Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 24 November 1982
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements he is adopting to implement the scheme for a special sale of butter over the Christmas period.
In the United Kingdom 23,500 tonnes of butter are available from intervention stocks and aided private storage for sale at a reduced price over the coming weeks. Supplies are being released to butter packers and importers in proportion to their market share. The butter will be packed for retail sale with special labelling to make it clear that it is benefiting from a special additional Community subsidy. A statutory instrument will be laid shortly fixing the maximum retail price of this butter at 44p per 250g. Butter prices vary widely according to the varying costs involved in selling through different shops and in different parts of the country. I expect that customers would generally be able to obtain this butter at prices significantly below those for normal butter supplies in the recent past.
Retail Prices Index
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how the percentage rise in the retail prices index between May 1979 and September 1982 compares with the percentage rise in the retail price of food over the same period.
There has been a 49·6 per cent. rise in the RPI between May 1979 and September 1982 compared with a 32·1 per cent. rise in its food component. This information may be obtained from successive issues of Employment Gazette and other official publications.
Mr Danny Barrett
asked the Attorney-General, in view of the evidence given at the inquest into the death of Danny Barrett in Belfast in July 1981, why the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland has declined to bring criminal proceedings; whether, in the light of this evidence, he will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland to reconsider his decision; and whether he will make a statement.
The Director has already called for and received the depositions recorded at the inquest on Danny Barrett, which are presently under consideration. In these circumstances I cannot make any statement, but I will in due course write to the hon. Member.
Magistrates' Courts (Wales)
asked the Attorney-General if he will list in the Official Report those magistrates' courts in Wales where duty solicitor schemes exist.
The information requested is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to the London borough of Newham.
I have at present no plans to do so.
Sir Anthony Parsons
asked the Prime Minister if she will now make a statement on the duties and terms of reference of the appointment of Sir Anthony Parsons as her personal adviser on foreign affairs.
[pursuant to her reply, 15 November 1982, c. 17]: I am now able to announce that I have appointed Sir Anthony Parsons to be adviser on foreign affairs with effect from 1 January 1983. Sir Anthony Parsons will work at 10 Downing Street in close co-operation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with other Departments with an interest in foreign affairs.
asked the Minister for Trade whether he has received representations from the Government of Nigeria concerning the need for short-term loan finance.
asked the Minister for Trade (1) what was the manning requirement and certification for the crew of the British vessel "Nesam";(2) what were the maritime qualifications of the officers and crew members at the time of the loss of the British vessel "Nesam".
The minimum officer certification requirements for the "Nesam", a ship of 1,571grt and engine power of 1,206 Kw trading in the unlimited area, were as follows:
Master — Deck Officer Class 1
Mate — Deck Officer Class 2
Second Mate — Deck Officer Class 3
Chief Engineer — Engineer Officer Class 2(e)(Motor)
Our present information indicates that a crew of 11 persons was carried comprising:Second Engineer — Engineer Officer Class 3 (Motor)
Master — Master (Foreign-going) Certificate (Class 1)
Chief Mate — Master (Home Trade) Certificate with a valid dispensation to sail in capacity.
2nd Mate — Class 3 Certificate
Chief Engineer — Class 1 (Motor)
2nd Engineer — Class 3 Certificate of Service limited to vessels up to 1,040 Kw Registered Power in the unlimited area.
3rd Engineer — Class 4
The number and qualifications of the crew will be among the matters to be considered by the preliminary inquiry.
asked the Minister for Trade what was the total value of United Kingdom exports to Hong Kong in 1979, 1980 and 1981 and the value of imports into the United Kingdom in those years; and what were the principal categories of exports and imports.
This information is as follows:
|United Kingdom trade with Hong Kong, 1979–81|
1) The major items of trade in this period were:
Exports: transport equipment—other than road vehicles—power generating machinery and equipment, electrical machinery and apparatus, general industrial machinery and equipment, road vehicles, non-metallic mineral manufactures, miscellaneous manufactured articles, general industrial machinery and equipment.
Imports: articles of apparel and clothing accessories, miscellaneous manufactured articles, telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing equipment, textile yarn, fabrics and made-up articles not elsewhere specified, photographic equipment, electrical machinery and apparatus, non-ferrous metals.
2) The export figure for 1981 includes an estimate of exports for March to August in that year.
Local Authorities (Expenditure Allocations)
asked the Minister for Trade whether he is in a position to announce the capital expenditure allocations for local authority airport investment in 1983–84.
I have decided to designate as projects of national and regional importance the following new airport investment schemes and to make the appropriate capital expenditure allocations for 1983–84.
|Manchester||Major Terminal Improvement Programme|
|Additional aircraft stands by the International Pier|
|New Link Taxiway|
|Cargo terminal access and hard standing|
|Luton||Terminal extension phase III|
|East Midlands||New fire station|
|Birmingham||New terminal complex, taxiways and aprons|
|Bournemouth||Terminal rebuilding phases II and III|
|East Midlands||Access to development areas Terminal apron extension|
|Luton||Terminal extension phase II|
|Manchester||Runway extension, aircraft stands, services to|
|Newcastle||Completion of terminal extension|
|Tees-Side||Apron and access track|
United Nations Conference On Trade And Development
asked the Minister for Trade what will be the policy of Her Majesty's Government at the sixth United Nations conference on trade and development at Belgrade in June 1983 relating to the operation of the common fund.
The United Kingdom will continue to support the common fund and will urge other countries to ratify the agreement establishing the fund.
asked the Minister for Trade which countries have exceeded their import quotas for clothing goods to the latest date in the current year for which figures are available.
None. Imports of clothing for consumption in the United Kingdom from countries subject to quota arrangements require an import licence, which is counted against the relevant quota. Some very limited flexibility is allowed in the use of quotas, but once the working level for the year concerned has been reached no further licences are issued.
Memorandum Of Understanding On Standards
asked the Minister for Trade when he expects the Government to sign the memorandum of understanding on standards with the British Standards Institution proposed in the White Paper "Standards, Quality and International Competitiveness" (Cmnd. 8621).
