Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday 12 March 1985
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has yet completed consideration of those recommendations in the Report of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy on Diet and Cardiovascular Disease which are of concern to his Department; and if he will make a statement.
I have examined carefully the recommendations in the COMA report on diet and cardiovascular disease in consultation with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Social Services, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since the report was published in July last year officials have also held preliminary discussions with representatives of food and drink manufacturers, distributors, retailers, consumers, and local authority organisations. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has invited the British Nutrition Foundation and the Health Education Council to ask their joint advisory committee on nutritional education to produce practical guidance for families based on the recommendations. We are therefore working towards implementing all the COMA recommendations to the Government. Much remains to be done but I can now announce the Government's general proposals on those recommendations which affect agricultural and food policy.COMA made important proposals for the labelling of the fat content of food. The Government intend to introduce statutory requirements concerning foods which make a significant contribution to the fat intake in the diet. Such foods should be labelled with their total fat content and their saturated fatty acid content. In the important cases of butter, margarine, table spreads, cooking fat and other edible oils, the saturated fatty acid content would be shown with the trans fatty acid content as a combined figure. The new requirements would cover not only packaged food but also foods sold loose, although the detailed labelling requirements would need to be varied to allow for the particular circumstances of different parts of the food industry and there will therefore be further consultations on some of the more difficult problems. Labelling of individual portions is clearly not practical in the case of catering establishments. However, the Government will discuss with the trades covering all such cases how to ensure in a practical way that they can play their part in providing consumers with information about the fat in the foods they serve. Foods which do not make a significant contribution to fat intake would be outside the new labelling requirements: they include such items as most fruit and vegetables, cereals and bread and flour.Representatives of the food industry have asked the Government to consider full nutrition labelling of all foods covering such things as energy, protein, and carbohydrate content as well as fat content. We do not propose to introduce compulsory full nutrition labelling but will prepare draft guidelines and will circulate them for comment to all the interests concerned. While full nutrition labelling would therefore remain voluntary, the Government will consider whether to prescribe a standard format by regulation, in order to avoid the confusion among consumers that differing formats might cause.The Government, the Consumers Association and the National Consumers Council are collaborating in a survey of consumer understanding of, and requirements for, fat content and nutrition labelling. The results are expected in May and will be taken into account in reaching the Government's final conclusion.COMA recommended that all alcoholic drinks should be labelled with the percentage of alcohol by volume. Similar proposals for Community regulations have been made by the European Commission and are to be debated by Parliament. The Government will take careful account of the views of Parliament and of the Commission's proposals before reaching a decision, but believe that regulations should be introduced in line with the COMA recommendations.COMA recommended that alternative preparations of food should be made available with lower saturated fat or lower salt contents. The Government will continue their discussions with the industry on this matter and note that there are already a number of alternative lower fat products on the market, such as low fat dairy products, table spreads and sausages.I have considered the recommendation for the production of leaner carcases of cattle, sheep and pigs. So far as cattle and sheep are concerned, I have concluced that it would be appropriate to adjust the certification standards applying under the respective variable premium schemes so as to exclude from eligibility the fatter animals (that is in the case of cattle those falling into fat class 5; and those covered by the fatter end of the MLC's fat class 4 in the case of sheep). I believe that, given reasonable notice, beef and sheep producers should be able to make the necessary adjustments to their husbandry and breeding practices. I accordingly have it in mind that these changes should be effective from the beginning of the 1986 marketing years. Meanwhile, my officials and MLC staff will be collaborating in a suitable programme of advisory events. There are no corresponding arrangements for prigs, but the trend there continues to be towards the production of leaner animals.I have carefully noted the recommemdations to consider ways of removing from the common agricultural policy those elements which might dicourage dietary change. The Government believe that production should be geared to consumer demand as expressed in the market place. In general the commodity regimes of the CAP do not discourage individuals from implementing the COMA dietary recommendations if they wish to do so. The Government will however in future take this recommendation fully into account, with other relevant considerations, in determining the United Kingdom position in negotiations on the CAP. The European Commission has proposed that the general consumer butter subsidy should lapse at the end of 1984–85 and the Government intend to accept this provided other relevant decisions are satisfactory.In carrying out their proposals the Government must bear in mind their responsibilities as a member of the EEC, where food labelling law is already harmonised. We will therefore remain in close touch with the European Commission.The Government recognise that some parts of the industry face genuine practical problems which will have to be resolved in further discussion; but I am confident that all those involved will continue to adopt the same constructive and co-operative approach as they had done hitherto. I intend to issue proposals for regulations later this year.In the meantime, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services expects that the guidance being sought from the joint advisory committee on nutritional education will be published in the early summer. In addition, the catering guidance provided by his Department for use by hospitals, local authorities and many private catering establishments is being revised to reflect COMA advice. Finally, work is going forward to assess the possibilities for better and more cost effective ways of identifying people at high risk of coronary heart disease, including research into the means of facilitating measurement of blood lipids.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on his policy for the Open University following the report of the visiting committee.
It is the Government's policy that the Open University should continue to fulfil its role within the higher education sector by providing opportunities for degree level study to those who missed, or did not have, those opportunities earlier in life; and by providing opportunities for continuing education, particularly in the area of professional, industrial and commercial updating. The report of the visiting committee indicated that the university should be able to fulfil its role more economically, but that the Government were expecting it to adjust to lower funding levels too quickly. I have accepted the committee's advice that some alleviation should be offered to previously indicated funding levels, and this is reflected in the grant letter issued to the university on 22 February, copies of which have been placed in the Library.The alleviations provided are in 1985: £1·6 million for restructuring, £0·36 million for promoting a shift to science and technology and £0·039 million to fund additional posts in relation to the new blood and information technology initiatives; and in 1986: £1·2 million for new computing facilities, and £0·8 million to allow for a more gradual approach to reduced grant levels, the switch to science and technology, and the new blood-information technology posts. In aggregate the alleviations amount to about £2 million in each of the years 1985 and 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidelines are issued by his Department for the provision of and instruction in religious education in all schools.
The place and nature of religious education in the curriculum of maintained schools are governed by the relevant provisions of the Education Act 1944. "The School Curriculum", published in 1981 by the Department of Education and Science and the Welsh Office, set out the Government's views in these terms:
"The place of religious education in the curriculum and its unique statutory position accord with a widely shared view that the subject has a distinctive contribution to make to a pupil's school education. It provides an introduction to the religious and spiritual areas of experience and particularly to the Christian tradition which has profoundly affected our culture. It forms part of the curriculum's concern with personal and social values, and can help pupils to understand the religious and cultural diversity of contemporary society. The Secretaries of State consider that local education authorities should keep under review the provision made for religious education, bearing in mind the requirements of the Education Act 1944 as regards collective acts of worship and religious instruction; and that they should also reconsider from time to time the appropriateness of the Agreed Syllabus for their area in the light of the needs of particular groups of pupils and changes in the society in which the pupils are growing up."
