Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 28 April 1982
Cozyhomes Improvements Ltd
asked the Minister for Trade if he has considered the complaints sent to him relating to the trading practices of Cozyhomes Improvements Ltd. in the Leicester area; and whether he will refer them to the Director General of Fair Trading for consideration in respect of the use of his powers under part III of the Fair Trading Act 1973.
I am passing a copy of the documents to the Director General of Fair Trading. I should, however, point out that he can take action under part III of the Fair Trading Act 1973 only if a trader has persisted in a course of conduct which is detrimental to the interests of consumers and is to be regarded as "unfair to consumers" under the terms of the Act.
Live Animal-Tested Cosmetics
asked the Minister for Trade whether the Government will consider introducing legislation to ensure that all live animal-tested cosmetics are labelled as such.
A new labelling requirement would present real practical difficulty; but I understand that a number of cosmetics manufacturers have indicated voluntarily that their products are not tested on live animals.
asked the Minister for Trade what consideration he has given to the banning of the sale of baby nests lined with non-absorbent material.
I have issued a warning about the dangers of baby nests lined with material such as nylon, which does not readily absorb mucus and vomit, and about certain other dangerous characteristics of these products. It would be premature to consider a ban until these characteristics have been defined in a standard that I have asked the British Standards Institution to prepare. In the meantime, my Department has asked suppliers to attach labels warning parents of the risks of leaving babies unattended in baby nests.
asked the Minister for Trade whether, pursuant to the answer of 26 February, Official Report, c. 517–18, he will express under each of the headings of loan or grant support for British Airways the figures for each of the last 10 years, as percentages of the figure for 1971–72.
I shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
asked the Minister for Trade whether he is satisfied that no confidential documents of his Department were passed to Jessop Marine in the period before the decision was made to grant the contract for salvaging the gold on HMS "Edinburgh"; and if he will make a statement.
The Department recently received information that allegations were to be made relating to the award of the contract for the recovery of gold from HMS "Edinburgh". The matter was referred to the Director of Public Prosecution, who called the police in to investigate the allegations. Police inquiries are continuing.
asked the Minister for Trade if he is satisfied with the current safety record of zinc-carbon, alkaline and button-cell batteries produced in the United Kingdom; how many accidents arising from the use or storage of such batteries have been reported to his Department over the past five years; and if he is satisfied with the forms of quality control, design and research on safety currently carried out within the industry.
[pursuant to his reply, 27 April 1982, c. 224]: There is no evidence to show that the safety record of batteries of the kind referred to is unsatisfactory. Under the home accident surveillance system of my Department there have been six accidents, including three explosions, reported in the past five years of a kind that might be attributed to a fault in the product's use or storage. This would represent a very small number of what I understand are the millions manufactured annually in the United Kingdom. I have also had two cases, one recent, reported to my Department direct of these batteries exploding. The causes are not known, but my Department is discussing the matter with the manufacturers. There is no reason to believe that quality control, design and research on safety are unsatisfactory in this industry, but I shall keep this under review.
Barristers And Solicitors
asked the Attorney-General what is the present number of practising barristers and solicitors in the United Kingdom; and what were the comparable figures for the last three years for which figures are available.
I regret that the information requested does not come within my responsibility. The information can be obtained as follows:
- Practising in England and Wales: The Law Society.
- Practising in Northern Ireland: The Incorporated Law Society for Northern Ireland.
- Practising in Scotland: The Law Society of Scotland.
- Practising in England and Wales: The Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar.
- Practising in Northern Ireland: The General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland.
- Practising in Scotland: The Faculty of Advocates.
asked the Attorney-General what is the average length of time between the filing a notice of reference to the Lands Tribunal under section 1 of the Lands Compensation Act 1961 and (a) the first interlocutory, preliminary or other hearing of the registrar or tribunal, (b) the final decision of the Lands Tribunal on that reference, excluding those cases going to the Court of Appeal on a point of law and (c) the final decision of the Lands Tribunal on those cases going to the Court of appeal; what proportion of Lands Tribunal cases go to the Court of Appeal; and what proportion are settled by the sealed offer scheme.
In references to the Lands Tribunal under section 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1961,
House Of Commons
asked the Lord President of the Council (1) if he will seek to ascertain the number of former hon. Members who would be interested in receiving free copies of the daily or weekly Hansard and estimate the cost of sending it to them;(2) if he will arrange for the free dispatch of the daily or weekly
Hansard to former hon. Members wishing to receive it.
No. It would be very dificult to ascertain how many former hon. Members might wish to receive copies of the Official Report, and I am reluctant to add to the substantial support from public funds which publication of the Official Report already enjoys by increasing the number of free copies.
asked the Lord President of the Council which reforms to the procedure of the House have been effected following a proposal by Her Majesty's Government since May 1979; and whether he has any further proposals in this connection.
The normal practice of the House is for any significant changes in procedure to be proposed on the basis of Government motions following previous consideration by a Select Committee on Procedure.Since coming into office the Government have provided opportunities for conclusions to be reached, as necessary, on each of the 76 recommendations made in the first report of the Select Committee on Procedure, Session 1977–78. These included the establishment of the present Select Committee structure, and changes in procedures for dealing with delegated and European Communities legislation.In the light of the debate on the first report of the Select Committee on Procedure (Supply), Session 1980–81, held on 15 February, the Government have undertaken to bring forward motions providing for changes in the procedures of the House for dealing with Supply. The Procedure (Finance) Committee is currently engaged in the consideration of a number of further aspects of financial procedure.
asked the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government will review the means whereby central and local government industrial promotion is carried out in the regions and the criteria for such promotion; and whether she will undertake a review of the level of funding of such promotion which is attributable to central Government.
Government expenditure on industrial promotion is kept under constant review. In particular, following the useful meeting which my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont) the Minister of State, Department of Industry had with the regional development organisations and local authorities on 1 April, careful consideration is now being given to the future of the grant paid by the Department of Industry to the four English regional bodies.
Solicitor-General For Scotland
National Health Service
asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland whether there have been any recent prosecutions concerning abuse of National Health Service facilities for private practice or whether any such prosecutions are being considered.
