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Written Answers

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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Written Answers Toquestions

Thursday 3 December 1981

Trade

Credit Cards

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) whether he has any evidence that an increasing number of credit card issuers are complying with the terms of section 84 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, notwithstanding that that section has not yet been brought into effect; and what is the nature of the evidence;(2) if he will now bring into effect the provisions of section 84 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 which place a limit of £30 on the liability of credit card holders where their cards are used fraudulently;(3) whether his Department has made any study of the growth in the number of credit cards issued, particularly by retail organisations, with a view to limiting the liability of card holders in cases of fraudulent use under section 84 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

No study has been made or evidence obtained of the nature suggested, but I have the impression that a substantial proportion of credit card agreements limit the liability of card holders. Work preparatory to bringing section 84 into operation forms part of the overall programme for implementing the inoperative provisions of the Act as quickly as practicable.

Water Fittings (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give the level of imports of the complete range of water fittings in numbers and in value for the first nine months of 1981.

Of the first nine months of the year, detailed statistics of overseas trade are at present available only for the months of January, February and September. But in any case, water fittings are neither separately identified as a category, nor as a sum of a set of separately identified categories, in the Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom.

Vehicle Light Bulbs (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give the level of imports of vehicle light bulbs in numbers and value for the first nine months of 1981.

The information currently available is given against code number 8520–1210 under SITC (R2) item 778.21, in table IV of the monthly Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom. Information for the months March to August is not yet available, owing to the Civil Service industrial dispute.

Antique Dealers (Buyer's Premium)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of the difficulties encountered by the Office of Fair Trading in being voluntarily furnished with all necessary information by the British Antique Dealers' Association and the Society of London Art Dealers for the purposes of investigation into the alleged collusion by Christie's and Sotheby's in connection with the introduction in 1975 of the buyer's premium, he will make it his policy not to regard the British Antique Dealers' Association and the Society of London Art Dealers as representative of the fine art and antique trade for consultative purposes.

No. It would not be appropriate to base the Department's consultation procedures on the progress of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, pursuant to his answer of 24 November, Official Report, c. 335, he is satisfied that the Office of Fair Trading is being supplied with all information necessary to its investigation of alleged collusion by Christie's and Sotheby's in connection with the introduction of the buyer's premium.

The conduct and progress of investigations under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 is a matter for the Director General of Fair Trading, and I am not in a position to comment on the adequacy or otherwise of the information he has received.

Feature Film Production (Financial Support)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will introduce legislation to provide further financial support for feature film production including a levy on television companies to supplement the Eady levy ; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans for primary legislation to increase financial support for feature film production.

Oil Purse Device

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has received a report on the demonstration of the oil purse device for the containment of oil pollution which took place at Gardenstown harbour on Friday 27 November; and if he will make a statement.

Government experts were present at the small-scale demonstration and an assessment is being prepared. Preliminary indications are that the principle embodied in the device may have potential for the recovery of semi-solid oils at sea. The Warren Spring laboratory of the Department of Industry is conducting tests on the performance of the netting used with a range of oils at various tow speeds. The marine pollution control unit in my Department, and other interested Departments, will continue to keep in close touch with the developer about further tests of the device.

Nationalised Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to make a statement on the position of consumers and the nationalised industries.

We intend to publish a consultative document before Christmas on the options for NICC reform.

Airports (Capital Projects)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now announce those capital developments at local authority airports which he proposes to designate as projects of national or regional importance in 1982–83.

The following airport investment schemes submitted by local authorities, some of which are already under construction, have been designated as projects of national or regional importance and will receive an appropriate capital expenditure allocation for 1982–83:

Airport Schemes

  • Birmingham—New terminal complex, taxi-ways and aprons.
  • Bournemouth—Terminal improvements.
  • East Midlands—Terminal improvements, access to developmet areas, and apron extension.
  • Exeter—Terminal improvements and apron extension.
  • Humberside—Runway lighting and navigational aids.
  • Leeds-Bradford—Runway and apron extensions.
  • Liverpool—Control tower and rescue base.
  • Luton—Terminal development.
  • Manchester—Runway extension, aircraft stands, services to development area, terminal improvements.
  • Newcastle—Terminal extension.
  • Shoreham—Construction of all-weather strip.
  • Teeside—Apron and access track.

The total public expenditure provision for 1982–83 for regional airport developments will amount to £41·6 million—compared with £31·4 million in 1981–82. It represents the largest approved capital expenditure programme of its kind since the war and is in line with the Government's continuing commitment to encourage the further development of air transport outside the South-East of England.

Home Department

Prevention Of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976.

The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 will lapse at the end of March 1982 unless renewed by an affirmative resolution from both Houses of Pariament. My right hon. Friend will put his recommendation to the House at the appropriate time.

British Broadcasting Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide for changes in the British Broadcasting Corporation charter to enable the British Broadcasting Corporation to participate in, or initiate, feature film production; and if he will make a statement.

The BBC is not precluded by its Royal Charter and Licence and Agreement from involving itself in the production of feature films so long as this is related to its fundamental object of providing broadcasting services. The decision whether to be so involved is entirely a matter for the corporation taking into account financial and other relevant considerations.

Carfax Radio Information Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren), Official Report, 20 November, column 247, when he expects the initial operation of the Carfax radio information service to begin; with what restrictions; and in what areas.

In the light of discussions between the Government and the BBC, approaches are shortly to be made to a number of European Administrations concerning a permanent frequency allocation for a Carfax service. There are particular difficulties in finding a suitable frequency which would be available under the international radio regulations; a solution is therefore likely to depend on the attitude of our neighbours towards our proposals.

London Taxis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has information on the number of London taxi licences issued to applicants who combine taxi driving with other employment.

No. A taxi driver's licence is granted by the assistant commissioner to any person who satisfies him that he is fit to hold one. It does not require him to engage full-time in the trade.

"Civil Defence—Why We Need It"

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost to public funds of publishing and distributing the 500,000 copies of the publication "Civil Defence—why we need it".

Sentencing Policy

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the 2,650 individuals sentenced to short, sharp, shock treatment since the inception of the project have (a) not been charged with any further offences since completing the sentence, (b) been convicted of one offence subsequent to receiving the treatment and (c) been convicted of more than one offence subsequent to receiving the treatment.

The further convictions of young offenders discharged from the detention centres operating the tougher regimes pilot project will be covered by the formal evaluation programme, the results of which will be available in due course.

Cable Television

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is in a position to announce his decision in relation to any further applications for a licence to conduct a pilot scheme of subscription television over cable.

In replies to my hon. Friends the Members for Coventry, South-West (Mr. Butcher) on 10 March 1981—[Vol. 1000, c. 285–86.]—and East Grinstead (Mr. Johnson Smith) on 22 July 1981—[Vol. 9, c. 38.]—I said that I had decided to license six broadcast relay operators to provide subscription television services in 12 areas for an initial period of two years, and that I was considering a further application for a service in Wellingborough. I have now decided to license Cablevision (Wellingborough) Limited to provide a service in Wellingborough.

