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Written Answers

Volume 81: debated on Wednesday 19 June 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 19 June 1985

House Of Commons

Us Congress (Members' Facilities)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will place before the Services Committee a proposal that it should make a study of the level of facilities and staff provided for members of the United States Congress; and if he will make a statement.

Environment

Local Authorities (Property Disposal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to give local authorities powers to enable them to dispose of their rundown estates or blocks of flats for redevelopment.

The Government wish to encourage partnership schemes of this kind and have today launched the urban housing renewal unit to assist local authorities to develop them and other initiatives to improve conditions on rundown estates. I believe that it would help authorities if powers of this kind were available to them and my right hon. Friend hopes to bring forward proposals for legislation.Under section 34 of the Housing Act 1980 a local authority may seek possession of a dwelling let under a secure tenancy on the ground that it intends to redevelop the dwelling itself (ground 8 of schedule 4 to the 1980 Act). Before the court makes an order for possession it must be satisfied that suitable alternative accommodation will be available to displaced tenants, and the authority may make home-loss payments.However, local authorities wishing to sell a tenanted dwelling to private developers so that the property could be renovated and brought back into use as housing under low-cost home ownership initiatives have experienced difficulties. In these circumstances, local authorities have no power either to obtain possession of the property, or to offer compensatory payments to tenants.We hope to legislate when a suitable opportunity arises to extend the grounds for possession in schedule 4 to the 1980 Act to allow local authorities to seek possession, in circumstances approved by the Secretary of State for the Environment, on the ground that they intend to sell the dwellings to the private sector for renovation and re-use as housing. As under the existing ground 8, tenants displaced under the proposed new ground would be entitled to be offered suitable alternative accommodation and to receive home-loss payments.We will be consulting local authority associations and others about our proposals shortly.

Solicitor-General For Scotland

Football Matches (Offences)

41.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland what has been the change in the number of court cases relating to offences at football matches since the introduction of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980.

It is not possible to identify football match offences because information about the locus of an offence is not recorded.

Legal Aid

42.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland when he intends to meet the procurators fiscal to discuss the Government's proposals for legal aid.

I do not intend to meet procurators fiscal for that purpose.

Landlords (Prosecutions)

43.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions have been brought over the last 12 months or are pending against landlords for (a) harassment of tenants and (b) fraud in relation to the housing benefit system.

Precise figures are not available, but inquiries with procurators fiscal indicate that there have been approximately 20 and 15 cases, respectively.

Red Deer

44.

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions there have been for the illegal killing of red deer in the latest available year.

Separate statistics are not kept for red deer alone. In relation to offences under the Deer (Scotland) Acts, 40 persons were proceeded against. That figure is still provisional.

Scotland

"Quarterly Economic Commentary"

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he has given the latest "Quarterly Economic Commentary" of the Fraser of Allander Institute about reducing unemployment, a copy of which has been sent to him.

This is one of a number of commentaries we always read with interest.

Voluntary Organisations

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the value of grants from his Department to voluntary organisations in each of the last three years at constant prices.

The Department made grants to voluntary organisations in cost terms of £109·8 million in 1981–82; £127·7 million in 1982ߝ83; and £132 million in 1983–84. Figures for 1984–85 will not be available until the appropriation accounts for that year are finalised.

Rates

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated total amount of rate rebate claimable in 1985–86 in respect of properties in the Kirkcaldy district council area, under the provisions of the Rating (Revaluation Rebates) (Scotland) Bill.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has advised me that Fife region as rating authority is likely to pay £969,000 in revaluation rate rebates in 1985–86, but it has made no estimate of the apportionment among properties in different districts. The hon. Gentleman may wish to seek this information from Fife regional council.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total amount to be given in rate relief under the terms of the Rating (Revaluation Rebates) (Scotland) Bill to ratepayers in Central region; and of that amount how much will be paid to ratepayers in the area of Falkirk district council.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has advised me that Central region as rating authority is likely to pay £1·24 million in revaluation rate rebates in 1985–86. But it has made no estimate of the apportionment among properties in different districts. The hon. Member may wish to seek this information from Central regional council.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total amount to be given in rate relief under the terms of the Rating (Revaluation Rebates) (Scotland) Bill to ratepayers in Lothian region; and of that amount how much will be paid to ratepayers in the area of Midlothian district council.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has advised me that Lothian region as rating authority is likely to pay £5·509 million in revaluation rate debates in 1985–86. But it has made no estimate of the apportionment among properties in different districts. The hon. Member may wish to seek this information from Lothian regional council.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he can give any estimate of the number of lock-up garages in Scotland which will be eligible for rating relief in terms of the Rating (Revaluation Rebates) (Scotland) Bill; and what total sum is likely to be paid out to this category of ratepayer in the year 1985–86;(2) if he can give any estimate of the number of poster sites in Scotland which will be eligible for rating relief in terms of Rating (Revaluation Rebates) (Scotland) Bill; and what total sum is likely to be paid out to this category of ratepayer in the year 1985–86.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what the average rate increase for commercial ratepayers has been in local authority areas where expenditure in the last financial year was kept within his guidelines.

Average commercial rate bills increased by some 18 per cent. in 1985–86 over 1984–85 in the areas of local authorities in Scotland where spending planned by both the regional and the district councils or by the islands council was within guidelines.

Pratt And Whitney (Prestwick)

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the implications for the Scottish economy of the decision by Pratt and Whitney not to set up a service centre for aero engines at Prestwick.

Pratt and Whitney has made no decision as yet about the location of its proposed engine servicing plant. I understand that the company has decided to reconsider its whole European service centre operations and that it may be some time before any decisions are made.

Nurses (Pay)

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when next he intends to meet representatives of the nursing profession to discuss pay and conditions.

Salmon Fishing

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received about the viability and prospects of Scottish salmon fishing.

Representations are received from time to time from a variety of organisations and individuals who are concerned about the state of salmon stocks.

Textile And Hosiery Industries

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the textile and hosiery industries in Scotland about the implications for the economy of the Border region in the absence of a continuing multi-fibre arrangement.

My right hon. Friend and I have received representations from a number of industry associations on the need for a continuing multi-fibre arrangement not only for the Border region but for the country as a whole. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade—who has responsibility for the arrangement—told the House on 9 May, the Government are in favour of further renewal and he will be pressing this view with our partners in the European Community.

Dundee (Economic Prospects)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the economic prospects of Dundee.

