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Written Answers

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 11 November 1985

Environment

Urban Development Grant

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the objectives and priorities of the urban development grant scheme.

The primary aim of urban development grant is to promote the economic and physical regeneration of inner urban areas by levering private sector investment into such areas. Priority is being given to urban areas with serious social needs, and accordingly formal invitations to submit applications for urban development grant have been extended to the county and district councils for district councils for districts in England which have been designated under the Inner Urban Areas Act 1978 or which have enterprise zones.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list the 121 industrial and commercial projects now approved for urban development grant, with the amounts, and with an estimate of the permanent jobs provided thereby.

Lists of projects approved for urban development grant are regularly placed in the Library of the House. I am sending a copy of the latest version to my hon. Friend. For the reasons of commercial confidentiality, it is not the practice to disclose further details of individual projects.

Defective Council Housing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department's report on defective council-owned housing and the amount of work to be undertaken will be published; and if he will make a statement.

A report on the findings of the Department's recent inquiry into the condition of the local authority housing stock will be published very shortly.

Owner-Occupiers (Mortgages)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current average subsidy for an owner-occupier with a mortgage in Great Britain and Scotland, respectively, where subsidy is defined as in "Housing Policy, Technical Volume" part 1, cmnd. 6851; and what is the average subsidy for a council tenant in Great Britain and Scotland, respectively.

Homelessness

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last discussed with the Housing Corporation homelessness in the London borough of Brent and the outcome of the submission he made for an increase in funds for the Brent People's Housing Association and the Paddington Churches' Housing Association.

My Department is in regular touch with the Housing Corporation on a number of issues, including homelessness. The corporation has recently made available resources to develop a major site in Brent.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the number of homeless families living in bed and breakfast accommodation on 30 September from the London borough of Brent together with the current cost of this maintenance.

The latest information made available to the Department is that 675 homeless households were living in bed and breakfast accommodation in June 1985. From other council papers, I understand the annual net cost to the council of placing a family in this type of accommodation is approximately £2,000.

Housing Capital Allocation (Brent)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the 1985–86 housing capital allocation for the London borough of Brent compares in real terms with the 1979–80 allocation; and what is the percentage decrease.

Brent's final HIP allocation for 1979–80 was £31·376m. Its current allocation for 1985–86 is £23.026m, which would represent a decrease of 54 per cent. in real terms. However, since 1981–82, authorities have been able to augment their spending power using the prescribed proportion of available capital receipts. The prescribed proportion of housing capital receipts generated by Brent in 1984–85 was £13·483.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when next he will review the housing capital allocation for the London borough of Brent; what is his estimate of the number of building starts that this will create for the year 1986–87; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend will announce the 1986–87 housing investment programme allocation for the London borough of Brent in due course. Full account will be taken of general housing needs, including homelessness. Within its allocation, the authority will be free to determine its own priorities.

Planning Appeal No App/A5270/A85/31065

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he can give an indication as to the likely date that the decision in respect of planning appeal No. APP/A5270/A85/31065, heard on Wednesday 16 October, will be announced.

Established Use Certificates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the system for establishing the lawful use of land in the light of his Department's memorandum on the abolition of established use certificates.

We do not intend to pursue the proposal to withdraw the right to apply for an established use certificate under section 94 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971. Further proposals, which we are assessing, on establishing the lawful use of land have recently been made by The Law Society and The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Amey Roadstone

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the contracts awarded by his Department to Amey Roadstone and its subsidiaries in excess of £100,000 over the last two financial years.

The contracts awarded by the Property Services Agency of the Department of the Environment to Amey Roadstone during the two years ending 31 March 1985 were:

SiteServiceTender Price £
GibraltarRunway hardstanding work1,275,000
RAF LynehamRunway hardstanding work176,000
RAF WattishamRunway hardstanding work1,994,643
RAF BoulmerRunway hardstanding work2,874,225
GibraltarRunway hardstanding work1,676,000
RAF LeucharsRunway hardstanding work2,425,555
Falkland IslandsRunway hardstanding work2,735,000
RAE FarnboroughRunway hardstanding work450,000
RAF Upper HeyfordRunway hardstanding work3,191,500
RNAS CuldroseRunway hardstanding work382,892
HMNB DevonportRoads582,750
StrathclydeRoads2,173,355
Falkland Islands (joint venture)Runway hardstanding work17,500,000
RAF AlconburyRunway hardstanding work212,543
RN CuldroseRunway hardstanding work867,125
Falkland Islands (joint venture)Runway hardstanding work14,199,506
RAF Upper HeyfordRunway hardstanding work977,455
RAF Greenham CommonRunway hardstanding work3,978,098
RAF WytonRunway hardstanding work2,667,112
No contracts were awarded to any Amey Roadstone subsidiaries.

