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Written Answers

Volume 82: debated on Wednesday 10 July 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 10 July 1985

Home Department

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has decided on changes to the immigration rules to comply with the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

Yes. In order to comply with the judgment it will be necessary to change the immigration rules so that the provisions for the admission of husbands and wives for settlement are brought into line with each other. The Government therefore propose to allow husbands to join women who, though not British citizens, have permanent residence here, and to apply to wives seeking admission for settlement (other than wives to whom the provisions of section 1(5) of the Immigration Act 1971 apply) the requirements, including the requirement to satisfy the entry clearance officer that the marriage was not entered into primarily for immigration purposes, which at present apply only to husbands. The opportunity will be taken to clarify and strengthen the provisions of the existing rules relating to maintenance and accommodation and the entry clearance officer will need to be satisfied that adequate accommodation will be

Table 1
Husbands and fiances in the Indian subcontinent applying for entry clearance for leave to enter the United Kingdom under the 1983 immigration rules
Number of persons
HusbandsFiances
19841984
1st quarter2nd quarter3rd quarter4th quarterYear1st quarter2nd quarter3rd quarter4th quarterYear
Bombay
Applications decided9070100603001309011070400
of which, applications granted*6040705022080507050250
applications refused†203020109060304020150
New Delhi (including Calcutta)
Applications decided5040404016014012010080440
of which, applications granted*202020207030203030100
applications refused†30202020901101107050340
India
Applications decided130110130100460270210210140830
of which, applications granted*806080702801007010080350
applications refused†5050403018017014011070480
Pakistan
Applications decided70807070290200210200200820
of which, applications granted*50605050210120130110100460
applications refused†1020202080808090100360
Bangladesh
Applications decided103040+++
of which, applications granted*102020+-+
applications refused†102020+++

available for the partners to a marriage, and for any children, and that they will be able to maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.

Similar changes, including the introduction of an entry certificate requirement for fiancees, will be made to bring the provisions for the admission of fiances and fiancees into line with each other.

I am satisfied that these changes, taken together, will enable us to comply with the judgment in a way that preserves the firm and fair immigration control to which the Government remain fully committed. I intend to lay before Parliament on 15 July a statement of the necessary changes to the immigration rules to give effect to these decisions.

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

[pursuant to his reply, 25 June 1985, c. 344–45]: The information requested is given in the tables. Where the numbers are small, the figures far individual posts and individual quarters have been combined. Information for the whole of the Indian subcontinent on husbands and fiances granted or refused entry clearance is given in table 9 of the quarterly Home Office statistical bulletin "Control of Immigration: Statistics—First Quarter 1985" (Issue 16/85).

* Including applications granted on appeal.

† Some of these are subsequently granted on appeal.

‡ Rounded to the nearest 10; '-' indicates nil and '+' five or fewer; components may not add to the total because they have been rounded independently.

Table 2. Husbands and fiances in the Indian sub-continent refused entry clearance for leave to enter the United Kingdom under the 1983 immigration rules

*

Numberof persons or percentage

Bombay

New Delhi (including Calcutta)

Husbands

Fiances

Husbands

Fiances

1984

1984

1984

1984

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

Number refused because primary purpose of the marriage was to obtain admission to United Kingdom

Solely for this reason3020606040110404080170100270
Partly for this reason+++10+20+++301040

Primary purpose refusals as a percentage of all decisions

Solely on primary purpose grounds231619282527514849665862
Partly on primary purpose grounds21152443311810

Primary purpose refusals as a percentage of all refusals

Solely on primary purpose grounds676867687772869289808682
Partly on primary purpose grounds63512710656141213

India

Pakistan

Husbands

Fiances

Husbands

Fiances

1984

1984

1984

1984

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

Number refused because primary purpose of the marriage was to obtain admission to United Kingdom

Solely for this reason8060140230150380304070120160280
Partly for this reason10+10402060++101020

Primary purpose refusals as a percentage of all decisions

Solely on primary purpose grounds332630494146212624303935
Partly on primary purpose grounds3129571+233

Primary purpose refusals as a percentage of all refusals

Solely on primary purpose grounds768078768379869290768379
Partly on primary purpose grounds64513101231676

Bangladesh

Total Indian sub-continent

Husbands

Fiances

Husbands

Fiances

1984

1984

1984

1984

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

Number refused because primary purpose of the marriage was to obtain admission to United Kingdom

Solely for this reason101020+++120110220360310660
Partly for this reason10+10503080

Bangladesh

Total Indian sub-continent

Husbands

Fiances

Husbands

Fiances

1984

1984

1984

1984

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

1st half

2nd half

Year

Primary purpose refusals as a percentage of all decisions

Solely on primary purpose grounds50†3942292728404040
Partly on primary purpose grounds211645

Primary purpose refusals as a percentage of all refusals

Solely on primary purpose grounds100†8086808582768379
Partly on primary purpose grounds52411810

* Some applications refused are subsequently granted on appeal

† Refusal rate based on fewer than 15 applications
‡ Rounded to the nearest 10; — indicates nil and + five or fewer
≑ not given because refusal rate for five or fewer applications or less than ½ per cent.

Data Protection Act 1984

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will appoint a day for registration under the Data Protection Act 1984 to commence; and if he will make a statement.

I have today made an order under section 42(1) of the Data Protection Act 1984 appointing 11 November 1985 as the day on which applications for registration under the Act may begin to be made. Data users will have six months from that date within which to apply for registration.This date has been appointed after consultation with the Data Protection Registrar, who, since his appointment last September, has concentrated his efforts on setting up his office and devising procedures for registration. With this in mind, he has held meetings with a wide range of representative organisations and has taken account of the views which they have expressed. He has also published advice and information about the Act. Details of his activities during the last nine months are set out in his first annual report, which was presented to Parliament yesterday and which is published today (HC 470).

Sporting Events (Crowd Safety)

76.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has made any study of the influence of politically extreme organisations upon crowd safety at major sporting events in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mr. Parry) on 18 June, at column 88.

Anti-Apartheid March (Surveillance)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis about whether the Metropolitan police used (a) an empty office at Strutton Ground SW1, (b) the roof of the New Scotland Yard building, and (c) the roof of the British Pharmaceutical building in Lambeth road, for the purpose

of camera surveillance of the anti-apartheid march on 16 June; what was the total number of police personnel involved in camera surveillance of this march, and what branches of the Metropolitan police they were from; and whether any still photographs were taken by the Metropolitan police of the march.

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis informs me that seven cameras were used at various locations along the route of the march including the roof of New Scotland Yard and the British Pharmaceutical building. No cameras were sited in Strutton Ground. The cameras, which were used for traffic control and to assist in police deployment, were operated by 19 civilian engineers from the chief engineer's department of the Metropolitan police. No still photographs were taken.

Terrorism (Italy)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Italian Government about the presence in the United Kingdom of people wanted for terrorist offences in Italy; and if he will make a statement.

None. It would be for the Italian authorities to apply for the extradition of any individuals in the United Kingdom who were suspected of terrorist offences in Italy.

Child Abduction Act 1984

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's guidelines on the enforcement of the Child Abduction Act 1984.

Copies of Home Office circular 75/1985, which explains the main provisions of the Child Abduction Act 1984, have been placed in the Library.

Strangeways Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners, including people on remand, were detained at Strangeways gaol in Manchester on 8 July.

On 5 July, the latest date for which figures were collected centrally, the population of Her Majesty's prison Manchester was 1,733.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners in Strangeways gaol, Manchester, are registrably either mentally or physically disabled.

On 31 March 1985 the numbers of persons in Manchester prison whom the medical officer considered to be mentally disordered within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, was 13, of whom 12 were mentally ill. There are at present three inmates whom the medical officer considers to be physically handicapped.

European Cup Final, Brussels

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to ensure that British football fans who were at the Liverpool v. Juventus match in Brussels and who are liable to be charged with offences, and are at present in Great Britain, are not extradited to Belgium to stand trial.

No. Extradition arrangements with Belgium are provided for by the United Kingdom/Belgium extradition treaty. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made it clear on 3 June, at columns 22–23, that, in accordance with our international obligations, we will give the Belgium authorities every assistance in preparing requests for the extradition of persons accused of having committed offences at the European Cup final.

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state, for each of the financial years from 1980–81 to 1987–88, the actual or projected figures for (a) total civil defence expenditure from his Department's budget and (b) expenditure on grants-in-aid to local authorities for civil defence purposes.

