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Written Answers

Volume 21: debated on Monday 5 April 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 5 April 1982

Home Department

Citizenship

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for British citizenship were (a) received and (b) granted in 1981 in each of the following categories (i) naturalisation, (ii) registration by children, (iii) registration at discretion for adults and (iv) registration by entitlement for adults.

The information is as follows:

1981
Number of applications for citizenship of the United Kingdom and ColoniesCertificates issued
(a) Naturalisation9,7146,044
(b) Registration of minor children12,33115,853
(c) Registration at discretion of adult Commonwealth citizens and others settled here since 1 January 19736,6361,177
(d) Registration as an entitlement on grounds of residence or marriage40,69025,406
(e) Other miscellaneous applications as entitlements and at discretion721856

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department at what types of public offices application forms for British citizenship are available; and if he intends to increase the number of public outlets.

Application forms for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies are available from the Home Office immigration and nationality department and can be obtained by writing or telephoning to that department or by calling at its public inquiry office at Croydon. We see no need to increase the number of public outlets.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider exempting from fee payment applicants for British citizenship whose income is at or below the current supplementary benefit rate or who are eligible for the family income supplement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a question by the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Mr. Callaghan) on 2 February—[Vol. 17, c. 94.]

Licence Fee (Firearms)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the fact that a firearms and shot gun licence fee which cost five shillings 20 years ago now costs £25, he will reject any proposals to introduce further large increases in the fee.

The current fees for the grant of firearm and shot gun certificates, which took effect on 1 July 1980, are £25 and £12, respectively. Any changes will take account of the outcome of the review which is being conducted into the basis of calculating the fees and the Government's general policy that such fees should recover the full costs of operating the licensing system.

Boundary Commission (Hertfordshire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress the Boundary Commission has made on examining objections to the revised recommendations for Hertfordshire.

The parliamentary Boundary Commission for England is an independent statutory body. I understand, however, that it hopes shortly to announce its conclusions on the representations received about its revised recommendations for new parliamentary constituencies in Hertfordshire.

Trade

National Gas Consumers Council

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the members of the National Gas Consumers Council who represent industrial interests.

Eight of the council's 22 members, who are all appointed to represent the interests of gas consumers generally, have industrial experience.

Dry Batteries

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report details of the market import penetration levels for (a) the last 12 months and (b) the past five years pertaining in the industrial and domestic dry battery industry.

Laker Airways

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South on 29 March, Official Report, col. 7 (a) from whom information was received before Christmas about Laker Airways' financial stability and (b) what was the nature of the information received.

South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on reports under the European code of conduct made by British companies with interests in South Africa in respect of the 12-month period ended 30 June 1981.

The Department had by the end of last month received copies of 190 reports of various types published by companies under the European code of conduct for the last reporting period 1 July 1980 to 30 June 1981. The Department's analysis and summary of those reports and copies of the reports themselves have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. This material may also be examined at the Department's library, the British embassy, Pretoria, the British consulates-general at Johannesburg and Cape Town and at the British consulate at Durban.I am grateful to companies which have spent time and resources in preparing and publishing these reports. The Government will continue to encourage companies with affiliates in South Africa to follow the code as being in their best interests and in the interests of their African employees.

Industry

Assisted Area Status

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if, in view of the rising number of people unemployed in the Leeds area, he will now reconsider the question of continuing assisted area status beyond August 1982.

No, the Government's regional industrial policy is to concentrate the available assistance on the areas of greatest need and on present evidence Leed is not one of them.

Burroughs Machines Limited (Glenrothes)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the total of public financial assistance given to Burroughs, in Glenrothes, Fife, from 1969 to the end of the financial year 1981–82.

It is not the practice to disclose details of financial assistance given to individual companies other than in accordance with the arrangements announced by the then Secretary of State for Industry on 31 July 1974.Since October 1974 details of regional development grant payments to Burroughs Machines Ltd. in Glenrothes, Fife totalling £372,000 have been published in

British Business (formerly Trade and Industry). No payments under section 7 and 8 of the Industry Act (1972) have been made to the company at Glenrothes.

Steel-Making Capacity

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many schemes have been submitted by the private steel industry to take advantage of the Government support of £22 million offered recently; and what closure of steelmaking capacity these schemes represent.

Eight companies have so far applied for assistance under the private sector steel scheme towards a total of 14 separate projects, all of which involve reductions in manufacturing capacity. The details necessarily remain confidential.

National Finance

Gilt-Edged Stocks (Foreign Holdings)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his reply of 8 March, OfficialReport, c. 296, concerning tax exemption for overseas holders of gilt-edged stocks, whether he will give an estimate of the nominal value of such stocks held by overseas residents, showing separately those on which dividends are paid gross, together with the value of the exemption granted by the inspector of foreign dividends.

As reported in the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin published in December 1981, the nominal value of gilt-edged stock held by overseas residents at 31 March 1981 is estimated at £7,451 million. Dividends on approximately half of this amount, are paid gross—that is, are exempted from deduction of tax at source.The value of the tax exemption given by the inspector of foreign dividends either at source or by repayment in the year to 31 March 1981 on securities within section 99 of the Taxes Act 1970 was £128·4 million. For the same period, the value of exemption given at source on other gilt-edged stock under double taxation agreements is estimated at £8 million. I am afraid that an estimate of the tax repaid by virtue of double taxation agreements could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Aviation Fuel

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the decisive considerations in his determination of the new rate of duty on aviation gasoline.

National Insurance Surcharge

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those public agencies whose cash limit or external financing limit is to be reduced in the light of his decision to cut national insurance surcharge.

Reductions will be made as appropriate to:

  • (i) cash limits and votes of central government departments;
  • (ii) the cash limits of the national health service;
  • (iii) the external financing limits of nationalised industries and certain other public corporations;
  • (iv) the rate support grant to local authorities.
  • The necessary calculations are now being carried out. Information on which cash limits and external financing limits are affected, and on the revised amounts, will be made available in due course.

    Rate Support Grant

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the reduction in rate support grant to local authorities as a consequence of his decision to reduce national insurance surcharge is to be by the full amount of the savings on the surcharge, or by that proportion which would have been met by rate support grant.

    The former. My right hon. Friends will be discussing this with the local authorities.

    Treasury Staff

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants have requested transfer or early retirement from Her Majesty's Treasury in the period since May 1979.

    The figures requested are not maintained centrally and could only be extracted at disproportionate expense.

    Indexed Borrowing

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what amounts are included in Public Expenditure Plans, Cmnd. 8494, in respect of the cost of servicing indexed borrowing; and how they are computed.

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many married couples would pay less tax if they were to divorce.

    [pursuant to his reply, 30 March 1982, c. 100]: On the most recent information on the distribution of income between husbands and wives, it is estimated that about half a million out of 12 million tax paying married couples would benefit from being taxed as single people; this is mainly because of the tax treatment of investment income. It is impossible to estimate the additional number of couples who might reduce their tax liability on divorce by transferring assets and income between them (and their children, if any).

    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.

    Lord President Of The Council

    House Of Lords (Reform)

    asked the Lord President of the Council if he will publish a Green Paper on the possibilities for reform of the second Chamber.

    Members' Messages

    asked the Lord President of the Council what is the average length of time it takes for a caller to get through on 219 4343 to leave a message for an hon. Member; and whether he is taking steps to improve this service.

    Wales

    Gwynedd (Financial Aid)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the urban aid allocations for Gwynedd for 1982–83.

    The allocations are as follows:

    Expenditure Allocations
    AuthorityCapital £Revenue £Total £
    Gwynedd county council515,620206,686722,306
    Arfon borough council457,3324,273461,605
    Meirionnydd district council89,00039,538128,538
    Ynys Mon borough council5,7115,711
    County total1,061,952256,2081,318,160

    Welsh Water Authority

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he held discussions with the trade unions within the Welsh Water Authority regarding his recent appointments to the authority.