Dundee, and Scotland as a whole, should share in the continued growth forecast for the United Kingdom economy although as elsewhere this will depend on controlling costs and continuing improvements in productivity and efficiency.In particular, Dundee should continue to benefit from the Dundee project, under which the Scottish Development Agency and the local authorities are acting together to develop new industrial and business opportunities in the city, and to promote its business image. The project has already helped to create over 700 jobs and attract £15 million of private sector investment with further substantial commitments. The work of the Dundee project will be assisted by Dundee's development area status, and the presence of the Tayside enterprise zone.

Teachers (Industrial Action)

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many schools to date have been affected by industrial action connected with the teachers' case for an independent pay review.

I understand that almost all the 2,883 local authority primary and secondary schools have been affected to some extent.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on representations he has received and initiatives taken in relation to the current disputes in Scottish schools.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what further progress he has made in efforts to settle the teachers strike.

Since October 1984 some 4,900 letters have been received from hon. Members, parents and teachers. By its continuing insistence on an independent review which would look at pay alone, the EIS has prevented a review of pay and conditions of service within the SJNC(SE), as suggested by the Government. On 17 June my right hon. Friend discussed with the education committee of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities a job description appropriate for a teacher in today's society. This could pave the way for the SNJC to consider the implications for pay and conditions and to draw up a package. The most realistic way forward in resolving the present damaging dispute would be for the teachers to enter forthwith into negotiations with the employers for the current year as an interim step towards a more comprehensive agreement for 1986–87 and subsequent years.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the current teachers' industrial action in Scotland.

This week, strike action is being taken by EIS members in some schools in Lothian region, and the boycott of curricular development work imposed since August 1984 continues. I understand that the Educational Institute of Scotland plans intensified industrial action next term. I deplore the damage to children's education which this entails when the way to the negotiating table remains open.

Asbestos

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has received on the transporting of asbestos waste through urban areas; and if he will make a statement.

Two organisations, the Inverclyde Tenants Group and the Society Against Violation of the Environment have made representations to my right hon. Friend on this subject. They have been advised that the Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that the standards of containment and cleanliness adopted by the contractor for the removal of the limited quantity of Faslane asbestos, and his contingency measures in the event of a road traffic incident, are such as to ensure that there is in common sense terms no risk to the health of any person from the transport of this low grade waste.

Fife Regional Council (Finance)

22

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will next discuss local government finance with Fife regional council.

It is not my right hon. Friend's practice to discuss local government finance with individual authorities. He does, however, hold regular meetings on this subject with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

Forestry

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking to seek to ensure that forestry operations do not proceed where they do not meet the approval of the Forestry Commission; and if he will list the areas where such development has taken or is taking place.

With the exception of a number of small areas of plantings which, as I stated in my reply of 8 May, at columns 441–2, to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall), it is not possible to list, there are only two cases of any significance. These are Crichness and Shielsknowe.As I said in another reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston on 8 May, at column

442, and in my subsequent reply of 5 June, at column 170, to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) my right hon. Friend is not proposing to take action at this stage, but will nevertheless be watching the situation very carefully.

Public Expenditure

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the level of public spending in Scotland per head of population during the last financial year.

Figures for 1984–85 are not yet available. As indicated to my hon. Friend in the reply given to him on 22 February 1985, at columns 608–18, by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chief Secretary, the figure for identifiable public expenditure in Scotland in 1983–84 was £2,058·1.

Rents

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to amend the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 so as to enable local authorities to have a fair rent registered in any tenancy, so long as the fair rent is not any higher than the existing rent.

We are monitoring the situation to see whether there may be a need to review local authorities' powers under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984.

Tertiary Education

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the future of tertiary education in Scotland.

My right hon. Friend will be considering the future of tertiary education in Scotland, in the light of comments on the Government's Green Paper on higher education and of recommendations by the Scottish Tertiary Education Advisory Council whose review of higher education in Scotland will be completed later this year, and will make a statement at the appropriate time.

Job Creation

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has for increasing job opportunities for men, women and young people in Scotland.

Job opportunities are created by competitive and profitable firms, and the process of job creation therefore depends critically on Scottish industry's success in exploiting the opportunities afforded by the continued economic growth expected this year. The Budget measures were designed to stimulate enterprise, restore market flexibility and provide the low inflation environment in which such firms can flourish.

Forestry Commission Roads

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the maintenance of Forestry Commission roads.

With a few exceptions, for example, forest drives, the majority of the Forestry Commission's 16,000 km of forest roads are built for use only by the commission's and contractor's vehicles, although the public are normally permitted to use them on foot. Some 9,000 km of roads are currently used by heavy vehicles, such as haulage lorries, while the remainder are used by light vehicles and harvesting equipment.The roads are maintained to a standard sufficient to ensure the safety of legitimate road users; to maintain the flow of traffic at appropriate speeds and to keep down vehicle maintenance costs. The incidence of road maintenance — which costs the commission some £4 million per annum — varies according to a number of factors such as the traffic flow, the weather and the materials employed in the formation of the road.

Steel Industry

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to meet the chairman of the British Steel Corporation to discuss the steel position in Scotland.

My right hon. Friend meets the chairman of the British Steel Corporation from time to time to discuss the operations of the corporation in Scotland, but there are no arrangements for any meeting in the immediate future.

Scottish Football Association

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has plans to meet the Scottish Football Association in the near future to discuss rateable values.

No. I shall send the hon. Member a copy of the reply which I have sent to a recent letter from the Scottish Football Association about the rates burden on clubs.

Rural Development Fund

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Scottish Development Agency about setting up a rural development fund.

Assistance to rural areas was one of the matters discussed when I met the board of the agency on 7 June. These discussions will be taken into account in further consideration of the recommendations which have been made to me for the establishment of a rural development fund.

Legal Aid

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations had been received by 31 May in response to the Government's consultation document on legal aid in Scotland.

Agriculture (Research And Development)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the amount spent in each of the last five years on research and development and advisory services in agriculture.

The funding by my Department of research and development and advisory services in agriculture at the Scottish agricultural colleges and the Scottish agricultural research institutes is estimated as follows for each of the last five years:

YearR & DAdvisory Services
£million£ million
1980–8123·04·9
1981–8226·06·1
1982–8326·97·0
1983–8427·77·2
1984–8529·57·5

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons were employed in research and development and advisory services of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland in 1979; and how many he estimates will be employed when the reductions in funding have been implemented.

The number of staff employed at the eight Scottish agricultural research institutes at 1 October 1979 was 1,376. Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of the work at the three Scottish agricultural colleges, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of the number of staff employed on research and development and advisory work alone, but the total number of staff employed at 1 October 1979 was 1,267.

The number of staff likely to be employed in the institutes and colleges when the reductions in public funding announced in the public expenditure White Paper have been implemented will depend on a number of factors, including the level of private funding from the industry.

