Written Answers To Questions
Thursday 9 May 1985
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total amount collected in tolls on the Severn bridge for each year since it was opened.
The information requested is as follows:
|Year||Tolls Levied £|
Merchant Navy (Consultants' Report)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek to accelerate the consultants' study into the causes of the decline in Britain's merchant fleet; and if he will publish their results as soon as they are available.
I have not engaged consultants to study the causes of the decline of Britain's merchant fleet. I expect to receive later this month the report of the consultants I have engaged to forecast the future availability of merchant shipping to meet defence needs. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence and I will then examine the consultants' findings against foreseen future defence needs. That examination will take some time. It would not be appropriate to make any report until it has been completed.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the proposed construction of a bypass for Leadenham in Lincolnshire.
The options for a scheme for Leadenham are being reappraised because of new traffic growth figures, which I explained in my letter of 8 February. Our reassessment is reaching its final stages and I hope to announce our preferred scheme in the near future.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the cost of the consultation exercise on an east London road assessment study.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 25 March 1985 at column 29.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when the results of the East London road assessment study consultation will be published.
The consultants will be drawing on these results for their initial report about problems—to be published later this year.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are the numbers of (a) motor vehicles and (b) heavy goods vehicles using the A1–A102 route.
Collection of this data will form pan of the east London assessment study.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the cost of all public inquiries into the Archway road since 1967.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when Her Majesty's Government will publish the proposed routes of the road widening for the A1–A102 link in north London.
There is no such proposal.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are the month-by-month comparisons for the daily usage of the north-east sector of the M25 since it was opened from the A1 to the Dartford tunnel.
The M25 became continuous from the A1(M) to the northern approach to the Dartford tunnel in January 1984. Flows are estimated to vary from section to section. At the only location, at Ockendon, where there has been continuous monitoring, the average daily (16-hour) two-way flow for each month was as follows:
|Month 1984||Vehicles per day*|
|* estimated from one-way count|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the average cost of motorway building in rural and urban areas in each year since 1975.
Motorway construction costs per mile vary significantly depending on the standard and location of the road concerned. The figures represent very broad average works costs at outturn prices by type of motorway. Additional associated costs such as land acquisition may add between 20 and 25 per cent. to these figures.
|Year||Rural dual 3-lane||Rural dual 2-lane||Urban dual 3-lane||Urban dual 2-lane|
Civil Aviation Bill
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the Civil Aviation Bill.
I undertook not to proceed with the Civil Aviation Bill until decisions had been taken on the inspector's report on the Stansted/Heathrow terminal 5 planning inquiries. My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction and I will not be in a position to announce those decisions in time for the Bill to complete all its remaining stages this Session. I am therefore withdrawing this Bill.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has now completed his consideration of the responses to the Government's consultative document on marine pilotage.
I am grateful to all those who have submitted comments on the document, and I am considering them most carefully. It will necessarily be a little time before the proposed new arrangements can be settled, and in the meantime I have decided to give the leading parties concerned with pilotage an opportunity to reflect on the comments of the other leading parties and to put forward any new suggestions which could be expected to attract a consensus of support. I am accordingly arranging, with the leading parties agreement, for their comments to be made publicly available. Copies will be placed in the Library, and can also be obtained on application to my Department.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy that, with regard to the traditional urban programme, the total financial allocation for new and time-expired projects under circular 26 will be no less in real terms than the total financial allocation for new and time expired projects under circular 25.
No. Decisions on the allocations for different parts of the urban programme in 1986–87 have yet to be taken.
Holiday Play Schemes
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many of the representations he has received from local authorities, voluntary organisations and hon. Members were in favour of the cuts in traditional urban funding for holiday play schemes; and how many were against the cuts.
The representations received have argued for urban programme funding, or increased funding, for particular schemes or groups of schemes.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now make a statement on the chairmanship of the Sports Council.
Following the resignation of Mr. Dick Jeeps, my right hon. Friend has appointed Mr. John Smith as the next chairman of the Sports Council. Well-known in Mersey side, in business, in football and in tennis, John Smith has been a member of the Sports Council since 1980; I feel sure that his well-known expertise in financial and corporate management, added to his unrivalled experience as chairman of Liverpool football club, will enable him to lead the Sports Council successfully towards the 1990s.The new chairman will give two days a week. John Smith has other responsibilities which he wishes to maintain. He will, as chairman, oversee the business and direction of the Sports Council, and he will be supported by two vice chairmen, each with executive responsibilities. Ian McCallum, the present vice chairman, will continue in his post. My right hon. Friend has appointed Mr. James Harvie-Watt as a second vice chairman. A member of the Council since 1980, Mr. Harvie-Watt's financial expertise and good sense have already made a strong impression. I believe that he and Ian McCallum will give John Smith first-class support, and that they will make a very strong team, giving the council a fresh impetus for the future.These new appointments take effect from 20 May 1985. The cost of the new team to public funds is less than the present arrangement.I will continue to review the membership and structure of the council, with the advice of the chairman and vice chairmen.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the number of homes which are felt to be unfit for human habitation and the number so seriously affected by damp as to present marked discomfort or disadvantage to their occupants.
In the 1981 English house condition survey it was estimated that in 1981 some 1·1 million dwellings—6 per cent. of the stock—were unfit for human habitation. There is no readily available estimate of the total number of dwellings affected by damp sufficient to be a discomfort or disadvantage to their occupants.
However, the survey indicated that 10 per cent. of households considered themselves to be troubled by damp.
Housing Waiting Lists
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he next plans to meet leaders of council housing departments to discuss with them the problems they are facing in housing local citizens whose names are on long waiting lists.
My right hon. Friend will be meeting representatives of the local authority associations at the meeting of the Housing Consultative Council on 10 June 1985.
English House Condition Survey
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet decided when the next English house condition survey will be held.
The next English house condition survey will be undertaken in the autumn of 1986; preliminary work has begun. It is envisaged that the survey will have broadly the same format as that held in 1981, but the sample size will be increased considerably. The first results from the survey should be available at the end of 1987.
Housing Improvement Policy
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the Government's review of private sector housing improvement policy.
A Green Paper entitled "Home Improvement—A New Approach" (Cmnd. 9513) is being published today. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have arranged for copies to be sent to all local authorities in England and Wales and to other interested bodies. The closing date for comments is 9 July 1985. Copies have been placed in the Library and in the Vote Office.
|1980–81 £||1981–82 £||1982–83 £||1983–84 £||1984–85 £|
|Secretary of State||18,720||21,320||23,920||28,600||28,600|
|Minister of State||18,720||21,320||23,920||28,600||26,000|
|Minister of State||18,720||21,230||23,920||28,600||26,000|
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State||18,720||21,320||23,920||28,600||26,000|
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State||18,720||21,320||23,920||28,600||26,000|
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State||18,720||21,320||23,920||21,450||22,550|
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State||18,720||10,660||—||—||—|
Central Electricity Generating Board
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much the Central Electricity Generating Board is paying back to the Treasury this year to write off its historic costs.
The external financing limit (EFL) is set for the electricity supply industry as a whole, not for each electricity board. The electricity supply industry's EFL for 1985–86 was set at minus £1,128 million. As shown in table 5.5 of Command 9428, this
The primary responsibility for maintaining and improving private housing rests with the owners, though they should receive appropriate help and encouragement in fulfilling that responsibility. The Government intend to discuss with the building industry and the lending institutions ways in which more can be done to encourage owners to help themselves.