Empty Properties

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many houses and flats have been empty for over six months, nationally and by region; and how this compares with five and 10 years ago.

Acid Rain

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what reports he has received concerning tree damage allegedly attributed to acid rain.

Copies of the following reports prepared in the past year are available to the Department of the Environment:

A report by the Forestry Commission entitled "Forest Health and Air Pollution, 1984, Survey" (Forestry Commission Research and Development Paper 142) which concluded "the 1984 survey of Sitka and Norway spruce and Scots pine in Great Britain has shown no evidence of any new form of forest damage. Stands in less than perfect health can be accounted for without invoking pollution damage. Nevertheless, only repeated surveys will show whether Britain has indeed escaped the blight which has descended on the forests of central Europe".
A report entitled "Beech Health Study" by D. Lonsdale and J. N. Gibbs for the Forestry Commission (Research Information Note 100/85/PATH) which concluded, amongst other things, that no prima facie evidence for pollution damage has as yet been found but further conclusions must await a complete analysis of the data.
A recent report of a survey by the Friends of the Earth on acid rain damage to trees in Britain which concluded, among other things, that typical symptoms of acid rain damage to trees are now widespresd in Britain.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environent if he will list those research projects receiving Government support for the investigation of acid deposition on (a) wildlife, (b) agricultural ecosystems and (c) buildings and structures and state the sums involved.

The following is a list of research projects in my Department's current research programme relating to the effects of acid deposition on the natural environment and buildings:

Research projectTotal cost £
1. The effects of acid rain on upland soils and streams244,200
2. Chemical inputs from precipitation and their effect on a catchment129,000
3. Effects on acidification on lakes and streams in Scotland147,000
4. Effects of acid rain on plants and soils569,000
5. Effects of afforestation and land management on the acidity of 5 catchments in Wales272,000
6. Effects of acid rain on freshwater eco-systems in north-west England176,000
7. Effects of acid deposition and photo-oxidants on trees184,000
8. Aspects of pollutant attack on limestone buildings49,000
9. Degradation of building materials in the presence of air pollutants70,500
10. Identification and assessment of materials damage by air pollution25,500
11. Effects of atmospheric nitrogen compounds on natural vegetation87,200
12. Effects of low temperature fluctuation on the sensitivity of crops and trees to air pollutant damage67,000
13. Effects of air pollution on metallic materials150,000
14. Pollutant take-up and stone decaying southern Britain27,000
15. Effects of acid deposition on vertical surfaces19,500
16. Development of methodologies to evaluate stock at risk from air pollution10,700
Total2,227,600
I understand that the following relevant research projects are also receiving Government support:
ProjectTotal Cost £
Scottish Office: acid deposition at Loch Dee75,000
Welsh Office: ecological monitoring of acid rain in Wales32,000
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: the response of barley to sulphur dioxide at concentrations controlled by fumigation65,200
Forestry Commission: effects of ambient levels of air pollution on tree growth in rural areas*
* This work is being undertaken directly by the Forestry Commission. The capital cost of equipment is £190,000 and about 2½ man years effort a year will be required.