Crofter Houses

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications for grants and loans for the building of crofter houses were approved in 1983 and 1984.

The information is as follows:

Number of approved applications for assistance under the Crofters Building Grants and Loans Scheme
19831984
New housing132138
Housing improvement171252
Total304390

Higher Education

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of Scottish school leavers continued their education at universities and colleges in each of the years 1980–81 to 1984–85.

Information is available from biennial school leavers' surveys. The following table

Total capital expenditure
£ million
1978–791979–801980–811981–821982–831983–841984–85
East Kilbride2·85·89·311·313·411·89·5
Cumbernauld9·810·913·716·511·712·915·3
Glenrothes8·79·810·210·113·111·29·9
Livingston16·317·816·315·012·012·813·9
Irvine11·17·611·46·14·36·09·6
Total housing capital expenditure
East Kilbride0·51·83·77·78·97·96·5
Cumbernauld6·05·36·99·86·04·67·3
Glenrothes6·16·37·66·47·55·93·8
Livingston10·610·98·68·24·44·25·6
Irvine7·84·98·64·12·83·44·5

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is (a) the total allowance of capital expenditure and (b) the allowance of capital expenditure

£ million 1985–86
East KilbrideCumbernauldGlenrothesLivingstonIrvine
Total Capital Expenditure Allocation10·312·67·714·08·5
Housing Capital Expenditure Allocation5·73·73·45·33·0
To be funded
Net proceeds from sales5·33·52·72·91·0
Net Capital Investment (Funded centrally through borrowing from the National Loans Fund)0·40·20·72·42·0

shows the percentages of school leavers who, in the following spring, were in full-time further or higher education.

Session of leaving school

Type of full-time education

1979–80

1981–82

1983–84

*

percentage

percentage

percentage

University78n/a
College of education11n/a
Advanced further education46n/a
Other full-time education1011n/a
Total full-time education2226(25)

* Provisional.

New Towns Development Corporations

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total capital expenditure by each of the new town development corporations in Scotland in each year from 1978–79 to 1984–85, inclusive; and what was the capital expenditure on housing by each of the development corporations in each year, within these totals.

The information is set out in the following table:for housing, within the total expenditure of each of the new town development corporations in Scotland for 1985–86; and how this is expected to be funded in each case.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the sources of funding of the capital expenditure of each of the new town development corporations in Scotland for each of the years 1978–79 to 1984–85 inclusive.

£million
1978–791979–801980–811981–821982–831983–841984–85
East Kilbride
Net proceeds from Sales2·33·36·33·67·29·09·7
Net Capital investment0·52·53·07·76·22·8(0·2)
Cumbernauld
Net proceeds from Sales2·41·84·01·85·511·17·2
Net Capital investment7·49·19·714·76·21·88·1
Glenrothes
Net proceeds from Sales0·81·71·91·44·97·15·6
Net Capital investment7·98·28·38·78·24·14·3
Livingston
Net proceeds from Sales1·32·32·93·64·96·15·2
Net Capital investment15·015·613·411·47·16·78·7
Irvine
Net proceeds from Sales0·81·51·41·10·84·3
Net Capital investment11·16·89·94·73·25·25·3
Net capital investment is funded centrally through borrowing from the national loans fund.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the figures for numbers of employees of each of the new town development corporations in

Number of Employees of New Town Development Corporations
East KilbrideCumbernauldGlenrothesLivingstonIrvine
1978–79
Manual37436019925483
Non-Manual308369310374265
1979–80
Manual37936820025893
Non-Manual284369300370251
1980–81
Manual47339220225499
Non-Manual287371303363250
1981–82
Manual457404207261102
Non-Manual281364287354237
1982–83
Manual49741222825796
Non-Manual282352301337234
1983–84
Manual49443923124395
Non-Manual294336301335238
1984–85
Manual46944525224996
Non-Manual307338298336242
May 1985*
Manual42438024325794
Non-Manual291317303337243
* Latest position available.

(a) manual and (b) non-manual categories, for each of the years 1978–79 to 1984–85 inclusive; and what are the present figures.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the average numbers of persons on the waiting lists for houses to let maintained by the new town development corporations in Scotland in each of the years 1978–79 to 1984–85 inclusive; and what are the present numbers.

The information available about average numbers on housing waiting lists maintained by new town development corporations is not on a uniform basis and does not enable me to give a meaningful reply.

East Kilbride*CumbernauldGlenrothesLivinstonIrvine
£££££
1978–793,836,6155,176,0722,702,2189,255,2145,832,768
1979–803,925,4675,834,0663,520,54510,467,9856,673,014
1980–813,168,8265,666,5684,419,51111,486,4597,646,243
1981–823,071,0585,300,6634,133,24511,243,2338,333,225
1982–833,063,0005,467,0003,949,00011,320,0008,309,000
1983–843,665,0005,168,0004,257,00011,110,0008,573,000
1984–853,023,0005,341,0004,338,30011,031,0008,674,000
* Including the new town of Stonehouse.

New Towns (Rents)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the average rentals charged for development corporation houses in each of the new towns in Scotland in each of the years 1978–79 to 1984–85

Average rental
Area1978–791979–801980–811981–821982–831983–841984–85
£££££££
Cumbernauld New Town326·80353·03428·23530·43642·35689·21751·30
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District180·30254·62328·74464·21526·61526·33551·88
East Kilbride New Town304·81328·04398·86497·10604·16648·78697·39
East Kilbride District216·31241·00337·28433·89549·02594·23646·75
Glenrothes New Town299·17325·87399·78509·96610·50651·82717·32
Kirkcaldy District266·80241·34292·63420·27499·75543·46603·37
Irvine New Town339·18355·01438·95518·24628·85674·57727·31
Cunninghame District210·52268·58268·96371·50416·77459·67460·05
Livingston New Town274·29305·47384·70495·93608·90653·77717·49
West Lothian District205·54226·84275·33425·32507·35545·21571·12

Food (Self-Sufficiency)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated level of Scottish self-sufficiency in 1984 for the following food commodities: (a) beef and veal, (b) mutton and lamb, (c) pigmeat, (d) poultrymeat, (e) liquid milk, (f) cheese, (g) butter, (h) eggs, (i) barley, (j) oats, (k) wheat and (l) potatoes.

No reliable data for individual years are available. Information for the three-year period centred on 1983 will be ready shortly, and I will write to the right hon. Member then.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the amounts of housing grant paid to each of the new town development corporations in Scotland in each of the years 1978–79 to 1984–85 inclusive.

The amounts of housing grant paid to each of the new town development corporations in Scotland in each of the years 1978–79 to 1984–85 are set out in the following table:inclusive; and what were the comparable figures for rents of district council houses in each of the districts containing the new towns concerned.

