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Written Answers

Volume 22: debated on Tuesday 20 April 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 20 April 1982,

Defence

Departmental Staff (Wales)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed by his Department in Wales.

At 1 January 1982 there were 9,200 Ministry of Defence civilian staff, including those in the ROF organisation, and 6,100 Service personnel employed in Wales.

Meteorological Office

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost for the years 1978 to 1981 to civil aviation of the services provided by the Meteorological Office.

The figures are as follows:

Year£ million
1978–799·66
1979–8010·85
1980–8112·76

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of providing the fully manned Meteorological Office stands at the Offshore International 1980 Exhibition in Brighton and the Europec '80 Exhibition at Earls Court; and what contracts have been signed as a result of commercial contacts made at these exhibitions.

£16,300 and £19,900, respectively.It is not possible to identify contracts stemming directly from these exhibitions since they are not the sort that can be negotiated on the spot.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the detailed basis on which the Meteorological Office charges for pigeon-racing forecasts.

The charge is to cover the cost of the staff and other effort involved. The current figure is f15–80 per forecast, excluding VAT.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide a breakdown of the cost of providing the forecasting services provided by the Meteorological Office for the Independent Broadcasting Authority and British Broadcasting Corporation.

£84,000 and £100,000, respectively. The cost of the BBC national radio forecasts, bulletins and warnings, which are regarded as part of the free public service, was £338,000.

Civil Aviation (Personal Briefings)

asked the Secretary of State, for Defence for each of the years 1978 to 1981, what number of personal briefings have been provided for civil aviation users.

The information is as follows:

YearNumber
1978155,826
1979153,106
1980139,731
1981132,317

Trident

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many new jobs will be created in the United Kingdom as a result of the Trident project.

I refer the hon. member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison) on Monday 22 March 1982.—[Vol. 20, c. 275.]

Arms Sales (Argentina)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now make it his practice to answer questions relating to the volume of arms sales in respect of Argentina.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Dubs) on 7 April.—[Vol. 21, c. 344.]

"Canberra"

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the cost to public funds for requisitioning the liner "Canberra" for naval purposes.

Military Equipment Sales

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) to which countries military aircraft have been sold in the past 10 years;(2) to which countries warships have been sold in the past 10 years.

It has been the practice of successive Governments not to disclose such information.

asked the Secretary of State For Defence how many and which types of British missiles have been sold to Argentina.

Over a period of years Argentina has purchased Tigercat, Seacat, Blowpipe and Sea Dart, all of which are British manufactured surface-to-air missiles.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the countries in Latin America which, until the start of the Falkland Islands emergency, were sold military equipment by the United Kingdom.

Over the last 10 years the majority of Latin American countries have purchased items of British military equipment, although in some cases the quantities have been very small.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the value of military sales to Argentina from the United Kingdom for each of the past five years.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the ships, arms and other forms of military equipment that have been sold by the United Kingdom to the Argentinian authorities since May 1979; and what was the total cost of such items.

The value of sales in the past five years is as follows:

£ million
19770·7
19784·9
197962·6
198046·7
198112·5
These figures represent those sales known to the Defence Sales Organisation. As such, although they give a general indication of the volume of our defence sales business, they may not be entirely comprehensive because not all sales, particularly those of a minor nature, need to be notified to the Ministry of Defence. All sales of military equipment are subject to the granting of an export licence by the Department of Trade. All defence sales business with Argentina has now been suspended.Over half of the 1979 figure relates to Lynx helicopters which have not been delivered. The bulk of the 1980 figure is made up of contracts for equipment for the frigates being constructed in Germany for the Argentine Navy and not yet delivered. The main part of the 1981 figure relates to yet to be delivered refurbished Canberra aircraft.

Falkland Islands

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning action taken by the armed forces as a result of his announcement on 7 April of a maritime exclusion zone around the Falkland Islands.

The maritime exclusion zone around the Falkland Islands came into operation at 0400 GMT on 12 April. Instructions were issued to our forces and measures were taken to enforce the zone. It is not the practice to give details of operational deployments and activity.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft will be available for the protection of the naval force on its way to the Falkland Islands; and how this compares with the number of aircraft for combat purposes in the Argentine Air Force.

The task force, with the carriers HMS "Hermes" and "Invincible", possesses an effective and versatile anti-aircraft capability. Both carriers have enhanced complements of Sea Harrier aircraft and arrangements are in hand to reinforce the Harrier force in the South Atlantic. In addition, the warships in the force carry a wide range of anti-aircraft missiles, including Sea Dart.Comparison with numbers of aircraft in the Argentinian Air Force is misleading. The Argentinians have a number of land-based aircraft with a limited radius of action over the sea. These include the Skyhawk and the Mirage. Organic air cover is limited to one carrier.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, before the recent invasion of the Falkland Islands, officers commanding Her Majesty's ships had written engagement orders with regard to potential aggression by the Argentine Navy; and, if so, from when they dated and what they contained.

Belize

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the cost of stationing British forces in Belize over and above the cost that would be incurred on those forces if they were in the United Kingdom.

The estimated extra budgetary cost of British Forces in Belize in 1981–82 was £4·4 million at 1981–82 Estimates prices.

Remedial Gymnasts

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many students are admitted to the joint services course for remedial gymnasts at the Queen Elizabeth military hospital, Woolwich, every year; how many students are on the course; and how many successfully complete the course.

Each course at the joint Service school of remedial gymnastics at Woolwich lasts two years, a new course beginning every September. An average of 11 students attend each course and there are therefore about 20 students at the school at any time. Only two students have failed to complete the course successfully in the last four years.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence which civilian hospitals have received students from the joint services course for remedial gymnasts at the Queen Elizabeth military hospital, Woolwich in the past 12 months as part of the students' practical training.

Students from the joint Services school of remedial gymnastics have recently attended the following civilian hospitals and rehabilitative establishments as part of their training:

  • Brook General Hospital
  • Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital
  • Farnham Park Rehabilitation Centre
  • Camden Road Rehabilitation Centre
  • Stoke Mandeville Hospital
  • Putney Home for Incurables
  • Wolfson Medical Centre
  • Royal Hospital Chelsea

Trade

Manufactured Goods (Statistics)

asked the Minister for Trade what percentage of manufactured goods exported from the United Kingdom went to the EEC and the rest of the world, respectively, in each of the past 20 years.

