Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 24 April 1985
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received representations about the repatriation to the United Kingdom of money and other assets owned by individuals formerly resident in Zimbabwe; and if he will raise this matter in his next meeting with the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
Yes. We take every opportunity to impress upon the Zimbabwe authorities the hardship which their controls can cause and the need to exercise flexibility wherever possible. Both my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend have discussed this matter with Mr. Mugabe in recent months.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects are currently in detention in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement.
We known of seven mono-British citizens detained in Zimbabwe. One is held under the Zimbabwean Emergency Powers Act; the remaining six have been convicted on various criminal charges. Our consular staff in Zimbabwe do all they properly can to help the detainees and, unless specifically requested not to, make prison visits.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take action to close all the loopholes in the United Nations mandatory arms embargo in South Africa.
We believe that the United Nations arms embargo is effective. We are not aware that any further measures are required to strengthen it.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the call by the Commonwealth Secretary General of 22 February for sanctions against South Africa.
We do not believe that wider economic sanctions would achieve the changes we want to see. If they were effective they would hurt the black community and South Africa's neighbours, including Commonwealth countries. Trade and investment links are an important means of encouraging change.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government propose to take any action in the United Nations in the light of recent events in South Africa.
We condemned the recent action by the South African police at Uitenhage and have repeatedly made our views about such violence known to the South African Government. We also supported the adoption of Security Council resolution 560 which expressed in strong terms the views of the international community on apartheid and on recent events in South Africa.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he intends, in view of the escalation of the war between Iraq and Iran, to urge his European Economic Community partners to impose an arms embargo on these countries; and if he will make a statement.
The United Kingdom is impartial in the Gulf conflict and supplies no items of defence equipment which might significantly enhance the capability of either side to prolong or exacerbate the conflict. We do not believe an arms embargo would be an effective method of ending this conflict, although we would welcome it if our European Community allies followed our very restrictive policy on supply to both sides.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the total number of military and civilian casualties in the capital cities of Iraq and Iran; and whether there has been any progress towards a peace settlement.
We have no precise information regarding casualties in the capital cities of Iraq and Iran, although we have noted the resumption of attacks on civilian targets in the Gulf conflict with great concern. We have participated in demarches in both Tehran and Baghdad with our European Community partners, calling on both sides to respond to appeals by the United Nations Secretary-General to stop these attacks.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is considering any further initiatives to end the Iraq-Iran war; and if he will make a statement.
We wish to see the earliest possible end to the tragic and wasteful conflict in the Gulf, and we are prepared to support any realistic initiatives, especially those through the good offices of the United Nations Secretary-General.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what approaches have been made by Her Majesty's Government to the Syrian Government to obtain the release of British and other foreign citizens kidnapped in Lebanon, and to obtain assurances that such acts will not be repeated.
Her Majesty's ambassador at Damascus has on several occasions sought the help of the Syrian authorities in these deplorable kidnapping cases and the Syrian Government have undertaken to work for the early release of the victims. We were relieved to learn of the release of Mr. Nash and Mr. Levick and we are doing all we can to help Mr. Collett regain his freedom.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent events in the Lebanon.
We deeply regret continuing acts of violence in different parts of Lebanon, notably in the south. We welcome recent progress towards Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory, and Israeli statements that all Israeli forces will soon be withdrawn from Lebanon. We look for the early completion of this full withdrawal.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the latest advice being given by Her Majesty's Government to British subjects, including diplomats, in Lebanon and specifically in west Beirut; and what measures he has taken to afford them protection.
British nationals have been advised to leave West Beirut and where possible to defer visits to Lebanon for the time being. Appropriate measures are being taken to protect embassy staff and buildings in Beirut.
British Broadcasting Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to develop the external services of the British Broadcasting Corporation; and if he will make a statement.
We are fully conscious of the need to support the external services. The external services' funding for the current financial year, at approximately £91 million—with relay stations, over £100 million—is about 7 per cent. higher in real terms than last year. Significant progress has been made in implementing our capital expenditure programme of some £100 million agreed in 1981 to improve the BBC's audibility overseas, which remains a high priority.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about relations with Pakistan.
We maintain good relations with Pakistan.
Ec (Mediterranean Programmes)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the implications for the United Kingdom of the revised terms for the integrated Mediterranean programmes.
The total additional amount agreed by the European Council for integrated Mediterranean programmes was 1·6 billion ecu—about £950 million. As a result of the Fontainebleau settlement, the United Kingdom's financing share will be some 7 per cent.—less than the £10 million per annum.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent elections in El Salvador and its implications for United Kingdom relations with that country.
The National Assembly and municipal elections in El Salvador are a further demonstration of the consolidation of democracy in that country. We continue to support the efforts of the Salvadorean Government to secure democratic progress and stability, both in El Salvador and in central America as a whole.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prospects for democratic stability in El Salvador in the light of the recent elections.
I have nothing to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) earlier today.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent elections in El Salvador.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Manchester. Blackley.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations between the United Kingdom and El Salvador in the light of recent political developments in that country.
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham).
Star Wars Policy
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received many representations regarding his comments on the star wars policy of the American Administration.
I have received a number of comments about the United States strategic defence initiative, particularly following my speech on 15 March about "Defence and Security in the Nuclear Age". Most of these have been in support of our policy.
Lebanon (Syrian Withdrawal)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Syrian Government have given a date for their withdrawal from Lebanon.
We are not aware of any Syrian announcement on this subject.
Ballistic Missiles (Soviet Research)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to publicise the extent of Soviet research into defences against ballistic missiles.
As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear. Soviet programmes in this field are indeed extensive and long-established. My right hon. and learned Friend referred to them in his speech on 15 March. We broadly endorse the assessment which appears in the 1985 edition of Soviet Military Power published by the United States Department of Defence.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department now possesses on the subject of Soviet research into defences against ballistic missiles.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson).
