firms of Rootes, Chrysler and Talbot since the beginning of the Rootes car factory in Linwood, in the forms of grants of all kinds, set out in the various categories, and outstanding loans.

Under the agreement signed between the Government and Chrysler in 1976 a total of £64 million was paid to the company in the form of loss subvention grants. Loans totalling £50 million were also made to the company, of which £22 million has now been repaid, leaving £28 million outstanding. Particulars of assistance to individual companies under the Industry Acts 1972 and 1980 are generally regarded as confidential between the Department of Industry and the applicant. However, since 1 October 1974 regional development grants in excess of £25,000 and offers of selective assistance in excess of £5,000 have been published on a quarterly basis in British Business—formerly Trade and Industry. Fourteen payments of regional development grants totalling some £2·4 million to Chrysler Scotland Ltd. in respect of its Linwood premises have been published in this way.Information relating to assistance given to Rootes Ltd. or under the Industrial Development Act 1966 is not available.

Scotland

State Of The Economy

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the Scottish economy.

The Scottish economy is going through an extremely difficult period and many businesses face great problems. There are some indications, however, that, unusually, Scotland has been suffering somewhat less severely than many other parts of the United Kingdom.

Common Fisheries Policy

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made towards the settlement of a common fisheries policy; and whether he will make a statement.

Useful progress was made in these difficult negotiations at the Council meetings in September and October. This included agreement on marketing and interim structure measures and fishing arrangements in Faroese waters, all of which are of importance to Scottish fishermen.I very much hope that the Council to be held at the end of this month will see further substantial progress towads a fair and acceptable solution of the remaining issues.

Island Communities (Freight Costs And Transport)

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has reached a conclusion on the form of assistance to be offered to island communities over freight costs and transport.

Since making my statement on sea transport to the Scottish islands on 28 July I have received further views from interested parties. I am now considering these and will make a further statement as soon as possible.

New Towns (Employment)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many redundancies were declared in Scottish new towns during 1980–81; how many new jobs were created; and if he will make a statement.

For the year ended 31 March 1981, 12,788 jobs were lost and 4,933 were created. In the face of the world recession this demonstrates that the new towns are still able to attract and develop new employment opportunities.

Trident Project, West Dunbartonshire

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will agree to a public planning inquiry into the Trident project to be located in the Lochside area of West Dunbartonshire.

Proposals for development by Government Departments are referred to my Department by the developing Department if objections put forward by the planning authority cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the two parties. If the proposals for the Trident development are so referred, my right hon. Friend will consider by what means the issue might best be resolved.

Dunoon-Gourock Ferry

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement about his decision to withdraw the subsidy from Caledonian MacBrayne on the Dunoon-Gourock car ferry route.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given earlier to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar).

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will reconsider the unanimous advice of the Scottish Transport Users Consultative Committee to retain the passenger-vehicle ferry service operated by Caledonian MacBrayne between Gourock and Dunoon.

I have accepted the STUCC's main criticism of the arrangements that were originally proposed for foot passengers. I am now considering with the Scottish Transport Group the best way forward on this matter. In the meantime, and until a satisfactory solution is arrived at, the existing Caledonian MacBrayne service will of course continue.

Student Awards (Parental Contribution)

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements exist for students at Scottish universities who do not get their full parental contribution.

In assessing a student's award my Department takes account of the sum which parents can reasonably be expected to contribute to his or her maintenance, and notifies the student accordingly; but no arrangements exist for supplementing the award if no such contribution is made.

Edinburgh Castle Reception (Cost)

22.

asked the Secretary of Slate for Scotland who was present at the recent dinner which he hosted at Edinburgh Castle on the occasion of the visit to Scotland by the Committee of Permanent Representatives to the European Communities; how much the reception cost; and whether the cost was met out of his own departmental budget.

