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Written Answers

Volume 21: debated on Friday 2 April 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 2 April 1982

Industry

Regional Selective Assistance

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the last date on which companies in those assisted areas which will become non-assisted on 1 August may make application for regional selective assistance under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972.

Companies in the relevant areas have already been advised that in their own best interests they should submit detailed applications by 31 March 1982 at the latest in order to allow as much time as possible for them to be considered and, where appropriate, an offer of assistance to be made before 31 July. In view of the number of applications which have been received and which are still under consideration, we have decided that, in order to receive consideration, fully documented applications must be submitted not later than 30 April. Incomplete applications and those received after that date will be rejected. This cut-off date will not, however, apply to certain applications for exchange risk guarantee cover for small loans from the European Investment Bank and the European Coal and Steel Community which are processed under simplified procedures.These arrangements are without prejudice to the further review of those areas due to be down graded by more than one step since 1979, the results of which I hope to announce shortly, and to our continued readiness to consider the circumstances of particular areas.

Manchester And Salford

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, Official Report, 2 March, column 90, if he has now responded to the further evidence about the Manchester-Salford partnership area's circumstances sent to him under cover of a letter of 17 February from the town clerk of the city of Manchester council; and what were the terms of his reply.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 March 1982, c. 414]: A copy of my reply has been placed in the Library of the House.

Northern Ireland

Millisle Borstal

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the recreation and sports facilities at the former borstal institute at Millisle may be placed at the disposal of the Ards borough council for the benefit of the young people of the Ards.

These facilities are currently used by the Northern Ireland prison service training college and the Lisnevin school special unit. It would not be practicable to grant the public general access to the facilities. However, from time to time arrangements are made for groups to compete with boys in Lisnevin school under proper supervision.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the cost of maintaining the buildings and grounds of the former borstal at Millisle; and whether these costs are charged against Lisnevin school.

In the period 14 September 1931, when Lisnevin school transferred to its present location at Millisle, to 28 February 1982 the total cost of maintaining the buildings and grounds of the former borstal was £34,400, of which £10,100 is chargeable against Lisnevin school. However, this is not a typical figure, since much of the expenditure related to the conversion of the former borstal building to its new prison service college role.

Defence

Ulster Defence Regiment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the terms of his reply to the representations made by the Ulster Young Unionist Council requesting a recommendation that the Ulster Defence Regiment should become a Royal Regiment.

I have replied to the Ulster Young Unionist Council and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of my letter. I also refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) on 4 June 1980—[Vol. 985, c. 642–43]—which remains the Government's position. The question of special awards For members of the UDR is, however, being actively considered at present.

Air Staff Target 1228

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when air staff target 1228 was cancelled or deferred; what has replaced it; what was the delay between air staff target 1228 becoming invalid and its replacement becoming effective; and what are the differences in criteria between the two.

The need for a weapon to meet air staff target 1228 remains. Several options are currently being studied, but a decision is not likely to be made until later this year.

Home Department

Prison Sentences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the length of the average sentence served in prison by those convicted of crimes of (a) robbery and (b) murder in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are currently in prison having served a sentence of more than 20 years for the offence for which they were convicted; and for what offences they were sentenced in each case.

Information in the form requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.Twenty-five persons serving sentences on 31 January 1982 were first received under sentence into prison department establishments in England and Wales more than 20 years previously. Twenty of them, including 11 who had been recalled after being released on licence, were serving sentences for murder; four, including one recalled prisoner, were serving sentences for manslaughter and one recalled prisoner was serving a sentence for unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 13.

Muni Quip T3 Radar

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions there were in 1981 in magistrates' courts as a consequence of the use of Muni Quip T3 hand-held radar equipment by the police; how many subsequently went to appeal; and how many of these appeals were decided in favour of the defendant.

