Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 78: debated on Wednesday 1 May 1985

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 8 May 1985

Defence

Artillery Locating Equipment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the development of proposed artillery locating equipment.

We are examining ways of improving our capability for weapon location. A number of United Kingdom firms are undertaking studies, and we are investigating the possibilities for collaboration with our allies.

Field And Anti-Aircraft Gunners

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the United Kingdom's Army personnel are field and anti-aircraft gunners; by how much these figures have changed over the last 10 years for which figures are available; and if he will also give such estimates as he has as to the comparable data relating to the army of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The field and air defence regiments of the Royal Artillery account for 3·9 and 1·3 per cent. respectively of the trained strength of the Regular Army. Equivalent figures for the last 10 years, and comparable data for the army of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, could be provided only with disproportionate effort and expense.

Defence Act 1842

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the last five occasions since 1979 on which he. or his predecessors, used the powers in sections 16 and 17 of the Defence Act 1842 to stop up or divert any public footpaths or bridleways, stating in each case (a) the date of the stopping up or diversions, (b) the footpaths or bridleways affected by the stopping up or the diversions, and (c) the lengths of footpaths and bridleways stopped up and the length of footpath or bridleway created under the exercise of the powers.

The Defence Act 1842 has been used on one occasion since 1979 to stop up a bridleway. The details are as follows:

  • (a) 5 February 1985.
  • (b) Bridleway Molesworth No. 28.
  • (c) 1·17km and 2·15 km.
  • asked the Secretary of State for Defence what rights of objection the public has to a proposal to stop up or divert a public footpath or bridleway under section 16 of the Defence Act 1842.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when, and where, he next plans to use section 16 of the Defence Act 1842 to stop up or divert a public footpath or bridleway.

    Ex-Gratia Payments

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many ex-gratia payments were made in 1984 to members, ex-members, or dependants of former members of Her Majesty's forces; and what were the reasons for such payments.

    Ex-gratia payments are made to members and ex-members of the armed forces and their dependants for a wide variety of reasons and no central record is maintained of the number of such payments and the reasons for them. However, no ex-gratia payments were made in 1984 in cases arising out of the operations of section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947.

    Pensions

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, pursuant to his reply of 15 April, Official Report, column 66, to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North, he will list the individual clerical errors which resulted in £188,372 being returned to service pensioners as arrears of pensions previously underpaid, indicating in each case the nature of the clerical error.

    Further checking has shown the estimate of £188,372 to be overstated. It should be revised to £187,091. The individual errors that gave rise to this total of arrears being returned to service pensioners are:

    Category of errorNumber of errors in the categoryArrears returned £
    (a) Simple arithmetical error5937,853
    (b) Oversight of further action3230,135
    (c) Incorrect input to computer2521,573
    (d) Incorrect interpretation of regulations1886,191
    (e) Incorrect information passed to Paymaster General's Office1311,339
    TOTALS147187,091

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, following the letter of the head of Man. S (Org) of his Department to Mr. T. G. Robson. Secretary of his Departments Council of Civil Service Unions of 2 April on the Rayner review of pensions, he will list what steps have been taken to check the state of affairs and put the matter right, where necessary, following the errors which have arisen in the course of the transfer of the original documentation on Royal Navy/Royal Marine pensions to the Paymaster-General's office.

    A check of every RN ratings and RM other ranks pension will be carried out and the necessary corrections made.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will list all pensionable allowances in all three services apart from basic pay.

    There are no allowances received by service men that are relevant to the calculation of a service pension.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what rank categories were included in the transcription from manual records to computers of the three services for the purpose of the computerisation of service pension records.

    In the computerisation of pension payment records the ranks affected were those of warrant officer class I and equivalent and below.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the computer storing Royal Air Force airmen's pension records closed down; what was the reason for the closure; and why manually recorded records are now being used to calculate airmen's pensions and to answer inquiries.

    Royal Air Force airmen's pensions are maintained on either the Paymaster General's computer system at Crawley or the Director General of Defence Accounts computer system at Bath, neither of which has been closed down.Royal Air Force airmen's pensions are awarded by the Director General of Defence Accounts staff at Worcester. The calculation of these pensions has always been undertaken manually on the basis of information provided from Royal Air Force pay and personnel records. Manually recorded records have always been referred to by the accounts staff at Worcester prior to answering inquiries.

    19801981198219831984
    Below Higher Executive and equivalent136273784
    Higher Executive Officer and equivalent1417324467
    Senior Executive Officer and equivalent1124335374
    Principal and equivalent2128194489
    Senior Principal and equivalent6792332
    Assistant Secretary and equivalent5781322
    Under Secretary46778
    Deputy Secretary2234
    Second Permanent/Permanent Secretary11
    TOTAL7498137224381
    Lists of the areas within the Ministry of Defence in which the individuals concerned were employed are not readily available.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to establish the companies subsequently employing civil servants who have resigned from his Department in each of the years from 1980 to 1984; and if he will list each of the subsequent employers concerned.

    Civil servants resigning from the Ministry of Defence to take up alternative employment are required to notify details of their prospective employer(s) where the company concerned is in a contractual or other special relationship with the Department. Certain more senior grades, of the rank of under secretary and above, are required to notify any intended employment. No comprehensive list of companies or bodies employing former civil servants is available.

    Departmental Selection And Management Organisation Procedures

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to re-evaluate selection and

    Ex-Senior Civil Servants (Appointments)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the number of civil servants who resign or retire from his Department and take up appointments in defence-related industries other than immediately after leaving the Civil Service; and if he will make a statement.

    Civil servants resigning or retiring from the Ministry of Defence in order to take up appointments in defence-related industries are required to seek prior departmental approval before so doing. This requirement remains effective for a period of two years following an individual's date of retirement or resignation. The number of civil servants who take up such appointments within the two years is not readily available. The number who take up appointments after two years is not known to my Department.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will break down by grade and division within his Department the officials who have left to take jobs in industry in each of the years from 1980 to 1984.

    The number of civil servants who made applications under the business appointments rules in the years in question are as follows:management organisation procedures in his Department in the light of the steady increase in the rate of departure of his civil servants for jobs in industry.

    Resignations

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the reasons given by civil servants resigning from his Department in each of the years from 1980 to 1984.

    Civil servants resigning from the Ministry of Defence to take up alternative employment are not required to provide specific reasons for so doing; but where such information is volunteered, the reasons given vary widely and include such reasons as domestic circumstances and better career prospects.

    Defence Research And Intra-Mural Research Committee

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how the recent reorganisation of his Department affected the defence research and intra-mural research committee; and what are its present functions and composition.

    The defence research and intra-mural research committee (DRIRC) was replaced in the recent MOD reorganisation by a new body, the defence research committee (DRC). This committee has a similar task to its predecessor: to provide advice to the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) on policy options and priorities concerning scientific and technological research and, against the background of resource availability, to provide guidance to the Controller of R and D Establishments, Research and Nuclear (CERN) regarding the content of his research programme.Membership of the new committee includes representatives of the major R and D "customers", the defence staff, the defence scientific staff, and the office of management and budget. Other scientific advisers and representatives of other Government Departments may also be invited to attend.

