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Written Answers

Volume 19: debated on Friday 12 March 1982

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Written Answer To Questions

Friday 12 March 1982

Defence

Hms "Fearless" And "Intrepid"

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Trippier) on 8 March, Official Report, column 327, what plans exist for the eventual replacement of HMS "Fearless" and HMS "Intrepid", in view of the fact that these vessels are now 16 and 15 years old respectively.

HMS "Fearless" and HMS "Intrepid" are expected to remain in service for the foreseeable future. The need to consider their replacement will not, therefore, arise for some time.

Coastal Defence Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the House of Commons Library details of existing byelaws associated with the control of boating activities in the vincinity of coastal defence establishments, together with charts of the areas of sea and coast thus controlled, showing how such areas are delineated; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 February 1982, c. 303.]: I have done so today. Several of the byelaws were introduced many years ago, and not all contain plans for the sea areas affected. The cost of making plans available in such cases would not be justified. Amendments to byelaws are in progress in some of these locations and new byelaws are to be introduced at others.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will list in the Official Report the names and locations of coastal defence establishements where firing to sea takes place; what restrictions on sailing and boating are in force at each establishment; whether restrictions are enforced through byelaws in each case, giving the area of sea and coast affected by such restrictions; and if he will made a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 February 1982, c. 303.]: The following is a list of coastal ranges whose danger areas extend over both land and sea. Ranges whose danger areas extend only over the sea are excluded.

Navy

Air Weapons RangeBridgewater Bay, Somerset
Bombardment RangeCape Wrath, Highland
Infantry Weapons RangeKingsdown, Deal Kent
Fraser RangeEastney, Hants
British Underwater Test and Evaluation CentreRaasay, Skye and Lochalsh
Infantry Weapons RangeStraight Point, Devon
Firing RangeHMS Cambridge, Wembury, Devon
Small Arms RangeGrove Point, Portland, Dorset

Army

Infantry Weapons RangeBallykinler, Co. Down
Infantry Weapons RangeBarry Budeon, Tayside
The Royal Artillery RangeBenbecula, Western Isles
Infantry Weapons RangeBlackdog, Grampian
Infantry Weapons RangeCaldicott (Severn Tunnel) Gwent
The Royal Armoured Corps RangeCastlemartin, Dyfed
Infantry Weapons RangeChickerell, Dorset
Infantry Weapons RangeFingringhoe, Essex
Infantry Weapons RangeFort George, Highland
Infantry Weapons RangeHornsea, Yorks
Infantry Weapons RangeHythe, Kent
The Royal Armoured Corps RangeLulworth, Dorset
Infantry Weapons RangeLydd, Kent
Infantry Weapons RangeIydden Spout, Kent
Infantry Weapons RangeMagilligan, Co Londonderry
The Royal Artillery RangeManorbier, Dyfed
Infantry Weapons RangePenally, Dyfed
Infantry Weapons RangePilning, Avon
Infantry Weapons RangeSealand, Cheshire
Infantry Weapons RangeShoeburyness, Essex
Infantry Weapons RangeTregantle, Cornwall
Infantry Weapons RangeTy Croes, Gwynedd
The Royal Engineers Demolition RangeYantlet, Kent

Royal Air Force

Air Weapons RangeCowden, Humberside
Air Weapons RangeDonna Nook, Lines
Air Weapons RangeHolbeach, Lines
Air Weapons RangePembrey, Dyfed
Air Weapons RangeTain, Highland
Air Weapons RangeWainfleet, Lines

Procurement Executive

Royal Aircraft EstablishmentAberporth, Dyfed
Proof and Experimental EstablishmentEskmeals, Cumbria
Military Vehicle Experimental EstablishmentKirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway
Aircraft Bombing Sea RangeLuce Bay, Dumfries and Galloway
Proof and Experimental EstablishmentPendine, Dyfed
Proof and Experimental EstablishmentShoeburyness, Essex

Territorial Army

Infantry Weapons RangeAltcar, Merseyside
Infantry Weapons RangeBinn Hill, Grampian
Infantry Weapons RangeDingwall, Highland
Infantry Weapons RangeLower Barvas, Isle of Lewis
Infantry Weapons RangePakefield, Suffolk
Infantry Weapons RangeWhitburn, Tyne and Wear
Infantry Weapons RangeWick, Highland

Mandatory restrictions on sailing and boating can only be imposed to the extent that these are provided for in byelaws, copies of which I have placed in the Library. The sea areas covered by such mandatory restrictions are designated in the byelaws. In a few cases, however, defence establishments may have understandings with local sailing and boating communities, under which boats voluntarily leave those parts of the sea danger area in which firing is to take place. Of course, clear range procedures are followed to ensure that no boat in the danger area is at risk.

Energy

British Gas Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will announce a post-levy external financing limit for the British Gas Corporation for the financial year 1981–82.

I have agreed with the British Gas Corporation that its post-levy external financing limit for the financial year 1981–82 is £49 million. This figure is the equivalent of the figure of minus £317 million set in March 1981, which did not take account of the corporation's payments under the Gas Levy Act 1981.

Britoil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to make available the memorandum and draft articles of association of Britoil.

I have laid the memorandum and articles of Britoil in the Library of the House today. The articles are in draft and may be amended in the light of decisions on outstanding issues and continuing technical scrutiny.

Trade

Motor Vehicle Components And Accessories

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the balance of trade in motor vehicle components and accessories between the United Kingdom and the other member States of the European Community in 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980; how this compares with the balance of trade in these products between the United Kingdom and Japan and the United States of America; and if he will express this both in money terms and by giving the export to import ratios.

