Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday 11 June 1985
Video Works (Classification Authority)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will lay before Parliament his proposals for the designation of persons to act as the authority responsible for making arrangements for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984; and if he will make a statement.
I have today laid before both Houses my proposals for the designation under section 4(1) of the Video Recordings Act 1984 of those persons who on designation will be the authority responsible for the matters set out in that section of the Act. I propose to designate the Earl of Harewood, the Lord Birkett, Miss Monica Sims and Mr. James Ferman, respectively the president, vice-presidents and director of the British Board of Film Classification (formerly the British Board of Film Censors). The board will be responsible for determining whether or not video works are suitable to be classified, having special regard to the likelihood of classified video works being viewed in the home, and for carrying out the other arrangements specified in section 4(1) of the Video Recordings Act.I have placed in the Library the text of a letter I intend to send at the time of designation to each member of the authority. Attached to the letter are the Video Appeals Committee provisions containing the- arrangements for appeals, in accordance with section 4(3) of the Act, against determinations by the board, with which I am satisfied, and the tariff of fees which I have approved for the purposes of section 4(5) and (6) of the Act.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I propose to bring the criminal provisions of the Act into force on 1 September 1985 in respect of all video works where a video recording containing the video work has not been sold, let on hire or offered for sale or hire in the United Kingdom to the public before that date.We intend next to bring those provisions of the Act into force for remaining classes of works in a series of stages. This is to allow sufficient time for the-classification of existing video works to be undertaken before dealings in them become liable to the criminal sanctions for which the Act provides. Under this scheme, those video works which have caused most concern will be liable to be classified in the first stage. The stages referred to above are as follows:
1 September 1986:all existing works which are predominantly in English except those which are substantially the same as a moving picture produced on showing a film registered on or after 1 January 1940 under section 9 of the Films Act 1960 or previous comparable enactments.
1 March 1987: all works predominantly in English except those which are substantially the same as a moving picture produced on showing a film registered between 1 January 1940 and 31 December 1979.
1 September 1987: all works predominantly in English except those which are substantially the same as a moving picture produced on showing a film registered between 1 January 1940 and 31 December 1974.
1 March 1988: all works predominantly in English except those which are substantially the same as a moving picture produced on showing a film registered between I January 1940 and 31 December 1969.
1 September 1988: all remaining works, including foreign language works.
I propose to lay before Parliament very shortly labelling regulations, under section 8 of the Act, to come into effect on 1 September 1985.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give details of the recreational facilities provided in each new prison opened since 1979 and the cost of such provision.
The cost of providing recreational activities such as television, reading and games within general house association areas cannot be separately identified. At Her Majesty's prison Frankland a sports hall of about 1,249 sq m and a sports field of about 46,000 sq m have been provided at a cost, at February 1981 prices, of about £0·86 million. Security perimeter and lighting to the sports field cost an additional £0·53 million. At Her Majesty's prison Wayland a sports hall of about 1,162 sq m and a sports field of about 58,200 sq m have been provided at a cost, at December 1984 prices, of about £0·69 million. Security perimeter and lighting to the sports field cost an additional £0·42 million.
Mr Parvaiz Khan
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which Mr. Parvaiz Khan received injuries whilst in custody at the Old Bailey on 22 May;(2) if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which Mr. Parvaiz Khan was injured on Wednesday 22 May during the lunchtime adjournment at his trial at the Old Bailey.
The incident is being investigated by the City of London police and it would not be appropriate for me to comment at this stage.
Local Government (Consultation)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is planning to make any changes to the way in which he consults local government following the judgment in R. v. Secretary of State for Social Services; ex parte AMA.
This was a case concerning housing benefit. We shall need to study the written judgment, which is not yet available, before we can decide what: the implications for the Department might be.
Police National Computer
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of entries in each of the indexes of the police national computer and the number of accesses to those indexes over the last convenient period of time.
The number of entries in each of the police national computer indexes at 18 May 1985 and the number of accesses by terminals to those indexes in the week ending 18 May 1985 were as follows:
|Index||Number of entries||Number of accesses|
|Stolen and suspect vehicles||349,620||✶380,373|
|Chassis, engine and plant numbers||542,713||19,066|
|Wanted and missing persons||109,659||||170,234|
|Crime pattern analysis||¶11,500||¶1,000|
|✶ No separate figures are kept. Most on-line transactions involve access to both files.|
|Category||1 June 1985||Maximum in previous 12 months||Minimum in previous 12 months|
|Lost or Stolen||256,943||256,943||220,277|
|Obtained by Deception||553||557||508|
|Found or Apprarently Abandoned||23,095||24,651||19,693|
|Removed into Police Custody||10,322||10,596||9,542|
|Removed by the Police from One Street to Another Street||294||401||100|
|Repossessed by Finance Company||93||125||76|
|Suspected of being Involved in Particular Incident for example Crime||3,140||3,150||2,285|
|Owned or Used by Police||6,296||6,815||6,296|
|Of Interest to the Police for example Owned by Known Criminals or Missing Persons||35,094||35,800||33,724|
|Seen or Checked by the Police in Noteworthy Circumstances (for example at Night in|
|an Area where a Series of Crimes is under Investigation)||11,647||12,285||7,506|
|Details Not to be Passed Over Open Radio (for example, Police Vehicles Used in|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of entries in each of the sub-categories of the wanted and missing person's index of the police national computer and the maximum and minimum number of entries in each of those sub-categories over the last year.
|Category||May 1985||Maximum in previous12 months||Minimum in previous12 months|
|Failed to Appear in Court||19,327||20,505||19,327|
|Suspected of Offence||3,676||3,707||3,560|
|Deserter from Armed Forces||10,339||10,411||10,339|
|Location desired for example for service of summons||39,314||40,829||35,666|
|Absentee from Local Authority Care||639||807||571|
|Absonded from Hospital||55||55||39|
|Absconded from Youth Custody||90||90||79|
|Absconded from Prison||365||376||339|
|Absconded from Remand||35||36||27|
|Absconded from School||117||130||110|
|Absconded from Detention||2||7||1|
|Recalled to Youth Custody||2||12||2|
|Recalled to Prison||226||238||186|
|Recalled to Detention||0||0||0|
|Notify if in Custody||162||441||162|
† Includes some 5,000 criminal names transactions which display fingerprint data.