There has not to my knowledge been any recent prosecutions concerning abuse of National Health Service facilities for private practice. If any alleged criminal offences in this connection are reported to the police or the procurator fiscal they will be investigated in the normal way.
asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for West Lothian on 24 March, Official Report, c. 930, he has now considered the details of the decision of Lord Emslie, Lord Avonside and Lord Cameron in the case of the Plessey workers; and if he will make a statement.
I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment is still considering the implications of the decision: it would be premature, and in any event inappropriate, for me to express a personal view on the matter.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table indicating how many appeals were
|Planning Appeals 1981|
|County||Received||Withdrawn||Allowed||Dismissed||Undecided at 31 March 1982|
Trunk Road Programme
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he proposes any changes in the time scale or priorities for the building and improvement of trunk roads in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
Our main priorities remain as set out in "Roads in Wales 1980". My right hon. Friend will make a statement later this year reviewing progress on the trunk road improvement programme.
Welsh Development Agency
asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) in how many investments the Welsh Development Agency has acquired voting rights; and in how many investments by the Welsh Development Agency equity participation has occurred;(2) how many jobs he estimates have been created or safeguarded as a result of investments by the Welsh Development Agency.
I have asked the Welsh Development Agency to provide the information to the hon. Member.
Capital Gains Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the effect upon the number of Inland Revenue staff employed as a result of the indexation of the capital gains tax.
made to the Welsh Office in 1981 from each county area in Wales against planning refusals; in how many of these cases the refusal was upheld by his Department; and in how many instances the decision was reversed.
A total of 993 planning appeals were received by the Secretary of State in 1981. Up to 31 March this year 121 have been withdrawn, 151 allowed and 369 dismissed. The information by counties is as follows:
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the full year's cost in present day prices of the loss of revenue arising from the indexation of the capital gains tax.
I refer the hon. Member to my reply to him during the debate on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill.—[Vol. 21, c. 904.]
Mortgage Interest Tax Relief
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue saving to the Exchequer is expected in a full year when mortgage interest tax relief is given by deduction at source instead of by tax allowance.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the yearly cost of the black economy; and what percentage of the total economy this represents.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possilbe.
asked the Chancellor 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.
[pursuant to his reply, 20 April 1982, c. 62]: The information is as follows:
Gross equivalent earnings
Income tax due at rate prevailing in fiscal year
£ per week
£ per week
Gross earnings equivalent to £40 per week in March 1982 have been calculated by reference to movements in the general index of retail prices.
Christian Salvesen Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what financial assistance has been given by his Department to Christian Salvesen Ltd. or any subsidiaries over the past five years.
Oil Industry Projects (Wales)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much money has been provided by the Government, in the form of regional development grants and other financial assistance, to help finance capital projects by the oil industry in Wales for each financial year since 1964; and how many permanent jobs were created by these projects.
British Telecommunications Act (Marking Orders)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make available in the Vote Office publicity material on the British Telecommunications Act marking orders, laid before the House on 31 March.
I have done so.
Turkish Police Officers (Training)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether members of the Turkish police force are receiving training of any kind in the United Kingdom under the auspices of Her Majesty's Government.
So far as is known no members of the Turkish police force are undergoing police training in the United Kingdom.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions have been given to immigration officers about overseas students who are found to be receiving rent rebates or allowances.
The immigration rules provide that a passenger seeking entry as a student must satisfy the immigration officer that he can meet the cost of his course and his maintenance without recourse to public funds. The receipt of a rent allowance or rate rebate by an overseas student would be a factor to be taken into account in considering whether to grant any subsequent application for an extension of stay or for readmission after a temporary absence abroad.
Deaths In Police Custody
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Home Affairs in its report on deaths in police custody and indicate the Government's response and action in each case.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to his question on 8 April.—[Vol. 21 c. 419.] If, however, he has any specific points, I should be glad to deal with them.
Prisoners (Police Custody)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period of time that a prisoner has been held in a police cell so far in the current year.
A prisoner held overnight in police custody is generally held for one night, or at weekends for two or three nights, before being transferred to a prison. An analysis of individual cases could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government will consider charging a moderate fee for licences granted under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 and a levy on each animal used, with the revenue raised being used to pay for more inspectors and for humane alternative research.
The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 contains no power to impose charges in connection with the issue of licences.
Inspectorate Of Prisons (Recommendations)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will detail each of the 210 formal recommendations of the Inspectorate of Prisons and indicate in each case the action he has taken.
The information could be provided in the form required only at disproportionate cost. The reports of Her Majesty's Chief Inspectors of Prisons on individual prison establishments are published together with a statement setting out the action being taken on the formal recommendations. Copies of those reports and statements are available in the Library of the House.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the staffing complement currently employed at Frankland prison; what is the recommended optimum number; and what steps he is taking to hasten recruitment.
There are 196 discipline officers currently in post at Frankland, which is the recommended optimum number for the wings at present occupied. Most of the staff are being obtained by transfer from other establishments rather than by recruitment and any necessary additional transfers will take place in step with the build-up of the population.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many places are currently available at Frankland prison; and how many inmates there are.
The certified normal accommodation for that part of the prison available for use is 107. On 23 April the population was 74.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the target date for the full use of Frankland prison.
In view of the present high level of the prison population in England and Wales, it has been decided that the accommodation at Frankland should be used for prisoners in categories B and C who do not need dispersal standards of security. This will enable the best use to be made of the buildings and of the available staff and will help to reduce overcrowding in other prisons. We expect that the accommodation will be in full use by the early part of next year.
Council House Rents
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the average council house rent in Northern Ireland at the latest date for which figures are available; and what is the estimated average rent in Belfast.
From 5 April 1982 the average rent for Northern Ireland Housing Executive dwellings is £11·99 per week. An estimate of the average rent for Housing Executive dwellings in Belfast cannot be readily calculated, but I will ask the chairman of the Housing Executive to write to the hon. Member.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the most recent numbers of registered unemployed women in Northern Ireland by counties; what were the figures for the same date in 1979; and what are the respective increases in percentage terms.
Details of the numbers unemployed by individual counties are not available.The number of females registered as unemployed in Northern Ireland on 15 April 1982, the latest date for which information is available, was 33,042, representing a 85·8 per cent. increase over the corresponding figure for April 1979, which was 17,785.
Harland And Wolff Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the future funding arrangements for Harland and Wolff Ltd.
