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Written Answers

Volume 80: debated on Friday 14 June 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 14 June 1985

Northern Ireland

Metallic Marker Pens

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information he has over the use in schools in Northern Ireland of metallic marker pens with gold and silver lettering that contain xylene/xylol; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not readily available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Government Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has given consideration to seeking to recover Government grants paid out to successful and profitable Northern Ireland companies which cease manufacturing in Northern Ireland and transfer their production to mainland factories; and if he will make a statement.

It is the practice to attach repayment conditions where companies receive selective financial assistance or standard capital grant from the Department of Economic Development. Conditions vary depending upon the nature of the assistance and are time limited. Where a company ceases manufacturing in Northern Ireland while recovery conditions are current, repayment of grant, either in whole or in part, would normally be sought.

Kinsale Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will publish the external advice he received which led him to cancel the Kinsale gas project.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) on 12 June 1985 at column 476.

Firearms Dealers (Ammunition)

Ross asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many rounds of each type of commonly used ammunition for (a) ·22 rifles and (b) shotguns, a firearms dealer in Northern Ireland is allowed to hold on his premises.

Each year the Secretary of State gives a direction to the Chief Constable under Article 37(3) of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order as to the conditions to be imposed on firearms dealers' certificates of registration. The directive includes restrictions on the amount of ammunition which firearms dealers may hold on their premises. The numbers of rounds in individual cases varies between dealers in the light of the previous year's sales of each category of ammunition by the dealer, as well as the standard of security provided.

Investment

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information he has as to the level of investment in Northern Ireland industry by people residing in Northern Ireland

Information on shares in Northern Ireland industry held by Northern Ireland residents is not available

Conservation

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what ornithological or other scientific surveys were carried out on the area of scientific interest land at Lough Ross, Lisnakea, County Fermanagh, before the agricultural improvements recently approved by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture went ahead, what steps are being taken to monitor and assess the impact of drainage and related works on breeding wetland birds and other aspects of nature conservation interest present on the site, and if he will make a statement on the destruction of the nest and eggs of a species of bird specially protected by the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands ( Northern Ireland) Order 1985, during the course of the agricultural scheme

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 476– 77]: No such surveys were carried out by conservation branch of the Department of the Einvironment (Northern Ireland) prior to the commencement of agricultural improvement previously notified to the Department of Agriculture (Northern Ireland) as it was apparent that the prime scientific interest of the site was not going to be damagedNo steps are being taken to monitor the site or a regular basis as there is no evidence to suggest that the works will have any impact on the intrinsic nature conservation significance of the site.I am not aware of the destruction of nests or eggs of a species of bird specially protected by wildlife legislation.

River Roe (Restocking)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish in the Official Report an account of the steps taken to restock the River Roe and its tributary the Owenreagh River after the accidental poisoning of the river and the annual costs of the restocking programme to date, and if he will indicate the success of the programme and whether the insect and fish life has yet recovered.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 478] Following the accidental chemical spillage from Caugh Hill water treatment works in 1982, a biological survey was carried out and an extensive electro-fishing survey was jointly undertaken by the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland and the Foyle Fisheries Commission, in the light of the information from these and subsequent surveys, the following fish stocks have been placed in the Rivers Roe and Owenreagh.

19831984
Salmon:
Eyed ova118,000
Under 1 year old56,300

19831984
Over 1 year old30,00015,000

Brown Trout:

Under 1 year old20,000
Over 2 years old4001,200

The cost of this restocking was as follows:

£
1982–8320.218
1983–8425,233
1984–85754

197919801981198219831984
Applications4,3894.3623,6394,2973,7144,011
Granted4,1224,0683,2793,9203,3783,698
Refused267294360377336313
Renewals19,12114,20129,70421,68517.01630,066
Granted19,02914,12229,62621,60816,93729,978
Refused927978777988
Variations10,2788,9349,1409,2467,7488,574
Granted9,9478,5478,7508,8077,3598,109
Refused331387390439389465

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Bbc External Services

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the review of the BBC external services received by him on 9 December 1984 is to be published.

I announced publication of the 1984 review of the BBC external services in the course of the Adjournment debate on 4 February at columns 725–28. Copies of the report were placed in the Library of the House on the same day.

Namibia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any representative of Her Majesty's Government will be present in Windhoek, Namibia, when the new transitional administration will be inaugurated; and if he will make a statement.

No. We have made it clear to the South African Government that we do not recognise the new administrative arrangements for Namibia. They do not affect South Africa's responsibility to bring about Namibian independence in accordance with the terms of SCR 435.

Attorney-General

Law Society (Report)

asked the Attorney-General if he has yet received a copy of the draft of the final report submitted by Coopers and Lybrand Associates to the Law Society reviewing the Law Society's affairs.

Continuing monitoring surveys and the annual counts of spawning redds by the Foyle Fisheries Commission indicate a good recovery of fish life and invertebrate fauna in the affected areas of the rivers.

Firearms Certificates

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table in the Official Report setting out the number of (a) applications, (b) renewals and (c) variations of firearms certificates dealt with in each of the last six years or financial years; and how many in each year were (i) granted and (ii) refused.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 479]: The information is as follows:

I understand a copy was sent by the Law Society to the Lord Chancellor's Department for information on 31 May.

Public Record Office

asked the Attorney-General what changes have been made to the cash limit on class XIII, vote 13, (Public Record Office).

The cash limit on class XIII, vote 13 (Public Record Office) has been reduced by £334,000 from £10,821,000 to £10,487,000.The reduction takes account of £334,000 transferred to class XIV, vote 1 (Property Services Agency) and reflected in the Main Estimate, to provide funds towards modifications and improvements to the air-conditioning system at the Public Record Office, Kew, as recommended by the independent review commissioned following the closure of the building last year. A copy of the report on the review was placed in the Library on 27 March.The reduction will have no effect on the total of public expenditure.

Wales

Metallic Marker Pens

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has over the use in schools in Wales of metallic marker pens with gold and silver lettering that contain xylene/xylol; and if he will make a statement.

Thomas: My right hon. Friend has no information on the extent of the use of these pens in schools. The provision and use of writing materials in schools is a matter for local education authorities.

Sheep Scab

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many cases of sheep scab were reported in Wales during the past 12 months; what were the corresponding figures for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

The table gives the number of outbreaks of sheep scab in Wales in each of the past 10 years, each year beginning on 1 July.

YearOutbreaks
1975–762
1976–773
1977–780
1978–790
1979–800
1980–8111
1981–821
1982–8312
1983–8411
1984–8515
To 31 May.

Welfare Rights Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has as to how many welfare rights officers are currently employed by social services departments in Wales and as to the distribution of such welfare rights officers by county.

Motorways (Lighting)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many miles of motorway there are in Wales; and what types of lighting are in use thereon and where.

There are 74 miles of motorway. Eighteen miles are lit by low pressure sodium lighting, of which 12 miles are in Gwent and South Glamorgan (Coldra to St. Mellons) and six miles in West Glamorgan (Margam to Baglan).

Milk Quotas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has any further proposals for investigating the effect in Wales of the introduction of dairy quotas, in cases of fanners who are still suffering severe financial hardship.

I am already fully aware of the effect which the introduction of milk quotas have caused for some producers in Wales. However re-allocation of quota under the outgoers' scheme has enabled us to restore small producers to their 1983 levels of production and make exceptional hardship awards in full for 1985–86.

Agricultural Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many full-time agricultural workers there are in Wales; and how many there were on 1 January 1970, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively; and if he will make a statement.

Details of the numbers of workers on agricultural holdings are collected in a full census in June and a sample census in December each year The numbers of persons recorded as working full-time on agricultural holdings in Wales in the years requested were as follows:

JuneDecember
197032,28034.946
198033,35133.257
198133,33932,704
198232,85132.558
198332,17132,487
198432,70732,307
Figures exclude wives of farmers and directors; and salaried managers for which no data on full-time working are available The 1970 figure is thought to be affected by definitional changes at that time.

