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Written Answers

Volume 81: debated on Tuesday 18 June 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 18 June 1985

Overseas Development

Costa Rica And Nicaragua

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria are used to determine the current level of aid to (a) Costa Rica and (b) Nicaragua; and what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the proposal from the European Economic Community for an increase in aid to Nicaragua.

A number of factors are taken into account, including available resources, relative wealth and aid from other donors. In the case of Costa Rica a large part of our bilateral aid is used to support the Central American school of husbandry, a regional institution. There is no European Community proposal for an increase in aid to Nicaragua. We support an increase in Community aid to Central America as a whole. Detailed proposals are now being considered.

Attorney-General

Trial Delays

asked the Attorney-General what is the average time defendants committed for trial in the Northern Ireland courts wait before their case is heard; and what is the corresponding figure for each year to date since and including 1969.

Statistics in the form requested by my hon. Friend have only been collected since 1979 when my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor became responsible for the administration of the courts in Northern Ireland.The average time between committal for trial in the Northern Ireland courts and arraignment is currently 11 weeks. The corresponding figures for each year since 1979 are as follows:

Weeks
197913
19808
19818
19829
198311
198411
The interval between arraignment and the commencement of the trial proper varies from one week to, in exceptional cases, over two years depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of counsel of the defendant's choice.

Cartmel And Furness Local Plan

asked the Attorney-General if, pursuant to the answer of 4 June, Official Report, column 113, he was consulted by the Director of Public Prosecutions before the Director reached his decision not to prosecute in connection with allegations of attempted bribery and corruption in connection with the Cartmel and Furness local plan; and if he will make a statement.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Nuclear Installations (North-West)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list and decribe the steps taken by his Department pursuant to recommendation 10 of the report of the advisory group chaired by Sir Douglas Black on the incidence of cancers in the vicinity of nuclear installations in the north-west of England.

My right hon. Friend's responsibility for authorising the disposal of radioactive waste is shared with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, and I have nothing to add to the reply he gave to the hon. Member yesterday.

Pesticides

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to ensure that the advisory committee on pesticides is wholly independent in its membership from the agrochemical industry.

Great care is already taken to ensure that the chairman and members of the advisory committee on pesticides, and its scientific sub-committee, are independent of all sectional interests, including the agrochemical industry.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will describe the content and occasions of a declaration of interest being required of a member of the advisory committee on pesticides; and if he will publish the declarations of interest made by the present members;(2) whether the declarations of interest required of a member of the advisory committee on pesticides cover research work commissioned or funded by agrochemical companies or trade associations at laboratories under the control or direction of the member; and if he will make a statement.

On appointment to the advisory committee on pesticides members are required to read and sign the following declaration:

"I have no commercial interest which might make it undesirable for me to receive confidential trade information included in Advisory Committee papers. I also undertake to inform the Department of Education and Science should I acquire such an interest in the future.
I will not divulge the commercial proposals of the firms and confidential experimental data contained in such papers to those outside the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and its Subcommittees."
It is intended that when the committee becomes a statutory body members will continue to be asked to sign a declaration of independence from commercial pesticide interests. We are reviewing the text of the declaration with our legal advisers.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that, throughout their service, present and past members of the advisory committee on pesticides, having a connection with an agrochemical company or trade association have maintained a level of objectivity consistent with their status as committee members; and if he will make a statement.

I am not aware that any past or present members of the advisory committee have, while serving the committee, been connected with an agrochemical company or trade association.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the range of expertise of the membership of the advisory committee on pesticides; and if he will make a statement.

I am satisfied that the range of expertise of the current advisory committee on pesticides is appropriate for the duties presently laid upon it. In view of the proposals to extend the existing safety screening system to include efficacy and humaneness, we are reviewing the composition of the committee to see if additional experts will be required for the future.

Cereals

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will give a list of the privately owned stores in Lincolnshire where the intervention board has arranged to hold wheat at any time in the last 12 months for more than seven days.

During the last 12 months stocks of intervention wheat have been held in the following commercial stores in Lincolnshire:

  • Ancaster
  • Boston
  • Colsterworth
  • Gainsborough (2)
  • Grantham
  • Heighington
  • Horncastle
  • Ingham
  • Lincoln (2)
  • Navenby
  • Skegness
  • Sleaford
  • Swinderby

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tonnes of wheat are held by the intervention board at the last convenient date.

On 31 May there were 3·2 million tonnes of wheat in intervention stores in the United Kingdom.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the maximum number of tonnes of (a) wheat, (b) barley and (c) other cereals held by the intervention board in privately owned stores.

Maximum intervention stocks of wheat, barley and rye, respectively, held in commercial stores in the United Kingdom, have been 2·9 million tonnes (May 1985), 900,000 tonnes (January 1983) and 300 tonnes (February 1981).

Veterinary Advisory And Research Facilities

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the future provision of his Department's veterinary advisory and research facilities in Devon and Cornwall, with specific reference to any changes in their functions, responsibilities and location.

As I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) on 15 April 1985, I have accepted the main thrust of the recommendations of the recent efficiency study of the veterinary investigation service which bear on the functions and responsibilities of this service. As regards location, the recommendation that the veterinary investigation centres at Starcross and Truro should be replaced by a new centre at Launceston is the subject of one of a number of cost appraisals now being carried out. When I have the results of these appraisals and I have completed consideration of the views of the outside interests which have been submitted. I will make a further announcement.

Laboratories (Research Budgets)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which laboratories within his Department, or within bodies for which he is responsible, have had their research budgets reduced in the current financial year; what is the financial value of the reduction; what is this figure expressed as a percentage of the total work carried out in the laboratory; and which of the laboratories for which he is responsible are being considered for privatisation.

House Of Commons

Parliamentary Questions (Rota)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will seek to amend the rota for oral questions in such a way that questions to the right hon. Member answering for the Church Commissioners and questions to the Paymaster General share a block of 10 minutes every three weeks, with each alternating in priority over the other.

At this stage in the Session such alterations as my hon. Friend suggests are best left until the summer recess, when the current Session's arrangements will in any event be assessed with a view to preparing next year's questions roster. I shall, however, give due consideration to my hon. Friend's suggestions.

Wales

Bi-Lingual Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many children under the age of five years in Wales receive bi-lingual nursery education; and if he will make a statement.

Chief Nursing Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many chief nursing officer posts in health authorities in Wales have been abolished; if he will list them in the Official Report; and if he will make a statement.

None, though the roles of chief administrative nursing officers in Wales, in common with those of other chief officers, will not necessarily remain unchanged following the introduction of the general management function.

"All Wales Strategy For Elderly People"

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when his Department will publish the report of the "All Wales Strategy for Elderly People".

We hope to publish a consultation paper on the care of the elderly in Wales later this summer.

Dysentery

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales suffered from dysentery in each of the years from 1979 to 1984, inclusive; what is the latest figure for 1985; and if he will make a statement.

The number of cases of dysentery formally notified in Wales in each year since 1979 is as follows. The number of original notifications received in 1985 up to and including the week ending 7 June was 275. These notifications may be subject to correction.

Cases of dysentery formally notified in Wales
YearNumber
197941
198042
198146
198248
198358
1984134

Pre-School Education

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of the relevant age groups of Welsh children currently receive pre-school education in each Welsh county; and what was the percentage for 1979, 1980 and 1984, respectively.

The numbers of full-time and part-time pupils aged under five years of age at maintained nursery and primary schools, expressed as a percentage of the total three and four-year-olds age group, are as follows. Figures for 1984 are the latest available.

Per cent.
197919801984
Clwyd575972
Dyfed616264
Gwent616367
Gwynedd586064
Mid Glamorgan727375
Powys535961
South Glamorgan555354
West Glamorgan858888

Jobs And Factory Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) job losses, (b) job gains and (c) factory closures there have been in Wales in the first five months of 1985; and how many there were in each case for the first five months of 1984.

Trade And Industry

Systime Plc (Exports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he intends to take any action in relation to the attempt to place exports from the United Kingdom by Systime plc under the control of a foreign power; and if he will make a statement.

The export of goods from the United Kingdom by any company is subject to control by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under United Kingdom law as set out in the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1981, as amended.