Natural Environment Research Council

Project

Cost in 1984–85 £

1. Acidification of run-off from melting snow pack16,500
2. Effects of ambient air pollutants on plant growth in and around London24,300
3. Assessment of likely concentrations of toxic products of SO 2 and NO x fumigation of plants at their site of action4,400
4. Effects of gaseous pollutants on the interaction between plants and invertebrate herbivores3,600
5. Physiological effects of SO 2 pollution in water stressed plants6,000
6. Physiological Biochemical and ultra-structural role of calcium in the gills of freshwater teleosts and arthropods with respect to survival at low pH16,000
7. Interception of wind blown fog by vegetation and pathways for pollutant deposition13,700
27,700
(50 per cent
8. Chemical speciation of Aluminiumfrom DOE)
12,000
(50 per cent
9. Diatom survey related to pH and water chemistryfrom DOE)
10. Measurement of pH in freshwaters19,000
11. Trophic relationships and effects of acid waters on stream invertebrates15,000
9,000
(50 per cent
12. Acid deposition and ground waterfrom EEC)
29,000
13. Effects of different forest canopies on the gross precipitation passing to the soil(50 per cent from DOE)
23,700
(50 per cent
14. Effects of acid precipitation on river catchmentsfrom DOE)
102,000
(40 per cent
from
15. Effects of polluted atmospheres on cropsMAFF)
16. Interaction of airborne pollutants with natural surfaces in particular epicuticular wax of scots pine5,000
17. Interaction of grazing and air pollution26,500
18. Measurement of the rate of dry deposition of SO 2 on a Scots pine forest13,600
19. Chemical composition of rainfall through Northern Britain33,900
20. Effect of acid rain on the extension growth of Sitka spruce3,800
21. Influence of rainfall acidity on transport and exchange of gases between plants and atmosphere3,200
22. Hydro-chemistry of run-off from upland catchments26,500
23. Transient acid surges in upland streams54,000
Total488,400

Haringey (Direct Labour Organisation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take in the light of the report on the direct labour organisation of the London borough of Haringey submitted to him under section 17(4) of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980.

My right hon. Friend is now considering the special report received from the London borough of Haringey on 30 October and will notify the borough of his decision in due course.

Rehousing Agreements (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he plans to give his consent to the rehousing agreements within the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Islington and Southwark, for which the Greater London council applied on 10 October.

In view of the liabilities for successor authorities that may be created by these rehousing agreements, the Department has asked the GLC for further information including the views of the boroughs concerned. When this information is received, the application will be given expeditious consideration.

Historic Buildings And Monuments Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many members of his Department (a) have been transferred to the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission and (b) will be transferred to the commission.

(a) As at 31 October 1985, 83 former staff of the Department of the Environment had become permanent employees of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission; (b) 772 of the Department's staff on secondment to the commission asked for their names to be included in the statutory list of those to whom the commission was bound to make job offers by 31 October. As those job offers remain open for three months the total numbers choosing to take up permanent employment with the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission may not be known until the end of January 1986.

Waste Regulation And Disposal

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the proposals he has received from authorities for joint arrangements for waste regulation and disposal.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Northfield (Mr. King) on 25 October 1985 at columns 266–67.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those authorities that have submitted draft binding agreements on future arrangements for waste regulation and disposal.

Draft agreements on the future arrangements for waste disposal have been submitted by or on behalf of the following local authorities:

  • London boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton;
  • Cities of London and Westminster and the London borough of Tower Hamlets;
  • City of Sheffield and metropolitan boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham;
  • City of Newcastle and metropolitan boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland;
  • City of Birmingham and metropolitan boroughs of Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton;
  • Cities of Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield and metropolitan boroughs of Calderdale and Kirklees; and
  • London boroughs of Southwark, Greenwich and Lewisham.

Draft Property Transfer Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to extend the deadline for London borough input into draft property transfer orders under the Local Government Act 1985.

No. My right hon. Friend will, however, take account of any further comments he receives in so far as this is practicable.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the London boroughs which provided input by the due date into draft property transfer orders under the Local Government Act 1985.

The following London boroughs have commented to the Department of the Environment in response to the guidance note for London borough councils, issued on 16 July 1985 and/or to the second property memorandum, issued on 3 September 1985:

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Bexley
  • Bromley
  • City of London
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Enfield
  • Hackney
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Harrow
  • Havering
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Islington
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Newham
  • Redbridge
  • Richmond
  • Wandsworth
  • Waltham Forest
  • Westminster
Some of these were received after the deadlines set in the documents.

Local Government Reform

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when he intends to announce his decision on arrangements for early retirement arising from the Local Government Act 1985 for staff of the Greater London council and metropolitan county councils;(2) when he intends to announce his decision on the arrangements for compensation for financial detriment arising from the Local Government Act 1985 for staff of the Greater London council and metropolitan county councils.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of responses received in support of the proposals in his Department's consultation paper arising from the Local Government Act 1985 regarding early retirement arrangements for staff of the Greater London council and metropolitan county councils.

Many responses were received. All were in favour of the principle of the scheme.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the responses received to his Deprtment's proposals for future arrangements for the Greater London council's seaside and country homes.

