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Written Answers

Volume 29: debated on Thursday 28 October 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 28 October 1982

Prime Minister

Falkland Islands (Franks Committee Review)

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will arrange for the Franks committee review of events leading up to the Falkland Islands invasion to be published before the end of the current Session of Parliament.

There is no prospect of the committee completing its report by the end of this Session.

Fraserburgh (Visit)

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will make an official visit to the town of Fraserburgh in the Aberdeenshire, East constituency.

President Reagan (Meeting)

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister when she hopes to have her next meeting with the President of the United States of America.

Sir Anthony Parsons

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the duties and terms of reference of the appointment of Sir Anthony Parsons as her personal adviser on foreign affairs.

Unemployed Persons Benefit

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will consider the payment of benefit at the long-term supplementary benefit rate to those unemployed for over 12 months.

Since November 1981 the longterm scale rate has been payable to unemployed men aged 60 or over who have been unemployed for 12 months. We are aware of the arguments for extending the long-term scale rate to unemployed people more generally. Any extension of eligibility must however compete with other claims on the additional resources which would be needed, and we can give no commitment at present.

Engagements

Q1.

asked the Prime Minister if she will state her public engagements for 28 October.

Q2.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q3.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 28 October.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will state her official engagements for 28 October.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 October.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 October.

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today. This afternoon I shall leave for a visit to Bonn and Berlin.

National Health Service (Dispute)

asked the Prime Minister when the most recent meeting with representatives of all those involved in the hospital dispute took place; and if she will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services and my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Health last met the representatives of the Health Service unions and the professional bodies on 22 June. My right hon. Friend was able to inform them that the Government were prepared to make extra resources available for pay to allow pay increases averaging 6 to 7½per cent. On 16 September the Government made further proposals for a two-year settlement—costing almost£1,110 million overall. Members of the TUC health services committee had a discussion with Ministers about these proposals but the full committee refused the invitation to have negotiations upon them. Talks on the proposals are continuing with the Royal College of Nursing and a number of other professional bodies. The Health Service unions also should now return to negotiations and call off their industrial action.

United States Of America

asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on steps taken during the parliamentary recess to improve relations with the United States of America.

Our relations with the United States remain excellent. It is inevitable that there should be occasional differences even between the closest allies. We have worked hard during the summer to resolve the disputes over the Siberian gas pipeline and United States steel imports from the European Community. On the latter, I am pleased to say that we have been successful. On the pipeline, we have had substantial discussions with the United States Administration and the European Governments involved. These are continuing.

Equal Opportunities Commission (Report)

asked the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply of 19 October,Official Report, c. 93, if she will list the initiatives taken by the Government to appoint more women to public bodies.

Ministers have made statements in the House of Commons encouraging people to submit the names of women who might be appointed to public bodies; the public appointments unit in the Management and Personnel Office has written to some 300 representatives organisations asking them to nominate people for public appointments and specifying a particular need for female candidates; and the unit have encouraged references in the press to their wish to hear of or from interested women.

Foreign Visits

asked the Prime Minister on what occasions, other than on ceremonial or private occasions, she has paid official visits abroad without being accompanied by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

  • 1. Australia (After Tokyo Economic Summit)—30 June-1 July 1979
  • 2. Luxembourg (To deliver Churchill memorial lecture)—18-19 October 1979
  • 3. France (Franco-British Summit)—19 September 1980 (Accompanied by Lord Privy Seal)
  • 4. Greece and Yugoslavia—22-26 September 1980
  • 5. The Hague (Anglo-Dutch bilateral)—6 February 1981
  • 6. India—15-19 April 1981
  • 7. Saudi Arabia—19-21 April 1981
    • Oman—22-24 April 1981
    • Abu Dhabi—21-22 April 1981
    • Dubai—22 April 1981
    • Qatar—24-25 April 1981 (Accompanied by Mr. Hurd, Minister of State, FCO)
  • 8. Bahrain—25-26 September 1981
    • Kuwait—26-27 September 1981
  • 9. Pakistan—8 October 1981
  • 10. France (Speech to European Parliament)—16 December 1981
  • 11. Japan—17-22 September 1982
    • China—22-26 September 1982
    • Hong Kong—26-28 September 1982
    • India—29 September 1982

    Falkland Islands (Taxation)

    asked the Prime Minister what are the responsibilities of(a)the Chancellor of the Exchequer and(b)the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with regard to fiscal arrangements in the Falkland Islands.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer has no responsibilities with regard to fiscal arrangements in the Falkland Islands.Under paragraph 182(2) of the Colonial Regulations, the Civil Commissioner is required to submit annual estimates to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. These estimates are presented to the Legislative Council for approval by an appropriation ordinance. Her Majesty, through the Secretary of State, can disallow the ordinance.

    Gracious Speech (Release Time)

    asked the Prime Minister if she will arrange for a confidential copy of the Gracious Speech to be released to Oracle at 9 am on 3 November in order that subtitles for the deaf may be prepared and broadcast at the same time as Her Majesty delivers the Speech; and what representations she has received on this matter from independent television.

    Oracle has made representations to my Office. So that the media have time to make suitable arrangements, confidential copies of the Gracious Speech will be released to them under embargo 90 minutes before it is delivered.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Prime Minister, further to her reply to the hon. Member for West Lothian on 26 October, whether Her Majesty's Government had any indication of a possible invasion of South Georgia or any other Falkland Islands dependency before 31 March.

    I have nothing to add to what I have already said in the House on this subject. The House agreed on 8 July 1982—[Vol. 149, c. 469-508]—that the Falkland Islands review committee should be set up to examine the events leading to the Argentine invasion on 2 April. The House will have a chance to debate the committee's report.

    Trade

    Home-Produced Goods (Consumption)

    46.

    asked the Minister for Trade if he will introduce measures to encourage the consumption of United Kingdom as opposed to non-United Kingdom, European Economic Community manufactures.

    Government measures to encourage buying British goods regardless of their quality or suitability would be consistent neither with Community law nor with the Government's economic policies, which are designed to stimulate British industry to improve its competitiveness in both home and export markets.

    Steel Exports

    asked the Minister for Trade what was the total amount of EEC exports of steel to the United States of America in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available; what part of this total represented British exports; and what were the comparable totals, respectively, in each of the previous four years.

