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Written Answers

Volume 77: debated on Friday 26 April 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 26 April 1985

Wales

Educational Expenditure (Clwyd)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will provide a table showing (a) the current educational expenditure excluding meals and milk in constant 1983–84 cost terms, (b) the pupil numbers in full-time equivalents, (c) the teacher numbers in service in full-time equivalents (d) the pupil-teacher ratio overall, for each year in Clwyd from 1979–80 to the latest available year.

The information is as follows:

Clwyd County Council (a) Education Current Expenditure excluding Meals and Milk (1983–84 real terms)*
£ million
1979–8075·9
1980–8180·0
1981–8282·4
1982–8384·1
1983–8486·4
Cash deflated to 1983–84 prices using the GDP deflator which measures changes in prices in the economy as a whole.
(b) Pupil and Teacher Numbers (full-time equivalents) and overall Pupil Teacher Ratios (Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools)
Pupils (fte)Teachers in service (fte)PTR overall
1979–8074,7653,91419·1
1980–8173,4743,88218·9
1981–8271,4393,78718·9
1982–8369,9833,79918·4
1983–8468,8813,86917·8

Mentally Handicapped People

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has received the 1984 report of the all Wales advisory panel for the development of services for mentally handicapped people.

Yes. The report emphasises that one of the most significant contributions of the strategy is that the amount of discussion and commitment to the rights of mentally handicapped people has risen to an unprecedented level throughout Wales. The report highlights many of the central concerns raised by the strategy, but in particular stresses the importance of people at all levels and from all agencies being able to plan, train and work together with mentally handicapped people and their representatives. I fully endorse that view and believe it is only in this manner that appropriate services will be provided to enable mentally handicapped people to live normal lives in their own communities. The report is to be widely distributed and I hope that all those involved in the mental handicap strategy throughout Wales will read it and take due note of the panel's advice on the priorities for the coming year.897

Northern Ireland

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish for 1984 the number of jobs created by the Industrial Development Board and Local Enterprise Development Unit distinguishing between jobs resulting from new inward investment, new indigenous investment, expansion of existing concerns and total investment for the Industrial Development Board and new companies from within Northern Ireland, expanding companies and the total for the Local Enterprise Development Unit distinguished between manufacturing and service industries.

In the calendar year 1984 the Industrial Development Board and Local Enterprise Development Unit provided a total of 8,840 jobs. The breakdown is as follows:

1DB

Jobs from new Inward Investment in

  • (a) Manufacturing Industry=653.
  • (b) Service Industry=19.
  • Jobs from new indigenous investment in

  • (a) Manufacturing Industry=264.
  • (b) Service Industry=Nil.
  • Jobs from expansions of existing concerns in

  • (a) Manufacturing Industry=4,091.
  • (b) Service Industry=92.
  • Note: The Industrial Development Board normally accounts for its achievements on a financial year basis, ending on 31 March, and it is intended to publish the results for the 1984–85 year on 1 May 1985.

    LEDU

    Jobs from new companies within Northern Ireland in

  • (a) Manufacturing Industry=1,652.
  • (b) Service Industry=724.
  • Jobs from expansions of existing companies in

  • (a) Manufacturing Industry=814.
  • (b) Service Industry=141.
  • Total jobs arising from Enterprise Grant Scheme=390.

    Social Conditions

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what studies have been conducted by his Department concerning social conditions in Northern Ireland in the last five years.

    The Government have conducted a wide range of studies of different aspects of social conditions; the following have been published:

    Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland:

    Occasional Papers by the Policy Planning and Research Unit:

  • Paper No. 1 — "Family Finance Survey (Northern Ireland)".
  • Paper No. 2 — "Take-up of Family Income Supplement".
  • Paper No. 4 — "Domestic Fuel Use and Expenditure among Low Income Groups".
  • Paper No. 6 — "Families Sharing Poverty".
  • Annual Northern Ireland Continuous Household Survey.

    Annual Family Expenditure Survey.

    Northern Ireland Annual Abstract of Statistics.
    The Department of Health and Social Services, Northern Ireland: Report of Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality and Handicap in Northern Ireland (the Baird Report).
    Drinking Practices in Northern Ireland.

    Children Smoking in Northern Ireland.

    Childrens' Dental Health.
    The Department of Education for Northern Ireland:

    Several Studies on Persistent Non-Attendance at School.
    Department of Economic Development, Northern Ireland:

    Annual Labour Force Survey.

    Home Department

    Hand-Held Radar Gun

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what modifications in construction and usage have been introduced to the hand-held radar gun following the criticism by a Gwent court in south Wales four years ago.

    A report published in 1984 by the Scientific Research and Development Branch of the Home Office, concluded that the hand-held radar speedmeters were accurate and reliable and that the probability of an inaccurate reading was very low when the devices were used in accordance with instructions by a trained officer.Following the report's recommendations the Association of Chief Police Officers has taken action aimed at ensuring common training standards and the following minor modifications are being made to the devices:

  • (1) the removal of the HI/LO switch.
  • (2) the removal of the recall facility.
  • (3) the fitting of a cut out device which prevents the operation of the speedmeter when the battery supply falls below the minimum operating voltage specified by the manufacturer.
  • These changes are being made in the interests of simplicity of operation.

    Local Government (Grant Applications)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current average time applications for grant under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 are with his Department.

    In normal circumstances, a decision can be taken on a straightforward application which is accompanied by appropriate supporting information within about three months. Currently, however, the Department is engaged on a review of all posts approved for section 11 grant under the arrangements in force before 1 January 1983 to see if they meet current criteria. In consequence, new applications have been taking somewhat longer to process. A survey of the 51 applications on which a decision was taken between 1 February and 19 April 1985 shows that the average time taken to reach a decision in those cases was six and a half months.

    Charity Commission

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff are employed by the Charity Commission.

    Prisons (Mail Bags)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the dates when visits to prisons in England and Wales where work still takes place on mail bags have been made during the last 12 months by members of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Factories.

    During the last 12 months Factory Inspectors of the Health and Safety Executive have visited the following prisons where mail bags are manufactured: Dorchester (9.8.84); Haverigg (17.1.85); Winchester (19.7.84); and Wormwood Scrubs (4.2.85).

    Police (Humberside)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on how many occasions his Department has made repesentations to Humberside county council to appoint a suitably qualified officer to the post of assistant chief constable; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make a statement about the failure of Humberside county council police committee to appoint a suitably qualified officer to the post of assistant chief constable for Humberside police; and what information he has received of the effect of that failure on policing in Humberside.

    I regret that one of the two assistant chief constable posts has been vacant for over a year. The Department has written seven times to Humberside police authority since December 1983 to urge them to make an appointment. It remains our view that two posts at this level are necessary in Humberside and the chief constable has had to arrange for essential duties to be carried out by other officers. The force remains efficient.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations his Department and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary have made to Humberside police committee about its cuts in the police budget and further proposed cuts; and if he will make a statement.