The information requested is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Crime Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will request the Metropolitan Police to publish figures of ethnic origin of victims of crime;(2) if he will request the Metropolitan Police to publish breakdowns of their crime statistics by sex;(3) if, in future crime statistics, he will ask the Metropolitan Police to record whether the person committing the crime is employed or unemployed.

Recreation Grounds (Fouling By Dogs)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make his approval of proposed byelaws to control the fouling of recreation grounds by dogs conditional upon the local authority including a provision to require a person whose dog has fouled an area not specifically designated for that purpose to remove the excrement.

My right hon. Friend is not prepared to confirm byelaws to control the fouling of recreation grounds by dogs by any means other than their partial or total exclusion. Byelaws to prevent dogs from fouling or to require the removal of excrement might be considered unreasonable by the courts.

Capital Punishment

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the recent appeal by the Police Federation of Great Britain and the increase in violent crime, he will now reconsider his former refusal to hold a national referendum on the question whether or not capital punishment should be available to the courts as a penalty for murder.

My right hon. Friend does not believe that the issue of capital punishment should be made the subject of a referendum.

Scotland

Biotechnology

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps the Scottish Development Agency is taking, particularly in conjunction with Strathclyde university, to encourage the employment potential of biotechnology in Scotland.

Water Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average water charge for each region in Scotland for the year 1982–83.

Information in the form requested is not available to my Department for the year 1982–83. The domestic water rates leviable on consumers in Scottish regions in 1982–83 will be as follows:

RegionPence per £ of rateable value
Borders11
Central10
Dumfries and Galloway11·5
Fife7
Grampian13
Highland15
Lothian9
Strathclyde10
Tayside9
In addition, all subjects contribute further to water and sewerage expenditure through the public water and regional rates. There are also metered and special charges. Because water and sewerage services in Scotland are provided by local authorities with different charging arrangements from regional water authorities in England and Wales, their average water charges are not directly comparable.

Overseas Students (Fees)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will announce the fees to be charged to overseas students attending Scottish institutions other than universities in the academic year 1982–83.

The fees for overseas students attending Scottish institutions, other than universities, on full-time courses in the academic year 1982–83 will be as follows. Fees for 1981–82 are shown in brackets.

££
Postgraduate:
course begun before autumn 19801,929(1,803)
other studentsFee to cover the cost of the course
Undergraduate and equivalent:
course begun before autumn 19801,485(1,389)
other students on courses involving substantial use of laboratories, studios, workshops, etc.3,750(3,600)
££
other students on laboratory-studio an classroom-based courses3,375(3,150)
other students on classroom-based courses2,750(2,400)
Non-advanced courses:
courses begun before autumn 1980795(744)
other students on courses involving use of laboratories, studios, workshops, etc.2,088(1,950)
other students on classroom-based courses1,395(1,305)
These fees will not apply to students who have been ordinarily resident in a country of the European Communities for at least three years before the start of their courses. Such students will pay the home rate fees, as will students who are the children of EC migrant workers, are UN convention refugees, or participate in fully reciprocal student exchange programmes, as follows:

££
Postgraduate1,413(1,320)
Undergraduate and equivalent480(900)
A circular will be issued shortly to colleges and education authorities conveying my approval of these fee arrangements under the Race Relations Act 1976.

Trade

Hotel Bedrooms (Occupancy)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information is available to his Department of (a) the total number of hotel bedrooms in the Greater London area and (b) the percentage occupancy of these over the last 12 months for which figures are available.

Precise information on the number of hotel bedrooms in the Greater London area is not available. The English Tourist Board estimates there are over 69,000 hotel bedrooms in Greater London and the board's latest hotel occupancy survey suggests that the average occupancy levels of London hotel bedrooms in each month of 1981 was of the following order:

Percentage
January46
February51
March55
April58
May58
June59
July58
August61
September69
October67
November61
December51

Overseas Visitors

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information is available to his Department of the total number of overseas visitors who stayed in London hotels during the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many of them stayed for one night only, for two nights to seven nights, and for over a week, respectively.