    Such information as is readily available relates to European Coal and Steel Community products and is as follows:

    Steel*Exports to the United States of America
    '000 tonnes
    From EC (excluding UK)From UKFrom EC (including UK)
    19785,3004215,721
    19794,3183114,629
    1980†2,7381662.904
    1981‡3,942n.an.a
    1982 Jan-May1,1691201.289

    Sources:

    EUROSTAT; UN Statistics of World Trade;

    Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.

    Notes:

    * The information relates to European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) products. This definition is narrower than the UN definition used in the reply to my hon. Friend's similar question answered on 30 July 1982. [Vol. 28, c. 788.] The United Nations publish only annual data.

    †Figures for 1980 were affected by the dispute in the UK steel industry.

    ‡The availability of detailed monthly UK export figures for 1981 has been affected by the Civil Service dispute. Figures which are available for the six months January, February, September to December give UK exports of ECSC products to the USA as 183 thousand tonnes.

    asked the Minister for Trade (1) what amount or percentage of EEC exports of steel to the United States of America is being allocated to the United Kingdom under the EEC plan agreed on 21 October; and if he will make a statement.(2) whether the share of steel and steel products allocated to the United Kingdom under the EEC proposals for exports to the United States of America will be greater, less or the same as the share which the United Kingdom enjoyed in recent years.

    The final details of the allocation between member States are still being worked out, and full figures will not be available for a day or two. But the United Kingdom share by volume of the product categories covered by the anangement will be between 9 per cent. and 10 per cent. of the Community total; it will therefore be very slightly higher than our share of actual Community exports of those products to the United States last year.

    Credit Cards

    asked the Minister for Trade if there are any statutory provisions governing the liability of holders of credit cards for losses sustained by third parties as a result of misuse of lost or stolen credit cards.

    I am writing to the hon. Member and I shall place a cop/ of my letter in the Library for the information of hon. Members.

    Manufactures

    asked the Minister for Trade what was the positive or negative balance of trade in manufactures with the Commonwealth in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; what were the comparable figures for the preceding 12 calendar years for which figures are available; and if he will publish further tables for these periods showing the total value of manufacturing exports and imports from the Commonwealth.

    The information is as follows:

    United Kingdom Trade in Manufactures*with the Commonwealth†
    £millionOverseas Trade Statistics basis
    ExportsImportsCrude Balance
    19691,312682+630
    19701,398784+614
    19711,683744+940
    19721,588775+313
    19731,8301,047+783
    19742,4141,295+1,119
    19752,9041,248+1,656
    19763,4281,620+1,809
    19774,2001,724+2,476
    19784,7451,802+2,943
    19794,5312,141+2,390
    19805,3522,226+3,127
    October 1981 to September 19826,1482,560+3,588

    Note:

    * Standard International Trade Classification, Sections 5 to 8

    †Excluding Bangladesh from 1969 to 1972.

    Source:Overseas Trade Statistics of the UK.

    asked the Minister for Trade what percentage of the United Kingdom's manufacturing exports went to the European Economic Community, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world, respectively, in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available.

    For the ]2 months October 1981 to September 1982, the information is as follows:

    per cent.

    Other EC countries37
    Commonwealth16½
    Rest of World46½

    Source:Overseas Trade Statistics of the UK.

    asked the Minister for Trade what tariffs on imports of manufactures, other than textiles and clothing, give the greatest protection to British industry against non-European Economic Community competition in terms both of the height of the tariff and the amount of trade involved; and if he will list the six most important items together with items from non-European Economic Community sources.

    Information in this form and detail is not readily available and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

    Printing And Paper-Making (Energy Costs)

    asked the Minister for Trade if he will create immediate tariff advantages to establish energy prices in the printing and paper-making industries at a level as low as the United Kingdom's international competitors.

    There is little scope for further reduction in the level of tariffs on imported sources of energy. Customs duties on coal, coal gas and crude oil are set at zero: that on natural gas (1·5 per cent.) has been suspended for an indefinite period. The tariff on refined fuel oil (5 per cent.) has been reduced to 3·5 per cent. for an indefinite period. This small tariff has been retained to encourage the refining of crude oil within the European Community, and in view of the present under-utilisation of United Kingdom oil refining capacity I have no plans to seek a further reduction in the level of tariff protection.

    Plastic Bottles

    asked the Minister for Trade (1) if he has been notified of any accidents involving personal injury resulting from the consequences of opening large plastic bottles of lemonade or other gaseous drinks; and if he will make a statement;(2) what controls his Department has through legislation and other means over the size and materials used in the making of lemonade bottles; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he has any evidence that additional danger is created for consumers when plastic is used in place of glass in the making of lemonade bottles; and if he will make a statement.

    :Over the last two years my Department has been notified of seven cases of personal injury occurring when plastic bottles containing carbonated drinks were opened. The Department is investigating whether any general design improvements might help to prevent further accidents. So far, there is no evidence that the use of plastic for containers creates additional dangers. The Department will be discussing with the British Standards Institution the case for a safety standard for these bottles. This could be made a legal requirement by regulations under the Consumer Safety Act 1978.

    Asbestos

    asked the Minister for Trade (1) if he will take steps to prohibit the use of asbestos in domestic goods and appliances, including cookers, simmering mats, ironing boards, plugging compounds and vinyl floor tiles;(2) if he will introduce compulsory and adequate labelling of asbestos products and guidance for the general public.

    As explained in my reply to the hon. Member on 27 July (c. 480), the Council of the European Communities is considering a draft Directive on the marketing and use of asbestos. The provisions for compulsory labelling of asbestos products supplied in member States would include guidance about risks to health from use of the product. When the directive is adopted I intend to have these provisions implemented by safety regulations that would cover the supply of asbestos for consumer use.

    Origin Marking

    asked the Minister for Trade whether he will introduce legislation to require clear origin marking of all French-manufactured goods for sale in the United Kingdom, in order that the public may know that they are of foreign origin.

    Our current origin marking requirements, which cover a wide range of consumer goods, were brought into effect only on 1 January. I have no plans to introduce further regulations at the moment.

    Aerial Advertising

    asked the Minister for Trade when he intends to lay an order making advertising by means of trailing banners from aircraft legal.

    As I indicated in my written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor)—[Vol. 28, c.620]—I shall lay amending regulations before the House in the near future.

    asked the Minister for Trade how many prosecutions are pending for breaches of regulations prohibiting aerial advertising; and whether a prosecution against those persons responsible for such advertising on Sunday 4 July at Menwith hill, near Harrogate, is to be undertaken.

    No prosecutions are pending at present. Consideration is being given to prosecuting those responsible for the alleged incident referred to.