    The police authority has a statutory duty to maintain an adequate and efficient force for the area. No representations have been made by the Department about the force budget. The advice of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary to my right hon. and learned Friend and to police authorities is given in confidence.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the report on the 1984 annual inspection by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary of Humberside police to the Humberside police committee; what recommendations were contained therein with reference to the appointment of a suitably qualified assistant chief constable; and whether those recommendations have been observed.

    Under section 38 of the Police Act 1964, Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary report to my right hon. and learned Friend: their reports are made in confidence, as are any recommendations they make a police authority on matters within its statutory responsibilities.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received about the execution of statutory duties by those responsible for the policing in Humberside.

    My right hon. and learned Friend has received a number of representations from my hon. Friend. from other hon. Members and from a Conservative member of the Humberside police authority.

    Prime Minister

    Ministers (Collective Responsibility)

    asked the Prime Minister to what extent she requires Ministers of non-Cabinet rank to observe the doctrine of collective responsibility; and if she will make a statement.

    All members of the Government are bound by the collective responsibility of Ministers for the policies, decisions and actions of the Government.

    East Timor

    asked the Prime Minister if the subject of the Indonesian invasion and continued occupation of East Timor was raised during her recent visit to Indonesia; and if she will make a statement.

    East Timor was among the subjects I discussed in Indonesia but the details of the talks must of course remain confidential.

    Civil Servants (Political Affiliations)

    asked the Prime Minister how many employees of Government Departments and in other work subject to Civil Service rules and regulations are known to have had Fascist affiliations.

    It would not be appropriate to give information relating to the political affiliations of such employees.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Broadcast Group

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how soon he will be able to make a statement on the future of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office broadcast group.

    My right hon. and learned Friend hopes to be able to make an announcement soon.

    Attorney-General

    Scheduled Offences (Northern Ireland)

    askd the Attorney-General how many cases concerning scheduled offences for each year since 1973 have been referred to (a) the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal and (b) the House of Lords; and in how many cases the original conviction has been quashed, upheld or upheld with a reduced sentence.

    Records kept by the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland of persons who appealed to the court of Appeal against conviction and/or sentence in respect of conviction for scheduled offences since 1973 show the position to be as in the chart:

    YearAppeals Against Conviction
    WithdrawnDismissedUpheld
    1973Nil1Nil
    1974875
    19759124
    19765134
    19776294
    197829234
    197965134
    1980341610
    198114148
    198221152
    1983361
    19847715
    YearAppeals Against Conviction
    WithdrawnDismissedUpheld
    1973Nil3Nil
    1974304217
    1975374811
    197643284
    1977305423
    197855389
    1979104278
    1980613519
    198137294
    1982403611
    198335295
    1984281927
    Records kept by the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland of appeals to the House of Lords arising from convictions for scheduled offences since 1973 show the position to be as follows:

    YearPersonsResult
    19781Appeal Dismissed
    19811Appeal Dismissed
    There is no consolidated record of the variations in sentences ordered by the Court of Appeal.

    National Finance

    Public Sector Borrowing Requirement

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the public sector borrowing requirement as a percentage of gross domestic product in each year since 1955 in the United Kingdom compared with the United States of America, Germany, France, Italy and Japan.

    Public sector borrowing requirements are not generally available for other countries. In any case, the figures would not be comparable owing to differences in institutional coverage of public sector accountsComparisons of general Government financial balances are less problematic but should still be interpreted with caution. The OECD publishes comparable statistics of general Government financial balance as a proportion of GDP/GNP. The IMF statistics published in the "International Financial Statistics Yearbook" are based mainly on national definitions of central Government and are thus not strictly comparable. The OECD figures for

    United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Italy and Japan are only published for 1960 and 1965–83, and are as in the table shown.

    General Government financial balances as percentage of GDPIGNP (market prices)
    United States of AmericaJapanGermanyFranceUnited KingdomItaly
    19601·10·63·00·9-1·0-0·9
    1965-0·50·6-0·40·4-2·1-3·2
    1966-0·50·2-0·10·3-0·3-3·3
    1967-2·31·2-1·3-0·3-1·5-1·7
    1968-0·1-2·7-0·8-0·8-0·5-2·8
    19691·6-1·61·10·9-0·6-3·1
    1970-1·11·90·20·93·0-5·0
    1971-1·81·4-0·20·71·5-7·1
    1972-0·30-4-0·50·8-1·2-9·2
    19730·60·51·20·9-2·6-8·5
    1974-0·30·4-1·30·6-3·7-8·1
    1975-4·2-2·7-5·7-2·2-4·5-11·7
    1976-2·1-3·7-3·4-0·5-4·9-9·0
    1977-0·9-3·8-2·4-0·8-3·1-8·0
    19780·2-5·5-2·5-1-9-4·2-9·7
    19790·6-4·8-2·7-0·7-3·2-9·5
    1980-1·2-4·5-3·10·2-3·8-8·0
    1981-0·9-4·0-3·8-1·8-3·1-11·9
    1982-3·8-3·4-3·4-2·5-2·4-12·7
    1983-4·1-3·3-2·7-3·4-3·3-11·8
    -indicates deficit.

    Sources: 1960, 1968–69 OECD Historical Statistics 1960–1981 (1983)

    1965–1967 OECD Occasional Studies (July 1976)

    1970–1979 OECD Economic Studies (Autumn 1984)

    1980–1983 OECD Economic Outlook (December 1984)

    Consolidated Fund (Unused Balances)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will indicate, pursuant to the answer of 18 April, Official Report, column 244, whether a symbol relating to non-surrender to the Consolidated Fund of unused balances was likewise omitted in error from the Supply Estimates in respect of the Votes sought for the purposes specified in Class V, 10, C2, and in Class VIII, 4, B5; and whether he will make a statement.

    Betting Duty

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conclusions he reached as a result of the review of betting duty promised in Standing Committee on the Finance Bill 1984.

    After a careful review taking account of representations received, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer concluded that these duty rates should remain unchanged.

    Public Sector (Expenditure)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the percentage of gross domestic product disbursed by the public sector in each year since 1960; and if he will publish a graph showing this data in the Official Report.

    General Government expenditure on goods and services, which constitutes the Government contribution to the expenditure measure of the gross domestic product, is published on page 153 of the 1985 Economic Trends annual supplement. The table also includes statistics on Government transfer payments, net lending and total expenditure. The gross domestic product at market prices is shown on page 8 of the same publication.

    The Arts

    Calke Abbey

    asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts if, pursuant to his answer of 18 April, Official Report, column 257, he will state (a) how many of the contents of Calke Abbey accepted in satisfaction of capital transfer tax possessed a tax-discharge value of over £20,000 each; and whether he will specify the items heading that category, up to the number of 20, together with the amounts of tax satisfied in respect of each of them and (b) how many of the contents of Calke Abbey accepted in satisfaction of capital transfer tax possessed a tax-discharge value of less than £2,000 each, and what percentage this category represented in relation to the total number of items accepted.