[pursuant to his reply, 5 July 1985, c. 282]: The figures are as follows:

(a) Total Expenditure (Net)*(b) Grant in Aid to Local Authorities
(£'000)(£'000)
1980–81 outturn12,2274,546
1981–82 outturn16,4436,160
1982–83 outturn26,7557,162
1983–84 outturn36,9799,406
1984–85 estimated outturn41,42011,132
1985–86 supply estimate44,27911,989
1986–87 projected figure45,14013,736
1987–88 projected figure45,07015,468
* Includes expenditure on major Home Office building projects undertaken by PSA.

Ferry Passengers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for each United Kingdom seaport, and at each separate terminal within a seaport, what was the number of passengers arriving in 1984 on a ferry, including hovercraft and hydrofoils, from a seaport in (a) another member state of the Community and (b) other countries.

I have been asked to reply.The following table shows the information requested for United Kingdom ports or port groups. The Department of Transport does not collect figures for arrivals at individual terminals. Figures for individual ports have been grouped where necessary to avoid the disclosure of commercially confidential information.

Sea passenger arrivals in the United Kingdom from Continental Europe and Irish Republic*: 1984
Port/Port GroupArrivals in United Kingdom (Thousands)
Dover6,881
Other Thames and Kent ports1,540
All Thames and Kent (Tilbury to Folkstone)8,421
All South Coast (Newhaven to Falmouth)1,548
All West Coast (Avonmouth to Fleetwood)1,441
Felixstowe/Ipswich346
Harwich963
Other East Coast ports286
All East Coast (Harwich to Lerwick)1,596
Total all Ports/Port Groups13,006
Of which:
From EC Countries12,769
From Non-EC Countries237
* Excludes passengers arriving in the United Kingdom from outside Europe and passengers dis-embarking following a cruise holiday.

Attorney-General

Departmental Staff

asked the Attorney-General what manpower reductions the Lord Chancellor's Department has achieved in 1984–85.

In the period between the 1 April 1984 and 1 April 1985 the number of counted staff increased from 10,026 to 10,190. This increase was due to the transfer from other departments of 61 staff of two tribunals and to the need to recruit additional staff to deal with the increasing workload of the courts.

Mr Ed Kale

asked the Attorney-General, what action the Director of Public Prosecutions has taken so far to seek to extradite Mr. Ed Kale from the United States of America.

I understand the question to refer to the removal by Edward William Kale in September 1980 of his two children from their home in Liverpool to the United States of America in defiance of a custody order made in favour of his former wife. The matter was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions who concluded that no criminal offence was disclosed. Extradition is not available in respect of alleged contempt of court. Although the law has been amended by the Child Abduction Act 1984, its provisions are not retrospective in effect and accordingly do not provide any basis for an application for extradition in relation to events occuring in 1980.I also understand that one child was returned to the jurisdiction, but recently was again removed to the United States of America. This is the subject of an investigation by the Merseyside police, who expect shortly to submit a report to the Director.

Prime Minister

Pensions

asked the Prime Minister in what circumstances Her Majesty's Government decide to base pension entitlement on levels of salary other than those actually in payment at or in the period before the date of retirement; for which categories of public servants this was done in 1983–84 and succeeding years; and if she will make a statement.

Since April 1983 the only group of public servants who have had their pensions based on salaries other than those actually in payment at or in the period before the date of retirement are those whose pensions were affected by the 1983–84 TSRB award. Ministers are considering the 1985 report of the Top Salaries Review Body and I expect to be able to announce the Government's decisions, including the implications for pensions, in the near future.

Education And Science

Teachers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the average pay rise for teachers and what was the annual inflation rate in each year from 1955; and if he will make a statement.

So far as it can be ascertained, the information requested is given in the table.Annual pay settlements operative from 1 April have been the norm only since 1969 (though the figures for 1974 and 1980 represent a consolidation of separate settlements applicable from two or more dates during those years). Increases prior to 1969 are attributed in the table to the years in which they become operative. These early figures are approximations giving a broad indication only of the average effect of pay settlements, which covered periods of up to three years.

The RPI increases given are for the 12 months up to April each year.
YearPercentage Pay increaseOperative datePercentage RPI increase
19553·5
1956151 October 19567·2
19571·8
19584·9
1959*101 October 19590·0
19600·7
19612·7
1962151 January 19625·6
196371 April 19632·1
19642·0
1965131 April 19655·6
19663·6
196771 July 19673·0
19684·5
19697·11 April 19695·5
19707·51 April 19705·5
197110·81 April 19719·5
19729·61 April 19726·3
19736·61 April 19739·1

Year

Percentage pay increase

Operative date

Percentage RPI increase

1974†37·01 April/24 May 197415·2
197522·31 April 197521·7
19768·31 April 197618·9
19773·81 April 197717·5
19789·91 April 19787·9
19799·31 April 197910·1
1980‡35·11 Jan/1 April/1 Sept 198021·8
19817·51 April 198112·0
19826·01 April 19829·4
19835·01 April 19834·0
19845·11 April 19845·2

* Absorbed a 5 per cent. increase applicable from 1 February 1959.

† A negotiated settlement of 8 per cent. from 1 April plus an additional 27 per cent. awarded by the Houghton committee taking effect from 24 May and estimated to be worth a further 2 per cent. in the long-term.
‡ A two-stage arbitration award amounting to 14·6 per cent. plus an additional 17·9 per cent. awarded by the Clegg commission.

Neuropathogens Laboratory, Edinburgh University

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what payments he has made in the last year to the neuropathogens laboratory at Edinburgh university, Kings Buildings, for work on dementia.

The neuropathogenesis unit in Edinburgh is jointly funded by the Agricultural and Food Research Council and the Medical Research Council, which receive grants-in-aid from the Department. I understand that in the financial year 1984–85 expenditure at the unit on work directly concerned with dementia was estimated to be about £19,000. In addition, much of the unit's total budget of £510,000 was directed to work which might prove relevant to understanding of diseases such as dementia.

Religious Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has in the context of the proposals contained in the White Paper, "Better Teaching" on in-service training for teachers, to strengthen the teaching of religious education in schools; and if he will make a statement.

The new funding arrangements for in-service training proposed in the White Paper "Better Schools" are intended to promote more systematic procedures for identifying teachers' needs for training, for matching training needs with suitable training activities and for making good use of teachers after training. Such improved procedures should serve to strengthen teaching in religious education as in other subjects.

Grammar Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy towards selection of children at age of 11 years, and towards grammar schools.

The White Paper "Better Schools" explains (paragraph 212) that the Government are content with the existing legal framework

"which gives freedom to each local education authority to maintain its existing pattern of school organisation and, if it wishes, to propose changes in that pattern".
Using this freedom, some LEAs continue to maintain selective secondary schools. The freedom to submit statutory proposals to reintroduce grammar schools was restored by the Education Act 1979. If such proposals were submitted, I would consider them on their merits.

Energy

National Coal Board

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will indicate the total level of Government financial support under all headings to the National Coal Board in (a) the last five years and (b) the last 10 years.

Total Government financial support during the last five years and 10 years in payments of deficit, operating and social grants to the National Coal Board, and payments under the RMP scheme to redundant mineworkers were as follows:

£ million
1975–76 to 1984–856,157
1980–81 to 1984–855,450

Photovoltaic Renewable Energy Sources

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are his proposals for future funding of research into photovoltaic renewable energy sources.

Support for the exploitation of the market for photovoltaic technology rests with the Department of Trade and Industry, which is providing assistance for industrial innovation in photovoltaics as well as advice and assistance to British firms under its various development and export-related schemes.My Department does, however, consider that photovoltaic technology is unlikely to be economic for electricity generation in this country because of our climatic conditions, but recognises that there is a growing export market.

Trade And Industry

Anti-Misting Kerosene

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his Department is involved in the research programme instigated by the American Federal Aviation Authority to produce anti-misting kerosene; and if he will make a statement.

Research aimed at developing an anti-misting additive for aviation kerosene was started in the United Kingdom in 1967. For some years this research, at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and in a number of firms and universities, was jointly supported by my Department and the Ministry of Defence. In 1978, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was established between the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the MOD(PE) covering a joint research programme based on the ICI additive "Avgard" and leading to the controlled impact demonstration (CID) in the United States of America on 1 December last year. Although the result of the CID has cast doubt on the benefits of anti-misting fuels, the MOU remains in being. The current research by ICI is funded by the company, but my officials continue to support ICI in its dealings with the FAA, who are still analysing the results of the CID and considering future developments.

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what manpower reductions his Department has achieved in 1984–85.

The number of staff in the Department has increased from 12,582 on April 1 1984 to 12,620 on April 1 1985. This net figure reflects a number of structural changes involving transfer of work into and out of the Department; staff savings from increased efficiency, general streamlining and contracting out of services; and increases in staff to deal with increased workload at the Companies Registration Office, and elsewhere.

