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Written Answers

Volume 24: debated on Friday 21 May 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 21 May 1982

Prime Minister


asked the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North on 16 March, Official Report, c.71, and 19 April, c. 19, regarding computers currently in use in Government Departments, if she will institute an investigation into (a) the overall cost of computerisation, (b) the extent to which the introduction of computerisation has failed to achieve the manpower savings envisaged and (c) the reasons why there has been a substantial increase in staff despite the extent of computer installation.

Staff numbers in Government Departments have been reduced by 9 per cent. since this Government took office. I am considering what information should be provided on the costs and savings of computerisation.

Cabinet Office

asked the Prime Minister how many staff work in the information technology unit in the Cabinet Office.

There are four members of the unit, with three supporting staff.

Security And Intelligence Service

asked the Prime Minister if, pursuant to her answer of 4 May, Official Report, c. 20, she will make a statement about her practice, and the practice of her predecessors, in regard to questions on the security and intelligence service.

It is my practice, as it has been the practice of my predecessors, not to answer questions on security and intelligence matters.

French Prime Minister (Talks)

asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on her discussions with Pierre Mauroy, the French Prime Minister, during the weekend of 15–16 May; and whether she raised the matter of Her Majesty's Government's policy on the Channel tunnel.

I met the French Prime Minister for the first time on 15 May. We had a full and useful discussion, mainly about European Community affairs. We also touched on the South Atlantic. On the question of the Channel fixed link, we agreed that studies should continue.

Falkland Islands

asked the Prime Minister what representations she has received from members of the public about Her Majesty's Government's policy on the Falkland Islands; to what extent those representations have supported the prinicples of (a) complete withdrawal of Argentine forces, (b) return of the islands to full British administration and (c) self-determination for the inhabitants; and if she will make a statement.

I have received up to 4,500 letters on this subject in each of the last seven weeks. The vast majority have supported the policy followed by the Government.

Education And Science

Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the recurrent and initial capital cost of providing nursery education for all 3 and 4-year-olds.

The present expenditure plans allow for current and capita**l expenditure on education for under-fives of £254 million and £12 million respectively in 1982–83. By reference to unit costs, the additional recurrent cost of extending provision nursery education to the entire 3 and 4-year-old age group is estimated to be approximately £425 million and the initial capital cost between £800 million and £1 billion. These estimates make no allowance for any economies of scale or, in the case of capital expenditure, for the use of surplus accommodation.

Wigston Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to announce his decision in relation to the proposed amalgamation of Wigston Bellcote county infant school and Wigston All Saints Church of England aided junior school.

My right hon. Friend is giving full and urgent consideration to the important issues involved in these proposals. He will announce his decision as soon as possible.

University Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what announcement the University Grants Committee has made to universities about grants for the academic year 1982–83.

The University Grants Committee has announced universities' recurrent and equipment and furniture grants for the academic year 1982–83 as shown in columns 1 and 3 respectively in the following tableAs an aid to planning, the UGC has also given universities a provisional grant figure for 1983–84 and an indication of what the grant might be for 1984–85 on the basis of the planned provision for higher education set out in the expenditure White Paper—Cmnd. 8494.For 12 universities the UGC's grant distribution allows some increase in the grants and/or the student number targets which were set in July 1981. These modifications relate to various special factors at these institutions and follow discussions between the universities and the University Grants Committee in recent months. They include increases in science student number targets providing a total of 350 additional places. Copies of the annexes relating to grants for individual universities will be placed in the Library of the House.Following is the text of the general letter of guidance which the chairman of the UGC has sent to all universities.

I am writing to let you know the Committee's decisions about the distribution of recurrent grant and of equipment and furniture grant for 1982/83. The figures, together with the provisional recurrent grant figure for 1983/84, are given for your own institution in the Annex to this letter. The main considerations which underlay the Committee's approach to distributing the two grants are set out in the rest of this letter.

Levels of grant for 1982/83 and 1983/84

2. Recurrent grant for 1982/83 was announced by the Secretary of State for Education and Science on 21 December 1981 as part of a general statement about education expenditure. The statement included the following points:

"The planned contraction of higher education in the period up to 1984 is to be maintained and the level of funding for each sector of higher education in (financial year) 1982/83 is broadly in line with that contraction … The universities' recurrent grant for the academic year 1982/83 will be £1137m, including over £100m to compensate them for reduced tuition fee income. From within the 1982/83 grant the UGC will make provision for the continuation of the bursary scheme for outstanding overseas postgraduate students … Over and above the recurrent grant, I am allocating £50m in the financial year 1982/83 to be used by the UGC specifically for restructuring including the cost of redundancies. A further additional amount for restructuring, and the recurrent grant for 1983/84, will be announced later."

3. The Secretary of State announced an equipment and furniture grant for 1982/83 of £83·6m on 8 April.

4. The Committee has also been told that the Government at present have in mind for the universities a recurrent grant in 1983/84 of around £1180 million. The announced recurrent and equipment and furniture grants for the 1982/83 academic year and the provisional figure for recurrent grant in the 1983/84 academic year are expressed in cash and are consistent with the provision for higher education set out in the 1982 Public Expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 8494). The total recurrent grant fixed for 1982/83 and the provisional total grant for 1983/84 reflect the Government's stated intention to maintain the contraction of higher education planned in the 1981 Public Expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 8175). The Government's assumptions are that pay and price increases will need to be accommodated within these figures. The Committee has been told that in setting these levels of grant, allowance has been made for pay increases of 4 per cent. from the due settlement date in the 1982/83 financial year and that account has been taken of the historic differences between price movements in universities' non-pay costs and in retail prices generally.

