Written Answers To Questions
Friday 17 May 1985
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the average price of school meals in primary and secondary schools in each local education authority and in Wales as a whole at the latest date for which information is available.
At September 1984, average prices of a fixed school meal for pupils in Wales were:
|Local Education Authority||Primary (pence)||Secondary (pence)|
Ethiopia And Sudan
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what aid has now reached Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and in the Sudan.
Only a very small proportion of the emergency assistance that Britain and other donors are providing for victims of the famine in Ethiopia has been directed specifically to Eritrea. The Ethiopian Government have estimated that 12,500 tonnes of grain are needed in Eritrea each month. We understand that much less than this is being delivered, and we support the efforts of the UN Co-ordinator to improve the distribution of relief supplies to Eritrea. In recent months we have provided about £4 million to victims of the famine in Ethiopia who have sought refuge in east Sudan, including those from Eritrea.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the real value of United Kingdom overseas aid expenditure to recipient countries in each year since 1979–80, after allowing for inflation.
Since 1979–80 overseas aid expenditure in cash and in constant 1984–85 prices using the index of inflation derived from changes in United Kingdom gross domestic product has been as follows:
|Year||Current Prices||Constant 1984–85 prices|
|* Gross aid programme allocation: actual expenditure figures for 1984–85 are not yet available.|
Trade And Industry
asked the Secretary for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1980 and the latest month for which figures are available the United Kingdom export price index for manufactures on local currency terms and similar figures for principal industrial countries, together with such equivalent information as is available to him about (a) Norway, (b) Sweden, (c) Austria, (d) Switzerland and (e) Finland, respectively.
The available information is in the table.
|Exports of Manufactures Unit Value Indices (in Local Currency)|
|* 1984 is based on three quarters average.|
|† Not available.|
Sources: United Kingdom—Department of Trade and Industry
All other countries—International Monetary Fund
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Mr W Wakeham (Decommissioning Grant)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fishers and Food if he will now make payment of the decommissioning grant of £28,844 promised to Mr. W. Wakeham of 53 Hill Park Road, Brixham, Devon, and contained in a letter to Mr. Wakeham dated 3 October 1984 reference SW/84/12/D and signed by C. R. George on behalf of his Ministry; and if he will make a statement;(2)if he will investigate the circumstances in which Mr. W. Wakeham of 53 Hill Park Road, Brixham, Devon, has still not received the decommissioning grant on his ex-fishing vessel Devon Ray, on which a grant of £28,844 is payable.
I shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
Prison Service (Chief Education Officer)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the post of chief education officer for the prison service has been down graded from assistant secretary level to that of senior principal; what changes in duties and responsibilities the downgrading of this post signifies; if the downgrading of this post indicates that prison education is to be given a lower priority; and what implications it has for the management structure of the chief education officer's branch.
The post—which was not previously graded at assistant secretary (grade 5) level but was pitched as a departmental grade in between grade 5 and grade 6 — is being brought into the unified grading structure at level 6. The alternative, which would have been to upgrade the post, was not considered appropriate. There will be no change in the duties of the post or in the management structure of the chief education officer' sbranch, nor does this signify any change in the priority given to prison education.
Local Government (Grants)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the grant paid under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 to each local authority in receipt of such funding for each of the last three years.
Grant paid to local authorities up to and including 15 May in respect of the last three financial years for which information is available is shown in the table.In some cases the sums paid are not final settlements. These will be determined after audit, or further scrutiny by the Home Office, of the claims on which they are based.
|Grant under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966|
|1981–82 £||1982–83 £||1983–84 £|
|Non-met. county councils|
Met. county councils
|Bristol City C.||11,215||6,333||7,367|
|Luton Borough C.||3,378||3,815||10,185|
|North Bedforshire B.C.||9,992||9,605||2,977|
|Reading Borough C.||10,495||11,085||12,043|
|Aylesbury Vale D.C.||447||316||281|
|Derby City C.||2,116||8,137||15,938|
|Wycombe District C.||7,052||5,516||16,767|
|Southampton City C.||8,789||16,901||6,301|
|North Herts D.C.||509||624||683|
|Leicester City C.||30,512||70,284||82,432|
|Nottingham City C.||Nil||1,946||18,684|
|Oxford City C.||1,997||2,885||8,096|
|Ipswich Borough C.||6,999||19,902||30,138|
|Rugby Borough C.||149||80||2,320|
|Manchester City C.||1,885,805||2,136,776||2,313,951|
|Liverpool City C.||Nil||2,384||23,255|
Tyne and Wear
|Newcastle City C.||Nil||Nil||9,853|
|Birmingham City C.||2,955,077||3,100,890||3,749,926|
|Coventry City C.||1,418,453||1,612,003||1,756,703|
|Bradford City M.C.||2,365,986||2,821,937||3,239,021|
|Leeds City C.||837,499||978,692||1,304,615|
|Kensington and Chelsea||124,286||140,127||189,490|
|South Glam. C.C.||Nil||Nil||57,658|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report all the different types of licences operated or granted by his Department and the year in which they first came into operation.
The information requested is as follows:
|Type of licence||Year in which licence came into operation|
|To undertake a house to house collection||1939|
|To remove (exhumane) human remains||1857|
|To conduct scientific experiments on living animals||1876|
|To kill or take seals||1970|
|To import or export a controlled drug||1973|
|To produce, supply or possess a controlled drug||1973|
|To administer or supply heroin, cocaine or dipipanone* to drug addicts||†1973|
|Authority to hold weapons capable of discharging noxious liquids or gases||1920|
|Authority to hold continuous fire weapons (such as machine guns)||1937|
|Licence issued under s. 60 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 to persons serving sentences of imprisonment other than imprisonment for life||1968|
|Licence issued under s. 60 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 to persons detained otherwise than for life under s.53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (young offenders convicted of grave crime)||1968|
Type of licence
Year in which licence came into operation
|Licence under s.60 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 to young offenders serving sentences of youth custody under s. 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982||1983|
|Licence under s.61 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 to persons sentenced to life imprisonment, detention during Her Majesty's Pleasure, and detention or custody for life||‡1968|
|Licence to broadcasting authorities||1923|
|Induction field licence||1970|
|Community television relay licence||1981|
|Special event licence||1984|
|Broadcast receiving licences:|
|Television Licence (Monochrome)||1946|
|Television Licence (including colour)||1968|
|Television Licence (including colour)||1968|
|Television Licence (Monochrome)||1957|
|Television Licence (including colour)||1968|
|Demonstration General Form|
|Television Licence (including colour)||1968|
|Demonstration Multiple Form|
|Television Licence (including colour)|
|Accommodation for Residential Care Composite Form||1984|
|Television Receiving Licence Hotels Comprehesive Form||1985|
* 1984† under current legislation; similar licences operated under earlier legislation.
|‡ Similar provisions in existence since 1957.|
Prisoners (Police Cells)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 8 May, Official Report, column 407, what are the industrial relations problems that make it necessary to detain remand prisoners in police and court cells.