Mid Wales Development

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has any proposals for increasing the funding available to Mid Wales Development; and if he will make a statement.

Decisions about the funding of Mid Wales Development will be considered in the normal way in his year's review of public expenditure.

Overseas Development

Aid-For-Trade Provision

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the future funding of the aid-for-trade provision.

The funding of the aid trade provision is kept under continuous review as part of the financial planning of the aid programme. The planning allocation for 1985–86 is £66 million.

Operation Roadrunner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will consider making funds available to support operation roadrunner in operating lorries into Ethiopia and Sudan.

We channel our assistance to voluntary efforts largely through the member agencies of the Disasters Emergency Committee. We have therefore suggested to representatives of operation roadrunner that they should offer their services through one of the established voluntary agencies operating in Sudan, to whom we have already provided very substantial assistance.

Bilateral Aid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the totals of bilateral aid expenditure in the renewable natural resources and other agriculture-related economic sectors for 1983 and 1984; and what proportion of the total bilateral aid programme each of the figures represents.

Following are the figures:

£ millionAs per cent. of total bilateral allocable by sector
198316328
198412419

Falkland Islands

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many Falkland Islands-based firms which do not have outside ownership have received grants or loans from the Falkland Islands Development Corporation;(2) how many firms have received grants or loans from the Falkland Islands Development Corporation since it was established; and how many of those firms have their head office in the United Kingdom.

The Falkland Islands Development Corporation has provided assistance to 54 companies to date, both limited and sole traders, of which three have head offices in the United Kingdom.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Falklands Islands Development Corporation building projects are subject to planning control.

Yes. The Falkland Islands Development Corporation is subject to the same planning regulations as all other individuals and corporate bodies in the islands.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many houses for the permanent residents of the Falkland Islands have been built and are planned to be built under the auspices of the development corporation.

The Falkland Islands Development Corporation is not responsible for housing construction except in cases where accommodation is required in a remote location as an integral part of a project which is being assisted. Only one home has been built to date and this is occupied by permanent residents.The corporation will shortly be considering a proposal for the creation of a wholly owned property development subsidiary which would undertake a programme of housing construction.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many seats on the board of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation are held by permanent local residents of the Falkland Islands.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many jobs have been created by the Falkland Islands Development Corporation since its creation; and what was the average cost per job;(2) how many construction jobs have been created by the Falkland Islands Development Corporation; and how many of these have been taken by permanent local residents of the Falkland Islands.

In view of the shortage of labour in the Islands, the Falkland Islands Development Corporation is not specifically required to create new employment opportunities and does not therefore maintain records of relevant information. However, I understand that assistance has been given in the establishment of three construction-related businesses with a total of five jobs, three of which are held by permanent local residents and two by immigrants who are now permanently resident

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the ratio of public to private investment in the Falkland Islands Development Corporation investment

As at 31 December 1984 the ratio was 44· 5 per cent public to 55· 5 per cent private

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the chief executive, general manager and board members of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation, and what are the salaries of the chief executive and general manager.

The membership of the development corporation is as follows:

  • Sir Rex Hunt—Chairman
  • Mr D Taylor — Executive Vice Chairman (Chief Executive, Falkland Islands Government)
  • Mr S Armstrong—General Manager
  • Mr S Wallace
  • Mr R Binnie
  • Mr T Betts
  • Mr N Watson
  • Mr A Cameron
  • Mr H Rowlands
  • Mr M Gaiger
  • Mr M Crosse
The salaries of the executive vice chairman and general manager are £34,500 and £21,700 respectively.

Home Department

Stonehenge (Disturbances)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were (a) arrested and (b) charged in connection with recent disturbances at and near to Stonehenge; what were the grounds of arrest and the nature of the charges, how many police officers and others were injured, and if he will make a statement.

Women's Prisons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has any long-term proposals in respect of Cookham Wood women's prison; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether he has any long-term proposals in respect of Bullwood Hall women's prison; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans which affect the roles performed by Cookham Wood prison and Bullwood Hall prison and youth custody centre.

Durham Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any long-term proposals in respect of "H" wing at Durham prison; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans which affect the role of H wing, Durham prison. Its use for female prisoners is, however, kept under constant review.

Holloway Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any proposals to increase the capacity of Holloway prison, and the place in any such proposals of the CI psychiatric unit; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to questions from the hon. Members for Burnley (Mr. Pike) and Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) on 13 June at column 501.

Concessionary Television Licences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he has made to the letter from the social services committee of Bradford metropolitan council, dated 26 April, concerning the conditions of eligibility for concessionary television licences; and if he will make a statement.

Since television licensing matters are for the Home Office the letter from the director of social services of Bradford Metropolitan Council to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has been passed to me and I shall reply to it shortly.

Charity Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any changes to announce in the cash limit for the Charity Commission Vote, class XIII, vote 16.

Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit on the Charity Commission Vote will be raised by £368,000 from £4,861,000 to £5,229,000. The increase provides for additional costs associated with the computer installation in the official custodian's division.The additional expenditure will be charged to the reserve and does not add to the planning total of public expenditure.

National Finance

Capital Transfer Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received any proposals from the Forestry Commission advocating the extension of exemption from capital transfer tax for lands of heritage value to ancient semi-natural woodlands, subject to their management meeting the approval of the Nature Conservancy Council and the Forestry Commission; and if he will make a statement.

I have not received any such proposals. Conservation objectives are already recognised in the capital transfer tax code, which provides exemption for land of outstanding scenic, historic or scientific interest, and for land essential for the protection of the character and amenities of a building of outstanding historic or scientific interest Woodlands may qualify for this relief if they represent an integral or primary element in either case.

Britoil

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about his plans for the Britoil sale.

I am now able to give further details of the arrangement for this sale.Subject to market conditions, the offer for sale, which will be for a total of some 243 million shares, is intended to take place later during the summer. The offer price, which will be fixed and announced at that time, will be payable in two instalments, one on application and the second approximately three months later A "pathfinder' document, setting out most of the up-to-date information on the company, but not including the offer for sale price, will be published some weeks before impact day.Special arrangements will be made so that holders of the shares to be sold will receive the interim dividend for 1985 which will be declared by Britoil on publication of its interim results in mid-July. Existing shareholders will, subject to any legal restrictions overseas, be given certain preferential allocation entitlements to acquire the shares on offer. Any shareholder wishing to purchase shares in addition to those which he will be entitled to on a preferential basis will be able to do so by applying on a public application form.Fifteen million of the shares on offer will be available for preferential allocation to employees of Britoil, subject to a limit of 10,000 shares per employee.To encourage wider share ownership throughout the UK stockbroking firms across the country have been approached to act as regional co-ordinators for this offer for sale to encourage applications from private investors Allotment commissions will be payable to certain financial intermediaries in respect of successful applications submitted by them.

Prime Minister

Cruise Missiles (Exercises)

asked the Prime Minister, if any test communication exercises on United States Air Force ground based cruise missile launch procedures have been conducted between herself and the President of the United States of America since cruise missiles became operational in the United Kingdom.

It has been the practice of successive Governments not to discuss the details of arrangements for ministerial control of nuclear weapons

Sailing Vessel Marques (Loss)

asked the Prime Minister whether she has received a letter from Ms. Shirley Cooklin about the loss of the Marques.

Yes. I sympathise with her in the loss of her son and she is right to refer to all those who lost their lives in this tragedy as splendid examples of adventurous youth at its best She also expressed her concern about the timing of the formal investigation into the loss of the Marques. Arrangements are being made to set up the court of inquiry as soon as practicable.

Portsmouth Health Authority

asked the Prime Minister, further to her answer to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras on Monday, 10 June, Official Report, column 304. (1) whether the discussions referred to were initiated by officials of the Department of Health and Social Security or the administrators of the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire health authority;(2) whether Department of Health and Social Services officials put forward the possibility of any relaxation of financial restraint or additional funding in the event of the health authority contracting out management of a hospital.