The figures requested are shown in the table and refer to the position at 30 September of each year.

Local Government Boundary Commission For Scotland

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has made any changes in the composition of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The members of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland are as follows:R. A. Bennett, QC, chairman — reappointed on 1 November 1982 until 31 October 1986Mr. G. Carlton, OBE, vice chairman—reappointed as a member on 1 November 1982 and appointed as vice chairman on 17 May 1985 until 31 October 1986Mr. S. McDowall, CBE, member — appointed on 1 November 1982 until 31 October 1986

Mr. A. Napier, member—appointed on 1 May 1985 until 31 October 1988

Professor J. B. Baird, member—appointed on 1 June 1985 until 31 October 1988

The chairman, vice chairman and members are all appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Museums Advisory Board (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received the report of the Museums Advisory Board, which he set up to examine the future operation under one board of trustees of Scotland's national museums.

I have now received the advisory board's report. It is a cogent document, and I have written to the Marquess of Bute to express my thanks to him and to the members of the board for the time and effort they have devoted to its preparation.The report sets out a number of detailed recommendations for the future organisation of Scotland's two national museums—the Royal Scottish Museum and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland — after they are brought together administratively on 1 October this year under a single board of trustees, as foreshadowed in the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985. I am now, at the advisory board's request, making the report generally available. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, and are being issued to a range of bodies and individuals whom the advisory board consulted or who submitted evidence to it. Further copies will be available on application to the Scottish Office Library, New St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh, price £2 each and are also for sale at the two museums.The report's main recommendation is that the two museums should be integrated as fully as possible and that development of the Williams committee's concept of a Museum of Scotland should be achieved within the framework thus created. I accept the arguments set out in the report in favour of this approach, which I fully endorse for the future organisation of the museums. Confirmation of this point should enable the trustees, when appointed, to make early progress along the lines set out in the report.The report makes a number of other detailed recommendations on the staffing and accommodation of the museums. In relation to staffing, the additional resources which I made available for the national museums in 1985–86 will, as the report acknowledges, enable a number of the posts, which the advisory board identifies as those most urgently needed, to be filled. I will give consideration over the coming months to the additional staffing requirements identified in the report and to the case which it makes for substantial additional accommodation for the national museums, most notably on the empty site next to the present Royal Scottish Museum building in Chambers street. I have, of course, already indicated that priority will be given to the national museums in the allocation of resources from the capital programme for the Scottish national institutions. Detailed decisions on the nature and timing of additional accommodation must await the outcome of the 1985 public expenditure survey.Many of the recommendations in the report will require the consideration of the new trustees. I am pleased to announce that Lord Bute has agreed to undertake the chairmanship of the National Museums Board for an initial period of one year, to 30 September 1986, with the possibility of extension thereafter by mutual agreement. I intend to announce the appointment of other trustees before the end of this month.

Prime Minister

Recycled Paper

asked the Prime Minister which Government Departments are currently using recycled paper.

Her Majesty's Stationery Office encourages its suppliers to produce recycled paper and paper products and makes these available for use by all Government Departments. However, central records are not kept of actual usage.

Home Department

Young Persons (Remand)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy concerning the holding of young persons on remand within adult prisons.

Within the constraints imposed by the size of the prison population and the availability of accommodation it is our policy that remand prisoners should be held in locations which are easily reached by their families and legal advisers, and that young people (that is those aged under 21) on remand should be held in a separate establishment or part of an establishment. Where complete separation of that kind is not possible, every effort is made to keep young people apart from adults within an establishment. Very great care is always taken to keep juveniles (that is those aged under 17) apart from adults.

Thorp Arch Remand Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities for recreation are available at the Thorp Arch remand centre.

Thorp Arch has a sports field with two soccer pitches, a sports hall, including a side-area with weight-training equipment, a television and video room, a room equipped for indoor association and games, and a library.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whom he consulted before making his decision to convert the Thorp Arch remand centre into a category C prison.

The change of role at Thorp Arch is part of a package designed to adjust the use of prison department accommodation so as to reduce extreme overcrowding at Leeds prison. My right hon. and learned Friend did not consult outside the Home Office on the specific adjustment that he has announced.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the maximum number of young persons who can be held at Thorp Arch remand centre at present; and what is the maximum number of adult category C prisoners who could be held in the present accommodation.

Thorp Arch has a certified normal accommodation of 164, including 17 places in the hospital. As a training prison, its certified normal accommodation will fall to 147 because hospital places are not included in the certified normal accommodation of training prisons. No more than 234 prisoners have in practice been held there although the establishment's theoretical operating capacity is higher than that. The precise number of adult prisoners to be held in the establishment has yet to be settled.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many net places in the prison system will be lost as a consequence of his announced coversion of Thorp Arch remand centre into a category C prison.

The change of use of Thorp Arch is part of a package designed to ease the pressure on Leeds prison and which includes the conversion of Hull into a local prison. The net effect of these changes will be an increase of over 150 in the operating capacity of the prison system.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what changes to the present staffing levels at the Thorp Arch remand centre will follow its conversion to a category C prison.

Thorp Arch will require fewer staff than at present because it will no longer be necessary to convey untried prisoners from Thorp Arch to the courts. Future staffing levels are still being assessed.

Remand Centres (Closures)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy not to approve any proposal for the closure of a remand centre for young persons until he has satisfied himself of the availability of adequate suitable facilities in other similar establishments.

The availability and suitability of alternative facilities is one of the major factors taken into account before any decision about a change of role is taken.

Category C Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what constraints there are in classifying an adult category C prisoner in terms of (a) nature of offence and (b) length of sentence.

A category C prisoner is defined as one who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who does not have the ability or resources to make a determined escape attempt.The security categorisation of prisoners is decided on the basis of individual assessments that take a number of factors into account. In the case of long-term prisoners these assessments are periodically reviewed. Prisoners are not excluded by their offences or sentence lengths from being placed in category C in due course, but the assessment process is intended to exclude those who are dangerous or serious escape risks.

Remand Centres And Adult Prisons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what differing requirements there are in respect of (a) internal security,(b) perimeter security, (c) recreational facilities and (d) staffing levels, between a remand centre for young offenders and a category C adult prison.

In general, a category C adult training prison requires a somewhat lower level of security, more recreational facilities and fewer staff than does a young offender remand centre.

Dogs

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement of Government policy on the breeding of dogs.

The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 regulates the breeding of dogs for sale by means of a local authority licensing system. The Government have no plans for any further measures to control dog breeding.

