Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday 30 April 1985
"Mi5's Official Secrets"
asked the Attorney-General whether he has received the report of the investigation into the allegations of criminal offences that were made in the television film, "MI5's Official Secrets"; and if he will make a statement.
The investigation by the Metropolitan police, about which I informed the House when answering questions on 18 March, has now been completed and its results have been reported to me by the Director of Public Prosecutions. None of the persons who made, or were said by others to have made, allegations of criminal conduct has been prepared to substantiate those allegations by coming forward with evidence which would justify the institution of proceedings. With my authority, the Director of Public Prosecutions will therefore take no further action in this matter.
asked the Attorney-General what has been the outcome of discussions with the Magistrates Association, the Justices Clerks Society and others on less formal arrangements for juvenile court proceedings, referred to in the Government's reply to the second report of the Social Services Committee, Session 1983–84, Cmnd. 9298.
I have been asked to reply.These discussions have not yet taken place, and may be affected by the consideration which the review of child care law is giving to the style of care proceedings. But the Department will be in touch with the bodies concerned in due course.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many applications to kill herons were made in each year since 1983 and to date n 1985; how many were issued; how many herons were permitted to be killed; how many were actually killed; from whom the licences were received; for what reasons they were applied for and granted; what was the location of each killing ground; what deterrent measures had first been tried; and whether the advice of the Nature Conservancy Council was obtained.
Details of applications for and licences issued by my Department in 1983, 1984 and 1985 to kill or take herons are set out in the table.
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Licences issued by MAFF in England to kill or take herons
|Number of applications||6||4||2|
|Number of licences issued||2||1||—|
|Number of herons permitted to be killed||10||6||—|
|Number of herons actually killed||2||4||—|
(a) Applications were received from fish farms, put-and-take fisheries, and an aquatic nurseryman.
(b) The reasons for applications and licences were to prevent serious damage to fisheries.
(c) The locations of licences were
1983: (i) Padworth, Berkshire
(ii) Littleton, Somerton, Somerset
1984: Padworth, Berkshire
(d) (Deterrent measures included shooting to scare, erection of barriers, screens, cages and nets.
(e) NCC was consulted in all cases where licences were issued.
Fruit And Vegetables
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each of the past five years the basic and buying-in prices for certain fruit and vegetables under the common organisation of the market for fruit and vegetables, the cost to the EEC budget and the quantities removed from the market for distillation, destruction or otherwise.
The latest information available is as follows:
|EC basic and buying-in prices for fruit and vegetables 1980–85 ecu/100 kg|
|Commodity||Basic price||Buying-in price|
Note: Basic and buying-in prices vary seasonally and in some cases vary according to variety, size and other factors. The figures given are the lowest seasonal price for the standard presentation.
Basic and buying-in prices did not apply to aubergines and apricots before 1982–83.
EC withdrawals of horticultural produce 1980–81 to 1983–84 Thousand tonnes
|Total amounts withdrawn||1,007||812||1,874||2,052|
|Free distribution in fresh or processed form to charitable organisations etc.||45||51||84||n/a|
|Used for animal feed||349||158||474||n/a|
|Used for distillation||308||125||709||n/a|
|Assumed to be spoilt or wasted||305||478||607||n/a|
|Value of compensation paid by FEOGA (thousand ecus)||111||139||265||446|
n/a=Not available. No information for 1984–85 is yet available.
Source: EC Commission.
Farm Holdings (Payments)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the estimated amount received under the appropriate headings of parts I, II, IV and V of table 28 of the annual review White Paper (Cmnd. 9423) in the case of farm holdings with more than 100 dairy cows, 50 beef cows, 1,000 pigs and 1,000 sheep.
Information is not available in the form requested.
Common Agricultural Policy
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will bring up to date the information given in the reply of 26 February, Official Report, columns 91–93, concerning prices and levies; and what further changes he envisages as a result of more recent movements in the exchange rate.
The information requested is set out in the tables. The "world prices" shown in table 1 are generally the lowest offer prices at the Community frontier underlying the Commission's calculation of the variable import levies. I remind the hon. Member that these are the lowest prices recorded and it is highly likely that on average higher prices would have to be paid if larger quantities were to be purchased on world markets. The "world prices" shown do not necessarily relate to the same quality or presentation of product for which United Kingdom market prices are set out in table 2.The levies and notional world prices shown reflect the £-ecu exchange rate used to calculate monetary compensatory amounts (MCA) for the week commencing 22 April. Any subsequent movement in this exchange rate would, other things being equal, have a direct effect on the notional world price shown and, for products to which the MCA system applies, cause a broadly equal but opposite change in the levy applicable in the United Kingdom. The effect of the MCA system is to insulate United Kingdom market prices from movements in the market exchange rate of the pound.
|Levy Applicable in the United Kingdom and Notional "World" Price* on 24 April 1985 for the Main Traded Agricultural Commodities|
|Levy† Applicable in United Kingdom (£/tonne)||Notional "world" price (£/tonne)|
|Skimmed milk powder||678||469|
|Beef and veal||¶1,446||935|
* "world" prices have been calculated by subtracting the levy applicable on 24 April from the threshold/guide price. The beef price is also adjusted for duty. In the case of pigmeat, poultrymeat and eggs, the "world" price has been taken as the sluicegate price, less supplementary levy where appropriate. The resulting estimate has been converted from ECU/t at the appropriate market rate of exchange £0·606046= 1ECU;
†the rates of levy vary for different tariff headings. The rates quoted are beef and veal—carcase; pigmeat—carcase; poultrymeat—70 per cent. chickens; rice—wholly milled long grain; virgin olive oil (1,507 AIa) eggs in shell including supplementary levy. Levies are shown after deduction of the monetary compensatory amount where applicable;
‡ in practice the United Kingdom's imports from third countries are normally covered by the Lomé convention and enter the Community levy-free;
|| a special lower rate of levy is applicable to imports of butter from New Zealand;
¶most imports of beef from third countries are subject to special arrangements allowing entry at reduced levy rates;
● imports of lamb under voluntary restraint arrangements with principal suppliers and related agreements are subject to a reduced charge of 10 per cent, ad valorem. Any imports outside these arrangements are subject to levies which cannot exceed the 20 per cent, tariff bound in the GATT.