As I explained in my previous reply, Ministers are always interested in examining options for improving the management of NHS hospitals. Contracting out the management of a hospital is one such option and officials of the Department acting on behalf of Ministers got in touch with the Administrator of the health authority to see if he was interested in this approach.Obviously the Department of Health and Social Security would not have offered financial inducements to the health authority to contract out management of a hospital, since the whole object of doing so would be to obtain better value for money in the provision of services.

Environment

Yelland Power Station

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if there are any site investigations currently being undertaken with a view to the possible storage of low, intermediate or high-level nuclear waste at Yelland power station on the Yaw estuary.

No site investigatons are being undertaken in connection with the storage of nuclear waste at East Yelland power station. So far as the development of disposal facilities for radioactive waste is concerned, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) on 25 April at column 548.

Improvement Grants (Stockport)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the level of take-up of general improvement grants in the Stockport metropolitan borough in the most recent year for which figures are available.

The figures for 1984 appear on page 93 of "Local Housing Statistics" no. 73; a copy is in the Library.

Local Government (Computer, Technical And Scientific Services)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment pursuant to the answer of 20 May, Official Report; columns 343–4, to which authorities and bodies the Minister for Local Government has offered his Department's good offices in considering how worthwhile work on (a) central computer services, (b) technical services and(c) scientific services currently provided by the metropolitan counties and the Greater London council could be maintained; in what form the offer was made in each case; on what date; and if he will make a statement.

This offer has been made to all successors, in my reply to a question from my hon. Friend the member for Harlow (Mr Hayes) on 16 November last at columns 378–79.

European Non-Quota Textile Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report allocations approved to date for each local authority under the European regional development fund non-quota textile measures scheme.

The allocations approved to end-May 1985 under ERDF non-quota textile measures are as follows:

Zone and AuthorityGrant £
Lancashire
Rossendale district100,025
Hyndburn district108,525
Pendale district307,025
Lancaster district721,683
Burnley district197,784
Lancashire Enterprises Ltd.895,090
Total2,330,132
Greater Manchester
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough565,625
Bolton Metropolitan Borough598,560
Wigan Metropolitan Borough157,300
Bury Metropolitan Borough45,613
Tameside Metropolitan Borough222,850
Oldham Metropolitan Borough377,886
Greater Manchester Council/Greater
Manchester Economic Development Company200,000
Total2,167,834
West Yorkshire
Calderdale Metropolitan Borough23,500
Kirklees Metropolitan Borough436,425
West Yorkshire County Council352,371
Total812,296

Local Government Reform

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will assess grant-related expenditure for transition costs to the London boroughs resulting from abolition of the Greater London council.

No. Grant related expenditure for local authorities in London will continue to be assessed on the same basis as for authorities elsewhere in the country.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which abolition authorities responded favourably to his letter of 17 April regarding discussions with the Government about the mechanics of abolition; and what was the response of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and the Trades Union Congress.

London Residuary Body

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to direct the London residuary body to meet any of its transition costs from borrowing.

I refer the hon. Member to Clause 75 of the Local Government Bill.

Defence

Stealth And Uhsic Technology

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if the United States Government have provided the United Kingdom Government with access to stealth and UHSIC technology.

There are general arrangements covering the exchange of information between the United States and United Kingdom on various aspects of defence technology. It is not our practice to give details of these.

Trade And Industry

Aid And Trade

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the proportion of United Kingdom produced materials used in the projects supported through the aid and trade provisions in each year since 1979.

Support from the aid and trade provision is generally confined to foods and services provided from the United Kingdom. The information my hon. Friend requests is not available but the content of projects won with ATP backing is overwhelmingly of United Kingdom origin.

Post Office (Delivery Delays)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next meets the chairman of the Post Office, if he will discuss the recent report from the Post Office Users' National Council on postal delivery delays.

My right hon. Friend welcomes the determined steps the Post Office is taking to ensure that its customers receive a satisfactory service, and he discusses progress with the chairman of the Post Office whenever it is appropriate to do so.

Cocom

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many officials from his Department, and of what grade, are assigned permanently or temporarily to COCOM in Paris.

None; but officials from my Department, up to assistant secretary level and including technically qualified staff, regularly form part of the United Kingom delegation to COCOM meetings.

South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out details of all trade missions financed in whole or in part by his Department which have visited South Africa since 1979.

Details of the sponsoring organisations, the cost to BOTB, and the number of participants taking part in BOTB supported outward missions to South Africa are:

SponsorGrant (£)Participants
1979
Walsall Chamber of Commerce
& Industry4.48512
Engineering Industries
Association3,45010
South Bucks & East Berks
Chamber of Commerce &
Industry5,17514
Sheffield Chamber of
Commerce7,24520
East London & South West
Essex Export Club4,48512
Scottish Council Development
& Industry7,24520
Conventry Chamber of
Commerce & Industry3,4509
Agricultural Engineers
Association Ltd.2,7606
Leicester and Coventry
Chamber of Commerce3,79510
Manchester Chamber of
Commerce & Industry2,7607
Birmingham Chamber of
Industry & Commerce6,55518
Dundee & Tayside Chamber of
Commerce and Industry6,21017
British Ceramic Plant &
Machinery Manufacturers
Association3,45010
Engineering Industries
Association6.55518
67,620183
1980
Engineering Industries
Association4,83013
Bristol Chamber of Commerce,
Industry & Shipping4,83013
London Chamber of Commerce
& Industry3,1058
Worcester & District Chamber
of Commerce4,14011
Scottish Council Development
and Industry5,17514
Publishers Association4,48512
Nottinghamshire Chamber of
Commerce & Industry4,48513
British Stationery & Office
Products Federation5,52015
Birmingham Chamber of
Industry & Commerce4,83013
Engineering & Building Centre6,90019
Engineering Industries
Association7,24520
55,545151
1981
Engineering Industries
Association6,90019
Society of Motor Manufacturers
and Traders Ltd.6,90019
South Wales Exporters Club7,24520
Worcester & District Chamber
of Commerce5,86516
Scottish Council Development
& Industry8,71520
Sheffield Chamber of
Commerce7,05516
Export Council for the British
Jewellery & Giftware
Federation3,7359

Sponsor

Grant (£)Participants
Bristol Chamber of Commerce,
Industry and Shipping9,96023
Export Association of
Nottingham4,98011
Birmingham Chamber of
Industry & Commerce9,13021
Manchester Chamber of
Commerce & Industry10,79025
Dundee & Tayside Chamber of
Commerce & Industry8,71520
Engineering & Building Centre7,88518
Engineering Industries
Association7,88518
Walsall Chamber of Commerce
& Industry7,88518
113,645273

1982

Engineering Industries
Association9,13021
Coventry Chamber of
Commerce & Industry9,96023
Thames Export Club8,68519
Association of British
Manufacturers of
Photographic Cine & Audio
Visual Equipment4,98011
Export Council for the British
Jewellery and Giftware
Federation4,56511
Worcester & District Chamber
of Commerce2.07510
Scottish Council Development
& Industry7,47017
Engineering Industries
Association7,88518
Birmingham Chamber of
Industry & Commerce7,05516
Engineering & Building Centre4,98021
Derby & Derbyshire Chamber
of Commerce4,56511
Wolverhampton Chamber of
Commerce7,05516
Engineering Industries
Association5,76012
Society of Motor Manufacturers
& Traders Ltd.8,16016
92,325222

1983

Engineering Industries
Association5,76012
South Bucks & East Berks
Chamber of Commerce and
& Industry5,28010
Association of British Mining
Equipment Companies2,88015
Walsall Chamber of Commerce
& Industry10,56021
Federation of Sussex Industries10,56021
Coventry Chamber of
Commerce & Industry8,64017
Sheffield Chamber of
Commerce12,96026
Engineering Industries
Association5,28011
Bristol Chamber of Commerce,
Industry & Shipping9,12018
Scottish Council Development
& Industry10,08020

Birmingham Chamber of
Industry & Commerce7,68015
Manchester Chamber of
Commerce & Industry10,56021
Dundee & Tayside Chamber of
Commerce12.48025
South Wales Exporters Club6,24012
Engineering Industries
Association9,60019
127,680263

1984

Leicester & County Chamber
of Commerce & Industry8.64017
Engineering Industries
Association9,60019
Society of Motor Manufacturers
and Traders7,68015
Merseyside Chamber of
Commerce12,48025
Federation of Sussex Industries7,20014
Worcester & Hereford Area
Chamber of Commerce11,52023
Coventry Chamber of
Commerce & align="right">10,08020
Scottish Council Development
& Industry8,64017
Agricultural Engineers
Association Ltd.4,8009
London Chamber of Commerce
& Industry7,68015
Engineering Industries
Association5,28011
Birmingham Chamber of
Industry & Commerce11,04022
Sheffield Chamber of
Commerce8,64017
Engineering Industries
Association13,92028
127,200252

1985*

Engineering Industries
Association Ltd.12,48025
Dorset Chamber of Commerce
&Industry7,20014
Bristol Chamber of Commerce
& Industry9,60019
Federation of Sussex Industries7.20014
36,48072

* Up to 31 March.

