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Written Answers

Volume 35: debated on Wednesday 19 January 1983

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 19 January 1983

Social Services

Coeliac Disease

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 20 December, Official Report, c. 367, to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill, what is the position regarding coeliac disease as a prescribed condition eligible for supplementary benefit dietary allowance.

Decisions on entitlement in individual cases are a matter for the independent adjudicating authorities. No specific guidance on the position regarding coeliac disease is currently given to supplementary benefit officers. They would consider whether an extra weekly amount under subparagraph (a), (b) or (e) of paragraph 13 of schedule 3 to the requirement regulations might be appropriate taking account of medical advice given on individual cases. I am writing to the hon. Member separately about the particular case he has raised with me.

National Health Service (Staff)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many senior officers have been retired from the National Health Service on early retirement (a) by the Wessex health authority and (b) by the East Anglia regional health authority, and have been re-employed full or part-time in the region;(2) how many employees of

(a) East Anglian regional health authority and (b) Wessex health authority, have been regraded, following reorganisation, and have received an increase in salary; and how much these salary increases have cost each health authority;

(3) how many people in the Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire health district of the Wessex region have taken early retirement; and how many of these posts have been filled.

This information is not available centrally, and I suggest my hon. Friend should take these matters up with the Wessex and East Anglian regional health authority.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the additional cost per annum of regrading nursing posts (a) in the Wessex health authority and (b) in the East Anglia health authority.

This information is not available centrally. I suggest that my hon. Friend writes to the regional health authorities concerned.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, as part of his arrangements for monitoring manpower levels, he has yet received figures of National Health Service staffing in England in September 1982.

The following table gives the provisional figures, in whole-time equivalent terms, for all the main National Health Service staff groups at 30 September 1982, compared with the corresponding numbers at 30 September 1981.The provisional overall increase in staff over the period was 3,400, representing—0·4 per cent. That is the lowest percentage increase since the National Health Service reorganisation in 1974, the earliest date for which comparable information is available. Broadly there have been increases in the staff groups most directly concerned with patient care and reductions in support staff. In the clinical sector, medical and dental staff increased by 500–1·3 per cent.—and nurses and midwives, by 4,300–1·1 per cent. Professional and technical staff—including clinical and non-clinical—rose by 1,900–2·8 per cent. There were decreases in the main—non-clinical—support staff groups, notably ancillary—down by 1·3 per cent.—and administrative and clerical staff—by 0·8 per cent.We shall be closely monitoring these and future trends through the new quarterly returns, the first of which will be based on staff in post at the end of last month. This forms part of the range of measures we have introduced to increase the efficiency and effectiveness with which NHS manpower is used and deployed.

NHS directly employed staff: England, 30 September 1982: whole-time equivalents
1981Provisional 1982Percentage change 1981–82
Medical and dental39,00039,500+1·3
Nursing and Midwifery391,800396,100+1·1
Professional and Technical (excluding Works)65,20067,100+2·8
Works6,2006,100-1·8
Maintenance21,00020,900-0·6
Admin and Clerical108,800107,900-0·8
Ambulance (including Officers)18,20018,300+0·6
Ancillary172,200169,900-1·3
Total822,400825,800+0·4

Notes:

1. The figures for 1981 are "final", updating those announced on 26 March 1982.—[ Official Report, Vol. 20, c. 437–38.]

2. Medical and dental staff includes locums, but excludes hospital practitioners, part-time medical officers—clinical assistants—general medical practitioners participating in hospital staff funds, and occasional sessional staff in the community health service.

3. The figures for nursing and midwifery staff include agency nurses and midwives and health visitor students.

4. All figures rounded to the nearest 100.

Hospital Patients

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, for the last year for which figures are available, what were the numbers of people (a) treated in hospital, (b) attending hospitals, (c) who were outpatients at accident and emergency departments and (d) who were outpatients at outpatient departments.

The number of individual patients who receive some form of hospital treatment is not recorded. In 1981, in England, there were 5·76 million discharges and deaths of hospital in-patients, 0·71 million day case attendances, 13·31 million attendances at accident and emergency departments and 35·6 million attendances at out-patient departments.

Hospital Waiting Lists

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North of 12 November 1982, Official Report, c. 302, if he can now give the figures for 31 December 1981 and the latest date available, of the number of people waiting for hospital operations under the National Health Service.

The numbers of people on waiting lists for in-patient treatment in surgical specialties were 597,472 on 31 December 1981 and 596,234 on 31 March 1982—confirmed figure. The latter is the latest figure available.

Whitley Council

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress is being made in the integration of the professional and technical A and B committees of the Whitley council.

I am not aware of any such proposal. Discussions among the professional bodies concerned have recently begun about the possible integration of certain NHS scientific and technical classes. Any outcome from these discussions will be a matter for consideration by the two Whitley councils concerned.

Orthopaedic Services (Birmingham)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will detail the improvements in orthopaedic services in Birmingham hospitals since the answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr on 7 November 1979, Official Report, c. 221–23.

Information about orthopaedic services in Birmingham hospitals is not collected centrally. The hon. Member should approach the relevant local health authorities about this matter.

Diets

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the statement of policy set out in paragraph 135 of "Prevention and Health", Cmnd. 7047, what recent consultation he has had with the Health Education Council about the provision of information to the public concerning diet.

The Health Education Council is currently planning a series of press advertisements advising the general public on various aspects of diet as an extension of its "Look After Yourself' campaign and the departmental advisers on nutrition are contributing to discussions on their content.

Mobility Allowance Appeals

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has now received a copy of the decision of the tribunal of social security commissioners following its meeting on 3 November to consider three mobility alllowance appeals; if he will place a copy in the Library; and if he will make a statement.

I have received the commissioners' decision and have placed a copy in the Library of the House. I hope that it will be helpful to the independent authorities which decide claims for mobility allowance in determining in individual cases whether a person is unable or virtually unable to walk.

Solvent Abuse

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he will consult representatives of statutory and voluntary bodies and of retailers about solvent misuse; and if he will make a statement.

Letters were sent on Tuesday 18 January to representatives of statutory and voluntary bodies concerned with solvent misusers in England and to representatives of retailers in England and Wales seeking their views on ways of tackling solvent misuse. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is similarly consulting statutory and voluntary bodies in Wales.Copies of the consultation letters are being placed in the Library.The letter to the statutory and voluntary bodies sets out the problem of solvent misuse and describes what these bodies have variously been doing to prevent solvent misuse and help solvent misusers and their parents. The Government action already in hand in support of their work is listed. The letter also seeks views on further Government action in support of this work, in particular on:

  • (i) the role of child care legislation;
  • (ii) the role of criminal law in relation to solvent misuse;
  • (iii) training aids for professionals;
  • (iv) training arrangements for professionals;
  • (v) new posts to stimulate local agencies' response to solvent misuse;
  • (vi) ways of disseminating good practice.
  • The letter to retailers' representatives contains similar information and describes the initiatives of retailers in many areas in exercising voluntary restraint in selling solvent products. Views are invited, in particular on:

  • (i) Whether retailers are generally willing to exercise voluntary restraints?
  • (ii) Whether existing arrangements work well, or should voluntary restraints be co-ordinated or promoted?
  • (iii) How might this be done; whether there is scope for a trade regulated code; what might the Government do to promote such a code?
  • Those consulted are asked to discuss widely the issues raised and to reply by 29 April 1983.

    Attendance Allowance

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many awards of attendance allowance were made in the last year for which figures are available and in each of the preceding two years nationally and in each social security region; and if he will break each figure down by the length of time for which the awards were made.

    [pursuant to his reply, 22 December 1982, c. 592-i]: The information available is as follows. I regret that a regional breakdown could only be obtained at disproportionate expense.

