Written Answers To Questions
Thursday, 20 June 1985
asked the Prime Minister whether she intends to make an official visit to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to meet Mr. Gorbachev.
asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Lenzie.
Chile (Arms Sales)
asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the leakage of official documents about arms sales to Chile and an arrangement with Chile concerning the defence of the Falklands.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General on 11 June, at column 395, about the leakage of official documents about Chile. Mr. Dennis has now been dismissed from the public service. The position on defence co-operation is as described by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces on 17 June, at column 37.
asked the Prime Minister if she will, in future, announce any decision made on nurses' pay awards by oral statement.
As I explained to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis), on 6 June, at column 440, it has been the normal practice under successive Governments to announce decisions on review body reports by written answer, and I see no reason to change that practice.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 20 June.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 20 June.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 20 June.
This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today.
Trade And Industry
Food Sales (Unit Pricing)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his policy on unit pricing on those foods sold in pre-established quantities; and if he will make a statement.
It is our policy not to extend unit pricing to foods sold in pre-established quantities. For foods sold loose or in random weight pre-packs unit pricing has a role to play in assisting consumers to make value for money comparisons. But for foods which can be sold in pre-established quantities, standardisation of package sizes based on the needs of the consumer is a far better and cheaper method of assisting consumers.This policy was set out in the Department's explanatory memorandum dated 23 February 1984 on European Community Draft Instrument 4687/84 of 31 January 1984 on consumer protection in the indication of prices of foodstuffs.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether exports are now more profitable than they were on average in the years 1973 to 1976.
Companies are now more profitable than they were over the period 1973 to 1976. Export prices have risen faster than producer prices generally. Assuming no large differences in costs between production for the home and overseas markets this suggests that exports are now more profitable than they were in 1973 to 1976.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the total financial support for the electronics industry in England from Government or Government-funded sources including grants, loans and subsidies for each of the last five years.
Support for the electronics industry in England, from my Department for each of the last five years, is set out in the table. The sectors of the electronics industry covered are scientific instruments (MLH 354), telegraph and telephone apparatus (MLH 363), radio and electrical companies (MLH 364), broadcast receiving and sound reproduction equipment (MLH 365), electronic computers (MLH 366), radio/radar and electronic capital goods (MLH 367). The figures in the table for RDG relate to electrical engineering as a whole, and include Scotland and Wales.
Payments in £ millions
|Support under Sections 7 & 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982||8·44||9·46||11·55||18·43||19·36|
|Research & Development support under Science and Technology Act 1965||20·17||24·71||43·59||63·04||83·18|
|Regional Development Grants for England, Scotland and Wales for Electricial Engineering||22·34||30·28||40·40||31·51||32·31|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will investigate whether the take-over by the South African company Altech of Scottish Cables could affect Britain's responsibilities under the United Nations mandatory arms embargo.
The United Kingdom complies fully with its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 418, which concerns the export of military goods and the transfer of related technology to South Africa. There are no grounds for believing that these obligations were affected by the take-over to which the hon. Member refers, which involved the sale of a United Kingdom subsidiary already located and operating in South Africa.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has received about the retail activities of nationalised industries.
A large number of representations have been received relating to the closure of post offices and to the possible improvement of the Post Office's counter services.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any examples of unfair competition arising from the retail operations of the nationalised industries have been brought to his attention.
No such examples have been brought to my attention.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has had recent representations from banks, building societies and insurance companies on the subject of computer fraud; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has received no such representations, and there are hence no grounds for a statement at the present time.
Industrial Development Unit
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the number of case officers in the industrial development unit has been reduced from 15 to five; and how this relates to the work load undertaken by the unit.
The industrial development unit appraisal staff complement comprises five deputy directors and 10 case officers, although currently staff in place number five deputy directors and seven case officers. The level of recruitment is dependant on the need
to maintain a full workload for individual appraisal teams which is currently below anticipated levels as a result of the moratorium on support for innovation announced by my hon. Friend on 22 November 1984.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why some documents in his Department are marked "Not for National Audit Officer Eyes"; which documents are so marked and according to which criteria; and if he will make a statement.
Files which deal with the conduct of the Departments business with the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee are not shown to the NAO. This has been agreed with the National Audit Office on the understanding that these files will be strictly confined to their particular business and marked accordingly. All papers dealing with NAO or PAC business are marked "not for NAO eyes" and placed on the files which are so marked.I understand that my Department's practice in this respect is similar to that of other Departments.
Coke Ovens, Ravenscraig
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if proposals have now been received by his Department concerning investment by the British Steel Corporation in new coke ovens at the Ravenscraig integrated steel plant; and if he will make a statement.
I have not yet received BSC's investment proposals for this year.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the percentage reduction in British steel-making capacity since 1977; and what have been the corresponding reductions in each of the other European Economic Community steel making nations.
The most recent published information on the percentage reduction in British steelmaking capacity since 1977, and the corresponding reductions in the other European Community nations is shown in the following table.
|Effective capacity of crude steel production|
|Country||1977||1984||Reduction per cent.|
|Federal Republic of Germany||67·7||54·7||-19·2|
Reduction per cent.
|European Community (9)||200·7||173·4||-13·6|
|European Community (10)||—||177·5||—|
Nationalised Fuel Industries
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether any safeguard exists to prevent the nationalised fuel industries subsidising their retail outlets.
In response to recommendations by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission both the British Gas Corporation and the electricity supply industry have introduced revised accounting procedures for their appliance retailing activities. These changes necessitated a thorough review of the ways costs were allocated to the activities and the production of revised guidelines on cost allocation. In both cases these allocations are subject to the independent scrutiny of their auditors. At the same time both industries have an objective to operate their retailing on a profitable basis.
Education And Science
Parliamentary And Scientific Conference, Tokyo
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's participation in the sixth parliamentary and scientific conference of the Council of Europe, held recently in Tokyo.