In 1980, some 5·9 million overseas visitors stayed in London hotels. About 15 per cent. stayed for one night only, 65 per cent. for two to seven nights and 20 per cent. for over a week.

Insolvency Law Review

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he will publish the final report of the Cork committee on the review of the insolvency laws.

I intend to publish the full report as soon as possible. I expect the publication date to be about the end of May.

Export Credits Guarantee Department

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the current staffing levels of the Export Credits Guarantee Department.

Yes. By its nature, ECGD's business has peaks and troughs and the Department cannot be permanently staffed simply to cope with either of these extremes. However, unless there is a growth in the volume of demand which exceeds reasonable forecasts based on past trends, I am confident that the staff ceilings set for ECGD can be met without detriment to the quality or range of ECGD's services.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the average length of time at present taken to process an application for cover by the Export Credits Guarantee Department; and how this compares with 1977.

No record is available of the average length of time taken. Spot checks show, however, that between 25 per cent. and 30 per cent. of all short-term credit limit applications are usually processed within three working days and 60 per cent. within two weeks. The bulk of the remainder relate to unknown buyers on whom ECGD has to obtain information overseas. This may take several weeks, or sometimes significantly longer in difficult markets. No data for 1977 are available.

Environment

Council House Sales

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the progress of all the London boroughs in assisting tenants to exercise their rights under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980; what serious difficulties have been reported to him; and whether in the case of blocks of flats, he is satisfied with the progress to allow tenants to become home owners.

Mr. right hon. Friend is not satisfied with progress in all London boroughs. The main difficulties reported to him are of undue delay, and problems relating to service charges, valuations and the terms of conveyances. Completion of sales of flats under the right -to-buy has now taken place in a number of London boroughs, but in many authorities progress with flat sales needs to accelerate.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will advertise in selected local papers and national papers the rights of tenants under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980; and, in the case of those authorities known to obstruct tenants, what action tenants may take to overcome such obstruction.

Advertising in the national press and on television has been undertaken to inform tenants about the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980, and to help them obtain copies of the Department's booklet "The Right to Buy". Where tenants are facing difficulty in exercising their legal rights they should write to me or to my Department providing details whilst continuing to pursue the purchase of their home with their local authority.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants of London housing associations registered with the Housing Corporation, where the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980 apply, have submitted the right to buy claim form; and how many have succeeded in exchanging contracts.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants in each London borough have, under the right-to-buy provisions of the Housing Act 1980, submitted the right-to-buy claim form; and how many have succeeded in exchanging contracts.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) on 10 March 1982. —[Vol. 19, c. 454–55.] There is no provision under the right-to-buy for exchange of contracts, but my answer of 10 March refers to information on sales completed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities known to him which are refusing to sell garages to tenants purchasing their homes under the right-to-buy legislation.

By virtue of section 50(2) of the Housing Act 1980, where the right-to-buy is exercised, a landlord is not entitled to seek to exclude from a sale a garage or other land which is "let together with the dwelling-house" which the tenant occupies under his secure tenancy. Whether a garage or other land is so let will depend on the facts of each case but the mere fact that it is let on a separate tenancy does not itself establish that it is not let together with the dwelling-house. Where such land is not let together with the dwelling-house but is used for the purpose of the dwelling-house, the Act provides that it may be included in the sale if the landlord and tenant agree.The Department is in correspondence with the councils of the London borough of Greenwich and Sheffield about their interpretation of the Act as it applies to land let together with the dwelling-house.

Local Authorities (Expenditure Targets)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the 1982–83 spending targets fixed by his Department for each of the boroughs in (a) inner London and (b) outer London together with the estimated spending for 1982–83 now approved by each council.

The figures requested are at follows.The expenditure estimates shown are those derived from block grant claim forms which may, in some cases, be subject to correction.