+ Not yet live.
||Includes multiple index inquiries (140,000)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of entries in each of the sub-categories of the stolan and suspect vehicle index of the police national computer and the maximum and minimum number of entries in each of those sub categories over the last year.
The number of entries in each of the sub-categories of the stolen and suspect vehicle index of the police national computer, together with the maximum and minimum number of entries for the previous 12 months, are as follows:
The number of entries in each of the sub-categories of the wanted and missing person's index on the police national computer, together with maximum and minimum figures for the 12-month period ending may 1985, are as follows:
Police Complaints Commissioner
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of decorating the premises being prepared for the Police Complaints Commissioner.
Final accounts for fitting out and decorating the Police Complaints Authority's premises have yet to be received. I shall write to the hon. Member in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) male and (b) female prisoners are living (i) two to a cell and (ii) three to a cell at the latest available date.
On 12 May there were 12,492 males and 208 females held two to a cell, and 4,968 males and no females held three to a cell.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the total number of inmates in youth custody centres at the latest available date;(2) what is the total prison population at the latest available date.
On 31 May there were 46,352 persons in prison department establishments in England and Wales, of whom 7,014 were in youth custody centres.
Syrian Embassy (Bomb Incident)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the incident involving a bomb outside the Syrian embassy on 4 June; and whether any Arab terrorist group has claimed responsibility for it.
During the evening of 3 June staff from the Syrian embassy noticed a bag on the steps of the embassy in Belgrave square, London. They thought it suspicious and sought assistance from the police. It was found to be an explosive device and an explosives officer carried out a controlled explosion to disrupt its initiating mechanism. On examination it was found that its detonator had previously exploded, but failed to set off the explosive to which it was attached. There has been no verifiable claim of responsibility and police inquiries are continuing.
Prison Hospitals (Complaints Procedure)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to introduce a complaints system for prison hospitals similar to that proposed for National Health Service hospitals in the Hospital Complaints Procedure Bill.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a further statement on the extension of Leeds prison in the light of the redesignation of Hull and Thorp Arch institutions.
It is intended to go ahead with an extension of Leeds prison subject to the outcome of an inquiry on road closure proposals to be held on 19 June at the Civic Hall, Leeds, under section 209 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the dietary scale for feeding prison inmates was last reviewed; and whether the scale is in accordance with current nutritional standards.
The dietary scale for the inmates of penal establishments in England and Wales was reviewed by a prison department working party last year. The review showed that the diet was on the whole satisfactory but that some minor changes could usefully be made to the scale to make the food more palatable and to bring the scale into line with the recommendations of the "Report of the National Advisory Committee on Nutrition Education 1983" and the "Report on Diet and Cardiovascular Disease" issued by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Copies of the working party's report have been placed in the Library. Arrangemens are in hand to bring the new scale into use later this year.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will elaborate on the information provided to the Home Affairs Committee on the number of narcotic drug addicts notified to his Deprtment during 1984.
Information for 1984 on notified drug addicts seizures of controlled drugs and drug offenders will be published in a Home Office statistical bulletin during the summer. Some provisional information on new addicts is, however, available now. This confirms the indications of the likely level of increase given in the recent Home Office publication "Tackling Drug Misuse: A Summary of the Government's Strategy", and in my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's evidence to the Select Committee on Home Affairs. The provisional figure for new addicts notified during 1984 is 5,370 a 28 per cent. increase on 1983 (4,186). This was the fourth successive year in which there has been a substantial increase, although the increase was less than the 50 per cent. rise between 1982 and 1983. The table gives the provisional numbers of new addicts notified in each police force area in 1984. Corresponding figures for the years 1978 to 1983 are given in table 3.11 of "Statistics of the Misuse of Drugs, United Kingdom, Supplementary Tables 1983", a copy of which is in the Library. The proportion of new addicts who were reported as addicted to heroin, alone or with other drugs, was about 90 per cent. in 1984, continuing the steady increase in this proportion during the last six years—it was about 60 per cent. in 1978. Indications are that notifications of former addicts also increased by about a quarter between 1983 and 1984.
|New narcotic drug addicts notified to the Home Office during 1984 by police force area|
|United Kingdom||Number of persons (provisional)✶|
|Avon and Somerset||110|
Number of persons (provisional)✶
|Devon and Cornwall||30|
|Metropolitan Police District (including City of|
|Total for England||4,705|
|Total for Wales||105|
|Dumfries and Galloway||5|
|Lothian and Borders||165|
|Total for Scotland||550|
|TOTAL FOR UNITED KINGDOM||5,370|
|✶ Rounded to the nearest 5|
|† Less than 5.|
Overseas Development Administration (Document Leaks)
asked the Attorney-General if the investigation of possible offences in respect of documents alleged to have been leaked from the Overseas Development Administration has been completed; and if he will make a statement.