At my request my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State represented the United Kingdom Government at the sixth Parliamentary and Scientific Conference of the Council of Europe which was held in Tokyo on 3–6 June on the theme of "Science and democracy: common values in a dialogue of civilisation". I am glad to report that the United Kingdom was, additionally, strongly and audibly represented by hon. Members of both Houses, by the General Rapporteur and by a keynote speaker. I am informed that the conference was hosted with generous hospitality and great efficiency by the Japanese Government; that it was an invaluable occasion for exchanging views on scientific and technological matters of current concern in the democracies of Western Europe and Japan; and that it helped to strengthen the foundations for continuing and growing co-operation at all levels between the Member Countries. In addition my hon. Friend, who was accompanied by the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils Sir David Phillips, took the opportunity of visiting several universities, and Government and industrial research laboratories, to promote the existing good working relations between United Kingdom and Japanese scientists and to explore possibilities for their extension. The text of the conclusions distributed at the close of the conference is as follows; they have yet to be considered by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.Tokyo, 6 June 1985
THE SIXTH PARLIAMENTARY AND SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE
- —on science and democracy, on their shared attachments to freedom of speech and to concepts of rational discussion, and their place in our respect ive civilizations,
- —on technological innovation, on scientific cooperation, and on changing patterns of scientific and technological leadership,
- —on biological advances and human rights, with especial stress on new and prospective understandings of the human nervous system and the human brain,
- —on the nature of scientific understanding, of the character of the uncertainty of scientific and technological judgments and on implications to be drawn therefrom for decision procedures on issues arising from impacts of science and technology on our lives, our values and our communities,
- —on the desirability for building stronger scientific and technological relations between Western Europe and Japan;
Teachers' Superannuation Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what projection he has made of the likely change in the financial burden on serving teachers in future years up to 2025, arising from their contributions in support of the teachers' superannuation scheme in the light of the anticipated numbers of living retired teachers in the period; and if he will make a statement.
The level of teachers' contributions is governed by the Teachers' Superannuation Regulations 1976 and stands at 6 per cent. of salary. It is not related to the numbers of living retired teachers in the period up to 2025.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why expenditure on special education is projected to fall by 8·42 per cent. between 1984–85 and 1986–87.
The Government's plans for the distribution between services of local authority current expenditure in 1986–87 are provisional; and hence the projection of special schools expenditure within the education total is also provisional. A reduction in real terms expenditure is projected to occur partly because the number of pupils in special schools is falling. The Government also believe that there is some scope for reducing expenditure per pupil; it is encouraging the rationalisation of special schools in the interests of better education and a more effective deployment of resources.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what monitoring process his Department uses to ensure that text books used in schools contain nothing of a salacious, blasphemous or subliminal political nature.
The Department does not seek to monitor the teaching materials used in schools; decisions on such matters are for the schools themselves. We expect teachers to behave with due professional responsibility in this regard; any parent who is concerned about the use of a particular book should not hesitate to take the matter up with the school's headteacher and if necessary with the local education authority an ultimately with my right hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children are currently entitled to free school meals; and what percentage of those entitled to free school meals take up their entitlement.
The only figures on free school meals collected centrally for English local education authorities are for those pupils actually taking a free meal on the day of the annual census, the report on which is available in the Library. It is estimated that about two thirds to three quarters of those mandatorily entitled to a free meal take up the entitlement.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many dental students there were in England and Wales in each of the last 20 years per head of population; and how many student grants there were to dental students per head of population for the same dates.
I shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average length of time for structure plans approved since 1980 between the completion of the examinations in public into those plans and the announcement of the draft modifications and publication of the panel's report.
In the case of structure plans and structure plan alterations approved since 1 January 1980, following an examination in public, the average length of time between the completion of the examination in public and the publication of proposed modifications and the panel's report was 10 months.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will indicate (a) when his Department started using recycled stationery, (b) how many tonnes of recycled paper his Department has used in the past 12 months for which figures are available and (c) what percentage of total paper stationery consumption this represents over that period.
The first delivery of an order for 6 tonnes of recycled letter-headed paper and matching envelopes took place in November 1984. Since then, 1·5 tonnes have been distributed to officials, but it is not possible to say how much of This has been used. Figures for total paper stationery consumption are not readily available.Other items of stationery containing an element of recycled paper have been used for several years.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in the light of the national road traffic forecasts predicting a growth of 20 to 50 per cent. in road traffic by the end of the century, the controls on vehicle emissions agreed by the Council of Environment Ministers' meetings in March will result in an improvement in air quality in the United Kingdom by the year 2000.
Although the Council of Environment Ministers agreed a broad framework on 20 March for stricter standards for vehicle emissions, the limit values for large and medium cars have yet to be agreed. It is not possible to say what further regulations might be in force and what effect vehicle emissions will have on air quality in 15 years' time.
Car Boot Sales
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to confer upon local authorities the power to control and regulate car boot sales.
The General Development Order 1977 allows the use of land for car boot sales for up to 14 days in total in any calendar year. However, in any particular case a local planning authority may, by the making of a direction under article 4 of the order, withdraw this general permission, and thus bring the activity concerned within normal planning control. For such a direction to remain in force for longer than six months the Secretary of State's approval is required.
Local Authorities (Capital Expenditure)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total supplementary capital allocation issued to those local authorities which exercised restraint on capital expenditure in 1984–85.
The total issued up to 18 June is £37,566,000 to 161 authorities. A final total will not be known until all local authorities' expenditure returns have been received and analysed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how much supplementary capital allocation remains to be made to those local authorities who exercised restraint on capital expenditure in 1984–85 following the supplementary allocation of 5 per cent. of the aggregate of the basic allocations for 1985–86 for the five service blocks covered by the main national cash limits;(2) how many local authorities exercised restraint, in accordance with his request, on capital expenditure in 1984–85.