Murderers (Release From Prison)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convicted murderers have been released from prison within the last decade.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 November 1981, c. 248]: The numbers of persons convicted of murder who have been released during the last decade from prisons in England and Wales, including persons detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure under section 53(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, but excluding persons who previously had been released on licence and subsequently recalled to prison, are as follows:

Person convicted of murder released from prison
YearNumber
197121
197224
197329
197435
197539
197662
197752
197874
197964
198035

Prime Minister

Mr Edward Scott

asked the Prime Minister what pensions or other emoluments from public funds have been received by Mr. Edward Scott since he admitted to the security service that he had been in communication with Czech intelligence officers.

Mr. Scott was granted a Civil Service pension when he was retired in 1961. He has continued to receive this since his admission in 1970 that he had been in communication with Czech intelligence.Under present legislation that pension could be forfeited only if Mr. Scott was convicted of one or more offences, as specified in rule 8.2 of the principal Civil Service pension scheme. He has received no other emoluments from public funds.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in the light of the public statements made by Mr. Edward Scott on 29 November, relating to communications with Czech officials while serving at the British embassy in Prague, she will make a statement.

Mr. Scott served as head of Chancery in Prague from 1956 to 1958. In 1959 he was reprimanded for his part in getting his housemaid in Prague from Czechoslovakia to Vienna. In 1961 he was retired from the Diplomatic Service on immediate pension on the grounds that he lacked the qualities required for further promotion in the service.It was suspected at that time that his housemaid had had some sort of hold over him and that she had been planted on him by the Czech intelligence service. Nevertheless, information that he had passed material to the Czech intelligence service did not become available until 1969. On being confronted with this information he admitted to having passed a limited amount of information to the Czechs. There was no question of Mr. Scott having been offered any immunity from prosecution or any inducement which might have made his confession inadmissible as evidence. The papers were submitted to the prosecuting authorities, but they decided not to prosecute. In view of that decision the Foreign Secretary of the clay decided that no action should be taken on his pension.There was no connection with other cases and on the evidence available, little damage was likely to have been caused to the national interest.

Engagements

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 3 December.

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

Q40.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 3 December.

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today including one with the chairmen of the student academic campaign for Soviet Jewry.

Trades Union Congress

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister when last she met the leaders of the Trades Union Congress.

I met the TUC General Secretary with representatives of the European Trades Union Confederation on 25 November.

Tobacco Industry (Sales Promotion)

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister whether there has been any change in the policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of the agreement with the tobacco industry on sales promotion.

President Of The United States (Speech)

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister whether she has any plans to meet the President of the United States of America to discuss with him the zero option, put forward in the President's speech to the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on 18 November.

I have no immediate plans to meet President Reagan. However, our two Governments consult closely about theatre nuclear force arms control and I have already made clear that I warmly welcome the President's offer to cancel NATO's plans to deploy cruise and Pershing II missiles if, in return, the Soviet Union will dismantle all its long range land-based theatre nuclear missiles, the SS4s, 5s and 20s.

Maesteg

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister, when she plans to visit Maesteg in the Ogmore constituency.

Overseas Development

El Salvador (Loan)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what the £1 million that the United Kingdom contributed to the Inter-American Development Bank loan to El Salvador is to be spent on; and what guarantees he has that the money will be spent as intended.

Governments belonging to international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank make contributions to their general resources, and not for use in individual countries.The loan to El Salvador of about £24 million—$40·4 million—is from the banks fund for special operations. This is to provide agricultural credit through approximately 250 co-operatives to about 64,000 poorer families. The bank itself is administering the loan and so is responsible to its boards of governors and of executive directors for seeing that the money is spent as intended.

Employment

European Community

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the current procedures which exist at jobcentres for publicising vacancies in other member States of the European Community; what procedures are normally followed for the notification of such vacancies; and whether he intends to propose improvements to the SEDOC system during the British presidency.

The head office of the Manpower Services Commission's employment service division regularly receives details of vacancies in other member States of the Community from the States' public employment services. These are made available to jobcentres through the division's network of area offices, the precise arrangements for circulation and display being the responsibility of area and local managers who are encouraged to use the information to the best advantages local job seekers.I understand that the commission has already recognised the need to improve these arrangements and therefore plans to give more explicit guidance to staff. The office of the European Commission, in response to suggestions from the United Kingdom Government and the Governments of other member States, has in the meantime commissioned an independent evaluation of the entire system for the circulation of vacancy and job seeker information within the Community—SEDOC. I shall be considering whether further changes are needed once the evaluation report becomes available in autumn 1982.

Wages Councils

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received about wages levels fixed by wages councils; and if he will make a statement.

Under the Wages Councils Act 1979, wages councils must publish their proposals for changes in statutory minimum rates and allow a period of at least 14 days in which those affected by the proposals may make representations to the council. Councils must consider all representations before deciding whether to confirm or amend their proposals. Representations about minimum rates are made direct to the councils, which are independent of Government and do not publish details of the representations they receive. I also receive a number of letters from hon. Members about wages councils.It is important that minimum rates fixed by wages councils should be realistic. Employers should ensure that their views are known to their representatives on councils and should exercise their statutory right to make representations about councils' proposals.

Small Firms Employment Subsidy

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many small firms benefited from the small firms employment subsidy in (a) the Wolverhampton travel-to-work area and (b) the West Midlands; and how many jobs were supported in each case.

The information requested is given in the following table:

Small firms employment subsidy
Wolverhampton travel to work area*West Midlands†
Firms who were approved for payment of the small firms employment subsidy951,856
Jobs that were supported37114,559

The figures relate to when final payments were being made under the Scheme February 1981.

* The information given relates to the area covered by the Wolverhampton, Bilston and Wednesfield Employment Offices.

†. The information given relates to the West Midlands statistical subdivision of the Department of Employment's Midlands Region.

Temporary Short-Time Working Compensation Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many employees were being supported under the temporary short-time working compensation in (a) the Wolverhampton employment office area and (b) the West Midlands as a whole at the latest available date.

The number of potentially redundant employees covered by applications current in October 1981 in the Wolverhampton employment office area was 2,120. The figure for the West Midlands as a whole was 28,140.

Industrial Training Boards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment why he is not prepared to finance the operating costs of industrial training boards which he proposes to abolish beyond March 1982 whereas he has declared his intention to finance other boards' operating costs for a further year after March 1982.

As my right hon. Friend said in his statement on 16 November, Exchequer support for surviving boards will cease at the end of March 1982. We consider it right that firms covered by these boards should meet their operating costs, in the same way as other industries will need to meet the costs of their voluntary arrangements.The Government will continue as necessary in 1982–83 to meet the operating costs of boards which are to be abolished, together with any net cost of winding them up. We have asked industries which are moving to voluntary training arrangements to be ready to bring these into operation as early as possible in 1982–83. They will have to bear the costs of these arrangements from the outset.