The available information is as follows:

United Kingdom Trade in Motor Vehicle Components 1978–80
Crude balance £ millionExport Import ratio per cent.
Trading area
Total trade1978+782219
1979+737188
1980+942231
European Community1978+106121
1979-1697
1980+155129
USA1978+49172
1979+59175
1980+56173
Japan1978-1526
1979-1532
1980-939

Notes:

  • (a) Figures correspond to Minimum List Heading 381 c in Business Monitor MQ10 (Overseas Trade Analysed in Terms of Industries).
  • (b) The European Community is defined in terms of its current membership.
  • (c) The crude balance of trade is exports valued fob less imports valued cif.
  • (d) Comparable information for 1977 is not available.
  • South Africa

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will give for the longest and most convenient stated period of time the amount of trade and commerce carried on between the United Kingdom and South Africa either in stated volumes and types of merchandise or in £ sterling payments; and whether he will give comparisons between the last three years and the three earlier years.

    Details of the volume of trade with individual countries are not available. The value of our trade with South Africa between 1970 and 1980 is given in tables B.19, exports, and C.25, imports, of the January 1982 issue of the Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics, which is available in the Library.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade to what extent British business interests have trading and other arrangements with the Government and trading organisations in South Africa; and to what extent any of these British organisations have or are receiving any assistance from his Department or Government sources.

    British companies are free to engage in normal civil trade with South Africa. British exporters to South Africa may also take advantage of services offered by the British Overseas Trade Board and the Export Credits Guarantee Department.

    Departmental Recruitment

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether his Department has employed "headhunters" in the last 12 months for recruitment to jobs that are within his control; if so, what fees have been paid to the "headhunters"; for what jobs they have sought applicants; and how many jobs they have filled.

    One executive search consultancy company has been engaged by the Department of Trade in the last 12 months to assist in selecting candidates for the post of chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority. It would not be in accordance with the usual practice to disclose the fees paid to an individual company. An appointment will be made in due course.

    European Community

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, pursuant to the reply of the Minister of State for Trade on 2 March, Official Report, column 73, he will estimate the number of lost jobs represented by the deficit in manufactured and semi-manufactured goods with the European Community amounting to £2,467 million in value for 1980.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 March 1982, c. 354]: The United Kingdom deficit with the European Community in manufactures, including semi-manufactures, was £1,765 million in 1980. The figures for the United Kingdom balance of trade in semi-manufactures with the European Community given in the Official Report, 2 March, c. 74 are, as the footnotes indicate, included in the figures for manufactures. No useful conclusions about the level of employment can be drawn directly from the deficit, which should not be viewed in isolation from our trade with the rest of the world, with which we have a large surplus, nor in isolation from our trade in other goods and services.

    Multi-Fibre Arrangement

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what effect the possible 22 per cent. increase in the amount of low-cost textiles and clothing entering the United Kingdom under the terms of the new multi-fibre arrangement protocol will have on future employment prospects in the textile and clothing industry; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 8 March 1982, c. 284.]: I understand that the possible 22 per cent. increase in imports of low-cost textiles and clothing to which my hon. Friend refers, is derived from a comparison of actual imports in 1980 and potential imports in 1983 if all quotas likely to be opened by the Community on behalf of the United Kingdom were fully used.The entitlements to import low-cost textiles and clothing into the United Kingdom in 1983 will not in fact be substantially different from those in 1980 and, in my view, it is damaging to confidence in the domestic industry to suggest that if all quotas were used, such a dramatic increase would be likely. Not only is some inherent under-usage of quotas probable, but under arrangements negotiated in connection with the protocol of renewal of the MFA the potential for the full utilisation of quotas is likely to be inhibited partly by reductions in flexibility arrangements and partly as a result of use of an anti-surge mechanism introduced on a British initiative.As regards future employment in the industry, this must depend upon a wide range of factors, such as improvements in productivity, changes in demand, the industry's export performance and the world economic situation. The high level of job losses in 1980 was largely the result of a rapid fall in domestic demand and de-stocking; imports of textiles and clothing were generally well below 1979 levels.

    Steel Exports

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, pursuant to his answer of 1 February, Official Report, column 5, any recent discussions have taken place within the EEC about steel exports to the United States of America; what conclusions have been reached; whether any new initiatives are planned; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1982, c. 458–9.]: 33 of the anti-dumping and countervailing cases launched by the United States steel industry against Community steel producers have been accepted for investigation by the United States authorities. The Community's defence is being co-ordinated by the Commission in consultation with the member States and the European steel industry. This involves regular discussions within the Community, in which the Government are participating fully.The Community's policy is to defend these cases with the utmost vigour, both in direct contacts with the United States Administration and through the legal council in Washington of undertakings affected. Since the proceedings under United States trade law which are involved are of a judicial nature and involve predetermined procedures, no additional initiatives are currently being undertaken.

    Wales

    Hospital Beds

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many hospital beds in Wales are available to private patients from the National Health Service; and what percentage of the total of National Health Service beds this represents.

    48 beds, 2 of which are for emergency admissions only, have been authorised for use by private patients in NHS hospitals in Wales. The figure represents 0·2 per cent. of the total beds available.

