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Written Answers

Volume 79: debated on Tuesday 21 May 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 21 May 1985

Environment

Planning Decisions (Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to provide an opportunity for objectors to appeal against a decision of a local authority planning committee to grant planning permission for a particular project; and if he will make a statement.

No. The arrangements already give adequate opportunity for the consideration of objections and we do not propose to add a further obstacle to development.

Temporary Land Use (General Development Order)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning a review of the general development order for the temporary uses of land for tented camping sites, helicopter landing sites and one-day markets; and if he will make a statement.

From time to time I receive representations about these and other temporary uses of land permitted by the general development order, and I consider them carefully. However, the Government's general aim is to reduce planning controls, and there would need to be firm evidence that any particular permitted use was causing widespread concern before an amendment to the order could be justified.

Radioactive Waste

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by what means he ensures that the licensed limits for activity and quantity of radioactive waste disposed of to air, land or water are adhered to in England, Wales and Scotland.

Disposals of radioactive waste are subject to controls under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. The certificates of authorisation issued under it contain limitations and conditions designed to ensure that the effects of disposal are regulated in accordance with the internationally recommended standards of radiological safety. Inspectors appointed under the terms of the 1960 Act visit premises to check that conditions of authorisation are being complied with. Where appropriate, they take check samples of effluents for independent analysis and of environmental materials.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if it is intended to increase the licensed limits for beta/gamma activity of radioactive waste disposed of at Drigg.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to exempt from the authorisation requirements of the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 the disposal of carbon-14, tritium or plutonium-241; and if he will make a statement.

Section 6(5) of the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 empowers the Secretary of State for the Environment to make orders which exclude particular types of waste from the requirements for authorisation of disposal. In general, such orders are made where the radiological risk arising is negligible. During the corning months, it is proposed that several statutory instruments should be made which would exclude organic scintillation fluid containing very low levels of carbon-14 and tritium and also certain types of signs and instruments; apart from these proposals there are no current plans to change the existing authorisation requirements in respect of carbon-14, tritium and plutonium-241.

Widdicombe Inquiry

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if anyone outside his Department was consulted or involved in the preparation of his Department's evidence to the Widdicombe inquiry.

The evidence jointly submitted to the Widdicombe inquiry by my Department, the Scottish Office and the Welsh Office was prepared in consultation with other Government Departments.

Green Belt Land

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give an estimate of the number of outstanding planning permissions for housing development in Essex.

My Department does not regularly publish details of outstanding planning permissions, but it included in its evidence to the Environment Select Committee — first report of the Committee, 1983–4 Session, volume II—figures which show that, subject to the provision of infrastructure, there was sufficient land in Essex with outstanding planning permission for housing in 1982–3 to support average past building rates for about six years.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if it remains his' policy that green belt land has a positive planning role; and if he will make a statement.

Government policy on green belt is set out in DOE circular 14/84. This affirms the great importance which Government continue to attach to green belts, which have a broad and positive planning role.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether designated green belt land remains as such no matter what the condition of the land.

DOE circular 14/84 makes it clear that the essential characteristic of green belts is their permanence and that, once the detailed boundaries have been fixed, they should not be amended, or development allowed, merely because the land has become derelict. It explains that some areas within the green belt can be especially vulnerable to neglect or damage. Such areas may form an important part of the green belt and, if so, need to be protected and maintained.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will give the total acreage of green belt land currently in the Greater London council area, and publish its location in the Official Report;(2) if he will give the total acreage of green belt land currently in the Greater London council area for each year since 1978–79 to 1984–85.

Calculations in 1975 estimated that about 34,000 hectares of land in Greater London were designated as green belt. More recent figures are not available. The general extent of the green belt is shown in the Greater London development plan, approved in 1976, and detailed boundaries are given in local plans.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report an estimate of (a) total acreage of green belt land in Essex and (b) total acreage of land designated for housing development in Essex.

My Department does not have the information on which to base such estimates.

Wildlife Inspectorate

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the wildlife inspectorate.

I informed the House on 12 December that there had been allegations against a member of the wildlife inspectorate. With the full co-operation of my Department, the allegations were investigated by the police who concluded that on the evidence available no action should be taken. However, all complaints that departmental business is not conducted properly are taken seriously and the directorate of establishments is therefore carrying out a review of the adequacy of the Department's existing procedures.The work of the inspectorate is primarily to inspect the premises of keepers and breeders of protected birds: this is part of the bird registration system established by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and regulations made under it. The Department also assists the Police and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in their enforcement of the above legislation. The work has greatly increased, as we play our full part in wildlife protection and in fulfilling our obligations under the convention on international trade in endangered species. I have therefore called for a thorough review of the management and structure of the inspectorate to be carried out during the summer.

Housing (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he made changes in the proposals he originally put forward for the future of research on housing in London in the event of the Greater London council being abolished; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1985]: There has been no change in the policy set out in the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 17 December, column 14. An amendment to the relevant clause in the Local Government Bill, now clause 86, has been tabled in another place to reinforce the arrangements for collective research by the London boroughs; but it remains for them to decide what research is necessary.

Parking Fines

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many fixed penalty parking fines have been paid out of departmental funds in each of the past three years.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1985]: My Department has paid the following fines: 1 in 1982, 1 in 1983 and 3 in 1984.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Support Costs

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the cost to the Exchequer of support to United Kingdom agriculture, as follows (a) gross cost and (b) cost net of all refunds; and if he will show (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product, for the years 1960–61, 1970–71, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85.

Annual Review White Paper

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what factors he attributes the difference in trend between England and the other countries of the United Kingdom in agricultural land prices and rents, as shown in table 25 of the annual review White Paper, Cmnd. 9243.

It is not possible to say which factors mainly determine changes in average land prices in the different countries of the United Kingdom. A large number of influences is normally at work simultaneously—for example, location, quality, profitability in farming and strength of the local market, including whether or not planning permission is available. Also, when numbers of sales in an area are small, the average price for a particular period can be heavily influenced by one or two large transactions. Agricultural rents are generally determined locally by periodic reviews in which landowners or their agents negotiate with tenants.

Licences

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 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 main areas for which licences are currently issued by my Department are as follows: Under the Medicines Act 1968, the Animal Health Act 1981, the Animal Health and Welfare Act 1984 and subordinate legislation made under them for control over the movement of animals, including poultry and birds, meat and animal products and in relation to their importation. Controls are also applied under this legislation to feedingstuffs, animal medicines and vaccines, to the collection, processing and use of porcine and bovine semen and for the purpose of protecting the welfare of animals in transit.For Fisheries my Department and the other United Kingdom Fisheries Departments issue a wide range of licences to permit fishing by British fishing boats for those stocks listed in the Sea Fish Licensing Order 1983, as varied. The licences may cover one or more species or area and may be revoked and reissued from time to time in accordance with the requirements of EC conservation and quota regulations and of United Kingdom quota management arrangements. Other licences are issued under the Receiving of Trans-shipped Sea Fish (Licensing) Order 1982, as varied; the Diseases of Fish Act 1937 for the importation of live freshwater fish and their eggs; the Molluscan Shellfish (Control of Deposit) Order 1974, operational 1965; the Lobsters (Control of Deposit) Order 1981; and, since 1982, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to permit releases into the wild of fish and shellfish.From 1982, also under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, my Department has been empowered to issue licences for the killing or taking of protected birds and mammals causing certain types of damage. There are similar powers in relation to badgers, operational since 1982, under the Badgers Act 1973. Since 1962, licences have also been issued for the keeping of mink and coypu under the Destructive Imported Animals Act 1932.Licences under the provisions of the Dumping at Sea Act 1974 authorise the deposit of material in the sea and the use of oil dispersants. Certificates of authorisation to dispose of radioactive waste are issued under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. Licences control the burning of heather and grass under regulations that have operated from 1949.Under the Plant Health Act 1967, general and specific licences are issued to permit the import of plants meeting certain conditions; and seven orders made between 1957 and 1978 provide for the sale, use, delivery, and planting of material in relation to plant disease endemic in the United Kingdom. An eighth order under the Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964 makes similar provision for seed potatoes. The Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964 also allows the issuing of compulsory licences concerning proprietary rights of plant varieties. Licences under the Seeds (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 1974, operational 1974, cover crop inspectors, seed samplers and the operation of seed testing stations. Five general licences, normally applicable to everybody rather than individuals, are in operation under the Seeds Marketing Regulations to relax the provisions of seeds regulations.Four licences are issued in connection with bees; the movement of bees and beekeeping equipment from premises subject to a standstill notice; the exemption of persons involved in research or training from the provisions of bee diseases legislation, both operational 1942; the import of queen bees and attendant workers, operational 1980; and the import of bees for research purposes, operational 1983.Under European Community regulations, licences have been necessary for most trade in agricultural products with non-member countries.