    Air Traffic Routes

    asked the Minister for Trade if he is satisfied that the Civil Aviation Authority takes sufficient account of the effect of changes in aircraft traffic routes on the environment; what consultation the Civil Aviation Authority has carried out with those affected by noise as a result of such changes in the current year; and if he will make a statement.

    Following my recent meeting with my right hon. Friend I am writing to the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority on these matters. I shall write to my right hon. Friend as soon as possible and I shall place a copy of my letter in the Library for the information of hon. Members.

    British Airways

    asked the Minister for Trade if he will take steps to require British Airways to set out in their annual report the salaries and expenses of board members.

    Information on British Airways' board members' remuneration is set out on page 21 of their 1981–82 annual report. I do not propose to require British Airways to show any further information in their report.

    Heathrow Airport (Security)

    asked the Minister for Trade whether, in view of the fact that an American woman was able to enter Heathrow airport on or around 19 August carrying a case containing a revolver with details clearly marked thereon, together with other offensive weapons, he is satisfied with the security precautions at the airport.

    Yes. I am satisfied that the security precautions at Heathrow would make it extremely difficult for a passenger to take weapons or other material which might be used for terrorism into an aircraft cabin. That is their main object, hence they concentrate on departing and not arriving passengers.

    United Kingdom Imports of steel industry products
    '000 tonnes
    Belgium-LuxembourgDenmarkFranceWest GermanyGreeceIrish RepublicItalyNetherlands
    All products
    1982 January3354280212545
    February3482893331957
    March23123810633941
    April286319323060
    May326288421837
    June389408023128
    July264326822330
    Wire rod in coil (excluding reinforcing bar)
    1982 April1·63·65·70·80·6
    May3·12·67·00·10·9
    June4·27·87·70·70·6
    July2·32·33·70·10·8
    Concrete reinforcement bar
    1982 April0·60·10·90·00·10·72·6
    May0·60·51·10·00·12·10·7
    June1·30·76·30·00·31·00·7
    July3·20·08·70·10·71·7
    Bars and rods, cold finished
    1982 April0·10·91·10·00·23·3
    May0·00·10·90·00·20·0
    June0·00·10·31·00·00·30·1
    July0·00·00·21·00·00·30·0
    —=none
    0·0=less than 50 tonnes

    Source:Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau

    Penlee Lifeboat And "Union Star"

    asked the Minister for Trade when he now expects the public inquiry into the loss of the Penlee lifeboat and the Irish vessel "Union Star" to take place.

    I shall shortly order the formal investigation into the two losses. I expect the investigation to be held in Penzance beginning on 14 March next.

    France

    asked the Minister for Trade whether he has made representations to the Commission of the European Community on the French Government's programme to recapture the Frencn home market; what response he has received; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer of 26 October to my hon. Friend the Member for Melton (Mr. Latharn).—[Vol. 29, c.369.]

    Steel Imports

    asked the Minister for Trade if he will publish figures indicating the extent to which imports of steel into the United Kingdom from each of the other European Economic Community countries has changed during recent months; and if he will give similar figures for wire rod, reinforcing bars and merchant bars.

    [pursuant to the reply, 27 October 1982]: Such information as could be assembled in the time available is as follows:

    Attorney-General

    Gwynedd And Clwyd (County Court Judges)

    asked the Attorney-General if the Lord Chancellor will appoint two county court judges for North Wales, with one territorially allocated to the county of Gwynedd and the other to the county of Clwyd.

    There is not sufficient work to justify the allocation of one circuit judge to the county courts in Gwynedd and one to the county courts in Clwyd. Any particular shortage in either of these two areas, as elsewhere, is met by the flexible use of recorders and assistant recorders.

    Gwynedd County Court

    asked the Attorney-General what has been the average waiting time for cases to come before the county court in Gwynedd during the past 12 months; and how this compares with preceding years.

    In 1982 the average period between the allocation of a hearing date for a case before the judge and the hearing has been eight weeks. In 1981 the average period was also eight weeks. Information in respect of earlier years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Interpretation Act 1978

    asked the Attorney-General on how many occasions in all public general Acts enacted since May 1979 the provisions of section 6(b)of the Interpretation Act 1978 were implemented, such that the feminine gender was used to denote the masculine gender.

    I do not know. The information is not readily available and could be discovered only at disproportionate cost.

    Operation Countryman

    asked the Attorney-General whether any charges were subsequently brought against the senior officer referred to in his answer of 25 October,Official Report, c. 732; and what was the outcome.

    The senior officer concerned was subsequently prosecuted for two offences of conspiracy to contravene the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Acts; was convicted on both counts at the Central Criminal Court; and was sentenced to a total of three years' imprisonment.

    Defence

    Falklands Campaign

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now estimate the total cost of the Falklands war in money terms including repair or replacement of aircraft and naval vessels; and how much of this will come out of normal naval expenditure.

    The extra cost to the defence budget of the operation to re-possess the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Southern Thule, including the maintenance of our forces up to the end of September and the replacement of lost equipment and replenishment of stocks, is estimated to be about £700 million this year with a further £900 million spread over the next three years with some smaller sums thereafter.Costs arising from the South Atlantic campaign will be met from funds additional to those required for the three per cent. annual rate of real growth in defence spending.

    Mr. McMahon asked the Secretary of State for Defence how long it took

    (a)the task force and (b)the "Queen Elizabeth II" to reach the Falkland Islands area.

    The ships of the task force sailed on various dates from several points of departure. For operational reasons, they were held at Ascension Island or elsewhere, for varying periods on their way to the South Atlantic. The majority sailed from United Kingdom ports on or soon after 5 April. The battle group of the task force entered the exclusion zone around the Falkland Islands on 1 May, the amphibious group rather later, prior to the San Carlos landings. The "Queen Elizabeth II" sailed on 12 May and arrived off South Georgia 16 days later.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much money was deducted from the pay of members of the Army for kit lost during or on return from the Falklands campaign, indicating which units, how much was deducted from each unit, the average deduction in each rank, the highest and lowest deduction and how many men were involved; and if he will make a statement.

    It has not been possible, in the time available, to obtain from all units involved in the Falklands campaign the detailed information needed to answer the hon. Member's question. I can, however, give him an assurance that no deductions would be made from soldiers' or officers' pay in respect of clothing or equipment issued to them which became lost or damaged in operations in the South Atlantic or elsewhere, except in circumstances where there was culpable negligence on their part. I know of no such case arising in the Falklands. However, some men have had pay deducted for certain items for which they could not adequately account when required to surrender them after their return to the United Kingdom.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the kit issued to the Second Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, for the Falklands campaign has been written off.