    Defence Scientific Advisory Council

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the present functions and membership of the defence scientific advisory council.

    The defence scientific advisory council is established to advise the Secretary of State for Defence on scientific and technological matters of concern to the Ministry of Defence. The chairman and other independent members are all distinguished scientists in the academic or industrial world, and their contributions to the MOD through the DSAC are much appreciated. Each is appointed in his personal capacity by the Secretary of State.

    Defence Secretariat 17

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence which parts of his Department now handle the responsibilities formerly handled by defence secretariat 17.

    Sensitive Information

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are taken in his Department to account for documents and manuals containing sensitive information.

    Ministry of Defence security regulations specify the measures to be taken, which vary according to the classification of the documents and manuals.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the classified defence documents found lying on a rubbish dump near the Thames barrier.

    Investigations are in progress into the circumstances surrounding the discovery of these documents and it would be wrong to comment further until these investigations have been completed.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will re-examine the procedures for the disposal of manuals and documents containing sensitive information.

    Security procedures are regularly reviewed and changes are made when necessary.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement about the circumstances in which the plan of a proposed new security fence for AWRE Aldermaston were found in south-east London by two schoolboys near a rubbish tip.

    Investigations are in progress into the circumstances surrounding the discovery of these documents, and it would be wrong to comment further until these investigations have been completed.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the documents relating to Tornado which were found on a rubbish dump near the Thames barrier.

    Restricted documents relating to the servicing of the Tornado aircraft, reproduced on microfiche.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the documents relating to the Aldermaston research centre which were found a rubbish dump near the Thames barrier.

    A plan of part of an internal security fence and of adjacent areas at AWRE Aldermaston, classified restricted.

    Hms Otter

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence by whom the propellor shafts of HMS Otter are being repaired; and if he will make a statement.

    Replacement propellor shafts are being supplied by Devonport dockyard, where refurbishment of such items takes place. Their cost, together with the cost of other material supplied to the firm undertaking the refit, will be reflected in the final assessment of the overall cost of the project.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence by whom the hatch covers of HMS Otter are being repaired; and if he will make a statement.

    Such work as is necessary is being undertaken by the firm carrying out the refit. If it emerges that new hatch covers are needed, they will be issued from Ministry of Defence stock.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what technical and manpower assistance is being provided to Humber Ship Repairers in its work on refitting HMS Otter.

    There is an eight-man Ministry of Defence team at Humber Ship Repairers to provide technical guidance and oversee the refit. Additional technical advice is provided by the Ministry of Defence as necessary. The cost of providing all such assistance will be reflected in the final assessment of the cost of the project.

    Army Board (Appeals)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many appeals have been lodged by soldiers with the Army Board in the last two years; and of those, how many have resulted in a successful outcome for the appellant.

    A total of 30 appeals against the findings of courts martial under section 8(2) of the Courts Martial (Appeals) Act 1968 and 46 applications for redress of complaints under the Army Act 1955, sections 180 and 181, lodged by officers and soldiers reached the Army Board in the last two years. Their outcome is as follows:

    UpheldDeniedSentence mitigated/ Partially upheld
    Appeals against CM4179
    Redress of complaint82117
    I should stress that only those redress of complaint cases that are not upheld by the intervening authorities reach the Army Board.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken toward pest control on the Falkland Islands; and whether any private contractors have been used for this purpose.

    A military environmental health officer has been appointed to the staff of the Commander British Forces Falkland Islands. In addition to being responsible for pest control at all military establishments, he also advises the Falkland Island Government on pest control. I understand that the airport contractors at Mount Pleasant are taking normal pest control precautions and are employing a pest control officer.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions on which military personnel from other countries have visited the Falklands since 1983, stating in each case their country of origin and the purpose of the visit.

    Porton Down (Waste)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what quantities of waste from Porton Down have been sent to Re-Chem plants at Bonnybridge and Pontypool for disposal since 1975.

    Available records show that since 1975 the chemical defence establishment Porton Down has sent waste to the Re-Chem plant at Pontypool for disposal under contract on one occasion, in 1983. The material comprised 30 tonnes of solid waste, in the form of salt of phosphoric acid. No waste has been sent to the Bonnybridge plant.

    Type 23 Frigate (Tenders)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to invite tenders for further type 23 frigates.

    Tenders will be sought in the late summer for the third and fourth type 23 frigates. All United Kingdom shipyards capable of constructing frigates will be invited to bid.As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said on 28 January, Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Limited will at the same time also be invited to tender for the second type 23 frigate.

    Raf Trainer Aircraft

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received following the award of the contract for the Royal Air Force trainer to Shorts; what is the substance of these representations; and if he will make a statement.

    A number of representations have been received from British Aerospace. In particular, the company has expressed disappointment at losing the competition and said that it had believed that the final bid it submitted on 19 March for the PC-9 would have been cheaper for the Ministry than acceptance of the bid from Shorts for Tucano. This was definitely not so; the total acquisition cost would have been higher for the PC-9 than it was from the Tucano, as was also true of operating costs. British Aerospace has also asked both for the opportunity to be de-briefed on the trainer project which, following normal practice, has been granted and for a review of the ground rules governing such competitions.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any contract for the supply of the Royal Air Force trainer has yet been signed with Shorts.

    Yes. The contract was signed on 30 April 1985, following a letter of intent on 4 April 1985.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether, subsequent to the receipt of Short's bid for the Royal Air Force air basic trainer on 14 March, any member of his Department requested Shorts to make a revised offer;(2) why, on 15 March, the controller of aircraft of his Department's procurement executive requested a revised bid from British Aerospace for the new basic trainer for the Royal Air Force.

    [pursuant to his reply, 3 May 1985, c. 262]: On 15 March controller aircraft rang Sir Raymond Lygo, managing director of British Aerospace, to confirm that Sir Raymond understood that the bid received by the relevant MOD contracts branch before noon the previous day was indeed its final offer. Sir Raymond indicated that he was not aware that this was so and shortly thereafter submitted a revised bid. At the same time controller aircraft rang Sir Philip Foreman, chairman of Short Brothers, who confirmed that its bid submitted before 14 March deadline was its final one.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will state the ranks and posts held of the members of the procurement executive who telephoned British Aerospace on 13 March to inform it of the deadline date for tender for the new basic trainer for the Royal Air Force; to whom he spoke; and if the call was logged by his Department.

    [pursuant to his reply, 3 May 1985, c. 262]: The telephone call was made by the principal director of contracts, air, to the group commercial director of British Aerospace. Telephone calls in the Ministry of Defence are not normally logged.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in the past the procurement executive has telephoned tenders for his Department's contracts or contracts worth more than £100 million giving the deadline date for tendering; whether this is the normal procedure within his Department; and on how many occasions such a telephone call has been confirmed by letter, telex or other written communication.

    [pursuant to his reply, 3 May 1985, c. 261–2]: The original deadline for the receipt of "best and final" bids had been set by telex at 31 January. The telephone call made to British Aerospace on 13 March dealt only with the end-point for post-tender improvements to those bids and followed on previous discussions with the two firms who had submitted the most attractive bids. Written communications are the normal and preferred practice within the Ministry of Defence; the telephone is used only when this is more suitable for giving or receiving information in the time available, and such information is confirmed in writing where necessary.