    The information requested is:

    (a) Twelve of the items accepted from Calke Abbey in lieu of tax possessed-tax discharge values over £20,000 and the total amount of tax satisfied in this way was £347,000.
    ItemsAmount of satisfied £'000s
    George II gold cup20
    3 paintings by John Ferneley Senior125
    Painting by William Davis23
    Painting by J. Linnell Senior23
    Portrait by Tilly Kettle36
    4 Paintings by Gabriel Ricciardelli84
    Painting by Salamon Van Rvysdael36
    347
    (b) About 1,400 of the items accepted from Calke possessed a tax discharge value of less than £2,000 each; these represented about 90 per cent. of the total number of items accepted.

    Energy

    Sizewell Reactor

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether his Department has had any discussions with the Westinghouse Corporation about the choice and construction of a reactor at Sizewell.

    The choice of a Westinghouse design of the PWR and the selection of contractors are the responsibility of the CEGB, subject, of course, to the need for statutory consents and the outcome of the inquiry being conducted by Sir Frank Layfield.As was made clear at the time, on 1 July 1981, at column 373–74, Westinghouse was involved in the task force established by the National Nuclear Corporation and the CEGB to carry forward work on the design so that it could meet United Kingdom safety requirements. My Department was kept informed of the progress made by that task force.My Department has had occasional informal contacts with Westinghouse, as with other companies in the nuclear industry, about the possible contractual arrangements for the construction of Sizewell B, should I decide to grant the CEGB's application.

    Transport

    Felixstowe Dock And Railway Bill

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to report formally on the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Bill; and if he will make a statement.

    I have nothing to add to my reply of 25 April 1985, at column 541–42.

    Worksop Bypass

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether the plans at the public inquiry for the A57 Worksop bypass showed the height of the road as l4ft above ground level at Rufford street; if this has subsequently been changed; and if he will make a statement.

    Plans at the public inquiries held into the A57 Worksop bypass in 1978 and 1982 showed the maximum height of the short embankment adjacent to Rufford street as 6.56 metres (about 21ft 6in) above existing ground level. This has not been changed and the embankment has now been built.

    Defence

    Team Spirit Manoeuvres

    Mr. Parry asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the British observers' attendance at the Team Spirit manoeuvres in South Korea.

    It is a normal part of the duties of our defence attachés to observe, when possible, military exercises conducted by the forces of the countries to which they are accredited.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of sending two staff cars to the Falklands; and how many miles of metalled road they will be used upon in the Islands.

    I understand that the cost would be approximately £700 but no staff cars have been sent to the Falklands and there are no present plans to send any.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 22 April, Official Report, column 386, if the cost to be charged by British Airways for the transportation of troops to the Falkland Islands is less than the current cost to his Department, when the effect of the completion of the airport runway is taken into account.

    A direct cost comparison is not possible. As I said to the hon. Member in my reply on 22 April it is not possible to separate the cost of moving military personnel and freight from that of civilian personnel and freight, and this applies to the cost of movements by both air and sea.901

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence on what basis British Airways has been awarded a contract to transport troops to the Falkland Islands.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) on 30 October 1984 at c. 932. As I said to the hon. Member in my reply of the 17 April, discussions with British Airways are being concluded for the award of a six-month contract for the carriage of passengers and freight by wide-bodied aircraft to Mount Pleasant airport from next month.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilian personnel have been transported to the Falkland Islands in each month since January 1984; what charges have been made for this transport; and by whom such cost is met.

    Central records are not maintained in this form. The level of charge, if any, will depend on the category of the passenger. The costs may be met by the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the individual's employer or the individual himself.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the nature, tonnage and cost of all civilian freight transported to the Falkland Islands in the last year; and what charges were made for the cost of transportation.

    This information is not available within the Department and could not be assembled except at disproportionate cost.

    Defence Estimates

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to publish the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985."

    I intend to publish this year's "Statement on the Defence Estimates" on Wednesday 1 May.

    Social Services

    Mentally Ill Persons (West Midlands)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the number of places which have been available in day centres for the mentally ill in the west midlands region in each year since 1979; what specific assistance he proposes to give to health authorities to enable them to achieve the targets of provision laid down in the 1971 White Paper entitled "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped"; and what additional resources he will allocate in order to effect the recommendations of the recent report of the Social Services Committee on the care of the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped in the community.

    Information, relating to 31 March 1984, on the numbers of places in day centres for mentally ill people in each of the local authorities in the west midlands region, is given in the table. Information for previous years is given in the Department's annual publication entitled "Day Centres for the Mentally Ill, the Elderly and the Younger Physically Handicapped — England", copies of which are in the Library.

    West Midlands (Local Authorities)

    Number of Places

    Net Number of Places*

    Hereford and Worcester190190
    Shropshire2020
    Staffordshire259259
    Warwickshire0121
    Birmingham100100
    Coventry100150
    Dudley7070
    Sandwell5050
    Solihull2525
    Walsall030
    Wolverhampton5050

    * Includes places made available to local authorities by voluntary and other organisations.

    We have asked health authorities to give priority to the development of community based services for people with mental handicap or mental illness from within their existing resources. Progress has been assisted by a number of centrally funded initiatives; £9 million has been made available over four years from 1983–84 to help health authorities with special problems move mentally handicapped children out of long-stay hospitals into more appropriate forms of care. Total joint finance allocations will amount to about £100 million this year.

    The Government are still considering the recommendations of the Social Service Committee's report. We expect to provide a full response to the report in May.

    Mentally Handicapped Children

    Mrs. Renée Short asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make special provision for social services departments to enable them to expand care facilities for mentally handicapped children who no longer have parents or grandparents to look after them.

    It is for each local authority to determine the appropriate level of care facilities for individual mentally handicapped children, as they are best placed to decide on priorities in the light of overall local circumstances. We are neither empowered, nor persuaded that there is a need, to make special allocations to local authorities, but NHS joint finance is available for selected personal social service schemes including schemes for mentally handicapped children. As indicated in my hon. Friend's reply on 6 February to my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Mr. Galley) at column 611 the recommendations in the recent report on services for handicapped children by the Department's Social Work Service — a copy of which is in the Library — are designed to assist local authorities to remedy known deficiencies by making more cost-effective use of the resources available.

    Nhs (Hospital Hygiene)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the adequacy of current hygiene standards in National Health Service hospital kitchens; and how such standards are monitored.

    The maintenance of standards in particular kitchens is the responsibility of individual health authorities and we expect them to comply with the relevant food hygiene regulations and to allow environmental health officers open access to catering departments and food handling areas in their premises. Recommendations by these officers should be considered immediately within authorities to decide what action is needed.

    National Insurance (Earnings Limit)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the yield from abolishing the upper earnings limit for employees for national insurance; and what is his estimate of the numbers affected.

    The Government Actuary estimates that abolition of the upper earnings limit for primary class 1 national insurance contributions would yield around £700 million in a full year at 1985–86 rates. Some 1.7 million contributors would be affected.

    School Leavers

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the Chief Adjudication Officer has issued any recent instructions to adjudication officers concerning the treatment of school leavers; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Member to my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Freud) on 24 April at column 502.

    Fluoride

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why it has not been considered appropriate for the chemicals normally used to add fluoride ion to the public water supply to be submitted to the Committee on Safety of Medicines and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 26 February 1985, c. 140]: I am advised that this substance when used as an addition to the public water supply has not been regarded as a medicinal product and the only other basis on which it might be referred to the Committee on Safety of Medicines is on the question whether an order should be made applying the provisions of the Medicines Act to that substance.