    Home Department

    Ashford Remand Centre

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many inmates under 21 years were held in Ashford remand centre on the most recent convenient date;(2) how many inmates of Ashford remand centre on the most recent convenient date were aged 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 years, respectively;(3) how many inmates aged less than 21 years held :in Ashford remand centre on the most recent convenient date were untried, convicted but unsentenced, and sentenced respectively;(4) how many untried or unsentenced inmates held in Ashford remand centre on the most recent convenient date had been there for fewer than three weeks, for three weeks or more, three months or more, and six months or more, respectively.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the untried or unsentenced inmates under 21 years of age held in Ashford remand centre on the most recent convenient date were charged with offences involving violence, sex, robbery, arson drug trafficking, theft and burglary, respectively.

    The information requested is not recorded centrally and could be made available only at disproportionate cost.

    Marriages Of Convenience

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he takes where an Indian national has entered into a marriage of convenience with a woman of Indian origin, resident in Great Britain, and has opted out of that marriage shortly after it has taken place.

    Under the immigration rules, a man who marries a woman settled here will not be granted leave to remain, nor will any time limit on his stay be removed, if there is reason to believe that the marriage was entered into primarily to obtain settlement here.

    Immigration

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many formal complaints of ill-treatment by immigration officials were made by Indians seeking to enter the United Kingdom during the last six months.

    In the six months from 1 September 1981 to 28 February 1982, three Indian citizens made a formal complaint of their treatment by immigration officers.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the review of the immigration appeals system has now been completed.

    I cannot yet add to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Lambeth, Central (Mr. Tilley) on 22 January.—[Vol. 16, c. 213.]

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were admitted to the United Kingdom from the Indian Sub-continent and how many were refused entry in the past 12 months.

    Complaints of interference by Citizens Band Radio
    United KingdomLeicester Area
    To Broadcast ReceptionTo Other ServicesTotalTo Broadcast ReceptionTo Other ServicesTotal
    1981
    January1,732361,76888896
    February2,254772,3311566162
    March2,712982,81018611197
    April3,0121053,11717812190
    May3,3221193,44114617163
    June4,3461244,47015514169
    July4,1661034,26915714171
    August4,425US4,5401357142
    September5,6951285,8231309139
    October4,6201674,78716410174
    November4,0931004,1931588166
    December3,3071103,4171096115
    1982
    January4,0381164,1541268134

    Foreign Visitors

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, further to the reply given by the Minister of State on 18 February, Official Report, c. 392, on the overall number of visitors refused entry to the United Kingdom (a) how many arrived from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, respectively, in 1981 (b) how many such visitors in each category were refused entry and (c) if, in each category, he will express the number of refusals as a percentage of the total number.

    [pursuant to his reply, 1 March 1982, c. 22]: Figures of admissions by category and of total refusals are published annually in the command paper "Control of Immigration: Statistics" by citizenship-nationality: the issue for 1980 was Cmnd. 8199 and that for 1981 will be published next month. The information for 1981 is given in the following table. Comprehensive information is not available on refusals of those seeking admission as visitors.

    I refer the hon. Member to our reply to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) on 12 March.

    Citizens Band Radio

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answers of 19 February, Official Report, c. 233, to the hon. Member for Leicester, South, how many complaints were received by British Telecom for (a) the Leicester area and (b) the United Kingdom as a whole for each month from February 1980 up to and including February 1982; and whether his Department maintains a record of the number of cases closed per month and the total number of cases in hand per month.

    Before January 1981 no separate record was kept of complaints of interference caused by the illicit use of citizens band radio. The available figures are as follows. No central record is kept of the number of cases closed or in hand each month but figures are kept of the number of cases closed each quarter.

    Admissions to the United Kingdom and refusals of entry at port, 1981 Numbers and percentages
    Total admissionsTotalRefusals as refusals percentage of arrivals*
    Bangladesh24,0001720·7
    India200,0001,2570·6
    Pakistan86,0008751·0
    Total310,0002,3040·7
    * Those admitted plus those refused leave to enter at ports.

    Scotland

    Local Authority Finance

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the local authorities which he deemed to have incurred excessive and unreasonable expenditure in 1981–82.

    Information about expenditure incurred by authorities in 1981–82, as distinct from planned expenditure, is not yet available. After examining their budgets and considering representations, I was satisfied that Lothian regional council and Dumbarton, Dundee, East Lothian, Renfrew and Stirling district councils had planned for excessive and unreasonable expenditure; reductions in planned expenditure were made by all six authorities after I initiated action under the powers afforded by the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1981.

    Council Housing

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the local authorities where the stock of council dwellings represents more than 30 per cent. of the total housing stock.

    The information requested is set out in the following table:

    Local authority stockTotal housing stockPercentage
    Berwickshire2,8488,29634·3
    Ettrick and Lauderdale5,00214,18535·3
    Roxburgh6,30915,47640·8
    Clackmannan9,70917,80254·5
    Falkirk34,06053,61563·5
    Stirling13,56229,36146·2
    Annandale and Eskdale5,23114,20236·8
    Nithsdale8,67421,75839·9
    Wigtown4,81612,14539·6
    Dunfermline23,23747,25249·2
    Kirkcaldy26,10158,08244·9
    City of Aberdeen37,41983,63844·7
    Banff and Buchan12,71431,64140·2
    Moray11,04131,92734·6
    Caithness4,50010,85241·5
    Inverness7,23421,57233·5
    Lochaber3,5358,02344·1
    Ross and Cromarty6,54618,52235·3
    East Lothian16,39131,05552·8
    City of Edinburgh55,500181,57430·6
    Midlothian13,23529,16345·4
    West Lothian22,03849,10644·9
    Clydebank11,96819,37461·8
    Clydesdale9,64320,52047·0
    Cumnock and Doon Valley10,33016,32463·3
    Cunninghame23,48352,60044·6
    Dumbarton13,31929,43745·2
    City of Glasgow176,388298,97459·0
    Hamilton23,00637,84360·8
    Inverclyde19,59436,24654·0
    Kilmarnock and Loudon18,34631,61258·0
    Kyle and Carrick18,50243,48542·6
    Monklands28,53536,64677·9
    Motherwell39,78651,95776·6
    Renfrew38,62776,73550·3
    Strathkelvin11,02328,53238·6
    Angus14,76738,46138·4
    City of Dundee41,34675,71854·6
    Perth and Kinross16,81249,53733·9
    Shetland Islands Area2,6778,44931·7