    No, but my right hon. Friend asked the TUC and the Wales TUC, among other organisations, to suggest names of persons they considered met the criteria for membership laid down in the Welsh Water Authority (Constitution) (Variation) Order 1981.

    Education And Science

    Commercial Insurance Market

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in the possible use by his Department of the commercial insurance market.

    I am considering this issue following the decision announced by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence on 5 March.—[Vol. 19, c. 245.]

    Further Education

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether in order to ensure that young people unable to find employment will have opportunities for further education, he intends to make available additional central Government resources to expand further education college capacity in 1982–83; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government's expenditure plans for 1982–83 to 1984–85, set out in Cmnd. 8499 published last month, provide for an increase of nearly 25 per cent. in the number of 16– 19-year-olds on full-time courses in non-advanced further education and also reflect increased staying on in schools. An additional £85 million has been made available for 1982–83 in England. The plans also provide fully for the expanding programmes for unemployed young people organised by the Manpower Services Commission, which will incorporate a significant and increasing further education provision, to be funded through the commission.

    York

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is (a) the capitation grant to each school in York, (b) the number of teachers or ether staff provided under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 in York, (c) the pupil-teacher ratio in secondary modern, grammar and primary schools in York, (d) the amount spent on school dinners per pupil in York and (e) the provision of mathematics and language teachers in York; and how these figures compare with the national average.

    The Department does not collect information about local authorities' capitation grants to their schools. I understand that York does not at present claim grant from the Home Office under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966. LEAs may claim grant only in certain circumstances and meaningful comparisons with a national average are not possible.Information about pupil-teacher ratios and about expenditure on school meals is collected by the Department only for individual local authorities. The figures requested, for North Yorkshire LEA and for England, are as follows:

    North Yorkshire LEAEngland
    Pupil-teacher ratio (January 1981)
    (i) primary (including middle deemed primary and immigrant centres)22·1 to 122·6 to 1
    (ii) middle deemed secondary19·5 to 120·2 to 1
    (iii) secondary modern17·0 to 117·3 to 1
    (iv) grammar15·3 to 116·2 to 1
    (v) comprehensive (including VI-form colleges)16·9 to 116·4 to 1
    Expenditure per pupil on school meals Financial year 1980–81£51£49
    The Department does not collect information about numbers of teachers employed by individual LEAs for particular subjects.

    Local Government Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now publish the report of Her Majesty's Inspectorate about the effects of local government expenditure policies on the education service in England.

    I have published the report today. Copies are available in the Vote Office.

    Employment

    Community Enterprise Projects (Leeds)

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment why he has decided to halve the number of people employed on community enterprise projects in Leeds.

    The responsibility for allocation of places available under the community enterprise programme falls to the Manpower Services Commission, which administers the programme on my right hon. Friend's behalf. There will be a reduction in the number of community enterprise programme places available in Leeds over the next few months in order to provide a more equitable distribution of the available places throughout the Yorkshire and Humberside region. All existing schemes in Leeds will continue until completion, and the reduction in the numbers employed on community enterprise schemes will be gradual. Overall, the number of places provided in Yorkshire Humberside region will remain the same.

    Young Persons (Wages)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his reply of 4 March to the hon. Member for Islington, Central, Official Report, column 223, in how many cases and concerning how many jobs, his Department is aware of employers who cannot afford to recruit young people at current wage levels; and in which industries this has occurred.

    No separate record has been kept of the number of individual employers who have informed the Department that, without the scheme, they could not afford to employ young workers.

    Construction Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest available estimate of the number of (a) skilled construction workers and (b) workers whose last job was in the building industry who are unemployed (i) in the London borough of Ealing and (ii) in the Greater London Council area.

    The following table gives for October 1981 the numbers of unemployed people registered for employment in skilled construction occupations. It also gives for August 1981 the numbers of unemployed people who last worked in the construction industry. There will be a further industrial analysis of the unemployed in May 1982.Unemployment statistics are not available for London boroughs, and figures are given in the table for the area covered by the Acton, Ealing and Southall employment offices, which corresponds closely to the London borough of Ealing.

    Number of skilled construction workers unemployed October 1981Number unemployed who last worked in the construction industry August 1981
    Acton, Ealing and Southall employment office areas4061,099
    Greater London15,39139,584

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a breakdown of the number of unemployed in the different trades in the building industry for (a) Wolverhampton and (b) the West Midlands; and if he will give the comparable figures for April 1979.

    The following table gives for April 1979 and October 1981, the last date for which the information is available, the numbers of unemployed people registered at employment offices for employment in skilled contstruction occupations.

    Wolverhampton employment office

    West Midlands region

    April 1979

    October 1981

    April 1979

    October 1981

    Carpenters and joiners23705721,549
    Electricians41780537
    Linesmen and cable jointers1917
    Heating and ventilating engineering fitters125162
    Plumber and pipe fitters121201881
    Scaffolders (metal scaffolding)38100249
    Other steel erectors and riggers and cable splicers722235550
    Painters and decorators48968871,902
    Bricklayers and stone setters23835202,031
    Plasterers1026180609
    Terrazzo workers and tile setters33673
    Roofers62164456
    Glaziers12739121
    General builders417133343
    Pipe layers and jointers71289199
    Concreters22678
    Earth movers and civil engineering equipment operators1013143389
    Crane, hoist and other materials handling equipment operators228138334
    Total1644253,57710,480

    Wages Councils

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many wages inspectors have been employed in Scotland in each of the past three years; and how many other inspectorate staff have been employed.

    The numbers of outdoor wages inspectors and other inspectorate staff employed in Scotland in each of the past three years were as follows:

    Outdoor in-spectorsOther staff
    1 September 19791513½
    1 September 19801512½
    1 September 19811011
    197919801981
    Number of establishments inspected by visit3,7243,8472,443
    Number of establishments inspected found to be underpaying1,3071,4371,085
    Percentage of establishments inspected found to be underpaying35·1%37·4%44·4%
    Total arrears recovered*£180,732£287,969£243,912
    * Including holiday remuneration.

    At present there are 13 posts for outdoor inspectors and 10½ posts for other staff in Scotland.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms subject to wages council orders have been inspected in each of the past three years in Scotland; how many and what percentage have been found to be paying below wages council rates; and what was the total amount of arrears recovered in each year.

    As the establishments selected for inspection by visit by the Wages Inspectorate are not a representative sample, the above figures cannot be taken as typical of wages council trades as a whole in Scotland.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table for Scotland with reference to the industries covered by wages councils showing the following figures for 1981: (a) the number and percentage of wages council firms inspected and found to be in contravention of wages council orders, (b) the numbers and percentage of workers inspected and affected and (c) the number of workers paid arrears and the amount of arrears recovered.

    Information is not available in the precise form requested. However, the following figures are available for inspections by visit which were completed in 1981 by the Wages Inspectorate in Scotland.

    Number of establishments inspected at which underpayments were found1,085
    Percentage of establishments inspected at which underpayments were found44·4 per cent.
    Number of workers examined13,453
    Percentage of workers examined and found to be underpaid19·9 per cent.
    Number of workers paid arrears2,673
    Amount of arrears recovered *£243,912

    * Including holiday remuneration.

    † A further £28,288 in respect of 132 workers were assessed as being due,

    but were not collected because the workers decided not to accept all or part of the amount due or because the arrears could not be collected owing to bankruptcy, etc.