Note:

Due to a clerical error, the total number of missions supported for 1979 was incorrectly) stated in my answers of 3 April and 21 May 1985 to the hon Member for Sheffield Central The total number of missions was 14 and not 13 as stated This affects the total financial expenditure for 1979 and 1980

Business Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the surplus of business formation over closures in the northern region since 1979; and whether he will give a breakdown by turnover.

Information on the numbers of starts and stops of businesses in the regions during the period 1980–1983 broken down by sizebands of turnover was published in an article in "British Business" on 2 November 1984. Further information showing the breakdown by sector of trade was published in "British Business" on 18 January 1985.

Copies of both articles have been placed in the Library.

House Of Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 6 June, Official Report, column 193, if he had full information as to the source of financial backing for the Al Fayed bid for the House of Fraser.

The Secretary of State had sufficient information to enable him to take a decision as to whether or not to refer the acquisition of House of Fraser plc by Al Fayed Investment Holdings plc to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Education And Science

Infant Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified infant teachers completed teacher training in 1982, 1983 and 1984; what is the estimated number for the current year; and how these figures compare with the estimated number of vacancies for such teachers in England and Wales.

Separate information about infant teachers is not readily available. Estimates for primary teachers, covering infant and junior age groups but not nursery or middle, suggest that about 2,700 qualified in 1983 and 2,900 in 1984. Comparable estimates are not available for numbers qualifying in 1982 or for those expected to complete their training in 1985. Nor is information available on the numbers of vacancies for those groups of teachers in the years requested.

Secondary Schools (Selection System)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which local authorities retain a selective secondary school system.

The table shows those local authorities which retained a partially selective secondary school system as at January 1984, the latest date for which firm figures are available. No authority operated a fully selective system.

LEAS maintaining at least one grammar school-January 1984
Local Education AuthoritiesNumber of Grammar Schools
Barnet2
Bexley2
Bromley2
Enfield1
Kingston-upon-Thames2
Redbridge2
Sutton4
Birmingham8
Walsall2
Wolverhampton1
Liverpool2
Wirral4
Trafford8
Calderdale7
Kirklees1
Avon2
Berkshire6

Local Education Authorities

Number of Grammar Schools

Buckinghamshire14
Cumbria1
Devon10
Dorset7
Essex8
Gloucestershire11
Hereford and Worcestershire1
Kent28
Lancashire5
Lincolnshire15
Norfolk3
North Yorkshire7
Salop2
Warwickshire5
Wiltshire2

University Places

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the number of university places available in England and Wales for each year since 1978.

Statistics on available places are not collected. The total number of full-time undergraduates and postgraduates at universities in England and Wales since 1978 has been:

Number
1978245,300
1979249,500
1980254,200
1981255,200
1982250,600
1983246,900
1984245,000
✶Provisional

School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what was the number of school leavers s in England and Wales for each year since 1978;(2) what was the number of school leavers with minimum university qualifications for each year since 1978.

The numbers of school leavers in England in total and with two or more A-level passes are:

School leavers, England
Academic yearTotal leavers (000s)Leavers with two or more A level passes(000s)
1977–78724·3191·13
1978–79737·3792·19
1979–80750·7394·94
1980–81733·9698·78
1981–82751·13103·90
1982–83765·52106·30
1983–84752·82105·80
Data on school leavers examination attainments are subject to sampling error.

Source: School Leavers Survey

The figures for Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Energy

Plutonium (Member's Correspondence)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report his correspondence with the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy on the topic of civil and military plutonium.

I have arranged for copies of this correspondence to be placed in the Library.

Gas Showrooms

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has for the future of gas showrooms arising from his plans to privatise British Gas.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear in his statement on 7 May, we intend to transfer to the new private sector company all the assets of the British Gas Corporation. The future of the gas showrooms will be a matter for the gas corporation —but these activities will of course be subject to review by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Britoil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations his Department has had from British Petroleum over the possible acquisition by it of the Government's shareholding in Britoil; what discussions have taken place with British Petroleum on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

Scotland

Scottish Development Agency (Holiday Package)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether any public funds, time of public servants, or other public resources have been or are involved in the arrangements for a special holiday package deal at concessionary rates negotiated on behalf of its staff by the Scottish Development Agency with a leisure club in Glasgow.

The Scottish Development Agency staff club has arranged with the Holiday Inn Hotel, Glasgow for corporate membership of the hotel's leisure club for agency staff. There are no arrangements whatsoever for any holiday package deal. I am assured by the agency that the scheme is completely financed by staff contribution and that no public resources are involved.

School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the number of school leavers in Scotland for each year since 1978.

The information requested is as follows:

SessionNumber of leavers
1977–7893,221
1978–7991,737

Session

Number of leavers

1979–8091,722
1980–8187,475
1981–8288,607
1982–8390,988
1983–8489,737

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the number of school leavers with the minimum university entrance qualifications for each year since 1978, and how many failed to obtain entrance to university in each year.

Generally, the minimum requirement for university entrance is three highers and two O grades (or equivalent): entrance requirements for individual faculties or courses may be higher. The numbers of school leavers with three or more highers were as follows:

Number of school leavers with 3 or more Highers
SessionNumber
1977–7816,069
1978–7915,760
1979–8016,661
1980–8117,208
1981–8218,347
1982–8318,954
1983–84n.a.
Information from the Scottish school leavers survey indicates that, of those who left school in 1979– 80 with three or more highers, and who applied for university entrance, 67 per cent entered university in the following session The corresponding figure for 1981–82 leavers is 61 per cent. The percentages of this group who entered other forms of higher education, or who entered university at a later date, are not readily available.

Nhs (Privatisation)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the further plans he has for privatisation within the National Health Service in Scotland

Health Boards were asked to test the cost-effectiveness of their catering, domestic and laundry services by putting them out to competitive tender, and I have had a preliminary discussion about progress with health board chairmen to ensure the delivery of savings.

Employment

Electricity Regulations (Infringement)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many employers have (a) been cautioned and (b) been prosecuted, and with what result, for infringement of Regulation 28 of the Electricity Regulations 1908 in each year of the last five years to the nearest convenient date.

In 1981 there was a prosecution for breach of regulation 28 of the Electricity Regulations 1908. The employer was convicted and fined £50. Figures for cautions are not kept centrally and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many employers have (a) been cautioned and (b) been prosecuted, and with what results, for infringement of the Electricity (Factories Act) Special Regulations 1908 and 1944 in each of the last five years to the nearest convenient date.

The number of employers prosecuted for infringement of these regulations in 1980–84 inclusive, and the results are included in the following table.