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to whether some gas boards have abandoned or have plans to abandon the standing charge concession on small usage of fuel by domestic consumers; and if he will make a statement.
I understand that the British Gas Corporation is keeping under review its standing charge rebate scheme for small users.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to whether some electricity boards have abandoned or have plans to abandon the standing charge concession on small usage of fuel by domestic consumers; and if he will make a statement.
The industry is considering the future of the standing charge rebate scheme. Area boards will make their own announcement of any tariff changes in the usual way.
National Coal Board (Subsidence Damage)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the provisions for subsidence damage in the National Coal Board accounts for 1983–84.
The chairman of the NCB has assured me that following a further review he is satisfied that the provision for subsidence damage in the board's 1983–84 accounts is adequate, and that the board is doing everything possible to prevent a recurrence of the situation which made the large additional provision for subsidence damage necessary. I have asked to be kept in close touch with the implementation of the board's plans to improve financial control in this area and have emphasised to the board the importance I attach to a policy directed at repairing subsidence damaged properties rather than paying cash compensation to claimants. I have now paid to the board deficit grant in respect of the additional subsidence provisions, which I had withheld until I was satisfied regarding them.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will give, for each year from 1973 to the latest date for which figures are available, the numbers of (a) entry clearance appeals lost by appellants at adjudicator level but where the appellant sought leave to the tribunal, the numbers where leave was granted and the numbers won, (b) entry clearance appeals lost by his Department or the entry clearance officer where leave to the tribunal was sought, the numbers where leave was granted and the numbers won, (c) cases of any description where his Department or the entry clearance officer lost at the tribunal and sought leave to go to the High Court and (d) fiancés refused entry clearance on grounds of primary intent;(2) if he will give for the national immigration figures for each year between 1973 and the latest date for which figures are available the numbers of
(a) applications for entry clearance refused, broken down into the country of origin and category of persons, (b) appeals to adjudicators against refusal of entry clearance and numbers won and (c) the number of appeals, broken down into each appellate area;
(3) if he will give for each year between 1973 and the latest date for which figures are available the numbers of (a) people who came with prior entry clearance who appealed in the United Kingdom and the numbers who were successful either before an adjudicator or tribunal, (b) people who came without prior entry clearance who were refused entry who appealed from their country of origin and the numbers who were successful and (c) applications for entry clearance, including visas, broken down into country of origin and into the categories of (i) children, (ii) parents, (iii) husbands, (iv) wives, (v) fiancés, (vi) fiancées, (vii) visitors, (viii) students, (ix) asylum seekers and (x) others;
(4) if he will give the national immigration figures for each year between 1973 and the latest date for which figures are available for the numbers of (a) appeals in respect of variation of leave and deportation notices lost by his Department where leave to appeal to the tribunal was sought by his Department, the numbers allowed leave and the numbers successful before the tribunal, (b) people refused entry at air or sea ports, broken down by port and country of origin and (c) people refused at air or sea ports who came with prior entry clearance, broken down by ports and country of origin;
(5) if he will give, for the national immigration figures for each year between 1973 and the present, the numbers of (a) refusals to vary leave to remain, (b)notices of deportation, (c) appeals heard by adjudicators against refusal to vary leave and numbers won, (d) appeals heard by adjudicators against deportation notices and numbers won, (e) appeals, broken down into each appellate area and (f) appeals in respect of variation of leave and deportation notices lost by the appellant before an adjudicator where leave to appeal to the tribunal was sought by the appellant, the numbers allowed leave and the numbers successful before the tribunal.
I shall write to the hon. Member giving such information as is available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Polish nationals have been given permission to stay on a temporary basis in the United Kingdom since the imposition of martial law in Poland; and if he will make a statement on their future.
The numbers of Polish nationals admitted to the United Kingdom for a limited period in 1982, 1983 and 1984, including those who came as visitors, were 14,600, 23,900 and 33,800 respectively. Comprehensive information on applications to remain in the United Kingdom is available only for 1984, when about 4,100 Polish nationals were granted extensions of stay for a limited period. Since the imposition of martial law in Poland, about 1,000 Polish nationals have been granted an exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom in accordance with my right hon. Friend's announcement on 9 March 1983.
Independent Broadcasting Authority (Powers)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to amend the Broadcasting Act 1981 to ensure that the Independent Broadcasting Authority shall not be competent to ban the broadcasting of a television programme on the grounds that it may infringe the Official Secrets Act 1911.
We believe that the Independent Broadcasting Authority should continue to have the right to decide not to transmit any programme which could put it in breach of the criminal law or of its statutory obligations.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent represenations he has received about the legal and judicial system in the Channel Islands.
Letters are received each year from a few individuals in the Channel Islands who are dissatisfied with some aspect of the criminal law or judicial system in the island in question or a court's decision in a particular case. No central record is kept of such letters, but the number of complainants is very small.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will describe the assistance given by his Department to the data protection registrar in the performance of his duties.
The data protection registrar is independent of any Government Department in the performance of his duties. Officials of the Home Office have, however, given him, and will continue to give him, as much advice and assistance in setting up his office as he requests.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce the appointed day required by the Data Protection Act.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a similar question from my hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith) on 4 December 1984, at column 132.
Concessionary Television Licence Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if flats and bungalows built specifically for the elderly, and which are connected to a central alarm system for mobile wardens, are eligible for the 5p television licence scheme.
To qualify for the concessionary accommodation for residential care television licence elderly persons' dwellings must be provided specially for retired persons of pensionable age by a local authority under part V of the Housing Act 1957 or by a housing association and must have some communal accommodation or facility provided in association with them. A warden service can generally be accepted as a communal facility for qualifying purposes, but each application for the concessionary licence must be dealt with on its merits, taking account of all relevant factors. There is no precise definition of what constitutes a warden service for the purpose of the regulations governing entitlement to the concessionary licence, but to be acceptable a warden would be expected to make regular visits to the people under his or her care and to provide appropriate services in response to their needs. A warden service under which a mobile warden responded only to emergency calls from elderly residents over a central alarm system would not fulfil these criteria.