The Committee's approach to reduced funding, 1981–82 to 1983–84

5. The Committee's grant letter of July 1981 (Circular Letter 10/81) and the individual letters which went with it were intended to provide a planning framework for the three years 1981–82 to 1983–84. They set out the Committee's views on provision in the arts, science and medicine. The Committee later explained in some detail to the Select Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, both orally and in writing, how it reached these views and how it took its decisions on individual institutions. It has also held (or plans to hold) discussions with all those institutions which have asked for them and has received views from other bodies, from MPs, from the staff and students of universities and from members of the public. The Committee is therefore well aware of the problems which result from the requirement that the university system should adapt itself in a short period to a substantially reduced level of funding.

6. The financial constraints this year are no less stringent than in 1981. Although the Committee is sensitive to arguments which have been put forward on behalf of many subject areas, its responsibility is to maintain the best possible balance of provision over the whole range of disciplines and it has not felt able to make any material change in the balance adopted last year. Nor has it felt able to agree to any general relaxation of the student number targets which it set last year.

7. In reaffirming its general approach to the problem of a lower level of funding, the Committee wishes to draw attention to the following points:—

  • (a) Many universities are seeking ways of attracting additional income from external sources. The Committee would wish to encourage this. Income so raised will not lead to a consequential reduction in grant.
  • (b) Preservation of the dual support system of research is a major concern of the Committee and one of the factors that will continue to be taken into account in determining recurrent grant is that income from research grants (as opposed to contracts, on which overheads may be recovered) can involve a university in additional expense.
  • (c) Some groups of staff are especially mobile. Either their early appointments represent a completion of their training, so that they tend to serve in a post for a shorter period than average—clinical medicine being the obvious example—or they leave the university system for other sectors such as industry and commerce. An across-the-board freeze on staff appointments can therefore cut provision disproportionately for the subjects affected. The Committee would not wish to see this happen.
  • (d) The Committee has not lost sight of the importance to the vitality of the university system of being able to initiate and sustain new developments in teaching and research. It has been impressed by the enterprise shown by universities in identifying such developments in their academic plans. In 1982–83 as in 1981–82 a sum of £20 million has been held centrally for restructuring purposes from the initial block grant distribution and the Committee has already decided to give support to selected universities for assisting the development of biotechnology. The share of restructuring monies that can be made available for this kind of action is limited, however, although the Committee will not be able to judge how limited until it has a better idea of the likely cost of reimbursing universities for redundancy compensation. This must clearly have first call on funds set aside for the purpose of assisting the system to adapt to the lower level of Government funding. I hope that I may be able to say more in the Autumn about support for new developments.
  • (e) The Committee is concerned at the vulnerability of expenditure on consumable and other materials, including library acquisitions, when urgent and substantial reductions in total expenditure have to be made. The Committee hopes that, where universities have felt obliged to make cuts in these valuable areas, their plans will include provision for restoring expenditure to a reasonable level.
  • (f) In determining the grant distribution and giving advice in 1981, the Committee was conscious that the capacity for teaching and research in many minority arts subjects could be endangered by pressure on resources. Indications are that not only minority arts are at risk but that similar problems are affecting some sub-divisions of science subjects. The Committee therefore extends the hope expressed in its 1981 grant letter that universities will enter into discussions among themselves and with the Committee about how provision for minority subjects generally might be sustained.
  • Recurrent grant: differences between Circular Letter 10/81 and this letter

    8. In general the Committee's approach to the problem of adapting the university system to a lower level of funding remains unchanged. The main differences between the figures for 1982–83 and 1983–84 given in Circular Letter 10/81 and those which are set out in the Annex to this letter are to be explained as follows:—

  • (a) The Committee has reviewed the decisions it took last year in the light of universities' responses and academic plans. This review has resulted in a modification in a limited number of cases of the grants or of the student number targets.
  • (b)As announced in Circular Letter 14/81 of 9 September 1981, the Committee amended in one important respect its recommendations contained in the July grant letter relating to tuition fees to be charged for part-time studies. This change required an increase in grant in 1981–82 to reflect the shortfall in fee income from part-time undergraduates. The adjustment has been carried through into 1982–83 and 1983–84.
  • (c) The grant distributions have been adjusted to take account of the loss of fee income resulting from the Government's decision to reduce the level of tuition fees for home students on designated advanced courses from the beginning of academic year 1982–83. The adjustments reflect the assumption, referred to in paragraph 10 of Circular Letter 10/81 as the basis of individual grant figures, of an evident progression towards the student number targets. The practical effects are that a university whose admissions in 1980 were significantly higher than those in 1979, or whose planned admissions for 1982 seem higher than might be expected if it is to achieve its student number targets for 1984–85, will receive only the new rate of fee for its "excess" students. Similarly a university which has fewer students than a steady progression towards the 1984–85 target might suggest will lose only the new rate of fee for the "shortfall".
  • 9. These points apply to universities generally. Any other significant factors affecting the block recurrent grant to your own institution, such as the running costs of major building projects expected to come into use in 1982–83, are referred to in the Annex.