The information is as follows:

Distribution of United Kingdom exports of manufactures
Per cent.
European* CommunityRest of the world
19622575
19632674

European* Community

Rest of the world

19642674
19652575
19662575
19672674
19682773
19692872
19702971
19712773
19722971
19733169
19743268
19753070
19763367
19773466
19783664
19794060
19803961
1981n/an/a

Notes:

SITC 5 to 8

* Including Greece, Denmark and Ireland throughout.

n/a = Not available

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics

asked the Minister for Trade if he will publish a table showing the balance of trade in manufactured goods with the EEC and the rest of the world, respectively, in each of the past 20 years.

The information is as follows:

Balance of United Kingdom Trade in Manufactured Goods
£ million, OTS basis
European Community*Rest of the World
1962+ 309+ 1473
1963+ 345+ 1525
1964+ 300+ 1306
1965+ 315+ 1527
1966+ 314+ 1606
1967+ 206+ 1336
1968+ 246+ 1394
1969+457+1662
1970+462+1772
1971+329+2442
1972+22+2082
1973-416+1745
1974-750+2328
1975-639+4105
1976-666+4799
1977-910+6038
1978-2029+5692
1979-3081+4262
1980-1765+5340
1981....

Note: SITC 5 to 8.

* Including Greece, Denmark and Ireland throughout.

..=Not available.

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.

Prime Minister

Factory Closures

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister how many hon. Members she has seen on matters relating to factory closures since she last answered oral questions; and how many jobs were expected to be lost in the closures mentioned.

State Schools

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied that educational standards are being maintained in State schools.

There is always room for improvement in both primary and secondary schools, despite the fact that expenditure per pupil has risen under this Government to record levels in real terms.

Engagements

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 20 April.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 20 April.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 20 April.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 20 April.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 20 April.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 20 April.

This morning I had meetings with Ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall preside at a meeting of the Cabinet later today. This evening I am giving a reception for those engaged in business, representing both management and the shop floor.

Trades Union Congress

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister when she will meet the Trades Union Congress general council.

Falkland Islands

asked the Prime Minister if, in light of the serious situation in the Falkland Islands, her Majesty's Government will alter legislation and practice so that the 400 or so residents of the Falkland Islands, who will shortly be classified as citizens of British dependent territories under the British Nationality Act 1981, are afforded all the same rights and privileges, namely, subsidised university education, free medical treatment, right of access to the United Kingdom, right to take up employment in the United Kingdom, and payments under the Public Lending Rights Act, which are automatically provided under current British law and practice to British citizens, and citizens of EEC countries, including France's overseas territories.

As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made clear in reply to a question from my hon. Friend on 8 April—[Vol. 21, c. 421–24]—in the present situation all Falkland Islanders, whether or not they have the right of abode, will be admitted to the United Kingdom and allowed to settle, if they wish, with no restriction on their taking work. There is no need to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 to achieve this. The other rights and privileges referred to depend on factors other than citizenship.

Chancellor Of The Duchy Of Lancaster

asked the Prime Minister what are the ministerial duties of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The main ministerial duties of the Chancellor of the Duchy are concerned with the control of the management of the Duchy estates and, within the counties of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, the appointments of magistrates to the Commissions of the Peace and the appointments of high sheriffs.

National Finance

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of introducing a reduced rate tax band of 25 per cent. on the first £2,000 of taxable income; what would be the effect on the net incomes of a married couple on average earnings and on half, two-thirds, three-quarters, one and a half times, twice, three and four times average earnings; and what would be the effect on these taxpayers if the same money were used to increase (a) personal allowances or (b) child benefit, assuming two children and (i) an employed wife and (ii) a non-employed wife.

Range of total incomeValue of Budget income tax changesAverage gain per tax unitNumber of tax units*
££ millionpercentage of total£million
Under 5,00051021707"·0
5,000–10,00084534959·0
10,000–15,000480201253·8
15,000–20,000255102651·0
20,000 and over355155550·6
2,44510021·4

The cost is estimated at £2,150 million in a full year at 1982–83 income levels.The effects of this change and that of increasing the main personal allowances or child benefit at the same overall cost are shown in the following tables for married couples with two children.

(i) Assuming husband and wife both earning, with combined earnings equal to the respective multiple of average earnings for full-time adult men, split equally between them:

Increase in Net Income (£ per week)

Multiple of average earnings

Reduced rate band of 25 per cent.

Increased personal allowance

Increased child benefit

½0·140·877·70
1·483·127·70
¾2·143·127·70
Average3·573·127·70
3·853·127·70
23·853·127·70
33·852·427·70
43·853·237·70

(ii) Assuming husband is the only earner:

Increase in Net Income (£ per week)

Multiple of average earnings

Reduced rate band of 25 per cent.

Increased personal allowance

Increased child benefit

½1·651·907·70
1·921·907·70
¾1·921·907·70
Average1·921·907·70
1·921·907·70
21·922·547·70
31·923·177·70
41·923·497·70

Both tables assume that the couple have no income tax allowances other than the appropriate personal allowances, and no other source of taxable income. In table (i), the couple are assumed to make the wife's earnings election wherever this would be beneficial. Average earnings for 1982–83 for full time adult men—all occupations—have been taken as £160 per week.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out for those with earnings in each band, respectively, of up to £5,000 a year, £5,000 to £10,000, £10,000 to £15,000, £15,000 to £20,000 and over £20,000, the value of the total Budget tax changes, showing the proportion this represents of the total in each case; what is the average per tax unit in each of these bands; and what is the number of taxpayers in each band.

The information—which is available only by range of total income, not earnings—is as follows:

* After the Budget changes; excludes an estimated 0·8 million tax units in the under-£5,000 range kept out of tax by the increase in personal allowances.

All information is in terms of tax units; that is, married couples are counted as one and their incomes aggregated.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out for each year since 1978–79, and including an estimate for 1982–83, the proportion of

Groups of taxpayers (counting married couples as one unit)Estimated proportion of income tax yield at income levels of:
1978–79 per cent.1979–80 per cent.1980–81 per cent.1981–82 per cent.1982–83 per cent.
Top 1 per cent.11·21110½10½10½
Top 10 per cent.34·534343434
Top 40 per cent.72·3717171½71½
Bottom 30 per cent.7·588
Bottom 10 per cent.0·71111
Estimates for 1979–80 onwards are provisional, and so have been rounded.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the increase in revenue from allowing (a) personal tax allowances and (b) other tax reliefs at the standard rate of tax only, taking into account the changes announced in the Budget.