Targets and spending plans of London Boroughs
AuthorityTarget Column 1 £ millionPlanned expenditure Column 2 £ million
GREATER LONDON
City of London52·94055·364
Camden96·40196·898
Greenwich48·39552·845
Hackney63·17876·989
Hammersmith and Fulham49·48757·399
Islington65·63370·590
Kensington and Chelsea36·45938·510
Lambeth94·901100·690
Lewisham70·49074·014
Southwark82·48585·177
Tower Hamlets55·30262·765
Wandsworth59·58260·156
Westminster60·79764·262
Barking and Dagenham56·20457·083
Barnet92·19794·043
Bexley73·95477·586
Brent119·433134·819
Bromley89·73289·377
Croydon101·048101·010
Ealing106·372109·340
Enfield88·11990·773
Haringey106·910122·889
Harrow65·64371·539
Havering80·36580·365
Hillingdon82·67484·819
Hounslow79·68484·990
Kingston upon Thames43·81642·496
Merton55·16155·198
Newham108·431120·988
Redbridge71·07773·084
Richmond upon Thames48·12548·159
Sutton51·31452·427
Waltham Forest95·886108·847

Local Authority Housing Capital Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, if he will re-publish, updated to the third quarter of 1981–82, the tables set out in the Official Report, 18 December, columns 223–38, showing for every local authority in England its actual housing investment expenditure so far compared with the total housing investment programme allocation available to it for the full financial year, with the combination of its total housing investment programme allocation and housing capital receipts, and with the combination of its total housing investment programme allocation, housing capital receipts and other capital receipts.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Heddle) on 31 March.

Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the answer of the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) to the hon. Member for Blackburn, Official Report, 26 January, column 294, what estimate he is able to make of the total amount of rates paid in England and Wales by companies paying, or entitled to pay, corporation tax at the small companies' rate.

My Department does not have the information on which to base such an estimate.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

European Foundation

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether an agreement has now been concluded establishing the European Foundation.

As forecast by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science on 24 March in reply to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing), an intergovernmental agreement between the Ten member States setting up a European Foundation was signed on 29 March by my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The general aims of the foundation are to seek in a practical way to foster a better understanding among the peoples of Europe, to promote an appreciation of the European culture heritage and to further a greater understanding of European integration.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Milk Levy

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of United Kingdom milk producers would attract the lower rate of levy proposed under the principle of progressivity suggested by the European Economic Community for modulation of the milk levy.

Under the Commission's proposal, all producers would pay the reduced rate of levy

19771978197919801981
Common Wheat64·159·849·843·638·1
Barley51·265·254·541·835·1
Maize56·861·856·352·942·5
Sugar67·962·268·39·933·1
Pigmeat30·338·841·233·224·5
Beef51·854·551·150·752·1
Butter80·781·683·175·653·5
Skimmed milk powderN.A.91·190·664·947·4

Notes: Simple average of daily common levies as a percentage of: Common Wheat—reference price for wheat of minimum breadmaking quality.

Barley—Intervention price.

Maize—Intervention price.

on their first 60,000 kg of milk. However, it is estimated that about 83 per cent. of United Kingdom producers would continue to pay the full rate of levy, compared with about 27 per cent. in the Community as a whole.

Sugar

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the tonnage and first hand value of the beet sugar produced in the United Kingdom in 1981; what was the average price per ton of cane sugar at world prices in 1981; and how much he estimates was added to the cane sugar price for freight, insurance and handling charges in United Kingdom ports.

Beet sugar is produced in the United Kingdom from September to January but calendar year production figures are normally published on the basis of the crop to which they relate. Production from the 1981 crop amounted to some 1·092 million tonnes white sugar equivalent. Most of this sugar will be sold in 1982, but I take it from the second part of the hon. Member's question that he wishes it to be valued at the prices prevailing in 1981. On this basis, using the United Kingdom effective support price for white sugar as the best available proxy for first hand prices, it would be worth £334 million.World market prices do not distinguish between cane and beet sugar, but the London daily price for raw sugar, which is the form in which most cane sugar is marketed, averaged £202·35 per tonne in 1981.The London daily price includes freight and insurance. My Department does not monitor or estimate landing charges.