    Of the total scaling of clothing and equipment issued to the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, for action in the Falklands campaign, only those items of kit which were destroyed, lost, or damaged beyond repair will have been written off.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence in what circumstances kit issued for the Falkland Islands campaign was written off.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his policy towards the docking of wages from Service men who have lost kit during the Falklands war.

    Kit issued to units and to individuals taking part in the Falklands campaign would normally be written off (ie as a loss to public funds) if it was destroyed, lost, or damaged beyond repair. Only where such losses were found to be due to culpable negligence would those responsible he held liable to make good the loss in whole or in part, or to be subject to other disciplinary proceedings. I know of no such case arising in the Falklands.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether private firms will be able to bid for the work of reconstructing and equipping Port Stanley airport.

    The rehabilitation of Port Stanley airport is being carried out now by the Royal Engineers. Other than in the supply of materials and specialist equipment, there is no direct involvement by private firms.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is giving consideration to the use of the land-based Guardian guided weapon system for the defence of the Falkland Islands; and, if so, when he expects to announce decisions on this and other defence projects for the area.

    For the time being our area air defence requirements will be fully catered for by other weapon systems but we shall continue to evaluate the Guardian system in case we decide we need such a system for the longer term. No firm decisions about the long-term defence arrangements have yet been made.

    Swan Hunter (Orders)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the prospects for further naval orders for the Swan Hunter shipyards north of the river Tyne.

    We will continue to take full account of the capabilities of Swan Hunters in planning our future shipbuilding programme.

    Tyneside Shipbuilding

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take fully into account the Tyneside shipbuilding capacity in reaching his decisions on replacement naval vessels as a result of the naval losses off the Falkland Islands and the need to provide continuing naval support in the South Atlantic.

    Falkland Islands (Members' Visit)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the arrangements for the selection of hon. Members to participate in the forthcoming visit to the Falkland Islands.

    The right hon. and hon. Members were selected through the usual channels.

    Type 23 Frigate

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures have been followed in inviting tenders for the type 23 frigate; and whether there has been any departure from normal procedure.

    Competing proposals and competitive tenders for certain long-lead items for the type 23 have been invited in accordance with normal procedures and following evaluation of these bids the procurement process is underway. Tenders for the type 23 vessel itself have not yet been invited.

    Weighing Equipment

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the Defence Manufacturers Association and the Society of British Aerospace Companies about the supply of scale and weighing machine equipment to domestic suppliers of military aerospace and other defence material; what steps he is taking to help prevent United Kingdom defence contractors becoming dependent on imports of such equipment; and if he has made any study of the effect on defence procurement of the current rapid contraction of the scale and weighing industry in the face of Japanese imports.

    During recent weeks the Ministry of Defence has received representations from the Defence Manufacturers Association on the penetration of the European weighing machine market by Japan. The general issue is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Industry. So far as the Ministry of Defence is concerned, only limited purchases of weighing machines are made; and, subject to our international obligations, we do not purchase items of this nature from a foreign manufacturer unless they show a distinct advantage in terms of performance, delivery or price over the British product,

    Solicitor- General For Scotland

    Council Of Justice Ministers

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if he will make a statement about the outcome of the Council of Justice Ministers meeting on 25 October.

    I led the delegation at this meeting, al, which some progress was made on a number of proposals, and the Convention on the. Accession of Greece to the Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments was signed. A number of member States reported the progress being made towards ratification of the Brussels convention.The council passed a resolution encouraging the Commission in its work on the consolidation of Community law.There was discussion of proposals to give the Court of Justice of the European Communities power to give judgments on the interpretation of the Rome Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations, and the matter was referred to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further consideration in light of the views expressed.Proposals to create a body to hear cases involving the employees of the European Communities were discussed. and referred to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for study of the cost implications and to enable the staff associations to be consulted.The Council heard of the progress being made by certain member States which have not yet ratified the Luxembourg Convention on Community Patents, and of the commission's plans for further work on the draft Community bankruptcy convention, including an international symposium to discuss bankruptcy procedures in the national laws of the member States.A number of member States emphasised the importance of legal co-operation among member States and urged further work on the Genscher/Colombo proposals for a European Act to this end.

    In a conference of Justice Ministers of the member States held after the Council meeting there was discussion of the adequacy of existing Conventions on the rights of victims of criminal acts and the transfer of offenders. A proposal for work on legal co-operation among member States in civil matters was referred to the Political Committee for further consideration.

    There was discussion of the effect of trade boycotts on companies in member States, and the possibility of Community action in this field. The Commission undertook to prepare a report on the work already done and the scope for further action.

    A proposal was made for a new European extradition agreement and the setting up of a European tribunal to deal with crimes with an international element. The proposal was left for member States to consider.

    European Community

    Central America (Aid)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he supported the recent proposals made by the European Commission for an economic aid programme for Central America.

    The Commission's proposals for a special aid programme for Central America stem from the conclusions of the March European Council. We are anxious to see a programme agreed, but final decisions have still to be taken on the size of the programme and on which Central American countries should benefit.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Hong Kong

    47.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in Peking with the discussions between Sir Percy Craddock and the Chinese Government on the future of Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement.

    Meetings in Peking to follow up the Prime Minister's visit have begun through diplomatic channels and are continuing. The content of these discussions must necessarily remain confidential.

    South Africa (Credit)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he had any consultations with Commonwealth and European Economic Community Governments concerning the motion before the United Nations General Assembly to recommend that the International Monetary Fund should withhold credit sought by South Africa amounting to £622 million.

    The United Kingdom was in contact with partners before the vote in the course of our normal exchanges on voting intentions at the United Nations.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement setting out the reasons for the vote cast by Her Majesty's Government against the recommendation at the General Assembly of the United Nations that the International Monetary Fund should withhold credit sought by South Africa amounting to £622 million and which is due to be considered on 3 November.

