Written Answers To Questions
Monday 23 November 1981
National Health Service (Pay)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the letter sent in reply to the priority written question of 31 July to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North; and if he will provide a breakdown of the staff increases so far made, and to be made, into doctors, nurses, administrators and ancillary workers.
The text of my letter of 14 September 1981 is set out below:
"I am sorry that I was not able to reply to your Priority Written question of 30 July. You asked for the staff numbers from which it is calculated in the Memorandum to the Supply Estimates 1981–82 that there will be an increase of £106 million in payments of NHS wages, salaries, etc. between 1980–81 and 1981–82 as a result in changes in staff numbers. You also asked for the comparable staff numbers for 1979–80.
The figure of £106 million covering England, Scotland and Wales, quoted in the Chief Secretary's Memorandum to the Supply Estimates was derived from a comparison of the probable staff content of successive Main Estimates, distinguishing as far as possible between likely changes in manpower input and the cost of pay awards. The element related to manpower is a reflection in financial terms of the likely effect of the Government's policy for growth in the hospital and community health services, and assumes that the current relativities between staff and non staff expenditure will be maintained. Supply Estimates for the NHS are therefore derived directly in financial terms, rather than from detailed manpower figures. The broad manpower assumptions implicit in this derivation may be different from the numbers and mix of staff which in the event are actually employed, since these are determined by the decisions of individual health authorities acting within the financial constraints imposed by the setting of cash limits.
As indicated in my earlier reply, the estimate for the total number of NHS directly employed staff in 1981–82 was not based on detailed manpower projections, and is highly tentative. Information is not yet available about the actual numbers in each of the main staff groups in 1981–82. The figures for 1979–80 and 1980–81 are as follows.The following figures are the latest available on NHS manpower. The total numbers of staff employed in the NHS in Great Britain as at 30 September 1979 was 939,700 (whole time equivalents). For the financial year 1980–81, returns from health authorities suggest a provisional mid year manpower figures of 963,500. Although detailed manpower projections for future years are not available, I can however indicate some broad assumptions about likely staffing levels based on the expenditure plans for the NHS as set out in Cmnd. 8175. A tentative estimate for the financial year 1981–82, assuming existing staffing patterns continue, is 981,200."
NHS Directly Employed Staff: Great Britain (Whole time equivalents)
|Medical and dental staff||45,150||46,450|
|Nursing and midwifery||437,405||448,870|
|Professional and technical||71,407||77,500|
|Administrative and clerical||121,900||124,890|
European Community Budget (United Kingdom Rebate)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the delay by the European Parliament in approving the Common Market budget rebate to the United Kingdom resulted in any loss to the Exchequer due to lost interest charges; and if he will make a statement.
No. The European Parliament in plenary session rejected the proposal by its Budgets Committee to which my hon. Friend refers, which related to the draft budget for next year—1982. There is, thus, no question of delays in payment or interest losses.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in connection with the delayed approval by the European Parliament of the Common Market budget, any representation was made to him that EEC funds were being improperly used by Her Majesty's Government; and on what grounds.
No. Treasury Ministers have received representations criticising Government policy on the use of funds provided from the Community budget; but there has not, to our knowledge, been any suggestion of impropriety.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the overall cost of guaranteeing every adult unemployed person employment at £1.50 per hour for up to 40 hours per week, after taking into account increased revenues from national insurance contributions, income tax, and so on, and compare this cost with total expenditure on unemployment benefit, supplementary benefit, rate and rent rebates and all other grants, subsidies and benefits currently being paid to the adult unemployed.
If an attempt were made to eliminate adult unemployment as suggested, there would be consequential changes to earnings, interest rates and so on. This would materially affect public finances and it would not be realistic to assume that tax rates would remain unchanged. The calculation would therefore be too hypothetical for it to be worth attempting.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish a table in the Official Report giving a more detailed breakdown of the item "Other £2·2 billion" contained in the Chief Secretary's reply to the hon. Member for Havant and Waterloo, Official Report, 28 October, column 348.
The detailed breakdown of the subsidies and grants given in table 2 of the article "Public Money" in issue No. 137 of the Treasury Progress Report is as follows. It includes a further breakdown of the residual category.
|Housing subsidies (including rent rebates and allowances, and option mortgages)||2·6|
|Grants to universities etc.||1·2|
|Subsidy to British Rail||0·8|
|Special employment measures||0·5|
|Redundancy fund, maternity fund benefits||0·4|
|Manpower Services Commission||0·4|
|Interest support costs (exports)||0·4|
|Other transport subsidies||0·3|
|Assistance to the coal industry||0·3|
|Grants to Research Councils||0·2|
|Assistance to shipbuilding industry||0·1|
|Other employment services*||0·2|
|Other industrial support*||0·5|
|Other grants for education and the arts*||0·4|
|Other subsidies and grants*||0·6|
|* None of these four items contain any single provision of more than £0·1 billion.|
Registrar Of Friendly Societies
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many replies were received to the advertisement for the post of Registrar of Friendly Societies; how many other candidates there were for this post; what was the nature of the final short-list; and how many of the original list of candidates and those on the short-list were in possession of legal qualifications.
Thirty-four of the 41 applicants for the post of Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies stated that they had learnt of the post through public advertisements. There were eight candidates on the final short-list, of whom five were responding to advertisements. Twenty-six of all the applicants and five of the candidates on the short-list possessed legal qualifications.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many sterling silver proof crowns denominated 25 pence in the currency of the United Kingdom have actually been struck and issued from the Royal Mint bearing the date 1980 and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother design.
The Royal Mint struck and issued 84,771 United Kingdom proof crowns dated 1980 bearing the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother design.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the size of the national debt; and if he will give details of those to whom moneys are owed, together with interest rates payable on these sums.
The provisional total national debt for 31 March 1981 is £112,780 million. In so far as the information for the second part of the question is available, it will be found as the estimated distribution of the sterling national debt at 31 March, published by the Bank of England in its December Quarterly Bulletin each year. The December 1981 Bulletin is due to be published on 17 December.
Tax And Price Index
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures available for the retail price index and the tax and price index, using as base the date of introduction of the tax and price index; and if he will make a statement.
The tax and price index was introduced with the June 1979 budget. Taking that Budget into account, the TPI increased by 39·0 per cent. between June 1979 and October 1981, and the retail prices index by 38·3 per cent. in that period.