While there is still a place for public sector financial help, it needs to be better channelled towards those who could not otherwise afford to carry out essential repairs and improvements. Rateable value limits are unsatisfactory in this respect and the Government propose that they should be replaced and that eligibility should be based directly on the financial circumstances of owner-occupiers. Under the new proposals, mandatory grants would be available more widely than at present. All improvement and repair work needed to make a dwelling fit would attract a mandatory grant subject to the new eligibility test. Discretionary help would also continue but in the form of equity-linked loans, repayable on the sale of the property. New powers are envisaged for enveloping schemes and to grant-aid dwellings which are being improved for sale.
Those who are most deserving should be encouraged to apply. The Government support the development of agency services as one way of achieving this.
In most cases renovation would continue to be the answer, but where redevelopment was justified the Green Paper proposes a fairer system of compensation for those affected, and the involvement of the private sector, wherever possible, in the subsequent redevelopment.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide details by the individual Ministers in his Department of the costs for ministerial cars in each year since 1980–81.
[pursuant to his reply, 7 May 1985, c. 306]: The cost to the Department of the Environment of ministerial cars allocated to the Secretary of State and Ministers in the years in question were:EFL is mainly composed of the repayment of borrowing from the national loans fund and from market and overseas lenders. The EFL is under review in the light of the effects of the miners' strike.
Education And Science
Advanced Supplementary Level Examinations
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to obtain the views of those likely to sit advanced supplementary level examinations of the work load they anticipate will arise from these examinations; and if he will make a statement.
No. My right hon. Friend has made clear that AS-level courses should be designed to require half the study time of A-level courses.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list the years in which union representation on the Burnham committee has been reviewed; and what changes in representation resulted in each case.
Changes in the composition of the teachers' panel, since the setting up of the Burnham primary and secondary committee under the provisions of the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965, are as follows:
|Name of Association||1965||1966||1979||1981|
|Assistant Masters' and Mistresses' Association (AMMA)||4||4||4||4|
|National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)||1||1||2||2|
|National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NAS/UWT)||2||3||6||7|
|National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE)||4||2||1||1|
|National Union of Teachers (NUT)||16||16||16||16|
|Professional Association of Teachers (PAT)||0||0||0||1|
|Secondary Heads Association (SHA)||2||2||1||1|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he received requesting a review of representation on the Burnham committee prior to his announcement of such a review.
The Department received specific requests for a review from 10 organisations and seven individuals.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make a further statement about the future of community radio.
My right hon. and learned Friend hopes to make a further statement within the next few weeks.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are engaged on the special project committee which he has set up to review the role and future of Holloway prison; from what professional bodies they come; and if he will list then-names in the Official Report.
The membership of the Holloway project committee is as follows:Mr. C P Honey—Regional Director, South East Region, Prison DepartmentMr. C J Allen—Governor, Her Majesty's Prison Holloway
Dr. P Mason—Director, Mental Health Divison, Department of Health and Social Services
Mrs. J Galbraith JP—latterly Chairman, Board of Visitors, Her Majesty's Prison Holloway
Dr. D A F Doherty—Principal Medical Officer, Directorate of Prison Medical Services
Mrs. M M Donnelly—Governor II, Prison Department Headquarters
Mr. B Chaplin—Principal, Prison Department Headquarters
Mr. D Twiner—Governor II, Prison Department Headquarters
Miss J Kinsley—Governor, Her Majesty's Prison, Brixton—attended meetings of the committee while governor of Holloway.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to establish any special counselling and advisory services at Holloway prison to help women there who have attempted self-mutilation; and what plans he has to increase the level of prison medical staff to deal with this problem.
Inmates at Holloway prison who attempt self-mutilation are seen, as a matter of course, by a prison medical officer, who can refer them, if necessary, to a consultant psychiatrist. A wide range of counselling and advisory services is also available. There are no plans at present to increase the level of medical cover at Holloway.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will invite probation and education officers to discuss with him their views on the imposition of restrictions on contacts between professional staff and former inmates of Holloway prison.
My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of women prisoners in Holloway prison in each year since 1970 and the number of cells in that prison which contained (a) one inmate, (b) two inmates, (c) three inmates and (d) four inmates in each year during the same period.
Table A sets out the average number of inmates in Holloway prison in the period 1970 to 1984.Information on the occupacy of cells before 1976 is not readily available. Table B sets out the occupancy of cells in mid-December each year from 1976 up to 1984. No cells accommodated more than three inmates. These figures do not cover rooms and dormitories designed for multi-occupancy, nor do they cover hospital accommodation.
|Table A: Average population in custody at Holloway prison, 1970–1984|
Table B: Holloway cell occupancy, 1976–1984
Number of cells containing
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give a breakdown of the category of offences for which present women prisoners are serving sentences in percentage terms.
The latest readily available information is given in the following table. More detailed information relating to 30 June is published annually in "Prison Statistics, England and Wales"—table 1.5 of the latest issue for 1983 (Cmnd. 9363).
|Population* of females under sentence† on 31 March 1985 by offence group|
|Offence group||Young offenders||Adult prisoners||Total|
|Violence against the person||16||15||15|
|Year||Total||Lengths of sentences|
|1970||2||Life, 4 years.|
|1971||8||7½ years, 5 years × 2, 4 years, 3 years × 2, 12 months, 9 months.|
|1972||10||Life × 2, 8 years, 4 years × 2, 18 months × 3, 15 months, 9 months.|
|1973||8||14 years, 6 years, 5 years, 4½ years, 3 years, 2 years × 2, 9 months|
|1974||2||6 years × 2.|
|1975||6||Life, 5 years, 4 years × 2, 6 months, 21 days*.|
|1976||9||Life, 10 years, 5 years, 4 years, 3 years, 2 years 9 months, 18 months, 12 months, 9 months.|
|1977||7||Life, 12 years, 7 years, 4 years, 2 years, 18 months, 1 month.|
|1978||7||Life × 4, 5 years*, 18 months, 12 months.|
|1979||12||Life × 3, 5 years, 4 years, 3 years × 2, 18 months, 12 months, 9 months, 6 months × 2.|
|1980||9||Life × 3, 12 years × 2, 5 years, 4 years, 21 months, 19 months.|
|1981||7||Life × 2, 8 years × 2, 3 years × 2, 12 months.|
|1982||8||Life × 5, 15 years, 3 years, 18 months.|
|1983||11||Life, 4 years × 2, 3¼ years, 3 years × 2, 2 years × 2, 9 months, 6 months, 3 months.|
|1984||10||Life × 3, 25 years, 7 years, 5 years, 4 years, 3½ years, 2 years, 18 months.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by national origin and date of
|Offence group||Young offenders||Adult prisoners||Total|
|Theft, handling, fraud and forgery||32||39||38|
|Court martial prisoners||—||—||—|
|All offences (total number = 100 per cent.)||100||100||100|
|Number of prisoners||238||884||1,122|
|* Estimates based on approximate data held centrally.|
|† Including persons committed in default of payment of a fine, compensation order or costs.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have had criminal proceedings instituted against them resulting from allegations of rape and indecent assault on females detained in their custody, since 1955; and how many of these were convicted.
