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Written Answers

Volume 32: debated on Friday 26 November 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 26 November 1982

Northern Ireland

Republic Of Ireland (Talks)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the reply by the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Patten) to the hon. Member for Basildon on 22 November, Offical Report, column 389, what was the substance of the discussions between him, the Minister of State, the Earl of Gowrie and the Leader of the Opposition in the Republic of Ireland, Dr. FitzGerald, in London on 28 June concerning (a) the political situation in Northern Ireland and (b) Anglo-Irish relations; whether it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to consult the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic on the political situation in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The discussion on 28 June followed the established practice whereby Ministers talk on a basis of confidence to Ministers and, as appropriate, the Leader of the Opposition of the Republic of Ireland in order to keep them in touch with out thinking on Northern Ireland and to ensure that we know their views. I have nothing further to add to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Patten) on 22 November 1982.—[Vol. 32, c. 389.]

Scotland

Road Accidents

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report for each of the past five years (a) the number of fatalities, (b) the number of persons suffering serious injuries and (c) the number of persons suffering minor injuries in accidents at or near to roadworks on roads in Scotland.

The information readily available to me about accidents where the presence of nearby roadworks is recorded covers only the past four years and is as follows:

Number of Casualties
YearFatalSeriousSlight
197881126
197954893
198083465
198154442

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report for each of the past five years (a) the number of fatalities, (b) the number of persons suffering serious injuries and (c) the number of persons suffering minor injuries in accidents on Scottish roads where a contributory factor was inadequate siting or illumination of traffic signs in advance of road works.

This information is not held centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Education And Science

Overseas Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish details of the number of students from overseas currently studying in British universities; from which countries they come; and if he will give comparative figures for the academic years 1979–80, 1980–81, and 1981–82.

The number of students from overseas studying in British Universities in 1982–83 is not yet available. The number of overseas students for previous years is given in the following table.The definition used in the calculation of the figures for 1980–81 and 1981–82 was that referred to in statistical bulletin 19/81—a student who is charged fees at the overseas rate or is domiciled in a European Community country other than the United Kingdom. The 1979–80 figures are in respect of those charged overseas fees. A copy of the bulletin is in the Library.

Numbers of overseas students in universities in Great Britain by country of domicile
1979–801980–811981–82
Commonwealth/Dependencies
Antigua464
Australia559395351
Bahamas14127
Bangladesh211160184
Barbados766060
Belize733
Bermuda101516
Botswana494885
Brunei181212192
Canada708588474
Cayman Islands135
Cyprus592592544
Dominica10104
Falkland Islands221
Fiji141921
Gambia232030
Ghana281237250
Gibraltar759992
Grenada785
Guyana997158
Hong Kong2,0032,2702,525
India528464433
Jamaica594241
Kenya450440430
Kiribati347
Leeward Islands*111
Lesotho222335
Malawi104123141
Malaysia5,1654,9624,608
Malta1179877
Mauritius319282232
Monserrat24
New Zealand143127113
Nigeria1,3081,5631,949
Papua New Guinea222415
St. Kitts-Nevis361
St. Lucia10410
St. Vincent513
Seychelles17916
Sierra Leone1097799
Singapore1,003996825
Solomon Islands444
Sri Lanka368298261
1979–801980–811981–82
Swaziland273152
Tanzania224274270
Tonga433
Trinidad and Tobago115115107
Turks and Caicos Islands1
Uganda107118112
Vanuatu21
Virgin Islands (British)123
Western Samoa1
Windward Islands*1
Zambia252250272
Zimbabwe555406380
Sub-Total15,97315,57915,419
Non-Commonwealth
Afghanistan1963
Algeria474498488
Andorra12
Angola (see also Cape
Verde/Guinea Bissau)31
Argentina626262
Austria232420
Bahrein524963
Belgium83219205
Bhutan51
Bolivia565
Brazil452438364
Bulgaria365
Burma171713
Burundi344
Cameroon528094
Cape Verde/Guinea Bissau231
Central African Republic2
Chad2
Chile1306535
China66151155
Colombia968171
Congo13
Costa Rica143617
Cuba321
Czechoslovakia322
Denmark707066
Djibouti1
Dominican Republic666
Ecuador17165
Egypt428296345
El Salvador372
Ethiopia696170
Finland423327
France191336286
French West Indies1
Germany, Democratic Republic2
Germany, Federal Republic711957873
Greece1,6621,4111,551
Guatemala731
Guinea1
Haiti1
Honduras563
Hungary754
Iceland947860
Indonesia191169147
Iran1,414995702
Iraq1,3561,2981,228
Ireland, Republic145271261
Israel147129106
Italy237308297
Ivory Coast1186
Japan287284263
Jordan467439426
Kampuchea211
Korea707470
Korea, North311
Kuwait171167174
Lebanon153152158
Liberia101011
Libya140132143
1979–801980–811981–82
Luxembourg283951
Madagascar2
Maldive Islands1
Mali7713
Mauritania221
Mexico357354392
Mongolia344
Morocco344335
Mozambique366
Namibia4916
Nepal395944
Netherlands153229247
Netherlands, Antilles653
New Guinea4
Nicaragua231
Niger546
Norway326251255
Oman171410
Pakistan471410391
Panama91411
Paraguay312
Peru584843
Phillipines433835
Portugal218200178
Poland252214
Puerto Rico348
Qatar151310
Romania111
Rwanda11
Samoa (US)21
Saudi Arabia207231253
Senegal537
Somali Republic161828
South Africa340279235
Spain13812397
Sudan567599629
Surinam12
Sweden615327
Switzerland163138117
Syria138125113
Taiwan798087
Thailand185168141
Tibet1
Togo411
Tunisia7711
Turkey634457309
United Arab Emirates293236
Uruguay131011
Upper Volta112
United States of America2,4592,0251,900
USSR131010
Venezuela414373259
Vietnam1253
West Indies*1154
Yemen Arab Republic243030
Yemen, People's Democratic Republic617
Yugoslavia362530
Zaire101025
Stateless23
Unknown161212
Sub-total18,88717,66616,339
Grand Totals34,86033,24531,758