Agricultural Land (Thurrock)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide an analysis of the grades of agricultural land in Thurrock, together with an estimate of the acreage of each grade.

From the published one inch to one mile agricultural land classification maps of the Thurrock borough council area, our estimate of the grades and acreage of agricultural land in Thurrock is as follows:

Acres
Grade 11,510
Grade 26,200
Grade 314,800
Grade 4790
Urban and non-agricultural17,170
Total40,470

Beef

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will announce the 1985–86 target price scale for the beef variable premium scheme.

I am sure that hon. Members on all sides of the House have welcomed my right hon. Friend's achievement in securing agreement in the Council of Ministers on the continuation of the beef variable premium scheme for the 1985–86 marketing year. After long and hard negotiations, the premium has been kept on unchanged terms and conditions. The target price scale for 1985–86 will be as follows:

Week commencingPence per live kilogram
1985
May 27110·4
June 3110·0
10109·5
17109·0
24108·6
July 1108·1
8107·6
15107·0
22106·5
29106·0
August 5105·3
12104·8
19104·2
26103·8
September 2103·2
9102·8
16102·6
23102·5
30102·4
October 7102·3
14102·2
21102·1
28102·0
November 4102·2
11102·5
18102·8
25103·2
December 2103·5

Week commencing

Pence per live kilogram

9104·2
16105·0
23105·0
30105·5

1986

January 6106·0
13106·8
20107·6
27108·4
February 3109·2
10110·0
17110·8
24111·0
March 3111·1
10111·2
17111·3
24111·4
31111·4

Intervention Stores

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide a complete list of United Kingdom and European Community agricultural produce in public intervention and assisted private storage in England and their value at the latest available date.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 May 1985, c. 322]: Intervention stocks in England on 31 March, the latest date for which figures are available, were as follows, values calculated at the buying-in price current at that date:

CommodityTonnes£ million
Beef32,82479·75
Breadmaking wheat81,07210·71
Barley626,00177·74
Feedwheat2,873,191356·79
Butter100,746194·40
Skimmed Milk Powder29,94130·73
At the end of March, there was no butter or pigmeat in assisted private storage in England. The quantity of beef is not recorded and calculation would involve disproportionate cost.

Sugar

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the prospects for the sugar sector of the agricultural industry.

[pursuant to his reply, 16 May 1985, c. 206]: Yes. The area planted for next season's sugar beet crop in the United Kingdom is estimated to show a fractional increase on this season's area, which itself produced our second highest ever output of sugar from home-grown beet.

Prime Minister

Soviet Jews (Emigration)

Q67.

asked the Prime Minister what action is being taken by Her Majesty's Government, in diplomatic negotiations with the Soviet Union, to assist emigration by Soviet Jews to Israel.

Both I and my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary raised these questions with Mr. Gorbachev last December. The Conference of Security and Co-operation in Europe experts' meeting on human rights which opened in Ottawa on 7 May and the meeting on human contacts in Berne next year will provide further opportunities to press the Soviet Union to fulfil their Helsinki commitments on family reunification.

Engagements

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 21 May.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 21 May.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 21 May.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others including one with 26 leading industrialists to discuss their role in the Government's policy to increase the number of engineering and technology students. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today including one with the Prime Minister of Finland. This evening I shall be giving a dinner for the Prime Minister of Finland.

Transport

Woolwich Ferry

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what response he has received from the London boroughs of Greenwich and Newham to his suggestion that they should take over the running of the Woolwich ferry after the abolition of the Greater London council.

Newham has written referring to the need for further information on financial and other implications. We have not as yet had a reply from Greenwich.

Roads (Design Standards)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list schemes from the 1983 roads White Paper whose design standard is being re-examined as a result of his Department's new traffic forecasts.

All trunk road schemes in England are being examined in the light of the revised traffic forecasts. Most are unlikely to require a change in design standard.

Heavy Goods Vehicles

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has about the incidence of offences relating to goods vehicles exceeding the maximum 38-tonne weight limit.

Separate records of offences relating to goods vehicles exceeding the 38 tonne weight limit are not available.

Bottesford Bypass

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will list the reasons for his failure to publish draft orders for the A52 bypass round Bottesford, Leicesterhire, following the announcement on the preferred route in December 1982, the public exhibition in July 1983 and the reply by the Minister of State on 31 July 1984 that orders would be published in the spring of the current year; and whether he will now expedite this matter.

The delay in publishing the draft orders for the A52 bypass, Bottesford, has been caused by lengthy negotiations about the future of a disused railway line which the preferred route crosses. I can confirm what I said in my answer of 1 April that we expect to publish the draft orders this summer. Despite our efforts, a spring publication could not be achieved.

Railway Lines And Stations

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway stations or railway lines previously closed to passenger or goods traffic have been reopened following the implementation of the Transport Act 1962 (Amendment) Act 1981.

I understand from the British Railways Board that 12 stations and one passenger service have been opened or re-opened on an experimental basis under the 1981 Act.

East London River Crossing

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is yet able to announce the date of the public inquiry into the proposed east London river crossing.

I am pleased to announce that the public local inquiries will start on Tuesday 10 September 1985 at the town hall, Wellington street, Woolwich, before Major-General M. E. Tickell, CBE, MC, MA, C.Eng., FICE, an inspector nominated by the Lord Chancellor.

Home Department

Police Vehicles (Accident Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report for 1983, 1984 and 1985, respectively, (a) the number of police officers (i) killed and (ii) seriously injured in car crashes while pursuing offenders and (b) the number of other people (i) killed and (ii) seriously injured in road accidents by police vehicles pursuing offenders.

The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, but I would refer the hon. Member to the replies given to questions by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) on 13 May at columns 7–8, in which certain information was given in respect of the Metropolitan police.

Jonathan Michael Bloch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to reach a decision on the re-application of Mr. Jonathan Michael Bloch for indefinite leave to remain and the renewal of his travel document; what are the reasons for the delay in reaching a decision; and what representations he has received since June 1984 on Mr. Bloch's case.

Mr. Bloch's application is at present under consideration but it raises important issues and I am not yet in a position to say when a decision will be reached. Since June 1984 representations on Mr. Bloch's case have been received from the hon. Member, from Mr. Bloch's employers, from his solicitors, from African Refugee Housing Action Limited, and from Hackney borough council.

Cumbria Police

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the establishment of the Cumbria police force on 31 March; what was the actual strength on the same date; to what factors he attributes the difference between the two figures; and if he will make a statement.

The authorised establishment of the Cumbria constabulary is 1,128, an increase of 40 since May 1979. The strength of the force was 1,092 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 force in April 1985, and the present strength is 1,101. The number of full-time civilian staff in the force has increased by 42 to 260 since May 1979, including an additional 16 during the past year.

Shoplifting

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to restrict the power of the courts to remand in custody persons accused of shoplifting; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to do so. The Bail Act 1976 already creates a presumption in favour of the grant of bail to defendants in criminal proceedings generally, and a court may withhold bail only if satisfied that one of the prescribed exceptions to the right to bail exists.