On (a), taking into account the changes announced in the Budget, the increase in revenue in a full year at 1982–83 income levels would be about £325 million, if the main personal allowances were available only at the basic rate. This estimate is on the assumption that couples who would find it advantageous to elect for separate taxation of the wife's earnings would be able to do so, even if they do not currently find it advantageous.On

(b), information is not available in respect of all other reliefs, but an approximate estimate in respect of the total of three major reliefs—for mortgage interest, retirement annuity payments and employees' superannuation contributions—is £290 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the reply given to the hon. Member for Isle of Ely on 31 March, Official Report, c. 124, what tax was payable by a single man earning £40 per week gross in March 1982; and what tax was payable on the same earnings in real terms in March of each year from 1978 to 1981.

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

Mortgage Interest Relief
Range of total income £Cost in a full year £ millionNumbers receiving relief (000)Average relief per mortgagor £
Under 2,500negligiblenegligible
2,500–5,00090430210
5,000–7,5002801,000280
7,500–10,0004401,370320

total income tax raised from the top 1 per cent., the top 10 per cent., the top 40 per cent., the bottom 30 per cent. and the bottom 10 per cent. of taxpayers.

The information, taking account of the Budget proposals for 1982–83, is as follows:

Capital Taxes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the annual cost at 1982–83 prices of all the changes made in capital taxes since April 1979.

About £600 million, if it can be assumed that the levels of transfers and gains that are estimated in 1982–83 would still be the same if the changes referred to had not been made.

Mortgage Interest And Life Assurance Premiums

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will bring up to date the information on mortgage interest and life assurance premiums given in the replies to the hon. Members for Grimsby and Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 11 March 1980, Official Report, c. 541–44.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update the information on mortgage interest provided in his reply to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 11 March 1980, Official Report, c. 543–44.

The information on mortgage interest relief is as follows—estimates relate to 1982–83. As regards the information on life assurance premiums, I refer the hon. Member for Grimsby to my reply to his question on 7 April.—[Vol. 21, c. 375–76.]

Range of total income £

Cost in a full year £ million

Numbers receiving relief (000)

Average relief per mortgagor £

10,000–12,0003301,010330
12,000–15,000360980360
15,000–17,000150340450
17,000–20,000170290590
20,000–30,000240280830
over 30,0001201001,290
2,1805,800375

The information is in terms of tax units—that is married couples are counted as one and their income aggregated.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will explain the difference between the answer given to the hon. Member for Pontypridd on 1 March, Official Report, c. 32–33, and that given to the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McKay) on 23 March, Official Report, c. 331–32, concerning the estimate of revenue from taxation of benefits for the unemployed; and which estimate has been included in the figure for total revenue from income tax given in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1982–83.

As stated in the answers, the calculations were based on levels of unemployment, income and benefits in different financial years: that is, 1981–82, with personal allowances increased by 12 per cent., in that of 1 March—given before the Budget—and 1982–83 in that of 23 March. The forecast of total revenue from income tax given in table 23 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1982–83 includes the estimate of receipts in 1982–83 from taxation of benefits paid to the unemployed based on 1982–83 levels.

Manufactured Goods (Exports)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the proportion of manufacturing output exported each year since 1970; and how the figures compare with those of West Germany and France.

I have been asked to reply.The figures for the United Kingdom are shown in the following table. I regret that comparable information for West Germany and France is not available.

United Kingdom Manufacturing Industry
Exports as a percentage of manufacturers sales
197018
197119
197218
197320
197421
197523
197624
197725
197825
197924
198026

Notes:

The calculations of the ratios is inappropriate for some industries. In such cases and where suitable data are not available, the industry has been omitted from the table. The industries concerned are:

MLH 239 Other drink industries

  • 240 Tobacco
  • 342 Ordnance and small arms
  • 396 Jewellery and precious metals
  • 423 Textile finishing
  • 433 Fur
  • 474 Shop and office fittings

Paye Inquiry Office (Huddersfield)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer where is the PAYE inquiry office nearest to Huddersfield situated; and what is the particular service such an office provides.

All local tax offices in Huddersfield are equipped to deal with PAYE inquiries. There is no special PAYE inquiry office in Huddersfield, because such offices are set up in areas from which PAYE records have been transferred or centralised, and there has been no such transfer or centralisation of PAYE records from Huddersfield or elsewhere in Yorkshire.

Vehicle Excise Duty (Elderly Persons)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost of granting exemption from vehicle excise duty to people aged over 65 years who are unable or virtually unable to walk.

I am unable to provide the information requested, as the number of people in this age category who would qualify for such an exemption is not known.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Farm Incomes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1970, based on 1970 equals 100, the estimated change in the real income per acre under crops and grass together with the return on capital employed in the farming industry.

Information on the return on capital employed in the farming industry is not available. Figures for aggregate farming income are given in successive annual review of agriculture White Papers. The following table is based on these figures deflated by the retail price index and divided by the acreage under crops and grass in each year:

Index of farming income per acre under crops and grass, deflated by the retail price index (1970 = 100)
Year
1970100
1971101

Year

1972100
1973129
197494
197594
1976104
197789
197881
197968
198051
198153

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1970, based on 1970 equals 100, the estimated change in real income of the median farmer and for farmers generally.

I regret that the information requested on the median farmer is not available. Figures for aggregate farming income are given in successive annual review of agriculture White Papers. The following table is based on these figures deflated by the retail price index:

1976–771977–781978–791979–80*1980–81
Barbados39·952·034·560·159·9
Belize103·399·698·9100·696·8
Congonil48·9nil197·4102·8
Fiji100·4100·7100·4100·383·0
Guyana102·5102·199·8100·591·3
India106·792·799·895·5nil
Jamaica99·795·999·797·366·0
Kenyanilnilnilnilnil
Madagascarnilnilnilnilnil
Malawi99·5100·372·175·974·9
Mauritius106·9102·994·692·872·4
St. Kitts85·2100·397·6103·099·1
Surinamnilnilnilnilnil
Swaziland102·695·8101·798·7110·4
Tanzania104·796·8100·499·6nil
Trinidad and Tobago104·7100·595·187·389·5
Ugandanil108·2nilnilnil
Total98·696·992·393·877·9
* Provisional

Notes:

(a) These percentages are based on arrivals attributed to each quota year. In principle these years run from July to June, but some tolerance on delivery times is allowed to deal with unforeseen delays between shipment and arrival.