Aid And Trade

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the projects that the United Kingdom companies have undertaken with support from the aid and trade provisions since 1979.

The projects that United Kingdom companies have undertaken with support from the aid and trade provision since 1979 are as follows:

CountryProject
BangladeshCombined Cycle Plant
BelizeTelecoms
BoliviaMineral Concentrators
BotswanaMorupule Power Station Turbines
BotswanaMorupule Coal, Ash Handling Plant
BrazilCoal Mining Training
BrazilSeinne Net Winch
BrazilJacui Power Station
BurmaJute Mill Expansion
BurmaPharmaceutical Plant
BurmaMarine Diesel Engines
BurmaJute Carpet Backing
BurmaBridge
BurmaGas Turbines
BurmaOutboard Propulson Units
CaribbeanHS 748 Aircraft
ColombiaBridges
ColombiaMine Safety Training
ColombiaCh Bridges Extension
CyprusDhekelia B Power Station
EcowasViability Consultancy
EgyptElectricity Generation
EgyptDraglines/Irrigation
EgyptSwitchgear
EgyptW Sebaeya Fertilizer Plant
EgyptMaghara Coal Mine
EgyptEl Omoun Drain
EgyptDraglines
HondurasAguan Valley Study
IndiaSuper Thermal Power Plant
IndiaAmlori Coal Mine

Country

Project

IndiaBalco Power Station
IndonesiaMrica Hydro Plant
IndonesiaOmbelin Coal Mine
IndonesiaJabotabek Feasibility Study
IndonesiaAIS Submarine Cable
IndonesiaIsolated Diesels
JordonH V Transmission Line
JordonPotash Project
KenyaSoda Ash Wagons
KenyaTelecoms
KenyaTugs Mombasa Port
KenyaRailway Coaches
MadagascarMaintenance for HS 748 Aircraft
MalawiTelecoms
MalaysiaAirport Study
MalaysiaIocom Submarine Cable
MalaysiaViewdata
MalaysiaSungei Ahning Dam
MexicoMaritime Training
MexicoSicartsa
MexicoScientific Instruments Training
MexicoFurther Maritime Training
MoroccoNador Roll Mill
MozambiqueMineral Inventory
MozambiqueBus Maintenance
Pakistan3 SD 18 Shops
ParaguayPower Transmission scheme
ParaguayPower Transmission System Extension
ParaguayAsuncion Sewerage Consultancy
PeruMini Hydro
PhilippinesMini Hydro Survey
PhilippinesRural Electrification
PhilippinesWood Burning Power Stations
PhilippinesDendro Thermal Adviser
SenegalHS 748 Aircraft
Sri LankaLocomotives
Sri LankaColombo Airport
SyriaTelecoms Training
TanzaniaBus Chassis
ThailandMini Hydros: Pilot Plants
ThailandRailbus Evaluation Consultancy
ThailandPost Harvest Technology Consultancy
VietnamHaip on Power Station
VietnamSD 14 ships
ZimbabweHwange Power Station
ZimbabweAbattoir Feasibility Study
ZimbabweRailway Electrification
In addition the following projects have also been supported with the aid and trade provision since the scheme's inception.
Guinea BissauHS 748 Aircraft
TanzaniaCompression Connectors
TanzaniaRailway Equipment
Tanzania/ZambiaRailway Bogies for Tazara
Zambia50 buses

Trade Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the adjustments made for tariffs in arriving at the figures in column 2 of table S-3 of the annual supplement number 6 to the monthly review on external trade statistics.

The adjustment factors (multiplicative) are:

Adjustment factors (multiplicative)
19700·996
19710·999
19720·998
19731·002
19740·989
19750·993
19760·998
19770·999
19780·999
19790·998
19801·000
19810·999
19820·999
19831·000

Note: The factors are related to the current base year (1980); those prior to 1978 have been resealed from 1975 = 100.

Japan

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations have been made on behalf of Her Majesty's Government to Japan within the last 12 months on the subject of non-tariff trade barriers, including its continued requirement involving the LD50 test on certain goods ; and if he will make a statement.

The Government welcome and encourage the replacement of LD50 tests by other forms of acute toxicity test wherever possible. Over the last year, Ministers have on several occasions made clear their wish to see the early removal of Japanese non-tariff trade barriers.

Viscose (Imports From India)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, in the light of the proposed closure of the viscose plant of Courtaulds plc, at Greenfields, he will make representations to the EEC Commission for the urgent introduction of tariffs and for quotas on imports of viscose from India.

No. There were no imports from India last year of viscose staple fibre and tow (the product produced at the Courtaulds viscose plant at Greenfield).

Tourism

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many tourists visited Britain (a) in each year since 1981 and (b) in 1985 to date.

This information was published in the article on pages 450 and 451 of British Business, 7 June 1985.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate the financial contribution to the economy of the tourist industry in each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement.

The tourist industry had a turnover of over £10 billion in 1984, making it one of the United Kingdom's most important industries. It is estimated that in 1983 around 1 million jobs were supported, directly and indirectly, by expenditure on tourism. Estimates of expenditure by overseas residents while in the United Kingdom, and expenditure on domestic tourism in Great Britain are as follows:

*Expenditure by overseas residents in United KingdomExpenditure on domestic tourism in Great Britain
£ millions£ millionsTotal £millions
19823,1684,5007,668
19833,6515,3509,001
19844,1695,98010,149
Notes:
* International Passenger Survey; Balance of Payments Travel Account figures. They exclude fares paid to British carriers for travel to and from the United Kingdom but include expenditure by overseas residents on day trips to the United Kingdom, other than those made across the Northern Ireland land border.
† British Home Tourism Survey, commissioned by the English Tourist Board on behalf of the British Tourist Authority and national tourist boards. The survey is designed to cover all trips away from home lasting one night or more by British people for all purposes except boardine and semi-permanent education. The figures do not, therefore, cover expenditure on day-trips.

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to receive the British Steel Corporation's corporate plan; and when it will be published.

Now that the effects of the miners strike can be assessed, BSC has resumed its normal corporate planning processes, and it will submit a plan to the Government as soon as it has completed it. I have no plans to publish it.

Laboratories (Research Budgets)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which laboratories within his Department have had their research budgets reduced in the current financial year; what is the financial value of the reduction; what is this figure expressed as a percentage of the total work carried out in the laboratory; and which of his laboratories are being considered for privatisation.

None of my Department's laboratories have had their research budgets reduced in this financial year and none are currently being considered for privatisation.

Education And Science

Books And Periodicals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the average expenditure on books and periodicals per student in university libraries and the comparable figures for each year since 1978–79 in (a) cash terms, (b) real terms using 1984–85 prices, (c) using an index of 100 for 1978–79 and (d) in real terms taking into account the retail prices index for books.

The average expenditure on books and periodicals per student in university libraries is as follows:

Academic YearCash per studentReal terms*Index of col. 2Using RPIJanuary 1985 prices
£££
1978–7955·4096·3100·0123·1
1979–8058·6585·488·7113·2
1980–8164·5581·084·199·6
1981–8266·8577·380·388·9
1982–8376·3483·286·490·0
1983–84‡86·4890·594·095·5
* Using GDP deflator with the 1984–85 academic year as the base year.
† Using RPI for books, newspapers and periodicals: cash figures from column 1 revalued to January 1985 prices.
‡ provisional

Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the age participation rate in education for the under-fives expressed as a percentage of the two, three and four-year-old age group.

The percentages of children aged two, three and four years in England in January 1984 attending maintained nursery and primary schools were 4 per cent., 30 per cent. and 73 per cent. respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why the number of nursery schools has been reduced between 1980 and 1984.

Local education authorities have discretion as to the form and extent of provision they make for under fives. The 5 per cent. reduction in the number of nursery schools between 1980 and 1984 has been more than offset by a 17 percent. increase in the number of primary schools with nursery classes and overall numbers of pupils attending nursery schools or classes either full or part time, have increased by 20 per cent. Among the possible reasons for this, nursery classes are often considered to offer more effective links with continuing primary education and are less expensive to establish and maintain than separate nursery schools; falling rolls have offered opportunities for economical adaptation of surplus primary accommodation appropriately for this purpose; and distribution of nursery education in classes at a number of primary schools will often make it more readily accessible than if the same number of places were concentrated in a single nursery school.