The Government have decided to make £47·6 million available for the continued support of Harland and Wolff Ltd. in the financial year 1982–83.The Government have also authorised the company to take an order for a 170,000 dwt bulk carrier for the British Steel Corporation, announced by Harland and Wolff on 8 April.In return the company will take all steps necessary to reduce its operating costs and improve efficiency. It must also demonstrate that this continued level of support is justified by increasing competitiveness so that the heavy burden on public funds can be progressively reduced.
Community Health Doctors
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce measures to protect the position and to produce a career structure for community health doctors in view of their involvement in running health authority paediatric and antenatal clinics; whether he will consider improving their remuneration by making paediatric assessment part of their contract; and if he will seek to establish an adequate differential above that for nurses.
Circular HC(78)5 emphasised the important long-term future of the clinical medical officer grades as an integral part of child health services and in December 1979 the then Secretary of State reaffirmed the Government's support for the principles set out in the circular. I am now waiting for agreed advice from the profession on training requirements for community health doctors. In the light of that advice we will hold further discussions with the profession on the future career structure. Paediatric assessment is a major part of the responsibilities of most of these doctors. It is for the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration to recommend what their remuneration should be.
Constant Attendance Allowance
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average length of time taken to process a claim for a constant attendance allowance.
In this question I assume that the hon. Member refers to attendance allowance under the general scheme and not to constant attendance allowance under the war pensions and industrial injuries schemes. The average time taken to clear initial claims to attendance allowance in Great Britain is about 13 weeks.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the administrative duties undertaken by nursing staff in hospital wards which are at present performed by ward sisters, staff nurses and other grades.
The information requested is not available centrally. It is for health authorities to determine the content of individual nursing posts and practices will vary according to the needs of the service.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now seek the assistance of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service arbitration machinery to mediate between the nurses and staff side and management on the National Health Service Whitley Council.
No. The management side of the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council turned down the staff side's request for arbitration on the grounds that its offer was realistic given the resources available to the NHS.
|Number||Whole-time equivalents||Number||Whole-time equivalents||Number||Whole-time equivalents|
|Total trainee nurses||71,407||71,205||71,333||71,096||71,535||71,392|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress he has made in his consideration of making new arrangements for determining nurses' salaries in the Whitley council; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend and I met representatives of both sides of the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council on 17 March to discuss the development of new, permanent arrangements for nurses pay. At that meeting I was asked by my right hon. Friend to chair a small working group on which both sides of the Whitley council will be represented and which will now develop more detailed proposals. We were anxious to make progress on this difficult issue as quickly as possible and I hope that the working group will come together for its first meeting in the very near future.
|Number||Whole-time equivalents‡||Number||Whole-time equivalents‡||Number||Whole-time equivalents‡|
|*Nurses in training for admission to the various parts of the register and the roll.|
|†The slight discrepancy between the total figures shown and those in the individual categories is due to rounding.|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the salary and allowances differential between a student nurse and a qualified junior nurse.
The estimated differentials between the average earnings of student nurses in their final year and newly-qualified State registered nurses, and between the average earnings of pupil nurses in their final year and newly-qualified State enrolled nurses, are currently £1,226 per annum and £522 per annum respectively. Average earnings for these grades include payments in addition to basic pay for working overtime and at unsocial hours.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the numbers of student nurses currently training in the National Health Service compared with figures for 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981.
The total number of student and pupil nurses in training for admission to the various parts of the register and roll in the NHS in England for the years ended 30 September 1978, 1979 and 1980, the latest firm figures available, were as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the numbers of student and junior nurses employed in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, and at the current time in the National Health Service, and the total cost of their salaries and allowances as a percentage of the total National Health Service budget.
Junior nurse is not a recognised grade of nurse and cannot therefore be identified.Information as to the number of staff nurses and enrolled nurses who are on the minimum point of their pay scale—who might be considered as junior nurses—is not available centrally. The number of trainee nurses, staff nurses and enrolled nurses employed in NHS hospitals in England for the years ended 30 September 1978, 1979 and 1980, the latest firm figures available, were as follows:1978 and 1979 the figure for 1980 is 6·63 per cent., based on estimated average basic pay plus average enhancement for the grades concerned.
Agency Nurses And Midwives
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of agency nurses and
|Agency Nurses and Midwives and Health Visitor Students England—30 September|
|Agency Nurses* and Midwives||Number||2,311||3,517||6,053||7,283||9,124|
|* The slight discrepancy between the total figures shown and those in the individual categories is due to rounding.|
Family Practitioner Committees
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 12 March, whether there has been any exercise of the power given to the Secretary of State in 1974 to award costs against a person appealing against a decision of the family practitioner committee; and if he will now consider relinquishing this power.
No, but I would wish to retain the power in case the Secretary of State should feel it necessary to award costs against a frivolous or vexatious party to an appeal or in other exceptional circumstances.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list those boroughs where births to mothers born overseas or non-British mothers is over 20 per cent., setting out the percentage in each case; and if he will estimate the percentage correction that should be applied to obtain the level of births to those of non-United Kingdom ethnic origin.
The following table, derived from information collected at the registration of births, shows those London boroughs in which more than 20 per cent. of all live births that occurred in 1980 were to mothers born outside the United Kingdom.Information from which correction factors for individual boroughs could be derived is not available.
|Greater London boroughs in which more than 20 per cent, of all live births in 1980 were to mothers born outside the United Kingdom.|
|London Borough||Percent of all live births in 1980 to mothers born outside United Kingdom|
|Kensington and Chelsea||55|
midwives and of health visitor students working in the National Health Service, for each of the last five years for which records are available.
The information is as set out in the following table:
|London Borough||Percent of all live births in 1980 to mothers born outside United Kingdom|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||43|
|* Including City of London|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish figures similar to those in "Low Income Families in 1979", showing how many adults below retirement age and how many children were either (a) dependent on incomes below supplementary benefit levels, or (b) dependent on supplementary benefit, or (c) dependent on incomes within 140 per cent. of supplementary benefit although above it, during the 1979 family expenditure survey period, taking into account all families where the head was off work due to sickness or unemployment, including those off work for less than 13 weeks.
Some information is available which has a bearing on part (b) of my hon. Friend's question. The following table gives numbers of recipients of supplementary benefit under pension age and living in private households in 1979. Those shown as in receipt of benefit for less than 13 weeks might have been off work for longer than that.
