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Written Answers

Volume 15: debated on Monday 14 December 1981

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 14 December 1981

Trade

Bankruptcies And Liquidations

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many bankruptcies and liquidations there were, respectively, in each of the last three years; and how many in each case were small businesses.

In the year ending October 1981, there were 5,189 bankruptcies and 8,923 company liquidations in Great Britain compared with 4,059 and 6,725 respectively in the previous 12 months, and 3,702 and 4,720 in the 12 months to October 1979. No analysis by size of business is available.

European Monetary System

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what would be the effects on trade of the United Kingdom joining the European monetary system currency mechanism.

This would depend on the terms of our membership and especially on what one thinks would otherwise have happened to sterling.

Pilots

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied that there will be sufficient young civil pilots with all the relevant qualifications available to satisfy the needs of the British civil airlines throughout the current decade.

I am satisfied that the supply of pilots should be sufficient to meet British civil airlines' needs for the foreseeable future, but I will monitor the position as time goes by.

Balance Of Trade

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the current balance of trade; and if he will make a statement.

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will make a statement on the latest trade figures.

The visible trade balance continues to show a surplus. This is an encouraging position reflecting the fine achievements of our exporters.

Hairdressers (European Community Directive)

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent European Council working party discussions attended by officials of his Department, in respect of the draft right of establishment directive for hairdressers.

A wide measure of agreement has been reached and discussions are continuing.

Steel Imports

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what dumping, tariff, quota, or other trade restrictions are imposed in the import of steel from the United States of America into the United Kingdom.

Imports of steel from the United States of America are subject to import duties at the rates specified in the common external tariff. There are no special duties, dumping duties or quota restrictions on such imports, but as in all such cases action is available should unfair competition develop.

Eurocontrol (Meeting)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the outcome of the ministerial meeting of Eurocontrol, of which he was chairman, on 19 November.

A wide range of subjects was considered at this meeting. For example, agreement was reached on charges for 1982–83, calculated on the basis of forecast operating accounts with a temporary reduction of 5 per cent; consideration was given to the future of the Maastricht centre; and the investment and operating budgets for 1980 were approved.

Cars (Differential Pricing)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has received about differential pricing of cars in the United Kingdom and on the Continent.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade further to his answer of 28 October, what information he has as to whether cars exported by BL Ltd. to other European Economic Community countries are priced at a lower rate than in the United Kingdom, allowing for sales and other taxes.

Household Products (Danger To Children)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps to prevent increasing numbers of children being poisoned from dangerous household products such as bleach and disinfectant.

I have nothing to add to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Dr. Thomas), on 12 November 1981.

Vehicle Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, for the latest annual period for which figures are available, how many motor cars were imported into the United Kingdom from Czechoslovakia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Japan.

Information for the period March 1980 to February 1981 may be derived from table III of the relevant issues of Overseas Trade Statistics under S1TC (R2) Group 781.0. Consecutive information for later periods is not currently available owing to the effects of the Civil Service dispute.

Customs Duties (Alcoholic Beverages)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has taken any steps to seek the removal of customs duties applied by certain European Free Trade Area countries on spirituous beverages produced by the United Kingdom.

The free trade agreements between the European Free Trade Association provide for duty-free trade in industrial goods, but not in spirituous beverages nor indeed in the majority of processed agricultural products. The Community is currently considering the possibility of extending the coverage of the agreements, so as to include spirituous beverages and a number of other products, but it is too early to predict the outcome.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether Her Majesty's Government have made formal representations to the new Government of Greece about the profit margin controls which discriminate, inter alia, against imported alcoholic beverages.

These controls affect a wide range of goods imported from all sources, and there is no special discrimination against British Alcoholic beverages. The United Kingdom has nevertheless expressed its concern to the Greek authorities, and formal representations, with particular reference to alcoholic beverages, were made as recently as October. They will be renewed at the earliest appropriate opportunity.It is the responsibility of the Commission to put a stop to any breach of European Community law. We, and other Member States also, have therefore referred the matter to them; and since they first took it up there has been some progress in respect of the control that relates to alcoholic beverages: in August the allowable profit margin was raised by 5 per cent., and the profit limit per bottle abolished. The Commisson is now actively pursuing the matter with the new Greek government.

France (Import Measures)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that the price and profit margin measures announced by the French Government on 5 October 1981 do not discriminate against imported products.

The French price and profit margin controls are not confined to imports, although they include a three-month freeze on importers' profit margins. They form part of a temporary package of economic support measures introduced following the realignment of EMS currencies. We are watching the situation closely, but it is primarily for the Commission to ensure that there is no discrimination contrary to European Community law.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether retaliatory action is contemplated against imported alcoholic beverages produced in France if the National Assembly of France decides on continued discrimination in taxation against spirituous beverages produced in the United Kingdom.

No. If obligations under the Treaty of Rome are not fulfilled, it is the responsibility of the Commission to take appropriate action under article 169.

Scotch Whisky

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has taken any action to alleviate the import and excise duty discrimination faced by Scotch whisky in Argentina and also the discriminatory treatment faced by imported spirits in regard to the permitted period of deferment for the payment of duties.

Representations were made earlier this year. We shall continue to urge as appropriate that the Argentine Government adopt non-discriminatory measures.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has taken any action to alleviate the restrictive import policy and discriminatory taxation faced by Scotch whisky in Brazil.

My right hon. Friend took the opportunity afforded by the recent visit of Dr. Camilo Penna, Brazilian Minister for Commerce and Industry, to register our continuing interest in seeing an improvement in the trading conditions governing the import and sale of Scotch whisky in Brazil.

Air Traffic Control

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, following the meeting of Ministers of Eurocontrol on 19 November, and the agreement of a new convention for Eurocontrol, what he expects to be the new role for the Maastricht centre, and of other international air traffic control centres set up by Eurocontrol.

The future role of Maastricht is primarily a matter for the four States directly involved (Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and the Federal Republic of Germany) but a final decision will be taken by the Permanent Commission of Eurocontrol, in which the United Kingdom takes an active part. Two international centres were planned by Eurocontrol in addition to Maastricht: that at Shannon is fully under Irish control and the Federal Republic of Germany is in the process of finalising arrangements to take over Karlsruhe.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, following the Eurocontrol Ministerial meeting on 19 November, and in view of the United Kingdom's membership of the European civil aviation conference, what steps he is now taking to improve air traffic planning and management schemes, with the aim of reducing fuel consumption; and how this action is being co-ordinated.

The United Kingdom is a member of the European Civil Aviation Conference working group on aviation fuel supplies which is developing recommendations on fuel conservation. Moreover, Eurocontrol is concerned in the development of a European system of flow management and are carrying out other studies to improve air traffic planning and management that should result in a reduction in fuel consumption. There are adequate international mechanisms for co-ordinating the work of the various bodies concerned. Within the United Kingdom the national air traffic services are continuously reviewing their systems and carrying out research and development with a view to improving air traffic management which would result in airlines' fuel costs being reduced.

Sealink (Uk) Limited

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in view of the anxiety to the employees of Sealink (UK) Ltd. caused by the delay in announcing the findings of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, in respect of European Ferries' bid for Sealink (UK) Ltd., he will now publish the report.

Airport Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what estimate he has made of the effect on the British air transport industry of the proposed increases in charges levied by the British Airports Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority; and if he will make a statement.

The increases in charges proposed by the British Airports Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority are still being discussed with the airlines and no formal proposals will be put to me until this process of consultation is completed. It would not be practicable to estimate the effect of any increases on the British air transport industry as a whole because these charges affect individual airlines in different ways, depending on the airlines' patterns of operations.

Brazil (Memorandum Of Understanding)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what items are covered, over what period and with what value, and what is the volume of trade concerned, in the memorandum of understanding signed with Brazil on 26 October.