Thirty-three people were present at the dinner I gave on 9 October to mark the visit to Scotland of the Deputy Permanent Representatives and their wives: the party numbered 22. The others present, in addition to my wife, myself and my private secretary, were three senior officials of the Scottish Office and the Scottish representative of the Commission in Scotland, with their wives. The total cost was £942·01, which was met by the Scottish Office.

Local Authorities (Expenditure)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will report on the discussions between the Scottish Office and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities over future local authority spending levels in Scotland and the clarification of the rate support grant formula and distribution to individual authorities.

My right hon. Friend has held three meetings with the convention this year on these matters and he is considering the convention's views. His proposals for the rate support grant settlement for 1981–82 will be conveyed to the convention at a further meeting and will be reported to the House.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Borders regional council and Lothian regional council about their cash guidelines for 1980–81 and 1981–82.

Borders regional council has made representations about the adequacy of guidelines. Lothian regional council has made no direct representations about guidelines but has repeatedly sought to justify higher levels of expenditure.

Bursaries

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is prepared to consider a review of the level of financial commitment included in the Education Authority Bursaries (Scotland) Regulations, and in particular those bursaries which come into the AA category.

The levels of both category A bursaries—for students under 18—and category B bursaries—for students of 18 and over—and the related parental contribution scales, are reviewed annually.

Prestwick Airport

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to take on the proposals submitted by the hon. Members for Kilmarnock (Mr. McKelvey), Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) and South Ayrshire on the future potential of Prestwick airport.

My right hon. Friend has recently had discussions about Prestwick with the chairman of the British Airports Authority. We have also now offered Strathclyde region financial assistance for costs associated with electrification of the Ayr line. We shall continue to give what practical assistance we can to ensure a secure and successful future for Prestwick airport.

Fishing Limits

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he plans to issue his consultation document regarding legislation to clarify the three-mile fishing limits.

A consultative paper was issued to the fishing industry on 4 November seeking comments on proposals for revision of the Scottish inshore fisheries legislation.

Perinatal Mortality Rates (Ayrshire And Arran)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the numbers for the last five years, including the most up-to-date figure for 1981, of the perinatal mortality rate in Ayrshire and Arran and the causes of the deaths.

The information requested is as follows. Information on causes of death is readily available only for 1977 and 1979.

1. Perinatal Deaths and Mortality Rates per 1,000 Births (Live and Still) Ayrshire and Arran Health Board Area 1976–81
NumberRate
197610822
197788†19
19788918
197994†19
19809619
*19813012
* January-June.
† The total numbers of deaths differ because the Registrar General includes multiple birth, the perinatal mortality survey covers single births only.

Source: Registrar General.

2. Perinatal Deaths by Clinical Cause Ayrshire and Arran Health Board 1977 and 1979 (Single Births only)

1977

1979

Low Birth Weight3836
Normal Birth Weight55
Foetal Deformity1513
Antepartum Haemorrhage1315
Maternal Disease22
Toxaemia39
Trauma44
Rhesus11
Other21
Total83*86*

Source: Perinatal Mortality Survey.

* The total numbers of deaths differ because the Registrar General includes multiple birth. The perinatal mortality survey covers single births only.

Solvent Abuse

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the number of persons indulging in solvent abuse in Scotland for the latest convenient period; and what further action he plans to take to combat the practice.

Detailed information about the number of persons involved in solvent abuse is not available centrally. I am aware of the concern of hon. Members and the public on this matter and I propose to have further consultations with those concerned on possible approaches to the problem.

Unemployment Statistics

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the latest figures of unemployed people in Scotland.

On 8 October, seasonally adjusted unemployment in Scotland stood at 302,200 or 13·4 per cent. I share the right hon. Gentleman's concern about the current high levels of unemployment. The Government are firmly committed to continuing their efforts to bring about a lasting reduction in unemployment; this can only be done by controlling inflation, restoring competitiveness to industry and creating the right conditions for the creation of new, viable jobs through economic growth. In the meantime, we shall continue to help those groups and individuals who are hardest hit through our programme of special employment and training measures.

Youth Unemployment

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what new initiatives he intends to take to reduce youth unemployment.