Investigations which have been carried out by the Overseas Development Administration have resulted in an admission by a junior official of that Department, Mr. Geoffrey Dennis, that he had communicated a number of the Department's documents to an hon. Member of this House to whom he was not authorised to communicate them. The papers on the case were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who in turn consulted me, for consideration of the possible prosecution of Mr. Dennis for an offence under the Official Secrets Acts. In the circumstances of this case it was decided that it was not necessary to have recourse to criminal proceedings.
Ec (Budgetary Control)
asked the Prime Minister if she remains satisfied with the progress made in providing machinery to enforce strict budgetary control in the spending of the Common Market in accordance with the decisions made at the Fontainebleau Council of Ministers meeting; and if she will make a statement.
The first stage in respect of 1986, the reference framework, is due to be discussed at the ECOFIN council on 11 June.
asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on her meeting arranged for 12 June with the delegates to the conference of parliamentary spouses for Soviet Jewry; and what action she hopes will ensue to assist Soviet Jews who wish to emigrate to Israel.
My meeting with the delegates to this conference will provide an opportunity to reiterate the Government's commitment to the cause of human rights and individual freedoms and to express our concern about the many Soviet Jews who have applied to emigrate and who are not allowed to do so. These and other matters touching on human rights in the Soviet Union are regularly raised by British Ministers with Soviet representatives. We shall ensure that the subject continues to figure on the East-West agenda until the Soviet Union lives up to its international commitments in this important area.
Falkland Islands (Fishing)
asked the Prime Minister what representations Her Majesty's Government have received from Lord Shackleton about the future of fishing in the area of the Falklands.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has from time to time made public statements giving his views on Falkland's fisheries.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 11 June.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 11 June.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 11 June.
This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. I was present at Victoria station to meet President de la Madrid of Mexico at the beginning of his state visit to this country. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I shall be attending a state banquet given by Her Majesty the Queen in honour of President de la Madrid.
King Hussein Of Jordan (Meeting)
asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on her recent meeting with King Hussein of Jordan.
[pursuant to her reply, 7 June 1985, c.263]: I had a useful exchange of views with King Hussein on 7 June on bilateral and regional topics. We noted with satisfaction the warm and close ties between our two countries and reviewed latest developments in the search for peace in the middle east. I reiterated our full support for King Hussein's initiatives to bring about negotiations for a peaceful solution on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many dental technicians (a) in number and (b) whole time equivalents were employed by health authorities in Wales to 30 September 1984; and what conditions apply for private contract work.
As at 30 September 1984, 48 dental technicians (whole-time equivalent 47·2) were employed by health authorities in Wales. There is nothing to prevent dental technicians undertaking private contract work but this must not adversely affect the service they give to the NHS.
Stray And Killer Dogs
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with the operation of the present legislation regarding stray and killer dogs; and if he will make a statement.
The consultation paper published last November records that the Government favour changes in the law that will promote responsible dog ownership.
Trade And Industry
Textile And Clothing Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the effect on jobs in the United Kingdom textile and clothing industry of the accession to the EEC of Spain and Portugal.
None. Any such estimate would be highly speculative. The existing restrictions on certain textile and clothing imports from Spain and Portugal to the Community market will, under agreed transitional arrangements, be phased out over a period of up to four years. Much will depend on the ability of United Kingdom firms to anticipate the effects of their accession as well as other developments occurring in the pattern of trade in these goods.
Burdens On Business
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the recommendations of the report on burdens on business are likely to be implemented.
My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister without Portfolio is leading our drive to follow the recommendations up with a view to reaching early decisions.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if consideration has been given to the extension of the right to sell postage stamps from retail outlets not incorporating a post office; and if he will make a statement.
The production and sale of postage stamps are the operational responsibility of the Post Office, which I understand places no restrictions on their resale.
Mr Bill Cockburn
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which Mr. Bill Cockburn, executive Post Office board member for operations, accepted also a post as director of Vat Watkins Ltd.; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cockburn accepted appointment to Vat Watkins Ltd. as a non-executive director after seeking my right hon. Friend's prior approval in accordance with schedule 1 to the Post Office Act 1969.
Nationalised Industries (Directors)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if there is any restriction on executive directors of nationalised industries for which he is responsible taking up additional board appointments in private industry.
Under the legislation applying respectively to a British Shipbuilders, the British Steel Corporation and the Post Office, my right hon. Friend is required to satisfy himself that, upon appointment, a member of the board will have no such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially the exercise and performance of his functions as a board member. Subsequently, board members are required to obtain my right hon. Friend's prior approval before accepting directorships.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the executive directors of nationalised industries for which he is responsible who additionally are directors of private companies together with the nationalised industry which employs them and the private companies of which they are directors.
The following have company directorships in the private sector (excluding those where the board member is a nominee of the corporation or an associate company):
- British Shipbuilders
- Mr. J Graham Day (Chairman and Chief Executive) is a non-executive director of Misener Holdings Ltd.
- British Steel Corporation
- Sir Robert Haslam (Chairman) is part-time Chairman of Tate and Lyle plc.
- Mr. Sambrook is Chairman of the Iron and Trades Insurance Group.
- Post Office
- Mr. W. Cockburn (Member for Royal Mail Operations) is a non-executive director of V A T Watkins Ltd.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has issued guidance to executive board members of nationalised industries for which he is responsible about their rights to accept in addition directorships of private companies.
Board Members of nationalised industries for which my right hon. Friend is responsible are made aware on appointment of their obligations with regard to accepting directorships.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has appointed any part-time executive directors to the Post Office Board.