YearEmployers ProsecutedInformationsConvictionTotal fines £
198031666614,050
19812147477,225
198232615512,480
198329565415,500
198431626111,770
Figures for cautions are not kept centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in the light of the recommendation by the

ApplicantPurpose of Ballot(s) (see key below)Amount of Payment (£)Date Payment Authorised
Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom(1)DNil
(2)C25,692·6028–1–83
(3)F42,178·7810–6–83
(4)B36,964·5912–6–84
(5)BApplication under consideration
Guiness Brewing Staff Association (UK)(1)DNil
C
British Medical Association(1)B (2 ballots)Nil
(2)B (2 ballots)Nil
Professional Association of Teachers(1)C4,068·714–6–81
(2)C4,456·7810–6–82
(3)C4,600·835–7–83
(4)C (3 ballots)4,828·818–6–84
(5)CApplication under consideration
Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association(1)C451·1421–7–81
(2)C677·5720–7–82
(3)C416·153–6–83
(4)C (2 ballots)432·5623–10–84
British Association of Occupational Therapists Ltd(1)BNil
(2)A1,404·6316–10–81
(3)B2,260·108–9–82
(4)B328·672–11–83
(5)B2,016·588–8–84
The Society of Chiropodists(1)BNil
(2)B1,189·4027–9–82
(3)B1,283·521–8–83
(4)B1,300·9316–8–84
Association of Optical Practitioners Ltd(1)B (2 ballots)1,508·3328–8–81
(2)B (2 ballots)1,577·051–12–82
(3) B (2 ballots)1,385·2313–11–84
National Association of Head Teachers(1)B (2 ballots)Nil
(2)B157·552–12–82
(3)B164·622–12–82
(4)B230·6213–10–83
(5)C4,200·7613–10–83
(6)B242·0924–1–84

Manpower Services Commission report on the quota scheme that further research should be carried out, what initiative the Government will take; and if he will make a statement on the other recommendations of the report.

Trade Unions (Ballots)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment which trade unions have applied to the certification officer for reimbursement of the cos) of ballots, under the provisions of section 1 of the Employment Act 1980; what is the size of payments made to each of the trade unions; what is the purpose of the ballots for which payments were sought; and on which dates these payments were made.

The certification officer has provided the following information for the period from the introduction of the scheme on 1 October 1980 up to 13 June this year.

Applicant

Purpose of Ballot(s) (see key below)

Amount of Payment (£)

Date Payment Authorised

Clearing Bank Union(1)ANil
(2)F41·163–7–84
Association of Public Service Finance Officers(1)B524·3523–9–81
(2)B596·4322–9–82
(3)B619·3516–11–83
(4)B621·2817–10–84
Coventry Economic Building Society Staff Association(1)GNil
Association of Management and Professional Staffs(1)B2,323·0717–11–81
(2)B1,856·2225–8–82
Society of Radiographers(1)B2,654·2816–12–81
(2)B2,346·4217–5–83
(3)B3,411·4915–11–84
Association of Education Officers(1)B (2ballots)Nil
B
(2)C206·6825–5–83
(3)B (2ballots)
CNil
British Actors Equity Association(1)D (2ballots)Application withdrawn
Association of Public Service Professional Engineers(1)B386·6013–4–82
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy(1)B1,297·9726–4–82
(2)B1,443·5423–11–83
Institute of Journalists(1)C587·5322–9–82
(2)C460·364–10–83
(3)C518·1619–10–83
(4)C699·6321–8–84
(5)CApplication under consideration
Barclays Group Staff Union(1)A10,941·133–11–82
(2)F11,427·2419–7–84
(3)AApplication under consideration
Retail Book Stationery and Allied Trades Employees

Association

(1)F (2 ballots)Nil
(2)F (5 ballots)1,392·892–8–84
(3)FApplication under consideration
(4)FApplication under consideration
British Orthoptic Society(1)C147·1117–5–83
National Association of Fire Officers(1)A176·8429–7–83
Immigration Service Union(1)B221–784–10–83
B
(2)C511·9822–2–85
National and Provincial Building Society Staff Association(1)EApplication under consideration
Nat West Staff Association(1)F7,733·939–8–84
Ministry of Defence Staff Association(1)BApplication under consideration
(2)A, BApplication under consideration
(3)DApplication under consideration
Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers—(1)C (154 ballots)1,199,922·1931–5–85
Engineering, Foundry and Construction SectionC (13 ballots)
(2)EApplication under consideration
(3)C (14 ballots)Application under consideration
Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing(1)C (15 ballots)Application under consideration
Union
Clerical and Secretarial Staffs Association of the University(1)EApplication under consideration
of Liverpool
United Friendly Divisional and District Managers(1)FApplication under consideration
Association

Applicant

Purpose of Ballot(s) (see key below)

Amount of Payment (£)

Date Payment Authorised

Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (National(1)AApplication under consideration
Association of the Teachers of Wales)

Ballot purposes

  • A Ballots on strikes or other industrial action.
  • B Election of members of trade unions' principal executive committees.
  • C Election of trade union officers.
  • D Amending trade union rules.
  • E Trade union merger proposals.
  • F Ballot on employers' offers on pay and conditions of service.
  • G Ballots for a purpose outside the scope of the Scheme.
  • Youth Training Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the results of the recent survey of trainees' attitudes to the youth training scheme.

    The Manpower Services Commission conducts a regular survey of youth training scheme leavers Questionaires are sent to 15 per cent. of ex-trainees some three months after they leave the scheme. The destinations of leavers in the survey are reported monthly In addition, a detailed report is prepared each quarter A copy of the latest report covers leavers between July and September 1984, and I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library It includes a range of information about the attitudes of trainees to the youth training scheme.

    Labour Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were unemployed in the Portsmouth travel-to-work area in 1979 and in 1985; how many unemployed people in 1979 and 1985 were aged under 25 years; and how many of those unemployed in 1979 and 1985 were women.

    The following is in the Library. Direct comparisons with 1979 are not possible.The following table shows the figures requested for the old Portsmouth travel-to-work area in respect of registrants for April 1979 and claimants for April 1985, the latest date for which an analysis of unemployment by age is available. Figures are also on both bases for October 1982, when the basis of the unemployment count was changed. Comparisons are also affected by the provisions of the 1983 Budget which mean that certain men aged 60 and over no longer need to sign on at an unemployment benefit office.

    Unemployment—old Portsmouth travel-to-work area
    RegistrantsTotalUnder 25 yearsFemale
    April 197910,2723,4132,891
    October 198225,55110,9797,688
    Claimants
    October 198224,13810,4317,250
    April 198526,41110,3878,610

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people at present registered as unemployed have never had a job.

    The following information is in the Library. On 9 May 1985 there were 315,669 unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom who had never had a job since leaving school, of which 107,704 were aged under 18 years.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people at present registered as unemployed have only had a youth training scheme or community programme as their only means of employment.

    Skillcentres (Hampshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many places are currently available at skillcentres in Hampshire; if he can give figures for each; how many vacancies there are at present in skillcenties; and how many people have passed through the skillcentres in each of the past three years, giving individual numbers for each.

    For each of the skillcentres in Hampshire the following tables show:

    (a) for April 1985 the number of training places made

    available and the average number of trainees in the

    centre;

    (b) the number of adults who began a course of training in

    1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85.

    (a)

    Places (April 1985)

    Skillcentre

    Made Available

    Occupied

    Portsmouthup to 170152
    Southamptonup to 190153
    Southampton Annexup to 150134

    (b)

    Adult Trainees (Starts)

    Skillcentre1982–831983–841984–85
    Portsmouth298343381
    Southampton394376849
    Southampton Annex235329401
    Table (b) refers to adults only because information on the numbers of young people trained in the skillcenters is not readily available.

    Wood Preservatives

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, pursuant to the answer of 14 February, Official Report, column 250, he will list in the Official Report the products used as wood preservatives currently known to the Health and Safety Executive to contain lindane, tributyl tin oxide, or both.

    [pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1985 c. 567]: As the list is of considerable length I write to the hon. Member with the information; and I will place a copy of my letter in the Library.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Milk Quotas

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received on the possibility of owner-occupiers being allowed to sell milk quotas; and if he will make a statement.

