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Written Answers

Volume 81: debated on Tuesday 25 June 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 25th June 1985

Prime Minister

Israeli Prime Minister (Visit)

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister what progress has been made in fixing a date for an official visit to the United Kingdom by the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres.

As I said in my reply of 22 January 1985, at columns 371–72 to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels), the Israeli Prime Minister has accepted an invitation to pay an official visit to Britain. Dates are now being considered, and an announcement will be made at the appropriate time.

General Belgrano

Q92.

asked the Prime Minister when she first learnt to whom the oiler accompanying the General Belgrano belonged.

So far as I can recall, in March 1984, as the hon. Member will no doubt recall, it is referred to in my letter to the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) of 4 April 1984 published in the Official Report on 13 April at column 383.

European Union

Q108.

asked the Prime Minister if the proposals on European Union are to be discussed at the Council of Ministers meeting at Milan; and if she will make a statement.

A number of proposals have been put forward. We believe the European Council will concentrate on practical proposals for reform, including the ideas we have put forward for completing the common market, strengthening political co-operation and improving the Community's decision-taking ability.

Engagements

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 25 June.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.

Overseas Development

Ethiopia And Sudan

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of United Kingdom and European Community aid to Ethiopia and Sudan is dedicated to population control policies.

None of our bilateral aid to Ethiopia and the Sudan is directed at population related activities. Nor, we have been advised by the European Commission, is the European Community's aid to those countries. We do, however, provide financial assistance to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, both of which have programmes in Ethiopia. The UNFPA also has a programme in the Sudan.

Home Department

Evidential Breath Testing

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the report by the forensic science service on evidential breath testing; what conclusions he has reached on the basis of his consideration of the report; and whether he will make a statement.

The Home Office forensic science report on the monitoring of the Lion intoximeter and Camic breath analyser evidential breath testing machines is being published today, together with a foreword by the independent scrutineer, Sir William Paton, and subsequent correspondence I have had with him. Copies have been placed in the Library.It is clear in the light of this report that both types of instrument and their procedures are fundamentally acceptable in the sense of not placing subjects unjustly in jeopardy. We therefore intend to continue to use them as the principal means of assessing for evidential purposes whether a person's capacity to drive is impaired by alcohol to an extent which justifies criminal proceedings.The report finds that a fault in the acetone detector in the Lion intoximeter leads to under-estimation of the level of alcohol in occasional cases. This fault may result in a motorist who is in fact over the legal limit escaping prosecution, but not to a motorist who is below the limit being prosecuted. The report also finds that in a few cases there were large differences between individual breath sample results within a pair of breath samples. Some of these large differences appeared to be associated with the malfunctioning of the acetone detector. We accept the report's recommendation that: where this difference exceeds a prescribed amount a blood or urine test should be substituted.We will make arrangements for the evidential breath testing instruments in use by the police to be modified to take account of both these findings.The use of these machines enables many more drink-drive offenders to be dealt with quickly and the report makes it clear that the machines deserve public support, in the interests of road safety. Pending the findings of Sir William Paton's study, the blood-urine test has remained an option. The numbers of those who take this option have steadily declined and the latest figure available (March 1985) shows a take up rate of 16 per cent.

I think it right to allow the option to continue for a while longer, but I am not convinced that there is a long-term case for retaining it and I intend to review the position in 12 months time with a view to withdrawing the non-statutory option.

Prisoners (Injuries)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have sustained injuries whilst attending courts in the custody of prison officers during the last six months; and if he will make a statement.

Where prisoners receive injuries in the course of incidents involving other prisoners or staff a report is submitted to prison department headquarters, which is followed up if any grounds for concern are revealed. Collation of statistics of the kind requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Thorp Arch Remand Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what alternatives he considered for the future of Thorp Arch remand centre other than its conversion to a category C prison.

Other options considered included the retention of Thorp Arch as a remand centre, its conversion to a youth custody centre and its conversion to an establishment for prisoners segregated for their own protection.

Car Tracking Devices

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the policy of the Metropolitan police towards the use of car tracking devices; on how many occasions in each of the last three years such devices have been affixed by the police to cars they wish to put under surveillance; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will call for a report from the appropriate chief officer of police about the use of a car tracking device in investigations preceding the prosecution of Mr. Colin King, recently acquitted at the Old Bailey, as to what rank of officer authorised the use of the device in this case, his name, the basis on which use was authorised and as to the rank of the officer in the force concerned who usually authorises such surveillance activities; and if he will make a statement on the substance of the report.

I am assured by the Commissioner that the use of surveillance devices by the Metropolitan police is authorised strictly in accordance with the relevant Home Office guidelines. The current Home Office guidelines on the use of equipment in police surveillance operations were issued on 19 December 1984, replacing those issued in 1977. Copies of both documents are in the Library. Under both the 1977 and 1984 guidelines, the use of tracking equipment requires, in the Metropolitan police, the authority of an assistant commissioner, or, if used with the consent of the owner of the vehicle concerned, a deputy assistant commissioner or commander.It would not be appropriate to give information about the use of surveillance devices in particular criminal investigations, nor, as I made clear when the 1984 guidelines were published on 19 December 1984, at columns 152–58, would it be in the interests of the prevention and detection of crime for detailed information to be made public on the scale of use of particular kinds of surveillance devices in criminal investigations.

Police National Computer (Vehicle Checks)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of entries in the seen or checked in noteworthy circumstances sub-category of the stolen and suspect vehicle index of the police national computer at the beginning of the miners' strike of 1984; and what was the maximum number recorded in that sub-category during the period of the miners' strike.