Used Car Sales
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he proposes to put forward amendments to the European Economic Communities draft seventh value added tax directive on used car sales.
There has been no discussion of the draft directive for about 18 months. In view of the considerable disagreement between member States about the content of the directive it is likely that future progress will require amendments to be made to the draft. It is the responsibility of the EEC Commission to propose such amendments.
Government Borrowing (Interest)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his answer to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, on 13 November, relating to the decision of the High Court on 30 October, when he expects to receive a full transcript of the judgment.
I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
Lone Parents (Allowances)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had calling for the abolition of the additional personal allowance for lone parents and the raising of one parent benefit to £7·45; and what consideration he has given to such a proposal.
[pursuant to his reply, 20 November 1981, c. 254]: This was one of the many possibilities for change in the personal taxation system set out for public discussion in the Green Paper "The Taxation of Husband and Wife"—Cmnd. 8093. A number of those who have commented have said they are in favour of such a proposal. I am considering these representations along with the other comments received on the Green Paper.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Glasshouse Industry (Fuel Oil)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will extend for a further year the aid on fuel oils for heating to the United Kingdom glasshouse industry in view of the continuing unfair competition from Dutch growers obtaining fuel at preferential prices declared by the European Commission to be incompatible with the Treaty of Rome.
I am determined to retain a viable and successful British glasshouse industry. The Commission of the European Communities has agreed that Governments of member States should be free to give continued financial assistance to growers of heated protected crops. I have therefore decided to give the maximum aid permitted under the extended guidelines laid down by the Commission. This aid will continue for a further year as from 1 January 1982, and will help the industry to adjust to the continued unfair competition resulting from the preferential tariff for gas supplied to Dutch growers which remains the subject of unresolved legal action by the Commission under the Treaty of Rome. The aid will relate to oil put to qualifying use under section 17 of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 during the period 1 January to 31 December 1982.The Commission's new guidelines require the amount of aid to be assessed by reference to the increase in heating oil prices in the period January 1980 to July 1981. Accordingly, the extended adaptation aid will be paid at the rate of 3·5p on each gallon of fuel oil, and 4·7p on each gallon of gas oil (including kerosene). The assistance is estimated to cost up to £4 million in the financial year 1982–83: this has been agreed in the context of the current review of public expenditure. Payments will rest on the authority of the estimate and the confirming Appropriation Act.
Tape Recorders (Court Proceedings)
asked the Attorney-General if he will now give details of the practice direction on the use of tape recorders in court announced at the Report stage of the Contempt of Court [Lords] Bill in the last Session of Parliament.
A practice note on the unofficial use of tape-recorders in the Supreme Court (including the Crown Court) was issued on 19 November by the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the President of the Family Division and the Vice-Chancellor. A copy has been placed in the Library, as also has a copy of the guidance issued by the Home Office to magistrates' courts and coroners' courts. Consultations are in progress with the circuit judges about the terms of a note for the county courts.
Custodial Waiting Time
asked the Attorney-General what was the national average waiting time in custody between committal and trial in 1980.
10·69 weeks. But the figures vary considerably between circuits.
asked the Attorney-General what was the average waiting time in custody between committal and trial in London in 1980.
Crown Court Trials
asked the Attorney-General how many cases were awaiting trial at the Crown court on (a) 1 January 1981 and (b) on the most recent convenient date; and how many weeks' work outstanding each of these represents.
(a) 20,580, representing 17·51 weeks' work outstanding, (b) 19,307, at 30 June 1981, representing 16·36 weeks' work outstanding.
asked the Attorney-General what percentage in 1980 of cases in the Crown court arising on indictment were disposed of within 100 days.
The information is not collected in the form requested; 67 per cent. of all defendants committed to the Crown Court for trial were dealt with, during 1980, within 20 weeks of committal.
asked the Attorney-General what percentage in 1980 of the cases of defendants who awaited trial in custody were dealt with within eight weeks of committal.
54 per cent. of defendants who were in custody immediately prior to trial in 1980 were brought to trial within eight weeks of committal.
asked the Attorney-General how many applications for bail to a judge in chambers were made through the Crown Office in 1980; what percentage of these was heard within seven days of the defendant's last court appearance; and what percentage of applications was successful.
During 1980, 522 applications for bail were made to a judge in chambers through the Crown Office; 364 orders were made, and the success rate was 68·7 per cent. The time interval between last court appearances and hearings are not recorded and cannot be obtained without an inordinate amount of work.
asked the Attorney-General how many applications for bail to a judge in chambers were made through the Official Solicitor in 1980; what percentage of these was heard within seven days of the defendant's last court appearance; and what percentage of applications was successful.
During 1980, 5,275 applications for bail were made to a judge in chambers through the Official Solicitor; 473 orders were made, and the success rate was 8·97 per cent. The time interval between last court appearance and hearing is not recorded and cannot be obtained without an inordinate amount of work.
Civil Air Pilots
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has made any estimate of the future requirements for civil air pilots by the British air lines for the next 10 years.
The most recent study of the future requirements for civil air pilots by British airlines was completed by the air transport and travel industry training board in 1979. Since 1979 most airlines have revised downwards their expected requirements for pilots but no more recent comprehensive estimates are available.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many civil air pilots currently are employed by British airlines; and what is the breakdown between British Airways and the independents.
The Civil Aviation Authority estimates that there are 3,200 employees with professional pilots licences working for British independent airlines. About 2,500 British Airways employees hold professional pilot's licences. A proportion of these are employed in managerial roles and others are on call.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will use his powers to prohibit the supply of cosmetic make-up kits bearing the brand names (a) Aroma, (b) Prince, (c) Rohn, (d) Fashion Blender, (e) Meyssa and (f) Bouodir originating in Taiwan, in view of the South Yorkshire County Council Consumer Protection Department's finding that these products contain dangerous concentrations of lead.
Plastic Spinning Toys (Imports)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what evidence he has that a plastic spinning toy imported from Taiwan and costing £1 is dangerous; how many have been imported into the United Kingdom; how many accidents have been reported; and if he will ban any further imports.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will ask the Director General of Fair Trading to investigate as an anti-competitive practice the contract negotiated between Sportsworld Travel, the Spanish Football Association and the Federated International Football Association for the supply of tickets for the World Cup series.
asked the Prime Minister is she will seek, in her further Anglo-Irish discussions, to ensure that the reciprocal right to stand for election to the Dail is afforded to United Kingdom citizens.