Paint Strippers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether his Department has commissioned publicity to draw attention to the dangers of using caustic soda and other paint strippers; and if he will make it his policy that these products should carry a health warning.

I have been asked to reply.The Classification Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Substances Regulations 1984, which come into force next year and to which the Government will give appropriate publicity, prescribe warning labelling for all products such as paint strippers which contain corrosive, toxic or harmful chemicals, so that users will know to take care. I am also proposing to prescribe child resistant closures for certain household chemicals including caustic or harmful paint strippers.

Pasta

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action the European Community has taken in response to the United States' threats affecting pasta imports from the European Community to the United States; and if he will make a statement.

On 20 June, the United States Government announced their intention to impose greatly increased duties on imports of pasta from the Community. This has been explained as a response to the Community's failure to grant the United States satisfaction in a current dispute concerning trade in citrus products. As the latter dispute remains the subject of normal dispute settlement procedures in the GATT, the United States action represents a unilateral resort to restrictive measures not authorised by the GATT. This is unacceptable conduct on the part of a major trading nation and serves only to undermine confidence in the multilateral trading system.The Council of Ministers has adopted a regulation permitting the Community to take appropriate countermeasures. If the United States implements the increased duties, the Community will increase duties on imports from the United States of lemons and unshelled walnuts. We calculate the trade impact of this measure to be equivalent to that resulting from the United States action. I regret the need to take this step and hope that it will not be necessary to implement the regulation. Together with our partners, we remain eager to negotiate with the United States in order to resolve our underlying differences without recourse to a harmful escalation of the dispute.

It was necessary to signal urgently to the United States authorities the Community's willingness to take countermeasures. The regulation had therefore to be adopted by the Council of Ministers at very short notice. Accordingly, we were not able to provide an explanatory memorandum in time for the Select Committee on European Legislation to consider the proposal before it was adopted by the council. I wrote to the Chairman of the Committee explaining what was happening and why. I regret that this was necessary and a full explanatory memorandum has now been sent to the Committee.

West Germany

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report the value of imports and exports of manufactures from and to Germany each year since 1970 and in 1985 to date at an annual rate, together wih the import and export values for manufactures.

The figures in the table are on the overseas trade statistics basis, with insurance and freight costs included in the imports but not the exports. Balance of payments figures, with imports and exports both valued exclusive of freight and insurance, are not available. Annualised data are unreliable as a guide to the outcome of the year.

United Kingdom Trade in Manufactures*Overseas Trade Statistics Basis £ billion
Trade with:
Federal Republic of GermanyWorld
ImportsExportsImportsExports
19700·50·44·66·8
19710·60·44·97·7
19720·80·56·08·1
19731·30·68·710·0
19741·70·811·713·3
19751·71·012·516·0
19762·51·416·520·6
19773·21·920·725·8
19784·12·224·428·0
19795·32·829·730·9
19805·13·131·234·8
19815·33·232·034·9
19826·73·437·137·3
19838·93·944·940·1
198410·04·952·946·7
†198511·65·661·053·6
* Standard International Trade Classification, section 5 to 8.
† January to May at an annual rate.

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the value of imports from and exports to Germany of finished manufactures each year since 1970 and in 1985 to date at an annual rate.

The figures in the table are on the overseas trade statistics basis, with insurance and freight costs included in the imports but not the exports. Balance of payments figures, with imports and exports both valued exclusive of freight and insurance, are not available. Annualised data are unreliable as a guide to the outcome for the year.

United Kingdom Trade with Federal Republic of Germany in Finished Manufactures

*

£ million

Exports

Imports

1970245330
1971274401
1972302536
1973390827
1974465975
19756331,102
19768781,584
19771,1622,117
19781,4202,775
19791,7163,660
19802,0043,336
19812,0873,518
19822,2334,582
19832,5756,221
19843,1756,789
† 19853,6108,067

* Standard International Trade Classification, section 7 and 8.

† January to May at an annual rate.

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.

Overseas Contracts (Loans)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether Her Majesty's Government intend to take steps to assist British manufacturers in major overseas contracts by offering loans to potential customers.

The Government recognise that some developing countries may prefer aid in the form of loans, rather than grants supplemented by export credits, to finance their major projects. The Government are therefore discussing with the financial community mechanisms to provide such loans under the aid and trade provision with the overseas aid programme.

Wales

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what manpower reductions his Department has achieved in 1984–85.

The permanent staff in post in my Department numbered 2,185 full-time equivalents on 1 April 1984 and 2,278½ on 1 April 1985. This increase arose because of transfers of functions and staff from other Government departments, mainly the Department of Trade and Industry.

Planning Inquiry (Appeal)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to announce his decision following the inquiry held on 8 and 9 January at the Guildhall, Swansea, into the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, section 36 appeal; land adjacent to Pennard burial ground, Vennaway lane, Pennard and the Swansea (land off Vennaway lane, Pennard) compulsory purchase order 1982.

Forestry Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list in the Official Report the names and locations of the woodlands for which felling licences for the conversion of the land to agriculture were issued in the

County
North Wales Conservancy
1982–83
Pentre wood, Cwmdockin estateAbermulePowys
Woodlands on Dolassey estateKnightonPowys
Fridd cottage woodlandAbermulePowys
Woodlands on Bryn Car farmAbergeleClwyd
Woodlands on Cwm farmLlanfyllinPowys
Woodlands on Llettygynfach farmWelshpoolPowys
Woodlands on Corndon manorNear ChurchstokePowys
Woodlands on Troed y Rhiw farmAberysrwythDyfed
Woodlands on Tyn-y-Pwll farmLlanidloesPowys
Woodlands on Pale estateLlandderfelGwynedd
Woodlands on Ty Cam farmAberysrwythDyfed
1983–84
Fron woodFordenPowys
Woodlands on Ciliau estateLlwyndafydd, AberystwythDyfed
Woodlands at the MillCemmaes, DolgellauGwynedd
Coed Ddol wood, Ddol farmAbergeleClwyd
Woodlands on Bwlch Llwyn farmNewtownPowys
Dyffryn woodLampeterDyfed
Erglodd Fawr plantationAberystwythDyfed
Woodlands on Home farmLlandrindod WellsPowys
Erglodd Fach plantationAberystwythDyfed
Highgate woodPresteignePowys
Woodlands on Dolagored farmBuilth WellsPowys
Coed y Gwernydd wood, Penrhos estateMeifodPowys
Coed y Bedw wood, Castle Crab estateBuilth WellsPowys
1984–85
Woodlands on Dolassey estateKnightonPowys
Woodlands on CaethugleyWelshpoolPowys
Woodlands on Brynhwdog farmWelshpoolPowys
Woodlands on Cefn Llech farmLlanrwstGwynedd
Fron wood, Sheep House estateLlowes, near GlasburyPowys
Woodlands on Cwmgwydd farmBerriew, WelshpoolPowys
Blacksmiths wood, the SmithyWelshpoolPowys
Woodlands on Cefn Du Uchaf estateWelshpoolPowys
Woodlands on Coed Faenol Bropor farmSt. AsaphClwyd
South Wales Conservancy
1982–83
Woodlands on Wernished farmTalgarth, BreconPowys
Woodlands on Maesgwandde estateLlandoveryDyfed
Lan Pill wood, Porthveynor farmUskGwynedd
Glandu Cwrt woods, Rhosferig estateBuilth WellsPowys
Woodlands on Nantycastell estateLlanfrynachDyfed
Woodlands on Dihewydd farmLlantwitMid Glamorgan
Pentyrch plantationPentyrch, CardiffSouth Glamorgar
Woodlands at Kings lodgeLlandeiloDyfed
Hirwaun Isaf wood, Hirwaun Isaf estatePontyberemDyfed
1983–84
Woodlands on Fernhill estateLlantrisantGwent
Woodlands on Ty Mawr farmNewbridge-on-WyePowys
The Vale wood, Vale estateLower Chapel, BreconPowys
Dderw wood, Dderw estateBreconPowys
Woodlands on Penhow farmCaerphillyMid Glamorgan
Woodlands on Llanerch farmPontardulaisDyfed
Woodlands at Llatty Twpa FarmLampeterDyfed
Cwmtydu wood, Lower farmBreconPowys
Woodlands on Coedcaedu farmBreconPowys
The Riverside wood and Part Boundary wood, Wernfawr estateBuilth WellsPowys
Treowen wood, Treowen estateMonmouthGwent
Woodlands on Gaer House farmGrosmontGwent
Coed Cochion wood, Cwm Camlais Uchaf estateSennybridgePowys
Llwyn Du wood, Llwyn Du estateAbergavennyGwent
Woodlands on the Bams farmGrosmontGwent

Forestry Commission's north and south Wales conservancies, respectively, in the years 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85.