Construction Industry Training Board

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has received any proposals from the construction industry training board for a levy in excess of 1 per cent.; and, if he has received such proposals, if he will lay them before Parliament.

Unemployment Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the percentage increase in unemployment in (a) the Wolverhampton travel-to-work area and (b) the West Midlands since May 1979 to the latest available date.

Manufacturing Industry (Investment)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each of the past six years the per capita investment in manufacturing industry in the principal industrial countries, together with the percentage increase in output and output per head.

I have been asked to reply.

Investment, Output and Output per head in the major Industrial Countries
United KingdomFederal Republic of Germany
Percentage change over previous yearPercentage change over previous year
Investment per capita at 1975 prices £(1)Investment per capitaOutputOutput per headInvestment per capita at 1970 prices D.M. (2)Investment per capitaOutputOutput per head
1975495-2-7-2½3,884-3-6½-1
1976487-1½+2+5½4,064+4½+7+7½
1977513+5½+2+1½4,191+3+3+3½
1978570+11+14,151-1+2+1½
1979619+8½+1½**+5½+4½
1980611-1½-9½-4**-1½
United States of AmericaJapan
Percentage change over previous yearPercentage change over previous year
Investment per capita at 1970 prices $Investment per capitaOutputOutput per headInvestment per capita at 1975 prices Yen 000s (3)Investment per capitaOutputOutput per head
19751,187-11-10½-21,109-2-12-6½
19761,367+15+12+81,183+6½+11+12
19771,441+5½+6+2½1,262+6½+4½+5
19781,436+6+21,406+11+6+7½
1979**+5+21,602+14+8+8½
1980**-4½-1½**+7½+5

Sources:

OECD: Indicators of Industrial Activity; Labour Force Statistics; National Accounts Vol. II.

CSO: Monthly Digest of Statistics.

DIT: British Business.

(1) Includes assets leased from the service industries.

(2) Includes capital expenditure by the quarrying and the structural steel erection industries.

(3) The figures relate to total expenditure on machinery and equipment by all industries expressed as a proportion of manufacturing employment Symbols used: * Not available or not meaningful.

†Nil or less then half.

Industry

European Community Joint Research Centre

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he or one of his junior Ministers plans to visit the European Economic Community joint research centre at Ispra; and if so, when.

Neither my right hon. Friend, nor any of the other Ministers in this Department, have any plans at present to visit the Ispra establishment of the joint research centre of the European Community.

Steel Industry (Rationalisation)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, in view of the closure of an average of 40 iron foundries a year since 1980, what further rationalisation he considers would be necessary to bring stability to the industry.

The pattern of short-time working being followed by many foundries in the United Kingdom suggests that further rationalisation by the industry is required to bring capacity into line with demand.

The figures available for investment per capita and annual percentage changes in investment per capita, output, and output per head for the United Kingdom, Germany, United States of America and Japan over the period 1975 to 1980 are as follows:

Nationalised Companies

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if it is his intention that Her Majesty's Government's observations on the applications made to the European Commission of Human Rights by former owners of companies nationalised under the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977 will be submitted to the commission not later than 30 January 1982.

The six applications referred to by my hon. Friend raise complicated and difficult issues. The Government will continue to make every effort to submit to the European Commission of Human Rights by the end of January 1982 their observations on each of the six applications.

Civil Service

Occupational Sick Pay Scheme

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if she will list for each Department the estimated cost to the occupational sick pay scheme of making good the loss of earnings-related supplement to sickness and injury benefit from January 1982.

The information sought by the hon. Member is not kept as a separate record but is included in the total amount paid by Departments on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Security. I regret that the information could, therefore, only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Environment

Sex Shops

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to amend the law to provide that in the case of sex shops, the local planning authority has powers to refuse consent on grounds other than purely planning considerations.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 2 December to my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins).

Windmills

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of the number of postmills, smockmills, towermills and other type of windmill which are known to be in existence at the present time; and how many are listed buildings in each case; and if he will give the equivalent figures for 1971 and 1961.

This information is not readily available in the Department and would be disproportionately costly to provide. There are nearly 280,000 listed buildings, and they are not recorded by categories.

Attorney-General

Casino Directors (Prosecutions)

asked the Attorney-General if he will prosecute those gaming casino directors, details of whom have been supplied to him, who have persistently and continuously broken the gaming laws.

I have not received details of the offences alleged, but if the hon. Member has evidence of the commission of offences I shall consider it.

National Finance

Tax And Price Index

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the reasons for continuing the tax and price index; and what has been the cost so far, and the manpower involved.

The tax and price index continues to be a useful supplement to the retail prices index. The costs so far, including set-up costs, have been of the order of £40,000. Two man-years have been involved so far.

Unitary Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made representations to the United States' Government, orally or by letter, in the last six months, to seek action by the United States' Government to introduce legislation to prohibit States in the United States of America taxing British companies operating in such states by unitary tax on a world-wide reporting basis; and if he will make a statement on representations he has received from British companies on this subject during the last two years.

Tax Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tax allowances a single parent of a 19-year-old university student living away from home can claim assuming that the mother earns no more than £4,500 per annum and her student son is receiving the full grant.

A single parent would in these circumstances normally be entitled to a further personal allowance—at present £770—if the student is resident with the parent for at least part of the tax year, in addition to the single person's allowance—at present £1,375. The size of the parent's income and the amount of the student grant do not affect entitlement to these allowances. If the hon. Member has a particular case in mind, perhaps he would write to me about it.

Unemployed Persons (Cost)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the net cost per unemployed person, taking into account the direct cost of benefits and lost taxation, using the most recently available figures.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on 18 November.—[Vol. 13, c. 158–59.]

Personal Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report tables showing the amount, in current prices, and the proportion in percentages of personal income, taken by (a) income taxes, (b) national insurance contributions, (c) value-added tax, (d) other central Government indirect taxes, (e) the aggregate of (a) to (d), (f) average domestic rate payments and (g) the aggregate of (a) to (d) and (f) for (i) a single person, (ii) a married couple without children both working, (iii) a married couple with two children, husband in work, wife not working, in each case at 50 per cent., 75 per cent., 100 per cent., 150 per cent. and 200 per cent. of average earnings, and child benefits where appropriate, and (iv) a married couple with two children on unemployment and supplementary benefit for each financial year from and including 1978–79 to 1981–82.