    Recurrent grant: detailed points

    10. As in recent years, the recurrent grants shown in the Annex do not include any element for local authority rates, or for sewerage rates where these are paid separately. (Water rates are covered by the recurrent grant.) In financial year 1981–82 and, as is clear from university estimates so far submitted, in financial year 1982–83, increases in local authority rates differed by unpredictable amounts, so that it is not possible either to assume that all universities are more or less equally affected or to forecast what the changes will be. I shall write to you before August about grant for rates once we have details from all universities of the actual demands for 1982–83.

    11. The recurrent grant for 1982–83 announced by the Secretary of State includes provision for the cost of capital projects which come within the revised minor works limit. I shall write to you, probably in July, about a first distribution of this. As in 1981–82, it will be in the form of an earmarked grant.

    12. No provision is made in the recurrent grant figures in the Annex for reimbursement of severance costs of staff leaving or of part-time re-engagement of teaching staff needed in order to conclude courses which will be phased out as a consequence of restructuring. This reimbursement is being dealt with separately

    University or College

    Recurrent Grant (cash)

    Equipment and furniture grant 1982–83


    1983·84 (provisional)

    £ million

    £ million

    £ million

    East Anglia13·5213·570·81
    London Graduate School of Business Studies1·511·710·06
    London University*173·76178·3213·20
    Imperial College25·3426·333·01

    under arrangements which were announced in Circular Letters 5/82 and 8/82 of 1 March and 31 March respectively.

    13. The implications of the 3·8 per cent. increase with effect from April 1983 in the institutional contribution to USS are being discussed with the Government.

    14. No provision has been made analogous to the special grants in 1980–81 and 1981–82 "to help ensure that uncertainty about prospective income from overseas students does not adversely affect selected postgraduate work of particular importance to this country". It is assumed that universities will by now be well on the way to adjusting to the policy of full-cost fees for overseas students. The Committee has, however, made available to the CVCP a sum approaching £3 million for distribution in 1982–83 under the Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme.

    15. The Committee will be considering the implications for universities' cash flow of the reduction in undergraduate fees referred to in paragraph 8c. and I shall be writing to you as soon as possible with details of the arrangements for paying instalments of grant in 1982–83.

    Recurrent grant, 1984–85

    16. On the basis of the Government's present expenditure plans, a reasonable estimate of provisional recurrent grant in cash terms for the universities for 1984–85 may be obtained by adding 5 per cent. to the provisional cash grant for 1983–84. The Committee will however be considering the grant distribution for that year particularly carefully because it is the first year following the period of run-down covered by the July 1981 letter.

    Equipment and furniture grant, 1982–83

    17. In determining the distribution of the general equipment and furniture grant for 1982–83, a factor taken into account by the Committee is the level of activity in research, one indicator of which is the external research income from Research Council and other sources.

    18. The cost of furniture and of its initial provision for minor building projects may, as you know, be met either from recurrent grant or from the equipment and furniture grant. In the past the Committee has expressed the hope that universities would limit their expenditure from the equipment and furniture grant for these purposes to less than 7 per cent. of the grant. It now feels that the linkage that might be implied by this formulation could create inequity between universities, since those with a high proportion of arts students would be subject to a greater constraint than those with a high proportion of science students. The Committee has therefore recalculated the levels it would wish to indicate as upper limits and its recommendation for your university is given in the Annex.

    Yours sincerely


    University or College

    Recurrent Grant (cash)

    Equipment and furniture grant 1982–83


    1983·84 (provisional)

    £ million

    £ million

    £ million

    Manchester Business School0·970·960·03
    University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology14·1714·031·61
    TOTAL ENGLAND805·51829·2666·42
    Aberystwyth UC8·718·940·66
    Bangor UC9·539·850·74
    Cardiff UC14·7915·321·18
    St. David's Lampeter1·581·650·05
    Swansea UC11·4711·760·93
    Welsh National School of Medicine5·455·720·36
    University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology7·457·611·02
    University of Wales, Registry1·861·94
    TOTAL WALES60·8462·794·94
    St. Andrews9·8410·100·59
    TOTAL SCOTLAND151·40156·8411·59
    TOTAL GREAT BRITAIN1,017·751,048·8982·95

    * Excluding Imperial College.

    Note: Paragraph 16 of the UGC's general guidance letter contains a provisional indication of grant for 1984–85.


    Mr David Fingleton

    asked the Attorney-General if the Lord Chancellor will dismiss Mr. David Fingleton from the bench of magistrates.


    Task Force (Satellite Communications)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the technical capacity of satellite communications between the United Kingdom and the task force in South Atlantic waters.

    I am entirely satisfied with the technical capacity of satellite communications between the United Kingdom and the task force in the South Atlantic for operational purposes. For the reasons explained by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 13 May—[Vol. 23, c. 1031]—it has not yet proved possible to use satellites for the transmission of television pictures.

    Falkland Islands (Journalists)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those journalists attached to the task force and supporting ships, and the names of the organisations to which they are accredited.