Selected Average Market/Wholesale Prices United Kingdom: Week ending 20 April 1985
|Common wheat (grower to merchant price England and Wales)|
|Barley (grower to merchant price England and Wales)|
|Maize (USA ex port Bristol)||†164|
|Rice (US long grain—London)||615|
|Sugar (refined bulk granulated)||419|
|Olive oil (EC origin, cif UK)||1,847|
|Butter (English, wholesale, London)||2,270|
|Skimmed milk powder (list price)||1,050|
|Fat cattle, certified, UK (liveweight)||945|
|Fat sheep, certified, GB (estimated dressed carcase weight)||2,438|
|Fat pigs (all pigs, deadweight)||1,021|
|Poultrymeat (broilers, liveweight)||573|
|Eggs (size 3, packer to producer price)||589|
Note: A wide range of price quotations exists for individual commodities depending on quality, presentation, stage of marketing and so on. Those shown are intended to be illustrative of prices paid by wholesalers or received by producers.
* Relates to week ended 13 April.
† Relates to week ended 17 April.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to respond to the recommendations in the report of the Farm Animal Welfare Council on the welfare of farmed deer.
We shall respond with our proposals once full consideration has been given to the results of our current consultations with interested parties.
Captive Bolt Pistols
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will improve the accuracy of captive bolt pistols by requiring cattle stunning boxes to contain head restraining devices.
A requirement for all cattle stunning boxes to contain head restraining devices is one of the recommendations made by the Farm Animal Welfare Council in its report on the welfare of livestock (red meat animals) at the time of slaughter. The Government are considering the council's recommendations.
Green Top Milk
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he has any plans to phase out or further reduce the production levels of green top milk;(2) why licences for the production and sale of green top milk have been reduced in duration.
Regulations amending the Milk (Special Designation) Regulations 1977 were laid down before Parliament on 9 April. Their purpose is to prohibit the sale of untreated milk through shops, schools, hotels and other catering establishments in England and Wales with effect from 1 November 1985. This policy was announced by my predecessor in 1980, but could not be implemented until now because of the 5 year validity of untreated milk licences.
I have no plans at present to introduce further restrictions, but policy on untreated milk will be kept under review taking account of public health considerations, of the need to preserve consumer choice and of the interests of producers. It is clearly desirable that if changes are considered necessary on health grounds they should be introduced rather more quickly than was possible in 1980: on the other hand, I recognise that producers and distributors need to be able to plan ahead. The fact that untreated milk licences to be issued from 1 November 1985 will be valid for three years rather than for five is intended to strike a reasonable balance between these two considerations.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent estimate: he has made of the implications for agricultural employment of the introduction of milk production quotas.
In so far as can be ascertained, the direct effects of the introduction of milk quotas on agricultural employment have been small.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether a European Community scheme of aids to encourage the private storage of pigmeat will be introduced in the current year.
I am glad to say that the management committee has decided to introduce such a scheme as from 6 May. The scheme will give traders the option of receiving assistance for storing pigmeat at a time when this may be preferred to putting the rest onto the market.British traders have made greater use of these aids in recent years and I hope they will again take full advantage of this year's scheme.
Private Cars And Telephones
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of Welsh people have (a) a private car and (b) a telephone; and what were the relevant figures for (i) 1961, (ii) 1971 and (iii) 1980.
Information on the number of persons in households with access to one or more cars or vans has been collected in the Censuses of Population held in 1966 (10 per cent, sample), 1971 and 1981. In 1966 the figure was 52 per cent, rising to 60 per cent, and 70 per cent, in 1971 and 1981 respectively. No comparable information is available for 1961. Information on the availability of telephones is not collected at a personal level, but in 1983 it is estimated that 74 per cent, of households in Wales had a telephone in their accommodation. This estimate is based on information collected from time to time in the General Household Survey and the comparable figures for 1980 and 1972 were 67 per cent, and 24 per cent, respectively.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many road schemes in Wales in each year since 1979 have been designed on behalf of his Department by local authorities' highways departments, acting as agents.
For all such schemes, irrespective of cost, the information is as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Wales in how many instances since 1979 he has appointed outside consultants to undertake work within his Department; and if he will specify which consultants, their remuneration and in respect of which sections of his Department their work was commissioned.
Information relating to the appointment, by my Department, of outside consultants prior to the financial year 1984–85 is not readily available and to provide it would involve disproportionate costs.In the financial year 1984–85, outside consultants were appointed by my Department in four instances to undertake specialised one-off tasks. The following are details of the consultants concerned, their remuneration and the sections of the Department in respect of which the work was commissioned.
|Consultant||Remuneration £||Section of Department|
|Spencer Stuart Management Consultants||13,800||CADW|
|PA Consulting Services Ltd.||18,059||Health Group|
|Deloitte Haskins and Sells||24,940||Industry Department|
|Price Waterhouse Associates||36,855||Transport and Highways Division|
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to monitor future road improvements on the A470 between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed; and if he will make a statement.
As already announced, consultants are to be appointed to examine the road between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed with a view to developing a suitable policy governing any future road improvements on this stretch of the A470.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many chest specialists or consultants there were per head of population in (a) Wales and (b) England in (i) 1971, (ii) 1979 and (iii) 1984.
The information requested for Wales is as follows:
|Number of consultants in thoracic medicine||Rate per population|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received in support of community radio stations in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Since the reply given to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Mr. Hayward) on 23 January, at columns 417–8, we have received about a dozen letters on community radio in Scotland, together with a number of telephone inquiries. Most of the approaches have been from persons wishing to set up community radio stations. My right hon. and learned Friend hopes to make a statement before long on how we propose to take forward the development of community radio.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were dismissed for misconduct during 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively; and if he will make a statement.
The number of police officers in England and Wales required to resign or dismissed for offences under the police discipline code, and not reinstated on appeal, are as follows:
|Required to resign||Dismissed||Required to resign or dismissed for criminal conduct*†|
|* The records provided by forces (other than the Metropolitan police) do not differentiate between the punishments for this offence.|
|†These figures may include some officers required to resign or dismissed for other disciplinary offences as well as criminal conduct.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the additional number of people who will be enfranchised to vote at the next general election in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Bill's proposals for holidaymakers; and when he expects to lay the relevant statutory instrument.
The number will depend on when the election is called, but the Government's White Paper on the "Representation of the People Acts" (Cmnd. 9140, paragraph 3.7) pointed out that well over a million people may be away on holiday on any particular day of May or June. It is our intention to bring the new arrangements for holidaymakers and others to vote by post or proxy into operation by February 1987.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the response of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs regarding the scheduling of benzodiazepine drugs under the United Nations convention on psychotropic substances 1971.
We are awaiting a recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on the scheduling of benzodiazepines under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Its recommendations on this matter will be made known in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what organisations have been consulted by his Department regarding the possible rescheduling of benzodiazepine drugs under the United Nations convention on psychotropic substances 1971.