Agricultural Produce (Price)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish a table in the Official Report showing for each year since 1973 the average European Economic Community levy payable on each of the common agricultural policy products as a percentage of the common agricultural policy price, that is without reference to compensation amounts.

Estimates of the simple average of daily common levies for the main items as a percentage of intervention prices for the years 1977 to 1981 are as follows. These figures may not reflect the actual average levy paid on imports from third countries since the volume of imports varies throughout the year. Information for earlier years could not be provided except at disproportionate cost.

Sugar—Intervention price for white sugar including storage levy.

Pigmeat—Lowest buying in price although in practice support is through occasional aid to private storage rather than buying in.

Beef—Intervention price converted to carcase equivalent using 55 per cent. killing out coefficient.

Butter—Intervention price for 82 per cent. butter.

Skimmed milk powder—Intervention price.

Retail Price Index

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the retail price index on 1 January 1973 and 1 March 1982; what was the comparable level of prices paid to farmers on those dates; and if he will estimate the proportion of the retail price accounted for by farm prices on each of those dates.

Comparable information is available only to January 1982. The retail food price index—based on January 1974 = 100—stood at 83·2 in January 1973 and at 296·1 in January 1982, an increase of 256 per cent. Over the same period the agricultural producer price index rose by 200 per cent. The value of home produced food at the farm gate accounts for about one quarter of consumers' expenditure on food.

Wildlife And Countryside Act 1981

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give the latest convenient estimates of the amount of money spent by his Department on conservation under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

We do not record the proportion of grant-aided expenditure attributed to conservation under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; nor is it possible to quantify the proportion of total ADAS expenditure which can attributed to this work.

Wildlife (Mevinphos)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish the results of the analyses of dead birds and other wildlife carried out in his Department's laboratories in England and Wales in 1979, 1980 and 1981 showing which, if any, died of mevinphos poisoning, listing the numbers of each species thus killed; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave him on 25 March.—[Vol.20, c 411.] The information requested is as follows:

197919801981
Total incidents of alleged poisoning of birds and mammals by pesticides of all kinds192190243
Confirmed incidents involving misuse of mevinphos203038
19731974197519761977197819791980Total
Beef
destroyed
otherwise disposed of1797410,7975,86810,16111,9048,26747,250
Butter
destroyed
otherwise disposed of9,03311,8687,85514,65316,74130,63445,627136,411
Skimmed Milk Powder
destroyed
otherwise disposed of31119,53359,13210,14656,21966,8801,217213,438
197919801981
Species and numbers identified in confirmed mevinphos incidents Birds
Red Kites1
Marsh Harriers1
Hen Harriers1
Buzzards123
Sparrowhawks1
Kestrels131
Corvids*1744*17
Gulls1*1
Pigeons*59
Game Birds224*†51
Song Birds41*†328
Other Birds Mammals1
Dogs1312
Cats11128
Ferrets1
Foxes9620
Badgers3
Stoats*1
Other Mammals32
* Estimated.
† 50 pheasants and over 200 finches included in these figures resulted from one incident.

Intervention Board (Disposal Policy)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, pursuant to his reply of 29 March stating that the British Intervention Board had destroyed or otherwise disposed of 161,000 tons of food or fish, he will find out from the European Economic Community Commission how much food, fish and wine was destroyed or otherwise disposed of by each of the other member States of the European Economic Community in 1981; and if he will publish the figures in the Official Report.

I have asked the Commission for the information requested, and shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, pursuant to his reply of 29 March, he will publish a table showing the total amounts of food and fish destroyed or otherwise disposed of in each of the 10 years prior to 1981.