The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.In the period 1980 to 1984, 12 police officers in England and Wales were convicted of sexual offences but information is not available centrally as to the offences in each case, or whether they were committed while the officer was on or off duty.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in each single year since 1970 the number of men and women prisoners who have committed suicide while serving gaol sentences; and if he will list the length of the sentences which had been imposed on them individually.
The information requested is as follows:application the total numbers of people who have
(a) sought and (b) been granted asylum in the United Kingdom in each year since 1979.
I shall shortly place in the Library refugee statistics for 1984, together with revised figures for earlier years.
Prisoners (Rape And Murder)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners convicted of (a) rape and (b) murder have been released since 1955 on the basis of fresh evidence presented subsequently clearing their name; and how many were pardoned (i) before and (ii) after their execution in cases of murder between 1955 and the year of the last implementation of the death penalty.
The information readily available is as follows. Since 1955 one man convicted of rape and one man convicted of sexual offences (unspecified in the available records) have been granted free pardons. Four men convicted of murder and one man convicted of rape have had their convictions quashed following a reference to the Court of Appeal by the Home Secretary. Between 1955 and the coming into force of the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 no person convicted of murder was granted a free pardon; 79 persons convicted of murder and sentenced to death were granted a conditional pardon and the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. One man convicted of murder was granted a free pardon posthumously in 1966.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (a) what is the current establishment of the Nottinghamshire constabulary, (b) how many officers were in post effective 31 March and (c) to what circumstances or reasons he ascribes the reduction in strength; and if he will make a statement.
The authorised establishment of the Nottinghamshire constabulary is 2,259, an increase of 114 since May 1979. The strength of the force was 2,150 on 31 March 1985. Police manpower levels fluctuate from month to month because of different recruiting and wastage patterns, seasonal changes and other local reasons. I understand that there was further recruitment to the Nottinghamshire constabulary in April 1985 and the present strength is 2,166.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he intends to take to implement his Budget proposals to relieve from value added tax certain temporarily imported goods and to change the arrangements for charging value added tax on certain reimported goods; and whether he will make a statement.
The Budget proposals relating to VAT on certain temporarily imported and reimported goods will be given effect by regulations made by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise under powers in the Value Added Tax Act 1983. These regulations have now been made and are being laid before the House today. They are subject to the negative procedure.The regulations provide relief from VAT for goods which are temporarily imported solely for repair, renovation, modification or treatment and which upon re-exportation are identifiable as the imported goods. The ownership in the goods may not be transferred to any person in the United Kingdom either at importation or during the time they remain in the United Kingdom and the goods must be re-exported within six months.The regulations also provide for VAT to be charged on goods which are reimported after repair, process or adaptation abroad as if that repair or process had been carried out in the United Kingdom—that is, generally on the cost of the work, plus any duty and freight. There must be an intention at the time of exportation to reimport the goods on completion of the process abroad, and the ownership in the goods must not be transferred to a person outside the United Kingdom either at exportation or during the time they remain abroad.The changes under these regulations will take effect from 1 June 1985.
Nationalised Industries (Consultation Note)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to take in the light of comments he has received on the consultation note on nationalised industries legislation issued on 20 December 1984.
Comments on the consultative document issued last December are being carefully considered and discussions with the industries are continuing. The Government do not intend to propose general nationalised industry legislation in the 1985–86 Session.
Income And Taxation
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in the manner of the reply given to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North Official Report, 13 February 1984, column 65, he will compare in local currencies and in pound sterling equivalent (a) gross domestic product per person, (b) average income tax paid per person, (c) average value added tax paid per person and (d) average per capita annual income in each of the United Kingdom, Germany and France during the years 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984.
The information available is given in the following table. For corresponding data for 1982 on items (b) and (c) I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 11 February at column 52; no later data are available. Exchange rates do not necessarily provide a satisfactory basis for converting other national currencies into pound sterling in the context of GDP and a more realistic assessment of relative levels of GDP in terms of their domestic purchasing power can be made through the use of purchasing power parities. Estimates on both bases are given in the table.
Estimates per head of total population
Gross domestic product at market prices
In local currencies
|United Kingdom (£)||4,495||3,040|
|German Federal Republic (DM)||25,035||16,965|
In £ sterling
(a) Based on exchange rates
|German Federal Republic||5,495||3,725|
(b) Based on purchasing power parities
|German Federal Republic||5,510||3,735|
In local currencies
|United Kingdom (£)||4,905||3,310|
|German Federal Republic (DM)||25,965||17,345|
In £ sterling
(a) Based on exchange rates
|German Federal Republic||6,120||4,090|
(b) Based on purchasing power parities
|German Federal Republic||5,840||3,905|
In local currencies
|United Kingdom (£)||5,325||3,515|
|German Federal Republic (DM)||27,150||n.a.|
In £ sterling
(a) Based on exchange rates
|German Federal Republic||7,015||n.a|
(b) Based on purchasing power parities
|German Federal Republic||6,220||n.a.|
In local currencies
|United Kingdom (£)||5,635||n.a.|
|German Federal Republic (DM)||28,275||n.a.|
In £ sterling‡
(a) Based on exchange rates
|German Federal Republic||7,460||n.a.|
Taxes on personal income†
Value added tax†
In local currencies
|United Kingdom (£)||475||205|
|German Federal Republic (DM)||2,715||1,585|
In £ sterling
(a) Based on exchange rates
|German Federal Republic||595||350|
(b) Based on purchasing power parities
|German Federal Republic||595||350|
n.a. = not available.
* Personal income comprises wages and salaries, income from self-employment and income from investments. For the German Federal Republic the figures exclude re-invested earnings of the self-employed.
† On a receipts basis. The United Kingdom figures are affected by the Civil Service dispute in 1981.
‡ Figures based on purchasing power parities are not yet available.
United Kingdom—latest estimates supplied to OECD.
France and German Federal Republic—GDP and Personal income from OECD National Accounts publications. Tax data from Revenue Statistics of OECD Member countries 1965–83.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has as to (a) the comparative gross domestic product and (b) the percentage of gross domestic product accounted for by income taxes and value-added tax, respectively, for each member state of the European Economic Community, for each year since 1981 inclusive; and if he will also provide for each country the total of individual salaries or incomes as a percentage of that country's gross domestic product.
Comparisons of gross domestic product per head between EC member states for the years 1981–83 are given in "OECD National Accounts 1960–1983" (volume 1, page 125). A copy of the publication is available in the House of Commons Library. For information on the percentage of gross domestic product accounted for by income taxes and value added tax in the period 1981–1983, and provisional estimates of comparative gross domestic product in 1984, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 11 February at column 54.The following table gives percentages of gross domestic product accounted for by personal income in 1981 and 1982 for Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Corresponding figures for later years (apart from the United Kingdom) and for the other EC member states are not available. These figures should be used with caution since they are not comparable partly for the reasons indicated by the footnotes to the table and partly because of variations between countries in the relative importance of the corporate sector and the self-employed.
|Personal Income* as percentage of gross domestic product at current market prices|
|German Federal Republics‡||67·8||66·8|
|* Personal income comprises wages and salaries, income from self-employment, and income from investments.|
|† Includes employers' contributions to private pension schemes.|
|‡ Excludes re-invested earnings of the self-employed.|
Source: OECD National Accounts.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the increase in wholesale prices in March can be directly attributed to the fall in the exchange rate since 1 January; and if he will break down the figures to show the effect in detail.