Numbers of recipients of supplementary benefit in Great Britain in 1979
In receipt of benefit for
Number of families
Number of adults in these families
Number of children in these families
|Less than 13 weeks||200,000||260,000||Not available|
|At least 13 weeks||910,000||1,110,000||880,000|
I regret that figures relating to families who were not in receipt of supplementary benefit, apart from those given in "Low Income Families—1979", are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Social Security (Computerisation)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress is being made in the plans to computerise the social security system.
The Department has major computer installations, sited at Newcastle, Washington, North Fylde, Reading and Livingston, which handle a wide variety of social security benefit activities. These include the payment of retirement and widows' pensions, child benefit, unemployment benefit and supplementary allowances paid with unemployment benefit. Individual records are maintained on computer of all insurance contributions.The Department is now reviewing the computer support including the use of microcomputers to be given to its network of local offices in the context of the operational strategy referred to in my hon. Friend's reply of 8 December 1980.—[Vol. 995, c.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the budget of the National Health Service in 1981 was spent on heating costs; and what was the sum involved.
I regret that information in the form requested is not available centrally.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the cost of drugs issued in National Health Service hospitals in 1979, 1980 and 1981; and what was the percentage of the total National Health Service budget.
The accounts submitted by health authorities in England show expenditure on drugs for services other than the family practitioner services was as follows:
|Drugs expenditure (£ million)||128·1||155·7||185·3|
|Proportion of total NHS revenue expenditure (per cent.)||2·2||2·3||2·1|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to implement changes in the regulations to ensure that married women are able to claim benefits for their dependent husbands and children on the same basis as men can for their dependants.
As was explained during the passage of the Social Security Act 1980, we intend to bring in the changes provided for in that Act, by order or regulations as appropriate, in November 1983 and November 1984. The changes affecting claims to supplementary benefit and family income supplement is intended to come into effect in November 1983, together with the provision which will enable a married woman living with her husband to claim a national insurance dependency increase for him—and for their children—if the husband's earnings do not exceed the increase for an adult dependant. The provision enabling either a husband or wife to claim a dependency increase for their children, irrespective of the spouse's earnings, is intended to be introduced in November 1984.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the rights to unemployment benefit of a person beyond the statutory school leaving age who, while unemployed, returns to a school to sit Scottish Certificate of Education examinations.
A school leaver who does not find a job and returns to school is unlikely to satisfy the contribution conditions for unemployment benefit. Those who, exceptionally, do so will continue to be entitled to benefit only if they can satisfy the independent adjudicating authorities that they are available for work.Unemployed school leavers who do not satisfy the conditions for unemployment benefit may become entitled to supplementary benefit once their parents' entitlement to child benefit in respect of them has ceased, at the end of the school holidays following their final term at school. When, for benefit purposes, a young person should be so treated as having left school is a matter for the independent adjudicating authorities to decide. If a young person, having reached the minimum school leaving age, ceased to attend school, registered for employment, but then went back to school the following term to sit a Scottish Certificate of Education examination, I understand that the independent adjudicating authorities would not normally treat him as having left school until the end of the school holidays following the term in which the examination was completed.
Special Hardship Allowance
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his answer of 6 April, Official Report, column 302, that the insurance officer would give his decision on the claim for special hardship in the very near future, when, in view of the fact that this matter has now been outstanding since September 1981, he expects a decision to be made.
I understand that the insurance officer expects to be able to give his decision this week.
Pneumoconiosis And Byssinosis
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he will introduce new regulations to ease the present restrictions on appeals against the disallowance of claims for industrial disablement benefit for pneumoconiosis and byssinosis following adverse decisions by pneumoconiosis medical boards.
I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that new regulations, giving a right of appeal against any decision on the diagnosis question by a pneumoconiosis medical board on or after the operative date, have been laid before Parliament today.They will come into operation on 19 May. For appeals against decisions on or after that date, the only restriction will be that an appeal cannot be made within two years of the rejection of an earlier appeal.
Foreign Affairs Council
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council on 26 and 27 April.
The Foreign Affairs Council met in Luxembourg on 26 to 27 April. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State represented the United Kingdom on 26 April and my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Trade was present for part of that day's discussions. I was our representative on 27 April.On 26 April the Council covered a wide range of subjects. On the external side Ministers agreed to a food aid programme for 1982 consisting of 927,663 tonnes of cereals, 150,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder and 45,000 tonnes of butter oil. They prepared the Community's position for the ACP-EC Joint Council of Ministers on 13 to 14 May.In considering the negotiations towards Portuguese accession the Council agreed Community position papers on certain aspects of customs union, coal and steel and rights of establishment. These were presented to the Portuguese at a ministerial level meeting on 27 April. The Council also agreed on negotiating directives for the negotiation of a new protocol to the 1972 EC-Portugal Agreement.The Commission presented a communication on textile imports from preferential suppliers. The Council noted the conclusion by the Commission of new voluntary restraint arrangements with Egypt—for cotton yarn—and Spain; and instructed the Commission to continue negotiations with Cyprus, Malta, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia. The Council decided that the Moroccan, Portuguese and Tunisian authorities should be informed of the import levels which will be applied by the Community in the absence of voluntary arrangements; and that imports licensing should be introduced for certain textile and clothing products from Morocco and Tunisia. The Council also discussed a proposal from the Commission for a voluntary restraint arrangement covering cotton yarn from Turkey and remitted this to officials for further consideration.The Council failed to reach agreement on proposals for the simplification of the rules of origin requirements for EC-EFTA trade and on a proposal to open a duty-free quota for imports of two grades of ferro-chrome. These items will be referred to the Industry Council.One of the internal matters to come before the Council was the proposal for a new regulation for the European regional development fund. Ministers agreed that the new regulation should reflect the principle of concentration of resources on the areas of greatest need. They also reached broad agreement on the desirability of co-ordination of Community and national regional policies.The Council also had a brief first discussion of the European Parliament's proposals for a uniform electoral system for future elections to the Parliament. My right hon. Friend made it clear that our consideration of the proposals was at a very early stage and that he was not in a position to comment in substance. It was agreed that the Committee of Permanent Representatives would undertake a detailed examination of the proposals and report back to the Council in due course.M. Tindemans, the President of the Council, reported the outcome of a meeting on 21 April with his counterparts from the Commission and European Parliament, at which they discussed how to resolve the differences between the three institutions over budgetary procedure. He said that some progress had been made, and a further meeting is planned for the end of May. The Council negotiating mandate for that meeting will be prepared by the Budget Council on 11 May.The second day of the Council was devoted to discussion of the 30 May mandate. I impressed on our partners the need for a settlement which was fair for both Britain and the Community, and we agreed that we should intensify our efforts to find a solution. There will be further contacts with the Presidency and Commission in preparation for a further discussion by Foreign Ministers in the near future.At lunch I also brought my colleagues up to date on the Falklands. They expressed their unanimous solidarity with the United Kingdom.We also discussed the situation in the Middle East and made a joint statement welcoming Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. I shall arrange for this to be placed in the Library of the House as soon as possible.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is satisfied that no confidential documents of his Department were passed to Jessop Marine in the period before the decision was made to grant the contract for salvaging the gold on HMS "Edinburgh"; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Trade to a similar question today. We have no evidence that confidential documents were passed to Jessop Marine Recoveries Ltd. by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
South Georgia (Whaling Station Salvage Contract)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any approaches were made by Messrs. Christian Salvesen Ltd. to his Department prior to the award of the South Georgia whaling station salvage contract to an Argentine scrap metal dealer.