British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people have acquired British citizenship as a result of the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983; and what percentage of the total population of the Falkland Islands this represents;(2) how many applications are still pending for British citizenship under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983.
We have no record of the number of persons who acquired British citizenship automatically under section 1 of the Act. No application under section 2 of the Act for registration as a British citizen has been received.
Fire Service (London)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a further statement on the fire service in London after the proposed abolition of the Greater London council.
There is no truth in the Greater London Council's assertion published in "The Londoner" for February 1985 that its abolition will result in large reductions in the numbers of firemen, appliances and stations in London. As I have repeatedly explained, under the law no reductions whatsoever may occur except with my consent and I remain committed to the maintenance of the nationally recommended minimum standards of fire cover. There can therefore be no question of arbitrary cuts arising from abolition or any other current Government initiative. Nor do I intend to approve any proposal to "break up" the London Fire Brigade.This is just one example of the vast publicity campaign the GLC is running to frighten and mislead Londoners into supporting it. It is Londoners who are paying for this campaign. They will be better off when the GLC is abolished.
asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement about Government support for the United Kingdom tourism industry.
We shall endeavour to maintain an adequate level of funding consistent with the aim of reducing public expenditure. The bulk of tourism investment must continue to be funded by the private sector which we hope will increasingly recognise the growth potential of tourism and leisure.
asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Solihull.
I have at resent no plans to do so.
European Community (Budgetary Discipline)
asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the progress made by the European Economic Community in fulfilling the conditions on budgetary discipline which were agreed at the Fontainebleau summit as a precondition to any increase in resources.
The Council's conclusions on budget discipline first apply to decisions in 1985 affecting expenditure in 1986. In accordance with these conclusions, the Commission has made proposals on agricultural prices which it states are consistent with the financial guideline for agricultural spending in 1986 and Finance Ministers agreed yesterday to a new five-year limit for expenditure on agricultural structures.
asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the future of the coal mining industry.
This Government remain committed to securing a healthy future for the coal industry. It is now vital that the industry swiftly and safely returns to normal working and recovers from the damage of the past twelve months. An industry which provides a secure supply of coal at a competitive price should be able to take full advantage of existing market opportunities.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 March.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 March.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 March.
This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. After my duties in the House I shall be leaving to attend the funeral of the late President Chernenko.
Trade And Industry
Shrewsbury And Atcham (Grants)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many applications his Department has received for new technology grants in the Shrewsbury and Atcham area;(2) how many applications his Department has received for innovation grants from the Shrewsbury and Atcham area.
Over the last 10 years, 29 applications for support have been received from the Shrewsbury and Atcham area. The details are as follows:
|Type of Grant||Number of Applications||Number of Offers made||Assistance Offered £000|
|SFI general facility||25||22||3,701·0|
|New Technology Schemes|
|Microelectronics Application Project||2||2||27·4|
|Industrial Energy Thrift||2||2||434·9|
Industry And Commerce (West Midlands)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance has been contributed by the central fund of the European Community towards the regeneration of industry and commerce in the West Midlands county in each year since 1973; and which sectors have chiefly benefited as a result.
I assume that the hon. Lady is referring to assistance from the European regional development fund, for which my Department is responsible. ERDF grants are paid in respect of such projects only if they receive United Kingdom regional aid. Since no part of the West Midlands county became an assisted area until November 1984, there have as yet been no ERDF grants in respect of qualifying industrial projects in the county. Such grants are, of course, retained by the Government as a partial reimbursement of their own aid, as provided for in the ERDF regulation.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to publish the new list of prohibited exports to update the 1981 list of the Export Goods (Control) Order.
As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade told the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) on 8 February, he expects to make a new Export of Goods (Control) Order later this month, which will come into force some weeks later.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the United States Government in the past 12 months concerning that Government's monitoring of the COCOM agreement.
My Department is frequently in touch with the United States Administration on a wide range of issues concerning COCOM, including the enforcement of the embargo.
Market Entry Guarantee Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies have received support under the market entry guarantee scheme in each year since 1979.
The figures are as follows:
|Usage of the market entry guarantee scheme: 1979–84 Number of companies in receipt of financial support|
(i) A further 14 companies which have entered into agreements for support have not yet claimed assistance.
(ii) The figures given are for the number of companies receiving support in their first year of entry to the scheme only.
Overseas Projects Fund
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies have received support from the overseas projects fund in each year since 1979.
The number of offers of support from the overseas projects fund in each financial year from 1979–80 is as follows:
|* First six months only.|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the figures of injuries caused by fireworks in 1984.
According to reports from hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland, 778 people required treatment for injuries caused by fireworks during a four-week period in October and November 1984. The figures for 1984 and the preceding four years are as follows:
|Firework injuries in Great Britain (4-week period in October-November)|
|Place of accident|
|1. Family or private party||231||311||189||231||168|
|2. Semi-public party (eg scouts, cricket club)||65||84||53||58||47|
|3. Large public display||108||111||88||101||95|
|4. Casual incident in street etc.||298||257||220||229||194|
|5. Other place||59||54||61||46||31|
|Type of firework|
|3. Roman candle, coloured fire etc.||103||114||84||107||81|
|4. Home-made or extracted powder||21||15||35||26||19|
|5. Other proprietary fireworks||74||78||82||64||46|
|7. Unspecified type||225||240||167||167||175|
|Severity of injury|
|1. Fatal injury*||1||—||—||—||—|
|2. Detained more than one night||55||61||33||24||46|
|3. Sufficient to cause absence from work or equivalent||161||147||67||62||82|
|4. Minor injury||506||592||489||531||403|
|5. Unspecified injury||55||33||37||64||24|
|Eye injuries (included in 2–5)||295||293||241||261||261|
|Age group of injured persons|
|* A man of 21 died as a result of attempting to make a firework at home.|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will provide an estimate of the size of the United Kingdom market for microchips for each year from 1979 to 1984 indicating in each case what proportion of the market was met by domestic production.
[pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1985, c. 23): The size of the United Kingdom market for and production of integrated circuits over thelast six years is estimated to have been:
|United Kingdom Market||United Kingdom Production|
The market for these products is characterised by a high level of international trade, and United Kingdom manufacturers export strongly. The proportion of the United Kingdom market met from United Kingdom production is around 25 per cent.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list in the Official Report all the Government financed schemes to aid the whole information technology industry since 1979–80, giving the amount spent in each scheme for each year from 1979–80 until 1984–85.
[pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1985, c. 23]: The amounts spent by the Department of Trade and Industry within its support for innovation programme on schemes which aid the information technology industry over the six financial years from 1979–80 to 1984–85 (to date) are as follows:
|Software Products Scheme||0·7||1·0||1·5||1·8||3·6||9·0|
|General SFI to IT||5·0||10·3||13·2||31·7||41·1||31·0|
|IT in Manufacturing|
|Computer Aided Design, Manufacture and Test (CADMAT)||—||—||—||1·2||0·9||1·4|
|Computer Aided Design Test Equipment (CADTES)||—||—||—||0·4||6·9||10·1|
|Small Engineering Firm Investment Scheme (SEFIS)||—||—||—||10·9||16·9||25·5|
|Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacture (CADCAM)/Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT)||—||—||0·2||1·2||2·1||2·5|
|Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)||—||—||—||—||0·8||3·0|
|Feasibility and Planning Studies on Robotics, FMS + AMT||—||—||—||0·1||1·1||3·1|
|IT in Microelectronics|
|Microelectronics Industry Support (MIS)||0·9||1·6||5·0||6·3||11·2||10·5|
|Microelectronics Application Project (MAP)||4·4||8·9||9·6||10·4||13·9||13·7|
|Automation Instrumentation Control||3·9||4·7||2·6||4·0||8·5||12·6|
|IT in Fibreoptics|
|Fibreoptics and Optoelectronics Scheme (FOS)||—||—||0·2||1·4||5·7||5·7|
|Alvey Dirctorate: Advanced IT||—||—||—||—||1·7||4·0|
|Micros in Schools||—||—||1·2||1·8||0·4||—|
|Micros in Primary Schools||—||—||—||1·5||5·5||2·5|
|Peripherals in Schools||—||—||—||—||0·9||1·1|
|Initial Teacher Trainers College||—||—||—||1·1||—||—|
|Information Technology Education Centres (ITECs)||—||—||0·9||1·5||4·2||4·9|
|* Expenditure to Date.|
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made, in the review of the United Kingdom's membership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation; and if he will make a statement.
We shall review our policy towards the end of 1985 after the next UNESCO general conference. If we were satisfied that substantial progress had by then been made in carrying through the reform programme set out in my letters of 2 April and 4 July 1984 and that of my right hon. and learned Friend of 5 December 1984 to the director general of UNESCO, we would be willing to reconsider our decision to withdraw.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the approximate cost of providing a unit of family housing in the Falkland Islands.
The main housing project since 1982 has been the provision of 54 prefabricated houses as part of the rehabilitation effort. The final cost of this project is not yet known and, in any case, would not be a reliable guide on which to estimate the costs of construction locally. I regret, therefore, that because of the lack of recent experience in local construction of domestic accommodation, the information which would enable such an estimate to be prepareda is not readily available.
Pre-Investment Studies (Funding)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any decision has been taken on the future of the scheme which uses aid programme funds to help finance pre-investment studies by British private sector businesses considering overseas investments.
It has been decided to discontinue this scheme—known as the pre-investment studies scheme—which we do not believe to be effective. It has been very little used in recent years. The Commonwealth Development Corporation continues to seek British private sector partners for its investment overseas and is a more effective instrument for using aid programme funds to help stimulate private sector investment in developing countries.
European Investment Bank (Loan Guarantees)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the British guarantee on loans from the European Investment Bank provided under the Lomé conventions has ever been called.
Yes. The European Investment Bank made a loan from its own resources provided under the first Lomé convention to the Liberian Electricity Corporation. During 1984 the Liberian Electricity Corporation failed to repay two instalments of the loan totalling 706,772 ecu (about £444,000) and the Government of Liberia failed to meet the bank's call on its guarantee. The loan is also guaranteed by the member states of the Community. Her Majesty's Government therefore paid 157,474,33 ecu (approximately £99,000) to the bank in two instalments which was drawn from the accumulated British share of repayments by African, Caribbean and Pacific states on loans made from the European development fund, which are lodged in a special account at the European Investment Bank. We were informed on 27 February that the Liberian authorities have now paid the instalment originally due on 30 April 1984; the British share of this was 77,524,80 ecu (approximately
|Unfair dismissal/Redundancy payments||316||607||272||101||167||247||256||226||182|
|Other employment protection rights||67||143||143||431||184||152||217||167||261|
|Health and Safety||4||7||8||14||14||15||8||10||10|
|Industrial training levy||6||2||4||6||7||13||14||11||3|
£49,000), which is being refunded by the European Investment Bank. The bank, with support from the Community is continuing its efforts to obtain complete settlement from the Liberian authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what distinction is made in the figures for the number of people in employment between full and part-time workers.
Part-time workers are defined in the Department's employment estimates as those who normally work for not more than 30 hours a week excluding main meal breaks and overtime.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment, further to his reply of 4 March, Official Report, column 360, why separate estimates of full-time and part-time males are not available.
The censuses of employment separately identify full and part-time workers among male employees, but the quarterly series of estimates of employees in employment for non-census dates does not. The latest available census of employment results are for September 1981 and therefore could not be used in the reply of 4 March, which referred to changes between 1983 and 1984. The 1981 census identified 11,511,200 full-time and 718,100 part-time male employees employed in Great Britain.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many appeals were made to industrial tribunals in each of the districts of Glasgow and Scotland as a whole in each of the last 10 years; what were the causes of complaint; and in how many cases the appeals were upheld.
The number of applications registered by the industrial tribunals in Scotland since 1976 is as follows:10 years are also not readily available. However, the number of unfair dismissal complaints upheld during the four years 1980 to 1983 is as follows:
|Number of cases heard by industrial tribunals||1,183||1,421||1,433||1,357|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received from the Football League concerning the implications of the level of pool betting duty for the extension of jobs under the youth training scheme; and if he will make a statement.
I have received a letter from Mr. Jack Dunnett, the president of the Football League, supporting the case for a reduction in the level of pool betting duty.The Football League is participating in the youth training scheme. I am most encouraged by its support during the second year of the scheme.
Area Manpower Boards
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the constitutional position of area manpower boards; and to what extent their constitutions or guides to practice permit co-opted members to vote;(2) which area manpower boards have no members who are from ethnic minorities; and what is the proportion of ethnic minorities in the general population in the area they serve;(3) how many members of area manpower boards are
(a) black/other ethnic minority, (b) women and (c) young people under 25 years; and, in each case, how many are full members, co-opted members with voting rights, and co-opted members without voting rights; and what proportion these represent of total membership.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Dockyard Training Centres
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he has considered the role that Devonport and Rosyth dockyard training centres might play in the adult training strategy;(2) what investigations are planned into the potential for alternative uses of dockyard training centres having regard to the skills training needs in their localities.