The producer price index for materials and fuel purchased by manufacturing industry fell by 1·4 per cent. between February and March, while the producer price index for home sales of manufactured products rose by 0·5 per cent. It is not possible to quantify with any accuracy the contribution of exchange rate movements to either of these figures.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what measures he is taking to review the tax reliefs available to private woodland owners in the light of the case at Crichness in East Lothian where afforestation proceeded despite the Forestry Commission refusing planting grants, and in the light of the recommendations and findings of the Eighth Report of the Committee of Public Accounts on the taxation of woodlands managed on a commercial basis;(2) what measures he takes to ensure that owners of forests claiming tax relief under schedule D are doing so only on schemes considered appropriate and viable by the Forestry Commission.
The tax treatment of forestry owners is determined under the appropriate tax law which does not differentiate between planting schemes which attract grant aid from the Forestry Commission and those which do not. The existing tax arrangements are of long standing and I have no plans at present to change them.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria govern the implementation of an in-depth inquiry by the Inland Revenue into the affairs of a particular taxpayer; what steps are taken to ensure that unfair pressure is not applied to the taxpayer during the process; what advantages are gained from an in-depth inquiry; and if he will make a statement.
Inquiries are undertaken where the inspector of taxes is not satisfied that the taxpayer has fully declared his profits and where the potential amount of tax at stake is likely to make an investigation cost-effective.The taxpayer's principal safeguard is his right of appeal to the independent Commissioners. Within the Inland Revenue, procedures for the control of in-depth inquiries are designed to ensure that the rights of taxpayers are strictly observed; for example, district inspectors are personally responsible for ensuring the satisfactory conduct of investigations within their offices. For a more detailed account of the powers of the inspector and the rights of the taxpayer I refer my hon. Friend to chapter 10 of volume 1 of the Keith report (Cmnd. 8822).In-depth inquiries help to secure compliance with tax laws and deter evasion. In the year ended 31 March 1984, investigations by the Inland Revenue resulted in the collection of £371 million additional tax.
Overseas Private Investment
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing which countries were the recipients of British private investment overseas in 1984 with the relevant figures.
Geographical details of direct investment overseas by United Kingdom companies (excluding oil companies) are given in "Business Monitor MA4" which is available in the House of Commons Library. The latest issue gives figures for 1982. Summary figures for 1983 (including geographical information) will be published by the Department of Trade and Industry in "British Business" very shortly. Direct investment covered about a quarter of British private investment overseas as a whole in 1982: no geographical details are available of the investments made by oil companies or of portfolio or property investment by United Kingdom residents.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contingency funds have been earmarked by the European Community Council of Ministers for a shortfall in funds created by any failure to get ratification of the latent non-reimbursible advance by national Governments.
[pursuant to his reply, 7 May 1985, c. 366]: None.
Consolidated Fund (Unused Balances)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will indicate, pursuant to the answer on 18 April, Official Report, column 244, whether a symbol relating to non-surrender to the Consolidated Fund of unused balances was likewise omitted in error from the Supply Estimates in respect of the votes sought for the purposes specified in Class V, 10, C2, and Class VIII, 4, B5; and whether he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 26 April 1985, c. 571]: No symbol is required for these subheads. The symbol regrettably omitted in error from subhead C1 of Class V, vote 10 and subhead B4 of Class VIII, vote 4 is one of those used to indicate the accounting and audit arrangements for grant in aid and certain subscriptions etc. to international organisations. (A full list of symbols can be found in the introduction to each Estimates booklet.) Subheads C2 and B5 are not grants in aid.
Trade And Industry
Export Credits Guarantee Department
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the London telephone number of the Export Credits Guarantee Department is always engaged or subject to long delays before being answered.
ECGD's London telephone facilities are provided by a modern electronic branch exchange and include provision for direct dialling to individuals and the automatic redirection of calls if a number is engaged or the intended contact is not available. The Department is unaware of any general difficulties with calls handled through the switchboard itself. If my hon. Friend has had a particular problem and gives me details, I shall have the matter investigated further.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the implications of the decision of the European Court as to the incompatibility of current United Kingdom country of origin labelling requirements with article 30 of the treaty of Rome for the future policy of Her Majesty's Government on country of origin labelling.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for corporate and consumer affairs of 30 April, at column 92, to my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Sir G. Finsberg).
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to assess the level of public support for country of origin labelling of products; and if he will make a statement.
My Department will be consulting a wide range of interested organisations in connection with the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice on the Trade Descriptions (Origin Marking) (Miscellaneous Goods) Order 1981.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the employment implications for the United Kingdom of compliance with the recent judgment of the European Court on the legality of current United Kingdom country of origin labelling requirements.
We shall be considering the views of interested parties on all the implications of the judgment, bearing in mind that the purpose of the order to which the judgment relates is to assist consumers in making their purchasing decisions.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the countries from which goods may be imported without country of origin labelling if the United Kingdom implements the recent judgment of the European Court on the legality of current United Kingdom country of origin labelling requirements.
The judgment is directly relevant to goods imported from other member states of the European Community or goods originating from third countries which entered into free circulation within the Community before importation into the United Kingdom.
"Think British" Campaign
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he takes to promote the awareness amongst the public as to British-made products; whether in this he liaises with the "Think British" campaign; and if he will make a statement.
The Government encourage people to buy British where British goods are the best, most competitive and most suitable to the buyer. Ministers and officials in the Department of Trade and Industry have had several meetings with representatives of the "Think British" campaign.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will state the quota for banana imports into the United Kingdom for each of the years 1983, 1984 and 1985; if he will break these figures down into the allocations for Northern Ireland and Great Britain, respectively, in each year, and if he will also state the actual level of imports into both parts of the United Kingdom in each year mentioned.
The requested details of the United Kingdom import quota for bananas originating in the dollar area are, by quota period:
|1 October 1982 to 30 September 1983||1 October 1983 to 30 September 1984||1 October 1984 to 31 December 1985 (15 months)|
Source: DTI Import Licensing figures
Import statistics are collected for the United Kingdom as a whole and are not separately identified by region; and in the case of bananas they include plantains. The details requested are as follows:
|Total imports of fresh bananas (including plantains)||307,169||309,327*||78,797*|
Source: Overseas Trade Statistics SITC/Rev 2 Sub Group 057.3 Tariff Heading 0801 3100
P And O Ferries (Take Over)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he intends to refer the acquisition by European Ferries of P and O cross channel ferry operations to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
The acquistion is being considered by the Office of Fair Trading in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973. Once the Director General of Fair Trading has submitted advice on whether the acquisition should be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission the Secretary of State will announce his decision as soon as practicable.
Taiwan (Trade Mission)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will send a Government-sponsored trade mission to Taiwan.
I regret that I cannot send a Government-sponsored trade mission to Taiwan, because we have no diplomatic relations with that territory. However, I am happy for any bodies such as chambers of commerce or trade associations to sponsor trade missions to Taiwan.Lord Jellicoe, in his capacity as chairman of the British Overseas Trade Board, led a small high-level trade mission to Taiwan last August. I hope that this will lead to an increase in exports from Britain to Taiwan, and a reduction in our large adverse trade balance.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been paid out in grant each year from the Alvey fund; and what proportion was allocated to projects in Northern Ireland.