Remand Prisoners (Court And Police Cells)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the correspondence he has received since the beginning of 1984 on the use of police and court cells to hold remand prisoners.

Durham Police Force

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the establishment of the Durham police force on 31 March 1985; what was its actual strength on that date; to what reason he ascribes the difference between the two figures; and if he will make a statement.

The authorised establishment of the Durham constabulary is 1,357, an increase of 8 since May 1979. The strength of the force was 1,279 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. Because of budgetary decisions by the police authority, the Durham constabulary has had an increasing number of vacancies in the last two years, but I understand that there was further recruitment in April 1985, and the present strength is 1,291. The number of full-time civilian staff in the force has increased by 15 to 440 in the last year.

Television Licence Fee

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what he expects to be the effect of the licence fee settlement on employment in the BBC; and if any estimate has been provided to him of job losses.

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary made clear when he announced the new television licence fees on 27 March — columns 479–481 — the licence fee settlement should allow the BBC to maintain its present level and range of services while its ability to enhance its services will depend very largely on the degree to which it achieves improvements in efficiency. It is for the corporation to decide how to use the money available to it, and we have neither seen nor asked for estimates of the likely level of staffing following the settlement.

Missing Persons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities the police national computer provides for recording details of missing persons under the age of 18 years and of other vulnerable missing persons; and if he will make a statement.

Persons aged less than 18 recorded as missing by the missing persons bureau of the Metropolitan police*
YearRecorded as missing‡Traced or identified║
Aged under 14Aged 14 to 17Aged under 14Aged 14 to 17
19795903,0005002,720
19806403,2704602,850
19816202,6204502,360
19827703,5704503,010
1983¶6903,2604602,840
1984¶•1,2402,8601,0902,620
* Includes some cases reported by police forces other than the Metropolitan police.
† The same person may be reported missing more than once.
‡ Includes some persons first reported missing in previous years.
║ Includes persons traced who were first reported missing in previous years.
¶ Excludes persons reported as missing from overseas (58 in 1984).
• Figures for 1984 may have been increased by improved procedures for recording those missing for only a short period.

Subtitles (Television)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will hold discussions with the British Broadcasting Corporation and independent television companies about increasing the use of subtitles on television to help deaf people;

The police national computer provides a wanted/missing persons' file, on which forces may record data about missing persons under the age of 18 and all adults who have disappeared or unaccountably left home in circumstances which make it seem likely that they have come to some harm.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the advice on the use and updating of information held on the police national computer regarding details of missing persons under the age of 18 years and of other vulnerable missing persons; and if he will make a statement.

Advice to chief officers on the use and updating of this file is contained in the code of practice for the protection of personal data held on the police national computer, a copy of which is in the Library. Records of missing persons are kept for a minimum of 10 weeks unless the subject is found. Individual records may be retained for a longer period at the discretion of the chief officer concerned.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to the answer of 22 April, Official Report, column 323, he will provide a breakdown of the missing persons figures in each column of table 2 according to the following age groups: under 14, 14 to 16 and 16 to 18 years.

[pursuant to his reply, 14 May, c. 92]: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the available information is as given in the following table; statistics are not readily available for the age groups specified. The procedures for the recording of persons who were missing for only a short period were improved in 1984 and this may have increased the numbers recorded by the missing persons bureau; at the end of 1984 the numbers recorded as missing—150 aged under 14, and 240 aged 14 to 17—were lower than those a year earlier at the end of 1983—220 aged under 14, and 420 aged 14 to 17.(2) if he will make a special grant to the broadcasting authorities for the extension of subtitles on television to help deaf people.

As soon as teletext technology became available, both the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Broadcasting Authority recognised and began to exploit its potential for providing subtitles to television programmes in order to improve their enjoyment by deaf people. The broadcasting authorities are still developing their resources for this purpose. In 1984 subtitles were provided on averaged for about 26 hours per week, and I understand that there are plans over the next five years to subtitle all major pre-recorded programmes which are broadcast at peak times. Work is also in hand by the authorities to develop effective systems for subtitling live programmes.I do not believe that it is appropriate for the Government to grant-aid this work, nor do I see any necessity for the Government to discuss these matters with the broadcasters at the present time.

Vehicle Excise Duty

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information is available about offences relating to vehicle excise duty in each year since 1981; and what information is, in particular, available about such offences in respect of goods vehicles.

I have been asked to reply. The following is the information available:

Total VED Offence Reports receivedOffenders prosecuted or penalised during yearFines penalties and VED arrears recovered £ million
19811,170,000169,0007·2
19821,257,000198,0009·4
19831,185,000253,00014·6
19841,010,000291,00018·05
Separate statistics relating to VED offences involving goods vehicles are not readily available.

Education And Science

Schools (Bradford)

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools in the Bradford metropolitan district were built before 1900.

One hundred; of these, 16 have been substantially remodelled in the past 10 years or are being remodelled at present.

16-Plus Examination

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the progress being made towards the introduction of a unified 16-plus examination.

Academic And Related Salaries

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will establish an independent committee of inquiry into academic and related salaries.

I have no intention of changing the current arrangements for negotiating the salaries of academic staff employed by the universities.

Youth Training Scheme

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what will be the education and training content of the second year of the youth training scheme.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment has invited the Manpower Services Commission to consult and report back to him by the end of June 1985 on the content, funding and administration of an expanded and developed youth training scheme.

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the educational content of the second year of the youth training scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman).

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many youth training scheme trainees in each of the modes were attending further education colleges in Great Britain, divided by (a) local education authority and (b) individual college establishment at the most recent date for which figures are available.

Teachers (Pay)

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to meet the leaders of the teachers' unions to discuss pay.

None. I met representatives of the local authority employers on 9 May and made clear beforehand that I was agreeable to their suggestion that union leaders should accompany them to the meeting. The union representatives declined to attend.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average rate of pay per day worked by a school teacher.

The length of a teacher's working year is not specified by regulation or national agreement, nor does the Department collect information on current practice. Maintained schools are required to open for at least 190 days, but some teachers undertake out-of-term work in connection with sport, travel, examination results and placement for further study. A 38-week year is therefore a minimum assumption. Subject to that qualification, the average rate of pay per day worked based on the average salary for full-time teachers in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in England and Wales is approximately £50 gross.

Teachers (Dispute)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has received any new representations from any of the teachers' unions regarding the present teachers' industrial dispute.

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in resolving the dispute with teachers over salaries and conditions of employment; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave earlier today to the hon. Members for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh), for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist), for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock), for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway), for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude), for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt), and for Newport, East (Mr. Hughes).

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the teachers' strike.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Members for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh), for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist), for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock), for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude), for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt), and Newport East (Mr. Hughes).

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will seek an early meeting with the Association of County Councils to discuss the teachers' pay dispute.

I met representatives of the local authorities, including the Association of County Councils, on 9 May. I have no present plans for further meetings with the associations about teachers' pay.

Nurse Training

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has had any representations from universities or tertiary education colleges regarding the Royal College of Nursing's proposals for nurse training.

School Laboratories (Visual Aids)

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in providing visual aids as alternatives to the use of animals as teaching aids in school laboratories.

Some material of this type is available, but decisions on its use are for the schools themselves.

High-Technology Specialists

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will next meet the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission to discuss shortfalls in the supply of high-technology specialists.

I and officials of the Department are in regular contact with the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission and his staff about matters of mutual interest.

Schoolchildren's Strike

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the number of schoolchildren who took part in the strike by schoolchildren on 25 April and the number of schools involved.

My right hon. Friend strongly deplores the action taken by schoolchildren on 25 April in Liverpool and a number of other local education authority areas. However, it is for schools and the authorities which maintain them to register the absences of pupils, and this information is not available centrally.

Open University Council

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will next meet the officers and members of the Open University council.

I have no plans for such a meeting, although I expect to meet officers who are also members of the council when I visit the university on 17 July.