The number of entries in the seen or checked in noteworthy circumstances sub-category of the stolen and suspect vehicle index of the police national computer at the beginning of the miners' dispute was 8,402. Over the period of the dispute the number of entries fluctuated between a low of 7,383 in August 1984 and a maximum of 12,285 in February 1985. It stood at 11,647 on 1 June 1985. Vehicles entered on this file are regularly weeded after 14 days.Inquiries made of all police forces in December 1984 revealed that five forces had at some stage used the stolen and suspect vehicle index in connection with the miners' dispute, but at the time of the inquiries there were only 25 current entries.

Dog Fights (Leicestershire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions for offences relating to dog fights in Leicestershire for each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

Information collected centrally does not distinguish offences relating to dog fights from other offences under the Protection of Animals Act 1911.

Savernake Forest (Police Activity)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for reports from the chief constable of Wiltshire as to how many police have been involved in police activity in Savernake Forest recently.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his questions on 24 June, at columns 286–87.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many applications for entry clearance from (a) wives and children and (b) husbands and fiancés were referred or deferred for enquiries at each post in the Indian sub-continent for each year since 1977;(2) how many applications from (

a) husbands and ( b) fiancés have been (i) decided, (ii) granted and (iii) refused in the Indian sub-continent in each quarter of 1984; how many such applications in each category and for each quarter were refused (1) wholly and (2) partly because of the primary purpose rule; what was the refusal rate in each instance and what percentage of these refusals was (x) wholly and (y) partly on primary purpose grounds; and if he will publish this information for each post.

Scrap Metal Dealers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are convicted annually of offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964.

The information available to me, which may be incomplete, is given in the table:

Persons found guilty of offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964
England and Wales YearNumber of persons found guilty
197948
198064
198142
198239
198328

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the number of people who are now registered scrap metal dealers.

Closed Circuit Television Cameras

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many closed circuit television cameras the Metropolitan police have for the surveillance of people in public places; how many of these are permanently fixed; where each one is located; how many of the overall total are located within the Lambeth District; how many of the Lambeth cameras are permanently fixed; and where each of them is sited.

[pursuant to his reply, 12 June 1985, c. 449]: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that, in addition to closed circuit television equipment used to protect buildings, and for criminal investigattion purposes, the Metropolitan police have six permanently sited closed circuit television cameras which are used to assist in the operational control of public order events and to monitor traffic. These are located in Whitehall, Parliament square, Trafalgar square, Hyde Park corner, Marble Arch and Oxford Circus. There are also 10 mobile cameras held centrally for temporary use in public order events throughout the Metropolitan police district as required.In addition the metropolitan police have access to 63 fixed cameras at various locations belonging to the Greater London council which they use for monitoring and regulating traffic. Three of these are situated in the Lambeth police district at the junctions between Lambeth road and Albert embankment, Vauxhall bridge and Albert embankment and Baylis road and Westminster Bridge road.

Trade And Industry

Mr C Roberts (Speech)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will arrange for the text of the speech made by Mr. C. Roberts of the British Overseas Trade Board to the British South African Trade Association in Cape Town in March 1985 to be placed in the Library.

I have already done so. Mr. Roberts is an official of the Department of Trade and Industry and his speech was approved in advance by Ministers.

Amaro Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when Amaro Ltd. of Horsham, West Sussex, last deposited its accounts at Companies House; and for how long the company has been registered in England as No. 189 1900.

Amaro Ltd. was incorporated on 4 March 1985. No accounts have been delivered, nor are they yet due.

Limited Companies

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied with the structure and safeguards for the public, in the formation of limited companies in the United Kingdom where directors and nominated shareholders are resident overseas and subject to a different legal framework; and if he will make a statement.

Scrap Metal

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many collection sites for scrap metal are presently being used nationwide.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate the value of the scrap metal brought into collection sites annually.

The value of scrap metal purchased by merchants in 1984 is estimated by the British Scrap Federation to be £600 million.

Silver Plate (Exports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give the amount of imports to the United Kingdom from EEC countries for electro nickel plated silver for the last five years for which figures are available; and whether there are any restrictions on exports of electro nickel plated silver from the United Kingdom to EEC countries.

Education And Science

School Buildings

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied that local education authorities have sufficient resources to renovate and maintain school buildings.

I should like to see an improvement by many local education authorities in their level of expenditure on the repair and maintenance of school buildings. If costs are contained and savings made elsewhere there should be scope in the current financial year for some improvement in expenditure per pupil in many authorities on reapirs and maintenance.

Remuneration Of Teachers Act

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek to repeal the Remuneration of Teachers Act.

I am prepared to listen to the arguments for change and that is why I met representatives of the local authority associations at their request in March. At that meeting they made plain their dissatisfaction with the present machinery and I repeated my readiness to consider the case for a change. I now await the submission of a written case; before coming to a firm view on the matter I would want to be satisfied that any new arrangements would offer the prospect of being a real improvement on the present ones. The Scots have different machinery yet very similar problems.

School Meals

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many school children are now in receipt of free meals at school compared to 1978–79.

In October 1984, which is the latest date for which figures are available, 1,147,886 children in England were receiving free school meals on the day of the school meals census. The figure for October 1978 census was 1,074,066.

St Aidan's School, Bamber Bridge

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to make a decision on the future of St. Aidan's Church of England primary school in Bamber Bridge.

My hon. Friend will by now have received my letter to him explaining that my right hon. Friend has decided that he cannot grant the order requested by Lancashire to transfer this school to a new site.

Hay Fever

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received recently about the effects of hay fever on children taking examinations.

Two parents of examination candidates have written to the Department about this in recent weeks.

Higher Education

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the Green Paper, "The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s".

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received following publication of the Green Paper on higher education; and if he will make a statement.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what response he has received from the universities about his Green Paper on higher education.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the Green Paper, "The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s, Cmnd. 9524".

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the Green Paper, "The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s".

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent representations he has received on the Green Paper, "The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s".

