Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday 2 July 1985
House Of Commons
Staff Grading Review
asked the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, when the review of the grades of House staff began; when it will end; and if he will make a statement.
A review by the Commission's staff inspector of the grading and pay structure of staff in the House Departments was begun in December 1982. Fourteen reports, covering various aspects of the organisation and staffing structure of the Departments, have so far been presented to the Commission and released to management, unions and staff for their comments. The Commission has asked the staff inspector to present his recommendations on the grading and pay linkages of all levels of staff by the end of June.
Renewable Energy Sources
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has received the recommendations of his Advisory Council on Research and Development on his programme for the development of renewable energy sources; what will be spent on the programme during 1985–86; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy and I have recently received the recommendations from the chairman of ACORD arising from its review, and we have accepted both the specific objectives of the programme and its future content.I have placed the recommendations in the Libraries of the House, together with supporting documents, as I undertook to do in reply to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) on 8 May, at column 424.The major programmes on wind power and geothermal hot dry rocks will continue. They will be further reviewed when experience is available from the wind-powered generators under construction on Orkney and at Carmarthen bay, and when the present phase of the geothermal experiment at Rosemanowes in Cornwall is complete.I agree that our present programme of research and development into passive solar design of buildings is important and justified. I have been glad to note ACORD's recognition of its economic attractiveness, and the need to involve the private sector in its application.The biofuels programme will continue, and this reflects especially the economic potential of waste as a fuel. Support for small-scale hydro-power technology will also continue.Studies into the private financing of the Severn tidal power scheme continue, and I await their outcome. I have accepted ACORD's advice to discontinue work on wave power and geothermal aquifers in order to concentrate resources into more promising technologies. However, on wave power in particular, I recognise that it will be important for the Department to be receptive to new ideas which might succeed in achieving the major cost reductions necessary to make it a worthwhile source of power. Technical reports on active solar heating (on which work was discontinued following the 1982 review) and on wave power are being placed in the Libraries of the House.A detailed technical report on the work on geothermal aquifers will also be prepared by the energy technology support unit and published. With regard to geothermal aquifers, I have decided after careful consideration not to proceed with the geothermal heating scheme at Southampton because the limited potential of this resource in the United Kingdom, which has now been demonstrated, does not now justify such a project.The estimated expenditure by my Department on renewable energy research and development in 1985–86 is £14 million.
Energy Ministers Council
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement about the meeting of the European Communities Council of Energy Ministers on 20 June.
My hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad) and I represented the United Kingdom at the Energy Ministers Council on 20 June.British industry will be able to benefit from a share in European Community aid worth some £300 million to be allocated to developing new ways of producing energy and using energy more efficiently, and to developing improved oil technology.The Council agreed to provide £216 million to extend the Community's energy demonstration projects scheme for four more years from the end of this year when the scheme was due to expire. In the past British firms have gained around £55 million from the scheme, and I expect them to bid strongly in the coming years.The Council also agreed to provide £84 million over four years for projects to develop new technology in the hydrocarbons sector. This will be available after the current round of bids ends this year. British firms have received £57 million under the present scheme since it began in 1973, and the expected technological advances on the UKCS in the coming years should boost our prospects for additional Community aid.Ministers held another discussion on the growth in trade of refined oil products. We agreed that additional supplies from the middle east and north Africa could be absorbed into world markets, provided that their impact was riot concentrated on particular regions. The aim should be to maintain or create conditions where the additional imports would fall equitably in all markets.Commissioner Mosar said that he hoped shortly to table a new Commission proposal to govern the payment of aids by member states to their coal industries. I emphasised that such a proposal would have to recognise the different industrial, employment and social conditions pertaining in each of the member states concerned, and leave to those member states the task of devising arrangements best suited to their own situations.
Whale And Turtle Products
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what whale or turtle products have been purchased by his Department during the past five years.
This information is not readily available.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish the Government's response to the report from the Transport Committee on the buses White Paper.
The Government have today published their response to the second report from the House of Commons' Transport Committee.I am grateful to the Transport Committee for its detailed consideration of the Government's bus policy. There is much common ground between us. We agree on the need for change to halt the decline in bus services. The Committee recognises that competition is the key to improving efficiency and halting that decline.There can be no doubt that the Government must take action. Thirty years ago 42 per cent. of all journeys were by bus; today the figure is just 8 per cent. During the last 10 years there has been a 28 per cent. fall in ridership. Yet everyone agrees that bus services are vital, especially to elderly people, and the less well-off.I do not believe that the Committee's proposed solution — comprehensive competitive franchising — is the right one. That system would continue to restrict the introduction of new services; it would not maintain pressure on the industry's rising costs; it would perpetuate the practice of overcharging passengers on more popular services which is one of the principal causes of the industry's decline.The bus industry needs to be opened up to full competition so that operators can serve their passengers. That will provide the stimulus for efficiency which other industries regard as normal, and the impetus for better services which the passengers have a right to expect. The form of competition proposed in the Transport Bill is the best way of achieving that. We are proposing to give passengers the full benefits of competition while retaining controls over safety, and providing for social need through concessionary fares and local authority revenue support. This is the best solution for the industry and for passengers.
Channel Fixed Link
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are being made for the assessment of proposals from promoters of a Channel fixed link when these are received at the end of October.
The assessment of proposals for a Channel fixed link will be carried out jointly by the British and French Governments. To assist the British Government with this task I intend to appoint consultants in the following fields:
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of his Department's total capital budget for 1984–85 was used for expenditure on cycling matters.
Some 70 per cent. of central Government transport expenditure of £1·14 billion (excluding subsidies to transport industries) by my Department in 1984–85 was capital expenditure. During this period £187,129 was allocated to innovative cycle schemes and to schemes in the cycle route programme. Figures are not available (1) for staff or administrative costs devoted to cycling at HQ or the Transport and Road Research Laboratory; (2) for the totality of cycling expenditure accepted for transport supplementary grant; or (3) for cycle elements of trunk road improvement schemes.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from smaller garages about the effect on their viability of the introduction of the new vehicle testing regulations; and if he will make a statement.