This information is not yet available, since the expenditure returns from some local authorities have still to be received and analysed.The supplementary allocations apply to the five service blocks covered by the main cash limit for local authority capital expenditure in England.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek information on which local authorities have banned the use of the chemical 2,4,5-T.
Local authorities have no powers to ban the general use of chemicals. However, I am aware that some local authorities have decided not to purchase and use for weed control, products containing 2,4,5-T. The view of the Government's Advisory Committee on Pesticides is that 2,4,5-T is safe when used according to the instructions. Bearing this in mind and the fact that local authority usage is relatively small, a comprehensive survey of local authority use would not be justified.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest figure of the number of civilians working on the Falkland Islands airport construction project; and what information he has as to how many came originally from the northern region.
As at May 1985, 2,788 civilians were employed by contractors engaged on the Mount Pleasant airport project in the Falkland Islands and the associated project to provide garrison facilities and a port. A further 54 civilians were employed on these projects by PSA. No specific records are kept of the United Kingdom regional origins of these civilians.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the prison population was on 31 May.
On 31 May 1985 about 46,300 persons were held in prison department establishments in England and Wales.
Juveniles (Adult Prisons)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many juveniles were accommodated in adult prisons (a) on remand and (b) under sentence on the most recent convenient date.
The latest available information is given in the following table. It is normal for young males to be kept apart from adult males whereas in establishments for females, women and girls may mix.
|Persons aged under 17 held in adult prisons in England and Wales on 31 March 1985: by type of prisoner|
|Untried and convicted unsentenced||Sentenced|
|Adult prisons with remand units/wings for prisoners aged under 21†||1||20|
|Remand centres taking remand prisoners of all age‡||35||15|
|Other adult prisons||6||22|
|* The figures are those recorded centrally.|
|† Cardiff, Dorchester, Exeter, Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich, Swansea, and Winchester.|
|‡ Ashford, Low Newton, Manchester. Pucklechurch and Risley.|
Sri Lankan Tamils
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Sri Lankan Tamils who have arrived in the United Kingdom since 20 April (a) have been refused entry and (b) are currently awaiting a decision; and of those who have been accepted into the United Kingdom, how many Tamils have been accepted as refugees on an exceptional basis respectively.
Figures are readily available only from the beginning of May. Since then some 1,330 Sri Lankan Tamils have arrived at United Kingdom ports and sought asylum. So far, decisions have been taken in respect of some 200, of whom one has been recognised as a refugee, 27 have been granted leave to enter exceptionally and the remainder have been refused leave to enter.
Sikhs (Political Asylum)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of Sikhs who arrived in the United Kingdom over the past 12 months claiming political asylum; and how many claims were approved.
The relevant statistics are recorded only by nationality of the applicant. According to provisional figures, 65 applications for asylum were received from Indian citizens in the 12 months up to 31 May 1985; and during the same period none was granted.
Tamils (Political Asylum)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of Tamils arriving in the United Kingdom over the last six months claiming political asylum; if his Department maintains any record of the places where such claimants reside whilst their claims are being considered; and if he will make a statement.
In the 12 months ending on 30 April 1985 some 350 Sri Lankan nationals are recorded as having sought asylum or expressed a fear of return upon arrival at a United Kingdom port. These records do not identify Tamils separately.Since 1 May 1985 1,330 Sri Lankan Tamils are recorded as having sought asylum or expressed a fear of return on arrival. No central record is maintained of addresses to which those granted temporary admission proceed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to introduce legislation to strengthen precautions against computer fraud; and if he will make a statement.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to his Question on 17 June at column 10.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many children have been convicted of offences relating to section 56 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949; what was the average sentence for (a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex, and (c) for England and Wales for each of the past five years;(2) how many children were charged with offences relating to section 56 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949 for
(a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex, and (c) for England and Wales for each of the past five years;
(3) on how many occasions compensation orders have been made on parents of children convicted of offences relating to section 56 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949 in (a) the Billericay petty sessional area, (b) Essex, and (c) in England and Wales for each of the past five years.
I shall reply as soon as possible.
Video Works (Classification)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in what respect his proposals for the designation of persons to act as the authority responsible for making arrangements for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984 differ from the arrangements anticipated at the time the Bill was in Standing Committee; and why the changes have been made;(2) why he has altered the particulars of his proposals for the designation of persons to act as the authority responsible for making arrangements for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984; and whether he will make a statement;(3) why it was necessary to withdraw and relay his proposals for the designation of persons to act as the authority responsible for making arrangements for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984.
As indicated during the passage through Parliament of the Video Recordings Bill, my right hon. and learned Friend's intention was to designate the principal officers of the British Board of Film Censors (as it then was). Accordingly, his initial proposals provided for the designation of the Earl of Harewood, Lord Birkett, Miss Monica Sims and Mr. James Ferman (respectively President, Vice-Presidents and Director of the British Board of Film Classification). After laying these proposals, he learned from Mr. Ferman's colleagues that contrary to our earlier understanding, it had not been possible to secure the consent of Mr. Ferman (who was abroad during the relevant period). To enable the designation to take effect this summer — which means that proposals must lie before parliament for 40 days (as required by section 5 of the Video Recordings Act 1984) before the summer adjournment — my right hon. and learned Friend laid modified proposals on Friday 14 June providing for the designation of the Earl of Harewood, Lord Birkett and Miss Sims.
Metropolitan Police (Truncheons)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many long (65 cm.) truncheons have been issued to the Metropolitan police; and to which districts.
I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that no 65 cm. truncheons are issued to his officers. Long truncheons (91 cm.) are issued to officers of the mounted branch while those issued to other officers are of 32 cm. or 40 cm. Truncheons of different lengths and design have been evaluated but none of these have been issued for operational use.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks are made to ensure that Metropolitan police officers do not use other than standard issue truncheons; and how many have been found in possession of such weapons since January 1980.