The Anglo-Irish joint study group on citizenship rights identified a number of differences in the practices of the two countries, to one of which my hon. Friend refers. The two Governments have received the group's report; discussions of these matters will continue between them.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation in the Province.
I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made in the House on 16 November—[Vol. 9, c.23–29.]
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what improvements have taken place in rehabilitation provided by his Department for the newly-blind to allow them to improve their work prospects; and if he will make a statement.
Rehabilitation and training of the small number of newly-blind referred to the Departments of Manpower Services and Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland each year is undertaken by the Royal National Institute for the Blind in Great Britain. Social rehabilitation is provided by area health and social services boards, whose workshops and day centres provide craft skills and work activities.Training in industrial processes is available through the Government training centre, Felden, Belfast, and there is a full range of aids to employment to improve work prospects.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what measures his Department is taking to encourage domestic conservation of energy.
Our information campaign explains both the benefits of energy conservation and the methods, two of which, loft and tank insulation, attract partial grants from local authorities funded by Department of the Environment. Other measures include our work towards greater heating efficiency under the ECA 1981 and support for voluntary organisations' conservation initiatives.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with current measures to promote energy conservation.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the current levels of petrol reserves in the United Kingdom.
About two million tonnes at the end of September 1981
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to encourage the development of geothermal energy.
Support for research and development into geothermal energy from my Department is expected to amount to £7 million in the current financial year.
National Coal Board
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a further statement on the Goverment's proposals to amend the financial arrangements of the National Coal Board.
I shall introduce a Bill in due course.
Nuclear Power Generation
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a further statement on the progress of the nuclear power programme.
Construction of the two latest AGR power stations is now under way. Progress on the three AGRs nearing completion is continuing and output from the first unit of each station is expected in the first half of next year.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with the level of investment in the coal industry.
Investment in the industry is continuing at a high level; the NCB's total capital approval for 1981–82 is £805 million.
Water Power Generation
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether there are any possible sources of water power which could be used for the specific purpose of generating electric power for the whole of Great Britain.
The potential for additional economic electricity generation from water power is kept under study by the generating boards and my Department, but is unlikely to provide more than a small proportion of electricity requirements before the end of the century.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received from the United Kingdom chemical industry about energy prices; and what reply he has made.
I have recently received representations from the Chemical Industries Association, the tenor of which has been to express concern at the price of electricity to some high load factor users and at the level of duty on heavy fuel oil, but to welcome developments in relation to gas. Some individual chemical companies have also made representations. In reply, I have where appropriate explained the Government's approach to industrial energy pricing and the improved position compared with Europe.
British National Oil Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Energy, further to his reply to the hon. Member for West Lothian on 16 November when, following the introduction of legislation relating to the British National Oil Corporation, he proposes to prepare detailed articles of association; and whom he proposes to consult.
I have nothing to add to what I told the House on 10 November—[Vol. 12, c. 443.]
House Of Commons
asked the Lord President of the Council what progress has been made towards implementing the recommendations of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) on improving access for disabled people to the Palace of Westminster; and if he will make a statement.
Two additional car parking spaces have been made available in Star Court, specifically for wheelchair users. The Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee will in the near future be examining plans and estimates of cost for improved access to the Grand Committee Room and the Westminster Hall Interview Rooms.
Private Members' Bills (Select Committee)
asked the Lord President of the Council if he will move to set up a Select Committee to examine the time devoted to Private Members' Bills.
I have no such proposals to make at present. I consider that priority should be given to the further examination of the procedures of the House for controlling Government expenditure.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if she will list the number of scientific posts in each Department of the Civil Service as at May 1979 and at the latest convenient date; what are the proposed numbers in each case for 1982 and 1983; and if she will break down the figures to show in which posts the cuts have and will be made.
Figures are not held centrally for May 1979. The following table shows the scientific staff in post in each Department at 1 April 1979 and 1 April 1981, the latest convenient date for which this information is available.
Staff in post*
1 April 1979
1 April 1981
|Agriculture, Fisheries and Food||1,803||1,960|
|Civil Serivce Department||46||39|
|Defence (including ROFs)||10,612||9,927|
|Health and Safety Commission/Executive||355||334|
|Health and Social Security||95||69|
|Trade and Industry||1,817||1,722|
* Includes members of open structure levels with scientific background, science group and related scientific grades.
† Part-time staff are counted as half units.
No details are held centrally on the proposed numbers of posts for 1982 and 1983 nor on the posts in which cuts have or will be made. It is for individual Ministers to decide how and where to make the savings necessary to meet their own Departments' overall targets.
National Health Service (Complaints Procedure)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied that present measures are adequate to ensure that doctors acting as locums for general practitioners are subject to the National Health Service complaints procedure; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has repeatedly indicated his commitment to taking action as soon as possible to ensure that the general practitioner in Scotland is responsible to his health board under his terms of service for the acts or omissions of a locum or a deputy not on the same board's medical list and for the acts or omissions of such a deputy's staff. This responsibility, which is already borne by general practitioners in England and Wales, would mean that complaints involving deputies not on the list could be considered by the service committee procedure through which alleged breaches in the terms of service of general practitioners are investigated.Until now successive Governments have been of the view that to place this responsibility upon the general practitioner in Scotland required an amendment to the Secretary of State's regulation-making powers, now contained in the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978. In the absence of any legislative opportunity, a fresh and comprehensive review of this gap in the coverage of the service committee procedures has been undertaken and my right hon. Friend is now advised that the power to make regulations to impose such a responsibility is already contained in the 1978 Act and moreover that the existing provisions of the National Health Service (General Medical and Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Regulations 1974 already have the effect of making a doctor responsible for any failure to provide the services which he has contracted to ensure are provided even where such failure is attributable to the act or omission of a deputy not on the same medical list or the staff of such a deputy.I am therefore advising health boards to this effect and that they should consider complaints concerning acts or omissions of such a deputy or his staff under the provisions of the National Health Service (Service Committees and Tribunal) (Scotland) Regulations 1974. I am further advising health boards that they should take no initiative to review past cases in view of the attendant difficulties but that any complaints now submitted in respect of a past case should be dealt with under the provisions of the service committee regulations, including the provisions for late complaints.Notwithstanding that the existing regulations are now viewed in this light, I consider that it would be desirable that the general practitioner's responsibility in this regard should be stated explicitly in his terms of service. I am therefore arranging for the profession to be informed of the revised view of the existing legislation and my officials are consulting the British Medical Association about a draft amendment to the National Health Service (General Medical and Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Regulations 1974.It is important to bear in mind that the arrangements for dealing with complaints in the National Health Service do not preclude a patient from taking action for negligence at common law.