All members of the Post Office Board are appointed by my right hon. Friend. The present part-time members are:
- Miss E Cole
- Sir Clifford Comford KCB
- Mr. D O Gladwin CBE JP
- Mr. D Hodson
- Mr. P E Moody CBE
- Mr. S Wainwright CBE
Samanala Wewa (Dam)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ensure that all the necessary credit and aid facilities are made available to ensure that British contractors are able to sign the contract with the Sri Lankan Government for the construction of the hydro-electric dam at Samanala Wewa.
The provision of aid and credit facilities in support of British contractors in pursuit of this contract is currently under consideration. The case involves complex issues and a final decision will only be taken when all aspects of the case have been thoroughly examined.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the increase in the value of Britain's exports of manufactures and all goods and services, respectively, to France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Japan and the United States of America, respectively, between 1979 and 1984, expressed in percentage terms.
Data relating to exports of manufactures and total goods are in the table. Information on services for individual countries is not available but the overall increase between 1979 and 1984 was 46 per cent, compared with 50 per cent, and 73 per cent, for manufactures and total goods respectively.
|Increase in Value of United Kingdom Exports 1979–1984|
|F R Germany||78||77|
Fairey Engineering Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the current status of the permission given to Fairey Engineering Ltd. to tender to refurbish a research nuclear reactor near Santiago; and if he will make a statement.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total Government expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development definition in the years 1982, 1983 and 1984.
The OECD definition expresses total Government outlays as a percentage of gross domestic product. Government outlays mainly consists of current disbursements and gross capital formation. This definition is narrower than that used for public expenditure.On the OECD definition, Government outlays were 43·3 percent. of GDP in 1982 and 43·1 percent. in 1983. Figures for 1984 are not yet available.
Local Government (Consultation)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is planning to make any changes to the way in which he consults local government following the judgment in R. v. Secretary of State for Social Services: ex parte AMA.
The written judgment is not yet available and I would need to consider it thoroughly before commenting.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the practical difficulties which he has identified as being involved with the possible raising of the value added tax threshold.
The major obstacle to any significant increase in the VAT registration threshold is the EC sixth VAT directive, which restricts increases in the threshold to those which maintain its value in real terms. The increase to £19,500 announced in this year's Budget was the maximum permissible within that restriction.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will increase the Customs and Excise resources dedicated to the prevention of drugs smuggling.
I recognise the considerable contribution made by Customs and Excise officers to the prevention of drugs smuggling. I have decided to authorise Customs and Excise to appoint 50 additional key staff to enable it to increase its highly successful force of specialist investigators. I do not underrate the valuable work of the non-specialist Customs preventive officers and I intend to continue to evaluate the results of the additional 160 officers deployed by customs at ports and airports.
Bank Of England Printing Works, Loughton
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the effect of the introduction of the £1 coin on employment at the Bank of England printing works in Loughton; to what extent any redundancies have been voluntary; and whether there is to be any redeployment of Loughton personnel elsewhere in the bank's service.
I shall let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many fewer people are currently employed in the United Kingdom than there were in May 1979.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many more people were in employment in May 1979 than at the present time.
Between June 1979 and March 1983 the number of people in the employed labour force in the United Kingdom fell by an estimated 1·8 million. More recently however, the number of people in work has been rising and between March 1983 and December 1984 the United Kingdom employed labour force increased by 600,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the latest unemployment figures.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest number of people unemployed.
On 9 May, the number of unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom was 3,241,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the numbers of people who have been unemployed for over 12 months; and what was the figure in April 1979.
On 11 April 1985 the number of claimants in the United Kingdom who had been unemployed for over 12 months was 1,334,000. The corresponding figure for April 1979, relating to unemployed registrants, was 367,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are in employment at the latest date compared to June 1983; how many people are engaged in training schemes at the latest date compared to June 1983; and if he will make a statement.
The employed labour force in Great Britain was estimated as 23,627,000 in December 1984, the latest date for which figures are available. The corresponding figure for June 1983 was 23,040,000. These figures are seasonally adjusted. There were at least 300,000 people engaged in training schemes administered by the Manpower Services Commission at the end of March 1985, the latest date for which figures are available. This compares with an estimated 208,000 at the end of June 1983. In addition there were a number of people engaged on specialist and experimental training schemes.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest unemployment figures; and if he will make a statement.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest number of people unemployed; and what that is as a percentage of the workforce.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the current numbers unemployed; and what this is as a proportion of the work force.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the latest national unemployment figures.
On 9 May 1985, the number of unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom was 3,240,947, representing an unemployment rate of 13·4 per cent.
asked the Secretary of Slate for Employment how many fewer people are currently employed in the United Kingdom than there were in May 1979.
Between June 1979 (figures are not available for May) and December 1984, the employed labour force in the United Kingdom, that is employees in employment plus the self-employed plus Her Majesty's Forces, fell by an estimated 1,202,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been placed in work in the northern region by the professional and executive register in the most recent year for which figures are available.
In the financial year ending 31 March 1985, Professional and Executive Recruitment placed 616 people in work in Cleveland, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest number of people unemployed; and how many of them are aged 50 to 60 years.
On 11 April 1985, the latest date for which an analysis of unemployment by age is available, the number of unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom was 3,272,565, of whom 508,703 were aged between 50 and 59 years.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are now unemployed in Lambeth; and how many have been unemployed for more than 12 months.
On 11 April 1985, the number of unemployed claimants in the London borough of Lambeth was 25,989. Of these it is provisionally estimated that about 11,000 had been unemployed for more than 12 months. This figure includes an estimate for those whose claims are not dealt with by computer.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current total number of people employed; and how many of those are in full-time employment.