The memorandum of understanding, which is as follows and which records the joint commitment and intentions of the Government and the British Standards Institution to enhance, strengthen and maintain the national standards system, has been signed today.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT AND THE BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION ON STANDARDS
The United Kingdom Government and the British Standards Institution (BSI) make the following Memorandum of Understanding which records their joint commitment to enhance, strengthen and maintain the national standards system in the United Kingdom and their intentions in this regard. This Memorandum recognises that BSI is the national standards authority operating under a consolidated Royal Charter and Bye-laws granted in 1981 and confirms the status of British Standards as agreed national technical criteria developed and used to serve the public interest. It takes account of the status of British Standards under the provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 and also recognises that the formulation of British Standards, through the BSI Committee structure, depends on voluntary participation. By established practise, standardisation in certain specialised areas (for example, food and medicinal products administration) generally lies outside the British Standards system and, where it does, it is outside the scope of this Memorandum.
The Government and BSI will support and encourage any understanding between BSI and other major standards users and other initiatives to support national standards work, which may flow from this Memorandum.
This Memorandum comes into effect on the date of signing and remains in being unless amended by agreement or terminated by either party following consultation with the other.
The Rt. Hon. The Lord Cockfield, The Secretary of State for Trade (on behalf of the United Kingdom Government)
Professor Sir Frederick Warner, The President of BSI (on behalf of the British Standards Institution)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many members of ethnic minorities are unemployed, and how many have been unemployed for more than a year, in (a) Greater London and (b) Islington; and what is the percentage increase, respectively, since May 1979.
At August 1982, the latest date for which the information is available, there were 50,536 ethnic minority workers registered as unemployed in Greater London and 1,804 in the area covered by the Holloway and Kings Cross employment offices, which corresponds closely to Islington. The increases since May 1979 were 211 and 95 per cent., respectively. An analysis by duration of unemployment for ethnic minorities is not available.
Departmental Advertising Costs
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the cost of placing advertisements in the national press by his Department headed "Did a Closed Shop Cost You Your Job?"; what allocation of public funds has been made available for these and similar advertisements; and what response he has had to such publicity.
The cost of the advertisements referred to was £39,200. Authority for this expenditure is to be found in section 2(2) of the Employment Act 1982 and relates to the sum of £¼ million set aside in the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Employment Bill, as first published on 28 January 1982, for staff costs and administrative expenses in relation to these compensation arrangements. To date 408 coupons have been received in response to the advertisements. The need for expenditure of this nature would, of course, never have arisen but for the last Government's closed shop legislation.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs in Islington have been dependent on the temporary short-time working subsidy in each year since its introduction.
The figures requested for the temporary short-time working compensation scheme are shown in the folowing table:
|Column 1||Column 2|
|Year||Number of potentially redundant jobs covered by applications that were approved in column 1|
|April 1979 to March 1980||101|
|April 1980 to March 1981||265|
|April 1981 to March 1982||47|
|April 1982 to September 1982||—|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps have been taken by his Department, and when, to reduce the number of unemployed in the London borough of Newham; and what success has been achieved with these endeavours.
Unemployment will come down only when British industry becomes more competitive and world trading conditions improve. It is profitable firms which create jobs: therefore, the more goods and services our firms can sell at home and abroad, the more new jobs we shall see in the London borough of Newham and throughout the country.The Government's task is to create the right environment in which firms can prosper. We have already made a good deal of progress on this front—inflation and interest rates, for instance, have been considerably reduced. But industry has to play its part, too, by continuing to increase productivity and improve the quality and design of its goods. Meanwhile we are helping those groups worst affected by the high levels of unemployment through the considerable range of special employment measures.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the rate of increase between April 1979 and October 1982 in the number of persons registered as unemployed for more than two years for (a) England, (b) each county in England ranked from highest to lowest and (c) each of the economic regions.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he intends to continue to subsidise the publication of Graduate Post; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 18 November 1982, c. 230]: The cost of the publication of Graduate Post is met by the publishers—New Opportunity Press. No subsidy is or has been given to it, and the copies of Graduate Post distributed to graduates by the commission's Professional and Executive Recruitment service have been supplied by New Opportunity Press without charge. I have asked the Manpower Services Commission to ensure that taxpayers' money is not used to subsidise the distribution of Graduate Post.
Retail Prices Index
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how the percentage rise in the retail prices index between May 1979 and September 1982 compares with the percentage rise in the domestic price of gas, electricity, and solid fuel for domestic heating, respectively, over the same period.
I shall answer the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the cost of insuring those foreign students coming to the United Kingdom with grants from the Overseas Development Administration against the possibility of being charged for hospital treatment.
Nothing. Rather than have recourse to an insurance scheme we shall meet any charges incurred by aid-funded students for hospital treatment following the introduction of new regulations on 1 October 1982.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the financial aid which has been provided to Kenya for each of the last five years; and if he applies the same rules which apply in the case of other African countries in determining this.
Following are the figures:
Note: Includes CDC flows and bilateral food aid.
The aid programme for Kenya operates in accordance with the aid policy announced on 20 February 1980 and is subject to the rules and procedures which apply throughout the British aid programme.
Beneficial Loans (Interest Rate)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will amend the Income Tax (Official Rate of Interest on Beneficial Loans) Order 1982 with effect from 1 December 1982 so that the official rate of interest is reduced from 12 to 10 per cent.
The "official rate", which was reduced from 15 to 12 per cent. on 6 October 1982, is based broadly upon the rate of interest which a credit-worthy borrower would ordinarily have to pay on a bank overdraft. There are no immediate plans to reduce it further, but it will be kept under review in the light of future changes in interest rates.
Widows (Tax Allowances)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce the same tax allowance of £2,445 for widows as that given to a married man.
Widows already qualify in two sets of circumstances for an allowance equivalent to that of a married man; namely, the widow's bereavement allowance and the additional personal allowance in respect of children. I fear that it would not be right to extend an allowance of this kind to widows in general.
Personal Taxation (International Comparisons)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update the reply given on 30 July 1980, Official Report, c. 706, showing starting rates of income tax and top rates in each of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, the United States of America, Belgium, France and Japan.
The information requested is given in the following table:
|Starting rates of income tax per cent.||Top rates of income tax per cent.|
|United States of America||12||50|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the net cost of increasing the married man's tax allowance to provide a gain in weekly net income of (a) £1·10 and (b) £1·20; and in each case what would be the increase in the annual married man's tax allowance.