Industrial action by prison staff leading to prisoners being held in police cells has taken place at five establishments during 1985. The issues were as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 8 May, Official Report, column 407, what are the transport and other logistical problems that make it necessary to detain remand prisoners in police and court cells.
Prisoners from London magistrates' courts pass through a central clearing house from whence they are delivered to the appropriate establishments. This operation can occasionally be disrupted by factors such as the late sitting of a court, traffic delays, vehicle breakdowns or staff sickness with the result that prisoners sometimes cannot be delivered before the prison reception closes for the night.
Board And Lodging Payments (Regulations)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the implications of the new regulations on board and lodging accommodation payments for the electoral registration of supplementary benefit claimants living temporarily in such accommodation.
Generally speaking, someone living at board and lodging accommodation for the periods mentioned in the regulations would be unlikely to qualify to register as an elector for that address, although he could qualify to register as an elector elsewhere. The decision in any individual case would be a matter for the electoral registration officer, who is answerable to the courts.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any plans to change the penalties available to the courts for the offence of shoplifting.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the number of people currently engaged in Sunday trading; and if he will make a statement.
This information is not collected by the Department on a routine basis.
Unconvicted Male Prisoners
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why, in the light of his statement of 25 January in reply to the hon. Member for Knowsley, North, Official Report, columns 533–34, that the problem of unconvicted adult male prisoners being held in police cells had been dealt with, there were 34 unconvicted adult males held in police cells on the night of 25 January.
There was a sudden surge in the population that day which could not be accommodated because of essential maintenance work in B wing at Brixton.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reply he has made to the request to Her Majesty's Government by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to take in more Vietnamese refugees from closed camps in Hong Kong.
The Government's policy towards Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong is currently being reviewed in the light of recommendations made by the Home Affairs Committee in its report on refugees and asylum, with special reference to the Vietnamese.
Bbc (Peacock Committee)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now in a position to announce the membership of the Peacock committee reviewing the finances of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
I am pleased to announce that the following have accepted my invitation to serve as members of the committee on financing the BBC under the chairmanship of Professor Peacock:
- Mr. Samuel Brittan
- Miss Judith Chalmers
- Mr. Jeremy Hardie
- Professor Alastair Hetherington
- Lord Quinton
- Sir Peter Reynolds
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many work permits have been granted to foreign nationals working in Inner London and the rest of the United Kingdom in the last 12 months.
Separate statistics of work permit issues for work in the inner London area are not maintained. In the year ending 31 March 1985 approval was given for 11,839 foreign nationals to work in the United Kingdom.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will carry out a survey into the number of job vacancies in inner London and the reasons why these are not being filled by United Kingdom residents.
There is no evidence that the cost of such a survey would be justified.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of European Community nationals working in inner London and the rest of the United Kingdom at the present time.
The latest available information comes from the 1983 Labour force survey which showed that an estimated 350,000 nationals of member states of the European Community, other than the United Kingdom, were in employment in the United Kingdom. Of these, it is estimated that 130,000 were resident in Greater London and 220,000 elsewhere, but the location of their employment was not identified in the survey.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the skillcentres covering the Greater London council area at l May.
At 1 May there were six skillcentres and one skillcentre annexe covering the Greater London area. They are as follows:
Additionally, a number of skillcentre classes for adults were running at the young persons training centre in Lambeth.Barking, Deptford, Enfield, Perivale, Twickenham, Waddon and Waddon Annexe in Sydenham.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of (a) men and (b) women at present taking courses at skillcentres in the Greater London council area.
At 13 May there were 744 men and 64 women undergoing training in skillcentres in the Greater London council area.
Trans Promotions Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what information he has on the number of staff employed by Trans Promotions Ltd. in running its youth training schemes in each relevant Manpower Services Commission area; how this information compares with the average figures given in the report to the Manpower Services Commission youth training board of the Manpower Services Commission survey of scheme providers, paper YTB 85/14, annex A, paragraph 1.1; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether the Manpower Services Commission undertook any financial checks into the standing of the youth training scheme managing agent Trans Promotions Ltd. prior to the signing of a contract between Trans Promotions Ltd. and the Manpower Services Commission; and whether there are any plans to conduct such a check in the future;(3) what steps he has taken to satisfy himself that the youth training schemes run by Trans Promotions Ltd. meet the minimum criteria of the Manpower Services Commission; and if he will make a statement;(4) on what dates the large companies unit, the large companies sub group of the youth training board, and the youth training board of the Manpower Services Commission approved a contract to provide youth training scheme places between the Manpower Services Commission and the managing agent Trans Promotions Ltd.; on what dates the renewal of the contract for 1984–85 was approved; on what dates a list of work experience provides for 1984–85 was approved; and what steps he has taken to satisfy himself as to the actions of the above bodies and as to the adequacy and accuracy of the list of work experience providers;(5) how many places on the youth training scheme are being offered by the managing agent Trans Promotions Ltd. nationally and by Manpower Services Commission area in the current year; how many trainees were in training in these places nationally and by Manpower Services Commission area on the latest available date; and how many trainees have entered such places by Manpower Services Commission area and nationally in the current year.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what was the average hourly pay for home helps in each of the years 1974 to 1984 in Northern Ireland;(2) how the average hourly pay for home helps in Northern Ireland relates to the average hourly pay for
(a) full-time female manual workers and (b) full-time male manual workers in each of the years 1974 to 1984;
(3) what has been the real percentage change in the average hourly rate of pay for home helps in Northern Ireland in each of the years 1974 to 1984 measured against the retail pay index;
(4) if he will make a statement on the recent report of the joint working group on the home help service in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the future of the service;
(5) what has been the total number of recipients of the home help service in Northern Ireland for each of the years 1974 to 1984;
(6) what has been total expenditure, in real terms, on the home help service in Northern Ireland for each of the years 1974 to 1984;
(7) what has been the real cost of the home help service, in Northern Ireland, per recipient for each of the years 1974 to 1984;
(8) what percentage increase there has been in (a) the total number of recipients and (b) the total real expenditure on the home help service in Northern Ireland between 1974 and 1984.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the cost to public funds, and what extra cost is anticipated, in relation to the pension rights of employees and former employees of (a) the National Freight Corporation, (b) Sealink and (c) industrial training boards.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the gross benefit to public funds of the sale of (a) the National Freight Corporation and (b) Sealink to the private sector: and what was the net benefit after obligations for present and future pensions were taken into consideration.
