Written Answers To Questions
Friday 28 June 1985
Milk And Cream
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on current progress regarding the bringing forward of amendments to the Milk (Special Designations) (Scotland) Order 1980 and the Cream (Heat Treatment) (Scotland) Regulations 1983; and if he will indicate which bodies are being consulted and the time scale envisaged for proposed amendments.
Proposed amendments to the Cream (Heat Treatment) (Scotland) Regulations 1983 were issued by my Department on 26 June 1985. The normal period for consultation of three weeks is proposed. After considering the responses, it is intended to lay the regulations before the summer recess. The organisations consulted are:
- The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
- The Scottish Milk Products Manufacturers' Association.
- the Scottish Dairy Trade Federation.
- The Scottish Milk Marketing Board.
- The Aberdeen and District Milk Marketing Board.
- The North of Scotland Milk Marketing Board.
- The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland.
- The National Farmers' Union of Scotland.
- The Association of Scottish Public Analysts.
- The Scottish Food and Drugs Co-ordinating Committee.
- The British Medical Association (Scottish Branch).
- The Council of the Scottish Agricultural Colleges.
- The Scottish Consumers' Council.
Nurses And Midwives
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how he expects to fund the costs which will be incurred by the Scottish health boards in meeting the pay awards to nurses and midwives during the financial year 1986–87.
The cost to the health boards in 1986–87 of meeting the 1985 pay awards for NHS staff will be considered when forward provision for the health programme is reviewed in the current survey of public expenditure.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has yet completed the review of the use of surveillance equipment by the police; whether guidelines on this and on the work of special branches have yet been issued; and if he will make a statement.
The review of the use of surveillance equipment has recently been completed and revised guidelines have been issued to the police in Scotland. Following a separate review, guidelines on special branches also have been issued. I am arranging for copies of both sets of guidelines to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Council Of Ministers
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.
The usual written forecast was deposited in the House earlier today. At present, four meetings of the Council are scheduled for July.The Economic and Finance Council is due to meet on 8 July to continue its discussion of implementation of budget discipline in relation to the 1986 budgetary procedures. The Council will also consider the Commission's second quarterly review of the economic situation in the Community.The Agricultural Council is expected to meet on 15 and 16 July to complete discussions on Commission price proposals in respect of cereals and rapeseed. The Council may also consider veterinary harmonisation (hormones and heat-treated milk).The Foreign Affairs Council is due to meet on 22 and 23 July to consider a proposal for simplifying frontier controls at ports and airports; the Mediterranean financial protocols; policy on the multi-fibre arrangement; and a negotiating mandate for an EC/Central America co-operation agreement. The Council will probably also have to consider follow up to the Milan European Council.The Industry Council is expected to meet on 26 July to discuss Commission proposals for a future regime for steel aids and quotas.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on current United Kingdom relations with Peru.
We enjoy friendly relations with Peru and maintain frequent contact on a wide range of subjects. Dr. Javier Silva Ruete, adviser to the President-Elect, Dr. Alan Garcia, was able to pay a short visit to London as our guest from 11–14 June. I will have the honour to represent the Government at Dr. Garcia's inauguration on 28 July.
Law Commission Liability
asked The Attorney-General when Her Majesty's Government propose to introduce legislation regarding the report of the Law Commission on liability; and what representations the Lord Chancellor has received from the construction industry in this regard.
I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the 24th Report of the Law Reform Committee (Cmnd. 9390) which concerns the law of limitation in negligence cases involving latent damage. Legislation based on the Committee's recommendations will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time is available. Following publication of the committee's report, the Lord Chancellor's Department received a number of representations from a broad range of interested groups. Among those in the construction industry from whom comments were received were the Building Employers' Confederation, the Federation of Master Builders, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Association of Consultant Architects, the Association of Consulting Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers.
asked the Prime Minister if, further to her reply to the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark), 24 June, Official Report, column 292, she will indicate why the proceedings of the Committee on International Trade in Endangered Species Regulations are confidential.
The United Kingdom is observing the rules of procedure for this committee which state that the proceedings shall be confidential. This is the normal practice for committees of this nature.
asked the Prime Minister what is the yearly cost of hiring motor cars for use by Ministers of the Crown and senior civil servants; and if she will estimate the cost of the Government keeping its own fleet of small motor cars for this purpose.
The Government car service currently provides chauffeur driven transport to Ministers of the Crown, the Leader of the Opposition, senior civil servants and other authorised users of the service at an annual cost of £3,351,000. To supplement this at periods of peak demand, chauffeur driven cars and taxis are hired at an annual cost of £186,000.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, as part of the forthcoming review of the Burnham committee arrangements, he will consider the case for an independent secretariat for the teachers' panel and for the adoption of rules and standing orders for the conduct of business by the teachers' panel.
I have decided to undertake a review of the composition of the teachers' panel of the Burnham primary and secondary committee under the powers granted to me by the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965. The Act does not give the holder of my office any powers to determine the Committee's working arrangements. Matters relating to the secretariat and to standing orders are accordingly outside the purview of the review.
Education Maintenance Allowances
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the cost of providing education maintenance allowances for all pupils remaining in schools or colleges for one year after the statutory school leaving age, at the rate of £27 per week, for one week, 38 weeks, 40 weeks, or 52 weeks and similarly for those remaining for two years and for three years, after deducting child benefit and existing education maintenance allowances.
The estimated cost of providing educational maintenance allowances for all pupils aged 16–18 remaining in schools and non-advanced further education beyond their 16th birthday is as follows:
1. Figures for pupils and students are as at January 1984.
2. Expenditure figures have been rounded; consequently the figures for each age group do not precisely match the totals in the right hand column.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what was the increase in teachers' pay in each of the years from 1974 to 1979 expressed as a percentage; and what was the total increase over the period expressed as a percentage;(2) what was the increase in teachers' pay in each of the years from 1979 to 1985 expressed as a percentage; and what was the total increase during this period expressed as a percentage.
Percentage increases in teachers' salaries for each year from 1979 to 1984 inclusive are given in the table. All settlements have been attributed to 1 April though those for 1974 and 1980 represent a consolidation of separate settlements applicable from two or more dates during those years.The cumulative value of settlements over the six years up to and including April 1979 amounts to 126·;3 per cent. The value of settlements over the subsequent five year period up to April 1984 amounts to 69·9 per cent. I would also refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) on 7 February at columns 667–668.
|Percentage increase in teachers' pay|
|* A negotiated settlement of 8 per cent. from 1 April 1974 plus an additional 27 per cent. recommended by the Houghton Committee taking|
effect from 24 May and estimated to be worth a further 2 per cent. in the long term.
† A 14·6 per cent. arbitration award plus an additional 17·9 per cent. awarded by the Clegg Commission.
Criminal Injuries (Compensation)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1973 the amount of compensation payments made under the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973;(2) if he will publish in the
Official Report a table giving the amounts in each year since 1 January 1977, of payments made under the Northen Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978.