    I have received a representation from the NFU in response to the "Mobility of Quotas" discussion paper (copies of which are available in the Library of the House) that occupiers of dairy farms, whether owner-occupiers or tenants, should be free to sell or buy quota. Other organisations in favour are the Milk Marketing Board, the Tenant Farmers' Association and the Farmers' Union of Wales. The Country Landowners' Association on the other hand is against tenants having the right to sell quota. At present quota can only be transferred with land. We are actively pursuing in Brussels the possibility of more flexible arrangements, but there has been opposition from the Commission (although following our pressure it has agreed to look at the possibilities) and from some other member states. I cannot predict the outcome at this stage.

    Ddt

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what instances of use of DDT in the United Kingdom in 1985 his Department is aware of; and what action he will take to seek to prevent such use.

    We have no direct evidence of the use of DDT on crops in 1985. Surveys of crops of types on which DDT was used before clearance was withdrawn will be carried out during 1985 as part of the work of the working party on pesticide residues.Part III of the Food and Environment Protection Bill seeks to provide Ministers with statutory powers not only to prevent the supply and use of non-approved products but also to seize and dispose of stocks where necessary.

    Food Labelling

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why new guidelines on food labelling require sugar to be included under the general heading of carbohydrates.

    Draft guidelines for voluntary full nutrition labelling were issued on 27 March, and would provide the option of declaring one figure for total carbohydrates, or of declaring total carbohydrates plus a separate figure for sugar within that total. All interested bodies were invited to comment, and all comments will be considered before any final decision is reached.

    Hayling Island

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what steps he has taken to examine the loss of amenity and environmental damage resulting from the beach protection scheme currently being implemented on Hayling Island;

    (2) whether he has called for, received, suggested or costed any proposals designed to restore the amenities hitherto associated with the sand beaches on Hayling Island before the implementation of the beach protection scheme;

    (3) whether he will initiate urgent technical discussions,with Havant borough council and other qualified Government bodies to examine whether there is any alternative to the completion of the existing beach protection scheme on Hayling Island, which, within the overall cost limits for that proportion of the scheme yet to be completed, will achieve a more acceptable environment impact;

    (4) whether he will allocate further funding, on the same basis as that applying to the current beach protection scheme on Hayling Island, to any suitable scheme designed to restore the amenity value of the beaches on Hayling Island affected by the current beach protection scheme.

    In 1983 a scheme was approved for beach replenishment on Hayling Island. If Havant borough council wishes to make proposals for its modification I will consider them.. Additionally I have arranged for one of my officials to visit the site and have technical discussion with the borough council about the environmental impact of the scheme.

    Aerial Spraying

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what extent, in granting any recent approvals for use by the Forestry Commission of fenitrothion for blanket aerial spraying, his Department took account of the evidence available to the joint meeting on pesticides residues of the World Health Organisation concerning the veracity of tests conducted into the matter by Industrial Biotests of Chicago.

    [pursuant to her reply, 7 June 1985, c. 294]: The clearances granted to the Forestry Commission for the use of fenitrothion are not dependent on any tests conducted by Industrial Biotests of Chicago.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what evidence is available to his Department concerning international research, particularly Canadian, into the suitability of fenitrothion for use in blanket aerial spraying; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will list the categories under which approval has been granted by his Department to the Forestry Commission for the use of fenitrothion for the purposes of blanket aerial spraying; if he will indicate the reasoning for the specific choice of category in each case; and if he will make a statement;(3) on what basis his Department granted approval for use by the Forestry Commission of fenitrothion for the purposes of blanket aerial spraying.

    [pursuant to her reply, 7 June 1985, c. 294.]: All clearances granted under the pesticides safety precaution scheme including those for fenitrothion, are based on an objective evaluation of scientific data on toxicity, crop residues and wildlife environmental effects, as outlined in the scheme, the text of which is available in the Library of the House. Additionally, information derived from Canadian research on fenitrothion was considered by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides in 1978. The committee concluded that there was no evidence of a causal relationship between use of fenitrothion and Reyes syndrome and that United Kingdom clearance conditions did not therefore require amendment. Currently, fenitrothion is cleared for limited use in the United Kingdom, ie on 5,333 hectares of forestry provided stringent conditions are met.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has as to which countries have banned the use of fenitrothion for the purposes of blanket aerial spraying and as to the reasons for such laws.

    [pursuant to her reply, 7 June 1985, c. 294.]: I understand that the use of fenitrothion for aerial spraying is not permitted in certain provinces of Canada because of what was believed to be a possible association between the large scale use of fenitrothion in Canada and Reyes syndrome.

    Transport

    Motorway Service Stations

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what was the annual cost of the inspection carried out by his officials at the Leicester forest east service station on the Ml motorway from May 1979 to 1985;(2) what was the annual cost of the inspection carried out by his officials at the Toddington service station on the Ml motorway from May 1979 to 1985;(3) what was the annual cost of the inspection carried out by his officials at the Trowell service station on the Ml motorway from May 1979 to 1985.

    The information is not available. Each inspection of a service area takes about a half-day and the cost, including overheads, is approximately £55 excluding travel.

    Solvents (Driving Offences)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to make driving under the influence of solvents a specific criminal offence.

    The Road Traffic Act 1972, as amended by the Transport Act 1981, provides that a person is guilty of an offence if he drives or attempts to drive while unfit to do so through drink or drugs. Although the meaning of drug for this purpose is not defined in the Act, the High Court has ruled that solvents can be regarded as a drug and successful prosecutions for driving under the influence of solvents have already been brought under the existing legislation. I therefore do not believe that further legislation is needed.

    Driving Test

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to reduce the waiting time that learner motor cyclists have to wait before being able to take their driving test.

    My right hon. Friend is already doing so. Additional examiners have been recruited and trained to produce a net increase of 36 on a year ago. Substantially more are being recruited in order to reduce the waiting time for L tests, including part II of the test for motor cycles. The average wait for part I of the motor cycle test for the Department remains reasonable, but most learner riders take the part I test with the appointed organisation with which they also take their training.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list his Department's driving test centres in Kent, together with their establishment of examiners, actual current strengths of examiners, average waiting time for car and motor cycle driving tests for each centre, respectively, and the current national average waiting times for these categories.

    The information requested is:

    Waiting Period (Weeks)'at 24 May 1985
    Waiting period (weeks) at 24 May 1985
    ComplementIn postL tests motor cars & Pan II m/cPart I m/c tests
    Southern Eastern TA
    Ashford4224
    Canterbury/Margate6617
    Folkestone4414
    Gillingham*6622
    Gravesend*4417
    Heme Bay4320
    Maidstone5417
    Tunbridge Wells4321
    Canterbury HGV1113
    Gillingham HGV2214
    Metropolitan TA
    Belvedere6631
    Bexleyheath*5530
    Sevenoaks4423
    Sidcup4429
    West Wickham*7730
    * The numbers of staff in-post include 2 examiners on long term sick leave at Gillingham and 1 each at Gravesend, Bexleyheath and West Wickham.
    The waiting periods nationally are 18 ½ weeks for L tests and 13 weeks for part I motor cycle tests.I am filling the vacant posts by transfer of staff or recruitment of extra examiners as quickly as I can.

    Sailing Vessels Marques (Loss)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will release to the parents of young persons lost when the Marques sank with all hands the marine survey of the vessel prepared by Mr. John Perryman of Great Yarmouth.

    The report prepared by Mr. Perryman will be part of the evidence submitted to the court of inquiry and I would not wish to risk prejudicing the outcome of the investigation by the premature release of documents.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport why the inquiry into the loss of the Marques is not being held before January-February 1986.

    The date for the public formal investigation has not yet been set. Arrangements for the hearing are being made as expeditiously as possible but a number of factors, such as the selection and appointment by the Lord Chancellor of a senior member cf the Admiralty Bar as wreck commissioner and the need for the parties to have time to prepare their cases, have to be considered. Nevertheless, I hope that it will be possible for the investigation to commence before the end of the year.

    London Underground (Fire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the costs of the Oxford Circus fire London Regional Transport are trying to recover through insurance claims; and whether these claims include any claims for damages against other companies.