In December 1984, the latest date for which information is available, there were an estimated 20,832,000 employees in employment in Great Britain, 11,593,000 of whom were males and 9,239,000 were females. It is estimated that of the total females, 4,957,000 worked full time. A corresponding figure for full-time males is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current rate of unemployment; and how this compares with the figure for June 1979.
On 9 May 1985, the unemployment rate in the United Kingdom was 13·4 per cent, compared with 5·1 per cent, in June 1979.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the numbers of people who have been unemployed for over one year, two years, and three years, respectively; and what plans the Government have for re-training or re-employing those who do not find places in the community programme.
In April 1985 there were 1,334,161 claimants who had been unemployed for over one year, including 790,086 unemployed for more than two years and 484,314 for over three years. Our White Paper, "Employment: The Challenge for the Nation" (Cmnd. 9474) describes the current range of employment and training measures and explains our strategy to achieve sustained economic growth. It is only through such growth that more permanent jobs for unemployed people will be created.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are currently in work in the United Kingdom; and what were the figures for May 1979.
In December 1984, the latest date for which information is available, there were an estimated 24,154,000 people in the United Kingdom in the employed labour force (that is, employees in employment plus the self-employed plus Her Majesty's Forces). The corresponding figure for June 1979 (May is not available) was 25,356,000. The figures are adjusted to take account of seasonal variations.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were in full-time employment in May 1979; and what is the present figure.
in December 1984, the latest date for which information is available, out of a total of 9,239,000 female employees in employment in Great Britain, 4,957,000 worked full-time. The total male figure of 11,593,000 is not broken down to full-time and part-time. In June 1979, the corresponding figures were 9,455,000 total females of which 5,585,000 worked full-time, together with a total of 13,183,000 male employees in employment.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment by what number the working age population and the number of unemployed pensions increased between 1975 and 1979 and between 1980 and 1984.
It is estimated that between 1975 and 1979 the working age population of Great Britain increased by 785,000, while unemployment rose by 332,200 over the same period. The corresponding estimated increases between 1980 and 1984 in Great Britain were 1,151,000 and 1,447,900 respectively.The comparisons of unemployment are affected by the 1983 Budget provisions which mean that some men, mainly aged 60 years and over, no longer need to sign on in order to receive supplementary benefits or national insurance credits. It is estimated that some 160,000 men were affected in Great Britain between April and August 1983.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied that the methods of calculating the employed labour force measure correctly the self-employed and part-timers; and if he will make a statement.
Estimates of the self-employed are obtained from the census of population updated by the labour force survey.Estimates of employees in employment, with full and part-time employees separately identified for each sex, are obtained from the triennial census of employment. These are updated, with part-time female employees separately identified, using quarterly sample surveys of employers and the labour force survey.The methods used are described in detail in the article "Revised Employment Estimates for 1981 to 1984" published in the March 85 edition of
Employment Gazette, a copy of which is in the Library. The estimates are, of course, reviewed as further data become available.
I am satisfied that the estimates provide a good guide to the number of the self-employed and part-time employees. Because sampling techniques are used the estimates are subject to some imprecision. The Department's statisticians continually review the methods to try to improve the estimates in terms of accuracy and cost-effectiveness.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any proposals to put to his European Economic Community counterparts to improve democracy in the work place.
We believe that Community-wide action would be inappropriate. Within the United Kingdom we are firmly committed to an effective voluntary approach to employee involvement and participation.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he has taken to encourage progress in worker participation under section 1 of the Employment Act 1982.
I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle) on 10 June 1985.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement concerning the current levels of employment and prospects for its increase.
The employed labour force in Great Britain is estimated at 23,627,000 in December 1984 some 613,000 higher than in March 1983. We expect the growth in employment to continue.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with he performance and numbers of skillcentres.
Yes. I welcome the reorganisation of the network which plans to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and value for money offered by skillcentres. These objectives are in line with our adult training strategy which aims to substantially increase the number of adults helped to train.
Young Persons (Wages)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the percentage change in young people's wages as a proportion of adult wages since 1979 for boys and for girls.
The earnings of boys relative to men fell by 12 per cent. and those of girls relative to women fell by 13 per cent. between April 1979 and April 1984.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make money and places available under the community programme for domestic assistance for elderly and disabled people, along the lines of the home help system; and if he will make a statement.
Some 20 per cent, of community programme projects already provide assistance for elderly and disabled people. This assistance can be increased because we are expanding the programme by 100,000 places to 230,000 filled places by June 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what provision will be made for the expansion of the community programme in Greater London.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what provision will be made for the expansion of the community programme in the south-west.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the development of the community programme in the east midlands.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what provision will be made for the expansion of the community programme in the east midlands.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the expansion of the community programme in the west midlands.
The community programme is being expanded by 100,000 places to 230,000 places by the end of May 1986. Some 50,000 of these additional places should be available by the end of the year, and I set out current regional targets in my reply to my hon. Friend the member for Kettering (Mr. Freeman) on 30 April 1985 at column 105.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the community programme in Leicester.
990 places on the community programme have been available for the city of Leicester during the last 12 months. The expansion of the programme by 100,000 places nationally over the next 12 months enables significant increases to be made in all areas.
Hosiery And Knitwear Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will expand facilities for the retraining of adults to take up skilled employment in the hosiery and knitwear industry.
I am aware of the recruitment difficulties reported by the hosiery and knitwear industry. These must be primarily for the industry to resolve but, following a question from my hon. Friend, the member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Latham), I asked the Manpower Services Commission to report on the problems in the Leicester area. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as this report is available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now introduce legislation to provide for contracting in to the political levy as opposed to contracting out.