    Nuclear War (Medical Supplies)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what specific progress has been made during the last five years by his Department in establishing methods for stockpiling medical supplies in the event of a nuclear war.

    [pursuant to his reply, 22 April 1985, c. 353]: Medical supplies for use in emergencies have been held in central stores for a number of years. The supplies, which are maintained in good useable condition, include beds and bedding, surgical equipment and dressings. Dispersal of these supplies is considered to be necessary to deal with local peacetime emergencies as well as those arising from war, either conventional or nuclear. Some small dispersal programmes have recently been undertaken but, mainly because of the difficulty in identifying suitable local storage accomodation, alternative proposals for dispersing the supplies are being actively considered.Pharmaceuticals present a different problem because of restricted shelf life and the resource implications of holding perishable stock. Some studies of this separate issue have been undertaken and officials currently have the policy under review.

    Environment

    Cadmium

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he proposes to take in order to control and reduce environmental contamination by cadmium; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government's policy as set out in pollution paper No. 17 is to keep man's total intake of cadmium as low as practicable and to take every opportunity to reduce exposure while taking into account the technical advantages of cadmium and the merits and availability of alternatives. With this in mind, the Government have welcomed the Community Directive on cadmium discharges to water 83/513/EEC as a valuable additional means of reducing environmental contamination by this metal. My Department has issued guidance to the water authorities on the implementation of this directive and will keep the results under review.No immediate need is foreseen for further measures but the subject is being kept under review and other actions to reduce exposure will be considered as opportunities arise. This is in line with the preventive approach implicit in the Government policy.

    Nitrates

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what evidence he has of damage to the environment and to wildlife by the use of nitrates by farmers.

    I am advised by the Nature Conservancy Council that research carried out by the University of East Anglia has shown that some damage to aquatic vegetation in ditches and rivers within the broads area may have occurred as a result of high levels of nitrate. Further research is to be undertaken.

    Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria his Department uses, in applying its statement of policy of 29 July 1982, Official Report, column 708, for establishing the national interest in decisions regarding the possible exemption of major industrial and commercial developments from the restrictions imposed in respect of areas of outstanding natural beauty.

    There are no formal criteria. Our statement explains the necessity of determining each case on its merits, and it is in that context that questions concerning the national interest would be assessed.

    Herons

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of herons; and if their number is declining.

    In 1983 the British Trust for Ornitholiogy estimated the population of herons in England and Wales as 5,150 breeding pairs which showed a slight fluctuation but no significant decline. No comparable figures exist for Scotland, but a figure of 1,500–2,000 breeding pairs has been estimated.I understand that later this year the BTO will be undertaking a complete census of the heron population, which will provide up to date information for the whole of the United Kingdom.

    Humberside

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by how much Humberside county council has overspent since 1981–82; and if he will make a statement.

    The information is as follows:

    Humberside county council's overspend against target*
    £ million
    1981–8214·7
    1982–8348·7
    1983–8410·7
    1984–85†8·1
    1985–86‡6·1
    * Targets were defined in "total" expenditure terms in cash in 1982–83 and subsequent years. In 1981–82, they were in terms of current expenditure at November 1980 prices.
    †Revised estimate.
    ‡Budget.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by how much rates have increased on average in all county councils since 1981–82; and by how much they have increased in Humberside.

    Non-metropolitan county councils have on average increased their precepts by 37 per cent. between 1981–82 and 1985–86. Humberside county council has increased its precept by 60 per cent. over this period. The 1981–82 precepts on which these figures are based include any supplementary precepts levied during the year.

    London Lesbian And Gay Centre

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce his decision on the grant application made on behalf of the London lesbian and gay centre in Smithfield, EC1.

    Rates

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated yield from rates for 1984–85.

    Based on local authorities' returns, the estimated yield from rates in England in 1984–85 (net of domestic rate relief grant and rate rebates) is £11.1 billion.

    Royal Parks Constabulary

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total strength of the Royal Parks constabulary; what is its establishment figure; and if he will break down the figures by posting.

    [pursuant to his reply, 25 April 1985, c. 550]: The current establishment of the Royal Parks constabulary is 152. The current strength is 148, as follows:

    SuperintendentChief InspectorInspectorSergeantConstableTotal
    Headquarters
    Central parks112116
    St. James's park133135
    Kensington Gardens31316
    Brompton Cemetary11
    Regent's Park122023
    Greenwich park41115
    Hampton Court122023
    Richmond
    Richmond' Park131822
    Osterley Park33
    Training school44
    11618122148

    Water Authorities (Members)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the names, along with their occupations, of the members of the North-West and Welsh water authorities.

    [pursuant to his reply 25 April 1985, c. 550]: Details of the members of North-West water and their occupations are as follows.Membership of the Welsh water authority is however a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

    North-West Water Authority

    G Mann—Chairman;

    T A F Barnes—Chartered Surveyor;

    D J Coyles—Retired master painter and decorator;

    J A Cropper—Chairman, James Cropper PLC (paper makers);

    J D Hamilton—Retired school master;

    G E Lowe—Retired production and marketing executive, ICI Ltd Pharmaceuticals Division;

    D H McAuslan — Retired technical and services director, Unilever Merseyside Ltd;

    J B Oldfield—Chief Executive;

    K W Palmer—Retired headmaster;

    A Richardson—Farmer and company director;

    J B Robinson—Farmer;

    F Sanderson—Retired chairman and chief executive, Ames Crosta Babcock Ltd;

    R E Weston—Retired refinery manager, Shell UK Ltd

    High Technology Site, Bickenhill

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will delay the public inquiries proposed for planning applications concerning the high technology site in Bickenhill until the final determination of the west midlands structure plan and the Marston green and Bickenhill district plan; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply 25 April 1985, c. 550]: There has been no change in the Government's policy towards green belt. There continues to be a strong presumption against development in the green belt and only in exceptional circumstances will development be permitted. The Government's commitment to the preservation of the green belt is set out in Circular 14/84. If the proposal in the "West Midlands Structure Plan; Proposals for Alteration for new technology development in the general location of the M6/M42 Motorway Interchange", is approved by the Secretary of State, then this will be an approval to the principle of development taking place in this vicinity. The precise location of the development will be determined through other elements of the planning system.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the progress that has been made with the process of preparing the Marston green and Bickenhill district plan for submission to him for determination.

    [pursuant to his reply, 25 April 1985, c. 550]: The Marston green and Bickenhill local plan has been prepared in draft by West Midlands county council. It is the county council who are responsible for processing it through to adoption. Although my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has reserve powers to call in a local plan for his own determination these are rarely exercised.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy, arising from his review of the west midlands structure plan, concerning the release of green belt land in the west midlands; and if he will make a statement on his proposed application of this policy regarding the precise location of release of green belt land for a high-technology site in Bickenhill.

    [pursuant to his answer, 25 April 1985, c. 550]: No. It would not be reasonable to postpone the public inquiries already arranged to start on 14 May to await decisions on the structure and local plans. I am writing to my hon. Friend about the relationship between the proposals for development and the plans.