The information is as follows:—
|Financial Year||Amount Paid £|
|* Of this amount some £13,000 for April and May 1978 was paid under the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973. The balance of compensation for 1978/79 and all subsequent payments were made under the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 which came into operation on 1 June 1978.|
|† This amount may be subject to a slight variation on completion of the Appropriation Account.|
Royal Ulster Constabulary
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the cost of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in each calendar year 1983 and 1984 giving separately figures for (a) salary and benefits, (b) transport and communication, (c) new construction, (d) other costs, (e) total gross expenditure and (f) total net expenditure after deduction of receipts.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the amount of the security staff premium paid by the Government in each of the fiscal years 1982–83 and 1983–84.
Payments under the security staff grants scheme came to £1,354,821 in 1982–83, and £1,296,377 in 1983–84.
Droppin Well Bombing (Remands)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will give the length of custodial remand undergone by persons charged in connection with the Droppin Well bombing; and if he will make a statement as to when the trial of such persons may be expected to take place;(2) how the period of custodial remand undergone by persons charged in connection with the Droppin Well bombing compares with the average period of remand without bail for persons charged with scheduled offences in Northern Ireland; and if he will comment on reasons for any abnormal delay in bringing persons charged in connection with the Droppin Well bombing to trial.
[pursuant to his reply, 24 June 1985, c. 322]: Of the five persons currently awaiting trial having been charged with offences arising from the bomb explosion at the Droppin Well, Ballykelly on 6 December 1982, two have been in custody for 83 weeks, one has been in custody for 73 weeks and two have been in custody for 55 weeks.All five persons were committed for trial on 20 November 1984 and were arraigned on 8 March 1985. The Crown has in principle been ready to proceed with the prosecution since that date. I understand that on 20 June 1985 the defence solicitors notified the Belfast Crown Court of the identities of the senior defence counsel, and that the trial may therefore be expected to take place during the legal term which begins in September 1985. The average period spent in custody between first remand and the first day of trial by those charged with scheduled offences who were in custody at the time their trial started and whose cases were disposed of during 1984, was 47 weeks.There are a number of reasons why particular cases take longer than normal to bring to trial. In the case of the five persons charged with offences relating to the Droppin Well explosion. The fact that they were arrested at different times had on impact on the progress on police investigations and on subsequent stages leading up to arraignment. I am satisfied that there has been no untoward delay in the handling of this case.
Trade And Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the estimate of the percentage of world trade in manufactures in 1984; and how this compares with the percentage in the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom share of exports of manufactures by the main manufacturing countries is estimate to have been 7·6 per cent. in 1984. The MMCs account for about three quarters of world trade in manufactures.
House Of Fraser
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he sought any evidence from sources other than the A1 Fayeds or Kleinwort Benson as to whether the A1 Fayeds had adequate cash resources from their own funds to pay for the House of Fraser prior to taking his decision not to refer their bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he sought any evidence, other than from Kleinwort Benson and the A1 Fayeds upon which to ascertain the true beneficial ownership of the House of Fraser prior to making his decision not to refer the bid by A1 Fayed to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; and if he will make a statement.
The Secretary of State took his decision not to refer in the light of information about the proposed merger from a number of sources.
Telephone And Radio Apparatus
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will introduce legislation to prohibit the sale of such cordless telephones and citizens band radio apparatus which it is an offence to use in the United Kingdom.
I hope to introduce orders later this year on cordless telephones and citizens' band radio under Section 7 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1967 (as amended by section 77 of the Telecommunications Act) which gives powers to restrict manufacture, sale, hire and importation of specified wireless telegraphy apparatus. The restrictions will apply to all cordless telephones which are not exempt from licence requirements in the United Kingdom. The restrictions will also apply to all citizens' band radio which cannot be licensed for use in the United Kingdom with the exception of angle modulated radios designed to operate in the 26,960 MHz-27,410 MHz band and which meets the technical specifications contained in recommendations T/R 20–02 of the conference of European posts and telecommunications administrations. The exception will be made because the United Kingdom is moving towards harmonisation with the rest of Europe on the specification of CB equipment. However, because of the requirements of existing radio users, the CB service in the 26,960–27,410 MHz band cannot be introduced until 1987 at the earliest so use of this equipment will remain an offence until the band can be cleared of its existing users and made over to the CB service.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek to give legal force to BS 905: Part 2: 1985 which specifies limits of immunity for radio and television broadcast receivers and associated equipment.
In over 20 per cent. of the complaints made to my Department in which the complaintts believe they are suffering radio interference the problem arises in fact because their own receiving equipment lacks immunity, that is the equipment picks up transmissions from various radio users operating outside the broadcast channels. In order to cut down these reception problems, I hope to introduce later this year regulations under section 12A of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (as amended by section 78 of the Telecommunications Act 1984) to restrict new contracts for the sale, hire and advertising of broadcast receiving equipment which does not meet BS 905: Part 2: 1985.
Common Law Institute Of Intellectual Property
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is able to offer financial support to the newly-formed Common Law Institute of Intellectual Property.
As the Green Paper published in December 1983 indicated, the importance of intellectual property for industry and commerce has been insufficiently appreciated in the United Kingdom. I therefore welcome the recent formation of the Common Law Institute of Intellectual property and propose to provide it with a grant aid of £25,000 in the current financial year and up to £50,000 in each of the two succeeding years, subject to matching contributions from industry, to carry out academic research into legal and economic factors relevant to the creation and exploitation of intellectual property rights. I shall monitor its operations, which should make a considerable contribution to the development of the innnovative capacity of the United Kingdom. Parliamentary approval to this new grant in aid provision will be sought in a revised Estimate for the scientific and technological assistance vote. Pending that approval the necessary expenditure will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.
Wide Area Paging
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has received the Director General of Oftel's advice on the future of Bands I and III and on wide area paging; and if he will make a statement.