Total payments under the Alvey programme from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defence and the Science and Engineering Research Council were £4·2 million in 1983–84 and £14·6 million in 1984–85.None of the recipient companies or academic institutions was located in Northern Ireland. However, one academic institution in the Province is a partner in three projects and will therefore receive some Alvey funding in the future.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list details of trade between the United Kingdom and Vietnam in each of the past five years to the latest date.
The value of British trade with Vietnam for each of the last five years for which complete annual figures are available is as follows:
|United Kingdom exports £ million||United Kingdom imports £ million|
|* Two months January and February.|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to improve trade between Her Majesty's Government and Vietnam; and if he will make a statement.
Her Majesty's Government would welcome improved trade relations with Vietnam. The chairman of the British Overseas Trade Board's South-East Asia trade advisory group paid a fact-finding visit to Vietnam last autumn. But in present circumstances the prospect of increasing trade with Vietnam does not seem high.
Leipzig Trade Fair
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what grants are available each year from his Department for British companies who wish to be represented at the annual Leipzig trade fair in the German Democratic Republic; and what plans he has to increase the availability of such grants.
If there is sufficient industry interest, British companies which wish to exhibit at the Leipzig trade fair can obtain assistance under the terms of the British Overseas Trade Board's joint venture scheme, subject to the BOTB's priorities within the resources available. In 1985–86, 45 per cent., 50 per cent. and 55 per cent. of the BOTB's forecast direct costs in providing a stand and display aids are charged to first and second time participants and regular exhibitors respectively. In 1986–87 the charges will be 40 per cent., 55 per cent. and 75 per cent. respectively. Travel grants are also available for up to two representatives of each company in the BOTB group. In 1985–86 the travel grant is £115 each. In 1986–87 the grant will be about 90 per cent. of this amount for three visits to the exhibition and at half that rate for one further attendance.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the annual trade between the United Kingdom and Nicaragua by (a) value, and (b) volume for each year since 1975.
Information relating to volume is not available for indivual countries.The information on value is as follows:
|Value £ million|
|United Kingdom imports||United Kingdom exports|
|* 1984 figures are provisional.|
Source: data corresponding to United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics Table IB.
Notes: (i) all data is on a SITC/R2 basis.
(ii) United Kingdom imports are valued cif, United Kingdom exports are valued fob.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the possible uses of the Centaur military vehicles which are promoted by the Defence Sales Organisation.
The Centaur multi-role all-terrain vehicle is a stretched Land Rover the half-tracked characteristics of which greatly enhances its off-road capabilities.Like the Land Rover it has a variety of potential military and non-military applications, including stores transportation, ambulance-medical adaptation and communications.
Trade Union Act 1984
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will amend the Trade Union Act 1984 so as to make all members of the principal executive committees of trade unions subject to the periodic balloting provisions of part I of the Act.
The provisions of the Trade Union Act 1984 concerning union elections come into force on 1 October. It would be premature to consider further amending legislation which has not yet taken effect.
Trade Union Funds
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will introduce legislation to prevent the funds of trade unions being used to indemnify members against the consequences of illegal acts by them.
We have no plans to introduce legislation at present.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will place a copy of the letter to Baroness Platt of 15 January, concerning changes in the eligibility criteria for the community programme, in the Library.
I have done so, together with a copy of Baroness Platt's reply.
Manufacturing Industry (Jobs)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many manufacturing jobs were (a) lost and (b) created in (i) Coventry, (ii) west midlands and (iii) nationally in each of the past 10 years.
Information about job gains and job losses is not available from the Department's statistics but an indication of net changes can be seen by comparing levels of employees in employment at different dates.The following tables give the available information. Table 1 gives, for the west midlands region and Great Britain in the years specified, the annual change in the estimated number of employees in employment in manufacturing industries, analysed according to the 1980 standard industrial classification (SIC).Information about employment for local areas is only available from the Department's censuses of employment. Table 2 gives, for the Coventry jobcentre area, the change between each census date since 1974 in the estimated number of employees in employment in manufacturing industries, analysed according to the 1968 SIC. Analyses according to the 1980 SIC are not available for local areas prior to 1981.
|Table 1—Employees in Manufacturing Industries (1980 SIC)|
|Change from previous year|
|June each year||West Midlands||Great Britain|
|Table—Employees in Employment in Manufacturing Industries (1968 SIC)|
|Census date||Change from previous census date Coventry jobcentre area|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the relative value of mode A youth training scheme schemes and mode B youth training scheme schemes, respectively, in making the transition from school to work.
[pursuant to his reply, 7 May 1985, c. 356]: One of the main aims of the youth training scheme is to help young people make the transition from school to work. Most places on the scheme are sponsored by employers under "mode A" of the scheme as this provides the most realistic introduction to working life and generally the best prospects for employment. However, there is a continuing need for "mode B" schemes, particularly in areas where there may be a shortage of employer-led schemes.The Manpower Services Commission conducts sample surveys of young people who leave the scheme. The results to date show that leavers from mode A schemes are significantly more successful in finding work than their counterparts in mode B.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what steps have been taken to speed up decision-making procedures on appeal; and what is the longest delay at present in the Welsh Office between the original appeal and the decision;(2) what is the median time for planning appeals using
(a) the public inquiry procedure with the decision reserved
to the Secretary of State, (b) the public inquiry procedure with the decision power devolved to the inspector and (c) the written representation procedure; and how all these times compare with the average two years ago.
The required information is given in the following table. Speedier handling has resulted from the transfer of most appeals to inspectors and from a number of other procedural improvements. Most significant have been the creation of a separate Welsh-based unit of the inspectorate and the introduction of the "Express Appeals" system for accelerating the initital stages of documentation. The longest delays occur on cases recovered by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and dealt with by the written method. Such cases are generally complex and require more time for proper consideration. In 1984 the median time for such cases was 48 weeks.Median times taken to determine appeals under sections 36 and 53 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 in Wales.
|1982 Weeks||1984 Weeks|
|Appeals decided by Secretary of State||Inquiry method||59||32|
|Appeals decided by inspector||Inquiry method||33||30|
Note: Median times are derived by ranking all appeals in order of times taken and taking the middle case as being representative of all.
Hospital Staffs (Hours)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average number of hours worked each week by National Health Service nurses and junior hospital doctors, respectively; and what have been the trends in these figures in recent years.
Following is the information requested. The figures for nurses and junior hospital doctors cannot sensibly be compared with each other at all.Those for nurses are the averages of the actual hours worked by a sample of NHS nursing and midwifery staff during a specified pay period. We reduced nurses' contracted hours from 40 to 37½ per week in 1980–81.The figures for junior doctors show the average number of contracted hours, which include a standard working week of 40 hours plus periods of on-call liability. In many cases, however, these are hours during which the doctor may be called in for duty, not hours actually worked. Nevertheless, we continue to take active steps to encourage authorities to reduce the excessive hours of some junior doctors and to press the profession to co-operate with this aim at local level.
