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Written Answers

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 7 December 1982

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 7 December 1982

Prime Minister

Engagements

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q38.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q40.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q41.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q42.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q43.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q44.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q45.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q46.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q47.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q48.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 7 December.

Q49.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q50.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q53.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q55.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q56.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q57.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q58.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q59.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q60.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q61.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q62.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q63.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q64.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q65.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q66.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q67.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

Q69.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q71.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q72.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her public engagements for 7 December.

Q76.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

Q77.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 December.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 7 December.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.

United States Of America

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister when she next plans to visit the United States of America.

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister when she next plans to visit the United States of America.

Q51.

asked the Prime Minister when she next plans to visit the United States of America.

Q52.

asked the Prime Minister when she next plans to visit the United States of America.

Income Distribution

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister to what extent inflation has had a redistributive effect on income during the last four years.

This information is not available. However, the substantial reduction of the level of inflation under the present Government can only have benefited the recipients of fixed incomes.

Mathematics And Science

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the number of girls studying mathematics and sciences at "A" level.

The proportion of girls among the candidates for A-level examinations in science subjects and mathematics has been increasing, but they still represent only 30 per cent. of A-level candidates in mathematics, 21 per cent. in physics and 34 per cent. in chemistry. We hope that more girls with an aptitude for mathematics and science will take advantage of the opportunities open to them, and there are a number of current national and local initiatives designed to encourage girls to continue studying mathematics and science and to improve their performance in these subjects.

Royal Marsden Clinic

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to the Royal Marsden breast cancer screening clinic.

European Community Budget

Q54.

asked the Prime Minister by what date she aims to achieve a new long-term formula for the United Kingdom net contribution to the European Economic Community budget.

It may take some time to secure agreement to a satisfactory reform of the Community's budgetary system. Until then, the Government will insist on adequate refunds under the existing system.

Unemployment (Young Persons)

Q68.

asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the current level of unemployment amongst young people.

About 263,000 young people under the age of 18 are currently unemployed.The Government's special measures programme is directed particularly at this age group. From September 1983 no 16-year-old school leaver need be unemployed, since those unable to find work will be offered either continued education or a place on the youth training scheme. The resources available for the scheme should also be sufficient to cover all unemployed 17-year-old school leavers.The creation of more jobs will in large part depend on increasing the competitiveness of British industry.

Factory Closures

Q73.

asked the Prime Minister how many hon. Members she has seen to discuss factory closures since she last answered oral questions; and how many job losses were involved.

Shareholders (Equity Stake)

Q75.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will set up a working party of City institutions and Ministers to discuss improved methods of encouraging small shareholders to increase their equity stake in British industry and commerce.

No. I see no need to formalise, and so limit, the extensive and wide-ranging contacts which now exist between the institutions and Government. This Government believe that small shareholders make a very valuable contribution to British industry and commerce. The importance which we attach to the continued enlargement of their role has been made clear by the steps we have already taken, particularly through the business start-up scheme and the improved arrangements for profit-sharing and share-option schemes.

Central Policy Review Staff

asked the Prime Minister whether the unit supporting the Chief Scientist, Central Policy Review Staff, referred to in the Government observations on the first report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology in Session 1981–82 (Cmnd. 8591) has yet been established; how many posts it contains; and what is the total annual cost to public funds.

Staff to establish the unit have been selected and will take up post early in 1983. The unit will have a staff of six, including two existing posts transferred from within the Cabinet Secretariat. The estimated cost of the four new posts and two new supporting secretarial posts is about £160,000 a year.

Home Department

Fitness-To-Plead Reports

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fitness-to-plead reports were prepared in 1981 on women and men, respectively; and, of these, how many were prepared on bail and how many in custody.

The issue of an accused person's fitness-to-plead will normally be considered in any pretrial psychiatric report. We have no information about the number of reports in which it is suggested that the accused is unfit to plead.

Magistrates' Courts Act 1980

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many pre-trial reports were prepared during 1981 under section 10 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 on women and men, respectively; and, of these, how many were prepared on bail and how many in custody.

The Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 makes no provision for pre-trial reports. Section 10(3) empowers a court to adjourn after convicting an accused for the purpose of enabling enquiries to be made or of determining the most suitable method of dealing with the case. Information held centrally does not distinguish cases where that power is used from those where the court otherwise adjourns a case after convicting but before sentencing the accused; nor does it record cases where the adjournment was for the purpose of obtaining reports on the accused.

Diplomats (Offences)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if any of the 16 diplomats alleged to have committed theft offences are still in the United Kingdom;(2) if

(a) the four diplomats alleged to have committed offences of violence against the person, (b) the one alleged to have committed a sexual offence and (c) the one alleged to have committed a firearms offence are still in the United Kingdom; and what was the precise nature of these alleged offences.

Five of the persons entitled to claim diplomatic immunity who are suspected of involvement in offences against the Theft Act 1968 have left the United Kingdom and a further three are in the process of leaving. The one person suspected of a sexual offence has also left; otherwise the persons concerned remain.The legal description of the offences alleged are:

Offence
(a) Violence against the person:
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 18612
Assaulting a police officer contrary to section 51(1) of the Police Act 19641
Common assault1
(b) Sexual offence:
Gross indecency contrary to section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 19561
(c) Firearms offences:
Unlawful possession of a firearm contrary to section 1 of the Firearms Act 19681

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the additional conditions attaching to the right of entry of the spouse of a female British citizen born in the United Kingdom or with a parent born in the United Kingdom against that of the spouse of a similar male.