    :The vote on General Assembly draft resolution calling on the International Monetary Fund to refrain from granting any credit or other assistance to South Africa was taken on 21 October. In voting against the resolution, the United Kingdom representative made the following explanation of vote:

    "Mr. President, the draft resolution in A/37/L.5 has been introduced under item 33: 'Policies of Apartheid of the Government of South Africa'. The Government of the United Kingdom abhors apartheid. We want a peaceful change in South Africa and support international action which we believe will be effective in bringing about peaceful change. We well understand the strength of African opinion. But the draft resolution just voted upon, Mr. President, deals with a different question. It deals with the relationship between the United Nations and the Specialised Agencies. As such, it gives us severe difficulties. Our views on the competence of the IMF are well known and strongly held. The purpose of the resolution is clearly to exert political pressure on the IMF. We find this inappropriate and therefore voted against the draft resolution".

    British Atlantic Committee

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the grant in 1981 to the British Atlantic Committee ; and what it is in the current year.

    In 1981–82, £33,185 was granted to the British Atlantic Committee. In this financial year £44,000 has already been authorised. Parliamentary authority for an increase of £17,500 will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Foreign and Commonwealth Services Vote, Class II, Vote 5.

    Departmental Cash Limits

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any changes have occurred in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cash limits for 1982–83.

    Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Winter Supplementary Estimates, the cash limit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Class II, Vote 3, will be increased by £2,086,000 from £67,957,000 to £70,043,000, required to meet the BBC external services pay awards, and for extra broadcasts to Latin America, the Falkland Islands and Poland. The cash limit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Class II, Vote 4, will be increased by £2,100,000 from £36,260,000 to £38,360,000 to enable the British Council to maintain its level of activity in this financial year. The cash limit for Class II, Vote 1, will be reduced by £7,186,000 from £229,169,000 to £221,982,000. Part of this covers the increases in Votes 3 and 4, and the remainder offsets part of the increase required in Class II, Vote 6—which is not cash limited—to take account of the payment to the Government of Mauritius referred to in my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Sir N. Fisher) on 19 October.—[Vol. 29, c. 80-81.] There is therefore no overall increase in public expenditure.

    Wales

    Dyfed (Industrial Development)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will consider the request by the Dyfed industrial development committee for inclusion within the area of the Development Board for Rural Wales, having regard to the fact that the Carmarthen and Llandeilo travel-to-work areas are the only ones in Wales where no form of Government assistance is available for development.

    Both areas benefit from the activities of the Welsh Development Agency and the Wales Tourist Board and will continue to do so. I have no proposals to widen the remit of the Development Board for Rural Wales.

    Youth Unemployment

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest total of unemployed amongst persons(a)aged 17 years and(b)aged 18 years, expressed as a percentage; and if he will make a statement.

    :The following information relates to July 1982:

    Total unemployed in Wales
    Per cent.
    Under 18*17,2579·8
    Aged 1810,7426·1
    *Separate statistics for 17 year olds are not available.
    Places for 45,000 entrants under the youth opportunities programme will be provided in Wales this year, and over 5,000 applications under the young workers scheme have been approved in Wales so far this year.

    Youth Opportunities Programme

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the current number of young people involved in the youth opportunities programme in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

    On 14 October 1982, 17,925 young people were taking part in the programme in Wales. In all it is expected that about 45,000 young people will enter the programme in Wales in 1982–83. Over 9,000 of the places available will be of the new style which will provide 12 months high quality work experience and training as a precursor to the introduction of the youth training scheme next year.

    Teacher Training

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the numbers of teachers currently being trained in Wales; how many were being trained in 1972; what is his estimate of the numbers for 1985; and if he will make a statement.

    In 1980–81, the latest academic year for which figures are available, there were 2,257 teachers on initial teacher training courses in Wales. The corresponding figure for 1972–73 was 7,035. It is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the number of students who will be undergoing this type of training in 1985, but the planned number of entries to such courses over the next three years are 690, 770 and 805.

    Unemployment (Deeside)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total of unemployed males in the Deeside travel-to-work area; how many have been unemployed for two years, one year and six months; and if he will make a statement.

    The latest available figures relate to July 1982. In the Shotton TTWA a total of 6,656 males were unemployed, of whom 2,712 were out of work for over six months, 1,687 for over one year and 1,367 for over two years. It was in recognition of the problems of the long term unemployed that the Government has provided the Manpower Services Commission with the resources for the new community programme.

    Bypasses

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what additional bypasses of towns and villages in Wales he proposes undertaking following the general statement of Government policy to increase the number of bypasses so as to reduce the impact of heavy lorries.

    I am considering the need for new bypasses in my current review of the trunk road programme. The results will be announced in the publication "Roads in Wales" which I expect to be made available early in the new year.

    School Meals

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the price currently being charged for school meals in each local education authority, together with the comparable figure for 1981.

    This information is not included in the returns which local education authorities are required to make.

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list in theOfficial Reportthose local education authorities which, in the current school term, provided free school meals(a)only for children from families in receipt of family income supplement or supplementary benefit,(b)only for children who qualify under the former income eligibility limits and(c)only for children who fall in between these two tests, indicating in which cases and in what way any of these categories has changed since September 1981.

    This information is not included in the returns which local education authorities are required to make.

    Private Hospitals

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals for private hospitals in Wales have been notified to him or authorised by him under the Health Services Act 1976, as amended by the Health Services Act 1980, since 1 July.

    Mono-Filament Gill Nets

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received about the use of nylon mono-filament gill nets.

    I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

    Trunk Roads

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total mileage of trunk roads in Wales; and what is his best estimate of the rural mileage which is unfenced.

    The total mileage of trunk roads (including motorways) in Wales as at 1 April 1982, was 1,096 miles. Information on fencing is not centrally available.

    Houses (Rateable Values)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing for each of the counties of Wales the indicative rateable values of(a)pre-war and(b)post-war three-bedroomed semi-detached houses on the best estimated assessments that are available.

    Information on rateable value by age of property and type of dwelling is not collected centrally.

    Flood Warnings

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if Her Majesty's Government will introduce legislation to impose a statutory duty on water authorities to provide advance warning to the public of possible flooding.

    I shall wish to consult the parties involved in existing flood warning procedures before forming a view on this suggestion.

    Co-Operative Development Centre

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he is yet able to reply to the Wales Trades Union Congress's request for Government aid towards the establishment of a co-operative development centre in Wales.

    I have offered the Wales TUC a contribution of £100,000 towards the establishment of its proposed co-operative development centre subject to its obtaining a comparable level of support from the European Social Fund. I anticipate making an initial contribution during this financial year towards the setting up costs of the centre and a further three annual contributions thereafter. These will, however, be dependant upon my receiving from the Wales TUC satisfactory progress reports on the work being undertaken by the centre.

