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Written Answers

Volume 84: debated on Tuesday 22 October 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 22 October 1985

Prime Minister

General Belgrano

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister what recommendations of the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the circumstances of the sinking of the General Belgrano have now been implemented by Her Majesty's Government.

I have been asked to reply.As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs told the hon. Member on 24 July, the Government will respond in the normal way to this report. It would be wrong of me to anticipate our reply, which will be published shortly.

Queen's Speech (Implementation)

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister which matters on which Government action was promised in the Queen's Speech have not yet been brought to a conclusion.

I have been asked to reply.Our legislative programme is close to a successful conclusion. We have not proceeded with two measures in connection with the review of Crown court sentences and corporal punishment in schools. We have pursued with vigour our aims in the fields of foreign affairs, defence and the economy, as announced in the Gracious Speech. Where these have not been of a nature to be brought to a conclusion within a fixed time, action continues.

Middle East

Q60.

asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on her visits to the middle east during the summer recess.

I have been asked to reply.I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mr. Parry) on 21 October at column 10.

Ec (Treaty Of Union)

Q95.

asked the Prime Minister if a date has yet been fixed for the special meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss the draft treaty of European union; and if she will make a statement

I have been asked to reply.The inter-governmental conference on the future development of the European Community met on 9 September and again this week.

Third World (Aid)

. Q106

asked the Prime Minister what has been the United Kingdom's level of aid to the Third world in each of the past six years.

I have been asked to reply.Gross public expenditure on overseas aid for the last six calendar years has been as follows:

£ million
1979939
1980966
19811,151
19821,085
19831,173
19841,311

Engagements

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 22 October.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 22 October.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 22 October.

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in the Bahamas.

Teachers (Scotland)

asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on Government policy concerning the Scottish teachers' pay dispute.

I have been asked to reply.I refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement this afternoon by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Ministerial Powers

asked the Prime Minister what are the respective responsibilities of (a) departmental legal advisers and (b) the Law Officers of the Crown for advising whether draft regulations accord with ministerial powers under primary legislation.

I have been asked to reply.The primary responsibility for advising a Minister on whether subordinate legislation which he proposes to make would be intra vires rests with his departmental legal advisers, or if his Department does not have its own legal staff, with the Treasury Solicitor. In appropriate cases a second opinion may be sought from Treasury Counsel or other counsel nominated by the Attorney-General. However, the Attorney-General—or the Lord Advocate for questions involving the law of Scotland — is the Government's principal legal adviser, and departmental advisers are aware that they should consult the Law Officers in good time before the Government are committed to critical decisions involving legal considerations and in particular when a Department's legal adviser is in doubt concerning the vires of proposed subordinate legislation.

Transport

Road Planning

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when a decision will be made on Warwickshire county council's plan to use part of the M45 motorway for a bypass for the village of Dunchurch.

I am awaiting Warwickshire county council's detailed proposals. When these have been received they will be carefully considered. I will announce my decision as soon as possible.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if there are any plans for increasing the number of lanes on the M6 motorway between its junction with the M1 and junction 4.

We have no plans for increasing the number of lanes on this length of the M6.

M25 (Defects)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the arrangements for meeting the cost of rectification of defects which have occurred in the concrete carriageway of the Reigate to Leatherhead section of the M25.

Under the provisions of the contract, it is for the Department's consulting engineers, W. S. Atkins and Partners, who are the engineer for the contract, to determine where the responsibility lies. That determination will be binding unless referred to arbitration by the Department or the contractor.I have no contractual powers to impose a timetable on the engineer to produce his determination, although I have explained I would like it to be dealt with expeditiously. This is, however, a complex technical matter which requires thorough investigation and careful consideration.

1984–85
Grants to Universities and Colleges, etc. for Recurrent Expenditure
General PurposeRestructuring*Overseas Research Student Fees Support SchemeTotal Subhead A1Computers Subhead B2
£££££
Aston University14,473,6463,785,60229,86918,289,117141,628
Bath University12,594,543235,65866,85612,897,0571,422,087
Birmingham University36,430,9882,711,92859,63639,202,552322,955
Bradford University14,672,5161,970,94222,38616,665,844147,275
Bristol University28,930,2601,067,85231,61530,029,727213,947
Brunei University12,802,376439,68224,09013,266,148124,963
Cambridge University41,360,648630,28141,990,929509,882
City University12,086,6861,038,69118,48713,143,864112,412
Durham University17,222,910329,37822,50517,574,79398,403
East Anglia University14,707,661854,32419,94415,581,929163,766
Essex University8,230,335544,30340,5128,815,150174,842
Exeter University15,171,8631,557,70811,43216,741,003122,730
Hull University14,198,165754,8554,16214,957,182148,831
Keele University8,465,960560,1362,5819,028,677112,578
Kent University10,260,224834,26724,96311,119,454182,163
Lancaster University13,259,081559,51017,97913,836,570185,080
Leeds University41,329,610732,100167,23642,228,946375,859
Leicester University17,596,203277,3829,78017,883,365144,327
Liverpool University36,931,6681,638,17291,21238,661,052247,097
London University, including its Colleges and Schools237,531,27312,664,718805,334251,001,3255,270,764
Loughborough University of Technology17,632,000295,37528,39117,955,766191,751
Manchester University46,292,283454,03094,46346,840,7762,864,350

I will inform my hon. Friend of the engineer's determination when it is issued.

Education And Science

Overseas Students (Language Courses)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of polytechnics and colleges of further education are charging the recommended fees for English as a foreign language course run by the public sector for overseas students; and if he will make a statement.

Educational And Professional Qualifications

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will estimate the percentage of residents in England without degrees or professional qualifications.

The percentage of residents in England, aged 18 and over, without degrees, professional or other higher education qualifications was 90·3 according to the 1981 census of population.

Universities (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will list grants made available to universities in Great Britain in the financial year 1984–85, on the advice of the University Grants Committee and of the computer board.

Grants to Universities and Colleges, etc. for Recurrent Expenditure

General Purpose

Restructuring*

Overseas Research Student Fees Support Scheme

Total Subhead A1

Computers Subhead B2

£

£

£

£

£

Manchester University Institute of Science and Technology16,143,9801,345,718153,04117,642,739
Newcastle upon Tyne University31,707,830448,41082,35932,238,599306,195
Nottingham University27,220,554198,11723,81027,442,481399,065
Oxford University42,537,708243,741255,75843,037,207534,891
Reading University18,547,599752,39040,48419,340,473159,383
Salford University13,303,5591,748,65630,69715,082,912286,256
Sheffield University32,331,2611,229.08148,40133,608,743218,631
Southampton University24,178,542388,77067,20324,634,515315,461
Surrey University12,570,9271,566,99529,39014,167,312131,451
Sussex University13,751,110222,46566,11414,039,689107,001
Warwick University17,014,057670,35016,01617,700,423212,554
York University11,307,496899,8453,16212,210,503103,845
University of Wales, including University Colleges and Institute of Science and Technology72,447,9573,095,81374,60175,618,371675,723
Aberdeen University23,339,163864,81136,19724,240,171283,815
Dundee University15,610,918560,69630,11616,201,73099,530
Edinburgh University46,776,735933,680100,45647,810,871813,361
Glasgow University44,730,4961,934,48081,11446,746,090299,117
Heriot-Watt University11,476,215656,36114,89512,147,471114,279
St. Andrews University12,171,056113,02130,62112,314,698109,142
Stirling University8,957,760722,5095,1629,685,43156,402
Strathclyde University24,216,1961,180,695110,77925,507,670239,580
London Business School2,026,00070,0102,3312,098,341
Manchester Business School1,157,00045,9011,202,90120,744
Other payments†604,982

181,701

786,683

435,277

1,196,310,00053,199,1283,708,1221,253,217,25019,199,393

* Payments in respect of redundancy compensation only.

