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Written Answers

Volume 35: debated on Thursday 27 January 1983

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 27 January 1983

Attorney-General

Trial Costs (Collection)

asked the Attorney-General if he will introduce legislation to improve, expedite and reduce the expense associated with collection of money due to persons having court judgments in their favour.

The Government are constantly seeking ways of improving the enforcement of judgments. The Charging Orders Act 1979 improved the system for obtaining a charging order upon property; the Supreme Court Act 1981 made certain improvements and extensions in the law relating to the attachment of debts and the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgements Act 1982 enables the United Kingdom to ratify the European judgments convention whereby many civil judgments will become enforceable throughout the European Communities. If the hon. Member has any particular suggestions to make, the Lord Chancellor will be glad to consider them.High Court enforcement is carried out by the under-sheriffs, for whom the Lord Chancellor is not responsible, but both they and—though this will depend in part on the judgment creditor himself—the county court bailiffs generally act expenditiously in matters of enforcement.As regards expense, fees are charged for enforcement, as they are for certain other stages in court procedure, but it has to be borne in mind that enforcement is often a costly and labour-intensive process and the fees do not cover the costs. It is considered that those who use these services should make some contribution towards meeting the cost. If the debtor has the means, these as well as the other costs are recoverable from him.

asked the Attorney-General if he will seek to introduce a framework of financial assistance for people of moderate means who face expense and difficulties in collecting money due to them as a result of court judgments.

Except for certain limited types of proceedings specified in schedule 1 to the Legal Aid Act 1974, legal aid is already available for enforcement of a court's judgment.

Trade

Japanese Exports

asked the Minister for Trade (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove on 23 December, Official Report, c. 646, concerning monitoring of voluntary arrangements applied by Japanese industries to their exports, which industries keep Her Majesty's Government informed about trends;(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove on 23 December,

Official Report, c. 646, which

industries are monitored by the similar checks by his Department on voluntary arrangements applied by Japanese industries to their exports.

Discussions on the state of the United Kingdom market take place between United Kingdom industries and their Japanese counterparts about the following products: motor vehicles, televisions and music centres, pottery, cutlery, numerically controlled machine tools and fork lift trucks. My Department keeps a careful watch on imports from Japan in each of these sectors.

European Community (Car Prices)

asked the Minister for Trade why the prices of the same cars and other products vary from one member country of the European Community to another.

Prices of cars and other products may vary between countries in part because of the wide variety of market circumstances that give rise to price differences within countries, and in part as a result of such factors as differing national tax regimes, differing rates of inflation and differing exchange rate movements.

Self-Regulation (Ministerial Speech)

asked the Minister for Trade if he will place in Library a copy of the text of his speech on self-regulation made to Grieveson Grant and others on Wednesday 19 January.

A copy of the speech I gave on 19 January is being placed in the Library.

Cotton And Allied Textile Imports

asked the Minister for Trade (1) if he will give the figures for all the countries, on an individual basis, that received cotton and allied textile exports from the United Kingdom in 1982; and what were the comparable figures in 1977, 1972 and 1967;(2) if the figures for cotton and allied textile imports, broken down by country of origin, are yet available for 1982.

Multi-Fibre Arrangement

asked the Minister for Trade if he has yet published the details of the bilateral agreements reached under the multi-fibre arrangement in 1982; if he will publish in the Official Report a summary of the quota levels to be permitted for imports of textiles and clothing in 1986 compared with the actual level of imports in 1982 for each of the group I products and for the main group II products; if he will express the 1986 figure as a percentage of the 1982 figure; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to the reply, 21 January 1983, c. 245–6]: Details of the main features in the bilateral agreements reached under the multi-fibre arrangement in 1982 were given to the House in my statement on 14 December last. As I said then, the texts of all the agreements, once they have been formally signed, will be submitted to the appropriate Committees of both Houses in the usual way. Publication of the council regulations containing the quotas for 1983 has been delayed by printing difficulties but the Commission is making every effort to ensure that these regulations appear in the official journal as soon as possible.It would not be meaningful to compare the quota entitlements for group I and group II products in 1986 with actual imports in 1982. The 1983 quotas have been established on the basis of the 1982 quotas with certain adjustments including cutbacks of 7 to 8 per cent. in the clothing quotas of the dominant suppliers. Thereafter annual growth rates on group I quotas will be less than 1 per cent.; and in general by less than the MFAII growth rates in group II. Utilisation of the quotas in 1986 will depend on a range of factors which cannot at this stage be predicted.

Taiwan

asked the Minister for Trade if he will make a statement on trade between the United Kingdom and Taiwan.

[pursuant to the reply, 24 January 1983, c. 256]: 1981 United Kingdom visible exports to Taiwan were £120 million and imports £321 million; they are likely to be about the same for 1982. In view of the opportunities offered by the Taiwan market the Anglo-Taiwan trade committee is encouraging a greater degree of attention on the part of British manufacturers.

People's Republic Of China

asked the Minister for Trade what steps have been taken to increase trade between the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China over the past three years; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to the reply 24 January 1983, c. 265.]: I visited China in December 1981 for talks aimed at promoting trade between Britain and China. Further trade talks have taken place during subsequent Ministerial visits to China, including the Prime Minister's visit in September 1982 and the visit of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry in January 1983. The Government have also received several delegations from China. The Government played a major role in the negotiations leading to the signature last November of a £100 million defence contract with British manufacturers. China's economic expansion plans announced last autumn should provide significant further export opportunities. The full range of Government export services, including those of the Sino-British trade council is available to assist British companies to sell to China.

Hong Kong

asked the Minister for Trade what recent steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to encourage trade between the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

[pursuant to the reply 25 January 1983, c. 361.]: I visited Hong Kong from 5 to 7 January 1983 for discussions with the Hong Kong Government and with business leaders aimed at promoting trade between the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, which is now our biggest export market in the Far East. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry also visited Hong Kong during the course of this month. Extensive Government help is available to British companies wishing to sell to Hong Kong, including the services of the British trade commission in Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong trade advisory group, credit facilities supported by the Export Credits Guarantee Department and the export services of the British Overseas Trade Board.

Turkey

asked the Minister for Trade what recent steps Her Majesty's Government have taken to encourage trade between the United Kingdom and Turkey.

[pursuant to the reply, 26 January 1983, c. 436.]: The normal range of BOTB services is available to British exporters to Turkey. The Department of Trade is assisting the British chamber of commerce in Turkey to expand its operations. The BOTB recently acted as co-host to an inward mission from the Turkish railway industry. An announcement from ECGD about short-term credit cover for Turkey is expected shortly.