    Committees of Privy Councillors
    Subject investigatedChairmanDate appointedDate reportedCmnd. No.
    (i) 1955-May 1979
    SecurityMarquess of SalisburyNovember 1955March 19569715
    The Interception of CommunicationsSir Norman BirkettJune 1957September 1957283
    Security in the Public ServiceLord RadcliffeMay 1961November 19611681
    'D' Notice MattersLord RadcliffeFebruary 1967May 19673309
    Interrogation of TerroristsLord Parker of WaddingtonNovember 1971January 19724901
    Ministerial MemoirsViscount RadcliffeApril 1975January 19766386
    Recruitment of MercenariesLord DiplockFebruary 1975August 19756569
    Cabinet Document SecurityLord HoughtonJuly 1977October 19776677
    (ii) May 1979-present
    Falkland Islands ReviewLord FranksJuly 1982January 19833787
    Committees of Inquiry commissioned by the Prime Minister
    Subject investigatedChairmanDate appointedDate reportedCmnd. No.
    (i) 1955–1968
    Crown LandsSir Malcolm Trustram EveDecember 195417 May 19559483
    The Organisation of the Atomic Energy AuthoritySir Alexander FleckOctober 195716 December 1957338
    Health and Safety in the Atomic Energy AuthoritySir Alexander FleckOctober 195719 December 1957342
    The Preservation of Downing StreetEarl of Crawford and BalcarresJuly 19571 March 1958457
    The Windscale PilesSir Alexander FleckOctober 195717 June 1958471
    The Misuse of Official FacilitiesSir Norman Brook5 November 195811 November 1958583
    Security at the National GalleryLord Bridges26 September 196113 February 19621750
    The Vassall CaseSir Charles Cunningham22 October 19627 November 1962(1871)
    The Security Service and Mr. ProfumoLord Denning21 June 196316 September 19632152
    Higher EducationProfessor Lord Robbins8 February 196123 September 19632154
    The Organisation of Civil ScienceSir Burke TrendMarch 196223 September 19632171
    Representational Services OverseasLord Plowden30 July 19622 December 19632276
    The Remuneration of Ministers and MPsSir Geoffrey Lawrence19 December 196320 October 19642516
    The Bossard and Allen CasesSir Henry Wilson Smith9 August 19656 September 19652773
    The Civil ServiceLord Fulton8 February 196619 June 19683638
    Defence ProcurementD. RaynerOctober 1970March 19714641
    Dispersal of Government work from LondonSir H. HardmanOctober 1970June 19735322
    Conduct in Local GovernmentLord Redcliffe-MaudOctober 1973May 19745636
    (ii) May 1979-present
    Non-departmental Public BodiesSir Leo Pliatzky1979January 19807197
    Value of PensionsSir Bernard Scott1980February 19818147

    International Fund For Agricultural Development

    asked the Prime Minister if she will give a commitment at the Bonn economic summit to contribute at least 50 million dollars to the new replenishment of the International fund for agricultural development.

    Prime Minister

    Committees Of Privy Councillors And Committees Of Inquiry

    asked the Prime Minister (1) how many committees of Privy Councillors she and her predecessors have commissioned since 1955; and what were the subjects the Privy Councillors investigated, the dates they were established, who chaired them and the dates they reported;(2) how many committees of inquiry she and her predecessors have commissioned since 1955; and what were the subjects the committees investigated, the dates they were established, who chaired them and the dates they reported.

    The information available is contained in the following two tables. As we do not hold central records, we cannot be absolutely sure that it is complete.

    The replenishment of the International fund for agricultural development (IFAD) was not discussed specifically in Bonn. IFAD is financed on the basis of equitable burden-sharing among its member countries. The Government contributed 5 per cent. of the share provided by OECD countries to the last replenishment, and we would expect to contribute a similar share of the next one if and when it is approved by the donors collectively.

    Agriculture Aid

    asked the Prime Minister if she will make it her policy to give a commitment at the Bonn economic summit to increase the amount of aid allocated to agriculture, especially to subsistence farmers in the Third world.

    I draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to paragraph 9 of the communiqué reporting the outcome of the Bonn economic summit, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

    Africa (Aid)

    asked the Prime Minister if, at the Bonn economic summit, she will reiterate Her Majesty's Government's commitment to maintain or increase resources for the aid programme for both emergency and long-term needs in Africa.

    I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my statement on the Bonn economic summit, at columns 625–26, and in particular to paragraphs 7 and 9 of the communiqué issued afterwards, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

    Sharelga (Sinking)

    asked the Prime Minister how much compensation was paid by Her Majesty's Government to the Irish Government in respect of the sinking of the Irish trawler Sharelga; and for what reason such compensation was paid.

    An Irish trawler named "Sharelga" was sunk in the Irish Sea in 1982 after its nets were snagged by a British submarine. The Ministry of Defence accepted liability for the incident and agreed to pay fair and reasonable compensation. The amount of compensation is a matter for negotiation between the vessel's owner and the Ministry of Defence. No payments have been made by Her Majesty's Government to the Irish Government in respect of this incident.

    Raf Trainer Aircraft

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list the Departments which were involved, directly or indirectly, in the decision to purchase the Tucano fighter trainer; and if she will make a statement.

    No. The principle of collective responsibility applies to this as to all ministerial decisions.

    EnglandWalesScotland
    Rate Support GrantRate Support GrantRate Support Grant
    £ million*per capita £per cent. of local govt. expen.†£ million*per capita £per cent. of local govt. expen.†£ million||per capita£per cent. of local govt. expen.†
    1975–765357·4115427·5153¶552·211569·7
    1976–775827·5125463·6166822·715868·8
    1977–785982·5128483·1173882·817063·7
    1978–796569·8141511·8183960·018563·3
    1979–807370·2158589·92101090·121162·5
    1980–818659·2185694–22471247·924262–1
    1981–829000·919245·2744·826560·41503·129261·1

    Leeward Islands Air Transport (Aircraft Purchase)

    asked the Prime Minister if she is now in a position to publish the European Commission's reasons for rejecting the Leeward Islands Air Transport view that the Super 748 offer from British Aerospace best fulfilled the procurement criteria of the Lomé convention; if she has had further communication with the European Commission on this matter; whether she has had any recent representations from Leeward Islands Air Transport; and if she will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development published the European Commission's explanation in an answer given to the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones) on 26 February, at column 102. The European Commission is not involved with present arrangements to finance the purchase by the Leeward Islands Air Transport of four HS-Super 748 aircraft from British Aerospace; we have had no recent communication with it on this matter, and no representations from Leeward Islands Air Transport. Satisfactory arrangements have now been made for the package of two HS-Super 748 aircraft with finance provided by the Caribbean Development Bank, and LIAT has accepted Her Majesty's Government's offer of assistance from the aid and trade provision for a further two aircraft.

    Rates

    asked the Prime Minister what comparisons have been made between the relative rateable value of comparable properties, small businesses and industries in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively; and if she will publish this information in the form of a table.