School Books And Equipment

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the present per pupil expenditure on books and on equipment in (a) primary schools, (b) special schools and (c) secondary schools; and what are the comparable figures for each of the last five years, in cash terms and real terms using 1984–85 prices and using an index of 100 for 1979–80.

The average expenditure per pupil by local education authorities in England, in cash and in 1984–85 real terms, on books and equipment in each of the five years to 1983–84, the latest year for which actual figures are available, is set out in the table.

Per Pupil Expenditure—England

Primary

Secondary

Special

Cash Terms £

Index

Real Terms £

Index

Cash Terms £

Index

Real Terms £

Index

Cash Terms £

Index

Real Terms £

Index

Books
1979–804·61007·01007·710011·71006·810010·4100
1980–815·31156·8978·110510·4897·01039·087
1981–825·91286·9998·611210·0857·11048·380
1982–837·01527·61099·912910·8928·61269·490
1983–847·11547·410610·113110·6918·71289·188
Equipment
1979–809·710014·810018·810028·710035·210053·7100
1980–8110·711013·79321·111227·19439·911351·396
1981–8212·212614·39723·612627·69644·012551·496
1982–8313·914315·210326·714229·210252·414957·3107
1983–8415·716216·411129·115530·410659·616962·3116

The expenditure in 1984–85 real terms has been calculated using the gross domestic product (market prices) deflator.

Professional Association Of Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how he proposes to ensure that members of the Professional Association of Teachers are to be involved in consultation on superannuation issues.

My right hon. Friend is required to consult representatives of local education authorities and of teachers and of such other persons as appear to him to be appropriate before making regulations under the Superannuation Act 1972. Because the teachers superannuation working party does not include all relevant interests, my right hon. Friend does not regard its deliberations as fulfilling his duty and accordingly he consults separately with the Professional Association of Teachers and certain other bodies not represented on the working about proposed new and amending regulations.

Medical Research Council

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the level of financing of the Medical Research Council.

The information which follows supplements my answer of 14 February to the hon. Member's earlier question on this subject, at column 221.The level of financing of the Medical Research Council for the years 1981–82 to 1987–88 is set out in the table which shows (i) the Medical Research Council's grant-in-aid for the years 1981–82 to 1985–86 and the amounts provisionaly recommended by the Advisory Board for the Research Councils for 1986–87 and 1987–88, in cash terms; and (ii) the Medical Research Council's grant-in-aid expressed as a percentage of the science budget.

MRC's grant in aidScience budget
Cash terms £ millionCash terms £ millionMRC Per cent.
1981–82101·745122
1982–83107·548222
1983–84113·751622
1984–85117·255021
1985–86 (estimated)122·358421
1986–87 (provisional)*125·059921
1987–88 (provisional)*128·361321
* Subject to revised advice by the ABRC later in 1985 (for 1986–87) and in 1986 (for 1987–88).

Research

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which laboratories within his Department, or within bodies for which he is responsible, have had their research budgets reduced in the current financial year; what is the financial value of the reduction; what is this figure expressed as a percentage of the total work carried out in the laboratory; and which of the laboratories for which he is responsible are being considered for privatisation.

Although the Department does not directly support any laboratories, my right hon. Friend is responsible for allocating grant-in-aid to the five research councils. Within the sums available to them, it is for the councils to decide on the level of funding for their laboratories, institutes and units, taking into account their overall scientific priorities.I understand that in cash terms the allocations for 1985–86 (including capital as well as recurrent in some cases) fall short of the outturn figures for 1984–85 as shown in the table:

Research councilTotal institutes, units, and laboratoriesNumber where there is a cash shortfall
AFRC288
MRC58None
NERC133
SERC43
There is no meaningful way of comparing the cash amounts as between one year and another, or of expressing the reductions as percentages of the work carried out. This is because the figures conceal, variously, the effects of major capital programmes nearing completion, variations in income for commissioned research, and fluctuating foreign currency exchange rates.I am not aware that the councils have any specific plans for privatising any of their laboratories.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will detail the number, percentage and value of alpha grants rejected by each research council responsible to his Department, listing the data for each council separately for the financial year 1984–85.

The information for the Agricultural and Food Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Science and Engineering Research Council is listed for the financial year 1984–85:

Research Council
AFRCNERCSERC
Number of alpha-rated grants rejected93115517
Number rejected as percentage of all alpha-rated grant applications474724
Value of unfunded alpha-rated grants***
*Not available, because not all the successful alpha-rated grant applications were funded to the extent requested by the applicant.
The Economic and Social Research Council no longer categorises research grant applications into alpha and other categories.The Medical Research Council gears its award years to academic years, and hence its figures for 1984–85 will not be available until August. In the academic year 1983–84, the MRC rejected 199 (29 per cent.) alpha-rated applications.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what allocations have been made under the selective scheme he announced on 12 November 1984 to improve laboratory and equipment provision in university centres of research.

I understand that the University Grants Committee, after taking account of advice from a selection committee chaired by the president of the Royal Society, has decided to allocate the £4 million of additional equipment grant available for the financial year 1985–86 to the following research groups:

£
Professor E. Ash, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College, London439,000
Professor A. R. Battersby, Organic Chemistry, Cambridge472,000
Professor T. L. Blundell, Protein Engineering, Birkbeck College545,000
Professor W. J. Brammar, Biochemistry, Leicester366,000
Professor A. Broers, Engineering, Cambridge463,000
Professor R. J. Donovan, Physical Chemistry, Edinburgh326,000
Professor A. R. Fersht, Chemistry, Imperial College, London440,000
Sir Peter Hirsch, Metallurgy, Oxford451,000
Professor R. Parsons, Electrochemistry, Southampton403,000
In addition, an interim grant of £95,000 will be made jointly to Professors M. D. Lilly and P. Dunnill, chemical and biochemical engineering, University College, London.

Financial Management Initiative

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place in the Library a report on his Department's response to the financial management initiative; and if he will make a statement.

I have today placed in the Libraries of both Houses copies of a report "The Financial Management Initiative: Response of the Department of Education and Science". This report outlines the Department's objectives, its top management system and arrangements for policy review and development, its financial management information system and related cost centres, the measures being taken to improve value for money within the education service, the development of performance measures in education, and the available specialist personnel and training programmes.

High Energy Particle Physics (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has yet received the report of the review group into United Kingdom participation in high energy particle physics; and if he will make a statement.

Hypothetical estimated reduction in total number of arts and humanities places
Across All Higher Education (Great Britain)In Universities (Great Britain)In the public Sector of Higher Education (Great Britain)
To achieve a 1 per cent. rise in the output of scienceNos(000s)2·051·380·67
(excluding medicine) and engineering graduatesPer cent.0·91·20·6
To achieve a rise of 100 science graduatesNos180180180
Per cent0·10·20·2
To achieve a rise of 1,000 science graduatesNos1,7601,7601,760
Per cent.0·71·51·5

Notes:

Figures assume that the average recurrent cost of teaching provision in science (excluding medicine) and engineering is 40 per cent. greater than the cost of arts and humanities (that is all other subjects) provision in each sector. An overall wastage rate of 15 per cent. has been assumed. No allowance is made for any differences in wastage rates or in average course lengths between subject areas or between sectors, nor for the transitional costs of switching provision between subject areas. The calculations take no account of future movements in graduate output already projected under present plans. The first column assumes equal proportional change in each sector. All figures relate to full-time student places only.

Energy

Nuclear Installations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the different stages of decommissioning and dismantling a civil nuclear power station installation.

The operations involved in the management and dismantling of redundant nuclear facilities are now generally termed decommissioning. A standard terminology has been adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency to describe three main stages in decommissioning nuclear facilities, namely:

Stage 1 A minimum series of operations to remove major sources of radioactivity from the facility and make it safe. Continued and long-term routine surveillance and inspection is required.

Stage 2 Reduction of the main structure to the minimum possible size and removal of all equipment.

The residual structure would be sealed off to prevent access and subjected to periodic surveillance and inspection.