* Unspecified.

Also includes any students from Sao Tome and Principe and, in 1979–80, any students from Angola.

Including students with a United Kingdom domicile but who are charged overseas rate of fee.

Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what was the estimated average cost per full-time equivalent child in (a) nursery schools and (b) nursery classes in primary schools, in 1981–82, 1980–81, 1979–80 and 1982–83 if figures are now available;(2) what is the average unit cost of a place in (a) a primary school and

(b) a secondary school in England in (i) 1981–82 and (ii) 1982–83.

Figures are not yet available for 1981–82 and 1982–83. Net expenditure per full-time equivalent pupil in nursery primary and secondary schools in 1979–80 and 1980–81 is estimated to have been as follows (at outturn prices):

1979–801980–81
££
Nursery Schools9231,110
Primary Schools (including nursery classes)547676
Secondary Schools791964
Separate figures for nursery classes in primary schools are not available.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

"Corella" (Rayner Recommendations)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the Rayner recommendatins on the research vessel "Corella".

Copies of the Draft Report of the Rayner Scrutiny of MAFF Fisheries Research and Development, which contained the recommendations on the research vessel "Corella", were placed in the Library of the House on 11 June 1982.

Agricultural Land

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his latest estimate of land lost to agriculture annually; and how this figure compares with one year, five years and 10 years previously.

The average annual loss of agricultural land to development or other uses, excluding woodlands, in England for the five-year period ending June 1981, the latest year for which statistics are available, is estimated to be 16,300 hectares (40,200 acres). The corresponding figure for the five-year period to June 1971 is 18,600 hectares (46,000 acres) although this is not directly comparable with later figures because of subsequent changes in the method of calculation. Because of this change it is not possible to quote a figure for the period ending June 1976.

Industry

European Regional Development Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the total amount of assistance the United Kingdom receives from the European regional development fund; and what percentage is allocated to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

A total of 95 per cent. of the fund's resources are allocated according to national quotas, the United Kingdom's quota being 23·8 per cent. Since the inception of the fund in 1975, total allocations to the United Kingdom have amounted to £875.4 million, of which 44·8 per cent. has been committed to projects in England, 13·7 per cent. to Northern Ireland, 24·9 per cent. to Scotland and 16·6 per cent. to Wales. In addition, the United Kingdom has so far been allocated £32·2 million from the non-quota section, of which 24·1 per cent. will benefit areas in England, 19 per cent. Northern Ireland, 24·1 per cent. Scotland and 32·8 per cent. Wales. Substantially more non-quota aid for the United Kingdom is expected shortly.

Post-Office Pension Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what payments have been made by the Government to the Post Office pension fund in each year since the creation of the Post Office Corporation to cover pension scheme benefits arising in respect of the years before that date; whether such payments have been made in cash or otherwise; what calculation has been made as to the adequacy of such payments to cover actual outgoings on benefits in respect of the years before the establishment of the corporation; and how any deficiencies are being met.

Payments of £11½ million in cash have been made each quarter to the trustees of the Post Office staff superannuation fund since 5 October 1969. The last payment will be made on 5 January 1983. The payments, being made against a formula fixed in 1969, leave a deficiency arising from the period before the creation of the Post Office Corporation which was determined at £1,250 million in 1976. The deficiency is funded by payments made under deed of covenant by British Telecom. There is a separate deficiency in respect of the years since the creation of the Post Office Corporation which is being funded by the two successor corporations.

Financial Assistance (Greater Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what categories of financial assistance are now available to manufacturing firms within greater Manchester.

Overseas Development

Providenciales (West Indies)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the British funding and construction of the airport on the island of Providenciales in the West Indies.