    [pursuant to her reply, Tuesday 7 May 1985, c. 310]: I regret that comparable information for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland is not available centrally.

    asked the Prime Minister what was the level of the rate support grant, including the per capita value for each year, from central Government to Scotland, England and Wales, for each of the last 10 years; what percentage this represented of total local government expenditure for each year; and if she will publish a table.

    [pursuant to her reply, Tuesday 7 May 1985, c. 310]: The information is shown in the table.

    England

    Wales

    Scotland

    Rate Support Grant

    Rate Support Grant

    Rate Support Grant

    £ million*

    per capita £

    per cent. of local govt. expen.

    £ million*

    per capita £

    per cent. of local govt. expen.

    £ million||

    per capita£

    per cent. of local govt. expen.

    1982–839018·819341·4797·328460·01677·732557·9
    1983–849067·119439·3814·529058·01744·233955·9
    1984–858852·818937·2810·828955·81713·233353·4

    Notes

    *Needs/Resources/Domestic elements for the years 1975–76 to 1980–81 and Rate Support Grant for subsequent years.

    † Grant as a percentage of 'relevant' Local Government Expenditure.
    ‡ The information is not available for England and Wales separately.
    || The information on rate Support Grants and Local government expenditure is taken from the RSG (Scotland) Orders and therefore reflects the Government's provision for expenditure in each year. The price bases adopted are those pertaining at the time of the RSG Settlement each year.
    ¶ The financial year 1975–76 covers a period of 10½ months.

    The percentage for England and Wales combined are as follows:

    England & Wales Grant as percentage of local Government expenditure

    1975–7657·9
    1976–7755·0
    1977–7852·3
    1978–7951·9
    1979–8048·6
    1980–8148·8

    For the years 1975–76 to 1977–78 Revenue expenditure has been used to derive the percentages. For the years 1978–79 to 1980–81 Relevant expenditure has been used at November price levels.

    Solicitor-General For Scotland

    Coal Industry Dispute

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many police complaints have been recorded in the course of the miners' industrial dispute.

    [pursuant to his reply, 4 April 1985, c. 719]: During the relevant period 14 of the complaints against the police received by regional procurators fiscal related to the miners' industrial dispute. Other complaints of a non-criminal nature may have been received by the individual police forces concerned.

    EstablishedTitle/SubjectChairReportedCmnd
    1955Administrative tribunals and enquiriesLord Franks1957218
    1957Law Relating to Rights of LightThe Right Honourable Lord Justice Harman1957473
    1958Funds in CourtLord Pearson1959818
    1958Business of the Criminal Courts (Commissioned by the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary)Sir Geoffrey Hugh Benbow Streatfield19611289
    1958Chancery chambers and the Chancery Registrar's OfficeThe Right Honourable Lord Justice Harman1960967
    1959Conflicts of jurisdiction affecting childrenLord Hodson1959842

    Attorney-General

    Departmental Committees Of Inquiry

    asked the Attorney-General how many departmental committees of inquiry the Lord Chancellor and his predecessors have commissioned since 1955; and what were the subjects the committees investigated, the dates they were established, who chaired them, and the dates they reported.

    The following list, which may not be exhaustive, includes Royal Commissions dealing with areas in the Lord Chancellor's responsibility and other major inquiries most of whose reports were (or are expected to be) published by HMSO, and presented to Parliament; it excludes official committees and standing advisory committees.

    Established

    Title/Subject

    Chair

    Reported

    Cmnd

    1960Magistrates Courts in London (Commissioned by the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary)His Honour Sir Carl Aarvold19621606
    1961Limitation of actions in cases of personal injuryLord Edmund-Davies19621829
    1963Committee on Legal RecordsLord Denning19663084
    1963Positive covenants affecting landLord Wilberforce19652719
    1964Court of Criminal Appeal (Commissioned by the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary)Lord Donovan19652755
    1964Mechanical recording of court proceedingsThe Right Honourable

    (a) 1965

    2733
    Sir George Baker

    (b) 1966

    3096
    1964Law of succession in relation to illegitimate personsRussell19663051
    1965Enforcement of Judgment DebtsSir Reginald Withers Payne19693909
    1965Age of MajorityThe Honourable Mr. Justice Latey19673342
    1966Civil Judicial StatisticsP. Adams19683684
    1966Supreme Court of Judicature in Northern IrelandLord MacDermott19704292
    1966Royal Commission on Assizes and Quarter SessionsLord Beeching19694153
    1967Legal EducationThe Right Honourable Sir Roger Ormrod19714595
    Personal Injuries LitigationThe Right Honourable Sir Roger Winn19683691
    1971Public Trustee OfficeH. R. Hutton19724913
    1971Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction in Northern Ireland (Commission with Northern Ireland Secretary)Lord Lowry19735431
    1971Law on contempt of court (Commissioned with Lord Advocate)The Right Honourable Sir Henry Josceline Phillimore19745794
    1971Law on DefamationThe Honourable Mr. Justice Faulks19755909
    1973Distribution of business between Crown Courts and Magistrates' CourtsThe Right Honourable Sir Arthur James19756323
    1973Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal InjuryLord Pearson19787054
    1975Judicial Studies and Information (Commission with Home Secretary)Lord Bridge of Harwich1978
    1976Personal Injuries Litigation ProcedureThe Honourable Mr. Jucstice Cantley19797476
    1976Royal Commission on Legal ServicesLord Benson19797648
    1978Selection and access to modern public recordsSir Duncan Wilson19818204
    1979Chancery DivisionThe Right Honourable Lord Justice Oliver19818205
    1983Matrimonial Causes ProcedureThe Honourable Mrs. Justice Booth
    1984ConveyancingProfessor J. T. Farrand

    (a) by non-solicitors

    1984HMSO

    (b) simplification

    1985HMSO

    Established

    Title/Subject

    Chair

    Reported

    Cmnd

    1984Fraud Trials (Commissioned by the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary)Lord Roskill

    Transport

    Mersey Ferries

    40.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to ensure the preservation of the Mersey ferries during the three years following the proposed abolition of the Merseyside county council; and if he will make a statement.

    The operation of the ferries after the abolition of the county council will remain the responsibility of the passenger transport executive, working within the policies determined by the new passenger transport authority.

    Subject of investigationChairmanDate establishedDate of report
    Lorries, People and the EnvironmentSir Arthur Armitage24 July 19799 December 1980
    Review of Railway FinancesSir David Serpell5 May 198220 December 1982
    Pedestrian Safety at Public Road Level CrossingsRt. Hon. Sally Oppenheim, MP22 November 198220 April 1983
    Review of Public Utilities Street Works Act (PUSWA)Professor Michael Home, OBE30 January 1984Expected late Spring 1985
    Review of Arrangements for Protecting the Clients of Air Travel OrganisersSir Peter Lane12 April 19847 June 1984
    Review of Road Traffic LawDr. Peter North31 January 1985
    Information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The list excludes standing advisory committees, departmental inquiries into accidents and public inquiries into road schemes. If my hon. Friend would like further information, I should be happy to write to him.