    There are 28 journalists, cameramen and photographers currently with the task force. This list is as follows:

    • J. Hands, ITN
    • M. Nicholson, ITN
    • R. Hammond, ITN
    • J. Martin, ITN
    • J. Jockell, BBC
    • B. Hanrahan, BBC
    • B Hesketh, BBC
    • R. Fox, BBC
    • R. Saville, PA
    • M. Cleaver, PA
    • A. McIlroy, The Daily Telegraph
    • C. Lawrence, Sunday Telegraph
    • J. Witherow, The Times
    • J. Shirley, The Sunday Times
    • P. Keel, The Guardian
    • G. Parry, The Guardian
    • T. Snow, The Sun
    • M. Seamark, Star
    • D. Norris, Daily Mail
    • R. McGowan, Daily Express
    • T. Smith, Daily Express
    • A. McQueen, Daily Mirror
    • K. Sabido, Independent Radio News
    • I. Bruce, Glasgow Herald
    • P. Bishop, The Observer
    • L. Dowd, Reuters
    • M. Hastings, Standard
    • D. Hudson, Yorkshire Post and Others

    Winnin Decoy System

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if Her Majesty's Government are collaborating with the Australian Government in the project Winnin decoy system.

    The United Kingdom is currently participating in the NATO Sea Gnat project to meet its future shipborne decoy requirement, but possibilities for co-operation in the longer term with Austrialia on project Winnin will also be considered.


    Alternative Energy Strategy

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the extent to which each alternative energy strategy is energy intensive.

    Energy intensiveness is only one factor in the calculation of economic benefit of the different alternative energy technologies. Energy intensiveness, defined as equivalent annual primary energy input divided by annual energy output, varies greatly with the individual design and with the definitions of energy input employed. Such studies as have been carried out both in the United Kingdom and overseas suggest that, for all the alternative energy devices considered, energy intensiveness is considerably less than unity which means that there is a net energy gain.

    Severn Barrage

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the cost of a Severn Barrage scheme in current prices.

    The direct construction cost is estimated to be approximately £6,270 million at December 1981 prices. This estimate, which is subject to some uncertainty, is based on the assumptions for an inner barrage in the Severn Barrage committee's report "Tidal Power from the Severn Estuary", published as Energy Paper No. 46, revalued using the "Bulletin of Construction Indices—Civil Engineering."

    Renewable Energy Sources

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he intends taking action on the advice given by the Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power on his research and development programme on renewable energy sources.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy) on Monday 17 May 1982.

    Home Department

    Magistrates' Courts (Enforcement Of Fines)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the references in the report of his working group on magistrates' courts on the question of the enforcement of the payment of fines imposed by the courts; and what action he has taken or intends taking in the light of this report to ensure the payment of outstanding fines.

    The working group on magistrates' courts was charged with reviewing the kind of help which might most usefully be given to magistrates' courts in improving fine enforcement procedures. Its suggestions in this area mainly relate to changes of practice and procedure which might be adopted in the offices of clerks to justices. Copies of the report have accordingly been sent to all justices' clerks as well as to other interested individuals and representative bodies. Other action to follow up the report is under consideration.

    Horserace Totalisator Board

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will not reappoint the chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board, Mr. Woodrow Wyatt, when his term of office expires.

    I have recently reappointed Mr. Woodrow Wyatt as chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board for a further period of three years with effect from 1 May 1982.

    Foreign-Born Husbands

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to accept as admissible three cases of women who have been affected by the rule which affects women bringing their foreign-born husbands to live with them in the United Kingdom, if he will now reconsider this rule.

    My right hon. Friend is aware of the decision of the European Commission of Human Rights that these cases are admissible. The Commission has yet to consider the merits of the applications. It will also be seeking a friendly settlement between the parties. The Government remain of the view that there are strong arguments that the rules do not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Illegal Immigrants

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what sources of information and what methods are employed by his Department in detecting illegal immigrants; if he is satisfied with the current rate of detection and the methods employed; and if he will make a statement.

    Information on possible illegal entrants is received from a number of sources, but mainly from the police and members of the public. Illegal entrants may also come to notice when applying to the Home Office for leave to remain or for registration or naturalisation. The immigration service, in conjunction with the police where appropriate, investigates such cases fully, and the number of illegal entrants traced in recent years are set out in table 15 of "Control of Immigration Statistics 1981"—Cmnd. 8533—published in April. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that this work is carried out effectively in an efficient, but humane, manner consistent with the Government's commitment to take firm action against illegal entrants.

    House Of Commons

    Select Committees

    asked the Lord President of the Council how many visits were made by Select Committees to Scotland in the most recent convenient period; what the Committees were and what were the subjects of the inquiries on which they were engaged.

    The following visits to Scotland have been made by Select Committees since the beginning of Session 1980–81 to date:

    Committee, Date and PlaceSubject of Inquiry
    19 February 1981 Poultry Research Centre, Roslin, MidlothianAnimal welfare
    22, 23 March 1982 Glensaugh Research Station, Kincardineshire Auchnascraw Farm, BanffshireFinancial assistance to the less favoured areas
    4, 5, 6 May 1982 crofts, townships, hill farms in the Uists, Harris, Lewis, ArgyllshireFinancial assistance to the less favoured areas
    29, 30 March 1982 Stirling University and EdinburghUniversity funding; and Public and private funding of the arts
    10 June 1981 LivingstonThe work of the Department of Employment group: industrial training boards
    25 March 1982 GlasgowYouth unemployment and training
    29 January 1981 HunterstonNuclear power programme
    23 February 1982 Edinburgh UniversityWave power
    8 January 1981 GlasgowCivil Service dispersal
    16 March 1981 EdinburghYouth unemployment and training
    13 April 1981 Irvine, ArdeerYouth unemployment and training