We have to date consulted the following trade and professional organisations on the changes which we think are necessary to the misuse of drugs legislation to enable us to comply with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971:
- The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
- The National Pharmaceutical Association
- Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry
- National Association fo Pharmaceutical Distributors
- Proprietary Association of Great Britain
- Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee
- Company Chemists' Association Ltd
- Royal College of Physicians
- Royal College of Surgeons of England
- Royal College of General Practitioners
- Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
- Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom
- Royal College of Midwives
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Joint Consultants Committee
- General Medical Services Committee
- Community Medicine Consultative Committee
- General Medical Council
- General Dental Council
- British Medical Association
- British Dental Association
- British Veterinary Association
- General Nursing Council for England and Wales
- Association of Nurse Administrators
- Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
- Guild of Hospital Pharmacists
- National Association of Health Administrators
- National Association of Health Authorities for England and Wales
- Society of Family Practitoner Committees
- Society of Administrators of Family Practitioner Services
- British Chemical Distributors and Traders Association
- British Distributors of Animal Medicines
- Pharmaceutical General Council (Scotland)
- Royal College of Midwives (Scottish Board)
- Royal College of Nursing (Scottish Board)
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow)
- Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
- Royal College of General Practitioners (Edinburgh)
- Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- Scottish Association of Nurse Administrators
- National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting for Scotland
- Scottish General Medical Services Committee
- Scottish Joint Consultants' Committee
- Association of Scottish Local Health Councils
- Scottish Health Visitors Association
- Welsh Medical Committee
- Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee
- Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee
- North of Ireland Veterinary Association
- Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
- Pharmaceutical Contractors' Committee (Northern Ireland)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will provide a table indicating the total number of people served with notice of intention to deport during 1984 and 1983 by nationality and category.
[pursuant to his reply, 25 February 1985, c. 26]: The details are as follows:
|Notices of intention to deport served, by nationality and category 1984|
|Number of persons|
|Hong Kong (BDTC)||57||1||—||58|
|St. Christopher and Nevis||1||—||—||1|
|Trinidad and Tobago||2||1||—||3|
|United Arab Emirates||3||—||—||3|
|United States of America||33||2||—||35|
* Section of the Immigration Act.
Far East (Visit)
asked the Prime Minister what reactions she has received from British industry and commerce to her visit to the far east; and what prospects for improved export performances to the countries visited she now expects.
Reaction to my visit has been very positive. United Kingdom companies active in these markets have reported an improvement in the general climate for doing business. I am confident that there is now a much greater awareness—at the highest level—of the capabilities of British industry. The success of my visit has made a significant contribution towards the improvement of bilateral relations, which will undoubtedly benefit our companies.
asked the Prime Minister why her press secretary, Mr. Bernard Ingham, accompanied her on her recent official visit to the far east; and in how many previous such visits he has taken part.
To advise me on, and handle, my relations with the media and to brief journalists as required by the duties of his office. He has accompanied me on all bar one of my visits overseas since he took up his post on 1 November 1979.
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the latest information given to her by the United States administration regarding the progress of the negotiations with the Soviet Union regarding nuclear weapons in Geneva.
The three chief American negotiators at the Geneva talks led by Mr. Kampelman, briefed the North Atlantic Council on 24 April on the state of negotiations at the end of the first round which adjourned the previous day. Close consultations continue to take place in NATO bodies and elsewhere including the Bonn summit on 2 to 4 May.
asked the Prime Minister on what criteria the decision was taken to reduce the level of provision for the British Council's overseas activities.
The council's overall provision has not been reduced. On the contrary, it will be receiving nearly £6 million more in 1985–86 than the sum originally established for that year. Within this total, however, the British Council has been asked to absorb in 1985–86 about £1·1 million of its risen costs as a contribution towards the overall need to keep the Government's spending within the resources available. The decision on where these savings should fall was for the British Council's board.
asked the Prime Minister how Ministers in her Administration with responsibilities for satisfying themselves that the security services operate entirely within the letter and spirit of their directive discharge their duties in this respect; and if she will make a statement.
I have nothing to add to the full explanation of the arrangements for ministerial oversight of the work of the security service which my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State, Home Office, gave the House on 4 April at columns 1380–84.
asked the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have been satisfied that the security forces have operated entirely within the letter and spirit of their directive at all times since May 1979; and if she will make a statement.
I have nothing to add to what my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary said on Second Reading of the Interception of Communications Bill on 12 March at columns 152–56, about the propriety with which the security service carries out its tasks under its directive.
asked the Prime Minister how many persons employed in any capacity by the Department of Health and Social Security are paid £30,000 per annum or more.
On 1 April 1985 there were 59 employees of the Department of Health and Social Security being paid £30,000 per annum or more.
Social Services Departments (Salaries)
asked the Prime Minister what information she has as to the number of persons employed in any capacity by social services departments of local authorities who are paid £30,000 per annum or more.
Information is not collected centrally on the pay of individual local authority employees.
asked the Prime Minister whether Wednesday 8 May will be designated as a public holiday in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Victory in Europe day.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 30 April.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 30 April.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 30 April.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 30 April.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 30 April.
This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others including one with the Prime Minister of Canada. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen, and will be giving a dinner for the Prime Minister of Canada.
asked the Prime Minister if she is satisfied with the progress being made in implementing the decisions of the Fontainebleau summit.
Agreement was reached last December on conclusions on budgetary discipline. The Council reached agreement in March on the text of the new own resources decision including provision for the United Kingdom's abatement. The terms of Spanish and Portuguese entry into the Community have been agreed. Follow-up work is in hand on the reports of the two ad hoc Committees set up at Fontainebleau.
Australian Royal Commission
asked the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply of 17 April, Official Report, column 173, if she will explain the nature of the documents withheld from the Australian Royal commission on grounds of (a) international relations and (b) personal sensitivity; and how many documents were withheld in each case.
The Australian Royal commission is well aware that a very small amount of material involving the interests of third countries has been withheld where disclosure would damage the United Kingdom's international relations. Other material has been provided to the Royal Commission after consultation with the countries concerned.Considerations of personal sensitivity apply mainly to medical or radiation dose information, which in the United Kingdom may not be published without the consent of the individual concerned. By deleting names in many cases it has been possible to supply relevant information without infringing personal sensitivity. The number of documents relevant to the terms of reference of the Australian Royal Commission withheld on these grounds is small, compared with the several thousand already supplied.The Australian authorities are well aware of the position; Senator Evans, Australian Minister for Resources and Energy, in answer to a question in the Australian Senate on 19 April, stated that it was his understanding that the United Kingdom Government had been co-operating with the Royal Commission and that there was no belief in the Commission that it had now been denied access to documents of significance for its inquiry and its conclusions. Senator Evans went on to say that he had no reason to believe that there was any degree of concern at all in the Commission about the level of cooperation by the United Kingdom Government.