The following table gives the figures from 1973 being the year in which the United Kingdom began to operate the common agricultural policy of the European Community:

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

Total

Breadmaking Wheat

destroyed
otherwise disposed of2,2202,220

Apples

destroyed493576,6018,04015,047
otherwise disposed of52484,0462,1126,411

Pears

destroyed232,9156952,193
otherwise disposed of2387196585

Tomatoes

destroyed
otherwise disposed of15152

Cauliflowers

destroyed2355,9768127,023
otherwise disposed of61701221477776

Fish

destroyed16914644275421,162
otherwise disposed of5,61412,53426,40033,9758,3962,55232,203121,674

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement outlining the methods by which 12,636 tons of apples were destroyed in Great Britain in 1981 by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce or its agents; and how the board satisfied itself that the apples were actually destroyed.

In the United Kingdom, apples withdrawn from the market are ploughed in or dumped in approved refuse tips. The operations are witnessed and supervised.

asked the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food if he will describe the ways in which around 50,000 tons of fish were destroyed or otherwise disposed of in 1981.

Fish withdrawn from the human consumption market in 1981 were destroyed or otherwise disposed of in the following ways:

tonnes
Destroyed (by dumping at sea)1,297
Otherwise disposed of as fish meal47,144
Otherwise disposed of as pet food901
Total49,342

Milk Production

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with present production levels in the United Kingdom milk sector.

Yes, Sir. Given the constraints arising, particularly from the current dairy surplus within

Percentage of income paid in income tax and national insurance contributions
Half average earningsThree-quarters average earningsAverage earningsOne and a half times average earningsTwice average earnings
TaxNICTaxNICTaxNICTaxNICTaxNIC
Single person
1981–8217·77·721·87·723·97·725·97·727·56·0
1982–8317·08·721·38·723·58·725·78·726·86·9
Married couple without children
1981–8210·87·717·27·720·47·723·67·725·26·0
1982–839·78·716·48·719·88·723·28·724·96·9
Married couple with one child*
1981–8210·17·216·47·419·77·523·07·624·85·9

the European Community, I believe that production levels within the United Kingdom milk sector have held up well, and that the prospects for the coming year are encouraging.

Pesticides And Herbicides

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will ensure that no agricultural and horticultural pesticides and herbicides are imported for use before clearance under the pesticides safety precautions scheme.

It is a requirement under the pesticides safety precautions scheme that all agricultural and horticultural chemicals, whether manufactured in the United Kingdom or imported, should be screened for safety prior to their marketing for use here. We are currently considering whether further measures are necessary to support the scheme.

National Finance

Family Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update for 1982–83, assuming a 7·5 per cent. increase in earnings, the figures on family income provided in his reply of 21 December 1981 to the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) Official Report, c. 300–302.

The information, including revisions for 1981–82, is shown in the following table. Figures are provisional.

Half average earnings

Three-quarters average earnings

Average earnings

One and a half times average earnings

Twice average earnings

Tax

NIC

Tax

NIC

Tax

NIC

Tax

NIC

Tax

NIC

1982–839·08·115·68·319·18·422·68·524·46·8
Married couple with two children*
1981–829·46·715·67·019·07·222·57·424·35·8
1982–838·47·614·97·918·48·121·18·324·06·7
Married couple with four children*
1981–828·35·914·36·417·76·721·47·023·45·6
1982–837·46·613·67·217·17·621·07·923·16·4

* For years after 1978–79 the ages of the children in the families are not relevant since this was the last year in which child tax allowances were given.

Average earnings are for full-time adult male manual workers. The income figures include child benefit. It has been assumed that employees are not contracted out of the earnings-related State pension scheme.

Public Works (Test Discount Rate)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the test discount rate used for assessing the projected benefits of public works financed with Government grants; and over what period of time the costs and benefits of such projects are normally assessed.

The basic test discount rate used for assessing the projected costs and benefits of public works is 5 per cent. in real terms, although other rates are used in some circumstances. Costs and benefits are normally assessed over the estimated life of the particular project.