    Committee, Date and Place

    Subject of Inquiry

    27 April 1981 Edinburgh, GlenrothesYouth unemployment and training
    15 June 1981 EdinburghScottish public expenditure
    25 June 1981 GlasgowYouth unemployment and training
    9 July 1981 GlasgowYouth unemployment and training
    23 September 1981 Edinburgh, FifeYouth unemployment and training
    14 December 1981 GlasgowYouth unemployment and training (press conference)
    22 February 1982 ArranRural road passenger transport and ferry service
    1 March 1982 Borders RegionRural road passenger transport and ferry service
    15 March 1982 Islay and JuraRural road passenger transport and ferry service
    5, 6 April 1982 ShetlandRural road passenger transport and ferry service
    6 April 1981 AberdeenMedical education
    7 April 1981 EdinburghMedical education


    European Community (Air Services)

    asked the Minister of Trade (1) if he will make a statement on the European Commission's proposals for a Council regulation liberalisation authorisation of inter-regional air services within the European Economic Community;(2) if he intends to raise the question of the liberalisation of inter-regional air services within the European Economic Community at the meeting of European Economic Community Transport Ministers arranged for 10 June.

    I expect this subject to be discussed at the meeting of the European Economic Community Transport Ministers on 10 June. In the context of our efforts to promote a more liberal regime for civil air transport in Europe, we are working hard to support a measure which would allow greater flexibility in meeting the needs of the air traveller.

    Balance Of Trade

    asked the Minister of Trade if he will publish a table showing the balance of trade in manufactured goods with the Europen Economic Community and the rest of the world, respectively, in that part of 1982 for which figures are available; and if he will publish comparable figures, respectively, for the similar periods of each year since 1965.

    The available information is as follows:

    United Kingdom Balance of Trade in Manufactures*
    £ million
    European CommunityRest of the World
    January–February 1970+71+294
    January–February 1971+28+282
    January–February 1972+17+368
    January–February 1973-38+362
    January–February 1974-158+212
    January–February 1975-181+628
    January–February 1976-90+781
    January–February 1977-224+746
    January–February 1978-295+1,009
    January–February 1979-393+352
    January–February 1980-785+1,131
    January–February 1981-162+908
    January–February 1982-670+796


    * Standard International Trade Classification, Sections 5 to 8 on Overseas Trade Statistics basis.

    Including Greece, Denmark, and Ireland throughout.

    Figures have been adjusted, as far as is practicable, on to a 1981 classification basis. Any remaining discontinuities are likely to be very small.

    Figures for February 1982 are provisional.


    Grants To District Councils

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will be in a position to announce the Government's decisions on local authority claims for grant under section 51 of the New Towns Act 1981.

    When the report of NBA Building Performance Services Ltd. on authorities' claims has been received and considered and any necessary discussions have been held with the Association of District Councils and the authorities concerned.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what level of local authority claims for grant under section 51 of the New Towns Act 1981 has been made by Welwyn and Hatfield district council.

    Claims submitted by Welwyn and Hatfield district council for grant under section 51 of the New Towns Act 1981 relate to expenditure of some £11·2 million.

    Industrialised Buildings

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which local authorities have notified him of their intention to demolish houses or flats built by industrialised or semi-industrialised systems; how many units of housing are involved; and what were the original costs.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authority housing units have been built by industrialised and partly industrialised systems.

    No complete record exists, but information available suggests that since 1919 about one million local authority houses and flats have been built by proprietary industrialised and partly industrialised systems in England and Wales.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Law Of The Sea Treaty

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the United Kingdom abstained on the vote to adopt the United Nations law of the sea treaty.

    Our objective throughout these law of the sea negotiations has been to achieve a text which was generally acceptable to all parties and could be adopted by consensus. As this objective was not met, we felt obliged to abstain.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the United Nations law of the sea treaty; if this will be ratified by the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

    We shall be examining the texts adopted in New York in the light of all our national interests and the attitude of other Governments. Our signature and subsequent ratification of the convention will depend on the results of this examination.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of proposals by the Secretary General of the United Nations and others that a multinational force be established on the Falkland Islands, it is his policy that British troops should be included in this force and that Argentine troops will not.

    We know of no serious proposal to this effect. It has been and remains the Government's position that all Argentine forces must be withdrawn from the Falkland Islands, in accordance with resolution 502 of the United Nations Security Council.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many wage earners there are in the Falkland Islands; how many are employed by the Falkland Islands Company; and how many persons resident in the islands own land there.

    According to the most recent Falkland Islands census in 1980, there were 890 wage earners of whom 240 worked for the Falkland Islands Company. There are two tenant farmers and 30 owner-occupiers of agricultural or pastoral land.

    European Community

    Council Of Ministers

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will review the operation of the Luxembourg convention with regard to the use of the veto at Council of Ministers meetings; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government take an extremely serious view of the way in which the Luxembourg compromise was set aside at the Agriculture Council on Tuesday. We remain committed to supporting the principle of the compromise, the operation of which was set out in statements issued by the extraordinary session of the European Council on 28 and 29 January 1966. Since then it has been the consistent practice of the Community over 16 years to resolve matters where very important national interests are at stake by unanimity. There cannot be a situation in which a rule operates to the benefit of some members of the Community but not of others.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he now proposes to take to protect British interests in the light of the failure of the Council of Ministers to reach a unanimous agreement on the farm price review for 1982 and the breakdown of the Luxembourg convention; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government take an extremely serious view of the way in which the Luxembourg compromise was set aside at the Agriculture Council on Tuesday. We will not be rushed into hasty action. Much will depend upon decisions taken by the rest of the Community over the next few days.