Police National Computer (Commercial Competitions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for reports from chief constables about whether officers in their forces have made use of the police national computer or other computer data bases to which they have access in order to contact potential winners in a commercial competition based on vehicle registration numbers; and if he will make a statement.

The Police Complaints Authority has approved the appointment of an assistant chief constable to conduct an inquiry, under the authority's supervision, into this alleged misuse of the police national computer.

"Television Without Frontiers"

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the proposals in the European Economic Community Green Paper entitled "Television Without Frontiers"; what representations he has made to the Commission on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

The Government have not reached a firm view on whether the Community has competence to legislate on broadcasting matters. We support the general objective of the Green Paper, which is to facilitate television broadcasting across frontiers and thereby assist the process of European integration, but we do not consider that the case for Community legislation to achieve this objective has yet been made out. In the Government's view, the Green Paper lays too much emphasis upon the economic aspects of broadcasting and fails to give due weight both to the wider cultural considerations and to the role of the Council of Europe in facilitating trans-frontier broadcasting among a wider grouping of European nations. These and other more detailed points have been made to the Commission in the official discussions in Brussels.

Immigration Rules

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of whether to make generally available instructions to immigration officers dealing with the interpretation of the immigration rules; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) on 29 April, at column 24.

Theft Act 1978

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce amending legislation relating to the provisions of section 3 of the Theft Act 1978 as it affects hotels, restaurants and taxis in view of the ruling of the House of Lords on Thursday 13 June about a client's intention to pay; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend will, of course, study the House of Lords ruling in the particular case with interest. We have no evidence to suggest that, in general, those offering services requiring payment on the spot are not properly protected from dishonest actions by the Theft Acts.

Transport

Coaches

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many new coaches were registered in the United Kingdom in 1974 and 1984; and what percentage of coaches newly registered were (a) manufactured and (b) produced in the United Kingdom.

According to figures supplied by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, in 1974 5,341 buses and coaches were newly registered in this country. 98 per cent. of these were largely of British manufacture. Comparable figures for 1984 are 3,379 and 77 per cent. Separate figures for coaches are not available.

Railway Carriages (Wheelchairs)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the percentage of British Rail passenger carriages which are currently equipped to accommodate wheelchairs; and what plans there are for future provision of such carriages.

I understand from British Rail that the proportion of rolling stock on inter-city services with accommodation for wheelchair-bound persons is currently about 60 per cent., but is expected to rise to 90 per cent. by the end of 1987. British Rail estimates that about 19 per cent. of provincial sector rolling stock and 15 per cent. of London and south-east sector stock is equipped to carry wheelchair-bound passengers; these figures will rise as new sliding-door rolling stock is introduced, or existing stock refurbished.

Education And Science

Commonwealth Education Ministers (Nicosia Meeting)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the implementation of the objectives agreed at Nicosia in July 1984 by the Commonwealth Education Ministers.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is pursuing the studies and activities agreed in Nicosia on resources for education, youth unemployment and student mobility. The Commonwealth Standing Committee on Student Mobility is expected to issue a further report before Commonwealth Education Ministers meet again in October this year. In this connection, the new scholarship scheme announced on 3 June at columns 9–10 by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development will foster student mobility within the Commonwealth, as advocated by Ministers in Nicosia.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the latest pupil-teacher ratio for England, excluding head teachers.

The overall pupil-teacher ratio in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in January 1984 was 17·9. If head teachers are excluded, exceptionally, from the calculation it is estimated that a ratio of 19·1 is produced for January 1984.

School Buildings (Maintenance And Repair)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied with the level of resources available to local education authorities to maintain and repair school buildings.

It is for local authorities to decide, within the overall resources available to them, their own levels of expenditure on the maintenance and repair of school buildings.

School Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give the figure of school children in receipt of free school meals for the latest month for which figures are available and give the comparative figure for the same month in 1979.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on Tuesday 11 June, at column 426. The figures requested are collected annually in October in the school meals census.

Students (Travel Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what sums were paid out in additional travel grants to students in higher education for each of the past five years for which they were available.

The information relates to local authority expenditure on excess travel allowance in England and Wales. It covers full-value mandatory and discretionary awards up to, and including, 1982–83, but information for 1983–84 relates to mandatory awards only.

£ million
1979–8016·9
1980–8121·0
1981–8221·1
1982–8326·2
1983–8423·8

Sandwich Courses

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made by the steering committee on research into sandwich education; and if he will make a statement.

The report of the steering committee on the programme of research into sandwich education was published today. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. As was announced in the Green Paper "The Development of Higher Education in the 1990s" (Cmnd. 9524), the Government propose to consult the relevant advisory bodies about the report's conclusions and will look to them in particular to offer guidance on means of ensuring that sandwich courses justify their extra cost.

Trade And Industry

Estate Agents

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in how many cases banning orders have been made against estate agents under the Estate Agents Act 1979 following the bankruptcy or the misconduct of an estate agent.

This is a matter for the Director General of Fair Trading. I have been in touch with him and he will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Industrial Development Unit

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the executive officials currently in the industrial development unit of his Department are seconded from the private sector of industry.

Sixty per cent. of the current members of the Department's industrial development unit with executive responsibilities are seconded from the private sector. The 12 secondees provide the bulk of the team that appraises usually the larger applications for selective financial assistance, and gives other financial advice to the Department. The rest of the unit is staffed with permanent officials, responsible for such matters as the avoidance of conflicts of interest among the secondees and members of the Industrial Development Advisory Board, the proper conduct of the unit's business, and policy matters. Seconded members of the unit provide the Department with commercial experience and professional skills of a high order not usually to be found among permanent officials. Offers of financial assistance are the responsibility of Ministers, and letters offering assistance are invariably signed by permanent officials with proper delegated authority who are fully accountable for their content.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the executive officials currently in the industrial development unit of his Department have been seconded from firms or organisations which have, in the last six years received section 7 and 8 grants for industry.

Of the 21 current members of the Department's industrial development unit with executive responsibilities, three individuals have been seconded from two private sector organisations which have received offers of selective financial assistance totalling £1·3 million in the past six financial years under sections 7 and 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 and its predecessor legislation. £1,423 million of such assistance has been offered in total over the same period.

Knitwear

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what protection exists at present against imports of knitwear into the United Kingdom.

The European Community has negotiated textile agreements within the framework of the multi-fibre arrangement with 27 low-cost suppliers. These include numerous quotas on imports of knitwear (as well as textiles and woven clothing) into individual member states and also provide for the introduction of new quotas when appropriate. A similar arrangement is applied to Taiwan, and other autonomous arrangements are applied to certain state trading countries. The Community has also negotiated voluntary restraint arrangements with several of its preferential trading partners; five of these cover imports of knitwear.