    Employment

    Sheltered Workshops (Closures)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what closures of sheltered workshops are expected in the near future; and if he will ensure that no further closures take place.

    The Manpower Services Commission is not aware of plans to close any sheltered workshops on a permanent basis. However, two local authorities are known to be considering the replacement of existing workshops by more modern facilities.Remploy, local authorities and voluntary bodies, which provide sheltered employment with support from the commission are trying to mitigate the effects of current trading difficulties through improved performance in their factories and workshops rather than by closing down facilities. The commission will continue to assist them in doing so.

    Asbestos

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the number of people in Great Britain working with asbestos or using it in any of its forms.

    I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 27 July 1982—[Vol. 28, c. 455.]

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will impose a limit of 0·5 fibre/cc on chrysotile and amosite asbestos and aim to reduce this limit to 0·2 fibre/cc by 1984.

    The exposure limits for asbestos will be reduced to 1 fibre/ml for chrysotile and 0.5 fibre/ ml for amosite as from 1 January 1983. Not later than August 1983, the Health and Safety Commission will consider, on the basis of reports it has requested, whether any further action needs to be taken on the question of control limits.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the risks to workers exposed to asbestos getting asbestos diseases from a lifetime exposure to 1 fibre/cc.

    The advisory committee on asbestos estimated that, for workers exposed to 1 fibre/ml for a period of 50 years, the excess mortality is likely to be within the range of about 0·25 per cent. to about 2·25 per cent. However, the committee went on to take account of the fact that strict compliance with a control limit of 1 fibre/ml will reduce long-term average exposure to a lower level, and the excess mortality is likely to be rather lower.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many prosecutions there have been each year under the 1969 asbestos regulations since they came into operation; what was the average annual total fine; and what was the annual cost of monitoring the observance of the regulations and taking any necessary action against companies.

    The following table shows the number of informations laid, convictions obtained and average fine per conviction for prosecutions taken by Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate under the Asbestos Regulations 1969. The figures relate to hearings completed during the years 1971–81.Information is not available specifically for the annual cost of monitoring the observance of these regulations and taking any necessary action against companies.

    Informations laidConviction obtainedAverage fine per conviction £
    19711125
    1972454158
    1973212086
    1974454051
    1975322279
    1976352368
    19779084195
    1978403794
    197912754
    19801816244
    *1981118150
    *provisional

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will arrange for special retraining grants, special redundancy payments and other assistance for workers on asbestos products.

    The statutory redundancy payments scheme provides compensation without regard to industry or occupation; it is open to particular industries to negotiate extra-statutory payments if they wish. The Manpower Services Commission's employment and training services are available to workers from the asbestos industry on the same basis as to all others.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is his latest estimate of the numbers of deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases and of the number of people who are disabled by these diseases;(2) how many asbestos workers have been recorded as dying of mesothelioma in each year since 1968; and how reliable a reflection of actual deaths he considers these figures to be.

    The figures requested for the latest estimate of the number of deaths each year from certain

    Table
    Death certificates mentioning specified asbestos—related diseases, 1969–80
    Year of death
    196919701971197219731974197519761977197819791980*
    Asbestosis
    Together with lung cancer242632444333495359604449
    Together with mesothelioma274029403064507453857266
    Alone together with other disease272133243441486372505347
    Total†788794108107138147190184195169162
    Mesothelioma
    Of pleura105116105124138142165193206235260235
    Of peritoneum151112192520193022313439
    Of pleura and peritoneum324334461357
    Site not specified366558675775778296112129153
    Totals†159194179210223240265309330391428434

    asbestos-related diseases are given in the following table. Asbestosis and mesothelioma are the only asbestos-related diseases for which mortality statistics are held.

    Figures of the actual number of people disabled by these diseases are not available. I am able to provide, however, Department of Health and Social Security figures for the number of cases of asbestosis examined by the pneumoconiosis medical panel and approved for disablement benefit payments:

    Number

    1968117
    1969123
    1970139
    1971124
    1972105
    1973116
    1974119
    1975142
    1976169
    1977

    *143

    1978

    *123

    1979

    *123

    1980

    *144

    *Indicates provisional figures.

    As regards asbestos workers, the information about occupation on death certificates is not complete. While the total recorded number of death certificates mentioning mesothelioma and bearing evidence of occupational exposure to asbestos workers is as follows:

    Number

    196853
    196944
    197070
    197152
    197270
    197373
    197494
    1975107
    1976154
    1977138
    1978175
    1979196
    1980179

    These figures are not reliable and probably do not represent the full occupational association of the disease.

    Source

    Health and Safety Executive

    * Industrial action by registrars has delayed notification of cases to HSE. The final figures for 1980 will therefore be higher.

    †Both totals include death certificates mentioning both asbestosis and mesothelioma.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the members of the advisory committee on asbestos giving the number of(a)independent academic or Government experts,(b)those involved with the asbestos industry and(c)those involved in the trade union movement.

    The advisory committee on asbestos, which was chaired by W. Simpson, chairman, Health and Safety Commission, comprised the following members:

    Prof. E. D. Acheson, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Southampton University.
    A. C. Blyghton, Secretary, Legal Department, Transport & General Workers Union.
    The Hon. P. Bradbury, Chairman, Safety, Health and Welfare Committee, Confederation of British Industry.
    Dr. J. C. Gilson, CBE, Formerly Director, Medical Research Council, Pneumoconiosis Unit, Penarth.
    H. D. S. Hardie, OBE, Director, Turner & Newall Ltd.
    W. Lewis, Organisation Officer, Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians.
    W. D. Lomas, Assistant General Secretary, National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers.
    Prof. A. Mair, Professor of Community and Occupational Medicine, Dundee University.
    Dr. M. Molyneux, Occupational Hygienist, Institute of Naval Medicine.
    Dr. C. J. Stairmand, OBE, Consultant Chemical Engineer and Physicist.
    Dr. J. Steel, Senior Lecturer, Department of Occupational Health and Hygiene, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
    F. G. Sugden, MBE, Chief Environmental Health Officer, Middlesbrough.
    Prof. M. Turner-Warwick, Professor of Medicine (Thoracic Medicine), University of London.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what advice has been given to him about the minimum level of exposure to asbestos that leads to a health risk; if he will express the level in terms of duration and intensity of exposure; and how reliable he considers such estimates to be.