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka in the light of the Prime Minister's recent visit.
The good relations we enjoy with the Government of Sri Lanka were further strengthened by the visit of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister from 11 to 13 April.
New Zealand (Anglo-American Agreements)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there has been any change in New Zealand's access to information under existing Anglo-American agreements.
It is not our practice to confirm or deny the existence of arrangements of this sort.
President Dos Santos
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, during his recent visit to southern Africa, he met President Dos Santos of Angola; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. and learned Friend visited Zimbabwe, Zambia and Kenya in January. He did not meet President Dos Santos of Angola.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent communications he has had with Argentina concerning the Falkland Islands.
Whilst we are not prepared to discuss the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, we have since the Falklands conflict taken a number of initiatives to achieve more normal bilateral relations with Argentina. For example, we have made plain to the Argentines our readiness to accept a suitably prepared visit by next of kin of Argentine service men buried there.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to seek a meeting with President Gemayel of the Lebanon.
My right hon. and learned Friend was received by his Excellency the President of Lebanon on 28 October 1984 in his palace near Beirut. He has no plans to seek a further audience at present.
Ec (Ministerial Meetings)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings he has had with his opposite numbers in other European Economic Community countries; and what was discussed.
I met other European Community Foreign Ministers at the European Council on 29–30 March, which my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, reported to the House on 2 April, [Vol. 76. c. 26–31]. I had previously attended the Foreign Affairs Council from 17 to 19 March, as my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) reported to the House on 25 March, [Vol. 76, c. 1063–72]. I also held bilateral discussions on Community and other international issues with the Belgian Foreign Minister at Chequers and Chevening on 2–3 March.
Soviet Foreign Minister (Uk Visit)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if a date has yet been fixed for the planned visit of the Soviet Foreign Minister to the United Kingdom.
No. Dates are however being discussed by the two Governments.
Disarmament Talks (Geneva)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, at the recent Western European Union meeting in Bonn, he discussed with his colleagues the United States-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics nuclear disarmament talks in Geneva; and if he will make a statement.
Yes, as the communiqué of our meeting made clear, we exchanged views on a range of subjects including all aspects of the United States-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics talks in Geneva. We also discussed arms control and disarmament, European defence questions, East-West relations and European armaments co-operation, as well as examining problems of WEU institutional reform. Copies of the communiqué have been placed in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the disarmament negotiations currently taking place in Geneva.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) on 18 April, [Vol. 77, c. 252.]
Ec European Council
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the European Council has now agreed to extend the scope of majority voting in its meetings.
The Council has not agreed to any changes in the present scope for majority voting.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's relations with Iran.
It is not our policy to comment on the internal affairs of other nations.
International Debt Crisis
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held by European Economic Community Foreign Ministers concerning the debt crisis.
My right hon. and learned Friend meets Foreign Ministers of European Community and other countries regularly. International debt issues are frequently discussed.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's policy with regard to the middle east.
We remain committed to the search for a peaceful settlement of he Arab-Israel dispute. We support King Hussein's efforts to arrive at a common Arab position, and Pesident Mubarak's further suggestions in that direction. We seek the restoration of the unity, stability and prosperity of Lebanon and a peaceful solution to the Gulf conflict. We are ready to support constructive moves by the parties directly involved.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on progress towards a middle east peace settlement.
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow).
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Malaysia in the light of the Prime Minister's visit to that country.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mr. Parry) on 16 April. [Vol. 77, c. 132.].
Ec (Council Of Ministers)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the European Commission proposals for 1985 made to the last meeting of the Council of Ministers.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) on 27 March. [Vol. 76, c. 209.]
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Anglo-Indonesian relations in the light of the Prime Minister's recent visit to Indonesia.
The United Kingdom enjoys good relations with Indonesia which have been further strengthened by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's visit from 9–11 April and by the full range of discussions she had with President Suharto and senior Indonesian Ministers.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what diplomatic and other measures Her Majesty's Government intend to take against Iraq in the light of continual use of chemical weapons in the Gulf war.
As we have made clear many times in the past, most recently in a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 29 March 1985, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, we rigorously condemn the use of chemical weapons wherever it occurs. We will continue to work strenuously at the Geneva conference on disarmament for a total ban on such weapons which would include the prevention of civil chemicals being directed to military use.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on British relations with Nigeria.
We greatly value our relations with Nigeria, and will continue to work for the restoration of their traditional warmth and friendliness.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will have discussions with his European Economic Community counterparts to discuss measures to counter Islamic fundamentalism in the middle east.
We keep in close touch with our partners in the European Community on all aspects of the continuing conflicts in the Middle East. Our policy is to support constructive moves towards negotiated solutions of the problems of the area.
Mr Richard Perle
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet Mr. Richard Perle, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Defence.
My right hon. and learned Friend has at present no plans to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further proposals he intends to place before his European Community partners for the development of Community policies.
We put forward a number of proposals in the ad hoc Committee on Institutional Affairs and the separate committee on a People's Europe whose reports, in the latter case the first half only, have been placed in the Library of the House. We shall now be discussing these proposals with other member Governments. We shall be seeking effective follow-up of our initiative to remove the regulatory burden on small businesses. We shall continue to press for progress towards the completion of the common market for goods and services.
Un Arms Embargo
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will strengthen the United Nations mandatory arms embargo by supporting an extension of the embargo by the Security Council to include oil and petroleum products.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Clay).
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the safeguards which will be introduced to protect the interests of the south Mediterranean countries whose exports to the European Economic Community will be directly affected by the recent enlargement of the Community.
The Community recognises the real concern of its Mediterranean partners over the maintenance of their preferential trade access to European Community market following enlargement. The Foreign Affairs Council of 30 March adopted a statement reaffirming the Community's intention to endeavour to maintain traditional trade patterns with its Mediterranean partners and to work for mutually satisfactory solutions. I have arranged for a copy of the statement to be placed in the Library of the House.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what importance he attaches to human rights in determining the development of relations with countries in Latin America.