    Awards of attendance allowance (new and renewal claims) 1979–81

    Duration of award (years)

    1981

    1980

    1979

    Less than one1,8902,4433,412
    One less than two12,85311,99410,998
    Two less than three14,59012,80810,427
    Three less than four5,4885,2594,790
    Four less than five2,1862,4662,369
    Five and over7,6987,3976,795
    Life*96,08790,59481,936
    Totals140,792132,961120,727

    Attendance Allowance Awards

    *

    At 31 December 1981

    At 30 September 1980

    At 30 September 1979

    Higher Rate

    Lower Rate

    Higher Rate

    Lower Rate

    Higher Rate

    Lower Rate

    Region

    Number Rate†

    Number Rate†

    Number Rate†

    Number Rate†

    Number Rate†

    Number Rate†

    in receipt

    in receipt

    in receipt

    in receipt

    in receipt

    in receipt

    Northern8,0002·711,0003·77,0002·410,0003·47,0002·39,5003·2
    Yorkshire and Humberside11,5002·318,0003·610,0002·014,5002·99,5001·914,0002·8
    East Midlands and East Anglia16,5003·019,0003·413,5002·415,0002·712,5002·314,0002·6
    London North9,5001·815,0002·89,0001·712,5002·48,5001·612,5002·4
    London West12,0002·217,0003·010,0001·814,5002·612,0002·115,0002·7
    London South17,0002·823,0003·714,5002·420,5003·415,5002·620,5003·3
    South Western14,0003·217,5004·010,5002·417,0003·910,5002·514,5003·3
    West Midlands14,5002·819,0003·711,5002·214,5002·811,0002·215,0002·9
    North Western (Manchester)9,5002·814,0004·18,5002·511,5003·47,5002·210,5003·0
    North Western (Merseyside)10,5003·215,0004·69,5002·912,5003·89,0002·711,5003·6
    Wales13,5004·814,5005·212,0004·312,0004·311,0003·911,5004·2
    Scotland11,5002·218,5003·611,0002·115,0002·910,0001·914,0002·8
    Great Britain148,0002·7202,0003·7126,0002·3169,0003·1123,5002·3162,5003·0

    * All figures quoted are estimates.

    † per 1,000 population.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list the number of applications for attendance allowance in the last year for which figures are available and in each of the preceding two years nationally and in each social security region; and in each case what proportion (a) were awarded (i) the higher rate and (ii) the lower rate on the initial application, (b) requested a review after (i) refusal of the allowance and (ii) award of the lower rate and (c) upon review were (i) awarded the lower rate, (ii) awarded the higher rate, (iii) had the lower rate increased to the higher rate and (iv) had the lower rate withdrawn;(2) if he will list the number of applications for renewal of attendance allowance in the last year for which figures

    Attendance AllowanceInitial Decisions 1979–81
    198119801979
    Proportion awardedProportion awardedProportion awarded
    RegionNumber of decisionsHigher rate per cent.Lower rate per cent.Number of decisionsHigher rate per cent.Lower rate per cent.Number of decisionsHigher rate per cent.Lower rate per cent.
    Northern8,95426·134·98,87226·935·28,04526·935·0
    Yorkshire and Humberside13,92724·542·412,39224·343·712,19925·541·2
    East Midlands and East Anglia14,00135·347·712,78134·944·512,31333·941·0
    London North10,10026·651·48,28424·551·57,63924·149·0
    London South16,19130·450·115,56927·550·114,16527·648·1
    London West10,05431·348·19,61632·347·89,69731·846·8
    South Western13,49230·445·312,88530·445·411,56831·443·3
    West Midlands13,13629·649·412,42826·947·011,22029·545·5
    North Western (Manchester)10,10627·143·59,45328·544·38,26129·842·8
    North Western (Merseyside)10,49632·443·99,92128·641·89,35526·737·3

    * Includes awards to parents in respect of a disabled child up to the age of 16.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the number of people in receipt of attendance allowance at each rate at the latest date for which figures are available and on the equivalent date in each of the preceding two years; and if he will break down the figures by social security region and the rate per 1,000 population in each region.

    [pursuant to his reply 22 December 1982, c. 592-ii]: The information is as follows:are available and in each of the preceding two years nationally and in each social security region; and if he will state in each case what proportion

    (a) were awarded (i) the higher rate and (ii) the lower rate on the initial application, (b) requested a review after (i) refusal of the allowance and (ii) award of the lower rate and (c) upon review were (i) awarded the lower rate, (ii) awarded the higher rate, (iii) had the lower rate increased to the higher rate, and (iv) had the lower rate withdrawn.

    [pursuant to his reply, 22 December 1982, c. 592-ii]: The information available is as follows. It relates to decisions given in the relevant years, not to the results of claims made in those years.

    1981

    1980

    1979

    Proportion awarded

    Proportion awarded

    Proportion awarded

    Region

    Number of decisions

    Higher rate per cent.

    Lower rate per cent.

    Number of decisions

    Higher rate per cent.

    Lower rate per cent.

    Number of decisions

    Higher rate per cent.

    Lower rate per cent.

    Scotland14,82122·738·613,20923·739·411,56526·938·9
    Wales13,35926·932·413,52626·632·612,24727·130·4
    Total148,63728·644·1138,93627·943·6128,27428·541·7

    Attendance AllowanceRenewal Decisions 1979–81

    1981

    1980

    1979

    Proportion awarded

    Proportion awarded

    Proportion awarded

    Region

    Number of decisions

    Higher rate per cent.

    Lower rate per cent.

    Number of decisions

    Higher rate per cent.

    Lower rate per cent.

    Number of decisions

    Higher rate per cent.

    Lower rate per cent.

    Northern1,95636·051·71,99533·352·81,99632·856·9
    Yorkshire and Humberside2,92430·657·72,91028·158·92,62127·861·9
    East Midlands and East Anglia3,39537·058·33,74243·850·02,97342·550·4
    London North2,76533·860·42,85630·462·92,32926·866·0
    London South3,87431·660·34,25233·258·63,67636·959·4
    London West2,35236·455·42,63236·057·52,34636·157·5
    South Western2,35836·353·42,90631·858·42,38135·857·8
    West Midlands3,56336·854·34,02029·658·03,38335·756·1
    North Western (Manchester)2,30936·152·62,52935·055·12,28935·257·6
    North Western (Merseyside)2,59238·455·22,50634·656·22,18731·259·1
    Scotland2,79733·055·92,48825·961·32,20425·963·5
    Wales2,46241·147·92,91637·149·12,37042·148·1
    Total33,34735·455·735,75233·456·630,85534·357·9

    Attendance AllowanceReview Decisions on Dissatisfaction with Earlier Decision*1981

    Requests for review

    Results of reviews

    Region

    Reviews requested after refusal of award, as per cent. of all decisions

    Reviews requested after award of lower rate, as per cent. of all decisions

    Awards made‡ after disallowance, as per cent. of all decisions

    Awards increased from lower rate to higher rate, as per cent. of all decisions

    Allowance withdrawn/reduced, as per cent. of all decisions

    Northern5·81·43·61·10·01
    Yorkshire and Humberside4·21·32·71·00·01
    East Midlands and East Anglia2·11·01·20·70·01
    London North3·51·72·11·30·01
    London South2·61·41·81·00·01
    London West3·11·62·01·20·02
    South Western3·71·42·61·00·01
    West Midlands3·01·31·81·00·02
    North Western (Manchester)4·21·32·81·00·02
    North Western (Merseyside)3·31·42·21·10·02
    Scotland6·51·34·31·00·01
    Wales6·71·44·41·00·01
    Total4·01·42·61·00·01

    * It is not possible to distinguish between reviews of decisions on initial claims and reviews of decisions on renewal claims.

    † Details are not available prior to 1981.
    ‡ It is not possible to distinguish between reviews which led to an award at the lower rate and those which led to an award at the higher rate.
    ║ It is not possible to distinguish between reviews which led to the withdrawal of the allowance and those which led to a reduction from higher rate to lower rate.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the number of reviews of attendance allowance during the currency of an award in the last year for which figures are available and in each of the preceding two years nationally and in each social security region which were instituted (a) by him and (b)by the claimant; and if he will state in each case the proportion in which (i) the allowance was withdrawn, (ii) the existing award was retained, (iii) the higher rate was decreased to the lower rate and (iv) the lower rate was increased to the higher rate.

    [pursuant to his reply, 22 December 1982, c. 592-ii]: The information available is as follows. Details are not available for the period before 1981 and are not yet available for 1982.

  • (a) 525 reviews of awards were made in 1981 following requests by the Secretary of State. The results were as follows-a regional breakdown is not available:
  • Proportion (per cent.)