    Volume 2 of the final report of the advisory committee on asbestos in 1979, which acknowledged the difficulties of dose/response estimation, concluded that the available studies indicated that there was no threshold of dose below which there was no risk to health.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will set out the meetings of the Health and Safety Commission which have taken place in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 so far and list those meetings when specific action on the Simpson committee report on asbestos was discussed.

    The Health and Safety Commission Newsletter is published bi-monthly and contains information on the commission's decisions. Specific action on the reports of the advisory committee on asbestos was discussed on 17 April 1979, 2 December 1980, 17 February 1981, 7 April 1981, 20 July 1982, 24 August 1982 and reported in theNewsletter.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 20 October,Official Report, c. 100-1 and 143-44, if he will make it his policy eventually to impose a ban on the use of asbestos.

    While it is not intended to introduce a general ban on the use of asbestos, regulations are being prepared to prohibit the spraying of asbestos, the use of asbestos in insulation and the import, marketing and use of crocidolite and products containing it.

    Earnings

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the annual rise in average earnings since 1974.

    :The available information from the New Earnings Survey is as follows:

    Percentage increase between successive Aprils in average gross weekly earnings of full-time employees whose pay was not affected by absence
    Men aged 21and overWomen aged18 and over
    1974–7527·438·9
    1975–7618·123·4
    1976–779·510–3
    1977–7813·210·7
    1978–7913·711·8
    1979–8022·424·8
    1980–8113·316·5
    1981–829·88·3

    Source:New Earnings Survey (complete samples).

    Youth Opportunities Programme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many(a)injuries at work and(b)deaths following accidents at work, have been reported among those taking part in youth opportunity programmes.

    During the period July 1981 to June 1982, when over 500,000 people entered the youth opportunities programme, there were five fatalities, 103 serious injuries and 3,403 minor injuries amongst those taking part in the programme.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will introduce legislation to provide that those on youth opportunities programme schemes may not be discriminated against on racial or sexual grounds.

    This is a complex issue which has recently been the subject of a case before the Employment Appeals Tribunal. We will be studying the full text of the tribunal's decision as soon as it is available.

    Truck Act 1896

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many convictions there have been in the last three years against employers in breach of the Truck Act 1896.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether his Department issued any instructions to wages inspectors concerning the application of section 1 of the Truck Act 1896 to cashiers in petrol filling stations; and, if so, what instructions were issued.

    No specific instructions have been issued relating to cashiers employed in petrol filling stations. Such workers are normally regarded by the Wages Inspectorate as shop assistants for the purposes of section 1 of the Truck Act 1896. This section makes it illegal for an employer to make any contract with a worker which provides for deductions from wages in respect of fines, unless the conditions specified in that section are satisfied. Deductions to make up cash shortages are not regarded as fines.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many investigations into possible breaches of the Truck Act 1896 have been carried out by the Wages Inspectorate in the last three years; and how many of these investigations have resulted in prosecutions being initiated against employers for breaches of the Truck Act 1896.

    The numbers of investigations carried out by the Wages Inspectorate into possible breaches of the Truck Act 1896 in the past three years were 51 in 1979, 61 in 1980, 76 in 1981 and 52 between 1 January and 24 September 1982. None of these investigations resulted in prosecutions being initiated.

    Closed Shop

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he intends to appoint a person under schedule 1 to the Employment Bill to advise him on applications for compensation in relation to past closed shop dismissals; and who that person will be.

    Once the Bill has received Royal Assent and with effect from 1 November 1982, I intend to appoint Mr. J. B. H. Billam CB, DEC, LL.B—Barrister—on his retirement as legal adviser to the Department of Employment, to inquire into and report on questions arising in connection with applications for compensation made under section 2 and schedule 1 to the Employment Bill, in respect of dismissals from a closed shop between 1974 and 1980.

    Manpower Services Commission Schemes (Eligibility)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take steps to amend those Manpower Services Commission schemes which have the effect that unemployed young men are ineligible for particular appointments because they have been unemployed for less than 12 unbroken months, although they may have had only two months temporary work in two years; and if he will make a statement.

    I understand that the right hon. Member is referring to the qualifying criteria for places under the community programme and community enterprise programme. Places on these programmes are open to longterm unemployed men and women, who are defined as those aged 18-24 who have been unemployed for more than six months and those aged 25 and over who have been unemployed for more than a year. Short periods of casual, temporary or unsatisfactory employment not exceeding two weeks would be disregarded when determining eligibility.I am satisfied that the operation of this rule helps ensure that places on the programmes are open to those in most need.

    Employment Transfer Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications have been approved under the employment transfer scheme in each of the past three years of operation; and if he will make a statement on the future of the scheme in the light of the prevailing levels of unemployment in the United Kingdom.

    The number of applications approved in Great Britain under the employment transfer scheme for the past three financial years of operation are:

    1 April 1979–31 March 1980 = 9,785
    1 April 1980–31 March 1981 = 5,668
    1 April 1981–31 March 1982 = 5,367
    It is intended that this scheme will continue to be available to unemployed people to encourage them to move home permanently to fill vacancies which cannot be filled with local labour.

    Unemployed Persons (Walthamstow And Leyton)

    asked the Secretary of State far Employment what proportion of unemployed persons in the Walthamstow and Leyton area have been unemployed for more than one year, and for more than two years, respectively; and how these proportions compare with the figures for 12 months previously.

    The figures for October will be available shortly and I shall write to the hon. Member.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons under 18 years of age have not been in employment since leaving full-time education are unemployed in the Walthamstow and Leyton area.

    At 14 October there were 850 young people under 18 years of age registered as unemployed in the Walthamstow employment office area, which includes Leyton, who had not entered employment since completing full-time education.

    Advisory, Conciliation And Arbitration Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has plans to appoint any new members of the board of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

    The periods of appointment of all nine ACAS council members expire on 31 October 1982. Having consulted relevant bodies, my right hon. Friend is now considering who shall be invited to serve on the council from 1 November 1982.

    Fair Wages Resolution

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his policy towards the implernentation and future of the fair wages resolution.

    As previously announced, the House will be invited in due course to discuss a motion proposing the rescission of the fair wages resolution.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends taking to abolish the fair wages resolution; and whether he has received any representations from the International Labour Organisation in this connection.

    As previously announced, the House will be invited in due course to discuss a motion proposing the rescission of the fair wages resolution.We have received no representation from the International Labour Organisation with regard to ILO convention No. 94 concerning labour clauses in public contracts which, as foreshadowed in my right hon. Friend's reply of 28 July to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) the Government denounced on 20 September 1982.