    The figures quoted above cannot be regarded as representative of wages council trades in Scotland as the inspectorate tends to concentrate its resources on areas where underpayments are likely to occur.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list for each wages council the weekly wage laid down for young persons of 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 years, respectively, and in each case what this represents as a percentage of the single person's rate of supplementary benefit.

    I regret that a full reply could only be given at disproportionate cost.

    Weekly Minimum Rates, 1 1 April 1982 (as percentage of supplementary benefit rates 2)
    CouncilAge of Worker
    (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)
    Category of workerunder 17 £s17 and under 18 £s18 and under 19 £s19 and under 20 £s20 and over £s
    Retail non-food3
    Skilled assistant37·50(222)43·75 (260)53·13(251)62·50(295)as col. 4
    Licensed residential establishment etc.
    Service worker39·20(233)41·80(248)52·20(247)as col. 3as col. 3
    Other worker46·20(274)49·20(292)61·60(291)as col. 3as col. 3
    Retail food and allied trades3
    General assistant39·05(232)44·75(266)52·45(248)62·00(293)as col. 4
    Licensed non-residential etc.
    Bar Staff48·40(287)as col. 160·50(286)as col. 3as col. 3
    Clothing manufacturing4
    Other worker535·98(213)644·26(263)57·14(270)as col. 3as col. 3
    Hairdressing undertakings"7
    Hairdresser27·50(163)31·00(184)42·00(198)49·00(232)53·00(250)
    Unlicensed place of refreshment
    Other worker36·73(218)42·38(251)56·50(267)as col. 3as col. 3
    Waiter/waitress36·02(214)41·56(247)55·41(262)as col. 3as col. 3

    Notes:

    1 The rates given apply outside London.

    2 Figures in brackets show the minimum rates as percentages of the rates of supplementary benefit for non-householders (including the housing addition of £2.55) ie £16·85 for persons aged under 18 and £21·15 for persons aged 18 and over as appropriate. The supplementary benefit scale rate for a person living alone which does not vary with age, is £23·25. Housing costs are normally in full.

    3 Rates proposed to take effect from 5 April 1982.

    4 Rates shown are for women's dressmaking sector (E & W).

    5 Rate for workers' under 16½.

    6 Rate for workers' aged 17 and under 17½.

    7 Rates shown for (1) 1st year apprentice,

    (2) 2nd year apprentice,

    (3) Senior apprentice,

    (4) Operative hairdresser, first year,

    (5) Operative hairdresser, second year,

    and are those proposed to take effect from 12 April 1982.

    Manufacturing Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number of jobs lost in manufacturing since May 1979 compared to the total number of jobs lost.

    Precise information about job gains and job losses is not available, but an indication of the net effect can be seen by comparing the levels of employees in employment at different dates. Between June 1979 and September 1981, the latest date for which the quarterly estimate for total employment is available, the numbers of employees in employment in Great Britain in manufacturing industries decreased by 1,210,000. The corresponding decrease for total employees in employment was 1,843,000. The figures on which the decreases are based are provisional and are seasonally adjusted.

    Information is given in the table following for those wages councils which are estimated to have more than 100,000 workers within their field of operation.

    The minimum rates set by other wages councils, and other rates set by the wages councils listed, are contained in the wages orders issued by each wages council. Copies of those orders are available in the House of Commons Library.

    Unemployment Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the average level Of unemployment in Wales and in the North of England for each of the last 10 years and during the current year.

    The following table gives for Wales and the North region the annual average numbers registered as unemployed from 1972 to 1981 and the average for the first quarter of 1982.

    WalesNorth region
    197249,09381,871
    197335,48360,711
    1974*38,280*59,894
    197558,75878,945

    Wales

    North region

    197678,103101,268
    197786,315114,240
    197891,491121,605
    197987,056118,961
    1980111,339147,468
    1981157,547203,445
    1982 January-March173,797217,517

    * Average of 11 months.

    Average Gross Weekly Earnings (£)

    Agriculture

    All manufacturing industries ‡

    Regular full- time hired men aged 20 and over * (1)

    Full-time males aged 21 and over † (2)

    Full-time manual males aged 21 and over (3)

    All full-time male employees aged 21 and over ║ (4)

    (1) as a per-centage of(3)

    (2) as a percentage of (3)

    (2) as a per-centage of (4)

    April 19505·597·58 §74
    April 19599·8813·59 §73
    April 197650·2650·167·3║71·3757470
    April 198197·2594·4124·2║136·9787669

    Notes:

    * Figures relate to the quarter beginning in April as recorded by the wages and employment inquiry of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and include payments in kind.

    † Figures relate to workers covered by Orders of the Agriculture Wages Board (England and Wales); they cover the survey period of the new earnings survey in April, and include the reckonable value (laid down in the Agricultural Wages Order) of accommodation, meals, etc., provided by the employer.

    ‡There are slight differences in the definition of manufacturing industry used for April 1950 and April 1959 (based on the Standard Industrial Classification 1948), and that used for April 1976 and April 1981 (based on the Standard Industrial Classification 1968).

    § Based on the Department of Employment's voluntary survey of manual workers' earnings. The figures relate to the United Kingdom.

    ║Based on the New Earnings Survey, excluding employees whose pay was affected by absence.

    Disabled Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figure for unemployment among disabled people in each of the following regions: East Midlands, West Midlands, Humberside and Yorkshire.

    At 11 February 1982, the latest date for which figures are available there were 12,292 unemployed disabled people in the East Midlands region, 23,581 in the West Midlands region, and 20,601 in the Humberside and Yorkshire region.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figure for unemployment among disabled people.

    At 11 February 1982, the latest date for which figures are available there were 193,646 disabled people unemployed in Great Britain.

    Steel Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will bring up to date the information on the steel industry given in the reply of 7 February 1980, Official Report, columns 295–6, to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher).

    For the available information on gross hourly earnings of manual workers in the iron and steel industry, I refer the hon. Member to the publication

    Farm Workers (Earnings)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment, further to his written reply dated 25 March, Official Report, c. 404, concerning the earnings of adult farm workers, whether he will publish in the Official Report the corresponding figures as a percentage of adult male workers in manufacturing.

    The following table sets out the available information for employees in England and Wales, except where otherwise stated:"Hourly Earnings—Hours of Work, x-1980" published by Eurostat. Data on consumer prices can be obtained from the OECD's "Main Economic Indicators". The comments on international comparability given in the previous reply still apply.

    Textile Industry (Lancashire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will bring up to date the information on the Lancashire textile industry given in the reply of 4 February 1980, Official Report, columns 22–23, to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw).

    Estimates for 1980 and 1981 on the same basis as those given in the reply on 4 February 1980 to the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) are as follows:

    Employees in employment (000s)Redundancies ReportedOperatives on short-time (000s)
    1980*68·812,9888·5
    1981*54·4†6,280‡6·0
    * Provisional.
    † The figure for 1981 is not fully comparable with those for 1980 and earlier because of improvements in data collection, designed to secure a better coverage of redundancies actually taking place.
    ‡These figures are only available for one week in each quarter. This figure is therefore the average for the four weeks in 1981 for which information is available.
    There are also some revisions to the figures given previously. Notified redundancies in 1979 are now recorded as 5,411, and the estimates of the numbers of employees in 1977, 1978 and 1979 are 88,300, 81,500 and 77,700. The 1979 employees figure is still provisional.

    Spring Bank Holiday

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will discuss with the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry the rationalisation of the Spring bank holidays to a three day break including 1 May.

    I am already consulting these bodies, amongst others, about possible changes in the Spring bank holiday arrangements.

    Youth Unemployment

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people have been unemployed for more than six months, but less than 12, and more than 12 months, respectively.

    The numbers registered as unemployed are analysed by age and by duration of unemployment quarterly, and the latest figures, which are for January 1982, were published in table 2.6 of the February 1982 issue of the Department of Employment Gazette.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate has been made of the number of youth opportunities programme places needed later this year for school leavers who are not likely to secure normal jobs.