The review group, under the chairmanship of Sir John Kendrew has now reported to the chairmen of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils and the Science and Engineering Research Council. I am arranging for copies of the report to be placed today in the Libraries of both Houses. I expect advice from the SERC and the ABRC on this subject later this year.

Higher Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will estimate the reduction in (a) the number and (b) the percentage of arts and humanities student places in higher education required to achieve a net increase in the output of science and engineering graduates of (i) 1 per cent. (ii) 100 and (iii) 1,000 assuming that student numbers and expenditure on higher education remain constant overall for (x) higher education as a whole, (y) polytechnics and (z) universities.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 June 1985, c. 338–40]: The information there provided was not in the form indicated in the question. The information in that form is as follow:

Stage 3 Complete dismantling of the plant and site clearance for unrestricted use.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the progress of decommissioning and dismantling (a) the Dounreay fast reactor and (b) the Windscale advanced gas-cooled reactor; and how many years will elapse in each case before clearance to a green field state.

Stage 1 of the Dounreay fast reactor decommissioning programme will be completed in about one year. All the secondary circuit sodium-potassium alloy coolant has been removed, treated and disposed of and all radioactive facilities outside the containment sphere, with the exception of the fuel storage pond, have also been dismantled and removed. There are no firm plans at present to take decommissioning beyond stage 1.Defuelling of the Windscale AGR was completed in 1983. Preparations for decommissioning the reactor and associated nuclear plant, including the heat exchangers, are now in an advanced stage of planning and will start in 1989. Current plans envisage clearance of the site to stage 3 by 1995; non-radioactive facilities and services buildings will be retained for future use. The project is being undertaken as a demonstration which will provide valuable experience in support of the decommissioning of reactors in the UK civil nuclear power programme.

Laboratories (Research Budgets)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy which laboratories within his Department, or within bodies for which he is responsible, have had their research budgets reduced in the current financial year; what is the financial value of the reduction; what is this figure expressed as a percentage of the total work carried out in the laboratory; and which of the laboratories for which he is responsible are being considered for privatisation.

Department of Energy funding of nuclear R and D carried out by the United Kingdom atomic Energy Authority is estimated at £189·6 million (cash) for 1985–86, compared with £196·2 million (cash) in 1984–85. This reduction of £6·6 million represents under 2 per cent. of the total work expected to be carried out by the authority in 1985–86; it will be made up in part by increased contributions from the electricity generating boards. There are no plans to privatise the authority.Questions about the R and D programmes of the nationalised energy industries are for the chairmen of those industries.

Employment

Job Release Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment for what reasons delivery of new application forms for the job release scheme to jobcentres in the Manchester area is being delayed.

Application forms to join the scheme before 1 August 1985 have been available from all jobcentres since late March. The application procedure for those applying to join on or after 1 August has been simplified so that they need apply only three weeks before their proposed start date, and not eight weeks as at present. Thus, under the new procedure, applications need not be submitted until 11 July for those wanting to join the scheme on 1 August. Application forms will be available in jobcentres within the next week.

Enterprise Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will extend the enterprise allowance to married women who wish to start up a new business.

The rules of the scheme make married women eligible on the same basis as all other applicants.

Agricultural Inspectorate

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what amount, expressed in pounds sterling and as a percentage of total spending, was expended on the Health and Safety Executive's Agricultural Inspectorate in each of the last 10 years.

The figures available are:

YearTotal spending on the Health and Safety ExecutiveAgricultural Inspectorate budget
£000s£000s
1984–8590,3603,411
1983–8485,6683,342
1982–8380,2283,291
1981–8272,5802,746
1980–8169,9182,454
1979–8055,8772,008
The Agricultural Inspectorate's budget covers expenditure and salaries and so on, travel and subsistence, permanent transfer expenses, and training and conferences. It does not include spending on common services, such as premises costs, research, information services, capital building and equipment and so on.

Farm Safety Inspectors

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of farm safety inspectors in each of the last 10 years and the most current figure.

Responsibility for farm safety was transferred to the Health and Safety Commission in 1977. Numbers of agricultural inspectors in post at 1 June each year were:

Number
1977190
1978188
1979190
1980185
1981176
1982165
1983159
1984154
1985161

Pesticides

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received in the last five years, regarding the banning of the chemical 2,4,5-T; and if he will make a statement.

A number of representations advocating the banning of the chemical 2,4,5-T have been received in the last five years. They included those from the trades unions such as "How Many More" produced by the Agricultural and Allied 'Workers National Trade Group. All such representations are considered in detail by the Government's Advisory Committee on Pesticides. The committee considerwd the latest evidence on the safety of phenoxy acid herbicides, which include 2,4,5-T, in 1982.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what research his Department has conducted into the possible harmful effects of the chemicals 2,4.5-T and 2,4-D;(2) what international research is available to his. Department on the possible harmful effects of the chemicals 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D.

The Advisory Committee on Pesticides published an initial review on the safety of the herbicide 2,4,5–T in March 1979 and later reviews in December 1980 and January 1983. The reviews take account of national and international research including investigations carried out by the Health and Safety Executive. Copies of the reports are in the House of Commons Library. The Health and Safety Executive continues to keep in touch with national and international research on this topic.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has had alleging possible harmful effects of the chemical 2,4–D.

A number of representations have been received about the possible harmful effects of phenoxy acid herbicides, which include the chemical 2.4–D. All such representations are considered in detail by the Government's Advisory Committee on Pesticides.

Environment

Structure Plans

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to announce his draft modifications into the north-east Hampshire structure plan and to publish the report of the panel which conducted the examination in public into that plan.

My right hon. Friend intends shortly to publish proposed modifications to the submitted alteration to the north-east Hampshire structure plan, together with the report of the panel which conducted the examination in public.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the House Builders Federation in connection with the stage 1 alterations into the north-east Hampshire structure plan subsequent to the completion of the examination in public on 6 July 1984; and whether he intends to take those representations into account in the draft modifications he proposes to make to the plan.

My right hon. Friend received no representations about the alterations from the House Builders Federation following the examination in public.He is aware that, in the week following the examination, the House Builders Federation wrote to the chairman of the panel who, in the last session on housing issues, had offered to take account of any further, written comments from participants on circular 15/84 which was published during the examination.My right hon. Friend is considering the panel's report.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he received the report of the panel which conducted the examination in public into the north-east Hampshire structure plan held between 3 and 6 July 1984 at Farnborough, Hampshire.

Water Supplies (Nitrates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all the occasions on which his group of experts on nitrate in water have met; and what action they have proposed should be taken.

The nitrate co-ordination group has met four times so far: 14 January, 12 March, 19 April and 10 June. There have also been meetings of subgroups. Further meetings are planned and the group will be preparing a report later this year.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has approved any exemption from the European Economic Community directive on nitrate concentration in drinking water.

No decisions have yet been taken on any applications for derogations from the maximum nitrate concentration set down in the EC directive relating to the quality of water intended for human consumption.

Defective Housing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish the guidelines to owners and occupiers of homes that fall within the definition of the Housing Defects Act 1984.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Sir D. Price) on 13 June 1985 at columns 524–25.

Orlit Houses

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance he is giving to local authorities on the payment of reinstatement grants for the repair of Orlit houses without their being approved under the method of repair scheme being discussed between his Department, the National Housing Building Council and the Building Societies Association.

Before local authorities can give a reinstatement grant for the repair of any type of house designated under the Housing Defects Act, they must be satisfied, among other things, that the repaired house would be likely to be mortgageable in the private sector. The scheme arranged by the National House Building Council is intended to provide an assurance that building societies will be prepared to lend, subject to their usual conditions, on houses repaired according to methods approved under that scheme. But there is nothing to prevent an authority seeking similar assurance from private sector lending institutions direct, in respect of any method of repair.

Heysel Stadium, Brussels

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the report by the Greater London council on the condition of the Heysel stadium, Brussels, a copy of which has been sent to him.

I have yet to receive a copy of this report. I shall write to the hon. Member when I do.

Rating Revaluation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment has been made of the likely effects on the property valuation for rating purposes at county level in England and Wales of a rating revaluation for the class of the property on the Inland Revenue return CVR 7140.