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the most recent available figures for housing waiting lists for each local authority in Scotland, for each new town, for the Scottish Special Housing Association and for Scotland as a whole.

    SSHA general needs houses are normally allocated to persons on the waiting list of the local authority for the area in which the houses are situated. The waiting list for the association's economic expansion-houses consists of 887 category I applicants—manufacturing and oil-related industries—and 1,050 category II applicants—service and construction industries.The new towns waiting lists distinguish between applicants from addresses in Glasgow and others, mainly incoming workers and second generation families already in the new towns. The January 1982 figures—which must be expected to include people who are also on local authority lists—are:

    GlasgowElsewhere
    Cumbernauld2,860527
    East Kilbride5051,420
    Glenrothes491,366
    Irvine102221
    Livingston24723
    3,5404,257

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the following information for each regional council in Scotland (a) expenditure per capita, (b) net debt per capita and (c) staff per thousand, each for the latest available date.

    The information is not available centrally in the form requested. Figures of net revenue expenditure per head for rate fund services as well as capital expenditure, debt and population statistics are published annually by the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in "Rating Review", a copy of which is available in the Library. The staffing figures requested are contained in the following table:

    Manpower at September 1981 per thousand population
    Regional CouncilFull-timePart-time
    Borders25·413·6
    Central29·213·6
    Dumfries and Galloway28·813·8
    Fife29·613·4
    Grampian28·215·5
    Highland32·014·6
    Lothian35·816·5
    Strathclyde34·411·5
    Tayside31·010·9

    Notes:

  • 1. The figures shown for Lothian region include staff numbers for police and fire services in the Borders region and those for Highland region staff numbers for police and fire services for the Islands areas.
  • 2. The figures are not directly comparable because of differences in the services provided and of possible variations in the pattern of part-time working.
  • Sources:

  • 1. Joint Manpower Watch Survey-September 1981 Employment Gazette.
  • 2. Census 1981 Scotland (Preliminary Report).
  • asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the local authorities whose budgets for 1982–83 are likely to exceed Government guidelines.

    The information is not available as local authorities have not yet submitted their budget estimates for 1982–83.

    Local Authorities (Rents)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the housing authorities where rent income contributes less than 50 per cent. of housing costs.

    Based on authorities' estimated budgets for 1981–82, rental income of the following housing authorities is less than 50 per cent. of projected expenditure on their housing revenue accounts:

    District Council

    • Stirling
    • City of Aberdeen
    • Gordon
    • Moray
    • Badenoch & Strathspey
    • Lochaber
    • Nairn
    • Ross and Cromarty
    • Skye and Lochalsh
    • City of Glasgow
    • Hamilton

    Islands Council

    • Orkney
    • Shetland
    • Western Isles

    New Town Development Corporation

    • Irvine
    • Livingston

    Source: Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy May 1981.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the housing authorities where rent arrears amount to more than 10 per cent.

    Scottish Exhibition Centre

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the up-to-date position regarding the plans for a Scottish exhibition centre to be located at Queen's dock, Glasgow.

    My right hon. Friend is not yet in a position to make a statement, but I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

    Housing Support Grant

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the total amount of housing support grant, in real terms, for each year from 1974–75 to 1982–83.

    The total of housing support grant, for each year since it was introduced in 1979–80, is as follows:

    Year£ million
    1979–80213.4
    1980–81228.2
    1981–82161.9
    1982–83134.4
    The figures for the years 1979–80 to 1981–82 include the provision made in both the main orders and subsequent variation orders. The figure for 1982–83 is the figure in the main order.

    Hip And Joint Replacement Operations

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons are currently waiting for hip and joint replacements in Scotland; and what is the estimated waiting period for such operations.

    Health Boards (Resources)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the current share of resources to each area health board in Scotland; and, taking the total expenditure for 1980–81 as 100, if he will give the change in real terms for 1981–82.

    Allocations are made to health boards for revenue and ordinary capital programme expenditure on the hospital and community health services. The respective share to each board of the total resources allocated to boards generally in the current year is:

    Health BoardPercentage share 1981–82
    Argyll and Clyde7·28
    Ayrshire and Arran4·71
    Borders1·40
    Dumfries and Galloway2·57
    Fife4·68
    Forth Valley4·60
    Grampian8·68
    Greater Glasgow27·22
    Highland3·70
    Lanarkshire8·07
    Lothian16·14
    Orkney0·26
    Shetland0·32
    Tayside9·90
    Western Isles0·47
    Outturn expenditure figures for 1981–82 are not yet available. The total sum allocated to boards for revenue expenditure on the HCH is 1·56 per cent. higher in real terms in 1981–82 than in 1980–81; the estimate provision for expenditure on capital projects, including the major capital programme, is 3·2 per cent. higher.