The youth opportunities programme has been substantially expanded this year. In July the Government announced that additional funds would be made available to enable the Manpower Services Commission to meet its undertaking to offer all unemployed school leavers this year a suitable place on the programme by Christmas. Decisions on the programme of special employment and training measures for 1982–83, including pro vision for young unemployed peoplee, will be announced later this year.For the longer term, the Government are giving consideration to the introduction of a comprehensive new training scheme for the young unemployed, arising from the consultations on the new training initiative consulative document published earlier this year, and I expect that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment will make an announcement about this around the turn of the year.

Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the National Farmers Union of Scotland concerning the hill livestock compensatory allowances for 1982.

Both my noble Friend the Minister of State and I have had meetings with representatives of the union.

Nursery Education

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now instruct Her Majesty's Inspectorate to carry out a special investigation into nursery education being provided by Tayside region (a) in Dundee in general and (b) with particular reference to the Dryburgh, Menzieshill, Buttar's Loan and Charleston areas of Dundee.

Neonatal Deaths

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the statistics of neonatal deaths in Scotland in each of the last 10 years; and how they compare with those of England and Wales, Sweden, France, Austria, Switzerland and West Germany.

The available figures are as follows:

Neonatal Deaths, Scotland, Selected Countries, Rates, 1971–1980
YearCountry
ScotlandEngland and WalesSwedenAustriaSwitzerlandWest Germany
197113·511·68·819·09·917·9
197212·411·58·718·79·017·0
197312·711·17·817·99·4 16·5
197412·811·07·117·18·415·3
197511·810·76·415·47·413·8
YearCountry
ScotlandEngland and WalesSwedenAustriaSwitzerland.West Germany
197610·39·76·212·77·311·9
197711·39·35·811·96·510·3
19788·89·75·510·86·09·3
19798·78·2NANANANA
19807·87·7NANANANA
Neonatal deaths are deaths in the first 4 weeks of life.Rates are calculated per 1,000 live births.Directly comparable figures for France are not readily available.

Employment

Mr John Rimington

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what experience and qualifications, and in particular what technical training, has the new director of the Health and Safety Executive, Mr. John Rimington.

Mr. Rimington has not been appointed as director of the Health and Safety Executive but as the under-secretary in charge of a group of policy branches. This post, like others in the Health and Safety Executive, is open to people from a wide variety of backgrounds including administrators, inspectors and scientists. Prior to his appointment Mr. Rimington was a senior executive in the Manpower Services Commission and he has had a wide and varied career in the Department of Employment, the Board of Trade and in the Office of the United Kingdom Representative to the EEC.

Noise Prohibition Notices

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many improvement or prohibition notices concerned solely with noise have been issued by the Factory Inspectorate since 1974.

Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate issued 242 improvement notices and two prohibition notices in respect of noise, from the beginning of 1975 to the end of 1980.

Factory Inspectors (Training)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many factory inspectors are at the moment undergoing training; and how many will receive training in each of the next two years.

There are at present 34 factory inspectors undergoing probationary training. This number includes 15 specialist inspectors.The number of inspectors who will be under training during the next two years will depend on the pattern of recruitment. Although some recruitment is intended in the next two years it is not at this stage possible to say how many inspectors this might involve.

Short-Time Working

asked the Secretary of State for Employ merit whether it is intended to extend the operations of the temporary short-time working compensation scheme.

The future of the temporary short-time working compensation scheme is currently under review. At present it is open for applications until 31 March 1982.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the cost of the temporary short-time working compensation scheme and the number of employees that have been involved.

From the inception of the temporary short-time working compensation scheme on 1 April 1979 to 30 September 1981 £589·3 million had been spent.Because the scheme allows applicants to spread short-time working throughout the work force and to alter the pattern or the extent of short-time working as circumstances change, it is not possible to give the cumulative total of all employees who have ever received any compensation under the scheme.In September 320,000 people were on short-time working, saving approximately 180,000 jobs stated by applicants to be potentially redundant.