I am also replying, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, to a similar question tabled to him.Gross proceeds from the sale of the National Freight Corporation were £53·5 million. Deficiencies some £48. ·7 million in the National Freight Corporation pension funds were met from the proceeds of sale. After deduction of sale expenses, net sale proceeds were about £4·6 million. In addition, payments are made from public funds to national Freight Company pension funds to cover that part of their annual outgo attributable to the unfunded element of the National Freight Corporation's obligations to its pension funds incurred before 1 April 1975. These historic support payments, which total about £5 million a year, relate to employees who were transferred from British Rail to the National Freight Corporation in 1968, and are unaffected by the privatisation. Proceeds from the sale of Sealink were retained by British Rail and did not accrue to central Government. Payments are made from public funds to British Rail pension funds to cover that part of their annual outgo attributable to the unfunded element of the board's obligations to its pension funds incurred before 1 January 1975. These historic support payments, of which about £1 million a year relate to Sealink former employees, are unaffected by the privatisation. In addition, a once-for-all payment of some £5 million to £6 million will be required in respect of that part of the pension transfer value of British Rail pension fund members employed by Sealink at the date of privatisation which relates to pre-1975 unfunded obligations.In respect of the industrial training boards the cost of the employer's contributions to the industrial training boards pension funds required under the pension scheme rules, during the period April 1975 to December 1982 when the operating costs of the boards were met from the Exchequer, was £44 million.In 1983 the industrial training boards pension funds were divided into an open fund which covers the employees of those boards which continue in existence; and a closed fund covering existing pensioners and the preserved benefits of former employees. Employers' contributions to the open fund are the responsibility of the boards and are met from income from levies on industry. No employers' contributions are made to the closed fund, but, since the industrial training boards operational funding had been the direct responsibility of the Government, they have given an undertaking that the pension entitlements due from the closed fund will be safeguarded should the fund at its actuarial reviews be shown to be deficient to meet its liabilities. So far this undertaking has not led to any cost on public funds and is not expected to do so in the foreseeable future.
Education And Science
Open University (Undergraduate Places)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of Open
|England and Wales|
|Number of students (000's) receiving a full-value discretionary award||31·0||29·3||27·7||28·4||29·6|
|receiving a lesser value discretionary award||47·3||50·0||47·0||57·9||60·7|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list the proposed and actual expenditure on school meals for each year since 1979 in England in real terms.
The actual expenditure on school meals for each year from 1980–81 to 1984–85 and the provision made by Government in the public expenditure White Paper immediately preceding that year are given in the table. The figures have been repriced to 1984–85 real terms using the gross domestic product (market prices) deflator.
|Planned Expenditure (1984–85 prices) £ million||Actual Expenditure (1984–85 prices) £ million|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list, for each year since 1980, the number of local education authorities which provide free school meals (a) to the statutory minimum of children only and (b) to more than the statutory minimum.
University new undergraduate places are already allocated, by overflow from previous years' applications, for the years 1986 and 1987; and if he will give the percentages for each region in Scotland.
The university has not yet completed the admissions process for 1986 but estimates that about 42 per cent. of new undergraduate places will be filled by previous years' applicants. The estimated percentage for Scotland is 67 per cent. Information for 1987, or for the regions in Scotland, is not available.
Discretionary Grant Awards
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to how many applications for discretionary grant awards have been made for each year since 1978–79; and how many have been granted (a) in full and (b) in part.
Statistics on the number of applications are not collated. The number of new discretionary awards made in each year was as follows:
The information requested on provision in England is available in the annual school meals censuses, reports on which are available in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the average price of school meals in primary and secondary schools in each local education authority and in England as a whole at the latest date for which information is available.
English local education authorities, returns of the price of a fixed meal in their primary and secondary schools are in book 2 of the report on the 1984 school meals census, which is available in the Library. The average of the school meal prices reported is 55p.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) by how much the value of income tax personal allowances has increased in real terms since 1979; how this amount has been distributed to each band of income taxpayers, both in total and in amount per taxpayer; and if he will make a statement;(2) which income tax allowances have been increased by more than the rate of inflation since 1979; what were the real increases in each case; and what estimate he has made of the redistributional effects of these changes.
Information is in the following table:
|Percentage increase in real terms*|
|Married man's allowance||21|
|Single person's and wife's earned income allowance||20|
|Additional personal allowance||22|
|Married age allowance||10|
|Single age allowance||11|
|Blind person's allowance||7|
|* Compared with movement in the retail prices index (RPI) between 1978–79 and 1985–86, assuming an increase of 5½ per cent. in the RPI between 1984–85 and 1985–86.|
|Reductions in income tax in 1985–86 compared with 1978–79 indexed tax regime|
|Range of total income in 1985–86 £||Reduction in tax due to allowance changes £m.||Tax units * million||Average reduction per tax unit*||Reduction as percentage of average income in the range|
|* Counting married couples as one.|
|† By reference to the estimated numbers of tax units who would be liable to pay tax under the indexed 1978–79 regime; this number is some 850,000 greater than the numbers paying tax in 1985–86 under the Budget proposals.|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the current amount of interest deducted from trading profits as a business expense.
This figure is not available from tax records. Estimates of interest payments by the company sector and public corporations are derived from alternative sources by the Central Statistical Office and published in tables 5·1 and 6·2 respectively of the national income Blue Book. No corresponding estimates are available in respect of trading by unincorporated bodies.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the amount expected to be claimed as a business expense for the purchase and operation of cars used for business purposes in the current financial year.
I regret that the expenses of operating cars for business purposes are not distinguished from other business expenses in tax records.Capital allowances arising from the purchase of cars by private business are tentatively estimated at £2 billion in 1980, the latest year for which reliable figures are readily available.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the changes in the real exchange of the pound sterling against (a) the United States dollar, (b) the deutschmark and (c) the yen from January 1985 to the most recent available date.