The projects covered by the memorandum are as follows:

Approx value ex UK US $ million
Ships (4 roll on roll off and 2 container ships)219
Santa Cruz power station (oil to coal conversion)141
Prospera mine68
Equipment for corvettes and naval training ship130
Recife urban transport system70
Offshore oil services54
Trade in Motor Vehicles with other Countries of the European Community, 1971–80
£ million
1971197219731974197519761977197819791980
IMPORTS, CIF
Country whence consigned:
France508911591138218287350555406
Belgium-Luxembourg121619122176117146178212
Netherlands6162727213138468288
Federal Republic of Germany57981281221292895086791,043795
Italy243946426794159205246177
Irish Republic223681218154867
Denmark0000001011
Greece0000000000

The Memorandum provides for contracts to be signed by 30 April 1982.

Imports (Safety Standards)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to be able to make a statement on proposals put to him by the local authorities co-ordinating body on trading standards concerning compliance with safety standards in the case of imported products.

[pursuant to her reply, 10 December, 1981, c. 450.]: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to a suggestion made by the local authorities co-ordinating body on trading standards (LACOTS) that importers be required to notify their local authority when they import, from suppliers outside the European Community, any new product which is subject to consumer safety regulations. This I understand might help local authorities to prevent at source the marketing of imported goods that do not comply with the regulations rather than waiting until they reach the shops and have been sold to the general public.Like the local authorities, I am concerned that potentially dangerous goods may be imported in large numbers without an early check on their safety. Under consumer safety legislation the supply of goods is illegal if they do not comply with safety regulations, but there are no powers to check goods for safety upon importation. Nor are there powers to require importers to provide local authorities with information about new products. It has, therefore, been suggested to LACOTS that we might co-operate on a voluntary pilot scheme for import notification on a product range that LACOTS has been asked to propose.

European Community (Imports-Exports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what was the total value of motor vehicles imported by the United Kingdom from each of the European Economic Community countries in each of the last 10 years;(2) what was the total value of motor vehicles exported by the United Kingdom to each other European Economic Community country in each of the last 10 years.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 December, 1981, c. 451]: The information is as follows:

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

EXPORTS, FOB

Country of destination:

France10101819244859728691
Belgium-Luxembourg33314230344451607264
Netherlands1061014243768615348
Federal Republic of Germany1091716284157806382
Italy161719202233514153103
Irish Republic1924332831567710410683
Denmark16131614234339262716
Greece43434111813173

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom, SITC (R2) 781, 782, 783 and 784·1, and equivalent coverage under SITC (R1).

Note: 'O' = trade less than £0.5 million.

Prime Minister

Purchasing Policy

asked the Prime Minister to what extent it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to purchase British goods wherever possible in public sector purchasing.

Her Majesty's Government purchase goods made in Britain—whether by British or foreign-owned companies—whenever they are competitive, which is the case in the great majority of contracts. I hope that the improvement in the competitiveness of British industry which is now taking place will result in an even greater proportion of Government purchases being met from British suppliers.

Manchester Chamber Of Commerce And Industry (Representations)

asked the Prime Minister what further representations she has received from the Manchester chamber of commerce and industry; what action she is taking on its call for reconsideration, first, of the Government's decision to withdraw assisted area status from Manchester with its implication for European Economic Community grants, secondly, of the policy of the Government in respect of the development of a third large airport in the South-East of England to the detriment of further development of Manchester international airport, and, thirdly, of the sharp cut in grant to Salford university; and if she will make a statement.

The president of the Manchester chamber of commerce and industry wrote to me on 24 November referring to the three topics the right hon. Member has raised. With regard to the assisted area status of Manchester I would refer the right hon. Member to my reply to him of 9 December. The provision of additional airports capacity in the South-East of England is the subject of public inquiries, the outcome of which I would not wish to prejudge, but the right hon. Member will know that the Government's expenditure provision on regional airports in the next financial year includes a substantial sum for the continued development of Manchester international airport. The allocation of resources to individual universities is, by long standing and respected convention, decided by the University Grants Committee.

Alcohol (Teratogen Effects)

asked the Prime Minister what information she has had sent to her about scientific studies in the United Kingdom and abroad indicating that alcohol is a teratogen; what action she has taken or will be taking; and if she will make a statement.

I received a leaflet from the Handicapped Children Fund. I refer the right hon. Member to the replies given today to his questions on pregnancy and alcohol consumption by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Social Services.

Alcohol (Central Policy Review Staff)

asked the Prime Minister if she will now publish the Central Policy Review Staff's report on alcohol; and if she will make a statement on the report.

Public Sector Companies

asked the Prime Minister if she will list those industries and companies which are State-owned, or in which the Government own shares, giving the percentage stake where appropriate.

The information requested is set out as follows. Details of the subsidiaries, associated companies or minority interests of each of these industries, companies and other bodies are given in their published annual reports and accounts. The list excludes companies in receivership, liquidation or no longer trading in which the Government own only non-voting shares.

Nationalised Industries

  • National Coal Board
  • Electricity Supply Industry (England and Wales)
  • North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board
  • South of Scotland Electricity Board
  • British Gas Corporation
  • British National Oil Corporation
  • British Steel Corporation
  • Post Office Corporation
  • British Telecommunications Corporation
  • National Girobank
  • British Airways Board
  • British Airports Authority
  • British Railways Board
  • British Transport Docks Board
  • British Waterways Board
  • National Bus Company
  • Scottish Transport Group
  • British Shipbuilders

Companies Act Companies

Percentage of shares held by the Government

Amersham International100·00
American Monitor International84·00
Ards Holdings28·00

Companies Act Companies

Percentage of shares held by the Government

Ben Sherman (1975)100·00
British Aerospace48·43
British Leyland99·60
British Nuclear Fuels100·00
The British Petroleum Company Ltd.‡21·89
Cable and Wireless50·40
Channel Tunnel Company100·00
Cinee Textiles46·30
Cor Van Houghton28·60
C. P. Trim49·00
C. Walker and Son (Ireland)49·90
Duratool23·40
Franzen UK25·00
Harland & Wolff100·00
International Military Services100·00
Irlandus Circuits40·00
Issac Hamilton25·00
John Hastie (Greenock)41·00
Kearney and Trecker Martin26·50
Lintrend Development (Northern Ireland)99·90
Mersey Docks and Harbour Company*20·00
National Freight Company†100·00
National Nuclear Corporation35·00
National Seed Development Organisation100·00
Northern Ireland Planners100·00
Norton Villiers Triumph21·60
Oaks Development Laboratories (Ireland)25·00
Power Automation Products49·00
Rolls Royce100·00
Short Brothers100·00
Sperrin Textiles31·00
Standard Mills (Rochdale)57·00
Tufted Carpet Tile28·60
Ulster Catamics47·70
Viking Manufacturing100·00
Villiers1·20

*Further special rights are also guaranteed to the Government.

†The Government intend to sell their shares in the NFC before the end of this financial year.
‡As the Financial Secretary announced in a parliamentary answer on 21 October, the Government plan to transfer this shareholding to the Treasury, which should take place in January/February 1982.

There is a number of other companies in which the Government have a nominal interest, or which have no share capital. In addition, a number of the public corporations listed in table 5.1 of the Public Expenditure White Paper, Cmnd. 8175, e.g. the National Enterprise Board and the Civil Aviation Authority, could also be regarded as falling into the same category.

Home Department

Fixed Penalty Parking Fines

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in how many cases motorists have refused to pay the fixed penalty parking fine; what action has been taken in each instance; and how many of those who refused to pay their fines have been imprisoned;(2) whether he will give for the longest and most convenient stated period of time the total numbers of fixed penalty parking fines that have been issued, the numbers of occasions where the fines have been paid in the required time, and the numbers of fines that have remained and are remaining unpaid for stated periods of time.

The information available relates to the outcome of the issue of fixed penalty notices for all offences for which such notices may be issued. Figures for 1979, the latest year for which information is available, are published in table 21 of "Offences relating to motor vehicles, England and Wales 1980, Supplementary tables", a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. Information is not separately available on numbers of persons sentenced to imprisonment for non-payment of a fine imposed by a court as a result of a finding of guilt for an offence for which a fixed penalty notice was issued and not paid.

Homicides

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many homicides were recorded (a) for 1980 and (b) in 1981 up to 1 June; and how these figures compare with those for the preceding 10 years.