†£554,129 paid direct to the University Central Council on Admissions, and £50,853 in respect of the National Engineering Kilbride. Laboratory, East

£111,815 paid to Cranfield Institute of Technology, £62,335 to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals for administration of the Overseas Research Student Fees Support Scheme and £7,551 to the Royal College of Art.

£435,277 paid to the Rutherford and Appleton Laboratories (SERC).

In addition to the payments tabulated alongside the following in respect of compensation for loss of fee income were also made:— Bath £2,470, Bradford £20,910, Keele £5,205, Leeds £56,620, London £80,427, Sussex £85,338 and Wales £13,940.

1984–85

Grants to Universities and Colleges, etc.

For Capital Expenditure

Capital Payments Subhead A2

Medical Subhead A3

*Furniture & Equipment Subhead A4

Computers Subhead B3

£

£

£

£

Aston University2,3541,495,5365,301
Bath University44,8611,193,621199,362
Birmingham University43,0162,581,18223,000
Bradford University1,148,60056,439
Bristol University7741,887,153380,603
Brunel University12,8661,103,93325,413
Cambridge University3,9333,377,735327,233
City University676,48943,795
Durham University4,0831,233,00331,453
East Anglia University692,671930,2861,553
Essex University530,589217,281
Exeter University34,018156,000969,286455,104
Hull University754,553677,634
Keele University363,756545,12846,718
Kent University635,050139,457
Lancaster University757,61144,390
Leeds University186,2302,873,9861,022,212
Leicester University175,3041,192,989584,812
Liverpool University593,77992,6412,368,7491,454,116
London University, including its Colleges and Schools1,849,5574,630,04718,275,7791,695,187
Loughborough University of Technology1,664,425179,607
Manchester University35,241275,2743,080,4361,113,705
Manchester University Institute of Science and Technology1,588,465
Newcastle upon Tyne University185,8463,375,4742,457,68527,500
Nottingham University220,2772,113,40011,755
Oxford University67,984130,1493,443,700231,745

For Capital Expenditure

Capital Payments Subhead A2

Medical Subhead A3

*Furniture & Equipment Subhead A4

Computers Subhead B3

£

£

£

£

Reading University1,171,1841,632,85357,155
Salford University984,8831,152,448842,518
Sheffield University60,468281,4582,285,932279,506
Southampton University184,6681,852,76492,697
Surrey University68,4531,120,054308,648
Sussex University1,104,25050,256
Warwick University105,951902,16025,996
York University788,0365,780
University of Wales, including University Colleges and Institute of Science and Technology134,3614,746,220275,553
Aberdeen University22,286788,1821,606,752
Dundee University335146,265818,714174
Edinburgh University35,7443,018,264432,040
Glasgow University1,462,810215,8213,213,174
Heriot-Watt University690,051—.899,54654,986
St. Andrews University662,496
Stirling University180,596356,414146,848
Strathclyde University38,2231,823,957198,792
London Business School56,44743,035
Manchester Business School30,150
Other payments†687,380
8,995,21810,752,65686,950,00012,496,739

* The sums provided from Subhead A4, earmarked for individual universities as shown, were transferred to a Deposit Account with the Paymaster General from which issues were made as required towards meeting the cost of furniture and equipment. The balance remaining in the Deposit Account at 31 March 1985, which is not liable to surrender to the Consolidated Fund, was £5,946,801.

† Other payments comprise £166,693 fees paid to the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency for negotiating contracts and £520,687 paid to the Rutherford and Appleton Laboratories (SERC) for networking projects.

1984–85

Grants and loans for long term capital projects (subhead A2)

Details of expenditure on works services costing more that £1,000,000 shown in Table 1 to the Estimate

Projects

Provision

Expenditure

Expenditure compared with provision

Less than provided

More than provided

£

£

£

£

Building projects and purchases of existing buildings:—
1. New and ongoing projects originally expected to cost £1 million or more
East Anglia University Education Building530,000635,826105,826
Reading University Library; Phase II824,000840,87016,870
Glasgow University Library: Phase III1,334,0001,432,72298,722
Reading University Food Studies Building: Phase II549,000330,314218,686
Salford University Physical Restructuring1,368,000984,883383,117
London University: Bedford/Royal Holloway Merger
i. Earth Sciences Building755,000457,047297,953
ii. Maths. Stats/Life Sciences/Physics Building1,000,000128,750871,250
Southampton University Library395,000138,568256,432
Sub total6,755,0004,948,9802,027,438221,418
2. On-going projects costing less than £1 million2,865,0001,080,5881,784,412
Purchase of sites and buildings scheduled for demolition200,000502,148302,148
Loans500,000114,942385,058
Professional fees2,000,0002,348,560348,560
Total £12,320,0008,995,2184,196,908872,126

1984–85

Grants for expenditure long term capital computer projects (subhead B3) Details of expenditure on computer projects costing more that £1,000,000 shown in Table 2 to the Estimate

Projects

Provision

Expenditure

Expenditure compared with provision

£

£

Less than provided £

More than provided £

Projects costing £1 million or more*
Cambridge University New computer328,000327,233767
London University (Imperial College) New computer575,000517,50057,500
Manchester University Large scale computer575,000408,365166,635
Manchester University Front end computer422,000395,75926,241
Strathclyde University New computer142,00036,890105,110
Liverpool University New computer1,000,0001,399,467399,467
Sub total3,042,0003,085,214356,253399,467
Projects costing less than £1 million9,647,0009,411,525235,475
Total£12,689,00012,496,739591,728399,467

* These purchases are made on the basis of fixed price contracts.

Trade And Industry

Eureka

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the current position on the EUREKA strategic defence research project.

EUREKA is not a strategic defence research project. The EUREKA initiative now engages the Governments of all the present and acceding members of the European Community, Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, as well as the European Commission.There is a broad consensus that most EUREKA projects should have as their objective the exploitation of advanced technologies through the development and marketing of products and processes with a profitable global sales potential, where this can more effectively be achieved within Europe on a co-operative basis. There is also a broad consensus among Government that a more closely integrated European market can make an important contribution to the success of EUREKA projects.My Department has been in close consultation with United Kingdom industry to ensure that EUREKA is shaped by industry's needs. With its guidance, we have identified six market/product areas in which specific collaborative projects could emerge in due course.EUREKA projects will serve civilian purposes.

Fireworks (Injuries)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many children (a) aged under 13 years and (b) aged between 13 and 15 years were injured by fireworks in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

A table showing the number of people who required hospital treatment for injuries caused by fireworks in 1982, 1983 and 1984 was published in the Official Report on 12 March 1985. For the hon. Member's convenience, the number of children involved were:

1982

1983

1984

Aged under 13 years265337281
Aged 13–15 years149173208

British National Space Centre

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he hopes to make a statement regarding the establishment of the British national space centre.

I welcome the wide support there has been to the Government's intention to create such a centre which will enable it soon to make an early and vigorous start. I anticipate being able to say more by about mid-November.

Motor Industry

404.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what share of the home market for motor cars is taken by the motor industry in Britain; and what information he has as to the comparable figures for France, Italy and Germany.

The following is the most recent available information:—

Percentage share taken by home manufacturers in their passenger car markets
United Kingdom41·5(year to September 1985)
France65·3(year to June 1985)
Italy60·3(year to June 1985)
West Germany69·6(year to June 1985)

Source:

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Trade Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what was the share of United Kingdom exports and imports attributable to manufactured and semi-manufactured goods in 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1985, respectively;

(2) what was the United Kingdom share of world exports in (a) manufactures and (b) total trade in 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1985, respectively.