Energy

Domestic Supplies

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to monitor the operation of the revised code of practice on the disconnection of gas and electricity consumers unable to pay their bills.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor) informed the hon. Member in a reply given to him on 6 July—[col. 62–63]—the gas and electricity consumers' councils and the area electricity consultative councils have agreed to monitor the operation of the industries' revised code of practice. Department of Energy Ministers will maintain their interest in the operation of the code.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is continuing to obtain information from the gas and electricity industries about the numbers of consumers disconnected for debt.

British Underwater Engineering Group

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent contacts have taken place between officials of his Department and British Underwater Engineering Plc; and for what purpose.

Officials of the Offshore Supplies Office maintain frequent contacts with British Underwater Engineering Plc, as they do with other United Kingdom companies, for the purpose of promoting the efficient supply of goods and services required for development of oil and gas resources of the United Kingdom continental shelf.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has assessed the consequences for the offshore supply industry of a takeover of the diving company K D Marine by British Underwater Engineering Plc.

Yes. I am satisfied that the acquisition of K D Marine by BUE is in the best interests of the British Technology Group, the two companies concerned and the United Kingdom offshore supply industry generally.

Oil Depletion

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will consider introducing measures in his national policy on oil depletion to preserve United Kingdom oil reserves whilst market prices fall.

The Government's policy on oil depletion remains as set out in my reply to my hon. Friend, on 8 June 1982 and as stated in the Government's response given on 29 July 1982 to the Select Committee on Energy's report on North Sea oil depletion policy. The real sterling oil price has not fallen since that date.

Home Department

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many men who have come to the United Kingdom on the basis of marriage to a woman resident in the United Kingdom have been refused permission to settle after one year, since November 1979.

Statistics of refusals to grant settlement are not regularly compiled. I cannot add to the estimate which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave during the debate on the proposed immigration rules on 15 December—[Vol. 34, c. 362]—when he said that about 150 men had been refused settlement in the year 1982 as a result of the breakdown of their marriages.

Prisoners (Letters)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will stop the censorship of letters to and from prisoners.

No. The examination and reading of prisoners' correspondence is undertaken to prevent its use to plan escapes or disturbances or otherwise jeopardise the security or good order of establishments; to detect and prevent offences against prison discipline or the criminal law; and to satisfy other ordinary and reasonable requirements of prison administration.

Metropolitan Police (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest assessment made by the receiver general of the Metropolitan Police of costs proper to be met from the imperial and national grant; and what percentage this represents of total expenditure by the Metropolitan Police.

The last review carried out by the receiver in 1981 of the cost of the services which the imperial and national services grant is intended to recognise suggested that the expenditure involved was of the order of £24 million. This represented 4·2 per cent. of the actual net revenue expenditure of the Metropolitan Police in the financial year 1981–12.

Mr K K Abrol

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 20 January, when he received from solicitors instructed by Mr. Abrol the request to refer Mr. Abrol's case to the Court of Appeal; whether any indication has been given to him by the solicitors as to when the further material in support of the request will be submitted; and if, in view of the fact that no decision can be reached on Mr. Abrol's case by the General Dental Council until the request for referral and any further proceedings have been disposed of, he will ask the solicitors to lay the further material before him as soon as possible.

The solicitors' first letter to my right hon. Friend was received in the Home Office on 9 November 1982. A fuller submission was posted on 17 January and has been received since I replied to my hon. Friend's previous question. The solicitors say that a further short report is to be submitted very shortly, and invite my right hon. Friend to consider the case on receipt of it.

Court Of Appeal (Reference Of Cases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out his duties in considering cases for reference to the Court of Appeal; what criteria he takes into account; and whether such reference forms part of the process of trial and appeal.

My right hon. Friend is empowered by section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 to refer the case of any person convicted on indictment to the Court of Appeal. He is prepared to consider any request for the exercise of that power, but he will normally refer a case only if there is new and significant evidence which has not been considered by a court and if there is substantial reason for believing that the new evidence might, if considered earlier, have affected the outcome of the case.A request for a reference may be made at any time, and even in a case which the Court of Appeal has considered before and in which no further appeal would otherwise be possible. Upon reference of a case to the Court of Appeal, the case is treated for all purposes as an appeal to the court.

London Policing (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has decided not to publish in full Sir Kenneth Newman's report on policing in London.

It has never been the practice to publish chief officers' reports called for by the Secretary of State. The annual report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is, however, published and laid before Parliament.

Criminal Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the lengths of time on remand in custody and the alleged offences of each of those currently in prison who have been waiting for over 12 months.

[pursuant to the reply, 15 December, 1982, c. 139–140]: The information available is given in the following table. Information on the offences with which remand prisoners are charged is not collected centrally and could be made available only at disproportionate cost.

Population of untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners in prison department establishments in England and Wales on 30 November 1982 who were initially remanded in custody more than 12 months earlier: by length of time since initial remand in custody

Length of time since initial remand in custody

*

Estimated number

Over 1 year up to 18 months75
Over 18 months up to 2 years18
Over 2 years5
Total98

* Includes any time spent on bail after the initial remand in custody and may involve consecutive periods on remand resulting from different charges.

† The figures are those recorded centrally and are approximate; detailed checking of individual cases would involve disproportionate cost.

Overseas Development

Centre For World Development Education

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has anything to add to his reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North-West on 6 December 1982, Official Report, c. 590, relating to the Centre for World Development Education.

In his letter of 6 January my right hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) recognised that in his reply to the hon. Member on 6 December 1982 he unintentionally referred to him as having been a member of the Sub-Committee on Overseas Development of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the time it issued its comments on the Centre for World Development Education—second report, Session 1981–82 H/C-330.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Olive Oil

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the estimated financial consequences for the olive oil market of the Iberian enlargement of the European Economic Community; and what additional cost is expected in consequence to fall on the United Kingdom taxpayer.

This would depend on what form of olive oil regime will actually be applied in Spain and Portugal. A number of alternatives to simple extension of the existing arrangements are being considered by the Council of Ministers.

Animal Feeding Stuffs

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. McKay) on 2 December 1982, Official Report, c. 294, he will publish the estimates he has received of the cost of mandatory ingredient listing for animal feeding stuffs.

The figures which were submitted to me were given on a confidential basis, but from them I deduced that the cost could be of the order of £4 per tonne.

European Community (Butter Scheme)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will seek to have the European Community social-butter scheme applied in the United Kingdom.

This scheme was operated in the United Kingdom between 1973 and 1974 but was withdrawn because experience showed that in practice the workings of the scheme were found to be generally unpopular with those eligible for aid and the costs of administration were disproportionately high in relation to its benefits. The scheme remains unattractive for these reasons.