The current series of political fund ballots provides an important opportunity for union members to decide for themselves whether their unions should continue to spend money on party political matters. Where ballots produce a majority in favour of a political fund, unions are under a statutory duty to notify members of their right to contract out of the political levy and to inform them that a standard exemption notice may be obtained from their union or the certification officer. Union members will also wish to ensure that subsequent decisions on the use to which political funds are put conform to the policies on which campaigns have been conducted for their maintenance. Only on this basis can members freely and effectively decide for themselves whether or not to pay the political levy, which was the object of my right hon. Friend's discussions with the TUC. As we made clear to the TUC, the Government reserve the right to legislate if the voluntary approach does not prove effective.
Community Industry Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the occupancy rate on the community industry scheme.
Yes. Community Industry Ltd. has contracted to provide 7,000 job opportunities for personally and socially disadvantaged young people. The latest figures show a national occupancy rate of 96 per cent.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what responses his Department has received to the consultative document on wages councils.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on the future of wages councils; and if he will make a statement.
I refer my hon. Friend and the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse) earlier today.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will now estimate the effect on the employment of young people of the abolition of wages councils.
There is general agreement that the abolition of wages councils would slow down pay increases resulting in an increase in employment for both young people and adults. Employment opportunities for young people are initially limited to the balance between the value of their contribution and the costs of their employment, including pay levels.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has received any further representations from Trades Union Congress affiliated unions regarding the future of wages councils.
I have received 693 responses to our consultative paper on wages councils from a number of trade unions affiliated to the Trades Union Congress.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has received any representations from employees covered by wages councils, or their representatives, in favour of abolishing wages councils.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received about the maintenance of retail trades wages councils.
My right hon. Friend and I have received a number of representations from employers’ bodies, trade unions and others about the maintenance of retail trades wages councils. These are being studied.
Youth Training Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what progress is being made in his discussions relating to the expansion of the youth training scheme into a two-year course for school leavers.
The Manpower Services Commission is continuing discussions with employers, trade unions and others about the extension of the youth training scheme, and hopes to make detailed recommendations by the end of June.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he will next meet the director general of the Confederation of British Industry to discuss the second year of the youth training scheme.
My right hon. Friend and I have no plans to do so at this stage. The Confederation of British Industry is closely involved in the preparation by the Manpower Services Commission of proposals for a two-year youth training scheme; and I have recently attended three regional conferences organised by the confederation at which the development of the scheme was discussed.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received on the expansion of the youth training scheme to two years.
Over 200 organisations and individuals have commented on the proposed extension of the youth training scheme. Virtually all support the proposal.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the progress of discussions with employers’ organisations regarding the extension of the youth training scheme.
The Confederation of British Industry is closely involved with the Manpower Services Commission in planning the new scheme. In addition, many employers and employers’ organisations have commented on the proposal to extend the youth training scheme. Virtually all support the proposal.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what numbers of workers in full-time employment earn less than £100 per week.
Estimates of the numbers of full-time adult employees with gross weekly earnings of less than £100 for a full week in April 1984 are published in table 29 of "New Earnings Survey", part A. A copy is in the Library.
Trade Unions (Ballots)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many unions have rule books which now comply with the provisions of the Trade Union Act 1984 relating to elections to the union executive.
A number of trade unions have made, or are considering making changes to their rule books to comply with this aspect of trade union legislation. Some specific examples are listed in my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) on Tuesday 12 February 1985 at columns 135–6. In some instances changes will not be required as existing rules already comply with the legislation.The duties imposed on trade unions by part I of the Trade Union Act 1984 will apply in all cases, irrespective of rule books, from 1 October 1985.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied that the provisions of the Trade Union Act 1984 relating to ballots on political funds will ensure adequate opportunities for all trade union members to cast their votes.
The certification officer will not approve rules for political fund ballots unless they provide that so far as is reasonably practicable every member is given an opportunity to vote and unless they contain other stringent conditions designed to ensure a fair and secret ballot.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the powers of the certification officer in relation to the conduct of trade union ballots.
I am satisfied with the powers of the certification officer in relation to the conduct of trade union ballots, as extended by the Trade Union Act 1984.He is now empowered to make inquiries into complaints by individual trade union members of non-compliance with the Act's requirements on the election of trade union leaders and, where appropriate, to make a declaration specifying the provisions which have been breached.In addition the Act extends the authority given to the certification officer by the Trade Union Act 1913 for approving the rules of political fund ballots. His approval may only be given where trade unions arrange for such ballots to meet new standards of secrecy and fairness.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will introduce legislation to ensure that trades union ballots are independently organised and counted.
We have no immediate plans to introduce further legislation on the conduct of trade union ballots.The Employment Acts 1980 and 1982 and the Trade Union Act 1984 have taken significant steps to encourage the use of the ballot box as a means of reaching trade union decisions. These should lead to an increase in the number of ballots taking place and an improvement in the overall level of trade union democracy.
The legislation lays down stringent standards as to the conduct of ballots covering secrecy, freedom from intimidation and malpractice.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to prosecuting employers when details are known of underpayment of wages council rates.
The wages inspectorate's policy, endorsed by successive Governments over many years, is to seek compliance with the wages council legislation by advice, persuasion and prosecution which is considered only where the offence is deliberate or repeated and the evidence adequate.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons were employed in work or training schemes in May 1979; and what was the comparable figure in May 1985.
The table below gives estimates of
|(a) Employed Labour Force✶(seasonally adjusted)||(b) Persons on Government Schemes||(c) Persons thought to be covered in both (a)and(b)|
|✶This comprises employees in employment, the self-employed and persons in the armed services.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much greater than the current youth training scheme allowance is the wages council figure for 17-year-olds.