Government Expenditure (Outturn)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report tables comparable to tables 2.15 and 2.15.1 of Cmnd. 8175, showing at 1980 survey prices a forecast of outturn for 1981–82 and any revisions for earlier years.
Information on estimated outturn for 1981–82 will be given in the next Public Expenditure White Paper.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide the latest available figures for Scotland regarding complaints about the police on a comparable basis to the information provided to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 6 March 1980, Official Report, column 311.
Information is not collected centrally in this form and is therefore not readily available. I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what improvements have taken place in rehabilitation provided by his Department for the newly-blind to allow them to improve their work prospects; and if he will make a statement.
The Manpower Services Commission, which has responsibility in these matters, provides financial and administrative support to the Society for the Welfare and Teaching of the Blind in Scotland in respect of the rehabilitation facilities which the society provides for the blind and partially sighted at its Centre at Alwyn House, Ceres, Fife. Over the past two years a number of improvements have been made at the Centre, with assistance from the Manpower Services Commission, including substantial structural alterations, the provision of new engineering and assembly facilities, and the installation of special equipment for the blind and partially sighted; and there is close co-operation between the Manpower Services Commission and the society to ensure that provison at the Centre keeps pace with developments in rehabilitation methods elsewhere.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many grants have been made under section 79 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 to local authorities in Scotland, and to voluntary organisations, giving details as to authorities and organisations; and how many applications have been received by the Scottish Office for grants under section 79 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 (a) from local authorities and (b) from voluntary organisations.
No grants under this section have yet been made to local authorities for the provision of hostels for persons under supervision. Approval in principle has been given to a possible project in Lothian region, but suitable premises have not yet been identified. Inquiries have been received from other authorities about possible schemes in their areas, at least two in association with voluntary organisations; I hope that these will lead to the submission of detailed applications in due course, but so far no formal applications for grant have been made. Grant is not payable directly to voluntary bodies under section 79, but they may be aided by grants under section 10 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the average rent for (a) local authority houses in Scotland and (b) Scottish Special Housing Association houses in each of the last three years.
The information requested for 1978, 1979 and 1980 is published in Scottish Housing Statistics Nos. 5, 8 and 12. These publications are available in the Library.
Deceased Persons (Estates)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many confirmations of estates of deceased persons are still being delayed as a result of the Civil Service strike; how many cases are involved; and if he is taking any steps in this connection.
There are still delays in granting confirmation at Her Majesty's Commissary Office, Edinburgh, but substantial progress in dealing with the exceptional caseload is being made by the normal staff with the temporary support of two other skilled officers. At 16 November, 366 inventories were awaiting confirmation; 239 of these are in process and will be cleared shortly; the remaining 127 all received since 2 November, should be dealt with by early December. It is anticipated that the normal disposal period of about two weeks will be achieved by mid-December.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons in Scotland were in receipt of a rate rebate in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many of these were local authority tenants, Scottish Special Housing Association tenants, private-sector tenants, and owner-occupiers, respectively.
The information, for 1980–81, is as follows:
|Number of rate rebate recipients|
|Local authority tenants||273,516|
|* Includes Scottish Special Housing Association and private sector tenants not separately identifiable.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many tenants of public-sector houses in Scotland were in receipt of rent rebates at the latest convenient date.
Information on the number of rent rebate recipients at September 1980 is published on pages 26 and 27 of Scottish Housing Statistics No. 12, which is available in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total cost of rent rebates in Scotland for the latest convenient period; and what percentage this represents of the total national cost of rent rebates.
The annual cost of rent rebates to public sector tenants in Scotland is estimated at £45 million in 1980–81. This represents about 15 per cent. of the total payments of rent rebates to public sector tenants in Great Britain. These figures do not take account of support towards housing costs paid through supplementary benefit.
Maternal Mortality Rates
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give for the last five years, including the most up-to-date figures for 1981, the maternal mortality rates in Ayrshire and Arran, together with the figures for comparable health authority areas in Scotland.
Maternal deaths by health board area are given in the table below. The numbers relating to individual health boards are too small to produce any meaningful death rates.
Maternal deaths by health board area, Scotland, 1976–81.
Health board area
1981 1st and 2nd Qtrs.
|Argyll and Clyde||—||2||1||1||1||—|
|Ayrshire and Arran||1||—||—||1||2||—|
|Dumfries and Galloway||—||—||—||—||—||—|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Strathclyde on the number of police, broken down by rank, the cost of policing and the number of man hours spent in policing the sale of the former Talbot factory.
I see no reason to do so.
Prevention Of Terrorism
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in each month since January; and how many of them were charged.
The following table gives a monthly breakdown of the quarterly figures published in table 1 of Home Office statistical bulletin, issue No. 25/81, published on 6 November.
|Persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976|
|Great Britain, 1981||Number of persons|
|Month||Total number detained||Subsequently charged with a criminal offence|
Television Licence Fee
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider a reduced television licence fee for retirement pensioners.
No. The Government consider that it is better to continue to assist retirement pensioners by benefits in cash which they can spend as they choose rather than by benefits in kind such as concessionary television licences. Any concessionary scheme would make the licensing system more costly and difficult to operate.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will seek to enact legislation to enable him, before agreeing to any increase in the British Broadcasting Corporation licence fee, to refer such an increase to a referendum of the people.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incendiary devices, which could have caused an explosion, have been found in London during the last two months.
Of the six explosive devices dealt with by explosives officers of the Metropolitan Police during the last two months, none was an incendiary device. Finds of other incendiary devices by the police are not recorded centrally and the information could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.