The information requested is as follows:
Information on the distribution of income tax reductions resulting from increases in allowance levels is shown in the following table. This has been compiled by comparing estimates of tax yields at 1985–86 levels of incomes with estimates of yields on the same incomes if 1978–79 levels of allowances, indexed according to the statutory formula, were to be substituted for the proposed 1985–86 allowances. The 1978–79 indexed allowances are calculated by reference to movements in the RPI between December 1977 and December 1984 reflecting the statutory formula.
*Real Exchange Rates (percentage changes between January and February 1985)
* Calculated using bilateral exchange rates and relative wholesale export prices. Real exchange rate data are not available beyond February because no more recent relative export price figures have been released.
Building Societies (Directors)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to provide a uniform system whereby all building society ordinary investors have an equal opportunity to nominate directors to their building societies; and if he will make a statement.
Paragraph 5·14 of the Green Paper "Building Societies: A New Framework" (Cmnd. 9316), setting out the Government's proposals for building society legislation, suggested provisions to ensure that outside candidates have a fair chance to stand against those of the board. The Government are now considering the representations which they have received on the Green Paper. If the hon. Member wishes to raise particular points, perhaps he would write to me.
Business Expansion Scheme
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether personal tax relief is available under the terms of the business expansion scheme for qualifying individuals investing non-interest bearing loan capital in eligible companies without participation in the share capital of the company.
The business scheme provides income tax relief for individuals who invest in new, full risk, ordinary shares or qualifying companies with which they are not connected. Investments of loan capital, whether or not they carry interest, do not come within the scheme.However, where a loan advanced to a person carrying on a trade, profession or vocation, and used wholly for the purposes of that activity, becomes irrecoverable, the loss may be set against other gains in determining the lender's liability to capital gains tax.
Vat (Hot Take-Away Food)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 November 1984 Official Report, column 189, when he will be in a position to give information on the estimated revenue received as a result of the value added tax being imposed on hot take-away food.
Financial Statement And Budget Report
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in the light of the projected privatisation of British Gas, he has made, or intends to make, any adjustment to his calculation of the implied cumulative fiscal adjustment, 1985–89, as outlined in table 2.5, line 13, of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report, 1985–86"; and if he will make a statement.
The estimated fiscal adjustment depends on the projections for Government expenditure and receipts and upon the path for public sector borrowing which the Government consider appropriate. These are reconsidered at Budget time in the light of all relevant factors, including the prospective receipts from the sale of British Gas and other asset sales.
Customs And Excise
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the provisions under which Her Majesty's Customs and Excise seek to require a person, in connection with any assigned matter, as defined in the Customs and Excise Managment Act 1979, to produce, furnish or deliver any document, or cause any document to be produced, furnished or delivered, or permit the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, or a person authorised by them, to inspect any document or to make or take extracts from or copies of or remove any document; and (a) which of these provisions is not concerned with the assessment, collection and enforcement of value added tax, car tax, customs duties, excise duties, betting and gaming duties or any penalties or interest related thereto and (b) which of these provisions Her Majesty's Customs and Excise seeks to apply to third parties.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will specify when and how parliamentary sanction was obtained to incur direct public expenditure for the surrendered balances of £1,695,000 in 1980–81, £62,000 in 1981–82 and £1,185,000 in 1983–84 on Votes under the equivalents of the current sub-heads Class V, Vote 10, Subhead C2 and Class VIII, Vote 4, Sub-head B5, by means of identical sums being credited to the non-surrenderable grants-in-aid which had been the subject of a Vote under the then equivalents of subheads C1 and B4; and if he will make a statement.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
Disabled People (Sporting Events)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, when the Minister with responsibility for sport next meets the chairman of the Sports Council, he will discuss the provision of spectator places for disabled people at major sports events.
Decisions on seating arrangements at major sporting events are a matter for the organisers. I am not aware of any general problem in the provision of places for disabled people at such events, but the hon. Member has recently written to me about a specific case and I shall be replying to that letter very shortly.
County Councils (Assets)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the value of the property assets of each county council and the aggregate value of these assets.
This information is not held centrally.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the sources of imported fluoride used for fluoridating the public water supply; and if he will make a statement.
One of the compounds currently used for fluoridation of water supplies, disodium hexafluorosilicate is imported. It is manufactured by a phosphate fertiliser company from mineral rocks containing both phosphate and fluoride.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are taken to monitor the fluoride content in the air in the United Kingdom.
Monitoring of ambient levels of fluoride is carried out around specific industrial plants which give rise to fluoride emissions. Such plants also monitor stack emissions of fluoride as part of the control requirements laid down by the Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorate. Elsewhere, monitoring is not routinely carried out, because ad hoc studies have indicated that concentrations of fluoride in the atmosphere are generally very low, that is, between 0·5 and 1 microgrammes per cubic metre.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the fluoride level in the air breathed by people in the Birmingham conurbation.
I am advised that no industrial plants liable to give rise to fluoride emissions are situated in the Birmingham conurbation and, consequently, no monitoring of ambient levels of fluoride is carried out in this area.
Water (Nitrate Pollution)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to take any action about the level of nitrates in the water supply in accordance with the polluter pays principle.
My Department has established a nitrate co-ordination group in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to look further into this and related questions.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that section 16(1)(k) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, relating to the issuing of licences for the killing of cormorants, is applied uniformly both in Scotland and in England and Wales.
All licensing authorities comply with general guidelines agreed by the Nature Conservancy Council. However, the problems caused by cormorants differ between Scotland and England and Wales. In England and Wales, the problems arise at fish farms and reservoirs, where deterrents to move the birds can be effective. In Scotland the problems affect extensive open water fishery systems where such deterrents are not effective. It is impracticable to adopt a completely uniform approach.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average water rate levied in each water authority area and in the United Kingdom as a whole; and by how much those rates have increased in real terms since 1979.
This information is set out in the table in respect of water authorities in England and Wales. For the rest of the United Kingdom, I will ask the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Northern Ireland to write to the hon. Member.
|Water service charges England and Wales 1979–80 compared to 1985–86 Average household bill for water services|
|Water authority||1979–80 £||1985–86 £||Percentage increase 1979–80 to 1985–86|
Percentage increase 1979–80 to 1985–86
|England and Wales (average)||41·98||85·85||105|
* Provisional figures.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce the conclusions of the review of the house transfer system announced by his right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General, Official Report, 17 February 1984, column 347; and if he will make a statement.