    Social Services

    "Fit For Work"

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how his Department has responded to the Manpower Services Commission "Fit for Work" campaign; and what policy is followed regarding the filling of vacancies where suitably qualified unemployed disabled persons apply.

    The Department follows the Civil Service policy on the employment of disabled people. Its aims are closely allied to those of the "Fit for Work" campaign, as the policy statement which I am sending the hon. Member makes clear. Copies of the policy statement are available in the Library.

    Professions Supplementary To Medicine

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has had on pay determination from the negotiators of the professions supplementary to medicine; why he rejected their request for a meeting; if he will now reconsider his decision; and if he will make a statement.

    We have received separate representations on improvements in pay determination for the professions supplementary to medicine from the management and staff sides of the Professional and Technical "A" Whitley Council. In addition, the staff side asked for urgent discussions with representatives of the Government. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State replied that we attach importance to finding a way of ensuring that the pay of the PSMs is kept up to date and that discussions on methods of pay determination have already started in respect of nurses and midwives who have a similar problem. He also explained that we believe it would be sensible to see what emerges from those discussions before considering a meeting on the PSMs.

    Supplementary Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has received any representations on the efficacy of supplementary benefit form A 1 4N; and if the Social Security Advisory Committee has received any proposals for its improvement from outside bodies.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) on 18 January 1982.—[Vol. 16, c. 47.]

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will explain his Department's formulae for defining what should be the scale rates for supplementary benefit.

    The supplementary benefit scale rates are set out in the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements) Regulations 1980 (SI 1980 No. 1299) and are uprated each year. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services on 10 March announced the increases which will take effect from November of this year and the basis on which they have been calculated.Regulation 4(1) of SI 1980 No. 1299 indicates what the scale rates are intended to cover.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the minimum additional cost of a diabetic diet to a supplementary benefit allowance is fixed at £3.05, less 50p deduction for long-term scale; and how this figure and the other figures for additional requirements are arrived at.

    A brief summary of the history of dietary additions and the method used for uprating them was published by the former Supplementary Benefits Commission in appendix G to its 1978 annual report, which is available in the Library of the House. We have maintained this method in the regulations and in the subsequent upratings.The uprating for November 1982 will be announced when the February RPI figure is available. Generally, the additional requirements are uprated in line with other benefits or with relevant movements, actual or expected, in prices.

    Chrysoidine

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the research results from the department of cancer studies at Birmingham university, which suggest a link between cancer and chrysoidine, a dye that is used by anglers and angling suppliers supplying chrysoidine dyed maggots, are available to his Department; and if he will make a statement.

    I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

    Hospital For Sick Children

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, further to the Minister of Health's letter of 8 October 1981 to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South, he will make a statement on the future of the cardiac block at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street.

    Subject to the establishment by a new design team of a firm budget cost for the necessary works we have accepted in principle the proposal of the board of governors of the Hospital for Sick Children to undertake remedial works to the new cardiac block at Great Ormond Street as recommended by the firm of structural engineers appointed by the board to inspect and report on the structure of the building.

    Employment Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many persons are employed at each of the local offices of his Department in Walsall; and what were the figures in May 1979.

    The information requested is as follows:

    Walsall EastWalsall West
    1 May 1979157159
    8 March 1982151148
    The figures for 1982 reflect the actual numbers of staff in post. This information is not available for 1979 and details have been given of the authorised staffing levels these allowed.

    Appeal Tribunals (Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has that people are deterred from appealing to tribunals because they are told in a letter informing them of their right to an appeal that the Secretary of State has power to award costs against either party when an oral hearing is arranged.

    [pursuant to the reply, 1 March 1982, c. 50]: Evidence of any kind is not readily available but I can trace only two cases over the past two years where complainants may have been deterred in pursuing appeals by the provision for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of state to award costs.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will inform people who have a right of appeal to tribunals coming under the jurisdiction of his Department of the type of circumstances which would lead him to award costs against either party and of the frequency with which costs have been awarded in the past.

    [pursuant to the reply, 1 March 1982, c. 50]: No, because the award of costs has to be considered in the circumstances of each individual case. In advising parties of their rights of appeal to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, family practitioner committees refer both to the power of my right hon. Friend to award costs and to the fact that this power is seldom exercised.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the tribunals for which he is able to award costs against one or other party; in the case of each tribunal, how often this has occurred; and in what circumstances it is his policy to award such costs.

    [pursuant to the reply, 1 March 1982, c. 50]: Under the National Health Service (Service Committee and Tribunal) Regulations 1974 there are two provisions for the Secretary of State to award costs: (1) against either party on an appeal to him against decision of the family practitioner committee and (2) against a practitioner who has appealed to him against a decision of the NHS tribunal that the continued inclusion of the practitioner's name in the relevant list of the FPC would be prejudicial to the efficiency of the general medical—or general dental, pharmaceutical, or general ophthalmic—services.Since 1974 no awards of costs have been made against any party. The question of the award of costs has to be considered in the circumstances of each individual case.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Indian Migrants

    asked the Lord Privy Seal how many British passport holders are now waiting in India to be admitted to the United Kingdom.

    At the end of 1981 there were 4,930 applicants awaiting issue of vouchers.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether Her Majesty's Government will reconsider the possibility of applicants for special vouchers, requiring a medical examination before the issue of such vouchers, being X-rayed and examined by a local doctor rather than having to travel to Bombay for such an examination.