Crown Courts (Committals)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many defendants were committed to Crown courts under section 28 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 or section 37 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 in the most recent year for which figures are available; and how many of these received a borstal or other custodial sentence;(2) of the defendants committed to Crown courts under section 28 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 or section 37 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 in the most recent year for which figures are available, how many were committed in custody and then received a non-custodial sentence.
Of the 4,617 offenders sentenced at the Crown court in 1980, after committal for sentence under section 28 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 in 1980 or earlier, 3,186 were sentenced to borstal training and 589 to a detention centre or to an immediate or suspenced term of imprisonment. Of the remaining 842 who were given a non-custodial sentence, 630 had been remanded in custody awaiting sentence. The hon. Member may also find of interest the information published in table 7.24 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1980"—Cmnd. 8376.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unconvicted and unsentenced juveniles were detained in (a) adult prisons and (b) remand centres on the most recent convenient date.
On 31 August 1981, 35 untried and convicted unsentenced juveniles were detained in adult prisons and 243 in remand centres in England and Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the highest number of unconvicted and unsentenced juveniles in custody on any day so far in 1981; and how this compares with the highest figure recorded in 1980.
The information available on the total numbers of untried and convicted unsentenced juveniles in prison department establishments in England and Wales relates to the end of calendar months. The highest such total in 1980 was 381, on 31 March, in 1981, up to the end of August, was 321, on 31 May.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many juveniles were received into (a) adult prisons and (b) remand centres in 1980; and of these, how many were subsequently found not guilty and how many received a non-custodial sentence.
Of the 3,300 juveniles first received as untried or convicted unsentenced into prison department establishments in England and Wales in 1980 approximately 3,200 were initially received into remand centres and 100 into adult prisons. The latest information available on the ultimate disposal of these juveniles is published in table 2.2 of "Prison statistics, England and Wales 1980", Cmnd. 8372.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unconvicted prisoners on the most recent convenient date had first been received into custody more than 110 days previously.
It is estimated that on 30 September 1981 there were about 1,000 untried persons held in prison department establishments in England and Wales whose initial date of remand into custody was more than 110 days earlier. Some of them may have spent time on bail during that period.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unconvicted prisoners had been awaiting trial for (a) over 12 months, (b) between six and 12 months and (c) between three and six months on the most recent convenient date.
The only estimates which can be made available without disproportionate cost are in the following table.
Prisoners awaiting trial on 30 September 1981 who were first remanded in custody more than three months earlier: by length of time since first remand in custody
Length of time since first remand in custody
Estimated number of persons
|Over three months and up to and including six months||900|
|Over six months and up to and including 12 months||300|
|Over 12 months||100|
* Including any time which may have been spent on bail.
† Rounded estimates: precise figures are not available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were received into prison before trial or sentence in 1980; in how many cases the defendant was subsequently found not guilty or the case was not proceeded with; how many were subsequently given custodial sentences; and how many received non-custodial sentences.
Information on the number of those received into prison department establishments on remand and their ultimate disposal is published annually in "Prison statistics, England and Wales". Table 2.1 of the volume for 1980, Cmnd. 8372 contains final figures for 1979 and table 2.2 contains provisional figures for 1980.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the highest number of unconvicted and unsentenced prisoners on any day in 1981 to date.
The information available on the total number of untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners in prison department establishments in England and Wales relates to the end of calendar months. The highest such number in 1981 up to the end of September was 7,400 on 30 June.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the average daily prison population in 1980 consisted of untried and unconvicted prisoners.
The percentage requested can be calculated from the information on the average daily population of prison department establishments by type of custody published annually in "Prison statistics England and Wales" table 1.1 of the volume for 1980, Cmnd 8372.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unconvicted and unsentenced prisoners were in custody on the most recent convenient date; and what percentage of the total prison population this represents.
On 30 September 1981, there were 7,300 untried or convicted unsentenced prisoners in prison department establishments in England and Wales, 17 per cent. of the total prison population on that date.
Bail And Probation Hostels (Places)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many places for people on bail were available in bail hostels, in combined probation with bail hostels and in probation hostels on the most recent convenient date.
On 31 October there were 194 places in bail hostels. No fixed number of places is set aside in other hostels, but on that date 74 out of 267 places in combined probation and bail hostels and 72 out of 1,199 places in probation hostels were occupied by persons on bail.
Custodial Remand (Psychiatric And Medical Reports)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many defendants were remanded in custody for (a) psychiatric reports and (b) other medical reports in 1980; and how many of these subsequently received custodial sentences.
The information available relates to the number of medical reports prepared on persons remanded in custody for reports, and is published annually in "Prison statistics, England and Wales"—table 10.3 of the issue for 1980, Cmnd. 8372.Information on the number of persons who subsequently received custodial sentences is not available.
Custodial Remands (Duration)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period of time for which any one prisoner currently in each of (a) Pentonville, (b) Brixton, (c) Canterbury, (d) Holloway, (e) Ashford remand centre and (f) Winson Green has been on remand in custody; and with what each such prisoner is charged.
The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Persons Awaiting Trial (Duration Of Detention)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are currently held in custody in England and Wales who have been so held for more than two years awaiting trial.
Precise information could be made available only at disproportionate cost. It is estimated that on 30 September 1981 about 10 persons awaiting trial in prison department establishments in England and Wales had been first remanded in custody more than two years earlier; some of them had spent some time on bail.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his forecast of the percentage fall in the number of school pupils between 1980–81 and 1983–84 in Wales; what is his forecast of surplus school places by 1986 as a result of falling pupil numbers; and if he will give details by counties and areas of counties.
The Government's expenditure plans, as outlined in Cmnd 8175, assume that the number of pupils in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools will fall by around 8 per cent. between 1980–81 and 1983–84. The projected fall in the number of pupils aged 5 and over for each local education authority in Wales is shown as follows:
Projected percentage fall in pupils aged 5 years and over
* Full-time equivalents.
A study of school building published by the Department of Education and Science and the Welsh Office in 1977 estimated that between 1975, when the school population peaked and 1986 the number of places in Wales made surplus by falling pupil numbers would be 135,000. Separate figures for local authorities are not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what improvements have taken place in rehabilitation provided by his Department for the newly blind to allow them to improve their work prospects; and if he will make a statement.