[pursuant to his reply, 27 November 1981, c. 495]: The information is given in the following tables and notes:

50 per cent. Of Average Earnings

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

£ per week

per cent. of gross income

£ per week

per cent. of gross income

£ per week

per cent. of gross income

£ per week

per cent. of gross income

Gross Earnings47·2155·5966·8374·38

Single

(a)

Income Tax8·1717·319·2316·6012·1218·1414·3819·33

(b)

NICs3·076·503·616·504·516·755·767·75

Married, both Working

(a)

Income Tax2·002·69

(b)

NICs3·076·503·616·504·516·755·767·75

Married+2

(a)

Income Tax3·466·615·488·627·6710·189·9311·79

(b)

NICs3·075·863·615·684·515·985·766·84

75 per cent. of Average Earnings

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

Gross Earnings

70·8283·39100·24111·56

Single

a) Income Tax

15·9622·5417·5721·0722·1422·0925·5322·88

b) NICs

4·606·505·426·506·786·758·657·75

c) VAT

2·002·823·824·584·684·675·334·78

d) Other Indirect Taxes

7·1410·088·109·719·379·3511·2910·12

e) a + b + c + d

29·7041·9434·9141·8642·9742·8750·8045·54

f) Rates

2·373·352·713·253·553·544·504·03

g) e + f

32·0745·2837·6245·1146·5246·4155·3049·57

Married, both working

a) Income Tax

5·597·896·527·829·769·7413·1611·80

b) NICs

4·606·505·426·506·786·758·657·75

c) VAT

2·413·404·465·355·405·396·055·42

d) Other Indirect Taxes

9·8413·8910·9413·1212·6312·6015·2713·69

e) a + b + c + d

22·4431·6927·3432·7934·5734·4943·1338·66

f) Rates

2·803·953·203·844·174·165·284·73

g) e + f

25·2435·6430·5436·6238·7438·6548·4143·39

Married + 2

a) Income Tax

11·2014·7413·8215·1217·6916·2621·0917·37

b) NICs

4·606·065·425·936·786·238·657·12

c) VAT

2·022·663·854·214·654·275·314·37

d) Other Indirect Taxes

9·0111·8610·1311·0811·6510·7113·9911·52

e) a + b + c + d

26·8335·3233·2236·3540·7737·4849·0440·39

f) Rates

2·913·833·333·644·354·005·514·54

g) e + f

29·7439·1536·5539·9945·1241·4854·5544·92

100 per cent. of Gross Earnings

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

Gross Earnings

94·42111·18133·65148·75

Single

a) Income Tax

23·7525·1525·9123·3032·1624·0636·6924·67

b) NICs

6·146·507·236·509·026·7511·537·75

c) VAT

2·843·015·444·896·685·007·665·15

d) Other Indirect Taxes

9·089·6210·409·3512·089·0414·719·89

e) a + b + c + d

41·8144·2948·8944·0559·9444·8570·5947·46

f) Rates

2·512·662·882·593·782·834·783·21

g) e + f

44·3246·9451·8646·6563·7247·6875·3750·67

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

Married, both working

a) Income Tax

12·8513·6114·7213·2419·7814·8024·3216·35

b) NICs

6·146·507·236·509·026·7511·537·75

c) VAT

3·263·456·065·457·375·518·355·61

d) Other Indirect Taxes

11·3412·0112·7311·4514·6910·9917·8111·97

e) a + b + c + d

33·5935·5840·7436·6450·8638·0562·0141·69

f) Rates

2·943·113·353·014·383·285·533·72

g) e + f

36·5338·6944·0939·6655·2441·3367·5445·41

Married + 2

a) Income Tax

18·9919·0722·1618·5927·7219·5032·2520·33

b) NICs

6·146·177·236·079·026·3411·537·27

c) VAT

2·752·765·264·416·394·497·334·62

d) Other Indirect Taxes

10·4110·4611·849·9313·689·6216·4410·36

e) a + b + c + d

38·2938·4646·4939·0156·8139·9567·5542·59

f) Rates

3·073·083·522·954·603·245·823·67

g) e + f

41·3641·5450·0141·9661·4143·1973·3746·26

150 per cent. of Average Earnings

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

Gross Earnings

141·63166·77200·48223·13

Single

a) Income Tax39·3327·7742·5925·5452·2126·0459·0026·44
b) NICs7·805·518·785·2611·145·5615·506·95
c) VAT4·593·248·855·3110·895·4312·485·59
d) Other Indirect Taxes13·179·3015·289·1617·838·8921·849·79

e) a+b+c+d

64·8945·8275·5045·2792·0745·92108·8248·77
f) Rates2·811·983·241·944·262·125·372·41
g) e+f67·7047·8078·7447·2196·3348·05114·1951·18

Married, Both Working

a) Income Tax28·4420·0831·4018·8339·8319·8746·6320·90
b) NICs9·216·5010·846·5013·536·7517·297·75
c) VAT4·913·479·245·5411·305·6412·935·79
d) Other Indirect Taxes14·3710·1516·269·7518·819·3822·8910·26
e) a+b+c+d56·9340·2067·7440·6283·4741·6499·7444·70
f) Rates3·192·253·662·194·792·396·052·71
g) e+f60·1242·4571·4042·8188·2644·02105·7947·41

Married+2

a) Income Tax34·5723·5538·8422·2247·7622·8554·5623·42
b) NICs7·805·318·785·0211·145·3315·506·65
c) VAT4·282·928·244·7110·064·8111·554·96
d) Other Indirect taxes13·369·1015·468·8517·978·6021·519·23
e) a+b+c+d60·0140·8971·3240·8186·9341·59103·1244·26
f) Rates3·402·323·922·245·142·466·482·78
g) e+f63·4143·2075·2443·0592·0744·05109·6047·04

200 per cent. Of Average Earnings

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

£ per week

Percentage of gross income

Gross Earnings

188·84222·36267·30297·50

Single

a) Income Tax56·0329·6760·0327·0074·7027·9587·6029·45
b) NICs7·804·138·783·9511·144·1715·505·21

Married, Both Working

a) Income Tax44·0223·3148·0721·6259·8822·4070·2923·63
b) NICs12·286·5014·456·5018·046·7523·067·75

Married+2

a) Income Tax50·2625·9155·5124·1068·7825·7380·9426·33
b) NICs7·804·028·783·8111·144·0415·505·04

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the borrowings up to the new limit of £1·5 billion guaranteed by the Treasury, of British Nuclear Fuels Limited, fall outside the public sector borrowing requirement.

[pursuant to his reply, 30 November 1981, c. 17]: When British Nuclear Fuels Limited was set up as a Companies Act company in 1971 it was classified to the private sector. Thus borrowing by the company from the market does not impinge on the public sector borrowing requirement.

Victoria And Albert Museum (Purchase Fund)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the final discretion remains with him for varying, in the event of special circumstances arising, the application of the general rules governing recourse by local museums to the purchase fund which is annually made available to the Victoria and Albert museum.

[pursuant to his reply, 30 November 1981, c. 18]: Yes. It is a general rule that if a Department proposes to undertake exceptional expenditure Treasury approval should be obtained. Proposals to make grants from the local museums purchase fund outside the general rules applying to such grants come within that category.

European Community (United Kingdom Contribution)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that all official estimates of the net cost of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Economic Community include the cost of subsidising European Economic Community students at British universities.