I have received the Director General's advice and I have also been able to discuss it with him. I understand it will be published today.I have found the Director General's advice extremely helpful in reaching decisions on these matters. Our discussion enabled us to explore the more complex issues and reach agreement on means of finding solutions.Before reaching my decisions I received comments from a number of hon. Members, from radio manufacturers and users. In addition, I and my officials have discussed the issues involved with industry and user groups and with individual companies.In the light of the Director General's advice and given the uncertainty of forecasts of future demand for private mobile radio services and of the nature and speed of technical developments, I have decided against making allocations in the lower and upper sub-bands of band III at this stage and that therefore new band III users should operate in the middle sub-band of band III.I am aware of the increasing interest in the United States of America in exploiting single side band modulation techniques to improve radio frequency spectrum use, particularly for land mobile radio and aeronautical public correspondence, and I am pleased to note that the United Kingdom has a prominent lead in the development of this technology. It is therefore sensible that encouragement be given to further development of SSB and I shall consider at the appropriate time its introduction in either the upper or lower sub-band of band III, or indeed in other parts of the radio spectrum.I have decided that the balance of interest of United Kingdom industry and users of private mobile radio lies in the establishment of mobile radio on a nationwide basis. An invitation to apply by the beginning of September for licences to operated such a service will be issued on 1 July and I have asked the Director General to consider these applications and to make recommendations by the end of the year. Copies of the notes of guidance for applicants can be obtained at OFTEL.For spectrum engineering reasons, including the need to avoid causing interference to neighbouring countries, it is possible that only one licence will be issued on a nationwide basis. Certainly these reasons will preclude the assignment of more than a handful of national frequencies. In the long term, some 200 channels will be made available for nationwide services but initially somewhat less than this number will be released.Whether one or two systems are licened on a nationwide basis initially, provision will be made to allow a further national private mobile radio network to operate in the lower sub-band of band III as and when demand and the needs of competition call for it.One of the main reasons prompting this decision is that a demand for private mobile radio on a national roaming basis does appear to exist and could not be met by a collection of local systems; a geographical coverage requirement will be imposed on any successful applicant for a national system licence, but I believe it would be better to decide on that requirement after the applications have been received. The allocation of a substantial section of the available spectrum for private mobile radio in band III on a nationwide basis requires that careful consideration be given to the question of competition. In particular, the case which the Director General has made for two networks will need to be weighed carefully against the engineering contraints to which I have referred. Here again this may prove easier once applications have been received. Applicants will therefore have to state whether they are seeking to operate a single network with a maximum of 200 channels or one of two networks with a maximum of 100 channels each. They will also have to state whether they would accept a licence on either basis.The Director General will, of course, give weight to this and other competition questions in preparing his recommendations on the applications for licences. But the Director General and I believe that some conditions should be laid down in advance. First, as with the two cellular radio networks, a nationwide radio network operator will be able to sell its services only to service providers. Specific permission will have to be sought to deal directly with end users. Secondly, because of the potential conflict of interest, the existing public telecommunications operators should not be allowed to become nationwide network operators, although this exclusion should not extend to their associated companies (including parents and subsidiaries). However, they should be allowed to be service providers.The Director General has recommended that the particular dominance of BT is such that neither they nor their subsidiary companies should be allowed to be a nationwide network operator or service provider using it. I have decided that I must accept the Director General's advice on this issue. However, I agree with him it would be wrong to deprive the user of the potential expertise BT, in particular, possesses in this area and it would not be debarred from owning a minority holding in a service provider using a nationwide network. I also hope that BT and any other site owners will be prepared to negotiate for the use of their existing radio mast sites by any network operators.I have considered carefully the Director General's advice that similar consideration should apply to Racal. In our discussion we concluded that the arguments were finely balanced and I have come to the conclusion that it would not be right to exclude Racal in this way. I will, however, ask the Director General to satisfy himself if it does apply that its proposal safeguards competition policy.
I have already announced, on 28 January 1985 at columns 47–8, that no new national radio telephone service will be licenced before the position is reviewed towards the end of 1986. Applications for licences to operate a nationwide radio service should therefore be on the basis that there will be no PSTN interconnection. But I have accepted the Director General's advice that applicants may propose how interconnection would be used on their service, if permitted, and the Government may decide on the basis of these proposals to allow a limited degree of PSTN interconnection.
By no means all the demand for new private mobile services requires a nationwide system. In the interest of competition and to encourage smaller companies, I have decided to licence five smaller local networks of 20 channels in London and, to these as well, an invitation to apply for licences will be issued on 1 July and I have asked the Director General to consider these applications and to make recommendations. Copies of the notes for guidance for applicants can be obtained from OFTEL. In addition, my Department will on 1 July be inviting applications for licences to operate still smaller, local networks of five to 19 channels in the 10 areas of greatest demand for private mobile radio services (outside London) — Greater Manchester/Merseyside, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Cardiff/Swansea, Aberdeen, the Nottingham area, Reading, the Northampton/Cambridge/Bedford area and the Tyne/Tees area. The timing of the decisions on the applications will be the same as for those for the nationwide service. The same conditions in the interest of competition — the division of the roles of network operators and service providers and limitations on the involvement of public telecommunications operators and BT, in particular—shall apply to the smaller networks as to the nationwide service, Limited PSTN interconnection will be permitted on these networks, subject to the operators meeting specified minimum loading criteria. Applications may be made by the same person in respect of more than one area, but for no more than one 20-channel system in London. Copies of notes for guidance for applicants can be obtained from the Radio Regulatory Division of my Department.
I have allocated frequencies in the middle sub-band of bands III to users who have been displaced from bands II and mid-band, and I have made a block of frequencies around 139/148 MHz available for the fuel and power industry. Displaced users in band III will be required to use equipment conforming to specification MPT 1323. My Department is currently preparing a new specification for mobile radio equipments—MPT 1326—which is similar to MPT 1323 but will apply to bands other than band III and which generally conforms to a European recommendation. It is desirable that the limits which apply to the common elements of these specifications are the same and therefore it will be necessary to make minor amendments to MPT 1323. This will be of advantage to the mobile radio industry and also to the fuel and power industry, who may either adopt the new specification or use the relevant parts of the modified band III specification.
Also in the middle sub-band of band III, I have decided to allocate frequencies to a number of other users. First, the United Kingdom is developing at around 900 MHz a digital cordless telephone system suitable for domestic and small business use. Many aspects of it could have application in the development of cordless PBXs for use in offices. I intend to make available for cordless PBX systems five blocks each of 1 MHz, which cannot be used for a conventional radio system. Secondly, a study of the frequency requirements of the services ancilliary to broadcasting (such as radio microphones) has identified the need for six blocks of 0·7 MHz each in band III and I intend to allocate these for this purpose. Finally, the Government are considering the possibility of authorising the use of channels for two-way mobile data systems and I would welcome proposals.
The demands on the spectrum within band I, which was also released by the cessation of 405 line black and white TV services on 6 January of this year, have not yet emerged to as firm or as full an extent that we are able to settle the whole future of the bands. Moreover, my Department has only recently been able to begin discussions with neighbouring administrations about the use of the band.
Accordingly, I have decided to allocate only a limited number of frequencies to new band I users at this stage. First, as with band III, the study of the frequency requirements of the services ancillary to broadcasting has identified a need for 4 MHz and two other allocations of 0·35 MHz each in band I and I intend to allocate these for this purpose. Secondly, I am conscious that the interim Merriman report recommended that the radio amateur service should be given an allocation on the band and I am therefore proposing to fulfil that recommendation by allocating the band 50–50·50 MHz to radio amateurs. Thirdly, I intend to allocate 0·5 MHz within the band to satisfy the demand for further spectrum for on-site paging services. Finally, I intend to allocate the band 49·82–49·90 MHz for the use of general low power devices which have minimal potential for causing interference, such as toys and telemetry equipment. It is the intention that such low powered devices would be permitted to operate with the minimum of restriction and my Department will consider how to achieve this. Other claims for usage of band I are also being considered, for instance discussions are being conducted with industry to make an allocation for long-range security and other alarms and the band will also have attractions for mobile radio services.
On wide-area paging, in the light of the Director General's advice I have decided that the growth in the demand for national wide-area paging services is such that one or two new services should be introduced at 153 MHz and one or two more at 454 MHz. An invitation to apply by the beginning of October for licences to operate such services will be issued on 1 July and I have asked the Director General to consider these applications and to make recommendations by the end of the year. Copies of the notes for guidance for applicants can be obtained from OFTEL.