Christian Salvesen Ltd. informed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Falkland Island Government in 1978 of its intention to sell its surplus equipment at South Georgia to Mr. Davidoff, an Argentine scrap metal dealer. The contract was a straightforward commercial transaction, but Salvesen Ltd. and Mr. Davidoff were advised at the time that normal immigration procedures would have to be followed.
Argentina (Israeli Arms Supplies)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the provision of arms by Israel to the Argentine.
We have discussed this question with the Israeli Government, and have asked them to ensure that no further Israeli arms go to Argentina.
North Sea Divers (Fatalities)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will study the work of Dr. Philip James, senior lecturer in occupational medicine, Dundee university, on fatalities amongst North Sea divers and the helium-oxygen ratio in their life support systems; and if he will make a statement.
The work of Dr. Philip James has been studied by the Department's chief diving inspector. He has also discussed the conclusions and recommendations of Dr. Philip James' work with the diving medical advisory committee of the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors and with representatives of the UKOOA. diving safety committee.Existing legislation requires the diving contractor to provide a breathing mixture suitable in content and temperature and of adequate pressure and at an adequate rate. It is not intended to recommend a change in the legislation; nor has Dr. James ever asked for such action. However, further discussions are planned between the chief inspector and Dr. James to consider the desirability of issuing further guidance on oxygen-helium ratio in life support systems.
Underwater Training Centre, Fort William
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to which facilities in the United Kingdom will be available to train divers for North Sea operations if the underwater training centre at Fort William is closed.
Facilities for training air divers will be available at the Prodive School, Falmouth and Fort Bovisand, Plymouth. There will be no facilities for training bell divers.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has considered the scheme for keeping open the underwater training centre at Fort William submitted to him by Mr. Denis Jebb of Grimsby.
I have received a number of propositions about the future of the underwater training centre following my announcement on 2 April that public funding of the centre would shortly end. I have asked the Manpower Services Commission for urgent advice on these proposals, including the submission from Mr. Jebb.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will extend the period during which the subsidy available to the underwater training centre at Fort William may be paid, in order to allow more time for schemes for keeping the centre open to be considered.
No. After some three years of intensive discussion the Government have with great reluctance reached the view that public funding of the underwater training centre must end. No more publicly financed courses will be run at the centre. I have asked the Manpower Services Commission to arrange for the orderly rundown of the centre's activities, as part of which it is examining whether the centre can be sold as a going concern.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether redundancy notices have yet been issued to the staff of the underwater training centre at Fort William.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average percentage unemployment rate in the Castleford travel-to-work area for 1978, and for each year since.
The following table gives for the area specified the annual average percentage rates of unemployment from 1978 to 1981 and the average for the first four months of 1982.
|* January to April.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the total grant and Government support items of cash to Remploy.
Remploy is a company specially set up by central Government to provide jobs for severely disabled people and receives a subvention from the Department of Employment through the Manpower Services Commission. In the 1981–82 financial year this grant amounted to £45·688 million, made up as follows:
|Revenue to cover trading losses arising out of the extra costs of employing severely disabled people||39,529,000|
|Grant for capital expenditure:|
|On land and buildings||3,185,000|
|On plant and equipment||2,424,000|
Tyne North Engineering Training Group
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are employed in the Tyne North Engineering Training Group; and how many are to he made redundant.
My Department has been notified of two dismissals in respect of which statutory redundancy rebate is to be claimed. I understand the undertaking employs 24 people.
Spring Bank Holiday
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he has studied the evidence supplied to him on the case for rationalising the spring bank holiday to a three-day break including 1 May;(2) if he is now able to make a statement on his consultations with the Trades Union Congress, Confederation of British Industry and others about possible changes in the spring bank holiday arrangements.
I am at present considering the comments made by interested parties about possible changes in the spring bank holiday arrangements. A decision will be announced as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list by trade and occupation the registered vacancies in (a) the Greater London area and (b) the Brent travel-to-work area in May 1979 and at the latest available date.
I shall reply to the right hon. Member as soon as possible.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Falkland Islands (Fisheries)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will bring forward proposals for encouraging the British fishing industry to participate in the commercial development of fishing in the waters around the Falkland Islands and dependencies once the present dispute is settled.
The British fishing industry is already well aware of the Fisheries potential of the waters around the Falkland Islands and their dependencies. It is also aware of the Government's view that the decision whether to seek to become involved in the exploitation of these waters rests with the industry itself and is a matter for the commercial judgment of those concerned.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what aid has been given to the British fishing industry for experimental fishing expeditions in the waters round the Falkland Islands and their dependencies in each of the last 10 years;(2) what technical aid or support has been made available for the development of fishing in the Falkland Islands and dependencies.