The information is as follows:
|Gain in weekly net income for married taxpayers*||Required increase in married man's allowance||Full year cost at 1982–83 income levels†|
|(a) 1·10||190||640 million|
|(b) 1·20||210||700 million|
* Calculated at the basic rate; the gain for higher rate taxpayers would be larger.
† These represent the costs of increasing only the married man's allowance by the amounts specified; in practice the other main personal allowances and the addition for aged taxpayers would normally be raised in line.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the level of income, in current prices and expressed as a percentage of national average earnings, above which single people, married couples and married couples with two children in each case now pay less income tax and national insurance contributions—less child benefit where applicable—as a total sum of money in constant prices and as a proportion of gross earnings than they did in 1978–79; and whether he will estimate the same level of income for 1983–84 on the basis of announced policy changes and the conventional assumptions incorporated in the latest forecast required under the Industry Act 1975.
[pursuant to his reply, 18 November 1982, c. 231]: The multiples of average earnings in 1982–83 are as follows. The rows of the table refer to the cases where tax plus NIC less child benefit—where appropriate—is expressed (a) as a proportion of gross earnings; and (b) at constant—1978–79—prices. Corresponding estimates for 1983–84, on the conventional assumptions of the autumn statement, are shown in brackets.
|Single||Married||Married with 2 children under 11|
|(a) 2·6 (2·7)||2·8 (2·9)||2·9 (3·0)|
|(b) 3·5 (3·6)||3·7 (3·7)||3·8 (3·8)|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the basis upon which abandonment costs of offshore oil rigs and platforms will be treated for tax purposes.
[pursuant to the reply, 22 November 1982, c. 353]: The costs of closing down all or part of an oil or gas field are deductible for petroleum revenue tax purposes to the extent that they are incurred for the purposes of safety or the prevention of pollution. For income and corporation tax purposes, abandonment costs of offshore installations can generally be expected to be deductible as demolition costs qualifying for a balancing allowance.
Hospital Waiting Lists
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total number of persons on hospital waiting lists in Scotland at 31 March 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982; and what is the latest estimate available.
The information is as follows:
|As at 31 March||Numbers on waiting lists|
Although the indications are that waiting lists have increased substantially since March, I am awaiting the normal half-yearly returns as at 30 September.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has completed his consultations on the introduction of inspection of religious education in schools.
Yes. I have consulted a wide range of educational and religious interests. The framework for inspection proposed by Her Majesty's Inspectorate has been generally welcomed and I am satisfied that there are no practical issues which stand in the way of its introduction. I intend therefore to make a commencement order shortly to bring into effect on 1 January 1983 section 16 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1981, which repeals the statutory bar on inspection of religious subjects in schools contained in section 66(2) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.A start will be made with the inspection of religious education in the spring term of 1983. an experienced and suitably qualified inspector of schools will take on responsibilities as national specialist inspector and a specialist in religious education will be recruited as soon as possible.I look forward to successful co-operation with education authorities, specialist teachers in the schools and the expert advisers of the various religious denominations.
Commander Trestrail (Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received Lord Bridge's report on the appointment, as the Queen's Police Officer, and the activities of Commander Trestrail; and if he will make a statement.
I informed the House on 21 July that I had invited Lord Bridge to investigate the appointment, as Queen's Police Officer, and the activities of Commander Trestrail, with a view to determining whether security was breached or put at risk; and to advise whether, in the light of that investigation, any change in security arrangements is necessary or desirable. I also arranged for Lord Bridge to see all the papers relating to the intrusion into Buckingham Palace on 9 July by Mr. Michael Fagan, so that he could make any further inquiries he considered necessary and advise on the adequacy of police inquiries. I have received Lord Bridge's report and it has been published today.The report makes it clear that there was no breach of security and concludes that security was not put at risk; there was no connection between Commander Trestrail and Mr. Fagan; but the risks Commander Trestrail took in his homosexual activities, and the indiscretions he committed, cast serious doubt on the soundness of his judgment which made it impossible for him to continue as the Queen's Police Officer.For the future, Lord Bridge has observed that the question whether the positive vetting procedures can or should be enhanced could be resolved only after fuller consideration than has been possible in the course of this inquiry. This is a matter which will no doubt be further considered by the Security Commission in its examination of the Prime case. For those to whom positive vetting does not apply, Lord Bridge has concluded that the safeguards lie in careful staff management, and in particular in the careful selection and supervision of staff. It is Lord Bridge's view that the reorganisation of Royalty protection arrangements, which I announced to the House on 21 July, offers the opportunity to devise new and appropriate measures to ensure that the selection and supervision procedures are as effective as they can be made.The report makes two specific recommendations. The first is that the current positive vetting criterion for the police service is imprecise, and that the Home Office, with the police, should attempt to give more positive guidance on the application of positive vetting to police posts. The second is that the identification by the police of positively vetted posts within the Royalty protection organisation should follow the outcome of the attempt to provide more positive guidance.I am grateful to Lord Bridge for his full and detailed report. I accept the recommendations which he has made, and will ensure that they are taken forward by the Home Office in consultation with those concerned.
Detained Persons (Deaths)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many deaths there were in penal custody between 1979 and 1982, in prison or police custody, respectively;(2) how many deaths of black prisoners there were in penal custody, including borstal trainees, young persons and remands between 1979 and 1982;(3) how many of the total deaths in custody between 1979 and 1982 were found to be not from natural causes; how many of the total were suicides; and how many of the non-natural causes and the suicides were black.
Information on the number and the causes of deaths of those in the custody of prison department establishments in England and Wales is published annually in "Prison Statistics England and Wales"—table 10·4 of the volume for 1981 (Cmnd. 8654). Information on the number and causes of deaths in police custody is published annually in a Home Office Statistical Bulletin—table 1, Issue No. 6/82. Information on the ethnic origin of those who died is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average age of those who died in custody between 1979 and 1982; and what was the average age of black prisoners who died in custody over this period.
The readily available information is given in the following table:
|Average age of those who died in the custody of prison department establishments in England and Wales: by cause of death|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many, and what proportion of, the total numbers of deaths in penal custody between 1979 and 1982 occurred within a week of an adjudication, either before a governor or a board of visitors; and how many, and what proportion, occurred while the prisoner was in the segregation unit, in the prison hospital, or after transfer to an outside hospital.
No information of the type requested could be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
Elections (Voting Rights)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in which European Economic Community States United Kingdom citizens may vote for elections to the European Parliament.