    "Hill Farming And Birds"

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the report by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds entitled "Hill Farming and Birds", a copy of which has been sent to him.

    I have been asked to reply.We expressed our thanks to the RSPB for this report when it was published last summer at a time when policies for the hills and uplands were under review both nationally and in the Community. The Community discussions have now led to agreement on new farm structures measures which include a new approach for environmentally sensitive areas for which we pressed strongly. We shall be taking careful account of the RSPB recommendations in implementing the new measures.

    Trade And Industry

    Cocom Regulations

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the new COCOM regulations will be published; what period of time will elapse after publication before they come into effect; and what is the reason for the delay in publication.

    I expect to make a new Export of Goods (Control) Order shortly; and to publish it on or about 12 June. It will enter into force six weeks after publication. It has not proved possible to publish the order earlier because of certain technical difficulties in its preparation.

    British Overseas Trade Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the funding of the services of the British Overseas Trade Board is being reduced by more than 10 per cent. in real terms in 1986–87; and what effect this will have on exports.

    The budget of the British Overseas Trade Board is to remain broadly constant in cash terms at about £27·5 million in 1984–5 and £27·4 million in 1986–7.All aspects of Government policy are naturally subject to public expenditure constraint. But I am confident this will not seriously affect British export activity. It is essential to ensure that the funds provided are being used most effectively. I believe that the changes now made by the BOTB will do this, helping newcomers into overseas markets, and that the assistance will be of particular help to smaller and medium sized firms.

    Manufactured Goods (Trade Imbalance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the statistical basis for the figures given for group 418 starch on pages 10 and 15 of the memorandum submitted by his Department to the Trade and Industry Committee and reproduced in its report on the growth in the imbalance of trade in manufactured goods, Session 1983–84.

    The component series used in the calculation of the ratios given in the UK memorandum submitted to the Trade and Industry Committee are series for sales by UK manufacturers of the principal products classified to each activity heading in the standard industrial classification (Revised 1980) and the "Overseas Trade Statistics" analysed by industry. Home demand is calculated as sales by UK manufacturers plus imports less exports.In the case of starch, group 418 of the standard industrial classification, sales by UK manufacturers of the principal products of the industry are extracted from the results of the

    Quarterly Sales Inquiry conducted by the business statistics office. Sales of waste products and receipts for work done are excluded, and an estimate is made for the sales of establishments not contributing to the inquiry.

    In the published analysis of overseas trade by industrial category each tariff code in the "Overseas Trade Statistics" is allocated to the appropriate activity heading in the standard industrial classification. For the starch industry, therefore, the estimates of overseas trade represent total trade in all tariff codes thought to be principal products of group 418 of the standard industrial classification. The ratios in table B1 of the memorandum are constructed using trade figures calculated on this basis. In the analysis of trade performance published in "Business Monitor MQ12", "Import Penetration and Export Sales Ratios for Manufacturing Industry", a further refinement is incorporated. Tariff codes identified to be waste products or second hand goods are excluded from imports and exports in order to bring the trade figures as near as possible to the same coverage as sales by UK manufacturers. The ratios given in table B2 of the memorandum are compiled on this basis.

    In most industries, trade identified as waste products or second hand goods is negligible and even more so when import penetration (or export performance) is broken down by country. Consequently as a result the figures in table B1 are normally consistent with those in table B2 in the memorandum. However, in the case of the starch industry, more than half of the 1982 imports were of waste products. The ratios given in table B1 for this industry are therefore not directly comparable with those given in table B2. Deduction of waste products from EC imports gives a ratio of EC imports (including Spain and Portugal) to home demand of 20 per cent. for the starch industry in 1982. This figure is consistent with those given for the starch industry in table B2 of the memorandum.

    Us Export Administration Acts

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has, including names and sums involved, of instances of United Kingdom companies which are in the process of being penalised, which have been penalised or which have settled as a result of being threatened with penalties by the United States Government under the United States Export Administration Acts.

    Information of this kind is sometimes to be found in official United States Government publications or from press reports. More often it comes to my Department through a confidential approach by the United Kingdom company concerned. It would not be appropriate, or helpful to the companies, to give details of such cases.

    Timber

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give the figures for the imports of (a) hardwoods and (b) softwoods into the United Kingdom during each of the past five years and for the trend in the prices of timber.

    The information is as follows:

    United Kingdom imports of hardwoods and softwoods
    Table AValue: £ millions (cif) Weight: Metric tonnes (thousands)
    1980198119821983*1984
    Hardwoods
    Value114133136213228
    Weight531549545743642
    Softwoods
    Value563464529716767
    Weight3,6983,1913,6774,2754,084
    * Provisional.

    Source: For hardwoods, SITC/R2 Sub-groups 247.2, 247.9 (part) and 248.3 and Item 246.01 (part); and for softwoods, SITC/R2 Sub-groups 247.1, 247.9 (part) and 248.2 and Item 246.01 (part), in the United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.

    Table B Wholly or mainly imported timber price index (annual averages)

    Wood sawn lengthwise

    1980

    1981

    1982

    1983

    1984

    Hardwoods100106·7116·2127·6137·1
    Softwoods10098·698·3112·6128·3

    Source: Business Statistics Office.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the consumption of timber per capita compared with the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Italy.

    The consumption of timber, measured in cubic metres per capita is shown in the table. The figures relate to 1982, the latest year for which full information is available. Timber is defined as including sawn wood, logs, fuelwood, pulpwood and industrial wood but excluding manufactured board, wood pulp, newsprint, paper and paper board.

    Consumption of Timber 1982
    Cubic metres per capita
    United Kingdom0·34
    Federal Republic of Germany0·85
    France0·88
    Italy0·47

    Source: UN and FAO.

    Enterprise Agencies

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has requested the Confederation of British Industry to ask member firms to assist enterprise agencies in their areas through the secondment of key personnel.

    Although my right hon. Friend has made no representations to the Confederation of British Industry on the secondment of staff to local enterprise agencies, the CBI is a member of Business in the Community and is well aware of the important contribution secondments can make both to the LEAs and to the career development of the secondees themselves.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he intends to publish a Green Paper on enterprise agencies in the near future.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the effect on the work of enterprise agencies of the Budget proposals for the elimination of the tax concession on industrial buildings below 1,250 sq ft.

    Antifouling Paints

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the effect there would be on the production, home sales and export sales of marine antifouling paints if a ban were imposed on organo-tin based compounds.

    The Government has proposed to restrict the availability of antifouling paints based on organo-tin compounds for boats under 12 metres in length. No more widespread ban is contemplated. I am aware of the views of the industry but no precise estimate can be made in view of the possibility of substituting alternative antifouling paints.

    Regional Development

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has decided upon the amount of grant in aid he is making available to each of the five English regional development organisations in 1985–86; and if he will make a statement.