Training is currently provided at the dockyard training centres to meet the dockyards' own requirements for skilled labour. At present my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and I envisage no wider role for the dockyard training centres.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of skills training in the locality of Devonport and Rosyth is conducted by the dockyard training centres in these areas.
I regret that the information requested is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has on the extent and manner in which local industry has benefited from the skills training of dockyard training centres.
I have no precise information on the extent and manner in which local industry has benefited from the training given at the dockyard centres. However, local employers no doubt benefit from the recruitment of former dockyard employees.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list his own and local employers' expressed estimates of employers' skills training needs in the Devonport and Rosyth areas.
I shall write to the hon. Member giving further information.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the additional cost to employers of the reduction in the level of rebate from the redundancy fund from 41 per cent. to 35 per cent.
The reduction was included in the Chancellor's outline public expenditure plans announced on 12 November 1984. The estimated saving (that is the cost to employers) was £37 million in a full year.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he has taken to publicise to employers the reduction to 35 per cent. in the level of rebate from the redundancy fund which comes into operation on 1 April.
My right hon. Friend announced this reduction in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) on 12 November 1984, at column 100. It has been reported in the business press. We have also corresponded with the CBI and other employers' bodies about the change. The order was debated in both Houses last month. A press notice will be issued when the new rate comes into effect on 1 April.
Local Government Reform
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are the effects of the Government's proposals for local government reform on bus services in the metropolitan areas.
Under the Local Government Bill the public transport responsibilities of the metropolitan county councils will be transferred to joint passenger transport authorities formed from elected representatives appointed by the constituent district councils. I have no doubt that bus services in those areas as elsewhere will benefit considerably from the removal of restrictions under the provisions of the Transport Bill now before the House.
Cyclists (Accident Statistics)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many users of bicycles have been either killed or injured on roads in each single year since 1979.
The figures are given in table 4 on page 53 of "Road Accidents Great Britain 1983", a copy of which is in the Library.
Motorways (Travel News Broadcasts)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what opportunity he is giving to British Broadcasting Corporation local radio to put up travel news signs similar to those erected for the Independent Broadcasting Authority on the M1.
Signs giving the wavelength of BBC Radio Sheffield have been erected on the northbound carriageways of the M1 and M18.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much rent is charged to Radio Hallam for its advertising signs on the M1 north and south of Sheffield.
No rent is being charged for these signs whose purpose is to evaluate the role of the local radio station as a means of providing drivers with up-to-date travel information. The broadcasting authorities are, however, contributing to the costs of the experiments.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport why travel news and Radio Hallam signs are erected in immediate proximity to each other on the M1 with the same wavelengths; how many have been erected; and what is the cost of erection and maintenance.
The local radio signs on the M1 and M18 are part of an experiment to see how many drivers tune in to local stations for travel news and how useful they find the information.The signs are erected in pairs to make it easier for drivers to absorb the information.Eighteen Radio Hallam signs have been erected on the southbound carriageways of M1 and M18. The cost of their installation is estimated at £16,900. No costs are expected for the duration of the experiment.In addition, 16 BBC Radio Sheffield signs have been erected on the northbound carriageways of M1 and M18 at a cost of £15,100.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy on advertising hoardings on the motorways.
Advertisement hoardings are not permitted on motorways as they would be a distraction for drivers, and a potential road safety hazard.
Greenock Container Terminal
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the future of the container terminal at Greenock and the north Atlantic service which operates from there.
No. These are matters respectively for the Clyde Port Authority, which operates the terminal, and the shipping company Hapag Lloyd, which operates the service.
Royal Train Fleet
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has approved proposals to refurbish the royal train fleet; and if he will make a statement.
Most of the existing fleet is old and several vehicles contain asbestos. I have accordingly approved British Rail's proposal for a programme of modernisation. Eight vehicles will be converted from new or surplus rolling stock for use in the fleet and two new vehicles will be built from scratch. Four vehicles in the existing fleet will remain in service. The cost of about £7·5 million, spread over four years, will be met by a grant from my Department. The resulting royal train fleet will have a service life of at least 30 years.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve the north-south traffic routes in Wiltshire.
There are two trunk roads running roughly north-south through Wiltshire. We have a number of planned improvements on them both and these are listed below.
On the A36 trunk road—
- Warminster bypass—main programme 1985–87.
- Heytesbury bypass—reserve list 1985–87.
- Codford bypass—resrve list 1985–87.
- Steeple Langford bypass—reserve list 1985–87.
- Stapleford-South Newton bypass—reserve list 1985–87.
On the A419 trunk road—
A scheme for a bypass of Salisbury on the A36 trunk road was added to the trunk road programme last year.Beyond these all other north-south routes are the responsibility of Wiltshire county council.Blunsdon-Cricklade dualling — main programme 1985–87.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of cormorants in Wales; and if their number is declining.
1,400 pairs. There has been no measurable change in recent years.
Wildlife And Countryside Act 1981
asked the Secretary of State for Wales in respect of paragraph 3(2) of Schedule 14 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (a) how many representations he has received asking for a direction to be given to a surveying authority to determine an application for a modification order, (b) how many directions he has issued, with, in each case, the number of weeks which elapsed between the receipt of the representation and the issuing of the direction, and the period allowed to the surveying authority to determine the application, (c) how many representations have resulted in a decision not to direct a surveying authority to determine an application, with, in each case, the number of weeks which elapsed between the receipt of the representation and the issuing of the decision and (d) how many representations are currently outstanding, with, in each case, the number of weeks which have elapsed since they were received by the Department.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales in respect of paragraph 4 of schedule 14 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981: (a) how many notices of appeal against decisions of surveying authorities not to make definitive map modification orders he has received, (b) where a decision has been made on appeal, if he will state in each case the nature of the decision, the direction, if any, given to the surveying authority, the number of weeks which elapsed between the receipt of the appeal and the issuing of the decision, and (c) how many appeals are currently outstanding, with, in each case, the number of weeks which have elapsed since they were received by the Department.
Three notices of appeal have been received. They have been with my Department for 66 weeks. 19 weeks and nine weeks, respectively. In the first of these cases all the necessary background information was not received until January this year. In the other cases such information is outstanding. No decisions have been issued to date.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to complete the holding of inquiries into objections to the draft revised definitive map for Clwyd and the subsequent issue decisions.