[pursuant to his reply, 27 November 1981, c. 496]: No. the cost of subsidising Community students at British universities is included in the expenditure provision for which my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and Science is responsible. This is to be set against the benefit to United Kingdom students studying in other EC countries.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Mrs Jathiben Patel

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects the High Commission in Bombay to reach a decision on the application for an entry clearance certificate by Mrs. Jathiben Patel to join her son Mr. N. Patel of 30 Helena Road NW 10; and if he will take steps to ensure a speedy decision in view of the fact that Mrs. Patel was interviewed on 12 May and is 73 years old.

The entry clearance officer decided, after interviewing the applicant on 12 May, that he would have to make further local inquiries. As soon as these are completed and he has taken a decision, I shall write to the right hon. Member.

Diego Garcia

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces are currently stationed at Diego Garcia.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the current purpose of the stationing of British forces at Diego Garcia and the support facility located there.

I have been asked to reply.Royal Navy personnel on Diego Garcia are responsible for the civil administration of the island and participate in the running of the United States Navy support and communications facility there.

European Community

Western Sahara

asked the Lord Privy Seal what measures are being taken within the European Economic Community to promote an end to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and to encourage negotiations for a ceasefire.

The Ten welcomed and support the Organization of African Unity summit decision on the Western Sahara. We hope it will lead to a peaceful settlement and enable the people of the Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination through a referendum. In this connexion, the United Kingdom welcomes King Hassan's reported announcement in Fez that the referendum will be held in the first half of 1982.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the British presidency of the Council of Ministers, he will consider using the offices of the European Economic Community together with the Organisation of African Unity as arenas through which negotiations for a ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario could be conducted.

No. The Western Sahara dispute is an African issue, to be resolved by the countries of the region. Her Majesty's Government's policy, which we understand is consistent with that of our European partners, is one of neutrality together with firm support for a peaceful settlement along the lines set out by the Organization of African Unity.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to promote the implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Western Sahara, which have reaffirmed the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence.

The United Kingdom, together with the other members of the Ten, joined a consensus at the United Nations on 9 November in adopting a Kenyan draft decision on the Western Sahara which was based on the Organization of African Unity summit decision. At the same time the Ten made clear their support for the Organization of African Unity initiative and urged all the parties concerned to respect the Organization of African Unity summit decision.

Transport

Epileptics (Driving Licences)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will amend the regulations relating to the granting of driving licences to people 'suffering from epilepsy.

I am today seeking the views of representative organisations on changes in the regulations which would have the following effect:

  • (a) Ordinary licences may be granted to sufferers from epilepsy who have been free from attacks for two years;
  • (b) In future licences will not be granted to applicants who have suffered from attacks while asleep during the past two years;
  • (c) However, a person who already holds or has applied for a licence on the basis that he or she has established a pattern of attacks only while asleep, for at least three years, may continue to hold a licence provided no waking attacks occur;
  • (d) Heavy goods vehicle licences may be granted to applicants who have been free from epileptic attacks after attaining the age of five years.
  • These changes have been recommended by my honorary medical advisory panel on epilepsy, and they would bring practice in Britain into line with many other countries.I am placing a copy of the consultation letter and draft regulations in the Library of the House.

    British Rail (Public Service Obligation)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what forms of compensation are payable under the transport regulations of the European Communities referred to in section 14(2) of the Transport Act 1978.

    Heavy Lorries (Greater London)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received any representations regarding the banning of heavy lorries in the Greater London area.

    Three hon. Members have sent me representations they have received about the Greater London Council's inquiry into the social, economic and environmental effects of banning heavy lorries within the Greater London area. My advice to those concerned is to make their views known direct to the inquiry panel and to the GLC.

    Northern Ireland

    Londonderry

    16.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the situation in the city and area of Londonderry during the past month.

    On 18 November a former member of the UDR was shot dead on his way home to New Buildings. In other incidents a part-time UDR member was very seriously injured in a shooting attack, and a young wife from county Donegal was also very seriously injured after a booby trap device exploded at the gates of the city. In police divisions N and O, which include the hon. Member's constituency, 15 persons have been charged since 1 November with serious terrorist type offences.

    London-Belfast Ferry Route

    17.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on contacts between his Department and potential operators of the Liverpool to Belfast ferry route.

    Further to my right hon. Friend's statement on 11 November—[Vol. 12, c. 537–42.]—my Department has remained in close touch with the potential new operators on the basis of strict commercial confidence. I hope that the present industrial dispute between P & O and the unions will not frighten away the potential new operators.

    Terrorism

    19.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have died in Northern Ireland as a result of terrorist incidents involving the Irish Republican Army since 14 September: and how many Irish Republican Army terrorists have been captured, shot or killed by the security forces in the same period.

    Since 14 September 27 people have died as a result of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. The majority are attributed to Republican terrorists, but it is not possible positively to identify the particular terrorist organisations responsible. During the same period, 186 persons have been charged with serious terrorist type offences including 23 with murder and 7 with attempted murder. It is not possible to say categorically how many of these are IRA terrorists. One person was shot dead by the security forces on 19 October in Belfast in an incident at a vehicle checkpoint.

    Security

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the security situation in the Province.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) earlier today.

    Secondary Education (Belfast)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been allocated to (a) the maintained and (b) the controlled sectors of secondary education in the Belfast education and library board area in the past five years.

    Recurrent payments by the Belfast education and library board on maintained secondary schools and controlled secondary schools, excluding grammar schools, in each of the last five years were as follows:

    YearMaintained Secondary Schools £ millionControlled Secondary Schools £ million
    1976–771·72·1
    1977–782·02·5
    1978–792·42·9
    1979–802·73·2
    1980–813·23·8

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils attend each of the Belfast maintained secondary schools; and what is the maximum capacity of each school.

    The information requested is as follows:

    SchoolEnrolment at 30 September 1981Approximate Capacity (see notes below)
    (1)(2)(3)
    Christian Brothers' Glen Road758700
    Christian Brothers' Gort Na Mona418700
    Cross and Passion, Glen Road684800
    La Salle, Edenmore Drive1,040600
    Little Flower, Somerton Road494600
    Our Lady of Mercy, Ballysillan Road573600
    St. Augustine's, Ravenhill Road546800
    St. Gabriels, Crumlin Road427700
    St. Gemma's, Ardilea Street477600
    St. Genevieve's, Edenmore Drive890600
    St. Louise's, Falls Road2,3462,300
    St. Monica's, Ravenhill Road544800
    St. Patrick's, Antrim Road834900
    St. Paul's, Beechmount Parade522800
    St. Peter's, Britton's Parade427800
    St. Rose's, Beechmount Avenue372800
    St. Thomas's, Whitelock Road583800

    Notes:

    (a) It is not possible to state precisely the capacity of each school from centrally held records because of the curricular changes that have taken place since many of the schools were built or extended. The figures in column (3) are therefore approximate

    (b) Temporary accommodation has been excluded.

    Primary Schools

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many education and library board primary schools in the maintained sector have been closed down in the past six years; how many places have been lost; and how many places have been created by the opening of new schools or extensions to existing schools.