(b) The detailed rules for operating the sugar protocol allow for a degree of tolerance on quantities attributed to each quota year. Where these tolerances have applied in one year a corresponding adjustment is made the following year. The operation of these rules is the main reason why. in some cases, the figures exceed 100 per cent.

Deficiency Payments

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place in the Library a copy of his calculations in respect of a possible scheme of deficiency payments mentioned in his oral replies on 5 April.

As I explained in my reply of 1 April to my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Hicks)—[Vol. 21, c. 171]—it is not possible to make precise estimates and much depends on the assumptions

Index of farming income deflated by the retail price index (1970=100)

Year

1970100
1971101
1972100
1973128
197493
197594
1976104
197788
197880
197967
198051
198152

Sugar Imports

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each of the past five years what proportion of the total sugar allotted to each country under the Lomé agreement was taken by the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom imported the following percentages of the quantities of sugar permanently allocated to certain ACP countries, overseas countries and territories and India in each of the last five years:used. However, the figures given on 1 April and on 5 April were intended to indicate the order of magnitude of the costs of a deficiency payments system with prices set halfway between existing producer prices and world prices, as the hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) appears to be suggesting. The calculations were based on present levels of agricultural production multiplied by half the estimated difference between existing United Kingdom prices and world prices. For some commodities world prices are difficult to establish and, while various assumptions could be used, all would yield figures of the order given.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Carriers Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the basis of the takeover of Northern Ireland Carriers Ltd. by the National Freight Company; and when he expects the takeover to be completed.

The takeover which has taken effect from 15 March 1982 comprises a package of four parts:

  • (i) the National Freight Company purchased the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company's £250,000 shareholding in Northern Ireland Carriers for £100,000;
  • (ii) the holding company purchased from NIC its leasehold and freehold property interests for £1·525 million;
  • (iii) from the proceeds NIC repaid loans of £750,000 each to NFC and the holding company;
  • (iv) NIC will lease back those properties needed for its continuing operations in Northern Ireland with NFC guaranteeing rents for 10 years.
  • The sale transfers Northern Ireland's sole publicly owned road haulage company to the private sector where it properly belongs, offers the company enhanced trading opportunities and improves, significantly, its future prospects.

    Energy

    Commercial Insurance Market

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made into the possible use by his Department of the commercial insurance market.

    In general, Government property is not insured, and public sector energy industries take their own decisions on insurance matters. Should the occasion arise for action by the Department of Energy in future, we should bear in mind the skills and services available in the commercial insurance market.

    North Sea Vessels (Flag Registrations)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in numbers and percentages the flag registrations of oil supply boats, safety and support vessels, crane barges, pipe-laying barges and drilling rigs deployed in the Scottish sector of the North Sea.

    Gas (Export And Exchange Arrangements)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many applications have been made to him or his predecessors during the past 10 years for the export or for exchange arrangements covering gas.

    Gas Exports

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how far negotiations have proceeded for the import of Norwegian gas into the United Kingdom for re-export to the Continent; and whether this would involve linking the British and European grids.

    There have been no specific proposals for the import of Norwegian gas into the United Kingdom for re-export to the Continent, but we have assured the Norwegians on a number of occasions that we would be willing in principle to consider projects of this kind on their merits. Such projects could involve linking the British and European grids.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will authorise the linking of the British and European natural gas grids to facilitate sales under clause 12 of the Oil and Gas (Enterprise) Bill.

    Industry

    Hearing Aids (Telephones)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that those who use hearing aids will continue, with changes in technology, to be able to use telephones as easily as possible.

    Telecommunications Equipment (Approval)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if, in the light of the delay by British Telecom in approving such attachments as transtel telex teleprinters for private sector supply and maintenance, he will now investigate the merits of establishing a national communication commission with powers of approval in place of British Telecom.

    The Government are in the process of transferring responsibility for the approval of telecommunication subscriber's apparatus in stages from British Telecom to an independent body, the British Approvals Board for Telecommunications. Since the BABT will take over from BT responsibility for approval of such apparatus as telex teleprinters and will commence operations in July 1982, I am not investigating any alternative arrangement such as a national communication commission.

    British Leyland

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public money has been advanced to British Leyland in each of the past three years; how much of this has been earmarked for investment; how much has been spent each year on investment; how many plants have been closed down and with what loss of jobs; and how many plants have been re-equipped and with what loss of jobs.

    Government assistance for BL in each of the past three financial years has been as follows:

    Financial year

    Equity

    Regional Development Grant†

    Interest Relief Grant

    £ million

    £ million

    £ million

    1979–801501·60·13
    1980–813002·10·02
    1981–82520

    *2·9

    0·12

    * to 31 December 1981

    † Information about payments of regional development grant over £25,000 has, since 1 October 1974, been published quarterly in British Business magazine—this is the source of these figures—and for the figures for interest relief grant. The totals of regional development grant individually worth less than £25,000 cannot be provided without disproportionate cost.

    Details of payments for special employment measures for BL companies are not available without disproportionate cost. Assistance provided for research and development work is commercially confidential and details are not published.

    The Government's general equity funding to BL is not hypothecated to individual projects, but is made available to assist in the funding of the company's overall restructuring and new model investment programmes, which are set out in annual corporate plans. Reports on BL's 1980, 1981 and 1982 corporate plans are available in the Library of the House. Capital expenditure by BL has been as follows:

    £ million

    1979258·9
    1980284·1

    Source: BL's 1980 annual report and accounts. The 1981 accounts will be published shortly, and will be laid before Parliament under the provisions of section 3(5) of the Industry Act 1980. A figure for capital expenditure for 1981 cannot be made available until then.

    Total BL manpower has been reduced as follows:

    Number

    end-1979169,000
    end-1980141,000
    end-1981119,000

    Source: Report to Parliament on 1982 corporate plan, December 1981.

    Job losses at BL have not only occurred because of specific plant closures, but also because as a whole BL has been reducing its cost base to a level which is more realistic given current and forecast future production levels. Disposal of non-mainstream assets has also occurred. During the period in question, the following main plants or parts of plants have been closed—with redundancies directly attributable to these closures in brackets.