    Bottle Banks

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has issued any recommendations to Scottish local authorities on the setting up of bottle banks and the recycling of glass bottles; and if he will make a statement.

    This has not been necessary as local authorities are well aware of the potential benefits to be gained from such schemes. Some 30 Scottish district councils are already making use of them and others are considering whether to participate.It is our policy to encourage the recycling and reclamation of wastes, wherever it is practicable and economic to do so. We therefore welcome the Glass Manufacturers Federation's commitment to expand the bottle bank scheme during glass recycling year.

    Health Boards

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the percentage increases in salaries paid to each of the chairmen of the Scottish health boards for the years 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981; and what are the latest figures for 1982.

    Chairmen of health boards were awarded increases in their remuneration as follows:

    With effect fromPercentage increase
    1 January 197810
    1 January 197934·7*
    1 April 198030·75
    1 April 19817

    * This percentage increase was applied after consolidation of a small fixed sum: £130 in the case of the mainland boards, £50 in the case of the islands.

    The rates applicable since 1 April 1981 have not yet been increased.

    Crime Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report details of the crimes and offences recorded by the police in Scotland for 1980 and 1981.

    The information requested is shown in the following table:

    Crimes and offences recorded by the police
    Total crimes and offences724·7744·4
    Total crimes364·6407·9
    Non-sexual crimes of violence against the person11·112·2
    Serious assaults etc. (including homicide)4·44·5
    Handling offensive weapons2·32·9
    Crimes involving indecency5·24·8
    Sexual assault1·31·3
    Lewd and libidinous practices2·52·2
    Crimes involving dishonesty280·0319·7
    Theft by opening lockfast places36·647·3
    Other theft142·5152·2
    Fire raising2·83·0
    Malicious and reckless conduct57·358·7
    Other crimes8·39·5
    Total offences360·1336·5
    Miscellaneous offences123·2118·2
    Petty assaults28·227·6
    Breach of the peace53·953·6
    Drunkenness offences18·216·5
    Offences relating to motor vehicles236·9218·3
    Reckless or careless driving25·024·4
    Drunk driving15·913·8
    No car tax, driving licence or insurance66·468·5

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report information on the number of persons against whom a charge was proved in Scottish courts in 1980, their ages, the crimes and offences proved, and the sentences imposed.

    Only provisional figures are at present available, as shown in the following tables:

    Persons against whom a charge was proved: Classified by type of crime or offence
    Persons aged
    8–1516–2021 and OverCompanies Total
    Total crimes and offences1,05365,976176,2682,961246,258
    Total crimes:61119,89327,2731547,792
    Non-sexual crimes of violence against the person261,0261,8022,854
    Serious assaults etc. (including homicide)105901,1821,782
    Handling offensive weapons5155140300
    Crime involving indecency92827261,017
    Sexual assault25873133
    Lewd and libidinous practices2114286402
    Crimes involving dishonesty50815,23720,5281536,238
    Theft by opening lockfast places221,1058401,967
    Other theft2958,61212,54321,450
    Malicious and reckless conduct432,2652,0434,351
    Other crimes171,0272,1023,146
    Total offences44246,083148,9952,946198,466
    Miscellaneous offences29825,26554,37352380,459
    Petty assault433,8217,39511,259
    Breach of the peace16214,91419,565234,643
    Drunkeness offences151,33512,446113,797
    Offences relating to motor vehicles14420,81894,6222,423118,007
    Reckless or careless driving92,4008,557310,969
    Drunk Driving91,38211,121112,513
    No car tax, driving licence or insurance889,19716,08437825,747
    Persons against whom a charge was proved: Classified by sentence
    Persons Aged
    8·1516·2021 and OverCompaniesTotal
    Absolute discharge20346690181,074
    Remitted to children's hearing791190
    Community service order177152329
    Young offenders institution1,7991,799
    Detention centre923923
    Other detention*979106
    Other sentences25654112
    * Detention under sections 205(2), 206(1) and 413 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Agricultural Produce

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what effect he estimates the proposed increase in common agricultural policy prices will have on the United Kingdom consumption of each of the products in question.

    Although there may be some slight short-run effect on United Kingdom consumption of the most directly affected products, it seems unlikely that there will be any significant effect on total United Kingdom food consumption. As I indicated in my statement to the House on 19 May, the consumer benefit of the beef premium scheme, sheepmeat regime and the continuation of the butter subsidy will be worth some hundreds of millions of pounds, depending on the market situation.

    Farm Incomes (Sheep)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the effect of the delay in price review settlement on farm incomes from sheep.

    It is not possible to give a precise estimate of the effect of the delay in the start of the 1982–83 sheep marketing year. However, because of the way in which the amount of premium due to producers is calculated, the overall level of support to farm incomes should not be greatly affected.

    Beef Herd

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the decrease in numbers in the national beef herd in each of the last six years.

    About two-thirds of our beef supplies come from the dairy herd, and one-third from the beef herd. Figures for the United Kingdom herds, based on the respective December censuses, are as follows:

    Dairy CowsBeef Cows (million head)
    1978 (old basis)3·3881·594
    (new basis)3·3921·602


    From 1978 the coverage of the published census results was changed to include very small holdings, but this had only a slight effect on the figures.