Policy for employment rehabilitation is a matter for the Secretary of State for Employment. I would refer the hon. Member to the written reply given to him today by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Employment.
Eye Patients (Port Talbot)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the current waiting period for patients at Port Talbot before they are able to see a consultant eye specialist; what it was two years ago; what the staffing was for eye treatment in 1979; what it is at present: and what are the reasons for the difference.
At 30 September 1981, the number of patients at Port Talbot General hospital waiting for a first out-patient consultation in the specialty of ophthalmology was 248 of which 165 had been on the list for three months or more. The corresponding figures for 30 September 1979, were 55 and 18. The Welsh Office does not hold details of staffing at clinic level. The right hon. and learned Member may wish to contact the West Glamorgan health authority for more detailed information.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will update the list of trunk road schemes published in the Official Report, 16 April, c. 253.
The stages reached by those major schemes which are currently due to start before the end of 1983 are:
Scheme for which tenders have been invited.
- A55—Hawarden By-Pass
Schemes for which all principal orders have been made.
- A477—Kilgetty By-Pass (Compulsory Purchase Order subject to Special Parliamentary Procedure)
Schemes for which line orders have been made or are not required
- A5—Castell Eden Bends, Gwalchmai.
- A40—Carmarthen—Bancyfelin (side roads order also made).
- A48—Coed Hirion—Awel Fan.
- A55—Penmaenbach tunnels.
- A470—Improvement near Cantref water treatment works.
- A470—Maenan Abbey.
- A4232—Capel Llanilltern—Culverhouse Cross (side roads order also made).
Scheme for which line and side roads orders have been the subject of public inquiry and Inspector's Report awaited.
- A470—Cemmaes Road improvement.
Schemes for which draft line orders are being prepared.
- A458—Hydan Cottages, East of B4385.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many million gallons of water were supplied for consumers in Wales in the latest available year; how many of these were metered supplies; how many million gallons were piped for the Alwen, Vyrnwy and Elan reservoirs, respectively; how many million gallons were abstracted from the rivers Dee, Wye and Severn for transmission to England; and what is the total amount of water exported from Wales to England for the last available year.
91,234 million gallons of water were supplied to consumers in Wales in 1980; 30,745 million of these were metered supplies; 1,473, 16,963 and 27,728 million gallons were piped to England from the Alwen Reservoir, Lake Vyrnwy and the Elan reservoirs respectively; 40,399 and 1,734 million gallons were abstracted from the Dee and Wye respectively for transmission to England. There were no abstractions from the Severn in Wales; therefore the total amount of water exported from Wales to England in 1980 was 88,297 million gallons.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from organisations representing nurses in Wales concerning the need to safeguard the real value of their salaries.
We have received four representations from organisations about nurses' pay this year.
Coal Firing (Conversion Scheme)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how much was allocated to the scheme to encourage industry to switch to coal-fired boilers; and how much has been spent to date;(2) if he is satisfied with the operation of the scheme to encourage industry to switch to coal-fired boilers; if he will review it; and if he will make a statement.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he is satisfied with the take-up of the scheme announced in the budget to encourage conversion from oil to coal firing; and if he will publish details of how much of the funds allocated have so far been used;(2) if he will extend the scheme to encourage the conversion from oil to coal firing to include gas to coal also.
£50 million has been allocated to the coal-fired boiler scheme; 54 applications for grant assistance have been received and so far the Department has made offers on 24 of these cases, representing grant totalling £978,000. No payment of grant has yet been made. I am satisfied with the operation of the scheme, although the rate of applications has been slower than originally anticipated. The scope and coverage of the scheme is currently being reviewed and the possibility of extending the scheme to cover conversions from gas to coal firing will be considered.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed of 9 November relating to small businesses, he will publish the information he has on the number of new small businesses being set up in any form in which that information is available to him; if he will publish the results of the work being done in his Department described in his answer as soon as it is completed; and if he will distinguish from the figures listed in "British Business" for 16 and 23 October the numbers of small businesses which became insolvent.
[pursuant to his reply, 12 November 1981, c. 146]: It is our intention to make the information available when it is ready to be published. The figures published in "British Business" cannot distinguish businesses becoming insolvent by size of firm since this information is not recorded.
Bankers (Departmental Secondment)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if any employees of merchant or clearing banks have been seconded to work in his Department; if so, whether such persons have been paid from public funds; and if such persons have had any responsibility, direct or indirect, for dealing with the disbursement of public funds.
Since 1975, 16 employees of merchant and clearing banks have been seconded, normally for periods of about three years, to the Department of Industry. They have been paid directly by their parent banks, the Department of Industry reimbursing all or most of the salary costs involved. The majority of secondees have been concerned with the appraisal and negotiation of applications for selective financial assistance under the Industry Act 1972. Three bankers are currently employed on this work.
Staffa Products Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Industry under what section of the Industry Act 1972 Government grants have been made available to Staffa Products Ltd of London E.10.
Discussions about and applications for assistance are a matter of commercial confidence between the Department and the company concerned
Education And Science
Burnham Further Education Committee
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the fact that the National Association of Schoolmasters and the Union of Women Teachers has nearly 2,000 members in full-time and some 12,000 members in part-time employment in the further education field, whether he will grant that association representation on the Burnham further education committee.
I discussed the association's case for representation on the Burnham further education committee with its general secretary on 16 November. I am today writing to him to say that I do not propose to add the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers to the bodies represented on the committee.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received regarding the inclusion of the National Association of Schoolmasters and the Union of Women Teachers on the Burnham further education committee; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has received 136 letters from or on behalf of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers in support of that association's application for membership of the Burnham further education committee. In addition, he has received representations from five bodies opposed to such an addition to the teachers' side of the committee.
Manchester (Secondary School Reorganisation)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many objections to the Manchester local education authority's proposals for secondary school reorganisation had been received when his Department called in the proposals; and if he will now announce his decision on them;(2) if he will publish his decision on Manchester local education authority's proposals on secondary school reorganisation in time for the proposals to take effect in September 1982.
As the hon. Member now knows, my right hon. Friend announced on 13 November that he had rejected the authority's proposals. Its proposals were published on 22 January 1981 and notice was given on 28 January under section 12(5)(a) of the Education Act 1980 that they would require the decision of the Secretary of State. In accordance with the Act, objections were made to the authority, which submitted them with its comments on 22 April.