The airport improvement project on Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands is being financed from British aid funds and just under £4 million has been provided for this purpose. It is being undertaken as part of the general provision of infrastructure required for the development of tourism on which the island's future viability is considered to depend; and to enable the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands to fulfill their obligations under an agreement entered into in February 1980 with Club Méditerranée for the establishment of a holiday village. Work started on the site in July 1981 and the latest date for completion is the 11 January 1983.

Wales

Unemployment (West Glamorgan)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of persons registered as unemployed had been unemployed for more than 52 weeks in each employment office area in West Glamorgan in October 1982 and October 1979.

The information is as follows:

Employment Office AreaOctober 1979 per cent.October 1982 per cent.
Cymmer36·647·9
Gorseinon19·838·5
Morriston20·033·5
Neath17·736·8
Pontardawe22·338·4
Port Talbot23·937·3
Resolven26·240·4
Swansea25·946·3
Ystradgynlais13·926·2

Trade

British Airways

asked the Minister for Trade when the privatisation of British Airways will be completed.

Internal Air Services

asked the Minister for Trade if he will make a statement on his plans for deregulation of internal air services.

Holiday Caravans

asked the Minister for Trade if he will make a statement regarding the latest position on the proposed code of practice for the holiday caravan industry.

Defence

Devon And Rosyth Dockyards

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, further to the reply to the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. Silkin) Official Report, 16 November, c. 137, what work was done at the naval dockyards at Chatham, Portsmouth and Gibraltar, respectively, in order to equip the task force for the Falklands; whether any of this work was within the capability of spare capacity at Devonport and Rosyth dockyards at that time; and whether, in view of the reduction in the size of the operational fleet, the expansion of support facilities at Devonport and Rosyth is a result of experience in the mounting of the Falklands task force.

At Chatham three ships were brought forward for operational service; the refit of one frigate was completed ahead of time; support was given to two other frigates before they deployed. At Portsmouth, locally based ships were prepared for deployment; 19 ships taken up from trade were converted and, as at Chatham, stores and equipment were prepared for use by the task force. At Gibraltar the SS "Uganda" was converted to a hopital ship and support was given to one frigate before it deployed.The capacity for undertaking this work could have been found from a combination of the resources available at Devonport, Rosyth and Portsmouth naval base, which is being retained, with commercial yards undertaking as much of the conversion of ships taken up from trade as would have been necessary.The expansion planned for Devonport and Rosyth is as a result of the 1981 defence review.

Hm Submarine "Swiftsure"

asked the Secretary of State for for Defence on what date HM submarine "Swiftsure" arrived at Devonport for refuelling and refit.

HMS "Swiftsure" arrived in Devonport in January 1979 for a refit scheduled to start in March 1979. Work was not started until April 1980 due to an industrial dispute.

Royal Navy Ships (Repair And Refit)

asked the Secretary of State for for Defence why it is no longer his policy that the repair and refit of Royal Navy ships must be carried out in the Royal naval dockyards; and what work of that type he envisages can be carried out safely and expeditiously in private shipyards.

It remains our policy to repair and refit Royal Navy ships in the Royal dockyards. The only minor exceptions are HMS "Wakeful", a submarine tender based on the Clyde, "Vigilant" and "Alert", two patrol craft operating from Belfast and five minesweepers based in Hong Kong. All these vessels are refitted locally by contract, for reasons of convenience and cost effectiveness.

Arms Licences

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report the criteria applied in granting licences to exporters and importers of arms.

All relevant factors are considered before a decision is taken to grant an export licence for the sale of arms. These factors will vary depending on individual circumstances, but they will always include the stability of the region, the nature of the equipment to be sold and the Government of the purchasing country, the need to safeguard British dependent territories and our national security interests, and the Government's support for multilateral arms control. We do not permit the sale of arms to countries which pose a direct threat to the safety of Britain or our NATO allies, or to countries covered by a mandatory UN arms embargo. These criteria which are kept under review in the light of changing circumstances, were set out in greater detail in a memorandum submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 24 February 1981 (72/80–81/FM).In the case of imports, the majority of arms are imported directly by the Government to meet the requirements of the British Services. In all other cases imports require an import licence, which is granted only to registered firearms dealers or to individuals who hold a firearms certificate. Before such certificates can be issued, the police have to be satisfied, inter alia, as to the applicant's suitability and his security arrangements and that no danger to public safety or to the peace exists.

Falklands Campaign

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage of the total personnel, including skilled personnel, taken by the task force to the Falkland Islands was drawn from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Reserve;(2) what percentage of the total ammunition taken by the task force to the Falkland Islands was drawn from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation stocks or assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation reserve stocks;(3) what percentage of the total weapons systems, including Sea Wolf, Rapier and Blowpipe taken by the task force to the Falkland Islands was drawn from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation stocks or assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation reserve stocks.

Most United Kingdom forces are already committed to NATO. It therefore follows that a significant proportion of the task force deployed to the South Atlantic was drawn from forces so committed. The NATO authorities were kept fully informed of the reduced availability status of these forces at all times. It is not in the public interest to give details.