(a) Nursing and Midwifery staff: average weekly hours worked (including overtime) by full-time staff (GB)*†
Source: New Earnings Survey.
* Full-time staff are defined as those with normal basic hours over 30 hours per week.
† Contracted hours for such staff were 40 per week (excluding meal breaks) at April 1980 and were reduced to 37½ per week by April 1981.
(b) Junior hospital doctors*: Average weekly hours for which full-time staff were contracted (England and Wales)
At 30 September
Average weekly hours
*Including grades of senior registrar, registrar, senior house officer and house officer.
Nhs (Ancillary Services)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he has taken to ensure that health authorities are fully taking into account the compensation element of early retirement expenditure and the net costs of redundancy payments when assessing competitive tenders for ancillary services.
Health authorities received guidance in our circular HC(83)18 that the total costs to them of redundancy payments and other severance payments should be taken into account in the appraisal of competitive tenders.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information is available to him concerning the costs and total numbers of early retirements and redundancies from National Health Service ancillary services following the replacement of in-house provision by outside contractors.
As explained in my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 24 April, at column 494, we do not collect information centrally on the numbers of redundancies or their cost, and detailed information on premature retirements has been collected only since 1 April 1984.However, between 1 April 1984 and 31 March 1985, 303 ancillary workers were prematurely retired as a result of competitive tendering, either because the contract was let outside or because of staff reductions in-house. The lump sum compensation paid totalled £354,482·67, with an average of £1,169·91, and the average compensation element in the annual pensions awarded was £389·96.
Cancer (Nuclear Power)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further work is currently being undertaken following Sir Douglas Black's recommendations that more research is needed into the possible link between childhood cancers and nuclear power installations.
We have commissioned research projects which will implement the first four recommendations of the report. Work is under way and the results of this research will become available over the next three years.We are still discussing with other Government Departments, outside bodies and clinicians from West Cumbria the best means of carrying out the other research and investigations recommended in the report.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average cost of a new (a) King's Fund bed, (b) operating table, (c) renal dialysis machine and (d) whole-body scanner.
Costs vary with the types and models of equipment. Approximate average costs or ranges of costs are:
|King's Fund Bed*||330|
|Renal Dialysis Machine||7,000–10,000|
|Whole-Body Scanner||220,000–1 million|
|* Standard variable height model.|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average salary of a junior doctor employed by the National Health Service in England.
The information is as follows:
|Grade||Average Salary (mid-point of Scale) £|
|Senior House Officer||13,875|
Islington Health Authority
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what value of services are done by private contractors in the Islington health district.
The annual accounts for Islington health authority for 1983–84, the latest available, show a total expenditure of £853,771 for services undertaken by private contractors.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the annual budget of the Islington district health authority for each year since 1982 and projected until 1990.
Allocations to district health authorities are the responsibility of regional health authorities. The hon. Member may wish to approach North-East Thames regional health authority for this information.
Homeless Persons (Removal Expenses)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what provision exists through the Department of Health and Social Security to meet removal expenses of homeless persons on supplementary benefit at short notice who have been refused help by the local authority;(2) whether he has any plans to allow for the provision of removal expenses for homeless families.
Subject to satisfying the normal conditions, homeless persons can receive help for removal expenses by way of single payments of supplementary benefit under the provisions of regulation 13 of the Supplementary Benefit (Single Payments) Regulations if they are being moved under the provisions of section 5(3) of the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977 which covers the situation where the homeless person is moving from one local authority area to another where he has a close connection with the area of the receiving authority. Payments to other homeless persons can be made only under regulation 30 of the regulations where the adjudication officer is of the opinion that a single payment is the only means by which serious damage or serious risk to the health or safety of any member of the assessment unit may be prevented.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average payment of social security benefits, including housing benefit, paid to unemployed claimants at the latest date for which figures are available.
The estimated average weekly payment of social security benefits to unemployed claimants for 1984–85 was £44. This includes certificated housing benefit but excludes standard housing benefit and those benefits such as child benefit which remain payable in the event of the claimant not being unemployed.
Community Nursing Services
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements he is making for a review of community nursing services in the National Health Service.
In recent years there have been changes in the organisation of the National Health Service and shifts in patterns of care which have led to increasing demands on nursing services provided for and in the community. We have decided that the time has come to take a fresh look at important questions about the role of nurses, midwives and health visitors working as part of primary health and care teams and in different community health programmes. We are concerned about the extent to which different services may overlap, whether there are gaps, whether the training provided is well matched to the tasks community nursing staff now face, and whether the services are cost effective.We have decided therefore to set up a community nursing review team with the following terms of reference:
"To study the nursing services provided outside hospitals by Health Authorities, and to report to the Secretary of State on how resources can be used more effectively, so as to improve the services available to client groups. The input from nurses employed by general practitioners will be taken into account."
The team will be led by Mrs. Julia Cumberlege, chairman of Brighton health authority. There will be three other members; Mr. Anthony Carr, who recently retired as district nursing officer for Newcastle HA; a lay member and a management consultant whose names will be announced shortly. We expect the review to examine carefully the present position in England, through a programme of visits and consideration of written evidence.
The review will begin in June, and I have asked Mrs. Cumberlege to report back before the end of the year.
Homeless Families (Removal Expenses)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local authorities exercised their discretion to meet the removal expenses for homeless families in receipt of supplementary benefit and unable to make their own arrangements in each of the last four years for which figures are available.
I have been asked to reply. This information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the tree species used, and proportions of those species planted, by the private sector with forestry grant-aid in the restocking of forests in the periods 1961 to 1970, 1971 to 1980 and 1981 to date.
This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Forestry Grants Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what criteria the Forestry Commission employs in deciding whether or not to impose conditions when awarding grants made under the forestry grants scheme regarding the management practices of afforestation, including areas to be left unplanted for amenity or conservation purposes.
The objectives of the forestry grant scheme, to which all applicants have to adhere, include the management of the land to secure good land use and environmental benefits, and the provision of appropriate opportunities for recreation. Every application for grant is considered carefully by the Forestry Commission in the light of these objectives, and consultations are undertaken with other authorities to ensure that the needs of land use, agriculture, amenity and recreation are taken into account before a decision is reached. In many cases modifications, including leaving areas unplanted for amenity or conservation purposes, are made to planting proposals as a result of such consultations.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what powers the Forestry Commission possesses to ensure that afforestation schemes which are refused grant-aid for whatever reason under the forestry grants scheme do not proceed without grant aid.
|(a) Cash prices||November 1984 prices|
|Year||(1) Total excluding loan charges||(2) Loan charges||(3) Total||(4) (b) Total excluding loan charges||(5) (c) Percentage of total revenue expenditure (as at col. 3) met by Rate Support Grant|
|£ million||£ million||£ million||£ million||per cent.|
1. All expenditure information on a cash basis in columns (1), (2) and (3) is taken from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy publication "Rating Review" and reflects planned expenditure for the years in question. The figures in column (4) include all expenditure relevant for rate support grant purposes, excluding loan charges, and any non-relevant expenditure recorded in the publication. Column (2) gives the level of loan charges relevant for rate support grant and column (3) the total of columns (1) and (2).
2. The figures in column (4) have been converted to November 1984 prices using revaluation factors agreed with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. It is not possible to express loan charges on a fixed price basis.