The conditions under which husbands are at present allowed to enter this country are set out in paragraph 50 of the "Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules" (HC 394) which was laid before Parliament on 20 February 1980. Paragraphs 42–45 deal with the entry of wives. The entry of husbands is subject to specific tests designed to assess the motives of the applicant and the nature of the relationship between the parties, and admission is for a limited period only in the first instance. Wives are not subject to similar tests, although their admission, like that of all passengers, is subject to the general considerations in paragraphs 67–69, and they are accepted for settlement on arrival. It is also a condition of entry of a wife that the sponsor must be able and willing to maintain and accommodate her without recourse to public funds, unless he is a Commonwealth citizen who has the right of abode or was settled in the United Kingdom on the coming into force of the Immigration Act 1971.

Citizens Band Radio

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints he has received over abuses of citizens band radio; and whether he proposes to take action in this connection.

Many complaints have been received by my Department and British Telecom's radio interference service, but the total number could be ascertained only at disproportionate cost. Within the limitations imposed by other heavy demands upon their resources, the radio interference service has been instructed to investigate breaches of the CB licence conditions. Additionally, we are seeking to strengthen the enforcement provisions of Wireless Telegraphy Legislation in the Telecommunications Bill.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total of licences for citizens band radio now issued; and what is his estimate of the number of sets now operating in the United Kingdom.

By 29 October some 350,000 CB radio licences had been issued. We have no reliable information on which to base an estimate of the number of sets in use.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress towards agreement for a common European citizens band frequency; and what frequency, mode and power is proposed.

A committee of the Conference of European Posts and Telecommunications Administrations is considering a draft recommendation on 27 MHz citizens band radio equipment. The current proposals are for a service operating in the frequency band 26·960 MHz to 27·410 MHz. The service contemplated would use only frequency or phase modulation and a maximum power of 4 watts.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Rspca (Overseas Visits)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from foreign embassies in London or what information is available to him from United Kingdom consular or diplomatic sources abroad concerning the activities of and reports made by representatives of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals visiting overseas countries; and whether he will make a statement.

British Dependent Territories (Citizenship)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what wording concerning nationality and citizenship will be contained in the passports of citizens of British dependent territories from 1 January 1983.

Passports issued to British dependent territories citizens from 1 January 1983 will have entered on page one against "National Status/Nationalite" the following:BritishBritish Dependent Territories CitizenThe name of the dependent territory with which the holder of the passport is connected will normally be entered in the third line.

Captain Anatoli Pavlovich Zotov

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a decision was taken over the expulsion of the Soviet naval attaché, Captain Anatoli Pavlovich Zotov; and what were the reasons for the delay in making a public announcement.

The Soviet charge d'affaires was requested on 1 December to arrange for the departure of the naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy, Captain A P Zotov, within seven days. It is our usual practice in instances of this kind to take an early and appropriate opportunity to make an announcement at or around the time of departure of the individual concerned.

Civil Service

Employment (Equal Opportunities)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what steps the Civil Service is taking to promote equal opportunities in its employment; and what consideration is given to the requirements of ethnic minorities.

The Civil Service has a policy of equal opportunity which provides that all eligible persons shall have equal opportunity for employment and advancement on the basis of their ability, qualifications and fitness for the work.As the hon. Member may know, a joint review group was set up in 1980 to review the development of employment opportunities for women in the Civil Service. The review group has now completed its work and its report, entitled "Equal Opportunities for Women in the Civil Service" will be published on 16 December by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. In addition, volume 1 of the report on the pilot ethnic survey of some civil servants in Leeds was published on 29 November. Volume 2 of this report, covering the ethnic survey of applicants for Civil Service posts in Leeds, will be published early in 1983. The implications of the survey will be considered once the results of the job applicant part of the survey are known. At the same time a service-wide review of the impact of personnel policies and procedures on members of the ethnic minorities is being undertaken. A report on this will be available in spring 1983.

Employment

Benefit Disallowances

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to the reply of 23 November, Official Report, c. 438, to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough, if he will set out the principal reasons for benefit disallowances for the 19 women and 17 men during the pilot trial of the initial availability for work test.

The independent adjudicating authorities are not required by law to give reasons for their decisions. However, it is possible to give the reasons why the benefit office staff decided to refer these cases to the independent adjudicating authorities. Those involving restricted availability were dealt with in the light of specialist advice from jobcentres.

WOMEN (19 cases): Eight stated they were not prepared to accept work at all. Eleven wanted part-time work, but in the opinion of the jobcentre they had no reasonable prospects of employment in view of the hours and type of work required and their previous experience.
MEN (17 cases): Eleven stated they were not prepared to accept any type of work. Six were restricting either the hours or place of employment to such an extent that in the opinion of the jobcentre they had no reasonable prospects of a job.

European Social Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the projects in the United Kingdom which received money from the European social fund in 1980 and 1981 under the women's training projects heading of the social fund.

The following schemes of training exclusively for women aged over 25 years were assisted by the fund in 1980 and 1981:

Organisation and schemeAllocation
£
1980*
Hatfield polytechnic—accountancy foundation course37,000
Co-operative bank, Merseyside —training for supervisory work at a level where women are under-represented21,579
Leicestershire county council—training in the field of arts/crafts occupations5,923
1981*
Manpower Services Conunission—skillcentre training in life and social skills plus vocational training as preparation for employment in male-dominated areas224,522
Hatfield polytechnic—new opportunities and accountancy foundation course51,000
Bradford College—training as light vehicle drivers14,565
Organisation and schemeAllocation
Chelmer institute of higher education—pre-training course in male-dominated areas2,826
Leicestershire county council—training or retraining in dress, embroidery and design3,878
Chelmer institutue of higher education—training in basic skills70,400
Lambeth women's workshop—skill training in carpentry20,724
East Leeds women's workshop—skills training for jobs in which women are under-represented105,286

* Year in which allocation was made.