All nine inquiries have been held and final decisions have been issued in respect of one. Proposed decision letters have been issued in respect of six of the others and the remaining two are expected to issue during the summer. If hearings for persons who consider they may be adversely affected by the proposed decisions are required in every case, the process may not be completed until the latter half of 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements are in hand to ensure that his Department complies with the monitoring and positive action recommendations of the draft code of the Equal Opportunities Commission following the publication on 9 February 1984 of the programme of action on women in the Civil Service.
Existing joint management and trade union machinery is being used in my Department to take forward the recommendations in the programme of action on such matters as promotion, training and part-time working.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report a copy of his reply to the letter from the secretary of the Electricity Consultative Council for the south of Scotland district dated 25 February 1985.
My Department replied on 11 March as follows:
"Thank you for your letter of 25 February conveying your Council's views on the Government's proposals for Nationalised Industries Legislation. I have noted the Council's views, and they will be taken into account in the Government's consideration of the results of the consultation exercise. You mentioned in particular the possibility of further proposals about the operation of Nationalised Industry Consumer Councils and, as you are aware, a further consultation document has now been issued on that subject."
Sentencing Policy (Statistics)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) of all prisoners sentenced to the short sharp shock treatment, how many have subsequently been given other custodial sentences and how many have not;(2) how many prisoners have undergone sentences involving the short sharp shock treatment by institution, year and length of sentence since its inception;(3) how many prisoners sentenced to the short sharp shock treatment have previously been detained in other institutions by year and type of institution;(4) how many prisoners have been sentenced to the short sharp shock treatment on more than one occasior by year and institution.
The "short sharp shock treatment" is the colloquial phrase for the sentence of young offenders to detention in a detention centre, which was introduced by the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1949. The numbers of receptions to detention centres in Scotland since the first one opened in 1960 are as follows:
|* January to August.|
on 15 November 1963 sentences may vary, generally between 28 days and four months. For the period January to August 1984 the breakdown was as follows:
|Under 28 days||*8|
|Over 4 months||†2|
|* These would be additional warrants served on an inmate already subject to a detention centre sentence.|
|† This is possible under the terms of section 207(7) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975.|
|Previous sentence(s) in|
|YOI—Young Offenders Institution.|
|* January to August.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many jobs in the public sector have been lost (a) in Scotland and (b) in the United Kingdom over the last 12 months as a result of the sale of Forestry Commission land.
The sale of land has not been a major factor in the reduction in the Forestry Commission's work force in recent years. Furthermore, no job losses in the last 12 months can be directly and solely attributed to such sales.
|Unmeasured Water Supply Charges|
|Water Authority||Standing charge £||Rate poundage pence per £ RV||Standing charge £||Rate poundage pence per £ RV|
|Severn-Trent||nil||15·40 to 19·30||nil||16·60 to 20·80|
|Anglian RV up to|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current total acreage of forest estates held throughout Great Britain by the Forestry Commission; and what is the estimated value of these estates.
The area of woodland managed by the Forestry Commission at 31 March 1984—the latest date for which figures are available—was 909,959 hectares, valued at £1,220 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he is taking to ensure that sites of exceptional scenic or scientific interest that are on Forestry Commission land which has been sold or will be sold will be maintained.
When the Forestry Commission sells land which is covered by a statutory designation, such as a site of special scientific interest, the features of the land, including its trees, continue to enjoy the degree of protection afforded by such designation.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he is taking to ensure public access to sites of exceptional scenic interest that are on Forestry Commission land which has been sold or is planned to be sold.
The extent to which the public visit a Forestry Commission site because of its scenic interest is taken into full account by the commission in selecting properties for sale. Public rights of way are not, of course, affected by a change of ownership. I am not aware of any site of exceptional scenic interest to which the public have been denied access following sale by the commission.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the proposed water charges for unmeasured water supply for 1985–86 for each water authority in England and Wales, and the percentage increase this represents against the 1984–85 level of charges.
Full details of the average increase in bills for water services provided by Water authorities in 1985–86 are not yet available. However, the following table compares the unmeasured water supply charges for 1984–85 with those for 1985–86.
Standing charge £
Rate poundage pence per £ RV
Standing charge £
Rate poundage pence per £ RV
|Households||12·00||6·90 to 12·80||12·00||7·90 to 14·70|
|non-Households||12·00 to 4,800·00||12·00 to 4,800·00|
Note: Minimum charges apply in Anglian, Severn-Trent, Southern, Wessex and Yorkshire.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which body should represent London in consultations about the possible holding of the Olympic Games there if Parliament agrees to the Government's proposals to abolish the Greater London council.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Morro) on 25 February.
Education (Rate Expenditure)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of rates set for the current year will be accounted for by expenditure on education.
Local authorities in England have budgeted to spend £10·1 billion on education in 1984–85. This represents 47 per cent. of all local authority net current expenditure. Rate income (net of domestic rate relief grant and rate rebates for the year) is estimated to be £11·1 billion.
Tobacco Companies (Sponsorship)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the British Medical Association; if the sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies was discussed; and if he will make a statement.
I last met the British Medical Association on 7 February. We discussed sports sponsorship by tobacco companies and the voluntary agreement between the industry and the Government which restricts it. I shall, of course, take the BMA's views into account in considering the voluntary agreement, which runs until at least 31 December 1985.
Nature Conservancy Council (Compensation Payments)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make available sufficient resources to meet the obligations of compensation payments paid by the Nature Conservancy Council under management agreements in sites of special scientific interest in relation to past and future agreements.
The provision for the Nature Conservancy Council grant-in-aid for 1985–86 wilt be increased to £22·7 million, subject to the approval of Parliament. It is for the Nature Conservancy Council to decide how precisely to allocate the resources available to it, but adequate provision has been made for payments under management agreements. Requirements for future years will be considered in the light of the NCC's corporate plan.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the number of mortgage defaults in 1983 and the first half of 1984.
On the basis of English local authorities' returns, it is estimated that during the financial year 1983–84 the authorities repossessed about 840 dwellings which had been mortgaged to them, and at the end of the year about 14,500 mortgagors were in arrears for six months or more, including 4,600 who had bought council houses. Corresponding estimates of building societies for 1983 and the first half of 1984 appear in the Building Societies Association publication "Mortgage Repayment Difficulties", which is available in the Library.Information on county court action for mortgage possessions in England and Wales in 1983, is contained in table 11.10 of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1973–1983", which is also available in the Library.
Pool Betting Duty
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the Football League concerning the implications of the level of pool betting duty for expenditure on crowd safety improvements at football grounds.