    M1 (Service Stations)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many types of franchise exist in relation to service stations on the M1 motorway between London and Leeds; and if he will indicate the names and geographical locations of the company or companies involved and their responsibilities to retain continuation of their franchise.

    I have written to the right hon. Member enclosing a list of the nine motorway service areas on the M1 between London and Leeds, with the names and addresses of the operators. Each operates under a 50-year lease from the Secretary of State. The terms of the lease are fairly standard and I am arranging for a copy to be sent to the right hon. Member.

    Cruise Ships (Anglo-Soviet Agreement)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether agreement has yet been reached between British and Soviet passenger cruise ship operators following the latest commercial talks encouraged by Her Majesty's Government; and if he will make a statement.

    The Anglo-Soviet Joint Maritime Commission agreed at its last meeting that the British and Soviet cruise ship operators should meet to discuss the

    Departmental Committees Of Inquiry

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many departmental committees of inquiry he and his predecessors, including Ministers of Transport and Ministers of War Transport, have commissioned since 1955; and what were the subjects the committees investigated, the dates they were established, who chaired them and the dates they reported.

    The following committees of inquiry have been set up since 1979.1986 cruise programmes to be offered in the British market. These commercial talks took place in early April and it was agreed that there should be further reductions in Soviet capacity offered in the British market. It was also agreed that a further meeting will take place in 1986.

    M2 (Traffic Study)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will extend his Department's traffic study on the future of the M2 motorway to include consideration of the car and freight traffic projections to the port of Ramsgate and their implications for the A299 Thanet Way.

    Our present study of the possible need for more capacity on the section of the M2 between junctions 1 and 3 will take account of future traffic expected to use the motorway to and from Ramsgate. The A299 Thanet Way is the responsibility of the Kent county council, but I have undertaken to keep under review the possible need in the future to bring this road into the trunk road network.

    Rail Closures (Strathclyde)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the rail services closed within the Strathclyde regional council area since 1975, along with any future proposals to close rail services in that area.

    The only line to have been closed to rail passenger services in the Strathclyde region since 1975 is between Glasgow and Kilmacolm.British Rail is considering whether to propose closure of a 500-yard stretch of line between Balloch Pier and Balloch Central. Financial support for this service was withdrawn by the Strathclyde passenger transport executive last December.

    London Dockers (Pay)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what is the minimum weekly gross pay receivable by registered dockworkers in the Port of London Authority;(2) what is the minimum weekly gross pay receivable by registered dock workers in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

    At the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company £125·50; at the Port of London Authority £120·85.

    Port Employees (Output)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the output per person employed by (a) the Port of London Authority and (b) the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in each of the last five years.

    Both the PLA and MDHC have reported significant productivity improvements in many of their operations. My Department does not, however, have detailed information, which is in any case commercially confidential.

    Ports (Lost Working Days)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many working days have been lost in each of the last five years due to industrial and other disputes in (a) the Port of London Authority and (b) the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

    The detailed information requested is not retained by the two undertakings, but the number of working days lost in stoppages of work in the ports of London and Liverpool as a whole are set out in "Port Statistics" published annually by my Department and the British Ports Association, copies of which are in the Library.

    Non-Scheme Ports (Employees)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have been employed in each of the last five years in non-scheme ports.

    According to a survey undertaken by the British Ports Association and the National Association of Port Employers, on 18 March 1983 9,514 people were employed in non-scheme ports. Figures for the other years are not available.

    Ports (Financial Assistance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) to what extent the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company currently is in receipt of assistance by way of grant loan and guarantee provided under the Ports (Financial Assistance) Act 1981;(2) to what extent the Port of London Authority currently is in receipt of assistance by way of grant, loan and guarantee provided under the Ports (Financial Assistance) Act 1981.

    Loans and guarantees under this Act still outstanding are:

    Loans £ millionGuarantees £ million
    MDHC3·99·0
    PLA3·021·0
    In addition, we are prepared to continue to make grants to both undertakings for the severance of surplus manpower. In the case of registered dock workers, these benefit all scheme port employers by relieving them of a cost which they would otherwise have to meet collectively through the national voluntary severance schemes. Grants for the severance of other employees are to be phased out.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much financial assistance has been given to (a) the Port of London Authority and (b) the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company under the Ports (Financial Assistance) Act 1981 in each of the years 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984; and what is the level of assistance projected for 1985.

    The information requested is as follows:

    Financial YearPLA £ millionMDHC £ million
    1981–8221·825·8
    1982–8339·870·7
    1983–8432·439·4
    1984–8523·28·5
    The assistance to be given in the financial year 1985–86 will depend principally on the number of staff severed by both undertakings.

    Ports (Manpower Statistics)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many registered dockworkers were employed by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company on 1 January in each of the years 1979 to 1985, inclusive;(2) how many people were in the employment of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company on 1 January in each of the years 1979 to 1985, inclusive;(3) how many people were in the employment of the Port of London Authority on 1 January in each of the years 1979 to 1985, inclusive;(4) how many registered dockworkers were employed by the Port of London Authority on 1 January in each of the years 1979 to 1985, inclusive.

    The information requested is as follows:

    YearMDHCPLA
    RDWSTotalRDWSTotal
    19793,7747,8494,9339,271
    19803,2606,8064,5788,597
    19812,9896,3033,7006,504
    19822,2155,1252,8515,269
    19831,4063,2882,3154,405
    19841,4973,1141,9483,601
    19851,3492,8381,6913,245

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have left the employment of (a) the Port of London Authority and (b) the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in each of the last four years; and, of these, how many were registered dockworkers.

    The information requested is as follows:

    PLA YearRDWSNon-RDWSTotal
    19811,0634351,498
    19828013861,187
    19835284741,002
    1984348124472
    MDHC
    19817094781,198
    19828231,0141,837
    198395287382
    1984147129276

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many new recruits were employed by (a) the Port of London Authority and (b) the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in each of the last four years; and, of these, how many were employed as registered dockworkers.

    The information requested is as follows:

    PLA
    RDWsNon-RDWs
    RecruitsRe-allocation*Recruits†
    1981Nil21449
    1982Nil26558
    1983Nil12720
    1984Nil10625
    * The RDWs reallocated to the PLA are those surplus to other employers in the ports of London.
    † Of the 152 recruits, 43 were apprentices or specialist staff. The remaining 109 were temporary cleaners where there was a higher turnover of staff.
    MDHC
    RDWsNon-RDWs
    RecruitsRe-Allocations*Recruits†
    1981Nil9Nil
    1982NilNil3
    1983Nil2084
    1984NilNilNil

    Notes

    * RDWs reallocated to MDHC were surplus to other employers in the port of Liverpool, the employers being in 1981, Huskisson Transit Company, and in 1983, West Coast Stevedoring Company.

    † The only non-rdws recruited by MDHC were for specialist senior staff posts.

    The figures exclude recruitment of temporary employees by Neptune Security Ltd., a subsidiary of MDHC, hiring security wardens on short-term contracts.

    Ports (Financial Results)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what trading profit or loss the Port of London Authority has made in each of the last six years;(2) what trading profit or loss the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has made in each of the last six years.