Product Liability

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what position has been reached in negotiations over the formulation of a European Economic Community directive on product liability; what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards this matter; and if he will make a statement.

Discussions are currently taking place between experts to resolve certain remaining points of detail on the draft directive; we hope that these points will be resolved quickly and that we will be in a position to adopt the directive soon. We are in favour of this directive and, in the interests of making progress on a subject which has been under discussion in Brussels for nearly 10 years, we are negotiating constructively on the proposed compromise solution.This compromise solution is for a directive which introduces the concept of strict liability for defective products throughout the Community, with a development risks defence but no financial limit. Individual member states would be permitted to derogate on both these last points (subject to certain limitations), and there would be a review after a transitional period to assess the effects of these derogations.

International Tropical Timber Organisation

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) whether he will now agree to offer financial inducements to locate the headquarter's organisation of the newly created tropical timber agreement in London, comparable to those made by the Governments of Belgium, France, Greece, ldonesia, Japan and the Netherlands; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether he will consider making a voluntary contribution to the organisation of the tropical timber agreement headquarters if it agrees to situate itself in London; and if he will make a statement.

No. The Government are not prepared to offer the International Tropical Timber Organisation better arrangements than those which have been made for the international commodity organisations whose head-quarters are already in London.

Gas And Electricity (Resale)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to respond substantively to the Director General of Fair Trading's report on the re-selling of gas and electricity by landlords before the end of this Session.

The Government are currently considering the Director General's report "Resale of Electricity by Landlords" and will respond as soon as practical.

Japan (Ministerial Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what were the purposes of the recent visit paid by the Minister for Information Technology to Japan; what progress was achieved; and if he will make a statement.

I visited Japan to attend the British National Day at the Tsukuba science and technology exhibition and to give the keynote speech at a "Britain Means Business" seminar to promote inward investment. In addition, I had meetings with several Japanese Ministers and emphasised our concern that the market should be more accessible to imports.

Bt Shares

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry further to the answer of 13 June, Official Report, column 499–500, what steps he has taken to satisfy himself that no city firm made allocations of British Telecom shares to individual employees in amounts greater than the limit of 800 shares applied to ordinary investors.

Wales

Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many children under the age of five years in Wales receive nursery education; what were the corresponding figures for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

The information on pupils aged under five years in maintained nursery schools, for the years 1974 to 1984, is as follows:

Under five's*in maintained nursery schools
At January each yearFull-timePart-timeTotal
19741,5132,7874,300
19751,4762,9754,451
19761,6082,8874,495
19771,7222,7204,442

Under five's

*

in maintained nursery schools

At January each year

Full-time

Part-time

Total

19781,7672,7904,557
19791,8002,7854,585
19801,6922,6244,316
19811,5942,5914,185
19821,4642,6544,118
19831,4672,8564,323
19841,4602,9624,422

* Aged as 31 December.

Information on pupils in nursery classes in maintained primary schools, which is available from 1980, is as follows:

Pupils in nursery classes in maintained primary schools

At January each year

Full-time

Part-time

Total

19806,32310,19916,522
19815,93610,38416,320
19826,12711,41217,539
19835,96912,62518,594
19846,11013,69419,804

Energy

Civil Nuclear Power Installations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the civil nuclear power installations that have been (a) decommissioned and (b) completely dismantled; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer which my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, Central (Mr. Moore) gave to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey) on 31 March 1983 at column 262. There have been no recent developments.

National Coal Board

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether assurances about Government financial support for the National Coal Board, as set out in his answer of 11 July 1983, Official Report, column 225, to the hon. Member for Tatton, will apply in similar terms to 1985–86.

One fundamental objective of the National Coal Board must be to earn a satisfactory return on its assets in real terms after the payment of social grants. To this end the board is planning to attain break-even on revenue account by 1987–88. In the short term, however, I can confirm that subject to Parliament's approving the necessary provisions, the Government will continue to make available funds to enable the NCB to meet its obligations as they fall due during the board's current financial year to 29 March 1986.

Northern Ireland

Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many engineers, technical staff, and so on, were employed in the maintenance of buildings in the year ended March 1975 at the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast; and how many are currently so employed.

The figures are not available in the form requested. At 31 December 1974, 92 engineers and technical staff were employed in the former north and west Belfast district which included other hospital facilities in addition to the Royal Victoria hospital. The current figure for the Royal Group of Hospitals, which includes the Royal Victoria hospital, is 123.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the extent of additional buildings provided at the Royal Victoria hospital, Belfast, between April 1975 and April 1985, expressed as a percentage of total accommodation.

Seven per cent. However, some 13,000 sq m of additional accommodation have been provided to serve the Royal Victoria hospital, the Royal Belfast hospital for sick children and the Royal maternity hospital which are all located on the Grosvenor road site.

Children (Heart Disorders)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on current provision for children suffering from heart disorders under the National Health Service in Northern Ireland.

Paediatric cardiology is a regional specialty based at the Royal Belfast hospital for sick children. A consultant paediatric cardiologist supported by a registrar in paediatrics provides specialist care for children with heart disorders. Two cardiac surgeons at the Royal Victoria hospital provide cardiac surgery services for children who require heart operations.

Paediatric Cardiology

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will make a statement detailing the resources committed to paediatric cardiology in Northern Ireland;(2) if he will give consideration to proposals to appoint a second paediatric cardiologist to serve the needs of children in Northern Ireland who have heart abnormalities.

The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. My Department, in consultation with the four health and social servies boards, is giving consideration to the proposal that a second paediatric cardiologist should be appointed.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will make a statement detailing how many patients are currently being treated or examined by the paediatric cardiologist in Northern Ireland; and how many patients are awaiting such attention.

In 1984, 350 patients received treatment in hospital and 1,442, of whom 242 were new, were examined at outpatients clinics; 162 patients are awaiting such attention.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement detailing the equipment available for use in Northern Ireland by a paediatric cardiologist; and what staff complement would be required to ensure optimum use of this equipment.

A full range of diagnostic equipment is available for paediatric cardiology and is fully utilised.

Health And Social Services Boards (Accounts)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will place in the Library a copy of the full accounts of the health and social services boards in Northern Ireland for 1983–84, together with copies of the auditors' reports.

No. A summary of board accounts is presented annually to Parliament, and those for 1983–84 were presented on 5 June as Cmnd. 9523. The auditor's report is presented to the Department and is available to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, who reports to Parliament on the summary of accounts.

Civil Service Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what decisions he has taken about: Northern Ireland Civil Service manpower after April 1985.