Falklands Campaign (Nimrods)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in the light of the Ministry of Defence statement on 7 May that Nimrod maritime reconnaissance early warning aircraft fitted with air-to-air refuelling would be sent to the Falkland Islands waters, he will state how many Nimrods were sent; and when.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 November 1982, c. 163]: The Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft to which I referred were of course those fitted with air-to-air refuelling equipment. Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft without that equipment had been deployed to the South Atlantic in early April.

Greater LondonHolloway and Kings Cross employment office areas
Number at October 1982Percentage increase since April 1979Number at October 1982Percentage increase since April 1979
Total registered as unemployed389,05518420,002153
of which, unemployed for over 52 weeks121,4132935,560215
Females registered as unemployed111,2232495,482217
of which, unemployed for over 52 weeks26,5844051,192303
Aged under 20 registered as unemployed73,6543713,164268
of which, unemployed for over 52 weeks9,917963448700

Energy

Retail Prices Index

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how the percentage rise in the retail price 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.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 November 1982, c. 489]: Comparisons of the retail price index and the indices for domestic gas, electricity and solid fuel between 15 May 1979 and 14 September 1982 are:

1974 = 100
15 May 197914 September 1982Percentage Increase
Retail Price Index215·9322·949·6
Gas176·4343·494·7
Electricity269·6492·482·6
Solid Fuel*251·9433·372·0
* Coal and Coke.

Source: General Index of Retail Prices, Department of Employment.

Employment

Greater London

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many people 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;(2) how many people under 20 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:

(3) how many women 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;

The following table gives, for the groups specified, the numbers registered as unemployed—old basis—and the numbers who had been unemployed for over 52 weeks at October 1982 in Greater London and in the area covered by the Holloway and Kings Cross employment offices, which corresponds closely to Islington. It also gives the percentage increases since April 1979—an analysis by age and duration of unemployment is not available for May. The figures include school leavers and are not seasonally adjusted.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many school leavers are unemployed for more than a year in (a) Greater London and (b) Islington; and what is the percentage increase, respectively, since May 1979;(2) how many unemployed school leavers in

(a) Greater London and (b) Islington have never had a full-time job.

At October 1982, there were 23,143 school leavers under 18 years of age registered as unemployed in Greater London—old basis—and 772 in the area covered by the Holloway and Kings Cross employment offices, which corresponds closely to Islington. The increases since May 1979 were 897 per cent. and 528 per cent., respectively. An analysis by duration of unemployment for school leavers are defined as those who have not entered employment since completing full-time education.

Unemployment Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the current unemployment

Unemployment percentage rates for September each year
19721973197419751976197719781979198019811982
EC Countries
West Germany0·70·82·13·93·53·63·42·83·14·86·9
France1·82·02·54·44·45·35·86·36·78·48·9
Italy5·14·74·95·55·77·07·17·58·09·110·5
Netherlands2·12·02·74·04·24·24·24·25·27·910·8
Belgium2·73·13·66·37·48·58·99·410·512·814·8
Luxembourg0·050·050·050·20·20·60·70·60·71·01·3
United Kingdom3·52·22·64·55·66·25·85·37·811·513·0
Ireland6·05·45·98·69·18·77·66·98·610·413·1
Denmark0·70·42·34·54·55·56·14·66·48·09·0
Greece0·60·9
Other Countries
Norway0·60·50·51·10·90·71·01·01·21·5*2·1
Switzerland0·30·20·20·5
Austria1·31·10·91·51·21·21·41·21·92·64·6
* July 82
† not available

Source:

Statistical Office of the European Communities for EC Member States.

OECD Main Economic Indicators Supplemented by Labour Attache Reports for Norway, Switzerland and Austria.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the highest percentage rate for unemployment for the Walsall travel-to-work area prior to May 1979; and if he will give the percentage rate for October 1979, October 1980, October 1981 and October 1982.

Macclesfield

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies there have been in (a) the textile industry and (b) the construction industry in the Macclesfield travel-to-work area in 1982.

There are no comprehensive statistics on redundancies. Thirty redundancies, involving groups of 10 or more employees, were reported as due to percentages in the United Kingdom, in other member States of the European Economic Community and in Norway, Switzerland and Austria; and if he will publish a table showing the comparable figures in the same month of each of the past 10 years for each nation.

The unemployment percentage rates for September each year are as follows. These are not directly comparable owing to national differences in coverage, concepts of unemployment and methods of compilation.The figures for European Community member States are compiled by the statistical office of the European Communities (SOEC), and are based on national data of numbers of people registered at public employment offices, expressed as a percentage of the civilian working population. Figures for the United Kingdom have not yet been revised by the SOEC on to the new claimant basis.The rates for Norway, Switzerland and Austria are the number of people registered at employment offices expressed as a percentage of the total employees.occur in the textile industry (Order XIII) in the Macclesfield travel-to-work area, between January and October

* 1982; none was notified in the construction industry (Order XX).

* This includes provisional figures for September and October 1982.

Environment

Islington

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether Islington borough council has yet applied for authority to spend any of the special funds for housing works available for expenditure before April 1983.