Concern for human rights plays an important part in determining our relations with countries in all parts of the world, including those of Latin America.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the intergovernmental agreement of EEC Foreign Ministers designed to meet the shortfall in funds for 1985.
At its meeting on 21 March, the Foreign Affairs Council agreed, subject to the approval of national parliaments, to fund the Community's irreducible financial obligations in 1985 through an intergovernmental agreement. The Budget Council on 23 April agreed on the amount of finance involved. My hon. Friend the Economic Secretary will be reporting the outcome of the Council to the House.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the high commissioner for Uganda; and what subjects were discussed.
My right hon. and learned Friend last met the high commissioner for Uganda, together with the Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, on 7 February. They discussed a number of issues in our bilateral relations including human rights, Uganda's economy and British military training assistance.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Singapore in the light of the Prime Minister's visit to that country.
The United Kingdom's relations with Singapore are excellent. There are no bilateral problems of significance. During her recent visit to Singapore, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had wide-ranging talks with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and energetically promoted British commercial and industrial interests.
Strategic Defence Initiative
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made in recent weeks to the United States Administration concerning its strategic defence initiative.
We remain in close and constant contact with the United States Administration, as well as with our other allies, about the strategic defence initiative research programme.
Ec (Venice Declaration)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he and his European Economic Community colleagues are considering to build upon the European Economic community Venice declaration on the Middle East to help progress toward a settlement in that region.
At the European Council in Brussels on 29–30 March, the Ten reaffirmed their desire to see urgent efforts made to establish peace and stability in the Middle East and their willingness to assist efforts to that end. With our partners in the Ten we shall continue to do all we can to encourage a negotiated solution on the basis of our well-known balanced approach, but the primary responsibility for progress must remain with the parties directly concerned.
Ec (Budgetary Achievements)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his assessment of the budgetary achievements of the European Economic Community in the past year.
In the last year, the Community has made progress in two important respects on the budget front. First, it has agreed on a lasting solution to the United Kingdom's budget problem and accepted in principle that any member State sustaining a similar inequitable budgetary burden may benefit from a correction. Secondly, it has agreed that the rigorous rules which govern budgetary policy in Member States shall also apply to Community spending, in particular by fixing each year a maximum level of expenditure for all Community policies and ensuring that agricultural expenditure will increase by less than the rate of growth of the own resources base.
Ec Proposals (Parliamentary Approval)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to submit for parliamentary approval (a) the European Economic Community intergovernmental agreement, (b) the increase in the value-added tax ceiling and (c) the accession treaties of Spain and Portugal.
It is not yet possible to give firm dates for the submission to Parliament of the intergovernmental agreement, the new own resources decision and the accession treaties.
Arab Terrorism (Lebanon)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to protect British citizens, including diplomats, from kidnapping or other terrorist outrages by Arab terrorists in Lebanon.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett).
El Salvador (Officer Training)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in the selection of officers from El Salvador for training in the United Kingdom.
I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the Hon. Member for Liverpool, Broadgreen (Mr. Fields) on 15 February. [Vol 73, c. 302.]
British Vice-Consul (Vigo)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received advocating the retention of the office of Her Majesty's Government's vice-consul in Vigo, Spain.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has received five representations advocating the retention of the British consulate in Vigo.
Israel (Ec Exports)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) has held in the European Community Council of Ministers regarding the effect on Israel's export of citrus and other fruits and vegetables to the European Community after the accession of Spain and Portugal; and with what results.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for East Kilbride. (Dr. Miller).
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reforms have been considered by European Economic Community Ministers in recent months.
The Council has reached agreement on the implementation of the budgetary reforms agreed at Fontainbleau. The European Council has made progress towards a common market for goods and services a major priority and has set a target date for completion of 1992. Institutional reforms have been considered by the ad hoc Committee on Institutional Affairs whose report is available in the Library of the House and will be the subject of intergovernmental discussions in the coming months.
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on the implementation of the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty.
Although not party to this bilateral United States — Soviet treaty, we regard it as an important element in the current strategic situation. The treaty contains mechanisms by which any suspected violations can be pursued.
Israel (Lebanon Policy)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what restraints Her Majesty's Government are placing on the Israeli Government in the light of their iron fist policy in Lebanon.
We have made it clear that we deeply deplore the appalling violence in south Lebanon, which underlines the need for the early and complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanese territory. In direct response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which we condemned, we imposed restrictions on arms sales to Israel.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a progress report on discussions with the Contact Group of Five and South Africa on implementation of United Nations resolution 435 for the independence of Namibia.
We remain in close touch with our Contact Group partners over developments in the current negotiations towards a Namibia settlement. We also take every opportunity to urge the South Africans to be flexible and realistic in their approach to these negotiations in order to bring about early implementation of Security Council resolution 435.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made towards independence for Namibia; and if he will make a statement.
Discussions are continuing between the United States, Angola and South Africa, aimed at finding a formula for Cuban troop withdrawal from Angola which will meet the security concerns of all the parties and pave the way for internationally recognised independence for Namibia, in accordance with the terms of Security Council resolution 435.
South Africa (Treason Trial)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has sought the permission of the South African Government to send observers to the treason trial of members of the United Democratic Front.
We do not require permission to attend a public trial. As I explained in a written answer to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Duffy) on 20 February 1985, we expect to send an observer [Vol. 73, c. 466.]
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in central America.
I have nothing further to add to the reply my hon. Friend the Member for Pentlands Edinburgh, (Mr. Rifkind) gave to the hon. Member on 20 March.—[Vol. 75, c. 525.]
Malta (Sunken Wartime Vessels)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if any recent discussions have taken place between the Foreign Office and Malta regarding the raising of sunken wartime vessels in the vicinity of Grand harbour.