At the 1979 elections to the European Parliament citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, if appropriately qualified, could vote in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many probation hostels are currently in use in (a) Wales and (b) England.
On 31 October this year there were two approved probation hostels in Wales and 80 in England. Of the latter, 16 also provided places for people remanded on bail.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will evaluate the consequences in loss of life and damage to the environment of successful attacks with nuclear or conventional weapons on nuclear reprocessing plants and radioactive waste storage facilities resulting in the release and scattering of high level radioactive waste and other nuclear materials;(2) if he will evaluate the consequences in loss of life and damage to the environment of successful attacks with nuclear or conventional weapons on the nuclear power stations in Great Britain resulting in a breach of containment and destruction of the reactor core.
The results of attacks of the kind hypothesised would be severe, but difficult to quantify precisely.A direct hit by a nuclear weapon on a nuclear installation would cause no significant enhancement of blast, heat or initial radiation. Augmentation of fall-out is possible, more severely in the case of attacks on reprocessing plants and highly active waste storage facilities. Since the containment buildings are inherently blast resistant, attacks falling short of a direct hit are less likely to lead to fall-out augmentation. An attack with a large conventional weapon could lead to release of a small fraction of the fission products, but additional radiation casualties would be low.
Mr Dick Stoffberg
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will declare Mr. Dick Stoffberg, a South African national, a person whose entry to the United Kingdom is not in the public interest.
My right hon. Friend wrote to the hon. Member on 7 November 1982 to say that he was having inquiries made about Mr. Stoffberg; these are continuing. We shall consider what action might be appropriate when they are complete.
Elderly Persons (Abuse)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidelines to police forces on dealing with the problems of abuse of elderly people by their relatives.
Where allegations of criminal activity are reported to the police, appropriate action will be taken. We have no evidence to suggest that the issue of guidance to chief officers on this subject is called for, but if the hon. Member has any specific case in mind we should be willing to consider it.
Remembrance Sunday (Cenotaph Ceremony)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list his powers in relation to inviting persons to attend, or preventing them from attending, the Armistice Day remembrance ceremony and placing wreaths on the Cenotaph at the official ceremony; and how he decides which political parties and their leaders should be granted this opportunity.
Invitations to take part in the ceremony are a matter for my discretion, in which I have followed the practice of successive Home Secretaries in maintaining traditional arrangements.
Civil Defence Regulations
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to publish a draft of the civil defence regulations which are currently the subject of a consultative document.
A draft of the civil defence regulations will be available shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been deported in each of the last five years because marriages had not subsisted for a year.
The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what factors led to the reduction in the numbers of deportations of illegal immigrants between 1980 and 1982.
The high figures for 1980 reflect the clearance of a backlog of cases of foreign nationals that had been held in abeyance pending court decisions.I regret that incorrect figures for the number of persons removed as illegal immigrants in the first two quarters of 1982 were given in the answer to my hon. Friend's question on 18 November.—[Vol. 32, c.
240–41.] Those figures did not include people who made a voluntary departure under the supervision of the Immigration Service. The following table gives the corrected figures for the first two quarters of 1982 and the figure for the third quarter which is now available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been as a result of the investigations in the last five years into organised schemes of abuse of marriage rules.
We shall reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the reason for delay in replying to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury for 28 October about plastic bullets; and if he will publish his reply in the Official Report.
I have written to the hon. Member today and am arranging for copies of my letter to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. I was unable to reply fully earlier, as I would have wished, because other commitments delayed the completion of advice to me on the range of issues involved.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the cost of delivering to each elderly person a postal copy of the Health Education Council's booklet "Winter Warmth" in order to improve measures to reduce the incidence of hypothermia.
The estimated cost of delivering a postal copy of the Health Education Council's booklet "Keeping Warm in Winter" to every person aged 65 and over in the United Kingdom would be about £3 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the adverse representations he has received following the support given by the Family Planning Association to the wider use of the injectable contraceptive Depo Provera; and what is his present policy towards making the drug freely prescribable.
I have received no representations against the wider use of Depo Provera since 30 September 1982 when the Family Planning Association wrote to me.On behalf of the licensing authority I have indicated that I propose to refuse an application for a product licence for the use of this drug as a long-term contraceptive. This proposal is currently the subject of a hearing in public by an independent panel.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will increase the resources available to general practitioners and the community health service in general so that more adequate surveillance of those suffering from diabetes mellitis may be carried out; and if he will consider providing a national service such as that provided for diabetics by the Whittington hospital in London.
No. So far as the general medical services are concerned, the extent of surveillance of their diabetic patients is for individual doctors to decide as an integral part of the care they provide. We have no plans at present to provide additional resources for this purpose. The priority for expenditure on surveillance by the community health services is a matter for local decision by health authorities. I am sure that close links between hospital specialties and family doctors, like those which have been established at the Whittington hospital, have a valuable place in the treatment of diabetic patients. The form of such links is in our view best left to local medical initiative.
Fluorescent Lights (Health Risks)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make an assessment of the health risks associated with fluorescent lights.
The National Radiological Protection Board is currently reviewing the biological effects of exposure to optical radiation. Although there is evidence that high levels of exposure to natural ultra-violet radiation are an important contributor to the development of some skin cancers, the information available does not indicate any causal relationship between the emission from fluorescent lights and the induction of these cancers. It has also been known for many years that malfunctioning strip lighting can very occasionally precipitate an epileptic attack.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for dundee, West, Official Report, 27 October, c. 435, if he will make a statement on the use of Verapamil and Nifedipine in the treatment of hypertension.
I have apologised to the hon. Member for an error in my reply of 27 October.—[Vol. 29, c. 435.] The product licence for Nifedipine has recently been varied to extend the indications for use to the treatment of hypertension, and that for Verapamil to moderate and renal hypertension.
National Health Service (Privatisation)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made with his plans to introduce measures of privatisation into the National Health Service.
Between 1980–81 and 1981–82 the use of outside contractors for support services by health authorities increased from £135 million to £159 million and for contractual arrangements for patient care the increase was from £28·5 million to £31·8 million. I expect a further increase in these figures in the current year.
Midwives, Health Visitors And District Nurses
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the ratios recommended by his Department for (a) midwives, (b) health visitors and (c) district nurses to local population in a district health authority.