BT is in a particularly dominant position in the United Kingdom wide-area paging market and it has been argued that the existing operators should be given more time to develop in competition with BT before further operators are introduced. However, I believe that the Director General is right in advising that the balance of interest lies in allowing new competitors to BT to apply for licences for the new services. Such is BT's current market strength that it will not be among those allowed to apply, but its existing competitors will be eligible to apply.
Voice transmission as well as tone and data transmission, can be used at 454 MHz. Although it is more expensive in spectrum, I have decided that the nature of the demand is a more important consideration and that applicants for licences should be allowed to propose the use of frequency at 454MHz for voice transmission.
Finally, I have decided to make available spectrum, also at 153 MHz and 454 MHz, for pilot wide-area paging systems to enable demand for new services to be tested.
The points which the Director has made in his advice about licensing private paging systems as this becomes practicable and the relative utility of spectrum at 153 MHz to new and existing users have been accepted. On his suggestion that spectrum be made available at 900 MHz for paging services, I have to say that at present the potential conflict with other users seems to rule out such a move, though the position might change at a later date. In view of the uncertainty, I have decided not to invite applications at this frequency.
Competition And Retailing (Report)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the report of the Director-General of Fair Trading on competition and retailing.
The Director-General's report was published today, 28 June 1985. The purpose of the study was to update certain statistical information in the 1981 Report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission "Discounts to Retailers" as a basis for considering whether the MMC's findings were still valid in the present circumstances of the retail trade. The study was undertaken against the background of continuing concern among food manufacturers and small retailers about the effects of discounts on their businesses.The MMC report examined the practice of charging some retailers lower prices than others, or providing special benefits to some retailers, where the difference could not be attributed to savings in the suppliers' costs. This practice is variously described as "discriminatory discounting" or "non cost related discounting". The MMC found that the practice had not, in general, operated againt the public interest; rather the practice had been part and parcel of development which had been beneficial to competition and to the consumer. The Director-General's Report concludes that on the basis of the information collected there does not appear to be any material change in the factors which led the MMC to reach that finding.The Director-General's report analyses recent developments in grocery retailing; financial statistics related to food manufacturing and retailing, including data on profitability; and information on manufacturers' trading terms and retailers' gross margins. It also reviews overseas legislation on price discrimination. On the basis of this data, the report concludes that, while there has been some further increase in concentration in grocery retailing since the MMC's report, competition in this sector remains very strong; and in general lower buying prices are being passed on to the benefit of consumers. The study found no evidence to suggest that the degree of price discrimination had increased since the MMC reported.I welcome the Director-General's report. It confirms that substantial changes in the pattern of retailing in this country have taken place and continue to occur. These changes, which result from a number of deep-seated economic and social forces, have had (and will continue to have) wide repercussions, for retailers, the supplying industries and the consumer. Overseas experience suggests that Government intervention to prevent or mitigate these changes is unlikely to be effective, and would give rise to considerable problems of enforcement. Having regard to the present strength of competition in the sector and the benefits this is bringing to the consumer, I do not believe that such intervention would be justified. I will however be willing to review the position again if further developments give grounds for concern. In addition the Director-General has confirmed his continuing willingness to look into any allegations of anti-competitive behaviour or abuse of buying power under the competition legislation for which he is responsible.Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.
Woolwich Jobcentre (Access)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the report from the Property Services Agency on the possibility of providing access for wheelchair users to the Woolwich jobcentre has now been received; and when a decision is likely to be announced.
The Property Services Agency has completed its feasibility study of access by wheelchair users to the Woolwich jobcentre. In the light of the study further inquiries are being made of the landlord, the local authority and the fire and safety officer. A decision will be made as soon as the Manpower Services Commission has considered the study together with the results of its further inquiries.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of unemployed people placed by the employment service in (a) 1979, (b) 1980, (c) 1981, (d) 1982, (e) 1983 and (f) 1984, respectively.
Information is not available in the form requested. The following table shows the total numbers of placings made by jobcentres in Great Britain in the operational years 1979–80 to 1984–85. The numbers of these placings which were of unemployed persons are also shown for 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82. These figures are not available for subsequent years.
|Placing by jobcentres—Great Britain|
|Operational Year||Total Placings||Unemployed jobseekers placed|
Unemployment Benefit Recipients
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in receipt of unemployment benefit were referred by the employment service to an insurance officer for either refusing suitable employment or neglecting to avail themselves of opportunities of work in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively.
Information is not available in the form requested. The number of unemployment benefit claimants referred to the independent adjudication authorities from all sources (that is, the employment service, careers offices, DHSS, employers) for either refusing suitable employment or neglecting to avail themselves of opportunities of work, (Social Security Act, 1975 Part IIS20(1)) were:
Youth Training Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the number of (a) fatal, (b) major and (c) minor accidents on the youth training scheme from 30 September to 30 May, showing the average number of persons in training in each month during that period and and the total number of entrants to the scheme in those three months.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Job-Splitting Scheme (Portsmouth)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many job splits have been achieved under the job-splitting scheme in the Portsmouth area; and how these figures compare with his Department's original expectations.
No estimates of the likely use of the scheme have been made on an area basis. Take-up overall has been disappointing but changes were made to the scheme from 1 April 1985 for instance, employers can now qualify for the £840 grant for providing two new part-time jobs for those leaving the youth training scheme, the community programme or certain other of our schemes. Many employers already recognise the value of flexible working arrangements and the improved job splitting scheme can help them realise the benefits.
Retail Prices Index
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the increase in the retail price index in both percentage and absolute terms during (a) the period 1974 to 1979 and (b) the period 1979 to 1985 at the most recent date.
The information is as follows:
Retail Prices Index
- January 1974–100·0
- January 1979–207·2
- May 1985–375·6
- January 1974—January 1979–107·2 per cent.
- January 1979—May 1985–81·3 per cent.
Arts Council (Funds)
asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts if he will give a breakdown of his calculations of 1983–84 Arts spending by the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils upon which he based the extra funds to be made available to the Arts Council in 1986–87.
From the information then available to us, and which I supplied to the hon. Member in reply to his question on 24 October 1983 at columns 27–28, the total budget estimates for the performing arts, film and museums in 1983–84 by the GLC and the six metropolitan county councils were £31,843,000 broken down as follows:
|1983–84 £000's (Budget estimates)|
|Tyne and Wear||2,732||231|
|* Not known.|
Taxation And Rates
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish estimates of (a) value added tax, (b) domestic rates, and (c) other indirect taxes, paid by those on (i) 75 per cent., (ii) 100 per cent. and (iii) 150 per cent. of average earnings in 1985–86 and each of the previous seven years; and if he will state the level of average earnings in each year.
I shall let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.
European Communities (Finance) Bill
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make notes on clauses for the European Communities (Finance) Bill available to hon. Members.
Yes, a note was placed in the Vote Office yesterday.