    In 1982–83, the youth opportunities programme has been expanded to help around 630,000 unemployed young people of whom, it is estimated, some 400,000 will be current year school leavers.

    Training Opportunities Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what expansion of training places for adult workers by the Manpower Services Commission is envisaged in 1982–83.

    Some 69,071 people are expected to start training courses in 1982–83 under the training opportunities scheme compared with 71,517 in 1981–82. Within this total programme, it is planned that training in business, science and technology, and electrical and electronic engineering together with updating training for craftsmen and work preparation will be expanded.The Manpower Services Commission is currently considering its future strategy on adult training, taking into account current and anticipated job opportunities for those who have completed training courses and the intention expressed in the recent White Paper "A New Training Initiative: A Programme for Action" (Cmnd. 8455) that resources under the scheme should increasingly be directed towards encouraging the necessary provision in industry.

    Elephant Jobs Limited

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has had any consultations with the Manpower Services Commission regarding the 142 young and young adult persons employed by Elephant Jobs Ltd., currently under an 8 April notice following a decision by the Manpower Services Commission not to refund the jobs for a further 12 months; and if he will make a statement.

    It is the view of the Manpower Services Commission that some of the schemes sponsored by Elephant Jobs Limited do not fully meet the criteria for the community enterprise programme. Being long established, Elephant Jobs Limited was allowed to continue sponsorship of its schemes when the community enterprise programme replaced the special temporary employment programme on 1 April 1981. There are now more than enough sponsors to fill all the available places on the programme and thus the MSC has to consider carefully whether or not it can continue to fund those schemes whose eligibility is more doubtful.In the case of Elephant Jobs Limited, its failure to satisfy the Manpower Services Commission that all the necessary accounting procedures have been properly followed forced the Manpower Services Commission to state that it would withdraw its funding. At my request, the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission has offered Elephant Jobs Limited funding for a further 3 months to give an opportunity to complete the proper accounts and to bring its scheme fully within the criteria.

    Job Release Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was (a) the gross and (b) the net cost of the job release scheme in 1981–82; and what are the estimated figures for 1982–83.

    The provisional outturn for expenditure on job release allowances in 1981–82 is £135 million gross. The estimated figure for 1982–83 is £244 million gross. The net cost is approximately half the gross cost.

    Clinical Waste

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Basildon on 17 December 1981, Official Report, col. 202–3 if he will make a statement on the guidance document on clinical waste; if the draft document has now been passed to the Health and Safety Commission with a recommendation that it should be published; and when he intends to publish it.

    The Health Services Advisory Committee considered the guidance document on clinical waste at its meeting on 17 March. Some points remain d to be clarified and it is now expected that the document will be passed to the Health and Safety Commission during April. I will write to my hon. Friend to give an expected date for publication once the Health and Safety Commission has had an opportunity to consider the document.

    Paymaster General

    Rayner Review

    asked the Paymaster General if he is satisfied with the implementation of the recommendations of Sir Derek Rayner's review of his Department's activities.

    The Rayner recommendations fell into two parts. The first, involving the provision of a partial debit clearing agency service by the Bank of England and the consequential closure of my Department's small London office, was implemented in August 1980, with very satisfactory results. The second, involving the provision of a full automated debit clearing agency service by the Bank of England is due for implementation in October 1983, and good progress is being made with the detailed arrangements.

    Energy

    Electricity Production (Costs)

    14.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the current price advantage of electricity produced from a base load nuclear power station with

    Representative Prices of UK and OPEC Crude oils for Term Contract Purchases
    United Kingdom FortiesS. Arabia LightNigeria Bonny LightAbu Dhabi MurbanLibya Es SiderQuarterly Average of Opec Prices
    Q II 1980
    April 134·2528·0034·6929·5634·50
    May 131·5630·45
    May 2036·2536·50
    May 2236·69
    Q III 1980
    July 137·0036·78
    August 130·0031·80
    September 133·56
    Q IV 1980
    November 132·0032·70
    Q I 1981
    January 139·2540·0036·5640·7834·95
    Q II 1981
    June 1535·0034·70
    July 139·68
    Q III 1981
    August 2636·0034·20
    Q IV 1981
    October 134·0034·5034·30
    November 136·5036·5035·7037·28
    Q I 1982
    January 135·5036·50
    February 835·0033·90
    March 131·00
    Current Price31·0034·00*35·5035·50*35·50
    Footnotes*Unconfirmed$per barrel
    Prices are not comparable unless account is taken of differences in quality and location.
    similar oil and coal-fired power stations, respectively; and what is the current contribution of each method of pricing to the national grid measured as percentages.

    The CEGB's estimate for 1980–81 of the generating costs for Hinkley Point B nuclear station and Drax coal station, which both operated close to base load, is that Hinkley Point had costs in that year some 22 per cent. lower than Drax. Although oil stations are not normally operated on base load, I am advised by the CEGB that nuclear station's costs would have been some 55 per cent. below those of a modern oil station operated in this way. In the same year nuclear power contributed 10·7 per cent. of electricity supplies, coal 82·3 per cent. and oil 7 per cent.

    North Sea Oil Prices

    17.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what were the market prices in dollars of North Sea oil per barrel in each quarter of the past two years; and how these figures compare with oil from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

    Gas Gathering Systems

    20. Dr.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on further developments for the improvement of gas gathering systems on the United Kingdom continental shelf.

    The British Gas Corporation expects to take receipt later this month at St. Fergus of the first gas transported via the FLAGS line which, when the western leg and northern leg are completed next year, will be taking gas from a total of eight fields. The oil companies will come forward in due course with gas gathering schemes for other fields.

    European Community (Grants And Loans)

    22.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will update the information about grants and loans received by the United Kingdom energy industries from European Community sources, given in his reply to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam on 8 June 1981, Official Report, column 48.

    The Department of Energy and the energy industries received no loans in 1981 from the European Investment Bank and the New Community Instrument.The following monies were received from the ECSC in support of the coal industry in 1981:

    £m*
    Research and development grants to NCB from ECSC3·6
    Loans to NCB from ECSCnil
    Readaptation grants (on basis of timing of distribution)
    (i) to Department of Energy3·0
    (ii) to NCB1·6
    * Outturn prices.
    The European social fund (ESF) has made no further grants to United Kingdom energy industries beyond those set out in the answer given on 8 June 1981 by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Energy in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Osborn)—[8 June 1981, c.

    47–50.]

    In 1981–82 the European regional development fund (ERDF) made available £2,735,000 to BGC and £4,057,000 to the electricity supply industry. These are provisional figures.

    Financial assistance is also provided from the European Communities Budget direct to United Kingdom companies and other bodies for energy projects, but figures for the total sums received are not available.

    The following amounts were accounted for on the Department of Energy's vote in 1981–82:

    £000s at outturn prices

    (i) From the ECSC Towards supplementary payment to redundant mineworkers (RMPS)3,450
    Towards pit closures1,274
    For special steel projects for office installations
    (ii) From the European Community for nuclear research and development9,100

    The above amounts from the ECSC to the Department of Energy's vote correspond to the readaptation grants for the NCB and the Department of Energy set out above but are expressed in terms of the financial year. (ECSC money to the Department in respect of the redundant mineworkers payments scheme (RMPS) covers the Department for payments already made to the NCB; ECSC money towards pit closures is subsequently passed to the NCB.)

    Approximately £127 million has been received so far by the Department of Energy under the EC supplementary measures scheme in respect of investment projects undertaken by the electricity supply industry in England and Wales in 1981–82. This represents approximately 90 per cent. of the amounts due in relation to these investment programmes, and further sums will be payable when final accounts for the year are available.