The Government financed a study of the commercial and technical aspects of the fishing possibilities in the South-West Atlantic which was carried out by the White Fish Authority in 1979.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will allocate funds for exploratory voyages for fishing vessels requisitioned for the Falkland Islands to survey the fishing resources in the area after the cessation of hostilities.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether research into the feasibility of establishing a viable fishing industry based on the Falkland Islands could be financed from appropriate European Economic Community funds.
I have been asked to reply.The Falkland Islands have been granted an allocation of 50,000 ECUs—about £28,000—from the fifth European development fund under the terms of the 1980 Council decision on the Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories with the Community. The EDF also provides 7 million ECUs—about £4 million—for risk capital operations and 9·5 million ECUs—some £5·3 million—for regional projects in member States' dependencies. Risk capital funds are administered by the European Investment Bank, which has also agreed to make available to dependencies up to 15 million ECUs—about £8·5 million—in loans from its own resources. These funds are not allocated on a country basis, but each application is considered on its merits.Although European Community funds for the Falkland Islands are limited there is in principle no reason why a proposal to finance an appropriate fisheries study should not be considered.
Trees And Shrubs (Imports)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the figures for the numbers of trees and shrubs imported into the United Kingdom for each of the last five years.
The information is as follows:
|Imports of trees and shrubs: 1977–1981 ('000s)|
|* January to June and September to December only.|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, further to his reply dated 25 March, Official Report, c. 409, concerning the price of beet sugar, whether he will publish the amount of the storage levy in each year and indicate which figures include the levy and which do not.
The information requested is as follows:
|Marketing Years||Storage levy £ per tonne|
|6·73 (April 1974)|
|1974–75||6·24 (July 1974)|
|5·54 (August 1974)|
|4·62 (from September 1974)|
Note: The conversion into sterling has been made at the representative rate applicable on 1 July each year except where otherwise indicated.
As indicated in note (1) to part (b) of my reply of 25 March—[Vol. 20, c. 409.]—all prices listed included the storage levy.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the figures for each of the last three months compared with the figures for the corresponding periods last year, for tomatoes imported into the United Kingdom.
Imports of tomatoes in the first quarter of 1981 were 62,517 tonnes. Comparable information for 1982 is not yet available.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish figures showing how current aid to the fishing industry compares with that given by other European Economic Community countries with fishing fleets.
Comparison between the aids given to our fishing industry and those given in other countries is made difficult by differences in the type of aids provided and in fleet structures and by currency movements. I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible with our assessment of the present position.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the scale of present aid to the fishing industry expressed per fishing vessel; and if he will make a statement.
Grants of 25 per cent. and loans of up to 50 per cent. are available towards the cost of the construction or improvement of fishing vessels. In addition, payments made under the Fishing Vessel Temporary Support Scheme 1981 were on a scale from £350 for vessels of under 25 ft. in length up to £53,800 for vessels of over 190 ft. Full details of the latter scheme were placed in the Library of the House on 30 April 1981.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will assess the general agricultural conditions in England and Wales during April 1982.
The economic conditions and prospects of the agricultural industry are assessed each autumn rather than month by month. The results of the most recent such exercise are set out in the "Annual Review of Agriculture 1982" White Paper (Cmnd. 8491).
Norwegian Fishing Quota
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is making arrangements for taking up or rolling over the remainder of the Norwegian fishing quota allocated to the United Kingdom and which would have been fished by vessels requisitioned for the Falklands operation.
I do not expect that the recent requisitioning of certain trawlers will have any significant effect on the level of catches by United Kingdom vessels in Norwegian waters in 1982.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much of the Norwegian fishing quota made available to the United Kingdom by the European Economic Community remains to be caught; and what are the implications for further quotas if the present quota is not taken up.
No allocation has yet been made between member States of the European Community of the fishing opportunities available to their vessels in Norwegian waters during 1982.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he proposes to extend the maritime blockade of the Falkland Islands to prevent Argentine aircraft from overflying the 200-mile zone.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in the event of hostilities with the Argentine, he will consider all military craft including communication craft, whether sea or air, which give assistance to Argentina hostile and liable to attack irrespective of their nationality.
The following statement was issued by the Government earlier today:
"From 1100 GMT on 30th April 1982, a Total Exclusion Zone will be established around the Falkland Islands. The outer limit of this Zone is the same as for the Maritime Exclusion Zone established on Monday 12th April 1982, namely a circle of 200 nautical miles radius from latitude 51 degrees 40 minutes South, 59 degrees 30 minutes West. From the time indicated, the Exclusion Zone will apply not only to Argentine warships and Argentine naval auxiliaries but also to any other ship, whether naval or merchant vessel, which is operating in support of the illegal occupation of the Falkland Islands by Argentine forces. The Exclusion Zone will also apply to any aircraft, whether military or civil, which is operating in support of the illegal occupation. Any ship and any aircraft whether military or civil which is found within this Zone without due authority from the MOD in London will be regarded as operating in support of the illegal occupation and will therefore be regarded as hostile and will be liable to be attacked by British Forces.
Also from the time indicated, Port Stanley airport will be closed; and any aircraft on the ground in the Falkland Islands will be regarded as present in support of the illegal occupation and accordingly is liable to attack.
These measures are without prejudice to the right of the UK to take whatever additional measures may be needed in exercise of its right of self-defence, under Article 51 of the UN Charter."
Hovercraft (South Atlantic)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is considering the suitability of the hovercraft for operations in the south Atlantic.
There are at present no plans to use hovercraft in the south Atlantic.
Nato And Warsaw Pact Forces
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when the comparative study of North Atlantic Treaty Organisations and Warsaw Pact forces which is to be prepared within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be published.
The NATO authorities intend to publish this study on 4 May.
Ulster Defence Regiment
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost of refurbishing the headquarters of 5 battalion Ulster Defence Regiment at Ballykelly.
There are no plans to refurbish this headquarters. Apart from day-to-day maintenance, works undertaken during the past 12 months have cost just over £15,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the companies in the Ulster Defence Regiment which have reduced the number of platoons, and indicate what were the projected savings, and the amount of saving actually achieved; how many part-time members there were before the amalgamations took place; and what is the current number.
Adjustments to the numbers of platoons within Ulster Defence Regiments companies are made from time to time to reflect operational requirements, and not with the aim of achieving financial savings. It is not possible to identify from existing records which companies have been reorganised in this way and what changes in personnel numbers may have resulted.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the duties of members of the Ulster Defence Regiment at United Kingdom land frontier road crossings: and what are the duties of the Royal Military Police at such checkpoints.