    Food Prices

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will estimate the difference in cost to the United Kingdom between the proposals approved by the majority of Agriculture Ministers of the European Economic Community and the alternative British proposals in the farm price review of 1982; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will estimate the approximate cost to the consumer of the proposals approved by a majority of European Economic Community Agriculture Ministers in the farm price review of 1982; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made on 19 May.

    Quantities of Fruit and Vegetables Withdrawn—1980–81 Marketing Years
    (a) Cauliflowers1938837,3983,663
    (b) Tomatoes7413,65710569,2845,754
    (c) Peaches14,74140,879
    (c) Pears7,42517812,283139,0403,813
    (d) Apples52,70434,51312,615178,828879159,93953,916
    (a) Grapes (Table)530
    (d) Mandarins53,025
    (e) Oranges564100,527
    (c) Lemons21,755


    (a) May 1980–April 1981

    Beef Premium

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set out the changes in the variable beef premium that he negotiated in Brussels; and if he will make a statement about the suckler cow subsidy.

    The Council of Agriculture Ministers of the European Community decided at its meeting on 17 to 18 May that the maximum amount -payable under the variable beef premium scheme should be increased from 54·403 to 80 ecus per animal. The maximum amount payable in £ sterling is therefore increased from 7·32 to 10·759 pence per liveweight kilogram. This is an increase of just over two-fifths, and not the two-thirds which I inadvertently mentioned in my statement to the House on 19 May.The Council also decided that, for 1982·83, FEOGA would contribute 40 per cent. of the cost of any premiums payable. This represents a substantial increase above the previous level of 25 per cent. negotiated by the previous Government.The Council of Ministers decided that the amount of the suckler cow premium financed by FEOGA should be reduced from 20 to 15 ecus per animal. For 1982–83, the Government will make good this reduction by a payment of 5 ecus per animal from the Exchequer. The amount that the producer receives will thus be maintained at £12·37 per animal in Great Britain and £24·74 in Northern Ireland. I estimate that this Exchequer subsidy will be worth some £3·6 million to United Kingdom beef producers.

    Intervention Board (Disposal Policy)

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

    [pursuant to his reply, 2 April 1982, c. 210]: The following tables contain information supplied by the European Commission on the amounts of fruit and vegetables, fish and wine withdrawn from the market in other European Community member States in 1981 or the 1980–81 marketing years.

    (b) Calendar year 1980 (1981 figures not yet available)

    (c) June 1980–May 1981

    (d) July 1980–June 1981

    (e) October 1980–September 1981

    Table 2

    Quantities of Fish withdrawn—January–September 1981



    * January-June 1981 only.

    Table 3

    Quantities of Wine withdrawn—1980–81 Marketing Year (1 September 1980–31 August 1981)



    National Finance

    Aviation Gasoline

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

    The new rate of duty on aviation gasoline was determined after a review which included consideration of the following factors:

  • (a) the uses of aviation gasoline for business and leisure purposes;
  • (b) the taxation of fuels for other forms of transport, not only jet-powered aircraft but also surface vehicles;
  • (c) the prices of various forms of aviation gasoline, from "80/87" grade upwards;
  • (d) the present and possible future relationships between the prices of various grades of aviation gasoline and road fuel; and
  • (e) the need to avoid duty evasion, in particular the diversion to road use of gasoline which pays duty at the reduced rate, without disproportionate demand on official resources.
  • Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in each case of taking out of tax the poorest (a) 100,000, (b) 250,000, (c) 500,000, (d) 750,000, (e) 1,000,000 and (f) 1,250,000 taxpayers; and to what level the standard rate of tax would need to be raised to cover the revenue lost in each of these six cases.

    European Community Budget

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the light of the decision taken by a majority of European Economic Community Agriculture Ministers in the farm price review of 1982, he will suspend all payments to the Community budget; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government hope that the various matters under dispute can be satisfactorily settled without the need to have recourse to such measures.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the cost of the naval, military and other action over the past month in relation to the Falklands.

    [pursuant to his reply, 13 May 1982, c. 314.]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on Wednesday 12 May.—[Vol. 23, c. 262.]



    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table, from international sources available to him, of the number of apprentices in industry in the United Kingdom, West Germany and France and the proportion of the average wage that a new apprentice may expect to receive, in each of these countries, at the latest convenient date.

    Because of differences between countries in education and training systems, numbers of apprentices and their pay are not directly comparable. For example, in Germany numbers of apprentices are very high because formal schemes exist for most occupations, whereas in Britain they are confined to a smaller number of craft skills. Also the mix of "on the job" and "off the job" training, which may affect earnings, varies between countries, as does the school leaving age. For this reason no firm conclusion should be drawn from the latest available data, which are as follows:

    Number of apprentices in 1979Apprentices' earnings
    22015 to 60 per cent, of the national minimum wage depending on the stage of training and industry in which employed.
    West Germany
    1,500about 20 per cent, of the average wage of all male workers in the private sector, in the first year of training.
    Great Britain
    463 (1974)30 to 70 per cent, of the skilled rate, depending on the industry in which employed at age 16.


    MSC—Outlook on training—review of the Employment and Training Act 1973 (1980).

    OECD—Youth without work (1981).

    DE—Time rates of wages and hours of work.

    Youth Opportunities Programme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what would be the cost of increasing the youth opportunities programme allowance to £30 per week.

    The estimated cost of increasing the youth opportunities programme allowance to £30 per week would be £72 million in a full financial year.