The report of the interdepartmental group on simplifying house buying has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library. I hope that this report will contribute to simpler and cheaper procedures for buying and selling property in this country. The Government will consider this report along with the second report of the conveyancing committee, chaired by Professor Farrand, in consultation with those affected by their recommendations.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what respective priority he will give to (a) local residents and (b) through traffic when the problems of local people are identified in the assessment studies.
It would not be sensible for anyone to anticipate the findings of the consultants' reports. I have already said that we shall seek to achieve a balance between all the conflicting priorities.
Traffic Management Systems (London)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will detail the circumstances under which he will use his reserve powers to take control of traffic management systems in London.
Directional Signs (Fencing)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current cost of erecting fencing around individual directional signs; and what is the estimated cost of so doing on all directional signs on the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth.
It is the Department's policy to erect safety fencing to protect large directional signs. Average costs are not available as there is considerable variance according to the size and location of the signs to be protected. The A38 between Exeter and Plymouth has 121 signs which require protection at a cost of £145,000. The sum of £80,000 has already been spent protecting 67 of these signs as part of a continuing programme.
A38 (Safety Fencing)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the results of his review into the criteria relating to the provision of safety fencing on the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1), pursuant to the answer of 10 may to the hon. Member for Leicester, East, Official Report, column 515, whether his Department asked for or received any payment in return for the use by a film company of an unopened stretch of the Leatherhead interchange section of the M25 on 1 May; and if he will make a statement;(2) what is his policy with regard to
(a) the granting of permission to and (b) requesting payment from private organisations or individuals for the use of unopened sections of motorways or other public roads for which he has responsibility; and if he will make a statement.
We consider each request to use unopened sections of trunk road on its merits. Permission is not given where there is a danger of significant nuisance to local residents or the road might be damaged. No charge is made, but the organisation must agree to indemnify the Department against any claims. No charge was therefore made for the use of the Leatherhead interchange on 1 May.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the effect on the opportunities for and ease of major road building in London of the proposed powers contained in the Local Government Bill for trunking roads without inquiry.
As was made clear to the Commons Committee on the Local Government Bill, of which the hon. Member was a member, the proposed powers are concerned only with transfer of ownership of the roads and can have no effect on established procedures for public consultation and inquiry for any traffic or highway schemes that might be proposed.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what changes he envisages to the planning inquiry system currently under review to accelerate the planning process for major road schemes in urban areas.
My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment are considering whether any changes should be made in the light of the Civil Engineering Economic Development Committee's report on pre-construction procedures for motorway and trunk road schemes. They hope to announce their conclusions by the autumn.
Snow Hill Tunnel
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he now expects to decide on British Rail's proposals for the Snow Hill tunnel.
Irradiated Fuel Leak (Temple Mills)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the incident which occurred at Temple Mills in east London on 9 May, involving an irradiated fuel tank belonging to the Central Electricity Generating Board.
CEGB experts attended Temple mills goods yard on 9 May after a pool of water was observed under a wagon carrying a CEGB irradiated fuel flask. They confirmed that the water was not contaminated and that there had been no leakage whatever from the flask.
Council Of Ministers (Attendances)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the meetings of the EEC Council of Transport Ministers he has attended in person, since his appointment as Secretary of State.
I have attended four of the five full Council meetings and both of the two informal Council meetings of Community Transport Ministers that have been held since my appointment. There was also a special Council meeting held in March 1984 on the French lorry drivers' strike, which I did not attend.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many coin-operated public telephones the lessee operating each motorway service area on the M1 motorway between london and Leeds is required to provide on each side of the motorway under the terms of section 3.27(v) of their lease.
The operators of the motorway service areas on the M1 between London and Leeds area required under their leases to provide the minumum number of public con-operated telephones as follows:
|Motorway service area||Minumum number of telephones|
|Scratchwood (single sided site)||12|
|Toddington||4 on each side|
|Newport Pagnall||5 on northbound side|
|6 on southbound side|
|Rothersthorpe||4 on each side|
|Watford Gap||5 on each side|
|Leicester Forest East||7 on each side|
|Trowell||3 on each side|
|Woodall||4 on each side|
|Woolley Edge||3 on each side|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he takes to satisfy himself that the terms of section 3.27(v) of the standard motorway service lease, relating to the minimum number of coin-operated public telephones to be provided on each side of the motorway, are complied with at each service area.
My officials inspect each service area annually and check that the minimum number of public telephones required under the lease is provided. The inspectors ensure that telephones are working properly at the time.
National Road Maintenance Condition Survey 1984 (Defects Index)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a list showing, by class of road
|National defects indices: England and Wales|
|Average Value 1979=100|
|1979||1980||1981||1982||1983||1984||1984 Upper bound||1984 Lower bound|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his Department's latest estimate of the annual mileage of a domestic car user.
The average annual mileage of a household car is about 8,500.
Royal Victoria Dock Swingbridge
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what investigation is being undertaken on the Royal Victoria dock swingbridge by or after consultation with the London Docklands Development Corporation; under whose authority the adjacent highway was closed; and when it and the swingbridge will be reopened for traffic.
This is not a matter for my Department. However, I understand that the Connaught road swingbridge has been closed since 10 April by a temporary traffic order made by the local highway authority, the London borough of Newham, under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The road is expected to be reopened on 1 June.
Midlands Link Motorway
asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the reply on 28 March, Official Report, column 287, if the holding down bolts of the central reservation barrier of the Oldbury viaduct on the midland links motorway have been checked.
[pursuant to the reply, 13 May 1985, c. 64]: Not as yet.Performance to date of the central reservation barrier has been satisfactory here and elsewhere on the midland links, but tests will be carried out at the Oldbury viaduct in the current programme of investigation.
for each year since 1979, the defects index of table 1, National Road Maintenance Condition Survey 1984; recalculated for 1979 as the base year.
The following is the information:
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Swapo (Prison And Refugee Camps)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to make available to Her Majesty's Government the reports he has received of the maltreatment of inmates of prison and refugee camps maintained by the South West Africa People's Organisation; and if he will make a statement.
We are, of course, concerned at reports of maltreatment of refugees, wherever this may occur. It is for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to consider reports such as the ones referred to by my hon. Friend, and to decide what action, if any, to take in response.