Each wages council fixes its own minimum rates for adults and young workers and some also set rates for more than one category of worker. Rates for 17-year-olds range from £34·11 to £66·60. The current youth training scheme allowance is £26·25 per week.
Trade Unions (Executive Members)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will seek to modify those parts of the Trade Union Act 1984 which allows leading members of trade unions who are members of the union executive to avoid regular re-election merely by giving up their casting vote.
Part I of the Trade Union Act, which provides for the election of all voting members of a union's principal executive committee by secret ballot every five years, comes into force on 1 October 1985. It would be premature to seek modifications before the provisions take effect.
Professional And Executive Recruitment
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs have been placed with the professional and executive register nationally and in Leicester to date; in each case how many jobs were filled; and at what cost.
During the 1984–85 financial year Professional and Executive Recruitment nationally handled 19,653 orders and placed 10,763 people in work. Overall expenditure was just below £8·3 million and was more than covered by income of a little under £8·5 million. The Leicester PER office received 668 orders and made 321 placings.Since 1 April 1983, PER has operated on a self-financing basis and its operating costs are recovered in full from fees paid by employers for the recruitment services provided.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how fast youth unemployment has increased since 1979 compared with adult unemployment.
Direct comparisons of unemploy-ment by age since 1979 are not possible.Between April 1979 and October 1982 the number of unemployed registrants aged under 25 increased by 189 per cent., compared with 124 per cent. for those aged 25 or over. Then between October 1982 and April 1985 the increase in unemployed claimants in the two categories was 1 per cent. and 11
✶ per cent. respectively.
✶ This figure is affected by the effects of the 1983 Budget which mean that certain men aged over 60 need no longer sign on at an unemployment benefit office.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the current unemployment level on Merseyside; and what has been the percentage increase since May 1979.
On 9 May 1985, the number of unemployed claimants on Merseyside was 138,847. This is not fully comparable with the figure of 79,644 registered unemployed in jobcentre areas approximating to Merseyside in May 1979.We are very concerned about the level of unemploy-ment on Merseyside. That is why the area receives the highest levels of Government assistance. A substantial number of people in the area are benefiting from our special employment and training measures, two of which the youth training scheme and the community programme —are to be considerably expanded. We are committed to maintaining our economic policies which are directed at holding down inflation and public borrowing, while encouraging enterprise, flexibility and competitiveness in industry and the labour market. This is the only way to generate lasting jobs on Merseyside and elsewhere.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he will next meet the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission to discuss the review of the skillcentre network.
I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, West (Dr. Blackburn) on 4 June 1985 at columns 125–6.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his proposals for the future establishment of the wages inspectorate.
There are no proposals at present for changes in the wages inspectorate. The functions and staffing of the inspectorate will, however, be reviewed when the Government have taken decisions on the future of the wages council system.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current rate of inspection of workplaces by the wages inspectors.
In 1984 the pay of workers was checked at 10·8 per cent. of establishments on the wages inspectorate's register.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how the levels of youth wages have changed compared with adult wages since 1979.
The relationship between the average weekly earnings of young people and adult employees in 1979 and 1984 is shown in the following table.
|Average gross weekly earnings of full-time employees working a full week|
|Males aged under 18 as a percentage of adult males✶||Females aged under 18 as a percentage of adult females†|
|✶ Aged 21 and over.|
|† Aged 18 and over.|
Source: New Earnings Survey.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many part-time workers earn less than £2·50 per hour.
Comprehensive estimates of the number of part-time employees earning less than £2·50 an hour are not available. The most recent available information relates to part-time female employees on adult rates covered by pay-as-you-earn schemes. The relative numbers of those earning less than £2·50 per hour and less than £2·60 per hour in April 1984 are shown in table 172 of "New Earnings Survey", part F. A copy is in the Library.
Landor Cartons (Dismissals)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects the adjudication officer to take a decision on the entitlement to unemployment benefit of those people who were dismissed by Landor Cartons in Birmingham in January.
The independent adjudicating authorities have now given decisions on the unemploy-ment benefit entitlement of employees of Landor Cartons in Birmingham; these decisions were favourable to the employees.
Job Release Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to increase the allowances for those participating in the job release scheme.
The rates of job release allowances are reviewed each year and any increases become effective in April. I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Mr. Hawkins) on 15 March 1985 at columns 316–17, giving details of the allowances to be paid from 8 April 1985.
Health And Safety Commission
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to increase the funding of the Health and Safety Commission.
The estimate for 1985–86 is £93,283,000. We have no plans to increase this.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to encourage part-time employment.
We explained our strategy for employment in the White Paper "Employment—the Challenge for the Nation" (Cmnd. 9474). I announced on 15 March, in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Mr. Hawkins) at columns 316–17, changes to help ensure that the job splitting scheme and the part-time job release scheme operate more flexibly. These experimental measures are designed to encourage changes in working patterns and to help in reducing unemployment.
Shipbuilding And Ship Repair Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were employed in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry by year from 1974 onwards; what was the average wage in the industry, by year for the same period; and what was the average wage in the industry expressed as a percentage of the national average industrial earnings for the same year for the same period.
The following table sets out the available information:
Shipbuilding and ship-repairing✶
Number of employees in March (thousands)
Average gross weekly earnings of adult manual men in April†(£)
Col. (2) as a percentage of corresponding average earnings in index of production industries†
✶ Minimum list heading 370·1 of 1968 Standard Industrial
Classification to 1981; group 361 of 1980 Standard Industrial
Classification from 1982.
|† Males aged 21 and over working a full week. The figures include|
bonus and overtime earnings which may fluctuate from year to year.