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the Green Paper, "The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s".

My right hon. Friend is beginning to receive representations on the issues raised in Cmnd. 9524. Such representations will be taken into account in the further formulation of policy for the future development of higher education: the Government hope to be able to make a further statement of their intentions in 1986.

Local Authority Expenditure

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Inspector's report, "Local Authority Expenditure Policies on Education Provision in England—1984".

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Inspectors' report, "Local Authority Expenditure Policies on Education Provision in England—1984".

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Inspectors' report, "Local Authority Expenditure Policies on Education Provision in England—1984".

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Inspectors' report, "Local Authority Expenditure Policies on Education Provision in England—1984".

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham).

Teachers (Dispute)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he next plans to meet representatives of the Association of County Councils to discuss the teachers' pay dispute.

I shall be meeting representatives of the Association with an observer from the Association of Metropolitan Authorities on 1 July 1985. This will complement a meeting which I held with representatives of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities which an observer from the Association of County Councils.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement on the current position in the teachers' pay dispute.

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the teachers' dispute.

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the current situation in the teachers' strike.

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking to resolve the teachers' pay dispute.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friends the Members for Harborough (Sir J. Farr), for Wokingham (Sir van Straubenezee), and for Christchurch (Mr. Adley), the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnet) and my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor).

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now initiate discussions with the trade unions concerned to seek to resolve the teachers' dispute.

I offered to meet the teacher unions along with the employers on 9 May, to discuss pay matters. In the event the unions did not attend. I have also made clear my willingness to discuss with them my 21 May letter to employers about the possibility of additional funding for next year. So far only the Secondary Heads Association has indicated a wish to meet on that basis. The union majority instead pursues an unrealistic claim for a 1985 settlement.

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, if he will make more funds available to end the industrial dispute of the teachers.

I undertook last July to seek extra resources for an acceptable and affordable reform of the teachers' salary structure, the clearer definition of teachers' duties and responsibilities and the introduction of performance appraisal. But no agreed proposals have come forward and teachers' pay for 1985–86 must be accommodated within the resources available to local education authorities. Last month I made public that additional resources would be available for teachers' pay next year if agreement in principle can be reached by October on a reform of the current pay system designed to help achieve the Government's educational objectives and to provide improved promotion opportunities for good teachers.

Mathematics

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the teaching of mathematics in schools.

The Government are continuing to encourage improvements in mathematics education in schools in line with the recommendations of the Cockcroft committee. Developments at the local level will be encouraged by the appointment from September of this year of some 350 advisory staff funded through education support grant.

National Union Of Teachers

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he last met the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers; and what was discussed.

I last met the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers on 21 January 1985 to discuss teacher appraisal.

Science And Mathematics Teachers

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if there is still a shortage of suitably qualified science and mathematics teachers.

There continues to be a shortage of teachers who are qualified to teach mathematics and the physical sciences and available for employment in maintained schools. The Government's plans for initial teacher training provide for an expansion in places for secondary training in these subjects to help meet the projected demands of schools into the next decade. We would also like to see more students with a background in mathematics and science entering primary teaching.

Teacher Training (Plymouth)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations he has received expressing concern about the proposals to terminate initial teacher training at the College of St. Mark and St. John, Plymouth; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has received some 80 representations concerning the proposal currently under consideration by the National Advisory Body for Public Sector Higher Education regarding the future of initial teacher training at the college of St. Mark and St. John., Plymouth. I cannot anticipate what advice the NAB will submit on the distribution of initial teacher training intakes between public sector institutions from 1986, but in reaching decisions my right hon. Friend will wish to give careful consideration to the representations made to him concerning individual institutions.

School Leaving Age

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to review the school leaving age.

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has any plans to alter the statutory school leaving age.

Drugs

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he intends to take to tackle the educational aspects of the problem of drugs in schools.

My right hon. Friend has announced a number of relevant measures in recent months.

  • —the Department has prepared a booklet of general advice on the question of the misuse of drugs for the use of teachers and others in the education service. This will be distributed through local education authorities in the near future;
  • —among other projects in this field, the Department has commissioned, through the agency of the Health Education Council, the preparation of a range of curricular and teaching materials which will be of use to educational planners, teachers and those concerned with teacher training;
  • —drug misuse has been identified as an area for attention with the Education Support Grant programme for 1986–87 and grant to support activities costing up to £2 million will be available for the appointment of staff by local education authorities to promote and co-ordinate local programmes of action aimed at drug misuse. The funding available will be sufficient to enable each local education authority to take action along these lines.

Student Grants

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the representations he has had about the level of student grants.

The Department has received just under 12,000 representations about the level of grants for 1985–86.

Open University

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he proposes to take to reduce the waiting lists for Open University places.

The Open University is responsible for determining the number of students it admits. Its broad policy is to accept new students in order of application. Students who cannot be offered a place in one year are offered places in the next. No student has to wait more than one year to be admitted.

Student Maintenance Grant

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the change in real terms of the student maintenance grant between 1978–79 and 1985–86.

The information for 1985–86 is not yet available. Such calculations are based on the retail price index at September of the year of entry. The rate of grant in 1984–85 was worth 91 per cent. of its 1978–79 level.

Textile Industry

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on the number of higher and further education establishments which run courses related to the textile industry.

Twelve higher and further education establishments in England run courses in textile technology and related subjects. The courses range from degrees at universities and polytechnics to craft level and YTS courses in technical colleges. Textile technology also forms an element of many art and design courses.

Agricultural And Food Research Council

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he last met the chairman of the Agricultural and Food Research Council; and what subjects were discussed.

My right hon. Friend met the current chairman of the Agricultural and Food Research Council in November 1982 to discuss the implications of the advice of the advisory board for the research councils that the AFRC's share of the science budget should be reduced after 1983–84.