There have for some time been exchanges with the Maltese Government on the question of the possible clearance of certain wrecks and unexploded ordnance from these waters. These exchanges are continuing.
Ec (Spain And Portugal)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what effect the accession of Spain and Portugal will have on decisions taken by the Council of Ministers by qualified majority.
Spain and Portugal will participate in any voting in the Council in accordance with the rules laid down in the treaties. The accession treaty, which will be laid before the House, will set out the number of votes on the basis of the relative sizes of the acceding states. The intention is that article 148 of the treaty will be amended to give eight votes to Spain and five to Portugal, raising the number of votes in the Council from 63 to 76. The qualified majority will go from 45 to 54.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the Soviet reaction to the latest proposals put by the British Government at the Geneva negotiations on chemical weapons.
The detailed proposals I introduced on 12 March 1985, the latest in a series of United Kingdom working papers on the non-diversion of industrial chemicals into secret military stockpiles, have aroused considerable interest in the Socialist group at the Geneva chemical weapons negotiations. Its considered reactions are awaited.
Kuwait (Ministerial Visit)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement upon the recent visit of the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce), to Kuwait.
Between 31 March and 2 April, I visited Kuwait as part of a Gulf tour which also included Qatar. I had a very useful round of discussions with Kuwaiti Ministers, including the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Sheikh Sa'ad. I was able to review the satisfactory state of our bilateral relations and exchange views on major international issues, including the Iran-Iraq conflict, and Lebanon and the Arab-Israel dispute.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Chile.
We maintain normal diplomatic relations with Chile, but regularly make known our concern about human rights violations. Following the Chilean earthquake on 3 March, we have given £250,000 of disaster relief through non-governmental organisations to help those made homeless.
East Germany (Ministerial Visit)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his visit to East Germany.
I visited East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic from 8 to 10 April. I had talks with senior GDR Government figures, and met a wide cross-section of GDR society. I discussed East-West relations and arms control with Mr. Erich Honecker and the Foreign Minister. I made clear the West's sincere determination to achieve greater security for all at a lower level of weapons, through balanced and verifiable agreements. I indicated the strength of our concern for human rights, including the freedom to travel. We also discussed the prospects for an increase in bilateral trade.
Ec (Subsidised Food And Wine)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to withhold approval of any proposals in the Council of Ministers to increase the resources of the Common Market until that organisation agrees to refrain from the policy of selling food and wine to the Soviet Union at subsidised prices.
The Council of Ministers agreed in March a draft new own resources text which incorporates in Community legislation the agreement reached by Heads of Government at Fontainebleau last year. Parliamentary approval will be sought in due course for the introduction of new own resources in this way.
The Soviet Union, like any other third country, is free to buy agricultural exports from the Community at world prices. We remain opposed to any specially favourable arrangements for the Soviet Union.
Trade And Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his policy towards encouraging British companies towards further investment in South Africa.
The Government believe that decisions on investment in South Africa, as in other countries, are best left to the commercial judgements of the companies concerned.
Cars (Mileage Clocks)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will introduce legislation to make it an illegal practice to zero car mileage clocks.
I have no plans at present to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the increase in the average value of imports and exports of manufactures since 1980 compared with the increase in unit values.
The information is as follows:
|Manufactures (SITC Rev2 5–8)|
|Percentage change 1980–1984|
|Unit Value Index||+35|
|Average Value Index||+32|
|Unit Value Index||+37|
|Average Value Index||+31|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to what factors he attributes the smaller increase in the unit value of imports of semi-manufactures less chemicals since 1980 compared with the period before 1980.
The smaller increase in recent years is largely attributable to silver bullion and other non-ferrous metals; the unit value index for these commodities rose at an average annual rate of 2·5 per cent in the period from 1980 to 1984 compared with an average annual rise of nearly 33 per cent between 1978 and 1980.
Consumer Durables (Exports)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to which geographical areas Her Majesty's Government attach the highest priority in their overseas trade policy for the next two years with specific reference to exports of consumer durable goods.
There are opportunities for sales of consumer durable goods in a wide range of countries, particularly the OECD countries. Firms need to take account of the price, performance, and type of goods before deciding where the best prospects lie. Where particularly good opportunities arise my Department and the Diplomatic Service Posts overseas work with the industry to exploit them. The task force for Do-It-Yourself goods in Italy is a recent successful example. The accession of Spain and Portugal to the Community will create new opportunities and a special programme is being mounted to help industry pursue exports in these countries.
Electronic Companies (Bankruptcies)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many electronics companies with a work force of fewer than 40 employees have gone bankrupt in the last 12 months.
I regret that figures are not available by size of company nor by detailed industries. Electronics companies are included in the broad category of "metals and engineering" and the article on insolvencies to 'be published in 'British business' on 26 April will show that 1,338 companies in this category in England and Wales went into liquidation due to insolvency in 1984. The number of bankruptcies of individuals and partnerships in the same broad category in 1984 will be available shortly and will be published in 'British business'; a provisional estimate for January/September 1984 is 54.
Battery-Powered Dog Collars
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek to ban the import of battery-powered dog collars which deliver an electric shock when the dog barks.
I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he will publish the Government's response to the report of the study group on censorship.
The Government's response is being published today—Cmnd. 9499. I should like to record once more the Government's thanks to General Sir Hugh Beach and to his colleagues for their valuable support.
House Of Commons
asked the hon. Member for, Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, whether, pursuant to his reply on 1 April, he will set out in the Official Report details subsequently communicated to the hon. Member for Leicester, East.