    Trading profit/(loss) PLA £ million

    MDHC £ million

    19791·28(1·83)
    1980(1·65)5·02
    19813·661·25
    19826·87(2·34)
    19833·3*6·79
    1984Not yet published1·92

    * In 1983, in accordance with statutory requirements, the PLA changed its accounting policy to conform closely with the provisions of the Companies Act 1981. This figure is the profit before interest payable.

    Driving (Offences)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans to seek to amend section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 so as to make it an offence to drive while under the influence of solvents or gases.

    Driving Tests

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what was the pass rate for each driving test centre in 1984; and how this compares with figures for each of the past five years;(2) what was the average waiting time in 1984 in each driving test centre prior to taking a car driving test; and how the figures compare with each of the past five years.

    I shall write to my hon. Friend. Much of this information is not available and the available statistics will take a few days to assemble.

    Mhari L (Loss Inquiry)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current stage of the inquiry into the loss of the Mhari L; when he expects to receive the report; whether the wreck is to be raised as part of the investigation; and if he will make appropriate arrangements for the burial of any bodies recovered.

    My Department's inspector has not yet completed his inquiry. It is not intended to raise the wreck as part of the investigation, but fortunately my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence made available a vessel for a limited period to examine this wreck. No bodies were found.

    Singapore Airlines (Manchester)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what view British Airways has expressed during his Department's negotiations with the Singapore Government over flying rights to Manchester; and what reaction his Department has given to such views.

    I do not wish to establish the precedent of revealing the views particular airlines may express about inter-governmental air service negotiations.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport why negotiations on an application by Singapore Airlines to open up flights to Manchester lasted for three days.

    Since the Singapore Government first applied to negotiate a new agreement with us on 18 March 1985, I consider it extremely speedy that a conclusion was reached on 3 May.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport why Manchester airport authority was not invited to participate in the consultations between the aeronautical authorities of Singapore and the United Kingdom over Singapore Airlines' application to open a service to Manchester.

    These are discussions between Governments; airports are not represented at the discussions but are consulted.

    M40 (Otmoor Section)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he now anticipates being able to announce his Department's preferred route for the Otmoor section of the M40 extension.

    I am continuing the investigations announced last December into the possibility of finding an eastern route which would avoid Otmoor and the Bernwood Forest. I will make a further announcement as soon as possible.

    Equal Opportunities

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the sex and ethnic origin of the officer designated by his Department as equal opportunities officer.

    [pursuant to his reply, 29 April 1985, c. 27]: My equal opportunities officer is a citizen of the United Kingdom. I do not see the relevance of the question as to sex.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied with the equality of opportunities in his Department in so far as they concern sex and race discrimination; and what advice has lately been given to staff in his Department in respect thereof by the officer designated as equal opportunities officer with responsiblity for giving such advice.

    [pursuant to his reply, 29 April 1985, c. 27]: Yes. All staff have been advised of the Department's general policy on race and sex equality of opportunity through office circulars published in November 1984 and March 1985.

    National Finance

    Johnson Matthey Bankers

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what action the Bank of England took prior to the collapse of Johnson Matthey Bankers in pursuance of its duty to supervise the banking system;(2) whether the review of the arrangements for banking supervision will comment on the justification of the Bank of England's takeover of Johnson Matthey Bankers; and if he will make a statement;(3) whether the review of banking supervision will deal with the monitoring by the Bank of England's banking supervision department of Johnson Matthey prior to its collapse and the steps it took prior to the collapse to identify and seek to correct Johnson Matthey Bankers' difficulties.

    [pursuant to the replies, 2 May 1985, c. 245–46 and 7 May 1985, c. 657]: As the hon. Member is aware, the answers which appear in the official record were not authorised by Ministers and the House has received an apology for and explanation of the episode.The Governor of the Bank of England will include in the bank's annual report to the Chancellor under the Banking Act 1979 an account of events concerning Johnson Matthey Bankers and the subsequent rescue operation. This report will be published and a copy laid before the House in the usual way.I have nothing further to add to the replies given in my name on 2 and 3 May.

    Covenants

    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 covenant procedure; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 30 April 1985, c. 95]: The repayment procedures must include checks that the claimant is in fact entitled to repayment and that tax has been deducted by the payer. In the case of covenants made by parents in favour of their adult student children, however, the Inland Revenue is intending to introduce, from the start of the academic year 1985–86, simplified procedures which meet these basic requirements. These will include forms to make it easier for parents to make out valid deeds, and a new repayment claim form introduced which is tailored to the needs of students. In addition, the Inland Revenue is preparing a package for students which will include leaflets explaining the effect of a deed of covenant on their tax, together with copies of all the necessary forms.

    Direct Selling (Vat)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take in the light of the judgment of the European Court that United Kingdom powers to require value added tax on the open market value of goods in the direct selling field is of no legal effect.

    A formal submission has now been made to the European Commission seeking to restore the vires for the VAT valuation provisions of paragraph 3 of schedule 4 to the Value Added Tax Act 1983, by derogation under article 27 of the sixth VAT directive. Customs and Excise are in communication with those traders who may consider that they have overpaid tax under the provisions affected by the European Court judgment.

    Nationalised Industries

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the rates of return in each nationalised industry for the years 1982, 1983 and 1984.

    It is not possible to provide information for each nationalised industry on a comparable basis and no rates of return are yet available for 1984. Available information for earlier years is as follows:

    Rates of Return on Capital Employed—National Accounts Basis
    IndustryRates of Return
    19821983
    Including Subsidy per centExcluding Subsidy per centIncluding Subsidy per centExcluding Subsidy per cent
    Air Support Services (BAA; CAA)5·04·97·47·2
    Air Transport (BA)–3·0–3·06·96·;9
    Other Inland Transport (NBC; STG; LRT)–0·4–16·4–0·2–18·7
    Posts and Telecom (PO; BT)5·55·53·83·8
    Rail (British Railways Board)–2·8–9·6–1·5–8·5
    Shipbuilding (British Shipbuilders)–3·3–5·0–11·6–13·0
    Steel (BSC)–10·7–10·7–9·2–9·2
    Figures for 1982 have been revised, following publication of the 1983 edition of "National Income and Expenditure ' and may, therefore, differ from those given in answer to my hon. Friend's question on 9 April 1984 at column 81underlying the rates of return for industries in the standard industrial classification division 1 (the energy and water supply industries), in particular asset lives assumptions, are at present under review by the CSO. 1983 rates of return, and revised rates for earlier years, are consequently not yet available for these industries.The basis for the calculation of the figures, which relate to all the public corporations in particular standard industrial classifications, was set out in the Treasury evidence to the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee in 1981 (published as appendix 12 of volume III of its report "Financing of the Nationalised Industries" HC 348-III). The rates of return given are based on national accounts statistics and, therefore, differ from figures based on nationalised industries published accounts.

    Home Department

    Prisons (Suicides)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many attempted suicides there were in each penal establishment in 1984 and so far in 1985.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the measures taken at Pentonville prison to prevent suicides.