University Grants Committee

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has met the chairman of the University Grants Committee since the publication of the Green Paper on higher education.

Special Education Needs

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied that the number of non-teaching assistants in schools is enough to enable sufficient children with special needs to be educated in normal schools.

The responsibility for ensuring that a sufficient number of non-teaching assistants is employed in schools lies with local education authorities. My right hon. Friend has no evidence to suggest that local education authorities are failing to meet this responsibility. Statistics on non-teaching assistants are not collected centrally.

Education Act 1981

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied with the progress being made in implementing the provisions of the Education Act 1981; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 22 January 1985 at column 844.

Foreign Students

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the comparative figures between 1978–79 and 1984–85 for students from the Commonwealth, Latin America and the Middle East on courses in the United Kingdom.

Information for 1984–85 is not yet available. The change up to 1983–84 has been as follows:

Students from abroad in higher and further education: Great Britain
Area1978–791983–84Percentage change
Commonwealth44,60028,600-36
Latin America*3,1001,200-61
Middle East†16,7007,600-54
* Includes: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, E1 Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina.
† Includes: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syrian Arab Republic, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Yemen Arab Republic, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain.

Local Authority Education Departments

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of those employed by local authority education departments perform teaching duties.

Joint manpower watch provisional figures for March 1985 show that teachers or lecturers were 59 per cent. of the total staff employed in local authority education in England. Separate figures are not available within the 59 per cent. of teachers and lecturers who are actually engaged on teaching duties.

Nursery Education

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to increase the number of children in nursery education.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 19 April at column 291.

Teachers (Assessment)

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has specific proposals for a scheme for teacher assessment; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he has made in his plans to introduce the regular assessment of teachers' performances; and if he will make a statement.

I have invited views on a clarification of teachers' contractual duties which I believe should include a duty to take part in appraisal arrangements operated by the local education authorities. As announced in "Better Schools" (Cmnd. 9469), the Government propose to seek the power to require authorities regularly to appraise the performance of their teachers.

Grammar Schools

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will indicate the number of pupils who are attending grammar schools in those areas which still maintain a selective system; and if he will make a statement.

In January 1984, the latest year for which firm figures are available, there were 175 grammar schools in England with 117,187 pupils.

Mandatory Awards Regulations

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to lay the education mandatory awards regulations before the House.

The Education (Mandatory Awards) Regulations 1985 will be laid before Parliament by early August.

Teachers (Morale)

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he will take to secure an improvement in the morale of the teaching profession.

I shall continue to try to increase public awareness of the importance and difficulty of the teacher's task, a task to which most teachers apply themselves with skill and dedication. The Government are seeking to assist them in that task through the policies outlined in "Better Schools" (Cmnd. 9469), including those for improving the quality of initial and in-service training. I shall continue to urge the teachers and their associations that the path to improved pay levels, greater regard from the general public and enhanced self-esteem within the profession lies in the reform of the current salary system to allow greater scope for the promotion of good classroom teachers, combined with a clearer definition of the teacher's duties to establish what can reasonably be expected of them and the introduction of performance appraisal to facilitate their professional and career development.

Religious Education

60.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to seek to ensure that religious education is taught in every school.

We have made it clear that we look to local education authorities to ensure that the statutory requirements on the provision of religious instruction in maintained schools are met.

Pupil Expenditure

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his latest estimate of the level of expenditure per school pupil in 1984–85.

Local education authorities in England are estimated to spend an average of £890 per pupil in 1984–85, according to figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. The figure was estimated at 1983–84 prices.

Primary School Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give figures showing the numbers of children entering primary school education in each of the past five years, and for 1975, in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Northamptonshire.

The Department does not collect information on pupils entering school. The numbers of pupils aged five years attending maintained primary schools in England and Northamptonshire for the years concerned were as follows:

January of each yearNorthamptonshireEngland
19758,461702,975
19807,432570,944
19817,015540,893
19826,723516,954
19836,403495,738
19846,664507,909
Information about schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friends for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Sixth Forms

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many pupils attend independent school sixth forms in England; and what proportion of the total number of sixth form pupils this represents.

In January 1984, there were 66,738 pupils aged sixteen and over in independent schools. This represents 17 per cent. of all pupils of that age group in maintained secondary schools and independent schools.

Pupil-Teacher Ratios

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the pupil-teacher ratios for Hampshire for 1984–85 for all maintained schools, primary and secondary.

The latest information is for January 1984, when the pupil-teacher ratios within maintained primary and secondary schools in Hampshire were 24·0 and 17·1 respectively; the pupil-teacher ratio overall was 19·6.

Casterton Community College

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will review the minor works allocation which he has made to Leicestershire county council so as to make provision for an early improvement scheme at Casterton community college.

The allocations of expenditure on county schools are block allocation which authorities are free to use as they see fit. Individual projects, major or minor, are not identified.I understand that Leicestershire has not made provision from their 1985–86 allocation for improvement work at Casterton community college.

St Francis Roman Catholic Primary School, Melton Mowbray

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what provision he made within the minor works programme in Leicestershire for voluntary aided schools, and specially for St. Francis Roman Catholic primary school, Melton Mowbray.

Leicestershire's minor works allocation for voluntary aided schools in 1985–86 was £40,000. The authority has not made provision from within this amount for any work at St. Francis Roman catholic primary school, Melton Mowbray in the current year.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why he rejected the bid by Leicestershire county council for a basic need extension to Melton Mowbray St. Francis Roman Catholic (aided) primary school as a major project for 1985–86; and whether he will now reinstate it.

Additional school places qualify as basic need provision where they meet the needs of population growth. Forecasts of population growth in the area served by St. Francis's school were not sufficiently firm to qualify as basic need when the 1985–86 capital building allocation was made. There is no prospect of including an allocation for a project during the current year.