I have reviewed manpower requirements of Northern Ireland Departments up to 1988 and decided on the following targets:

  • 1 April 1986–25,150
  • 1 April 1987–24,800
  • 1 April 1988–24,550
The aim has been and continues to be the improvement of the Civil Service and to match staff numbers closely to the necessary function of Departments. A small contingency margin has been included to give a measure of flexibility in planning; the figures will be revised each year as part of the regular expenditure survey to take account of changing work load and other developments.

Student Awards

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement outlining the number of discretionary awards allocated by each of the education and library boards and his Department for the current academic year indicating the numbers of higher value and lower value awards, the numbers of minimum and maximum awards, the numbers of living at home and living away from home awards, the numbers of applications for awards, and the total amount allocated by each awarding agency.

[pursuant to his reply, 4 June 1985, c. 140]: At undergraduate level the Department is responsible only for teacher training awards. Education and library boards are responsible for discretionary awards.The information requested is as follows:

Education and Library Board
BelfastNorth-EasternSouthernSouth-EasternWesternTotals
Total number of Discretionary awards made in 1984–85 academic year (A)3954553163823881,936
Of (A) the number which are full value awards2182191882461811,052
Of (A) the number which are lasser value awards177236128136207884
Of (A) the number which are maximum awards169273224782651,009
Of (A) the number which are minimum awards6850314922220
Of (A) the number which are living at home awards20214593227119786
Of (A) the number which are living away from home awards1933102231552691,150
Total Budget for discretionary awards for financial year ended 31 march 1985£510,000£714,000£571,000£515,000£632,000£2,942,000
NB: Statistics on the number of applications are not collated.

Housing Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will detail the measures which have been introduced by the Housing Executive to avoid the recurrence of overpayments to contractors.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 477]: I am advised by the chairman of the Housing Executive that the executive's policy, practice and procedures relating to all contract matters were set out in a detailed contracts code which is currently being revised. In addition, the Housing Executive has introduced and developed a financial monitor system which compares actual payments to planned expenditure. Also a computerised contracts register is at an advanced stage of design. It will record all payments made to all contractors against a planned financial profile and compare payments to physical completions. This system will highlight, at an early date, variations from planned physical and/or financial profiles and enable remedial action, where necessary, to be taken.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the total extra costs to the Housing Executive, resulting from the liquidation of the firm involved in the overpayment investigated by the Local Government Auditor, have been computed; and what advice his Department has given to the Housing Executive about the avoidance of a recurrence of similar cases in the future.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 477]: I am advised by the chairman of the Housing Executive that the total costs have not yet been fully ascertained as the matter is still under active examination. The Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) has discussed the particular case with the Housing Executive and the need generally to ensure that similar cases are avoided in the future. Appropriate procedures and controls have been developed and the Department has been assured that they have been implemented.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what procedures have now been laid down by the Housing Executive to avoid losses due to solicitors withholding proceeds of sales, bankruptcy or deaths of individuals involved in transactions.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 477]: This is a matter for the chairman of the Housing Executive who has advised me that procedures have recently been reviewed and the following measures are now being implemented:

  • (a) when notified that a sale is about to be completed, the executive will request that the tenant's solicitor immediately transfer the proceeds from the sale;
  • (b) the financial transaction will be by banker's order to guard against default by the executive's solicitor;
  • (c) the possibility of having the banker's order made payable directly to the executive will be explored with the Law Society as an additional safeguard against default by the executive's solicitor;
  • (d) on notification by the Law Society that a solicitor's affairs are not in order, or that a solicitor has died, the executive will immediately institute proceedings to recover any proceeds from uncompleted sales.
  • I understand from the Local Government Auditor that these procedures should preclude any losses due to a solicitor's bankruptcy.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made by the Housing Executive towards reconciliation of the amount of rates collectable with payment actually made to the rating authority for 1981–82 and 1982–83 in respect of the Belfast region.

    [pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 477]: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I am informed that a small group set up within the rates control section is concentrating solely on the reconciliation and it is anticipated that the exercise will be completed within the current financial year 1985–86.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many posts are vacant in the claims management section of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; and what difficulties are being experienced in filling these posts.

    [pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 477]: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, However, I am informed that there is one professional post vacant within the claims management section. Internal and external recruitment measures have been unsuccessful in attracting suitable applicants with the necessary experience in this type of work and cover is provided by secondments from within the executive.

    Terrorism (Explosive Materials)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what weight of explosive material, believed to be in the possession of a terrorist organisation, was seized by the security forces in Northern Ireland in each month since 1 January 1983 to the latest convenient date; and of that explosive material how much was of commercial origin and how much home made.

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

    Weight of Explosives in kilograms recovered by the security forces in Northern Ireland
    ImprovisedCommercialNot Known
    1983
    January342·6710·50
    February659·701·001·55
    March145·1217·130·06
    April593·003·151·00
    May723·502·50
    June548·153·00
    July392·900·680·06
    August180·7510·60
    September937·040·17
    October191·097·00
    November21·052·60
    December314·10
    Total5,049·0758·332·67
    1984
    January431·901·00
    February455·805·14
    March820·108·10
    April500·21
    May2,545·805·75
    June60·1613·90
    July202·707·56
    August64·260·061·00
    September130·509·00
    October423·5017·00
    November0·104·50
    December935·021·56
    Total6,570·0573·571·00
    1985
    January230·100·10
    February41·000·240·60
    March15·005·5015·00
    April1,094·004·25
    May633·236·43
    Total2,013·3316·5215·60

    Hospital Nursing Provision

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many hospital beds and qualified nurses there are in Northern Ireland per head of population.

    [pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1985, c. 39]: In 1983, the last year for which figures are available, the information in respect of hospital beds was as follows:

    NumberNumber per 1,000 of the population
    General Hospitals10,9657·0
    Mental Illness Hospitals4,5132·9
    Mental Handicap Hospitals1,5011·0
    All Hospitals16,97910·8
    In the same year, the information in respect of qualified nurses was as follows:

    NumberNumber per 1,000 of the population
    Hospital Nurses12,4197·9
    Community Nurses1,9271·2
    14,3469·1

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Rudolf Hess

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to make representations to the Soviet Government about the release from Spandau prison of Rudolf Hess; and if he will make a statement.

    We shall take further action in consultation with our French and American allies when there is some prospect that the Soviet authorities will respond positively; that is sadly not the case at present.

    Arab-Israeli Dispute

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent developments in the search for a solution to the Arab-Israeli dispute.

    We remain convinced that a just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute, arrived at by peaceful negotiation, is overwhelmingly in the interests of all the parties and of the international community as a whole. We therefore fully support King Hussein's current initiative, and also welcome the ideas put forward by the Israeli Prime Minister on 10 June. We maintain a close dialogue with the parties, with whom the prime responsibility for action must lie. As part of this process we recently welcomed in London King Hussein of Jordan and Deputy Prime Minister Shamir of Israel. We are also keeping in close touch with our partners in the European Community, and with the United States, on this important subject.