The numbers of offences recorded as homicide in 1980, the latest year available, and in the preceding 10 years are published in table 4.1 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1980" (Cmnd. 8376). Information for 1981 is not yet available.

Serious Offences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total number of serious offences recorded by the police in England and Wales in 1980; what percentages of these offences were of theft, of handling stolen goods and of burglary; to what extent these figures increased or decreased compared with the previous five years; and during this period what was the rise or fall in the numbers of police and in expenditure on the police service.

The total number of serious offences recorded by the police in 1980 and earlier years is published by offence group in table 2·1 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1980" Cmnd 8376 and the percentage distribution for the latest year is given in figure 2·1. Further details of the numbers of offences of theft, and handling stolen goods and of burglary are to he found in tables 2·9 and 2·7.The most recent White Paper on the Government's expenditure plans (Cmnd 8175) contained the following figures for current expenditure on the police (including central government expenditure on police support):

Financial year£ million at 1980 survey prices
1975–761,394
1976–771,460
1977–781,451
1978–791,430
1979–801,496
1980–811,559
The total strength of the police service during this period was:

At 31DecemberTotal Strength
1975107,138
1976109,476
1977108,201
1978109,075
1979113,309
1980117,423

Indictable Offences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders were found guilty or cautioned for indictable offences in 1980 and in each of the previous 10 years; and how these figures compare (a) on an age basis between the younger and older parts of the population and (b) on a basis of sex.

The information requested is published in table 5.18 of the "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1980" (Cmnd. 8376), a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Hotels (Television Licences)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to requiring hotels to possess a licence for every individual television set on the premises; and if he will make a statement.

The working party on the administration of the broadcast receiving licence system has recommended that hotels should pay additional licence fees for television sets installed in the private rooms of guests. As I indicated on 1 December in reply to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), I am considering how that proposal might be implemented.—[Vol. 14, c. 140.]

Metropolitan Police (Compensation Claims)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much has been paid out by the Metropolitan Police in each of the last 10 years as ex-gratia payments arising out of claims for compensation made by members of the public against the Metropolitan Police for damage to property and also for injury to the person;(2) how much has been paid out by the Metropolitan Police in each of the last 10 years for damages in cases settled out of court where a member of the public has sued for compensation for damage to property and also for injury to the person;(3) how much has been paid out by the Metropolitan Police in each of the last 10 years for damages ordered to be paid by a court in a civil action for compensation against the force.

Most claims for compensation under section 48 of the Police Act 1964 for a wrongful act are settled by negotiation without recourse to litigation. Information before the financial year 1974–75 is not readily available, and records do not distinguish payments, ordered by a court, from settlements. The sums paid out of the Metropolitan Police fund for the financial years 1974–75 to 1980–81 in respect of claims or civil actions, for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, assault or trespass to the person, injury and damage arising from road traffic accidents, damage to or loss of property, and employers liability matters are shown in the following table; figures in brackets denote claims for injury and damage arising from road traffic accidents.

Financial yearTotal payments from Metropolitan Police fund
££
1974–75159,427(118,492)
1975–76140,362(99,885)
Financial yearTotal payments from Metropolitan Police fund
££
1976–77295,229(136,312)
1977–78262,414(125,208)
1978–79296,907(202,275)
1979–80387,377(282,135)
1980–81495,562(315,534)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what sum of money has been included in the estimates for the current financial year for the Metropolitan Police for damages, compensation and exgratia payments for claims made by members of the public for damage to property and also for injury to the person.

Estimates for the financial year 1981–82 include the sum of £540,000 for payment of claims which may arise under section 48 of the Police Act 1964. That sum includes £398,000 for possible claims in respect of injury or damage arising from road traffic accidents.

Disused Properties

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what number and value of disused properties is held by his Department or by the Property Services Agency on his behalf; and what plans he has for their disposal or future use.

In accordance with the procedures for disposing of properties for which there is no future need, arrangements are in hand to sell Stocken Hall in Leicestershire and Swinfen Hall in Staffordshire. Their valuation is a matter for the district valuer. Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire will be given up later this month when its lease expires. Some 1,000 prison staff quarters in various parts of the country are being offered for sale in the open market: they are averaging approximately £15,000 in price.We are reviewing Morton Hall in Lincolnshire, which was at one time a borstal institution and has been used recently for housing Vietnamese refugees.

Ld50 Test

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has any plans to introduce a monitoring system to ensure that all the LD50 tests undertaken on animals in connection with research are strictly necessary;(2) whether he will ask his advisory committee on the administration of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 to examine methods of ensuring that animals subjected to the LD50 test do not suffer unnecessary pain.

My right hon. Friend has no plans for such action. The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 requires that every painful or potentially painful animal experiment must be performed with a view to the advancement by new discovery of physiological knowledge or of knowledge which will be useful for saving or prolonging life or alleviating suffering.All LD50 tests currently licensed satisfy one or more of these criteria and the Act gives no power to impose further restrictions on the purposes for which such experiments may be performed. The advisory committee, which reported on the LD50 test in 1979, made recommendations for the additional protection of the

animals, which, as outlined in my reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 27 November have been acted upon.—[Vol. 13, c.

480–81.]

Boundary Commission (Parliamentary Seats)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what date he expects orders to be laid before Parliament implementing the proposals on parliamentary seats of the Boundary Commission for England and Wales.

Section 2(5) of the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949 requires the Secretary of State to lay the report of a boundary commission together with a draft order giving effect, with or without modifications, to its recommendations, as soon as may be after the report is submitted. I understand that both the English and Welsh Commissions hope to complete their reviews by the end of 1982 and to submit their reports as soon as possible thereafter.

Polyurethane Foam

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the continuing deaths directly attributable to fires involving polyurethane foam, he will now take steps to publicise the dangers of such fires as proposed in the debate in the House on the Upholstered Furniture (Safety) Regulations; and if he will review the effectiveness of preventive measures in this field.

So far as the question of publicity is concerned, I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the written answer I gave on 11 December to his earlier question on the dangers of polyurethane foam. In November 1978 a technical sub-committee of the central fire brigades advisory councils for England and Wales and for Scotland reported on the precautions which need to be taken to meet the potential hazard presented by the use of new materials. The report, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, made a number of helpful recommendations which the Government have accepted, and my right hon. Friend sees no need for a further review.

Mr Trevor Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will initiate an investigation to establish the circumstances in which Trevor Hardy, currently serving a series of life sentences for murder, was able to communicate with the father of one of his victims to the distress of the constituent of the right hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw, and to his family.

There is no record at Hull prison that the letter referred to was sent out through approved channels. Inquiries already made by the Governor suggest that it may have been smuggled out of the prison and posted by one of Mr. Hardy's visitors.

Television Licence (Fee Refund)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make provision for refunds of television licence fees in respect of the unexpired period of all surrendered licences.

No. The grounds on which refunds may be given must be limited if the licensing system is not to become unmanageable.

West Yorkshire Police

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make a statement on the Byford inquiry into the Yorkshire Ripper investigation by the West Yorkshire police force.

Mr. Byford submitted his report to me on 7 December. I intend to make a statement as soon as I have completed my consideration of it. This may not be before the Christmas recess.

Late Night Refreshment Houses Act 1969

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any evidence of the vexatious use by local authorities of the powers available to them under the Late Night Refreshment Houses Act 1969.

Employment

Factory Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many factory closures there have been since May 1979 in (a) the North-West, (b) Merseyside, (c) Kirkby and (d) Ormskirk travel-to-work areas; and how many jobs have been lost in each area;(2) how many factory closures are pending and how many jobs are involved in

(a) the North-West, (b) Merseyside, (c) Kirkby and (d) Ormskirk travel-to-work areas;

(3) how many workers have been made redundant since May 1979 in (a) the North-West, (b) Merseyside, (c) Kirkby and (d) Ormskirk travel-to-work areas.

There are no comprehensive statistics of closures or redundancies. The available information on closures and redundancies, involving ten or more employees, reported to the Manpower Services Commission as due to occur in the requested areas is given in the following table.