School Organisation

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what changes in school organisation are planned in the light of falling school rolls.

My right hon. Friend gave notice in this year's public expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 9428) that he intended to set local education authorities new targets for the removal of surplus school places beyond 1987, after consultation with the local authority associations. It is, however, for local education authorities, in consultation with the governors of voluntary schools, to determine whether the rationalisation of school provision in the light of the continuing fall in pupil numbers should be accompanied by any changes in the pattern of school organisation in their areas, and to publish proposals under sections 12–15 of the Education Act 1980 if these are required before any desired changes can be brought into effect.

Universities And Polytechnics (Commercial Activities)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make it his policy that universities and polytechnics should supplement their grant income by engaging in commercial activities.

Sections 5 and 9 of the Green Paper on "The Development of Higher Education into the 1990s" (Cmnd. 9524) outlined the benefits to universities and polytechnics from closer involvement with business, including the opportunity to obtain more income from commercial activities. The Government recognised that the scope for supplementing grant income from business and private sources will vary from institution to institution. In addition the Government confirmed that resources for the universities were no longer based on the concept of a deficiency grant and that universities could therefore seek to maximise their income from sources other than the ratepayer or taxpayer without fear of consequential reduction in grant. For polytechnics and local authority colleges the Government have introduced legislation to remove the technical barriers which have hindered their earning income from business, and from the transfer of technology to business.

Medical Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many medical students are planned to enter medical schools for the first time in October 1985.

The target level for pre-clinical medical school intakes in Great Britain is 4,080. The provisional figure for the intake in October 1984 is 3,956. The intake in October 1985 can be expected to be similar and within the overall target.

Handicapped Children

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received regarding the current level of provision in the education system for children with the dual disabilities of deafness and mental handicap; whether he has received any representations from organisations in the Chelmsford area; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has received no such representations either from Chelmsford or from elsewhere.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many pupils with the dual disabilities of deafness and mental handicap are catered for by the education system; and what information he has as to how many such pupils there are in the Chelmsford area.

These figures are not available centrally. My right hon. Friend may wish to approach the Essex local education authority about the number of such pupils in the Chelmsford area.

Scotland

River Tay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many objections have been received to the application for the River Tay protection order; and what is the total number of individual names appended to the objections.

Eighty-five objections have been received. The number of signatures appended to the objections, some of which were petition forms, was 931.

Forestry Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the Forestry Commission's policy on retrospective applications for grant approval under the dedication and forestry grant schemes; and on how many occasions in the last 10 years such approval has been granted.

The rule in the Forestry Commission's grant schemes is that approval is not given retrospectively to planting applications. A very small number of exceptions have been made to this rule in circumstances where there has been a misunderstanding about planting approval, and where this has not been the fault of the applicant. Cases where applications had been approved retrospectively under the forestry grant scheme were listed in my reply of 17 June, at column 30, to the hon. Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson). Information on such cases under the commission's dedication schemes over the past 10 years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mentally Handicapped People (Support)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what amount was disbursed by his Department in support finance for the mentally handicapped in 1984–85; and what is the amount in the current financial year.

An estimated £2·8 million was spent by health boards in 1984–85 on support finance projects. A substantial proportion of this money was spent on projects for the mentally handicapped, but detailed information is not readily available centrally. I have indicated to health boards that I expect the overall level of expenditure on support finance in the current year to be around £6 million. Decisions on individual projects to be supported from Health Service resources are primarily for health boards.

Occupational Therapists

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many occupational therapists were in post in each health board area as at 30 September 1984; and if, for each area, he will give figures to show the population per therapist ratio.

The whole-time equivalent number of occupational therapists in post in each health board area at 30 September 1984 and the population per therapist ratio is shown in the table. The figures given relate to occupational therapists employed by health boards and take no account of those who are employed by local authorities but who also work in health related fields.

Health BoardNumber of occupational therapists whole-time equivalentRatio per head of population
Argyll and Clyde11·21:39996
Ayrshire and Arran11·51:32676
Borders2·31:44034
Dumfries and Galloway14·11:10367
Fife11·51:29955
Forth Valley13·21:20666
Grampian34·41:14455
Greater Glasgow108·01:9065
Highland8·41:23477
Lanarkshire7·21:79255
Lothian112·41:6624
Orkney
Shetland0·61:38918
Tayside45·61:8649
Western Isles
Scotland380·41:13527

Industrial Production

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the increase, or otherwise, in (a) manufacturing output and (b) productivity in Scotland in 1984 compared with 1983; and how those figures compare with those for the United Kingdom.

Manufacturing output increased by 6 per cent. in Scotland in 1984 and productivity by 8·5 per cent. Broadly comparable figures for the United Kingdom were 3·4 per cent. and 4·8 per cent. respectively. Exact comparison is not possible since the Scottish output index is not adjusted for stock change, whereas the United Kingdom index is, and the Scottish figure for productivity does not take account of the self-employed, whereas the United Kingdom figure does.

House Of Commons

Stationery

asked the Lord Privy Seal what are the quantities ordered, and prices paid, for the following House of Commons official envelopes in each of the last three years: pre-paid A4 code 145, pre-paid A5 code 143, green ensign A4 code 118, green ensign A5 code 119, white ensign A4 code 120, white ensign A5 code 121, and pre-paid Hansard size code 147.

I am advised that the quantities of these envelopes ordered through HMSO in each of the last three years are as follows:

HMSO Code No.1982–831983–841984–85
23–118180,000300,000224,000
23–119150,000340,000160,000
23–120280,000340,000200,000
23–121210,000210,000374,000
23–1431,025,0001,630,0001,080,000
23–1451,200,0001,910,0002,185,000
23–147200,000285,000270,000
Information about the prices paid is commercial in confidence.