There are a total of 847 staff employed by the Commission, including 163 part-time workers, entitled to receive additional payment if they work hours in excess of normal; 431 such staff received additional payments for a varying number of extra hours in week ending 22 February 1985, including 208 staff in receipt of regular extra payments in the form of annual allowances calculated on the basis of the average hours of sitting of the House over the previous five years. The employment of additional staff for the hours covered by these payments would in most cases be uneconomic and impracticable because, for example, of the unpredictable tunes to which the House and Committees often sit; and accordingly there are no reliable assumptions on which to base an estimate of the number that would be required.
asked the Lord Privy Seal what information he has on provision made to fund overseas travel on official duties by (a) individual members and (b) Select Committees or their equivalent in the lower Houses of Commonwealth and European Parliaments and the United States House of Representatives; and if he will set out in the Official Report the level of resources made available to them in the latest period for which figures can be ascertained.
The information requested is not held centrally for all Parliaments. I have, however, obtained some information from a variety of sources which is as follows. I must stress, however, that this information is not in a homogeneous form:
Committee travel overseas has to be specifically authorised by a Vote in the House of Commons. Most overseas travel is made under the auspices of one of the seven Parliamentary Associations which have their own annual grants from appropriations of both Houses.
There is some provision for overseas travel at the discretion of the Authorities of the House.
3. New Zealand
Cabinet approval is required for overseas travel, which is funded by the Department of Internal Affairs. The cost of such travel in 1983–84 was $84,566.
At the discretion of the Bureau for travel abroad.
At the discretion of the Bureau (presidium) in as much as it decides whether the travelling expenses shall be paid and provided for in the Budget of the Folketing.
At the discretion of the President.
At the discretion of the relevant Bureau subject to a ceiling of seven Members in the case of journeys within Europe and five Members in the cases of other journeys abroad. The number of participants is irrelevant for journeys abroad during Sessions.
Authorisation for travel can be given.
At the discretion of the President.
Authorisation for travel can be given.
At the discretion of the relevant Bureau.
12. United Kingdom
At the discretion of the Liaison Committee.
13. United States of America
Congress Members can usually undertake foreign travel on Committee business or by Executive request or appointment. Members are required by law to make public annually the cost of such official trips, which are funded by the public purse. During 1980, 219 Members of Congress took 346 trips abroad at Government expense. The trips by Members and their Committee staff cost a total of $2,803,966·85.
* Our source material on these countries does not distinguish between travel at home and travel abroad.
Clark asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will propose the setting up of a Select Committee to consider the Green Paper on personal taxation to be issued in the autumn.
I have noted my hon. Friend's suggestion and will give it full consideration in due course.
Mr A W Blakestone
asked the Prime Minister what reply she has sent to the letter of Mr. A. W. Blakestone of 46 Appleton road, Buckhill avenue, Kingston upon Hull, in which he suggested that to mark the 40th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day people who saw active service in that war should be able to take statutory retirement a year early for each year of service to a maximum of five years with a view to releasing their jobs for the unemployed; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Blakestone's letter was passed to the Ministry of Defence for action and an official reply was sent on 5 March 1985. This set out the Government's plans for the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, in accordance with my statement of 14 February 1985.—[Vol. 61, c. 230.] I have asked my noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces to write to the hon. Member with a copy of the letter to Mr. Blakestone.
Ec (Subsidised Food And Wine)
asked the Prime Minister if it remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government to oppose the sale, at subsidised prices, of food and wine to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; and what powers are available to Her Majesty's Government in the various Councils of Ministers to seek to achieve this objective.
I will reply to my hon. Friend shortly.
Young People (Liverpool)
asked the Prime Minister if, pursuant to her answer of 16 April, Official Report, column 136, she has any information as to further plans for young people in Liverpool to come out on strike and leave their schools; and if she will make a statement.
I totally deplore and condemn this thoroughly mischievous attempt by Left-wing groups in Liverpool to hide behind children in expressing any concerns they may feel about the youth training scheme. This is the worst possible example they could give youngsters on Merseyside. The call to strike will be seen by all reasonably minded people as a clear political act of a totally negative nature. Is this really the image of Merseyside that should be projected to the industrialists of the world?
Motorways (Communications System)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will identify where the responsibility lies for servicing the public communications system at service stations on the MI between London and Leeds;(2) if he will identify where responsibility lies for servicing the public communications system at service stations on the M62 between Liverpool and Goole;(3) if he will identify where responsibility lies for servicing the public communications system at service stations on the A1(M) between Hatfield and Newcastle.
Operators of motorway service areas in England are required by their leases to provide at all times a number of public telephones, except when temporarily prevented by circumstances outside their control.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will hold a formal investigation into the loss of the sailing vessel Marques near Bermuda in June 1984.
Yes. In view of the public concern over the loss of this vessel and the loss of life I am taking the necessary measures for the holding of a public formal investigation into the circumstances of this casualty.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that the crew of commercial helicopters will be required at all times whilst on board to wear lifejackets incorporating dual frequency (121.5 and 243Mhz) personal locater beacons, in line with the safety recommendations of the inspector of aircraft accident report 8/84 on the accident involving British Airways' helicopter S-61N, G-BEON, in the sea near the Isles of Scilly.
[pursuant to his reply, 15 April 1985, c. 54]: Existing lifejackets can be uncomfortable to wear and cause fatigue, especially in hot weather or when used in conjunction with immersion suits. A new type of lifejacket is being developed and is likely to be comfortable enough to wear on the majority of occasions.All offshore operators equip their flight crew with personal location beacons which operate on 121·5 and 243 Mhz, as required by ICAO, and an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 1980 will require all public transport helicoptors and gyroplanes from 3 March 1986 to carry automatically deployable emergency beacons transmitting simultaneously on both those frequencies.At present, the CAA do not insist that helicopter crews should wear lifejackets at all times, because existing jackets can be uncomfortable and tiring in hot weather, or with an immersion suit.
Additionally, the Air Navigation Order 1980 will be amended to require all public transport helicopters and gyroplanes to be equipped with automatically deployable emergency beacons from 3 March 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps Her Majesty's Government will take to strengthen the operation of the Gleneagles agreement.