    • 1979 — AEC Truck and Bus plant, Southall (2,150)
    • 1980 —Park Royal Bus plant, London (570) MG Car Plant, Abingdon (900) Vehicle Assembly Facilities, Canley (5,100) Some car assembly facilities, Castle Bromwich (2,660)
    • 1981 —Car Assembly plant at Seneffe, Belgium (2,250) Foundry facilities at Wellingborough and Leeds (560)

    Concorde

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has received the joint studies by British and French officials of options for the future of Concorde; and when he will discuss these with the French Minister of Transport.

    The joint Anglo-French studies have now been submitted to the two Governments, and I shall be meeting the French Minister of Transport, M. Fiterman, in Paris on 6 May to consider them and other matters related to the future of Concorde.

    British Shipbuilders

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he will announce further appointments to the board of British Shipbuilders.

    Mr. John Steele, executive vice chairman of British Shipbuilders' offshore division and formerly part-time member of the British Shipbuilders board has accepted the Secretary of State's invitation to serve as a full-time member for a term of three years from 19 March 1982. Mr. Stanley Harding and Mt. John Gardiner have been reappointed as part-time members.

    Transport

    M25, Reigate

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the sections of the proposed M25 between Reigate and the M4, and what are the latest target dates for completion.

    [pursuant to her reply, 19 April 1932, c. 49.]: A continuous stretch of 14 miles between the A3 near Wisley and the Heathrow airport spur is already open or under construction. I hope that the difficulties in completing the statutory procedures on the remaining lengths are nearly at an end, and that they will all be under construction by the spring of next year. The target completion dates are:

    Reigate—Leatherhead1985
    Leatherhead—Wisley1984
    Wisley—ChertseyAutumn 1983
    (Chertsey—YeoveneyOpen)
    Yeoveney—Airport SpurSpring 1983
    Airport Spur—M41985

    Home Department

    Fire Service (Pay And Conditions)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, following the withdrawal of the employees from the national joint council for the fire service, he is satisfied that proper arrangements exist for the consideration of pay and conditions questions under the terms of section 17(2)(a) of the Fire Services Act 1947; and whether he will make a statement.

    Section 17(2)(a) of the Fire Services Act 1947—as amended by Section 5 of the Fire Services Act 1959—applies only to disciplinary matters, for which we are satisfied that suitable arrangements can be made if they are required.

    Detained Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied that the Human Rights Convention is being adhered to in respect of those persons kept in prison, some 5,000 persons, for periods of one month to over 12 months when they have not been tried or found guilty of any offence.

    We do not consider that the conditions under which untried persons are held contravene the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. As pointed out in the annual report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales 1981—Cmnd. 8532—however, these conditions are far from ideal and, subject to the availability of resources, steps are being taken to improve the situation.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons detained in "H" division, Metropolitan Police, in 1981 were refused permission to make a telephone call, and how many were refused access to a solicitor; and in each case how many of these persons were juveniles, other persons aged under 21 years and members of ethnic minorities.

    The information requested is not kept centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Complaints Against The Police

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints were lodged during 1981 against officers in each of the stations in "H" division, Metropolitan Police; how many have been upheld; and how many resulted in disciplinary action or criminal proceedings.

    The information available centrally relates to complaints on which action was completed in 1981, whether received in that year or carried over from previous years, and for "H" district as a whole. Of the total of 248 complaints completed, 159 were withdrawn or not proceeded with, 87 were found to be unsubstantiated and two substantiated. Neither of the substantiated complaints resulted in disciplinary proceedings; one resulted in criminal proceedings. A breakdown by police station could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Civil Defence

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report the circulars published by his Department on civil defence matters since January 1978.

    The following Home Office circulars on civil defence matters have been issued since January 1978 and are in the Library.

    • ES 1/1978 —Transmission of radiological information in wartime
    • ES 2/1978 —Earmarking of buildings for war planning
    • ES 3/1978 —Home Defence College, York
    • ES 1/1979 —Food and agricultural controls in war
    • ES 2/1979 —Wartime communications for local authorities
    • ES 3/1979 —Emergency communications procedures
    • ES 4/1979 —Home defence training for the police
    • ES 1/1980 —Local home defence training
    • ES 2/1980 —"Protect and Survive" booklet
    • ES 1/1981 —Civil Defence Review
    • ES 2/1981 —Community organisation in war and voluntary effort in civil defence
    • ES 3/1981 —Protection of the general public in war; survey of the protective qualities of residential accommodation

    Albany Prison (Dental Treatment)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will list the names of the dentists who provide treatment for prisoners at Her Majesty's prison Albany, Isle of Wight.

    Argentine (Immigration Rules)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to amend the immigration rules following the imposition of a visa requirement on Argentinians.

    The 1967 visa abolition agreement with the Argentine Republic was suspended by that country on 8 April, and I announced the following morning that from noon all Argentine nationals wishing to enter the United Kingdom would need to obtain visas before travelling. I laid before Parliament the consequent statement of change in Immigration Rules yesterday.

    Detained Persons (Ethnic Origins)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the Metropolitan Police categorises in its statistics those individuals of mixed ethnic origins.

    [pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1982, c. 108]: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that statistics of ethnic appearance collected by the Metropolitan Police are based on the visual assessment, which forms part of the general description of individuals recorded for operational purposes. Persons, including those of mixed ethnic origin, are classified according to the category which most closely describes their appearance.

    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.

    [pursuant to his reply, 2 April 1982, c. 200]: Information in the form requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The average time served under sentence in prison department establishments in England and Wales by persons

  • (a) convicted of robbery who were released on licence or discharged on completion of sentence in 1980 was about two years;
  • (b) convicted of murder who were released on licence in 1980 was about 10½ years.
  • Any time spent in custody on remand is not included.

    Murders (Statistics)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many known murders were committed in England and Wales; and how many of these were detected and how many convictions resulted in (a) 1980 and (b) 1981.

    [pursuant to his reply, 8 April 1982, c. 420]: In a case of homicide, it is not possible in the absence of a court decision to distinguish between offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. The number of offences initially recorded by the police as homicide and the number cleared up are published annually—for 1980, table 2.4 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1980"; for 1981, table 4 of "Home Office Statistical Bulletin 4/82". The number of suspects of homicides recorded in 1980 who were convicted of murder is published in table 4.7 of Cmnd. 8376. Information for 1981 is not yet available.