    Special voucher applicants in India are required to undergo medical examination in New Delhi or Bombay when they reach the top of the waiting list for a voucher and need to travel there for interview. The high commission in New Delhi refers appropriate interim medical examinations to a doctor in Jullundur. The deputy high commission in Bombay is considering the feasibility of making a similar arrangement.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal in what exceptional compassionate circumstances the United Kingdom high commission in India now considers requests for priority in the issue of special vouchers to enter the United Kingdom.

    1979–801980–811981–821982–83
    United Kingdom-based staff70635554
    Locally engaged staff154135111106
    Cost (salary and allowances)£1,293,048£1,292,131£1,271,277£1,346,447
    The cost figures are based on the estimates on survey prices for the year concerned.

    Priority is given to United Kingdom passport holders aged 70 or over and to widows who can look for support to their children settled here. All other requests for priority are considered on their individual merits.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether it is still the aim of Her Majesty's Government to give an applicant for a special voucher three months' notice of when his or her voucher will be issued.

    Posts in India will continue to give applicants three months' notice of interview.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal when applications were lodged for those special vouchers which were most recently issued.

    Applicants in India in the priority categories who received special vouchers in February this year had applied for them in March-April 1976. Non-priority applicants who received vouchers in February had applied for them in January-early February 1976.

    South Africa

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will give as much information as may be readily available stating for the longest period of time the contacts and associations in any form that Her Majesty's Government may have had with the Government of and business and cultural organisations in South Africa.

    British commercial links with what is now South Africa date back to the second half of the seventeenth century. The Government's links in the other fields mentioned have continued since British forces occupied the Cape in 1795, apart from the period 1803–1806 when the Cape was in Dutch hands.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will give details of United Kingdom official representation in South Africa; what staffs are employed and at what costs; and how these compare with the three previous years.

    We maintain an embassy in Pretoria, consulates-general in Johannesburg and Cape Town and a consulate in Durban.The information on staffing and staff costs is as follows:

    Employment

    Road Transport Industry Training Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations he has had within the industry, including the trade unions involved, about the future of the Road Transport Industry Training Board.

    I had a useful meeting with employer organisations and the chairman of the board on 4 February. I had arranged to meet union representatives on the same day, but not all were able to attend and the meeting was cancelled. I have now arranged to meet representatives of two of the unions concerned next week and the others know that I will be happy to meet them at any time. The Manpower Services Commission will also be consulting both employer organisations and trade unions before reaching a view about the future of the board.

    Chrysoidine

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if the Health and Safety Executive has been notified of research studies which suggest a link between cancer and chrysoidine; and, particularly bearing in mind the thousands of anglers and angling suppliers who regularly use this chrysoidine dye, whether the Health and Safety Executive will make available appropriate warnings about the use of chrysoidine by anglers.

    I am advised that the Health and Safety Executive's employment medical advisory service is aware of several cases of bladder cancer in anglers, but this has not been related to the total number of anglers and had not been part of a full epidemiological study with a control population. Cause and effect cannot be presumed at this stage. The evidence linking chrysoidine with cancer in mice was produce by a study carried out in Poland in 1954–56, but HSE is not aware of any recent study of the possible carcinogenicity of chrysoidine, either in animals or in humans. The EMAS is currently appraising the available evidence relating to the health effects of chrysoidine in an occupational context and will be reviewing the matter once the appraisal is completed.

    National Finance

    Foreign Exchange

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the yield of a stamp duty or turnover tax of ½ per cent. on all foreign exchange transactions carried out in the United Kingdom for home and overseas residents, based on transactions in 1981 or 1980.

    I regret that information is not available on which to base an estimate.

    Family Income

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish figures for 1980 and 1981 for a married man with two children earning average male manual earnings, showing the length of time, after taking into account income tax liability and national insurance contribution, necessary to pay for each of the following items: weekly rent of a three-bedroomed council dwelling, mortgage repayment on a newly built three-bedroomed semi-detached house, 3 lbs of beef sirloin, 2 lbs of fresh cod, 14 lbs of potatoes, a large loaf, ½ lb of tea, a quart of fresh milk, five cwts. of best coal, five gallons of petrol, a weekly season ticket between Surbiton and London, postage on five letters, a telegram of 12 words, a gentleman's haircut, 20 cigarettes, a pint of beer and a bottle of whisky.

    I regret that the figures needed to update the reply given to a similar question by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 13 February 1981—[Vol. 998, c. 451]—are not at present available. They should, however, become available very shortly, when I shall write to my hon. Friend.

    Private Nursing Homes (Loans)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek to amend the law to prevent building societies advancing money which has been invested with those societies to private nursing homes.

    Departmental Recruitment

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Departments have employed "headhunters" in the last 12 months for recruitment to jobs that arc within his control; if so, what fees have been paid to the "headhunters"; for what jobs they have sought applicants; and how many jobs they have filled.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1982, c. 493]: The Treasury has not employed commercial recruitment agencies for "headhunting" in the last 12 months.

    Charities

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many charities have a turnover equivalent to the business value added tax exemption level under section [5 of the Finance Act 1972.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1982, c. 494]: I regret that the information about the turnover of charities is not available. Comparatively few charities engage in business activities on a scale which requires them to register and account for value added tax. The primary purpose of section 15 of the Finance Act 1972 is to enable local authorities to obtain a refund of the tax they incur on their non-business expenditure, which would otherwise fall as a burden on the rates and the rate support grant.