I have received letters from garages of all sizes worried about the new conditions of appointment. When they come to examine them closely, most garages will find that meeting the new conditions will not be as difficult nor as expensive as they fear.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if there are any plans to increase the charge made for a Ministry of Transport test.
The fees were last increased on 1 July 1985 and I shall not be reviewing them again till next year.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report full details of the new regulations for Ministry of Transport testing.
As the new conditions of appointment are lengthy and complex, I have placed copies in the Library of the House, instead.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will extend to eight years the period within which Ministry of Transport examiners must comply with the new regulations.
No. I believe that the five years allowed give a reasonable period for examiners to make any necessary alterations.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from (a) the motoring organisations and (b) chief constables about the effect on safety of the old Ministry of Transport regulations.
The Automobile Association made representations about the content of the test. Nothing was received about the old conditions of appointment from either the motoring organisations or chief constables.
Local Government Reform
asked the Secretary of State for Transport with whom responsibility for funding rail services subject to section 20 agreements will rest within the area of a district council which has seceded from the proposed public transport joint hoards to he established in the event of abolition of the metropolitan county councils; and if he will make a statement.
This would depend on the arrangements made for any secession. I would normally expect a district council which took on responsibility for bus services to remain part of the joint board in respect of local rail services. But individual circumstances might argue for different treatment.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his Department's most recent estimate of the number of vehicles in any 24-hour period passing through Leadenham along the Al7 road.
I shall answer this question shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what criteria were used by the Countryside Commission for Scotland in selecting consultants to carry out an environmental study of existing skiing areas; what firm has been selected; and for what reasons.
The placing of contracts with consultants, under the powers given to commission research in the Countryside (Scotland) Act 1967, is a matter for decision by the Countryside Commission for Scotland without reference to me. I am therefore asking the chairman of the commission to write to the hon. Member with the information as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress is being made with the designation of world heritage sites in Scotland, under the terms of the world heritage convention; and which sites are under consideration.
My right hon. Friend is considering a number of sites in Scotland to be put forward this year to the World Heritage Committee. An announcement will be made in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to respond to the report of the Scottish Affairs Committee on the Highlands and Islands Development Board, with particular reference to its conclusions on the future of skiing in the Cairngorms.
My right hon. Friend's response to the Committee on Scottish Affairs was published on 18 June. Paragraph 27 deals with skiing development on Cairngorm.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if any of the sites at which trees were examined for signs of acid rain damage in 1984 showed damage.
A proportion of the plantations surveyed in 1984 for the purpose of detecting air pollution damage revealed some degree of crown thinning: in no case, however, did such thinning appear to be due to air pollution and none of the stands showed symptoms of the type of damage ascribed to this cause in Germany. A copy of the Forestry Commission's press release reporting the results of the survey was placed in the Library of the House on 5 March 1985. A full report of the survey will be published shortly by the Forestry Commission.
Trade And Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the current value of United Kingdom investments in South Africa; and if he will compare this with the equivalent figures in real terms in 1979.
Information is available only in respect of the book value of United Kingdom direct investment in South Africa at end 1981, which was £2,826 million.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the value in real terms and in volume terms of United Kingdom exports to and imports from South Africa in each of the last 10 years; and what were the principal categories in each case.
Volume data for individual countries are not available. Information relating to value is as follows:
|Value £ million|
|United Kingdom exports (fob)||670||632||565||659||716||998||1,220||1,191||1,111||1,205|
|United Kingdom imports (cif)||633||714||1,015||911||649||756||649||746||765||726|
|Position in Order of Four Principal Commodities Exported to South Africa in Period|
|Machinery specialized for particular industries||3||4||3||2||2||2||2||4|
|General industrial machinery and equipment||2||2||2||3||3||4||3||3|
|Power generating machinery||—||3||—||4||4||3||—||—|
|Office machines and data processing equipment||—||—||—||—||—||—||4||2|
|Miscellaneous electrical machinery and appliances||4||—||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|Position in Order of Four Principal Commodities Imported from South Africa in Period|
|Metalliferous ores and metal scrap||2||2||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Fruit and vegetables||3||3||2||2||2||2||2||2|
|Miscellaneous non-metallic mineral manufactures||1||1||—||3||—||—||4||—|
|Pulp and waste paper||—||—||—||—||4||4||—||4|
|Iron and steel||—||—||4||—||—||—||—||—|
Source: Data corresponding to Tables II (imports) and V (exports) in the United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.
Notes: (i) 1984 figures are provisional.
(ii) all figures are on the current Standard International Trade Classification (Revision 2) basis.
Sale Of Goods (Pricing)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it remains the Government's intention to introduce legislation in the next Session to make provision for a general duty not to apply misleading descriptions as to price in connection with the sale of goods.
The Government intend to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time is available.
Glanford And Scunthorpe
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance his Department has rendered to Glanford and Scunthorpe since June 1983 in the form of grants from budgets within his reponsibility or obtained through the European Community, describing the nature of the grant in each case, the sums of money involved, the number of companies assisted in each case and the number of jobs created thereby.
The information is not fully available in the form required. The figures quoted are for the Scunthorpe employment office area for the period 1 June 1983 to 31 March 1985:
|Payment of Regional Development Grants over £25,000||Offers of Selective Assistance under Sections 7 and 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982|
|Number of offers||—||23|
* Section 7 Assistance only.
Details of assistance from the European regional development fund can only be given on a regional basis at present. No offers have been made under the support for innovation scheme during the period quoted.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many factory units, giving the floor space in each case, English Industrial Estates have constructed in Glanford and Scunthorpe since 1981; what is the total cost of construction; and how many have been occupied, by how many companies and how many jobs created.
I shall reply to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
Whale And Turtle Products
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what whale or turtle products have been purchased by his Department during the past five years.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received regarding commercial counterfeiting, especially concerning Scotch whisky; and if he will make a statement.
Representations are received from time to time about the counterfeiting of various products. So far as Scotch whisky is concerned, representations have been received in relation to the labelling and description of whisky on sale in Japan and Korea. The representations are being pursued both bilaterally and through the EEC Commission.