    On the basis of the programmes of promotional activities which each of the five English Regional Development Organisations have submitted to me, I am making available the following amounts of grant in aid in 1985–86:

    £
    North of England Development Council (NEDC)760,000
    Yorkshire & Humberside Development Association (YHDA)400,000
    Devon & Cornwall Development Bureau (DCDB)210,000
    West Midlands Industrial Development Association (WMIDA)130,000
    North West Industrial Development Association (NORWIDA)75,575*
    * For six months.
    The NEDC, YHDA and DCDB are meeting the conditions which I laid down for non-matching funding, and their grant in aid is therefore not linked to pound for pound matching arrangements with the local authorities. WMIDA has been established for only one full year and its grant in aid, which has been increased to £130,000, remains conditional on matching funding. The grant in aid to NORWIDA will also remain conditional on the local authorities continuing to match the DTI contribution on a pound-for-pound basis. I shall be prepared to enter into further discussions about the provision of additional grant in aid for NORWIDA or a successor body for the second half of 1985–86.

    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.

    460]: It is an offence under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 to cause any unnecessary suffering to a domestic or captive animal. If these collars caused cruelty to a dog it would be illegal to use them. If the use of the collars is found to be illegal a ban on their imports could be considered. But at present it is not illegal to use or sell the collars in the United Kingdom, and, unless the situation changes, it would not be appropriate to ban their import.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Ec (Surplus Products)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the amount spent by the EC in 1984 on storing surpluses of milk products, sugar, cereals, beef, wine, fruit, and so on and other products, respectively.

    The following table sets out provisional figures for expenditure in 1984 from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund on public storage, including losses on sale and private storage by commodity. Community statistics do not differentiate between the cost of storing surpluses and storage costs incurred on produce which is subsequenly consumed within the Community.

    (mecu)
    Cereals356·0
    Sugar429·8
    Olive oil66·6
    Oilseeds2·1
    Wine135·6
    Tobacco28·2
    Milk products1,606·0
    Beef814·5
    Pigmeat38·9
    Source: EC Commission figures.

    Nitrates

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will take steps to encourage farmers to reduce the use of nitrates;(2) what guidance his Department issues to farmers on the use of nitrates.

    So as to ensure the efficient use of nitrates and other nitrogenous fertilisers while reducing as far as practicable the risks of pollution, farmers are encouraged by my Department to restrict application of such fertilisers to those times when the crops can utilise the nitrogen. Autumn and winter applications should therefore be avoided unless there is a specific crop requirement.907

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has as to the amount of nitrates used on farms in each of the last 10 years, and the purposes for which it was used.

    The table gives the amount of all forms of nitrogen applied by farmers in England and Wales as inorganic fertiliser (straights and compounds) in each of the years 1974–75 to 1983–84:

    '000 tonnes plant food
    1974–75787·5
    1975–76850·8
    1976–77879·0
    1977–78924·0
    1978–79941·0
    1979–801,031·0
    1980–811,100·0
    1981–821,180·0
    1982–831,227·0
    1983–841,316·0
    The Survey of Fertiliser Practice, compiled jointly by the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service, the Fertiliser Manufacturers Association and Rothamsted experimental station, contains details of fertiliser use. The following information is taken from the latest edition (1983) and relates to average nitrogen applications:

    All nitrogen use on tillage and grass 1974–83 (overall kg/ha) England and Wales
    TillageGrassAll crops and grass
    1974859491
    1975869994
    1976969897
    197799110105
    1978104113107
    1979112117114
    1980121119120
    1981135125130
    1982141123132
    1983154125139
    In 1984 the average application on all crops and grass amounted to 147 Kg N/ha.

    Poultry

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what extent he estimates that the replacement of meat by poultry consumption in the United Kingdom is due to its low cholesterol content.

    My Department has no estimates of the influence of cholesterol content on the replacement of meat by poultry in the United Kingdom diet. However, since the cholesterol contents of both meat and poultry are similar, it is unlikely to be the reason for increased poultry consumption.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many diseases are known by his Department to affect poultry; whether the pattern is changing with the continued application of existing drugs; and to what extent biotechnology through genetic engineering has provided more resilient strains.

    There are three notifiable diseases of poultry — Newcastle disease, fowl plague and paramyxovirus of pigeons, and innumerable other non-notifiable diseases. There is no evidence that the pattern of any of the diseases is being influenced by the application of drugs. Genetic engineering has been applied to the production of new vaccines in animal disease but to date no improved vaccines have been produced in the poultry field.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether factory methods of poultry production show diminishing returns of output with the length of performance of this type of farming.

    In all laying poultry, egg production reaches a peak some six to eight weeks after commencement of lay; thereafter the rate of egg production slowly declines. Research undertaken over a number of years indicates that the rate of decline in egg laying is lower in birds housed in cage systems than in those kept under other conditions.

    Dairy Farming

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made at EC deliberations to have direct income aids made available to small dairy farmers attempting to remain in this category of farming.

    When the Council agreed on measures for the introduction of milk quotas in 1984 it agreed at the same time to the continuation for two years of the Community scheme to aid small milk producers. Under this scheme in the United Kingdom payments of £209.20 were made in December 1984 to individual producers delivering less than 200,000 litres in 1983. Under the existing provisions further payments will become due in the 1985–86 marketing year.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set up a departmental working party as to the future profitable use of land taken out of dairy production by the milk production outgoers scheme.

    No. Producers opting for the outgoers scheme will have thought carefully about the alternatives available to them. In addition the staff of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service are available to offer advice to individual producers.

    Agricultural Holdings

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1955 the number of agricultural holdings larger than the threshold below which minor holdings have been excluded from the census from time to time; and if he will distinguish the number of tenanted holdings.

    I will publish the available information in the Official Report as soon as possible.

    Farm Holdings (Payments)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the proportion of public expenditure on agriculture devoted to farm holdings of more than 1,000 standard man-days.

    Beef

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the latest figures available of the intervention stocks of beef in each member country of the EC; and how such figures compare with those at a comparable time one and three years ago.

    The information requested is given in the following table:

    Stocks of beef in public intervention
    28 February 198229 February 198428 February 1985
    Belgium83,4564,474
    Denmark8,10723,00028,138
    Germany19,34435,177*79,210
    Greece429
    France56,56197,863188,235
    Ireland29,27955,44585,044
    Italy8,137107,628153,080
    Luxembourg
    Netherlands2,29110,14418,625
    United Kingdom6,16911,22849,511
    EC 10129,896344,370606,317
    * As at 3 March 1985.

    Source: European Commission Working documents.

    Milk (Outgoers Scheme)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any record is maintained by his Department of the use to which farmers put land in respect of which payments have been made under the outgoers scheme relating to cessation of milk production; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1985, c. 387]: A successful applicant under the outgoers scheme is not required to inform my Department of the use to which he puts his land once he ceases production. Each farmer's circumstances are very different and we did not consider it desirable to seek to direct them into particular sectors. We took the view that each individual should be free to determine the direction of his business in the light of his own commercial judgment.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any savings will be made in the expenditure of the common agricultural policy in circumstances where farmers compensated under the outgoers scheme relating to the cessation of milk production use the land in question for the production of beef; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1985, c. 387]: It is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the effect on expenditure under the CAP. The outgoers scheme involves a reallocation of quota from outgoing producers to certain other producers. The effect on beef production depends partly upon whether producers who receive additional quota generate the same supply of calves for fattening as had been supplied by the outgoing producers and partly upon whether the resources released by outgoers are used to produce different commodities from those which would otherwise have been produced by those receiving additional quota. Given the likely wide variety of responses between producers, due to differences in circumstances, it is not possible to estimate reliably the overall effect on beef production.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the amount which will fall to be paid to farmers seeking payments under the outgoers scheme under which agreement is secured that milk will not be produced; how many applications have been received for payments under this scheme; and what acreage and what number of cows he estimates will be affected by the applications likely to be approved.