Veterinary Surgery (General Anaesthetic)

asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what medical qualifications are necessary for a person who administers a general anaesthetic in the course of veterinary surgery.

Prime Minister

Engagements

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 27 January.

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will state her official engagements for 27 January.

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 27 January.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 27 January.

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

Washington

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Washington.

I expect to have talks with President Reagan in Washington at the time of the economic summit at the end of May.

European Community (Heads Of Government Meeting)

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister what items she expects to be discussed in the next meeting of Heads of Government of the member states of the European Committee.

At European Council meetings, Heads of Government are free to raise any items of concern to them. I have no indications of the items likely to be included in this meeting scheduled to take place on 21–22 March.

Truck Drivers

asked the Prime Minister which Government Department is responsible for the collation of accident and occupational health data for persons employed as truck drivers.

The Health and Safety Executive, which reports to the Secretary of State for Employment, is responsible for the collation of such data in so far as it relates to accidents occurring at a place of work. Data on road accidents are collected by the Department of Transport and include details of those involving truck drivers.

Argentine Press

asked the Prime Minister what instructions were given to the intelligence services about scrutinising the Argentine press during the period before 2 April 1982.

It is normal practice for all those responsible for reporting on situations of direct interest to Her Majesty's Government to monitor and take account of information from all sources, including the press.

Jobcentres (Statistics)

asked the Prime Minister if she will list in the Official Report all those jobcentre areas in the United Kingdom where unemployment is over 25 per cent., showing what Government assistance is available for each area.

The following table shows the assistance available in those jobcentre areas, either singly or grouped to form travel-to-work areas, which had an unemployment rate of 25 per cent. or above at 9 December 1982.All these areas are also covered by the national special employment measures operated in Great Britain by the Department of Employment and the Manpower Services Commission and in Northern Ireland by the Department of Economic Development.

Travel-to-work areaEligible for aid from:
Assisted area schemeDevelopment commissionWDASDAHIDB
HunstantonX
IlfracombeXX
MablethorpeXX
ConsettXX
Pembroke DockXX
TenbyXX

Travel-to-work area

Eligible for aid from:

Assisted area scheme

Development commission

WDA

SDA

HIDB

RothesayXXX
StornowayXXX
CookstownX
DungannonX
LondonderryX
NewryX
StrabaneX
WDA - Welsh Development Agency.
SDA - Scottish Development Agency.
HIDB - Highlands and Islands Development Board.

Falkland Islands

asked the Prime Minister if she will investigate the circumstances in which telephone calls made by one of her officials from the Falkland Islands to destinations in the United Kingdom were intercepted and recorded.

I share my hon. Friend's concern. The matter is being investigated.

Pensions

asked the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report the exchange of letters between the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr, and herself dated 18 November 1982, and 6 December 1982 regarding answers at Question Time on 11 November 1982 concerning pensions.

Transport

Transport Supplementary Grant (London)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what will be the transport supplementary grant settlement for Greater London in 1983–84.

The transport supplementary grant settlement for 1983–84 which I announced on 16 December last, is a high settlement for Londoners. I have accepted for grant in Greater London over £460 million expenditure, 15 per cent. higher than the very substantial figure I accepted for 1982–83. The GLC will get over £200 million in grant. These figures reflect the special transport needs of London as our capital city and the priority the Government are giving to tackling them.The amount of revenue support I have accepted for London Transport means that there will be absolutely no need for any increase in fares in 1983–84 which could therefore be back to their September 1980 level in real terms by the end of the financial year. This represents a realistic provision of resources to secure the stability which is so badly needed. It will provide a firm foundation, with the protection from legal challenge to be provided by my Transport Bill, for forward planning to secure more cost-effective public transport provision.A substantial level of capital expenditure is also being accepted—16 per cent. more than this year and this has been allowed for in full in the capital allocations given to the GLC. The public transport element includes additional resources for the GLC's share of expenditure on the extension of the Piccadilly line to terminal 4 at Heathrow and on the docklands light railway which were announced some months ago and are being designated as projects of national or regional importance. It will provide for London Transport's needs to renew their infrastructure as well as a reasonable level of new investment.The level of capital expenditure which I have accepted for highways is almost 20 per cent. higher than the corresponding figure for this year. This will permit the GLC to press ahead with work on much-needed schemes such as the Rochester way relief road and the docklands northern relief road and many others. The figure might have been even higher were it not for the recent disturbing pattern of local authority underspending on highways improvement in London.

Roads (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are the figures for 1982–83 for trunk road construction; what is the latest predicted outturn for trunk road maintenance; what are the reasons for the changes from previous estimates in the latter; and if he will make a statement.

Good weather and the use of extra labour and equipment by contractors has enabled construction output to be substantially increased during the autumn and winter. I now expect total expenditure in 1982–83 on new construction and improvement, including land, to be about £487 million, £27 million more than in the revised Estimates of July 1982: this will enable many schemes to be completed earlier than planned. In addition, I expect a further £30 million to be spent on structural maintenance, raising total maintenance expenditure to £213 million. As a result the backlog of motorway reconstruction and other major repairs is being substantially reduced.These increases will be partly offset by savings on preparation and supervision—£7 million—and increased receipts—£5 million. I intend to seek a Spring Supplementary Estimate to increase the Roads etc. England vote by £45 million net, to cover these changes. The sum will be charged to the contingency reserve and will thus not add to total public expenditure.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will state in the Official Report for each year since 1979–80 with estimates for 1982–83 the level of spending for the following items (a) trunk road construction, (b) trunk road maintenance, (c) local road construction, (d) local road maintenance (i) as budgeted in the relevant expenditure White Paper and (ii) actual outturn, giving for each year the percentage under or overspend.

Plans for 1979–80 were drawn up by the previous administration in volume terms. Comparisons for that year have been made on that basis revalued to November 1980 prices. As the public expenditure survey is now conducted in cash terms, figures for all subsequent years are given at cash.

Cmnd. 7439 revalued November 1980 prices

Outturn November 1980 prices

Shortfall overspend

Cmnd. 7841 revalued cash

Outturn cash

Shortfall overspend

£m 1979–80

£m 1979–80

per cent. 1979–80

£m 1980–81

£m 1980–81

per cent. 1980–81

Motorways and trunk roads etc.

Capital539475-12422407-4
Current123128+4116117+1

Local roads

Capital485431-11379433+14
Maintenance668695+4601665+11
1981–821981–821981–821982–831982–831982–83

Motorways and trunk roads etc.

Capital525449-14½536538
Current153179+17166208+25

Local roads

Capital409(est) 338-17469

*33O

-30
Maintenance678(prov) 793+17787†848+9

* Based on returns for the first half of the year.