Mathematics Teaching

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to hold consultations with teachers' representatives on the changes in the teaching of mathematics proposed in the recent report of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools.

Copies of the discussion document "Mathematics from 5 to 16" have been sent to all maintained schools and to a range of national bodies, including the teachers' associations. HMI has invited comments by the end of July 1985. I am sure that teachers, both individually and through their associations, will wish to respond to this invitation.

Higher Education (Access)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if it remains his policy to maintain access to higher education for those who want it and are suitably qualified.

The Government's policy on access to higher education will be set out in a Green Paper to be published later today.

Higher Education And Student Grants

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he now expects to publish the Green Paper on higher education and student grants.

The Green Paper on the future development of higher education will be published later today. A consultative paper on student support arrangements will be published shortly.

Mature Students

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the number of mature students who have entered higher education since 1979.

Yes. The number of home full-time initial entrants to higher education in Great Britain aged 21 and over increased from 34,300 in 1979 to 39,000 in 1983, or 13·7 per cent.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how often it is expected that a member of Her Majesty's inspectorate will visit each school; and to which people a copy of the inspector's report is normally sent.

Each year Her Majesty's inspectorate carries out about 250 formal inspections of schools and colleges. Their reports are issued first to the heads, governors and maintaining LEAs of the institutions inspected; a fortnight later, they are published. Additionally, Her Majesty's inspectors visit each year about four fifths of secondary schools, one fifth of primary schools and nearly all colleges of further education, either as part of broad national surveys of certain aspects of educational provision or to keep in touch with developments in the particular institution. At the end of these visits Her Majesty's inspectors report orally to the head on what they found, but the visits do not lead to published reports.

Burnham Committee

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on his plans to re-constitute the Burnham committee.

I plan to complete a review of the teachers' panel of the Burnham primary and secondary committee before the end of this calendar year. I cannot anticipate its possible outcome.

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science by what date he has requested the teachers' unions to supply him with the total number of their paid-up members as part of his current review of the composition of the teachers' panel of the Burnham committee.

The teacher associations have been asked to provide a statement of the number of their fully paid-up and relevant members by 30 June 1985.

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will refer to an independent body his proposed review of the composition of the teachers' panel of the Burnham committee.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a question from the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Freud) on 14 May at column 106.

Universities (Grants)

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will compare, at 1984–85 prices, the level of recurrent grant allocation to universities in 1984–85 and that currently proposed for 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.

At 1984–85 prices, recurrent grant allocated to universities on the advice of the University Grants Committee will decrease by 5·2 per cent. between the financial years 1984–85 and 1987–88. The comparison does not take account of the additional provision for the new engineering and technology programme announced on 19 March 1985.

Disabled Children

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in improving educational provision for disabled children.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) on 22 January 1985 at column 844.

Remuneration Of Teachers Act

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations he has received regarding changes to the Remuneration of Teachers Act.

The Department received requests regarding changes to the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 from three organisations.

University Teachers (Salaries)

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he next expects to meet the chairman of the University Grants Committee to discuss the funding of salaries of university teachers.

I meet the chairman of the University Grants Committee as the need arises, but I have no current plans for such a meeting.

School Reorganisation (Trafford)

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he was last in communication with the borough of Trafford concerning school reorganisation.

Following my right hon. Friend's decision to reject proposals from the Salford Roman Catholic diocesan trustees, for the reorganisation of Roman Catholic secondary schools in north Trafford on 30 October 1984, the Department wrote to both the Salford Roman Catholic diocese and the borough of Trafford to explain that my right hon. Friend's decision was in no way intended to endorse the status quo. The letter also offered a meeting with officials of the Department if both parties considered that would be helpful, and this was held on 17 December 1984.

Mandatory Awards

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what are the reasons for the delay in publishing details of the rates and grants for mandatory awards in the current year;(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the delay in publishing details of mandatory grants on students going to college this autumn.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State announced on 14 November 1984, at column 238 that the main rates of grant for mandatory awards in 1985–86 would be increased by around 3 per cent. An announcement of the details of the new rates of grant, which has been delayed by the need to consult other interested Government Departments, will be made very soon. I am well aware of the difficulties for local education authorities and students which can be occasioned by state publication of the detailed rates, and I much appreciate the efforts which the authorities make each year to ensure that award holders receive their grants on time.

Playgroups

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research his Department is sponsoring into the effect on children's educational achievement of previous attendance at pre-school playgroups; and if he will make a statement.

A research project by Professor Neville Butler of Bristol university has just been completed. The research concerned the association of pre-school educational experience with subsequent cognitive development, educational achievement and behavioural adjustment. I understand that it included children with pre-school playgroup experience. We expect to receive Professor Butler's report shortly.My right hon. Friend announced on 27 February 1985 at column 180 that he had commissioned a critical evaluation of research into the education of under-fives undertaken over recent years from Professor Margaret Clark of Birmingham university.Chapter 4 of "Better Schools" — Cmnd. 9469 — comments on the role of playgroups within the context of the education of the under-fives.

Institute Of Hearing Research

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the adequacy of the funding of the Institute of Hearing Research.

The Medical Research Council, which receives its grant-in-aid through the Department, is the main Government agency for the promotion of medical research in the United Kingdom. It is for the council to decide on the distribution of the resources available to it between research in the various areas of science, including work undertaken at its own units of which the Institute of Hearing Research is one.

Employment

Truck Acts

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he intends to introduce legislation to repeal the Truck Acts.

We intend to introduce legislation to repeal the Truck Acts and to replace them by up-to-date provisions concerning deductions from pay as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits.

Community Programme (Warwickshire)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what statistics are kept of the ethnic composition of

Percentage of households
Proportion spent on purchase or alteration of dwellings*Gross normal household incomeNormal household disposable income
England and WalesGreat BritainUnited KingdomEngland and WalesGreat BritainUnited Kingdom
15 per cent. or greater17·817·817·624·624·824·5
18 per cent. or greater12·112·111·918·718·818·5
20 per cent. or greater9·19·08·914·614·614·4
25 per cent. or greater4·84·74·68·48·38·1
30 per cent. or greater2·82·82·74·94·84·7

community programme participants; and if he will provide details on the community programme schemes covered by the Coventry and Warwickshire area manpower board.

There are no statistics on the ethnic composition of workers on community programme projects in Coventry and Warwickshire, because entrants to the programme are not classified by ethnic origin. However, national sample surveys, taken at six monthly intervals, indicate that between 4 and 9 per cent. of participants are from ethnic minorities.

Job Release

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the amounts and percentages by which the job release allowances for (a) able-bodied people and (b) disabled people were uprated in April; what is the justification for the difference in treatment of disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

The job release scheme does not have separate rates of allowance for disabled and able-bodied people. If allowances under the job release scheme are payable for more than one year, then they are subject to tax. Allowances payable for less than a year are comparable but tax-free. In each category, there is a higher and lower level allowance, depending upon marriage and the spouse's weekly income.

Home Purchase And Improvement Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) for 1983 what was the number of households in England and Wales, Great Britain and the United Kingdom for whom payment for the purchase or alteration of their dwelling was the following percentage or greater of gross normal income (a) 15 per cent., (b) 18 per cent., (c) 20 per cent., (d) 25 per cent. and (e) 30 per cent.;(2) for 1983 what was the number of households in England and Wales, Great Britain and the United Kingdom for whom payment for the purchase or alteration of their dwelling was the following percentage or greater of normal disposable income

(a) 15 per cent., (b) 18 per cent., (c) 20 per cent., (d) 25 per cent. and (e) 30 per cent.

The latest information on the percentage of household income spent on the purchase or alteration of dwellings relates to owner-occupier households in the family expenditure survey for 1982. The following table sets out the figures in respect of gross normal income and normal disposable income. Households in the owner-occupied sector accounted for 56 per cent. of all households in the 1982 survey.

* This includes the outright purchase of houses, flats and caravans, including deposits; instalments on loans or mortgages (covering capital repayment and/or interest); and expenditure on structural alterations and additions to dwellings, including structural space heating systems.