Closures and redundancies reported as due to occur

May 1979 to November 1981 (inclusive)

*

Pending, from December 1981

Redundancies

Closures

Closures

Number of establishments

Number of employees involved

Number of establishments

Number of employees involved

North-West Region201,3371,13680,489211,380
Merseyside special development area56,07622715,7213100
Kirkby employment office area5,278202,168
Ormskirk2,20512656

* Including provisional figures for October and November 1981.

Farm Machinery (Protective Guards)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is considering measures, including legislation, to ensure that farmer employers keep the protective guards on their power machinery in a safe, undamaged state, in view of the recent report by the Health and Safety agricultural section that nearly 50 per cent. of such protective guards were unsafe and deficient.

No. No further measures are considered necessary to ensure that farmer employers keep protective guards on their power machinery in a safe undamaged state.In the case of power take off (pto) shaft guards, the subject of the report to which the hon. Member refers, adequate provisions concerning their safe use and maintenance are provided in the Agriculture (Power Take Off) Regulations 1957. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 also provides for enforcement action including improvement and prohibition notices to be issued by the Health and Safety Executive's agricultural inspectorate when these requirements are not complied with.The report sets out the results of a survey on the causes of shaft guard damage and its sample includes operational guards as well as obsolescent and damaged ones; some guards classified as damaged were not necessarily unsafe or deficient. The report is now being considered by the inspectorate to determine what changes can be made to improve guard durability.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement concerning the decision of the Council of Ministers on 8 December on the European Commission's proposals "Social Integration of Disabled People: A Framework for Development of Community Action".

I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.

Port Workers (London)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list for each year since 1960 the total number of registered port workers in the area covered by the London docks labour board, together with the numbers made redundant or taking severance in each year and the total costs to public or private bodies of those severances.

The National Dock Labour Board has supplied the information given in the table below.

The cost figures require some explanation. The figures shown are total payments in respect of the severances in each year paid from the national voluntary severance scheme (NVSS). Contributions to the NVSS are made by registered port employers in London and in other scheme ports by levies on the gross wages of the registered dock workers they each employ. The table also includes in 1972–73, 1978–80 and 1981, grants that the central Government made of £9·1 million, £11·4 million and £4·4 million (to date) respectively, in respect of severances in London Dock Labour Board area. Prior to the introduction of the NVSS in 1969 there was no severance scheme and few redundancies.

London dock Labour Board Area—Registered Dock Workers

End of

No. on register

No. who left on voluntary severance

Cost £m

196029,250
196127,789
196226,064
196325,321
196424,972
196525,309
196624,264
196722,791
196821,0661,638Not known
196918,2591,4822·39
197016,5731,7412·90
197115,9861,1661·84
197212,6563,3308–79
197311,5861,0163·69
197411,504210·04
19759,8251,7017·96
19769,2515182·41
19778,4806213·61
19788,1053812·53
19797,1069167·55
19805,7931,25710·69
to 8 Dec 19814,5951,18217·43
TOTALS16.970£71·3

Overseas Development

Aid Budget

30.

asked the Lord Privy Seal to what extent there has been a reduction in real terms in the overseas aid budget since May 1979; and if he will give the figures for the years 1978–79 and 1980–81.

In real terms, that is all in 1978–79 prices, the figures for net aid are £723 million in 1978–79, £706 million in 1979–80 and £709 million in 1980–81. In cash the figures for 1978–79, 1979–80 and 1980–81 were £723 million, £788 million and £888 million respectively.

Aid To Developing Countries

31.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress has been made on the accord reached at the Cancun summit relating to official aid to developing countries.

There was no discussion at Cancun of a formal accord on official development aid. There was, however, broad agreement that aid should be concentrated on the poorest countries.

Commonwealth Development Corporation

32.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what payments or repayments of capital, interest, dividend and tax have been made to Her Majesty's Government by the Commonwealth Development Corporation in each of the last five years.

The Commmonwealth Development Corporation has no equity capital, and no dividend payments are therefore made to Her Majesty's Government. Repayments of capital, and payments of interest and tax to Her Majesty's Government were as follows (the figures are given in thousands to the nearest thousand pounds on the basis of Government financial years; the CDC's own financial year is the calendar year):

£000s
Financial yearCapital repaymentInterest paymentTax paid (net)
1976–773,0098,409554
1977–789,46412,4983,303
1978–793,96412,376(657)*
1979–806,2477,37990
1980–8114,03514,421467
* Credit.
The capital repayment figures for 1977–78 and 1980–81 are higher by some £5·7 million and £7 million respectively as a result of early repayments agreed at the CDC's request. The interest payment in 1979–80 was affected by a consolidation of outstanding loans leading to some of the interest originally due in 1979–80 being paid in 1978–79.

35.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what conclusions he has reached on the review of the Commonwealth Development Corporation.

The essence of the reply is that, subject to review of the CDC's actual financial requirements in each of the next three years, the Government will permit the CDC to borrow in foreign currency up to £15 million a year, and, with Parliamentary approval, would make advances from the aid programme of £34 million (cash) in 1982–83 with a planning figure of £37 million (cash) in 1983–84. The information is as follows:

1. An interdepartmental group of officals, including representatives of the Commonwealth Development Corporation, has undertaken a comprehensive review of the CDC's role and activities in the light of the Government's general aid policy. The Government endorse the review's conclusion that the CDC plays a valuable developmental role and will continue to have a particular part to play in helping bring about progress in the natural resources sector of poorer countries. The Government and the CDC have also agreed that it should exercise greater flexibility, within the objectives laid down in the Commonwealth Development Corporation Act, in the allocation of its investments among the countries and economic sectors in which it is empowered to operate though it will aim to make not less than half its new commitments in poorer developing countries and also not less than half in renewable natural resources projects.
2. Subject to normal review of the CDC's actual financial requirements for each year, the provision of finance for the CDC: will be as follows. There would, with Parliamentary approval, be an increased level of advances from the aid programme on concessional terms of £34 million (cash) in 1982–83 compared with £30 million in the current financial year. I propose a planning figure of £37 million (cash) for 1983–84. In each of the next three financial years the Government would also permit the CDC to borrow in foreign currency on approved terms with a Government guarantee within a limit of £15 million a year for on-lending in foreign currency.
3. The total financial resources thus available to CDC, including a certain number of disposals and other self-generated funds, should enable it to invest in real terms at a level comparable with that it achieved for most of the 1970s. The Government believe that the resources available will enable CDC to continue a substantial investment programme for the benefit of developing countries.

Common Fund For Commodities

33.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will report progress on preparatory work to set up the common fund for commodities, following discussion at the Cancun summit.

The fourth meeting of the preparatory commission for the establishment of the common fund for commodities will take place in May next year. In the meantime, working parties set up by the preparatory commission will continue to draft the working regulations of the fund.

Aid Programme

36.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether there is to be a reduction in the level of the aid programme for 1982.

Overall resources available for expenditure on overseas development in 1982–83 will be only slightly below the level previously planned for that year, and the gross aid programme for 1982–83 will continue to be over £1 billion. The net aid programme will be £950 million. This is a reduction of just under £20 million below the previously planned figure, plus a further reduction of £6 million to compensate for an over-spend of the same amount in 1980–81. But I am announcing separately Government permission to the CDC for it to borrow abroad up to £15 million in each of the next three years.

House Of Commons

Select Committees (Staff)

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, how many staff are at present employed to service Select Committees; and what were the comparable figures for 1979, 1980 and to date.

The number of staff of the House who are at present engaged full-time in the servicing of select committees is 83. Comparable figures for 1 April 1979 and 1 April 1980 were 59 and 78. In addition, a small number of permanent staff assist select committees on a part-time basis. Details of the number of specialist advisers appointed since May 1979 were given to the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) on 12 November—[Vol. 12, c. 153–5]. Since most specialist advisers are appointed for an indefinite term, it is not possible to break these numbers down by years.

Employment Committee

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what visits have been made by the Employment Committee since its inception; and if he will publish in the Official Report the place of meeting and the cost of the visit.