None. The Government fully implement the requirements of the Commonwealth statement on apartheid in sport.
Foreign Office (Energy Audit)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange an energy audit for all offices of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office within the United Kingdom.
Building and sites are selected for energy audit on the basis of the anticipated profitability of resultant energy savings. Capital must be available to implement the recommendations of the audits.The buildings currently occupied by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although substantial in number, form only a small proportion of the whole of the United Kindgom Property Services Agency maintained estate.Selection of buildings for audit is not made on the basis of the occupying Department and, given the constraints of available resources, it would not be appropriate for me to arrange for energy audits of all FCO offices or indeed, all the offices of any other single Government Department.
Thamesmead Advisory Group
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent representations he has received from the Thamesmead Advisory Group; and if he will make a statement.
I have recently received a helpful list of questions about future arrangements for a trust for Thamesmead, from community representatives including the Thamesmead advisory group. I have responded in writing and shall discuss the issues with them on 25 April.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what estimate he has made of the effect on the environment of marine anti-fouling paints, other than those which are organo-tin based, if his proposed ban on organo-tin anti-fouling were to be implemented;(2) what meetings concerning anti-fouling paints Ministers in his Department have had with representatives of
(a) users of anti-fouling paints, (b) manufacturers of anti-fouling paints, (c) shellfish growers and (d) other interested parties;
(3) if he will give figures for the total number of pleasure craft, including motor boats and yachts (a) 12 m and below in length and (b) above 12 m in length;
(4) if he will list the concentrations of tributyl-tin oxide in the natural environment at each location where either the Pacific oyster or the native British oyster is cultivated or fished for as many years since 1955 as records permit;
(5) what volume of tributyl-tin oxide is estimated to leak into the environemt annually from anti-fouling the hulls of (a) private vessels less than 12 m in length, (b) private vessels above 12 m in length, (c) merchant ships, (d) naval vessels, (e) fishing boats less than 12 m in length and (f) fishing boats above 12 m in length;
(6) what types of anti-fouling paint would be available to yachtsmen and fishermen with vessels below 12 m in length if his proposed regulations on the use of tributyl-tin oxide become law.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what alternatives to tributyl-tin oxide are available to the manufacturers and users of anti-fouling paints; and what their effects on the natural environment would be.
I have been asked to reply to the question put to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.All anti-fouling agents work by making the surface to which they are applied unsuitable for the marine organisms which try to settle and grow there. Organo-tin based paints act by the continuous release of organo-tin compounds which are toxic to such organisms. They are also toxic to other marine organisms. Scientists at the Government's fisheries laboratory have measured the concentration of tributyl-tin oxide at sites where the Pacific and the native British oysters are cultivated and at some other sites around the coast. The results were obtained over the period 1982 to 1984. No information is available prior to 1982. The results are summarised in a short paper, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.If the draft regulations on which comments are currently being sought were introduced without change, yachtsmen and others would be able to use any anti-fouling paint not prescribed by the regulations. The most likely alternatives are formulations based on copper, with or without small quantities of organo-tin compounds. Copper-based formulations have been available and have been widely used for many years without giving rise to concern on environmental grounds.Information is not available on the amount of tributyl-tin oxide released into the environment annually from anti-fouling paint used on different categories of vessel. The Government's intention in proposing regulations is to protect the marine environment, particularly the shallow estuarial and inshore areas which are often very rich in marine life and important nursery areas and sometimes support valuable commercial fisheries. Where there are large numbers of small craft moored for long periods in shallow waters with insufficient water exchange, then tributyl-tin compounds leached from anti-fouling paints can reach dangerous concentrations. By preventing the sale and use of such paints on small pleasure craft this danger can be prevented. The proposed regulations are accordingly aimed specifically at small pleasure craft. The 12 m cut-off point was chosen, for the purpose of consultation, following an analysis of the export and import statistics which indicated that this length would encompass about 80 per cent. of the relevant category of boat.
I met representatives of the shell-fish growers on 4 February at their request and representatives of the Paintmakers Association on 22 April. There have been no such requests from either the users of anti-fouling paints or from other interested parties. The paint manufacturers and boating interests have also had several meetings with my officials.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what progress water authorities are making in reducing nitrate levels to comply with the EEC directive of a 50 mg per litre maximum;(2) which water authorities currently have nitrate in drinking water in excess of 50 mg per litre;(3) what surface waters have concentrations of nitrate in excess of 50 mg per litre; and by how much they have increased in recent years.
In 1984, some water supplies in Anglian, Severn-Trent, Yorkshire and Thames water authority areas exceeded 50 mg per litre NO 3 for some part of the year. In these areas steps have been or are being taken to reduce nitrate concentrations in drinking water. All the authorities will need to comply with the EC directive figure of 50 mg per litre or with the terms of any derogation I may issue later this year.My Department's harmonised monitoring scheme, using data collected by water authorities, provides a comprehensive picture of the nitrate situation in the main rivers in England, Scotland and Wales. In 1983, of over 200 monitoring stations, only five recorded average nitrate concentrations slightly above 50 mg per litre.These stations are situated on the Rivers Lee, Blackwater, Idle, Stour (Suffolk) and Stour (Hereford and Worcester).Until 1980 nitrate concentrations had been increasing on average by 0.7 mg per litre annually in some 25 rivers. More recent information is now being assessed by the nitrate co-ordination group.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce his decision in respect of planning application Nos. APP/F5540/A/83/8188/9 and APP/5540/A/54/14820 held at a public inquiry before his inspector, Kenneth Jeremiah, in August-September 1984.
My right hon. Friend is considering the inspector's report and a decision will be issued as soon as possible.
Subsidised House Purchases (Wapping)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money the London Docklands Development Corporation has set aside for subsidising house purchases in Wapping; and how the scheme proposed by the London Docklands Development Corporation will work.