† Based on local authority budget information.

The additional expenditure in 1982–83 over the original provision will be charged to the contingency reserve and not add to total public expenditure. It will be covered by the Supplementary Estimate, which my right hon. Friend is announcing in answer to another question today from the hon. Member.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the expenditure on trunk road maintenance additional to the original expenditure White Paper figure for 1982–83; and to what items of maintenance this additional expenditure is being devoted.

Compared with the provision in Cmnd 8494, an extra £45 million is being spent on motorways and trunk road maintenance (including lighting). The increase is distributed as follows:

£ million
Motorway structural repairs21
Other trunk road structural repairs20
Motorway recurrent maintenance1
Other trunk road recurrent maintenance2
Purchase of snowploughs1
Total45
Over half of expenditure on structural repairs is for major works consisting more than £250,000 each.The additional expenditure in 1982–83 over the original provision will be charged to the contingency reserve and not added to total public expenditure. It will be covered by the Supplementary Estimate, which my right hon. Friend is announcing in answer to another question today from the hon. Member for Stoke on Trent, North (Mr. Forrester).

Rushgreen Road, Lymm, Cheshire (Accident)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will call for an urgent report into the cause of the fatal accident that occurred on the level crossing in Rushgreen Road, Lymm, Cheshire on the evening of Friday 21 January.

British Railways made a preliminary report to the Department soon after the accident occurred. It will submit a further report shortly. Arrangements have been made for an inspecting officer of railways to act as an assessor to the coroner at the resumed inquest. He will produce a full report on the accident, which will be published.

M40

asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the consultancy contract or contracts for the proposed extension of the M40 was put out to tender; and, if so, which firms were invited to tender;(2) which firm or firms were appointed as consultants for the proposed extension of the M40; for what purpose the firm or firms were commissioned; and what fees have been set.

The proposed extension of the M40 was part of the work of the Department's road construction sub-units, which was transferred to consultants following the decision of my predecessor in October 1980. Ninety-eight firms of consulting engineers submitted proposals to take over that work on the basis of the standard fees payable for preparation work on trunk roads. The final selection of firms for sub-unit work was based on a number of factors which included a firm's experience and performance in highways work, the proportion of its work which was done overseas, its capacity to take on the new schemes and also the sub-unit staff who had been working on those schemes.As a result of this process, in 1981 Sir William Halcrow and Partners and Ove Arup and Partners were appointed as main consultants for the preparation work on consecutive sections of the M40. At the same time the Department continued its specialist commissions with RTM planning partnership for environmental assessment work on the M40 and with Transport Planning Associates, in conjunction with Howard Humphreys and Partners, for traffic and economic work. Those firms had been selected earlier on the basis of their experience in similar work. The appointments both of the main consultants and of the specialist consultants were made on standard terms.

Departmental Consultants

asked the Secretary of Stale for Transport which firms have been appointed as consultants on road matters to his Department; for what purposes they have been commissioned; and what fees have been paid since May 1979.

Since May 1979 the following firms have been—or are about to be—appointed as main consultants for the design or supervision of construction of motorway and trunk road schemes:

  • Allott and Lomax
  • Ove Arup and Partners
  • W. S. Atkins and Partners
  • Babtie Shaw and Morton
  • Bullen and Partners
  • John Burrow and Partners
  • Brian Colquhoun and Partners
  • Cooper MacDonald and Partners
  • Trevor Crocker and Partners
  • C. H. Dobbie and Partners
  • Peter Fraenkel and Partners
  • Freeman Fox and Partners
  • Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners
  • Gifford and Partners
  • Gifford/Graham Partnership
  • Sir William Halcrow and Partners
  • Henderson Busby Partnership
  • Howard Humphreys and Partners
  • Husband and Co.
  • Mander Raikes and Marshall
  • G. Maunsell and Partners
  • Mott Hay and Anderson
  • L. G. Mouchel and Partners
  • T. P. O'Sullivan and Partners
  • Pell Frischmann and Partners
  • Posford Pavry and Partners
  • Rendel Palmer and Tritton
  • Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Partners
  • Sir Frederick Snow and Partners
  • Stirling Maynard and Partners
  • R. Travers Morgan and Partners
  • Veryard and Partners
  • Ward Ashcroft and Parkman
  • Sir Owen Williams and Partners
In addition many firms have been appointed—either by the Department or by the main consultant—for specialist work on road matters.The total fees and expenses paid to consultants for the design and supervision of motorway and trunk road schemes are as follows:

Financial year£ million
1979–8012·7
1980–8113·5
1981–8224·2
1982–83*43·6
* Forecast.

M40 (Public Inquiry)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has called any witnesses from private consultants in support of its submissions to the public inquiry on the extension of the M40; and, if so, from which private consultants.

Yes. RTM Planning Partnership have given evidence on environmental aspects.

Environment

Repairs Grants

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his decision on repairs grants and the alteration to the date of construction for qualifying dwellings.

We have been giving careful consideration to this matter. The conclusion we have reached is that, for the moment, there should be no change to the cut-off date for eligibility for repairs grants. The results of the English house condition survey show that 93 per cent. of properties in substantial disrepair were in fact built before 1919.

Manufacturing Industrial Premises

49.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if a proposal to zero rate manufacturing industrial premises would infringe EC rules; and if he will make a statement.

Whether or not any proposal to zero rate manufacturing industrial premises would infringe EC rules would depend on the details of the measure. However, the Government are of the view that if such a measure were uniform in its application EC rules would not be infringed.We have received representations from industrial ratepayers in the context of our review of the domestic rating system with various specific suggestions for changes to the system as it applies to the non-domestic sector. We are considering all these points as we develop our policies for the future.

Shorthold Tenure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what encouragement his Department is giving to the concept of the shorthold tenure; and if he will make a statement.

The Government's response to the report of the Select Committee on the environment on the private rented housing sector stresses the value of shorthold to that sector. The Government's free booklet, "Shorthold Tenancies", is widely available and was featured in national press advertisements of the Department's housing booklets in September and October last year.The shorthold scheme itself was featured in national press advertisements when the Housing Act came into force at the end of 1980.

Islington (District Auditor)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the outcome of the consideration by the metropolitan district auditor of the matters concerning the London borough of Islington referred to in the letter from the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment to the hon. Member for Islington, Central on 1 December 1982.

I understand that the district auditor has looked into the matter and will be writing to the hon. Member shortly.

Industrial Premises (Rating)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the cost of zero-rating manufacturing industrial premises.