Following is the information requested:

£
Manpower Services Commission—London16 January 198040
Manpower Services Commission—London23 January 198055
Manpower Services Commission—London30 January 1980
Manpower Services Commission—London6 February 198040
Health and SafetyCommission—London5 March 198031
Northern Ireland Office—London6 March 1980
Wick, Dounreay and Thurso6 May 19801,246
Newcastle20–21 May 1980653
Liverpool3–4 June 1980714
Exeter, Falmouth and Plymouth14–18 July 19801,372
Northern Ireland12–14 May 19811,191
Livingstone10 June 1980583
Newcastle, Liverpool21–24 June 1981209
Overseas visits:
Canada10–18 June 198011,025
Brussels and Bonn30 March-2 April 19811,016
Norway and Sweden23–25 June 19814,050

Committee On Welsh Affairs

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what is the cost of the Committee on Welsh Affairs to date; how many visits outside the House have been held; and what was the cost of these visits.

The total expenditure since 1979 on the Committee on Welsh Affairs, including staff salaries, is £92,591. Two visits outside the House have been held, costing £472·00 and £866·00

Attorney-General

Bristol Courts Family Conciliation Service

asked the Attorney-General when the Bristol courts family conciliation service may expect a decision on its application for grant aid in 1982.

The Government appreciate the need for an early decision. Consideration of the application is proceeding as a matter of urgency.

Industry

Volume-Produced Tractors

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will estimate the size of the market to 1982 for sales of volume-produced tractors in Great Britain.

No official estimates are available. New registrations of agricultural tractors were 30,000 in 1979. and 22,000 in 1980. Registrations in the first nine months of this year are 7 per cent. below the corresponding period of 1980.

Dorman Long Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the current position of Dorman Long Ltd.; and whether a change in the stake of the British Steel Corporation is contemplated.

Redpath Dorman Long Limited is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Steel Corporation. I understand that the BSC wishes to reduce its interests in RDL, in line with the corporation's policy for reducing its involvement in activities which are not part of its main-line iron and steelmaking businesses.

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the present total of redundancy money paid out to former employees of the British Steel Corporation; what is his estimate of the total that will be reached by 31 December 1981; and what are the criteria by which redundancy pay levels are fixed.

I understand from the BSC that the corporation's expenditure of closures and redundancies for the half-year to September 1981 was £98 million. No estimate of the amount to be paid to December 1981 is available, but the latest estimate of such payments for the full year ending March 1982 is £209 million. The criteria by which non-statutory redundancy payments are determined are matters for the corporation.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether he is satisfied that, given the higher rate of utilisation of capacity within the British Steel Corporation, the corporation will be fully capable of meeting the demand for steel which would arise if the Government were to proceed with the development of the BR-SNCF project for a cross-Channel link; and if he is additionally satisfied that, if a contract were to be awarded for this particular development, existing United Kingdom or overseas customers of the British Steel Corporation would be fully protected against either refusals to supply or inability to supply by the British Steel Corporation;(2) whether in the event of the award of a contract for the construction of a Channel link, be it the CTD 81 project, the BR-SNCF proposal or Euroroute, he will take steps to ensure that the iron and steel requirements will not be met by additional imports and that additional demands placed on United Kingdom iron and steel producers will not lead to additional imports to secure continuity in the supply of iron and steel products for existing customers of either the British Steel Corporation or its private sector United Kingdom competitors;(3) whether he is satisfied that, given the higher rate of utilisation of capacity within the British Steel Corporation, the corporation will be fully capable of meeting the demand for steel which would arise if the Government were to proceed with the development of the CTD 81 project for a cross-Channel link; and if he is additionally satisfied that if a contract were to be awarded for this particular development, existing United Kingdom or overseas customers of the British Steel Corporation would be fully protected against either refusals to supply or inability to supply by the British Steel Corporation;(4) whether he is satisfied that, given the higher rate of utilisation of capacity within the British Steel Corporation, the corporation will be fully capable of meeting the demand for steel which would arise if the Government were to proceed with the development of Euroroute for a cross-Channel link; and if he is additionally satisfied that if a contract were to be awarded for this particular development, existing United Kingdom or overseas customers of the British Steel Corporation would be fully protected against either refusals to supply or inability to supply by the British Steel Corporation.

Each of the various schemes which are under consideraton for a fixed Channel link would take about five years to construct. Current estimates of the annual requirement for steel from United Kingdom sources for each scheme range from 3,500 to 100,000 tonnes depending on the size of the project and the steel-intensity of the construction technique. Tonnages of this order

Production and Exports of Cars in certain major countries
Units: Numbers in '000ss
19791980January to June 1981
ProductionExportsProductionExportsProductionExports
United Kingdom1,070410924359491†l61
West Germany3,9332,2833,5212,1081,823943
France3,2201,5352,9391,3731,365739
Italy1,4816471,445511758232
Spain9664241,029492451231
USA8,4347936,3766173,572*147
Canada988651847613465
Japan6,1763,1027,0383,9473,5522,128
* January to March.
† United Kingdom manufacturers' export allocation of production.
‡ Not available.

Note: Figures of exports of cars for USA and Canada are also published on a basis which excludes exports to Canada and USA, respectively. The USA figures shown above include exports to Canada of 601,000 units in 1979, 510,000 units in 1980 and 123,000 units in January to March 1981. The Canadian figures include exports to USA of 590,000 units in 1979 and 550,000 units in 1980.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Boilers (Coal-Firing Conversion Schemes)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proportion of the £50 million allocated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the conversion of boilers for coal is expected to be spent in 1981–82; and how many additional tons of coal are expected to be consumed as a result of those schemes approved in 1981–82.

So far, 28 offers of grant totalling £1·2 million have been made under the coal-fired boiler scheme. Only a proportion of this is likely to be spent during the 1981–82 financial year. The scope and coverage of the scheme is currently being reviewed. It is anticipated that some 400,000 tonnes of coal should be burnt annually as a result of the application received and approved in 1981–82.

would be well within the capacity of the United Kingdom steel industry to supply, without detriment to other customers.

Charities (Christmas Card Deliveries)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the response of charitable organisations to the liberalising of restrictions on the delivery of Christmas cards.

A number of inquiries have been received from charities wishing to take advantage of the concession, nearly all of whom envisage operating on a local basis. The development of any system for wider distribution will necessarily take some time to establish, and I think it will be a year of two before charities are ready to take full advantage of the concession.

Motor Cars (Production And Exports)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing production and exports of motor cars in the United Kingdom and the principal producing countries in 1979, 1980 and the first half of 1981.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many applications have been made, and of these how many have been approved, by firms in Wales wishing to convert to coal under the scheme announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; what grants in total have been made to firms in Wales; and whether he has any information as to the total amount of Welsh coal likely to be consumed by schemes approved in respect of firms in Wales.

Six applications have so far been received from companies in Wales for grant assistance under the coal fired boiler scheme. Two offers of grant have been made. I have no information of the amount of Welsh coal likely to be consumed as a result of projects receiving grant under this scheme.

Talbot And Peugeot (Loans And Guarantees)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what loans from Her Majesty's Government to Talbot or to Peugeot, or guarantees in respect of such loans, are at present outstanding; at what rates of interest; with what repayment dates; in what circumstances and under what terms the loans were made; and whether the money was for any particular purpose.

There is at present outsanding from the United Kingdom company a loan of £28 million, guaranteed by PSA Peugeot Citroen. The rate of interest is fixed at 11·9 per cent. and the loan will be repaid in half-yearly tranches of £2·8 million, the first to be paid on 31 December 1985 and thereafter on 30 June and 31 December each year. The loan was made under the agreement between the Secretary of State for Industry and PSA Peugeot Citroen dated 16 December 1978. The terms and conditions of this agreement together with a copy of the declaration of intent by PSA Peugeot Citroen have been placed in the Library.