    Environment

    Argentine (Sporting Events)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he proposes to give advice to those sporting bodies in the British Isles which have offered invitations to Argentine teams or individuals to participate in sporting events in the United Kingdom.

    In present circumstances I would urge British sporting bodies not to complete any bilateral fixtures against their Argentinian counterparts scheduled in the United Kingdom and to refrain from issuing further invitations.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has offered to those intending visits to the Argentine for sporting purposes.

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising all United Kingdom nationals against visiting Argentina at this time.

    Employment

    Community Enterprise Programme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the reasons for the transfer of the community enterprise programme from the special programme division of the Manpower Services Commission to the employment services division; and how much is expected to be spent on the community enterprise programme, during 1982–83.

    The decision to transfer responsibility for the administration of the community enterprise programme from the Manpower Services Commission's special programmes division to its employment services division follows from the commission's decision to form

    Directly employed NHS staff in England: 30 September.
    Ratio of nursing and midwifery staff to administrative and clerical staff.*
    Whole-time equivalent staff
    1971*197519761981 (provisional)
    (a) England
    Nursing and Midwifery†285,400336,600341,700392,200
    Administration and Clerical70,40091,90098,500108,600
    Ratio of nursing and midwifery to A & C staff4.1: 13·7: 13·5: 13·6: 1
    (b) West Midlands
    Nursing and Midwifery†N/A33,20035,20041,000
    Administration and ClericalN/A9,2009,60010,800
    Ratio of nursing and midwifery to A & C staffN/A3·6: 13·7: 13·8: 1

    a single new division which will be responsible for all aspects of MSC training activities. These activities are currently the responsibility of the training services division and that part of the special programmes division which administers the youth opportunities programme. The transfer is expected to take place later in the summer.

    The community enterprise programme is an employment programme which provides temporary employment on schemes of community benefit for people who have been unemployed for a long time. It is appropriate that the employment services division, which is responsible for MSC's employment and rehabilitation services and is in the best position to establish the needs of unemployed people, should assume responsibility for the CEP.

    Excluding the Manpower Services Commission's administration costs, the funds available for reimbursement to sponsors, under the community enterprise programme in 1982–83, total £145 million.

    Social Services

    National Health Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what savings in manpower are expected to result from the restructuring of the National Health Service on 1 April.

    One of the chief objectives of the reorganisation of the National Health Service is to streamline administration and increase the resources devoted to direct patient care. Accordingly the Government are committed to reducing the cost of managing the service from 5·14 per cent. of health authorities' resources to 4·62 per cent. by the end of 1984–85. Over 200 top posts have already been abolished.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the ratio of nursing staff to administrative staff in the National Health Service (a) as a whole and (b) in the West Midlands region in the years 1970, 1975 and 1981.

    The following table gives the comparison for nursing and midwifery staff and administrative and clerical staff.The earliest year for which comparable figures for individual staff groups is available is 1971. All figures for 1981 are provisional. The table includes figures for 1976 as those for 1975 are not wholly reliable owing to the effects of reorganisation.

    Notes:

    * Following NHS reorganisation on 1 April 1974, staff previously employed by local authority health departments were transferred to area health authorities. The all-England figures for 1971 have, as far as possible, been corrected for this, but a direct comparison with the figures for the other three years is unreliable. It is not possible to provide corrected figures for individual regions.

    † Includes agency nurses and midwives and health visitor students.

    Falkland Islanders

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has discretionary powers to provide free medical treatment to citizens of British Dependent Territories from the Falkland Islands, having regard to the recent decision to restrict such free treatment to Common Market nationals and residents of France's overseas territories.

    As I explained in my answer to my hon. Friend on 1 March—[Vol. 19, c. 51–52]—nationals of European Community member States are exempt from charges for immediately necessary hospital treatment. For this purpose, French overseas departments count as part of metropolitan France.Exemption also applies to countries outside the Community with whom the United Kingdom has made reciprocal health care agreements. Proposals for such agreements have been offered to all British Dependent Territories, but an agreement has not yet been made with the Falkland Islands.Under the proposed arrangements, Falkland Islanders coming here to settle or to work will be exempt from charges.

    Merchant And Boreham Social Surveys

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) when he expects the study of social surveys by Merchant and Boreham to be published;(2) what is his policy towards the report by Sir John Boreham on the future of ad hoc social surveys and if he intends to publish them; and what representations have been made to him regarding the future of ad hoc social surveys, and by whom.

    The report "The Commissioning of ad hoc social surveys" made in September 1981 by Mr. J. R. Merchant has not been published, but copies may be obtained by interested persons and organisations. I am sending a copy to the hon. Member.I am awaiting advice on the future of ad hoc social surveys from Sir John Boreham and the Registrar General. When I have considered it, I shall announce my decisions.A list of those who were invited to comment on Mr. Merchant's report was given in my reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 23 February 1982.—[Vol. 18, c.

    348–49.]

    Doctors (Deputising Services)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the increasing use of deputising services, he will take steps to ensure the same standards of continuity of medical care in community medical services as in hospital practice.

    Yes. The terms of service for doctors and the Department's guidance on general practitioner deputising services both require family practitioner committees to be satisfied as to the acceptability of deputising arrangements. The code of practice for deputising services states that satisfactory arrangements must be made for any follow-up of the cases by the deputising service itself and for reporting action taken to the patient's own doctor at the end of the period of deputising.

    Abortion Notification Procedure

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any review has been, or is being, carried out by his Department into any aspect of the abortion notification procedure.

    Yes. I have reviewed the present position and no changes are planned.

    Education And Science

    Examination Results

    14.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent comparative assessment he has made of results from the independent and State education sectors.

    There is no complete measure of comparative effectiveness since this depends on how well each school copes with the task which it happens to be set. Independent schools, as a whole, obtain better examination results than maintained schools.

    Education Standards

    18.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied that education standards have not been adversely affected by cuts in public expenditure.

    I cannot in general isolate the effect of local expenditure policies from the many other factors which determine education standards.

    25.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Inspectors' report on education standards in England and Wales for 1981.

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the comments made by Her Majesty's Inspectors concerning the effect of reduced educational provision.