Wales

Health Advisory Service Report

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to provide additional financial resources to the East Dyfed health authority, the Pembrokeshire health authority and the Dyfed county council to provide services for the elderly in the light of the report by the hospital advisory service and the social work service published on 7 June; and if he will make a statement.

Since 1979–80 we have provided the health authorities in the county of Dyfed with over £10 million in revenue growth funds, a 19·1 per cent. increase, together with 26·7 per cent. of the growth funds available in that period for psychiatric development in Wales. Additionally, nearly £13·5 million has been allocated in Welsh Office support towards joint finance projects. The great majority of the health advisory service's report recommendations require action by the health and social services authorities in Dyfed, and I look forward to their considered response.

Sheep Annual Premium

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many farmers in Wales have been disqualified from claiming the sheep annual premium because their claim forms arrived 24 hours late at agricultural divisional offices after 10 April; and if he will make a statement.

Thirty-three. Farmers had from 1 January to 10 April in which to claim sheep annual premium for 1985–86. Claims sent by first-class post and clearly posted in time for the last collection on 9 April have not been rejected on lateness grounds.

Psychiatric Provision

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has reached decisions on the provision of medium secure therapeutic psychiatric provision in Wales.

Yes. We received 35 replies to the policy appraisal which I announced on 14 June 1984 at column 528. Most were strongly in favour of proceeding along the lines of our proposals. A case was made, however, for a slightly larger unit in south-east Wales to facilitate essential staff training and research. My right hon. Friend has therefore decided that 65 beds should be provided for Wales in three 15-bedded units and one 20-bedded unit. These will be built on the sites of existing psychiatric hospitals.

My right hon. Friend will decide the specific sites for the units following a full option appraisal and further public consultation. However, we expect there to be two units in south-east Wales, one in west Wales and the other in north Wales. They will be constructed over a six-year period beginning in 1986–87 with two to be built initially, one of which will be the 20-bed unit. The cost of building the four units will be about £3·1 million, with annual running costs of about £1·6 million once all four are operational.

Energy

Onshore Licensing

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he will make an announcement about onshore licensing arrangements.

[pursuant to his reply, 23 May 1985, c. 536]: I have today placed in the Libraries of both Houses copies of the text of a notice announcing the invitation to apply for exploration licences in the first onshore round. The notice, which is to be published on July 2 in the official gazettes, also details the arrangements for application for appraisal and development licences, and sets out the terms and conditions for all licences. The dates for submission of applications for exploration licences are 24 and 25 September, 1985.There is no question of my allowing onshore oil and gas exploration and production at any price. I seek a balance between national and local interests, between commercial and environmental. I will not allow a single well to be drilled onshore until the full rigour of local planning law has been exercised and until I am satisfied that all the consultations enforced by the new arrangements are completed satisfactorily.For estuarial areas where planning laws do not apply, I have imposed stringent conditions — control over choice of drill sites, seasonal restrictions on drilling, and proof of ability to respond immediately and effectively to any oil spill. In addition licensees must consult with local authorities, the Nature Conservancy Council, local fishery committees, and port authorities.And, should exploration and appraisal be successful in licensed estuarial areas, any development plan will be subject to detailed consideration involving all interested parties. This examination will be co-ordinated and fully evaluated by the Department of the Environment before a decision is taken to allow the development to go ahead.

Transport

London Underground (Investment)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals London Regional Transport has submitted to him for approval regarding major investment in the Central line; and if he will make a statement.

LRT has not so far submitted any major investment projects solely connected with the Central line for the Secretary of State's approval. The signalling equipment and the rolling stock are due to be renewed in the early 1990s. The Government have provided financial assistance towards the development of prototypes of a new generation of rolling stock, which LRT will test in public service.

Heathrow Airport (Rail Link)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report details of any appraisals of the current cost of constructing a main line rail link from London into Heathrow which were taken into account in formulating paragraph 5.16 of the White Paper on "Airports Policy", relating to surface access.

There have been no detailed appraisals of the cost of a main line rail link to Heathrow; that is why we are commissioning a study of the options for improving surface access to Heathrow, including possible rail links. All the existing materials on the costs of rail links was made available at the inquiry and summarised by the inspector in his report.

Air Services

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek to extend the progress made in negotiating liberal aviation arrangements within the European Economic Community to include countries outside Europe and in particular Singapore; and if he will make a statement.

As was made clear in the White Paper on airports policy, (Cmnd. 9542), the Government will encourage the liberalisation of air services wherever foreign competition is fair and British interests are not prejudiced. However, international aviation on long-haul routes remains heavily regulated, and in these circumstances increased access by foreign airlines to the United Kingdom must be balanced by parallel improvements in access, of equivalent value, for United Kingdom airlines to that country.This policy will continue to be applied in our air services arrangements with Singapore.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate is available to him of (a) potential passenger traffic to Singapore and beyond from Manchester, (b) the number of passengers to Singapore and beyond from the north who currently fly from London and (c) the number of passengers from the north who currently interline to Amsterdam in order to pick up flights to Singapore and beyond.

The information available to me is as follows:

  • (a) Estimates of potential passenger demand from Manchester vary, but the demand to Singapore is probably in the region of 15,000 passengers per annum, with a similar demand to points beyond.
  • (b) Estimates suggest that up to 26,000 passengers per annum from the north-west, north and Yorkshire-Humberside planning regions travel through London with Singapore as their immediate or final destination.
  • (c) Reliable estimates of the numbers of passengers travelling to Singapore with only a transit stop in Amsterdam are not available.
  • Motorways (Noise Levels)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a further statement on measures to reduce motorway noise.

    I am very much aware of the concern of my hon. Friend and others about the impact of new motorways on surrounding areas.