Council House Sales
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to when Mr. and Mrs. E. Long of 99 Red Post Hill may expect to receive the draft legal documents from Southwark council in respect of their application to purchase their home.
I understand that Mr. and Mrs. Long's right to buy application was delayed principally by Southwark council's failure to produce a standard form of transfer for leasehold houses. My information is, however, that a standard form of transfer has now been prepared and is being despatched with other legal documentation to applicants. I expect Mr. and Mrs. Long to receive legal documentation by the end of June and for completion to take place within a month thereafter. I regret the delays caused by Southwark council.
Civil Defence (Water Authorities)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from water authorities on their progress towards drawing up civil defence plans; and if he will publish them in the Official Report.
I shall answer this question shortly.
Land Use Planning
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how often and by what means he intends to update strategic guidance on land use planning.
The strategic guidance will be revised as and when necessary by the means that we have described in the debates on the Local Government Bill.
Central Lancashire Development Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangement he is making to permit the disposal to housing associations of the housing owned by Central Lancashire development corporation; and what changes to cash limits he proposes to make in consequence.
Agreement has been reached between the North British housing association, other housing associations, and the Central Lancashire development corporation for the housing associations to acquire the housing of the development corporation. To permit this acquisition, the approved development programme of the Housing Corporation (and the cash block DOE/HC1) will be increased by £86·8 million. To balance this, cash block DOE/NT1 will be reduced by the same amount, which will be covered by the capital receipts from the housing associations. The two cash blocks will be revised as follows:
|Cash Block||Present Limit||Revised Limit||Increase/Decrease|
Home Loan Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will increase the house price limits for the home loan scheme.
My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for the Environment have reviewed the limits in order to ensure that at least two-thirds of first-time buyers in Scotland, Wales and the English regions will continue to qualify for the benefits of the scheme, provided they fulfil the savings conditions. The new limits reflect recent movements in house prices in each region. An order is being laid today to bring these new limits into effect from 20 July 1985.*The new limits, compared with the present limits are as follows:
|Area in which the property is situated||Homeloan benefits available for homes costing up to|
|New Limits £||Present Limits £|
|Northern region: counties of Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear||21,500||20,100|
|Yorkshire and Humberside region: counties of Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire||20,400||19,200|
|East Midlands region: counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire||22,100||20,400|
|East Anglia region: counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk||26,000||23,700|
|South East region: London: County of Greater London||38,000||33,100|
|Rest of South East: counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshie, Surrey and West Sussex||33,500||29,400|
|South West region: counties of Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire; and the Isles of Scilly||28,200||25,700|
|West Midlands region: counties of Hereford and Worcester, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands||21,900||20,700|
|North West region: counties of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside||21,700||20,200|
|* Statutory Instrument 1985 No. 937: The Home Purchase Assistance (Price Limits) Order 1985.|
Rate-Capped Local Authorities
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to enter into negotiations with any of the rate-capped local authorities.
[pursuant to his reply, 14 March 1985, c. 219–20]: I was advised that the following payments should not be made to rating authorities until they had fixed their rates: rate rebate subsidy; grants towards rate relief for disabled persons and institutions; compensation to local authorities for loss of rate income in enterprise zones; and contributions in lieu of rates on Crown and diplomatic properties. As required by law and longstanding practice such payments are now being made to all authorities, including Liverpool, which have made a rate.
155 Mm Nuclear Shell
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he plans to have discussions with other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Defence Ministers about the implications for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of the plans of the United States Government to fit the new 155 mm nuclear shell with an enhanced radiation module.
I cannot at present add to the final communiqué of the NATO nuclear planning group meeting on 26–27 March 1985, a copy of which is in the Library.
"Statement On The Defence Estimates 1985"
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received following the recent publication of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985".
The Government have received a number of letters, parliamentary questions and other observations on the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985", including those contained in the first and third reports from the Defence Committee.
Raf Airfields (Noise)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made in his review of compensation for increased noise experienced by residents living near Royal Air Force airfields; and whether he will make a statement.
The review is nearing completion. My noble Friend, the Under—Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will be considering the outcome in due course.
Polaris Transporter (Helensburgh)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the incident involving a Polaris transporter on the afternoon of Thursday 20 June on Sinclair Street, Helensburgh.
The incident to which the hon. Member refers was a minor motor traffic accident involving two vehicles in a military convoy. For security reasons, it is not our practice to comment on the composition or load of military convoys.
Exercise Brave Defender
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether any of the key sites to be guarded during Exercise Brave Defender are in the Greater London area; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what land in the Greater London area, other than military land, is to be used during Exercise Brave Defender; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Alexander) on 21 March, at columns 585–86. We do not intend to publish the list of exercise locations in advance of the exercise, as this could be prejudicial to the training value of the exercise and to exercise security.
Central Safety Barriers
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will outline the programme for central safety barriers on motorways and dual carriageways over the next five years.
Central reserve safety fences will be installed on all new motorways (expected length approximately 180 miles). Details of the motorway programme are given in the "National Roads England 1985" report (published 20 June) copies of which have been placed in the Library. Central reserve safety fences will be provided on new, all-purpose, dual carriageway trunk roads where the annual average daily traffic flow is expected to exceed 30,000 vehicles in the year of opening.Details of predicted traffic flows on new all purpose dual carriageways are updated regularly. Thus information on the provision of safety fences for these roads is based on changing estimates and cannot be obtained repeatedly without incurring disproportionate costs. I can assure the hon. Member that safety fences will be provided on dual trunk roads whenever justified.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give statistics for the nature of injuries to cyclists resulting from accidents involving motor cars during 1984.
The nature of injuries sustained by road casualties is not collected by my Department. However, the following information is available:
|Pedal cyclist injuries in two-party accidens with motor cars: 1982–84: Great Britain|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what policy criteria he uses to determine the relative priorities in expenditure on the roads programme of (a) new road building, (b) motorway repair and (c) trunk road bypasses; and if he will make a statement.
Our policy criteria for spending on roads remain as set out in successive White Papers and roads reports. Within the total funds available for the national programme new road schemes, including bypasses, bring substantial new economic and environmental benefits and remain a top priority, balance by the need to preserve the investment already made by carrying out timely renewal and repair work. New construction will continue to account for most of the spending on national roads, but we also intend to eliminate the backlog of necessary motorway repair work that arose in the 1970s.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the number of bypasses built on trunk road schemes in each of the last 10 years, giving the annual expenditure by his Department on such schemes.
The information requested is as follows:
|Number of by-passes (including Relief Roads) completed||Expenditure*£m (cash)|
|* These figures show total annual expenditure on the national road by-pass programme.|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the number of bypass approvals to trunk roads agreed by his Department in each of the last 10 years.
The number of bypasses, including relief roads, added to the national road construction programme in England is as follows:
|* To date.|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many towns on trunk roads in the United Kingdom do not have bypasses; and what was the equivalent number in 1979.