Mechanical Engineering Products
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what was the average value per tonne of total United Kingdom imports of mechanical engineering products; and what information he has as to how this figure compares with the average value per tonne of total imports of mechanical engineering products into France, West Germany, Italy and Sweden in the years 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1983;(2) what was the average value per tonne of total United Kingdom exports of mechanical engineering products; and what information he has as to how this figure compares with the average value per tonne of total exports of mechanical engineering products from France, West Germany, Italy and Sweden in the years 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1983.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 July 1985, c. 3]: Data for 1960 are not readily available. The figures for the other years are in the table.
|Mechanical Engineering Products Average value per tonne traded (US $)|
|Federal Republic of Germany||1,750||1,980||3,660||5,560||4,730|
|Federal Republic of Germany||2,260||2,840||5,730||8,970||7,740|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his current assessment of the share which the domestic software industry has of the national market in the United Kingdom; and what equivalent information he has about the share of the national markets taken by the respective domestic markets in France, Italy and Germany.
[pursuant to his reply, 1 July 1985, c. 5.]: No figures are available for imports and it is not possible to estimate with any accuracy the share of the United Kingdom market held by the United Kingdom domestic software industry. Nor are share figures available for other European markets. The United Kingdom computer services industry produced revenues of £2·12 billion in 1984.
Rural Communities (Government Policy)
asked the Prime Minister what plans she has to consider future representations from Wales on the impact of Government policies on rural communities.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales has well-defined responsibilities for rural communities in Wales and for the handling of representations about relevant Government policy.
asked the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Brecon.
I have at present no plans to do so.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 2 July.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 2 July.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 2 July.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 2 July.
asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 2 July.
This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I shall be attending a dinner given by the United States ambassador to mark the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Crown Courts (Appeals)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many appeals to the Crown court against custodial sentences imposed on juveniles there were in the most recent convenient year; and what proportion of these resulted in a reduced sentence.
The information on appeals to the Crown court against sentences of detention centre or youth custody is published annually in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, Supplementary Tables", (vol. 4, table S4.8c-f of the issue for 1983): Information on appeals against other custodial sentences imposed on juveniles could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many known heroin addicts there were in the Bradford area in 1984.
The information requested is not yet available. The currently available information on notifications of narcotic drug addicts in 1984 was given in the reply to a question from my hon. Friend for Westminster, North (Mr. Wheeler) on 11 June 1985, at columns 394–95.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received advocating stricter controls on shotguns and proposing that they should be numbered; and if he will make a statement.
We have received representations from various sources, including hon. Members, local authority associations, local authorities and police authorities and members of the public. Only a few of these specifically refer to numbering, but many suggest that section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968 should be extended so as to cover long-barrelled shotguns, which would in effect necessitate the introduction of a numbering system. My right hon. and learned Friend continues to keep the law on shotguns under close review, but we have no plans at present to introduce a numbering requirement.
Miners' Strike (Policing Costs)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to additional costs incurred in Derbyshire by the policing of the miners' strike; to what other police authorities money is owed; by what mechanism these funds may be paid; and if he will make a statement.
I understand that up to 31 March the Derbyshire police authority had incurred estimated additional expenditure of some £9·85 million resulting from the policing of the dispute in its area by the Derbyshire constabulary. I do not have information on the total sum which the authority owes to the 31 police authorities whose forces assisted the Derbyshire constabulary. Thirteen of those authorities have asked me to determine in accordance with section 14(4) of the Police Act 1964, the contribution to be paid to them by the Derbyshire police authority. The authority has already been notified of the determination of £428,661.37 made in relation to certain additional costs incurred by Cambridgeshire police authority. Other determinations will follow shortly.The Derbyshire police authority is responsible for paying those authorities whose forces supplied mutual aid. The Government have, however, made available a special payment of 40 per cent., in addition to normal police grant, of approved additional expenditure, including the cost of mutual aid, incurred as a result of the dispute. Advances of grant are made when requested. No authority will be required to find from its own resources more than the product of three-quarters of a penny rate. Derbyshire has already passed this threshold.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Pig Disease Eradication Fund Ltd
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he intends to give extra financial aid to the Pig Disease Eradication Fund Ltd. to meet the costs of the Aujeszky's disease eradication scheme; and if he will make a statement.
We had full discussions with representatives of PDEF on 17 June about their request for Government assistance towards the cost of the Aujeszky's disease control and eradication scheme. My right hon. Friend confirmed, as he had done already to the House of Commons Agriculture Committee, that the scheme had been undertaken at the express wish of producers and on the firm understanding that they would bear the costs of compensation and associated costs. In these circumstances no extra Government money could be made available to PDEF.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many students of the Polytechnic of Wales received first-class honours, 2A, 2B or third in accountancy in 1975, 1980 and 1984.
The Polytechnic of Wales began offering an honours degree course in accountancy and finance in 1980. In 1984 the results were:
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many students of the Polytechnic of Wales received first-class honours, 2A, 2B or third in research and development in engineering in 1975, 1980 and 1984.
The Polytechnic of Wales does not offer degree courses which specialise in research and development in engineering. Its honours degree courses in chemical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering and mechanical engineering contain elements of research and development work. Results from these courses for the years in question were as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Wales which universities or colleges in Wales, other than the Polytechnic of Wales, offer courses in marketing, marketing and research, accountancy, and research and development in engineering.
The University College at Aberystwyth offers a BSc in agricultural and food marketing. No other university colleges or higher education colleges in Wales provide degree courses specifically in marketing or market research, or in research and development in engineering. There are degree courses offered at the University Colleges at Cardiff and Swansea and at UWIST which include an element of marketing and market research; and engineering degree courses which include some research and development work are offered at the University Colleges at Bangor, Cardiff, Swansea, at UWIST and at the Gwent college of higher education. Degree courses in accountancy are offered at the University Colleges at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff and at UWIST.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent his Department will participate in the work of the urban housing renewal unit launched by the Government on 19 June.