Industry Council

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement about the outcome of the Industry Council on 17 October.

I represented the United Kingdom at this council, which had initial discussions on the system of market organisation for the EC steel industry after 1985, and on restrictions on state aid for steel after 1985. No decisions were reached, and a further council meeting will take place on 29 October.The council also adopted a declaration expressing very great concern about the unacceptable attitude being adopted by the USA in current negotiations on EC steel exports to the USA.

House Of Commons

Members' Speeches (Reprints)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if arrangements can be made for reprints of hon. Members' speeches to reach them in less than six weeks after being ordered.

Normally, reprints of such speeches should be delivered within a week of being ordered. Where proof-checking is required, they should be available within three weeks. I am aware of the problems experienced by the right hon. Gentleman and steps have been taken to ensure that they do not recur.

Telephones

asked the Leader of the House what was the total outturn cost, including labour costs, of the new telephone system installed throughout the Houses of Parliament and adjoining parliamentary office buildings.

The final outturn costs of the new telephone system, including labour costs, are not yet available, but the indications are that they will be within the estimated costs contained in the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) on 26 June at column 401.

Scotland

Forestry

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on forestry.

The Government's policy on forestry continues to be based on the statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend on 10 December 1980. A number of statements have been made by my right hon. Friend since then on developments relating to particular aspects of forestry policy. These were as follows:

Date

Forestry grants28 July 1981
Felling control procedures27 May 1982
Forestry Commission disposals objectives8 November 1984
Policy for broadleaved woodlands24 July 1985

Oak Wilt

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what contingency plans his Department is making to seek to contain any outbreaks of oak wilt in the event of the disease spreading to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The Forestry Commission has drawn up contingency plans, after consultations with local authorities. If the disease did appear in Great Britain, the commission would take swift action to contain it through its powers under the Tree Pests (Great Britain) Order 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether there is any evidence of oak wilt spreading from the United States of America to the United Kingdom.

There is no evidence of oak wilt spreading from the United States to the United Kingdom, or indeed to any other country. I understand that the disease is quiescent in most parts of the United States, and at a very low level in the timber-producing forests.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what liaison is taking place between his Department and the appropriate authorities in the United States of America on the question of oak wilt.

Forestry Commission representatives are in close contact with United States plant health officials, mainly through the EC Standing Committee on Plant Health. Two Forestry Commission officials participated in an EC fact-finding visit to the USA earlier this year and a Forestry Commission scientist is the coordinator of an EC expert group on the disease.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effective measures his Department is aware of for controlling the fungus responsible for oak wilt.

A variety of measures has proved effective in the United States, depending on the degree of control required. These include the destruction of all diseased material by felling and burning, the isolation of infected trees by root-trenching and the selective use of fungicides and insecticides.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what machinery exists to examine imported oak from the United States of America at ports of entry into the United Kingdom for signs of oak wilt.

Oak imports from north America are subject to inspection at ports of entry by Forestry Commission plant health inspectors.

Degrees And Professional Qualifications

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the percentage of residents in Scotland without degrees or professional qualifications.

The 1981 census sample indicated that the percentage of residents in Scotland aged 18 and over without degrees or professional qualifications was 89·7.

Overseas Development

Falkland Islands

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date he received the detailed joint document from the Government of the Falkland Islands and the Falklands Development Corporation concerning land subdivision; and when he expects to reach decisions on these proposals.

The document was received in January of this year and has been the basis of our continuing discussions with the authorities in the Falkland Islands.

Paymaster General

Miss Juliet Kent

asked the Paymaster General when he expects the Wages Inspectorate to commence civil proceedings for the recovery of wages owed to Miss Juliet Kent of Birmingham, details of whose case have been supplied to him.

Action is already in hand to recover the arrears by civil proceedings.

Footnote A—Projects funded by the United Kingdom
Year and RecipientProjectPurpose of AidCost $
1981 BoliviaEstablishment of a Secondary Standard Dosimetry LaboratoryTo provide a national calibration and standardisation centre to provide advice to users of radiation sources53,800
SingaporeProvision of neutron analysis equipmentExpansion of the Radiation Protection Inspectorate's ability to provide services to users of neutrons31,000
MalaysiaTraining in maintenance of nucleonic equipment, and in application of radioisotope techniques to hydrology studiesTo aid the use of nuclear techniques in research work60,000
1982 GhanaRiverine Tsetse Fly StudyProvision of equipment to aid in the application of nuclear techniques to control and eradicate tsetse flies in cattle raising areas68,000
SingaporePersonnel dosimetryProvision of equipment to help improve personnel dosimetry services115,000
Sri LankaRadioisotopes in Animal ScienceProvision of equipment to aid in studies of the application of nuclear techniques in animal nutrition and health45,000
SudanElectronic WorkshopProvision of equipment to establish a control facility for repair and maintenance work on nuclear equipment and to aid training in nuclear instrumentation45,000
ThailandEnvironmental Radioactivity MonitoringProvision of equipment for a research programme on radiation levels and concentration of toxic radionuclides in food and drinking water40,000
TunisiaRadioisotopes in IndustryProvision of equipment in support of radiography and NDT services in support of quality control in industry40,000
1983 BangladeshNeutron DosimetrySupply of equipment and advice to aid in establishing a personnel neutron monitoring programme36,800
EgyptManpower DevelopmentsProvision of training for technicians for use and maintenance of nuclear equipment and in quality assurance and control techniques34,000

Energy

Non-Proliferation Treaty

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will detail the projects and cost of assistance given to signatories of the non-proliferation treaty under the footnote A provisions; to which purposes of development each item was directed; what plans he has for further allocations; and what criteria he uses in this form of assistance.

Details of footnote A projects which have been funded by the United Kingdom are set out below. All such projects meet the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency for projects eligible for technical assistance that they should serve to

"accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity in Member States"
of the agency. Since 1980 the United Kingdom has provided $1·2 million for footnote A projects.In his recent statement to the non-proliferation treaty review conference in Geneva my hon. Friend the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs announced that the United Kingdom intended to double the amount of money contributed by the United Kingdom through the IAEA footnote A system over the period up to 1990. In determining which projects the United Kingdom will support in this manner the paramount criterion is that the recipient state should be a party to the NPT. The agency's own screening process provides assurance that the project proposals are technically sound. Preference is given to projects where there is the possibility of the United Kingdom supplying the experts or equipment required.

Year and Recipient

Project

Purpose of Aid

Cost $

GhanaRiverine Tsetse Fly StudyAdditional support for programme funded in 198236,400
IndonesiaGroundwater HydrologyProvision of equipment and advice for hydrology studies in support of industrial development on Java159,000
1984
CyprusRadiation DosimetryProvision of training in radiation dosimetry techniques35,000
KenyaRadiochemistry LaboratoryProvision of equipment and advice as part of a project for development of national centre for training in nuclear sciences76,400
MexicoIsotopes in Environmental StudiesProvision of advice on isotope techniques in sediment dating and transport for use in conservation work57,400
SudanNuclear InstrumentationProvision of equipment and advice to aid in development of small scale production of nuclear instruments54,400
1985
SudanNuclear Science LaboratoryProvision of equipment to the University of Khartoum for research and training in nuclear techniques47,500
SyriaNuclear Analytical LaboratoryProvision of equipment and services for facilities for the analysis of geological, industrial, biological and environmental samples42,500
EgyptMossbauer SpectrometryProvision of equipment to aid research and training in nuclear techniques55,000
Sri LankaCrop, Water and Soil ManagementProvision of equipment to aid in studies of soil moisture conservation and crop water requirements using nuclear techniques45,000

Home Department

Race Relations

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when and in what form he expects the response to the content and proposals contained in the paper, "The Race Relations Act 1976 — Time for Change?" published by the Commission for Racial Equality.