    Award withdrawn40·4
    Award retained45·3
    Higher rate decreased to lower rate9·9
    Lower rate increased to higher rate4·4

    Reviews (1) of Attendance Allowance Awards in 1981

    Region

    Total Number of Reviews

    Per cent. in which award withdrawn/reduced (2)

    Per cent. in which award retained

    Per cent. in which award increased

    Northern7166·418·275·4
    Yorkshire and Humberside1,1045·321·373·4
    East Midlands and East Anglia9857·121·271·7
    London North8435·721·772·6
    London South1,3444·320·575·2
    London West1,0105·020·874·2
    South Western1,3394·620·674·8
    West Midlands1,0687·320·871·9
    North Western (Manchester)8825·118·876·1
    North Western (Merseyside)9384·419·176·5
    Scotland1,0134·222·473·4
    Wales1,0535·319·175·6
    Total12,2955·320·574·2
    (1) Details are of reviews sought because of dissatisfaction with the award of the lower rate—20 per cent. or a change in the claimant's need for attention or supervision since the original award was made—80 per cent.
    (2) It is not possible to identify reviews which resulted in the withdrawal of the award from those in which the award was reduced from higher rate to lower rate.

    Mobility Allowance

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many applications there were for mobility allowance in the last year for which figures are available and in each of the preceding two years nationally and in each social security region; and in each case what proportion (a) was awarded by the insurance officer, (b) was awarded by a medical board on reference from an insurance officer, (c) was awarded by a medical board on appeal against the decision of an insurance officer and (d) was awarded by a medical appeal tribunal on appeal by the claimant against the decision of a medical board; what was the proportion of cases where the medical board awarded the allowance in which the insurance officer referred the case to a medical appeal tribunal on his instructions; and in what proportion of these cases the medical appeal tribunal confirmed the award;(2) how many applications there were for renewal of mobility allowance in the last year for which figures are available and in each of the preceding two years nationally and in each social security region; in each case what proportion

    (a) was awarded by the insurance officer, (b) was awarded by a medical board on reference from an insurance officer, (c) was awarded by a medical board on appeal against the decision of an insurance officer and (d) was awarded by a medical appeal tribunal on appeal by the claimant against the decision of a medical board; what was the proportion of cases where the medical board awarded the allowance in which the insurance officer referred the case to a medical appeal tribunal on his instructions; and in what proportion of these cases the medical appeal tribunal confirmed the award.

    [pursuant to his reply, 22 December 1982, c. 587]: I regret that information is not available in the

    (b) The number and result of review of awards requested by claimants during 1981 is as follows:

    detail requested. The available information is as follows. It relates to decisions given in the relevant years, not to the results of claims made in those years.

    Mobility Allowance 1980–82

    1982

    1981

    1980

    Number of decisions:
    Initial claims88,10060,80085,700
    Renewal claims21,200

    *

    *

    Proportion: Per cent.

    Per cent.

    Per cent.

    (a) awarded by insurance officer or (b) awarded by medical board on reference from insurance officer

    65·8

    *

    *

    (c) awarded by medical board on appeal by claimant from insurance officer's decision

    3·3

    *

    *

    {d) awarded by medical appeal tribunal on appeal by claimant from medical board's decision

    0·6

    *

    *

    Proportion of medical board decisions to award confirmed by medical appeal tribunal following reference by insurance officer38·044·033·0
    Total number of decisions on such references shown in brackets(68)(78)(39)

    * Not available.

    Civil Service

    Secondment

    48.

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is his policy for encouraging the secondment of people from industry and business into the Civil Service.

    We welcome such secondments from industry and commerce into the Civil Service. We pay special attention to areas which would particularly benefit from an injection of business expertise.

    Staff Interchange Schemes

    49.

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on staff interchange schemes in the Civil Service.

    There is a variety of schemes which enable civil servants to gain suitable and valuable experience beyond that which they would normally have within their Departments. They range from transfers to different types of work within their own or another department, through secondments to other public sector bodies and private sector organisations, to periods of attachment with overseas civil services. Civil servants are encouraged to participate in these schemes.

    Stockport

    50.

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he last visited Civil Service offices in Stockport.

    Senior Staff (Business Appointments)

    51.

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many applications from home civil servants of assistant secretary rank and above have been received during 1982 for permission to take up business appointments.

    During 1982 applications from 43 home civil servants at assistant secretary level and above to take up business appointments were referred to the management and personnel office.However, under the business appointment rules the MPO does not have to be consulted about all such cases and this may not therefore be the total number. No central record of civil servants seeking permission to take up business appointments is maintained.

    Civil Service Unions (Meeting)

    52.

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service what subjects he expects to discuss at his next meeting with Civil Service trade unions.

    53.

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service what matters he expects to discuss at his next meeting with the Civil Service unions.

    I refer my hon. Friend and the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan).

    Trade

    Illingworth Morris (Takeover)

    asked the Minister for Trade on what grounds the Secretary of State for Trade has referred the takeover bid by the Isle of Man registered company, Abele, for Illingworth Morris to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission following the Director General of Fair Trading's decision not so to refer the bid.

    My right hon. and noble Friend considered that the merger raised issues of public interest that justified investigation by the commission. In a press notice issued when the reference was made, he said that he had taken into account all relevant factors, including the fact that Illingworth Morris is a major employer and an internationally important wool textile manufacturer.

    Yorkshire Electricity Consultative Council

    asked the Minister for Trade what were the claims for expenses by the then chairman of the Yorkshire Electricity Consultative Council for each quarter of 1982.

    [pursuant to his reply, 17 January 1983, c. 67]: No claims have been received in respect of expenses incurred by the chairman in 1982.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Pigmeat

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of consumption of pigmeat in the United Kingdom comes from imports.

    Estimates for 1982 indicate that just over 25 per cent. of total United Kingdom pigmeat supplies in that year were imported.

    Land Settlement Association

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of his consultations on his intention to terminate the current Land Settlement Association marketing arrangements as from the beginning of April 1983.

    It remains the Government's policy that the tenants of the estates should take over the responsibility for the marketing of their own produce. However, in the light of the representations which I have received, and on the advice of the chairman of the Land Settlement Association, I am prepared to arrange for the continuation of the association's centralised marketing services up to 31 December 1983. These services will be provided to those growers who wish to use them, provided the uptake at each estate is sufficient to support the services on a full recoupment basis. The aim of this final extension is to provide more time for the estates concerned to develop the alternative marketing arrangements foreshadowed in my announcement of 1 December 1982. I hope that those estates which have made substantial progress towards establishing co-operatives will in the event be able to take over responsibility for their own marketing well before 31 December 1983, when the LSA arrangements described above will be terminated.All other aspects covered by my announcement of 1 December 1982, including the arrangements for the sale of holdings to tenants, will remain unaffected.

    Home-Produced Meat

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentages of beef, lamb, pork and poultry, respectively, sold in the United Kingdom retail trade through 1982 were home-produced; and how those percentages compare with 20 years ago.

    The information is not available in the form requested. Total home production expressed as a percentage of total new supply for the years 1963 and 1980 is as follows:

    19631980
    per cent.per cent.
    Beef and Veal7391
    Mutton and Lamb4367
    Pork9998
    Bacon and Ham3641
    Poultrymeat9999
    Information is not available for the years before 1963. Information for 1981 and 1982 will be included in the annual review of agriculture 1983 White Paper which will be published shortly.

    Agriculture Ministers (Meeting)

    asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels on 17–18 January; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the statement which I made to the House earlier today.

    National Finance

    Economy

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence now supports his view that the economy is recovering.

    In the third quarter of 1982, output was about 1·25 per cent. above its low in the spring of 1981. Inflation is now at the lowest level for 10 years and expected to fall to 5 per cent. this spring. Exports have been holding up extremely well in the face of declining world trade. Consumer demand remains strong, and construction activity has been rising. Industrial companies' profits are recovering and manufacturing productivity has risen strongly since the end of 1980. We expect the modest recovery to continue this year while continued adherence to firm and balanced monetary and fiscal policies provide the basis for sustainable increases in output and employment in the medium term.

    Films (Taxation)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further proposals he has for the tax treatment of films.