    Duty-Free Allowance

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will increase the duty-free allowance to £100.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1982, c. 495.]: I assume my hon. Friend refers to the duty-free allowances for travellers. The allowance for travellers coming from other Community countries is already £120. That for travellers coming from countries outside the Community is £28. These allowances are governed by Community legislation, and the United Kingdom cannot vary them unilaterally.

    Personal Allowances

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage increase in personal allowances would now be necessary in order to bring those allowances up to the same level in real terms with those in 1979–80.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1982, c. 495.]: An increase of 13 per cent. over the levels proposed for 1982–83 in the Budget would be necessary to bring the main personal allowances to their levels in 1979–80 in real terms.

    Interest And Pensions (Taxation)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to reduce the burden of taxation on the savings of pensioners of modest means, particularly in regard to the taxation of interest and pensions.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 March 1982, c. 377.]: Pensioners will benefit from the increases in personal tax thresholds proposed in my right hon. and learned Friend's Budget Statement, and it is estimated that 150,000 fewer pensioners will pay income tax in 1982–83 than in 1981–82. Single and married pensioners over 65 will be able to have incomes of up to £9·02 and £.14·12 per week respectively in addition to basic pension before being liable to any income tax at all in 1982–83. These figures represent increases of £2·06 and £3·31 respectively on the 1981–82 figures.

    Tax Collection (Cumbernauld)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will inquire into the circumstances whereby the collector of taxes at Cumbernauld, Glasgow has collected revenue from a firm, the name and address of which has been supplied to him, of corporation tax amounting to £9,091·52, which was paid on 29 December 1981, and yet further notices demanding such payments were made on the company; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 8 March 1982, c. 305–6.]: Because of an error in the local tax office two assessments were made by the computer centre at Cumbernauld for the same income. The payment made by the company was set against one of these assessments, and the further demands related to the other, incorrect, assessment. The Inland Revenue has sent an explanation to the company and apologised for the error, to which I add my apologies.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the tax office at Cumbernauld, Glasgow failed to acknowledge or reply to a letter from a firm, the name and address of which has been supplied to him, dated 8 February, relating to the payment of corporation tax; why a further notice threatening court action was issued to the firm despite the fact that payment had been made on 29 December 1981; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 8 March 1982, c. 305–6]: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer explaining why incorrect requests for payment were issued in this case.When the company's letter was received by the Cumbernauld office action was taken too late to prevent the automatic issue of a further application for payment. The Inland Revenue has now replied to the letter apologising for the inconvenience this delay has caused.

    Transport

    Departmental Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport on what basis the fees for the right to reproduce his Department's statistics are assessed; whether the press is exempt from such fees; whether trade associations are treated differently from the press in respect of the use of such data; what trade associations have been approached by his Department with a view to paying fees; how many have paid such fees; what sum has been collected; and what proportion this represents of the total cost of his Department's statistical services.

    Fees for the right to reproduce statistical data are based on the commercial value of the information. Summary data in statistical press notices are provided free of charge to the press as background briefing. Other bodies such as trade associations may purchase these press notices, and would have to pay a fee if they wished to reproduce large tracts of the data in their own publications.Several bodies have been approached with a view to paying these fees, but it would be a breach of commercial confidence to name them or the sums involved. The first fees are expected in the 1982–83 financial year and are likely to represent less than 0·5 per cent. of the total cost of all statistical work in the Department.

    Gas Tankers (Solent)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the statement by the Under-Secretary of State on Thursday 25 February, Official Report, c. 1079, if he will now make a statement on the action he has taken to co-ordinate activity with a view to controlling commercial development involving liquid petroleum gas tankers in the Solent.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Sir D. Price) on 10 March.—[Vol. 19, c. 833.]

    Arpley Sidings (Derailment)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether an inquiry will be held into the derailment of wagons carrying high explosives at Arpley sidings, near Warrington; and what precautions are being taken to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

    No. The derailment, which was not a reportable railway accident, occurred during a shunting move during which the rules for the movement of wagons containing explosives were being observed and no additional precautions are considered necessary. No hazard to the travelling public or to those living in the neighbourhood was involved.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether high explosives or other dangerous substances are normally shunted in their sidings at Arpley sidings, near Warrington; and, in the light of the recent derailment, if he will take measures to ensure that high explosives and other dangerous substances are not put in these sidings in the future.

    Shunting of wagons containing dangerous substances and explosives takes place regularly at Arpley. The handling of such traffic is a day-to-day occurrence on the railways and there is no reason to ban it specifically from Arpley. The rules covering the movement of wagons carrying explosives were being observed at the time of the recent derailment, which did not give rise to an undue hazard.

    Environment

    Council House Sales

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his most recent estimate of the numbers of local authority flats and maisonettes that have been sold under the right-to-buy legislation.

    It is estimated from information supplied by local authorities that 370 sales of flats in England and Wales were completed during the period 3 October 1980 to 31 December 1981 under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities that have succeeded in fixing service charges and have, as a result, sold flats and maisonettes under the right-to-buy legislation.

    The following list of authorities in England have reported the sale of flats in the period up to 31 December 1981 under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980.