The Department is actively pursuing the objectives and initiatives which are to be promoted by the urban housing renewal unit. Our officials will be in close touch with the work of the unit and will draw on its expertise in tackling local authority housing problems in Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to receive a delegation from the Association of Polytechnic Teachers in Wales to discuss the funding of local authority higher education in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
I have no plans to receive a delegation from the Association of Polytechnic Teachers in Wales. However, officials of the Department met representatives of the association on 13 June to discuss this subject and the future of the Wales Advisory Body for Local Authority Higher Education. I have seen a note of that meeting.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements he has made for removing asbestos from the construction site at Faslane.
Subject to consultations with the Health and Safety Executive and Dumbarton district council, it is planned to decontaminate the site without removing the asbestos from it.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the average length of time he estimates home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act have to wait before they are offered reinstatement or repurchase under the terms of the Act;(2) what is the maximum length of time he expects home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act should have to wait before they are offered reinstatement or repurchase under the terms of the Act.
The Act requires that an applicant should he notified as soon as is reasonably practicable whether he is eligible for assistance and then, separately, as to the form of assistance to which he is entitled. How long this takes will depend on the circumstances of each case and cannot be prescribed; but an authority must not delay unreasonably in reaching decisions. Information about the average length of time being taken is not available at present.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act have applied for and been awarded a grant for reinstatement under the terms of the Act;
(2) how many home owners who qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act have applied for and been offered repurchase under the terms of the Act.
I regret that this information is not available at present.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many home owners are estimated to qualify for assistance under the terms of the Housing Defects Act.
In 1983 local authorities estimated that in Great Britain some 16,500 prefabricated reinforced concrete dwellings of the types designated by my right hon. Friend had been sold by the public sector and were in private ownership. The number of eligible home owners was therefore estimated to be of this order. More recent information suggests that the total number in private ownership may be somewhat higher.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to adjudicate upon the bids made by those local authorities with responsibilities for large numbers of dwellings of types designated under the Housing Defects Act 1984 for additional housing investment programme allocation.
My Department is considering the bids which have been made by local authorities for additional HIP allocations under the arrangements set out in DOE circular 9/85. Decisions will be made as quickly as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance he is contemplating for those local authorities that have in their housing stock substantial numbers of dwellings of types designated under the Housing Defects Act 1984.
In recognition of the problems faced by authorities with substantial numbers of defective prefabricated reinforced concrete dwellings in their housing stock a new indicator has been included in the generalised needs index, used in the housing investment programme allocation process.The Department will continue to take into account, in annual HIP allocations, the need for expenditure on dwellings of this type. Moreover, the Building Research Establishment has published reports which will help authorites to appraise and deal with these problems.
Lifts (Emergency Telephones)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he will take to ensure that lifts in buildings contain emergency telephones which can be used by people wearing hearing aids; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no plans to make a general requirement of this kind. However, the licences for the running of branch communications systems granted by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 3 August 1984 oblige the many organisations which have lifts in their buildings to which the public have access to take reasonable steps as soon as they can to ensure that any telephone installed in such a lift is capable of being inductively coupled to hearing aids. This obligation is also being imposed on organisations who are operating their telecommunications networks under individual licences.
Cornish Unit Dwellings
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many agencies are engaged in seeking techniques for the reinstatement of Cornish unit type dwellings; and if he will list these;(2) what progress is being made towards developing a technique for the reinstatement of Cornish unit type homes under the Housing Defects Act 1984; and when he expects people in ownership of this type of dwelling and who qualify for assistance will be able to be offered reinstatement.
In my answer of 7 May to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), at column 299–300, I explained that the National House Building Council had approved arrangements for the warranty scheme for repairs to prefabricated reinforced concrete houses designated under the Housing Defects Act 1984.PRC Homes Ltd., a subsidiary of the National House-Building Council, will very shortly be inviting designers and builders to submit proposals for the reinstatement of Cornish unit and other types of PRC house. I understand that a number of methods of repair of Cornish unit houses are now being prepared for submission to PRC Homes Ltd. and I hope that the first repairs to Cornish unit houses under the scheme will be under way before long.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many Cornish unit homes now in private ownership qualify for assistance under the Housing Defects Act 1984.
In 1983 local authorities estimated that in Great Britain some 4,500 prefabricated reinforced concrete dwellings of the Cornish unit type had been sold by the public sector and were in private ownership.The number qualifying for assistance under the Housing Defects Act is likely to be of this order.
Palace Of Westminister (Psa Expenditure)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the Property Services Agency's expenditure on the Palace of Westminister in 1984–85, 1983–84, 1982–83 and 1981–82.
Records of expenditure are not maintained for individual buildings on the parliamentary estate. The gross expenditure for each of the years in question for the estate as a whole was:
Housing (Multiple Occupation)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek powers to remove the requirement for a management order to be made before the Housing (Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Regulations 1962 may be applied to houses in multiple occupation; and if he will make a statement.
No. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State sees no reason at present to apply the 1962 regulations to houses in multiple occupation which are managed satisfactorily. My right hon. Friend wishes to see the outcome of the Department's research on houses in multiple occupation before considering whether any further measures are necessary.
Football Grounds (Safety)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Football Grounds Improvement Trust since 29 May about the condition of the Heysel stadium in Brussels and the implications for crowd safety and the control of violence at football grounds in the United Kingdom.
The trust is represented on my working group on the financing of safety improvements at football grounds. The group met for the first time on 23 May 1985 and again on 19 June 1985. Our considerations encompass safety needs at football grounds, in the light of the various recent events.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further plans the Minister with responsibility for sport has to meet the Football Association and the Football League to discuss football violence.
My informal and formal contacts with the football authorities, to take forward the package of measures to combat football spectator violence, are frequent. We meet formally in the working group which I chair, which is due to meet next on 11 July.
Glanford And Scunthorpe
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance his Department has rendered to the Glanford and Scunthorpe parliamentary constituency since June 1983 in the form of derelict land grants, urban aid grants, and other similar resources available to his Department giving the sums of money concerned in each case, the organisations aided and the effect of those grants and the creation of employment.