    [pursuant to his reply, 23 April 1985, c. 387]: In England and Wales, we are aiming to buy in 289 million litres of milk quota, at a cost of just over £37.5 million. By 19 April 1985, some 1,469 producers had submitted claims for payment in respect of 240.5 million litres.The quota bought up from outgoers will be re-allocated to other producers, who will adjust their production accordingly. It is not possible to estimate the net effect of this, if any, on total cow numbers or on the area used for milk production. This will depend upon whether the husbandry methods of producers benefiting from the reallocation of quota differ from those of the outgoers.

    Employment

    Labour Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many men on Merseyside who have been unemployed for over 12 months have been accepted for full-time training by the Manpower Services Commission in the last year.

    Some 570 men who had been unemployed for over 12 months have been accepted for full-time training by the Manpower Services Commission in the last year.In addition, some long-term unemployed people, including some 700 in temporary jobs under the community programme, will be undertaking part-time training.

    Information Technology Centres

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the basis for the levels of salaries for computing and electronics instructors in information technology centres; and what information he has as to the equivalent salaries paid by the training establishments in industry and commerce.

    The Manpower Services Commission provides funding for the salaries of computing and electronics instructors in information technology centres up to maximum limits which are based on local authority rates for non-manual workers. However the actual level of salary an instructor receives is of course a matter for individual sponsors.Information on salaries paid by training establishments in industry and commerce is not held centrally.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many information technology centres have earned revenue in excess of £10,000 during their third year of operation.

    Tops Language Courses

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the Manpower Services Commission intends to continue the provision of English as a second language TOPS course.

    We plan to continue to provide this training where it is a necessary and cost effective means of improving employment prospects.

    Youth Training Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) on what criteria the Manpower Services Commission evaluates local requirements for youth training scheme places;(2) whether the Manpower Services Commission evaluates local requirements for youth training scheme places on both a borough basis and Inner London education authority divisions;(3) what consideration is given to the academic or nonacademic content of the school leaving population in Manpower Services Commission evaluations of local requirements for youth training scheme places;(4) whether local job opportunities are related to training facilities for the incoming labour force in youth training schemes.

    The number and type of youth training scheme places in each locality is determined in consultation with local careers services, on the basis of estimates of the number of young people likely to require places and their training needs, and with local job opportunities kept in mind. In London such planning is undertaken at borough and Inner London Education Authority division level.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the Manpower Services Commission is making provision to monitor the proportion of places taken up in mode A schemes by (a) inner city, (b) black and (c) female young people.

    Statistical information on the participation of ethnic groups and female youngsters in the youth training scheme is recorded on the Manpower Services Commission's computerised management information system. This system is based on local authority districts and does not, therefore, specifically record information about inner cities except in the case of London, where all the inner city boroughs are local authority districts. The information is regularly monitored by Manpower Services Commission staff.

    National Freight Corporation, Sheffield (Fire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment in connection with the fire at the warehouse of the National Freight Corporation in Sheffield on 14 to 16 December 1984, if he will list the dates on which witness statements were taken by the Health and Safety Executive; which specialist branches of the Health and Safety Executive have become involved in the Health and Safety Executive investigation and on which date each specialist branch first became involved; and if any photographs of the fire were taken by the Health and Safety Executive on and after 14 December 1984.

    The Health and Safety Executive began its investigation into the causes of the fire and the reasons for its rapid spread on the day after the fire occurred. The investigation was subsequently broadened to include the circumstances in which the fire was fought. The actual fire was not photographed by HSE photographers but photographs were taken subsequently of damage to buildings.On 17 December 1984 civil engineering inspectors of HSE were called in to advise on the stability of the damaged structure. Other branches of HSE including the field consultant groups, Employment Medical Advisory Service and the research division have been brought in to the investigation as required. A number of witnesses have been interviewed and inquiries continue. The HSE will publish its report as soon as possible but a thorough inquiry of this magnitude and preparation of a report for publication takes several months.

    Labour Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of young people aged 16 to 19 years are in employment in the London borough of Waltham Forest; and what has been the trend in the past four years.

    The latest available information comes from the 1981 "Census of Population" which showed that 52.5 per cent. of young people aged 16 to 19 years living in the London borough of Waltham Forest were in employment.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many women have been unemployed (a) on Merseyside and (b) in Knowsley for more than 12 months.

    The following information is in the Library. It is provisionally estimated that there were 14,771 females in the Merseyside metropolitan county who had been unemployed for more than 12 months on 14 March. The corresponding figure for the borough of Knowsley was 2,153. The figures include estimates for those whose claims are not dealt with by computer.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people by age and sex have been unemployed for more than 12 months (a) on Merseyside, (b) in Knowsley and (c) in Kirkby.

    The following information is in the Library. The figures relate to unemployed claimants on 10 January 1985, the latest date for which an analysis of unemployment by age and duration is available.

    Young persons under 18 years, unemployed over 12 months
    MaleFemale
    Merseyside metropolitan county*405298
    Borough of Knowsley*6840
    Kirkby jobcentre area1512
    * Figures are given for best fit jobcentre areas. The area covered by the Kirkby, Prescot and Huyton jobcentres corresponds closely to the Borough of Knowsley.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of persons unemployed in the county of Hampshire; and how many of these are young people who have never experienced normal employment.910

    The following information is in the Library. On 14 March 1985 the number of unemployed claimants in the best fit of jobcentre areas to the county of Hampshire was 60,669. Of these 1,127 were under the age of 18 years and had not entered employment since terminating full-time education.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figure for youth unemployment in the Portsmouth travel-to-work area.

    The following information is in the Library. On 10 January 1985, the number of unemployed claimants in the old Portsmouth travel-to-work area under 18 years of age was 1,471. This information is not yet available for the new Portsmouth travel-to-work area.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what are the latest figures for female unemployment in the Portsmouth travel-to-work area;(2) what are the latest figures for male unemployment in the Portsmouth travel-to-work area.

    The following information is in the Library. On 14 March there were 5,773 unemployed females and 13,538 unemployed males in the Portsmouth travel-to-work area.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the latest unemployment figures.

    The fall in unemployment in March of 56,000 was a significant improvement on previous months, and although the seasonally adjusted figure increased, that increase was lower than for the previous three months.The March figures were encouraging, particularly when the employment figures, published on 17 April, showed over 600,000 more people in jobs in December 1984 than in March 1983.

    Departmental Achievements

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list his Department's principal achievements since 1979.