None, save that the president of the Football League has copied to me his letter to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in support of a reduction in pools betting duty, but that letter does not examine the implications for expenditure on crowd safety improvements at football grounds.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now take steps to ensure that all those in receipt of invalidity benefit qualify for free prescriptions.
No. Over 20 per cent. of invalidity benefit recipients are already automatically exempt; and all the remainder can seek exemption, for example, on low income grounds. Those who do not qualify can purchase prepayment certificates if they need frequent or regular prescriptions.With over 72 per cent. of prescribed items going to those who are exempt and about 6 per cent. to holders of prepayment certificates, there is no need to add to the exempt categories.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the steps his Department is taking to reduce management costs.
Departmental running costs have been falling in real terms for several years. despite a substantial increase in work load, particularly in social security operations. In the Health Service, between 1980 and 1984, regional health authorities reduced percentage of their resources they spent on management by over 14 per cent.
Benefit (Study Courses)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proposals he has for easing the rule whereby persons pursuing a course of study for more than 21 hours a week are ineligible for benefit.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what current plans he has for privatising services controlled by his Department.
We are continuing to seek ways of extending competitive tendering in the Health Service and in our Department itself.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider changing the single payment regulations to allow payments to be made to offset funeral costs.
We have no plans to amend the regulations which already provide for payments to be made to those receiving supplementary benefit for essential funeral expenses.
Limited List Prescribing
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give details of the publicity campaign to advise doctors and their patients on the operation of the limited list.
A leaflet is being prepared for issue to patients through general practitioners and pharmacists. We will be issuing a circular giving details of the implementation of the selected list to all doctors and pharmacists.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to announce the procedure and criteria for new drugs and existing drugs with new indications to be added to his limited list.
As soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to extend the limited list for prescribing to other categories of drugs.
We have no present plans to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what reaction he has received so far from interested parties concerning his announcement of the limited National Health Service drugs list.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the response from the medical profession to his revised limited list proposals.
Most patients, doctors and pharmacists have welcomed the expansion of the number of drugs on the selected list which was announced on 21 February. The British Medical Association and the pharmaceutical industry, however, continue to oppose the selected list as a policy.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further discussions he has had with the medical profession about arrangements to revise his proposed limited list of drugs, prescribable under the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.
We have already announced that we intend to set up a professional committee to advise us on a continuing basis on the contents of the list. We hope to consult the medical and pharmaceutical professions about membership of this committee as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is proposing in relation to the inspection and registration of homes for the elderly.
Regulations to improve and strengthen the powers of local authorities in carrying out their responsibilities for the registration and inspection of these homes were brought into force on 1 January 1985. The Department's social work service is carrying out a study which initially is designed to establish the cost to authorities of doing this work effectively.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received concerning the withdrawal of local authority sponsorship from elderly people already living in residential accommodation; and if he will make a statement.
We have received a few representations through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and direct from organisations running homes. There is no legal obligation on local authorities to provide residential care for every person who needs it; in deciding priorities for available resources, they take account of other sources of funding, including supplementary benefit, available to those in need of such care. The desirability of sponsorship is a matter for the particular local authority to decide in an individual case.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the increase in demand for personal social services by the increasing number of very old people.
The Government have recognised that demographic changes nationally are placing pressures upon personal social services and have made allowance for this in the indicative expenditure figures for their service published in the 1985 public expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 9428).
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to make a statement on his proposals for legislation to introduce personal portable pensions.
Our personal pensions proposals are being developed in the context of the social security review. We hope to announce proposals for change following the review in the course of the next few months.
Social Security Review
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff of his Department are currently engaged in the social security review.
Many staff in the Department are engaged, directly or indirectly, in the work of the review. No central record is kept of the total number who are involved.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consultations he has had with the private sector pensions and insurance industry as part of the review of social security.
All the major representative bodies in the pensions and insurance industries were specifically invited to submit written evidence to the inquiry into provision for retirement. Most did so, as did many individual companies and people working in those industries. In addition, five representative bodies gave oral evidence at two public sessions each, and two individual companies each took part in one public session.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the further progress of his social security review.
We are currently considering our conclusions and will announce our proposals as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the implementation of the Griffiths report.
I am pleased to report that health authorities are making good progress in making the changes envisaged in the Griffiths report, including the appointment of general managers.Within our Department the health services supervisory board has been set up and the chairman of the NHS management board, Mr. Victor Paige, has recently been appointed. I am considering with Mr. Paige what further changes are required.
Ancillary Workers (Pay Claim)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions are currently taking place on the National Health Service ancillary workers' pay claim.
A pay claim on behalf of NHS ancillary staff for 1985–86 was submitted at a meeting of the ancillary staffs Whitley Council on 13 February and confirmed in writing on 27 February. The claim is now being considered by the management side of the Whitley Council.
Severe Disablement Allowance
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the introduction of severe disablement allowance will be completed.
The remaining age group will be brought into the new benefit from 28 November this year.
Mental Health Act Commission (Report)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to receive the first annual report of the Mental Health Act Commission; and if he will make a statement.
The Mental Health Act Commission is required, by section 121(10) of the Mental Health Act 1983, to produce a report on its activities in the second year after its establishment and subsequently every second year. We expect to receive the first such report in August this year and we shall lay a copy before both Houses.
National Health Service Commissioner
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will seek to amend section 119 of the National Health Service Act 1977 so as to enable hon. Members who submit cases to the National Health Service Commissioner to be informed of the outcome of those cases.
We will consider this when there is a suitable opportunity for legislation.
Resettlement Unit And Re-Establishment Centre, Field Lane, Liverpool
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received respecting his intention to close the resettlement unit and re-establishment centre in Field lane, Liverpool; what his response has been; and if he will make a statement.
We have received a number of representations concerning the future of Fazakerley resettlement unit and re-establishment centre that have expressed concern at the possibility of its closure. Our response has reflected my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Elmet (Mr. Batiste) on 5 February, at column 548.
Departmental Staffing, Leicester
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the ratio of his Department's staff to supplementary benefit claimants at the Lower Hill street, Leicester office of his Department in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively; and what it is now.
The departmental local office complementing system — a guide to which is in the Library—provides for the determination of local office complements, that is, the number of staff required to deal with the estimated continuing work load, and their adjustment as work load levels change.The average number of supplementary benefit claimants in April each year and the staff allocated to supplementary benefit work under the complementing system are as follows:
|Year||Number of claimants||Staff|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when his survey on the extent of disablement will be completed.