Mr Neil Johnson
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will reconsider the case of Mr. Neil Johnson of Liverpool and his student grant award in the light of representations made to him by the hon. Members for Vauxhall (Mr. Holland) and Liverpool, Edge Hill; and if he will make a statement.
I understand that the course of postgraduate study being followed by Mr. Johnson at Liverpool University is, by a narrow margin, within the area for which the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is the award-making body, but that Mr. Johnson was not nominated for an SSRC award by the university. I recognise, however, that this is a somewhat complicated case, and I have asked the chairman of the SSRC if he will write to the hon. Member.
Scottish Arts Council
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the amount of grant-in-aid to the Scottish Arts Council for 1981–82; and how this compares with the previous year's figures.
The sum allocated to the Scottish Arts Council by the Arts Council for 1981–82 is £9·3 million, representing a 12 per cent. increase over the previous year's allocation of £8·3 million. The amount finally granted to the Scottish Arts Council by the Arts Council in 1980–81 was just over £8·5 million.
Nursery And Infant Schools (Macclesfield)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children below the age of five years are either in full or part-time education at nursery schools or infant schools in the area covered by the Macclesfield parliamentary constituency.
The information requested is not readily available in the Department for areas smaller than local education authorities. The latest information for the county of Cheshire is as follows:
|Pupils under five years of age* in maintained nursery and primary schools in Cheshire|
|January 1981||Nursery schools||Nursery classes in primary schools||Other classes in primary schools|
|*Ages as at 31 December 1980.|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what improvements have taken place in rehabilitation provided by local education authorities for the newly-blind to allow them to improve their work prospects; and if he will make a statement.
The needs of both those who are newly blind and those with deteriorating partial sight centre on emotional adjustment, mobility, communication, social skills and sometimes the use of aids to maximise residual vision. Provision for their teaching and rehabilitation is well developed and supported by the local education authorities. The latter make use of two vocational assessment centres which have been established on a voluntary basis at Reigate and Birmingham. They also send pupils or students to a number of schools or colleges including the Royal National College for the Blind, Hereford, to which my Department has contributed £1 million to the cost of new buildings.Within their resources the local authorities employ peripatetic teachers and advisers for the visually-handicapped, and benefit in addition from advisers and services supplied by the Royal National Institute for the Blind. My Department has also made a research grant of about £23,000 for the development of teaching materials for a two-year course using distance learning methods and leading to the Diploma in the Education of the Visually Handicapped at Birmingham University. This has now started with an enrolment of 36 serving teachers of the blind and is in addition to the existing one year full time course.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the level of fees paid by university students studying in Great Britain who are nationals of Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, France, Germany and Italy, respectively; and what element of British Government subsidy is involved in each case.
The level of tuition fees paid and the amount of Government subsidy involved for university students in Great Britain from Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, France, Germany and Italy respectively in the academic year 1980–81 was as follows:
|Fee||Subsidy per Head (November 1980 prices)|
|Australia, New Zealand, USA|
|Students (who had started their course in 1979–80 or earlier):|
|New entrants:||Full cost||Nil|
|France, Germany, Italy|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why European Economic Community students were relieved of the fees increase applied to foreign and Commonwealth students at British Universities.
Because the Government are committed, in common with other member States, to promoting student mobility within the European Community.
British Students (Eec Universities)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if British students studying in European Economic Community universities receive subsidised fees by comparison with students from non-European Economic Community countries.
Some member States do not have tuition fees in our sense; where they do exist they are almost without exception very low for all students, regardless of origin, because of heavy subsidies.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will provide financial support to the National Association for Teaching English as a second language to adults.
My Department already provides financial support for the association in the form of a pump-priming grant of £1,500 per annum for the years 1980–81 to 1982–83 to assist it in developing onto a self-financing basis. It has recently offered also to consider sympathetically funding any suitable proposal from the association for a development project in this important area of adult education
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Lord Privy Seal what undertakings have been made by Her Majesty's Government in respect of the recent Bonn-Rome initiative for furthering integration of the European Economic Community; and if they regard this topic as suitable for linkage with other current issues.
We have received the texts of the German/Italian proposals from the Governments concerned. We are at present studying these proposals. No undertakings of any sort have been given. The Government believe that the proposals should be examination to other topics currently under discussion in the Community.
asked the Lord Privy Seal when and by what means he expects to release a document containing the Bonn-Rome proposals for furthering the political integration of the European Economic Community.
Statements were made in the European Parliament on 19 November by Herr Genscher and Signor Colombo and details of the German/Italian proposals have been made public. I have placed a copy of the German/Italian proposals in the Library of the House. I should stress, however, that the proposals are a draft only and reflect the views only of the two Governments concerned. We are now studying the proposals.
Honduras (Refugee Camps)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if, in accordance with United Kingdom support for human rights, he will make representations to the Honduran Government that the refugee camps in the Honduran provinces of Lempira and Intibuca should be allowed to remain and that the refugees should not be moved against their wishes and against the wishes of the relief agencies concerned.
According to our information, the Honduran authorities have, in consultation with the local United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative, decided to move these many thousands of refugees into more permanent camps away from the border area to prevent the Salvadorean war from spilling over their border.
Hooliganism (Withdrawal Of Passports)
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will consider withdrawing the passports of British citizens convicted of serious offences relating to hooliganism in Spain.
No. In his exercise of the Royal Prerogative on passport issues, the Secretary of State confines refusals to certain well-defined and exceptional circumstances and it would be inappropriate to extend the practice to include the circumstances suggested.
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will seek to negotiate a treaty with the Spanish Government for the return of British offenders convicted in Spain of serious offences relating to soccer hooliganism.
We have no plans to negotiate a treaty of this kind with Spain. However, the United Kingdom is currently taking part in discussions in the Council of Europe for a convention on the transfer of prisoners. If, in due course, both the United Kingdom and Spain were to become contracting parties to such a convention, provision would exist for British offenders convicted in Spain of serious offences to serve their sentences of imprisonment in this country. This would not be confined to offences committed by football supporters.
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will take into account the level and type of demands made upon British consular staff in Switzerland as a result of violent behaviour by British supporters during the recent World Cup qualifying match in assessing the consular requirements associated with the large numbers of British soccer supporters expected to visit Spain in 1982.