Local Government Reform

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many replies he received to his letter of 17 April regarding discussions with the Government about the mechanics of abolition of the Greater London council; and if he will place copies of those replies in the Library.

I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Member on 14 June at column 574.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to ascertain whether, in the event of the Greater London council being abolished, the London boroughs could assume responsibility for the Greater London council renovation programme to its transferred housing stock from 1 April 1986, without that programme being disrupted.

It will be primarily for the boroughs to ensure that the renovation programme continues without disruption. For their part, the Government will ensure that the boroughs receive the housing investment programme (HIP) allocation that would otherwise have gone to the GLC for works to the transferred stock. The boroughs have been invited to include provision for the responsibilities they are to assume in their HIP bids for 1986–87. Also the Government have undertaken to ensure that the broad financial effect of the GLC's obligatory revenue deficit payments is maintained through rate support grant. We are currently considering the responses to consultation on the proposed arrangements.As referred to in my answer to the question by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) on 17 June 1985, at column

20, the Government will be moving an amendment to the Local Government Bill which will provide for the residuary bodies to take a positive role in seeking the view of boroughs and districts on whether those bodies should take on any specialist teams temporarily while long-term arrangements are being finalised. This would include the renovation teams.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply of 13 June, Official Report, column 523, why he does not intend to exercise any control over the expenses of preparatory committees of successor authorities; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the answers of 13 June, Official Report, column 522, if he will take steps to ascertain which individual members of the Greater London council and metropolitan county councils have accepted membership of preparatory committees of successor authorities and which individual members of the Greater London council have been approached with a view to becoming members; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply of 13 June, Official Report, column 523, what guidance he intends to issue to the preparatory committees of successor authorities concerning party political balance.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply of 13 June, Official. Report, column 523, what he is doing to ensure that his Department's estimates of costs and savings following the proposed abolition of the Greater London council are kept up to date.

I see no need to update the broad estimates given in the answer my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey) on 30 November 1984 at column 611. This made it clear that the precise extent of savings will depend on decisions to be taken by the successor bodies.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply of 13 June, Official Report, column 523, what are his criteria for appointing shadow chairmen of the residuary bodies; if any people have already been approached; how the names are coming forward; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr. Portillo) on 5 June at columns 163–65.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 13 June, Official Report, column 523, what account he intends to take of candidates' political affiliations when appointing shadow chairmen of the residuary bodies.

I do not regard this as a determining factor. We shall appoint the best man—or woman—for the job, regardless of political affiliation.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply of 13 June, Official Report, column 523, if he will publish in the Official Report the borough councils which have received information from his Department secured by him under section 5 of the Local Government (Interim Provisions) Act 1984.

All 32 boroughs and the common council of the city of London have received such information.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the machinery for approaching potential members of preparatory committees of successor authorities.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the Government's proposals for the administration and servicing of the outstanding debt of the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils following their abolition.

On 16 November 1984, at columns 376–78, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt), I set out the Government's revised proposals for the handling of debt following representations received on our White Paper "Streamling the Cities" (Cmnd. 9063). After further consultations with the local authority associations and individual authorities I can now confirm that these proposals will form the basis for the administration and servicing of the outstanding debt of the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils following abolition.

Local Government (Grant Penalties)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the reply of 13 June, Official Report, columns 524–5, what representations, and from whom, he has received concerning the disregarding of transitional costs incurred by London authorities for the purpose of assessing grant penalties in 1985–86; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has received various representations concerning these costs including a number from London borough councils.

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the lowest percentage increase, or decrease, in their budgeted current expenditure in 1985–86 compared with 1981–82, showing also the change in their rate or precept in the same period.

Following is the available information obtained from English local authorities (1981–82—revised budgets; 1985–86—budgets):

30 Authorities with the Lowest Percentage increases in budgeted current Expenditure between 1981–82 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in budgeted current exp 81/2–85/6Percentage increase in local rate or precept 81/2–85/6
Bath-23·50
Harrogate-22·23·8
Basingstoke Deane-10·22·8
Dover-7·98·7
Kettering-3·118·9
Bristol-0·215·2
Bracknell-0·2-22·2
Aylesbury Vale-0·130·4
Cleethorpes0·79·4
Easbourne1·1-5·2
Vale of White Horse1·9-17·5
N. E. Derbyshire2·715·6
Oxford3·128·7
Carlisle3·20·1
Reading3·8-18·7
Lewes4·240·6
Wyre Forest5·121·2
Stevenage5·49·8
Tamworth5·415·2
Sevenoaks6·026·9
Kennet6·217·4
Merton6·425·2
Richmondshire6·540·6
Sedgemoor6·517·8
Bromsgrove6·824·0
Copeland7·00
Eastleigh7·029·1
Langbaurgh7·95·9
Mole Valley8·360·3
Rossendale8·38·3

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the lowest percentage increase, or decrease, in their budgeted current expenditure in 1985–86 compared with 1984–85, showing also the change in their rate or precept in the same period.

Following is the available information from English local authorities' budgets in 1984–85 and 1985–86:

30 authorities with the lowest percentage increases in budgeted current expenditure between 1984–85 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 84–85–85–86Percentage increase in local rate or precept 84–85 —85–86
*Greater London CL-26·1-7·9
Oxford-18·00
Basingstoke & Deane-14·712·1
Islington-13·7-8·7
Cheltenham-11·95·0
Bath-10·10
Eastleigh-7·926·7
Merton-6·1-5·1
Weymouth & Portland-5·816·7
Dover-5·77·9
Redditch-5·18·6
Wyre Forest-5·118·8
Rushcliffe-5·08·5
Hereford-4·80
North Warwickshire-4·323·2
North Shropshire-4·08·3
Forest of Dean-4·08·7
High Peak-3·712·4
East Yorkshire-3-39·3
Medina-3·35·7
Fylde-2-86·1
Rossendale-2·4-2·0
Ashfield-1·936·1
Stratford-on-Avon-1·85·2
Reading-1·813·3
Staffs Moorlands-1·622·9
Gravesham-1·515·7
Wansbeck-1·312·2
Stoke-on-Trent-1·39·5
Dartford-1·38·9
*In 1984–85, certain expenditure on passenger transport was included within GLC current expenditure. In 1985–86 this expenditure was the responsibility of LRT.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the lowest percentage increase, or decrease, in their local rate or precept in 1985–86 compared with 1981–82, showing also the change in their budgeted current expenditure in the same period.

Following is the available information obtained from English local authorities (1981–82—revised budgets; 1985–86—budgets):

30 authorities with the lowest percentage increases in local rate or precept between 1981–82 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in local rate or precept 1981–82–1985–86Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 1981–82–1985–86
Kensington and Chelsea-30·914·8
East Northampton-22·323·3
Bracknell-22·2-0·2
Reading-18·73·8
Vale of White Horse-17·51·9
Corby-16·539·4
Worcester-14·820·7
Great Yarmouth-13·017·5
Derby-10·231·1
Hartlepool-10·013·1

Percentage increase in local rate or precept 1981–82–1985–86

Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 1981–82–1985–86

Waltham Forest-9·720·2
Rochester on Medway-9-435·3
Bassetlaw-8·751·4
East Cambridgeshire-8·028·7
South Shropshire-7·719·8
York-7-433·3
Salisbury-6·814·2
Eastbourne-5·21·1
Lincoln-4·026·5
Peterborough-2·918·3
Hammersmith and Fulham-2·827·7
East Staffordshire-2·739·9
St. Edmundsbury-1·212·6
Copeland07·0
Hereford021·4
Great Grimsby029·9
Bath0-23·5
Lancaster018·8
Harrow0·111·8
Carlisle0·13·2

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the lowest percentage increase, or decrease, in their local rate or precept in 1985–86 compared with 1984–85, showing also the change in their budgeted current expenditure in the same period.

Following is the available information from English local authorities' budgets in 1984–85 and 1985–86.