    The report, which was published on 5 April, summarises the observations of Her Majesty's Inspectors on the standard of provision in English schools and colleges in the autumn of 1981. What HMI have observed is the combined result of the expenditure policies of local authorities and several other factors, including inherited levels of provision and long standing mismatch between teachers' main subject specialisms and curriculum needs as well as the continuing fall in pupil numbers. The report states that most of the schools observed were well found and most pupils adequately served: it is the growing disparities that cause concern. In higher and further education HMI report that the service is generally well provided.

    Local Education Authorities

    19.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations he has received from parents alleging failure by local education authorities to meet their statutory obligations under the Education Acts; and if he will make a statement.

    I receive very many letters from parents and others on a wide variety of matters. Where a breach of statutory duties is alleged, the complaint is investigated and I consider the matter in accordance with the Education Acts and in the light of all the relevant factors.

    Secondary Heads Association (Minister's Speech)

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place in the Library a copy of his speech to the Secondary Heads Association in Exeter on 29 March.

    Teachers

    21.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made towards the establishment of an agreed procedure for the removal of incompetent teachers.

    Local education authorities may dismiss teachers on the grounds of lack of capability. Procedures are a matter of local practice, having regard to the obligations and rights contained in employment protection legislation, to the code on teachers' conditions of service agreed by the local authorities' associations and the teachers' unions, and to the content of the individual teacher's contract of service with his employer.

    26.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of teachers who acquired teaching qualifications in the past five years are now employed in schools in the United Kingdom.

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department has given to local authorities any advice as to the professional duties of a teacher to be included in his contract of employment.

    No. National agreements on conditions of service matters are negotiated in the Council of Local Education Authorities—School Teachers Committee; and it is for individual local education authorities to decide on the terms of school teachers' contracts in the light of those agreements. There is, however, no national collective agreement defining teachers' professional duties.

    Open University

    22.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received regarding the widening of grant support for Open University students; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has had a considerable number of representations asking him to extend the mandatory award scheme to include Open University students. He has, however, concluded that resources cannot at present be made available for this purpose.

    Catholic Primary Education (Liverpool)

    23.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representions he has received concerning Catholic primary education reorganisation in Liverpool.

    University Redundancies

    24.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley on 16 March, Official Report, c. 72, whether universities have yet decided whether redundancies will occur as a result of the reduction in Government grant.

    27.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether information is yet available to him on the total number of redundancies likely in universities in 1982–83.

    There will be redundancies among academic and non-academic staff of universities, but it is not yet possible to say how many there will be in any particular year.

    Religious Education

    28.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department has given any advice on the minimum time per week which schools should devote to religious education.

    This is a matter for the schools themselves to decide, taking into account the provisions of the Education Act 1944; but, as I said in the House on 8 April, I strongly deplore the custom which has crept in of dropping religious education altogether in the fourth and fifth years in some secondary schools.

    Secondary Education

    29.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in the light of his decisions on secondary school reorganisation in Manchester and Croydon, he has given any advice to Wiltshire county council during the framing of its proposals for the future of secondary education in Swindon.

    No. The authority will have been aware, however, of the policies set out in the draft circular "Statutory Proposals for Secondary Schools and Falling Rolls".

    32.

    asked e Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent he takes financial considerations into account in taking decisions on the reorganisation of secondary education and the provision of sixth form education.

    My right hon. Friend's primary concern is always with the educational merits of statutory proposals. The extent to which account is taken of other factors, including financial considerations, depends on the circumstances of the individual case.

    Political Education

    31.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what funds his Department has made available for the study of political education.

    My Department has funded a three-year research project, which will shortly be completed, at the University of London Institute of Education on the provision of political education in schools and colleges of further education. The total cost of the project to the Department will be some £90,000.

    Grammar Schools

    33.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many maintained grammar schools there are in England.

    In January 1981, the latest date for which information is available, there were 200 maintained grammar schools in England.

    Student Grants

    34.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his estimate of the real value of student grants for 1982–83 compared with 1981–82.

    If retail prices were to increase by 10 per cent. between September 1981 and September 1982 the real value of the basic student grant for students living away from home other than in London would fall by 6 per cent. between 1981–82 and 1982–83.

    Schools Council

    35.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the cost to public funds of the Schools Council.

    In 1981–82 the Schools Council received £1,879,000 as a grant in aid from the Department of Education and Science. It also received £1,785,000 from the local authorities, paid as a deduction from the rate support grant under the terms of section 56(9) of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980.

    Schoolchildren (Training And Education)

    36.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied that current regulations are sufficiently flexible to allow young people of school age in appropriate cases to undertake education and training away from school premises; and if he will make a statement.

    The present arrangements for linked courses between schools and colleges of further education permit widely varied patterns of provision. My right hon. Friend is considering the suggestion made in the report on the legal basis of further education that in certain circumstances pupils of compulsory school age should be able to continue their full-time education in a further education institution.

    Textile Industry (Career Opportunities)

    37.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the opportunities in the United Kingdom for students wishing to pursue courses related to a career in the textile industry.

    Nationally there has been a contraction of courses in certain aspects of textile education, reflecting declining recruitment to and restructuring of the textile industry. Within that overall picture, however, there are examples of support being a little stronger in some areas. In general, there is a need for the local education authorities, regional advisory councils and establishments of further and higher education concerned with textile education and training, in consultation with the industry, to work towards the effective rationalisation of course provision based on an assessment of future industrial needs and employment opportunities.The newly established national advisory body for local authority higher education in England offers the potential for more effective management of advanced courses in this and other areas of provision.

    Free Milk

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the continuing surplus of liquid milk production within the EEC, what is his current advice to local education authorities on the supply of free milk to schoolchildren.

    Decisions on the provision of free milk to schoolchildren is entirely a matter for local education authorities, and my right hon. Friend offers no advice. Authorities are well aware that, if they supply free milk, they are able to take advantage of the EC subsidy scheme which is administered in Great Britain by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, as a means of resolving the dispute between the United Kingdom and the Argentine Government, he will request the United Nations to hold a referendum of the Falkland Islanders with questions proposed by Her Majesty's Government, the Argentine Government and the islanders; for the United Nations to arrange for the referendum and its results and to take action upon such results.

    It is too soon to consider in detail possible means of consulting the islanders' views on a long-term solution. The first requirement is the withdrawal of Argentine Forces.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will take all and every action necessary, including if need be an approach to the Government of the Argentine, or the United Nations, to enable a citizen of the Falkland Islands to emigrate if he should express such a desire.