    The Finance Act 1982 generally withdrew capital allowances in respect of expenditure on films. Provision was made, however, to continue 100 per cent. first year allowances transitionally for two years for films, including those made for television, satisfying the Eady requirements in accordance with section 72(7) and (8) of the Finance Act. We propose, in the coming Finance Bill, to make provision to extend the transitional period for such films by a further three years to 31 March 1987.

    Home Department

    Cable Television

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what correspondence he has received concerning the non-provision of the S4C service by cable television operators in Wales; and what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on this matter;(2) what responsibilities are placed on contractors who provide cable television services to make available to their customers the full range of services which are generally available for those receiving pictures directly through the air;(3) what responsibilities he has, and under which legislative provisions, for the control and licensing of cable television operators.

    Under section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, as amended, the installation and use of wireless telegraphy apparatus require the licence of the Secretary of State. Licences are granted to cable operators to receive and relay sound and television programmes to their subscribers. Such licences customarily require that all television services provided for the area concerned should be distributed on the cable system. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison), then Minister of State, stated in reply to a question from the hon. Member on 17 November,—[Vol. 32, c. 164]—no cable companies in Wales have been authorised to substitute channel 4 UK for S4C programmes. We have since received a letter from Plaid Cymru suggesting that one cable system is nevertheless relaying channel 4 UK instead of S4C. We have received no other correspondence about S4C not being provided by cable operators. Enquiries reveal that in the one instance, which has come to light, the lack of S4C was a temporary measure pending the installation of new equipment. I understand that the default has now been remedied.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will meet representatives of the consultative committee of the Independent Broadcasting Authority in Wales, and of the Welsh Broadcasting Council, to discuss whether official guidelines should be drawn up concerning the use of poll techniques by cable television companies in Wales to determine whether their customers should have the right to receive S4C programmes.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many licences have been issued for the provision in Wales of cable television services, to households, hospitals and other premises; and what approximate numbers of sets is served by each licence.

    This information is not readily available from licencing records. Some relevant information from private sources was however published as appendix 15 to the minutes of evidence about broadcasting in the Welsh language taken before the Committee on Welsh Affairs. [HC 28-xvi, Session 1980–81].

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications he has received from what companies and in relation to which areas to allow cable television contractors in Wales to carry channel 4 United Kingdom programmes rather than S4C programmes; and what response he has made to any such applications.

    We have received one application, from Rediffusion Ltd. Details of the application and of my right hon. Friend's reasons for not agreeing to it at that stage were set out in the reply he gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Best) on 28 October 1982. We remain willing to consider applications from cable operators in Wales for permission to distribute Channel 4 UK rather than S4C in the light of reliable information concerning the wishes of subscribers.

    Police (Probationer Training)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, as the budgets for district training centres for police probationers for 1983–84 are being reduced because the number of recruits has stabilised, he has any intention of increasing the period of probationer training at the centres, as urged by Lord Scarman, such as could be achieved without any major increase in cost.

    Lord Scarman's recommendations on police training are being considered by a police training council working party on probationer training. Some cuts have been made in the budgets for 1983–84. These cuts are not expected to affect present training needs because they are relatively small and student numbers are likely to be lower than earlier planned for. The financial situation and the length of probationer training will be reviewed in the light of the working party's report, which is due in the spring.

    Royal Family (Police Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Norfolk as to how many police from his force were involved in duties connected with the Royal Family's new year visit, 1981–82.

    House Of Commons

    Members' Salaries

    asked the Lord President of the Council (1) what would be the estimated costs to public funds if the salaries of hon. Members were increased (a) by the same average percentage as most recently awarded to the chairmen of the nationalised industries, and (b) by the percentage amount recommended by Her Majesty's Government for the lower paid public servants;(2) whether he will propose an increase in the salaries of hon. Members by either the 10 per cent. to 11 per cent. amounts announced during the Christmas parliamentary recess for the chairmen and higher paid executives of the nationalised industries, or the earlier recommended amounts of between 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. for the lower paid public employees.

    There has been no recent Government announcement about salary increases for the chairmen and officers of nationalised industries. However, the estimated cost of each percentage point increase in the 1982–83 pay bill for hon. Members would be £93,400.As the hon. Member will know, parliamentary salaries are currently the subject of a review by the Top Salaries Review Body. When the review body's recommendations have been received the Government will bring forward proposals to the House.

    Education And Science

    Russian Language Studies

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students in the United Kingdom are studying Russian (a) at A-level and (b) at degree level.

    The number of students in the United Kingdom studying Russian at A-level is not available, but the numbers of entries and passes at A-level in the summer examination of 1981 in England were 372 and 321 respectively.The number of students studying Russian at degree level in the academic year 1981–82 in universities in the United Kingdom was 538; and at maintained, assisted and grant-aided major establishments of further education in England, 105. Data for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is not readily available.

    Ussr (Students)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students (a) from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were studying full-time in the United Kingdom, and (b) from the United Kingdom were studying full-time in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during each of the past 10 years.

    The numbers of students from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics who were studying full-time in the United Kingdom from the academic year 1975–76, the earliest year for which information is available, to 1981–82 were as follows.

    Number
    1975–7613
    1976–7720
    1977–7819
    1978–7915
    1979–8015
    1980–8110
    1981–8211
    Information on the number of students from the United Kingdom who were studying full-time in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is not collected by the United Kingdom education Departments; such information as is available is published in editions of the "UNESCO Statistical Yearbook". These volumes state that no students from the United Kingdom were studying full-time in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1971, 1972 and 1978. No information is available for other years.

    Mathematics Teaching

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek to ensure that schools provide, in addition to knowledge of computer applications, a basic understanding of the fundamentals of mathematics; and if he will make a statement.

    The increasing availability of computers in schools has considerable implications for the teaching of mathematics, and reinforces the need for pupils to develop their mathematical understanding and confidence. We have commended to local education authorities and schools the report of the Cockcroft committee, which makes important recommendations and proposals for the improvement of mathematics teaching.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of school staff involved in teaching computer applications have a degree or equivalent qualification in mathematics; if he will take steps to increase this proportion; and if he will make a statement.

    This information is not available in the Department. However, mathematical competence is only one of the skills that may be required in teaching different aspects of computer applications.

    Employment

    Health And Safety At Work Etc Act 1974

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he proposes to bring into operation section 5 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

    The Health and Safety Commission has proposed to my right hon. Friends, the Secretaries of State for the Environment, Scotland and Wales, some changes in the current legislation, a part of which would bring into operation section 5 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

    Dangerous Substances

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will indicate the dates by which regulations for the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances for supply and conveyance by road, including dangerous substances in packages, will be operating; and why no consultative document on the subject has yet been published.

    A consultative document containing proposals for regulations on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances was published in December 1981. The Health and Safety Executive has almost completed its detailed evaluation of comments and aims to submit revised proposals to the Commission as soon as possible with a view to having regulations made during the summer.Proposals to control the conveyance by road of packaged dangerous substances are still being formulated in consultation with both sides of industry.

    Unemployed Disabled People

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what steps the Manpower Services Commission proposes to take to ensure that the job prospects of unemployed disabled people are not adversely affected by the implementation of Sir Derek Rayner's recommendations for the closure of 125 jobcentres and local rural offices; and if he will make a statement;(2) what assessment has been made of the implications for unemployed disabled people of the decision of the Manpower Services Commission to implement the recommendations of Sir Derek Rayner that 125 jobcentres and local rural offices should be closed; and if he will make a statement.

    The Rayner report recommended review of the cost-effectiveness and operation of a number of local offices. The Manpower Services Commission has accepted the broad approach of the recommendations and will review the future of each office individually. The Commission has made it clear that in doing so it will take fully into account the needs of local job seekers, and consult local interests.

    Priority Supply Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to the reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, on 23 December, if he will make a statement on the scope and purpose of the review into the way in which the priority supply scheme operates.

    There is no formal review taking place into the priority suppliers scheme. The Manpower Services Commission, which is responsible for administering the sheltered employment programme, are looking at the operation of the scheme in the course of considering how more public sector work might be made available to sheletered industry.