British Leyland (Bathgate)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much has been made available under the Industry Act to British Leyland in respect of its Bathgate factory; and what steps he is taking to recover money made available by way of grant or loan to British Leyland in respect of its Bathgate factory.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 December 1981, c. 300]: The general government funding for BL provided since 1975, advanced either via the NEB or, since 31 March 1981, direct to the company, totals £1,700 million. These funds have been provided for BL's investment and restructuring programmes generally, and have been used by BL as part of its general funding. It is not possible to state how much of this funding—as opposed to private sector loans—has been used at Bathgate. Since all this funding constitutes the Government's shareholding in BL, repayment would only be possible if the shares were sold.The only assistance provided to BL under the Industry Act 1972 has been in the form of regional development grants made in respect of the Bathgate premises as a whole. The sum of such grants paid during the period 1 October 1974 to 30 June 1981 (excludng any grants worth less than £25,000, and any grant paid before than, details of which could only be obtained at disproportionate cost) is £3,047,000.The Department is maintaining contact with the management at BL's Bathgate plant and will take steps to recover the appropriate amount of regional development grant when final details of transfer or disposal of grant-aided assets are available.

Scotland

Public Bodies (Departmental Responsibility)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his reply on 13 July, Official Report, columns 310–312, for how many appointments to these bodies he is responsible; how many appointments he has made to these bodies since June 1979; and if he will give details of the backgrounds of the persons he has appointed to each body.

My reply of 13 July to the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) listed 271 bodies. Between that date and 1 September 1981 (the latest date for which information is held centrally) the committee on museums and galleries in Scotland reported and has been disbanded.At 1 September, I had sole responsibility for 3,919 appointments to 261 bodies; joint responsibility for 66 appointments to five bodies, and responsibility for making recommendations to Her Majesty to 37 appointments for four bodies.In the period from 3 May 1979 to 1 September 1981, I have made 1,111 sole appointments, 31 joint appointments and have made 12 recommendations to Her Majesty. The number of appointments made to the 56 justices of the peace advisory committees and to membership of the 12 children's panels is not included in these figures: this information is not held centrally and could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost.If the hon. Member has a specific point to raise about the background of those appointed, perhaps he will write to me.

Housing (Insulation)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many dwellings in the public sector have been given improved insulation under the 1978 programme; and what has been the cost to date.

From April 1978 to the end of November 1981, 236,798 uninsulated public sector houses were provided with insulation at a cost of £11·471 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate (a) of the number of public sector houses below accepted standards of insulation and (b) of the average cost of insulating a four-apartment house to accepted standards.

Approximately 400,000 public sector houses with loft spaces have less loft insulation than the current Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations requirement of 50mm (two inches). The average cost of providing loft insulation in a typical four-apartment house is about £100.

Sewerage System

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much of the sewerage system in Scotland is over 100 years old; what proportion is in need of serious repairs and renovation; and what proportion of repair or renovation can be carried out over the next five years on estimated capital expenditure authorised.

Full information about the age and condition of the sewerage system in Scotland is not at present available, but a national sewer survey co-ordinated by the water research centre will be completed next year. It is for regional and islands councils to decide, within the capital allocations made to them, how much should be invested in repair and renovation.

Roads (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the amount spent on roads in Scotland by category in the last two years.

At outturn prices, the information requested is as follows:

Trunk roads £ millionNon-trunk roads £ millionTotal £ million
1979–8085·7196·4282·1
1980–81(provisonal)93·1*
*Figures not yet available.

Trunk Road Programme (Bypasses)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the relative priorities of the Auchinleck/Cumnock, New Cummock and Maybole bypasses in the trunk road programme; and if he will give an approximate date for the expected start of each part of the process, including construction.

Preliminary reports have been received for all these schemes. Otherwise, they are in a very early state of technical and procedural preparation, and it is unrealistic to predict now dates for the various stages of the preparatory work and procedures. Existing commitments on major strategic routes suggest that a start of work before 1985 is unlikely.

Edinburgh Airport Car Park (Stolen And Damaged Vehicles)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had with the chief constable of Lothian region in relation to stolen and damaged vehicles at Edinburgh airport car park; and what new measures will be introduced.

The chief constable's attention was drawn to this matter when the hon. Member raised it on 24 June 1980 but there have been no consultations. The policing of this area is a matter for the Chief Constable and it is for him to determine what measures should be employed on this task.—[Vol. 987, c. 103.]

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cars were reported stolen in Edinburgh airport car park in each month of 1981; and, for the same period, how many cars were broken into.

The information is as follows:

1981StolenBroken into
January
February2
March1
April
May11
June2
July45
August12
September24
October31
November52
*1917
* 5 were cars hired at Edinburgh airport but not returned.
1975 (from 16 May)19761977197819791980
(a) Complaints alleging assault358540614681*627604
(b) Cases which led to prosecution121778†13‡15
(c) Percentage of total (b) to total (a)3·353·151·141·172·072·48
{d) Convictions**6923††12

Castlelaw (Firing Ranges)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he has given Midlothian district council arising out of its most recent approach to him on the subject of the construction of new firing ranges at Castlelaw.

I informed the council on 3 November that as the decision on the planning considerations affecting the development at Castlelaw had been taken, my right hon. Friend could not consider the matter further as Planning Minister, and that, since the decision to proceed now rested with the Ministry of Defence, it was open to the council to pursue the points it wished to make with that Ministry.

Stuc (Unemployment)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) when the Scottish Trades Union Congress unemployment standing commission formally requested a meeting with him; and how many formal requests for meetings he has received from it over the period from 8 December 1980 to 8 December 1981;(2) what correspondence he has received from the Scottish Trades Union Congress conference on unemployment standing commission since 8 December 1980; and on what dates each piece of correspondence was sent to him;(3) what representations on policy he has received from the Scottish Trades Union Congress convention on unemployment standing commission; and what replies he has sent.

My right hon. Friend indicated to the General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, following an informal approach in May 1981, that he would be happy to meet the standing commission to discuss proposals for combatting unemployment once the commission were in a position to do so. He remains ready for a discussion and, while to date he has not received any correspondence or representations on policy from the commission, he understands that they are about to submit a formal request for a meeting.

Police Complaints

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.—[Vol. 980, c. 310–12.]

[pursuant to his reply, 23 November 1981; c. 289.]: The table below sets out the latest available figures for Scotland on the basis requested. Seventy-one of the complaints made in 1980 are still under investigation.

1975 (from 16 May)

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

Admonished—£150 fineAdmonished—£50 fine£20 fine—£50 fine£20 fine—£100 fine£40 fine£25 fine—£150 fine

(e) Range of penalties

(f) Number of police officers subject to each penalty:—

Admonished12
£5 Fine2
£15 Fine1
£20 Fine1111
£25 Fine1
£30 Fine1
£40 Fine21
£50 Fine121
£100 Fine2
£150 Fine11

Notes:

* This figure exceeds that given in my answer to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (viz. 610) because some forces did not include in their earlier returns complaints which were under police investigation, and had not, at that stage, been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

†This figure includes 1 case pending trial.

‡This figure includes 4 cases pending trial.

** 3 officers were given an absolute discharge.

††1 officer was given an absolute discharge.

Energy

Energy Costs (Assistance)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if before the cold effects of the coming winter can affect the health of the increasing number of old people who live at home and often live alone, he will introduce practical measures of assistance with energy costs.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services will be providing some £250 million of direct financial help with fuel costs over the coming year. Grants of up to 90 per cent. of the cost of providing insulation are also available to the elderly under the homes insulation scheme. In addition, my Department is providing grants, to stimulate the development of voluntary insulation projects to aid the elderly and other needy groups.

Drilling Rigs And Production Platforms (Equipment And Safety Procedures)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many safety inspectors are employed in checking equipment and safety procedures on drilling rigs and production platforms; and how many visits were made to each installation in 1980.

There are now twenty inspectors in my Department; 167 visits were made during 1980 to a total of 78 offshore installations by the 13 inspectors then in post.

North Sea Oil And Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he now expects oil and gas production from the North Sea to reach its maximum level; and for how long he expects that level to be maintained.

Economic, technical and commercial considerations will all influence the rate of North Sea oil production but, on present estimates, we expect production to reach a peak in the mid 1980s and to continue at high levels until at least the early 1990s. The level of gas production will depend on the response of the market to the proposed measures to introduce competition into that market. But I am satisfied that existing levels of consumption can be sustained from natural gas supplies until around the same period.

Gas Flaring

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give the volume of gas flaring during each quarter since the beginning of 1978.