Voluntary Retirement

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will arrange for a survey to be conducted of the number of males over the age of 60 years who would accept voluntary early retirement and of the level of remuneration such persons would expect.

My Department already has some information available and further proposed research will yield additional information on employee reactions to early retirement options.

Over Sixties (Employment Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of employed males aged 60 years or over.

It is estimated that in June 1979, the latest date for which information is available, about 1·2 million men aged 60 years or over were in employment in the United Kingdom.

Disabled Persons (Employment)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list, for each year since 1974, the number and percentage of firms not fulfilling the requirement to employ 3 per cent. of registered disabled people (a) to whom permits had not been issued during the previous 12 months and (b) to whom permits had been issued during the previous 12 months; and, of these latter firms with permits, what were the numbers and percentages of the firms that had been issued with bulk permits;(2) if he will list, for each year since 1974, of the firms that had been issued with bulk permits during the previous 12 months, the number and percentage of firms

(a) that had been visited by a disablement resettlement officer during that 12 months and (b) that had vacancies during those 12 months and that had notified their local jobcentre or employment exchange of those vacancies arising in the firm during the period of validity of the bulk permit.

Greater London And Brent (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest unemployment figures in (a) the Greater London area and (b) the Brent travel-to-work area; if he will give the average period of unemployment and the age breakdown in each case; and what were the figures in May 1979.

[pursuant to his reply, 9 November 1981, c. 16]: The numbers registered as unemployed in Greater London at May 1979 and October 1981 were 134,050 and 339,084, respectively. There is no Brent travel-to-work area but figures are available for the Kilburn, Wembley an Willesden employment office areas which together closely correspond to the London borough of Brent. The numbers registered as unemployed at these offices taken together were 4,517 in May 1979 and 14,293 in October 1981. For Greater London, the median length of time unemployed for those on the register at October 1981 was 23 weeks. The corresponding figure at April 1979—not available for May—was 20 weeks. The attached table gives an age breakdown for these dates. Corresponding information for local areas could be provided only at disproportionate cost.There is likely to have been a substantial number of vacancies in the area not notified to the employment offices and jobcentres. Nationally, the Manpower Services Commission has estimated from a 1977 survey that about a third of vacancies are notified to it.Following is the table:

Numbers registered as unemployed in Greater London
AgeApril-1979October 1981
Under 18 years5,67633,183
18 years4,63817,089
19 years5,31917,843
20–24 years25,36868,796
25–29 years19,64944,507
30–34 years14,50532,988
35–44 years20,06844,247
45–49 years8,99719,304
50–54 years9,16019,160
55–59 years10,57020,713
60 years and over13,18921,254
Total, all ages137,139339,084

Note:

The figures in the lower age ranges for October include summer school leavers and are likely to be higher than for early months in the year.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list by trade and occupation the registered vacancies in (a) the Greater London area and (b) the Brent travel-to-work area in May 1979 and at the latest available date in 1981, respectively.

[pursuant to his reply, 9 November 1981, c.16]: The following table gives an analysis by broad occupational groups of the numbers of notified vacancies remaining unfilled in Greater London at June 1979 and September 1981. The figures which are available quarterly, relate to vacancies notified to employment offices but not to careers offices. Corresponding information for local areas could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Vacancies notified to employment offices are estimated to be about one-third of all vacancies in the economy as a whole. The number of vacancies unfilled at a particular date takes no account of the flow of vacancies being notified, filled or withdrawn during the preceding month, which would reflect activity more closely. For example during the 12 month period to September 210,840 people were placed in jobs by employment offices in Greater London. It is estimated that the public employment service accounts for about one in four of all placings.