Immigration (Entry Clearance)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications by Commonwealth citizens for entry clearance into the United Kingdom were dealt with in 1983 and 1984 by the visa and passport department of Her Britannic Majesty's Consulate in Frankfurt, West Germany.
The information is as follows:
Suffolk Family Practitioner Committee
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in how many cases, during the last 10 years, the Suffolk family practitioner committee has found a practitioner to have acted in breach of his contract of employment; and in how many of these cases the committee has exercised its power to withhold remuneration.
We do not collect detailed local information of this kind centrally. However, the Suffolk family practitioner committee has provided information for the years from 1 April 1982, which is as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what index of prices he calculates real increases in National Health Service expenditure.
We are firmly of the view that real increases in National Health Service expenditure as a whole should be measured in economic cost terms, that is, on the basis of general inflation, as measured by the GDP deflator. This approach, which is consistent with the real terms analyses in the public expenditure White Paper, measures changes in the real cost to the economy as a whole of expenditure on the National Health Service.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the practice of his Department in relation to the hiring of private detectives to investigate claims for social security and supplementary benefits; how much has been spent on investigations by private detectives; and how much such investigations have taken place in the last five years for which information is available.
The Department does not employ private detectives to investigate claims for social security benefits.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish data on the number of abortions for each week over 19 weeks for each of the last five years; and if he will sub-divide the data according to whether the abortion was carried out in a private or a National Health Service hospital, and whether or not the foetus was deformed.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
Mental Health Act 1983 (Orders)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many orders have been made since October 1983 by the courts under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 placing a convicted person under guardianship of a local social services authority or other approved person; and if he will make a statement.
Between 30 September 1983 and 31 March 1984 four new guardianship orders under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 were accepted or approved by local authorities. Later figures are not yet available.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many patients have been discharged or transferred from special hospitals on recommendation of the responsible medical officer since October 1983; and if he will make a statement.
In the period 1 November 1983 to 30 April 1985, 220 patients were discharged or transferred from special hospitals on their responsible medical officer's recommendation and 19 patients went to complete prison sentences when their responsible medical officer considered they no longer needed treatment. A further 65 patients were discharged by mental health review tribunals—which may or may not have been the course favoured by the responsible medical officer.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans the Government have to remedy the delays to which patients, detained under sections 3, 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983, are subjected when an application for a mental health review tribunal is made; and if he will make a statement.
Delays in convening tribunal hearings are not all within our control. In some cases those representing applicants have required substantial time to prepare their cases. Delays which have occurred have in the main involved restricted patients, where the tribunal president must be a judge. Some additional judge time has been made available for dealing with these applications. There have been increases in the staff servicing tribunals and we have now authorised further increases. Other measures are also being taken to speed up the processing of applications and we will continue to monitor the situation closely. The Mental Health Act 1983 gave rise to a considerable increase in the work of tribunals. In 1984 they dealt with 2,208 cases compared with 911 in 1982. The 1984 figure included some 900 applications by patients detained under section 2 of the Act, which must be heard within seven days of receipt of the application.
Nhs (Drugs Bill)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will state the assumed level of direct purchases and of private prescriptions upon which his current calculations of savings on the National Health Service drugs bill are based.
In view of the comprehensive nature of the selected list, we would not expect there to be a significant reduction in NHS prescriptions resulting from patients buying drugs over the counter or on non-NHS prescription.
Social Security (Member's Correspondence)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he intends to reply to a letter sent to his Department by the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon, dated 17 December 1984 and marked "Urgent", regarding the social security case of a constituent.
I wrote to the right hon. and learned Member on 15 May, and regret that my reply had been delayed.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing the numbers of unemployed supplementary benefit claimants in receipt of a payment for mortgage interest according to the amount of mortgage interest payment made in bands of £5.
Estimates of average payments for mortgage interest and ground rent can be produced, but available data are not sufficiently reliable to provide a satisfactory analysis of the type requested.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average payment made for mortgage interest to (a) unemployed supplementary benefit claimants on benefit for less than six months, (b) all unemployed supplementary benefit claimants, (c) other supplementary benefit claimants and (d) all supplementary benefit claimants.
Information is not available in the precise form requested. The estimated average weekly payments of supplementary benefit for mortgage interest and ground rent in 1982, which are the latest figures available, are as follows:
|Claimant Group||Average payment for mortgage interest £|
|a Unemployed supplementary benefit claimants on benefit for less than six months||17·09|
|b All unemployed supplementary benefit claimants||16·92|
|c Other supplementary benefit claimants||9·34|
|d All supplementary benefit claimants||13·87|
Source: Annual Statistical Enquiry.
Number of families
Earnings of head of family £
Age of head of family
|75·00 or more||1,930||11,330||68,360||2,570||84,190|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average payment for (a) rates and (b) water rates for people in receipt of supplementary benefit; and if he will provide a table showing the numbers receiving payment for (i) rates and (ii) water rates according to the amount received in bands of £2 in each case.
The information is not available in the precise form requested. It is estimated that in May 1983, the latest date for which figures are available, about 2,870,000 supplementary benefit recipients received rate rebates, at an average weekly rate of about £4.30. The estimated distribution by amount of rate rebate was as follows:
|Estimated number of recipients Thousands||Amount of weekly rate rebate|
"Social Security Statistics"
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update tables 32·36 and 32·40 of the "Social Security Statistics" 1984 to the latest date for which information is available.
I regret that no later information is available for table 32·36. The following is the information for table 32·40 at the end of October 1984, the latest date for which figure are available.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will update table 34·41 of the "Social Security Statistics" 1984 to December 1983;(2) if he will update table 34·31 of the "Social Security Statistics" 1984 to December 1983.
I regret that the information to update these tables is not yet available. I will let the hon. Member have a reply when it is.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many unemployed supplementary benefit claimants in receipt of an addition for mortgage interest have been on supplementary benefit for less than six months; and what was the total cost of mortgage interest payments to this group.