    Unemployed Persons (Yorkshire And Lancashire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what has been the percentage increase in unemployment since May 1979(a)in the Yorkshire and Humberside region,(b)in West Yorkshire,(c)in Kirklees,(d)in Greater Manchester and(e)in the Oldham employment office area;(2) how many young people in

    (a)the Yorkshire and Humberside region, (b)West Yorkshire, (c)Greater Manchester, (d)Kirklees and (e)the Oldham metropolitan borough council area have never had a job since leaving school; and if he will make a statement;

    (3) how many disabled people have been unemployed for more than a year in (a)the Yorkshire and Humberside region, (b)West Yorkshire, (c)the Kirklees metropolitan borough council area, (d)Greater Manchester and (e)the Oldham metropolitan borough council area; and if he will make a statement;

    (4) how many disabled people currently are unemployed in (a)the Yorkshire and Humberside region, (b)West Yorkshire, (c)Kirklees metropolitan borough council area, (d)Oldham metropolitan borough council area and (e)Greater Manchester;

    (5) if he will publish in the Official Reportthe number of redundancies notified to the Manpower Services Commission by companies in (a)Yorkshire and Humberside, (b)West Yorkshire, (c)Kirklees and (d)the Huddersfield employment office area, for the years 1980, 1981 and 1982 for which aid had previously been given under the temporary short-time working scheme; and if he will make a statement;

    (6) how many firms in (a)the Yorkshire and Humberside region, (b)West Yorkshire, (c)the Kirklees metropolitan borough council area and (d)the Huddersfield employment office area have received aid under the temporary short-time working scheme to date; and if he will make a statement.

    Young Workers Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will report on the progress of the young workers scheme; and if he has any plans to change its provisions.

    Over 110,000 applications for the scheme had been approved by the end of September. The scheme is clearly serving a valuable purpose and we have informed the European Commission of the Government's intention to continue it beyond 3 January 1983. We have no plans to change the earnings limits, level of subsidy or other provisions at this stage, but we will continue to keep these provisions under review.

    Times Newspapers Ltd (Redundancies)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the failure by Times Newspapers Ltd. to give both the National Union of Journalists and himself proper notification, as required by the Employment Protection Act 1975, of two redundancy exercises involving journalists onThe TimesandThe Sunday Timesearlier in the current year, he is planning to take steps to reduce the rebate from the redundancy payments fund to Times Newspapers by the fullest permissible amount for these redundancies under section 104 of the 1975 Act, or if he has considered the alternative of seeking a prosecution under section 105 of the Act.

    It is not the Department's practice to disclose details of action taken against individual employers who do not comply with the statutory notification provisions.

    Social Services

    Artificial Skin And Bone (Research)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if his Department is sponsoring research work into(a)the use of synthetic membrane as artificial skin and(b)artificial bone development for use within the National Health Service.

    Neither the Department nor the MRC is sponsoring work in these fields.

    Contraceptives

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has records giving the number of children under the age of consent who have been provided with contraceptives from birth control clinics.

    In 1981 14,044 girls under the age of 16 were seen at NHS family planning clinics. Information on the number of these who were supplied with contraceptives is not available centrally.

    Solvent Abuse

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action has been taken by his Department over investigation into and prevention of solvent abuse among young people since the seminar held at Guy's hospital, London, in November 1981.

    I refer my hon. Friend to my report of progress on several activities in the debate on a motion for the Adjournment on 26 October 1982.

    Benefits

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what new arrangements or instructions will be issued to ensure that claimants who have sums of money deducted at source in order to meet gas or electricity bills, and will shortly also have their rent deducted at source as part of the unified housing benefit scheme, will be left with sufficient means to provide for their daily, dependent needs; and if he will make a statement.

    None. The introduction of housing benefit does not, in itself, affect the sum which claimants have available for living expenses and there are a number of safeguards in the supplementary benefit fuel direct arrangements which are aimed at ensuring that the balance of benefit left available to the claimant is sufficient to meet his other needs. The amount deducted to cover current consumption is determined on the basis of the claimant's actual consumption during the year. Any additional amount to be deducted towards arrears is normally fixed at either £1·20 or £2·35 per week, depending on circumstances, and can never be more than £3·60 a week. A total amount in excess of 25 per cent. of the claimant's normal requirements cannot be deducted without the claimant's consent.We shall be arranging for the social security policy inspectorate to study the impact of recent and forthcoming changes in benefit arrangements on the budgeting of supplementary benefit households.

    Hertfordshire (Geriatric And Psychogeriatric Services)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent representations he has received regarding geriatric and psychogeriatric provision in Hertfordshire ; and if he will make a statement.

    We have received letters from my hon. Friends the Members for Hitchin (Mr. Stewart) and for Hertford and Stevenage (Mr. Wells). It is accepted that there is a need to improve geriatric and psychogeriatric services in Hertfordshire, but the speed at which this can be done depends on assessment of priorities within the resources available. My hon. and learned Friend will be discussing this and related issues during the North-West Thames regional review meeting next month.

    Unemployment Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many children were living in families where the head was unemployed and in receipt of unemployment benefit and/or supplementary benefit at the latest available date; and if he will provide comparable figures for the previous five years.

    The information available relates to the number of children for whom a dependency increase of unemployment benefit was being paid or who were included in the calculations of the requirements of an unemployed person getting supplementary allowance, at the date when a count was made. The latest available figure for May 1982, is about 1,050,000. The figures that are available for the previous five years are as follows:

    YearNumber of Children
    November 1977about 650,000
    November 1978about 550,000

    Year

    Number of Children

    November 1979about 450,000
    November/December 1980about 700,000
    December 1981/February 1982about 1,000,000

    Sources:

  • 1. 5 per cent. sample of unemployed claimants in November each year to 1980, in February 1982, as figures are not available for November 1981, and in May 1982:
  • 2. 2 per cent. sample of unemployed supplementary benefit claimants from the annual Statistical Enquiry in November or December each year to 1981:
  • 3. 1 per cent. sample of unemployed supplementary benefit claimants from the Quarterly Enquiry in May 1982.
  • asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the information given to the hon. Member For Birkenhead on 21 May 1981,Official Report, c. 162, on disqualification from unemployment benefit.

    The 1981 totals of claimants who were disqualified from unemployment benefit for the reasons stated are as follows:

    Number
    Left unemployment without just case241,100
    Refusal of suitable employment4,100

    Child Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of new child benefit recipients have asked for weekly payments.