    I understand that LRT is claiming from insurers, all of the costs given in my answer of 10 June at column 386 together with loss of revenue estimated at £0·4 million. It knows of no grounds for claims from other companies.

    Heathrow Airport

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, when he next meets the chairman of the British Airports Authority, he will discuss its operations in terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport.

    I have no immediate plans to do so, but we keep in close touch with the British Airports Authority about the performance and development of Heathrow.

    Drivers (Medical Standards)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he proposes to introduce medical standards reflecting the recommendations made by his Advisory Committee on Medical Standards for heavy goods vehicle and public service vehicle licensing; what significant changes in medical standards he proposes to make; whether compensation will be available to those whose employment is terminated through the loss of their driving licence arising from failure to meet higher medical standards; and if he will make a statement.

    The working party on this subject was set up in June 1977 because there was concern both within and outside the Department over the effectiveness of current procedures and inconsistent application of standards at several stages in the licensing process. Its report, which was published in September 1983, basically endorsed the standards recommended by the medical profession but proposed changes in procedures. The Department received comments on these proposals from a number of organisations and has held discussions with some of these.In reaching conclusions on the proposals, the Government have also taken into account the fact that the study and subsequent debate have increased awareness of the recommended standards and greatly improved the way in which existing arrangements are operated by doctors and by the licensing authorities in the traffic areas. Revised licence application and medical report forms are proving much more effective in identifying cases requiring medical investigation.In these circumstances I am not proposing regulations, as was advocated by the working party, to extend the list of conditions which would bar the grant of a vocational (heavy goods or public service vehicle) driver's licence. There are no plans to alter the present procedure under which it is for the applicant to obtain and submit a medical report when this is required. Nor will there be a specialist panel to give advice on appeals against decisions taken by the licensing authorities on medical grounds.

    There is a need for continuing advice on policy in relation to the conditions which are most often responsible for collapse at the wheel. A panel, now chaired by Dr. Christopher Earl, has for many years advised on diseases of the nervous system as they affect driving. My right hon. Friend has appointed two similar honorary advisory panels, one chaired by Professor Michael Oliver to advise on cardio-vascular conditions, and the other chaired by Dr. David Pyke to advise on diabetes.

    The Government accept- the recommendations that the duration of heavy goods vehicle drivers' licences should be five years, as for public service vehicle drivers, and that the driving test to establish a licence-holder's continued fitness after developing a limb disability should be free of charge: the necessary parliamentary legislation will be introduced at the next opportunity. When it comes into effect, the age after which heavy goods vehicle drivers have to submit a fresh medical report on renewal will come down from 60 to 46, as it now is for public service vehicle drivers.

    I share the concern expressed to me by organisations representing both sides of the road transport industry, and by others, about the position of those who have to give up vocational driving in mid-career for medical reasons. This is not a new problem, but it occurs more widely to the extent that medical standards designed to protect road-users from the consequences of collapse at the wheel are being more effectively applied. It may be that the provisions of insurance schemes which exist in the industry can be improved in this direction, and be more generally adopted. But such issues will need to be dealt with through the normal employer-employee procedures.

    Social Services

    Single Homeless (Hartlepool)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many single homeless people are registered in Hartlepool for social security allowances; and how many will be disqualifiable under any time rule applied to the nature of their accommodation.

    I assume the hon. Member is referring to single supplementary benefit claimants who live in board and lodging accommodation. When cases were examined following the introduction of new regulations effective from 29 April 1985, 219 claimants in the Hartlepool area were single boarders. Of these 107 were subject to a limit of four weeks following which, although they would not be disqualified, they would no longer be eligible to be treated as boarders in that area for supplementary benefit purposes.

    Elderly Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the number of people of (a) 65 to 75 years of age and (b) 75 years and over living in Lancashire in each of the years 1979 to 1985; and what was the percentage increase over that period.

    :The latest information available is as follows:

    Lancashire:
    Mid-yearResident Population Aged
    65 to 7475 and over
    (i) Estimated number
    1979145,90088,400
    1980144,50091,900
    1981142,60093,300
    1982139,20095,200
    1983132,90096,100
    (ii) Percentage change
    1979–83–8·9+8·7

    Statutory Sick Pay Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated extra cost in terms of supplementary benefit and housing benefit of extending statutory sick pay to 28 weeks.

    It is not expected that there will be any significant increase in the numbers claiming supplementary benefit and housing benefit as a result of extending statutory sick pay to 28 weeks.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the extra annual cost in terms of supplementary benefit and housing benefit of the eight week statutory sick pay scheme.

    The information requested is not available. Statistics of those receiving both statutory sick pay and housing benefit are not collected. Supplementary benefit statistics provide information of claimants getting sick pay from an employer but do not differentiate between occupational sick pay and SSP.

    Housing Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many people are now receiving housing benefit in the London borough of Lambeth giving separate certificated and standard benefits and rent rebate, rate rebate and housing allowance;(2) what payments have been made by his Department to Lambeth council for rate rebates in 1984-85 and since 1 April.

    Firm figures on the number of people now receiving housing benefit are not available, but the

    Number of residents
    As at 31 MarchStatutory homesVoluntary homePrivate homesAll homes
    AgedAgedAgedAged
    65–7475+65–7475+65–7475+65–7475+
    1979(3475)*85520202939NANA
    19806142,985785121681,0468604,543
    19816412,957695352661,4139764,905
    19825843,085814642511,6039165,152
    19835782,989834422892,0129505,443
    19845403,021804583572,7519776,230
    †19855202,992NANANANANANA
    *Further breakdown not available.
    †Provisional.
    NA Not yet available.

    London borough of Lambeth estimates that in 1985–86 the numbers receiving rent rebate, rent allowance and late rebates would be:

    Rent rebate

    Rent allowance

    Rate rebate

    Certificated18,00017,00038,000
    Standard10,0008,00025,000

    Lambeth was paid subsidy of £24·6 million by I his Department for rate rebates awarded in 1984–85 No payments of rate rebate subsidy have been made to Lambeth since 1 April since rate rebates are not payable under the housing benefits scheme when an authority has not set a rate

    Pensioners

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has issued guidance to local authorities on meeting the needs of pensioners from ethnic minority groups

    Our social services inspectorate seeks to stimulate an awareness in local social services authorities of the special needs of ethnic minority groups During May 1985 a copy was sent to each social services department of a report "Triple Jeopardy growing old in a second homeland", which had been commissioned from the Centre for Policy and Ageing by our Department Our centrally funded initiative, "Helping the Community to Care", includes a number of schemes designed to provide knowledge and guidance for voluntary organisations on ways of meeting the needs of elderlv members of the ethnic minority communities

    Residential Homes

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people between the ages of (a) 65 and 75 years and (b) 75 years and over, were, in Lancashire, living in residential care homes for the elderly in each of the following sectors (I) voluntary, (ii) private and (iii) public in each of the years 1979 to 1985.

    The available information on the numbers of elderly and disabled residents is given in the table:

    Mr Peter Sutcliffe

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what special privileges for good behaviour are being afforded to Peter Sutcliffe, a patient at Broadmoor; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) yesterday.

    Welfare Rights Officers

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to how many welfare rights officers are currently employed by social services departments in England and as to the distribution of such welfare rights officers by county.

    Junior Doctors

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the Trent regional health authority has dropped the allowance for continuity of care in a junior doctor's contract.

    The assessment of a junior doctor's contractual commitments is a matter for local judgment by the employing authority in the light of the requirements of each post including, where appropriate, such commitments outside normally rostered duties as are necessary for the continuity of patient care. If the hon. Member has a particular problem in mind, he may wish to write to the chairman of Trent regional health authority.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list the regional health authorities who are paying their junior doctors for an 84 hour week except when covering for a colleague who is on holiday, irrespective of the number of hours worked in excess of that time;(2) if his Department's circular (PM(85)1) regarding pay and conditions of service of junior hospital medical and dental staff; hours of work, is being used by some regional health authorities to reduce the remuneration of junior house officers by not paying them for time worked in excess of 84 hours per week.