    AllerdaleMendip
    ArunMerton
    AshfordMilton Keynes
    Aylesbury ValeMole Valley
    Berwick upon TweedNorth Wiltshire
    BlackburnOxford
    BournemouthPenwith
    BristolPlymouth
    ChesterPortsmouth
    City of LondonPreston
    CleethorpesRichmond upon Thames
    ColchesterRochester upon Medway
    CongletonRunnymede
    CoventryRyedale
    CrawleySt. Albans
    DartfordSevenoaks
    EalingSlough
    East CambridgeshireSouthampton
    East HampshireSpelthorne
    East LindseyStevenage
    East NorthamptonshireSurrey Heath
    FarehamSwale
    GloucesterTandridge
    OraveshamTaunton Deane
    Great YarmouthTendring
    Hammersmith and FulhamTewkesbury
    HaringeyThanet
    HaveringTunbridge Wells
    HartsmereWandsworth
    HoveWestminster
    HuntingdonWest Somerset
    HyndburnWeymouth
    Kensington and ChelseaWorcester
    Lewes

    Ancient Monuments And Archaeological Areas Act 1979

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many sites that are under the protection of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 have been damaged by treasure hunters or thieves; how many prosecutions his Department has initiated; and whether he is yet in a position to commence prosecution procedures in relation to the recent raid on Sutton Hoo.

    Besides the Sutton Hoo case, two allegations of treasure hunting and three of vandalism or theft on protected sites are being investigated by the police. One other case of vandalism was dropped because it was thought that the damage had been done by children who were under age. The police inquiries have not yet been concluded.

    Recycled Paper

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the policy of his Department towards the purchase and use of recycled paper for correspondence, circulars and other printed publications.

    My officials are in discussions with Friends of the Earth on the use of recycled products by my Department.

    Kirklees

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why there has been a delay in connection with the announcement of a decision concerning the 1982–83 applications for urban aid submitted to his Department by Kirklees metropolitan district authority; and when a decision will be given.

    There has been no delay in the announcement of urban aid approvals for 1982–83. About 48 per cent. more applications have been received this year than last and the evaluation process has taken a few days more than we hoped. Approval letters are now being sent out to all the local authorities concerned.

    Wild Birds

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether a list of special protection areas for wild birds has been submitted to the EEC as required by the Council resolution of 2 April 1979 in directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds ; and, if so, if he will name these sites.

    The following 19 sites have been included in a list put forward in response to the resolution; they are sites covered by the Ramsar convention. The Government are now considering what further sites to notify.

    Hectares
    Cors Fochno and Dyfi (Powys, Dyfed and Gwynedd)2,497
    Bridgwater Bay (Somerset)2,703
    Bure Marshes (Ranworth, Cockshoot and Hoveton Great Broads, and Woodbastwick Marshes) (Norfolk)412
    Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere (Norfolk)892
    Lindisfarne (Northumberland)3,123
    Loch Druidibeg, Loch a'Machair and Loch Stilligary (Western Isles)1,780
    Loch Leven (Tayside)1,597
    Loch Lomond (Central and Strathclyde)253
    Lough Neagh and Lough Beg (Northern Ireland)39,500
    Minsmere—Walberswick (Suffolk)1,697
    North Norfolk Coast (Scolt Head, Holkham, Blakeney Point and Cley-Salthouse Marshes) (Norfolk)5,559
    Ouse Washes (Norfolk and Cambridgeshire)2,276
    Rannoch Moor (Tayside and Strathclyde)1,499

    Hectares

    Cairngorm Lochs (Grampian and Highland)179
    Loch Lintrathen (Tayside)218
    Claish Moss (Highland)563
    Silver Flowe (Dumfries and Galloway)608
    Abberton Reservoir (Essex)1,228
    Rostherne Mere (Cheshire County)79

    Derwent Ings

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Derwent Ings qualifies for special conservation measures under article 4 of EEC directive 79/409/EEC.

    Only 19 sites have so far been positively identified as qualifying for special conservation measures under article 4. The Derwent Ings is not among them—but the question of notifying further sites is still under consideration.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Derwent Ings has been notified as a site of special scientific interest; and, if so, when it was notified and for what reason.

    The Derwent Ings site of special scientific interest, including North Duffield Carrs, was first notified by the Nature Conservancy Council in 1975 and was extended in 1981.The site is considered important by the NCC for its alluvial grassland flora, and as a breeding habitat for a wide range of wetland bird species, some of them rare, and of international importance for wintering wildfowl, in particular Bewick's swan, teal and wigeon.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Nature Conservancy Council has agreed or rejected draft proposals to pump drain that section of the Derwent Ings known as North Duffield Carrs.

    I am advised that in informal consultations with the Ouse and Derwent internal drainage board, the Nature Conservancy Council has indicated its outright objection to the proposal for a permanent pumped drainage scheme at North Duffield Cans.Discussions with the internal drainage board are in progess over its new proposal for temporary pumping on an experimental basis.

    Israel (Sporting Events)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the discrimination against Arabs seeking to participate in Israeli national sporting events, he will seek, in the terms of the Gleneagles agreement, to discourage contact or competition between British and Israeli sportsmen.

    Mortgages

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now considered the response to his Department's consultation paper "Low Start Mortgages for House Purchase"; and if he will make a statement.

    Most replies have now been received. Generally, the reponse has indicated that there is no requirement for a single nationally approved scheme for low start mortgages. I accept this view and do not propose to amend or update the scheme devised by my Department and the Building Societies Association in 1975.However, I welcome the response by the BSA that if a demand for low start mortgages should develop then building societies will offer such loans within the existing annuity mortgage framework. Low start mortgages are only one amongst several means of helping first-time home buyers that we now have available. For example, shared ownership schemes and deferred purchase schemes which are both already operating enable first-time home buyers with relatively small incomes to cross over from renting into home ownership.