43 authorities with the lowest percentage increases in local rate or precept between 1984–85 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in local rate or precept 1984–85–1985–86Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 1984–85–1985–86
Leicester-32·7n/a
Southwark-24·7n/a
Gillingham-20·44·3
Greenwich-18·9n/a
Lewisham13·9n/a
Reading13·3-1·8
Great Yarmouth-9·911·0
Kensington and Chelsea-9·22·6
Islington-8·7-13·7
Nottingham-8·713·3
Greater London CL*-7·9-26·1
Merton-5·1-6·1
Brent-4·55·8
ILEA-3·43·5
South Yorkshire-2·42·1
Rossendale-2·0-2·4
Allerdale-1·86·1
Bracknell-1·57·5
Holderness-1·33·8
Portsmouth-1·2-0·3
Barnet-0·84·0
Sheffield-0·6n/a
Elmbridge-0·50·8
Easington-0·44·8
Tyne and Wear03·3
Havering03·6
Langbaurgh08·6
Eastbourne03·0
Hove00·6
Hereford0-4·8

Percentage increase in local rate or precept 1984–85–1985–86

Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 1984–85–1985–86

Great Grimsby05·3
York013·3
Oxford0-18·0
Hammersmith and Fulham07·5
Enfield02·5
Bath0-10·1
Carlisle0-1·0
Chesterfield01·1
Bournemouth06·1
Lincoln08·5
Norwich05·8
Northampton012·5
Ipswich01·6

* In 1984–85 certain expenditure on passenger transport was included within GLC current expenditure. In 1985–86 this expenditure was the responsibility of LRT.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the largest percentage increase in their local rate or precept In 1985–86 compared with 1984–85, showing also the change in their budgeted current expenditure in the same period.

Following is the available information from English local authorities' 1984–85 and 1985–86 budgets:

30 Authorities with the Largest Percentage Increases in Local Rate or Precept between 1984–85 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in local rate or precept 1984–85 to 1985–86Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 1984–85 to 1985–86
Slough97·312·7
West Wiltshire59·911·3
Birmingham43·111·0
Stockton on Tees38·91·1
Wealden38·811·4
North Dorset38·210·4
Cannock Chase37·67·4
Brentwood36·527·9
Ashfield36·1-1·9
Babergh35·86·7
Kirklees34·95·0
North Hertfordshire34·42·8
Wychavon33·811·2
Swale33·40·5
Suffolk Coastal33·28·5
Salford32·84·2
Mid Sussex32·72·9
Gloucester32·422·8
Berwick-upon-Tweed31·512·6
Castle Morpeth30·64·1
Selby29·79·1
Kingston-upon-Hull29·50·3
Amber Valley29·41·0
Blackburn29·40·7
Harborough29·19·9
Eastleigh26·7-7·9
Torbay25·97·4
Wear Valley25·99·7
Chelmsford25·40·3
Broadland25·05·1

asked the Secretary to State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the largest percentage increase in their budgeted current expenditure in 1985–86, compared with 1981–82, showing also the change in their rate or precept in the same period.

Following is the available information obtained from English local authorities (1981–82—revised budgets; 1985–86—budgets):

30 Authorities with the Largest Percentage Increases in Budgeted Current Expenditure between 1981–82 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 1984–85 to 1985–86Percentage increase in local rate or precept 1984–85 to 1985–86
City of London84·86·6
Wellingborough72·923·4
Brentwood69·564·1
Nottingham57·534·8
Wimborne53·862·0
Kingswood52·540·0
Working51·935·4
Bassetlaw51·4-8·7
South Ribble49·574·4
Christchurch49·19·4
Crawley48·814·9
Reigate and Banstead48·653·5
South Northampton48·517·3
Thamesdown47·728·5
Thurrock46·8117·7
Forest Health46·44·3
Bournemouth46·34·0
Arun45·963·9
Mansfield45·719·8
Plymouth44·854·2
Milton Keynes44·729·7
North West Leicester44·234·4
Colchester43·614·8
Tewkesbury43·46·1
Windsor and Maidenhead42·547·4
Caradon42·418·5
Brent42·18·6
Epping Forest42·029·6
Darlington41·916·8

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the largest percentage increase in their local rate or precept in 1985–86, compared with 1981–82, showing also the change in their budgeted current expenditure in the same period.

Following is the available information obtained from English authorities (1981–82—revised budgets; 1985–86—budgets):

30 Authorities with the largest percentage increases in local rate or precept between 1981–82 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in local rate or precept 81–82–85–86Percentage increase in budgeted current exp 81–82–85–86
Malvern Hills126·738·5
Thurrock117·746·8
Chorley115·922·8
Castle Morpeth107·924·0
Basildon99·734·2
Uttlesford98·110·3
Selby93·916·8
Forest of Dean92·934·0
Broxbourne87·913·0
Greater London Cl*86·029·9
South Norfolk85·632·4
Babergh82·813·1
Merseyside80·2not available
Carrick79·233·8
North Kesteven77·226·9
Suffolk Coastal75·228·3
Harborough74·932·9

Percentage increase in local rate or precept 81–82–85–86

Percentage increase in budgeted current exp 81–82–85–86

South Ribble74·449·5
Harlow74·337·1
Harlow74·337·1
Newark72·637·3
Greenwich72·4not available
Torridge72·324·5
Kerrier72·027·1
West Lancashire71·719·1
Kingston-upon-Hull71·635·6
Swale71·39·7
Nottinghamshire70·628·9
West Somerset69·634·8
West Wiltshire69·139·7
Broxtowe68·218·4

*In 1981–82, certain expenditure on passenger transport was included within GLC current expenditure. In 1985–86 this expenditure was the responsibility of LRT.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 30 local authorities with the largest percentage increase in their budgeted current expenditure in 1985–86, compared with 1984–85, showing also the change in their rate or precept in the same period.

Following is the available information from English local authorities' 1984–85 and 1985–86 budgets:

30 Authorities with the largest percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure between 1984–85 and 1985–86
Percentage increase in budgeted current expenditure 84–85–85–86Percentage increase in local rate or precept 84–85–85–86
Brentwood27·936·5
Wellingborough24·010·5
Gloucester22·832·4
South Shropshire21·63·8
Reigate and Banstead19·46·5
Christchurch16·916·3
Cambridge16·96·3
Arun16·218·9
Woking14·710·8
Darlington14·17·1
Alnwick14·19·1
Scunthorpe13·522·6
Mid Bedfordshire13·412·9
Thurrock13·416·4
York13·30
Caradon13·320·0
Thamesdown13·25·8
Nottingham13·0-8·7
Southampton12·99·5
Slough12·797·3
Ellesmere & Neston12·711·6
St. Albans12·718·0
Berwick-upon-Tweed12·631·5
Penwith12·612·0
Epsom and Ewell12·518·8
Aylesbury Vale12·519·0
Chiltern12·520·6
Northampton12·50
Wimborne12·419·8
Tewkesbury12·415·7

Steel-Framed Houses

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take to assist private owners of steel-framed houses who face difficulties because of the reluctance of some building societies to lend on properties of this kind.

I have seen reports that in some cases building societies are reluctant to lend on the security of steel-framed houses, although this is by no means always the case. These houses are among the types of non-traditional dwellings built mainly by public authorities. Although there are some isolated reports of the frames of these houses being corroded, there are other reports of them being found in excellent condition. On the basis of present information I see no reason why building societies should be unwilling to lend on steel-framed houses generally provided they are surveyed properly. I appreciate that, because of their non-traditional construc-tion, building societies and their surveyors may find it difficult to establish the condition of property and I have asked the building research establishment to prepare advice on the inspection, maintenance and repair of the various types of steel-framed house. The first of a series of papers on this subject will be published later this year.

Urban Programme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much money has been allocated for the urban programme holiday project for 1985. What expenditure has been agreed in Yorkshire and Humberside; and how both programmes compare with equivalent expenditure in 1984.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1985, c.23]: Approvals for holiday play schemes under traditional urban programme circular 25 (1985/86) totalled £400,000, of which £32,000 were for schemes in Yorkshire and Humberside. Corresponding figures for 1984–85 were £855,000 and £74,000. There was a 10 per cent. reduction in total resources for the traditional urban programme, with new money falling by half because of the high level of existing commitments. Resources for partnership and programme authorities were not reduced.