    A junior doctor cannot be obliged to undertake unpaid duty in excess of his contractual commitment other than, exceptionally, in occasional emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. Where he agrees to undertake duty in excess of this commitment, he is entitled to receive additional pay or, in the limited circumstances envisaged in PM(85)1, time off in lieu. I have no evidence that these arrangements are not being followed, but I should be happy to consider any that the hon. Member can provide.

    Claimant groupPresent level of disregardDate increased to present levelLevel needed if increased in line with inflation since last increase*
    Unemployed£4November 1980£5.46
    £4 plus half of earnings£5·46
    Single Parentsbetween £4 and £20November 1980£27·28
    Others£4November 1975£10·37
    *Based on increase in Retail Price Index between date of last increase and April 1985 (latest date for which information is available).

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards junior house officers in future working more than 84 hours a week except when covering for a colleague who is on holiday

    I refer the hon Member to my reply on 23 May to the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Mr Hoyle) at columns 538–9

    Abortions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report those hospitals in the Greater London area which are equipped to perform abortions, how many beds each unit has, what is the latest average gestation period of weeks at which abortions are performed; and how many staff are employed in each unit

    The following private hospitals and nursing homes in the Greater London area are approved by our Department under Section 1(3) of the Abortion Act:

    Approved beds
    Gordon Hospital3
    Leigham Private Clinic29
    London Private Hospital50
    Marie Stopes Nursing Home13
    New Cross Nursing Home13
    New Victoria Hospital2
    Park View Clinic30
    Raleigh Nursing Home19
    Rosslyn Nursing Home37
    Royal Masonic Hospital4
    We do not hold information centrally about the total numbers of staff employed in these places, or about facilities for abortions or related staff in NHS hospitals In 1983, the average gestation period at which abortions were carried out was 10·5 weeks This includes abortions carried out on resident and non-resident women

    Note

    For this purpose, the Greater London area covers those health districts falling wholly or partly within the boundaries of the Greater London council

    Supplementary Benefit (Earnings Limit)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the earnings limit for those in receipt of supplementary benefit was last increased, what is the current earnings limit, what the present limit would now be if it had been increased in line with inflation from the date of the last increase, if he will now take steps to increase the limit, what reasons he advanced previously for not increasing the limit, and if he will make a statement.

    We have not increased earnings disregards since the dates shown because we have taken the view that any additional resources available should be used to improve the scale rates for all recipients rather than to increase the earnings disregards of those beneficiaries who have earnings. In the Green Paper "Reform of Social Security" we have put forward our proposals for improving the structure of the earnings disregards for certain groups of claimants.

    Thames Regional Health Authority

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet on 6 June. Official Report, column 241, if he will give details of the 1982 boundary changes relating to the individual Thames regional health authority areas and the percentage real increase in revenue expenditure between 1978–79 and 1984–85 in each Thames area notwithstanding the boundary changes.

    In 1982 part of the Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster area health authority in North-West Thames region was transferred to North-East Thames region and included in the district of Bloomsbury. The borough of Spelthorne was transferred from South-West Thames region to North-West Thames region and included in the district of Hounslow and Spelthorne.In addition to these boundary changes, there was a major restructuring of the boards of governors for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals which had implications for the Thames regions. Bloomsbury district in North-East Thames region now manages the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear hospitals, the Royal National Orthopaedic hospitals and St. Peter's hospitals. West Lambeth district in South-East Thames region now manages St. John's hospital for diseases of the skin. All other former boards of governors hospitals are now special health authorities. The Hammersmith hospital was removed from its local district in North-West Thames region and made an SHA.The table gives the percentage increase in revenue expenditure in each Thames regional health authority and in the London postgraduate special health authorities between 1978-79 and 1984-85, after taking account of general inflation as measured by the gross domestic product deflator. The figures take no account of the boundary changes and changes in management responsibility I have listed.

    Percentage*Real Increase in Revenue Expenditure 1978–79 to 1984–85
    Regionper cent.
    North-West Thames4·1
    North-East Thames18·8
    South-East Thames9·6
    South-West Thames9·2
    Boards of Governors/SHAs11·3
    *Percentages are based on actual revenue expenditure from health authorities' summarised accounts for 1978–79; and on provisional outturn figures for 1984–85.

    Fuel Deposits (Assistance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what instructions have been issued to local offices of his Department regarding assistance to claimants who are asked to pay deposits in respect of supplies of electricity or gas

    A single payment of supplementary benefit to prevent the disconnection of a fuel supply may be made under regulation 30 of the single payment regulations where in the adjudication officer's opinion such a payment is the only means by which to prevent serious damage or serious risk to health or safety Guidance issued by the Chief Adjudication Officer on the application of regulation 30 in cases of threatened disconnection is published in paragraphs 7556–7558 of the "S Manual"—a copy of which is in the Library

    Local Office Staffs

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he has taken to ensure that those local offices of his Department which serve substantial ethnic minority communities employ staff who originate from those minorities, if he is satisfied that staff in such offices can readily secure the assistance of full-time, salaried interpreters, if he is satisfied with the present proportion of counter staff in local offices of his Department who come from the ethnic minorities, and if he will make a statement

    As the hon Member may know, the Civil Service as a whole does not at present have records of the ethnic origins of its staff I am not, therefore, in a position to answer fully the questions the hon Member has raisedRecently the Civil Service undertook a pilot scheme to monitor the ethnic origins of all staff in the north-west planning area and the county of Avon Following evaluation of the results of these surveys, my hon Friend the Minister for the Civil Service announced m January of this year that ethnic monitoring was to be extended to the rest of the civil service on a phased basis over the next three years When this information is available detailed analyses will be possibleI can, however, deal with the question of interpreter Local offices operating in areas with substantial ethnic minorities will normally, through local recruitment, have a pool of bilingual staff to call on where necessary In addition local office managers have the facility to engage professional interpreters and translators on an ad hoc basis where they encounter particular problems or difficulties

    Pension Rights

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether Government proposals regarding transferabihty of pension rights will cover company pensions which have already been frozen following an individual's early retirement

    The provisions of part II of schedule 1A which would be inserted into the Social Security Pensions Act 1975 by the Social Security Bill currently before Parliament are intended to apply only to a member of in occupational pension scheme whose pensionable service terminates after those provisions come into effect, which is expected to be 1 January 1986

    Benefit Payments

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the limits laid down by his Department above which Girocheques issued are payable only through a bank; how these limits are determined; whether they are applied by all local offices of his Department; and when they were last updated.

    The amount above which Girocheques issued by the Department are crossed is £150. The level at which Girocheques should be crossed is determined in conjunction with National Girobank and the Post Office. The level is subject to periodical review at which account is taken of (a) the number of payments of benefit above a given level; and (b) the need to protect both the beneficiary and the Department from fraudulent encashment of large amounts. All local offices of the Department apply the £150 crossing limit; which took effect from December 1981 and is currently under review.

    Legionnaire's Disease (Inquiry)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will announce the names of the two further members of the independent committee of inquiry looking into the outbreak of legionnaire's disease in Stafford.

    I am pleased to announce that Mr. Christopher Holland QC will be the lawyer member of the inquiry team and will act as vice chairman. Professor Patrick O'Sullivan, chair of architectural sciences, University of Wales, Institute of Science and Technology, Cardiff will be the engineer member.

    Pensions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are his estimates of the numbers of people expected to receive additional component under the state earnings related pension scheme in the tax years 1985–86, 1986–87 and 1987–88; what is the maximum estimated additional component; and what is the estimated average additional component in those years.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 June 1985, c. 245]: I regret that a figure provided in respect of the weekly amount of net additional component was incorrect. The entry should have read:

    Estimated weekly amounts of net* additional component
    Maximum £Average £
    1985–8619·501·85
    1986–8723·772·20
    1987–8828·552·65
    *After deduction of any guaranteed minimum pension(s) from contracted-out occupational pension scheme(s).

    Child Accident Statistics