It is not the practice to disclose details of operational duties.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence why fishermen on vessels requisitioned for minesweeping were not given the same opportunity to volunteer for service as merchant seamen on requisitioned vessels.
Unlike the merchant ships that have been taken up from trade to perform support and service tasks, the fishing vessels requisitioned as auxiliary minesweepers have been temporarily commissioned into the Royal Navy. As the vessels are to be engaged on a specialist and potentially dangerous task, it was decided that they should be manned by Royal Navy personnel experienced in this role.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence on what basis fishermen made unemployed by the requisitioning of vessels for the Falklands will be compensated; and whether their catch share will be taken into account in calculating such compensation.
The question of compensation is being discussed as a matter of urgency with the shipowners concerned.
Christian Salvesen (Contracts)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what contracts or other commercial relations Christian Salvesen has with his Department.
My Department has no record of any direct MOD contracts or commercial relations with Christian Salvesen.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list any powers he has to grant-aid self-help, spare-time schools, sometimes known as Saturday schools.
My right hon. Friend has no such powers.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has regarding the numbers of self-help, spare-time schools, sometimes known as Saturday schools.
Statistical information of this kind is not collected centrally.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has received concerning ultra vires payments made by student unions; what is his policy towards such payments; and if he will make a statement.
The matter is still being actively considered.
Central Bureau For Educational Visits And Exchanges
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consideration he has given to the latest annual report of the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges; and if he will arrange for a copy of the report to be placed in the Library.
I have received and studied the bureau's report for 1979–80, which was approved by the bureau's trustees in February. Copies of it have been placed in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what support was made available to the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges during the International Year of Disabled People for the extension of international contacts, travel and exchange for young disabled people; what provision the Government are making to the Central Bureau for Youth Exchanges in general, and travel and exchange for the young disabled in particular, in the financial year 1982–83; and if he will make a statement.
The central bureau spent about £50,500 in 1981 on the provision of professional advice, and advice and assistance for fund raising, for young disabled people undertaking visits and exchanges overseas. This represented about 3 per cent. of its total budget. The resources available for this work will be maintained at least at this level until 1982–83, when the funds available to the bureau for youth and community work will amount to about £168,000.Grants to young disabled people participating in exchanges are the responsibility of the British Council, which last year awarded over £93,000 to support such exchanges.
Bishop Goss Primary School
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, further to the reply of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange on 20 April, whether his Department received a petition from the action committee objecting to the proposed closure of the Bishop Goss Roman Catholic primary school, Liverpool; and if he will make a statement.
I have now received this petition. If the Liverpool education authority intends to close any county or voluntary school, it must publish proposals to this effect in accordance with the Eduction Act 1980. Should the authority publish proposals in respect of Bishop Goss Roman Catholic primary school, these would require my right hon. Friend's approval; he would decide them in the light of all relevant factors, including any statutory objections which might be made.
Adult Training And Education
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportions of the adult population since leaving school (a) have had no further education or training, (b) are continuing their education and (c) have had some form of further education or training at the latest date for which figures are available.
The general household survey carried out by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys indicates that in 1980 (a) 52 per cent. of 16 to 49-year-olds in Great Britain had had no further education since leaving school, (b) 6 per cent. were continuing their education and (c) 41 per cent. had had further or higher education. These figures exclude attendance at leisure classes, in-service training courses run by employers and certain other types of training.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement in his Department's policy towards adult education.
We are now considering the report "Continuing Education: from policies to practice" from the Advisory Council for Adult Continuing Education on the policies and priorities necessary to form a coherent framework for the development of this increasingly important area of education. In the past, we have referred frequently in the House to the importance we attach to maintaining, and where possible, improving opportunities for adults to further their education within current expenditure constraints, and I refer to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) on 19 January 1982.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has received a copy of the report "Continuing Education: from policies to practice" from the Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has only recently received a copy of this comprehensive and wide-ranging report, which puts forward proposals for the development of continuing education during the next 20 years. It merits careful and measured consideration, not only by central Government, but by all concerned with this important area of education. At this time I can say only that we appreciate the work which has gone into its preparation but can offer little prospect of the substantial additional funding sought.
London Transport And British Rail (Subsidies)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what information is available in his Department on the relative subsidies per head of population from national and local funds to users of London Transport and British Rail services in the various London boroughs.
As London Transport and British Rail services cross the boundaries of individual London boroughs it is not possible to apportion subsidy or usage on that basis. However, the subsidies paid in 1982 from national funds to BR's London commuter network will be more than £150 million. LT will receive about £370 million in various grants from the GLC of which over £100 million will be contributed through the normal grant system by the national taxpayer. This includes the special payment by the GLC of £125 million needed to pay off debts incurred since last May.
M1 And M6 (Heavy Lorries)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what were the volumes of heavy lorry traffic in each direction in each of the last 61 months between (a) junctions 9 and 10 of the M1 and (b) junctions 2 and 3 of the M6; and if he will set out the figures to demonstrate comparisons between the same months in the various years.
Information for the period January 1978 to November 1981 was given to my hon. Friend in a written reply on Tuesday 16 February.—[Vol. 18, c. 72–4.]The remaining information, combining traffic flows for both directions, is as follows:
|Goods vehicles over 30 cwt unladen weight, 16 hour flows|
|M1 between junctions 9 and 10||M6 between junctions 2 and 3|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total payments under the housing investment programme 1981–82 of new house building including the acquisition of land under part V of the Housing Act 1957, and the acquisition of new dwellings for first time occupation by council tenants broken down by (a) the number of starts and (b) the number of completions for the district councils in Herefordshire and Poole district council, Dorset;(2) if he will publish a table in the
Official Report showing the total payments under the housing investment programme 1981–82 of new house building including the acquisition of land under part V of the Housing Act 1957, and the acquisition of new dwellings for first time occupation by council tenants broken down by (a) land, (b) acquisition from developers and (c) construction and other works for the district councils in the South-West region;
(3) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total payments under the housing investment programme 1981–82 of new house building including the acquisition of land under part V of the Housing Act 1957, and the acquisition of new dwellings for first time occupation by council tenants broken down by (a) land, (b) acquisition from developers and (c) construction and other works for the district councils in Herefordshire and Poole district council, Dorset;
(4) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total payments under the housing investment programme 1981–82 of new house building including the acquisition of land under part V of the Housing Act 1957, and the acquisition of new dwellings for first time occupation by council tenants broken down by (a)the number of starts and (b) the number of completions for the district councils in the South-West region;
(5) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total payments under the housing investment programme 1981–82 for slum clearance including the
acquisition of land under part III of the Housing Act 1957 for the district councils in Herefordshire and for Poole district council, Dorset;
(6) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total payments under the housing investment programme 1981–82 for slum clearance including the acquisition of land under part III of the Housing Act 1957 for the district councils in the South-West region;
(7) if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the number of dwellings closed or demolished as a result of slum clearance including the acquisition of land under part III of the Housing Act 1957 for the district councils in the South-West region in the year 1981–82.