The Government believe that it is essential to maintain effective laws against racial discrimination. We are, therefore, examining very carefully the proposals for changes in the current law

Persons* proceeded against in the Gwent and South Wales police force areas for unlawful possession or supply of amphetamines
Number of persons
Police force area and type of offence19801981198219831984
Gwent
Unlawful possession510221015
Possession with intent to supply unlawfully1212
Unlawful supply1
South Wales
Unlawful possession7163685106
Possession with intent to supply unlawfully1632013
Unlawful supply11119
* As the same person may be proceeded against for more than one offence, rows cannot be added together to produce totals.

Charities Act 1985

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to make an order to bring into force the Charities Act 1985.

I have made an order to bring the Charities Act 1985 into effect on 1 January 1986. A circular of guidance will be issued shortly to local authorities on the provisions of the Act.

which were sent to the Secretary of State in June 1985. It is too soon to say when we will be in a position to make a substantive response to them.

Amphetamines

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in (a) Mid Glamorgan, (b) South Glamorgan and (c) Gwent have been charged with (i) possession of and (ii) supplying amphetamines in each of the last five years.

The readily available information, which relates to court proceedings in police force areas, is given in the following table.

National Finance

Isle Of Dogs

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the loss of income to the Treasury arising from exemption from development land tax and exemption from tax on construction costs of the scheme for 10 million sq ft of commercial floor space in the Isle of Dogs enterprise zone currently under consideration by the London Docklands Development Corporation.

No such estimate is possible. Development land tax has been abolished, while the value of the initial allowance for tax purposes of 100 per cent. of the capital costs of constructing industrial and commercial buildings within an enterprise zone will depend on a number of factors, including the individual circumstances of those persons entitled to the relief.

Government Departments (Costs)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any further announcement to make about the control of expenditure on the running costs of Government Departments.

My predecessor announced the Government's intention to set targets for the control of running costs in Departments on 24 May 1985. The Government propose to set limits on running costs for each Department, for the financial year 1986–87 and following years, to determine the cash available to finance departmental expenditure on administration.These limits will be set at a level which continues to apply firm control on aggregate running costs, taking account of the factors expected to affect each Department's paybill and other administrative costs. This will replace the single centrally imposed assumption about the pay increases for central Government groups (the "pay assumption") which has been applied in previous years.These limits on total running cost expenditure will be announced to Parliament, as will details of the Government's proposals on public expenditure, early next year. As with cash limits, Departments will monitor and control their running costs against these agreed limits and if, exceptionally, a limit has to be changed during the year Parliament will be informed.This change in the method of control of Civil Service costs will have consequences for the presentation of running costs in Estimates. The Government's proposals on this are being discussed with the Public Accounts Committee and the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee.

Venture Capital

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what information he has as to whether the Treasury's definition of the term venture capital is comparable with definitions adopted by other European Economic Community countries;(2) what is the Treasury's definition of the term venture capital; and whether this includes

(a) capital made available to any persons by banks or licensed deposit takers, (b) loan capital, preference share capital or ordinary equity share capital and (c) capital available to persons carrying on trades which are excluded from the scope of the business expansion scheme;

(3) what information he has about any published or unpublished records of the provision and sources of venture capital in the United Kingdom since 1979.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 8]: There is no generally accepted comprehensive definition of "venture capital". The essence of venture capital investment is that investors support entrepreneurial talent with finance and often in addition with business skills, frequently from a very early stage in the life of the business.

Venture capital investment can take various forms. Often, a package of financial support is provided which, in addition to ordinary shares, may include preference or convertible preference capital and loans of various kinds.

Venture capital investors include individuals, specialist venture capital organisations, which may be independent private companies or subsidiaries of banks and insurance companies, and other organisations.

The Treasury's "Economic Progress Report" for September-October 1985 quotes figures for the provision of venture capital since 1979, from estimates published in the UK Venture Capital Journal by Venture Economics Ltd. These figures include BES investments by approved investment funds but exclude direct BES investment by individuals, investments made by non-specialist institutions, and private placings arranged by stockbrokers.

The European Venture Capital Association has commissioned a study from Peat Marwick Mitchell and Co. comparing the provision of venture capital in different EC countries which will be published shortly. However, because of institutional differences and other problems, definitions will inevitably not be strictly comparable.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Chemical Weapons

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received concerning forthcoming negotiations about banning chemical weapons.

During the summer session of the conference on disarmament in Geneva 14 papers have been tabled relevant to the negotiations to ban the use of chemical weapons. I am also aware of continuing parliamentary and public interest in a successful outcome to these negotiations.

Departmental Papers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which of his Department's papers have been made available to the public since October 1984.

Since 1 October 1984 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (excluding the Overseas Development Administration) has made the following papers available to the public on request:AFRICA

  • Drought and Famine in Africa
  • Ethiopia: Reality and Doctrine
  • Namibia: Chronology July 1984—January 1985
  • Namibia: Chronology February—June 1985
  • South Africa: The New Constitution
  • Statutory Racial Discrimination in South Africa: Policy and Practice
  • Western Sahara Conflict

ANTARCTICA

  • Antarctic Treaty: 25th Anniversary

AMERICA

  • The Cuban Economy
  • Contadora: A Chronology
  • Cuba: A Military Society

ASIA

  • Afghanistan Report: The Fighting, Border Violations, Revolutionary Justice
  • Afghanistan: International Comment
  • Afghanistan: Sixth Winter of War
  • Afghanistan: Human Rights
  • Afghanistan Report: The Fighting, Local Elections, Moscow Protest, UN Talks
  • Afghanistan: The United Nations—sponsored Talks
  • Bhutan: Background Note
  • China's Foreign Trade
  • Indochinese Foreign Ministers' Conference: Proposals on Cambodia
  • Japan's Economic Success: Some Perspectives
  • Japan: High Technology and Unemployment
  • Labour Union in Japan: Recent Developments and Future Prospects
  • Pakistan: Local Government
  • Refugees from Indochina
  • Sikkim: Background Note

EASTERN EUROPE

  • Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CEMA)
  • Origins of Communist Rule in Eastern Europe
  • Poland: Chronology May—October 1984
  • Poland: Chronology July 1984—January 1985

NEAR AND MIDDLE EAST

  • Arab-Israel and Lebanon Chronology July — December 1984
  • Arab-Israel and Lebanon Chronology January—July 1985
  • The Gulf Co-operation Council
  • Lebanon: An A to Z
  • Palestine Liberation Organisation

SOUTH PACIFIC

  • Henderson Island: Background Paper

SOVIET UNION

  • Andropov's Economic Policy
  • Moscow Youth Festival: Further Preparations
  • Moscow Youth Festival: Final Soviet Preparations
  • The Party and Government Leadership of the USSR (as at 12 April 1984)
  • Soviet External Propaganda
  • The Soviet Peace Campaign and the United Nations
  • The Soviet Party's Role in External Propaganda and Policy
  • The Soviet Economy
  • Soviet Bloc Aid to Special Friends
  • Soviet Arms Exports to the Third World
  • Soviet Energy Prospects
  • Soviet, East European and Western Development Aid 1976–83
  • Soviet Union: The Party's Accounting and Election Campaign 1983–84
  • Soviet Imports from the West 1970–81
  • USSR: Health Service Headaches
  • World Festival of Youth and Students: A Retrospect

WESTERN EUROPE

  • NATO Double Track Decision: The Present Stage
  • United Kingdom and Peacekeeping

DISARMAMENT

  • Arms Control and Disarmament Newsletter No. 21
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Newsletter No. 22
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Newsletter No. 23
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Newsletter No. 24
  • Defence and Disarmament Issues (revised edition, prepared in conjunction with MOD)

INTERNATIONAL

  • Aid to the Developing World
  • Communication concerning British Policy towards UNESCO
  • Major UN Group and Major Grouping Relating to the UN System
  • Table of Vetoed Draft Resolutions in the United Nations Security Council 1945–84
  • Thirty-fourth Session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: United Kingdom Delegation Report, November 1983
  • United Kingdom Opposition to the Inscription of General
  • Assembly and Security Council Agenda Items
  • World Fisheries
  • World Food Supplies
  • World Information and Communication: A Chronology, 1982—March 1985

Environment

Glc

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current situation regarding the future of the Greater London council's central purchasing units.