    A total of 54 maintained primary schools, comprising 5,289 permanent pupil places, were closed in the six years up to 31 August 1981. Some of these schools had also temporary accommodation in addition to the permanent pupil places.In the same period 33 new schools were opened to provide 9,522 permanent pupil places, while extensions to existing schools provided a further 5,336 places.

    Educational Expenditure (Belfast)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much of the money made available by the Department of Education to the Belfast education and library board goes to the maintained sector and how much to the State (controlled) primary sector; and in what manner these figures have altered in the past three years.

    Recurrent payments by the Belfast education and library board on maintained primary schools and on controlled primary schools in each of the last three years were as follows:

    YearMaintained Primary Schools £ millionControlled Primary Schools £ million
    1978–791·82·3
    1979–802·12·7
    1980–812·43·2

    Primary Schools (Belfast)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many primary schools there are in the maintained sector in the area covered by the Belfast education and library board; how many pupils there are at each school; and how many each school is capable of taking.

    There are 53 maintained schools, and the information in relation to each school is as follows:

    Roll No. and SchoolSeptember 81 EnrolmentCapacity of Permanent Accomodation
    0329 Edmund Rice443486
    0876 Holy Child Boys'378420
    0877 Holy Child Girls'357420
    0194 Holy Cross Boys'486618
    0331 Holy Cross Girls'236618
    0234 Holy Family Boys'218321
    0330 Holy Family Girls'216321
    0327 Holy Rosary336519
    3314 Holy Trinity Boys'363717
    3321 Holy Trinity Girls'343717
    6041 Mercy681684
    0326 Our Lady's336585
    0313 Our Lady of Lourdes488486
    0316 St Aidan's459585
    0868 St Anne's914750
    0328 St Anthony's106189
    6429 St Anthony's (Willowfield)73222
    0317 St Bernadette's367420
    6075 St Bride's437486
    0215 St Colman's131222
    0105 St Columban's175255
    0257 St Comgall's Boys'124288
    0258 St Comgall's Girls'134288
    0204 St Finian's Monastery275321
    0180 St Gall's311350
    0226 St John's Girls'125354
    6092 St John the Baptist Boys'750816
    6091 St John the Baptist Girls'691717
    6246 St Joseph's183453
    Roll No. and SchoolSeptember 81 EnrolmentCapacity of Permanent Accomodation
    0090 St Joseph's Boys'145255
    0091 St Joseph's Girls'142288
    0259 St Kevin's Boys'328453
    0260 St Kevin's Girls'255519
    0185 St Malachy's Convent153453
    0315 St Mary's Boys' and Girls'182222
    6278 St Mary's229354
    6048 St Mary's Star of the Sea245420
    0222 St Matthew's Boys134288
    0223 St Marthew's Convent139255
    6140 St Michael's380420
    3316 St Oliver Plunkett Boys'580354
    3319 St Oliver Plunkett Girls'570354
    0264 St Patrick's Boys'189288
    0265 St Patrick's Girls'225255
    6388 St Paul's*7857
    0332 St Paul's Boys'297618
    0851 St Teresa's Boys'347684
    0887 St Teresa's Girls'338717
    6132 St Therese of Lisieux29290
    0186 St Vincent's Convent335453
    6042 St Vincent de Paul200288
    0117 Star of theSea Boys'84156
    0118 Star of the Sea Convent198189
    In a number of schools additional temporary classrooms have been provided where the permanent accomodation is insufficient to accomodate all classes.
    * The enrolments at St Paul's can show variations: it is for itinerants.

    Republic Of Ireland

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for the continuance of contacts with the Government of the Republic of Ireland; and when the next meeting is to take place.

    Following their meeting on 6 November, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach issued a joint communiqué which recorded their decision to establish an Anglo-Irish Inter-governmental Council. This will involve regular meetings between the two Governments at Ministerial and official levels to discuss matters of common concern. I look forward to further meetings on this basis, but I have no specific plans at present.

    De Lorean Car Co Ltd

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has received any further applications for financial assistance from the De Lorean Car Co. Ltd. of Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.

    The Government have received no further applications for additional funding from the De Lorean Car Co. Ltd., but the company has recently requested an extension of guarantee in respect of £10 million of bank borrowings. The current guarantees, in respect of £17 million of bank borrowings, expire on 31 December 1981. The request is being considered.

    Plastic Bullets

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what type of investigation was undertaken into the possibility of an excessive use of plastic bullets in May of the current year; and if he will publish the findings in the Official Report.

    [pursuant to his reply, 2 December 1981]: The Chief Constable and the General Officer Commanding closely monitor the use of baton rounds by their respective forces and no special investigation was considered necessary.The number of baton rounds fired in May must be seen in the context of the widespread and severe disorder earlier this years during which the security forces had to defend themselves against attack by mobs armed with stones and with petrol and other bombs, and to protect property and prevent confrontation between rival groups. I am satisfied that in these conditions the security forces had to resort to the use of baton rounds to prevent serious loss of life and widespread destruction of property. Allegations of the misuse of baton rounds and all instances of injury allegedly caused by them are thoroughly investigated and the papers referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.

    Wales

    Children (Recreation And Needs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales in what respects his Department makes provision for the recreational needs of children either directly or through organisations or bodies it supports.

    Recreational provision for children in school or further education is primarily the responsibility of local education authorities who have a duty to secure that facilities for primary, secondary and further education for their areas include adequate facilities for recreation. Scales of provision for recreation areas and playing fields at schools are laid down in the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981 though how these facilities are used outside school hours is for the education authority to decide.The Welsh Office makes no direct provision for the recreational needs of children but financial assistance towards schemes to meet these needs is made available through the urban programme. The Department also assists numerous bodies who provide for these needs as part of their overall activities. These include the Sports Council for Wales which gives grants to various Welsh schools sporting associations and runs holiday courses for children. They also include many voluntary youth organisations such as the Welsh Association of Youth Clubs, the Boys Clubs of Wales, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Guides Cymru and the Boys' Brigade in Wales.

    Microelectronics (Training)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what facilities are being provided in Wales for the training of young people in microelectronics; and how many are currently undergoing training:(2) how much the Government have contributed in Wales towards training grants for the development of training courses in microelectronics in the current financial year.

    The information cannot be separately identified in the form requested. A wide range of training courses in electronics, computers and engineering which cover microelectronics is provided by many institutions throughout Wales, particularly colleges of higher and further education. Specialised in-house training is also undertaken by individual employers.The Government contribute in a variety of ways, notably through the training opportunities programme; support for the engineering industrial training board; assistance to companies under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972. A programme for information technology training centres under the youth opportunities programme is also being planned.In addition Wales benefits from the Government's £8 million microelectronics in education programme; also 18 microcomputers have been installed and over 100 further applications received in Wales under the Government's microcomputers in schools scheme.

    Live Births

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many live births there were in Wales each year since 1978 and in each month in 1981.

    The information is given in the following table:

    YearNumber of live births (thousands)
    197833·3
    197936·2
    198037·4
    Monthly figures for the number of birth occurrences are not available for 1981; the total number of birth registrations in the first six months of 1981 was 17,600.