[pursuant to his reply, 4 July 1985, c. 225]: The information, which covers coniferous, broadleaved and mixed woods is as follows:

County

1984–85

Woodlands on Llanfechan farmBuilth WellsPowys
Woodlands on Ty Uchaf farmLlantrisantMid Glamorgan
Allt Pant-Teg wood, Dolau Gwynion farmLlandoveryDyfed
Forge wood, Cwm Nofydd farmMachenMid Glamorgan
Woodlands on Lower farm, OnenMommouthGwent
Lon woods, Lon farmAbercrafPowys

Transport

Malaysian Airlines System

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is preventing the implementation of the extra daily service by Malaysian Airlines System into London Heathrow.

British Airways and Malaysian Airlines System have now agreed that MAS should operate its fifth weekly frequency to London as from July 1986. I expect the other details affecting the implementation of the new service to be finalised during official consultations to be held in Kuala Lumpur at the end of July.

Driving Licences

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to extend the recognition of driving licences to further countries outside the European Community.

Representative organisations are being invited to give their views on a proposal that Austria and Japan should be added to the list of countries whose licences are exchangeable for British ordinary licences. The proposed order under the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Act 1983 would come into effect on 1 November 1985.

Social Services

Unemployed Persons

75.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if Her Majesty's Government will seek powers, in cases where an individual has been unemployed for six months or more, to give him an advance of another year's unemployed benefit for the purpose of a deposit on a house in another part of the United Kingdom on condition that he obtains a skilled job; and if he will make a statement.

Unemployment benefit is a contingency benefit to provide for periods of loss of earnings because of unemployment. It is therefore paid periodically — usually fortnightly — on proof of continuing unemployment. It would be inappropriate, and would change the nature of the benefit, to make advance payments of the kind suggested. However, the Manpower Services Commission's employment transfer scheme gives financial assistance (subject to certain elegibility conditions) to unemployed people moving home to take up employment in another area. Under this scheme, advance payments may be made to help with the deposit or other direct costs of purchasing property.

Housing Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will break down the number of claimants who will lose (a) up to 50p and (b) up to 100p a week for the housing benefit changes announced on 18 June; and if he will break down the data according to whether claimants are above or below retirement age.

I assume the hon. Member has in mind changes other than the normal uprating changes. Estimates of the numbers whose housing benefit will be up to 50p and up to £1 less than it would otherwise have been because of the proposed increase in the rate rebate taper above the needs allowance this November, offset by the real improvement in the dependent child addition to the needs allowance, are as follows:

Thousand, Great Britain
Up to 50p50p to £1
Above pension age910400
Below pension age220190
Total1,130590

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of standard housing benefit recipients with capital of over (a) £3,000 and (b) £6,000.

[pursuant to the reply, 3 July 1985, c. 175]: At present capital is ignored for housing benefit purposes although income from capital is taken into account (whereas for Supplementary benefit, Capital is taken into account but investment income is ignored) and we do not collect specific information about amounts of capital held by households which receive housing benefit. However, the 1983 family expenditure survey included questions on income from capital. On this basis, which may not be very reliable, it is estimated that in 1983–84 about 750,000 standard housing benefit recipients had capital over £3,000, somewhat under half of whom had capital over £6,000.

Cervical Cancer

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent representations and information he has received about virus-related cancer of the cervix which spreads very quickly in young women and the survival chances of such women; whether he has any new proposals on the matter; and if he will make a statement.

For some years there has been growing speculation by experts in this field that virus-induced changes in the cervix may underline the development of many cases of cervical cancer. We are advised on the most appropriate pattern of cervical cancer screening by the committee on gynaecological cytology whose members are distinguished experts in the field and are fully aware of the latest scientific views about the aetiology of the disease. The advice of the committee on screening of women under 35 remains that any woman who is or has been sexually active should have a first cervical smear when she first presents for contraceptive advice and thereafter at ages 20, 25 and 30.We will continue to follow closely scientific debate on the nature and incidence of the disease. Any policy on screening must of course reflect the fact that 94 per cent. of all deaths are of women aged over 35. However, some of our critics mistakenly suggest that our policies discourage screening of younger women which, as I have indicated, is not so.

Nurses (Pay Award)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the pay increase recently awarded for nurses has not yet been received by them; and if he will make a statement.

We published the new pay scales on 1 July. Implementation is a matter for health authorities, but I understand they hope to pay the new rates in August. The delay is caused by the need to complete the full computer programming required.

Health Visitors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why health visitors have been downgraded from their previous pay level of sister 1/senior nurse grade 8; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 78 of the review body's second report on nursing staff, midwives and health visitors (Cmnd. 9529).

Health Service Commissioner (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to receive the annual report of the Health Service Commissioner for 1984–85.

The Health Service Commissioner has, as in previous years, made a single report on the performance of his functions in England, Scotland and Wales. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Social Services, Scotland and Wales have presented the report to the House today. It will be published tomorrow and copies will be available from the Vote Office.

Wood Preservatives

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what health checks have been made on creosote and other wood preservatives to ensure that their level of toxicity is kept within safe limits; and if he will make it his policy that such substances should bear a health hazard warning.

I have been asked to reply.The sale of wood preservatives in the United Kingdom is controlled by formal agreement under the pesticides safety precautions scheme. Under this scheme, new active ingredients must be notified to the Health and Safety Executive and cleared by an independent panel of experts before they are put on sale. Containers must have a label giving precautions for use together with the appropriate hazard symbol. The Government are taking steps to introduce legislation to give statutory backing to these arrangements.

Nuclear Installations (Cancer)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list and describe the research projects commissioned to implement the recommendations number 1 to 4 of the report of the advisory group chaired by Sir Douglas Black on the possible increased incidence of cancer in west Cumbria, relating to nuclear installations at Sellafield; and if he will estimate the approximate cost and duration of each project.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 June 1985, c. 250–52]: I regret that the estimate of cost contained therein for the research commissioned to implement recommendation 1 of the Black report was inaccurate; instead of £41,600, this should have read £46,200.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of single claimants aged 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 years, respectively, received (a) supplementary benefit as a non-householder in April and (b) supplementary benefit in their own right but share their home with people other than parents.

[pursuant to the reply, 3 July, c. 177]: I regret that the information asked for in (b) is not available. The latest available information for (a) is for December 1983 and is as follows:

Percentage of single supplementary benefit claimants (without dependants) receiving non-householder scale rates.
AgePercentage
1891
1986
2078
2173
2270
2365
2464
2557

NB The other categories are not just householders but include joint householders, boarders and claimants in hospital.

National Finance

Black Economy

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of staff deployed by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise to combat the black economy and evasion of value added tax; and whether he intends to allocate any additional staff to Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for this purpose.

Her Majesty's Customs and Excise has in the region of 4,000 officers engaged on VAT control duties, visiting both registered and unregistered businesses. In the year 1985–86 it is planned to provide, from savings elsewhere within the Department, an additional 146 officers for this work.

Exchange Rates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the weighted average exchange rate for the pound sterling against currencies other than the United States dollar each quarter since the beginning of 1979 and each month in the current year.

The information requested is in the table.

Nominal effective rate index (excluding $) (1975 = 100)
Quarter
1979
1st Quarter79·8
2nd Quarter84·9
3rd Quarter88·5
4th Quarter85·8
1980
1st Quarter90·4
2nd Quarter91·9
3rd Quarter93·5
4th Quarter97·9
1981
1st Quarter101·1
2nd Quarter99·2
3rd Quarter93·3
4th Quarter91·2
1982
1st Quarter94·0
2nd Quarter93·9
3rd Quarter96·5
4th Quarter94·5
1983
1st Quarter84·7
2nd Quarter89·6
3rd Quarter91·3
4th Quarter89·6
1984
1st Quarter88·2
2nd Quarter86·2
3rd Quarter85·7
4th Quarter83·3
1985
January79·9
February80·5
March82·9
April86·9
May87·8
June88·9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on international trade caused by sharp fluctuations in exchange rate movements.

There is little empirical evidence that short-term volatility in exchange rates has any significant effect on the volume of international trade. Larger and more persistent movements, however, may lead to changes in the patterns of international trade which are unlikely to be sustainable, and to a dangerous build-up of protectionist pressures.

Interests Rates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the level of interest rates in the United Kingdom and Germany for each quarter since 1970 and at the current time.

No. Figures for a range of UK interest rates are available from "Financial Statistics", table 13.15. Figures for a range of German interest rates are available in "International Financial Statistics". The relevant lines in the section dealing with Germany are 60, 60b, 60bs and 61.