    Questions covering loans and grants to the Scottish electricity boards and the Northern Ireland electricity service are matters for the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

    Retirement Pensioners (Household Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will compare the percentage of household costs for a couple on retirement pension with gas as a sole means of energy (a) at the present time, (b) three years previously, (c) two years previously and (d) one year previously.

    Information on household expenditure by those using natural gas as the sole means of energy is not available. The percentage of household costs for a couple whose only source of income is the flat rate state pension and who consume sufficient gas for cooking facilities and a main living room fire (i.e. 280 therms per annum) has remained relatively stable over the period in question. It is (a) 4·9 per cent. at the present time, (b) 4·1 per cent. in April 1979, (c) 4·3 per cent. in April 1980 and (d) 4·3 per cent. in April 1981.

    Nuclear Power (Research And Development)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the estimated total expenditure within his Department for the year 1981–82 related to research and development of nuclear power.

    None within the Department. But the Supply estimates for the year provide for the Department to pay the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority £218,294,000 net for work related to research and development of nuclear power.

    Wave Energy

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Dundee, East on 23 February, Official Report, c. 331 when he expects to announce his decision as to whether to give further financial backing to those agencies, namely, the National Engineering Laboratory of East Kilbride, Lanchester polytechnic and Edinburgh university, which are engaged in the development of wave energy generators.

    I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) earlier this afternoon.

    Subsidence Damage

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will seek to legislate to specify arrangements for notifying individual land and property owners of mineworking operations likely to affect those lands and properties adversely through subsidence damage.

    The Government are considering the question of advance notification of mining in preparing its reply to the recent report of the Commission on Energy and the Environment. The commission concluded, however, that notification of individual property owners would not be appropriate.

    Overseas Development

    St Helena

    asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the projects financed by development aid begun or completed in St. Helena and its dependencies in each of the past three years, with particular reference to agriculture, water and self-help schemes.

    Following is the information:

    St. Helena
    £(Total Cost) £
    1979–80
    1. Agriculture
    (a) Pasture improvement and extension
    (i) Former government land627(48,617)
    (ii) Government commonages5,995(29,070)
    (iii) Agricultural extension service17,294(17,328)
    (b) Marketing1,485(1,485)
    (c) Purchase of dairy equipment1,491(1.491)
    (d) Purchase of sheep1,800(10,226)
    28,692(108,217)
    2. Water
    (a) Supplies10,376(10,376)
    (b) Treatment plants10,783(37,756)
    21,159(48,132)
    3. Self Help
    Agricultural loans1,863(4,000)
    Totals51,714(160,349)
    (Total Cost)
    ££
    1980–81
    1. Agriculture
    (a) Pasture improvement and extension
    (i) Botleys Ley/man and horse5,000(on-going)
    (ii) Fishers Valley12,480(on-going)
    (iii) Legume planting/gorse eradication9,525(on-going)
    (iv) Horse pasture4,682(4,682)
    (b) Purchase of Freisian bull1,300(1,300)
    32,9875,982
    2. Water
    House storage tanks5,200(on-going)
    3. Self Help

    £

    (Total Cost) £

    Assistance to private farmers2,500(on-going)
    Totals40,687(5,982)

    (Total Cost)

    ££

    1981–82

    1. Agriculture

    (a) Pasture improvement and extension

    (i) Botleys Ley/man and horse18,972(23,972)
    (ii) Fishers Valley18,877(31,357)
    (iii) Legume planting/gorse eradication28,061(37,586)
    65,91092,915
    2. Water
    House storage tanks17,000(22,200)
    3. SelfHelp
    Assistance to private farmers22,500(25,000)
    Totals105,410140,115

    There was no development aid expenditure on projects in Ascension or Tristan da Cunha during this period.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what action has been taken in regard to the report of the water engineer at St. Helena submitted to his Department in August 1981.

    The water engineer's reports on various aspects of water supplies for St. Helena are under consideration in conjunction with proposals for development in this field. Final decisions on implementation have not yet been taken, but the whole question will be examined by a budgetary and development aid review mission from my Department which will visit St. Helena in June this year.

    Scotland

    Business Start-Up Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the effect of the business start-up scheme in Scotland.

    The business start-up scheme, one of a substantial number of measures which the Government have introduced to help small firms, has improved the availability of funds to new businesses in Scotland. Three venture capital funds have already been set up in Scotland and are designed to enable potential investors to spread their investments over a number of businesses. The improvements to the scheme announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget will offer added incentives to individual investors in Scotland.

    Hospital Waiting Lists

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the average waiting periods for admission to a geriatric ward and the number of people on such waiting lists in (a) Scotland as a whole and (b) each of the Scottish health board areas.

    National Health Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures of real output are employed by him to measure the level of Health Service provision; how these have moved over the last three years; and how they are assumed to move in the estimates for the public expenditure survey period 1982–83 to 1984–85.

    Information about the output of the health services, measured by a number of indicators, is collected and published annually in "Scottish Health Service Statistics". Such indicators include discharges; bed days; mean length of stay; out-patient attendances; and the case load of community nurses. The Government's broad objectives for output in the future are to be found in the report "Scottish Health Authorities Priorities for the Eighties", published by my Department in 1980.Forecasts of expenditure on the Health Service are based on the level of current provision, on the Government's assumption about pay and price inflation in the forward years, and on such provision for development as the Government thinks it appropriate to make. Forecasts are not related to assumptions about movement in particular output measures, although account is taken of expected change in demand caused by demographic factors and by developments in techniques of treatment.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what levels of (a) nursing staff, (b) other medical staff and (c) ancillary staff have been assumed in drawing up the estimates of public spending on the Health Service in Scotland for the period 1982–83 to 1984–85.

    Forecasts of NHS expenditure are based on current provision, increased to take account of the Government's assumptions about pay and price inflation in succeeding years and on such provision for development as the Government think it appropriate to make. It will continue to be for health authorities to make their individual assessments of the staff they will require to provide from their annual expenediture allocations.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what targets of number of hospital beds per 1,000 population in Scotland have been assumed in the estimates of public expenditure for the period 1982–83 to 1984–85; and what were the figures for the previous three years.

    Forecasts of planned expenditure provision for the Health Service are not determined by reference to a given ratio of hospital beds to population. It is for health authorities to determine how best to meet the health care needs of their communities from within their annual financial allocations.

    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.

    [pursuant to his reply, 2 April 1982, c. 202]: The Scottish Development Agency is working closely with the Scottish universities in seeking to develop the industrial potential of biotechnology in Scotland. The agency already has investments in commercial biotechnology and in actively pursuing a number of projects based on research work at Strathclyde University.

    Defence

    Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will estimate the numbers of officer training entrants into the Dartmouth training college for each year to 1987;(2) what is his estimate of the numbers of new entrants into the Royal Navy in each year to 1987.

    In 1981–82 there were approximately 3,500 new entrants to the Royal Navy, of whom just under 600 were officers who joined Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. Because recruitment of both officers and ratings depends crucially on levels of retention and other variable factors, it is not possible to predict future levels with confidence.

    Royal Navy

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the numbers of Royal Navy personnel serving with Her Majesty's ships in each year to 1987.

    Currently some 26,000 Royal Navy personnel are serving with ships, submarines and frontline squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm. Since it is not the practice to give detailed information on the planned future composition of the Fleet, it is not possible to give future manpower figures in greater detail than the totals already announced in my written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) on 23 March 1982.—[Vol. 20, c. 323.]

    Tornado F2 Aircraft

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce a decision on the fitting of the Rolls-Royce RB199–67R engine to the Tornado F2 aircraft.