    My Department's aim is, by careful selection of route and design, to minimise damage to the environment and especially the harmful effects of noise for people living nearby. Special landscaping and other measures are provided to give protection where noise would exceed specified levels. This may take the form of noise insulation of individual dwellings as provided by the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975, or noise barriers where they would be more economic and effective, or by a combination of methods, according to circumstances.

    My hon. Friend will be aware of the extensive works undertaken on the M25 in his constituency and also that I have agreed to consider, without commitment, the possibility of further remedial works. This will be done as quickly as possible.

    Vehicle Excise Duty

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue it is estimated was lost through evasion of road tax in England, Scotland and Wales in the financial year 1984–85.

    The survey carried out for my Department last summer showed an annual loss of around £90 million through evasion in England, Scotland and Wales. The report on the survey was published on 18 December 1984 and a copy is available in the Library.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his best assessment of the number of civil servants involved in collecting road tax in England, Scotland and Wales.

    Most vehicle excise duty is collected at post offices. In April 1985, 4,010 civil servants were employed in vehicle excise duty and vehicle registration work in England, Scotland and Wales; a specific allocation of staff to vehicle licensing work alone cannot readily be made.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many road fund licences were issued in the financial year 1984–85 in England, Scotland and Wales.

    13·9 million 12-monthly and 14·9 million six monthly licences were issued in 1984–85.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue was raised by road tax in England, Scotland and Wales in the financial year 1984–85.

    The net revenue from vehicle excise duty in 1984–85 was £2,091 million.

    Liverpool Airport

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport who will be responsible for future debt repayments and running losses on Liverpool airport; and if he will make a statement.

    The Local Government Bill provides that, if the districts within the present Merseyside county council can agree, the airport with its assets and liabilities will, on 1 April 1986, pass to them in accordance with their agreement. Otherwise it will pass, with its assets and liabilities, to the Merseyside joint transport authority.

    Singapore Airlines

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether within the framework of the new agreement allowing Singapore Airlines to provide flights to Manchester, he has any plans for further liberalisation of aviation arrangements between the United Kingdom and Singapore; and if he will make a statement.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluations his Department has carried out of the commercial and other benefits to Greater Manchester and the north of England of the opening of a new air service between Manchester and Singapore; and if he will make a statement.

    The benefits and disbenefits of a particular service are difficult to evaluate, particularly in advance. I hope that the new service between Manchester and Singapore will benefit the economy of Greater Manchester and the north of England. However, I would in general expect services from regional airports by British Airlines to generate greater benefits than those by foreign airlines.

    Trinity House Vessel

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about an order for the replacement of the Trinity House vessel Mermaid.

    Mermaid is 26 years old and her replacement has been under consideration for some time. My right hon. Friend has now agreed that Trinity House may place an order for a new vessel with Hyundai of Korea. The total cost, which will be met from the General Lighthouse Fund, is estimated at £9·6 million. This is about £5 million below the comparable UK price and cannot be matched by intervention fund support. My right hon. Friend noted, too, that 56 per cent. of the value of the content of the Hyundai vessel would be procured in the UK.

    Accidents (A17)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, in respect of each year from 1970 to 1985, inclusive, he will list all personal injury accidents that have occurred on the A17 road within three quarters of a mile of Leadenham, stating (a) the date of the accident, (b) the number and nature of the vehicles involved and (c) the nature of the injuries sustained.

    I regret that the information is not readily available. I shall write to my hon. Friend.

    "Cycles On Trains"

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will have discussions with the chairman of British Rail about the contents of the research paper entitled "Cycles on Trains" commissioned by British Rail.

    The carriage of bicycles on trains is a matter for British Rail, but I should be happy to discuss this if the chairman wishes to raise the matter at one of our regular meetings.

    Local Government Reform

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how soon after abolition of the metropolitan county councils district councils will be able to secede from the proposed new public transport joint boards.

    Where a district council can put forward a convincing case to secede from one of the new joint authorities, in principle the change ought to take place as soon as possible. I therefore hope very much that any district council which intends to make a case for early secession will do so quickly—subject to the passage of the Local Government Bill. If I receive a well substantiated case in the next few months, it will be my aim to complete consultations with other authorities as required by the relevant provisions of the Local Government Bill, so that a decision on secession can be taken before the expenditure level for the authority for 1987–88 is decided in July 1986. That would then allow time for such transfers as are needed to be arranged in good time for secession to take place on 1 April 1987.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Agricultural Prices

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the European Economic Community Commission has on any occasion reduced agricultural prices without the prior authority of the Council of Ministers; and if he will make a statement.

    The European Commission decided on 19 June 1985 that, in the absence of decisions by the Council of Ministers on support prices for cereals and rapeseed for 1985–86, it would adopt precautionary measures to manage the markets for these commodities pending the Council's final decisions. The Commission has stated that these measures would include, broadly, the application of a reduction of 1·8 per cent. to the 1984–85 prices for these commodities.

    Northern Ireland

    Dog Licences And Sheep Worrying

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many dog licences were purchased in Northern Ireland in each of the last two years for which records are available;(2) how many cases of sheep worrying in Northern Ireland were reported to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in each of the last two years;(3) how many dog-owners in Northern Ireland were prosecuted in respect of sheep worrying in each of the last two years;(4) how many dog-owners have been prosecuted in Northern Ireland as a result of action taken by dog wardens employed by district councils.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) on 15 April, at columns 58–59. The information requested on sheep worrying is not readily available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Local Enterprise Development Unit

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff have been employed by the Local Enterprise Development Unit in each of the last five years.