In addition, the social fund makes allocations to a large number of schemes open to women and men alike.

Job-Splitting Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ensure that participation in the job-splitting scheme will be purely voluntary and that no unemployed person will be denied benefit if they refuse the offer of a shared post.

It is the Government's intention that participation in the scheme will be voluntary. The operation of the scheme will not interfere with the normal qualifying conditions for the receipt of benefit.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what arrangements will be made to enable older workers to participate in the job-splitting scheme without prejudice to their occupational pension entitlement.

Occupational pension schemes are set up voluntarily by employers.I hope that employers participating in the scheme will devise arrangements whereby occupational pension rights already accrued would not be prejudiced.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied that by limiting access for the unemployed to the scheme to those in receipt of benefits he is not excluding people who might welcome a job-sharing arrangement, particularly those women who are seeking part-time work but who do not register as unemployed because they are ineligible for benefit.

It is our intention that the job-splitting scheme should be broadly self-financing, with its costs being offset by savings in benefits which would otherwise be paid. For this reason access for the unemployed will be limited to those in receipt of benefit. I recognise that some people interested in part-time work will be ineligible under the scheme.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will raise the qualifying hours for receipt of a job-splitting grant from 15 to 16 so as to ensure employment protection for all the participants.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will ensure that participants in the job-splitting scheme will be entitled to pay and other negotiated benefits on a pro rata basis to their full-time counterparts.

The terms and conditions of employment of people taking part-time jobs under the scheme will be a matter for negotiation between employers and employees, in the normal way.

Work Permits

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the Rayner review of the work permit system has been completed; and if he will make a statement.

The review has been completed and the report of the study team together with an action document giving the response to their recommendations have been placed in the Libraries. The recommendation by the study team that employers should be charged for each application submitted for a work permit has been accepted in principle and will be implemented as soon as a suitable legislative vehicle is available.

Unemployed Women (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will set out a table showing the numbers of registered unemployed women in England by regions based on the old and new method of compilations.

The information requested can be found in respect of October 1981 to October 1982 in the tables placed in the Library in answer to the question by the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Strang) on 3 December 1982.—[Vol. 33, c. 321–22.]

Social Services

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the expenditure on supplementary benefit in Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and the English regions in £ million and per head of the population in the most recent year for which figures are available.

The information is as follows.

(a)(b)(c)
RegionAmount(£ million)Per person (£)
Great Britain4,83288
Scotland46490
Wales27598
North336*108
Yorks and Humberside43889
East Midlands299*78
East Anglia10656
South East1,37981
South West31171
West Midlands51299
North Western712110

Notes:

(1) The figures relate to the financial year 1981–82.

(2) A precise regional breakdown of expenditure is not available but has been estimated from sample enquiries.

(3) The regions in column (a) are standard regions.

(4) The totals in column (b) are based on a compilation of social security administrative regions; these do not correspond exactly with the boundaries of the North, Yorkshire and Humberside, East Midlands and

Number of single Payments

Average amount

Total expenditure

£

£ million

Supplementary benefit single payments for maternity items61,00043·502·6
All supplementary benefit single payments684,00050·5034·6

North West regions. Precise boundaries are shown in appendices 3 and 4 of Social Security Statistics 1981.

(5) The figures in column (c) are calculated by dividing column (b)> by the estimated population of the standard region in column (a)..The boundary differences impart some upward bias to those marked * and some downward bias to those marked .

Source: "Supplementary Benefit Quarterly Statistical Enquiries" and DHSS expenditure figures. Mid-year population estimated mid–1981; OPCS and Scottish Office.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what minimum and maximum social services payments are payable to an unemployed man with a wife and four children of school age, with a mortgage of £25,000 together with the normal assistance towards the payments of the general and water rates of £500 per annum; and if he will list child allowances additionally to the normal welfare and supplementary benefits payable.

There are no minimum or maximum rates of supplementary benefit. Claimants' entitlements depend on their individual circumstances.The supplementary benefit scale rate for children aged under 11 is £8·75 and for children aged 13 to 15 is £13·15. Supplementary benefit claimants will normally receive child benefit and may also receive child dependency additions payable with other social security benefits, but they will be taken fully into account in calculating entitlement to supplementary benefit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why his Department includes as a resource to the claimant for supplementary benefit purpose the amounts deducted in lieu of income tax from job release payments.

Under the Supplementary Benefit (Resources) Regulation 1981 only the net amount of a job release allowance from which income tax has been deducted falls to be be taken into account as an income resource. If the hon. Member knows of a particular case in which difficulties have arisen, perhaps he will let me have details.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will bring forward proposals to amend Regulation 23 of the Supplementary Benefit Single Payment Regulations in order to avoid discrimination against women in respect of the items of working clothes and footwear for which payments may be made.

I have no reason to believe that the present regulation operates in a discriminatory manner, but if the hon. Member has a particular difficulty in mind, perhaps he will let me know.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of single payments to those on supplementary benefit has, in the most recent convenient period, been paid in respect of maternity; and what has been the total sum paid out in single payments for maternity leave for this period.

Information from the annual statistical inquiry carried out in December 1981 is as follows:

These figures relate to single payments made during the 12 months preceding the inquiry to persons still in receipt of supplementary benefit at the date of the inquiry. They do not therefore record all of the single payments made during the year.

National Health Service (Ancillary Staff)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the average annual numbers of ancillary staff employed in the National Health Service for each year since 1972.