This is a matter for successor authorities, and the London co-ordinating committee is required to consider whether joint arrangements would be advantageous.

Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement of the Government's policy towards the conclusions contained in the paper entitled "Rates in the Future" published by the council of the Rating and Valuation Association, a copy of which has been sent to him.

We shall take account of the association's views in framing our proposals on the reform of local government finance. We hope to announce those in a consultative document around the turn of the year.

London County Hall (Accommodation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information he has as to the accommodation and its area in square feet which was designed for or has been adapted for specific use of the Inner London education authority and its predecessors together with the approximate number of statutory meetings of that authority and its committees which take place in a normal month and the number of other meetings held under the aegis of that authority in county hall over the same period;(2) what information he has concerning the approximate square footage of office accommodation at London county hall or its associated premises that is currently used for functions that will continue to be centrally administered by the residuary body or other organisations, including the Inner London education authority.

I understand that ILEA's staff occupy approximately 137,000 sq ft of office space in county hall, and buildings in the immediate vicinity. I do not have information about meetings which the authority holds in county hall or about other GLC office space used for particular functions.

Isle Of Dogs

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate, in terms of current rate poundage, the approximate amount of money that will need to be paid to the local authority each year in lieu of rates forgone in respect of each million sq ft of commercial development occupied before 1992 in the scheme for Canary wharf in the Isle of Dogs enterprise zone.

The proposed development is at a very early stage and it is not yet possible to estimate the rateable value, and hence the amount of rates that will be forgone because of its location in an enterprise zone.

Council House Sales

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will provide further protection against high service charges for public sector tenants who buy their flats under the right to buy.

I have reviewed the current provisions in the light of a number of cases in which purchasers have faced difficulty because of unexpectedly high service charges for repairs. I have concluded that public sector tenants should be more fully informed, before they buy, about the charges they are likely to face, and that a limit should be placed on charges for repairs during the initial years of the lease. I believe also that purchasers should have the right to spread abnormally large payments for repairs over a number of years.These proposals are set out in a consultation paper which is being issued today. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Social Services

Social Security Reviews

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many submissions he has received to date relating to the social security reviews; and broadly, how many of these are in support of the Government's proposals, and how many are opposed to them.

More than 7,000 responses to the Green Paper on social security had been received by 21 October. We are still considering and analysing these responses.

Hospital Telephones

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of 2 July, Official Report, column 130, when he intends to bring to the attention of health authorities the Government's view that it is a desirable objective to ensure that all telephones, including patients' trolley telephones, in National Health Service hospitals can be used by people who wear hearing aids.

Our view will be brought to the attention of regional works officers at their next regular meeting with the Department in November.

Departmental Offices (Access)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many of his Department's offices open to the public are currently maintained; how many of these are accessible to disabled citizens in wheelchairs; and what measures he is taking to ensure that all such offices are accessible to disabled citizens in wheelchairs.

There are currently 497 DHSS local offices, of which 359 have arrangements for access by the physically disabled to all public areas. Provision of these facilities in all cases where the cost exceeds £1,000 is the responsibility of the Property Services Agency. It is its policy to ensure that all new buildings commissioned by the agency have satisfactory access facilities for disabled people and that existing buildings are adapted to meet their needs wherever this is practicable and funds permit.

Cervical Cancer

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what response he has made to the representations from the Royal College of Nursing for an urgent national inquiry into the issue of cervical cancer screening.

No such representations from the Royal College of Nursing have been received.

District Nurses And Midwives (Car Loans)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on his recent advice to health authorities concerning car loans for district nurses and midwives.

Health authorities have been asked, when considering requests for discretionary loans for car purchase, to take into account the availability to applicants of loans on reasonable terms from non-National Health Service sources, several of which have indicated their willingness to lend to NHS staff on special terms. As existing loans are repaid a substantial proportion of the £11·5 million currently involved should be spent on services to patients, rather than used to grant new loans.

Nurses (Eviction)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the number of nurses who are being evicted from accommodation because of property sales and the addresses of these properties, together with the hospitals for which the nurses work, in each of the four regional health authorities serving London.

No nurses have been so evicted. Staff who are no longer to be offered accommodation will either have the chance to buy at a discount the property they currently live in, or be given at least a year to make alternative arrangements.

Ward Sisters (Pensions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the difference between the pension which will be paid to a ward sister who retires during the next 18 months taking into account the salary actually paid in 1985–86 and what she would have received had the review body recommendation been paid for the whole of that year.

No meaningful estimate can be made: an individual's pension award depends on his or her date of retirement, length of service and final year's superannuable pay which will include allowances and special duty (unsocial hours) payments as well as basic salary.

Lone Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the percentage of households with at least one lone parent family with dependent children as a percentage of all households with dependent children in England.

Results from the general household survey published in OPCS Monitor GHS 84/1 indicate that over the period 1981 to 1983 about 13 per cent. of families with dependent children in Great Britain were lone parents with dependent children.As a very small proportion of households contain more than one family, the figure for households will be about the same as that given above for families. Corresponding information is not available for England alone.

Prescriptions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in each of the last five years, what has been the average number of prescriptions issued per patient on general practitioner lists in England.

The information requested is as follows:

Number
1980–816·5
1981–826·6
1982–836·8
1983–846·9
1984–857·0

Single Pensioners

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the percentage of single pensionable households in England.

Of the total number of households in England there are some 14·15 per cent. with one person of pensionable age usually resident and living alone. (Source 1981 census.)

Alcohol Abuse

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list, county by county for England, the number and proportion of people classified as (a) drinking to excess, (b) problem drinkers and (c) severely dependent drinkers for each of the last five years.

Dental Amalgam

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied with the safety of dental amalgam.

Dental amalgam has been widely used in this and many other countries for over a century to fill cavities in teeth—over 25 million such treatments were provided under the general dental service in England and Walls in 1983 alone, but very few adverse reactions in patients to amalgam have been reported. Most have been an allergic or sensitivity reaction to mercury which is one of the constituents of amalgam and such patients can have their teeth filled with other materials. I am advised that there is no good scientific evidence which would indicate that any clinically significant amounts of mercury are absorbed by patients from fillings in their teeth. Moreover any small degree of risk has to be offset against the substantial benefits of a material which has been proved to be long lasting, convenient for dentists to use and can be produced at relatively low cost. No other modern material has yet been proved as suitable and convenient for most fillings where appearance is not a consideration.The potential risk to dentists and their staff from the mishandling of mercury in dental practice is well recognised and can be minimised by taking adequate precautions. Guidelines on the safe handling of mercury prepared by the British Dental Association were last revised and issued in the autumn of 1982.Whilst there is therefore no convincing evidence of any obvious health effect on the vast majority of patients nevertheless it is helpful to have a comprehensive review of the evidence from time to time. For this reason I have asked the committees on toxicity and on dental and surgical materials to consider the evidence on the risks and benefits and to let me have their advice in due course.