The Department has now received an application from Islington borough council to spend an additional 12 million in 1982–83. This is being considered urgently and a decision will be given very soon.

Rents

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) following the statement of the Secretary of State for Wales insisting on an increase in maintenance and management expenditure of 7 per cent., whether this is also the policy for England; and what the average rent increase weekly will be in addition to the 85p already announced;(2) if he will state the latest estimate of the number of council houses a council needs to sell in order to obtain the funds to build one new one.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what weight council house rents have in the retail prices index; and if he will publish in the Official Report, a table showing the change in the weight in each of the past 10 years, the movement in this index compared to the whole, and the implied amount spent on such rents in the current financial year.

Prime Minister

Sir Anthony Parsons

asked the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply to the hon. Member for West Lothian on 24 November, to which Civil Service grade Sir Anthony Parsons has been appointed.

Sir Anthony Parsons' appointment as adviser on foreign affairs carries the grading of second permanent secretary.

asked the Prime Minister how many staff will be assigned to Sir Anthony Parsons; and what their Civil Service ranks will be. The Prime Minister: Sir Anthony Parsons will receive support from a personal secretary already on the staff of 10 Downing Street.

Civil Servants (Abatement Of Pensions)

asked the Prime Minister what rules govern the abatement of pensions of senior civil servants who are subsequently appointed as special advisers by Ministers.

Retired civil servants employed as special advisers by Ministers are subject to the provision under which the pensions of retired officers re-employed elsewhere in the Civil Service are liable to abatement—rule 3.26 of the principal Civil Service pension scheme.

Student Grants

asked the Prime Minister whether she will make it the policy of Her Majesty's Government to apply the same conditions to the calculation of mandatory student grants for students resident in Scotland and England; and what administrative arrangements would be necessary to secure this end.

I have no plans to change the existing arrangements, which ensure that closely comparable conditions apply to the assessment of grants for students attending courses of higher education throughout the United Kingdom. The Departments concerned are considering how best to come into line on the divergence in their treatment of life assurance premiums and superannuation payments, about which I understand that the hon. Member is concerned.

Public Bodies (Trade Union Representation)

asked the Prime Minister if she will make it her policy to include trade unionists in the membership of Royal Commissions and national public bodies; and if she will make a statement.

It has been and will continue to be the policy of this Government to appoint active trade unionists to Royal Commissions and other bodies whenever it is appropriate.

asked the Prime Minister how many trade unionists have been appointed to Royal Commissions and other public bodies at national level for each of the years from 1970 to 1982.

This information is not available in a readily accessible form and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

Cabinet Office

asked the Prime Minister what is the estimated cost in the current financial year of the Cabinet Office; and what were the actual costs in each financial year since 31 March 1979.

The information is:

Cabinet Office
Financial YearCost (£'000)
1979–808,915
1980–819,551
1981–8210,432
1982–8311,653
The figure for 1981–82 does not include one major item of non-recurring capital expenditure: the purchase of the mainframe for a new computer for the Central Statistical Office.

House Of Commons

Refreshment Department

asked the Lord President of the Council how many Officers of the House of Commons special advisers, staff, and parliamentary clerks have permits to use the services of the Refreshment Department of the House of Commons.

The numbers of those in the categories named entitled to use certain of the facilities of the Refreshment Department are as follows:

Numbers
Officers of the House124
Specialist advisers82
Staff of the House759
Parliamentary Clerks*2

* Plus any whose names are on the Official Box List for that particular day.

Details of the facilities available are set out in a booklet entitled "The Refreshment Department: Information and Regulations" which is available from the Refreshment Department.

Members' Pensions

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will estimate to what extent there would be costs to the Exchequer if all existing hon. Members were enabled to claim pension entitlement on reaching retirement age at 65 years for all of their years of service as an hon. Member.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Disarmament

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what human, financial and other material resources Her Majesty's Government are contributing to the world disarmament campaign launched at the United Nations second special session on disarmament.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support the United Nations world disarmament campaign.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by the Government to launch a world disarmament campaign following the recent United Nations assembly on disarmament.

The Government welcomed the launching of the United Nations world disarmament campaign at the second special session on disarmament and supported the guidelines for it. Programmes of information, research, education and training in the field of arms control and disarmament have been proposed for the campaign. The First Committee of the United Nations will vote this week on a resolution endorsing these proposals.The basis of the proposals is that the United Nations should draw on its own resources to support the campaign. Member States have nevertheless been invited to make voluntary contributions. Bearing in mind the level of resources already devoted to these activities in this country, we see no need for the provision of further official support by the United Kingdom.

Law Of The Sea

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he anticipates replacing the United Kingdom provisional law of the sea by the international law of the sea expected to be signed next month.

The United Nations Law of the Sea Convention will be opened for signature next month. The Government are considering the question of United Kingdom signature of the Convention in the light of our national interests and the views of other countries.