The numbers of ancillary staff, together with the whole-time equivalents, employed in the National Health Service in England at 30 September in each year were as follows:

NumberWhole-time Equivalent
(thousands)(thousands)
1972200·9167·8
1973200·3165·1
1974202·4163·4
1975208·6167·8
1976216·7173·6
1977217·3172·8
1978219·1172·2
1979219·4171·9
1980220·6172·0
1981221·4172·2
As a result of the NHS reorganisation on 1 April 1974 the figures for 1972 and 1973 are not strictly comparable with those for subsequent years.

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many doctors from each of the member States of the European Community have taken posts in Great Britain during each of the last three years for which figures are available; how many British doctors have taken posts in those countries during the same period; and how many European doctors have failed to pass the test of language competence since its introduction.

Preventive Treatment

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the preventive schemes, such as screening for hormone originated cancers, which his Department is presently researching for cost-effectiveness, in order to expedite and expand the general availability of frequent and regular screening.

The only national screening scheme which is being researched for cost-effectiveness is embodied in the trials for the early detection of breast cancer taking place in Guildford, Huddersfield, Nottingham and Edinburgh.

Vaccine (Wastage)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to prevent wastage of vaccine through the avoidance of distributing multi-dose packs of vaccine which have to be discarded after only a fraction has been used within the time limit recommended.

The use of single-dose containers for vaccines is recommended in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's booklet "Immunisation Against Infectious Disease', which was published by the Health Departments in May 1982 and circulated to the medical and nursing professions. Manufacturers are moving progressively in this direction. Doctors have been asked to organise their vaccination sessions so that maximum use is made of vaccine from multi-dose containers, by arranging to vaccinate a number of persons at each session.

Cervical Screening

asked the Secretary of Stale for Social Services why he has not implemented the recommendations of the committee on gynaecological cytology to reduce the age at which cervical screening should start to 22 years.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Silvester) on 26 October 1982.—[Vol. 29, c. 386.]

Social Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the Barclay report on the role of social workers in the community, and what recommendations of that report he plans to implement.

At this stage there is nothing to add to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Huckfield) on 26 October.—[Vol. 29, c. 375–76.]

Housing Addition

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the savings in 1983–84 and in a full year if the non-householder's housing addition were abolished.

If the non-householder's housing addition were abolished at the November 1983 uprating the saving in the 1983–84 financial year would be £41 million. In a full year it would be £113 million. These estimates are based on 1982–83 rates of benefit.

Poliomyelitis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of 2-year-olds, 5-year-olds and 10-year-olds have been immunised against poliomyelitis; and if he has any plans to encourage parents of unvaccinated children to have them vaccinated.

By the end of 1981 an estimated 82 per cent. of 2 and 5-year-olds and an estimated 87 per cent. of 10-year-olds in England and Wales had completed courses of immunisation against poliomyelitis, the higher percentage of 10-year-olds being largely attributable to immunisation after school entry. In view of this high level of protection and the rarity of cases in England and Wales, I see no need for special measures in relation to immunisation uptake.

Community Psychiatric Nurses (Representation)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has not agreed to the request from the community psychiatric nurses to be represented by a statutory standing committee.

We have received no requests to set up a statutory committee to represent community psychiatric nurses. Apart from the committees for finance, midwifery and health visiting which have to be set up under the Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1979, we have been guided by the views of the United Kingdom Central Council and the English National Board for Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors as to the committees to be established.The English National Board has decided to set up two non-statutory committees, one for mental health nursing and one for mental handicap nursing. These are to remain in being until the elected board takes over from the present board in September 1983. We would prefer decisions on other requests for committees to be taken by the elected board.

Young Persons (Community Homes)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many young people are currently placed in (a) voluntary community homes with education and (b) local authority community homes with education (i) nationally, (ii) on Merseyside and (iii) from the Ormskirk constituency.

The numbers of children in community homes in England and on Merseyside with educational facilities on the premises on 31 March 1981 are given in the following table:

EnglandMerseyside
Assisted (voluntary) community homes964156
Local authority maintained or controlled community homes3,65797
The figures for England are estimated. Information is not available centrally in terms of parliamentary constituencies.

Rampton Hospital (Patient Transfers)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how long each of the 15 patients at Rampton who is waiting for a transfer to a National Health Service hospital has been waiting; and what is the sex of each.

Fifteen patients have been waiting for periods of over four years as follows:

MalesFemales
Over four years but less than five years1
Over five years but less than six years33
Over six years but less than seven years41
Over seven years but less than eight years21

Broadmoor Hospital (Patient Transfer)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how long the patient at Broadmoor who has been waiting for over four years for a transfer to a National Health Service hospital has been waiting; for what reasons the patient has been waiting; in which area a place is not able to be found for the patient; and what is the patient's sex.

This is an elderly female patient who was recommended for transfer in January 1978. Efforts have been made to find a bed for her in an NHS hospital within the North-West Thames region. Although she no longer requires special security, she is considered to be a serious danger to children. She requires a degree of security appropriate to her circumstances, without close confinement, which would be greater than can be readily provided in an open hospital.

Family Practitioner Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many representations he has received from family practitioner committees for greater financial assistance to meet and monitor the increase in demands upon the primary care services.

Duty-Free Tobacco (Health Warning)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why cigarettes sold in duty-free shops on British ships or at British airports are not covered by the voluntary agreement with the manufacturers regarding health warnings on packets.

Such cigarettes are not necessarily manufactured or marketed by the companies which are party to the voluntary agreement.

European Community (Social Security Regulations)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when it is planned to publish the regulations which will define the "nominated breadwinner" for the purposes of that part of the EEC directive on equal treatment in matters of social security between men and women which the Government intend to make effective from 1983.