Ec (Finance)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will list the total payments by the United Kingdom to European Economic Community funds from 1 January 1973 to 31 December 1984, showing the body to which the payments were made and including payments to the European. Investment Bank and the European Coal and Steel Community, and also showing the total amounts the United Kingdom has received from these bodies in the same period in (a) loans and (b) grants;(2) what sums have been paid by the United Kingdom to the European Economic Community in interest charges on sums on loan to the United Kingdom from the European Economic Community in each year or financial year since 1 January 1973 to the latest convenient date;(3) what sums have been repaid of the capital sums lent to the United Kingdom by the European Economic Community in each year from 1 January 1973 to the latest convenient date.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what purposes the sums paid by the United Kingdom to the EEC in respect of capital repayments of EEC loans to the United Kingdom are used.

The European Investment Bank, the European Atomic Energy Authority and the European Coal and Steel Community lend money in the United Kingdom and other member states. The European Commission (with the help of the EIB) also lends money under the new Community instrument. Capital repayments are used to service the original loans raised to finance this lending. Additional information on the Community's borrowing and lending operations is contained in the report on the "Borrowing and Lending Activities of the Community in 1984" (Doc. No. 6992/85), a copy of which has been deposited in the House.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the total sums accumulated by the EEC from member states from 1 January 1973 to the latest convenient date which are either (a) on loan and (b) held by the EEC; and, of these sums, how much represents the capital payments from each state and how much interest charges paid on loans made in respect of loans.

At 31 December 1984, total borrowing outstanding of the European Communities was as follows: European Coal and Steel Community 7119 mecus; European Investment Bank 25007 mecus; European Atomic Energy Authority 1892 mecus; New Community Instrument 4432 mecus; EEC borrowing for balance of payments purposes 4932 mecus. Not all this borrowing was raised in member states. The bulk of the borrowing has been used for on-lending in the European Community. As at 31 December 1984, capital payments to the EIB by member states have totalled 1061 mecus. I regret the other information requested is not readily available.

Cost Of Living Index

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will establish a separate cost of living index reflecting the spending patterns of retirement pensioners for the purposes of assessing future adjustments in the retirment pension; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 July 1985, c. 357]: Pensioner price indices are published in the Employment Gazette on a quarterly basis; they are specifically designed to show the impact of price changes on the expenditure of low-income pensioner households. These indices have tended to move broadly in line with the retail prices index, which is used for the annual uprating of retirement pensions.

Ec Rebates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many member states of the European Economic Community have now paid to the European Economic Community the sums which they were committed to pay in terms of the undertaking of the Council on 23 April designed to enable the United Kingdom's 1985 rebate to be paid: and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 July 1985, c. 357]: The 1985 budget contains provision for the United Kingdom's 1000 mecu abatement to be paid when the own resources decision has been ratified. The Commission has yet to request payment under the 1985 IGA.

Defence

Jaguar And Tornado Projects

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the national share in the Jaguar and Tornado projects, respectively.

The United Kingdom shares of the Jaguar and Tornado projects are 50 and 48 per cent. respectively.

Royal Observer Corps

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current strength of the Royal Observer Corps and the numbers currently allocated.

At the end of May 1985 the strength of the Royal Observer Corps was 10,513, against an establishment of 12,333.

Adair House

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the Defence Land Agent has refused a request for a temporary lease of Adair house, Shooters Hill road, London SE18, for an experimental riding centre from the London borough of Greenwich.

A temporary lease would not be appropriate, since we expect to dispose of Adair house in the near future.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when Adair house, Shooters Hill road, London SE18, ceased to be used as a nurses' home for the Royal Herbert hospital; how long it has been vacant; and at what cost.

Adair house ceased to be a nurses home for the Royal Herbert hospital in 1979. It was then occupied as offices until 1982, since when it has been in partial use as an accommodation store for the military hospital. The cost has been about £26,000 since 1982.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals for the future use of Adair house, Shooters Hill road, SE18, are currently under consideration; and when a decision is expected.

Adair house has been declared surplus to requirements by the Army. Subject to there being no other MOD need, it will be passed to PSA for disposal in the normal way.

Overseas Development

Unesco

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will propose to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, in conjunction with other member states, that it should initiate the appointment of management consultants to recommend changes in the structure and efficiency of the organisation, on the basis of his letter to the Director-General of the organisation of 5 December 1984.

In my letter to the Director-General of 2 April 1984 I urged that UNESCO should draw on outside advice in such key areas of management as decentralization, decision making and personnel management. Subsequently the temporary committee of the executive board recommended that UNESCO should continue to use outside expertise particularly where this might lead to improvements in its functioning.

Scotland

Horticulture

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the relevant redundancy, pension and other costs of discontinuing entirely the specialist advisory services to the horticulture industry in Scotland.

As a result of the integration of specialist and general advisory staff in the agricultural research and development, advisory and educational fields within the Scottish agricultural colleges, and the close integration of these areas of work with individual members of staff covering more than one area of activity, it is not possible to estimate the cost of discontinuing the specialist advisory service to the horticultural industry in Scotland.In the event that this specialist advisory service were to be discontinued the associated redundancy, pension and other costs would be affected by a number of factors (e.g. re-deployment of staff). It is impossible to speculate on such matters and I regret that for these reasons it is not possible to provide the information requested.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will estimate the cost of maintaining a specialist advisory service to the horticulture industry in Scotland for plant pathology, soil testing and other normal advisory service functions;(2) if he will estimate the annual cost of the present advisory service for horticulture in Scotland, the number of staff employed, and the total annual cost of their salaries, expenses and other overheads.

Given the integration of agricultural research and development the advisory services and education in the three Scottish agricultural colleges, with individual members of staff covering more than one area of activity, it is not possible to provide precise details in the way requested. The estimated cost of maintaining the advisory service to the horticultural industry in Scotland is £0·5 million per annum.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate, at the latest convenient date, the acreage under horticultural crops in Scotland, the total number of people employed on a full-time or part-time basis and the number and size of horticultural units analysed in convenient categories.

As at June 1984, the total area of horticultural crops in Scotland was 11,417 hectares. Although 1,962 farms grew one or more horticultural crops, only 104 farms were classified as full-time horticultural holdings, with a total area of 1,211 hectares. Detailed information is available only for these farms. In terms of size, 61 were classified as small, 32 as medium sized and 11 as large farms. A total of 649 people were employed on the 104 farms. There were 437 full-time, 80 part-time, and 132 casual employees.

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what research he has undertaken to determine the number of extra jobs provided in Scotland as a result of the change in the licensing laws.

While there is reason to suppose that the more relaxed regime introduced by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 has led to an increase in employment possibilities, no formal research has been undertaken into this aspect of the change in licensing laws.

Broadleaved Woodlands

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the post titles and grades of the specialist staff within the Forestry Commission who will be providing specialised training on wildlife and landscape conservation in broadleaved woodlands for the commission's private woodland foresters in 1985–86 and 1986–87 as part of the training measures proposed in the broadleaves in Britain review.

Such training as is needed will be carried out by the Forestry Commission's professional training staff assisted, as appropriate, by wildlife and landscape conservation experts both from within the commission and from other statutory bodies. It is not possible at this stage to provide a list of the staff who will be involved.

Birds (Licensed Killing)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the numbers of (a) goosanders, (b) red-breasted margansers and (c) cormorants killed under licence in the last year for which complete figures are available and express this number as a percentage of the Scottish population of each species, giving the date when the population estimate was made.

The last year for which complete figures are available is 1984, when numbers of birds killed in Scotland under licence were reported as follows:

Killed
(a) Goosanders514
(b) Red-breasted mergansers516
(c) Cormorants886
There are no population estimates providing reliable figures for these species more recent than those arising from surveys conducted in the period 1969–1977. Information for this period supplied by the Nature Conservancy Council is as follows:

  • (a) Goosanders:
    • Estimated pairs 736/952 (Scotland) — 1977 (Meek and Little)
  • (b) Red-breasted mergansers:
    • Estimated pairs 1–2,000 (Brivain)— 1970 (Atkinson-Wills)
    • Estimated pairs 2–3,000 (Britain and Ireland) — 1976 (Sharrock)
  • (c) Cormorants
    • Estimated breeding pairs 3,671 (Scotland) — 1969–70 (NCC)
  • The most recent of these surveys, that in 1977 of goosanders indicated that the species was expanding its range and that a number of local estimates of population were conservative.

    Departmental Staff

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what manpower reductions has Department has achieved in 1984–85.