The figures are as follows:
|Urban programme||European regional development fund|
|Organisation receiving grant||Capital||Revenue||Derelict land grant||Quota section||Non quota section||Industrial Development Act section 13|
|(i) Public sector|
|Humberside County Council||3,750||97,010||355,200|
|Glanford Borough Council||—||—||653,800|
|Scunthorpe Borough Council||35,000||112,773||506,100||280,000||78,880|
|Glanford and Scunthorpe Joint Committee for the reclamation of Normandy Park||351,018|
|Anglian Water Authority||441,600|
|Severn-Trent Water Authority||99,900|
|(ii) Private sector|
|Pipe and Rail Limited||*1,440,000|
|Location and number of projects|
|Derelict land grant||†1||1|
|IDA Section 13||—||3|
|† Initial offer of grant subject to detailed examination of proposals and tenders.|
|* This scheme lies partly in Glanford and partly in Scunthorpe.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of tax and rating reliefs obtained by companies which have set up on the three enterprise zones in Glanford and Scunthorpe to date; and what estimate he has made of future costs to the Exchequer when the zones have been fully occupied.
The only enterprise zone measure for which the cost to the Exchequer can be stated precisely is the exemption from rates. The cost of this to date in Glanford borough has been £65,505 and in Scunthorpe borough £284,916. No estimate has been made at this stage of the cost of this measure when the zones are fully occupied.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will describe the incentives available to companies setting up on the three enterprise zones in the constituency of Glanford and Scunthorpe; and what assessment he has made of the impact of those zones upon the creation of employment.
The following incentives are provided specifically in enterprise zones.
Both Scunthorpe and Glanford enterprise zones are located within the scunthorpe travel-to-work area and therefore benefit from development area status. There are two forms of incentives. Regional development grants may be made in respect of capital expenditure on providing certain new assets (plant, machinery, buildings or works) under a qualifying project or in respect of the number of new jobs created; and regional selective assistance which has two main forms: project grant: these grants are based on the capital expenditure costs of the project and on the number of jobs created or maintained. All sectors of industry and commerce, both manufacturing and service, are eligible to receive project grants, and training grants, which are based on the training costs associated with manufacturing and service industry projects.
The current employment figures in these enterprise zones are: Fellexborough 94, Scunthorpe 404.
Private Rented Accommodation (Right-To-Buy)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to confer upon private sector tenants the right to purchase their rented accommodation; and if he will make a statement.
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.
[pursuant to his reply, 28 June 1985, c. 514]: Water authorities report good progress towards drawing up civil defence plans, and most of them expect to complete this task by the end of this year or shortly afterwards. I do not intend to publish these reports.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has advised local education authorities as to a recommended minimum consultation period with parents where cessation of maintenance of a school is proposed as a result of the decision in R v Brent London Borough Council ex parte Gunning and others; and if he will make a statement.
No. The guidance already issued to local education authorities in circulars 2/80 and 2/81 and administrative memorandum 4/84 makes it clear that my right hon. Friend expects that there should have been adequate consultation with all those likely to be materially affected, in particular parents and teachers, in the 12 months prior to the publication of proposals under sections 12 to 15 of the Education Act 1980. The adequacy of prior consultations is a material factor in my right hon. Friend's decision on such proposals.
Disabled Access Survey
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what study his Department has made of the disabled access survey of Leeds university, a copy of which has been sent to him; if there is any action he will be taking or recommending to other universities arising from the survey's findings; and if he will make a statement.
The Department has only recently received a copy of this survey and has not yet had the opportunity to study it. Guidance on the provision of access for disabled people to educational buildings is available in the Department's Design Note 18 (second edition 1984).
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information has been or will be sought by his Department in respect of the ability of deaf teachers to teach before publication of the replacement circular for circular 11/78; and if he will make a statement.
Comments were invited in September 1984 from a wide range of interested organisations, including teachers' associations, local authority associations, teacher training institutions, organisations representing the deaf and partially hearing and other voluntary bodies, on the draft of a replacement for ciruclar 11/78. The responses received, including representations made about the guidance in the draft on the implications of defective hearing for teaching or teacher training, are currently under consideration. My right hon. Friend will consider the need for further consultation in the light of the responses. Decisions on the employment of individual teachers with hearing impairments, and on the admission to initial teacher training of students with such impairments, will continue to rest with the employing bodies and the training institutions respectively.
General Certificate Of Secondary Education
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations he has received concerning the proposed merit and distinction awards for the new General Certificate of Secondary Education examination; and, of those, how many approved of the proposals.
The Department has received over 360 responses to the consultation paper on GCSE distinction and merit certificates issued last December. About one-third of those replying express support for the proposals, in some cases with qualifications.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when Her Majesty's Inspectorate's discussion document on the teaching of music in schools is to be published; and if he will make a statement.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate's "Music from 5 to 16" is published today, in the "Curriculum Matters" series. It sets out for comment aims and objectives for music teaching and discusses the content and method of music education and the assessment of pupils' progress."Music from 5 to 16" bases its analysis on the proposition, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I endorse, that all pupils in our schools can derive fulfilment and enjoyment from the study and practice of music: while fostering the development of those pupils who display particular musical talent, music education should also provide first-hand musical experiences which will challenge and absorb pupils across the whole range of musical ability, and will give them all the opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do.My right hon. Friend and I welcome the publication of Her Majesty's Inspectorate's paper and commend it for consideration by all of those concerned with music education. We believe that they will find it of value both in improving standards within the wide range of musical activities which already exists in our schools and in extending that range still further.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the percentage of the population in Scotland attending universities in the United Kingdom in each of the last 20 years;(2) what is the percentage of the population in England attending universities in the United Kingdom in each of the last 20 years;(3) what is the percentage of the population in Wales attending universities in the United Kingdom in each of the last 20 years.
[pursuant to his reply, 24 June, c. 313]: The percentages of the population in Scotland, in England and in Wales attending universities full-time in the United Kingdom in the last 12 years were:
Figures for earlier years are not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the participation rate for 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21-year-olds in education and training in each of the years since 1975; and what information he has as to how these figures compare with the rates for the United Kingdom's principal economic competitors.