Nuclear Trigger Devices (Testing)
asked the Prime Minister if she will list the occasions on which nuclear trigger devices have been tested in the United Kingdom.
No tests of neutron initiators for nuclear weapons, sometimes referred to as "triggers" of a nature described in my reply of 2 April, at column 524, have been conducted in the United Kingdom.
asked the Prime Minister what proportion of young people left school at (a) 16 years and (b) 18 years in (i) Wales, (ii) England and (iii) Scotland in 1984.
The information is as follows:
|School leavers in the academic year 1983–84*|
|Leavers as a percentage of the numbers in the age group†|
|Leavers aged‡||Wales percentage||England percentage||Scotland percentage|
|* Provisional data for England and Wales.|
|† School leavers expressed as a percentage of the population in the age group.|
|‡Ages at 31 August 1984 for England and Wales; 31 December 1984 for Scotland.|
asked the Prime Minister when she hopes to be able to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Linlithgow, dated 29 March, on out of area arrangements for the supply of equipment to the United Kingdom from the United States of America under North Atlantic Treaty Organisation arrangements.
asked the Prime Minister if she will extend the scope of the review of rates to include water rates.
The scope for extending metering instead of rateable value as a means of charging households for water supplies is currently being considered by a joint study involving the Department of the Environment and the water industry. In responding to the study's recommendations, the Government will also take account of any relevant proposals which may emerge from the review of local government finance.
"The Glory Of The Garden"
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will disregard for calculation of rate support grant penalties those sums offered by local authorities as challenge funding in respect of regional arts developments which are sponsored by the Arts Council of Great Britain in accordance with the policy set out in "The Glory of the Garden".
My right hon. Friend will consider any such representations which he receives.
Felixstowe Dock And Railway Bill
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he takes to examine the planning implications of developments for which authority is sought by private Bill; and if he will make a statement on the specific steps taken in the case of the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Bill.
The Government do not normally get directly involved in private Bills unless national policies are prejudiced. My Department is at present considering the provisions of the Bill and will decide in due course whether to submit a report to Parliament.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the amount of rateable revenue recovered by local authorities in England and Wales from (a) vacant retail premises, (b) vacant offices and (c) vacant garage/showroom premises for each year since 1979.
The information is not available centrally.
Housing Starts (London)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will indicate for each London borough and the Greater London council, how many housing starts are planned for 1985.
My Department has made no such estimates.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to the answer of 1 April, Official Report, column 435, if he will state the envisaged scenarios within which his Department has taken part in the corporate exercise of testing crisis management measures other than Wintex-Cimex in the past two years.
No. Details of the scenarios of these exercises are classified.
Local Authorities (Overtime)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the total amount paid out by local authorities in overtime for the last 12-month period for which figures are available.
This information is not collected centrally.
Leicestershire (Financial Aid)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will detail all financial aid given to (a) the county of Leicestershire and (b) the city of Leicester since 1979, including the inner area programme and all other schemes; and if he will break the figures down by year.
The readily available information is given in the table. The figures for inner area programme, slum clearance and improvement grants are not on the same basis as the overall figures for specific grants of which they form part. They are taken from central records of payments or entitlements, whereas the latter are from the authorities' outturn returns.
Financial aid to county of Leicestershire and city of Leicester
|Rate support grant*||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Needs and resources†||75·5||80·0||—||—||—||—||—|
|Transport supplementary grant||||1·7||1·0||1·1||3·1||4·9||6·2||3·9|
|Specific grants¶of which||21·3||26·4||30·9||31·5||36·7||—||—|
|Inner area programme●||0·6||0·8||1·3||1·1||1·1||—||—|
|Mandatory student awards★||8·4||10·4||12·2||10·7||11·5||11·8||12·4|
|Rate support grant*||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Needs and resources†||14·1||15·7||—||—||—||—||—|
|Specific grants,¶of which||2·9||3·4||3·6||6·2||9·9||—||—|
|Inner area programme●||0·7||1·3||1·0||2·1||1·7||—||—|
* The rate support grant system changed in 1981–82. Figures for earlier year are not on a comparable basis. The figures for 1979–80 and 1980–81 include the needs, resources and domestic elements. Thereafter they include block grant and domestic rate relief grant.
† Figures up to 1981–82 are final entitlements. Those for 1982–83 and 1983–84 are entitlements based on outturn after holdback, and for 1984–85 entitlements based on budgets after holdback. The figures for 1985–86 are before holdback and based on budget for Leicestershire and on expenditure limit for Leicester city.
‡ Figures up to 1983–84 are final entitlements. Those for 1984–85 and 1985–86 are latest estimates.
|| The figures up to 1984–85 cover all transport, while that for 1985–86 is for roads capital only.
¶ The figures are from the authorities' outturn returns and are not available for 1984–85 and 1985–86.
● The figures are from central records of payments and are not available for 1984–85 and 1985–86.
■ The figures for 1979–80 to 1982–83 are from the authorities' final audited claims. Those for 1983–84 to 1985–86 are provisional.
★ The figures up to 1983–84 are from outturn returns and for 1984–85 and 1985–86 from budget returns.
# The figures cover payments of subsidies for rent and rate rebates and rent allowances by DOE from 1979–80 to 1982–83 (part) and by DHSS from 1982–83 (part) to 1985–86. Those for 1979–80 to 1983–84 are based on final audited claims, while those for 1984–85 are from mid-year and initial claims respectively.
Council House Sales
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the total number of dwellings sold by Leicester city council in 1984, and for each of the past four years; if he will give the total figure for England for each of the same years; and if he will make a statement.
Following are the numbers of dwelling sales, right to buy and voluntary, reported by Leicester city council in each calendar year from 1980 and the corresponding estimates for all English local authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to privatise pubicly owned housing in inner city areas.
No., but we are encouraging local authorities to adopt a more imaginative range of solutions to the problems of their run-down estates, including disposal to private trusts or developers, and initiatives for the better management of local authority estates, such as the Priority Estates project. My right hon. Friend announced on 26 February 1985, at column 99, that he was setting up the urban housing renewal unit within the Department for this purpose. The unit will be launched shortly.Closer partnership between the public and private sectors is in the best interests of those who live in the public sector.