I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that uniformed constables produce their truncheons to a senior officer when they are briefed for duty. When any officer has occasion to use or draw his truncheon he is required to submit it for inspection by his station officer as soon as practicable. No central record is keep of instances of officers being found in possession of truncheons that are not of standard issue.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the defensive role of truncheons, outlined in Metropolitan Police Instruction Book (ch. 10) and Stones Justices Manual (p. 36), applies in all circumstances.
I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that all truncheons are issued for use in a defensive role.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of notifiable criminal offences which were recorded by the West Midlands police constabulary and the Metropolitan police force in each single year since 1979.
Statistics of notifiable offences recorded by the police in each police force area are published annually in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales" (Tables 2.4–2·7 of the volume for 1983, Cmnd. 9349). Corresponding figures for 1984 were published in a Home Office Statistical Bulletin, Issue 6/85, on 12 March 1985.
Police (Additional Resources)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional resources he intends to make available to the West Midlands and Metropolitan police forces to enable them to deploy greater manpower.
It is for the West Midlands police authority to determine the police budget. Fifty per cent. of the authority's expenditure will be met by the Home Office through police grant.The Metropolitan Police cash limit of £763·184 million which, as police authority for the Metropolis, my right hon. and learned Friend announced to the House on 14 February at column 237 represents an increase of 5 per cent. on the equivalent figure for 1984–85 and allows for an increase of 50 police and 132 civil staff posts to bring the police establishment to 27,165 and the civil staff ceiling to 13,482.
House Of Commons
American Bar Association
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about access to Westminster Hall during the inaugural session of the Assembly of the American Bar Association on Monday 15 July.
Westminster Hall will be closed to Members' parties on Friday 12 July and on Monday 15 July. Arrangements are in hand to ensure that Members are inconvenienced as little as possible. Notices will be published in the all-party Whip this week and next.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much land he has already purchased at Warcop since 1979 for dry training purposes; and to what extent such land is contiguous to the present range.
We have purchased some 36 acres of land at Warcop for dry training in two lots since 1979. The larger of these, a 35-acre field, is connected with the existing range by the smaller, a 7m-wide strip, which is used for access purposes only.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been carried out into the potential use of land to the north west and south east of the present firing posts on Warcop ranges for the purposes of dry training.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been made of the use of land at Spadeadam for infantry dry training areas.
Infantry dry training is already carried out at Spadeadam.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that orienteering and map reading exercises undertaken on the land he proposes to purchase at Warcop for dry training will be wholly confined within the boundaries of the dry training area.
It is our policy that dry training exercises, including orienteering and map reading, may be undertaken outside military training area boundaries subject to the prior agreement of private landowners.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government have been consulted by the United States Administration about current improvements in the range and capability of cruise missiles based in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
I understand from the United States authorities that no such improvements that are of material significance are currently being made.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government have been consulted about changes in the targeting arrangements for United States Air Force ground-launched cruise missiles stationed in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Deakins) on 17 January 1985, at column 185.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if Her Majesty's Government will make it their policy not to accede to any request from the Administration of the United States of America for either temporary or permanent United Kingdom basing facilities for United States Air Force B-52 strategic bombers, carrying, or equipped to carry, air-launched cruise missiles; and if he will make a statement;(2) if Her Majesty's Government have received any representations from any branch of the United States Administration with regard to the possible provision of temporary or permanent United Kingdom basing facilities for United States Air Force B-52 strategic bomber aircraft, of any category, equipped with, or with the capability to carry, internal or external air-launched cruise missiles; and if he will make a statement.
I have nothing to add to the answer my right hon. Friend gave the hon. Member on 18 June 1984.
United States Air Force
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the operational purpose of stationing seven United States Air Force B-52G strategic bombers at RAF Fairford; on how many occasions in the last five years the number of United States Air Force aircraft stationed here has exceeded this figure; and if he will make a statement.
This is a temporary deployment, from 24 May to 20 June. A series of such deployments of B52 aircraft take place each year in support of NATO exercises and are designed to test the United States Air Force's conventional capability in the NATO area. Previous such deployments have been on a smaller scale: the present, larger, deployment is of greater training value.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the number of deployments of United States Air Force aircraft at RAF airfields in the United Kingdom for the years 1982, 1983, 1984 and the numbers planned for 1985.
This information is not held centrally.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the operational purpose of the stationing of United States Air Force A-7 attack aircraft at RAF Waddington; and if he will make a statement.
36 USAF A7 Corsair aircraft were temporarily deployed to RAF Waddington from 11 May to 8 June 1985. This was a routine training deployment, designed to familiarise USAF aircrew with operations in European airspace.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the operational purpose of the proposed stationing of United States Air Force F-4D Phantom aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth in the autumn of 1985; and if he will make a statement.
A temporary exercise deployment is under consideration but no decision has been reached.
Private Security Firms
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to introduce private security firms to undertake security and fire-guarding responsibilities at 10 military victualling and stores depots, including Wilcove, Torpoint; and if he will make a statement.
The acceptability and cost-effectiveness of using contractors to undertake such tasks are under study. There will be full consultation with the trades unions concerned before decisions are reached.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the Property Services Agency's map of Molesworth was released for publication; whether publication of this kind of material is normal practice; and if he will make a statement.
A plan indicating the boundary of the protected area of RAF Molesworth was published when draft byelaws for the establishment were advertised for public comment on 25 February 1985. The normal practice is for byelaws relating to military lands to have a plan of the area attached in order to assist the public.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what specifications the Property Services Agency worked in the design of Molesworth's bunkers and the remainder of the base.
The works at RAF Molesworth will be constricted to the relevant NATO specifications and USAF requirements. They will comply with all united kingdom domestic building standard's and health and safety legislation.