In May 1979 there were 503 town and village communities on national roads in England that did not have a bypass. That figure now stands at 391 communities, for which schemes to bypass 280 are already included in my forward construction programme. Responsibility for national roads elsewhere in the United Kingdom rests with my right hon. Friends.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the annual through-put of traffic along the Dover-Folkestone section of the A20, distinguishing between cars, light vans, and heavy goods vehicles; and how many accidents have occurred on this section of road in each of the last 10 years, listing both fatal and severe injuries separately.
The annual traffic through-put in 1983 on the A20 between Folkestone and Dover was as follows (thousands of vehicles):
|Cars and Taxis||3,100|
|Light Goods Vehicles||290|
|Heavy Goods Vehicles||550|
|Accidents on the Folkestone—Dover Stretch of the A20|
|Severity of Accident|
|Casualties on the Folkstone Dover stretch of the A20|
|Severity of Injury|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy towards the incorporation in roundabout schemes of cycle routes with sight lines; and what is his policy towards the use of kerbs to divide cycle paths from pedestrian walkways.
I continue to look for suitable solutions whenever the question of cycle routes arises in roundabout schemes.
Advice on kerbs to divide cycle tracks from pedestrian ways is contained in "Local Transport Note 1/78 Ways of Helping Cyclists in Built-up Areas". A copy of this has been deposited in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he will give to facilities for cyclists and pedestrians in assessing the outcome of the public inquiry into the Crooked Billet roundabout, Walthamstow.
The inspector conducting the inquiry will report on the proposed cycling and pedestrian facilities, as he will on other relevant issues. In conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment I shall fully consider all aspects of his report when I receive it.
A38 (Safety Barriers)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he proposes to start work on the A38 safety barriers between Plympton and Bittaford, and between Syon Abbey and Dean Prior.
Work will start as soon as possible, but of course we now have to make the necessary contract arrangement so I cannot for the moment give a firm date.
Boeing 747 (Tests)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when the evacuation tests required by the Civil Aviation Authority for British Airways Boeing 747s following the elimination of the mid-fuselage escape doors took place; and what were the precise test conditions.
The CAA tell me that when the Boeing 747 was first granted a certificate of airworthiness with 10 main emergency exits, it met the requirements that a fall load of 550 passengers could be evacuated in not more than 90 seconds using only half the total number of exits. The blocked overwing exits displayed lower exit rates than the other emergency exits in the test. The aircraft with currently approved United Kingdom layouts of up to 440 seats allows for the increase in capacity following the blocking of the two overwing exits, and therefore also meets the requirements. The CAA thus has no regulatory basis for requiring another evacuation test.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the total number of charges brought for (a) possession, (b) dealing and (c) import of (i) class A drugs, (ii) class B drugs and (iii) class C drugs in the Metropolitan and Merseyside police districts in the last year for which figures are available.
The available information is given in the following table.
brought and proceeded with at court in 1983 for unlawful supply, possession or unlawful importation of controlled drugs in the Metropolitan and Merseyside Police force areas
Number of charges
Class A drugs
Class B drugs
Class C drugs
|†All controlled drugs|
Metropolitan police district
|Possession with intent to supply unlawfully||253||508||9||606|
|Possession with intent to supply unlawfully||28||39||3||44|
* As one charge may involve more than one class of drug columns cannot be added together to produce totals.
|† Includes a small number of charges where details of the drug involved were not available.|
Police National Computer
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will take steps to permit individuals to have access to their own records on the police national computer in order to seek to correct errors; what arrangements are currently operating to correct errors; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will describe the audit and logging procedures currently employed with the names indexes of the police national computer; and whether in cases of abuse these procedures would identify the officer who performed the check and the number of requests made by that officer.
Under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1984, individuals will have access to data on the police national computer which relates to them, subject to the condition that grant of access will not prejudice the prevention or the detection of crime, or the apprehension and prosecution of offenders. The Act also provides for the retification and erasure of inaccurate data.At present, data input to the PNC is checked automatically by the computer system, as well as by the operators who enter the data and by those who prepare the data for entry. In addition, each police force has designated an assistant chief constable to audit twice yearly on a sample basis the records on the wanted, missing, suspected and found persons file which relate to his force.All PNC transactions are recorded centrally on magnetic tape by the PNC. These records indicate the time of the transaction as well as the terminal from which it originated. In addition, each force is instructed by the Department to log all PNC transactions in such a way as to enable each transaction to be associated with both the terminal operator and the officer who initiated the inquiry.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements there are to remove spent data from the police national computer; how many people are employed to undertake this work; whether such work comprises all or part of their duties; and if he will make a statement.
The information held on the police national computer is weeded continuously not only by the staff of the national identification bureau but also by individual forces and by the PNC itself. Given the nature of the information held on the various indices of the PNC, most of the weeding is done by forces as part of their normal day to day crime prevention and detection activity and the only way of determining the total amount of effort devoted specifically to this task would be by means of a manpower utilisation survey which could be mounted only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which constabularies have or intend to have an interface with the police national computer; and if he will indicate the nature of the linkage.
The following forces have or intend to have an interface with the Police National Computer to permit the force to have direct access to the PNC from terminals connected to the force's own computer system:
|Fife||Avon and Somerset|
|Northamptonshire||Scottish Criminal Record Office which is intended in turn to be interfaced with all forces in Scotland|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the percentage of checks to the names indexes of the police national computer that do not return a name because that name is absent from the indexes.
The table sets out for two recent days (1) the percentage of checks on particular PNC names indices which elicted a "no trace" response and (2) the percentage of checks on two or three of these indices simultaneously which elicted a "no trace" response.
|Index Checked||Percentage of "No Traces"|
|11 June||14 June|
|(1) Criminal Names||38·3||37·9|
|(2) Wanted, Missing Suspected and Found Persons||56·9||58·6|
|(3) Disqualified Drivers||36·5||21·4|
Percentage of "No Traces"
|Indices (1) and (2)||24·5||25·9|
|Indices (1), (2) and (3)|
It would be possible only at disproportionate cost to indentify separately those cases where an inquiry directed at two or three names indices simultaneously elicted a "no trace" response in repect of one or two of these indices.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what arrangements are made to seek to ensure that the names of people not convicted of an offence are not included in the criminal names index of the police national computer; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether any individual arrested by the police has been entered on the criminal names index of the police national computer along with the alleged offence concerned prior to either charges not being proceeded with or the person being acquitted of the offence in court; and if he will make a statement;(3) what are the criteria for who
(a) is recorded upon the criminal names index of the police national computer, (b) is kept on the index and (c) is removed from the index; and if he will make a statement.
Only staff of the national identification bureau may enter records in the criminal names index of the police national computer. A person's name is entered onto the criminal names index if, and only if, the national identification bureau has been notified that the individual concerned has been charged with, or reported for, a recordable offence. If the individual is subsequently acquitted of the offence, and if there is no record of his having been convicted of any previous recordable offence, his name is deleted from the index. Exceptions may apply in relation to offences under section 27(3) of the Theft Act 1968 and section 6(3) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 where the individual has pleaded his statutory defence and in cases of continuing interest such as where a person is bound over when the charge has been dismissed.Records on the criminal names index are regularly weeded by the national identification bureau in accordance with the following criteria.A.