Nuclear Installations Inspectorate
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what shortfall there is in the establishment of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.
The present strength of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate is 97. Budgetary provision is available for 102 inspectors, and if suitable recruits could be found, extra resources would be made available to pay for another four.
Youth Opportunities Programme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now extend the full benefits of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act to those participating in youth opportunities schemes; and if he will make a statement.
Young people on the youth opportunities programme, who are not employees, enjoy the full benefits of the relevant sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The Manpower Services Commission is keeping under close review the question of health and safety in regard to the programme.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) males and (b) females are currently on youth opportunities programmes in (i) the North-West, (ii) Merseyside, (iii) Kirkby and (iv) the Ormskirk travel-to-work area; and how many of each found employment after participating in such a scheme, as at the latest available date.
At the end of September 1981 there were 50,000 young people on youth opportunities programme schemes in the North-West region. Precise information on filled places below regional level, and on the breakdown by sex of the regional figure, is not available. The latest survey of young people who have been on the programme showed that nationally 26 per cent. of males and 33 per cent. of females went into employment immediately after leaving their schemes. A regional breakdown is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received from voluntary organisations and individuals regarding changes to the quota scheme for the employment of disabled people proposed in the document "Manpower Services Commission Review of the Quota Scheme for the Employment of Disabled People—A Report"; whether the representations show a favourable response to the changes suggested; and if he will make a statement.
I have so far received a number of comments from both organisations and individuals. Interested parties have until the end of the year to comment and I am not yet in a position to make a statement.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what time limit has been imposed for representations on the changes to the quota scheme for the employment of disabled people suggested in the document "Manpower Services Commission Review of the Quota Scheme for the Employment of Disabled People—A Report"; what action his Department is taking to advertise and encourage such representation; and if he will make a statement.
As my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Employment told the House on 23 July, we are giving interested parties until the end of the year to comment on the proposals in the Manpower Services Commission's report on its review of the quota scheme, which was published on that day. That statement was also the subject of a press notice issued by my Department and was widely reported.On publication, the Manpower Services Commission sent some 3,000 copies of its report to interested parties, including voluntary organisations representing the disabled, and employers organisations. Since then Commission officials have taken every opportunity at conferences and seminars on the employment of disabled people to say that comments on the report are invited by the end of the year, and a further 10,000 copies of the report have been sent out in response to requests, each with a note indicating that the Government had asked for comments by the end of the year.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what improvements have taken place in rehabilitation provided by his Department for the newly blind to allow them to improve their work prospects; and if he will make a statement.
The Manpower Services Commission provides financial and administrative support to the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Society for Welfare and Teaching of the Blind in Scotland in respect of rehabilitation facilities provided by these organisations for the blind and partially sighted.In 1980–81, the RNIB received £375,000 from the MSC towards the cost of running its facilities at Torquay and 250 blind or partially-sighted attended courses of employment rehabilitation.During the last two years the RNIB has, with the MSC's agreement, increased the level of staffing and the range of its workshop provision at Torquay, new technology equipment for the blind has been made available, such as transcribers and audio calculators, and a close circuit TV and video system has recently been installed.Regular surveys undertaken by the MSC in conjunction with the RNIB ensure that provision in the centre keeps pace with developments elsewhere in rehabilitation methods.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many registered blind and registered partially sighted people obtained jobs in open industry in each year since 1968; how many registered blind and registered partially sighted people were seeking open employment in April each year since 1968; and if he will make a statement.
Information is not available in the precise form requested. However the total numbers of registered and unregistered disabled people who were blind or partially sighted and were helped into open employment either by the Manpower Services Commission or the Royal National Institute for the Blind in each year ending 30 September since 1968 and those who were seeking open employment in April each year since 1968 are shown in the following tables.
|Placings of registered and unregistered disabled people who were blind and partially sighted in Great Britain|
|Year to 30 September||Placings|
Registered disabled people who were blind and partially sighted seeking open employment in Great Britain
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many registered blind people, registered partially sighted people and sighted disabled people were employed in workshops for the blind and disabled during each year since 1960; and if he will make a statement.
The numbers of severely disabled people working in sheltered employment in Great Britain for the years 1960 to 1981 are given in the following table. A combined figure is given for registered blind and partially sighted workers. Separate figures are not available.
|Numbers of registered sighted and blind/partially sighted severely disabled people in sheltered employment for the period 1960–1981|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will introduce legislation to enable people who belong to a trade union to opt in if they wish to pay the political levy rather than opt out if they do not.
My right hon. Friend has no plans to do so. Our immediate priorities for legislation were set out by the Secretary of State in his statement earlier this afternoon.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of females registered as unemployed in May 1979 and at the current time in (a) the Black Country areas of the West Midlands and (b) the Walsall travel-to-work area.
The following is the information at May 1979 and October 1981 for the areas specified. The figures include school leavers and are not seasonally adjusted.
|Numbers of females registered as unemployed|
|May 1979||October 1981|
|Dudley and Sandwell travel-to-work area||3,529||12,912|
|Wolverhampton travel-to-work area||2,565||6,943|
|Walsall travel-to-work area||2,654||8,689|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is considering further campaigns in connection with the benefit entitlement of the long-term unemployed; where these will take place; how much he expects to save; how many extra staff will be involved and at what cost; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has no plans for campaigns concerning the benefit entitlement of the long-term unemployed. However, from October 1982 registration for employment at jobcentres will be voluntary and the testing of a person's availability for work will become the responsibility of the benefit authorities. This is a considerable administrative change which will need testing and so from January 1982 an initial availability test, administered to all new claimants at the start of their claim, will be piloted in fifteen selected offices.
Fort William Underwater Training Centre
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if the new training board for the offshore industry will be responsible for the financing of the Fort William underwater training centre; and if he will make a statement:(2) when he expects to change the contract arrangements for the Fort William underwater training centre.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list each travel-to-work area and give for each the percentage of unemployment in May 1979 and October 1981, respectively.
[pursuant to his reply, 19 November 1981]: The following is the information. The unemployment figures from which the rates have been calculated include school leavers and are not seasonally adjusted.
|Bury St Edmunds||3·2||6·7|
Yorkshire and Humberside
|Darlington and South West Durham*||6·1||13·9|