The estimated cost in England and Wales for derating manufacturing industry would be about £1¼ billion in 1982–83.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to abolish the regulations which levy rates on empty industrial property; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) on Wednesday 8 December 1982—[Vol. 33, c. 560–61]—and Wednesday 26 January 1983—[Vol. 35, c. 887]—by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

Domestic Rating System (Abolition)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further progress has been made in the plan to abolish the domestic rating system; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Bolsover (M. Skinner) yesterday.—[Vol. 35, c. 896.]

Revaluation (Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the number of non-domestic ratepayers in Greater London withholding part of their rate payments under section 8 of the General Rate Act 1967 whilst their appeals against revaluation remain unsettled; and what is his estimate of the total annual withholding involved.

Tenants Exchange Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated annual cost of operating the tenants exchange scheme.

The tenants exchange scheme was launched on 1 April 1982 and the estimated operating cost for the first year is around £200,000, excluding the costs of development, launch publicity and staff costs.

Council House Sales

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish, by each local authority, the number of council houses which have been sold to their tenants; and if he will also list comparable information on the number of sales so far covered by building society mortgage rather than one from the local authority.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 January 1983, c. 252]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, North (Mr. Durant) on Tuesday 25 January.—[Vol. 35, c. 409.]

Industry

Inmos

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what application he has received for additional financial aid for Inmos; and what response he has made.

My right hon. Friend has now given his consent to an application from the National Enterprise Board, now operating as the British Technology Group, to provide a further £15 million equity to Inmos in order to build up production at Newport and bring the company to the point where it can rely on private sector sources of funding for its future development.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a detailed statement on any changes from its original plans which have been notified by Inmos to his Department and any effects these will have on job prospects in the area where it operates.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 January, Vol. 35, c. 449]: This is a matter for the British Technology Group but in announcing its new £15 million equity finance for Inmos on 25 January the BTG said that this would mainly go to building up production and employment at its Newport Gwent manufacturing facility.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the National Enterprise Board's shareholding in Inmos, stating when the public money was invested, together with any loans outstanding; whether he has formally approved the transfer of further funds from the National Enterprise Board to Inmos; and what intructions he has given to the National Enterprise Board about further investment in the company.

As at 31 December 1982 the NEB's shareholdings in Inmos were of 1,850,000 5p ordinary shares and 2,500,000 £20 convertible preference shares. These funds were subscribed at various times during the period from August 1978 to April 1981.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has approved the provision by the NEB of a further £15 million to Inmos in order to allow the company to progress to the stage where further capital can be attracted from the private sector, and the NEB's stake can be reduced. The £15 million is to be in the form of convertible preference shares, but pending conclusion of the subsription agreement it was advanced as a loan by the NEB on 26 January 1983. There are no other loans outstanding to Inmos from the NEB.

British Technology Group

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether any instructions have been issued by his Department to the British Technology Group to safeguard computer-aided design resources for which it was responsible from passing into foreign ownership;(2) if his Department was consulted by the British Technology Group before the sale of computer-aided design companies for which it was responsible passed into foreign ownership.

No instructions have been issued, but in the recent sale of the NRDC subsidiary Compeda, the Department was properly consulted, given its rights to some of the important software products which were marketed by Compeda, and was able to satisfy itself that the essential United Kingdom interests were being preserved.

Data Communications

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what representations his Department has made to the unofficial working group on local area networks entitled "United States IEEE 802" which is considering standards for data communication by cable; and if he will make a statement as to the proposed future of participation in the work of this committee, particularly in relation to interactive systems.

The IEEE committee 802, although based in USA, is an international forum for the development of standards for local area networks.It has six working parties, three of which are concerned with different techniques for local area networking; token bus, token ring and collision sense multiple access by collision detection and two more dealing with standards which apply to all local area networks being the common control mechanisms—logical link control—and high level protocols for file transfer, terminal handling etc.The sixth working party on metropolitan area networks is relatively new and deals with TV cable systems as local area networks and is thus concerned with interactive applications of cable systems. A representative of the Department has been attending the plenary meetings of IEEE 802 and its logical link control working party. He also reported back on the activities of the MAN group. Following the November 1982 meeting of the IEEE 802 committee, the MAN group documents have been provided to the Department's technical working group on standards for wideband cable systems—the Eden committee.The Department is also considering ways in which it might contribute to the work of the MAN working party.

Computer-Aided Design Centre

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will consult the British Technology Group to make a statement as to the future of the computer-aided design centre; and if he will seek to ensure that the centre is not allowed to pass into foreign ownership.

The future of the computer aided design centre is not a matter for the British Technology Group. The CAD centre is one of the Department of Industry's research establishments and my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and Information Technology announced on 31 March 1982 that consideration would be given to transferring the CAD centre to the private sector.It is important that the work of the centre, which is of considerable value to our industry, continues to be done in the United Kingdom.

Telephones (Attachments)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many prosecutions have been made under the auspices of his Department, or made known to his Department, of contravention of the marking orders made in July by his Department for approved and non-approved attachments to telephones; and if he will make a statement.

No prosecutions have been brought by the Department of Industry, nor am I aware of prosecutions brought by others. It is open to anyone to take such action if they see fit. Enforcement of the orders is primarily in the hands of local authority trading standards offices, who have the relevant power under section 19 of the British Telecommunications Act 1981, and the Department is aware that they have been following up complaints about infringements reported to them. I am urgently considering what further action should be taken. The main focus initially will be to increase consumer awareness of the significance of the marks by appropriate publicity but I am not ruling out the bringing of prosecutions by the Department of Industry where I am convinced that such action might prove to be effective in ensuring more widespread compliance with the orders.

Steel (Redundant Workers)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how many applications were made in 1982 for re-adaptation grants or assistance under the European Coal and Steel Community scheme for redundant steel workers;(2) how many applications for readaptation grants or assistance under the European Coal and Steel Community scheme for redundant steel workers were refused in 1982; and how many are still pending.

Sixteen applications were made by the Government in 1982 for ECSC funds to be allocated to contribute to readaptation benefits for redundant steel workers. None was refused, but replies are awaited from the Commission to two applications.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what were the main categories of study or training for which applications were made for readaptation grants or assistance under the European Coal and Steel Community scheme for redundant steel workers.