My right hon. Friend hopes to refer draft regulations giving effect to our proposals for introducing equal treatment in the supplementary benefit scheme to the Social Security Advisory Committee, under the normal consultation procedures, in the spring of 1983.

Drugs (Surveillance)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether progress is being made towards providing family medical practitioners with a computerised system of drug surveillance and drug side-effect monitoring; and whether such a system could eventually replace the yellow card system now being used.

The yellow card system of drug surveillance is itself partly computerised as the information submitted on the yellow cards is held and analysed on a computer in our Department.Experiments are taking place with more fully computerised systems, where practitioners may communicate directly with the computer through a Viewdata system using a modified TV set. These systems are used at present to disseminate information to the practitioners, but it is possible to incorporate the means whereby the doctor could also report information to the computer system via the TV set.We are also considering, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry, an application for support, under the Information Technology Year scheme, for a computer system which would include drug surveillance and monitoring and, eventually, two-way communication with the doctors.These experiments and proposals are designed to work in parallel with the yellow card system. The costs and benefits of introducing any such computer system on a larger scale would have to be thoroughly analysed and assessed before the yellow card system could be totally replaced as the hon. Member suggests.

Invalidity Pension

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) on 5 July, Official Report, c. 25, if he will give further details of his Department's monitoring of the administrative arrangements for dealing with housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension claims;(2) pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) on 5 July,

Official Report, c. 27, if he will give further details of his Department's monitoring of the working of the present rules governing entitlement to housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension.

The administrative arrangements and the working of the rules in relation to housewives' noncontributory invalidity pension are monitored by means of management checks and scrutiny and audit of awards. The decisions of the adjudicating authorities are also subject to an independent check. In addition, the Department keeps procedures and instructions to staff under review.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, on 12 July, Official Report, c. 295, he will give the basis of his estimate that the gross cost of abolishing the household duties test was made up of (a) 240,000 additional non-contributory invalidity pension beneficiaries and (b) 140,000 child dependants.

The sources for the estimate were routine incapacity statistics and the survey "Handicapped and Impaired in Great Britain" by Amelia Harris published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1971. I shall write to the right hon. Member giving details of the assumptions involved.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent South, on 12 July, Official Report, c. 295, what are the reasons for the difference between the estimate given by his Department to the National Insurance Advisory Committee that the cost of abolishing the household duties test would be £168 million—Cmnd. 7955, paragraph 44—and the estimate of £275 million in his reply on 12 July.

The figure of £168 million was the estimated net cost of paying 240,000 women noncontributory invalidity pension at the November 1979 rate of £14 a week, less an amount of savings from other social security benefits. The figure of £275 million was the estimated gross cost of paying 240,000 women noncontributory invalidity pension at the November 1981 rate of £17·75 a week and paying 140,000 child dependency additions at £7·70 a week. As I explained in my reply to the right hon. Member on 12 July—[Vol. 27, c. 295]—estimated savings from national insurance dependency additions would reduce the figure of £275 million to £250 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the current costs, expressed as a percentage of total expenditure on the benefit, of administering (a) non-contributory invalidity pension and (b) housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension.

The estimated cost in 1982–83 of administering non-contributory invalidity pension and housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension is of the order of £7 million, which is about 5 per cent. of total benefit expenditure. No reliable apportionment of actual administration costs between non-contributory invalidity pension and housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension is available. I shall, however, write to the right hon. Member in more detail on the subject of administration costs.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of women refused housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension on medical grounds have appealed to a National Insurance local tribunal in each of the past five years, expressed as a percentage of (a) all housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension applicants in that year and (b) all unsuccessful housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension applicants in that year.

Because of the special administrative arrangements that were made when the benefit was first introduced in November 1977 figures are not readily available for that year. Nor is it possible to separate claims disallowed on medical grounds from those disallowed on other grounds.The available information is as follows:

YearAppeals expressed as Percentage of new/renewal claims considered by insurance officerAppeals expressed as percentage of new/renewal claims disallowed by insurance officer for any reason
197834·588·2
197913·829·2
198013·627·6
198112·228·7

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of appeals against refusal of housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension are heard by national insurance local tribunals which (a) include at least one woman member and (b) are in premises which are inaccessible to a wheelchair user.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension applicants are examined by a general practitioner in their homes.

It is estimated that some 93 per cent. of all applicants for housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension currently have a medical examination. In every case the doctor is asked to conduct the examination in the applicant's own home. Claims are decided without medical examination when the applicant is receiving the higher rate of attendance allowance or is a long-stay hospital patient.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of all applicants for housewives' non-contributory invalidity pension during the first six months of 1982 gave up some form of paid employment (a) during the six months preceding their application, (b) between six and 12 months before their application, (c) between one and two years before their application, (d) between two and five years before their application and (e) between five and 10 years before their application.

Nhs Contractors (Remuneration)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total remuneration paid for each year since 1971·72, including estimated figures for 1982–83, to each of the following National Health Service contractors in England and Wales (a) doctors, (b) dentists, (c) chemists, (d) ophthalmic opticians and (e) dispensing opticians.

The information on the gross fees and allowances paid to NHS contractors in England and Wales is as follows:

£ million
Opticians
DoctorsDentistsChemists*Sight TestsDispensing
1971–72173·2107·955·39·95·7
1972–73187·2116·962·411·06·0
1973–74202·2129·368·111·56·3
1974–75228·7160·082·212·98·0
1975–76304·5210·4105·727·015·6
1976–77340·1232·1118·827·117·4
1977–78360·4241·6131·527·516·09
1978–79411·4293·3148·731·117·1
1979–80506·8354·0158·136·817·9
1980–81669·4440·8210·539·919·9
1981–82767·5505·0251·253·025·8
1982–83**841·1558·3269·863·138·9

* Includes fees for sight testing paid to ophthalmic medical practitioners.