Severe Weather Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much was paid out in exceptionally severe weather payments in 1984–85 and how many claimants benefited.

[pursuant to his reply, 22 July 1985, c. 412]: About £1·7 million was paid to around 170,000 supplementary benefit claimants for extra fuel used during the period of exceptionally severe weather at the beginning of 1985.

Northern Ireland

Prison Inmates (Work)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sort of work has been done by persons convicted of scheduled offences and serving sentences in the Maze prison, where the prisoners are or are believed to be members of (a) the Provisional Irish Republican Army, (b) the Official Irish Republican Army, (c) the Irish Republican Socialist Party, (d) the Irish National Liberation Army, (e) the Ulster Defence Association, (f) the Ulster Volunteer Force and (g) other terrorist organisations in (i) 1981, (ii) 1982, (iii) 1983, (iv) 1984 and (v) 1985; and if there are any kinds of work which the prisoners refused to do.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: This information is not available.

Prison Inmates (Clothing)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether persons convicted of scheduled offences and imprisoned in Northern Ireland have the right to wear their own clothes and excercise that right.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: All prisoners in Northern Ireland may wear their own clothes if they wish, and most of them do so. Within reasonable limits a wide variety of types and designs of private clothing is allowed. But clothing which resembles that of prison officers, is tantamount to a uniform, or is otherwise offensive or unsuitable is nor permitted.

Maze Prison (Civilian Instructors)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why it was decided to terminate the employment of civilian instructors at the Maze prison; how long it has been since they actually gave instruction to prisoners there where the prisoners concerned were members of terrorist organisations; what savings he expects as a result of their dismissal; and what the cost of employing them has been in each year since they last gave regular instruction to prisoners who were members of terrorist organisations.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: The civilian instructors have not been required to instruct inmates in industrial tasks in Maze (cellular) prison, except on a few occasions, since the escape in September 1983. It was not economical to continue to employ them for a minimal amount of work, and it was therefore decided that they should be declared redundant.The total cost of employing the civilian instructors since September 1983 has been as follows:

PeriodAmount £
25 September 1983 to 31 March 1984147,298
1 April 1984 to 31 March 1985293,659
1 April 1985 to 30 September 1985136,429

Maze Prison (Free Association)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sort of free association is presently enjoyed by prisoners convicted of scheduled offences at the Maze prison; when it was introduced; and what groups enjoy such free association.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: Since 1976 all sentenced prisoners have been allowed three hours' association each evening, and also periods of association on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and on public holidays. In addition, prisoners are able to associate during exercise and at meal times.

Maze Prison (Convicted Terrorists)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any groups of terrorist prisoners in the Maze prison are allowed one letter, one visit and one parcel per week and can arrange their own recreational activities.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: Since 1976 all prisoners in Maze (cellular), other than those who have forfeited privileges as punishment for an offence against prison rules, have been allowed to send out two letters each week at public expense and are permitted one weekly parcel. Prisoners receive one statutory and three privilege visits in each four-week period.Prisoners are not compelled to participate in exercise or association. They may if they wish remain locked in their cells. Within the association room, prisoners may choose how to spend their time subject to the requirements of security and control.

Prison Inmates (Remission)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether Her Majesty's Government plan to restore the remaining 50 per cent. of remission lost by prisoners in the Maze prison during the hunger strike, or to provide conditions under which it would be restored; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: At the end of the hunger strike in October 1981, it was decided to restore 50 per cent. of remission lost prior to 1 November 1981, except in cases of violent behaviour in prison, to prisoners who conformed to prison rules for a period of 3 months. The arrangements were wholly exceptional; there has been no across the board restoration of lost remission since then, and no such measure is contemplated.

Maze Prison (Hunger Strike)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which aspects of the five demands made by terrorist prisoners in the Maze prison during the hunger strike have not as yet been incorporated in changes in prison regime and policies.

[pursuant to his reply, 21 October 1985, c. 59]: It was decided at the end of the hunger strike in October 1981 that all sentenced prisoners should be allowed to wear their own clothes, subject to the limitations mentioned in the reply to another question by the hon. Gentleman. This was a development of the policy introduced in October 1980 under which civilian-type clothing issued by the authorities was made available to convicted inmates.This is the only one of what became known as "the five demands" which could be said to be reflected in the prison regime.

Defence

Nato (Northern Region)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning United Kingdom forces in the northern region.

NATO's northern flank is of vital importance to the integrity of the Alliance and to the conduct of maritime operations, as well as to the defence of the United Kingdom itself. We therefore commit substantial resources to the defence of the region, details of which are given in paragraphs 430 and 431 of the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985.

Procurement Policy

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on defence procurement policy for the next 12 months.

We shall continue to seek to procure the equipment the services need at a price which gives the taxpayer value for money. To this end we shall pursue vigorously the twin aims of competition and collaboration.

Trident

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest estimate of the cost of the Trident programme.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the most up-to-date estimate of the cost of Trident.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced an estimate for Trident of £9,285 million at 1984–85 prices and at an exchange rate of £1=$1·38 on 29 January at columns 134–37.

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many representations he has received in the last three months against continuing with the Trident programme.

The Secretary of State for Defence has received some 108 such representations.

Command And Control Systems

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent studies he has made on the effectiveness of command and control systems.

The effectiveness of our command and control arrangements is regularly tested in a range of both national and NATO exercises.

Hms Conqueror (Log Book)

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in the investigation into the alleged loss of a log book from HMS Conqueror; and if he will make a statement.

Further investigations by a specially constituted naval team have been unable to discover any trace of the missing control room logs and this search has now been concluded.

Nerve Gas

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the latest estimate that has been made of the quantities of nerve gas held and personnel trained in the use of it in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw pact; and if he will make a statement.

The Warsaw pact has a major chemical warfare capability. Its chemical weapon stockpile is assessed to include some 300,000 tonnes of nerve agent alone. It has specialist troops responsible for aspects of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Soviet forces are also comprehensively equipped and trained to operate in a chemically contaminated environment. There are no chemical weapons declared to NATO, although the United States possesses a limited and aging retaliatory capability.

British Companies (Contracts)

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will conduct a review throughout his Department of the number and value of contracts allocated to British companies.

I have carried out a review which shows that the following orders were placed on United Kingdom contractors to the Ministry of Defence during the financial year 1984–85:

TotalValue (£ million)
Contracts including amendments placed by headquarters96,1917,819
Local purchase orders389,050303

North Atlantic Council

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Council on defence matters.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Council on defence matters.

My right hon. Friend had discussions with the NATO Secretary General during the course of the defence planning committee ministerial meeting in May of this year.

Chemical Defence Capability

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the United Kingdom's chemical defence capability.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas) on 2 July at column 173.

Storage, Security And Personnel

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether there have been any changes in storage practices, security and personnel following the loss of £174 million in the fire at Royal Air Force Donnington in June 1983.

Following the fire at the Army's central ordnance depot, Donnington, in 1983, the Ministry of Defence has introduced a number of changes in store practices, including increased levels of stock inspection and restoration, and dispersion of operationally vital items. Security arrangements have also have been reviewed and some new measures have been, or are in the process of being, implemented. No specific changes in personnel were considered necessary as a consequence of the fire.

Anti-Submarine Capability

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning United Kingdom anti-submarine capability.

I refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 433 to 435 of volume I of the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985.

Strategic Defence Initiative

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what studies he has made on the effect of the strategic defence initiative on his deterrence strategy.