    Between 1 April 1984 and 1 April 1985, the number of staff in the Scottish Office increased by 1·4 per cent. from 9,774 to 9,911½. This increase is attributable to the Scottish Prison Service, the staff of which increased from 2,738½ to 2,880½. The number of staff employed in the rest of the Scottish Office fell slightly, from 7,035½ to 7,031; that reduction was achieved in spite of the addition of 96 posts in connection with the transfer of work on regional development grants from the Department of Trade and Industry.

    Local Authority Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details of total expenditure by Scottish local authorities under section 83 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 in each of the last five years.

    Details of expenditure incurred by authorities under section 83 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 have only been collected centrally since 1982–83. The figures for total expenditure for 1982–83 and 1983–84 are given in the table. Information for 1984–85 is not yet available.

    Section 83 expenditure: total Scotland

    £000

    1982–83*1,648
    1983–84†7,036

    * Return awaited from one authority.

    † Returns awaited from five authorities.

    Scotland

    Prison Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total strength by grades including governors at 31 March of the prison service in Scotland.

    The information at 1 April 1985 (the nearest date for which figures are available) is as follows:

    Scottish Prison Service Full-time Staff-in-Post at 1 April 1985
    GradeNumber
    Governor I5
    Governor II4
    Governor III19
    Governor IV16
    Assistant Governor38
    Senior Medical Officer1
    Medical Officer2
    Steward I2
    Steward II3
    Professional and Technology
    Officer II9
    Professional and Technology
    Officer III4
    Chief Officer Class IDiscipline10
    Chief Officer Class II29
    Principal Officer169
    Senior Officer234
    Officer1,500
    Chief Officer Class IINurse1
    Principal Officer9
    Senior Officer15
    Officer66
    Chief OfficerCaterer1
    Principal Officer5
    Senior Officer12
    Officer36
    Chief Works Officer Class I3
    Chief Works Officer Class II5
    Principal Works Officer27
    Senior Works Officer38
    Works Officer105
    Chief Clerk Officer18
    Principal Clerk Officer71
    Clerk Officer34
    Principal OfficerInstructor18
    Senior Officer38
    Officer73
    Civilian Instructional Officer I1
    Civilian Instructional Officer III89
    Civilian Instructional Officer IV14
    Staff Nurse1
    Cleaner3
    Messenger/Porter3
    Stores Supervisory Staff6
    Typing Grades38
    Telephonist5
    Civilian Tradesman43
    Civilian Driver12
    Night Watchman1
    Sewage Plant Attendant4
    Stockman1
    Stoker/Boilerman16
    Stores Industrial Staff14
    TOTAL2,871

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the average basic allowances and overtime for each governors for the financial year 1984–85 in the prison service in Scotland.

    The following table shows the average level of basic pay in each grade in 1984–85:

    £
    Salaries
    Governor I22,605
    Governor II18,333
    Governor III15,660
    Governor IV12,684
    Assistant Governor10,982
    Chief Officer I11,984
    Chief Officer II/Chief Clerk Officer11,096
    Wages
    Principal Officer/Principal Clerk Officer175·06
    Senior Officer156·29
    Prison Officer/Clerk Officer135·81

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the average gross salary including allowances and overtime for each grade including governors for the financial year 1984–85 in the prison service in Scotland.

    The information is set out in the following tables:

    1. Average level of gross pay including rent allowance in lieu of quarters and tax compensation on rent allowance:
    £
    Salaries 1984–85
    Governor I25,600
    Governor II21,328
    Governor III18,595
    Governor IV14,901
    Assistant Governor13,199
    2. Average level of gross pay including overtime, housing allowance in lieu of quarters and tax compensation on housing allowance:
    £
    (a) Salaries 1984–85:
    Chief Officer I15,677
    Chief Officer II/Chief Clerk Officer14,770
    (b) Wages 1984–85:
    Principal/Principal Clerk Officer276
    Senior Officer251
    Prison Officer/Clerk Officer222
    These figures take into account that some officers live in official quarters; but do not include allowances payable at various rates for special skills, responsibilities etc., variable allowances or substitution payments.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the average overtime for each grade including governors for the financial year 1984–85 in the prison service in Scotland.

    The average overtime worked in 984–85 was around 428 hours—or 8·2 hours a week by each officer. Governors are not overtime grade.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of officers had a gross salary in excess of (a) £13,000, (b) £14,000 and (c) £15,000 for the financial year 1984–85 in the prison service in Scotland.

    This information is not available in the form requested and could not be produced without disproportionate cost.

    Labour Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish figures for the number of part-time employees in Scotland by sex and sector in each of the last five years.

    Part-time employees in employment (thousands)
    SectorFemalesMales
    198019811982198319841981
    Total33533634836238560
    All service industries (6–9)29830331633235350
    Wholesale distribution, hotels and catering (61–63, 66, 67)545156525815
    Retail distribution (64, 65)666869748311
    Education, health and other services (93, 99)12813214115215612
    The sectors shown are based on divisions and classes of the 1980 Standard Industrial Classification.

    Northern Ireland

    Prison Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total strength by grades including governors at 31 March of the Prison Service in Northern Ireland.

    The information is as follows:

    Number
    Governors29
    Assistant Governors9
    Assistant Governors (Trainees)11
    Chief Officers26
    Principal Officers124
    Senior Officers184
    Basic Grade Officers2,404
    Clerical Grades109
    Trades Staff191
    TOTAL3,087

    Health Education

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has any plans to make health education and promotion a higher priority in future regional strategic health plans.

    The Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland will shortly be issuing guidelines for the next round of strategic planning covering the period 1987–92. Both the guidelines and the subsequent regional strategic plan will give a high priority to the development of health education and prevention services.

    Public Health

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland has discontinued the publication of an annual report on the state of public health in Northern Ireland.

    The Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland does not publish a report on the state of

    [pursuant to his reply, 4 July 1985, c. 251]: Estimates of the number of female part-time employees in employment in Scotland in each of the major sectors of such employment for each of the last five years are set out in the table; the estimates for 1982, 1983 and 1984 are provisional. Estimates for part-time male employment are available only for 1981.public health in Northern Ireland. The annual report of the Department of Health and Social Services contains such information and a further report covering the period 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1982 is due to be published later this year.

    Community Physicians

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the ratio of community physicians per 1,000 of population in each of the Northern Ireland health board areas; and how these figures compare with provision in Scotland, England and Wales.

    The information in respect of each of the four health and social services boards is as follows:

    Ratio per 1,000 of the population
    Eastern·0077
    Northern·0104
    Southern·0105
    Western·0077
    The ratio in England and Wales is ·0063 and in Scotland ·027.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why senior registrars in community medicine from Northern Ireland have to seek higher specialty training in England.

    Higher specialty training in community medicine for senior registrars is in fact available in Northern Ireland and there are at present six approved senior registrar posts.

    Housing Executive (Heating Rebates)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how much money is owed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to tenants as rebates on their district heating payments for the last financial year;(2) to how many people district heating rebates are currently due; and what are the average levels of such rebates.

    These are matters for the Housing Executive but I understand from the chairman that some £906,000 is due to 4,469 tenants, representing an average rebate of £203. About one third of the total amount due will, however, be credited to tenants' district heating accounts to offset existing arrears of payments due to the Executive.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further measures are being taken to seek to expedite the payment of district heating rebates to Northern Ireland Housing Executive tenants.

    This is a matter for the Housing Executive but I understand from the chairman that procedural and systems improvements made by the Executive and its district heating metering agents should enable earlier payment of district heating rebates in 1985.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when district heating rebates due from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive were paid in 1982, 1983 and 1984; and when will they be paid in the current year.

    This is a matter for the Housing Executive but I understand from the chairman that for the years in question the periods over which rebates were paid were as follows:

    Year EndingPeriod of Payment
    31 March 1982August-December 1982
    31 March 1983August-December 1983
    31 March 1984August-September 1984
    31 March 1985To be paid during July-August 1985

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Diplomats (Illegal Parking)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a copy of the letter of 19 April from the vice marshal of the Diplomatic Corps to all heads of mission in the United Kingdom about illegal parking in London.

    The text of the letter and of its second enclosure are as follows:19 April 1985

    Illegal Parking

    I must once again draw your attention to the problem of the parking of diplomatic vehicles in London. The number of unpaid fixed penalty notices for parking offences by diplomatic vehicles is now running at the enormous figure of over 100,000 a year. This is double the figure of only 5 years ago and represents a much higher proportion of the total number of such offences.

    I enclose a copy of a Parliamentary Answer given on 13 February by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, which gives details of the total number of fixed parking penalty notices cancelled on grounds of diplomatic immunity for the three-year period 1981–1983 (which is the latest period for which complete figures were then available) broken down by country and organisation. The 1984 figures, which are still subject to late payments and cancellations, are also enclosed. These figures include both official and private vehicles. The successful efforts made by certain Missions to keep their figures down are appreciated. The very high figures for certain other Missions have also been noted.