Alconbury And Upwood
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the numbers of civil servants employed at USAF/RAF Alconbury and Upwood for each year from 1980.
The total number of MOD and PSA civil servants employed at RAF Alconbury is 373, and at RAF Upwood, 16. In 1980 there were 299 civil servants at RAF Alconbury; in 1981, 305; in 1982, 345; in 1983, 381 and in 1984, 383. The figures for RAF Upwood are a total of four civil servants employed from 1980 to 1982 inclusive then 12 in 1983 and 14 in 1984.
Airborne Early Warning System
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the implications for the Nimrod airborne early warning programme of the proposed joint development of an airborne early warning system by General Electric Company, Marconi and Lockheed.
[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1985, c. 38–39]: GEC Avionics has assured officials of my Department, and is being asked to confirm in writing, that any work by this company on a variant of the mission system avionics under development for the Nimrod AEW would have no adverse effect on the Nimrod AEW programme.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the net gains or losses in jobs in (a) manufacturing industries, (b) mining, (c) railways, (d) steel and shipbuilding and (e) service industries in England in each of the last five years.
Information about job gains and job losses is not available from the Department's statistics, but an indication of the net changes can be seen by comparing levels of employees in employment at different dates.The tables give the change in the number of employees in employment between December each year for the period specified, analysed according to the 1980 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).Table 1 gives information about manufacturing industries and service industries in England, while table 2 gives corresponding details of the other industries, but for Great Britain. Information for England is not available for these industries.
Table 1 Employees in Employment—England (thousands)
Change between December each year
Divisions of the 1980 SIC
Table 2 Employees in Employment—Great Britain (thousands)
Change between December each year
Headings of the 1980 SIC
|Deep coal mines||1,113||-3·4||-11·5||-8·8||-21·2||-13·2|
|Extraction of mineral oil and natural gas||130|
|Extraction and preparation of metalliferous ores||210|
|Extraction of minerals not elsewhere specified||230|
|Iron and steel industry||221||-55·8||-31·7||-23·7||-24·6||-17·5|
|Drawing, cold rolling and cold forming of steel||223|
|Shipbuilding and repairing||361|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were employed in the electronics industry in England in 1979 and the latest date for which figures are available.
The table gives, for Great Britain (figures for England are not available), the estimated number of employees in employment in June 1979 and April 1985 in the electronics industries specified. The figures for April 1985 are provisional.
|Employees in employment—Great Britain|
|1980 Standard Industrial Classification||June 1979||April 1985|
|Electronic data processing equipment (Activity Heading 3302)||49,900||70,400|
|Telecommunications equipment, electrical measuring equipment, electronic capital goods and passive electronic components (Group 344)||208,000||200,600|
|Other electronic equipment (Group 345)||149,700||132,700|
|Total of above||407,700||403,700|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of young people who have become unemployed and who have registered at unemployment offices in each travel-to-work area in Lancashire for the last 12-month period for which figures are available.
The following information is in the Library. The table shows the numbers of occasions a person under 18 became an unemployed claimant over the period May 1984 to May 1985 for each old travel-to-work area in Lancashire. Many of these new claimants will have since ceased to claim benefit. The number unemployed, under 18, in each travel-to-work area at the beginning and end of the period is also given in the table. The figures
exclude those unemployed persons whose claims are not dealt with by computer. Information for the new travel-to-work areas will be available shortly.
Number of Claims May 1984-May 1985
Total employed under 18 years of age
Old travel-to-work area
At May 1984
At May 1985
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in (i) Coventry, (ii) the west midlands and (iii) nationally have been unemployed (a) between one and two years, (b) between two and three years, (c) between three and four years, (d) between four and five years, (e) between five and six years, (f) between six and seven years and (g) more than seven years.
The following information is in the Library. The figures relate to 11 April 1985, the latest date for which the available information on unemployment by duration is produced.
11 April 1985
Duration of unemployment
Former Coventry Travel-to-Work Area
West Midlands Region
|over one and up to two years||6,584||59,738||544,074|
|over two and up to three years||3,869||38,103||305,772|
|over three and up to four years||2,899||28,641||204,693|
|over four and up to five years||2,328||21,364||143,368|
|over five years||1,620||16,298||136,254|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what information is available to his Department about which countries currently ban the use of the chemical 2,4,5-T or 2,4-D.
A complete list of countries which have banned the chemical 2,4,5-T or 2,4-D is not available. Information is available from the "Consolidated List of Products whose Consumption and/or Sale have been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or Not Approved by Governments". This list is prepared by the United Nations Secretariat in response to General Assembly resolution 37/137.
Factory Inspectorate (Prosecutions)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list, for each of the last 10 years, and at 1985 prices, the average penalty imposed following a prosecution by the factory inspectorate.
The average penalty imposed on conviction following a prosecution by Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate for each of the last 10 years relative to the retail prices index at 1 January 1985 is as follows:
|Average penalty relative to 1 January 1985 prices|
|Expenditure (£'s per pupil) on books and equipment, at outturn prices|
|Expenditure on books and equipment, at 1983–84 prices†|
|£'s per pupil||18·5||17·9||18·1||19·3||19·6|
|£'s per pupil||61·6||50·3||66·5||57·2||57·9|
Youth Training Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the number of companies located in the west midlands region who are presently employing young people within the framework of the youth training scheme.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Local Government Reform
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the reasons for the recent decision to enter into a lease for additional office accommodation at Sunley buildings, Manchester; and whether any of the additional accommodation will be required for the Department of Environment staff after the abolition of the Greater Manchester Council.