Guidance issued to local health authorities in 1972 suggested that, excluding school nursing, a ratio of one health visitor to 4,600 population was reasonable for some areas, while a ratio of one health visitor to 3,000 population might be desirable in others, for example those with highly developed systems of attachment to general medical practice or with a high immigrant population. For district nursing it was suggested that in some areas an average of one district nurse to 4,000 population might be desirable, while in others with extensive attachment schemes or with a high proportion of elderly or disabled people a ratio of one district nurse to 2,500 population might be indicated. However, this guidance is 10 years old and health authorities need to reassess for themselves what their aims should be.
Personal Incomes (Islington)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the number of people in Islington with incomes below supplementary benefit level.
I regret that the information requested is not available.
Disabled Persons (Social Integration)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) when he expects to announce the decision on which districts within the United Kingdom will participate in the European Economic Community network of districts designed to promote the social integration of disabled people; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will list the members of the United Kingdom liaison committee concerned with the European Economic Community network of districts designed to promote the social integration of disabled people; how many disabled people are on the committee; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what funds will be provided from the European Economic Community social fund to districts participating in the network on the social integration of disabled people; if the 50 per cent. matching grant will be provided by his Department, another Government Department or will be drawn from existing local authority resources; and if he will make a statement.
Discussions on the establishment of the network of district projects are still continuing between the member States and the European Commission. The United Kingdom is likely to have two such projects. The expectation is that member States should submit recommended project areas by the end of January 1983 to the Commission; and that applications for social fund support should be made by April 1983 for the projects to begin in October 1983The Commission's proposed funding arrangements are outlined in its communication of October 1981, (Cmnd (81) 633—"The Social Integration of Disabled People—a Framework for the Development of Community Action") which was broadly endorsed by the Council of Ministers in its resolution of 21 December 1981. This leaves member
|November 1978||November 1978 at November 1981 prices*||November 1981||November 1982|
|Central heating 1–2 rooms||0·45||0·70|
|Central heating 3–4 rooms||0·85||1·30||1·65||1·90|
|Lower rate* heating addition||0·85||1·30|
|Central heating 5 or more rooms||1·70||2·60||3·30||3·80|
|Estate rate heatine† 1–4 rooms||—||—||3·30||3·80|
|Middle rate heating addition‡||1·70||2·60||4·05||4·65|
|Higher rate heating addition║||2·55||3·85||4·05||4·65|
|Estate rate heatingt† 5 or more rooms||—||—||6·60||7·60|
* Payable automatically to those over 70 or under 5 from November 1980. Also payable on rounds of poor health or accommodation.
† Standard rates introduced from August 1982.
‡ Middle rate heating addition merged with higher rate in November 1980.
║ Payable automatically to those receiving attendance allowance, mobility allowance, or similar benefits from November 1980. Also payable on grounds of poor health or accommodation.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which district councils have a greater proportion of elderly residents than York according to the last census figures; and what are the comparable figures for part III accommodation in those districts.
The 1981 census showed that 20·8 per cent. of the usually resident population of York was of pensionable age—men aged 65 or over and women aged 60 or over. The districts in England and Wales with higher proportions are as follows.Part III accommodation is not separately identified in the census. It is included in the broader category, homes for the old and disabled. Of the usually resident population of York, about 0·5 per cent. were residential inmates of pensionable age living in such establishments. The corresponding figures for the other districts are shown in the table.
States to decide how funds to match the Community's 50 per cent. contribution towards the co-ordinating team and evaluation of the projects will be provided. No decision has yet been reached on this for the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom is represented by the MSC and the DHSS on the liaison group of member States advising the Commission on the district projects. There is no requirement for national liaison corrunittees. The communication does envisage local advisory committees with disabled members in the places where the projects will be set up.
Benefits (Fuel And Heating)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what special additions for fuel or heating are currently payable to persons drawing supplementary benefit; and how these compare, at constant prices, with those available in November 1978.
The rates of heating addition payable from November 1978, November 1981 and November 1982 are shown in the following table. The rates for November 1978 have been converted to November 1981 prices in line with the increase in the retail prices index over that period and rounded to the nearest 5p. The figures cannot be converted to November 1982 prices until the retail prices index for that month is available. I shall write to the hon. Member then with the revised figures.
|Percentage of usually resident population:|
|of pensionable age||of pensionable age and resident in homes for old and disabled|
|Cornwall and Isles of Scilly|
|Percentage of usually resident population:|
|of pensionable age||of pensionable age and resident in homes for old and disabled|
|Hereford and Worcester:|
|Isle of Wight:|
|Epson and Ewell||21·4||0·2|
|Percentage of usually resident population:|
|of pensionable age||of pensionable age and resident in homes for old and disabled|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many hospitals, wards and beds have been (a) closed and (b) opened since May 1979.
From May 1979 to September 1982 closures were approved of 90 hospitals involving 5,100 beds and part closures involving at least 968 beds—information is not available on the number of beds involved in four part closures approved in 1979. Information on the dates closures take place is not available centrally. Since May 1979, 24 major developments involving new beds have reached completion. Information is not available centrally on the dates when the projects were fully commissioned nor on the numbers of beds opened. Information is not available centrally on schemes costing less than £2 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost in constant prices of (a) drugs, (b) dressings and appliances and (c) the pharmaceutical services, in family practitioner committee expenditure and in hospital expenditure, respectively, for each financial year since 1971–72.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average percentage of total National Healh Service expenditure by family practitioner services for the period 1963–64 to 1973–74; and what was its percentage of total National Health Service expenditure for each year since 1973–74.
The information requested, for England only, is as follows:
|Family practitioner services expenditure as percentage of total NHS expenditure Per cent.|
|1964–65 to 1973–74||24·5|
|Family practitioner services expenditure as percentage of total NHS expenditure Per cent.|
Hospital Waiting Lists
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the hospital waiting list of those waiting more than one year for each year since 1975.
The numbers of non-urgent cases who, on 30 September of each year, had been waiting over a year for admission to hospitals in England are as follows:
Dr Peter Greenfield
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current rank and what are the responsibilities of Dr. Peter Greenfield a civil servant in his Department.
Dr. P. R. Greenfield is a principal medical officer in the Department and his current responsibilities are as deputy to the chief medical adviser, social security. On 1 January 1983 he will become chief medical adviser, social security in the rank of senior principal medical officer.