Applications for training support from redundant steel workers under the readaptation scheme jointly funded by the Government and the ECSC cover a very wide range of skills. The main categories of skills for which training has been supported since the scheme was introduced in 1974 are as follows:

  • Bricklaying
  • Carpentry and joinery
  • Catering
  • Community care
  • Computer programming and micro processors
  • Domestic appliance servicing
  • Dressmaking, fashion and design
  • Electrical installation and maintenance
  • Fork lift truck driving
  • Furniture craft
  • Hairdressing
  • Heating and ventilation fitting
  • Heavy goods vehicle driving
  • Industrial cleaning
  • Light/heavy vehicle repair and maintenance
  • Plumbing
  • Pneumatic and hydraulic fitting
  • Radio, television and electronic servicing
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning
  • Secretarial skills
  • Welding
Support has also been given for studies in a number of fields aimed at improving the employment prospects of redundant steel workers. The main categories include:

  • Accountancy
  • Business administration
  • Degree courses (usually scientific subjects)
  • English as a second language
  • G.C.E. courses
  • Management studies

National Enterprise Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will set out his powers of direction in respect of the National Enterprise Board.

The powers are set out in section 7 of the Industry Act 1975, and enable the Secretary of State to give the board directions of a general or specific character as to the exercise of its functions.

Number of applicationsValue of applications £ millionNumber of offers madeValue of offers made £ million
Scotland
1979364108·418339·2
19808929·222638·7
198116456·612241·0
1982*26852·523643·9
Wales
197923735·520221·9
198011933·011129·2
198120330·613018·6
1982*25330·019725·1
North East
197918232·314025·4
19807325·98232·0
19816116·05311·5
1982*14528·310212·2
North West
197947063·537645·3
198024340·215027·5
198116326·28613·8
1982*33035·817215·7
Yorkshire/Humberside
197922821·519213·9
1980455·61227·2
198115724·19912·3
1982*27125·416811·4
East Midlands
1979435·7320·7
1980223·9242·6
19819112·0434·1
1982*11317·48311·4
West Midlands
197930·072Neg
19801Neg
1981
1982*
South West
1979627·5555·3
1980191·5201·4
1981376·7251·6
1982*312·2255·0
*January-November only.
Offers made are not necessarily on applications received during the same calendar year.

Industry Act (Applications)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will state, by region, the number and value of applications received, and offers made, under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 for each of the years 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982.

Details of applications received and offers made under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 in Scotland, Wales and English regions for the calendar years 1979 to 1982 are as follows:

Grampian Region

asked the Secretary of state for Industry, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East of 26 January, what assessment he made of the effect on the Grampian region, and East Aberdeenshire in particular, of the loss of assisted area status, particularly in relation to employment.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 January, Vol. 35, c. 379–80] The objective of the changes in assisted area status which the Government have made since coming into office has been to concentrate the available resources of regional aid in the area of greatest need. It is too early to make any assessment of the later changes, including those in the Grampian region—as many have only recently come into effect. I am satisfied that the current coverage of regional industrial assistance correctly reflects the relative needs of the various parts of the Grampian region.

Enterprise Ashford

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, if he will give further encouragement for schemes similar to Enterprise Ashford, details of which have been sent to him, which provide cost-effective means of creating new jobs.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 January, Vol. 35, c. 449] I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. My

Training Year September 1978-August 19791979–801980–811981–821982–83
Crewe220285216178149*
Cheshire (including Crewe)534539508397247*
England22,07522,70120,22514,80010,229*
* Registration to date.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many engineering apprentices were made redundant in 1982 in (a) Crewe, (b) Cheshire and (c) England.

Figures for the total numbers of redundancies among craft technician engineering trainees are not available. The numbers made known to the engineering industry training board are as follows:

Training YearCreweCheshireEngland
September 1981/August 1982None211,249
September 1982 to dateNone6456

School Leavers (West Midlands)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number and percentage of school leavers in 1982 in (a) the west midlands, (b) the black country and (c) the Walsall travel-to-work area, who have been placed in apprenticeships lasting three years and more.

I am afraid that information of this sort is not available for the black country or for individual travel-to-work areas. The latest available figures for the west midlands are those for 1979, covering 16 and 17-year-olds only, which were given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend in his reply on 13 November 1981.—[Vol. 12, c. 203].

Department is providing an increasing level of encouragement and assistance to local enterprise agencies similar to Enterprise Ashford. We maintain regular contact with them and with Business in the Community. Support is being provided through the introduction this financial year of tax relief on contributions to agencies approved by my Department. An increasing number of local enterprise agencies are making full use of the information and counselling services of the small firms service.

Employment

Engineering Apprentices

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the intake of engineering apprentices in (a) Crewe, (b) Cheshire and (c) England in each year since 1978.

Figures for the total intake of engineering apprentices are not available. The numbers of first year off-the-job craft and technician trainees who were registered with, and following courses approved by, the engineering industry training board are:

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number and percentage of school leavers in the west midlands in 1982 who have now found permanent employment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of school leavers in the west midlands who were found places in 1982 on youth opportunities schemes and other Manpower Services Commission projects; and what is the average length of time for which they participated in such schemes.

45,000 school-leavers entered youth opportunities programme schemes in the west midlands in 1981–82 and a further 40,000 have entered since April 1982. The average length of stay on a scheme is 23 weeks, but many young people participate in more than one scheme.I am afraid that figures for the number of school leavers on other Manpower Services Commission schemes are not available for the West Midlands. The community programme, which is also run by the commission, is not open to youngsters under 18.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of school leavers in the west midlands in 1981 who found places on the youth opportunities scheme who have subsequently found permanent employment.

I am afraid that this information is not available.National surveys show however that about 40 per cent. of youngsters who started youth opportunities programme work experience courses in the first half of 1981 subsequently found permanent jobs and a further 10 per cent. went on to further education or training.

Unemployment (West Midlands)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many in (a) the west midlands, (b) the black country area and (c) the Walsall travel-to-work area have now been unemployed for over 12 months; and if he will give the figures for January 1979, January 1980, January 1981 and January 1982, respectively, and the differences in percentage terms.

Textile Employees (Accrington)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of the work force the textile industry employed in (a) Accrington and (b) north-east Lancashire in 1982 or the nearest available date.

Redundancies reported as due to occur: 1982*, Selected Travel-to-work areas
SIC(68) Industry OrderBlackburnAccringtonBurnleyNelsonRossendale
I Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing
II Mining and Quarrying75
III Food, Drink and Tobacco7010
IV Coal and Petroleum Products
V Chemicals and Allied Industries126114
VI Metal Manufacture4325
VII Mechanical Engineering223732762515
VIII Instrument Engineering
IX Electrical Engineering36444
X Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering
XI Vehicles631,156158
XII Metal Goods Not Elsewhere Specified2186
XIII Textiles230215189290127
XIV Leather, Leather Goods and Fur
XV Clothing and Footwear5057196
XVI Bricks, Pottery, Glass, Cement, etc.235023
XVII Timber, Furniture, etc.49588220
XVIII Paper, Printing and Publishing37310
XIX Other Manufacturing Industries4811
XX Construction27
XXI Gas, Electricity and Water17
XXII Transport and Communication3219
XXIII Distributive Trades42111130
XXIV Insurance, Banking, Finance and Business Services
XXV Professional and Scientific Services
XXVI Miscellaneous Services45
XXVII Public Administration and Defence9922
All Industries and Services1,4461,0762,269689474
* Includes provisional figures for November and December.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report tables giving a breakdown of age and duration of unemployment in each of the Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Rossendale travel-to-work areas for age groups under 18 years, 19 years, 20 to 24 years, 25 to 29 years, 30 to 34 years, 35 to 44 years, 45 to 54, 55 to 59 years and 60 to 64 years, for durations of up to 13, 26 and 52 weeks,

The most recent figures are from the June 1978 census of employment and show that 11 per cent. of employees in Accrington and 12 per cent. of those in north-east Lancashire worked in the textile industry. Censuses were not taken in 1979 and 1980 and local area results are not yet available from the September 1981 census.