Government Communications Headquarters
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest representations he has had from the International Labour Organisation about the industrial position at Government communications headquarters.
The report of the committee of experts on the application of conventions and recom-mendations has now been published and will be considered at the meeting of the international labour conference in June in which the United Kingdom Government are participating. The committee observed that the Government had raised a number of complex legal issues. Its report did not find the Government in breach of convention 87.
Employment Rehabilitation Centres
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will consider maintaining the number of staff posts at employment rehabilitation centres to ensure that disabled people do not face any loss in choice of trades available to them.
It is the function of employment rehabilitation centres not to train their clients in specific trades but to provide them with opportunities in which they can test and improve their physical and mental capacity for a return to work.Current developments in the rehabilitiation programme, some of which involve staffing changes, are designed to make the overall service more relevant to the employment opportunities that are available and to the needs of disabled people.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what measures have been taken to ensure that the facilities employment rehabilitation centres share with skillcentres will not be affected following the closure of some skillcentres.
Five employment rehabilitation centres share sites with skillcentres which are due to close by March 1986. The Manpower Services Commission is now exploring with the Property Services Agency the feasibility, in each case of maintaining an independent employment rehabilitation centre on the existing site or whether it would be necessary to relocate the centre elsewhere in the same area.
House Of Commons
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will bring before the Catering Sub-Committee of the Services Committee a proposal that the Terrace Pavilion be permanently erected; and if he will make a statement.
I will ask the Catering Sub-Committee, in conjunction with the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee, to consider my hon. Friend's proposal.
Samanala Wewa Dam
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will institute an inquiry into the reasons for the delay in agreeing an aid and credit package in respect of the Samanala Wewa hydroelectric project in Sri Lanka; and if he will, in more general terms, introduce a more streamlined procedure for reaching decisions in such cases.
There has been no undue delay in the handling of this case by the Departments concerned: the complex issues involved have required careful consideration.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Chilean War And Air Colleges
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements have been made for visits to the United Kingdom since 1 July 1982 by staff of the Chilean war college and Chilean air college.
A group from the Chilean Air Force staff college visited Britain in January 1985. A similar group from the War College will visit later this year. Such visits are part of the normal pattern of our relations with Chile.
Chile (Military Exports)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy towards the export of the Centaur military vehicle to Chile.
A temporary export licence for demonstration purposes was granted for a single Centaur in January 1984. Any other application would be considered carefully, taking into account all prevailing circumstances.
United States Legislation (Extraterritoriality)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what correspondence he has had with the State Department of the United States of America since 1982, relating to the extraterritorial effect in the United Kingdom of United States laws, and if he will place that correspondence in the Library.
My right hon. and learned Friend has addressed one message to Mr. Shultz and I have exchanged letters with Mr. Dam concerning the extraterritoriality discussions which were held with the United States at official level last year. In this context I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells) on 26 July 1984 at column 794. It is not our practice to publish confidential correspondence between states.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is now able to make a statement on the arrangements to be made to enable expatriate members of the Overseas Civil Service in Hong Kong to retire from the service now with compensation for loss of career prospects and accrued pension following the conclusion of the agreement with the Republic of China as to the future of Hong Kong and of its public service.
We accept that we should aim to achieve suitable compensation arrangements for members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service and for other pensionable overseas civil servants who are affected by the Sino-British Agreement on the future of Hong Kong. We will consider this matter in more detail in due course in consultation with the Hong Kong Government.
"Victims Against Terrorism" (South Africa)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what basis his officials met representatives of Victims against Terrorism from South Africa; and what is his policy on further meetings with this group.
The group called at its initiative. Officials met it in keeping with our policy of meeting a wide range of opinion on South Africa, other than those groups advocating violence. There are no plans for further meetings.
United States Goods (Economic Boycott)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what report he has received from Her Majesty's ambassador in Tunis about the speech delivered in Tunis on 14 May by Yasser Arafat to the General Federation of Palestinian Writers and Journalists concerning an economic boycott of United States goods.
We have noted reports of a speech delivered by Mr. Yasser Arafat in Tunis on 14 May covering a wide range of issues. The text we have seen did not make reference to an economic boycott of United States goods.
Non-Proliferation Treaty (Libya)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any evidence that Libya has breached the non-proliferation treaty by exporting weapon-grade uranium to a non-signatory nation.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the matters discussed at a meeting between officials of his Department and Mrs. Maria Malvenda of Chile; and what statements officials made on (a) the human rights situation in Chile and (b) the future policy of the United Kingdom towards Chile in the light of this situation.
Mrs. Maluenda called on a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office official on 2 May to explain the circumstances of her son's death. The official expressed his personal sympathy at her loss and made clear our concern about the human rights situation in Chile.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he makes of the current implications for United Kingdom operations in the south Atlantic, and concerning the Falklands in particular, of the effect of the treaty between Chile and Argentina over the ownership of islands in the Beagle straits; and what effect the ratification of this treaty in April is assessed to have on the future policy options of Her Majesty's Government regarding human rights in Chile.
We welcome any measure contributing to the stability of the region, but the question of the Beagle Channel, and our commitment to defend the Falkland Islands, are entirely separate matters. We shall continue to stand by that commitment, using the minimum forces necessary. Our policy on human rights violations in Chile remains as stated in my reply to the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) on 3 June at column 75.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards instituting a complete embargo on arms sales to Chile; and if he will make a statement.
As I told the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) on 9 May at column 493 we do not believe an arms embargo would be effective.