Dr B A Wills
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the previous appointments of Dr. B. A. Wills, chief pharmacist of his Department.
Prior to his appointment as chief pharmacist of the Department in 1978, Dr. B. A. Wills held the following appointments:
1951/1954: Assistant Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, University of London.
1954/1957: Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy, University of London.
1957/1962: Head of Research and Control, Allen and Hanburys (Africa) Ltd.
1962/1978: Head of Control Division, Allen and Hanburys Ltd, London.
Industrial Injuries (Reports)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he proposes to take on the four reports recently submitted by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council.
I can announce today the publication of two reports by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council on "Occupational Deafness", Cmnd. 8749, and "Asbestos Related Diseases without Asbestosis", Cmnd. 8750. We are considering the recommendations contained in these reports very carefully and the Government's response will be announced in due course. We are also considering the council's recommendations on streptococcus suis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis, although, because these reports are short and of limited interest we do not propose that they should be published as Command Papers.
Companies Registration Office
asked the Minister for Trade whether he proposes to transfer to the private sector some of the functions of the Companies Registration Office.
I am not satisfied that all the functions of the Companies Registration Office need to be carried out by a Government Department. I am inviting a number of companies and organisations to put forward their suggestions for taking over certain of the functions either by themselves or by other parties.At the same time my Department is considering what steps would be beneficial for both the user and the taxpayer. Any legislation is unlikely in the present Parliament, but I hope to bring forward proposals as soon as possible.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total number of full-time equivalent students on courses of higher education in 1981–82 in (a) England and (b) Great Britain; and what was the total cost to central and local government of maintenance awards paid to them.
In 1981–82 there were 498,000 full-time equivalent students on courses of higher education in England, and an estimated 611,000 in Great Britain as a whole. These figures exclude the Open University and students on short courses in universities. The total cost to central and local government of maintenance to postgraduates and students in England who received either a mandatory or full-value discretionary award in the financial year 1980–81, the latest year for which information is available, was £494 million. Information on student awards for Scotland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Teacher Training (Finance)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money has been allocated for in-service training of teachers to deal with children with special educational needs; whether his Department monitors the use of that money; and if he will make a statement.
The main financial responsibility for in-service training lies with local education authorities. The Department does not monitor their expenditure on in-service training subject by subject.My right hon. Friend intends to introduce in 1983–84 a limited scheme of in-service training grants in certain specified fields. Training of teachers to deal with children with special educational needs may be one of these fields.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will promote a national education programme to warn schoolchildren of the dangers of glue sniffing.
In his speech in the Adjournment debate on 26 October my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead (Mr. Finsberg) the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security set out the action which the Government are already taking. As my hon. Friend said then, representatives of a number of interests, including those concerned with the education service in England, are shortly to be consulted about the scope for further action. We shall be glad to have responses on the ways in which schools might deal with the dangers of solvent abuse within their health education programmes.
Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will extend the overseas research students awards scheme to the polytechnic sector in 1983–84.
This was one of the recommendations in the study published in June 1982 by the Overseas Student Trust—"A Policy for Overseas Students"—on which the Government will make a statement in due course.
Overseas Students (Fees)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to announce fee levels for overseas students for 1983–84.
They will be announced as soon as consultations with the University Grants Committee and the Council of Local Education Authorities have been completed.
North Cheshire College, Warrington
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, pursuant to his reply of 12 November, Official Report, c.274–75, he will set out the priority he accorded to each of the criteria listed in the answer of 9 November, Official Report, c. 118 to the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Cartwright) in reaching his decision to close initial teacher training at North Cheshire college, Warrington.
Each of the criteria was important. They were not accorded a relative priority.
Handicapped Children (York)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many mentally or physically handicapped children in York have applied to the North Yorkshire county council for special provision in education; and how many places have been provided by the council.
This information is not available in the Department, as returns of the number of handicapped pupils and their placement are not collected for areas smaller than those of whole local education authorities. The hon. Member may wish to contact the North Yorkshire local education authority, which may have this information.
Universities (Amenity Fees)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received concerning the imposition of an amenities fee at the University of Hull.
The president of the National Union of Students raised this matter with me when we met on 10 November.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many universities seek to collect an amenity or similar fee from grant-aided and other students.
The information requested is not available in the Department.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will ascertain from the University Grants Committee whether in fixing the grant to Hull university it took into consideration moneys raised from another publicly financed source, namely, amenity and similar fees financed from student grants.
My right hon. Friend understands that it did not.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department, on deciding upon the new level for student grants, took into consideration the levying of an amenity or similar fees by Hull and other universities.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his Department's policy towards the raising of amenity and similar fees by universities, funded mainly by public funds; and if he will make a statement.
Universities are free to determine their own fees. My right hon. Friend determines the assistance with fees that may be given to students receiving awards. The majority of universities are willing to confine their fees for home students to the assistance available. Where they are not, students are free to take account of this in deciding which universities to apply for. My right hon. Friend would be concerned if fees for which assistance was not available imposed a significant additional burden on students or their families.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the amount and quality of educational research into the potential advantages or disadvantages of bilingual education; and if he will consider setting up and financing in and for Wales an organisation on the lines of the Scottish Council for Education Research.
These matters are kept under continuing evaluation and review by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools. My right hon. Friend has no plans to set up an education research organisation for Wales.
Education Research (Financial Support)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will increase the level of financial support to educational researchers to a comparable level to that pertaining in Scotland and England.
I shall continue to keep under review the level of such support, which compares well with the overall level for Great Britain.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many secondary schools in each education authority area in Wales have sixth forms of fewer than 20 pupils; how many have between 21 and 50 pupils; and whether his Department makes recommendations as to the minimum size of sixth forms.
There are no schools with sixth forms of fewer than 20; those with between 20 and 50 pupils are shown as follows:
|Number of schools having sixth forms with*|
|Between 20 and 50 Pupils|
* September 1981.
The Department makes no general recommendations as to the minimum size of sixth forms.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the prospects for the Welsh economy for 1983.
Economic and employment prospects within Wales will benefit, in line with the rest of Great Britain, from the steady progress in reducing inflation and providing a secure basis for expansion. Recent decisions, such as reduction in the national insurance surcharge, and the end of the deferment of payment of regional development grant will be of particular benefit to the Welsh economy, while the process of investment in providing and developing necessary infrastructure will continue to strengthen the economic base.