I have been asked to replyTwo additional floors in Sunley buildings, Manchester were taken by PSA for Department of Trade and Industry, which is rationalising its organisation following recent changes. The Department of Environment has not sought any additional accommodation in Sunley buildings.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales 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 latest available figures relate to 1983–84. Figures at constant prices have therefore been expressed at 1983–84 prices.
|£'s per pupil||33·3||31·0||31·8||35·0||37·4|
* Figures relate to the education of pupils at maintained special schools and other special education provided elsewhere than at school. Expenditure on special education in primary and secondary schools is included in the primary and secondary school unit costs.
† Expenditure deflated to 1983–84 prices using the GDP deflator.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the latest pupil-teacher ratio for Wales, excluding head teachers.
The overall pupil-teacher ratio in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in Wales in January 1984 was 17·3. If, exceptionally, headteachers are excluded from the calculation, it is estimated that the ratio would be 18·7.
Welsh Water Authority (Contracts)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many main contracts have been awarded by the Welsh water authority in each year since 1979; and how many companies to which contracts were awarded had their main offices in Wales.
This is a matter for the Welsh water authority. I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Gentleman.
Dyfed Education Authority
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he plans to seek to ensure that Dyfed education authority takes corrective action in response to criticism in Her Majesty's inspectors' report of 14 June with regard to deficiencies in the authority's provision for pupils with average and below average ability; and if he will make a statement.
Reports by Her Majesty's Inspectorate on individual educational institutions or education generally within a local education authority area are sent to the appropriate county council with a formal request for details of the action the authority proposes to take on matters raised in the report. This standard practice has applied in respect of the report on educational provision in Dyfed local education authority published on 14 June.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what National Health Service facilities are now available for the treatment of drug addicts in Lancashire.
Drug misusers in Lancashire may receive NHS treatment locally from primary health care teams or the general psychiatric services, or they may be referred to the regional drug dependency unit at Prestwich hospital, Salford. In addition, community drug problem teams are currently being set up in four Lancashire districts and the North Western regional health authority intends
that such teams should be set up in the remaining districts within the next two years. More information on this is contained in the report "Drug Misuse: Prevalence and Service Provision", copies of which are in the Library.
Nuclear Installations (Down's Syndrome)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps have been taken by his Department to investigate the possible increased incidence of Down's syndrome in relation to nuclear installations; and if he will make a statement.
We continually examine available evidence. The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys monitors monthly returns from health authorities of congenital malformations and, in response to allegations of a high incidence of Down's syndrome around Sellafield last year, undertook a detailed scrutiny of statistics for that area. There is no evidence from this monitoring to relate the incidence of Down's syndrome to the presence of a nuclear installation. We are not aware of any well documented studies that link Down's syndrome with radioactivity from nuclear installations.
Board And Lodging Payments
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information was used to determine the exemption categories to the restrictions on board and lodging claims by under 26-year-olds provided under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985.
In determining the list of exemption categories we had regard to the suggestions of the Social Security Advisory Committee, representations made both to the Committee during the consultation period and subsequently to Ministers and the advice of Government Departments.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information was used to determine the weekly upper limits for ordinary board and lodging claims provided under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Regulations 1985.
The new board and lodging limits were determined after consideration of the existing local limits for ordinary board and lodging accommodation and in the light of information available to the Government from sample surveys on the charges being made for that accommodation. In setting them we also had regard to what we considered was a reasonable amount for supplementary benefit to pay.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what basis was used to determine the time limits on board and lodging claims by under-26-year-olds provided under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985.
The time limits were based on the periods we considered would be reasonable to give young people an opportunity to seek work in any one area based on the Department of Employment's 'travel to work' areas. The intention was not to allow them to settle down long-term in generally expensive accommodation.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the results of the special exercise undertaken in parallel with the December 1983 annual statistical inquiry and of the local office inquiry carried out in April-May 1984 concerning the effects of the November 1983 changes in board and lodging charges.
The results of the special exercise carried out in parallel with the 1983 annual statistical inquiry are not yet available. The local office inquiry carried out in May 1984 was a sample survey only of cases in some 40 local offices. It gave information on the circumstances of individual claimants, including their board and lodging charge, and is therefore not appropriate to be published.
American Medical International
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions he has had with American Medical International.
We consider that the independent health sector makes an important contribution to the health care facilities which are available, and that
|Population aged 15 to 24 years||Change mid-1975 to mid-1984|
|United States of America||40,540,000||40,078,000||-462,000||-1·1|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the change in the numbers reaching retirement age in the United Kingdom
|Number of persons reaching retirement age*in the year to||Change mid-1975 to mid-1984|
|Mid 1975||Mid 1984||Number||Percentage|
|United States of America||1,847,000||2,138,000||+291,000||+15·8|
|* Age 65 for males and age 60 for females|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will withdraw the regulations which require that unemployment benefit shall be refused to any applicant who has accepted redundancy as part of a national industrial arrangement.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
it is important for us to keep in touch with the major operators in this field. Consequently, Ministers and officials have frequent contacts with American Medical International and other large private health care companies to discuss matters of mutual interest.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to ensure that once an attendance allowance is awarded, payment will be backdated to the time of the relevant medical examination.
The date from which an attendance allowance award is payable is a matter for the independent adjudicating authorities. It is usually payable either from the date of claim or the date on which the six months qualifying condition is satisfied, whichever is later. The date of the medical examination is not a significant factor in the award. If the right hon. Member has a particular difficulty in mind I shall be pleased to look into it.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the population change in the 15 to 24 year age group between 1975 and 1984 in the United Kingdom; and whether he has any information about the comparable figures for the United States of America.
The information requested is as follows:between 1975 and 1984; and whether he has any information about the comparable figures for the United States of America.
The information requested is as follows:
Limited List Prescribing
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he is not planning to monitor the price of drugs not now available under the National Health Service since the introduction of the limited list.
Because we are only responsible for the National Health Service.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the levels of housing benefit payments which have been made available to single families in each year since 1979.