    Advisory Committee On Race Relations In Employment

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the advisory committee on race relations in employment will next meet; and with what agenda.

    The next meeting of the race relations employment advisory group will be arranged for the spring. The agenda has yet to be finalised.

    Prime Minister

    Ministers (Commercial Interests)

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will arrange for all Ministers of Her Majesty's Government to declare their interests in public and private companies in a manner similar to that which applies to Members of the House of Commons.

    I see no need for such an arrangement. The rules that successive Governments have applied in these matters remain in effect as they were set out in my answer to a question by the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) on 20 March 1980, and they are strictly observed.

    Nuclear Tests (Radiation Compensation)

    asked the Prime Minister if she will release the principal official material about the radiation effects of British nuclear test explosions above ground, particularly in causing leukaemia and related blood and lymphatic diseases, and above blast and radiation precautions involved (a) in general and (b) at Christmas Island from 1956 to 1958.

    The normal working limit of radiation exposure for each British nuclear test series was set at 3 rem but, for a few special operations of vital importance, a higher integrated dose limit of 10 rem was authorised for a relatively small number of personnel. These limits were compatible with the then current recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection and were endorsed by the relevant committee of the Medical Research Council. Observation of these limits was enforced. The potential health consequences of radiation exposures are published by the ICRP.All personnel were stationed at a sufficient distance from the test explosions to ensure that they were not harmed either directly or indirectly by blast. There have been no claims of personnel blast damage which would have been apparent at the time had it occurred.

    asked the Prime Minister if, when holding her investigation into the medical records of British military personnel involved in the nuclear test explosions above ground in Australia in the 1950s, she will extend that investigation to the service men involved in the test explosions at Christmas Island and also into possible genetic effects on the offspring of service men and aborigines subject to whole-body exposure: (a) in all locations and (b) at Christmas Island.

    The health survey being commissioned by the Ministry of Defence will cover all British personnel, service men and civilians, who participated in any of the British atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s. Sufficient data to support an inquiry into possible genetic effects is not available and would be extremely difficult to collect. However, from what we know of the measured radiation doses it is highly unlikely that any significant genetic damage would have been caused.

    Members' Correspondence

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will inquire and report to the House why the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Trade does not comply with her often-repeated instructions that all letters from Ministers to hon. Members shall be accompanied by a duplicate.

    My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Trade assures me that it is his practice, like that of other Government Ministers, to provide hon. Members with a duplicate copy of his replies to correspondence concerning their constituents, as well as returning to hon. Members any constituent's letter sent to him for comment.

    Northern Ireland

    Unemployment Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the latest unemployment figures in the Province.

    At 9 December 1982, the latest date for which information is available, there were 112,310 unemployed claimants in Northern Ireland; this represented an unemployment rate in the Province of 20·1 per cent.I continue to be very concerned at the level of unemployment in the Province and it remains one of the principal objectives of Government economic policy to create the conditions in which new employment opportunities can be provided.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish in the Official Report the percentage of male unemployment in areas covered by each constituency in the Province calculated on the last census figures.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are unemployed in the Belfast travel-to-work area at the latest available date.

    The number of unemployed claimants in the Belfast travel-to-work area on 9 December 1982 was 49,147.

    Job Vacancies (Belfast)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many job vacancies exist in the Belfast travel-to-work area at the latest date; and what were the corresponding figures in May 1979.

    It is thought that not all job vacancies are notified to the employment service. However, on 7 January 1983 the number of vacancies which had been notified to the job markets of the employment service in the Belfast travel-to-work area were 427 adults and 117 young persons. The corresponding figures for May 1979 were 1,335 adults and 433 young persons.

    Job Creation

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to reduce unemployment in the Province.

    Economic recovery in Northern Ireland depends for the most part on developments at national and international level. Government policy is designed to rejuvenate the United Kingdom economy as a whole and to provide for the Northern Ireland economy to benefit to the fullest extent from that rejuvenation. The Government are determined to arrest the decline in employment opportunities in Northern Ireland through the creation of viable, long term and real private sector jobs. To this end some £190 million has been allocated for industrial support and development spending in 1983–84.The Government have also taken a number of steps to alleviate unemployment in the short term and at present the Department of Economic Development operates a number of schemes with the direct aim of having as a consequence a reduction in the level of unemployment. At 26 November 1982, the latest date for which figures are available, 23,900 adults and young persons were engaged in employment and training measures for which the Department of Economic Development is responsible or which it co-ordinates. Recent steps include the introduction of the job splitting scheme, which will increase the availability of part time employment, and the continuing expansion of the action for community employment scheme, which will create both full and part time job opportunities for the long term unemployed, and these are further significant evidence of the Government's concerned response to the Province's serious unemployment problems.

    Civil Servants (Public Statements)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the letter he received from the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) referred to in the answer by the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove on 22 December, Official Report, c. 550.

    I have today placed a copy of the relevant correspondence in the Library of the House.

    Wales

    Secretary Of State (Official Engagements)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the offical engagements undertaken by him during the Christmas adjournment of the House.

    I was on holiday until 10 January. Since then I have had a number of meetings with individuals and organisations and presided at a dinner given by the Development Corporation for Wales.

    Elderly Persons (Housing)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing for each quarter since 1978–79 the number of new houses, flats or bungalows for the elderly which have been completed in Wales.

    Welsh Language

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales in what circumstances and with whom the Welsh Office initiates new correspondence through the medium of the Welsh language.

    Correspondence relating to my right hon. Friend's policy of support for the Welsh language is, where appropriate, initiated in Welsh. Any Welsh language correspondence received is replied to in that language.

    National Health Service (Finance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will now make a statement on the allocation details of finance for the National Health Service in Wales for 1983–84, including finance for joint funded projects.

    I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 22 December 1982.—[Vol. 34, c. 563.]

    Private Practice

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what contributions consultants in Wales in the employment of the National Health Service make towards the administrative, secretarial and overhead costs of National Health Service hospitals whose facilities they may use in connection with their private practice.

    Payments of hospital charges, including elements for administrative, secretarial and overhead costs, for the use of National Health Service facilities in connection with the consultation and treatment of private patients are made by patients themselves. Arrangements for collecting payments are a matter for individual health authorities.

    Industry

    Industrial Development

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has decided upon the amount of grant to be made to the North of England development council, the North-West industrial development association, the Yorkshire and Humberside development association and the Devon and Cornwall development bureau after present arrangements expire in March.

    Each of the chairmen of the four English regional development organisations accepted my invitation to a meeting to discuss the offer of continued grant which I outlined on 24 June, 1982. Officials have also had meetings with the directors and staff of the RDOs, and with local authorities and new town development corporations in some of the regions represented by the RDOs.Following those meetings, each RDO has now put forward proposals, supported by outline programmes of promotional activities, in respect of 1983–84. In the light of those proposals and programmes, and of the discussions on them that have taken place, I have now written again to the four chairmen, offering them grant in aid as follows.The North of England development council, along with all of the local authorities and the two new town development corporations in the north-east region, have satisfied me that they are capable of mounting a realistic and effectively co-ordinated programme of events on behalf of the region as a whole, which will be incremental to the effort on behalf of the United Kingdom as a whole. I have therefore offered a grant in aid to NEDC, for 1983–84, of up to £850,000, under the second, more substantial, of the two options I set out in my letter last June. I have made it clear to the chairman of NEDC that, although there will be no formal requirement to match this grant pound for pound by local authority contributions, we expect the local authorities in the region to continue to contribute to the NEDC's budget at, or above, the level of this year's contribution, in line with the budget proposals which NEDC themselves have put forward.I am not at this stage nominating any sum of money beyond the first year. I shall want to see how effective in practice is the co-operation promised by the local authorities and new towns in the region. The NEDC's programme will be carefully monitored, and a decision taken on the grant for the two succeeding years, based on our experience of this year's arrangements and performance.

    Because of the significant change in the scale of the grant, and the relaxation of the matching requirements, I am reviewing the conditions which attach to payment of the grant. Once agreement has been reached with NEDC on the details of these conditions, I shall place a copy of them in the Library of the House.

    Although I am not offering to the other three organisations such substantial increase in grant, or relaxation of the pound for pound matching requirement, it is fair to say that each of them has made progress towards achieving, within its region, a better co-ordinated promotional programme.