Namibia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what effect the current internal dispute in Namibia between the Administrator-General and Mr. Dirk Mudge, chairman of the Council of Ministers, has had on the work of the Contact Five Group.

The recent extension of the mandate of the Council of Ministers, and the appointment of a new Administrator-General for Namibia, do not affect the Five's repeated commitment to continue their efforts to achieve implementation of the United Nations plan for a Namibia settlement.

Birzeit University (West Bank)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise with the Israeli authorities their treatment of British staff employed at Birzeit University in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement.

Representations have already been made to the Israeli authorities about their attempt to compel British and other non-resident lecturers at West Bank universities to sign a declaration renouncing support for the PLO or any other hostile organisation. We particularly regret that as a result of this Israeli policy a British lecturer at Bethlehem University, Mr. Mark Cheverton, was forced to leave the West Bank on 5 November.The Israeli authorities are no longer insisting on signature of this particular document. It is not yet clear what other conditions lecturers are now being asked to fulfil for the renewal of their work permits. We hope that an arrangement will be reached which will enable all those expelled to return to the West Bank to resume their work.

Argentina (Territorial Claims)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will take steps to see that notices are removed in the Argentine base at Esperanza on Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, British Quadrant, which proclaim that that region is part of the Argentine Republic.

Under the terms of article IV paragraph 2 of the Antarctic treaty, British sovereignty in the Antarctic is not impugned by the notices to which my hon. Friend refers. There is therefore no requirement for us to remove them.

Republic Of Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he has, (b) other Ministers have and (c) his officials have had in the last 12 months with (i) Ministers and officials representing the Government of the Republic of Ireland and (ii) Ministers and officials representing the member Governments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, concerning the inclusion of the Republic of Ireland in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and if he will make a statement.

No. Neither my right hon. Friend nor other Ministers, not officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have been involved in any such discussions.

Transport

Public Transport (Travel Concessions)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list in the Official Report the local authorities in the United Kingdom which provide (a) free travel, (b) half-fare travel and (c) less than half-fare travel for retirement pensioners and the disabled.

Concessionary fare schemes are for individual local authorities to decide in the context of the resources they have available and their judgment of the most effective way of meeting the needs of old people in their area. They are not required to notify my Department of details.

MemberFirst AppointedReappointedAppointment expiresSchedule 2 (as amended) paragraph reference
Mr. V. G. Paige CBE1 January 19801 January 198331 December 19852
Mr. A. R. W. Smithers1 March 19821 January 198331 December 19854(a) (business management)
Sir Robin Gillett GBE1 January 19791 January 198231 December 19844(b) (financial matters)
Mr. A. J. Macintosh1 January 19801 January 198331 December 19854(c) (sea transport)
Mr. D. W. Frame25 April 19801 January 198131 December 19834(e) (international commerce)
Mr. G. H. Carpenter1 January 198231 December 1983
Mr. S. Staden6 May 19801 January 198131 December 19834(f) (the organisation of workers)
Mr. D. J. Allison1 February 19761 January 1979 and31 December 19844(g) (riverside activities)
Mr. A. Greengross9 November 19791 January 198131 December 19834(h) (environmental matters affecting the area of the Port of London)
Mr. H. W. Hinds1 January 19791 January 198231 December 1984
Captain P. M. Edge1 January 19801 January 198331 December 19854(i) (navigation)

A59 (Salmesbury)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to impose a speed limit and other safety measures to improve the safety of the stretch of the A59 road at Salmesbury where 31 serious and fatal accidents have happened since January 1979.

A reduction in the speed limit may not be the best answer to the problems occurring on this road. We have in hand arrangements for altering the lane markings and are actively and urgently considering whether anything else might be done to make conditions on the road safer. I shall be writing to my hon. Friend in more detail in a few days.

Social Services

Elderly Persons (Physical Abuse)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he has any plans to institute research into the incidence of non-accidental injury of elderly people by their relatives;(2) what information he has as to how many elderly people are at risk of being physically abused by their care-giving relatives;(3) what information is available to him as to the causes of abuse of elderly people by their relatives.

Port Of London Authority (Members)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will tabulate in the Official Report the names of the persons appointed to the board of the Port of London Authority in accordance with part I of schedule 2 to the Port of London Act 1968 under the respective paragraphs 3(a) to (j) and 4(a), together with their respective dates of appointment, re-appointment, or relinquishment of membership, showing for each sub-paragraph the names of the bodies with which he consulted prior to each appointment.

The information requested is as follows.As required by paragraph 3 of part I of schedule 2 to the Port of London Act 1968, as amended by the Port of London Authority (Constitution) Revision Order 1975—SI 1975 No. 1890—the Secretary of State consulted the authority's chairman on all these appointments.

Little information is available at present, but independent studies suggest that there is a correlation between a high level of dependency in the elderly person and abuse by the supporter. Further information may come from DHSS sponsored research being carried out by the National Institute for Social Work.

Medicines Inspectorate

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current establishment and annual cost of the Medicines Inspectorate.