Falkland Islands (Airport)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is (a) the original and (b) the current estimate for the cost of (i) the runway at Mount Pleasant airport, (ii) the army facilities at Mount Pleasant airport and (iii) other costs of the airfield excluding the runway.
The original cost of the airport works announced in June 1983 was £215 million. The current estimate is £276 million. The increase mainly arises from the provision of additional joint service facilities in the interests of overall economy, and from price changes due to inflation.
The current estimate for the army works remains at £119 million. This figure reflects savings achieved by reducing the accommodation requirements, offset by price changes due to inflation.
It is not the practice to disclose rates for particular components of the contracts.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which items in the original estimate for the cost of the Mount Pleasant airport were priced in non-sterling currencies; and what revision in the cost of the airport has occurred due to falls in the value of the pound sterling.
None. The only element in the contracts directly sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations is the cost of fuel oil for ships which amounts in total to some £9 million. There have been no increases in the total estimated costs of the airport directly attributable to falls in the value of the pound sterling.
Rate Support Grant
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list each local authority in England indicating the amount of rate support grant per head for 1985–86;(2) if he will list each local authority in England according to the percentage of the national rate support grant that was allocated to it for each year since 1979.
I shall answer these questions shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the decision not to charge tolls on the planned new Dornoch bridge represents a change of the Government's policy relating to estuarial crossings.
No. It is not Government policy to toll estuarial crossings where to do so would frustrate the objectives of providing the crossing. The Dornoch bridge will form part of the improved A9. To charge tolls could discourage traffic using the bridge in preference to the existing route round the Firth.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether arrangements will now be made to abolish toll charges at all estuarial crossings in Scotland.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the number of herons; and whether their number is declining.
The Nature Conservancy Council's most recent survey of the heron population in 1979 established that there were 1,500 pairs in Scotland. There is no evidence that their number is declining, but I understand that this year the British Trust for Ornithology is to conduct a national survey of the heronries of Britain and Northern Ireland.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report in respect of (a) each local authority area in Scotland and (b) the average for Scotland as a whole, the percentage increase in average rates bills for 1985–86 over 1984–85 for (i) domestic, (ii) industrial, (iii) commercial, (iv) miscellaneous, (v) public utility and (vi) all subjects.
I am obtaining this information and hope to publish it in the Official Report shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many police officers in Scotland were dismissed for misconduct during 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively; and if he will make a statement.
In these years, nine police officers were dismissed and 29 were required to resign as an alternative to dismissal, having been found guilty of disciplinary offences as set out in schedule 1 to the Police (Discipline) (Scotland) Regulations 1967. These figures include seven officers who were later reinstated on appeal to the Secretary of State. The figures for each year are as follows:
|Dismissed||Required to resign as an alternative to dismissal|
Job Creation (Greenock)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what level of funding is devoted by the Manpower Services Commission to the Greenock travel-to-work area.
[pursuant to his reply, 19 April 1985, c. 248]: I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. However, it is estimated that over £24 million was spent by the Manpower Services Commission in 1984–85 in the Renfrew, Dumbarton, Argyll and Bute area, exclusive of administration costs, but including the operating costs at the jobcentres in the area.
Lead In Petrol
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will estimate the level of investment required in the United Kingdom refining industry between now and 1989 to meet the requirements to produce unleaded petrol; and if he will make a statement.
The United Kingdom refining industry will probably need to invest somewhat over £200 million to move from petrol containing 0·15 grams per litre to unleaded petrol. The investment will be spread over many years. It is not possible to apportion this expenditure between that which has already been incurred, that which will be incurred between now and 1989 and that which will be incurred thereafter.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will estimate the total energy penalty in terms of barrels of crude oil which will be paid by the United Kingdom following the decision to introduce unleaded petrol.
The decision to introduce unleaded petrol may eventually increase crude oil consumption in the United Kingdom by perhaps 12,000 barrels a day when conversion from leaded petrol is completed.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he will publish his next report on oil and gas development in the United Kingdom, the Brown Book.
I have today published the latest edition of the Brown Book, and arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House and the Vote Office Stores. The report gives a detailed account of oil and gas development in 1984.
Trade And Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from Mr. Durber of Hawker Siddeley pic in the matter of the SWOPS project.
Representations have been received from Mr. Durber, the details of which are commercially confidential.
United States Telecommunications Companies
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has as to how many United States telecommunications companies are operating in the United Kingdom and in what sectors of the market.
My Department does not keep records in the form requested.
Video Cassette Recorders
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the total annual value of video cassette recorders sold in the United Kingdom over the last five years.
The available information is as follows:
|Estimated sales in United Kingdom of video recorders 1980–84|
Source: Business Monitors PQ 365.2 & PQ 3454.
1980–83: Estimate = imports less exports; United Kingdom production thought to be negligible for 1980–82 and is omitted for 1983 owing to the risk of disclosing information about individual enterprises.
1984: Estimate = United Kingdom production plus imports less exports.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who were the major manufacturers of video cassette recorders sold in the United Kingdom; and what were their shares of the United Kingdom market for each year since 1978.
This information is not available on overseas producers of VCRs. The United Kingdom producers of these machines are J2T; Sanyo, Mitsubishi; Toshiba and Sharp. Hitachi plan to begin production in the United Kingdom later this year.
United States (High Technology Exports)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received regarding the British company, Systime United Kingdom, which has been fined by the United States Government for breaches of the United States export regulations on high technology products; and if he will make a statement.
My Department has had approaches from a number of sources about Systime's difficulties over United States export controls and has discussed the situation with the company. My officials and representatives of the company remain in touch.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to invoke the Protection of Trading Interests Act 1980 against the United States Government in cases of extra-territorial application of its export regulations for high technology products; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend would be prepared to take this course where he is satisfied that it is the most effective way of safeguarding legitimate United Kingdom interests. It is however a weapon of last resort since it puts firms under directly conflicting requirements of law.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has received the judgment of the European Court of Justice on the origin marking order; and if he will make a statement.
The European Court of Justice has now delivered its judgment that the Origin Marking Order (the Trade Descriptions (Origin Marking) (Miscellaneous Goods) Order 1981) is in breach of Article 30 of the EEC Treaty, in so far as it relates to goods imported from elsewhere in the Community. The Government will be carefully considering the judgment and its implications for the future of the Order, and will consult bodies representative of those affected as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are being taken to ensure that tests on the behaviour of helicopters when ditching in the sea (a) are based on experiments on actual aircraft rather than models in tanks and (b) take account of nautical factors and advice available from experienced maritime sources.