The London Docklands Development Corporation has set aside £1 million for its equity share loan scheme in Wapping. Under the scheme, a loan of up to £10,000 is available to residents of the Wapping part of docklands to top up a conventional mortgage for a house in that area. This is normally repayable to the corporation on the resale of the property or after ten years. After ten years, the position may be reviewed at the discretion of the corporation in the light of the applicant's circumstances. No interest is charged on the loan and no rent is levied on the corporation's share of the equity.The amount to be repaid is to be the same proportion of the resale price or the market value of the property as was the original loan of the purchase price, subject to a cost floor and a cost ceiling.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many places on permanent sites in England and Wales are currently provided for itinerants.
In January 1985 there were 232 gipsy sites run by local authorities in England providing 3,753 pitches. In addition, the count made by local authorities in July 1984 showed that some 1,748 gipsy caravans were camped on authorised private pitches. The figures for Wales can be obtained from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide the best estimate available for the total itinerant population in England and Wales.
The available information relates to caravans rather than population. In July 1984 there were 9,627 gipsy caravans in England. The figures for Wales can be obtained from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Reema Conclad Houses
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has had any undertaking from the Building Societies Association that it will advise its member societies that REEMA conclad houses have no known generic defects; and if he will make a statement.
In my reply to my hon. Friend of 20 February, column 485, I said that my Department hoped to have further discussions with the Building Societies Association on the condition of dwellings of nontraditional design generally. These discussions are continuing. I will make a statement as soon as possible.
Rate Support Grant
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the operation of close-ending under the rate support grant systems.
Rate support grant is based on authorities' expenditure, but the total amount of rate support grant paid out in any year can only be the amount approved by the House of Commons. As a matter of routine, every year my Department notifies each local authority at the end of March of the grant to which it is initially entitled in the forthcoming year, on the basis of authorities' own estimates of expenditure. That process involves making an adjustment, called close-ending, from the figures published the previous December to ensure that the total of payments is in line with the authorised total.
Close-ending is not a new principle. Under the former RSG system, prior to 1981–82, the resources element of grant was close-ended each year to match the grant claimed by authorities to the total grant available. Indeed, the extent of close-ending in 1978–79, the last full year of the last Labour Government, was significantly higher than the 1.5 per cent. being applied in 1985–86. This means that under the former RSG arrangements particular authorities' grant entitlements could and did change to a greater extent than the close-ending recently announced for 1985–86.
Suggestions that either the timing or the substance of this year's announcement were in any way unusual are therefore unfounded and political mischiefmaking.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the numbers of university postgraduate courses which had a reduction in their bursary allocations in each single year since the 1978–79 academic session and those whose grants have been totally abolished during the same period.
Allocations of bursaries to universities and other postgraduate institutions by the Department were reduced in 1981–82 in respect of 30 courses included in the state bursary scheme. In the years prior to that year and in subsequent years no significant reductions in the allocations occurred. Since 1978–79 the allocation of bursaries for three courses have been withdrawn: the bursaries released were reallocated to other courses.
Primary Schools (Science Teaching)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has to enable primary school teachers to improve science teaching in primary schools; and what resources he intends to allocate for this purpose.
The Department and the Welsh Office have recently published "Science 5–16: A statement of policy", which sets out the Government's views on future developments in science education in primary and secondary schools. It sets as objectives that all pupils should be properly introduced to science in the primary school and that all class teachers in primary schools, without exception, should include at least some science in their teaching, making use of their colleagues' specialist knowledge and experience as necessary.The policy statement calls for a sustained and cooperative effort under the leadership of the LEAs to meet those objectives, and describes some of the action being taken at the national level to assist that effort. For example, primary science is to be one of the areas within the education support grant scheme. Fifty-two LEAs in England will receive education support grant from September 1985 to support three-year programmes of action to improve the effectiveness and relevance of primary science teaching. Total expenditure in these LEAs over the three years will be some £10 million, and an extension of the primary science education support grant scheme in 1986–87 is under consideration. The Association for Science Education is being commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the primary science ESG programmes, to disseminate information about successful practice and to draw up guidelines for future developments. Primary science is also one of the fields receiving support under the inservice teacher training grants scheme. These and other developments at the national level are matched by substantial and rapidly growing interest at the local level, with many significant initiatives under way.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many appeals he has received under section 8(6) of the Education Act 1981 in the 12
|Appeals under section 8(6) of the Education Act 1981 received during the period 1 April 1984 to 31 March 1985|
|LEA||Number of appeals||Statement confirmed||Statement amended||Not vet decided|
|Hereford and Worcester||1||—||—||1|
(c) of the Act.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many appeals he has received under section 5(6) of the Education Act 1981 in the 12 months ended 31 March; if he will (a) list the local education authorities concerned and give the number of appeals against each authority, (b) state in how many instances he has upheld the decision of the local education authority and (c) state in how many instances he has directed the local education authority to reconsider its decision; and if he will make a statement.
The information is as follows:
|Appeals under section 5(6) of the Education Act 1981 during the period 1 April 1984 to 31 March 1985|
|LEA||Number of appeals||LEA decision upheld||Not yet decided|
months ended 31 March; if he will (a) list the local education authorities concerned and give the number of appeals against each authority and (b) state in how many instances he has (i) confirmed the special educational provision specified in the statement, (ii) amended the statement and (iii) directed the local education authority to cease to maintain a statement; and if he will make a statement.
The information is as follows:
|LEA||Number of appeals||LEA decision upheld||Not yet decided|
Exchange Teachers (United States)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received concerning the position of teachers on exchange in the United States.
Apart from 10 parliamentary questions, I have received 33 representations from 28 people, including eight hon. Members and the embassy of the United States of America in London.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list the number of applications for teacher exchanges with the United States in each of the last five years.
The number of applications from British teachers, and the results of the applications, are given below. Those for 1985–86 are as yet only provisional.