Fees for dispensing paid to ophthalmic and dispensing opticians; no figures are readily available showing the apportionment between the two professions.

Provisional.

** Estimated.

Children Act 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends to implement in full section 64 of the Children Act 1975; and if he will make a statement.

Section 64 of the 1975 Act introduces new sections 32A and 32B into to Children and young Persons Act 1969. Section 32A(2), (3), (4) and (5), and section 32B(1) and (3) are already in force.Urgent consideration is being given to the arrangements necessary for further implementation to the extent required to make parents eligible for legally aided representation when an order is made under section 32A(1). It is not possible to say when section 64 will be fully implemented, since the provisions introducing section 32B(2), about the appointment of guardians ad litem, have resource implications for local authorities and the probation service.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (Profits)

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services if he will provide figures indicating the value of excess profits recovered from pharmaceutical manufacturers under the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme in each of the last five years.

The sums in question were:

£
1977–782,360,000
1978–791,676,000
1979–801,267,800
1980–811,619,000
1981–82718,000

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wrigley), Official Report, 18 November, c. 281, if he will list minimum pension entitlement in each European Economic Community member State and in Sweden, Norway and Switzerland; and if he will relate the figures either to average earnings, or to per capita gross domestic product in each country.

[pursuant to his reply, 29 November 1982, c. 86.]: The concept of a minimum pension entitlement is not incorporated into the insurance scheme of the United Kingdom nor, as far as I am aware, that of some others of the countries inquired about. I shall write to my hon. Friend shortly with such information as I have.

Industry

International Computers Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what changes are being made to the Government's guarantee for International Computers Ltd.

The present arrangements consist of a guarantee of £150 million of overdraft facilities and £50 million of redeemable preference shares held by ICL's principal banks. ICL has now announced its intention of redeeming a first tranche of £20 million of preference shares on 5 April 1983, and the remainder in three equal tranches of £10 million each on 31 March in each of the three following years. Within the overall limits of the total tapering guarantee to IC1, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced to the House on 27 November 1981, the Government will therefore be guaranteeing £30 million of preference shares in 1983–84, £20 million in 1984–85, and £10 million in 1985–86.The rights issue which ICL has announced, together with the encouraging return to profit in the company's results for 1981–82, will further strengthen ICL's finances and reduce the extent to which the guarantee in respect of loans may have to be used. ICL reported that at 31 March and 30 September 1982 there was no recourse to the guarantee other than in respect of preference shares; ICL has made use of the loan guarantee at some times in its past financial year, but to a relatively small extent.

Japan (Direct Investment)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will initiate an inquiry into the reasons why the percentage investment from Japan to the European Economic Community which came to the United Kingdom has fallen since 1 January 1973;(2) what was the percentage of Japanese direct investment in the European Economic Community which took place in the United Kingdom in 1981; and when the percentage of European Economic Community direct investment by Japan in the United Kingdom was last at its current percentage level.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 December 1982, c. 244.]: The total number of manufacturing projects undertaken by Japanese companies anywhere in Europe in any one year is small, and any change in the number of these projects can cause large changes in the percentage received by the United Kingdom, as the following table shows. Overall, Britain has done better than any other EC member State in attracting Japanese investment of all kinds. In 1981 the United Kingdom received 12 per cent. of Japanese direct investment in the European Community. The invest in Britain bureau and inward investment staff in our diplomatic service posts in Japan are always in close touch with a number of Japanese companies about locating their manufacturing projects in the United Kingdom.

Japanese direct investment overseas*
United States $ million
United KingdomECWorldUnited Kingdom as per cent of:
ECWorld
19733524381,90480·418·5
19743824832,01279·119·0
1975421401,76330·02·4
1976292031,99114·31·5
1977422001,64521·02·6
1978251492,37116·81·1
1979382712,89814·01·3
19801112622,38542·44·7
1981685684,89412·01·4
Total
1975–813551,79317,94719·82·0
1973–811,0892,71421,86340·15·0

* Direct investment covers only purchases net of disposals of share capital and long term loans by Japanese concerns in their overseas subsidiaries, associates and branches. The figures do not include unremitted profits, short-term loans or trade credit.

United Kingdom and eight Continental members up to 1980. Greece included from 1981 onwards.

Source: Japan Balance of Payments Monthly.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the latest total of people employed by Japanese controlled manufacturing enterprises in the United Kingdom; and what percentage of the United Kingdom employment in manufacturing industry this total represents.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 December 1982, c. 244]: The latest published figures available are for 1979, when Japanese controlled manufacturing enterprises in the United Kingdom employed 1,700 people, 0·025 per cent. of all private and public sector employees in United Kingdom manufacturing industry. Currently, Japanese controlled manufacturing companies employ about 3,300 people; in addition about 1,600 people are employed in manufacturing enterprises in which Japanese companies have a 50 per cent. or substantial minority interest.

Environment

Liverpool (Housing Allocation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the reduction of housing allocation in the city of Liverpool for 1983–84.

I am satisfied that the resources available to the city of Liverpool next year should allow that authority to increase its housing investment above the level likely to be achieved this year.

Right-To-Buy (Applications)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the number of right-to-buy applications submitted by council tenants during the third quarter of 1982 together with the figures for each quarter since the relevant legislation came into force.