[pursuant to his reply, 24 June 1985, c. 313]: Full data for the United Kingdom prior to 1979 are not available. The preparation of participation rates for
|Participation in education and training*|
|* Including apprenticeships and schemes similar to YTS.|
|† Estimated; excluding some aged 18 and 19 in certain vocational training, ("special training schools"—Japanese terminology).|
|‡ Includes private sector higher education.|
|≑ Including compulsory part-time education for the youngest leavers; three years in Germany, one year in Netherlands.|
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the approach Her Majesty's Government will be adopting to the third review conference of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear and weapons.
Our position towards this important conference was fully set out in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) during the Adjournment debate on this subject on 6 June, at columns 547–48.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received expressing concern for the future of the non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement.
both education and training require considerable estimation and have not been produced for all years since then. The figures readily available covering both full-time and part-time participation are as follows:
Participation in education
† and training‡—United Kingdom
|21 to 24||20||18||19|
* Ages 16 to 18 include estimates for part-time private sector education and training, but exclude full-time private further education estimated as 4 per cent. at 16 and 2 per cent. at 16 to 18. Ages 19 and over exclude private sector education.
|† Includes evening students, discounted for overlap with other types of study.|
|‡ Including apprenticeships, YOPs in 1979 and 1981. and in 1983, YTS.|
|≑ The split between 19 and 20-year-olds is partly estimated.|
A limited amount of comparable information is available for 1979 and 1981 for a few countries, as follows:
I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) on 26 June, at columns 416–17,
European Council (Documents)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends to place in the Library the documents entitled "Draft European Council Conclusions: Decision making and Draft Agreement on Political Co-operation" with annexes; and why he has not previously done so.
The conclusions of the European Council, together with the United Kingdom's suggestions for an agreement on political co-operation, an action programme for completion of the Common Market and on decision-taking are being placed in the Library in connection with the statement on the European Council by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. It would not have been normal practice to make these documents public while they were still being discussed in confidence with other member states.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken since 22 November 1984 to increase resources for and reduce pressure on the Diplomatic Service.
The arrangement described in Cmnd. 9367 by which overseas price movements are fully taken into account in the public expenditure survey as well as during the year has been finalised. Arrangements are now in place to enable sales of property overseas to be used for the rationalisation of the overseas estate. Beyond that we cannot anticipate the result of the public expenditure survey, which will, as usual, be made known in my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's annual Autumn Statement.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of recent cuts in resources allocated to the Diplomatic Service, it remains the Government's intention to maintain a global foreign policy; and if he will make a statement.
Adjustments to Foreign and Commonwealth Office programmes for 1985–86 led to a marginal reduction in geographical coverage with the closure of 10 small overseas posts. We are satisfied, however, that this has not significantly impaired our ability to pursue an active worldwide foreign policy.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which political parties in Chile his Department has made recent contact; and what were the reasons for such contacts.
We maintain contact with a broad range of democratic opinion in Chile to inform ourselves of developments in that country and to indicate our interest in a return to normal political life. Recent visitors have included Sr. Rene Abeliuk of the Social Democratic party and Sr. Genaro Arriagada of the Christian Democratic party. We hope that Sr. Fernando Ochagavia of the National party will be able to visit this country in July.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will list all official delegations or Government-sponsored individuals or parties from Chile who have visited the United Kingdom since January 1983, stating in each case the purpose of the visit;(2) if he will list all occasions since January 1983 when United Kingdom Government or military officials have visited Chile, stating in each case the purpose of the visit.
The information is not readily available. I shall write to the hon. Member.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings there have been with representatives of the Chilean armed forces in each year since 1979.
The United Kingdom has had normal diplomatic relations with Chile since 1980. Meetings with Chilean officials and representatives of the Chilean armed forces are consistent with this policy.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the purpose of the visit of generals of the Chilean armed forces to Britain.
As I told the hon. Member on 11 June, at column 415, visits such as that of members of the Chilean National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies, which took place last week, are part of the normal pattern of our relations with Chile.
Government Overseas Services
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to maintain and expand Government services abroad to assist British exporters in the promotion of both visible and invisible exports.
The promotion and protection of Britain's economic and commercial interests overseas, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry and other Departments with an interest in international trade, remains a major objective of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Over a third of Diplomatic Service and senior locally-engaged manpower overseas (excluding clerical and secretarial support staff) is devoted to this task, a proportion which has remained steady despite the reduction in Diplomatic Service manpower overall.In view of the continuing need to control public expenditure, I cannot promise that more money will be available for Government services abroad for exporters. But the search will continue for improvements in efficiency and for the most cost-effective deployment of resources. Where it becomes necessary to look for further sensible economies, the quality of service will be paramount.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what study has been made of the effect of disinvestment in South Africa; and if he will make a statement.
We pay close attention to this question. We do not believe that disinvestment would achieve the changes we want to see in South Africa. On the contrary, we believe that trade and investment links are an important means of encouraging change.
Middle East (Peace Initiative)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, pursuant to the answer from the hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) on 24 June, Official Report, column 317, he will now list, by name, date and specific venue, the occasions known to Her Majesty's Government when official Palestine Liberation Organisation spokesmen had stressed Yasir Arafat's support for King Hussein's peace initiative; and whether he will indicate which of those occasions also involved explicit acceptance of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
Mr. Arafat's commitment to the Amman agreement of 11 February is not in doubt. It was reinforced when a PLO spokesman said in Amman on 31 May that Mr. Arafat had expressed
of King Hussein in his talks with President Reagan. Public acceptance by the PLO of United Nations security resolutions 242 and 338 would be another important step."great appreciation and full satisfaction with the Nationalist stand"
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now make it his policy to expand the economy in anticipation of a United States recession.
There is no reason to expect a recession in the United States this year or next. As the 1985 Budget statement makes clear, the medium term financial strategy is as firm a guarantee against inadequate money demand in the United Kingdom as it is against excessive money demand. Both output and employment in the United Kingdom are currently growing at a substantial rate and the prospect is for further growth next year.