Nhbc Repair Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is now in a position to specify when the first approvals for repairs will be given under the National Housing Building Council scheme for PRC houses; when he expects the first repairs to be completed; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1985, c. 22–23]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on 7 May at columns 299–300.

Home Department

Life Sentence Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of inmates at present serving life sentences in prisons in the United Kingdom; and what numbers are classed in the following categories A, B and C.

According to the records held centrally, which are approximate, on 31 March 1985 about 2,040 persons in prison department establishments in England and Wales were serving life sentences, including custody for life and detention during Her Majesty's pleasure or for life under section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. About 195 of these prisoners were in category A. Only adult males are allocated to other security categories; those adult males held in local prisons or closed category B training establishments numbered about 1,400 on 31 March; and those held in closed category C training establishments numbered about 200.

Thorp Arch Remand Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities for teaching and training are available in the Thorp Arch remand centre.

Education facilities are provided in a new purpose-built education centre staffed by a full-time education officer, two full-time teachers and 13 part-time teachers. Tuition is currently provided for 47 weeks a year in a wide range of subjects including basic literacy and numeracy, life skills, art and design, technical drawing and mathematics. A library located in the education unit with a stock of approximately 4,000 books is regularly available to inmates.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans any building work at the Thorp Arch remand centre; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend announced in his reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) on 5 June, at columns 157–58, that the role of the remand centre at Thorp Arch was to be changed to that of a category C prison. Consideration is at present being given to any building work necessary as a result of this change of role.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training facilities for staff are needed for the conversion of Thorp Arch remand centre into a category C prison.

Existing facilities are sufficient for the governor to be able to offer the training necessary to prepare his staff for the conversion of Thorp Arch remand centre into a category C prison.

Greenham Common (Detained Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up an inquiry into the treatment of persons by the police while in detention after their arrest at Greenham common on 25 May, following representations from the hon. Member for Greenwich.

No. If any of the detained people wish to make a complaint about their treatment by the Thames Valley police it is open to them to do so through the normal procedures. The detained people were arrested and taken to Reading police station by the Ministry of Defence police and questions about their treatment in the course of this are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, to whom I have referred the hon. Member's representations.

Prisoners (Payment Rates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the payment rates for prisoners in Her Majesty's prisons and the levels of and reasons for pocket money, including the figures currently being received by Mr. Peter Sutcliffe.

Moneys paid to inmates of Her Majesty's prisons relate to the work performed. No other payments are made. The current rates of earnings are contained in prison department circular instruction No. 41/1984, a copy of which is in the Library.Mr. Peter Sutcliffe is a patient in the special hospital at Broadmoor, which is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.

Cartmel And Furness Local Plan

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to the answer of 4 June, Official Report, column 130, he will now call for a report from the chief constable of Cumbria as to the circumstances in which Chief Superintendent Taylor of the Cumbria police released to the Westmorland Gazette on 31 May details of the investigations into allegations of attempted bribery and corruption in connection with the Cartmel and Furness local plan; and if he will make a statement as to the substance of the report.

No, but the chief constable of Cumbria confirms that Chief Superintendent Taylor spoke briefly to a representative of the press on 31 May after the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided not to proceed with this case.

European Cup Final (Offences)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for reports from the chief constable of Merseyside and from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to progress with their inquiries into allegeged criminal offences in connection with the disaster at the Liverpool v. Juventus European Cup Final in Brussels on 25 May; and if he will make a statement.

The police investigation is aimed at identifying English football supporters who are suspected of criminal offences in the Heysel stadium and then interviewing them in order to obtain evidence on which extradition proceedings might be based. I understand that these inquiries, which are being carried out in close co-operation with the Belgian authorities, are unlikely to be completed for some weeks, but the Department is keeping in close touch with their progress.

Football Violence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence is available to him of any correlation between the incidence of violence at football grounds and the presence at those grounds of representatives of extremist political organisations or parties; and if he will make a statement.

It is difficult to measure the effect which the presence of political extremists has on the level of crowd violence, but we do not rule out the possibility that this is a contributing factor. We hope that anyone with evidence that political extremists are inciting or organising violence, whether at football grounds or elsewhere, will draw it to the attention of the police.

Children (Offences)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many children were charged with offences relating to sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 for (a) Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales for each of the past five years;(2) how many children were charged with offences relating to sections 35 and 36 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861 for

(a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales for each of the past five years;

(3) how many children were convicted of offences relating to sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861; and what was the average sentence for (a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales for each of the past five years;

(4) how many children were convicted of offences relating to sections 35 and 36 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861; and what was the average sentence for (a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales for each of the past five years;

(5) in what percentage of cases of children convicted under sections 35 and 36 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861 compensation orders were made against parents for (a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales for each of the past five years;

(6) in what percentage of cases of children convicted under sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 compensation orders were made against parents for (a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales for each of the past five years;

(7) how many children were cautioned under sections 35 and 36 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861 by (a) Essex police and (b) the British Transport police for each of the past five years; and what percentage of these resided in south-east Essex;

(8) how many children were cautioned under sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 by (a) Essex police and (b) the British Transport police for each of the past five years; and what percentage of these resided in South-East Essex.

Prisoners (Suicides And Injuries)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates have attempted suicide in prison in the current year to date and in each of the past five years.

The information readily available is as follows:

YearNumber of inmates who have committed suicideNumber of inmates who have attempted suicide
198026Not available
198121Not available
198222Not available
198326212
198426390†
1985*16
* To 17 June 1985.
† 1984 and first three months of 1985. The reporting period for collection of these statistics has recently been altered from the calendar to the financial year. In the transition, figures are readily available only for the 15 months 1 January 1984 to 31 March 1985.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detainees attempted or committed suicide whilst in custody within the Metropolitan police area in each of the past five years and to date.

Information on the number of suicides whilst in police custody in the Metropolitan police area during the period in question is contained in the appropriate annual reports of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. No such suicides have been reported this year to date. Information on the number of attempted suicides is not available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many self inflicted injuries had been recorded as being inflicted during imprisonment or detention at Her Majesty's prisons or detention centres; and if he will make a statement.

The information readily available relates to 1983 onwards and is as follows:

Self-inflicted injuries*at Prison Department Establishments
YearPrisonsDetention centresTotal
1983990221,012
1984 and first 3 months of 1985‡1,357251,392
* Self-inflicted injuries are defined as those injuries requiring medical treatment and include those with apparent suicidal intent.
† Prisons: includes youth custody centres and remand centres.
‡ The reporting period for collection of these stastistics has recently been altered from the calendar to the financial year. In the transition, figures are readily available only for the 15 months 1 January 1984 to 31 March 1985.

Prime Minister

Rural Poverty And Deprivation

asked the Prime Minister if she will set up an interdepartmental committee to investigate the incidence and degree of rural poverty and deprivation.

No. The Development Commission in England, the Development Board for Rural Wales and the Highlands and Islands Development Board in Scotland have a statutory duty to keep all matters of economic development and social well-being under review and to advise the Government. In addition, the Welsh and Scottish Development Agencies have a general responsibility for economic development, which includes the rural part of their areas.

Hospital Consultants

asked the Prime Minister what action she intends to take on the recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the need to appoint a higher proportion of consultants to junior doctors.

I refer the hon. Lady to the reply given to her by my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Health on 3 June, at column 102.

European Community Expenditure

asked the Prime Minister if she is now satisfied with the operation of the strict budgeting control of Common Market spending agreed at the Fontainebleau Council of Ministers.

Yes. Budget discipline first applies to the Community's budget for 1986 and to decisions taken in 1985 affecting that budget. The financial guideline for agricultural expenditure in 1986 has been playing an important part in the current price fixing negotiations; and the ECOFIN Council is preparing to fix the reference framework for the 1986 budget.

Public Trustee

asked the Prime Minister which Minister has responsibility for monitoring the performance of the Public Trustee and for assessing whether the Public Trustee gives value for fees charged to those clients who are required to use his services.

The Lord Chancellor has ministerial responsibility for the Public Trustee. The Public Trustee is an independent statutory corporation and, like any other trustee, is responsible to the beneficiaries of each trust of which he is trustee for administering the trust competently and in accordance with the relevant law. In case of any failure to do so, recourse may be had to the courts. The Public Trustee's Office is self-financing: he is required by statute to set his fees at a level sufficient to cover the cost of the service he provides.