The establishment of the DHSS Medicines Inspectorate at 31 March 1982 was 21 professional staff and five administrative support staff. The cost of the inspectorate in the year ended 31 August 1982 was £632,800.

Pensions (Increases)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will ensure that future pension increases are paid without the present delay between spring announcement and autumn payment.

The present arrangements have been found by successive Governments to provide the most efficient and economic uprating operation and require about seven months from the initial decision of new rates. The timetable is largely conditioned by the 20 or 26-week cycle for the renewal of benefit order books, and it ensures that the higher rates come into payment before the onset of winter each year. There would be no particular gain to beneficiaries if annual upratings were simply moved to another part of the year, nor if the announcement were delayed to close the time gap, since the upratings are linked to the movement of prices between uprating dates.

Dialysis Treatment (Liverpool)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many dialysis treatments per month were carried out in each of the last five years in Liverpool.

The information is not available centrally. The hon. Member may like to write to the Liverpool health authority for the information.

Prescription Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why one prescription of female hormone replacement therapy costs £2.60.

Non-exempt patients pay a separate charge of £1.30 for each quantity of a drug

Table 1
BirkenheadEngland and Wales
May 1979August 1982May 1979August 1982
Supplementary pensioners8,0008,1001,553,7001,578,800
Unemployed claimants5,60011,400577,5001,636,400
Sick and disabled1,2001,300210,300235,000
Single parent families1,8002,100311,100393,700
Others20060052,60097,700
All supplementary beneficiaries16,80023,5002,705,2003,941,600
Some 100 per cent. count as cases in action in local offices.
Table 2
Dependants of Supplementary Benefit in England and Wales
November 1979December 1981
Supplementary pensioners300,600279,100
Unemployed471,7001,185,500
Sick and disabled61,80076,600
One parent families491,300575,700
Others25,80044,700
Total of all beneficiaries1,351,2002,161,500

Note: Information about dependants is available only from Annual Statistical Enquiries in November/December each year.

Source: Annual Statistical Enquiry.

Child Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will state the number and percentage of eligible families who have requested to continue receiving child benefit weekly; and if he will also present this data according to each administrative area of the country.

About 4·75 million or 69 per cent. of beneficiaries whose entitlement arose before 15 March 1982 are receiving payment weekly.The only regional figures available relate to postal regions. I regret that regional figures of child benefit supplied on prescription. Although female hormone replacement therapy products such as Cyclo-Progynova and Prempak, to which I assume the question refers, are supplied in a single pack by their manufacturer, they consist of two distinct drug formulations taken sequentially. Two prescription charges are therefore payable.

Benefit Claimants

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report figures giving details of the number of claimants and number of dependants in (a) Birkenhead and (b) England and Wales claiming supplementary benefit in May 1979 and at the latest available date; and if he will break down the information to show whether the claimant is (i) over retirement age, (ii) unemployed, (iii) sick, (iv) a single-parent family and (v) in any other category.

Information is not available in the form requested. However table 1 shows the numbers claiming in England and Wales, and from the two local offices in Birkenhead, which may include people who live outside Birkenhead itself. Available information about the number of dependants is given in table 2.recipients whose entitlement arose before 15 March 1982 and who have chosen to continue on weekly payment are not available, but breakdown by region of all recipients is as follows:

Child benefit recipients receiving payment weekly
Postal RegionNumberPercentage within region
London550,00056
Eastern406,00065
Midlands773,00072
North Eastern798,00076
North Western648,00075
South Western424,00070
South Eastern416,00068
Scotland415,00062
Wales319,00071
Overall4,749,00065

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of the insured working population was not contracted out of the State pension scheme at the last convenient available date.

Provisional statistics for 1979–80—the latest available—show that some 25·4 million people, inluding women paying contributions at the reduced rate, paid class 1 or class 2 contributions in the United Kingdom at some time during the year. Of these, 14 million or 55 per cent. were not contracted-out at any time during the year.

Health Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost in constant prices of (a)

£ million
Family Practitioner ServicesHospital and Community Health Services*†
YearGross cost of pharmaceutical servicesCost of drugs dressings and appliancesCost of drugsCost of dressings and appliances
1971–72782611118¶ 37
1972–73814637125¶38
1973–74843658141¶37
1974–7584965813489
1975–7689870114487
1976–7796275515896
1977–7899578316693
1978–791,01379518099
1979–801,01679818794
1980–811,00578918685
1981–821,00979319284
* Expenditure from 1971–72 to 1973–74 relates to hospitals only but from 1974–75 onwards the expenditure for community health services is also included.
† Cost of providing pharmaceutical services in the hospital and community health services is not separately indentified.
‡ Information is not readily available for drugs and dressings and appliances separately.
║ The index used to measure increases in the prices of drugs purchased by hospital and community health services changed during this period. Comparable constant price figures before and from 1977–78 are therefore not available.
¶ Excluding expenditure on patient appliances as this was not separately indentified.
● Provisional figures.