    The 67R variant of the RB 199 engine is at present one amongst a number of design proposals by Rolls-Royce for further development of this engine, but it has not proceeded beyond this preliminary study stage. We are still assessing ways in which the RB199 engine might be improved and whether any improved version should be fitted to Tornado aircraft and in what time scale. It is too early to say when a decision will be reached.

    Raf Mildenhall (Usaf Aircraft)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether there are any changes planned in the deployment of United States Air Force aircraft at RAF Mildenhall.

    Yes. SR71 aircraft are at present routinely deployed to RAF Mildenhall for several months of each year. Her Majesty's Government have agreed to a request from the United States Government to station 2 SR71 aircraft at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk later this year on a permanent basis. To base the aircraft permanently in the United Kingdom simplifies the logistic arrangements for their support.

    The role of this aircraft is to provide all-weather reconnaissance and it will be used in support of NATO. It does not carry any weapons. In addition to the logistic benefits, permanent basing of the SR71 in the United Kingdom will enable the aircraft to be fully integrated into European reconnaissance operations and to participate more regularly in exercises. Some construction work will be required within the boundaries of the station.

    Hms "Invincible"

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of HMS "Invincible" at commissioning; and what that cost represents in current prices.

    Excluding HQ administrative costs, HMS "Invincible" cost £175 million at outturn prices, including first-of-class costs. Applying the appropriate indices to expenditure in each financial year, this cost becomes £330 million at September 1981 prices.

    Nuclear Propulsion Fuel

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent the Capenhurst, Cheshire, facilities are to be used for the production of fuel for nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines; how many jobs will be generated by such a programme; when he proposes to indicate his decisions relating to this matter; and if he will make a statement.

    A decision on the use of Capenhurst facilities for the supply of nuclear propulsion fuel is expected to be taken very shortly.

    Soviet Vessels (Clyde Approaches)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the foreign submarine detected in the vicinity of the Clyde approaches.

    During routine surveillance operations over the weekend of 27–28 March, a Soviet nuclear-powered submarine was detected submerged in the North-West Approaches. Both the submarine and a large Soviet intelligence gathering surface vessel which was also in the area were kept under surveillance by Royal Navy frigates and naval helicopters and Royal Air Force maritime patrol aircraft. At no time did either Soviet vessel enter territorial waters.

    Scientific Survey Ships

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy in relation to the use of scientific survey ships forming part of the British Antarctic survey as weapons of defence in areas such as the Falkland Islands.

    The ships of the British Antarctic Survey act in a scientific capacity and do not fall within the responsibilities of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has about the ships of the Argentine navy currently being deployed in the Falkland Islands area.

    I refer the hon. Member to the statement by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 3 April.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make it his practice to sell no naval equipment to Argentina so long as that country disputes the right to self-determination of the Falkland Islanders.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Council Of Agriculture Ministers

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Council of Agriculture Ministers' meeting in Brussels from 31 March to 2 April; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the statement which I made to the House earlier today.

    Common Agricultural Policy

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the difference between the cost to United Kingdom consumers of buying foodstuffs at current prices and the cost to them of buying such foodstuffs at third country offer prices, as used in the computation of European Economic Community levels.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the replies I gave in answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) on 8 July 1980, and to his own question on 29 March.—[Vol. 988, c. 139; Vol. 21, c. 18–19..]

    Beam Trawling

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the Government have concluded their review of the rules governing beam trawling within 12 miles of the United Kingdom coast; and if he will make a statement.

    I announced last year that the views of the catching interests would be sought on whether a change in the rules governing beam trawling within 12 miles of the United Kingdom coast would be justified. Since then, we have received a number of representations. I have considered very carefully the points made and recognise the strength of feeling in many parts of the country that, as a result of technical developments and other factors, the existing rules are no longer suitable.In the light of the available evidence, we have concluded that a more appropriate rule round most of the country would be that imposed in other member States of the European Community where beam trawling for sole or plaice by vessels exceeding 70 gross registered tonnes or 300 brake horse power is banned within 12 miles of the coast. However, off South West England, between a line drawn due south from Portland Bill lighthouse and a line drawn north west from Pendeen lighthouse, I consider that the existing ban on beam trawling within 12 miles of the coast with an agrregate length of beam exceeding 8 metres is still appropriate.The approval of the European Commission has been sought and obtained to the introduction of a national measure on these lines and my right hon. Friends will lay before the House the necessary subordinate legislation shortly.

    European Community

    Anniversary Celebrations

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether any events have been planned or organised to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the European Economic Community; if he will list them; and what will be the total cost.

    The Belgian Presidency organised a programme of events before the opening of the European Council in Brussels on 29 March. These included an `academic session' and a lunch given by His Majesty the King of the Belgians. Britain joined fully in this event, which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister attended, but the Government did not organise any official events in Britain. There was therefore no cost to public funds.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Office Of Foreign Secretary (200Th Anniversary)

    31.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal why Lord Chalfont, a professional journalist, was permitted to interview the staff and officials at the Foreign Office and given sole rights to write an article for the Sunday Telegraph; how many staff were interviewed and photographed; what are their total salaries; what time and expense were incurred at public expense; and whether any Left-wing journalist would be granted the same facilities.

    Saturday, 27 March, 1982 was the bicentenary of the office of Foreign Secretary. This anniversary was marked officially by a series of lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the final lecture being given by the Secretary of State Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The anniversary attracted a certain amount of press attention—television and radio programmes were produced by the BBC and IRN and a number of feature articles were published by national and provincial newspapers. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office co-operated in the production of these programmes and articles. Any cost to public funds was negligible.

    Parliamentary Questions

    asked the Lord Privy Seal, how many (a) written and (b) oral questions from hon. Members have been answered by him or his predecessor since May 1979.

    Pakistan Nationals

    asked the Lord Privy Seal how far Her Majesty's Government have been involved in assisting the return of Pakistan nationals from Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement.

    The problem is being handled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Her Majesty's Government have no standing in the matter.

    Select Committees

    asked the Lord Privy Seal how much time, in terms of the number of man-hours and in terms of the percentage of total available man-hours, has been spent by members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in the last year for which figures are available, on work specifically related to the activities of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs in each of the following categories (a) Ministers, (b) permanent secretaries, (c) deputy secretaries, (d) under-secretaries, (e) assistant secretaries, (f) principals and (g) all other staff; and to how many people such a percentage applies.

    Information is not maintained in the form requested. However, broad assessments of the amount of time spent by officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including the overseas development administration, on work arising from the activities of Select Committees were recorded for the period 4 April 1980 to 17 "February 1981 and that information is available in the following form:

    GradesMan days
    Under-secretaries and above (senior grade)59
    Assistant secretary (DS 4)118
    Principal (DS 5)579
    Senior executive officers and below (DS 6 and below)569
    We have no figures for Ministers for the same period.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal on how many occasions (a) written and (b) oral submissions have been made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to each of the new Select Committees since their inception; how many witnesses from his Department have appeared to give oral evidence; and what were the grades of civil servants and the rank of Ministers concerned.

    123 written memoranda have been made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including the overseas development administration to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Sub-Committee on Overseas Development since their inception. Figures for memoranda sent to other Select Committees are not available before 1982, since when 5 memoranda have been made to them.One Cabinet Minister, 6 non-Cabinet Ministers and 92 officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including the overseas development administration, have appeared before the Foreign Affairs and other Select Committees at 61 sessions, excluding oral submissions made abroad. Officials' grades are as follows:

    • Permanent secretary/permanent under-secretary
    • Deputy secretary/deputy under-secretary
    • Under-secretary/assistant under-secretary
    • Assistant secretary
    • Senior principal
    • Principal
    • Legal counsellor
    • Second legal advisor
    • Deputy chief scientific officer
    • Senior economic advisor
    • Economic advisor
    • Statistics advisor.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the maximum percentage of available working time spent by any individual member of his staff on work specifically related to the activities of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the last year for which this information is available; and how many people such a percentage applies.