Data subjects over 70 years of age: records are weeded if the following conditions are met:
B. Data subjects between 40 and 70 years of age: records are weeded if the following conditions are met:
C. Data subjects under 40 years of age: records are weeded if all the conditions at B are met and the data subject was under the age of 14 at the time of conviction.
(1) "Special interest" refers to notable criminals or to crimes which the police consider to be of special significance or of national historical interest. Such records and all those involving murder are retained idenfinitely.
(2) Records are weeded 18 months after a police force has reported the subject as having died, unless they are of special interest or involve murder.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what rules apply for access to the information contained in the police national computer indexes to avoid such information going to unauthorised persons and companies; whether there are any limitations upon which police officers may obtain access; and if he will make a statement.
Rules about access to information contained on the police national computer are set out in the "Code of Practice for the Protection of Personal Data Held on the Police National Computer", a copy of which is in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals are on the criminal names index of the police national computer whose offences are time-expired so far as any reference to them in any subsequent court appearance is concerned; and if he will make a statement.
This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when it is proposed that all miners pickets' cars will be removed from the seen or checked entry by the police in noteworthy circumstances category of the police national computer; and if he will make a statement.
No miners' cars are currently the subject of record on the police national computer by virtue of having been used in connection with picketing in an industrial dispute.
Privately Owned Swimming Pools
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to implement in full the recommendations of the working party which reviewed the safety precautions prevailing at privately owned swimming pools open to the public.
As indicated by the then Home Secretary my right hon. Friend Viscount Whitelaw in his reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Mr. Neubert) on 27 July 1979, it had then been decided that no further action should be taken on the recommendations of the working party on water safety that had reported two years previously. This remains the position.
Police Practice (Scarman Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has had on the effect of changes in police practice following the Scarman report.
Following the 1981 riots and the Scarman report changes have been introduced in police training, recruitment, community relations, consultative procedures, and public order tactics and equipment. It is not possible to summarise the representations received on such a wide range of matters: if the hon. Member has a particular point in mind I would be glad to consider it.
Indian Sub-Continent (Visitors)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visitors were admitted into the United Kingdom from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 1984; how many of those left; and if he will make a statement.
The numbers admitted as visitors were published in table 1 of the annual Command Paper "Control of Immigration: Statistics, United Kingdom 1984", Cmnd. 9544. Corresponding information on embarkation is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by how much the total manpower available to the Greater Manchester police force has increased since May 1979; how much of the increase relates to police officers; and how many are civilian support staff.
On 31 May 1985 there were 6,714 police officers and 1,803 civilian staff in the Greater Manchester police, an increase in total manpower since May 1979, of 520 (274 police officers, and 246 civilian staff, 51 of them part-time).
Rubens Hotel, London (Bomb)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the origin of the explosive material in the bomb found at the Rubens hotel, London, on 23 June; and if he will make a statement.
The bomb is still being examined by forensic experts. The origin of the explosive material it contains has not yet been established.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement about the latest discussions with European and other Ministers concerning international measures against terrorism.
I attended a meeting of Ministers of Justice of the Council of Europe in Edinburgh on 14 June. At that meeting, the Committee of Ministers was requested to set up a body to be
in order to carry out "concrete and relentless action" against terrorism. It is intended that this body will meet later in the year. I have had a number of bilateral meetings with individual European Ministers, most recently with the French and Italian Ministers of the Interior, and have established a joint Italian-United Kingdom working party to improve co-operation between our two countries. I attended the Trevi meeting in Rome on 21 June where I and other Ministers re-affirmed our determination to combat terrorism and resolved to hold Ministerial meetings more frequently in the future."open to all Ministers who, in their respective Council of Europe Governments, are responsible for combating terrorism"
Crime And Unemployment
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies have been made into the correlation between crime and unemployment; and if he will make a statement.
An article reviewing studies on the relationship between unemployment and crime was published in the Home Office research and planning unit research bulletin Number 14, 1982. The evidence from correlational studies is mixed and inconclusive. The Department has no plans to carry out further studies on this topic at present.
Racial Harassment (Newham)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if any special measures have been taken to counter racial harassment in the London borough of Newham.
The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis shares our very great concern about racial harassment and has identified the handling of racial incidents, which include racial harassment, as a priority for police activity within the Metropolitan police area.An analysis of racial incidents in 1984 in Newham revealed that 70 per cent. of incidents occurred in or near the victim's home. In consequence new reporting and investigating procedures were introduced in "K" district which involve home beat officers operating under close supervision by Inspectors and follow up visits made to victims by the police community liaison officer. In cases where the police have identified problems which require more detailed analysis they seek co-operation from other agencies in the community.The police are actively seeking greater co-operation with local community leaders and the development of better understanding between the police and the community at large and particularly with the young. I understand that the police are discussing with the borough council the making of consultative arrangements under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, within the guidelines my right hon. and learned Friend issued last January.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the police detection and clear-up rates for racial harassment in the London borough of Newham for the years (a) 1983, (b) 1984 and (c) 1985;(2) if he will list the police detection rates
(a) for burglary in the home, (b) for robbery, (c) for auto theft and (d) for racial harassment on the London borough of Newham for each of the last five years.
I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the information requested relating to burglary in a dwelling, robbery and the theft of motor vehicles for the years 1981–84 is as given in the table; corresponding figures for 1980 are not readily available. Clear-up rates for recorded offences do not distinguish racial from non-racial incidents.
Offences of burglary in a dwelling, robbery and theft or unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle recorded by the police in the London Borough of Newham which were cleared up
Number of offences cleared up
|Burglary in a dwelling||256||286||210||257|
|Theft or unauthorized taking of motor vehicle||24||17||15||16|
Percentage cleared up
|Burglary in a dwelling||10||8||6||7|
Amounts invoiced for and received to date (31 May 1985) by the Metropolitan Police for police services, by financial year
(a) sporting events and leisure activities*
(b) other private companies
(c) nationalised industries
* excludes football matches other than those at Wembley Stadium.
Police services in categories (a) and (b) are provided and paid for in accordance with section 15 of the Police Act 1964. The only nationalised industry which the Metropolitan Police invoiced for police services was the British Airports Authority, in accordance with section 26 of Aviation Security Act 1982.
The policing of ceremonial events constitutes a normal police function, the cost of which generally falls to be met from the Metropolitan Police Fund. But in accordance with section 15 of the Police Act 1964, the Roman Catholic Church was invoiced for and paid for Metropolitan police services provided on private premises during the papal visit in May 1982.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total amount received by the Metropolitan police in each of the past five years for policing services other than from statutory funding sources.
[pursuant to his reply, 15 May 1985, c. 125]: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that the total amount received by the Metropolitan police for police services, other than from direct Government grants and the precept, in each of the last five financial years, was as follows:
|Theft or unauthorised taking of motor vehicle||10||12||10||10|
|* Offences cleared up in one year may include offences initially recorded in previous years.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total amount (a) invoiced for and (b) received by the Metropolitan police for police services from (i) sporting events, excluding football, (ii) private companies, (iii) nationalised industries and (iv) ceremonial events for each of the past three complete financial years.