Blackburn

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report figures giving the number of redundancies notified in each of the Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Rossendale travel-to-work areas in the year 1982 or such part of it in respect of which the figures required are presently available, in total, and subdivided by standard industrial classification order and on a basis comparable with the answer to the hon. Member for Blackburn of 5 May 1982, Official Report, c. 71–74.

There are no comprehensive statistics of redundancies. The numbers of redundancies, in groups of ten or more employees, reported to the Manpower Services Commission as due to occur in the specified areas during 1982, in total, by standard industrial classification order are given in the following table:and over 52 weeks, for the year 1982 or such part of it in respect of which the figures required are presently available, and on a comparable basis to his answer to the hon. Member for Blackburn of 13 May 1982,

Official Report, c. 330.

Wales

Mental Health Act Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will ensure that the regional organisations of the Mental Health Act Commission will treat Wales as a unit for the purpose of its work and not divide Wales up under adjacent regions of England.

The Mental Health Act Commisssion will serve England and Wales and appointments to it will be made jointly by my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Wales and the Secretary of State for Social Services. The principal functions of the commission will be in respect of people detained under the provisions of mental health legislation. At 31 December 1981 there were 227 people so detained in Wales, compared with a total of some 7,000 in England and Wales. It is proposed that the commission should have a chairman and a multidisciplinary membership of 70, that it should have a central committee and three regional panels. One of the panels would serve Clwyd, Gwynedd, Powys and the north-west of England; another the rest of Wales and the south of England.For each of the relevant disciplines, members from Wales will be appointed to the panels operating in Wales and each of these two panels will include at least one member who is proficient in the use of the Welsh language.The Government believe that these proposals are the most effective and efficient way of organising the commission's work.

Council Rents

asked the Secretary of State for Wales by how much the average unrebated council house rent in Wales has increased in total and in each of the past four years.

It is estimated that average weekly unrebated council house rents in Wales have increased as follows:

Increase over previous year
1979–801980–811981–821982–83
££££
0·621·623·342·54
The total increase from 1978–79 to 1982–83 is estimated to be £8·12.

Castles And Ancient Buildings

asked the Secretary of State for Wales to which private bodies and organisations he is prepared to give permission for the use of castles and other ancient buildings in his care in Wales for cultural or historic commemorative functions; and whether it is his policy to make any charge for such a use of these buildings.

Each request is considered individually. Permission is given wherever possible, subject to considerations such as safety, staff availablility and acccess for other visitors. A charge is normally made to cover the cost of heating, lighting and administrative overheads.

Housing Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if, further to his reply of 26 April 1982, Official Report, c. 190, concerning housing expenditure, he will now give a breakdown of the following aggregated figures for 1982–83 contained in his reply namely (a) capital expenditure, local authority gross expenditure £150 million (b) total new towns gross investment £4 million, (c) total sales and repayments £62 million, in terms of the original 1982–83 estimate and the provisional outturn for 1982–83.

Local authorities and new towns are able to set their own priorities for capital expenditure and any disaggregation of the total provision would therefore be misleading.Total local authority housing capital provision for the current year has been increased as a result of the Budget provisions for expenditure on house renovation grants and, including expenditure on gipsies, now totals £156 million.Based on the latest available information, estimated outturn for housing capital expenditure for 1982–83 is as follows:

Capital expenditure£ million
Local authority gross expenditure
Land1
New dwellings45
Acquisitions1
Improvement investment26
Other3
Improvement grants48
Gross lending to private persons for house purchase and improvements8
Loans and grants to the housing associations
Total local authority gross expenditure132
New towns gross investment
Land1
New dwellings3
Improvements
Total new towns gross investment4
Sales and repayments
Land and dwellings, local authorities-160
New towns-8
Associated lending - gross89
Repayments-5
Repayments of loans to private persons for house purchase and improvements-18
Repayment of loans to housing associations-1
Total sales and repayments-103

Education And Science

Teachers (Superannuation)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish in the Official Report, in a convenient form and at a convenient recent date, the information available to him about the extent to which individual local education authorities are using their powers to enhance, at their own expense, the superannuation for teachers granted premature retirement in their area, distinguishing between teachers over 60 and those under 60, and also distinguishing between teachers retired in the interests of efficiency of the service and those made redundant.

Statistics have not hitherto been kept in the form requested. The Department had however recently requested local education authorities to provide information about enhancement awarded in cases of premature retirement of teachers since 1 April 1980. The information received is now being processed and I shall write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Youth Service (Thompson Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will be taking steps to act upon the recommendations in the Thompson report on the youth service.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he proposes to take on the recommendations of the Thompson committee report on the youth service in England.

I refer the hon. and learned Member and my hon. Friend to my answer on 25 January to my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle).—[Vol. 35, c. 781].

Social Services

Hysterectomies (Advice)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list those regional and district health authorities which provide specialised counselling and advice on hysterectomies;(2) whether he is satisfied with current levels of advice and counselling within the National Health Service for women undergoing hysterectomies; and if he will make a statement.

Giving specialist advice to patients is an integral part of the clinical care which a doctor provides. In the case of a woman undergoing a hysterectomy this would be the gynaecologist to whom she had been referred, and the decision whether to arrange any other specialist advice or counselling would be one for the gynaecologist's clinical judgment. We are not aware of any counselling services provided specifically for women undergoing hysterectomies, but I have no evidence to suggest that the present arrangements are unsatisfactory.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing the unemployment benefit rate for a couple and for a couple with two children as a proportion of average male full-time earnings plus average female part-time earnings for each year since 1970.

The information is given in the following table. Figures are given for the months in which benefit upratings took place, because comparisons at other dates can be misleading. The table begins with September 1971 because there was no uprating in 1970.