    This is a matter of growing public concern. Illegally parked vehicles not only cause inconvenience to residents in the areas affected but also contribute to traffic congestion, disrupt access, cause delays in public transport, hinder emergency services and generally prevent others from conducting their lawful official and private business. Moreover they bring discredit on the diplomatic community as a whole.

    In my circular of 1 June 1983 I noted that "several Heads of Mission have told me that their staff (like those of UK Missions abroad) are under instructions to pay their parking penalties except where they have been unavoidably incurred on essential official duty—not simply on daily travel to and from work". It is clear however from the statistics either that many Missions do not have such instructions or alternatively that compliance with them is far from being fully effective.

    As you will be aware, diplomats are obliged under Article 41 of the Vienna Convention to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. Deliberate and persistent disregard of this obligation cannot be ignored or regarded as acceptable behaviour by those concerned. In his letter of 15 August 1984 the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office drew attention to the Secretary of State's statement to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons on 18 July that we would henceforth expect and apply more stringent standards.

    The Government of course recognise that certain individual Missions, because of their geographical location, face particular difficulties. In this connection I should like to remind you that the Local Authorities have agreed to allocate up to three marked parking bays ("St. Andrew's Crosses") to each diplomatic Mission plus one for each Head of Mission, subject to local traffic conditions.

    In my letter of 12 December 1983 I informed you that cars, bearing diplomatic registration plates would be exempted from wheel-clamping. This remains the position but the exemption of the diplomatic corps has, as you will be aware, continued to arouse criticism from the press and Londoners generally. This is all the more reason for impressing upon your staff the importance of scrupulous adherence to parking regulations. In cases where diplomatic vehicles cause obstruction or danger, they will continue to be towed away. We expect the towing charge to be paid on the basis that it is a legal obligation in respect of a service performed.

    As from 1 May 1985 detailed records will be kept of unpaid parking tickets by all cars with diplomatic registration plates. Persistent and deliberate failure by individual diplomats in their private cars to respect parking regulations and to pay fixed penalty notices will henceforth call into question their continued acceptability as members of diplomatic Missions in London. Where necessary particular cases will be drawn to our personal attention with a warning about the possible consequences. Due account will be taken if the parking tickets are subsequently paid or appropriate contributions made to the Central Ticket Office. Further unpaid parking tickets incurred by individuals will lead to a request for the withdrawal of the offender. An alternative in certain cases could be to grant a waiver of immunity so that the person concerned can be prosecuted.

    Note will also be made of the total number of fixed penalty notices incurred by individual official cars of diplomatic Missions and left unpaid. In particular cases these will be drawn to your personal attention with a request, in the first instance, for appropriate action. If this has no effect, we shall be obliged to take further measures. This could include exercising the right under Article 9 of the Vienna Convention to declare a chauffeur unacceptable.

    I trust that I will be able to count on your full cooperation and that it will not be necessary for me to draw individual cases to your attention. I must however leave you in no doubt about the strength of public feeling on this question and of the Government's determination to reduce very substantially the present level of illegal parking by individual vehicles.

    Signed E H B Gibbs

    Vice Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps

    Fixed penalty notices cancelled on grounds of diplomatic immunity (metropolitan police district)

    Organisation/country

    1984

    Afghanistan11
    Algeria932
    Antigua and Barbuda17
    Argentine Republic0
    Australia2

    Organisation/country

    1984

    Austria51
    Bahamas21
    Bahrain644
    Bangladesh404
    Barbados319
    Belgium154
    Bolivia71
    Botswana62
    Brazil4,927
    Brunei86
    Bulgaria2,823
    Burma407
    Cameroon1,293
    Canada132
    Chile610
    China1,132
    Colombia553
    Costa Rica471
    Cuba2,147
    Cyprus2,698
    Czechoslovakia316
    Dahomey0
    Denmark1
    Dominica, Commonwealth of22
    Dominican Republic45
    Eastern Caribbean St28
    Ecuador304
    Egypt6,885
    E1 Salvador9
    Ethiopia530
    Fiji93
    Finland580
    France2,375
    Gabon345
    Gambia362
    German Democratic Republic198
    Germany, Federal Republic of226
    Ghana2,223
    Greece1,321
    Grenada5
    Guyana193
    Haiti0
    Honduras142
    Hungary1,456
    Iceland154
    India512
    Indonesia2,232
    Iran894
    Iraq2,783
    Ireland, Republic of755
    Israel282
    Italy2,981
    Ivory Coast911
    Jamaica1,446
    Japan2,378
    Jordan2,595
    Kenya1,739
    Khmer Republic0
    Korea218
    Kuwait996
    Laos0
    Lebanon73
    Lesotho69
    Liberia177
    Libya764
    Luxembourg2

    Organisation/country

    1984

    Malagasy Republic0
    Malawi119
    Malaysia2,440
    Malta, Republic of564
    Mauritius176
    Mexico467
    Monaco2
    Mongolia12
    Morocco1,248
    Nepal67
    Netherlands33
    New Zealand1
    Nicaragua27
    Nigeria, Federal Republic of5,920
    Norway91
    Oman1,155
    Pakistan2,249
    Panama329
    Papua New Guinea18
    Paraguay270
    Peru690
    Philippines466
    Poland2,463
    Portugal969
    Qatar1,727
    Romania484
    Rwanda0
    Saudi Arabia4,956
    Senegal555
    Seychelles17
    Sierra Leone437
    Singapore87
    Somali Democratic Republic325
    South Africa, Republic of25
    Soviet Union1,555
    Spain1,513
    Sri Lanka588
    Sudan2,635
    Swaziland21
    Sweden196
    Switzerland50
    Syria Arab Republic980
    Tanzania1,033
    Thailand1,637
    Togo99
    Tonga10
    Trinidad and Tobago164
    Tunisia355
    Turkey1,263
    Uganda1,906
    United Arab Emirates1,693
    United States of America223
    Uruguay438
    Venezuela793
    Vietnam7
    Yemen Arab Republic226
    Yemen, Peoples Democratic Republic370
    Yugoslavia1,061
    Zaire257
    Zambia953
    Zimbabwe666
    Commonwealth Secretariat212
    EEC Commission7

    Organisation/country

    1984

    International Cocoa Organisation1
    International Coffee Organisation1
    International Sugar Organisation0
    Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation31
    International Maritime Satellite Organisation31
    Western European Union3
    International Wheat Council2
    United Nations6
    Apostolic Delegation0
    TOTAL108,932

    European Cup Final, Brussels

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to ensure that all British football fans arrested in Brussels before, during and after the Liverpool v. Juventus match in Brussels are properly represented; and if he will request the Belgian Government to send such arrested fans to Britain to stand trial.

    The five football fans awaiting trial in Brussels were all arrested before the match. They will be legally represented. One has engaged a lawyer privately and the court has already assigned lawyers to the others. Since the offences with which they are charged (theft or violent behaviour) occurred in Belgium and are not ones over which English courts have extraterritorial jurisdiction, the accused will have to stand trial in Belgium.

    Solicitor-General For Scotland

    Departmental Staff

    asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland what manpower reductions his Department has achieved in 1984–85.

    No manpower reductions could be achieved during 1984–85 in the Crown Office, Procurator Fiscal Service and Lord Advocate's Department. Despite an increase of 25 in overall numbers, these Departments remained below their approved complementing levels throughout the period.

    Employment

    Labour Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether jobcentres have any record of the names and addresses of the long-term unemployed in their locality.

    Since the introduction of voluntary registration in October 1982 jobcentres no longer retain a complete record of the unemployed people seeking work in their locality. Such a comprehensive register has not proved necessary to the prompt filling of the great majority of vacancies notified to the employment service.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the research being carried out into the 18 to 25 years age group long-term unemployed and the information being collected will be published.

    The programme of research into long-term unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds will not be completed until spring 1986. It is expected that the results of the research will be published soon after the work is completed.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how often and in what circumstances it is necessary for an unemployed person to visit an unemployment benefit office.

    Most unemployed people attend their local unemployment benefit office to make their first benefit claim in their spell of unemployment. Thereafter they attend once each fortnight to sign a declaration that they are, amongst other things, unemployed and available for work. Some unemployed people sign weekly because they have asked to be paid weekly. Claimants aged 50 or more who have been unemployed for a year attend to sign on once a quarter.However, people living six miles or more from their nearest unemployment benefit office can sign their weekly or fortnightly declaration at home and send it in by post but they are also interviewed in person periodically. Those living 10 miles or more away from their nearest unemployment benefit office can additionally make their first claim by post.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of registered unemployed currently register for unemployment benefit by post.