Advance Factory, Aberaeron
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if the Development Board for Rural Wales has made any proposals to him for the building of an advance factory in Aberaeron; and if he will make a statement.
There is no current proposal before me for consideration.
National Museum Of Wales
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the annual grant-in-aid to the National Museum of Wales for the years 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82; and how much is for purchases.
The annual grant-in-aid to the National Museum of Wales was £4,095,000 in 1979–80, £4,980,000 in 1980–81 and £5,787,000 in 1981–82. Of these amounts the amounts designated for purchases were £598,000, £778,000 and £877,000, respectively.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the cost of the purchase of the Rubens cartoons by the National Museum of Wales; and how much of it was grant aided by his Department.
It was a condition of the purchase that the price should not be divulged. The purchase was financed almost entirely from grant resources.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he was consulted by the National Museum of Wales before it purchased the Rubens cartoons; when such consultation took place; and for what purpose.
No. During my period in office the then permanent secretary of the Department was informed by the director in June 1979 that the museum had decided to purchase the cartoons. In so informing him the director requested a special grant towards the purchase, but this was refused.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will place in the Library correspondence between himself, his Office and the National Museum of Wales regarding the purchase of the Rubens cartoons.
I am considering the matter and I shall write to the right hon. and learned Member.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what machinery exists for his Department to obtain artistic advice when purchases of valuable works of art are made by the National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales.
None. It is for the museum and library authorities to obtain any artistic advice considered necessary when such acquisitions are made.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the responsibility of his Department when purchases of works of art at substantial cost are made by the National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales.
Decisions on individual purchases are a matter for the institution concerned. The responsibility of my Department is in setting the amount of annual purchase grant and ensuring that the institutions have adequate internal financial procedures.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of persons registered as unemployed had been unemployed for more than two years in each employment office area in West Glamorgan in October 1979 and October 1982.
The information is as follows:
|Employment Office Area||October 1979 (per cent.)||October 1982 (per cent.)|
Nhs (Property Sales)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many sales of National Health Service property there have been in Wales between April 1979 and April 1982; and if he will list the properties sold, the prices paid for each and the names of the buyers.
Forty-one. Details are as follows. It is not my normal practice to disclose individual prices or purchasers because such information is regarded as confidential.
|"Hendre", North Wales Hospital,|
|Land at Strathalyn Bungalow|
|Land at Abergele Hospital||121,700|
|Land at Saltney Clinic|
|Land at Rossett|
|Land at Penley HospitalHospital|
|East Dyfed||Glasfryn Hospital||20,500|
|Trimsaron Ambulance Station|
|Pembrokeshire||Park Street Health Centre||See above|
|Gwent||Land at Pen y Fal Hospital|
|Freehold of "The Ridgeway"|
|Land at St. Cadoc's Hospital,|
|Maindiff Court Lodge|
|Lydia Beynon Hospital|
|Land at St. James Hospital,|
|Skirrid Cottage, Abergavenny|
|Snatchwood House Hospital,|
|Vale Terrace Ambulance Station,|
|Gwynedd||Bryn Meurig, Dolgellau|
|Isallt Health Clinic, Blaenau|
|Mid Glamorgan||Land at Parc Hospital, Bridgend Abertysswg Hospital|
|Pencoed Ambulance Station|
|Lloantrisant Ambulance Station||41,339|
|Land at East Glamorgan Hospital|
|Canonbie Clinic, Aberfan|
|Glannant House, Porth|
|Powys Land at Bronllys Hospital|
|Pontywal Lane Cottage, Brecon||21,000|
|South||Land at Prince of Wales Hospital,|
|19 The Walk,||110,000|
|Land at Galn Ely|
|West||Small area of land at Llwynderw|
|Llwynderw Annexe, Swansea||108,750|
|2 small areas of land at West Cross|
United Kingdom Accession (Tenth Anniversary)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government intend to propose any special steps to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the United Kingdom's accession to the European Economic Community.
My colleagues and I plan to take advantage of this anniversary to ensure that the public are fully informed of the facts of our membership and the importance of the European Community to Britain. My right hon. Friend will be the principal speaker at a Mansion House dinner being arranged by the British section of the European League for Economic Co-operation on 21 January 1983.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise in the United Nations the matter of the Iraq-Iran war as a threat to world peace.
We have actively supported attempts by the United Nations Secretary General to secure an end to this war. The efforts of the Secretary General's special representative, Mr. Palme, depend on the co-operation of both combatants. We shall continue to support his efforts and those of others, including the Algerian Government, who are trying to achieve a just and honourable settlement.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will seek to launch an initiative, in conjunction with other member States of the European Community, to resolve the 20-month-old war between Iraq and Iran.
The communiqué issued following the meeting of the European Council on 28 and 29 June expressed the Ten's grave concern at the continuation of the damaging war between Iran and Iraq, and appealed for an early end to the conflict. We and our Community partners voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 1703 which called for an immediate ceasefire. We do not see any direct mediating role for the West to play, but we shall continue to support all efforts to achieve a settlement acceptable to both sides.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Venezuela that the controversy which has arisen out of the Venezuelan contention that the arbitral award of 1899 which demarcated the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela is null and void be settled without the threat or use of force in accordance with the Geneva agreement and that the controversy should be referred to the International Court of Justice.
We have repeatedly conveyed our view to Venezuela and Guyana that they should seek to achieve a peaceful settlement through the Geneva agreement procedures. Under article IV the means of settlement have to be agreed between Venezuela and Guyana. Reference to the International Court of Justice is only one of the possible options.
Nuclear Test Explosions (Ban)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the response of Her Majesty's Government to the proposal by Mr. Gromyko on 1 October at the United Nations for a ban on all nuclear test explosions.
The Government wish to see the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva continue its examination of the outstanding issues of verification and compliance for a comprehensive test ban. We do not believe that Mr. Gromyko's proposals, reflecting only that measure of agreement achieved in the 1977–80 trilateral negotiations, help to resolve those issues.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise in the United Nations the violation of human rights in Guyana.
No. Her Majesty's Government regularly make known their views on human rights both at the United Nations and elsewhere, and the Government of Guyana will be well aware of these.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the economic development of Diego Garcia.
So long as Diego Garcia is used solely for defence purposes, the question of economic development does not arise. When it is no longer so required, it will be ceded to Mauritius.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which files relating to the Falkland Islands deposited in the Public Record Office are closed for 75 years and for 100 years; and why.