Departmental Committees Of Inquiry

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

CommitteeChairmanAppointedReported
Rehabilitation, Training and Resettlement of Disabled Persons (jointly with Minister of Health and Secretary of State for Scotland)Lord PiercyMarch 1953September 1956Cmnd. 9883
Port Transport Industry, Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment) Schemes 1947Mr. Justice DevlinJuly 1955June 1956Cmnd. 9813
Smithfield Market; causes of Industrial UnrestR. M. Wilson QCJune 1956November 1958SO code 36–242
Truck ActsDavid KarmelJuly 1959March 1961SO code 36–262
Ocean Shipowners' Tally Clerks; difficulties in Port of LondonH. Lloyd-WilliamsOctober 1960November 1960SO code 36–254
London Transport Board's Road Services, Pay and Conditions of Drivers and Conductors (jointly with Minister of Transport)Henry Phelps BrownNovember 1963Interim December 1963 Complete February 1964SO code 36–273 SO code 36–280
Yorkshire Area of the Coalmining Industry, difference involving Yorkshire Winding Enginemen's Association and National Union of Mineworkers, and National Coal BoardSir Roy Wilson QCDecember 1963February 1964SO code 36–281
Dispute at Spitalfields, Borough, Stratford, Brentford and King's Cross Markets (jointly with Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)D. T. JackJune 1964July 1964SO code 36–287
Port Transport IndustryLord DevlinOctober 1964First November 1964Cmnd. 2523
Further report on Dock Workers' Wages Structure and PayFinal July 1965Cmnd. 2734
August 1966Cmnd. 3104
Difference between two sides of National Council for the Omnibus IndustrySir Roy Wilson QCMarch 1965May 1965SO code 36–291
Dispute between Steel Company of Wales and Amalgamated Union of Building Trade WorkersProf. D. J. RobertsonNovember 1966December 1966SO code 36–308
Labour in Building and Civil Engineering (jointly with Minister of Public Building and Works)Prof. E. H. Phelps BrownMarch 1967June 1968Cmnd. 3714
Compulsory Retirement Age of Dock WorkersJ. S. WordieJanuary 1968March 1968SO code 36–329
Dispute between Durham Local Education Authority and National Association of Schoolmasters (jointly with Secretary of State for Education and Science)Dr. W. E. J. McCarthyJuly 1969July 1969Cmnd. 4152
Difference between Newlyn Pier and Harbour Prof. W. Hagenbuch Commissioners and Transport & General Workers' UnionProf. W. HagenbuchDecember 1969March 1970SBN 11 360086 0
Heathrow (London) Airport: Disruption of Operations and Industrial Relations (jointly with President of the Board of Trade)Prof. D. J. RobertsonMarch 1970First June 1970 Final July 1970Cmnd. 4405 Cmnd. 4449
Dispute between Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers and Transport & General Workers' Union, and Fine Tubes Ltd.Prof. A. D. CampbellSeptember 1971November 1971SBN 11 360375 4

[pursuant to his reply, 7 May 1985, c. 360]: Following is a list of committees which have been identified as having reported since 1955. The list excludes advisory committees, departmental working parties, inquiries carried out under industrial courts and wages councils legislation and inquiries undertaken by one individual.

Committee

Chairman

Appointed

Reported

Dispute at Odhams (Watford) Ltd.Prof. G. F. ThomasonAugust 1974November 1974SBN 11 361069 6

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the number of additional jobs for (a) employees and (b) self-employed that were created in (i) Scotland, (ii) England and (iii) Wales in the calendar years 1983 and 1984; and if he will publish similar tables for the number of part-time and full-time jobs created; and for men and women, respectively.

[pursuant to his reply,20 May 1985, c.299]: Information about job gains and job losses in not available from the Department's statistics, but an indication of the net changes can be seen by comparing levels of employees in employment and the self-employed at different dates. The following table gives the available at different dates. The following table gives the available information showing changes between December each year. Analyses of full-time and part-time jobs are only available for female employees in employment. The self employment figures are derived from the labour force survey which has only a small sample in Scotland and Wales.

Annual changes at December each year in:ScotlandEnglandWales
Employees in employment
All Males
1982–83-21,000-101,000-8,000
1983–84-3,000-51,000-8,000
All Females
1982–83+ 15,000+ 141,000+ 10,000
1983–84+ 19,000+ 177,000+ 6,000
Part-time Females
Title of Report or Subject MatterDate EstablishedChairmanDate Committee Reported
A report of an enquiry into maternal deaths in Northern Ireland 1968–77The Confidential Enquiry into maternal deaths in Northern Ireland was established in 1956. This, the 4th Report in the series, was undertaken by Mr. Gavin Boyd and Mr. James Moore and was published in 1982
Report of the Committee on Legal Education in Northern Ireland28 February 1972Professor A. L. ArmitageJuly 1973
Report and Recommendations of the Working Party on Discrimination in the Private Sector of Employment3 August 1972Mr. William Van Straubenzee MP23 May 1973
Report of the Committee on County Courts and Magistrates' Courts in Northern IrelandOctober 1972Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Jones28 November 1973
Report of the Commission to consider legal procedures to deal with terrorist activities in Northern Ireland18 October 1972Lord DiplockDecember 1972
Report of Committee on Rent Restriction Law of Northern Ireland16 May 1973Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Porter QC3 April 1975
Report of the Law Enforcement Commission. To the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Minister of Justice of Ireland21 December 1973None25 April 1974
Working Party for Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Office). The Handling of complaints against the police: reportJanuary 1974Sir Harold BlackDecember 1975
Report of a Committee to consider, in the context of civil liberties and human rights, measures to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland1974 (1st meeting in JuneRt. Hon. Lord GardinerJanuary 1975
Joint Working Party on Community, Sporting and Recreational Provision by District Councils8 January 1975Mr. A. C. BrookeJuly 1975
Proposed Acquisition of land at Maghaberry, Co. Antrim31 January 1975The Hon. Mr. Justice MurrayAugust 1975
Regional Rate: Report of the Working PartyOctober 1975Mr. K. Darwin1979

Annual changes at December each year in:

Scotland

England

Wales

1982–83+22,000+192,000+8,000
1983–84+19,000+159,000+8,000

Total

1982–83-7,000+42,000+3,000
1983–84+17,000+123,000-3,000

Self-employed persons (with or without employees)

Males

1982–83+7,000+85,000+9,000
1983–84+7,000+113,000+12,000

Females

1982–83+3,000+55,000+4,000
1983–84+1,000+61,000+5,000

Total

1982–83+ 10,000+ 140,000+ 13,000
1983–84+8,000+174,000+17,000

Northern Ireland

Departmental Committees Of Inquiry

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many departmental committees of inquiry he and his predecessors have established since 1972; and what were the subjects the committees investigated, the dates they were established, who chaired them and the dates they reported.