    Unemployment Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the purpose of the exercise in the Plymouth, North-East of England and North Wales areas to draw up lists of unemployed men aged between 18 years and 28 years; whether these lists will be passed to any other Department of State; and if he will make a statement.

    I can assure the hon. Member that no such lists are being drawn up.

    Redundancy Payments

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if payments made under the insolvency provisions of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 to compensate for insolvent employers' failure to give employees their minimum statutory notice will continue to be subject to notional tax.

    Yes. In these circumstances, my Department is required by the 1978 Act to pay the employee a sum equivalent to the damages a court would have awarded against the employer. A court would normally assess the employee's financial loss during the notice period net of the tax that would have been paid had the notice been worked. The reduction my Department makes for notional tax has the same effect in most cases, but I recognise that it may, in a very limited number of cases, overtax those who do not go on to earn enough in the tax year as a whole to cover their personal tax allowances. As a result a system of supplementary payments is being introduced to enable employees in this position who were dismissed on or after 5 April 1982 to reclaim notional tax from the redundancy fund at the end of the tax year. Details of the system are still under discussion, but employees who may be affected are being told that they may be able to make supplementary claims.

    Social Services

    Christmas Bonus

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the 200 Christmas bonuses referred to in the answer of 22 April, Official Report, c. 144, have now been paid; and if he will consider making payments of interest to cover periods of non-payment of all bonuses which were paid late.

    The 200 outstanding cases have now been cleared and bonus payments made where appropriate. The Department has no legal liability to pay interest or compensation where the payment of benefit has been delayed. A scheme is operated, however, under which ex gratia payments can be made in certain cases-where the delay was due to departmental error, has exceeded 12 months and the arrears payable amount to £50 or more. These conditions are not satisfied in the case of the delayed Christmas bonus payments and compensation cannot therefore be paid.


    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will list the total expenditure on health and personal social services at constant prices for financial years 1970–71 until 1982–83, giving the percentage increase in expenditure, in real terms, between each financial year.

    The total net expenditure on health and personal social services in England for each year since 1970–71 is given in the following table. All figures are at November 1980 prices. The year on percentage increase in expenditure is also given.

    Financial yearExpenditure (£ million)Percentage increase
    The figure for 1981–82 is provisional. From 1982–83 plans were expressed in cash, so no comparable figure for that year is available.

    Glue Sniffing

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has given guidance to district health authorities on prevention, detection and curing of young people affected by glue sniffing; and whether he will make a statement.

    District health authorities were advised in "Care in Action"* to plan and develop services in the light of local needs and circumstances. Help planned for professionals includes a paper on solvent misuse to be published in the Department's journal "Health Trends" this month. The Department will shortly be consulting representatives of statutory and voluntary services to learn what more might be done to support and strengthen work on solvent misuse already undertaken by these agencies in various parts of the country to develop services in relation to local needs.

    * "Care In Action: A Handbook of Polices and Priorities for the Health and Personal Social Services in England." Published DHSS 1981 prices £3·30.

    "Health Trends": issued free to district health authorities and doctors in contract with the NHS: published quarterly by DHSS price 75p.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will commission further research into the cause of glue sniffing among young people and into possible preventive measures; what information he has as to the incidence of this practice; and whether he will make a statement.

    Reliable information on the incidence of solvent misuse is not available and seems best obtained from small-scale local studies. Subject to receiving suitable applications and the availability of resources, the Department is ready to fund studies of this problem, in particular of prevalence and of effective service responses.

    Valium And Librium

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of all medication dispensed in hospitals in connection with mental disorders, including medication dispensed in outpatient departments, has been for valium or librium or both.

    Supplementary Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pensioners in (a) West Yorkshire, (b) Greater Manchester, (c) Oldham metropolitan borough council and (d) Kirklees metropolitan borough council there are with incomes below the supplementary benefits level; and if he will make a statement.

    Information is not available about pensioners living in particular areas, whose income is below supplementary benefit level. However, estimates of the numbers of families over pension age in Great Britain, who had incomes below supplementary benefit level during 1979, are included in the tables in "Low Income

    Man-made fibre production*Thousand tonnes
    19771978197919801981* (Jan–Sept.)
    United Kingdom551·8607·2596·3449·8295·6
    Note: Total United Kingdom production in 1981 was 3,847,000 tonnes. The corresponding figure for Italy is not yet available.

    * Includes manufacture of continuous filament yarn and staple fibre.

    Sources: United Kingdom—Man-made Fibres Producers' Committee.

    Italy—Bolletino Mensile di Statistica.


    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if, in view of the rising unemployment trend in the South Yorkshire area, he will reconsider granting assisted area status to Sheffield.

    Families—1979". There are copies in the Library of the House, but I am sending a personal copy to the hon. Member.

    Family Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out how work expenses are treated in the family expenditure survey's low income families calculations; and if he will detail the amounts allowed to cover this item of expenditure for each year since 1972.


    Recycled Materials

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public expenditure in each of the last five years has been devoted to encouraging the recycling and materials reclamation industries.

    Records of expenditure are not available in a form allowing this information to be identified.

    Synthetic Fibres

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what changes have taken place in the output of synthetic fibres since 1977 in the United Kingdom and in Italy.

    The Government are naturally concerned about the level of unemployment in South Yorkshire, as elsewhere. Nevertheless, the present circumstances in the Sheffield travel-to-work area relative to other areas of the country do not suggest that the decision to withdraw intermediate area status after 31 July is unjustified.