    No percentage figures of the type requested are available. The Parliamentary Commissioner and Committees unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is the unit charged with servicing the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, and a large amount of its time is spent on work related to this and other Select Committees. The unit consists of 3 officers (a grade 5 and a grade 9 on the Diplomatic Service, equivalent to principal and executive officer, and a clerical officer).

    Namibia

    asked the Lord Privy Seal which system of proportional representation is proposed for the Namibia Constituent Assembly under the revised proposals supported by Her Majesty's Government.

    asked the Lord Privy Seal what are the revised arrangements proposed by the Contact Group for elections in Namibia involving a dual system of voting.

    Details of the proposals are confidential between the parties. On 1 April the Five put forward a modification of the way in which our proposals could be

    Estimates of take-up of supplementary benefit for 1979
    Total likely to be entitled (000's)Proportion receiving benefit per cent.Number eligible but not receiving benefit (000's)£ million per annum Estimated Benefit unclaimedAverage weekly amount unclaimed £
    (i) Pensioners2,5906590014503·10
    (ii) Non-pensioners* —total1,4207832021012·70
    (iii) Sick and Disabled300631109015·40
    (iv) Unemployed700811307010·50
    (v) One-parent families not included in (iii) and (iv)37085603010·20
    Total for all groups4,010701,2103555·60
    Original and revised estimates of take-up for 1977:
    (O = Original estimate, R = Revised estimate)
    Total likely to be entitled (000's)Proportion receiving benefitNumbers(000's) eligible but not receiving benefitEstimated benefit (£ million per annum) unclaimedAverage Weekly amount unclaimed
    O per cent.R† per cent.OR†OR†O £R† £
    (i) Pensioners2,320737261065010010003·102·90
    (ii) Non-Pensioners*—total1,680767942035024516511·009·10
    (iii) Sick and Disabled2908773308015408·009·80
    (iv) Unemployed9508179170200909010·108·70
    (v) One-parent families not included in (iii) and (iv)38089874050202510·509·30
    Total—all groups4,00074751,0301,0003402656·305·10
    * This total is slightly greater than the sum of lines (iii), (iv) and (v), since they include a small residual group of miscellaneous cases.
    † The original 1977 estimates included provision for an unanalysed residual group whose take-up rate was estimated to be 19 per cent. The Supplementary Benefits Commission expressed doubts about this group, and in its 1978 annual report indicated that the 1979 FES analysis ought to provide more information.
    The work has suggested that two-thirds of the group should be excluded because there were no grounds on which to base an assumption that they might have made a successful claim for benefit; and that the remaining third should be re-classified to the sick and disabled group, though all had jobs to return to, and, at interview, 66 per cent had been absent from work for two weeks or less. Thus the main difference between the original and

    implemented, which we hope will meet the main reservations that have been expressed, so that phase one of the negotiations can be completed without further delay.

    Social Services

    Triazolam

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has not yet replied to the letter of 24 February from the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South about the drug Triazolam; and when he intends to do so.

    Supplementary Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now publish take-up estimates of supplementary benefit derived from the 1979 family expenditure survey compared with the 1977 figures; and if he will make a statement.

    Information is given as follows, including revised estimates based on further analysis of the original data from the 1977 family expenditure survey (FES).

    revised 1977 estimates is the lower take-up figure for this group.

    It is too early to judge whether the reformed scheme introduced in November 1980 will have a significant effect on take-up levels. However, we are already seeking actively to promote take-up in the following ways:

    —we issue an invitation to claim to retirement pensioners and widows;

    —we are revising the Supplementary Benefits Handbook, the layman's guide to the scheme, directed at claimants and their advisers;

    —general leaflets and posters are on display at post offices and social security offices;

    —from the beginning of this year, leaflet SB1 has been issued to all unemployed claimants.

    We also aim to co-operate as fully as possible at local level with take-up compaigns organised by local authorities, to whom in turn we look for help to ensure that the impact of extra work fits in with all the other tasks which local offices have to perform.

    In the light of the new information about rates of take-up among sick and disabled beneficiaries, we now propose a further step. I am arranging for the leaflet SB1 to be issued to all sickness benefit claimants on the first review of their sickness benefit claim (not later than two calendar months from the outset). When the statutory sick pay (SSP) scheme comes into operation, the leaflet will be issued on transfer of the case to DHSS when SSP entitlement is exhausted. So far as pensioners are concerned, although the figures show some drop in percentage take-up between 1977 and 1979, the average amount unclaimed rose little in money terms and therefore fell significantly in real terms. The 7 per cent. increase (from £2·90 to £3·1 0) compares with a 27 per cent. increase in the long-term scale rate from November 1976 to November 1978.

    The indications are that most of the additional pensioners with unclaimed entitlement are receiving housing rebates or allowances. For them in particular the introduction of housing benefit should improve the position. Our proposals include enhanced tapers for pensioners with incomes below the needs allowance and an improvement in the needs allowance for all pensioners. These changes will lead to some reduction both in the numbers with resources below supplementary benefit level after meeting residual housing costs and in the amounts of potential entitlement of the remainder.

    We are actively discussing with the local authority associations possible ways of identifying, and informing, housing benefit claimants who might also have title to supplementary benefit.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) on 17 February, Official Report, column 160, why no estimate can be made of the numbers of claimants who will cease to be entitled to supplementary benefit following the revised guidance on the interpretation of regulation 7(2) of the Supplementary Benefit (Conditions of Entitlement) Regulations 1981 issued by the chief supplementary benefits officer.

    Information is not collected centrally on the numbers of claimants who are enabled to continue to receive benefit by virtue of the '21-hour rule', or on the number of hours per week such claimants actually attend courses, or what those hours include. There is in any case to be no special review of those people who have been receiving benefit under the 21-hour rule; existing cases will be considered only when they come up for review in the usual way. It is therefore not possible to estimate the number of claimants who will cease to qualify for benefit under the chief supplementary benefits officer's revised guidance.

    National Insurance Fund

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimate for total expenditure from the national insurance fund in 1982–83; what percentage of that expenditure is funded by taxation; and what percentage of that expenditure will return to the Treasury through taxation.

    On the basis of the estimates given in the Government Actuary's report on the Financial Provisions of the Social Security (Contributions) Bill 1981 (Cmnd 8443) the benefit expenditure will be about £18·9 billion, of which the Treasury Supplement of £2·6 billion represents nearly 14 per cent. Tax revenue on the benefits is estimated at £1·7 billion which amounts to about 65 per cent. of the Treasury Supplement.

    Speech Therapists

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for what reason speech therapists will remain the only National Health Service profession without an appropriate professional structure after reorganisation; and if he will institute such a structure.

    The structure of speech therapy services within health districts is a matter for district health authorities to determine according to local needs and circumstances. Appropriate grading definitions for the most senior speech therapists are now being negotiated in the professional and technical 'A' Whitley council.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will increase the salaries of various speech therapists and other such grades to levels comparable with other National Health Service comparable professions.

    The salaries of National Health Service speech therapists are negotiated by the professional and technical 'A' Whitley council and their relative level is a matter for that council. The Government have, however, decided that for 1982–83 additional funds of £4·9 million, above the general 4 per cent. pay factor, should be made available for the professions supplementary to medicine within the purview of the PT'A' council and for speech therapists.

    Social Security Commissioners (Decisions)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements have been made for interested persons to receive or to view copies of numbered decisions by the social security commissioners, particularly in relation to supplementary benefit; to which journals and periodicals such numbered decisions are circulated; whether such decisions will be available to periodicals and journals offering to meet reasonable expenses thereby incurred; whether such decisions will be available to interested persons offering to meet such reasonable expenses; and whether he is satisfied with the arrangements currently existing.