The available information for the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments is as follows:

Title of Report or Subject Matter

Date Established

Chairman

Date Committee Reported

Report of a Committee to Review the Principles and Operations of the Criminal Injuries to Property (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971November 1975Sir James Waddell CB30 July 1976
Adoption of Children in Northern Ireland—Report of the Children and Young Persons Review Group9 January 1976Sir Harold Black (d. January 1981)
N. Dugdale (January 1981–)
16 June 1982
Legislation and Services for Children and Young Persons in Northern Ireland—Report of the Childrens and Young Persons Review Group9 January 1976Sir Harold Black12 December 1979
Report on the present and projected financial position of the Northern Ireland Electricity Service25 March 1976Mr. G. T. Shepherd4 June 1976
Rate liability of bodies providing facilities for sport, recreation and community activities in Northern Ireland (Title—"Report of the Lawrence Committee")14 September 1976Prof. R. J. Lawrence1978
Report and Recommendations of the Road Accident Study GroupNovember 1976Mr. James Hughes1 July 1977
Report of the Working Party on Alternative Transfer ArrangementsNovember 1976Mr. A. C. Brooke1977
Opportunities at Sixteen1977Mr. Derek Birley1978
Report of the Working Party on Voluntary Schools1977Dr. J. M. Benn1979
Report of Working Party on Regional Museums in Northern IrelandMay 1977Mr. W. O. Malcolm11 May 1978
Review of Rural Planning Policy30 May 1977Dr. W. H. Cockcroft MA D. Phil. FIMA10 March 1978
Reports of the Working Party on Administrative and Legislative Aspects of Reorganisation of Secondary Education on Preparatory and Boarding Departments, Staffing of Secondary Schools and In-Service TrainingJune 1977Dr. R. J. Dickson1979
Report of the Working Party on the Management of Schools in Northern IrelandJune 1977Professor A. E. Astin1979
Committee of Inquiry on the Police (HO; NIO; Scottish Office). The structure and role of police staff associationsAugust 1977; Reappointed (as Committee of Inquiry) December 1977Lord Edmund-DaviesJuly 1979
Committee of Inquiry on the Police (HO; NIO; Scottish Office). Reports on negotiating machinery and payAugust 1977; Reappointed (as Committee of Inquiry) December 1977Lord Edmund-DaviesJuly 1978
Report of the Inter-Departmental Review Body on Intoxicating Liquor Licensing in Northern Ireland30 August 1977Mr. R. H. A. Blackburn1 November 1978
Report of the Working Party on Social Priority SchoolsMarch 1978Mr. Gordon D. Macintyre1980
The Investigatory Commission into Northern Ireland Housing Executive Contracts22 March 1978His Honour Judge R. T. Rowland QC5 April 1979
Committee of Inquiry into police interrogation procedures in Northern Ireland: ReportJune 1978Judge H. G. Bennett QC16 February 1979
Northern Ireland Review Committee on Mental Health Legislation8 September 1978Mr. Justice MacDermott6 October 1981
The Future of Higher Education in Northern Ireland—the Report of the Higher Education Review Group for Northern IrelandDecember 1978Sir Henry Chilver

a. Interim Report —The Future Structure of Teacher Education in Northern Ireland— published in May 1980

b. Final Report made to Minister and published in January 1982

Railway AccidentJanuary 1979Major C. B. Holden13 March 1981
Committee of Inquiry into Angling in Northern Ireland15 March 1979Professor R. D. C. Black23 March 1981
Railway AccidentFebruary 1981Mr. G. J. Lewis14 September 1982
Report of the Working Group on Professional Studies and Professional Development in Teacher Training in Northern IrelandSeptember 1981Mr. I. H. N. WallaceJanuary 1983
Railway AccidentOctober 1981Mr. G. J. Lewis3 June 1982
Committee of Inquiry into Children's Homes and Young Persons' Hostels15 January 1982Mr. Stephen McGonagleCommittee disbanded by the Secretary of State on 18 February 1982
Museums and Galleries Commission—Review of Museums and related Services in Northern Ireland28 January 1983Professor B. Morris18 October 1983
Railway AccidentMarch 1983Major C. B. Holden17 April 1985
Advanced Further Education Courses in Londonderry—the Report of a Review GroupMarch 1983Mr. T. CowanNovember 1983
Review of the operation of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 19788 April 1983Sir George Baker15 March 1984

Title of Report or Subject Matter

Date Established

Chairman

Date Committee Reported

Report of an Inquiry by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons into the security arrangements at HM Prison Maze relative to the escape on Sunday 25 September 1983, including relevant recommendations for the improvements of security at HM Prison MazeSeptember 1983Sir James Hennessy26 January 1984
Report of the Committee on Professional Legal StudiesSeptember 1983Professor P. M. Bromley19 April 1985
Joint Working Group on Homelessness25 November 1983Mr. R. C. Martin10 August 1984
Committee of Inquiry into the Regional Medical Cardiology Centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital20 January 1984Mr. J. M. Benn, CB, MA, LLD28 June 1984
Committee of Inquiry into Children's Homes and Hostels21 March 1984Judge William HughesCommittee still functioning
Working Party set up to consider how best to ensure a closer working relationship between the Ulster Museum and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and to make recommendations on the harmonisation of the various functions performed by them20 October 1984Miss C. MacmahonReport not yet available

Note: total number 49.

Elderly And Handicapped People

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what future provision is being made to provide one hot meal each day for the elderly and handicapped in the North Down and Ards area;(2) what assessment he has made of the consequences of the proposal by the North Down and Ards unit of management to close the social centres in Killinchy, Ballywater, Greyabbey, Comber, Newtownards (Manor Court), Portaferry, Millisle and Bangor at the end of June.

While the Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for the allocation of funds to the four health and social services boards, decisions on the allocation of resources to the units of management and decisions relating to the provision of specific services in the light of competing pressures and priorities are matters for determination by each board.

Medical Cards

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications for new medical cards were received, and how many cards were issued, in each of the six weeks preceding the local elections in Northern Ireland.

The Central Services Agency does not normally maintain records on the issue of medical cards in this way. However, figures for replacement medical cards in the two weeks immediately preceding the Northern Ireland local elections on 15 May are available and are as follows:

ApplicationsIssues
1–7 May27,78422,970
8–14 May18,09124,167

Social Services

Thoracic Medicine (Consultants)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many consultants in thoracic medicine there were per million population in (a) England and (b) the United Kingdom in (i) 1971, (ii) 1979 and (iii) 1984.

We do not have the information for all the years on a United Kingdom basis. The table gives the number of consultants in thoracic medicine per million population for (a) England and (b) Great Britain at 30 September each year.

Thoracic Medicine
Consultants per million popluation
197119791984
England6·74·83·0
Great Britain7·05·13·3

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in what circumstances interest is paid on overdue benefit payments.

There is no statutory provision for the payment of interest on overdue benefit payments. Since 1977, however, following a recommendation from the Select Committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Department has made ex gratia payments of interest in cases where payment of benefit was delayed as a direct result of clear and unambiguous Departmental error. The precise criteria for payment were agreed with the Parliamentary Commissioner, and follow closely the statutory provisions for payment of interest on overpayments of tax.

Cervical Screening

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of 29 April, Official Report, columns 49–51 about cervical screening and the Minister for Health's press release No. 85/113 of that date, which health authorities are currently using computers for call and which for recall only; what are the estimated dates on which those health authorities having firm plans to computerise expect to do so; which health authorities have a backlog of more than three months in processing smear tests in pathology laboratories; and if he will list the health authorities with the best record for providing women with cervical cancer screening and the criteria on which this assessment was made.

The information available relates to family practitioner committees acting on behalf of health authorities and is as follows:

Computerised cervical cytology call and recall (CR): —Liverpool, Barking, Havering and Brentwood, Isle of Wight, Rochdale, Calderdale, Derbyshire, Devon, Bedfordshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Cleveland, Sandwell.
Computerised cervical cytology recall only (R): — Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Avon, Stockport, Norfolk, Buckinghamshire, Northampton, Rotherham, Kent, Croydon, Wigan.
FPC's with plans to computerise and estimated dates:
BuckinghamshireCR1 July 1985
NorthamptonCR1 July 1985
RotherhamCR1 January 1986
CroydonCR1 June 1985
WiganCR1 December 1985
DurhamR1 July 1985
SuffolkR1 July 1985
BromleyR1 December 1985
North TynesideR1 January 1986
LeicestershireCR1 June 1985
NorthumberlandCR1 June 1985
NottinghamCR1 August 1985
WarwickshireCR1 August 1985
CoventryCR1 October 1985
KirkleesCR1 October 1985
HampshireCR1 December 1985
Hereford and WorcesterCR1 December 1985
WiltshireCR10 December 1985
We do not have the detailed local information requested on laboratory work load.We do not maintain a league table of performance by health authorities in cervical cytology. We are however concerned that some authorities have not fully implemented the guidance set out in health circulars (81)14 and (84)17, and my recent announcement was based on the need to ensure that all health authorities run an effective cervical screening programme.