    A recent suicide at Pentonville revealed that there had been a failure in the procedure for checking on inmates at the beginning of the day; the governor has taken action to remedy this and I am not aware of any other specific points of this kind that need attention at Pentonville. I naturally regret the two suicides that have taken place in the prison so far this year, but, taking the figures for the last five years, it is clear that suicide is no more frequent at Pentonville than at other comparable establishments.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the age, sex, prison and accommodation occupied by each of those who committed suicide in penal establishments in 1984.

    The available information is as follows. Details of the location of the prisoners concerned are not recorded centrally.

    AgeSexPrison
    1.44MaleBrixton
    2.31MaleBrixton
    3.33MaleParkhurst
    4.37MaleParkhurst
    5.27MaleNorwich
    6.53MaleWormwood Scrubs
    7.17MaleSwansea
    8.19MalePentonville
    9.23MaleBrixton
    10.47MaleDurham
    11.26MaleNorwich
    12.22MaleExeter
    13.37MaleLeeds
    14.24MalePreston
    15.44MalePortsmouth
    16.43MaleExeter
    17.27MaleBrixton
    18.37MaleShrewsbury
    19.26MaleLewes
    20.24MaleWandsworth
    21.34MaleWakefield
    22.37MaleBrixton

    Young Offenders

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of offenders (a) under 17 and (b) under 16 years who have committed indictable offences in each of the last 10 years have been (i) sentenced by courts, (ii) cautioned by the police or (iii) otherwise dealt with respectively.

    Information on offenders sentenced and cautioned for indictable offences is published annually in "Criminal Statistics England and Wales" (Chapters 5 and 7 of the issue for 1983, Cmnd. 9349, and in the supplementary volumes). The proportions requested for those aged under 17 are given in the following table. Corresponding information for offenders aged under 16 for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information is not collected centrally on offenders who were dealt with other than by a police caution or court proceedings. Corresponding information for 1984 is not yet available.

    Persons sentenced at all courts or cautioned by police for indictable offences
    England and WalesPercentage of total
    Age and YearSentencedCautioned
    Aged 10 and under 17
    197450·449·6
    197550·749·3
    197652·147·9
    197748·751·3
    197851·049·0
    197949·850·2
    198051·348·7
    198149·650·4
    198246·753·3
    198343·756·3
    Aged 10 and under 16
    198344·255·8

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of offenders (a) under 17 and (b) under 16 years who have been dealt with by courts for indictable offences in each of the last 10 years have received custodial sentences and care orders, respectively.

    The information requested for offenders aged under 17 is published in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1983" (Cmnd. 9349, tables 7A and 7.5–7.8) and also for the year ending 30 June 1984 in tables 2 and 3 of Home Office statistical bulletin 12/85.For offenders aged under 16, about 7 per cent, of those sentenced for indictable offences in 1983 received a custodial sentence (detention centre, borstal or youth custody) and about 4 per cent, were given a care order; corresponding information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Complete information for 1984 is not yet available.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether any information is available from research or surveys indicating the percentage of young offenders in custody who had been expelled from school or received home tuition;(2) whether any information is available from research or surveys indicating the percentage of young offenders in custody who have no education qualifications;(3) whether any information is available from research or surveys indicating the percentage of offenders aged 16 to 18 years in custody who were unemployed at the time of their offence or reception;(4) whether any information is available from research or surveys indicating the percentage of young offenders who are from one-parent families.

    There is a body of general research on the factors associated with offending by young people, but we are not aware of any research or surveys which give the specific information requested by the hon. Member.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any information is available from research or surveys indicating the percentage of juvenile offenders in custody who have been in care.

    The reports "Offending by Young People" (DHSS, 1981) and "Tougher Regimes in Detention Centres" (HMSO, 1984) contain relevant information at paragraphs 79 ff and 2.21, respectively.

    Public Disorder (East London)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis concerning incidents of public disorder which occurred at Forest Gate, east London, on Saturday 27 April; what was the cause and nature of the disturbance; how many persons were involved; how many persons were arrested; whether there were any injuries; what was the ethnic background of the persons involved; and if he will make a statement on the substance of the report.

    I understand from the Commissioner that these incidents of public disorder occurred in connection with a march organised by the Newham police monitoring group, principally in support of seven people of Asian origin—the Newham seven—who are currently awaiting trial. Following some initial disorder, and the arrest of one demonstrator, the march halted outside Forest Gate police station. Missiles were thrown at police, and there was a sit-down protest. Eventually, after some further incidents of abuse and attacks on police officers, the remaining demonstrators were dispersed by police. A total of 1,500 people, of various ethnic backgrounds, were present at the beginning of the march. During the afternoon 11 police officers and two demonstrators were slightly injured. Thirty-three people were arrested, of whom 10 were white, 11 black and 12 of Asian origin.

    Civil Defence

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which local authorities are not meeting the requirements of the 1983 civil defence regulations; and in which respects.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Morrison) on 20 December, in which I said many local authorities had much more to do. As a first step local authorities have been asked to complete the plans required by the 1983 regulations by the end of the year, and the civil defence adviser is currently engaged on a programme of visits to county councils in England and Wales to assess and discuss their progress.

    Prisoners (Police Cells)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost per night of detaining prisoners in police cells.

    The average cost per prisoner/night of prisoners held in Metropolitan police cells during the financial year 1984–85 is estimated at £200. Figures for other forces are not readily available.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he is satisfied with the conditions for prisoners detained in police cells;(2) if he is satisfied that prisoners detained in police cells have adequate recourse to exercise;(3) if he is satisfied with the conditions under which prisoners detained in police cells receive visits.

    I am conscious that it is not always possible to ensure that prisoners held in police custody receive all the entitlements that would apply if they were in prison custody and I am aware that there have been particular difficulties in relation to visits and exercise. Nevertheless, the police are doing their best to provide whatever facilities they can under very difficult circumstances.

    Adult malesUnder 21 malesAdult femalesUnder 21 females
    Bedfordshire1
    Dorset2
    Essex20
    Hampshire6
    Hertfordshire421
    Kent281
    Leicestershire4
    Norfolk2
    Northamptonshire32
    Surrey21
    Sussex302
    Thames Valley12
    TOTAL1410342
    Further information is not available centrally.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the longest period of time prisoners were detained in police cells in 1984.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was the average period of time that prisoners were detained in police cells in 1984;(2) what is the average period of time that prisoners have been detained in police cells in 1985.

    This information is not available; however, the majority of prisoners held in police cells were there for no more than one or two nights.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why it is necessary to detain prisoners in police cells.

    The reasons include lack of vacancies in the right place, transport and other logistical problems, and industrial relations difficulties.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers were employed in guarding the 227 prisoners detained in police cells in the Metropolitan area from 16 to 19 February.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the locations in London in which prisoners have been detained in police cells in 1985.

    The Metropolitan police support headquarters at Lambeth, the Highbury Corner, Camberwell Green, Horseferry road and South Western magistrates' courts and, occasionally, a number of police stations.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police forces outside of the Metropolitan area have detained prisoners in police cells in 1985; why and where they were detained; and what were the prisoners' ages and sex.