    Edited versions of numbered decisions of the social security commissioners in respect of all benefits are available for consultation at the Department's regional offices. Supplementary benefit numbered decisions are also circulated to senior chairmen of supplementary benefit appeal tribunals. Copies of edited numbered decisions are sent to the Press Association and the Journal of Social Welfare Law. I understand that the broad question of reporting decisions is under consideration by the chief commissioner.

    Pneumoconiosis And Byssinosis

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the amended provisions extending the right of appeal, regarding the diagnosis of pneumoconiosis and byssinosis, to a medical appeal tribunal will come into effect.

    I have already approved the amending regulations. They will be laid as soon as printed copies are available and will come into operation 21 days later in accordance with the normal rules.

    Mobility Allowance

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of applications for mobility allowance are accepted following the initial medical examination.

    In 1981, 62 per cent. of claims decided were successful following an initial medical examination.

    Death Grant

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many families with an income of less than average earnings, who received death grant in 1980 and 1981 in respect of the death of a member of their family, would no longer qualify if each of the three options of his death grant consultative document were introduced.

    Information is not available in the form requested. The estimates in the consultative document are projections for 1982. Under present arrangements some 510,000 deaths in that year out of 680,000 are expected to lead to payment of a full £30 grant and a further 120,000 deaths will attract a modified rate. Under the options put forward in the document, between 65,000 and 125,000 deaths a year would attract a funeral grant of between £150 and £250 a year, and virtually all those qualifying would have incomes some way below the level of national average earnings.A study in 1974 showed that of a national sample of bereaved people meeting funeral expenses 49 per cent. had a wage or salary, and 39 per cent. had a gross weekly income above the national average family income at that time.Further details are set out in the Department's Research Report No. 6, "Families Funerals and Finances", published by HMSO in March 1980.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations he has received concerning the death grant since December 1981.

    We have received 177 written representations since 1 January 1982 and the question of death grant was also raised by deputations from the National Pensioners' Convention on 18 February and the National Federation of Old Age Pensioners' Associations on 15 February.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many death grants were paid in respect of retirement pensioners in 1980 and 1981.

    466,000 death grants were paid in 1980 in respect of deceased persons over pension age. Comparable figures for 1981 are not available.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate how many death grants were paid in respect of pensioners' deaths in 1980 and 1981 to those other than (a) war pensioners and those in receipt of supplementary benefits or family income supplement, (b) those in (a) above and recipients of rent rebates or rent allowances and (c) those in (a) above, and recipients of rent rebates or rent allowances with income below the housing needs allowance level and where payment of death grant in all three cases cited above depended on an estate being less than £1,500.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many funerals were financed by local authorities in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981; and how many local authorities made no such provision.

    Arrangements for burials or cremations under section 50 of the National Assistance Act 1948 are the responsibility of local authorities, and the Department does not collect information about them.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of extending the right to a funeral grant suggested in his consultative document to all those in receipt of rate rebates.

    If the grant were available to all the groups covered by option 2 of the consultative document and also to all recipients of rate rebate irrespective of age, the total cost of increasing the grant for these groups to £150, £200 or £250 would be £29 million, £39 million and £49 million respectively.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of ensuring that every retirement pensioner was entitled to a funeral grant of £150, £200 and £250.

    To pay a funeral grant of £150, £200 and £250 in respect of the deaths of all persons over pension age would cost in the region of £72 million, £96 million and £120 million respectively.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much it would cost to pay a death grant to those not now entitled to one or entitled only to a reduced rate on grounds of age.

    To pay a £30 death grant to people who were over, or within 10 years of, pension age on 5 July 1948, and who now qualify for no grant or a grant at a reduced rate, would cost an extra £2 million a year. If a £30 grant were also paid in respect of children, for whom a reduced rate is currently payable, and to those who do not now claim, the extra cost would rise to £3 million. The costs could be expected to reduce progressively over time.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the costs of administering the proposed funeral grant (a) as an annual total figure, (b) per claim and (c) per grant awarded.

    The options set out in annex 2 of the consultative document are provisionally estimated to lead to a saving of staff because of the fewer number of claims to be handled, but until detailed procedures have been worked out no precise estimate or breakdown of the administrative costs or savings is possible, either as a total figure or on the basis of a cost per claim or per grant awarded.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many parents of deceased children received the death grant in 1980 and 1981; and how many would have received it under the terms of the options set out in his consultative document.

    10,784 death grants were paid in respect of children in 1980. Comparable figures for 1981 are not available. I regret that information regarding which of their parents would qualify under the various options set out in the consultative document is not available.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many death grants were paid in 1980 and 1981; how many applications were turned down; and how many grants were paid (a) at the reduced adult rate, (b) at the child rate and (c) to pensioners.

    There were 613,000 claims for death grant in 1980 and a total of 592,300 awards were made. 99,400 grants were at the reduced adult rate and 10,784 were at children's rates. There were 466,000 awards of death grant in respect of deceased persons over pension age. Comparable figures for 1981 are not available, nor is information available for either year as to the age of claimants to death grant or whether they were in receipt of specified benefits.Some information about the circumstances and sources of income of a national sample of bereaved families in 1974 is set out in the Department's Research Report No. 6 "Families, Funerals and Finances", published by HMSO in March 1980.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost and how many people would gain under each option in his consultative document on the death grant if the estate limit for entitlement to death grant were raised to £2,500.

    No precise estimate is possible because of lack of information of the numbers of people leaving estates of this size at their death.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, if the death grant is abolished, he would propose to decrease the national insurance contribution by the amount estimated by the Minister for Social Security on 31 March, Official Report, column 173, to go towards its cost.

    Any changes in expenditure from the national insurance fund on death grant that result from the consultative document published on 30 March will be among the factors taken into account in the annual reviews of the rates of national insurance contributions.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, under any of the options, it is envisaged that the new funeral grant will be index-linked.

    The question of index linking would have to be considered in the light of available resources and of priorities at the relevant time.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether it is proposed that single working women be entitled to receive a funeral grant; and, if not, how much it would cost to make them eligible.

    Single working women would be entitled to the funeral grant on the same basis as other claimants if they were in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits and met the other proposed conditions. In particular, those in full-time work might be eligible for family income supplement, if they had children, or rent rebate or rent allowance, if they were the tenants of rented accommodation. Those in part time work might also be eligible for supplementary benefit.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, based on the actuarial assessment available to him, he will estimate what would be the necessary increase in national insurance contribution to produce a death grant of £200.

    If death grant were increased to £200 in the current financial year and paid on the same contributory basis as at present then benefit expenditure from the national insurance fund would be increased by about £100 million in a full year. If the whole of that sum were to be raised through higher national insurance contributions then, on the assumptions given in the report by the Government Actuary on the financial provisions of the Social Security (Contributions) Bill 1981 (Cmnd. 8443), there would need to be an increase of about 0·1 per cent. in the standard Class 1 rate.If the whole of the increase were borne by the employee then a man on average earnings of £150 per week would be paying about 15 pence per week more. A grant of £200 paid in respect of all deaths on a non-contributory basis would add about £120 million to the present cost.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, as part of his consultations arising from his proposals on the death grant, he will hold discussions with the National Association of Funeral Directors to obtain information about its level of charges.

    The Department is in touch with the National Association of Funeral Directors from time Ito time regarding the costs of funerals. I have sent the association a copy of the consultative document and shall consider with interest any comments it may wish to make on it.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether it is his intention to introduced more fraud investigation officers to make follow up inquiries after payment of a funeral grant.