The numbers of right-to-buy claims received by English local authorities are as follows:

YearQuarterApplications
1980Fourth Quarter130,400
1981First Quarter141,200
Second Quarter54,700
Third Quarter36,900
Forth Quarter20,400
1982First Quarter47,700
Second Quarter39,200
Third Quarter36,500*

* Provisional.

Leasehold Reform Act 1967

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to amend the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 in order to prevent ground landlords obstructing the completion of the freehold purchase.

The Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and the Leasehold Reform (Enfranchisement and Extension) Regulations 1967 already contain provisions to prevent either party to enfranchisement proceedings from delaying matters unduly.

Falmouth Container Terminal

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received any representations against planning permission being given for the proposed development of the Falmouth container terminal; and if he will make a statement.

Representations against the grant of planning permission for the Falmouth container terminal have been received by my right hon. Friend from the Falmouth Civic Society, the Falmouth container terminal action group and one member of the public. The 1971 enabling Act for the Falmouth container terminal effectively gave outline planning consent to the harbour works as permitted development within the terms of the general development order 1977. However Carrick district council, as local planning authority, does have some powers of control over details of the project.It is too early to say whether any other ancillary works which may be envisaged will require specific planning permission.

Commercial And Industrial Rates (Greater London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make an estimate of the average reduction in the commercial and industrial rate in Greater London in 1980–81 and 1981–82 if the amount of rate support grant withheld by the operation of penalties on overspending authorities were applied in providing rate relief for such ratepayers.

If the amount of grant held back from overspending authorities in London under the Rate Support Grant (Principles for Multipliers) Order 1980 were distributed to non-domestic ratepayers in London it would provide rate relief of about a 1p rate in the pound for such ratepayers. If the amount of grant which it is proposed to hold back from London authorities under the Rate Support Grant Supplementary Report (England) (No. 2) 1982 were similarly distributed it would provide a rate relief of about 3–4p for such ratepayers.

Housing Association Scheme, Muswell Hill

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has received the letter dated 11 November 1982 from Councillor Colin Sherriff, chairman of the London borough of Haringey housing committee, in respect of a housing association scheme at Muswell Hill, London, N.10; and what response he has made.

I replied to Councillor Sherriff's letter on 3 December, confirming my earlier decision. I invited the council to consider using the site for some form of low-cost home ownership.

Planning Permission (Policy)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make it his policy to call in for his determination all cases where planning permission or listed building consent is needed, if a local authority has an interest in the land or buildings and, if there are any objections, to order a public inquiry.

No. Our general policy is not to call in planning applications unless they raise issues of more than local importance, and we would not think it right to deprive local planning authorities of jurisdiction in all cases, regardless of importance, where they had an interest in the land. However, where an authority makes an application which involves the alteration or extension of a listed building, or listed building consent is sought, the case has in any event to be referred to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State.

Ordnance Survey Advisory Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about appointments to the Ordnance Survey Advisory Board.

In my written answer of 28 July 1982 to a question from my hon. Friend—[Vol. 28, c. 603–604]—I referred to the creation of an Advisory Board for the Ordnance Survey and the appointment of Sir Robert Clayton as its first chairman. I have now appointed four further members to serve on the board. They are:—Lord Chorley, partner in Coopers and Lybrand, Sir Alan Muir Wood, senior partner of Sir William Halcrow and Partners, Mr. Derek Barber, chairman of the Countryside Commission, and Mr. Michael Montague, chairman of the English Tourist Board. The advisory board's task will be to provide advice on the framework of policies and measures within which the Ordnance Survey should operate, and in particular:

  • (a) to provide me with an independent appraisal of Ordnance Survey performance in order to help it flourish as an efficient and cost-effective organisation;
  • (b) Taking account of evidence of user needs provided by the Ordnance Survey consultative machinery, to advise on the Ordnance Survey programme and its implementation. To advise in particular whether the programme meets the objectives of the Government in relation to those activities which are supported by the Exchequer;
  • (c) To seek to ensure that any necessary external advice (including advice from the private sector) is available to me and to the Ordnance Survey;
  • (d) To seek to ensure that the Ordnance Survey pays proper regard to the pace of technological change;
  • (e) To have regard to the responsibility of the director general Ordnance Survey to me for the efficiency of the Ordnance Survey and for its effectiveness in meeting present and contingent user needs.
  • I intend that the advisory board should have regard to the needs of the private sector and the contribution it can make, and to the needs and views of the wide range of users of OS products and services. The board members will act as independent advisors rather than as representatives of particular interests. My intention is that the board should, whenever relevant, seek the views of the existing consultative committees, and of others with an interest in OS matters.

    Housing Investment Programme Allocations

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will give guidance to housing authorities about the minimum level of housing investment programme allocations they can expect to receive in 1984–85.

    Local authorities in England—other than the GLC—are being informed today that the Government's public expenditure plans for 1984–85 are such that authorities can plan their forward housing programme on the basis that their HIP allocations in 1984–85 will be at least 80 per cent. of the amounts already notified for 1983–84, if authorities can justify that level of expenditure. This is on the assumptions that average rents rise in line with prices in 1984–85 and that total housing capital receipts would be £1,300 million. No decisions on rents have, of course, yet been taken. I am sure that both local authorities and the construction industry will welcome the fact that the Government have now provided a firmer basis on which housing capital expenditure can be planned forward through to April 1985.

    Local Authority Housing (Expenditure)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each local authority in England the amount of capital receipts spent on housing expenditure and the expenditure expressed as a percentage of the total capital receipts of each authority.

    [pursuant to his reply, 2 December, Vol. 33, c. 284]: The available information for 1981–82 on each authority's housing capital expenditure, its housing capital allocation and its housing and non-housing capital receipts was given in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, North (Mr. Durant) on 27 July.—[Vol. 28, c. 460–476.] The equivalent information in respect of the first quarter of 1982–83 was given in my reply to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Lyell) on 19 October.—[Vol. 29, c. 108–123.].