Fraud

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the reply of 8 May, Official Report, column 447, if he will estimate the approximate proportion of the total number of investigations by staff of his Department, in the year ended 12 February, into cases of actual or suspected fraud by social security claimants that led to reduction or termination of benefit payments; and how his estimate takes account of (a) the cases where prosecution was authorised by his Department and (b) the additional cases where prosecution was brought by the police.

It is estimated that benefit was reduced or terminated in approximately 23 per cent. of the cases investigated by local office staff for suspected benefit fraud. That estimate includes prosecutions brought by the Department and the police.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the reply of 8 May, Official Report, column 447, if he will estimate the approximate total number of investigations by staff of his Department, in the year ended 12 February, into actual or suspected fraud by social security claimants.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the organisation of investigations by staff of his Department into cases of actual or suspected fraud by social security claimants; and if he will describe the relationship of work done by special investigation teams to work done by local office staff.

The way in which the Department organises its investigations and the relationship between fraud specialists form part of the instructions and guidance set out in the fraud investigators' guide. In this connection, therefore, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to him on 23 April at column 418.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there are arrangements whereby local office staff of his Department, working on investigations into cases of actual or suspected fraud by social security claimants, may refer problems to specialist staff; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, guidance is given in the operational instructions issued to all fraud investigators.

Glaucoma

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the amount of money at present being provided by his Department for research into the treatment and cure of glaucoma.

Research into the treatment and cure of glaucoma is regarded as biomedical and as such comes within the ambit of the Medical Research Council, which is funded from the science budget of the Department of Education and Science. This Department is not therefore supporting any relevant research.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the number of glaucoma patients who underwent sclerotomy in the National Health Service in 1983 and 1984;(2) if he will give the numbers of glaucoma patients at present being treated within the National Health Service.

We do not have information in precisely the form requested. Most cases of glaucoma are treated as out-patients, for whom we have no diagnostic information. In 1983, the latest year for which we have information, there were an estimated 12,080 — provisional—in-patient cases treated in NHS hospitals in England with a main diagnosis of glaucoma. The number of such cases who underwent sclerotomy is not available from the sample information.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research his Department is sponsoring, or is aware of, into the early detection of glaucoma.

I have been asked to reply.The Medical Research Council, which receives its grant-in-aid through the Department, is the main Government agency for the promotion of medical research in the United Kingdom. I understand that in the financial year 1983–84 the council spent £2·9 million on research relating to vision. Of this, approximately £120,000 was spent on projects which could be relevant to glaucoma. The MRC is always willing to consider soundly based research proposals for support through its grants schemes in competition with other applications.Research work relevant to the detection of glaucoma may also be conducted in universities and medical schools using funds allocated for teaching and research on the advice of the University Grants Committee but details of such work are not collected centrally. The medical charities may also be funding work in this field.

Water (Nitrate)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, further to the answer to the hon. Member for Knowsley, North on 24 April. Official Report, columns 495–6, he will indicate areas where low nitrate water was provided for infant feeding because concentrations of nitrate exceeded 100 milligrams per litre in the drinking water.

Private Residential Homes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many private residential homes for the elderly have been deregistered in Suffolk in each of the years 1979 to 1985.

Information is not held centrally about registrations cancelled before 1 January 1985. The Department is keeping a list of persons whose registration is cancelled from that date. No notifications were received during the quarter ended 31 March 1985.

Subtitles (Television)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the Minister for the disabled intends to take any steps to seek to increase the use of subtitles on television.

I am conscious of, and have stressed, the benefits of subtitles for many hearing impaired people and am pleased therefore that the broadcasting authorities are continuing to extend their use.

Wirral Council (Statutory Functions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to make a ruling on the reference made to him by Wirral Labour councillors on that council's failure to fulfil its statutory functions under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

The letter referred to was received on 9 May, and the legal issues which it raises are being considered. A reply will be sent as soon as possible.

Continence Advisers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of 16 May about continence advisers, if he will estimate the cost of collecting centrally information on the number of such advisers employed.

I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the new arrangements for the payment of unemployment benefit, foreshadowed in his uprating statement on 18 June 1984, will come into effect.

As my right hon. Friend told the House on 18 June 1984, we propose to change the basis of payment of unemployment benefit so that all new claimants will be paid for—nightly in arrears instead of one week in advance and one in arrears, as at present. This will not affect the amount of unemployment benefit properly paid to claimants, but it will cut out over-payments that are caused now by people returning to work during the advance payment period. Implementation of this change has been delayed because of other pressures on local offices and in particular the need to recover from the after-effects of the Newcastle computer dispute.It will now be implemented from 15 July. The change will apply to claims processed from that date, but current cases will generally continue to be paid on the present basis.

Fostering

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines he issues to local authorities regarding the racial criteria to be used in the placement of children for fostering; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 16 May 1985, c. 226.]: The most suitable foster placement for a child is a matter of professional judgement and depends on the individual needs of the particular child. The racial, cultural and religious background of a child and of the foster parents is one element which the local authority needs to consider when deciding on a placement. This is referred to in the guide to fostering practice which was published by the Department in 1976 and in most respects still represents current professional practice. The statutory requirements governing the fostering of children in their care by local authorities are contained in the Boarding-Out of Children Regulations 1955 which are presently under review. We welcome the recent campaigns by local authorities and voluntary agencies to encourage applications from the ethnic minorities to come forward as prospective foster parents.

Drug Tests

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has regarding ethics committees established by drug companies to approve drug tests using healthy volunteers.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1985]: We have no information about any such committees. We would expect proposals for such tests to be submitted to the appropriate ethics committee, which is usually constituted to serve the health district or the institution where the research will be undertaken.

House Of Commons

Blood Donor Facilities

asked the Lord Privy Seal if any consideration has been given to the provision of a blood donor facility in the Palace of Westminster; and if he will make a statement.

This matter was last considered by the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee in 1980, when it was decided that no special provision could be made in the Palace of Westminster because of the lack of suitable accommodation which could be set aside for the transfusion unit. The north London centre of the blood transfusion service operates a two-day clinic in the Treasury once every six months when Members, their staff and staff of the House may give blood under arrangements made through the nursing sister.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Mr Yuri Balovlenkov

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make representations to the Soviet authorities about the hunger strike of Mr. Yuri Balovlenkov, and press for him to be granted an exit visa to rejoin his family in America under the terms of the Helsinki final act 1975.

We have repeatedly made known our concern at the Soviet Union's failure to implement its human rights commitments under the Helsinki final act, including those which relate to family reunification. We shall continue to raise these matters in bilateral contacts with the Soviet authorities, and in the CSCE framework to ensure that individuals such as Mr. Balovlenkov and the many others like him are not forgotten.

Syria (President's Speech)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received from Her Majesty's ambassador in Damascus regarding the speech by President Hafez Al-Assad on 4 May to the National Federation of Syrian Students, in which he praised the Palestine National Salvation Front, the adoption of revolutionary uprisings, and opposition to any compromise settlement; and whether Her Majesty's ambassador has delivered any note to President Assad regarding the tone and content of this speech.

We are aware of Syria's support for the "Palestine National Salvation Front", and opposition to the agreement between King Hussein and Mr. Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to work for a negotiated settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute. For their part, the Syrian Government are aware that we welcome this agreement as a useful step, and shall continue to encourage constructive moves by the parties directly concerned.

Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether a date for the ratification of the Hong Kong agreement has yet been set, and what progress has been made towards the establishment of the joint liaison group.

It was announced simultaneously in London and Peking today that, in accordance with the provisions of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, the British and Chinese Governments have decided that instruments of ratification of the joint declaration will be exchanged in Peking on 27 May 1985. At the same time it was announced in London that the British members of the joint liaison group to be established upon the entry into force of the joint declaration will be:

Senior Representative:

  • Dr. D. C. Wilson CMG

Members:

  • Mr. E. P. Ho, CBE
  • Mr. J. D. I. Boyd, CMG
  • Mr. A. C. Galsworthy, CMG
  • Mr. P. A. B. Thomson

Trade And Industry

Equipment Provision

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government have plans to improve the availability of computers and like equipment with the proper training for teachers, to primary and secondary schools in 1985 and 1986.