Unemployment benefit*as percentage of average earnings
Married coupleMarried couple with two children
September 197139·547·2
October 197236·444·1

Unemployment benefit

*

as percentage of average earnings

Married couple

Married couple with two children

October 197334·241·9
July 197434·942·8
April 197531·939·1
November 197531·138·4
November 197631·739·4
November 197733·741·1
November 197831·537·6
November 197929·835·7
November 198027·632·7
November 1981‡25·229·9
November 1982‡19·524·0

Notes:

* Standard rate unemployment benefit and earnings-related supplement based on average male full-time earnings, plus dependency additions and family allowance/child benefit for the couple with children.

† Estimated average gross earnings of male full-time workers plus those of female part-time workers, in all occupations, derived from the New Earnings Survey by interpolation/extrapolation using the Department of Employment's monthly indices of average earnings. Family allowance/child benefit has been added for the couple with children.
‡ Figures for 1981 and 1982 are provisional.

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest estimate of the numbers receiving supplementary benefit as a result of the 5 per cent. abatement in (a) unemployment benefit, (b) other short-term benefits and (c) invalidity pension.

Social Security Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of social security payments in each of the past five years have been paid by (a) cheque, (b) bank giro and (c) cash.

The proportion of social security expenditure which has been paid by (a) cheque—that is Paymaster General's Office payable order—and (b) Girocheque encashable at post offices in the past five years is as follows:

Payable order per cent.Girocheque per cent
1977–785·2620·13
1978–795·2717·94
1979–805·6815·70
1980–816·2217·64
1981–827·6319·91
Information regarding cash payments at DHSS offices is only readily available for 1981–82 when cash payments accounted for less than 0·01 per cent. of total benefit expenditure. The majority of social security benefits is paid by means of order books encashable at post offices.

Departmental Staff (Kirkby)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the transfer of work from Liverpool 9 to the Kirkby Department of Health and Social Security office means that the existing Kirkby staff have more work to do.

Camberwell Resettlement Unit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the time scale for the reduction of occupancy at the Camberwell resettlement unit.

Arrangements in progress will reduce the bed capacity from 550 to 300 by September 1983. Further reductions during 1984 and 1985 will lead to the closure of the unit in September 1985.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many beds have been offered by housing associations and voluntary bodies to replace those provided by the Camberwell resettlement unit; how many beds have been specifically offered for high dependency cases and by how many voluntary bodies; and if he is satisfied that a sufficient number of appropriate places will be available by the time that the Camberwell unit is closed.

Under the timetable for the Camberwell replacement scheme applications were invited for projects catering for low to medium dependency residents during the financial years 1981–82 and 1982–83; applications for high dependency schemes were invited for 1983–84. To date 239 places have been offered by housing associations working in partnership with caring agencies: two agencies have already offered 16 places for residents needing a high degree of care. Officials from the Department and the Department of the Environment are discussing with the London boroughs arrangements for direct access bedspaces including some provision by local authorities. This encouraging rate of progress should ensure that a sufficient number of places will be available to replace the services currently provided at Camberwell when the resettlement unit closes in 1985.

Homeless Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to complete his review of provision for people without a settled way of life; and if he will make a statement.

I hope to be able to issue a consultative document on the future of resettlement units before the Easter recess.

Children Act 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends to implement section 65 of the Children Act 1975.

Section 65 is already in force but its effect depends on section 64, which is only partially implemented.

National Health Service (Equipment)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of equipment used by the National Health Service is made in the United Kingdom.

Precise information is not available but trade statistics suggest that in terms of value about 60 per cent. of the medical equipment used by the NHS is made in the United Kingdom.

Hardship Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will take steps to remedy the stopping without explanation of the hardship allowance to former recipients of the scheme;(2) whether he has, during the past three years, amended any of the administrative procedures relating to the special hardship allowance scheme.

There has been no change in the procedures relating to special hardship allowance, entitlement to which is determined by the statutory authorities having regard to evidence of the claimant's incapacity to perform his regular occupation or suitable alternative work and confirmation of details of his loss of earnings. It is the practice to invite a fresh claim toward the end of the entitlement period. If the hon. Member has a particular case in mind I would be glad to have details, and make inquiries.

National Insurance Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what extra revenue will come into the national insurance fund during 1983–84 as a result of raising contributory rates in autumn 1982.

The increases in contribution rates and changes in earnings limits for 1983–84 which were announced in autumn 1982, together with the changes in contracted-out contributions announced earlier in the year, will provide the national insurance fund with extra revenue, including Treasury supplement, of almost £1,360 million in 1983–84.Details of the changes in the assumptions on which the forecasts were based are contained in the Government Actuary's report on the draft of the Social Security (Contributions Re-rating) Order 1982, Cmnd. 8742.

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in respect of rule 3, on page 1 of leaflet N.I. 177A "Was your husband over 65 in 1948", how many people have been disqualified from receiving a non-contributory retirement pension or widow's pension because they have remarried before the age of 60 years;(2) in respect of page 3 of leaflet N.I. 177A "Was your husband over 65 in 1948", how many claims for non-contributory retirement pension or widow's pension were disallowed due to the claimant's inability to locate her divorced husband's birth certificate.

Information is not available on the grounds on which claims for category C retirement pension are disallowed.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many copies of N.I. 177A "Was your husband over 65 in 1948" were printed; what was the cost of this; and what has been the response to date.

50,000 copies of the leaflet were printed at a cost of £1,843 to meet the demand through DHSS offices and advice agencies. The leaflet has been used since the introduction of non-contributory pensions, which are claimed on the attached claim form.

Housing Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in his press release of 16 December 1982, entitled "Housing Benefit" (No. 82/883), in each of the paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, how many of those claimants mentioned are heads of (a) one-parent families and (b) two-parent families;(2) under the unified housing benefit scheme starting in April 1983, what is his latest estimate of the number of

(a) one-parent families, and (b) two-parent families who will be (i) better off, (ii) worse off and (iii) neither better nor worse off than under previous rebate and allowance schemes; and in (i) and (ii) if he will give an indication of the numbers in bands of 10p or as near as possible.

The information requested is being assembled. I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of unemployed males both have dependent children and are the sole breadwinners in the household.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 December 1982, Vol. 34, c. 686]: About 23 per cent. in 1981.

Notes:

Source: general household survey 1981.

"Unemployed males" for this purpose were defined as males, other than full-time students, who in the week before their participation in the Survey were looking for work, or intending to look for work but prevented by temporary sickness, or waiting to take up a job already obtained.

They were counted as sole breadwinners when all other members of the household were dependent children or were adults who were not working in that week.

Social Security Commissioners (Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the answer on appeals to the social security commissioners given to the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mr. Race) on 18 January, Official Report, c. 48.