    Council Of Environment Ministers

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement about the outcome of the Council of Environment Ministers meeting on 3 December.

    I led the United Kingdom delegation at this meeting, at Which the Principal item discussed was a draft regulation to Prohibit the import into the Community of skins of certain seal pups and Products derived therefrom.Because a small minority of member States refused to discuss the Presidency Proposal or several other alternatives for action, it Proved impossible to reach agreement, I made it clear that the United Kingdom Wishes to take Positive action and Within the Community to seek conservation by the hooded seal as recommended to the Commission by the Nature Conservancy Council. This also met with no response. The Council will reconvene to continue discussions on the issue on 17 December. Meanwhile I am able to confirm that Following discussions With the Government the British Fur Traders Association has agreed to recommend to its members a voluntary ban on imports of harp and hooded seal pup skins and their Products from 1 March 1983, for a period of one year.The Council also discussed the text of a resolution to approve the general approach of the draft third community Programme on the environment for 1982–1986. I expect this to be finally approved at the next meeting of the Council on 17 December.The Council discussed issues of Principle arising from the Proposal for a directive on the limit values and quality objectives relating to cadium in the aquatic environment. Determined efforts on the Part of other delegations to impose obligations at variance with the Framework directive 76/464/EEC prevented agreement from being reached. The draft directive was referred to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further discussion.After discussion the Council also referred the Proposal for a directive on the environmental assessment of development Projects to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further examination.The Council formally adopted some Community instruments which it had earlier approved. These included the directive for a limit value for lead in the air, the regulations on Community implementation of the Washington convention on trade in endangered species and the directive on the monitoring of the environmental effects of waste from the titanium dioxide industry.The Council will meet again on 17 December to resume discussion of the draft regulation relating to seal products and the third environment programme.

    Energy

    Power Stations

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much each of the advanced gas-cooled reactor power stations cost to build; how long each took to be constructed; and how many are working to their expected capacity.

    I am advised by the CEGB that the information is as follows:

    Start of construction*Estimated cost
    £ million
    Dungeness B1966570
    Hinkley Point B1967(actual cost)185
    Hartlepool1968530
    Heysham I1970535
    Heysham II19811,585

    * Cost of construction from start on site to commercial operation of first reactor.

    The cost estimates include the initial fuel charge and are based on actual expenditure to 31 March 1982 plus estimates of subsequent expenditure at constant March 1982 prices.

    Hinckley Point B, which was completed in 1976, is operating at up to 80 per cent. of its original design output rating. Dungeness B, Hartlepool and Heysham I are expected to commence generation in the first half of next year. Heysham II is expected to commence generation in 1987. AGR in Scotland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

    Standing Charges

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report the calculations on which he based his statement to the hon. Member for Hastings of 15 November, Official Report, c. 4, that the increased unit charge for electricity and gas if the standing charge were to be abolished would be 15 per cent.; and whether these calculations have been agreed with the gas and electricity boards.

    In the course of the review of the impact of standing charges on poorer consumers by my Department earlier this year, BGC and the Electricity Council estimated the unit rates which would be needed in a domestic "flat-rate" tariff to preserve their revenue if the industries' standing charges were abolished. The results of these calculations were as follows:

    Electricity Council:
    Average existing unit rate for domestic consumers on unrestricted tariffs in England and Wales in 1982–835·1p/kWH
    Revised unit rate if standing charges (including prepayment meter surcharge) were eliminated5·9p/kWH
    Increase15 to 16 per cent.
    British Gas Corporation:
    Existing unit rate in first half of 1982–8330·5p/th
    Revised unit rate if standing charges were eliminated35·9p/th
    Increase17 to 18 Per cent.
    For the purpose of the calculations, it was assumed that the level of consumption would not change as a result of adopting a flat-rate tariff.More recent estimates by the industries support my right hon. Friend's statement that the necessary increase would be around 15 per cent.

    Transport

    Land Compensation

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what were the highest amounts of interest paid by his Department on claims under the Land Compensation Acts 1961 and 1973 in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how long each case had taken to settle from the date of entry.

    The information is as follows:

    YearAmountDate of EntryDate of Completion
    £
    1977–7876,49823 November 197314 April 1977
    1978–79224,07324 April 197228 December 1978
    1979–80366,6481 September 19678 October 1979
    1980–81869,1018 June 19723 October 1980
    1981–82315,31719 April 197114 April 1981

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many claims made against his Department under the Land Compensation Acts 1961 and 1973 were settled in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

    The information is as follows:

    YearClaims settled
    1977–783,073
    1978–792,706
    1979–802,529
    1980–812,510
    1981–822,277

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has recently received regarding the payment of interest on claims under the Land Compensation Acts; and if he will make a statement.

    My Department has received representations that interest should be compound and that accrued interest should be payable when advance payments of compensation are made under section 52 of the Land Compensation Act 1973. Any question of changing the general law to that effect would be primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

    Seat Belts

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, in order to secure uniformity of application, he will issue a specific list of medical conditions which doctors can certify as complying with exemptions from the compulsory wearing of seat belts.

    The legislation provides that decisions on medical exemptions from compulsory seat belt wearing rest with individual doctors. However, I believe that doctors should have some guidance and that it is more appropriate that this should come from the profession itself. The Medical Commission on Accident Prevention has, therefore, issued guidelines. These are in general terms and do not list specific conditions as qualifying for exemption, because the commission considers that decisions depend on the circumstances in each individual case.