The Civil Aviation Authority, which is the responsible body, informs me that it always considers carefully the validity of tank model testing of the behaviour of a helicopter after ditching, when assessing whether that helicopter complies with British civil airworthiness requirements. The authority bases its specific nautical conditions on the internationally agreed code of the World Meteorological Organisation, and also takes account of advice from any other appropriate source.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list staffing levels for those involved in research into ways of reducing the incidence and severity of road accidents at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory in each of the past 12 years.
The numbers of staff at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory directly engaged in research into ways of reducing the incidence and severity of road accidents over the past 12 years were as follows:
|As at 1 January||In post|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the annual extra cost per year in delaying the building of the Okehampton bypass.
The extra cost per year to users of the road is expected to be about £1·7 million per year at 1984 price levels.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the difference in cost between the southern and northern route of the Okehampton bypass.
The northern route put forward by petitioners and considered recently by the joint committee would cost about £5·25 million more than the Department's southern route at 1984 prices.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many acres of agricultural land would be used if the northern route was used for the Okehampton bypass as compared with the southern route.
About 18 acres more agricultural land would be required to construct the northern route as put forward by the petitioners.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many homes and quarries would be affected if the northern route for the Okehampton bypass were used as compared with the southern route.
No homes would be demolished but one quarry employing about 10 workers would be closed if the petitioners northern route were used, compared with one home, and two unoccupied cottages, to be demolished but no quarries closed on the Department's southern route.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to assist motorists and commercial transport-users while there is delay in building the Okehampton bypass.
A diversion to allow holiday traffic to avoid Okehampton at peak summer weekends has been in operation for several years, and we will be examining whether its use should be extended. Recent improvements to the A38 trunk road and further work both about to start and in preparation for the A30 and the A38 should assist east-west traffic movements through Devon.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all of the consultants employed in connection with the Transport Bill and Buses White Paper, the nature of projects for which they were employed and the cost to his Department.
I shall reply to this question shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will take action to ensure that motor cyclists are more visible to other road users by encouraging them to use their headlights in the day time;(2) what estimate he has of the percentage and number of accidents involving motor cycles which are primarily due to the motor cyclist involved not being sufficiently visible to other road users.
In 1983 there were 51,545 accidents involving motor cycles. Research by the Transport and Road Research Laboratory suggests that failure by another vehicle driver to see the motor cycle constituted a major factor in approximately a third of these accidents.TRRL has continued to study the problem of motorcyclist conspicuity. The effectiveness of the available daytime conspicuity aids seems to vary according to such factors as ambient lighting levels and the presence and mix of the traffic. But overall, fluorescent clothing, headlamps and daytime running lamps all appear to perform equally well. So the Department has strongly encouraged motor cyclists to make themselves as conspicuous as possible by these means.I am currently studying the recommendation by the Transport Committee that the use of headlamps or running lamps during daylight should be required by law.
Pilots (Redundancy Pay)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department plans to make any contribution towards the redundancy pay for pilots; and if he will make a statement.
The Government propose that any scheme to compensate surplus pilots should be financed from within the shipping industry. It is the shipping industry which will benefit directly from the cost savings which will arise from a more cost-effective pilotage system and the Government see no reason why the taxpayer at large should foot the bill.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was derived in 1984 from (a) road fund licences, net of the costs of collection, (b) excise duty on petrol and Derv and (c) value added tax on petrol and Derv.
The information is as follows:
- £1,160 million (Derv);
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the number of people taken out of tax in the year 1985–86 (a) if the single person's age allowance is raised to £2,920 and (b) if the married man's age allowance is raised to £4,650;(2) if he will estimate the number of people taken out of tax in the year 1984–85
(a) if the single person's age allowance is raised from £2,360 to £2,655 and (b) if the married man's age allowance is raised from £3,755 to £4,240.
Estimate are as follows:
|Increase in age allowance||Reduction in number of aged taxpayers|
|From £||To £|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, with a view to reducing the amount of paperwork involved and the work load of Inland Revenue staff, he will take steps to simplify the processes involved in the convenant procedure; and if he will make a statement.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the present periods permitted for the deferred payment of excise duties on wines and spirits in Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, West Germany and the United Kingdom; and if he will explain any differences.
The rules and procedures governing the payment of duty in EEC countries are complex. The following table sets out what Customs and Excise understands to be the average periods of duty deferment applying to wines and spirits.
|Belgium||2 to 6 months according to type||4 months|
|Luxembourg||2 to 6 months according to type||2 to 6 months|
|Denmark||65 days||45 days|
|France||2 months||2 months|
|West Germany||Still wines are not taxed. Aromatic and liqueur wines 3 months. Sparkling wine 40 days.||3 months|
|United Kingdom||1 month||1 month|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in his review of duty deferment, he will take account of the recommendations of the Food and Drink Manufacturing Economic Development Committee's report, "Scotch Whisky in the '80s"; and when he expects to complete this review.
Customs and Excise is currently reviewing the arrangements for duty deferment. It hopes to complete the review by the end of 1985. It is, however, a review of administration, and the recommendations of the NEDC report are outside its scope. These recommendations were carefully considered by my right hon. Friend in his review of taxation before his last Budget, and it was decided to make no alteration to the periods of duty deferment allowed for alcoholic drinks
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost of increasing the duty deferment period for wines and spirits by two weeks, four weeks and six weeks, respectively.
There would be a once-for-all loss of revenue in the financial year in which the change was introduced. This would be about £185 million for an additional period of deferment of either two or four weeks, because one month's payments will be deferred to the following financial year; and about £370 million for an additional six weeks, because two months' payments would be deferred to the following financial year. There would also be associated borrowing costs.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the estimated receipts in 1984–85 and 1985–86 from duties on spirits, beer, wine, made-wine, cider and perry, respectively; and if he will explain any differences.
The estimates are as follows:
|1984–85*£ million||1985–86†£ million|
|Cider and perry||45||60|
* Latest estimates.
Estimates of increased receipts in 1985–86 result from the increased rates of duty announced in the Budget and forecasts of growth in the economy.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in the light of the decision in Furniss v. Dawson, he will introduce legislation to provide a clearance procedure whereby the taxpayer may apply in advance to the Inland Revenue for a definitive statement as to the tax treatment it would apply to a proposed transaction or series of transactions; and if he will make a statement.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to his previous question on 27 February 1985 at column 211.
Airports (Duty-Free Shops)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received advocating opening a duty-free shop at Teesside airport; and if he will make a statement.