Corporation Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Blackburn, Official Report, 26 January, c. 294, what is the estimated total amount of corporation tax paid in 1981–82 by companies paying the tax at the small companies' rate.

Taxation Of Benefit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 8 March, Official Report, c. 307, concerning the taxation of unemployment benefit and supplementary benefit (a) how many persons will be currently affected, and (b) what is the estimated total cost other than staff costs.

[pursuant to his reply, 19 March 1982, c. 224]: It is estimated that, as a result of bringing into tax benefits paid to the unemployed, in a full year about 4½ million people will pay more income tax on their pay or other sources of income during the year than they would otherwise have done. Staff costs excluded, the setting up and first year costs are estimated at about £5·25 million and the annual costs thereafter at about £750,000.

Employment

Underwater Training Centre (Fort William)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is now in a position to make a statement about the future of the underwater training centre, Fort William.

Following a review of the centre in 1979, the Government and the Manpower Services Commission concluded that the centre could not continue indefinitely to rely almost completely on public funding. In March 1980, the Public Accounts Committee reported that it did not believe there was a case for continuing the centre unless the industry was prepared to finance it

"so that all support from public funds … can be discontinued or very substantially reduced".
Since then the Government have sought to find a way to ensure the future of the centre and have undertaken protracted negotiations with a view to transferring its financing and management to the industry. The Government have aimed to secure a phased withdrawal of public sector funding, consistent with their view that the industry should progressively assume full responsibility for meeting its own training needs.The Government regret that, in the event, it has not proved possible to reach an agreement which offers this and which recognises the substantial investment of around £6 million that the Government have made in the centre since it was set up in 1976. In these circumstances, the Government believe that further public funding of the centre would not be justified. Financial support by the taxpayer will, therefore, cease at the end of April when existing trainees have completed their courses and, with my right hon. Friend's approval the MSC will be taking the appropriate action.Whilst the Government recognise that the centre has come to be recognised as a source of high quality training for the offshore diving industry, it believes that the industry should be ready to accept responsibility for meeting its own needs in relation to diver training. The Government will continue to enforce the Diving at Work Regulations to ensure that standards of training and safety in offshore diving operations are maintained.

Trainees (Woodworking)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those firms in the Tottenham and Edmonton area to which youth opportunities programme trainees have been sent where woodworking machinery is in use.

There are several schemes involving the use of woodworking machinery in the area. The exact number is not known and could be provided only at considerable cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ensure that no youth opportunities programme trainee is sent to any employer who uses woodworking machinery.

Schemes involving the use of this machinery are agreed only where the sponsor includes instruction and supervision. Such schemes can provide young people with valuable training and work experience and I do not think it would be right to prohibit trainees taking part in them.

Social Services

Unclaimed Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of £600 million unclaimed in 1981, he will now take further steps to inform the public of the social security benefits that are available.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the February 1982 edition of "Social Security Notes". This contains an article describing the extensive measures which we are taking to inform the public of available benefits, and to encourage take-up.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for each of his Department's local offices in Birmingham the number of outstanding claims due to recipients of supplementary benefit as a result of the supplementary rate increase levied by the West Midlands county council and Birmingham district council.

It is not possible to make valid estimates of the effect of the supplementary rate in isolation from other tasks on levels of outstanding work in the various Birmingham offices.

Abortions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set up a national study into the numbers of abortions carried out on members of ethnic minorities.

I do not consider that such a study would be of any value. Details of the ethnic origin of women having an abortion are not collected.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research has been done on the use of abortion by different racial groups in the United Kingdom.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of Staye for Social Services when the next summary of statistics of unemployment benefit claimants will be available; and to what date it will refer.

The summary of statistics of unemployment benefit claimants is normally produced half-yearly, from a 5 per cent. sample survey made in May and November. Because no such surveys were made last year, as a result of industrial action, an additional survey was made on 11 February 1982, and the summary should be available by July. The less detailed quarterly analysis of registered unemployed claimants, also as at 11 February, should be available later this month.