    The Government's immediate objective is to secure the withdrawal of Argentine Forces in order to enable the islanders to resume their former way of life and their freedom to do as they wish. We have no evidence of any islanders now wishing to emigrate being prevented from doing so by the occupying forces, but would of course do all we could to help, were such clear wishes expressed.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the measures taken by individual member States of the European Community prior to the decision by the Council of Ministers in support of the United Kingdom in the dispute with the Argentine Government over the Falkland Islands.

    On 2 April, the day of the invasion, the Ten Foreign Ministers of the European Community countries issued a joint statement condemning the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and calling for the withdrawal of Argentine Forces. In the course of the following week, all the Community Governments supplying arms to Argentina took decisions to place complete embargoes on all such arms sales. This was announced in a joint statement by the Ten Foreign Ministers on 10 April, together with their decision that the Community should impose a ban on all imports from Argentina. The statement also expressed strong support for United Nations Security Council resolution No. 502. A number of Community partners had by that time also ceased issuing new official export credit guarantees for exports to Argentina, and most others have done so since.

    Diplomatic Immunity

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the respective numbers of employees covered by diplomatic immunity at the Soviet embassy and trade delegation in the United Kingdom and at the British embassy in Moscow.

    There are at present 43 Soviet officials with diplomatic status at the Soviet embassy in London. At the Soviet trade delegation only the trade representative and his two deputies have diplomatic status. They are included in the embassy total. There are 41 members of staff with diplomatic status at the British embassy in Moscow.

    Gibraltar

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans exist for the reopening of the Gibraltar frontier and the implementation of other aspects of the Lisbon statement.

    It has been agreed between the British and the Spanish Governments that the start of negotiations on Gibraltar and the re-establishment of direct communications, which were due to take place on 20 April, should be postponed until 25 June. Her Majesty's Government remain committed, as in the Lisbon statement, to starting negotiations aimed at overcoming all the differences between the two sides over Gibraltar, to reopening direct communications and to developing closer understanding between those directly concerned in the area. The Spanish Government have stated that they share this commitment.

    Scotland

    Mental Hospitals (Patient Statistics)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the number of patients resident in mental hospitals in Scotland in each year since 1970; and what has been the corresponding percentage change.

    The average number of psychiatric beds occupied in mental hospitals in Scotland in each year since 1970 and the corresponding percentage change have been as follows:

    Year ending 30 SeptemberNumberIndex
    197018,102100·0
    197117,86198·7
    197217,56497·0
    197317,24295·2
    197417,06594·3
    197516,41290·7
    197616,37190·4
    197716,10188·9
    197815,81987·4
    197915,40785·1
    198015,10883·5

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of beds in mental hospitals are occupied by each of the following groups suffering from (a) schizophrenia, (b) manic-depressive psychoses and (c) senile dementia.

    The number of hospital in- patients with these diagnoses and the percentages of the available psychiatric beds they occupied at 31 December 1979, the latest date for which figures are available, was as follows:

    No. of PatientsPercentage Available beds*
    All diagnoses15,70591·5
    Schizophrenia4,68127·3
    Manic depressive psychosis1,3457·8
    Senile psychoses†3,25118·9
    *Available staffed beds—average—year to 31 March 1980 in mental illness specialties—mental illness, psycho-geriatric, child psychisitric and adolescent psychiatric. Total beds= 17,168.
    † Senile psychoses includes senile dementia, pre-senile dementia and arteriosclerotic dememntia.

    National Land Register

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to initiate the compilation of a national land register for Scotland.

    I have no plans in mind apart from the gradual extension of the land register under the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979.

    Secondary Pupils (Accidents)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many accidents to pupils occurred in secondary schools in Scotland since August 1980; and how many of these took place during physical education lessons.

    This information is not held centrally. Education authorities keep such records and also have an obligation to report serious accidents, in terms of the Notification of Accidents 1980 Regulations, to the Health and Safety Executive.

    Council House Sales

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the reply of the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian on 7 April, Official Report, columns 393–94, if he will publish the inquiry report on the sale of council houses in East Lothian before 6 May.

    The report will be made public as soon as my right hon. Friend has completed his consideration of it and is ready to announce his decision.

    One-Parent Families

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the incidence of single parents in each local authority with social services responsibility in Scotland.

    [pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 394]: The only figures currently available for local authority areas with social services responsibilities are from the 1981 census. They relate to the numbers of private households in which there were usually resident only one person aged 16 years or over with one or more children aged under 16. Most of these would be one-parent families; however, the figure may account for only about one half of all one-parent families, as some contain children aged 16 or over and others live in households containing relatives of the parent or other adults.

    1981 Census: households with only one adult plus one or more children aged under 16
    AreaNumberPer cent, of households
    Scotland40,4552·3
    Regions:
    Borders5991·6
    Central2,1482·3
    Dumfries and Galloway8741·7
    Fife2,6662·3
    Grampian3,2231·9
    Highland1,2381·9
    Lothian6,3612·4
    Strathclyde19,4612·4
    Tayside3,5582·5
    Islands Areas:
    Orkney1081·6
    Shetland911·2
    Western Isles1281·3

    Forestry Commission

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many employees were employed, in Scotland, by the Forestry Commission in 1970, 1975, 1980, and at the most recent available date; and if he will categorise them by type of work.

    [pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395]: The information is given in the following table:

    Forestry Commission Employees in Scotland
    19701975*19801981
    Non-Industrial:
    Senior Staff†191010
    Professional Forestry Staff69888281
    Foresters (local supervisory staff)425367362359
    Land Agents and Clerks of Works (Estate)20262727
    Engineers (Civil and Mechanical)53546764
    Cartographers10292930
    Administrative/Office Staff‡214428397400
    Scientists24242423
    Non-Industrial Total8161,025998994
    Industrial:
    Forestry Workers2,2971,9922,0651,893
    Engineering (Civil and Mechanical) and Estate Workers535412437429
    Industrial Total2,8322,4042,5022,322
    Grand Total All Staff3,6483,4293,5003,316

    Notes:

    * Some 300 HQ staff were transferred to Edinburgh when the Forestry Commission headquarters was moved from England to Scotland in 1974–75.

    †Excludes the chairman and part-time commissioners.

    ‡Includes executive and clerical staff, messengers, telephonists and so on.