    Commonwealth Higher Education Unit

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will propose the creation of a Commonwealth higher education unit with his opposite numbers from Commonwealth countries when he next meets them.

    A Commonwealth higher education unit was established in August 1984 by the Commonwealth Secretariat and it is likely that its work will be discussed by Commonwealth Education Ministers when they meet in Sofia on the eve of the UNESCO general conference this October.

    Diplomatic Relations

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the names of those states and territories which are either not officially recognised by the United Kingdom or with which Her Majesty's Government does not have diplomatic relations.

    We do not have diplomatic relations with the following states:

    • The People's Socialist Republic of Albania
    • The Argentine Republic
    • Cambodia
    • The Republic of Guatemala
    • Libya
    We do not have diplomatic relations with the kingdom of Bhutan but maintain friendly contacts and conduct official business with its embassy in New Delhi.We have only consular relations with the following states:

    • Andorra
    • San Marino
    • Monaco
    • Liechtenstein

    The following, among others, are sometimes referred to as independent sovereign states but are not recognised as such by Her Majesty's Government:

    • North Korea
    • Taiwan
    • Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
    • Transkei or any of the other Black Homelands established in South Africa

    Foreign Nationals

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the number of foreign nationals, including diplomats and other foreign representatives currently residing within the United Kingdom; if he will give the comparative figures for each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement.

    In my reply of 26 March, at columns 65–74, I gave my hon. Friend details of the number of diplomats residing with the United Kingdom in the past five years.Information on the number of foreign nationals in the United Kingdom is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

    Women (Discrimination)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government intend to ratify the United Nations convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

    The Government have decided to ratify this convention. Our ratification will be accompanied by various declarations and reservations. We do not envisage that it will be necessary to make changes to United Kingdom legislation to enable the United Kingdom to ratify. Before our instrument of ratification can be deposited, we have to consult the Dependent Territories, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to ascertain whether they wish to be included in our ratification, and, if so, with what declarations and reservations. We are now doing this. I have arranged to have copies of our declarations and reservations placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Environment

    Population Projections

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the 1983 based population projections for England currently being prepared by the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys will be used for the production of a revised series of households forecasts for England, the regions and counties.

    The 1983–based population projections to be published by the OPCS will be used by the Department to calculate the next set of household projections superseding the 1981–based estimates.

    Housing Improvements And Repairs

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the light of the Green Paper on housing improvements and repairs, he will now permit housing authorities to invest all receipts from sales of council housing on new building and home improvements without central Government control.

    The measures taken by the Government to reduce the rate at which capital receipts can be used in the present financial year were necessary to lessen the risk of local authority capital spending exceeding planned levels. My right hon. Friend has no plans to remove this control.

    Nuclear Waste (Humberside)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if there are any site investigations proposed, or currently being undertaken, with a view to the possible storage of low, intermediate or high-level nuclear waste at Killingholme, Humberside.

    No site investigations are proposed or are being undertaken in connection with the storage of nuclear waste at Killingholme, Humberside. So far as the development of disposal facilities is concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) on 25 April, at column 548.

    Local Authority Housing

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total capital investment in local authority housing during the period April 1979 to December 1984, and the expenditure on local authority grants for repairs and improvements for the same period.

    During the period April 1979 to December 1984 housing capital investment in land, new dwellings, acquisitions and renovation by local authorities totalled £9,689 million and expenditure on home improvement grants amounted to £2,342 million.

    Ground Rents

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from owner-occupiers about companies taking over the ownership of their ground rent; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has received representations from time to time from some owner-occupiers when the reversionary interest in their homes has changed hands. Most long leaseholders living in houses are entitled to acquire the freehold under the terms of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The management problems of people living in flats are being considered by the committee which my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction set up under the chairmanship of Mr. Edward Nugee QC.

    Urban Programme (Waltham Forest)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the answer of 20 May, Official Report, column 392, if he will now state the increase in spending on the urban programme in the London Borough of Waltham Forest since 1979 in real terms.

    The increase in the London borough of Waltham Forest's urban programme allocation since 1979 is the same in real terms as in cost terms, that is 51 per cent.

    Cartmel And Furness Local Plan

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will order a public inquiry into the Cartmel and Furness local plan prepared by the planning department of the South Lakeland district council.

    No. When the South Lakeland district council begins formal procedures for the adoption of the plan it will put copies of it on deposit and invite objections. Objectors will have a right to be heard at a public inquiry taken by an inspector appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, but reporting to the district council.

    Homeless Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the number of people in England who are homeless; and how many are in families with children, married couples and single people, respectively.

    During the second half of 1984 the total number of households who, after due inquiry, were found by local authorities to be homeless amounted to some 65,000, of whom about two thirds had accommodation secured for them. My Department does not collect information on the size or marital status of these households.

    Water Supply, Rawmarsh

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, when he next meets the chairman of the Yorkshire water authority, he will discuss the level of water supply in parts of Rawmarsh.

    The day-to-day management of the supply and distribution system is the responsibility of the water authority, to which any questions should be referred.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the nature of the contamination of Roundwood brook in Rawmarsh in the Wentworth constituency;(2) if, when he next meets the chairman of the Yorkshire water authority, he will discuss with him the problem and the nuisance arising from the contaminated condition of Roundwood brook in Rawmarsh near Rotherham;(3) if, when he next meets the chairman of the Yorkshire water authority, he will discuss the sewerage arrangements in the Walker street and Claypit lane areas of Rawmarsh near Rotherham.

    The contamination of the Roundwood brook is due to occasional discharges of sewerage effluent in periods of heavy rainfall which can overload the sewer capacity. The Yorkshire water authority has planned a major project to improve the situation.This is a local problem and is therefore appropriate for discussion and consultation at that level.

    Toxteth Disturbances (Compensation)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria is being used in the settling of claims for compensation arising from the Toxteth disturbances in 1981.

    The Merseyside county council was responsible under the Riot Damages Act 1886 for settling compensation claims arising from the disturbances in Toxteth and other areas of Merseyside in 1981. Claims, were settled in accordance with the provisions of the 1886 Act, which provide for compensation for loss or damage to houses, shops, buildings and their contents arising from a riot. They do not provide compensation for loss of earnings or business or when a riot was not deemed to have taken place.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many claims for compensation were made following the Toxteth disturbances in Liverpool in 1981; how many have been settled; and how many are outstanding at the latest date.

    Mr. Patrick Jenkin