The volume of gas flared during each quarter since the beginning of 1978 is as follows:—

PeriodGas flared (million standard cubic feet/day)
1978 1st Quarter326
1978 2nd Quarter341
1978 3rd Quarter408
1978 4th Quarter681
1979 1st Quarter655
1979 2nd Quarter708
1979 3rd Quarter656
1979 4th Quarter533
1980 1st Quarter497
1980 2nd Quarter400
1980 3rd Quarter371
1980 4th Quarter369
1981 1st Quarter401
1981 2nd Quarter388
1981 3rd Quarter430
During this period nine new oilfields have started production.

Uranium

asked the Secretary of State for Energy from which countries the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and the Central Electricity Generating Board receive supplies of uranium or enriched uranium; and which countries provided the original source of this fuel.

Uranium supplied to the CEGB comes from Canada and Namibia. No supplies are currently being obtained for research and development purposes by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Enrichment of uranium owned by the authority and th CEGB is undertaken by URENCO. The CEGB also has a contract with the Soviet Union for a small proportion of its total contracted supplies of enrichment.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

European Guidance And Guarantee Fund

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much has been received in grants from the European agriculture guidance and guarantee fund (guidance section) in each year since 1973; what proportion of total disbursements from this section of the fund these represented; and if he will provide a regional breakdown of the sums received.

Total United Kingdom receipts from the guidance section of the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund, and the United Kingdom share of total payments, are shown in the following table. I regret that a regional breakdown cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.

Grants under project-type schemesPayments under common or special measuresTotal guidance section payments
United Kingdom receiptsUnited Kingdom share of totalUnited Kingdom receiptsUnited Kingdom share of totalUnited Kingdom receiptsUnited Kingdom share of total
£ millionper cent.£ millionper cent.£ millionper cent.
1973nilnilnil
1974nil0·30·20·30·04
19753·23·96·629·09·89·4
19769·510·617·537·827·019·9
197714·711·428·043·442·822·1
19788·07·718·817·126·812·5
19797·06·534·722·241·715·8
198015·69·248·624·664·217·5
Project-type measures include grants for marketing and processing projects. Common and special measures include, in particular, hill livestock compensatory allowances, the farm and horticulture development scheme, the dairy herd conversion scheme and the milk non-marketing and conversion premium scheme.

Milk

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the reason for the latest increase proposed for the price of milk; and if he will set up an inquiry to examine how and why the price of milk should be so high in comparison with the price of some commodities, such as petrol, in relation to which it has traditionally been cheaper, notwithstanding the increases in tax which have raised the price of some of those commodities substantially.

I am still considering the future level of milk prices. Any decision I reach will take full account of the recommendations of an independent firm of accountants (Binder Hamlyn), which has carried out an exhaustive review of the liquid milk costings arrangements. I therefore see no need for any further inquiry.

Fishing Rights (Yorkshire Coast)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what historic fishing rights exist off the Yorkshire coast for foreign vessels from six to 12 miles; and for how long these rights have been actively maintained.

"Historic rights" are generally considered to be those granted under the London convention of 1964 to fish between six and 12 miles of baselines, which were based on habitual fishing patterns dating back to 1953. A list of these rights in British waters was placed in the Library of the House on 30 April 1981.

Wales

Committee On Welsh Affairs (Recommendations)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales which recommendations made by the Committee on Welsh Affairs he has implemented and which he has rejected or not acted upon; and if he will give reasons for the latter category.

On the Committee on Welsh Affairs' report "The Role of the Welsh Office and Associated Bodies in Developing Employment Opportunities in Wales", I refer the hon. Member to the Government observations published in December 1980 (Cmnd. 8085). Those recommendations on which a direct decision was not made in that response have been kept under review. The Government expect to publish their response to the Committee's report "Broadcasting in the Welsh Language and the Implications for Welsh and non-Welsh Speaking Viewers and Listeners" shortly after the Christmas recess.

Public Bodies (Departmental Responsibility)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his reply on 14 July, Official Report, column 326, how many appointments he is responsible for to the bodies listed in that reply and to any other public bodies to which he is invited to nominate by Ministers in other Departments of State.

I am currently responsible for 507 appointments to the bodies listed in the reply given to the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) on 14 July 1981. As the list of the members of these bodies is a long one, I am writing to the hon. Member with this information and will arrange for a copy of my letter to be placed in the Library. I am also currently responsible for 968 appointments to other public bodies.—[Vol. 8, c. 326–7].

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the estimated percentage increase or decrease in local government spending in Wales, in real terms, between the year 1977–78 and the current financial year.

The estimated change in local authority spending in Wales between 1977–78 and 1981–82 is —0·3 per cent. for relevant current expenditure and 34·6 per cent. for capital expenditure. The detailed figures are given in the following table:

£ million
Relevant current expenditure*Capital expenditure†
1977–78 (Revalued to 1981–82 outturn prices)1,091321
1981–82 (estimated outturn)1,088ߥ210**
Percentage change 1977–78 to 1981–82-0·334·6
* Expenditure on maintaining the continuing costs of local authority services. The financing of capital expenditure incurred in previous years is not included; nor is expenditure on certain items met almost entirely from central Government funds, such as mandatory student awards.
† Expenditure net of receipts from the sales of fixed assets.
‡ Derived from revised estimates submitted by local authorities in October 1981.
** Forecast based on the Capital Payments return for the period ending 30 September 1981.

Grants To Local Authorities

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many separate changes there have been to the method and basis of allocating grants to local authorities in Wales since May 1979.

It is not practicable, except at disproportionate expense, to set out the changes which have been made since May 1979 to the conditions pertaining to the large number of grants which local authorities may receive.However, the main grant in support of local authority expenditure is the rate support grant, where the method of allocation adopted for the financial year 1981–82 is set out in the Welsh Rate Support Grant Report 1980, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

European Regional Development Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many projects submitted from Wales have secured a 40 per cent. grant from the European regional development fund since the fund's establishment.

All-Wales Working Party On Services For Mentally Handicapped People

asked the Secretary of State for Wales to whom he has extended invitations to serve on the all-Wales working party on services for mentally handicapped people; to how many voluntary organisations invitations have been extended; what provision there is for parents of handicapped children to be represented; and if he will publish its terms of reference.

The organisations listed as follows were invited and have accepted an invitation to nominate representatives to serve on the working party.

  • The Welsh Counties Committee
  • The Council for the Principality
  • The area health authorities
  • The Welsh Medical Committee
  • The Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee
  • The British Association of Social Workers (Wales branch)
  • The Residential Care Association
  • Wales MIND and the Campaign for the Mentally
  • Handicapped
  • The Royal Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults (MENCAP)

One of the voluntary organisations' representatives is the parent of a mentally-handicapped child, and in addition two further parents who are not formal members of the working party have been invited to attend meetings and receive papers. The working party will be able to co-opt additional expertise as it feels necessary.

The proposed terms of reference are as follows:

"To propose to the Secretary of State for Wales by May 1982 an all-Wales strategy for the development of integrated patterns of community-based services for mentally handicapped people in Wales which can be translated into detailed plans for provision to be drawn up jointly by the statutory and voluntary bodies concerned with the delivery of services at the local level."

Farm Products (Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether his Department has been associated with efforts to find new outlets for the sales of Welsh farm products.

My Department plays a full part in the development of national marketing policy and is closely associated with the promotional work of the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Cooperation, the Meat and Livestock Commission and the Welsh Agricultural Organisation Society. It has in the last six months sponsored two specific projects in this field and others are under consideration.

Lamb Exports

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he proposes to introduce measures to counter opposition to Welsh lamb exports to countries that have traditionally been markets for the product; and if he has any proposals for a trade delegation to Middle East countries on the lines of pioneering work carried out by the Republic of Ireland.

The lamb export trade has revived considerably over the past few months. Nevertheless, the Government will continue to seek improvements to the present clawback arrangements. My Department recently sponsored, through the Welsh Agricultural Organisation Society, an investigation of the market for lambs and breeding ewes in Tunisia and will continue to do all it reasonably can to foster the export of Welsh lamb.