Following is the table:

June 1979

September 1981

Managerial occupations (general management)4025
Professional and related occupations supporting management and administration866451
Professional and related occupations in education, welfare and health1,486777
Literary, artistic and sports152123
Professional and related occupations in science, engineering, technology and similar fields1,089582
Managerial (excluding general management)1,315758
Clerical and related occupations11,9273,699
Selling5,4292,907
Security and protective service1,359435
Catering, cleaning, hairdressing and other personal service12,5524,538
Farming, fishing and related occupations269115
Materials processing (excluding metal)741125
Making and repairing (excluding metal and electrical)5,5431,762
Processing, making, repairing and related occupations (metal and electrical)6,9211,083
Painting, repetitive assembling, product inspecting, packaging and related occupations2,913511
Construction, mining and related occupations not elsewhere classified1,531316
Transport operating, materials moving and storing and related occupations4,9111,068
Miscellaneous occupations (including general labourers)2,900334
Total, all occupations61,94419,609

Northern Ireland

Civil Servants

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total number of civil servants in the Northern Ireland Office who have worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office earlier in their careers.

On 1 November 1981, there were six civil servants at the Northern Ireland Office who were on secondment from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a further eight who had worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office earlier in their careers.

Education And Science

Overseas Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he now intends to reduce the higher education fees for overseas students from developing countries in the light of the communiqué and the approved consultative document emanating from the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Governments held in Melbourne recently.

The policy of full-cost fees for overseas students is an integral part of the Government's policy of reducing public expenditure. The Government are currently deliberating on the communiqué and the consultative document emanating from the Melbourne conference, including the issues raised about the contribution made by student mobility and educational interchange within the Commonwealth to national development.

Burnham Further Education Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consideration he has given to appointing a representative of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers to the Burnham Further Education Committee in view of the fact that it has nearly 2,000 members employed full-time and in further education and 12,000 members employed part-time in further education.

My right hon. Friend will shortly discuss this matter with the associations general secretary.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what criteria he uses in appointing members to the Burnham Further Education Committee; and if he will make a statement.

The main criteria are the numbers of teachers in England and Wales who are in membership of the various associations seeking representation on the Burnham committees, and the extent to which those associations represent distinctive groups of teachers. But my right hon. Friend would not wish to exclude any other relevant considerations which might be brought to his attention.

Energy

British National Oil Corporation

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he is having with EEC officials and others on means of preventing control of the British National Oil Corporation assets passing out of British hands, without Government approval; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to what I said on this subject in the House yesterday.

Plutonium Waste

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many shipments of plutonium waste have been made to date from Dounreay to Windscale.

I am advised by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority that there have been no shipments of plutonium waste between Dounreay and Sellafield—formerly Windscale. There have, however, to date been two shipments of reprocessed plutonium fuel—plutonium nitrate—by sea between the sites in question.

Depleted Uranium

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much depleted uranium suitable for eventual use in fast reactors remains in store in the United Kingdom.

Approximately 20,000 tonnes of depleted uranium is stored in the United Kingdom and available for eventual use in fast reactors.

Pressurised Water Reactor (Sizewell)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what bearing the relative changes of the new design submitted by the National Nuclear Corporation for the first pressurised water reactor to be built in the United Kingdom at Sizewell in Suffolk will have on the necessary extra safety requirements that were said to be the reason for the high cost of the former design.

It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this stage on the detailed features or relative merits of the NNC's reference design; nor can I anticipate the outcome of the assessment of this design by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive.

Alternative And Renewable Energy Sources

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the Nairobi conference on the development of alternative and renewable energy sources, at which he represented the United Kingdom and the European Economic Community.

[pursuant to his reply, 19 October 1981, c. 11–12]: The United Nations Secretariat has now produced the Official Report of the United Nations conference on new and renewable sources of energy. I have today placed copies in the Library of the House.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Sheep Premium

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to correct the anomaly whereby, after the transfer of sheep ownership, the former owner receives the sheep premium for many months after he has sold the sheep; and whether he will make a statement.

The qualifying date for sheep annual premium, payable on breeding ewes, is 1 January for the marketing year beginning the following April. It is necessary to fix an early qualifying date in order to establish eligibility for the advance of annual premium payable half-way through the marketing year and to calculate the size of that advance. Having established eligibility in respect of a particular owner we are bound to pay him the premiums due. If, however, the farm is sold before the payment falls due, it is open to the owner, if he wishes, to assign any payment to his successor.