It is estimated that expenditure on housing benefit received by lone parents is as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate how many local staff of his Department will be fully involved in housing benefit work if the proposals of the review of social security are fully implemented.
This cannot be assessed until detailed procedures for administering the new scheme are decided.
Social Security Review
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from managing directors of businesses in the west Midlands region about administration of family credit resulting from his new social security proposals.
We are not aware of any such representations.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what specific steps he intends to take to reduce the hours presently worked by junior doctors in National Health Service hospitals; and what discussions he intends to have about this with representatives of the medical profession and local health authorities.
|Whole time equivalent of consultant posts vacant or without a permanent holder in West Midlands region and England—September 1984|
|West Midlands||England||Proportion in West Midlands (per cent.)|
|(i) Wholly unoccupied||110||703||16|
|(ii) Occupied by locums||15||174||9|
|(iii) Posts unoccupied by a permanent holder for 12 months or more:|
|(a) wholly unoccupied||39||325||12|
|(b) occupied by locums||6||69||9|
Doctors (Drug References)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what resources he intends to make available to provide general practitioners greater reference facilities to the European and British Pharmacopoeia and the British Pharmaceutical Codex.
My reply of 23 May to the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Mr. Hoyle) at columns 538–9 outlined the action we have taken or have in hand to reduce junior doctors' hours. I have placed copies in the Library of a detailed report, which we have recently sent to the Social Services Select Committee. We are continuing to monitor progress, and we shall also cooperate with the independent survey of juniors' hours commissioned by the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration.
Nhs (Training Seminars)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many seminars have been organised jointly by the National Health Service training authority and the British Medical Association for the purpose of persuading clinicians to enter health service management; in what regions of England and Wales these have taken place; what proportion of them were attended by officials of his Department; and how many clinicians have so far been appointed as managers in the National Health Service.
Fifteen such seminars have been held, one in each English region and one in Wales. A medical officer from our Department attended the seminar held in Birmingham.To date one doctor has been appointed as a regional general manager and 13 doctors have been appointed as district general managers.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of wholly unoccupied consultant posts, consultant posts occupied by locums, consultant posts wholly unoccupied and not occupied by a permanent holder for 12 months or more and consultant posts occupied by locums and not occupied by a permanent holder for 12 months or more in the National Health Service, which were recorded by his Department on 30 September 1984, were in the west midlands region.
The information requested is as follows:
National Alcohol Forum
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what level of financial support his Department intend to give to the National Alcohol Forum.
Officials of this Department have recently held informal discussions with interested bodies about the proposal contained in the Health Departments' discussion document "Drinking Sensibly", to establish an Alcohol Forum. The question of financial support for a forum is one of a number of matters which will be the subject of further discussions.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which representatives of brewers, whisky distillers and wine and spirit merchants and charities met recently at his Department to discuss steps to take to curb alcoholism.
The bodies represented, were the Brewers' Society, the Scotch Whisky Association, the Wine and Spirits Association, the Health Education Council and Alcohol Concern.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many dentists there are in England and Wales per head of population.
As at 30 September 1984 there were approximately 0·36 dentists (that is, general dental practitioners and members of the hospital and community dental services) per 1,000 population in England and Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of adults in England and Wales have had all their natural teeth removed or extracted.
The 1978 survey of adult dental health in England and Wales indicated that 29 per cent. of the population aged 16 and over had no natural teeth.
Industrial Injuries Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to extend the industrial injuries scheme to workers injured in the Falkland Islands.
There are regulations in force in the Falkland Islands covering workmen's compensation for industrial injuries. I understand the hon. Member may have a particular case of injury in mind. I am seeking further information about this, and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Stanley Royd Hospital, Wakefield
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the investigation being presently conducted by the Health and Safety executive into the food poisoning at the Stanley Royd hospital in Wakefield to be concluded; and if he will publish its findings in the Official Report.
We are not aware of any investigation of this outbreak by the Health and Safety Executive. Mr. John Hugill is chairman of the committee of inquiry that my right hon. Friend set up into the outbreak and the public hearings of oral evidence were completed on 17 May. We have undertaken to publish the findings of the Committee. We are awaiting its report.
Hospitals (Infection Rates)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the post surgical infection rate in National Health Service hospitals in each year since 1979.
[pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1985, c. 557.] The available information is given in the table.
|Year||Estimated number of inpatient cases with a diagnosis of post-operative infection as percentage of all in-patient cases who undergo operations|
|England and Wales|
|* Excluding psychiatric and maternity hospitals and units|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current level of spending on research into the causes and cure of tinnitus and how that compares with 1979.
I have been asked to reply.The Medical Research Council, which receives its grant-in-aid through the Department, is the main Government agency for the promotion of medical research in the United Kingdom. I understand that in the financial year 1983–84 MRC's expenditure on research on tinnitus was £160,000 compared with £118,000 in the financial year 1981–82. No comparable figures on this condition are available prior to 1981–82, nor as yet for 1984–85.The council is always willing to consider soundly based research proposals for support through its grant schemes in competition with other applications.In addition to the work supported by the MRC, at the Institute of Hearing Research and elsewhere, research work on, and relevant to, tinnitus may also be conducted in universities and medical schools using funds allocated for teaching and research on the advice of the University Grants Committee, but details of such work are not collected centrally. The medical charities may also be conducting work in the field.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has recently made to the United Nations on the situation in the Lebanon.
We supported United Nations Security Council resolution No. 564 of 31 May calling on all parties to help alleviate the suffering resulting from recent violence in Lebanon. We remain in close touch with the United Nations Secretary-General and others concerned.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what priority Her Majesty's Government are currently giving to the establishment of a 200-mile exclusive fishing zone around the Falklands; and if he will make a statement.
We are working actively for the establishment of a multilaterally-based fisheries conservation and management regime around the Falkland Islands.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any amendments have been made to Statutory Instruments numbers 277 and 1624 of 1978; and if he will make a statement.