    Between 1 January and 30 April prisoners were held in police cells by provincial forces as follows:

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of prisoners by age, sex and location detained in police cells at the latest available date.

    On 1–2 May 1985 there were 29 male adults and 11 male young offenders held in police cells, all in the Metropolitan police district.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period of time that a prisoner has been detained in police cells in 1985.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost (a) in 1984 and (b) so far in 1985 of police officers guarding prisoners detained in police cells.

    Total expenditure on prisoners in police cells during the financial year 1984–85 was provisionally £2·99 million. A significant proportion of this is, however, attributable to prisoners held during the last months of the previous financial year.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what categories of prisoner have been detained in police cells in 1985.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received about the conditions in which prisoners are detained in police cells.

    In addition to the hon. Member's own letter we currently have one from the chief metropolitan magistrate and one from a member of the public via an hon. Member.

    Prisoners (Statistics)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects there to be a substantial reduction in the prison population.

    Seasonal fluctuations apart, I see no grounds for such an expectation at present.

    Prisoners (Temporary Release)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was the total expenditure on temporary release of prisoners in the most recent year for which figures are available;(2) what was the total expenditure on home leave of prisoners in the most recent year for which figures are available.

    Separate information about expenditure on home leave and temporary release is not available. According to the latest available information, total expenditure on grants and allowances to adult prisoners granted home leave or temporary release in 1984–85 amounted to £232,092.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were granted (a) terminal home leave and (b) short home leave in the most recent year for which figures are available.

    In 1983, the latest year for which figures are yet available, terminal home leave was granted on 1,367 occasions and short home leave on 921.

    Flyposting

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many successful prosecutions there have been in each of the last three years for unauthorised flyposting.

    Information collected centrally does not distinguish illegal bill posting from other offences against the Town and Country Planning Acts 1968–71.

    Drug Offences (Leeds)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been in Leeds in each of the last three years for drugs offences (i) involving cannabis and (ii) involving other drugs.

    The available information for the years 1981 to 1983 is given in the following table; corresponding information for 1984 is not yet available.Persons (1) proceeded against and sentenced at Leeds magistrates' court or at the Crown court after committal at Leeds magistrates' court for drugs offences by type of drug involved.

    Number of persons
    198119821983
    Persons proceeded against for offences involving:
    cannabis only132156165
    cannabis and other drugs71533
    other drugs52016

    1981

    1982

    1983

    Total144191214

    Persons sentenced for offences involving:

    cannabis only124150155
    cannabis and other drugs51432
    other drugs51914
    Total134183201

    (1) The figures are taken from central records and are approximate.

    Community Service Orders

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give details of attendance by people serving community service orders.

    The responsibility for arranging work for offenders ordered to perform community service rests with probation committees. Subject to the statutory requirement that the hours of work specified in a community service order should be completed within 12 months, the arrangements for attendance of individual offenders are matters for probation committees. In 1983, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the average time taken by offenders to complete their specified hours of work was 6·9 months.

    Departmental Facilities Agreement

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received concerning the departmental facilities agreement with the Civil Service trade unions in his Department.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the operation of the departmental facilities agreement with the Civil Service trade unions in his Department; and if he will make a statement.

    The official side and trade union side of the Home Office departmental Whitley council agreed last year to operate a new departmental facilities agreement for an experimental period of one year, beginning 1 September 1984. It is too early to say if this is working satisfactorily. The arrangements will be reviewed in the light of experience of the experimental period.

    Crime Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will arrange for the regular publication of statistics of recorded crime for the different parts of the Metropolitan police district.

    A number of right hon. and hon. Members have indicated to me that they would find it helpful to have regular statistics of recorded crime for the different parts of the Metropolitan police district. I am sympathetic towards this request, and I have therefore been considering, in consultation with the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, how such statistics could best be provided. With his agreement, I am making the following arrangements.I shall arrange for a table of notifiable offences recorded by the police in each borough and district in the Metropolitan police district to be placed in the Library each quarter. In addition, a table will be produced at the beginning of each year giving for each borough and district the numbers of offences recorded and the clear-up rate for the whole of the previous year. The first table, covering the first quarter of 1985, will be produced in June. As an interim measure, I am today arranging for tables to be placed in the Library showing the number of notifiable offences recorded by the police in each police district within the Metropolitan police district in the third and fourth quarters of 1984 and the clear-up rate for 1984 in each police district. Similar figures for previous quarters back to the beginning of 1983 were contained in a reply given on 12 December 1984, at columns 479–84, to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson).I hope that the arrangements I have made will be helpful to right hon. and hon. Members. The statistics should also prove of interest to local police/community consultative groups since they will relate to the areas covered by the groups and will be available for discussion at group meetings.

    Education And Science

    Policy Statement

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to issue a policy statement, of the type referred to in paragraph 32 of "Better Schools", on education in schools in art, craft, design and technology.

    We propose to publish in due course, and after consultation, policy statements on a number of areas of the school curriculum. The timing and coverage of these statements will depend on the course of the consultations.

    "Curriculum Matters"

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the "Curriculum Matters" series published by Her Majesty's inspectorate will include documents on art, craft, design and technology; and if he will make a statement.

    Her Majesty's inspectorate intends that its "Curriculum Matters" series of discussion documents should cover all the main subjects and aspects of the curriculum for 5 to 16-year-olds, including art and craft, design and technology. The documents are at various stages of preparation and Her Majesty's inspectorate hope that most can be satisfactorily developed ready for publication during the coming year.

    Environment

    House Of Commons (Cleaning)

    15.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment who were the private contractors who shared the contract for cleaning the House of Commons with Exclusive prior to Exclusive being given the sole contract in 1982.

    Prior to 1982, the following firms in addition to Exclusive Cleaning and Maintenance (London) held contracts for cleaning parts of the Palace of

    Westminster and the Parliamentary Estate, although the contract for cleaning the House of Commons was not shared;

    • Strand Cleaning Services Ltd., Dulwich
    • Vigiliant Cleaning Services Ltd., London EC1
    • Daily Office Cleaning Contractors Ltd., Staines
    • C. & P. Bygraves Ltd., Streatham

    Improvement Grant System

    16.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to publish his review of the improvement grant system.

    House Building

    17.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to stimulate house building in the public and private sectors.

    According to the House Builders Federation, four out of five private housebuilders are expecting to maintain or increase starts in the next 12 months.

    Housing Stock

    18.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what new initiatives he intends to take in the next few months to improve the state of the housing stock.

    The Government will publish tomorrow a Green Paper outlining new proposals to improve the condition of private housing in England and Wales. My Department has asked English local authorities for a report on the condition of their housing stock. The results are expected in July.Gross housing provision in England in the current year is £3,051 million, of which a substantial part will be spent on improving public sector housing.

    "Decaying Britain"

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the Royal Institute of British Architects' publication "Decaying Britain", a copy of which has been sent to him.

    I have read the booklet with interest. I have no doubt that it will be discussed when my right hon. Friend and I meet the Group of Eight on 17 June to consider the NEDO report on the infrastructure.

    Air Pollution

    21.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further proposals he has to reduce levels of air pollution; and whether he will make a statement.