    Of the three, only the North-West industrial development association put forward a claim under the second, higher, option. I have not, however, been able to satisfy myself that the requisite degree of commitment to a fully and effectively co-ordinated regional programme by all the local authorities and new towns in the north west has yet been demonstrated to justify the higher option. To NWIDA and to the Yorkshire and Humberside development association and the Devon and Cornwall development bureau, I am offering a considerable increase in grant-in-aid compared with the current year. But I am retaining, for 1983–84 at least, the requirement that this grant must be matched, pound for pound by the local authorities in the region. On this basis, the maximum grant for each of the next three years would be:

    1983–84

    1984–85

    1985–86

    £

    £

    £

    NWIDA260,000280,000300,000
    YHDA163,000170,000177,000
    DCDB110,000115,000120,000

    However I have told each of the chairmen of these three organisations that their acceptance of the suggested increase and the matching arrangements for 1983–84 does not mean that they are tied to that option for the whole of the three-year period. I am ready to consider the prospect for a more substantial grant, and relaxation of the matching requirement, for any of the regional organisations which can put forward a realistic programme at a higher level of activity and can demonstrate that it has the full co-operation of all of the local authorities and new towns in the region for a single, effective, overseas promotional effort on behalf of that region.

    Because the basic requirement to match the DoI contribution remains unchanged for these three organisations, the other conditions attaching to the grants will also be little changed. As soon as the details have been agreed with NWIDA, YHDA and DCDB I shall place copies of those conditions in the Library of the House.

    The question of English regional representation overseas, particularly in the USA, to which I referred in my previous reply, remains to be discussed further with each of the four organisations. All four are, however, now regularly represented on the committee of overseas promotion, which co-ordinates their work with that of the corresponding agencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and of the "Invest in Britian" bureau and the diplomatic service posts overseas.

    Industry

    Industrial Research

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what requests the Government have received to fund research and development of (a) a safer motor vehicle, car or lorry or (b) a more fuel-efficient motor car.

    The Government continuously receive requests from companies and private individuals seeking financial support for research and development programmes connected with safer and more fuel-efficient road vehicles of all types. All requests are carefully assessed for their technological and commercial viability and applications passing this sifting process receive support if the requirements of the published schemes are met.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what basis needs are assessed and funds allocated for industrial research and product development.

    The Secretary of State for Industry receives advice on the balance and direction of research and development programmes from the five requirements boards. Each board deals with a broad sector of industry and technology and is responsible for identifying and continuously up-dating the R and D and innovation requirements in that sector. The boards are chaired by senior industrialists and membership includes both academics and industrialists.Under the "Support for Innovation" scheme the department supports good R and D projects in all areas of technology. The aim of the expenditure is to improve the technological base of United Kingdom industry or to assist companies to get new or significantly improved products and processes onto the market more quickly. However assistance is given only if it is necessary to ensure that the project goes ahead in the timescale or form proposed. Some areas such as biotechnology, computer aided design and manufacture, flexible manufacturing, microelectronics, fibre-optics and opto-electronics and robotics have been selected as being of special importance for future industry and particular sums of money have been reserved for projects in these areas. It has not yet been necessary to turn down any good R and D proposal because of a shortage of funds.

    Lead Alloy

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry, what has been the consumption of lead alloy by industry in each of the past five years.

    Information on United Kingdom consumption of lead alloy is not available. Certain information on, for example, the consumption of lead for use in alloys generally is available in the World Bureau of Metal Statistics publication "World Metal Statistics", and on trade in lead alloys in this publication and also in "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United kingdom". A copy of the overseas trade statistics publication is in the Library.

    School Computers

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will issue a circular encouraging the standardisation of school computer provision; and if he will make a statement.

    I do not intend to issue such a circular. Local education authorities are already well aware of the advantages of standardising computer equipment in their schools. It is evident from the applications received under my Department's "Micros in Schools" schemes that many local education authorities have decided to standardise.

    Overseas Development

    Manpower Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many civil servants are currently in post in the Overseas Development Administration; and how this compares with the figure for October 1979.

    The total number of staff in post in the ODA, including its scientific units, was 1,890½ on 1 January 1983, compared with 2,146½ on 1 October 1979.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Namibia

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the United Kingdom will support the holding of internal elections in Namibia in February 1983 if it has proved impossible to arrange internationally supervised elections by that date.

    The Government remain committed to achieving an internationally acceptable settlement in Namibia in accordance with Security Council resolution 435, which provides for United Nations-supervised elections. Further internal elections would not be helpful in our efforts to achieve that goal.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the United Nations Agency for Namibia receives no further funding, in view of its establishment ultra vires the General Assembly.

    No. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) on 17 November.—[Vol. 32, c. 186.]

    Hong Kong (Students)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will make a decision on the Hong Kong Government's offer to share the cost of giving home student status to Hong Kong students.

    We are studying the Hong Kong Government's offer. A decision will be reached as soon as possible.

    Mr Habila Inuwa (Hospital Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will assist the authorities of the Stoke Mandeville hospital to recover the £1,000 payment due to them, and agreed to be paid by the Nigerian Government for hospital and medical treatment given to a Nigerian citizen, Mr. Habila Inuwa.

    Yes, if asked. I have seen press reports about this case, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has received no request for advice or assistance from either the health authorities or the Nigerians.

    Nicaragua

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of European Community development aid to Nicaragua.

    We expressed reservations about giving Nicaragua additional aid from the European Community special aid programme for Central America. We are, however, content that Nicaragua should continue to receive aid from the regular Community non-associates programme and should be eligible for emergency relief when appropriate.

    "The Nuclear Debate" (Leaflet)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many copies of his leaflet "The Nuclear Debate", which has been published by the arms control and disarmament research unit of his Department, were printed; what was the cost of their printing; what has been the basis on which they have been distributed; how many were mailed on an unsolicited basis; and what has been the postage cost of their distribution.

    Fifty thousand copies of the leaflet have been printed at a cost of £2,310. Copies have been sent in bulk to meet the requests of non-governmental organisations. Copies are also being circulated to those who regularly receive the unit's quarterly arms control newsletter. In addition, a number of individual requests have been met. No unsolicited copies have been sent out. Postage has cost about £100.

    Arms Control And Disarmament Research Unit

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the arms control and disarmament research unit of his Department was first established; and what are the terms of reference of its work.

    The unit was established in January 1965. Its task is to undertake research and study into possible international measures for the limitation and reduction of armaments, and to contribute to official British policy in this field by drawing on the experience of those outside the Government service. The unit publishes information on disarmament negotiations.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many persons are employed (a) full time and (b) part time at the arms control and disarmament research unit of his Department; and what is the annual cost of running this unit.

    Four persons are employed full-time in the unit. Including salaries, accommodation and common services the annual cost of running the unit in 1982–83 is £88,494.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the expenditure on, and level of staffing of, the arms control and disarmament unit in each year since 1972–73; and what are the projected figures for the next five years.

    The number of staff in the unit in each of these years has been four. At current prices expenditure on salaries, accommodation and common services has been:

    YearExpenditure
    £
    1972–7328,824
    1973–7431,327
    1974–7528,219
    1975–7634,655
    1976–7739,438
    1977–7845,847
    1978–7950,981
    1979–8061,505
    1980–8178,218
    1981–8283,596
    1982–8388,494
    We consider staffing and expenditure from time to time and in the light of changing international negotiations and the division of responsibilities between the unit and other Departments. I cannot predict what levels of staffing and expenditure would be right for the next five years.

    United Nations Organisations

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the United Kingdom contribution to all United Nations organisations in each year since 1972–73; and what is the forecast expenditure for each of the next five years.

    British Council

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what grants have been paid to the British Council in each year since 1972–73; and what is the forecast expenditure for each of the next five years.

    The following grants have been made to the British Council from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Votes:

    Diplomatic Wing Grant-in-aidODA Grant
    ££
    1972–7311,195,0005,494,000
    1973–7411,520,000*6,219,328
    1974–7515,004,000*8,053,964
    1975–7618,596,000*10,772,135
    1976–7720,263,000*11,539,107
    1977–7820,927,000*13,551,594
    1978–7925,696,000*15,151,357
    1979–8028,924,000*17,223,119
    1980–8131,497,00018,065,511
    1981–8234,116,92123,466,796
    * As the Ministry of Overseas Development March 1974-May 1979.