    Scotland

    Teachers

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make available the funds through rate support grant to Tayside region to ensure that the 83 primary and 40 secondary teachers unemployed in Dundee are employed in Dundee schools.

    The rate support grant distribution arrangements for 1981–82 have already been approved by Parliament. It is a matter for Tayside regional council how it chooses to use its share of grant which is not hypothecated to individual services.

    Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, further to his written answer on 13 April, Official Report, Volume 3, column 36, when the remaining provisions of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 will be brought into effect.

    As I announced in my written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Mackay) on 13 April 1981—[Vol. 3, c. 36]—I had hoped to bring the remaining provisions of the Act, with the exception of the provisions on the detention of young offenders, into effect by late summer 1981. Unfortunately the necessary preparations have taken considerably longer than expected and the industrial action in Glasgow and Edinburgh Sheriff

    Courts has caused delay. I have now made a fourth commencement order to bring the following provisions of the Act into effect on 1 January 1982:

    • Section 6 (judicial examination)
    • Section 12 and Schedule 4 (abolition of mandatory first diet in solemn procedure)
    • Section 13 (written notice of evidence incriminating co-accused in solemn procedure)
    • Section 16 (procedure where accused desires to plead guilty under solemn procedure)
    • Section 36 (appeals from decisions on competency and relevancy in summary proceedings)

    The only provisions of the Act remaining to be implemented after 1 January 1982 will be section 45 and Schedule 5 (detention of young offenders), and the parts of Schedules 7 and 8 consequential to these. The timing of the implementation of these provisions will depend on the speed with which the necessary preparation can be made. It is hoped that it will be possible to implement them in the Spring of 1982; an announcement about the specific implementation date will be made in due course.

    Energy

    Pensoners (Fuel Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will consider introducing legislation with the objective of reducing the cost of gas and electricity to retirement pensioners by abolishing the standing charges on their fuel bills and by other measures.

    No. Standing charges reflect the fixed costs in supplying the consumer. The Government are now spending £250 million a year in assistance to low-income householders in meeting fuel costs, and of the 2¼ million beneficiaries 1½ million are pensioners.Heating additions available under the supplementary benefits scheme have recently been increased and are awarded automatically to house-holders on supplementary benefit who are either aged 70 or over or with a dependent over 70.

    North Sea Oil

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether a depletion policy for North Sea oil will be settled by the Government before the sale of shares in the British National Oil Corporation's production and exploration interests.

    The Government's depletion policy for North Sea oil was announced by my predecessor on 23 July 1980, leaving the question of production cuts open. This question is currently under review. I intend to announce a decision as soon as possible and before the sale of shares in BNOC's oil producing business.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the price of North Sea oil to industry in the United Kingdom; and to industry in the Federal Republic of Germany.

    United Kingdom crude oil prices are market prices determined in commercial negotiations between buyers and sellers. The British National Oil Corporation is the major trader of United Kingdom crude oil and I understand that following the outcome of the OPEC meeting on 29 October, the corporation negotiated a price of $36·50 a barrel for Forties oil, which is regarded as the United Kingdom reference oil. This is a market price which would apply to all customers, whether here or abroad.

    British National Oil Corporation

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the agreement that Britoil entered into in June 1977 will permit the alienation of the British National Oil Corporation interests in oilfields without repayment of all outstanding loans on the figure currently outstanding.

    I understand that if the Britoil Agreement is affected by changes in the financial structure of BNOC's exploration and producing activities the Corporation will expect to renegotiate the agreement with Britoil and its bankers.

    Industrial Output

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing what effect the fall in industrial output has had on output and revenue in each of the fuel and power industries.

    It is not possible in practice to separate the short-term effects of changes in industrial production on the outputs and revenues of the fuel industries from other changes elsewhere in the economy and from such factors as the response to price rises, destocking, increased efficiency of energy use and changes in industrial structure.

    Plutonium

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if his approval is required before the Central Electricity Generating Board can sell plutonium to the United States of America; and if he will make a statement.

    Department of Trade approval is required for the export of plutonium or any other nuclear material. In addition, approval for any plutonium export is required from the Secretary of State for Energy under Section 2(i) of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965, as amended. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Cambourne (Mr. Mudd) on 19 October.

    Fort Dunlop (Heat And Power Station)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he received from the Midlands electricity board its application to build a combined heat and power station at Fort Dunlop; and when he will take a decision on this application.

    The Midlands electricity board applied on 24 April 1980 for consent and other authorisations needed to proceed with one or two alternative CHP schemes. On 22 January 1981 it modified its proposals and withdrew one of the alternative schemes. A decision will be announced as soon as possible.

    Electricity Demand

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the estimates made by his Department of total United Kingdom electricity demand for 1971 to 1980, the actual total demand for each of those years and his Department's estimates of demand for the years 1981 to 1990.

    Actual electricity consumption by final consumers in the United Kingdom for the years 1971 to 1980 are shown below along with estimates that have been published by my Department for these years. It should be noted that projections have been published on an irregular basis.

    Final Electricity Demand: Actual and Forecast (Twh)
    Actual*Short Term ForecastsLonger Term ProjectionsYear(s) in which estimate made
    1971197·96
    1972205·18
    1973219·81
    1974213·52
    1975212·78265–315†1962–72
    261–294††l967
    1976215·61
    1977220·39216–220‡January 1977
    1978224·22227‡Januaiy 1978
    1979235·22231‡January 1979
    1980224·20346–409
    †1964–72
    253**June 1976

    Sources:

    * Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics. Various issues.

    † Fuel Policy Work 1952–1972 by C. I. K. Forrester. Department of Energy June 1974.

    * Energy Trends (issued as indicated). Figures derived from percentage growth rates.

    ** United Kingdom Energy supply and demand prospects. Published in 'National Energy Conference June 22 1976' Vol II Energy Paper No. 13. Quoted figure was adjusted to be made comparable.

    †† Fuel Policy Cmnd. 3438 November 1967 (adjusted for comparability).

    Projections of electricity demand depend crucially on the assumptions made about future temperatures, relative fuel price movements and developments in the economy. The uncertainties associated with these are large, and increase the further ahead one looks. It is noteworthy for instance that during the 1960's the severe recession of the 1970's was not foreseen.

    Projections for the period up to 1990 were published in "Energy Projections 1979". On the assumptions then used electricity demand was projected to reach between 275 and 293 terawatt hours (9·4–10·0 billion therms) by 1990.

    The Department keeps its energy projections under review and will publish revised projections.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the estimate made by his Department of electricity demand in Scotland for the years 1971 to 1980, the actual total demand for each year and his Department's estimates of demand for Scotland for the years 1981 to 1990.