This information is not yet available but will be provided by local authorities in their housing investment programme returns which will be placed in the Library in due course.
Warrington New Town Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, for each year since 1977, how much Warrington new town corporation has received for industrial development; how much industrial floor space has been constructed; how many jobs it was estimated this would create; how many were actually created and what proportion of expenditure has been covered by rents.
Gross capital expenditure on site works and construction for industry by Warrington new town over the past five years has been as follows:
|£ Million outturn prices|
|Thousand square metres|
New Town Development Corporations
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he is satisfied that industrial promotion expenditure by Warrington and Central Lancashire new towns aimed at firms in the North-West region will not attract industry from inner city, development or special development areas in the region;(2) how much has been spent by new town development corporations in the North-West region in each of the last five years on industrial promotion; and, of this, how much has been targeted specifically or largely at firms already in the North-West of England by means of press and broadcasting in the region.
Total expenditure on publicity by the four North-West new town corporations over the last five years was as follows:
Humberside County Council (Special Audit)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will commission a special audit of the accounts of the Humberside county council.
The precept levied by the Labour-controlled county council represents by far the highest increase of any shire county and reflects the council's decision to spend substantially above the Government's expenditure target for 1982–83.The level of rate increase is not, of itself, a matter on which it would be appropriate for the auditor to take action. However, if the expenditure stemming from the increase were, in the district auditor's view, either illegal or unreasonable he is empowered to initiate action to surcharge the members at any time; an extraordinary audit is not necessary.
Council House Rents
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange on 21 April, Official Report, c. 114, if these figures include the most recent increases in council house rents; and if he will estimate the figure for each of the five cities for 1982–83.
The figures in my answer of 21 April—[Vol. 22, c. 114]—are estimates of average unrebated rents over the financial year 1981–82 and take into account rent increases which the authorities in question had made since 1 April 1981, or planned to make by 31 March 1982, as notified to my Department in the subsidy claim forms for 1981–82 which they returned in late summer/early autumn of 1981. I have not yet received information from these authorities on the rent increases which they have made, or plan to make during 1982–83. For such information, I therefore refer the hon. Member to the authorities concerned.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the average council house rent at the latest date for which figures are available for London boroughs.
I shall answer this question shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what regulatory control exists to deal with damage to the environment by leakage and unsatisfactory disposal of redunant plant and equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls; whether any regulations exist prohibiting or limiting the import and use of polychlorinated biphenyls in new equipment; whether any regulations exist which control the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls; and if he will make a statement.
The Control of Pollution (Supply and Use of Injurious Substances) Regulations 1980 restrict the marketing and use of polychlorinated biphenyls in the United Kingdom, and also imports. Under these regulations, permitted uses are only as dielectrics in transformers and capacitors, as hydraulic fluids in underground mining equipment, and as heat-transmitting fluids in closed-circuit systems, other than installations for processing food, or pharmaceutical or veterinary products.Disposal of PCB wastes is covered by the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and regulations made under it, including the Special Waste Regulations 1980. Powers also exist in this Act to enable local authorities to deal with damage to the environment caused by leakage and unsatisfactory disposal of PCBs.
Manchester Ship Canal (Bridge)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when a decision will be made on the construction of a new viaduct high level bridge over the Manchester ship canal at Latchford, Warrington.
No proposal by Warrington and Runcorn development corporation to construct a new high level bridge over the Manchester ship canal is before the Department. However, we have been examining the justification for the provision of a new bridge by the development corporation and hope soon to announce our views.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the serious position of farmers in the North of Scotland owing to heavy indebtedness and lack of profitability, he will introduce measures to assist them.
There was a substantial improvement in net farming incomes throughout Scotland in 1981, largely as a result of Government action. the steps taken to improve the situation in the livestock sector through the introduction of the sheepmeat regime and increases in direct income subsidies have been particularly beneficial in the Highlands and Islands.
Forth Road Bridge
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to publish his decision on the future of tolls on the Forth road bridge following his consideration of the report of the public inquiry on the matter.
My right hon. Friend is considering the report of the inquiry and expects to reach his decision shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he proposes any changes in the time scale or priorities for the building and improvement of truck roads in Fife.
No, but I have written today to my hon. Friend about the prospects for further improvements near Auchtermuchty.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department's stationery cost for the years 1980–81, and 1981–82.
About £379,000 and £410,000, respectively.
Invergordon Aluminium Smelter
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement of his progress in finding an alternative operator for the Invergordon aluminium smelter.
The Government are still considering the basis upon which a new power contract might be made available to a new operator of the smelter. When that is established, discussions can begin with the various parties who have expressed an interest in operating the smelter.
European Community (Membership)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate how many jobs in Scotland are dependent upon the United Kingdom's membership of the European Economic Community.
I regret that it is not possible to estimate accurately the number of jobs dependent on our membership of the European Community. Scotland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, benefits from access to a tariff-free market of 270 million people. Trade with our Community partners now accounts for 43 per cent. of the United Kingdom's trade with the world as a whole, compared with less than 30 per cent. before entry.
Council House Sales
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest total of council houses sold and for which negotiations for purchase have been undertaken in Scotland expressed as a percentage of total stock.
The total of sales completed is 11,969–1·34 per cent. of the total stock—and the total in respect of which missives have been concluded is 19,059–2·14 per cent. of the total stock.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many council houses have been sold by Perth and Kinross district council in the last three years.