Information is not available in the precise form requested. The estimated number of
|80/154/EEC||Mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications in midwifery.||Implemented by Orders in Council—No. 1983 884 of 1 July 1983 and No. 1983 921 of 1 July 1983.|
|80/155/EEC||Co-ordiation of national provisions relating to the taking up and pursuit of the activities of midwives.||Implemented by Orders in Council—No. 1983 884 of 1 July 1983 and No. 1983 921 of 1 July 1983.|
|80/1273/EEC||Amendment to Directive 80/154/EEC consequent upon the accession of Greece to the European Community||Implemented by Order in Council No. 1983 921 of 1 July 1983.|
|81/464/EEC||Approximation of national rules relating to the colouring matters which may be added to medicinal products.||Implemented by administrative action.|
|81/1057/EEC||Amendment to Directives 75/362/EEC, 77/452/EEC, 78/686/EEC and 78/1026/EEC concerning mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of the formal qualifications of doctors, nurses responsible for general care, dental practitioners and veterinary surgeons. This Directive provides for mutual recognition of qualifications awarded after the implementation of the relevant Directives but for which training began prior to implementation.||Implemented by Order in Council No. 1982 1076 of 30 August 1982.|
|82/76/EEC||Technical amendments to Directives 75/362/EEC, 75/363/EEC on the mutual recognition of qualifications of doctors and freedom to provide services and introduces provisions to regulate part-time training of specialists.||Implemented by administrative action.|
|83/128/EEC||Introduction of an EC pattern approval procedure into Directive 76/764/EEC, relating to the technical requirements for the approximation of Member States' laws for manufacture and performance of clinical mercury-in-glass maximum-reading thermometers.||Work on implementation in progress.|
|83/570/EEC||Improvements in the operation of Directives 65/65/EEC, 75/318/EEC and 79/319/EEC, which aim to reduce barriers to trade in medicinal products within the Member States.||Arrangements are in hand for implementation, mainly by administrative action and partly by subordinate legislation.|
|84/466/EURATOM||Basic measures for the protection from excessive ioninsing radiation of persons undergoing medical examination or treatment.||Work on implementation in progress.|
|84/539/EEC||Harmonisation of technical specifications for certain items of electro-medical equipment manufactured in Member States, for use in human or veterinary medicine.||Work on implementation in progress.|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 4 April, Official Report, column 768. what were the names of the drugs in respect of which manufacturers gave the top 10 highest discounts in 1983; what was the cost of prescribing those drugs to the National Health Service per dispensing doctor and per ordinary general practitioner in 1983; and what was the cost in the last year before discounts were introduced.
[pursuant to his reply, 16 May 1985, c. 218]: We do not have the information requested on the discounts of individual drugs.
Family Practitioner Committees
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what financial and other assistance is given to
unemployed supplementary benefit claimants who were in receipt of an addition for mortgage interest and ground rent and had been on supplementary benefit for less than six months at December 1982, which are the latest figures available, is 74,000. The estimated annual cost of mortgage interest payments to this group is £72 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the details of each directive relevant to his Department from the EEC since 1979; and what action he has taken in each case.
[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1985, c. 237]: the following directives for which the Department has the primary responsibility have been adopted by the council since 1979.general practitioners and family practitioner committees to enable general practitioners to improve their facilities and purchase or construct health centres; in whom the ownership of such health centres is vested; to whom the capital gains of such centres accrue; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 16 May 1985, c. 221]: Under the improvement grant scheme doctors may receive a grant of one third of the cost to them of approved work aimed at the significant improvement of existing premises. In November 1983 an enhanced improvement grant scheme of three years duration was introduced in inner cities under which a grant may be given of 60 per cent. of the cost up to a maximum to doctors of the approved work.General practitioners who purchase practice premises receive the equivalent of current market rent for the use of their premises. Those who are willing to invest in new purpose-built premises or their equivalent may receive payments under the cost rent scheme which in most cases will cover the interest on the capital borrowed for the project and provide a return on the capital invested. Capital gains accrue to the owner of the premises.District health authorities also provide practice accommodation for some general practitioners in health centres which the health authorities own and maintain.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the maximum fixed expenses for which general practitioners are eligible under section 63 of the National Health Service Act 1977; and if he will list the same.
[pursuant to his reply, 16 May 1985, c. 215]: There are no maxima for individuals, but the total is cash limited.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average water rate levied in each water board region and in the United Kingdom as a whole; and by how much those rates have increased in real terms since 1979.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the average price of school meals in primary and secondary schools in each local education authority and in Scotland as a whole at the latest date for which information is available.
The amounts charged for fixed price set meals at the time of the school meals census in January 1984 are shown in the table. A number of schools also provide cafeteria-style self-service meals, the cost of the meal varying according to choice of items. Education authorities' estimates of the average amount spent per pupil on such meals range from 25p to 64p.
|Education Authority||Fixed Price Meal Pence|
|Dumfries and Galloway||50|
|The average of the figures in the column above is 49·6p.|
|* Pupils in primary classes in Grampian and Tayside were charged 45p and Grampian region pupils at special schools were charged 23p for set meals.|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current average rate poundage for industrial and commercial premises in Scotland.
The estimated average rate poundage in 1985–86 for industrial and commercial properties in Scotland is 65·5.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is the average increase in the rate poundage in 1985–86 as compared with 1984–85 in each district and region in Scotland for (a) domestic ratepayers, (b) commercial ratepayers and (c) industrial ratepayers; and if he will publish the information in the form of a table;(2) what is the average factor by which valuations have risen in the case of
(a) owner-occupied property and (b) council houses and other houses in the public sector;
(3) what is the average rates bill in Scotland in 1985–86 of (a) owners of domestic properties and (b) council house tenants, and other houses in the public sector; and if he will publish a table giving the information, local authority by local authority;
(4) what is the average level of rates in 1985–86 for (a) owner-occupied properties and (b) houses in the public sector in Scotland.
[pursuant to his answer, 16 May 1985, c. 229]: I shall make this information available as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the nature and scope of the evidence on rentals paid in the domestic sector on which the recent valuation was based.
[pursuant to his answer, 16 May 1985, c. 229]: This is a matter for the individual local assessors, upon whom the task of assembling such evidence is laid by statute, and who have to defend their valuations on appeal by reference to it.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the reasons for the differential increase in rateable values as between (a) small commercial ratepayers and (b) large commercial concerns, which have resulted from the recent revaluation.
[pursuant to his answer, 16 May 1985, c. 229]: I do not have any basis for trying to comment comprehensively on the differing trends which may have affected different sub-classes of ratepayers in the recent revaluation.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average multiplier in Scotland; what are the upper and lower ends of the multiplier factor; and if he will publish a table showing any variations as between regions and districts.
[pursuant to his answer, 16 May 1985, c. 229]: Over all property in Scotland, the 1985 revaluation has led to an average multiplier of 2·3. There will, however, be a very wide range of multipliers applying to individual properties. In theory these could range from zero where a property has dropped out of valuation altogether to infinity where a previously exempt property has become rateable. Information on multipliers on the detailed local basis requested is not held centrally, but my hon. Friend may wish to write to the individual regional assessors to see what figures they can provide.