European Community Budget
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the amount of value added tax contribution payable as a percentage overall by the member states under the draft European Economic budget for 1986; what is the total amount budgeted for; what is the maximum amount which can be devoted to agricultural spending within the total; and how this figure is arrived at;(2) what is the estimated gross contribution by the United Kingdom under the draft European Economic Community budget for 1986; and how much of this represents value added tax and how much other resources.
The 1986 preliminary draft European Community budget is not yet available.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1955 the interest paid on central Government borrowing as a percentage of gross domestic product; and if he will include the amount represented by overfunding.
The figures are readily available from published sources and can also be obtained from the Central Statistical Office databank, accessible through the House of Commons Library. The debt interest figures do include, by definition, interest payments on any overfunding. It is not possible to relate any precise part of the total to overfunding.
Capital Gains Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has yet decided whether it is necessary to deal with the question of losses for capital gains tax purposes referred to by the Chief Secretary in the House on 8 May, Official Report, 8 May, column 819.
At present, gains on gilt edged securities and qualifying corporate bonds are exempt from capital gains tax if the securities are held for more than 12 months. Following a review of this treatment in the light of the introduction of the accrued income scheme, and as a further measure of simplification, it is now proposed to exempt these securities entirely from capital gains tax.This exemption will apply to disposals of gilts and qualifying corporate bonds on or after 2 July 1986 and, to avoid further complication, amendments to the Finance Bill indexation provisions will be proposed so that they have no application to these securities.As a result, taxpayers will no longer need to keep records or include these securities on their tax returns for capital gains tax purposes. At the same time, it will remove the possibility that the CGT indexation provisions could be deliberately used to establish short-term capital gains tax losses on these instruments, where counterbalancing gains would not normally arise because holders would delay realising gains until 12 months after purchase.The Inland Revenue is today issuing a press release giving further information about these proposals and of the necessary consequential legislative changes. The changes will be introduced at Report stage of the Finance Bill.
Exchange Rates And Oil Price Assumptions
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the assumptions used by Her Majesty's Government for the exchange rate and oil price in their forecast of oil revenues in the Financial Statement and Budget Report.
[pursuant to his reply, 27 June 1985. c. 493]: North sea revenues depend on a range of factors such as oil production and company expenditures as well as oil prices and the exchange rate. The FSBR (pages 8–9) noted that the medium-term projections of oil revenues were based on the assumptions of falls in oil production and in real oil prices, and no major change in the sterling exchange rate index from year to year.
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.
[pursuant to his reply, 28 June 1985, c. 513]: Estimates based on the 1983 family expenditure survey and for four household types are in the table.
|£ per week|
|Single||Married (one working)||Married (both working)||Married with two children (one working)|
|75 per cent. of average earnings 1978–79|
|Other indirect taxes||5·85||7·17||8·91||7·06|
Married (one working)
Married (both working)
Married with two children (one working)
|Other indirect taxes||6·64||8·03||9·89||7·95|
|Other indirect taxes||7·81||9·45||11·48||9·29|
|Other indirect taxes||9·03||10·94||13·40||10·89|
|Other indirect taxes||9·41||11·41||14·21||11·43|
|Other indirect taxes||10·27||12·45||15·52||12·44|
|Other indirect taxes||10·81||13·23||16·41||13·20|
|Other indirect taxes||11·55||14·10||17·69||14·04|
100 per cent. of average earnings 1978–79
|Other indirect taxes||7·09||8·62||9·91||7·98|
|Other indirect taxes||8·15||9·76||11·11||9·12|
|Other indirect taxes||9·63||11·50||12·90||10·72|
|Other indirect taxes||11·13||13·30||15·01||12·55|
|Other indirect taxes||11·63||13·88||15·88||13·19|
|Other indirect taxes||12·68||15·16||17·37||14·37|
|Other indirect taxes||13·32||16·04||18·30||15·21|
Married (one working)
Married (both working)
Married with two children (one working)
|Other indirect taxes||14·23||17·11||19·67||16·17|
150 per cent. of average earnings 1978–79
|Other indirect taxes||9·68||11·64||11·83||9·88|
|Other indirect taxes||11·33||13·42||13·51||11·58|
|Other indirect taxes||13·48||15·83||15·73||13·71|
|Other indirect taxes||15·47||18·19||18·25||15·99|
|Other indirect taxes||16·18||18·98||19·23||16·81|
|Other indirect taxes||17·68||20·78||21·07||18·37|
|Other indirect taxes||18·55||21·92||22·07||19·39|
|Other indirect taxes||19·85||23·43||23·67||20·66|
1. Average earnings are taken to be the average gross weekly earnings of all full-time males on adult rates with pay unaffected by absence. The levels of average earnings in each year are given below. The figures for 1985–86 is illustrative and assumes growth of 7 per cent. over the provisional 1984–85 outturn.
£ per week
£ per week
2. The married couple with both working is assumed to have joint earnings of the various multiples of average earnings. In calculating disposable income it is assumed that the joint earnings are split between husband and wife in the ratio 60:40.
3. The estimates are based on the illustrative assumption that 10 per cent. of disposable income is saved. They are derived from the 1983 family expenditure survey, but have been adjusted to reflect the effects of average changes in spending patterns over the eight year period.
4. The category "other indirect taxes" covers central Government taxes only, but includes the indirect effects of taxes levied on businesses.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken by his Department when considering the closure of bases owned by them, to phase such closures over a period of time to enable those directly and indirectly dependent on his Department for employment to find alternative work.
We seek to give the earliest possible warning of establishment closures to all concerned, including hon. Members, and to minimise any redundancies that may be necessary. When a decision on closure has been taken, we seek to phase the rundown consistent with meeting defence requirements and in consultation with the trade unions. Staff are transferred to other jobs in Government service where this is possible, and management is encouraged to assist those who are redundant in seeking alternative employment. We also seek to ensure that staff, contractors and others are informed as soon as detailed plans affecting their interests are drawn up.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the statistical information in regard to the nuclear balance as set out in annex A Defence Estimates 1985 vol. 1 has been verified and numerically agreed with both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Soviet Union; and what are the reasons for the discrepancies between annex A and the statistics submitted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for consideration by the current Geneva talks.