    [pursuant to his reply, 4 April 1985, c. 774]: I have recently published a White Paper, "Employment, The Challenge for the Nation", which describes the wide range of measures we are taking to help revive the economy, to improve the working of the labour market and to aid the unemployed.We have made the improvement of Britain's education and training system one of our top priorities and now plan to spend £1.2 billion on training in 1985–86 compared with just £380 million in 1979. We have successfully launched the youth training scheme which offers a year's planned training and work experience to all 16 and some 17-year-old school leavers. Around 700,000 young people have benefited from the Scheme so far and our current estimates show that two-thirds have moved on from the scheme to jobs or further training or education. We have also opened 160 information technology centres to train young people under the youth training scheme in computing and electronic assembly skills. We have now announced a major expansion of the youth training scheme. We aim to provide by 1986 two years training for all 16-year-old school leavers who do not continue in full time education and one year for 17-year-olds—leading to a recognised vocational qualification. We have asked the Manpower Services Commission to begin discussions on a possible scheme with all concerned and to put forward detailed proposals by the end of June. We intend to provide extra funds of £125 million in 1986–87 and £300 million in 1987–8 for this purpose bringing the Government's total investment in youth training to some £1,100 million by 1987–8.We are also taking a number of other steps to improve education and training for the 14–18 age group.We have launched the technical and vocational education initiative to broaden the curriculum for 14 to 18-year-olds and relate it more closely to employment needs. Sixty-two projects began in 1983 and 1984 and by 1986 every local education authority which wishes to participate will have had the opportunity to do so.We have made available £25 million over the next two years for in-service training of teachers to promote developments, particularly related to TVEI.We have asked the MSC to set in hand a review of vocational qualifications in England and Wales, to ensure that we have a readily understandable system which provides opportunities for people to progress to higher skills and which is really relevant to the world of industry and commerce.We have enabled the MSC to purchase a more significant proportion of work-related non-advanced further education courses provided by local education authorities in England and Wales to help bring training provision more into line with local employment needs. Discussions are now under way about full implementation of this change from 1986–87 onwards.The Government's strategy for the 14 to 18-year-old age group is set out in our recently puplished White Paper on education and training for young people.In the field of adult training we have launched an adult training strategy to make training and retraining for adults more widespread, more flexible and more relevant to modern needs. This involves:

    more than doubling, to 250,000 by 1986/7, the number of people assisted by MSC adult training programmes;
    —launching the open tech programme to make flexible training facilities more widely available and to help adults who wish to acquire or up-date skills in technical or supervisory occupations;
    —establishing the skillcentre network on a commercial basis in order to release resources for this expansion of adult training;
    —a major campaign to bring home to everyone, employers, trade unions and individuals, the vital importance to our future economic well being of investment and training.

    We also published a consultative paper last autumn to seek views on a new pilot scheme to help up to 10,000 adults finance their own training through a Government supported loan scheme.

    We have also taken action to assist the mobility of labour. The Manpower Services Commission's placement services have been improved to provide better access for the public and a national computerised vacancy-circulation system has been introduced. The number of jobcentres will be increased to 1065—the highest ever. The MSC has also extended its employment transfer and job search schemes to cover a wide range of skilled jobs.

    The professional and executive recruitment was put on a full cost-recovery basis from April 1983. It met that requirement in 1983–84 and again in 1984–85. PER staffing has been reduced from about 800 to around 300 since 1979.

    We have conducted a wide-ranging scrutiny to identify burdens on business which may prevent employers taking on new employees. We have already taken a number of steps to reduce the burdens on employers imposed by employment protection law including extending from one to two years the qualifying period for the right to claim unfair dismissal, where the employer has 20 or fewer employees. We have now announced that the two-year qualifying period should apply to all employees, whatever the size of the company. This will come into effect in June.

    We have also published a consultation paper on the options for reforming the wages council system (including exempting young people or controlling their rates, and reducing the scope of regulation) or alternatively on whether the system should be abolished. We have asked for comments by the end of May. Subject to the outcome of consultations, we propose to end ratification of International Labour Convention No. 26 which could restrict our freedom to act in the council area of policy.

    We have continued with our step-by-step approach to industrial relations reform designed to redress the previous imbalance in collective bargaining and to make trade unions more accountable to their members.

    The Employment Acts of 1980 and 1982 have removed trade unions' statutory immunity in relation to a number of unacceptable forms of industrial action, including secondary picketing and secondary action and have increased the protection for individuals against the abuses of the closed shop. From November 1984 no closed shop is enforceable unless it has been approved by an overwhelming majority of employees voting in a secret ballot.

    The Trade Union Act 1984 is designed to secure the holding of secret ballots in three areas of crucial importance to trade union members; for elections to union governing bodies, for pre-strike consultations and over the question of trade union involvement in party politics. There are already indications that the Act is having a significant influence on the practices and attitudes of trade unions.

    We have taken a wide range of steps to help those hardest hit by unemployment.

    We have introduced the job-splitting scheme and the part-time job release scheme to increase opportunities for part-time work, and continued the job release scheme which encourages older people to retire early and vacate their job for a younger unemployed person.

    We have also established the community programme which will provide up to 130,000 places for long-term unemployed people on projects of value to the community. I have recently announced a major expansion of the programme by 100,000 places to 230,000 places by May 1986. We have also asked the MSC to examine the scope for greater involvement of the private sector in the programme and to consider whether charities and voluntary organisations would play a better part in helping the long term unemployed.

    We have set up the young workers scheme, covering some 61,000 young people and providing an incentive to employers to take on young people at more realistic wage rates which improve their chances of employment by allowing realistically for their age and relative inexperience. This scheme will close for applications in March 1986 so that its resources can contribute to a major expansion in training for young people under an extended youth training scheme.

    We have established the voluntary projects programme which has already helped 55,000 people in the past year, including some of the most disadvantaged to undertake useful voluntary work. We have now asked the MSC to consider ways in which the programme could provide further help for the long term unemployed.

    The MSC has introduced a new service, the disablement advisary service, to provide advice and assistance to employers on disabled people's employment matters and has also recently launched a voluntary code of good practice on the employment of disabled people.

    Expenditure on all these employment and training measures will be an estimated £2,115 million in 1984–85. Spending of £2,391 million has been allocated for 1985–86.

    My Department is continuing to play a full part in the work of the European Community bearing on employment and related issues and allocations to the United Kingdom from the European Social Fund have increased from £130 million in 1979 to £353 million in 1984.

    The efficiency and effectiveness of all my Department's services have been kept under close scrutiny. The unemployment benefit service has made steady progress in improving its cost-effectiveness through better management practices and more effective use of its resources. Work is well advanced for the introduction, early in 1986, of a more advanced computerised system in unemployment benefit offices involving the installation of some 10,500 visual display units linked to the national benefit computers. This will improve both the quality and speed of service to the customer and result in some 2,000 staff savings when the project is complete.

    During the 6 years to April 1985 the total number of permanent staff in the MSC has been reduced by about 4,500 to just under 21,000 over a period when the commission has successfully introduced several major new programmes like the youth training scheme and the community programme.

    Reviews have been carried out in the Department which will lead to better use both of accommodation and of management services and new financial information on budgeting systems have been introduced. A second report on implementing the financial management initiative during 1984 was published recently.