[pursuant to his reply, 15 May 1985, c. 125]: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis tells me that the information requested is as follows:companies, nationalised industries, Government departments and local authorities. Receipts for mutual aid provided to other police forces are excluded.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many death grants are paid in respect of funerals provided by local authorities or health authorities.
No statistics are kept on the categories of people to whom death grants are paid, and information on the number of funerals provided by local authorities and health authorities is not held centrally.
Health Services (North-West)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the increase in cash terms and in real terms in the amount of money available to health services in the north-west region between 1978–79 and 1983–84.
Revenue spending on health services in north-western region increased by 101·l per cent. in cash terms between 1978–79 and 1983–84, representing an increase in real terms of 18·1 per cent. after taking account of general inflation as measured by the gross domestic product deflator.
Board And Lodging
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether travel warrants are being made available by his Department's local offices to enable claimants of board and lodging allowance under the age of 26 years to move away from the current place of residence after the four or eight week period allowed under regulations has expired; and if he will make a statement.
The circumstances in which single payments of supplementary benefit can be made for travelling expenses of unemployed boarders aged 25 or under are set out in paragraph 122 of Circular S13/85, a copy of which is in the Library.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what are the latest available figures for the number of claimants excluded from boarder status under Regulations 9(14) of the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements) Regulations 1983 since, in the opinion of the benefit officer, they were on holiday; and if he will give this information for Great Britain as a whole, for England, Wales and Scotland, and for each Department of Health and Social Services region;(2) what information he has as to the number of landlords of ordinary board and lodging establishments, excluding registered hostels, who catered exclusively for supplementary benefit claimants at the time when he laid the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 before the House; and if he will break down the information for Great Britain as a whole, for England, Wales and Scotland, and for each Department of Health and Social Services region;(3) what information he has as to the number of landlords of ordinary board and lodging establishments, excluding registered hostels, who charged higher weekly rates for claimants of supplementary benefit than for people not claiming supplementary benefit at the time when he laid the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 before the House; and if he will give this information for Great Britain as a whole, for England, Wales and Scotland, and for each Department of Health and Social Services region;(4) what information he can provide concerning the number of landlords of ordinary board and lodging establishments, excluding registered hostels, who set their charges solely by reference to the local supplementary benefit upper limits at the time when he laid the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 before the House; and if he will give this information for Great Britain as a whole, for England, Wales and Scotland, and for each of his Department's regions.
Information in the form requested is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Specialist Claims Control
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when special claims control staff will next visit Leith; and if he will make a statement regarding information gathered from previous investigations into alleged fraud in the area.
A specialist claims control exercise started in the local office at Edinburgh, North, which covers Leith, on 24 June. Two previous exercises have been conducted in that office during which benefit was adjusted in 46 of the 133 cases examined.
Vaccine Damage Payments
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to pay a further £10,000 to all those who have received a payment under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979; and if he will make a statement.
As the right hon. Member is aware, a Government amendment has now been added to the current Social Security Bill to enable us to raise the figure of £10,000 contained in the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979. Subject to the enactment of the Bill as amended, we shall place an order before the House as soon as possible with details of our proposals; but we have no plans to make extra payments of the kind the right hon. Member suggests.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people received awards under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 in each of the last three years.
The information is as follows:
Health Education Council
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what steps he takes to ensure that the membership of the Health Education Council is representative of regional interests in health education; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make a statement on the criteria by which individuals are selected for membership of the Health Education Council.
Members of the Health Education Council are appointed because of the expertise and personal qualities which they can bring to the council's work. In making appointments to the council, Ministers aim to achieve a reasonable geographical spread of membership, but members are not appointed as representatives of specific interests.
Health Authorities (Competitive Tendering)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff in his Department are responsible for communicating with health authorities on competitive tendering programmes.
Most of our work on such programmes is undertaken by a unit of four staff but some 50 other staff may be involved in such communications from time to time.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the average working hours of a student nurse according to each of the three stages of training; if he will provide a breakdown of all hours worked, including refreshment times; and how this compares with each of the last 10 years.
We do not have the information requested readily available. Student nurses in each year of training have standard contracted hours of 37½ per week exclusive of meal times, in common with all grades of nursing staff. We reduced the contracted hours from 40 per week in 1980–81.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any nurse whose retirement date is between 1 April 1985 and 31 January 1986 will receive a pension calculated on the basis of 1984–85 salary plus the 5 per cent. award made in the first stage of the recent pay award; and if he will make a statement.
Yes. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister explained in her reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) on 6 June at columns 194–96, it is our practice to base pensions on the salaries actually in payment at or in the period before the date of retirement.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the numbers of nurses who are expected to take retirement in the financial year 1985–86; and of those, how many are expected to take retirement: (a) before 1 February 1986 and (b) after 1 February 1986.
We do not have centrally the precise information requested but from past experience we estimate that about 4,200 nurses in England and Wales will retire in the financial year 1985–86.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the pension which a nurse on the maximum of her scale could expect to receive for each of the following grades: auxiliary, staff nurse, sister II and district nurse.
Retirement benefits under the National Health Service superannuation scheme depend on length of service, superannuable earnings in the most beneficial of the last three years of service and a variety of other relevant factors which can be precisely determined only in relation to individual circumstances.
Medical Equipment (Development)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether his Department intends to provide a share of the funding required for the purposes of the development in co-operation with Gaelt Research Ltd. of Ross-shire of a disposable medical pressure transducer sensor; and if he will make a statement.
Yes. The Department has agreed to share the development costs for one year in the first instance. Funding for a further year will be agreed if progress in the first year is satisfactory.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how information is recorded in his Department's offices regarding those people in receipt of (a) death grant, (b) maternity allowance, (c) special diet supplement and (d) special laundry supplement.
Information on claims to social security benefits is recorded on claim forms. Statistics for the benefits in question are produced as follows:Death Grant—Local offices produce four-weekly returns of claims. Statistics of awards are produced quarterly using a national sample.Maternity Allowance — Local offices produce four-weekly returns of claims. Statistics of claims (quarterly) and awards and claims (annual) are produced using a national sample.Special Diet Supplement; Special Laundry Supplement—No local statistics are produced. Centrally available information on these and other additional requirements is derived from the Supplementary Benefits Annual Statistical Enquiry. This is a sample survey of claimants receiving regular weekly payments of benefit at a particular point in time.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why it is not possible to produce figures for those people in receipt of state earnings-related pensions at his Department's offices in Canning Town, Plaistow and Woodgrange Park.
The information held centrally includes details of the pensioner's local office but this information is not accessed for normal statistical purposes. A special computer run, which would involve searching over 9 million records, would entail disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the incidence of hip replacement operations carried out within National Health Service hospitals both privately and on the National Health Service over each of the last three years.
[pursuant to his reply, 17 June 1985, c. 54]: The available information is:
|NHS hospitals, England—Estimated number of hip replacement operations|
|Year||NHS patients||Private patients||Total|
|* Surgical activity in 1982 was generally affected by industrial action in the NHS.|