England & Wales
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to change the system of payment of allowance to British teachers taking part in the teacher exchanges with the United States to take account of fluctuations in the exchange rate.
None. Fluctuations in the exchange rate are already taken into consideration in the payment of allowances to British teachers taking part in teacher exchanges with the United States of America.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidance will be issued by his Department to schools in respect of the possible entitlement to supplementary benefit of Easter school leavers who return to school to sit public examinations; and if he will make a statement.
Advice on eligibility for supplementary benefit is for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services to provide.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children who left school at Easter in 1984 returned to school in order to sit public examinations in the 1984 summer term.
The information requested for 1984 is not available. An estimated 8,500 school leavers who had reached the minimum school leaving age in 1982–83, left school by Easter 1983 and subsequently attempted at least one of the Summer 1983 CSE/GCE examinations.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to publish Her Majesty's inspectorate's paper on the mathematics curriculum; and if he will make a statement.
"Mathematics from 5 to 16" is published today. In the three years since the publication of the Crockcroft report the Government have based their action to improve the quality of mathematics teaching in schools on the report's conclusions. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I welcome the publication of HM Inspectorate's paper, which reflects and develops the Cockcroft committee's recommendations. It is particularly appropriate that the paper should be published at a time when almost all LEAs are preparing for the appointment, under the education support grant scheme, of additional mathematics advisers and advisory teachers. Some 350 such staff are due to begin work in September 1985; their task will be to encourage changes in mathematics education in primary and secondary schools along the lines proposed by the Cockcroft committee.Following the pattern of other papers in the HMI series "Curriculum Matters", the paper sets out views, and seeks comment, on the aims and objectives of mathematics teaching and on the related professional issues of the principles of mathematics teaching and the assessment of pupils' progress in mathematics. We commend it for the consideration of all those concerned with the development of children's competence in mathematics. We believe that it will help to develop effective teaching approaches. We also regard it as an important contribution towards the development of agreement on the objectives of this key subject in the school curriculum.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made by the committee of inquiry into the academic validation of degree courses in the public sector of higher education; and if he will make a statement.
The report of the committee of inquiry into the academic validation of public sector degree courses was published today. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and I are most grateful to the members of the committee of inquiry and particulary to its chairman, Sir Norman Lindop, for the time and effort they have devoted to the inquiry, and for the speed with which they have completed a difficult task. The Government attach great importance to the maintenance and improvement of academic standards throughout the education system, and we will study the committee's report with care and interest.My right hon. Friends and I will consult a number of interested bodies concerning the report's conclusions and recommendations. We will also welcome comments from any institution, organisation or individual not specifically consulted. Following these consultations, the Government will aim to reach their decisions on the recommendations made in the report as soon as possible.
Disabled People (Assistance)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each region who received assistance with the provision of aids in 1983–84;(2) if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each region who received assistance with adaptations to the home in 1983–84;(3) if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each region who received assistance with the installation of telephones in 1983–84;(4) if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each region who received assistance with the payment of telephone rentals in 1983–84;
(5) if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each region who received assistance with holidays in 1983–84.
Services provided by local authorities—1983–84*
Rate per 1,000 population
Rate per 1,000 population
Rate per 1,000 population
Rate per 1,000 population
Rate per 1,000 population
|Dumfries & Galloway||3||†||6||†||396||2·7||1,190||8·1||0||0|
† Less than 0·05.
|n/a = Not available.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what further steps he is taking to encourage the development of more appropriate forms of long-term care.
A draft circular issued for consultation last July set out proposed new arrangements for the joint planning and support finance scheme. The main objective of those proposals was to encourage more effective coordination of efforts to achieve a better balance between hospital and community care, and the development of more appropriate forms of long-term care.I am grateful to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, health boards and other interested organisations for their general support for that objective, and their helpful comments on those proposals. The circular, with consequential revisions, was issued today; I am arranging for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans the Forestry Commission has for aerial spraying of pesticides as part of forestry operations in the current year.
[pursuant to his reply, 18 April 1985, c. 249]: Subject to clearances under the pesticides safety precautions scheme, the Forestry Commission, together with private woodland owners, is planning to carry out in late May and early June programmes of ultra low-volume aerial spraying of insecticides on some 7,000 hectares of Lodgepole pine plantations in Sutherland, Easter Ross, Argyll and Perthshire. This spraying is to control two forest insect pests—pine beauty moth using fenitrothion and pine sawfly using virox.The commission also intends to spray from the air about 50 hectares of land in east Scotland and 230 hectares of land in the west of England with azulam, which is a herbicide for the control of bracken and which has full
Provisional figures are contained in the following table:commercial clearance under the pesticides safety precautions scheme. In addition, the commission will be seeking agreement to the aerial spraying with glyphosate of up to 500 hectares of land; this will be under the limited clearance which has been granted to Monsanto Limited under the pesticides safety precautions scheme. Glyphosate is used for general weed control.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Forestry Commission or any other statutory authority undertake any monitoring of, or grant approval for, the aerial spraying of pesticides on forest land in the private sector.
[pursuant to his reply, 18 April 1985, c. 249]: An owner of forest land is not required at present to seek statutory approval for the aerial spraying of his land with pesticides; he is required, however, to obtain clearance under the pesticides safety precautions scheme for the use of the particular pesticide, unless he proposes to use azulam for the control of bracken. The flight operator must hold an aerial application certificate issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Disabled People (Assistance)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each local authority who received assistance with holidays in 1983–84.
The information is given in the following table:
|Social services: assistance with holidays|
|Local Authority||Cases receiving assistance with holidays*||Rate per 1,000 population|
Cases receiving assistance with holidays*
Rate per 1,000 population
* Year ending 31 March 1984.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of cases and the rate per 1,000 population in each local authority who received assistance with the installation of telephones in 1983–84.