    During the year ended June 1985 an average of 5·6 per cent. of unemployed people made their regular weekly or fortnightly declaration of unemployment by post. Additionally some people living 10 miles or more from their nearest unemployment benefit office made their initial claims by post. No statistics are kept of how many people so claimed.

    Job Release Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing for each year since the inception of the job release scheme the yearly increments under the scheme, the changes in tax allowance under the scheme, the change in average adult earnings, the change in the level of the retirement pension and the rate of inflation.

    The information is as follows:

    Weekly increase in untaxed job release increase allowanceGross weekly increase in taxable job release allowance
    Higher rateLower rateHigher rateLower rate
    ££££
    Month when job release allowance was increased
    November 19773·50
    July 19788·50
    April 19795·005·00
    April 19805·504·5013·0011·50
    April 19815·004·006·004·50
    April 19824·503·505·004·50
    April 19832·754·203·202·60
    April 19842·902·303·352·75
    April 19852·351·950·601·00

    Notes:

    1. Job Release Scheme became operational on 1 January 1977.

    2. A higher rate of allowance for an applicant's whose spouse's income was less than £11 per week was introduced in July 1978.

    3. A taxable allowance for those on the Scheme for more than twelve months was introduced in April 1980. The allowance was set so that, on average, those on the taxable scheme received no less after tax than those on the untaxed scheme.

    Level of personal tax allowance

    Single rate

    Married rate

    £

    £

    Financial year
    1976–777351,085
    1977–789451,455
    1978–799851,535
    1979–801,1651,815
    1980–811,3752,145
    1981–821,3752,145
    1982–831,5652,795
    1983–841,7852,795
    1984–852,0053,155
    1985–862,2053,455

    Percentage increase in average adult earnings

    Men aged 21 or over

    Women aged 18 or over

    April 1977–78+13·4+10·6
    April 1978–79+13·8+11·7
    April 1979–80+22·8+25·1
    April 1980–81+12·916·0
    April 1981–82+10·0+8·3
    April 1982–83+8·4+9·9
    April 1983–84+8·4+7·0

    Change in weekly basic state retirement pension

    £

    November 1979+2·20
    November 1978+2·00
    November 1979+4·00
    November 19803·65
    November 19812·45
    November 19823·25
    November 19831·20
    November 1984+1·75
    November 1985+2·50

    Note:

    Increases in these pensions become effective in November each year and since November 1983 have been based on the Retail Price Index in the previous May.

    Percentage rate of inflation

    April 1977–19787·9
    April 1978–197910·1
    April 1979–198021·8
    April 1980–198112·0
    April 1981–19829·4
    April 1982–19834·0
    April 1983–19845·2
    April 1984–19856·9

    National Institute Of Fresh Produce

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment in which towns or other centres the National Institute of Fresh Produce has organised courses supported by his Department since the inception of the institute.

    Since 1982, when it assumed responsibility for training in the fresh produce industry, the National Institute of Fresh Produce has organised courses supported by the Manpower Services Commission at the following places: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Chichester, Gateshead, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Southall, Southampton, Uxbridge and in several towns in East Anglia.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people have attended training courses organised by the National Institute of Fresh Produce supported by his Department in the past full year for which figures are available; and how many he anticipates will take part in such courses in the current year.

    I regret that information is not held in the precise form requested. In 1984, 412 trainees, of all age groups, attended training courses run by the National Institute of Fresh Produce to which the Manpower Services Commission had contributed financially.In the first quarter of 1985, 244 trainees attended institute courses which were supported by the commission. It is anticipated that this upward trend will continue throughout the remainder of 1985.

    Wages Councils

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations about the future of wages councils were made to his Department by the Co-operative Employers' Association at the meeting on 3 July; what response he is making; and if he will make a statement.

    The many different opinions in response to the consultative paper on wages councils will be fully considered before final decisions are taken. It is for those who responded to decide whether they publish their responses.

    Job Creation

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if the figures for the numbers of additional jobs created since March 1983 include second jobs of either employees or self-employed.

    The Department's employment estimates include second jobs when those jobs are held as employees but not when they are held as self-employed.

    Pneumoconiosis

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many cases have been approved for compensation payments during the past 12 months under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979; what has been the average payment made in these cases; what is the total number of cases for which payment has been made since the enactment of this legislation; and what is the total compensation paid over this period and the average compensation corresponding to these figures.

    The information requested is as follows:

    Approved applicationsTotal paid £Average pay ment £
    1 July 1984 to 30 June 198546269,5195,859
    4 July 1979 to 30 June 19854,48827,037,5246,024

    Youth Training Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how the effectiveness of the youth training scheme is being measured on a national basis.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 July 1985]: The Manpower Services Commission is carrying out a number of studies concerned with the effectiveness of the youth training scheme. These include a regular monthly survey of young people after they leave the youth training scheme; a cohort study comparing the experiences of youth training scheme participants and those entering the labour market by other routes; a study of the wider labour market effects of the scheme; and a survey of organisations providing training under the scheme.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the current arrangements for monitoring the provision by employers of post youth training scheme training and the match of this training to skill requirements.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 July 1985]: The Manpower Services Commission is carrying out three studies in this area: a regular monthly survey of young people after they leave the youth training scheme, which shows the occupational areas in which leavers are obtaining work and the type of training they receive in these jobs; a cohort study, which compares the experiences of scheme trainees with that of young people who enter the labour market by other routes; and a further study which is examining the effects of the youth training scheme on local markets. However, employers continue to be primarily responsible for assessing their skill requirements and training their staff accordingly.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how the effectiveness of the non-statutory training organisations which replaced some industry training boards in predicting, measuring and meeting their industry's needs, is being measured.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 July 1985]: Consideration of the effectiveness with which non-statutory training organisations carry out their functions is primarily a matter for the particular industrial sector. The Manpower Services Commission recently received reports from the CBI and its own officials which indicated that the arrangements for non-statutory training organisations are generally working satisfactorily.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Gangmasters

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many complaints, and of what nature, he has received about gangmasters since 1 January 1982.

    I informed the hon. Member on 14 July 1983 that nine complaints about gangmasters had been received, eight alleging payment of piece rates below Agricultural Wages Board minimum rates and one relating to holiday remuneration. Since then no further complaints of this nature have been received.

    Horticulture

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department makes any direct financial contribution to horticultural training; and if he will make a statement.

    My Department makes a substantial annual grant to the Agricultural Training Board which is responsible for providing horticultural as well as agricultural training.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has any plans to provide financial or other support for the Institute of Horticulture; and if he will make a statement.

    We welcome the establishment of the Institute of Horticulture to foster the interests of qualified horticulturalists, but we have no plans to provide it with financial support.

    Milk Quota

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make it his policy to seek to buy in enough milk quota to honour supplementary quota without any percentage discount.

    Environment

    Local Authorities (Tendering Policy)

    11.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to introduce measures to stop local authorities discriminating against companies' tenders on political grounds.

    Rate Support Grant

    14.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to announce provisional details of the 1986–87 rate support grant settlement.

    46.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has with organisations representing regional interests prior to determining the rate support grant settlement for local authorities in the north and north-west regions; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend consults the local authorities through the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance, and the various groups of central Government officials and local government officers which report to it. Local authorities in the north and north-west regions are represented at CCLGF and on the officer groups by the Association of County Councils, the Association of District Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

    51.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much rate support grant has been paid to Lambeth borough council in the current financial year.

    Local Government Reform

    15.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in the light of changes to the Local Government Bill and the availability of further information since the financial and explanatory memorandum was published, he has revised or updated the estimates in that memorandum of the savings likely to be made following the abolition of the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils.

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the present position in the discussions between the Staff Commission and the unions in the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils.

    These are essentially matters for the Staff Commission itself. But the chairman has told me that some discussions of this kind have taken place. He has also emphasised that the commission remains very willing to meet representatives of any union whose members are effected by the abolition of the GLC and the metropolitan county councils.

    24.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his most recent estimates of potential savings following the abolition of the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils.

    Those set out in the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Local Government Bill, as amplified by the answer I gave on 30 November in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracy).

    Rating

    16.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations have been made on the review of the rating system; and if he will make a statement.

    A large proportion of the letters my Department receives make suggestions about the review of the local government finance system. We hope to announce our conclusions around the turn of the year.

    Derelict Land

    17.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action his Department is taking to enable derelict land of less than one acre to be put on the register of derelict land.

    Land does not have to be derelict before it can be entered on the land registers