Butter Stocks

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps are being taken to prevent a further rise in the butter stocks of the European Community; and if he will make it his policy to repeat the availability of cheap butter to pensioners if these stocks begin rising towards 1979 levels.

A number of measures are currently in force to expand the market for Community butter and thus help reduce any rise in intervention stocks, which are currently equivalent to about two days' supply.In addition to the payment of subsidies on butter sold to charities, the Armed Forces and manufacturers of pastries and ice cream, these measures involve the subsidisation of exports to third countries and of general butter consumption within the Community, including the special subsidy in the United Kingdom, which is financed entirely from Community funds.There is no Community scheme under which cheap butter can be made available to pensioners as a specific group, although member States may subsidise the sale of butter to those receiving social assistance. United Kingdom participation in this scheme was ended by the previous Government, and there are at present no plans to re-introduce it.

Poultry And Eggs (Imports)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to continue the ban on fresh and frozen poultry and eggs from Common Market countries despite any representations he may receive from them.

The Government will continue to follow the policy that my right hon. Friend described in his statement of 27 August.

Dpx 4189

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is fully satisfied as to the safety of allowing for general usage the cereal herbicide DPX 4189, particularly in circumstances where it may be present in mixtures unsuspected or in unspecified quantities.

This herbicide has been granted provisional commercial clearance under the pesticides safety precautions scheme for use in a specific formulation as a pre and post-crop emergence ground spray on winter and spring-sown wheat and barley. I am satisfied that it can be used safely in the recommended way for the recommended purposes. Further and separate applications for clearance would be required if the company concerned wished to market the herbicide in any other formulation, or in a mixture or mixtures with one or more other active ingredients.

Meat Inspection (Dispute)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will suspend the meat inspection regulations in view of the severe damage that the current dispute between the National Association of Local Government Officers and local authorities is causing to certain abattoir owners.

Although some slaughterhouses have been badly affected by the current dispute, the supply of meat over the country as a whole has not been seriously disrupted. In present circumstances I do not consider that any action of the kind suggested would be justified.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the present industrial dispute, if he will authorise the Ministry veterinary service to carry out meat inspection duties at establishments where there has been a serious loss of production causing loss of jobs and serious financial consequences.

The Government are not a party to this dispute and, even if sufficient resources were available to the State Veterinary Service to assist in this way, I do not think that such intervention would be helpful in present circumstances.

Forestry Commission

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average weekly wage for workers employed by the Forestry Commission.

The latest period for which figures are available covers the week ending 18 September 1981 when the average gross earnings of Forestry Commission industrial workers including piece-work, time-work and overtime were £100·96.

Pigmeat (Imports)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tonnes of pigmeat have been imported from Holland in the current year; what were the corresponding figures for the last three years, and if he will make a statement.

Imports of pigmeat in the form of bacon and ham under tariff heading 02.06 in the past three years have been as follows:

tones
197840,785
197950,190
198047,224
In 1980 3,024 tonnes of fresh pork were also imported.I regret that official import figures for 1981 to date are not yet available.
November 1978November 1979December 1980August 1981
Huddersfield5,9005,7005,4005,700
Dewsbury6,3006,1006,0006,100

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases. Totals rounded to nearest hundred.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a table to show the number of pensioners living in the area

Social Services

One Parent Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many tax-paying lone parents with a child or children in local authority care were entitled to claim one parent benefit (a) every week, because their child was at home for two consecutive nights each week, and (b) for some weeks in the year, when their child was at home for at least a week at a time, in the latest year for which figures are available.

I regret that the information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a table to show the total sum of money paid out in unemployment benefit to claimants at employment offices serving (a) the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire and (b) the Oldham area of Greater Manchester for the years 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 to date, respectively.