The effectiveness of NATO's policy of deterrence is kept under constant review. The United States strategic defence initiative is a long term research programme intended to investigate the technical feasibility of defences against ballistic missiles. It would be premature at this stage to form judgments about the outcome of the research.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he next plans to meet his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts to discuss the strategic defence initiative.

I shall be meeting NATO Defence Ministers at the nuclear planning group meeting in Brussels at the end of this month, when I expect to discuss a variety of matters associated with the Alliance's policy on nuclear weapon issues.

Military Training

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence which countries currently send some of their people for training at British military establishments.

The following countries sent personnel on training courses at United Kingdom military establishments in 1984–85 or are expected to do so in 1985–86:

AlgeriaMaldives
AustriaMauritius
AustraliaMontserrat
BahamasMozambique
BahrainNepal
BangladeshNetherlands
BarbadosNew Zealand
BelgiumNigeria
BelizeNorway
BermudaOman
BotswanaPakistan
BrazilPhilippines
BruneiPortugal
CanadaQatar
ChileSaudi Arabia
DenmarkSenegal
EcuadorSierra Leone
EgyptSingapore
EireSouth Korea
FijiSpain
FinlandSri Lanka
FranceSt Vincent
GambiaSudan
GhanaSwaziland
GreeceSweden
GuyanaSwitzerland
Hong KongTanzania
IcelandThailand
IndiaTrinidad & Tobago
IndonesiaTunisia
IraqTurkey
IsraelUnited Arab Emirates
ItalyUganda
JamaicaUruguay
JapanUSA
JordanVenezuela
KenyaWest Germany
KuwaitYemen Arab Republic
LebanonYugoslavia
LesothoZaire
MalawiZambia
MalaysiaZimbabwe

Soviet Defence Minister

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to meet his counterpart in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Airborne Early Warning Programme

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with GEC Avionics about the Nimrod airborne early warning programme and the proposed Lockheed Hercules airborne early warning project.

The Lockheed Hercules project is a purely private venture by GEC Avionics. However, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth (Mr. Butler) stated on 17 June at column 38, the company has kept my officials informed of its plans. The company has confirmed that work on this project will have no adverse effect on the Nimrod AEW programme.

Defence Expenditure

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on measures which he is taking to keep defence spending within budget.

Defence spending is subject to close monitoring and control to ensure adherence to the cash limit. Defence spending has been kept within the cash limit in each of the last four years.

Gurkhas

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement about the future of the Gurkhas within the Army.

I refer my hon. Friend to the press statement made by my right hon. Friend on 27 September and headed "Hong Kong Stability Permits Force Reduction," the text of which is in the Library.

Ast 404

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had concerning AST 404.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer which I gave earlier today to the hon. Members for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) and for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham).

European Defence Ministers (Talks)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with European Defence Ministers about defence matters.

I last met collectively my European colleagues at the meeting of Defence Ministers of IEPG nations in London on 17–88 June. A copy of the communiqué from that meeting has been placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Efficiency

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to improve the efficiency of his Department.

I informed the House of certain steps which have been taken to improve the efficiency of defence in my speech in the defence debate on 12 June at columns 915–16, and a fuller record was given in the Statement on the Defence Estimates (Cmnd. 9430-I). Measures which have been taken, are in hand or are planned include:

  • —Increased competition for defence contracts. This has led to major savings—for example, about £60 million in the case of the new RAF basic trainer and over £100 million on mechanised combat vehicles — compared with internal budgeted estimates.
  • —A wide range of support operations has been contracted out, including catering, cleaning, printing, storage, transport and training tasks. In the search for better value for money, considerable efforts are being made to contract out or rationalise more work in such areas.
  • —The front line will benefit from the transfer of manpower from support areas, as a result of contracting out, rationalisation and elimination of functions, in the Army, 4,000 posts will be transferred from the "tail" to the "teeth" by 1990, making it possible to man new regiments of armour and artillery.
  • —Operational capabilities are also being increased by force multipliers such as air-to-air refuelling and by enhancements to our highly cost-effective reserve forces.
  • —A new regime of managerial budgets, with appropriate delegation of authority, is being introduced with the aim of promoting better management of resources. The MINIS system continues to provide a framework for this and to stimulate greater awarenesss of functions, performance, targets and objectives.
  • —The reorganisation of the Ministry of Defence which came into effect in January this year was aimed at the more efficient conduct of business and at substantially improving the Department's system for marketing its forward programme to the available resources. The indications are that it is working well.
  • —The reorganisation resulted in savings of 15 per cent. of posts at two-star level (Major-General or equivalent) and 29 per cent. of 3-star (Lieutenant General or equivalent) posts.
  • —The Department's total civilian work force numbered 174,000 on 1 April, some 74,000 lower than when this Government came to office.
  • —As part of the reorganisation in January, we implemented the recommendations of Sir Henry Yellowlees' study relating to the establishment of a unified functional defence medical services headquarters.
  • —Many other major efficiency studies are being progressed or implemented, covering subjects such as the defence estate, the contracts organisation, the legal services, the Ministry of Defence Police, information technology and the proof and experimental establishments.
  • —Royal Ordnance plc has been established and, subject to the usual caveats of trading performance and stock market conditions, we would hope that the company could move to the private sector in mid-1986.
  • —Work is proceeding to introduce commercial management into the royal dockyards at Devonport and Rosyth not later that April 1987. Quite apart from this, local management is pursuing a series of measures to improve efficiency in the dockyards, in areas such as management structure, control procedures and use of resources, which will reduce manpower numbers by 2,000 at Devonport and 400 at Rosyth. It is hoped that these savings can be achieved without recourse to compulsory redundancy.

Mr Casper Weinberger (Meeting)

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he will next be meeting Mr. Casper Weinberger, the United States Secretary for Defence, to discuss United Kingdom/United States defence cooperation.

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he will next be meeting Casper Weinberger, the United States Secretary for Defence; and what subjects will be discussed.

I refer the hon. Ms. to the replies I gave earlier today to my hon. Friends the Members for Wokingham (Sir. W. van Straubenzee) and for Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson).

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the United States Secretary for Defence; and if he will make a statement.

I last met Mr. Weinberger in Washington on 22 July. Among other matters which were discussed, we had a constructive and helpful exchange of views on the question of possible British participation in the United States strategic defence initiative research programme.

Horseshoe Barracks, Shoeburyness

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future plans for the Horseshoe barracks at Shoeburyness.

A number of options for the future use of Horseshoe barracks are currently being studied, but it is unlikely that any decisions will be made until well into 1986 at the earliest.

Summit Meeting

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he was last consulted by the United States Administration about the stance they will be adopting at the forthcoming summit.

Her Majesty's Government have been consulted by the United States Administration at both ministerial and official level on a number of occasions. For example, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton), attended Mr. Shultz's recent briefing of the North Atlantic Council and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be taking part in the seven power meeting in New York on 24 October.

Raf (Fighter Aircraft)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current position on a replacement fighter for the Royal Air Force.

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had concerning the Phantom and Jaguar replacement.

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the latest developments on the European fighter aircraft.

Excellent progress has been made on the European fighter aircraft, which it is proposed should replace Phantom and Jaguar aircraft in RAF service. Agreement was reached in Turin on 2 August between the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy to proceed with the further definition and refinement of the EFA programme; since that time Spain has confirmed that it also intends to continue its participation in the programme. The fact that four countries have been able to reach agreement to work together on a programme of this magnitude is a splendid example of European collaboration.Work on the project definition stage of the programme is now well under way and a report is expected from industry next summer.

Nuclear Weapons

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest assessment of the numbers and categories of nuclear weapons between east and west.