Statutory Instrument 277 of 1978 has been amended by Statutory Instruments Nos. 1034 of 1978 and 1895 of 1978 and Statutory Instrument No. 1671 of 1981. Statutory Instrument No. 1624 of 1978 has been amended by Statutory Instrument No. 1894 of 1978.
Mr Ewen Fergusson (American Visit)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whom Mr. Ewen Fergusson, deputy under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, met when he visited the United States of America to discuss developments in South Africa earlier in 1985.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 17 June at column 34.
Business International Conference (Ministerial Speech)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will arrange for the text of the speech by the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) to the Business International conference in London on 6 June, to be placed in the Library.
This is not possible. My speech, which was a restatement of existing Government policy, was made without a prepared text.
Victims Against Terrorism
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether officials from his Department met representatives of the organisation Victims Against Terrorism in the week beginning 20 May; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) on 11 June 1985 at column 416.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will investigate possible violations of Statutory Instrument 277 of 1978 by Racal in providing licences to Grinaker Holdings Ltd. for the manufacture of military equipment in South Africa and Plessey as a result of its provision of technology to South African Micro Electronic Systems.
If the hon. Member has any information bearing on his question, he should forward it to me and I shall arrange for it to be investigated. I would not be prepared to initiate investigations in the absence of some evidence.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to obtain from the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics a copy of the report of the death of Raoul Wallenberg; and if he will make a statement.
The official Soviet version of the events surrounding the reported death of Mr. Wallenberg is contained in a note handed by the then Deputy Minister Gromyko to the Swedish ambassador in Moscow in 1957. This stated that Mr. Wallenberg had died of a heart attack in Lubianka prison in 1947; that all documents relating to the case had disappeared except for a handwritten report by the head of the prison medical service; and that a Minister for State Security, executed in the mid-1950s, had previously misled the Soviet Foreign Ministry about Mr. Wallenberg's presence in the Soviet Union and his alleged death. All subsequent inquiries have been answered by reference to this note.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the own resources decision made at Fontainebleau makes provision for possible intergovernmental agreements to provide additional sums in the event of the expenditure of the European Economic Community exceeding the new proposed limits; and if he will make a statement.
The new own resources decision, like the existing own resources decision, makes no provision for additional sums to be made available in the event of the VAT ceiling being reached but neither does it exclude them. Sums provided under intergovernmental agreements are not own resources.
Foreign Affairs Council
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Foreign Affairs Council of 18 and 19 June.
I represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council which met in Luxembourg on 18 June, and our permanent representative to the European Communities, Sir Michael Butler, did so when the Council continued on 19 June.The Council adopted a declaration recalling that GATT proceedings against Japan had been suspended while bilateral discussions continued and expressing its concern over the lack of progress made by Japan in opening up its market. It contrasted Japan's shared responsibility to preserve and strengthen the open multilateral trading system, from which Japan benefits so much, with her relatively low propensity to import manufactures. The declaration, which will form the background to Prime Minister's Nakasone's visit to Brussels on 19 July, noted that the three-year action programme being prepared by the Japanese Government will be credible only if it embraces a clearly verifiable commitment to a significant and sustained increase in imports of manufactures and processed agricultural products into Japan and similar importance is attached to the liberalisation of financial markets and the internationalisation of the yen.The Council adopted a declaration on a dispute in the GATT between the Community and the United States on the Community's import regime for citrus products, expressing the Community's hope that all trade issues which divide the Community and the United States might be resolved amicably, but warning that, if the United States takes unilateral action on this question, the Community would be obliged to take counter-action.The Commission reported to the Council on the demarche by the Polish Government, currently in the chair of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), on closer links with the Community, which is to be considered further by member states.
There was a brief discussion on integrated Mediterranean programmes. The Council will meet on 25 June to discuss the Commission's latest draft regulation in greater detail.
The Council agreed a negotiating mandate for the second EC-Yugoslavia financial protocol, and an EC-Yugoslavia co-operation council was held. There was also discussion about the terms of a new financing regulation for Mediterranean financial protocols.
Ministers also discussed informally on 18 June preparations for the meeting of the European Council at Milan on 28–29 June. There was broad agreement with our view that the European Council must aim to take the key decisions which would contribute, in real and practical ways, to the development of the Community.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
European Community (Cane Sugar)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had about the impact of Portugal's membership of the European Community on future supplies of African, Caribbean and Pacific ocean countries raw cane sugar into the European Economic Community.
My right hon. Friend and I are in regular contact with the sugar industry on current issues, including the possible impact of Portugal's membership of the European Community and future supplies of ACP raw cane sugar.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to be able to announce what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take on the recommendations made by the Farm Animal Welfare Council.
I understand that my hon. Friend is referring to the Council's report on red meat animals at the time of slaughter. The report raises a number of important issues to which we plan to issue our response within the next two months.
Herons And Cormorants
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all those organisations that have received licences to kill (a) herons and (b) cormorants in 1985.
I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave him on 25 and 30 April. No licences to kill either cormorants or herons have been issued by my Department in 1985. Of the licences to kill cormorants issued in 1984, one issued to a "put and take" fishery remains valid until October 1985.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has for underwriting and subsidising loans for the purchase or modernisation of fishing vessels.
The Government already provide funds to enable the Sea Fish Industry Authority to make loans for the construction or modernisation of fishing vessels at commercial rates.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with the operation of the decommissioning scheme so far as it affects the inshore fishing industry.
I am satisfied that the decommissioning scheme has offered and is offering valuable assistance to owners of inshore fishing vessels who wish to withdraw them from fishing.
Cereal And Oilseed Rape Prices
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to reach agreement on cereal and oilseed rape prices with his European Economic Community colleagues.
I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 13 June.
Export Payments (Refunds)