Nurses (Pay)

asked the Prime Minister what benefits in kind are available to National Health Service nurses; and if she will make a statement.

The following benefits in kind are currently available under the terms of nationally negotiated agreements:

  • (i) Accommodation charges—students, pupils and other nurses under age 22 receive an automatic reduction of 40 per cent. of their charges, at present worth over £300 per annum per person.
  • (ii) Meals—all nursing staff have a right of access to meals within National Health Service facilities at subsidised prices.
  • Nurses who are required to wear uniforms receive them free and have them laundered at the expense of the health authority, but we regard this as the consequence of a condition of service rather than a benefit in kind.

    Police (Pay)

    asked the Prime Minister what benefits in kind are available to members of the police; and if she will make a statement.

    Under the Police Regulations 1979 every police officer must be provided by the police authority with free accommodation or paid a rent allowance in lieu. Some NHS medical, dental and optical charges are reimbursed. Most officers are provided with uniforms. Meals in police canteens are subsidised.

    Engagements

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 June.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 June.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 June.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 18 June.

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today.

    Sharelga (Sinking)

    asked the Prime Minister what was the position of the Irish trawler Sharelga when she was sunk in 1982; what was the precise date and time of the sinking; what was the name of the submarine involved; when compensation was paid; and how much the compensation was.

    The Irish trawler Sharelga sank on 18 April 1982, some 30 miles east of Dublin. The Coastguard at Anglesey picked up a distress call just after 12.30. A Royal Navy submarine was involved, but, for reasons of operational security, no further details can be given.The Ministry of Defence has accepted liability for the incident and agreed to pay fair and reasonable compensation. Agreement has yet to be reached on the final sum. The amount of compensation is a matter for negotiation between the vessel's owners and the Ministry of Defence.

    Middle East

    asked the Prime Minister whether she will outline any new steps which Her majesty's Government intend to pursue to advance the peace process in the middle east.

    It remains my view that the primary responsibility for progress lies with the parties directly concerned. We shall continue to encourage and support all constructive proposals through our contacts with the parties and with the United States.

    Legal Minimum Wage

    asked the Prime Minister if, following her answer, Official Report, 4 June, column 149, she will list the sources of the evidence showing the setting of a legal minimum wage leading to increased unemployment.

    Evidence can be found in the following:

  • 1. OECD Occasional Study 1983 "Effects of the Minumum Wage on the Youth Labour Market in North America and France" by J. Martin.
  • 2. Low Pay Unit Pamphlet No. 50 "From the Dole Queue to the Sweatshop" by H. Neuberger.
  • 3. Institute of Economic Affairs, Hobart Paper No. 101, "Low Pay or No Pay".
  • 4. Department of Employment Research Paper No. 51 "Pay and Employment in four Retail Trades" by C. Craig and F. Wilkinson.
  • 5. Department of Employment Research Paper No. 52 "Wage Floors in the Clothing Industry 1950–1981" by P. Morgan, D. Paterson and R. Barrie.
  • 6. Journal of Economic Literature 1982, "Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment" by Brown et al.
  • 7. Government Economic Service, Working Paper No. 52, March 1982, "Wages and Employment in Agriculture, England and Wales, 1960–80" by P. J. Lund et al.
  • 8. In its Economic Outlook, published at the beginning of this month, the OECD argues that:
  • "The need to reduce barriers to adjustment in labour markets is well recognised. Regulations intended to protect workers from possible job loss inhibit the creation of new jobs in high risk activities; and high minimum wages rstrict employment openings and opportunities to upgrade skills especially among the young. Despite this recognition there has been insufficient progress in these areas in the last year".

    Social Security Review

    asked the Prime Minister (1) if the illustrative figures to be published in the autumn with the White Paper on social security will include an updating on the table in paragraph 3.32, page 15, of the housing benefit review report, showing the distribution of gains and losses in housing benefit as a result of the proposed changes;(2) if the illustrative figures to be published in "The Reform of Social Security" White Paper will include a statement of possible national and local office budgets for the social fund;(3) if the the illustrative figures to be published in "The Reform of Social Security" White Paper will include details of how many will gain, or lose, and by how much, as a result of the family credit proposals;(4) the illustrative figures to be published in "The Reform of Social Security" White Paper will include details of the possible rates, subject to inflation, of the new income support allowances for pensioners, the sick and disabled and the unemployed

    (a) under 25 years and (b) over 25 years and single parents.

    I have said that we will publish illustrative figures showing the effects of the Green Paper proposals in the autumn once the main structure is settled. The figures will include the effects on individuals and expenditure. They will cover a range of assumptions: as I have explained before, the final effect cannot be known until the April 1987 benefit rates are settled.

    National Finance

    Northern Ireland (Civil Servants)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants are employed by United Kingdom Government Departments in Northern Ireland.

    On 1 January 1985, 5,167 staff of the Home Civil Service (Inland Revenue, Ministry of Defence, Customs and Excise, PSA, the Northern Ireland Office and small numbers of staff in other Departments) were employed in Northern Ireland.I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that on 1 January 1985, 26,005 Northern Ireland civil servants were employed in Northern Ireland in the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Departments, together with 3,068 staff of the Northern Ireland prison service.These figures relate to both industrial and non-industrial staff and are expressed as full-time equivalents.

    Sinclair Research

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has as to assistance provided by the Bank of England in efforts to provide financial help to Sinclair Research; and what sums of public money are or might be involved.

    The Bank of England is providing no finance, but its good offices are always available to assist in such circumstances.

    Ec Economic And Finance Council

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Community Economic and Finance Council in Luxembourg on 11 June.

    I represented the United Kingdom at this Council.The Council discussed the economic situation, in particular, profitability, investment and employment in the Community. Work on these issues will continue, and the Council will send an interim report later this month to the Milan European Council.There was a discussion on the further development of the European monetary system. The President of the Council will send a progress report to the President of the European Council. Work in the Monetary Committee and Committee of Central Bank Governors will continue, particularly on the development of both the private and official ecu.The Council discussed the procedure for applying budget discipline to the 1986 Community budget. The Italian and Luxembourg presidencies will make arrangements for a meeting with the European Parliament at an early date prior to the Council fixing the reference framework for 1986, in accordance with the Council conclusions of 4 December 1984.The Council agreed on a package of increases in travellers' allowances, from 1 October 1985 (with certain derogations for some member states). The main changes are as follows: the value element of travellers' allowance of intra-Community tax-paid goods will rise from 280 ecu (about £160) to 350 ecu (about £200); the intra-Community tax-paid still wine allowance will be increased from 4 to 5 litres; the tax exemption for small consignments sent between private citizens in the Community will rise from 70 ecu (about £40) to 100 ecu (about £60); and duty-free admission of fuel in bus tanks will be up to a maximum of 600 litres. The Council also agreed on a regular adjustment of allowances to maintain their real value.The Council reached a common position on the 20th VAT directive, which concerns special national aid for German farmers to be paid through the VAT system and which was agreed in principle as part of the Fontainebleau package. The Council also discussed the proposed UCITS ("unit trust") directive, and work on this will continue.

    Social Security Review

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about the tax treatment of the revised widow's benefits proposed in the Green Paper. "Reform of Social Security", Cmnd. 9517.

    Yes. The proposed lump sum benefit of £1,000 payable to widows immediately on bereavement will be exempt from tax. Widow's pension and widowed mother's allowance, where payable, will be liable to tax, as they are at present.

    European Community (Legislation)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there is any material, other than the annexes to the letter sent by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to the European Commission on 28 December 1977, copies of which have now been placed in the Library, pursuant to his earlier answer, Official Report, 4 June, column 115, which an individual would need to have to know his right and obligations under the directly applicable legislation of the European Communities.

    [pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1985; c. 29]: In the United Kingdom, Community VAT legislation has been implemented through the Value Added Tax Act 1983 and secondary legislation. The effects of this United Kingdom legislation are explained in a series of VAT public notices and leaflets published by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

    Johnson Matthey Bankers