Information on the numbers and categories and nuclear weapon systems and the balance of nuclear forces between East and West is contained in figures 12 and 13 of annex A of volume I of the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985.

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will now take steps to seek to change North Atlantic Treaty Organisation plans to deploy new nuclear weapons systems and seek instead a mutual verifiable cessation of research, development and deployment of all nuclear weapons systems with the Warsaw pact countries.

No. Our objective is to secure reductions in nuclear weapons through the negotiation of balanced, effective and verifiable disarmament agreements rather than to freeze existing imbalances which include substantial superiority for the Soviet Union in certain categories of nuclear weapons.

Royal Dockyards

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a further statement on his proposals to reorganise the royal dockyards.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced his decision on the options for the future management of the royal dockyards on 23 July 1985 at cols. 867–88. Work within the Ministry of Defence to implement the proposals is continuing; the level of commercial interest in the scheme remains high and a number of interested companies have visited Devonport and Rosyth for briefings. Work is also in progress to form a new customer organisation within the Ministry of Defence.

Air Defence Capability

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning United Kingdom air defence capability.

I refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 410 to 413 of volume I of the Statement on the Defence Estimates 1985.

Departmental Reorganisation

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the improvements which have resulted from the reorganisation of his Department.

The new organisation is settling down well. A formal review of its effectiveness will be carried out early in 1986.

Exercise Brave Defender

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outcome of Exercise Brave Defender.

The exercise successfully tested plans and procedures for the ground defence of vital installations in this country. I should like, in particular, to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of the volunteer and reserve forces who took part. A detailed analysis of Brave Defender is now under way, but I have today placed in the Library a report on first impressions of the exercise.

Wales

Welsh Plant Breeding Station

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from staff of Welsh plant breeding station at Aberystwyth regarding expenditure cuts and future plans for the station, and if he will make a statement.

I have received letters from two members of staff expressing concern about the recently announced expenditure cuts at the Welsh plant breeding station.I am aware of the concern that has been expressed regarding the future of the WPBS and I discussed the situation with Lord Selborne the chairman of the Agricultural and Food Research Council on 30 September 1985. The council is considering its forward policy and is expected to issue a statement shortly.

Bangor District General Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the repairs now required for the Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor district general hospital, if his Department will provide funds to meet the costs, and if he will make a statement.

Gwynedd health authority is responsible for the maintenance of Ysbyty Gwynedd and for ensuring that any necessary repairs are carried out.The Welsh Office is considering whether recently developed techniques for the protection of exposed concrete by the application of a weather resistant coating can be used to extend the life and reduce future maintenance costs of the external cladding at Ysbyty Gwynedd. If it is decided to use this protective measure the initial cost will be funded centrally. This is not a repair; it is simply a commonsense protective measure.

School Playground Supervision

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make additional funds available to Welsh education authorities for the provision of playground supervision in schools where there has been a proven problem with drug-taking amongst children.

I am making available under the education support grants scheme £112,000 in 1986–87 to enable each local education authority in Wales to appoint a person to co-ordinate drug advice and to provide support for schools, colleges and the youth service. The Government are very concerned about the misuse of drugs and its present campaign is targeted at young people. The guide for teachers and youth workers "Drug Misuse and the Young" was issued in July 1985 and had a very wide distribution. It is for local education authorities using their own resources to determine the need and extent of playground supervision.

Health Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Wales What is the percentage of people in each Welsh county, and for Wales as a whole, who are aged between 16 and 65 years and are permanently sick.

Information in the form requested is available only from the 1981 census and is as follows:

Percentage of usually resident population aged 16–64 who were recorded as permanently sick at 1981 census Percentage
Clwyd2·4
Dyfed3·1
Gwent3·3
Gwynedd2·9
Mid Glamorgan4·7
DiagnosisNumbers of deaths and discharges
197919801981198219831984
Alcoholic psychosis, alcoholic dependence syndrome, non-dependent abuse of alcohol:
Non-psychiatric hospitals5906397147149401,117
Psychiatric hospitals9401,0529591,0691,0661,072
All hospitals1,5301,6911,6861,7832,0062,189
Diseases of the liver associated with alcohol abuse:
Non-psychiatric hospitals304332407365459462

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the average age of those people admitted to hospitals or clinics in Wales suffering from problems associated with alcohol, in each of the last five years.

The information is as follows:

Average age on admission (years) of in-patients and day cases diagnosed as having alcoholic psychosis, alcoholic dependence syndrome and non-dependent abuse of alcohol
19801981198219831984
Non-psychiatric hospitals*4344454341
Psychiatric hospitals†4343434343
* Average age on admission of discharges—deaths.
† Average age on admission.
Average age on admission (years) of in-patients and day cases diagnosed as having diseases of the liver associated with alcohol abuse
19801981198219831984
Non-psychiatric hospitals*5554545454
* Average age on admission of discharges—deaths.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many of those registered as having contracted dysentery in Wales in 1984 and 1985 were aged 16 years or under.

Percentage of usually resident population aged 16–64 who were recorded as permanently sick at 1981 census Percentage

Powys2·5
South Glamorgan2·7
West Glamorgan3·5
Wales3·3

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many places in hostels, hospitals and so on, have been provided in Wales for people with drink problems in each of the last six years.

The information is not available centrally in precisely the form requested. The following table gives the numbers of deaths and discharges from hospitals in Wales of inpatients and day cases diagnosed as having alcohol-related diseases.

In 1984 there were 69 notifications of dysentery in Wales of those persons aged 16 and under. In the first three quarters of 1985 the corresponding provisional figure is 384.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales have (a) suffered from and (b) died as a result of hepatitis B in each of the last five years, county by county, at the latest date for which figures are available.

The numbers of registered deaths from hepatitis "B" are given in the following table:

Registered deaths from Hepatitis B
19801981198219831984
Clwyd
Dyfed
Gwent1113
Gwynedd
Mid Glamorgan
Powys1
South Glamorgan1
West Glamorgan11
Notifications of hepatitis "B" are not separately identified centrally; they are included in the category "Infective Jaundice" which also covers hepatitis "A", non-A, non-B and other viral hepatitis.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many people of school age in Mid Glamorgan, Gwent and South Glamorgan his Department estimates have misused amphetamines or controlled narcotics; and if he will make a statement.

There are no reliable estimates of the level of misuse of amphetamines and other controlled drugs among children of school age in south Wales. Assessments prepared in 1984 by district health authorities at the request of the Welsh Office suggest a varied pattern of misuse among misusers as a whole, with particular concentration in the major towns. However, information from these sources does not extend to school children.The Department has required health authorities to establish, in the form of district or county drug advisory committees, local arrangements for keeping the extent, character and intensity of local drug misuse under review and for co-ordinating and planning the development of an effective response. These committees are representative of the health and local authorities, the police and probation services and voluntary sector interests. A clearer picture of the nature and extent of drug misuse should emerge from the work of these committees, with which the Department is keeping in close touch.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from health officials in Wales regarding the possible escalation in the outbreak of hepatitis B; and if he will make a statement.

We have received no such representations, but the Department's officials have been made aware by the responsible authorities of cases of hepatitis "B" in South Wales. They have discussed with these authorities the action needed to control the outbreak and I am satisfied that all appropriate steps are being taken.

Labour Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many jobs in service industries have been (a) gained and (b) lost in Wales in each of the last six years, to the latest date for which figures are available.

Net changes in levels of employment are indicated by the estimates of employees in employment compiled by my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Employment. Those covering service industries for the years concerned are:

Thousands at June each year
1979574
1980573
1981564
1982557
1983566
1984578
1985583
These figures do not include the self-employed.

Welsh Language Teaching

Mr. Barry Jones