The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys will carry out interviews in relation to disabled adults and children in the community from July to November this year, and in relation to disabled people in institutions next year. This is a very substantial research project and it is too early to say when first results will be available.
Patients (Nursing Care)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will encourage regional health authorities to review their policy with respect to the long term use of hospital beds by patients whose predominant need is nursing care.
Our aim is for patients whose predominant need is for nursing care to be looked after in small, homely units, close to their families and friends. This policy is well known to health authorities and many are developing innovative approaches to care away from a hospital setting. We ourselves have introduced the concept of nurse managed homes for such patients within the National Health Service and three experimental homes have been opened in the last two years.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the implementation of the privatisation plans within the National Health Service.
I assume the hon. Member is referring to competitive tendering for support services, and I refer him to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) on 26 February at columns 143–46.
Solihull (Hearing Centres)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement regarding the availability of hearing centres within reasonable travelling distance of Solihull.
The availability of hearing aid centres is a matter for the regional health authority. I understand, however, that there are a number of such centres which are readily accessible to residents in Solihull.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by how much staffing levels in his Department's headquarters have declined since 1979.
The number of staff employed in the headquarters unit of the Department was reduced by 19 per cent. between 1979 and 1984 from 6,675 on 1 April 1979 to 5,384 on 1 April 1984. This compares with an overall reduction of 14 per cent. in Civil Service manpower during the same period.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many outsiders have been appointed to management positions in the National Health Service following the Griffiths recommendations.
Of the 155 general managers so far appointed, 21 are from outside the National Health Service.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to outlaw surrogate motherhood.
I refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend's statement to the House on 7 March at column 1188.
Supplementary Benefit (Board And Lodging)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what amount has been paid out in board and lodging benefits for the years 1979–80 to 1983–84; and what is the estimated expenditure for 1984–85 and 1985–86.
Annual spending on supplementary benefit for people in all forms of board and lodging accommodation, based on the annual statistical inquiry showing the position at December of each year, is given in the table. 1983 figures are provisional. Estimates are not yet available for December 1985, although on the basis of present trends we have indicated there would be a further dramatic increase if no action were taken to curb expenditure.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from Scotland concerning proposed changes in his Department's board and lodgings allowances.
A list of all those organisations and individuals who made represenations to the Social Security Advisory Committee about the proposals on board and lodging payments has been placed in the Library.
Nhs Hospital Beds (Women)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many beds reserved for women are available in National Health Service hospitals run by women.
The requested information is not available centrally.
Mentally Handicapped People
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about his plans to improve social service provision for the mentally handicapped.
Joint planning and collaboration between the statutory authorities is crucial for the improvement of mental handicap services. The overall aims are to develop co-ordinated health and social services in each locality, and to achieve a major shift from institutional care for mentally handicapped people to a range of community care.We scrutinise health authorities' plans as to the extent to which local authorities have been involved in planning services and are involved in operations. District health authorities have been enabled to make continuing annual payments for as long as necessary to local authorities and voluntary organisations for people out of hospital moving into community care. Joint finance allocations, which will amount to about £100 million this year, are available to pump-prime social services and housing and education for mentally handicapped people among other vulnerable groups, and we shall spend £16 million up to March 1988 on our care in the community pilot projects, including some £7 million on 11 projects for mentally handicapped people.The Department's plans for improving services include continuation of an extensive programme of research; the administration and assessment of projects approved under the children's initiative for getting mentally handicapped children out of hospital; grants to voluntary organisations; and encouragement of the development of joint in-service training of staff.The national development team for mentally handicapped people will continue to advise health and local authorities, on request, on the implementation of mental handicap policies and its reports of visits after 1984 will be published.Careful consideration is being given to the detailed recommendations of the recent report of the Social Services Committee
* and we welcome its wholehearted endorsement of a policy of community care for mentally disordered people.
[* 2nd Report of the House of Commons Social Services Committee on Community Care with Special Reference to Adult Mentally Ill and Mentally Handicapped People. 28 February 1985.]
State Earnings-Related Pension
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest forecast for the cost of the state earnings-related pension scheme in 1990 and 2000.
The latest estimate is that made by the Government Actuary in his 1982 quinquennial review. On the assumption that earnings and earnings limits increased at 8 per cent. a year from 1985–86 and that earnings-related pensions increased at 6 per cent. a year from the date of award, the cost of earnings-related additional component for retirement pensioners would be £479 mi lion in 1990–91 and £1,787 million in 2000–01 at 1981–82 earnings levels.(
Source: National Insurance Fund Long Term Financial Estimates, HMSO 1982, Appendix H).
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress is being made on a reciprocal agreement with Canada to enable United Kingdom pensioners living there to benefit from uprating.
I refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 28 February, at column 267, to my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor and Maidenhead (Dr. Glyn).
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the criteria governing his decision to close rehabilitation centres.
I refer my hon. Friend to my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Elmet (Mr. Batiste) on 5 February at column 548.
Nhs Administration (Savings)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what annual revenue savings have been made as a result of the recent removal of one tier of National Health Service administration.
We do not have information in the precise form requested. But the management cost data we collect indicate that our policies reduced the cost of managing the National Health Service by some £64 million in 1982–83 and by some £85 million in 1983–84..A large part of this reduction can be attributed to the restructuring of the National Health Service in April 1982.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many retirement pensioners in receipt of a pension were over 85 years of age at the latest available date.
The latest available figures are for September 1983. At that time there were 641,000 retirement pensioners — including 26,000 non-contributory pensioners — aged 85 and over in Great Britain. These figures do not include pensioners wholly dependent on supplementary benefit.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will bring in measures to limit the quantity of drugs prescribed on each doctor's prescription.
We already advise doctors to prescribe drugs in adequate but not excessive quantities. There could be disadvantages in specifying a maximum quantity of drugs prescribable on each FP10 prescription form, since the quantity needed depends on the form of a patient's treatment. For example, patients on long-term therapy have very different requirements from those suffering from acute, short-term, conditions. However, this is a point we are very willing to discuss with the medical profession.
Ambulance Service (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions he has had with the hospital administration in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne regarding the reorganisation of the ambulance service.
We have had no direct discussions with the Newcastle health authority. The Northern regional health authority consulted widely on its proposals and received comments from the Newcastle health authority and the Newcastle community health council. These comments were fully considered by the Regional health authority.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people have died from hypothermia in 1984 and 1985 to the latest available date; and if he will make a statement.
The provisional number of deaths registered between 1 January and 30 November 1984 with mention of hypothermia on the death certificate is 502. Information from death registrations is usually available some three to four months after the event.