The statistical information referred to is consistent with NATO assessments available at the time that the Statement on the Defence Estimates was being prepared. If the hon. Member has any particular statistical discrepancies in mind, I will be glad to examine them.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the efficiency of the communication systems proposed to be used between the United Kingdom and Trident submarines.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any further plans to make an official visit to the Falklands.
Experimental Aircraft Project
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning progress with the experimental aircraft project.
The experimental aircraft programme is a technology demonstrator programme that will provide practical experience in the integration of the wide range of new technologies required for any new, sophisticated combat aircraft. The design and construction of the aircraft is well advanced and on schedule for a first flight in mid-1986. I am pleased to report, therefore, that excellent progress is being maintained.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in view of the decline in the size of the British merchant fleet, he has reviewed, since the Falklands war, the arrangements for ships taken up from trade.
We have been reviewing the likely future availability of merchant shipping required for defence purposes and that review is continuing.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the development of the Trident programme.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Trident programme.
The programme for replacing Polaris with Trident continues to proceed satisfactorily, on the lines indicated in my answer to the hon. Members for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) and for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 26 March 1985 at column 179. Since then, one specific development has been the successful move of the prototype pressurised water propulsion reactor, known as PWR2, from Barrow to Dounreay, to undergo development tests and trials. The PWR2 will be used to power both the Trident submarines and the next generation of nuclear powered hunter-killer submarines.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he hopes to make his decision on the future management structure of the royal dockyards following the consultation period; and if he will make a statement.
Depending on the outcome of current consultation, my right hon. Friend would hope to be able to make an announcement before Parliament rises for the summer recess.
Raf Maritime Craft Operations
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what criterion he will apply when considering tenders for management services of Royal Air Force marine craft operations.
The normal criterion will apply. We will accept the cheapest tender from a company with the requisite financial and technical resources to do the job.
European Fighter Aircraft
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning his recent discussions on the European fighter aircraft.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the European fighter aircraft.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now make a statement on the European fighter aircraft.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the discussions on the proposed European fighter aircraft.
The further industrial studies commissioned by Ministers of the five participating countries at their meeting in London on 18 June are proceeding. Industry has been asked to submit its proposals by mid-July and Ministers will review the position shortly thereafter. We will continue to do all we can to reach an agreement acceptable to all parties and which would enable project definition to be launched on a five nation, collaborative basis; to be acceptable to the United Kingdom the aircraft would have to have adequate performance and the interests of British industry properly safeguarded.
Middle East (Exercises)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has any plans for major exercises in the middle east.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has for out-of-area exercises.
I cannot at present add to what my right hon. Friend said on 12 June, at column 909, about next year's planned strategic mobility exercise. Its location has yet to be finalised.
Nuclear Weapons (Europe)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what current research he is undertaking with a view to installing new nuclear weapons in Europe.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie) on 15 May 1985 (Vol. 79, column 151).
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the current provision in the defence budget for protective equipment and counter measures against attack by chemical weapons.
We give high priority to defensive measures against chemical attack and the level of provision currently planned would allow for a substantial amount of new protective equipment to be procured.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what Burtonwood base, near Warrington, is used for; and what is transported to and from Burtonwood through the port of Liverpool.
RAF Burtonwood is a storage facility made available to the United States army. There is in addition a small training facility used by the British army on the site. Stores being taken from or to RAF Burtonwood may pass through a number of points of entry. It is not our practice to discuss details.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what have been the ratios of reciprocal sales and purchases of defence equipment between the United Kingdom and the United States of America through the so-called two way street over the last five years for which figures are available.
For the last five years for which figures are available the approximate ratios are:
|1979–80||1·5 : 1|
|1980–81||2·0 : 1|
|1981–82||2·0 : 1|
|1982–83||1·9 : 1|
|1983–84||*2·1 : 1|
Destroyers And Frigates
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the present rate of ordering of destroyers and frigates.
Defence Industries (Leicester)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are currently employed in the defence industries in Leicester.
Estimates of the number of jobs in United Kingdom industry sustained, directly or indirectly, by defence expenditure are derived from generalised statistical information. It is not possible to break these estimates down into the numbers employed in a particular area.
asked the Secretary of Defence if he will make a statement concerning the introduction of Tornado F2.
The Tornado F2 entered Royal Air Force service with the formation of the operational conversion unit at RAF Coningsby on 1 May 1985.
Strategic Defence Initiative
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any contracts have yet been signed by British companies in connection with the strategic defence initiative.
Whilst individual United Kingdom companies may have entered into negotiation with the United States on matters relating to the strategic defence initiative, I am not aware of the award of any contracts.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he intends to discuss the strategic defence initiative with Vice President George Bush whilst he is in the United Kingdom.
There are no plans for me to have detailed discussion with Vice President Bush during his visit to the United Kingdom.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has plans to meet the United States Secretary for Defence in the near future to discuss the strategic defence initiative.
I have no plans as yet for a further meeting with the United States Defence Secretary in the near future, but my officials are in continuous contact with his on a range of subjects.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what complaints he has received about the use of military helicopters in the Cambridgeshire area.
My right hon. Friend has received one letter on this subject, from the hon. Member, which is being attended to.
Trident Base (Coulport)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met representatives of Dumbarton district council to discuss local aspects of the proposed Trident base at Coulport; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has not met representatives of the council, but officials of the MOD and of the PSA last did so on 24 June.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he will next visit RAF Caerwent.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has no plans to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the installation of cruise missiles at Greenham Common and Molesworth.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) earlier today.
Hms Fearless And Intrepid (Replacements)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce his decision about the replacements for the assault ships HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid.
We expect to take a decision on future amphibious capability in the middle of next year.
Low-Flying Aircraft, Nottingham
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what increases there have been in the number of low-flying aircraft passing over the constituency of Bassetlaw, North Nottingham, since 1979.
I regret that we do not keep records of the number of low-flying military aircraft passing over individual constituencies.
3 Commando Brigade
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the role of 3 Commando Brigade.