3. Column (5) provides the percentage of total revenue expenditure (as shown in column (3)) met by rate support grant. The RSG figures have also been taken from "Rating Review". These figures do not include any specific grants paid by the Government to Strathclyde regional council.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list in the Official Report the names and locations of the broadleaved woodlands clearfelled under licence and not replanted in 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 in the Forestry Commission's north Scotland conservancy;(2) if he will list in the
Official Report the names and locations of the broadleaved woodlands clearfelled under licence and not replanted in 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 in the Forestry Commission's east Scotland conservancy;
(3) if he will list in the Official Report the names and locations of the broadleaved woodlands clearfelled under licence and not replanted in 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 in the Forestry Commission's west Scotland conservancy;
(4) if he will list in the Official Report the names and locations of the broadleaved woodlands clearfelled under licence and not replanted in 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85 in the Forestry Commission's south Scotland conservancy;
The Forestry Commission has no such powers.
Strathclyde Regional Council
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report (a) the total revenue expenditure of Strathclyde regional council in each year since 1975, (b) the equivalent figure for each of these years, expressed at November 1984 prices and (c) the percentage of Strathclyde's revenue expenditure which was met by Government rate support grant in each of these years.
The information is as follows:
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign Compensation (Czechoslovakia) Order 1982
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many claims have been lodged under the Foreign Compensation (Czechoslovakia) Order 1982; what is the reason for the delay in making payments; what time limit there is on the making of such claims; whether arrangements exist for payment while claimants are still alive; and if he will make a statement.
Altogether 2,204 claims have been lodged with the Foreign Compensation Commission under the terms of the Foreign Compensation (Czechoslovakia) Order 1982. The closing date for lodging claims under this order was 31 August 1983. The circumstances which led to many of these claims were such that we have had to approach the Czechoslovak authorities on behalf of the Foreign Compensation Commission to try and obtain additional information which the claimants have been unable to provide themselves, in order to verify the claims. Some 1,700 queries have been put to the Czechoslovak authorities and, while they are being very co-operative in this matter and have already supplied over 330 replies to the queries, it is inevitable that they will need more time to process the large number which remain outstanding. Up to the end of April 1985, the Foreign Compensation Commission had reached decisions on 373 of the claims.
European Commission Of Human Rights
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much Her Majesty's Government have contributed to the running of the European Commission of Human Rights and the Court since 1979.
Since there is no separate budget for the European Commission and Court of Human Rights, the actual cost of our contribution since 1979 is not readily available. I shall write to my hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there are any plans to improve diplomatic and cultural relations with Vietnam.
There is little scope for closer diplomatic and cultural relations between Britian and Vietnam while the Vietnamese Government continue their illegal occupation of Cambodia and their serious abuses of human rights.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's current relations with Vietnam.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 February 1984, at column 478.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department takes in accordance with Her Majesty's Government's policy on human rights to monitor the publications and activities of the opposition parties and human rights groups in Chile.
One of the many functions of Her Majesty's embassy in Santiago is to maintain regular contact with the democratic opposition and with human rights groups in Chile.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also monitors regularly the publications put out by opposition and human rights groups.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ban all arms sales to Chile.
We believe that a total embargo would be ineffective. Nevertheless, as in the past, we seek to ensure that British firms do not sell items to Chile which, in our judgment, are likely to be used for internal repression.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if relations with Chile were re-examined in the wake of the imposition of the state of siege there in November 1984.
We keep the situation in Chile under constant review and leave the Chilean Government in no doubt about our concern over the violation of human rights and the absence of normal political liberties.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will take part in a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the European Community, as called for in the European Parliament resolution of 17 April to discuss Chile;(2) what policy Her Majesty's Government have adopted in the institutions of the European Community with regard to the resolution of the European Parliament about Chile passed on 18 April.
We remain in frequent and close touch with our Community partners about matters of common concern, including the situation in Chile, both at the European Council and through the political co-operation machinery.
German Democratic Republic (Embassy Staff)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to increase staffing levels at the British embassy in the German Democratic Republic in order to seek to improve trade prospects for British firms.
The staffing levels of Her Majesty's embassies are reviewed periodically during visits by teams of Foreign and Commonwealth Office inspectors. The last inspection of the embassy in the German Democratic Republic was in September 1984.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his meeting with his European counterparts to discuss drug taking in member states.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Murphy) yesterday, at column 428.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Meat (Refund Payments)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated cost to the Northern Ireland meat industry of financing eight to nine week delays in exchange refund payments by the Intervention Board for Agriculture for meat placed under customs control in Northern Ireland; and if he will take steps to reduce delay in payment to the 10 to 14-day pattern of other EEC countries.
I regret that the information requested is not available, but every effort is being made to overcome these delays.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate how the proposed minimum price for B quota sugar compares with the cost of production on a large sugar beet farm; and if he will publish in the Official Report a table giving the breakdown of costs on a representative large sugar beet farm in 1984 or 1983.
Sugar beet is grown as a single crop and it is not meaningful to relate costs of production to A B or C quota sugar.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for 1973 and each of the past five years the export restitutions on exports of white sugar and the quantities exported, together with the levies on imports of raw sugar;(2) whether he will publish in the
Official Report a table showing for 1973 and each of the past five years the threshold target and intervention prices for white sugar, the basic beet price, the amount and price for A and B quota sugar beet, the amount of the import levy on raw and white sugar and net exports of white sugar.
The information requested on import levies is not readily available and an be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The other information can be obtained for the most recent years from the Commission's publication "The Agricultural Situation in the Community" report 1984. Similar information for the earlier years is contained in previous reports. Copies of these are available in the Library of the House.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1970 the United Kingdom price for white sugar compared with the world price.
The information requested is given in the table:
|United Kingdom price for white sugar* £/t||World price for white sugar‡ £/t|
|Estimated EC Production of Cereals, 1984|
|Germany||France||Italy||Netherlands||Belgium and Luxembourg||United Kingdom||Ireland||Denmark||Greece||EC10|
Source: EC Commission
United Kingdom price for white sugar* £/t
while price for white sugar‡ £/t
* For 1970–71 to 1972–73 no guaranteed prices for white sugar were set in the United Kingdom. The prices shown for 1973–74 onwards are the intervention prices for white sugar which from 1977–78 include the storage levy.
|† There were two price settlements in 1974. The price shown is that fixed in the autumn.|
|‡ There is no single world price for sugar. The prices shown are the average London daily price which is representative of the word price.|
Source: International Sugar Organisation.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the basis for the proposed increase in the price of sugar under the common agricultural policy.
The information requested can be found in volume 1 of the European Commission's proposals concerning the fixing of prices for agricultural products for 1985–86 (explanatory memorandum 4582/85 dated 28 February 1985) a copy of which is in the Library.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the output of cereals in each European Economic Community country over the past five years compared with 1970, 1960 and 1955.
The latest available estimates for the level of production in 1984 are set out. Those for 1955, 1960 and 1970 were published by EUROSTAT in "Land use and production, 1955–1979" and for 1980 to 1983 in the Commission's publications "The Agricultural Situation in the Community" reports 1983 and 1984.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the net income of hill farmers in the latest year for which estimates are available.