    For 1982–83, the estimated provisions up to and including the Winter supplementary are £38,360,000—Diplomatic Wing—and £23,031,000—ODA.

    It is not possible to provide figures for future years; but the 1983–84 Main Estimates are due to be presented to Parliament in March.

    Students (Exchange Visits)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the number of students who have benefited from exchange visits under bilateral cultural arrangements with (a) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, (b) other East European countries and (c) Third world countries in each year since 1972–73; and what projections are made of numbers over the next five years.

    According to the best figures available, the following exchange visits* took place in the years in question under intergovernmental cultural agreements and programmes with (a) the USSR and (b) other East European countries:

    USSROther East European Countries
    YearTo USSRTo United KingdomTo East European CountriesTo United Kingdom
    1972–73474029106
    1973–7444344689
    1974–7554345195
    1975–76524846104
    1976–77434756107
    1977–78424370123
    1978–79494361114
    1979–80474470105
    1980–81544468101
    1981–8247414698
    1982–83413840134
    *Note: The figures given are for medium or long-term students and do not include language students attending summer schools or private language courses.
    While it is not possible to predict future numbers with any certainty, they are expected to remain of the same order as in the past. In general cultural agreements with Third world countries do not provide for specific exchanges. It is not possible to give figures for Third world countries.

    Bbc (Overseas Service)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the expenditure on the overseas service of the British Broadcasting Corporation in each year since 1972–73; and what are the projected figures for the next five years.

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been responsible for accounting for grants-in-aid to the BBC external services only since 1977–78. For the three years prior to that responsibility rested with the Home Office and before that with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.Excluding expenditure on relay stations operated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the BBC and including the cost of the monitoring service, the total figures in £ million from 1977–78—current and capital—are as follows:

    £ million
    1977–7833·2
    1978–7937·2
    1979–8042·9
    1980–8155·0
    1981–8262·8
    In 1982–83 estimated expenditure is £71·0 million. although no precise figures are available for future years, the 1983–84 Main Estimates which are due to be presented to Parliament in March will contain the estimated expenditure for that year. It is likely that recurrent expenditure will continue at a similar level in real terms and that capital expenditure will fluctuate to meet the needs of the programme set out in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Sir G. Johnson Smith) by my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) on 8 July 1981.—[Vol. 8, c. 137.]

    Ussr (United Kingdom Nationals)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the number of United Kingdom nationals who have been resident in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in each of the last 10 years.

    The information asked for is recorded in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only for the following years of the last 10: 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1982.The number of United Kingdom nationals who have been resident in the Soviet Union in those years are as follows:

    YearAdult malesAdult femalesChildren under 18Total
    197368707145
    197578825165
    19771639728288
    19821085023181
    These figures do not include the staff and dependents of the British embassy.

    Zimbabwe (Ministerial Visit)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the visit to Zimbabwe of the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow).

    I had a most useful and informative visit to Zimbabwe earlier this month. I am very grateful for the warm welcome I received, and I am particularly grateful to the Prime Minister, Mr. Mugabe, and his colleagues for the arrangements they made.I had frank and useful discussions with the Prime Minister and other members of his Cabinet. I also had the opportunity to meet and talk to a wide range of people: politicians, business men, industrialists and farmers. I am pleased that in all my contacts I found that the ties between Zimbabwe and Britain remain exceptionally close.I was able to see something of the very impressive work of the British military advisory and training team.

    During my discussions in Zimbabwe, I was impressed by the Zimbabwe Government's firm and continuing commitment to carry forward their policy of reconciliation and to uphold the due process of law. I was pleased to be able to confirm that we remain fully committed to support Zimbabwe in these policies and to assist its economic progress. These are not easy times for Zimbabwe, but despite the problems and anxieties I was heartened by the strength of the commitment of leaders of all sections of the community to the future of the country and the success of Zimbabwe's economic development programme.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Minister of State, during his visit to Zimbabwe and his talks with the Prime Minister, expressed dissatisfaction at the alleged torture and delayed trial of senior air force officers.

    During my recent visit to Zimbabwe I again expressed the concern of Her Majesty's Government that the Zimbabwe air force officers who are at present detained should be brought to trial as soon as possible. I was given assurances that this would be so. I also again reminded the Zimbabwe Government of our concern about the allegations of maltreatment of detainees, and received assurances that these allegations would be investigated and appropriate action taken.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Minister of State, during his visit to Zimbabwe, raised the question of the future of Mr. Stuttaford and Mr. Wilson or of the trial of Dr. F. and Mr. S. Bertrand.

    During my recent visit to Zimbabwe I did not raise the question of the future of Mr. Stuttaford or Mr. Walker—to whom I assume my hon. Friend is referring—nor the trial of Dr. Francis and Mr. Stephen Bertrand.Mr. Stuttaford, who is a citizen of Zimbabwe, was acquitted in October 1982 of criminal charges and released. Mr. Denis Walker's future in Zimbabwe, of which he is also a citizen, is a matter between him and the Zimbabwe Government.With regard to Dr. Francis Bertrand and Mr. Stephen Bertrand, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to his question on 22 December.

    Environment

    Grant-Related Expenditure Assessments

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out in the Official Report the 1982–83 grant-related expenditure assessments for each of the London boroughs, indicating the estimated amount per head of the population in each.

    The figures are shown in the following table. To compare grant-related expenditure per head between inner and outer London, the amount allocated to ILEA should be added to that allocated to the inner boroughs.

    Grant-related Expenditure 1982–83

    Main Report*

    Supplementary Report

    £,000

    £ per head

    £,000

    £ per head

    City of London16,5103,11516,4143,097
    ILEA513,661213511,868212
    Camden65,41335163,910343
    Greenwich35,40517234,633169
    Hackney54,10228353,015278
    Hammersmith and Fulham45,13128544,510281
    Islington54,70232253,734317
    Kensington and Chelsea36,98824936,565246
    Lambeth76,26729174,774285
    Lewisham49,45320848,477204
    Southwark66,07530164,759295
    Tower Hamlets36,94324836,098242
    Wandsworth58,44621557,567212
    Westminster64,26230563,587302
    Barking and Dagenham49,29133049,108329
    Barnet94,07932593,572324
    Bexley70,12532969,804327
    Brent114,340458113,403454
    Bromley90,84531390,299311
    Croydon108,738341108,197339
    Ealing108,119382107,584380
    Enfield87,11533586,732334
    Haringey93,11642192,301417
    Harrow62,95532062,646319
    Havering76,05431775,747316
    Hillingdon75,69432875,301327
    Hounslow74,36336973,854366
    Kingston-Upon-Thames42,22031241,996310
    Merton54,32033853,962336
    Newham103,909467102,802462
    Redbridge73,08832472,704322
    Richmond-Upon-Thames47,07729447,018294
    Sutton52,43331452,166312
    Waltham Forest84,23738783,708384

    * The Rate Support Grant Report (England) 1982–83.

    The Rate Support Grant Supplementary Report (England) 1982–83.

    Associated Dairies (Charlton)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to be able to announce the result of the public inquiry into the appeal by Associated Dairies against the refusal by the London borough of Greenwich of planning permission for a superstore development in Charlton, SE7.

    The inspector's report on the inquiry is expected in about three weeks' time and a decision will be issued as soon as possible after that.

    Local Authorities (Debts)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the outstanding gross loan debt of each local authority in England on 31 March for the last year for which figures are available in terms of £ per person living in that local authority area, and in terms of equivalent rate poundage for that area.

    The available information is given in columns 46 and 78 of the CIPFA publication "Return of Outstanding Debt" as at 31 March 1981, a copy of which is in the Library. Equivalent figures relating to 31 March 1982 will be published by CIPFA shortly.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing for each local authority area in England, the absolute and percentage increase in the total gross outstanding debt between 1 April 1974 and the latest date for which figures are available.