Royal Marines Detachment
asked the Secretary of State for Defence which of Her Majesty's ships now carry a Royal Marines detachment.
Royal Marines detachments are normally carried in the royal yacht Britannia, HMS Endurance, the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid, the Falkland Islands patrol vessels and some frigates. They are also deployed in other vessels from time to time to meet specific operational tasks.
United States Aircraft
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether figures 9 and 10 of annex A to the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985", Cmnd. 9430-I, include United States aircraft assigned to co-locating operating bases in Europe; and how many aircraft are so assigned.
Figures 9 and 10 show in-place equipment only. Some 1,750 fixed wing combat aircraft presently based in the United States and Canada are allocated to the reinforcement of Europe, although not necessarily just to the areas covered in figures 9 and 10.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what assumptions were made concerning available reserves for the West German, the Netherlands, Belgian and British armies and category 2 and 3 divisions of Warsaw Pact nations when drawing up figures 9 and 10 of annex A in the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985", Cmnd. 9430-I.
The manpower statistics given in figure 9 contain no reserves for either NATO or Warsaw pact armies. Figure 10 shows divisions which would be augmented by reserves on mobilisation. This applies to most of the NATO and Warsaw pact divisions, including those of the Warsaw pact deemed as category 2 or 3.
Spain (Military Aircraft)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the number of fixed wing military aircraft possessed by Spain.
It is not our practice to comment on the detailed military capabilities of our allies.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the total number of (a) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and (b) Warsaw pact land-based and maritime aircraft based in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation area.
The total number of fixed wing combat aircraft both land and sea based in or facing NATO Europe or the NATO sea areas is as follows:
Nato-Warsaw Pact Forces
asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the standard graphic representation used to depict the balance of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-Warsaw pact forces in figure 11 of annex A of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985", Cmnd. 9430-I, was not used also when representing the forces of France and Spain.
In figure 11 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985", French and Spanish naval forces are depicted in numerical, rather than representational, form primarily because of limitations of space; but also in order to distinguish France and Spain from other NATO countries since they do not participate in NATO's integrated military structure.
Us Forces And Facilities
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now publish a comprehensive list of those United States forces and facilities in the United Kingdom and on United Kingdom territories overseas which are not formerly committed to a NATO command.
With minor exceptions, such as light transport and search and rescue units, all United States forces in the United Kingdom are here in support of NATO. Facilities as such are not normally committed to NATO. On United Kingdom territories overseas, only those United States facilities on Bermuda are regularly used by US forces in their NATO role.
Nato (Ministerial Meetings)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will in future make it his practice to make a statement to the House on his return from ministerial level meetings on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
No. Details of the discussions which take place at ministerial level meetings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are contained in the communiqués issued after each meeting, copies of which will be placed in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many military personnel, by service, have been removed from nuclear-related tasks because of their psychological problems, or alcohol-related problems, or their use of non-prescribed drugs, in the most recent year for which figures are available.
Statistics on the number of service personnel removed from nuclear related tasks, for whatever reasons, are not centrally recorded and could not be provided without disproportionate effort.There are, of course, comprehensive physical and procedural safeguards to prevent any form of unauthorised action by an individual in relation to nuclear weapons for whatever reason.
European Fighter Aircraft
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress was made over the development of the European fighter aircraft during his talks on 15 May with his European colleagues.
My right hon. Friend attended the meeting in Rome yesterday evening and will reply shortly.
Rn Ships (Plastic Armour)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to fit plastic armour over vital spaces in Her Majesty's ships.
Means of protecting Her Majesty's ships from projectiles, including the possible use of ceramic ("plastic") armour, are kept under continuous review.Strengthened steel is used in certain cases to give protection to vital spaces but currently there are no plans to fit ceramic armour.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest estimate of the cost per week of the security operation at Molesworth cruise missile base.
This task, which varies from week to week according to the level of demonstrator activity, is carried out as part of the Ministry of Defence's continuing role in respect of the security and administration of defence installations, and is not costed separately. Thus, the information required could be extracted only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the countries which have a chemical warfare capacity.
The technology involved in producing most chemical weapons is not very advanced and any industrialised nation could probably develop such weapons if it so desired.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence by what method his Department estimates the Russian chemical stockpile to include over 300,000 tonnes of nerve gas.
Careful assessment of all information available.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent the efficiency and operational effectiveness of the Trident II system will be influenced by the arrangements for through-life logistic support to be provided by the United States of America.
The United States of America will provide the United Kingdom Trident II force with continuing spares, supply and maintenance support on a similar basis to that which applies to our current Polaris force. Furthermore, as a result of the Kings Bay decision, the United Kingdom will be able to make substantial savings in capital and running costs by processing its missiles in the United States of America. Our access to the United States own large-scale logistics support system, with all the associated benefits which arise from the very high priority accorded by the United States to its strategic nuclear systems, will allow us to take advantage of developments based on the United States experience of operating its own much larger Trident II force, and will contribute to the efficiency and operational effectiveness of our Trident II force.
Soviet Defence Expenditure
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's latest estimate of Soviet defence expenditure; and what proportion of this it estimates is spent on (a) defensive and (b) offensive systems.
Our most recent estimate for Soviet defence expenditure is 96 billion to 103 billion roubles in 1983 at current prices. Since many systems may be used in a defensive or offensive role, subdivision of the estimates on this basis would not be meaningful.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many animal experiments were carried out at the Porton Down chemical defence establishment in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984.
The number of experiments subject to the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 in each year is as follows:
Exercise Brave Defender
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, how many United States service men will be involved in the Brave Defender exercise.
It is currently planned that about 1,000 United States service men will take part in the exercise.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what contributions were made by the British delegation to the preparatory committee meeting held in April for the non-proliferation treaty third review conference; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of this meeting.
I have been asked to reply.At the recent meeting of the preparatory commitee for the non-proliferation treaty review conference, the British delegation played a constructive role in contributing to the conclusion described in my reply to the hon. Member for Meironydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Thomas) on 8 May, at column
Infant Mortality (Baor)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will list the infant mortality rate for families of men serving with the British Army of the Rhine.
[pursuant to his reply, 2 May 1985, c. 231–232]: The figures should be shown as per thousand and not per cent. as stated.