National Finance

Mortgage Interest Tax Relief

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of all mortgages, upon which tax relief is paid, are under £25,000.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the saving in mortgage interest tax relief in (a) the current financial year and (b) a full financial year as a result of the recently announced cut in mortgage rate.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 November 1982, c. 417]: As a result of the cut in interest rates coming into effect on 1 December, the reduction in mortgage interest relief due for 1982–83 is estimated at £110 million. However, there will be virtually no effect on receipts of tax in the year, because most PAYE codes for 1982–83 will not be altered and relief over allowed for 1982–83 will be recovered mainly in PAYE codes for 1983–84. The effect of the reduction in interest rates for a full year, at 1982–83 income levels, is estimated at £330 million.

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.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 November 1982, c. 502]: The information, for England, at November 1980 prices is:

Home Department

Liverpool (Escaped Prisoners)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the escape of two prisoners in Liverpool while being transported between two prisons.

On 17 November, at approximately 6 pm two prisoners, Michael Dodgson, serving a sentence of six years imprisonment for robbery, and Barry McKay, serving 12 years for burglar and robbery, escaped from the coach in which they they were travelling under escort from Liverpool Crown court to H.M. prison, Manchester in the company of seven other prisoners.The escape occurred when the coach drew up at some traffic lights in Hope Street, Liverpool. Whilst the attention of the escort was distracted by a fight between two other prisoners, the two men concerned, who were handcuffed together, kicked out the widow and jumped from the coach. Attempts to restrain them from inside the coach were hampered by broken glass and three officers gave chase, unfortunately without success. The police are searching for the two men. The governor at Manchester is carrying out a full investigation into the incident.

Police (Damage Claims)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish in the OfficialReport as much detailed information as may readily be available showing the amount of (a) claims for damages made against the police as a result of the raids at Brixton and other areas and (b) settlements made to date; and what action is taken to check on the legitimacy of such claims.

Generally it is not possible to separate the particular causes of complaint which form the basis of each compensation payment made by the Metropolitan Police. My right hon. Friend made a statement to the House on 29 October 1981 about the searches of premises carried out in Railton Road on 15 July 1981. We understand that, of the £8,500 claimed for structural damage, £5,000 has now been paid in settlement. In addition claims amounting to £29,000 were made for damage to personal property, and £3,000 has been paid in settlement. One claimant has initiated a civil action. All claims for compensation are thoroughly investigated.

Mr David Ramsay

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will cause an investigation to be made into claims by David Ramsay that he was framed by the police for crimes he did not commit, and who on two separate occasions on appeal has been found not guilty, to ascertain whether there have been miscarriages of justice;(2) if he will make arrangements for compensation for wrongful imprisonment to be paid to David Ramsay, of Forest Gate, who on two separate occasions has been found not guilty on appeal to the High Court and has been wrongly incarcerated in prison for five years and four months;(3) whether, in view of the fact that David Ramsay has on two separate occasions been found not guilty of any offence, he will take steps to ensure tha all records held against this man including photographs, fingerprints, negatives of photographs, and so on, are returned to him and removed from the official records held against him.

Fine Defaulters (Rehabilitation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was done to help in the rehabilitation of those imprisoned for default of payment of a fine for drunkenness in 1981.

The majority of those imprisoned for default of payment of a fine for drunkenness are sentenced to very short periods in custody, usually one week or less. This means that the opportunities for rehabilitation are limited. Prison medical officers supervise treatment for those suffering from alcoholism, and in many prisons psychiatrically qualified medical officers and visiting consultant psychiatrists are available and offer psychotherapy if this is indicated and the prisoner is willing to accept it. The probation service may also assist a prisoner after discharge to establish contact with Alcoholics Anonymous and other organisations able to help him during his early days of release.

Miss Jaikaran Singh

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now reply to the letter sent to him on 27 September from the hon. Member for Gower regarding Miss Jaikaran Singh.

My assistant private secretary wrote to the hon. Member on 17 November to say that we would be arranging for his constituent to be interviewed about Miss Jaikaran Singh's application. I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as the interview has taken place.

Argentine Passport Holders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Argentine passport holders have been admitted to the United Kingdom since 14 June; what records were kept of the purpose of their visit; and if he will make a statement.

There were 920 admissions to the United Kingdom of nationals of Argentina in the three months July-September 1982. Every Argentine national requires a visa for entry and must explain the purpose of his visit in order to obtain it, but statistics of those purposes are not compiled. The immigration service records the purpose of the journey for all admissions of non-patrials other than EC nationals, and figures are published annually by citizenship-nationality in the command paper "Control of immigration statistics"—table 1 of the issue for 1981, Cmnd. 8533.

Jurors (Interference)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any information to suggest there has been an increasing incidence of interference with jurors in recent years, and that this practice is related in any way to the previous convictions of any jurors who have been contacted.

In the last year at the central criminal court, five trials have been stopped following interference with jurors, and in eight other cases reports of attempted interference have been made. Some of the jurors contacted had previous convictions. Comparable figures for earlier years are not readily available but are thought to be lower.