    Total gross outstanding debt of each local authority at 31 March 1974 and 31 March 1981 are published in CIPFA "Return of Outstanding Debt" at 31 March 1974 and CIPFA "Return of Outstanding Debt" at 31 March 1981 respectively. Copies of these publications are available in the Library.

    Management Of Blocks Of Flats (Report)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received a copy of the report of the working party on the management of blocks of flats, published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on 7 January; and if he will make a statement.

    I have read the report, which I found constructive and balanced. My right hon. Friends and I will give its recommendations full and careful consideration.

    Somerset House (State Apartments)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is yet in a position to make an announcement about the future use of the state apartments in Somerset House.

    Negotiations between my Department and the University of London to house the Courtauld Collection in the Fine Rooms are at an advanced stage.

    Overseas Students (Grants)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, following the decision of the House of Lords on 17 December 1982 relating to the definition of ordinary residence for the award of mandatory grants for higher education to overseas students, whether he plans any adjustment to grant-related expenditure to compensate for the financial effects for local education authorities or any exemption from financial penalties incurred solely on this account.

    Authorities' GRE assessments for each year will be adjusted to incorporate actual expenditure on mandatory awards, net of 90 per cent. specific grant, once outturn information is available. No other adjustment will be necessary.No representations have been received from local authorities that increases in their expenditure arising for this reason should be disregarded in deciding whether they have met expenditure targets. My right hon. Friend would, of course, consider any such representations carefully.

    Transport

    Railways (Electrification)

    21.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to be able to announce his decision on the electrification of the east coast main railway line.

    My right hon. Friend will announce a decision on electrification of the east coast main line when he has considered the railways board's revised plans for the future of the inter-city business, which he hopes to receive in the next month or so.

    23.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of electrified track have been converted from direct current to alternating current in each of the last five years.

    25.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals from British Rail for investment in railway electrification he has approved in the current financial year.

    Humber Bridge

    24.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the outstanding debt of the Humber bridge.

    The accounts published by the Humber bridge board for the last financial year show that the outstanding debt on 31 March 1982 was £166 million.

    London Transport

    22.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has concluded his examination of the options for the future of London Transport.

    Rail-Buses

    26.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many rail-buses he expects to be operating in British Rail by the end of 1983.

    About 17 two-car sets should have been delivered; not all will be in operation because of the need to train drivers.

    Cyclists

    27.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress being made by local authorities in providing improved facilities for cyclists in their areas.

    Since the publication of our cycling policy statement last January, many more authorities have declared their intention of providing improved facilities for cyclists, including the conversion of disused railway lines, the provision of innovatory junction arrangements, and the planning of area-wide networks.

    Railway Track (Lorries And Buses)

    28.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to institute the experimental running of high speed lorries and buses on reserved sections of railway track.

    None. However, we announced in the autumn our support for studies of the costs and engineering constraints of converting two disused railway routes into roads. Our objective in supporting these studies is to obtain independent advice on possible ways of using redundant transport rights of way.

    Serpell Report

    29.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what recommendations relating to Scotland he has received from the Serpell committee.

    The reports are being published later this week. The committee was not asked to make recommendations in the its terms of reference.

    34.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in full the report of the independent committee to review British Rail's finances, chaired by Sir David Serpell.

    37.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received the report of the Serpell committee to review railway finances; and if he will make a statement.

    44.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish the Serpell report on British Rail's finances; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Members and my hon. Friend to my reply earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) and the right hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth).

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the chairman of British Railways Board on the report of the Serpell committee to review railway finances; and if he will make a statement.

    I have had several discussions with Sir Peter Parker. I intend to make a full statement when the committee's reports are published.

    42.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the railway trade unions on the report of the Serpell committee on British Rail finances; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape).

    British Rail (Investment)

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the present level of Government investment in British Rail; and if he will make a statement.

    The level of investment in British Rail depends on the railways board's ability to generate the necessary funds. In 1982 investment amounted to about £300 million, which is well below the ceiling set by Government. Total grant from central and local Government to British Rail in 1982 amounted to over £900 million.

    A 34

    31.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects that the single carriageway stretches of the A34 will be brought up to dual carriageway standards.

    There are three schemes in the road programme to complete the improvement of the A34 between Oxford and Winchester. These are at Gore Hill, Newbury and Whitway. I shall make a separate announcement about each one as soon as possible.

    British Rail (Pay Policy)

    32.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with British Rail about pay policy.

    The railways board's policy on pay is for the railways board to determine. We naturally discuss with the chairman of British Rail important issues, of which the effect of pay on rail finances is one. I know that the chairman is seized of the need for a realistically low settlement this year if the best interests of the railway industry and its work force are to be served.

    London (Public Transport)

    33.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current total annual subsidy paid by Her Majesty's Government to public transport in London.

    Leaving aside the £100 million cost of clearing up the "Fares Fair" deficit, total subsidy to London Transport in 1982–83 amounts to some £290 million—36 per cent. of its total costs. Central Government are paying the GLC £181 million in transport supplementary grant and the GLC is using £120 million of this to help support London Transport—over 40 per cent. of the total support. Central Government are contributing further through rate support grant, fuel duty rebate for buses, new bus grant and grants towards research. The GLC allegation in its recent press advertisements, that central Government contribute only 3 per cent. of London Transport's costs is simply one of the pieces of misinformation they are using ratepayers' money to deploy in their current campaign.Under the Government's proposals, subsidy to London Transport in 1983–84 will increase to some £350 million, covering 40 per cent. of total costs. The GLC has been allocated £200 million through transport supplementary grant. How much of this they use to support London Transport is for it to decide.London travellers also benefit from over £250 million annual support to BR London and south east services covering 35 per cent. of BR's total costs.

    M25 (A12—A13)

    35.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the first part of the A12 to A13 section of the M25 to be open to traffic.

    The first part, from A13 to the Mar Dyke interchange, was opened in December 1981. The second part, from Mar Dyke to the A127 at Codham Hall, was opened on 13 December 1982, though for the time being traffic movements at the Codham Hall interchange will be restricted. The third and final part, from the A127 to the A12, is due for completion in May this year.

    Addingham (Bypass)

    36.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will restore the Addingham bypass scheme to the list for construction at an early date.

    As announced in "Roads: England 1982" a further review of the remaining schemes on which preparation work was suspended, including the Addingham bypass, is currently being carried out.

    Historic Towns (Bypasses)

    39.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress towards the bypassing of historic towns.

    Some 135, or over half, of the 230 historic towns on trunk roads which could benefit from bypasses have been, or are in the process of being, bypassed and schemes are planned for almost all the remainder. In our recent review of the trunk road programme—"Roads: England 1982"—we added a number of schemes aimed particularly at removing through traffic from towns and villages, including historic towns.In successive transport supplementary grant settlements my right hon. Friend and his predecessor have enabled county councils to start over 100 bypasses of local authority roads, of which about 40 will provide relief to historic towns.

    Trunk Roads

    40.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport which trunk road schemes expected to start in 1982–83, for which provision was made in the Supply Estimates, will not now be able to start before the end of the financial year.

    Of the 45 new schemes for which provision was made in the 1982–83 Supply Estimates (Class VI, I), I estimate that contracts will have been let before the end of the financial year on all but 13. A list of these is as follows. By contrast, however, the volume of work on other schemes started or under construction in 1982–83 will be significantly higher than indicated in the Supply Estimates.

    Schemes not likely to start in 1982–83
    Start of Works Expected
    M25 Swanley-Sevenoaks, KentAutumn 1983
    M63 Stretford Eccles improvement, Greater Manchester (two schemes)Winter 1983–84
    Al Alnwick bypass, NorthumberlandWinter 1983–84
    A20 Bexley, Sidcup bypass, Greater LondonSummer 1983
    A27 Langstone flyover, HampshireWinter 1983–84
    A34 Whitway diversion, HampshireSummer 1983
    A35 Honiton link-A30, DevonWinter 1983–84
    A43 Broughton Diversion, NorthamptonshireAutumn 1983
    A56 Accrington Easterly bypass, Southern Section, LancashireSummer 1983
    A57 Worksop Southern bypass, NottinghamshireSummer 1983
    A69 Greenhead Diversion, NorthumberlandSpring 1983
    A303 Andover-Thruxton, HampshireAutumn 1983