Representations have been received on two occasions, the most recent in 1983. Facilities were refused because the number of outward bound international passengers was below the required level.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will allow the operation of a duty-free shop at Teesside airport.
No. The required level of departing international passengers has not yet been achieved.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are his criteria for the operation of duty-free shops at airports.
The qualification required for the establishment of a duty-free shop at an airport is 100,000 passengers departing annually for destinations abroad.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which airports in the United Kingdom operate duty-free shops.
Duty-free shops have been established at Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Prestwick, Southampton and Stansted airports.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if notes on those clauses and schedules of the Finance Bill to be taken in Committee of the whole House will be made available to hon. Members.
Yes. The appropriate notes on clauses and their related schedules were placed in the Vote Office earlier today.
Review Board For Government Contracts
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the report on the first annual review by the Review Board for Government Contracts.
The review board in its report on the fourth general review proposed that the triennial reviews of the target profit rate should be supplemented by limited annual reviews so that changes in the rate of return elsewhere in the economy and in other economic circumstances can be reflected more quickly in the profit rate. The review board submitted the first of these interim reviews to the Treasury in the middle of March. The two principal matters dealt with in the report are the target rate of profit for Government non-competitive contracts, and a study of the capital employed in these contracts.The review board recommended the target rate of profit be increased from the present 11 per cent. to 13 per cent. on capital employed in semi-CCA terms, with an assumed average CP/CE ratio of 2·35 to 1.On the question of capital employed, the board found that although there was not sufficient data to support the view that Government profit formula work generally required less capital than the contractors' other work, there were some significant divergencies in individual cases arising almost entirely from a small number of large and exceptional projects, both defence and non-defence. The board recommended that these divergencies should be addressed by negotiating more relevant units for the calculation of CP/CE ratios rather than by adjusting the target rate of return in the profit formula. Meanwhile, a transitional adjustment should be made to the average CP/CE ratio to avoid distortion by the exceptional projects referred to. Hence the observed ratio of 2·24 to 1 should be increased to 2·35 to 1.After careful consideration, and consultation with the negotiating committee of the CBI representing contractors, the Government accept in principle the board's main recommendation as to the treatment of the divergencies in capital employed and are examining with the contractors the practicalities. Meanwhile, however, it is essential that the overstatements of capital employed identified by the board should be fully reflected in the profit formula. This can only be done at present by a full adjustment of the target rate of profit affecting both the cost-based element and the capital-based element. Accordingly, the Government have decided to set the target rate of profit at 12 per cent. on capital employed on a semi-CCA basis, accompanied by the observed average of CP/CE ratio of 2·24 to 1. These new arrangements will be implemented with effect from 1 May 1985.Copies of the review board report have been placed in the Library.
Museums And Galleries (Grants)
asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts if he will now publish in the Official Report the allocation between the various national museums and galleries of the £28·7 million maintenance and repair grant announced on 17 December 1984.
The provision of £28·7 million for building and maintenance work at the national museums and galleries in 1985–86 is met from the arts and libraries public expenditure programme. Responsibility for administering and carrying out the work rests with the Property Services Agency, on whose Vote the expenditure is shown.
The planned programme for 1985–86 comprises:
|Expenditure on works already in progress||10|
|Expenditure on works planned for start in 1985–86||6·3|
|Expenditure on "bulk maintenance", fuel etc., PSA administration costs||12·4|
The estimated expenditure in 1985–86 for building work borne on the PSA Vote for each of the national museums and galleries is as follows. The figures are an approximate indication of the expected levels of expenditure rather than a firm allocation of funds. They assume that both building works in hand and those planned to start in 1985–86 progress as originally envisaged. They include an element for "bulk maintenance" (minor maintenance work) but exclude spending on schemes shared between two or more museums, other current expenditure on heating, lighting, services and so on and PSA administration:
|Imperial War Museum||1·3|
|National Maritime Museum||1·9|
|National Portrait Gallery||0·7|
|Victoria and Alben Museum||5·8|
Education And Science
Suspension Of Pupils
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list by authority the information he has as to the number of pupils who have been suspended from school, the average length of suspension and the maximum length of suspension for the most recent year for which figures are available.
Detailed statistics of pupils suspended from school are not collected centrally. Such information as the Department receives on suspensions in particular schools or in individual authorities is presented in a variety of forms and not on a basis whereby consistent comparisons can be made.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what studies have been made to compare the academic success of people from socio-economic groupings C and D post the reorganisation of secondary schools by comparison with that prior to reorganisation; and if he will make a statement;(2) what studies have been made of success in industry and commerce by people coming from the socio-economic groupings C and D
(a) since the secondary school reorganisation along comprehensive lines and (b) in the era of grammar schools, secondary modern and technical schools.
I am not aware of any studies which specifically address these questions, although reports of studies by the National Children's Bureau and the National Council for Educational Standards have included reference to the relationships between social class, selectivity and examinations results.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research his Department is undertaking into the reasons for the nature of the correlations between the social class of parents and the educational attainment of their children.
There have been a number of studies demonstrating a strong statistical relationship between examination results and home background factors. There is also evidence of varying levels of attainment amongst children from similar home backgrounds. I announced last November, at columns 698–99, that I was willing to consider research proposals designed to explore those factors within the responsibility of the education service which affect educational attainment. It would be necessary to take into account significant factors such as social class which are external to the education service. The Department is currently considering proposals made in response to my statement.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps his Department has taken in the past year in transferring responsibilities for education from the public to the private sector.
The Government recognise the important role played by the independent schools in enriching and increasing the diversity of the schools system. This was recently confirmed in chapter 12 of the White Paper "Better Scools" (Cmnd. 9469). The Department continues to support the assisted places scheme, whose purpose is to increase parental choice.The Department and others have been working with the Department of the Environment on proposals for the contracting out of local authority services, including school meals, cleaning of buildings and ground maintenance. A consultative document has been issued and it is intended to introduce legislation in the next Session which will require local authorities to put these services out to tender.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is now able to publish the percentage of 16 and 17-years-olds who remained in full-time education in schools or further education colleges in September 1984 for England and for each local education authority area; and how this compares with each of the previous five years.
The proportions of the population aged 16 and 17 years remaining in full-time education in schools and colleges in England for the academic years 1979–80 to 1984–85 are as follows:
|Percentage of population aged 16 or 17 in full-time education|
Royal College Of Art
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withhold funding from the Royal College of Art pending an inquiry into its proposals to close down the environmental media studies course.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many other institutions offer a course comparable to the environmental media studies course at the Royal College of Art leading to an MA degree; and if he will make a statement.