I regret that the information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a table to show the total sum of money paid out in supplementary benefit awards to claimants at Department of Health and Social Security offices serving (a) the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire and (b) the Oldham area of Greater Manchester for the years 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 to date, respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a table to show the number of pensioners living in the area served by the Kirklees district office who are currently in receipt of supplementary benefit and those who received benefit in 1978, 1979 and 1980, respectively.

The information is as follows, in respect of the two local offices—Huddersfield and Dewsbury—in the Kirklees District:served by the Oldham district office who are currently in receipt of supplementary benefit and those who received benefit in 1978, 1979 and 1980, respectively.

The information is as follows in respect of the two local offices—Oldham and Failsworth—in the Oldham district:

November 1978November 1979December 1980August 1981
Oldham6,7006,5006,3006,300
Failsworth5,1005,0005,0004,900

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases. Totals rounded to nearest hundred.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total number of people currently in receipt of supplementary benefit from each of the Department of Health and Social Security local offices in the Kirklees district; and what were the numbers, from each office, for 1978, 1979 and 1980, respectively.

November 1978November 1979December 1980August 1981
Huddersfield9,7009,40011,30013,400
Dewsbury9,9009,50010,70012,800

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases. Totals rounded to nearest hundred.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total number of people currently in receipt of supplementary benefit from each of the Department of Health and Social Security local offices in the Oldham district; and what were the numbers, from each office, for 1978, 1979 and 1980, respectively.

November 1978November 1979December 1980August 1981
Oldham10,70010,10011,40013,800
Failsworth8,0007,8008,6009,800

Source: 100 per cent. count of cases. Totals rounded to nearest hundred.

Heating Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will circulate all of his Department's offices in order to ensure that all those in receipt of attendance allowances are also receiving heating allowance and that heating allowance should be backdated to November 1980.

Heating additions are payable only to attendance allowance recipients who are also entitled to supplementary benefit. Instructions went to all DHSS local offices before the November 1980 uprating to ensure that all supplementary benefit claimants in receipt of attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance or mobility allowance automatically received the higher rate heating addition from the date of the uprating.I am not aware of any difficulties in giving effect to these instructions but if the hon. Member knows of a specific problem and will let me have the details, I shall look into it.

Family Income Supplement

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will revise the criteria for family income supplement in order that women may qualify as the breadwinner if their spouse or their common law husband is unemployed.

The information is as follows, in respect of the two local offices—Huddersfield and Dewsbury—in the Kirklees district:

The information is as follows, in respect of the two local offices—Oldham and Failsworth—in the Oldham district:

The Family Income Supplements Act has already been amended to pave the way for the introduction of equal treatment of men and women. The Government's intention to bring this into operation in November 1983 was approved during the passage of the amending Act.

Disabled Persons Act 1981

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he proposes to introduce a commencement order to give effect to the provision of the Disabled Persons Act 1981.

The provisions of the Act came into force on 27 October, with the exception of section 6, for which a commencement order will be required. Ministers in the Departments concerned have given assurances that there will be wide consultations on the arrangements to be prescribed under that section before it can be implemented.

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many home defence planning posts have been filled by health authorities following the issue of his circular DA(81)9.

As far as I am aware, two regional health authorities have filled the post and I understand that several others are in the process of making appointments.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in which areas health authorities have failed to appoint home defence planning posts in accordance with his circular DA(81)9.

As no final date for appointments was given in letter DA(81)9, it is not possible to say whether health authorities have failed to make the appointment.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the type of emergencies and contingencies other than nuclear war he had in view when issuing circular DA(81)9.

Planning officers will also be concerned with the preparation of plans for the National Health Service to cope with the effects of a period of conventional war.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what overall cost is expected to arise from the appointment of home defence planning officers; and how this compares with the £35,000 per annum which is being made available to each health region.

The sum of £35,000 is intended to cover the salary and all other costs associated with the activities of the post. It will be for health authorities to determine what additional expenditure to incur on home defence.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make available in the Library copies of his circular DA(81)9 issued to regional health authorities in respect of home defence planning posts.