As I explained to the hon. Member in my letter to him of 6 July, to list files withheld from public inspection would be disproportionately expensive. The reasons for withholding these records, as approved by the Lord Chancellor, can be found in paragraphs 26 and 27 of the White Paper "Modern Public Records" (Cmnd. 8531).
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent oil and fish resources in the waters of the Falkland Islands are to be developed.
These matters, like others which feature in Lord Shackleton's recently updated economic report, are under active consideration. The Government hope to be in a position to announce initial decisions shortly. It should be noted, however, that the existence of oil resources in the vicinity of the Falkland Islands has yet to be proven.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government will make it its policy not to negotiate or discuss any settlement of the Falkland Islands dispute until the military dictatorship of Argentina has relinquished power to a democratically elected civilian form of government, based upon a democratic system.
We naturally welcome the promise of more representative Government in Argentina. But a fundamental change of attitude is needed on the part of any Argentine Government before we could consider discussing the Falkland Island dispute with Argentina.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications have been received since the islands were liberated for licences to fish the waters of the Falkland Islands and the dependencies; and what action has been taken on each.
No formal applications for licensing have been received, but we are in discussion with a number of companies, British and foreign, which are interested in both inshore and offshore fishing.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications have been received for oil drilling licences in waters of the Falkland Islands and the dependencies since the islands were liberated; and what action has been taken on each.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications have been received for settlement in the Falkland Islands since the islands were liberated; and what action has been taken on each.
Approximately 2,000 letters have been received inquiring about settlement opportunities. Applicants have been asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire, of which 250 have so far been returned. These are being processed in consultation with the Falkland Islands Government.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, following the Prime Minister's visit to Hong Kong, any decisions have been arrived at regarding the ultimate transfer of the colony to the People's Republic of China.
During her recent visit to China, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and Chinese leaders agreed that talks on the future of Hong Kong should be entered through diplomatic channels, following the visit, with the common aim of maintaining the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. Meetings in Peking to follow up the Prime Minister's visit have begun, but their content must remain confidential.
United States Secretary Of State (Meeting)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends to meet the United States Secretary of State to discuss relations between the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America.
The United States Secretary of State and I keep in close touch on all items of common concern. We last met on 14 November. We are next due to meet at the North Atlantic Council meeting of Foreign Ministers in Brussels on 9 and 10 December. I shall then look forward to welcoming Mr. Shultz in London where he is expected between 16 and 19 December as part of a tour of several European capitals.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends to meet the United States Secretary of State to discuss relations between the United States of America and the European Economic Community.
I expect to meet the United States Secretary of State next at the NATO ministerial meeting on 9 and 10 December. Thereafter, Mr. Shultz will be visiting a number of European capitals. He will have meetings in Brussels with the President and other members of the European Commission. I shall hold talks with him when he visits London from 16 to 19 December.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for talks with the new Spanish Government on the future of Gibraltar.
The new Spanish Government have not yet taken office, nor has a Foreign Minister yet been appointed. Her Majesty's Government remain ready to have talks with the Spanish Government about Gibraltar in accordance with the Lisbon agreement. I hope there will be an opportunity to meet the Spanish Foreign Minister soon after his appointment and to give him our views on this matter.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he now expects the Lisbon agreement in respect of Gibraltar to be implemented.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 22 November to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes).—[Vol. 32, c. 352.]
Arab League Delegation (Meeting)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he anticipates meeting the Arab League delegation which was mandated by the Fez summit conference to meet the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
We now expect the Arab League delegation to visit London on 2 December.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will press for a substantial increase in the strength of the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Lebanon and for its mandate to be revised to include protection of those Palestinians now held in camps by Israeli-occupying forces without benefit of prisoner of war status.
The Government supported the recent renewal of UNIFIL's mandate, which now runs until 19 January 1983. UNIFIL may have a role to play in future peacekeeping arrangements, following the withdrawal of foreign forces. But an immediate increase in the force is not required.The Government have also acted in support of the. International Red Cross in urging the Israeli Government to apply the principles of the relevant Geneva conventions to Palestinian prisoners. The International Red Cross has been allowed regular access to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. A large number of prisoners has recently been released.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are currently being taken by Her Majesty's Government to assist Lebanon to become an independent, sovereign and viable State.
We fully support American efforts to bring about a speedy withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon, which is the key to the restoration of Lebanese sovereignty and independence. We have provided substantial humanitarian aid to Lebanon, and are considering with the Lebanese Government what more we can do to help.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the possible United Kingdom contribution to a peacekeeping force in the Lebanon.
Her Majesty's Government have received a formal request from the Lebanese Government for a British contribution to the multinational force. The request is being considered carefully. No decision has yet been taken.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in achieving an international agreement to ban the use of chemical weapons.
It is important that progress should be made in this field. The use of chemical weapons is already banned under the 1925 Geneva protocol. At the 1982 session of the Committee on Disarmament some advance was made on the elaboration of a convention to ban the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons. Substantial problems remain, particularly on verification. The United Kingdom tabled a working paper on these problems and played an active part in later discussions.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent initiatives to promote balanced, verifiable multilateral disarmament.
Recent statements made by the Government in this House and elsewhere have drawn attention to the range of the West's proposals for arms control and disarmament. These include the United State's proposals for the complete elimination of the intermediate-range nuclear missiles of most concern to NATO and the Soviet Union, and for substantial reductions in the numbers of warheads on the strategic ballistic missiles of the United States and the Soviet Union. In the non-nuclear field the alliance has submitted a comprehensive draft treaty in the mutual and balanced force reductions talks. The United Kingdom, with the support of other Western States, is also seeking, through discussions in the Committee on Disarmament, progress on the verification of a ban on the production of chemical weapons.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the Government's future intentions and what initiatives they plan following the second special session on disarmament in the United Nations.
The Government will continue to work for balanced and verifiable arms control and disarmament agreements which will maintain peace and security at lower levels of armaments and forces. We will act directly in the negotiations and discussions in which we participate, in Vienna or in the Committee on Disarmament, and indirectly through consultations in NATO.
Turkish Constitution (Referendum)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any official report on, or whether British observers were present to observe, the conduct of the referendum on the Turkish constitution on 7 November; and if he will make a statement.