Average net farm incomes on hill and upland (less favoured areas) cattle and sheep farms for 1983–84 are shown in table 27 of the "Annual Review of Agriculture 1985" (Cmnd. 9423) which is available in the Library of the House.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish a table in the Official Report giving the size distribution of hill farms by (a) acreage and (b) standard man-days or European supply units, or both.
The information requested is not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the cost per cow of all the European Economic Community subventions to dairy products, the cost per animal of the subventions to beef, sheep and pigs and the cost per tonne of the subventions on other crops.
Information on European Commission expenditure in recent years on the main agricultural products is summarised in "The Agricultural Situation in the Community—1984 Report" published by the Commission which is in the Library. The report also contains details of livestock numbers and crop production.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each common agricultural policy product the amount exported with financial aid from the European Economic Community budget in 1973 and in each of the past five years.
Information on the volumes of exports receiving aid from the Community budget is not readily available. However details of Community exports of agricultural products for the latest years are summarised in "The Agricultural Situation in the Community—1984 Report" published by the Commission. Information for the earlier years is contained in the reports for 1981 and 1975.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the proposed guide and intervention prices under the common agricultural policy as a percentage of the relevant United Kingdom price in 1972–73.
The Commission's proposals for CAP prices for 1985–86 are contained in European document 4582/85 (explanatory memorandum of 28 February 1985); guarantee prices obtaining in the United Kingdom in 1972–73 are contained in the "Annual Review and Determination of Guarantees 1972" (Cmnd. 4928). Copies are available in the Library of the House.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the cost in 1973 and in the latest available year of the European Economic Community subventions on the various cereal crops, sugar beet and rapeseed in terms of cost per acre of crop produced, together with the corresponding United Kingdom figure for the average of the years 1967–68 to 1970–71.
Information about European Community expenditure on the main agricultural products is summarised in the series of annual reports entitled "The Agricultural Situation in the Community" published by the Commission: these reports also contain information on the areas of individual crops produced and more detailed analyses are available on the Eurostat computer data base, CRONOS. Copies are in the Library. Detailed information on expenditure on agriculture by the United Kingdom exchequer and on crop areas is contained in the "Annual Review of Agriculture" for the appropriate years. Copies of this are also available in the Library.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the agreement reached in the European Council on the restriction of agricultural spending relates only to expenditure under the guarantee section of the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund; and if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the percentage of the European Economic Community budget accounted for by this section in each year since 1981 and the percentage implied in the budget for 1985.
The financial guideline for agriculture, which forms part of the Council's conclusions on budgetary discipline, applies to the guarantee section of the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund, excluding fisheries. The percentage shares of total budget taken by this expenditure (titles 1 and 2) since 1981 are as follows:
|* Supplementary and Amending Budget No. 1|
|† Draft Budget|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the increase in agricultural spending under the common agricultural policy in 1984 and budgeted for 1985 compared with the increase in other spending under the European Economic Community budget.
The information requested is as follows:
|Total expenditure under the common agricultural policy||Other expenditure|
|1984 Supplementary and Amending Budget No. 1||19,121||8,128|
Total expenditure under the common agricultural policy
|Change in 1984 from 1983||+ 2,847*||+ 452†|
|1985 Draft Budget||20,751||7,179|
|Change in 1985 from 1984||+ 1,630‡||−949|||
* + 15 per cent.
|† + 6 per cent.|
|‡ + 9 per cent.|
||| − 12 per cent.|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1970 the percentage increase in the European Economic Community and in the United Kingdom of gross domestic product expenditure on food and the increase in spending under the common agricultural policy.
Details of expenditure on food in individual member states of the European Community are available from the databank of the European Commission (CRONOS). Expenditure under the common agricultural policy is published in the reports of the EC Court of Auditors and in the financial reports on the EAGGF. This information is available in the Library of the House.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the increase in expenditure proposed for agriculture under the European Economic Community budget for 1985 and the distribution of the increase within and between the main sections of the agricultural budget.
The following table sets out the increase foreseen in expenditure under the common agricultural policy between 1984 and 1985.
|European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)||1984||1985||Increase 1984–1985|
|(a) guarantee section|
|cereals and rice||1,698||2,415||+ 717|
|oilseeds and proteins||871||1,210||+ 339|
|fruit and vegetables||1,455||1,356||−99|
|eggs and poultry||70||124||+ 54|
|processed goods||382||402||+ 20|
|MCAs and ACAs||376||110||−266|
|minor products||51||54||+ 3|
|clearance of accounts||−25||−150||−125|
|other measures||0||120||+ 120|
|Total Guarantee||18,346||19,955||+ 1,633|
|(b) guidance section||620||658||+ 38|
|Non-EAGGF agricultural expenditure||125||114||−11|
|Total CAP||19,091||20,751||+ 1,660|
1984 (a) EAGGP guarantee—provisional outturn from EC Commission working document
(b) Other sections—supplementary and amending budget No. 1 (outturn figures not yet available).
1985—Draft budget established by Council on 23 April 1985
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the proportion of agricultural land cultivated in holdings with 10 or more regular whole-time workers.
The proportion of agricultural land in England and Wales on holdings with 10 or more regular whole-time workers as recorded at the June 1984 agricultural census was 6 per cent.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1955 the number of agricultural holdings larger than the threshold below which minor holdings have been excluded from the census from time to time; and if he will distinguish the number of tenanted holdings.
[pursuant to her reply, 26 April 1985, c. 587]: The information requested is as follows:
|Main agricultural Holdings in England and Wales|
|Main holdings||Of which rented or mainly rented*|
|* Information on tenure is not available for years before 1970.|
|† From 1955 to 1967, all holdings with an acre or more were|
included, except where agricultural activity was known to be small.
‡ From 1968 to 1969, main holdings were those with at least an acre in total and—at least 10 acres of crops and grass, or at least one full-time worker, or a standard labour requirement of at least 26 standard man days a year.
|| From 1970, holdings with less than an acre were included, if they met one of the three other criteria at ‡.
¶ From 1973, the standard man day criterion was raised to 40, the other two criteria remaining the same.
● From 1980, the threshold criteria were changed to include holdings with one or more of the following: at least six hectares of total area; a standard annual labour requirement of at least 100 standard man days; at least one regular whole-time worker; a glasshouse area of at least 100 sq. metres.
Changes in numbers of holdings from year to year are affected by addition and deletion of smaller holdings near the threshold, and by the amalgamation of previously separate holdings. This is a continuous process but in some years special exercises produce larger changes. For instance, the net fall of 3,000 between 1983 and 1984 was largely the result of reclassifying holdings up or down across the threshold, following the June 1983 census and the minor holdings census of March 1983. Such changes affecting smaller holdings are of little significance in measuring the aggregates of agricultural activity.
Apple Intervention Scheme
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is proposed to extend the European Economic Community apple intervention scheme for Bramley apples beyond 31 May of the current year; and if he will make a statement.
No. After consultation with growers' representatives and in the light of the existing market situation, the European Commission has decided not to propose an extension of the scheme for apples beyond 31 May.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he intends to publish (a) a Green Paper and (b) a White Paper on the rural estate.
[pursuant to her reply, 7 May 1985, c. 322]: One of the recommendations of the House of Commons Environment Committee's first report, on the operation and effectiveness of part II of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, was that the Government should undertake a review of the whole use of the rural estate and produce a White P