    I have been asked to reply.The forecasting of electricity demand is the responsibility in the first instance of the Scottish electricity boards. The boards revise their forecasts annually and past forecasts therefore vary according to when they were made; the total maximum demand for past years can be obtained from the boards' annual reports.The boards are at present revising their load forecasts for the purpose of the annual review of their investment

    and financing plans. For the forecasts underlying the boards' current capital investment programmes I refer the right hon. Member to the written answer that my hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) on 27 February.—[Vol. 999, c.

    471–72.]

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Live Animals (Exports)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that EEC regulations and United Kingdom regulations in connection with the export of live animals are being vigilantly monitored in the EEC and in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

    The export of live animals is governed by a number of regulations relating both to the operation of the common agricultural policy, and to the need to prevent the spread of animal disease and to protect the welfare of the animals. I and my colleagues, who are responsible for the operation of the United Kingdom regulations, are satisfied that there are adequate arrangements to enforce them. The Commission of the European Community is responsible for ensuring that the common measures adopted by the Community are applied: I have no reason to believe that it has not discharged these particular responsibilities in a satisfactory manner.

    Foodstuffs

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each relevant chapter in the Brussels nomenclature the United Kingdom consumption of foodstuffs not governed by the common agricultural policy, the average price per ton of competitive imports and the average premium paid in terms of the rate of duty collected.

    The majority of foodstuffs consumed in the United Kingdom are covered by Community market regulations. The main exceptions are potatoes, certain manufactured foodstuffs and some tropical products. Information on potatoes is set out in the following table, but I regret that similar information for other products cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost.

    Potatoes—1980
    Total consumption (raw equivalent)*5·9 million tonnes
    Average price of imports†£127 per tonne
    Tariff‡6 per cent. to 21 per cent.
    * Provisional.
    † Average unit value of imports.
    A number of tariff rates applied ranging from 6 per cent. for Cypriot new potatoes imported between 1 January and 15 May to 21 per cent. for imports from other sources between 16 May and 30 June.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report, a table showing the percentage increase in the price of the basic foodstuffs in the United Kingdom since May 1979, as a result of changes in the common agricultural policy price and changes in the value of the green pound, and the corresponding figure for the increase in the wholesale price of manufactures other than food, drink and tobacco.

    The price of foodstuffs, as measured by the wholesale price index for products of the food manufacturing industries, increased by 25·6 per cent. between May 1979 and October 1981, whereas output prices for products of the manufacturing industries other than food, drink and tobacco rose by 36·4 per cent. A large number of factors affect the prices of foodstuffs, and it is not possible to determine what proportion of the 25·6 per cent. increase is attributable to changes in the common agricultural policy price and to changes in the value of the green pound, but the increased butter subsidy and the beef premium scheme will have helped to contain price increases.

    New Zealand Butter

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the average price of a 250 gram packet of New Zealand butter in each month since June 1980 up to the latest date for which figures are available; and what percentage of the price was represented by import levies.

    The information requested is set out in the following table, using average prices, in pence per 250 gramme, derived from those given by the Department of Employment in the retail price index.

    Average Retail Price: New Zealand Butter
    pence/250gpercentage of price represented by import levy
    June 198042·731
    July 198042·931
    August 198043·031
    September 198043·032
    October 198042·412
    November 198042·318
    December 198042·218
    January 198142·320
    February 198142·423
    March 1981**
    April 198142·522
    May 198142·522
    June 198142·622
    July 198143·620
    August 198144·918
    September 198146·216
    October 198147·413
    * No price data is available for March 1981 as a result of industrial action.

    * No price data is available for March 1981 as a result of industrial action.

    New Zealand Dairy Products

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if officials from his Department have had discussions with officials of the New Zealand High Commission since the Summer Recess about imports of New Zealand dairy products into the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

    There are regular contacts between my officials and representatives of the New Zealand Government covering a range of matters including that referred to by my hon. Friend.

    Bees (Oil Seed Rape)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether chemicals used in the cultivation of oil seed rape pose any threat to the survival of wild or domesticated bees in many areas of the United Kingdom.

    Certain chemicals used on oil seed rape and other crops are potentially harmful to bees. Under the terms of the pesticides safety precautions scheme, the labels of the products concerned must bear appropriate recommendations and warnings; and provided these are followed, any harm to bees is minimised. To supplement these label provisions, my Department issues special publicity during spraying periods.

    Fishing And Marine Dredging

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will take steps to encourage closer working relationships between the fishing and marine dredging industries.

    The marine Section of the Sand and Gravel Association has been actively involved with my Department in the production of a voluntary code of practice to improve liaison at local level between fishermen and dredging companies. The code is being launched today and will come into operation on 1 January 1982. Under the code companies which are members of the association have undertaken to provide advance information wherever possible about planned dredging operations. They in turn will be given details of any fishing activity in the locality. The Association of Sea Fisheries Committees, which has been involved in drafting the code, has agreed that individual Sea Fisheries Committees will act as local points of contact between the two industries in England and Wales.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has agreed that comparable arrangements will apply to Scotland.I warmly welcome this important initiative which, I believe, can provide a valuable basis for the two industries to work more closely together and to understand each other's problems.A copy of the code is being placed in the Library of the House.

    Defence

    Arms-Related And Nuclear Research (Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the total number of persons employed by his Department deals with (a) arms-related research and (b) nuclear research.

    About 4 per cent. of United Kingdom-based MOD civilian personnel are employed on non-nuclear arms related research in the establishments for which controller R & D establishments and research is responsible. It is not our policy to release details of staff employed on nuclear research for reasons of security, but the figure is very small compared with the figure of 4 per cent.

    Holy Loch (Nuclear Safety)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the co-operation between his Department and the United States Navy on nuclear safety at the Holy Loch submarine base; and if he will make a statement.

    Yes. The British and American authorities have reached appropriate understandings on nuclear safety at United States facilities in the United Kingdom, including contingency arrangements for co-operation in the extremely unlikely event of a nuclear weapons accident leading to the release of fissile material into the environment. There has never been such an accident in the United Kingdom, although nuclear weapons of various kinds have been deployed here for over 30 years.

    Maputo

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what view he takes of the Soviet development of Maputo in Mozambique as a deep-water military harbour in formulating deployment patterns of Her Majesty's ships and assessing future needs.

    The continuing expansion world-wide of Soviet military potential is inevitably a cause for concern. As stated in Cmnd. 8288, we are enhancing our capability to protect our interests outside the NATO area: for instance, we plan next year to resume substantial naval task group deployments.

    Children (Recreational Needs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution, if any, his Department has made towards provision for the recreational needs of children.

    My Department administers a range of recreational and sporting facilities provided in Service children's schools, and by the British Forces youth service. We also sponsor the Service cadet forces, which, among other benefits, provide young people with a worthwhile recreational facility.

    Trident

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence which type of missile it is proposed will be purchased for the Trident missile system; and what additional design work will be required if the larger missile is purchased.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 10 November to the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith).—[Vol. 12, c. 410.]

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent additional SS20 missiles will be required to be installed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to match the increased power of (a) the C4 and (b) the D5 Trident missiles; and if he will make a statement.