Handicapped Children (Special Care And Assessment Centres)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many of the Welsh area health authorities have special care and assessment centres for handicapped children; and how many of them are directly under the responsibility of consultants in mental handicap.

Each health authority in Wales provides care and assessment facilities for handicapped children. Information in the form requested is not available centrally.

Land Registration

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he intends to introduce legislation to enable mistaken registrations of land under the Commons Registration Act 1965 to be corrected.

This matter will be looked at carefully when we come to formulate comprehensive legislation to deal with the outstanding recommendations of the 1958 Royal Commision on common land and related issues. But this is a complex subject and the work involved in preparing legislation would make heavy demands on staff resources which are not currently available. Accordingly, we do not propose any legislation on commons before mid-1982 at the earliest.

Overseas Companies (Employees)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil on 10 December, if he will break the figure of 55,000 down, company by company, for the companies listed in the industrial directory of the Development Corporation for Wales.

Information on employment at individual companies is supplied to my Department in confidence and therefore cannot be disclosed.

Environment

Council Houses (Ownership Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish any information held by his Department on the number of dwellings owned by a council which are situated outside its own area.

My Department does not collect the information requested. However, the Greater London Council has published analyses by local authority area of the location of its own dwellings and those of London boroughs outside their own areas for the end of 1978 in tables H1.15 and 16 of the "Annual Abstract of Greater London Statistics: Volume 13/14". A copy is in the Library.

New Town Properties (Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of sales, firm negotiations, and the number of sales and firm negotiations as a percentage of tenancies at June 1979, of houses and flats sold by new town development corporations since May 1979 to the latest available date.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 8 December.—[Vol. 14, c. 377.]

Earlham School, Norfolk

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations the Minister with responsibility for sport has received concerning proposals by the Norfolk county council to sell off sections of the playing fields at Earlham school, Norwich.

I am aware of this proposal. It was included in a list of similar proposals sent to me a few days ago by one of the national newspapers and which I am having checked out. I have received some letters about the Earlham school which have been transferred to the Department of Education and Science.

Tenancies (Transfer)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue guidance to housing authorities about the transfer of tenancies where one partner in a joint tenancy has been excluded under the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976.

No. The great majority of public sector tenancies are, under the Housing Act 1980, secure tenancies. Housing authorities have no power to transfer such tenancies from joint names to one name, although the courts, under section 24 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, may order such a transfer.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to remedy the apparent contradictions between the provisions of the Housing Act 1980 and the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976 in cases where one partner in a joint council tenancy has been excluded from the dwelling under the provisions of the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceedings Act.

Wildlife And Countryside Act 1981

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the operation of section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in relation to statutory undertakers who own or carry out operations upon sites of special scientific interest.

The Nature Conservancy Council has a duty under the section to notify all owners and occupiers, including where applicable statutory undertakers, of sites of special scientific interest and to specify the features of interest and any operations the council considers likely to damage them. Owners and occupiers then have a duty to give notice to the NCC of proposals to carry out any specified operations.The NCC already informs the major statutory undertakers of the location of sites of special scientific interest and will be discussing with them the most appropriate means of avoiding damage from statutory undertakers' operations on land which they do not own or occupy.

Brook Advisory Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning grant aid to and possible closure of the Brook advisory centre in Islington; and what assessment he has made of alternative facilities if the centre closes in 1982.

Both this Department and the Department of Health and Social Security have received representations and the two Departments are in touch about future funding. The amount of alternative facilities would be a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.

Smoke Control Programme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish regional figures indicating the projected smoke control programme, as shown in the returns required from local authorities under his Department's circular 11/81 in respect of their capital requirements for the next four years.

The projected smoke control programmes so far submitted to the Department as requested in circular 11/81 are shown in the following

Projected expenditure on smoke control programmes (£s at 1981–82 prices)
Region1982–831983–841984–851985–86
Northern844,507672,823763,963532,222
Yorkshire & Humberside1,042,9011,242,7991,043,8701,155,800
North West814,518879,112796,540834,893
East Midlands583,983844,070856,131704,257
West Midlands626,929748,151765,624453,068
South-West160,101188,586143,947139,289
Eastern10,00010,00010,00010,000
South-East85,163118,083145,189143,056

Construction Industry (European Community Circular)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Warrington on 7 December, what conclusions were reached in his consultations with the construction industry on EEC directive 77/187 in relation to sections 5 and 6; and whether the industry agreed to ask its member firms to observe these provisions.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Employment to my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey, North-West (Mr. Grylls) on 9 December in respect of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981, which implement the directive. The construction industry organisations have not informed me of any plans to issue advice to their members on the regulations.

Crown Estate Commissioners

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will direct the Crown Estate Commissioners under section 1 of the Crown Estate Act 1961 to have regard to the requirements laid upon public bodies by section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968; and if he will make a statement.

I am advised that the Crown Estate Commissioners are already bound by law to meet the requirements of section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968. It would therefore be inappropriate to direct them to do so under section 1 of the 1961 Act.

Mortgages (Support Lending Scheme)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements have been made between the Government and the Building Societies Association for the continuation in 1982–83 of the support lending scheme for mortgages; and if he will make a statement.

The Building Societies Association will be making £350 million available for mortgages under the support lending scheme in 1982–83. The scheme is also table. The figures show the total public expenditure by region on grants to be made by local authorities to householders in respect of the conversion of appliances in new smoke control areas. This expenditure by local authorities must be met from within their capital expenditure allocations. However, approximately 55 per cent. will be reimbursed to the authorities by Exchequer grant.going to be extended to two additional categories of mortgagor—those buying their council houses or flats as sitting tenants whether under the right to buy or under voluntary arrangements, and those buying dwellings that local authorities or housing associations have improved for sale. This will apply for the rest of 1981–82 as well as for 1982–83. The changes will help increase the use that local authorities may be able to make of private mortgage finance, thus generating capital receipts which may be used to increase their housing investment programmes allocations.I shall be issuing a revision of the guidance given to local authorities on priority categories of borrower to reflect these changes. I will also be reminding authorities that the support lending scheme can be used for loans for improvement and repair as well as for loans for house purchase. The revised guidance applies to direct mortgage lending by authorities themselves as well as to nominations for building society mortgages under the support lending scheme.

Hackney (Urban Aid And Partnership Money)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much urban aid and partnership money was withdrawn from the London borough of Hackney as a penalty for illegal overspending; and what will be the value of urban aid and partnership money to be distributed under the scheme announced on 9 December.

None. Partnership allocations are not based on a notional sum but on the value of projects actually approved. Although no new statutory schemes have been approved so far this year, other schemes totalling £4·63 million have been approved and further schemes including new statutory ones are expected to be approved in the light of my right hon. Friend's answer to the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) on 2 December.—[Vol. 14, c. 231–232.] Decisions are still to be taken on specific allocations in the light of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's announcement on 9 December.— [Vol. c. 14 865–874.]

Transport

M40

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that officials of his Department co-operate with the principal objectors to the proposed M40 in the evaluation of alternative solutions to a new motorway; and if he will undertake to consult the relevant statutory bodies about selected alternatives of this kind before any public inquiry.

My officials will be available to meet any objector on request to explain the proposals, discuss his objection and, where appropriate, provide such relevant additional information as is available. If alternative solutions are put forward, interested bodies and persons will be consulted as necessary, I cannot agree, however, to allow unlimited staff time and public expenditure to be incurred in engineering and economic appraisals of every alternative suggested by objectors. We will, of course, evaluate alternative solutions to the extent necessary to enable the public inquiry to consider them properly.

Railways Sidings (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intends to increase section 8 grants for railway sidings in line with the recommendations of the Armitage committee report or whether he has rejected these recommendations.

As set out in the recent White Paper "Lorries, People and the Environment", (Cmnd. 8439), the rail freight facility grant scheme will be continued. The Government have, of course, considered the Armitage recommendation to increase the rate of grant. We have, however, seen no evidence that such an increase would result in any additional suitable proposals. The Government believe that the present level of grants makes the best use of the resources which can be made available for this purpose. But I am prepared to look at any new evidence.

Transport Act 1981

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to bring into operation section 19 of the Transport Act 1981 concerning disqualification for repeated offences.