    Terrorism (Anglo-Irish Co-Operation)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what indications he has received from the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland as to the policy of himself and other members of the Northern Ireland bench in the event of implementation of measures of co-operation between Her Majesty's Government and the Republic of Ireland currently under discussion and including participation of judges from the Republic of Ireland in trials of terrorist-type offences in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he has sought the advice of the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland on the practical implications for the judiciary of any proposal to enable judges from the Republic of Ireland to sit and participate in courts trying terrorist-type offences; and if he will make a statement.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Uganda

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will instruct the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Uganda to compile a report on the human rights situation in that country; and if he will make a statement.

    The recent Amnesty International report, which we are studying with very grave concern, is an important supplement to the regular reports we already receive from our high commissioner.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the substance of the report by Amnesty International on the current human rights situation in Uganda, a copy of which has been sent to him.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) on 24 June at column 318.

    Recognition And Diplomatic Relations

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will list in the Official Report the countries which are not recognised by Her Majesty's Government;(2) if he will list in the

    Official Report the countries with which Her Majesty's Government do not have diplomatic relations.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor) on 19 June 1985 at column 151.

    Lebanon

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he made to the Lebanese or Syrian Governments about the recent massacres of Palestinian Arabs by Shi'ite Lebanese Arabs in the housing estates in the suburb of Beirut knows as Sabra and Chatilla; and whether the United Kingdom Ambassador at the United Nations asked for a meeting of the Security Council regarding these inter-communal Arab massacres.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross) on 20 June at column 202.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the withdrawal of Israeli defence forces from Lebanon; and what communication Her Majesty's Government have had with the Government of Israel on this matter.

    We condemned the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and welcomed the Israeli Government's decision to end their occupation. We have made it clear to the Israeli Government that we look for the early and complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Lebanese territory.

    Mr George Habash (Press Conference)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what report he has received from Her Majesty's ambassador in Kuwait about the press conference held there by George Habash, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, rejecting the Hussein-Arafat agreement.

    We are aware of statements made during his recent visit to the Gulf by Dr. Habash, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. His views have for a long time been out of line with those of the mainstream Palestine Liberation Organisation.

    Libya

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there are any plans to resume normal diplomatic relations with Libya; and if he will make a statement.

    We have no plans to resume diplomatic relations with Libya. Since the meeting of British and Libyan officials held in Rome on 5 March, our exchanges with the Libyans have continued to be conducted through the respective protecting powers.

    National Finance

    Argentina (International Debts)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if Her Majesty's Government are involved in or has been consulted about, current talks in the United States of America on downgrading the international debts of Argentina.

    Falkland Islands

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent payments have been made from the Contingency Fund in relation to the Falkland Islands.

    Economic Policy

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria he uses in determining the relative priority in his economic policy of tax cuts and investment in public infrastructure.

    Drug Detection Staff

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Customs and Excise officers were employed, in each year since 1979, solely for the purpose of drug detection tasks.

    [pursuant to his reply, 21 June 1985, c. 232]: The number of Customs and Excise officers employed solely on drugs investigation work was as follows:

    Number
    1979121
    1980133
    1981152
    1982183
    1983201
    1984212
    About 30 full-time support staff are currently employed and, as announced on 11 June, a further 50 specialist investigative posts are being added in 1985.In addition, the government announced last October an additional 160 officers solely for drugs work. A further 2,715 customs officers are employed on preventive work, an important part of which involves the detection of drugs.

    Inflation

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what factors he attributes recent sharp increases in the rate of inflation; why this has exceeded the expectations which he announced in his budget statement; and when he expects to resume progress towards the Government's ultimate objective of price stability.

    [pursuant to his reply, 24 June 1985, c. 324]: The recent rise in retail price inflation is mainly attributable to the rise in mortgage interest rates during 1985 and the fall in sterling in the latter part of last year and the beginning of this year. This fall in the exchange rate, since reversed, appears to have had a somewhat larger impact on domestic prices than was anticipated a few months ago. I remain confident that the rate of inflation will fall during the second half of 1985, as forecast in the Budget.

    Ec (Finance)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing, in respect of the calendar years 1985 to 1988, his estimates of the net payments by the UK to the EEC, pursuant to the estimates given in the public expenditure White Paper for each of the financial years from 1985 to 1988; and if he will also publish a table showing the net contributions by the UK in each of the calendar years from 1973 to 1984, respectively.

    [pursuant to his reply, 20 June 1985, c. 222]: The calendar year is not an accounting period for purposes of UK expenditure and annual figures for UK net contributions by calendar year are available only in arrears. The figures for the UK's net contributions for the calendar years 1973 to 1983 and the latest estimate of outturn for 1984, at constant 1984 prices, are as follows:

    £ million Net Total*
    1973391
    197497
    1975-147
    1976380
    1977738
    19781,481
    19791,489
    1980927
    1981466
    1982664
    1983674
    1984689
    *Negative sign denotes a net receipt.
    The figures given in the reply have been calculated in constant prices by use of the GDP deflator based on GDP in pounds sterling at 1984 average market prices. These figures are published in

    Economic Trends.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the net contribution which the United Kingdom will make to the European Economic Community in 1986 in the event of the own resources of the Community being increased in accordance with the Fontainebleau agreement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 20 June 1985, c. 222]: The public expenditure White Paper figures for 1985–86 and 1986–87 for our net contributions to European Community institutions were £750 million and £640 million respectively. These took account of the proposed increase in the VAT ceiling and the Fontainebleau abatement mechanism. As is usual, these estimates will be updated, taking account of all relevant factors, for publication in the Autumn Statement. Estimates of the United Kingdom's contributions are not produced on a forward calendar year basis as these are not an accounting period for the purposes of United Kingdom public exenditure. They are available, however, for past years.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out an index for (a) the Community overall budget and (b) the Community agricultural budget for 1985 and each of the preceding four calendar years indexed against a 1985 index in each case of 100.