I understand that there are no comparable courses in the United Kingdom.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has had any communications with the Royal College of Art over the proposed closure of the environmental media studies course.
I met representatives of the Royal College of Art, including the rector, very shortly after the college had formally decided to undertake a major restructuring of its faculties, part of which involved the closure of the department of environmental media. They explained to me the reasons for the restructuring.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has had from students from the Royal College of Art over the proposed closure of the environmental media studies course.
We have received four letters in all: three from hon. Members writing on behalf of their constituents who are students at the college, and one signed by a number of the students themselves.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek an assurance from the rector of the Royal College of Art, Mr. Jocelyn Stevens, that the number and quality of the fine art courses and the number of students taking fine art courses will be maintained or enhanced when the existing professors of painting and sculpture retire.
My right hon. Friend does not determine the provision of courses at the Royal College of Art. However, he has appointed a visiting committee to advise him on questions relating to the development of the college and their financial implications. The next report of the committee will be submitted in the summer and is expected to comment on the college's plans for its various departments. In advance of the committee's advice, it would be inappropriate for me to express a view about the future balance of work within the college.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withhold funds from the Royal College of Art pending an inquiry into whether Mr. Jocelyn Stevens is conducting the college (a) in accordance with its articles of government and (b) in accordance with appropriate academic standards.
No. The Royal College of Art is a self-governing institution within the terms of its Royal Charter.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will withhold funding from the Royal College of Art pending an inquiry into complaints about the conduct of the rector, Mr. Jocelyn Stevens.
Deaf And Blind School Leavers
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many deaf and blind school leavers there were in each of the past two years; and what facilities were available for their further education.
The information about school leavers is not available. Where further education is appropriate, local education authorities may provide for young people with visual and hearing handicaps in thier own colleges; alternatively they may support their attendance at an independent institution offering specialist residential provision for these groups, often involving attendance at mainstream courses run by nearby local education authority colleges.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
United Kingdom-Iran (Diplomatic Representation)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the outcome of the continuing discussions regarding United Kingdom diplomatic representation in Tehran and Iranian representation in London; and why Iran is still permitted to maintain an embassy in London while the United Kingdom is represented through the Royal Swedish embassy in Tehran.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) gave him on 19 July 1984, at column 315. The discussions on the respective representation of the United Kingdom and Iran in London and Tehran continue, but there are no plans at present to modify the level of Iranian diplomatic representation in London.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will name the country of origin of any middle eastern dipomats who have been required to leave the United Kingdom or whom the police have arrested but not charged because of diplomatic immunity, for alleged serious criminal offences during the current year; and whether the heads of mission of the states in question were requested to insist upon acceptable standards of diplomatic behaviour from their staff in future.
The answer to the first part of the question is no. It would be inappropriate to name the country of origin or regional group of the alleged offenders, since their guilt has not been established in court.All heads of mission were made aware last year that we would in future expect and apply more stringent standards in respect of behaviour by the staffs of diplomatic missions. Specific guidance on this has now been issued to all diplomatic missions, as indicated in paragraph 68 of the Government report on "Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges" published on 23 April.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Iranian embassy sought any permission to display controversial political banners similar to the incident in the summer of 1983; and whether it has been made clear by his Department that no such banners will be acceptable to Her Majesty's Government.
No such permission has been sought from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.The Iranian embassy is aware that the display of controversial political banners on its building is unacceptable to us.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information is available to him regarding the countries which are currently fishing off the Falklands; and what is the value of the fish caught.
Vessels entering the Falkland Islands protection zone are observed by Her Majesty's forces in the course of their routine patrolling and it is possible to identify those involved in fishing. Some information is also available to us from other sources, such as commercial enterprises and conservation bodies. It is not possible to put an accurate value on the catch, even if its precise size were known, because of fluctuating demand and price.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give the total and employed population, respectively, of the Falkland Islands at the latest available date, distinguishing in each case between permanent and temporary residents and workers.
I am consulting the Civil Conmissioner and will write to the hon. Member.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs if he will give the total amount of money spent by Her Majesty's Government on jobs, services and investment in the Falkland Islands over the past year.
It is not possible to give a disaggregated figure for expenditure by Her Majesty's Government on jobs, services and investment in the Falkland Islands in the financial year ending 31 March 1985. But it is estimated that a total sum of £6·5 million was spent on rehabilitation and development. In addition, £143 million was spent by the Property Services Agency on defence works services.
Council Of Ministers
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.
The usual written forecast was deposited in the House earlier today (30 April). At present, nine meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for May.The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 2—5 May to continue discussion of the Commission's price proposals for 1985. Further meetings are scheduled for 13—15 May and, possibly, 20—21 May.The Internal Market Council is due to meet on 7 May to discuss the draft directives on the co-ordination of laws relating to self employed commercial agents; the rights of establishment of architects; the mutual recognition of qualifications and rights of establishment of pharmacists; and the easing of controls and formalities applicable to nationals of the member states when crossing intra-Community borders. There will be further discussion of the European standards initiative, especially in relation to technological harmonisation and standards. The Council will also consider the draft regulation to establish a European Economic interest grouping and the draft regulation laying down certain measures for the standardisation and simplification of the statistics of trade between member states. The Economic and Finance Council will meet on 13 May to discuss the implementation of budget discipline for the 1986 budgetary procedures; and a progress report on the proposed directive concerning the harmonisation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions in connection with Unit trusts. The Council may also consider proposals for harmonisation of the structure of duties on alcoholic drinks; and a compromise proposal for tax reliefs for travellers, for small private consignments and for fuel in tanks of commercial vehicles.A Consumer Affairs Council is expected to meet on 14 May. It is likely to discuss product liability; proposals for a Community information system on accidents involving consumer products, for a directive on consumer credit, and for a directive on consumer protection in connection with doorstep selling; and proposed amendments to directives on consumer protection in respect of unit price marking.The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 20—21 May. The agenda may include the Community's policy towards its Mediterranean partners after enlargement in the light of the Council's declaration of 30 March 1985; and the Commission's negotiating mandate for an EC—Central America co-operation agreement.The Transport Council is due to meet on 23 May to discuss strategy for achieving a common transport policy; proposals on drivers hours and proposed transport infra-structure support.
The Co-operation and Development Council is expected to meet on 23 May to discuss the Community's response to the famine in Africa, including the long-term prevention of famine; a study on the cost effectiveness of Community food aid; and development projects to prevent specific problems, such as desertification. The Council may also consider the role of women in development; and preparations for the June ministerial meeting between the Community and the African Caribbean and Pacific states.