Primary responsibility for the provision of computers and like equipment in schools rests with local education authorities and with the schools themselves.We are currently considering whether any fresh initiatives, building on the success of the micros in schools schemes, might be taken by this Department. Provision for teacher training would depend on the nature of any initiative.

Licences

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 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 is as follows:

Type of LicenceIn operation since
1. The issue of authorisation to companies to carry on insurance business in the United Kingdom1967
2. Export Licences*1939
3. Import Licences*1939
4. Consumer Credit Licence1976
5. Licences granted under Section 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1984*1984
6. Principals and representatives licence, under the Prevention of Fraud (Investments) Act 1939 (Consolidated 1958).1944
7. A general licence under section 68 of the British Telecommunications Act 1981 to permit charities to deliver Christmas cards between 25 November each year until 1 January of the following year.1981
8. A general licence under section 68 of the British Telecommunications Act 1981 to permit document exchanges to transfer mail between them1982
9. Licence to operate a public cinema exhibiting 35mm films (as required by Part III of the Films Act 1960, as amended).*1928
10. Licence to operate as a renter (or distributor) of 35mm films for public exhibition in cinemas (as required by Part III of the Films Act 1960, as amended).†1928
11 Registration requirement that all 35mm films intended for public exhibition in cinemas must be registered (as required by Part II of the Films Act 1960, as amended). [This requirement is not strictly speaking a "licensing" requirement, but the registration certificate of a film permits its public exhibition and therefore it has the same effect as a licence].*1928
12. Compulsory Licences under patents granted in accordance with the Patents Act 19491950
13. Voluntary Licences available as of right under patents granted in accordance with the Patents Act 19491950
14. Compulsory licences under patents granted in accordance with Patents Act 19771978
15. Voluntary Licences available as of right under patents granted in accordance with the Patents Act 19771978

Type of Licence

In operation since

16. Compulsory Licences under designs registered in accordance with the Registered Designs Act 19491950
17. Licences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 to authorise the non-broadcast use of radio

*1949

18. Pattern approval of Weighing and Measuring Equipment1963
19. Flow Injection Analyser1984
20. National Physical Laboratory grants licences for the exploitation of measuring instruments developed by NPL1900
21. Flow measures1979
22. Axial flow fans1972
23. Flowmeters1975
24. APT4000 computer program1979
25. Axial and radial ball motors1976
26. Fluid powered motor1982
27. Vaporizing carburettors1975
28. Computer-aided planning and estimating program1981
29. Floatpad system1983
30. Regenerative turbomachine1985
31. Oil Dispersion Equipment1972
32. In-stream Slurry Analyser1973
33. Powder Flow—Property Testing Equipment1973
34. Detector for Small Limb and Digit Movements1974
35. Ships Motion Monitor1975
36. Craft—Attitude—Monitoring—Package Systems1975
37. Piezo Electric Head Amplifier1977
38. Gun Rheometer1978
39. ATR Infra-red Analyser1979
40. Systems for the Recorvery of Usable Constituents of Domestic Refuse1978
41. Portable Dynamic Dilution Apparatus (Odour meters)1979
42. Oxford/WSL Control BASIC1982
43. Large Scale Flow Calorimeter1983
44. Beach Material Washer1984
45. RDF Pneumatic Drier—Zig Zag1984
46. Physical property data for fluids and gases for the Process and Chemical industry1982
47. Licences granted under Section 15 of the British Telecommunications Act 1981

*1981

* The current enabling legislation dates from these years.

† Requirements due to expire on passing of the Films Bill.

Blank Cassette Tapes

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from organisations representing the blind about the proposed levy on blank cassette tapes, following the publication of the consultative document, "The Recording and Rental of Audio and Video Copyright Material."

The Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Association of Blind Chartered Physiotherapists, the National Federation for the Blind, the National League for the Blind and Disabled, the Association of Talking Newspapers of Northern Ireland, the Talking Newspaper Association of the United Kingdom and many individual talking newspapers have expressed concern about the effect on the blind of a levy on blank audio recording tape. Their main points are that they, and individual blind people, should be entitled to relief from any levy introduced, and that the mechanism for giving relief should not cause them additional administrative expense or reduce their freedom of choice of tape.

South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many British trade missions visited South Africa in each year from 1979; how many such missions received a grant from his Department; what was the total grant per mission; and what was the total cost to his Department in each of those years.

The cost to the British Overseas Trade Board of outward missions is dependent upon the number of participants and the rate of grant to the particular market applying at the time. The cost in pounds of BOTB-supported outward missions to South Africa from 1979 to date is set out below:

Missions£
1979
3 at3,450
2 at4,485
2 at2,760
2 at6,555
1 at5,175
1 at7,245
1 at3,795
1 at6,210
TOTAL
13 at60,375
1980
2 at7,245
2 at4,830
2 at4,485
1 at3,105
1 at4,140
1 at5,175
1 at5,520
1 at6,900
TOTAL
1 at57,960
1981
3 at7,885
2 at6,900
2 at8,715
1 at7,245
1 at5,865
1 at7,055
1 at3,735
1 at9,960
1 at4,980
1 at9,130
1 at10,790
TOTAL
15 at113,645
1982
2 at4,980
2 at4,565
2 at7,055
1 at9,130
1 at9,960
1 at8,685
1 at2,075
1 at7,470
1 at7,885
1 at5,760
1 at8,160
TOTAL
14 at92,325
1983
3 at10,560
2 at5,280
1 at5,760
1 at2,880
1 at8,640
1 at12,960
I at9,120
1 at10,080
1 at7,680

Missions

£

1 at12,480
1 at6,240
1 at9,600
TOTAL
15 at127,680

1984

3 at8,640
2 at7,860
1 at9,600
1 at12,480
1 at7,200
1 at11,520
1 at10,080
1 at4,800
1 at5,280
1 at11,040
1 at13,920
TOTAL
14 at127,200

1985

2 at7,200
1 at12,480
1 at9,600
TOTAL*
4 at36,480

* To 31 March.

Bosphorus Bridge

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reply he has received from the Japanese Government about the complaints on unfair subsidising of the Turkish bridge project.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1985, c. 279]: The Japanese Government have provided an explanatory note about their involvement in the second bosphorus bridge project. We remain concerned at the high volume of subsidised finance offered by the Japanese Government in support of their companies' bid.

Japan (Trade Restrictions)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence he has of tariff, non-tariff or other restrictions imposed by the Japanese authorities on the export of British goods to Japan; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1985, c. 279]: The Department has received evidence from a number of sources about restrictions on trading with Japan. In particular, such restrictions were examined in an authoritative report, "Doing business in Japan" which was produced by the European Business Council in Tokyo in October 1984 and is available in the UK from the Japan Association. The British business community in Japan made a significant input to this report. A copy is being placed in the Library.

South Africa (Ec Code Of Conduct)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of the companies submitting full reports for the period ending June 1984 on the European Economic Community code of conduct, for companies with dealings with South Africa used, in responding to section 3 of the code, the supplementary living level figures rather than the minimum living level plus 50 per cent.; and if Her Majesty's Government ask any further questions of such companies.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1985, c. 276]: 112 companies used supplemented living level figures, 20 used minimum living level plus 50 per cent. and five reports did not specify which figures were used. The Department uses the relevant supplemented living level figures for a family of five in analysing companies' reports without further reference to the companies.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of the companies submitting full reports for the period ending June 1984 used, in responding to section 3 of the code, the supplementary living level of minimum living level plus 50 per cent. for families of size five in areas where the average family size is shown in the supplementary living level/minimum living level studies to be higher; and if Her Majesty's Government ask any further questions of such companies.