Replies have been received from 38 of the 44 non-metropolitan districts invited to respond, 6 London boroughs, the GLC and 3 local authority associations.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if, in the light of discussions with successor authorities since the enactment of the Local Government Act 1985, he is able to revise his estimate of the number of posts in local government service that will be lost as a result of the abolition of the Greater London council;(2) if, in the light of discussions with successor authorities since the enactment of the Local Government Act 1985, he is able to revise his estimate of the number of posts that will be created in the public sector as a result of the abolition of the Greater London council.

I have nothing to add to the estimate given in the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Local Government Act 1985 that local authority manpower will be reduced by some 8,000 posts, but that there will be an estimated increase in other public sector bodies of about 900 posts.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he proposes to give successor authorities concerning redundancies arising from the abolition of the Greater London council.

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to add to the advice already sent out in "Abolition of the GLC and MCCs: arrangements for staffing the new structure"—November 1984; and "Treatment of GLC/MCC Employees"—LGA(L) (DOE)9; LGA(MC) (DOE)10. I have placed copies of both in the Library.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the light of circular No. 9 issued by the London and Metropolitan Government Staff Commission on 11 October, his Department will be advising successor authorities to consider the possibilities of designation for staff of the Greater London council currently working in functions to be transferred after the abolition of the Greater London council.

My Department has already issued a consultation paper inviting such proposals. I am placing a copy in the Library.

Atmospheric Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give a timetable for publication of the results of studies being made by (a) the acid waters review group, (b) the acid soils review group and (c) studies on ozone made at the energy technology support unit at Harwell.

I expect to receive a report from the Acid Waters Review Group early in 1986. There is no acid soils review group but the Atmospheric Effects Review Group is considering the effects of acidity on terrestrial systems; I expect this group to report in the latter half of 1986. The Department of the Environment is now funding detailed modelling studies on the generation and occurrence of atmospheric ozone and has set up a Photochemical Oxidants Review Group; I expect this group to report in about 18 months.

Radioactive Waste

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when he expects to receive the list of sites suitable for the disposal of intermediate and low level radioactive waste proposed by the Nuclear Industry Radioactive Waste Executive;(2) if he will describe the review that he intends to make of the implementation of Government policy on the selection of sites for the disposal of intermediate and low-level radioactive waste;(3) who will be carrying out the review of the implementation of Government policy on the selection of sites for the disposal of intermediate and low-level radioactive waste;(4) what account will be taken of the review of the implementation of Government policy on the selection of sites for the disposal of intermediate and low-level radioactive waste when he receives the proposed list of suitable sites from the Nuclear Industry Radioactive Waste Executive;(5) how long the review of the implementation of Government policy on the selection of sites for the disposal of intermediate and low-level radioactive waste is to take.

It is hoped that NIREX will be in a position to make an announcement of possible sites before the end of the year. The review which is being carried out in the interim is essentially a taking stock of progress so far made and the time-table for the future. It is being carried out by officials reporting to Ministers in the normal way. All relevant information will be made available and taken into account before decisions are eventually taken.

Canary Wharf Site, Isle Of Dogs

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in relation to the proposals for the Canary wharf site in the Isle of Dogs enterprise zone, the Royal Fine Arts Commission has been consulted.

The Royal Fine Arts Commission will receive a full presentation of the scheme on 13 November 1985.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what account was taken in the decision regarding the proposed development of the Canary wharf site in the Isle of Dogs enterprise zone of the scale, extent and height of the proposed development.

The London Docklands Development Corporation took full account of the scale, extent and height of the development before approving it in principle at its board meeting on 17 October 1985.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what schemes, actual or proposed, were submitted for his Department's approval and subsequently withdrawn prior to the proposal currently under discussion for the development of the Canary wharf site in the Isle of Dogs.

European Regional Development Fund

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the criteria used by his Department in selecting projects for submission to the EEC Commission for funding under the European regional development fund.

My Department has issued detailed guidance to all local and public authorities on the eligibility of projects for European regional development fund assistance. This is based on the criteria set out in Council Regulation (EEC) 1787/84 and the operating practices of the European Commission. Further copies of the guidance are available from the Department's regional offices and those Departments sponsoring public authorities. It is ultimately for the European Commission to decide which projects to assist.

Further Education (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will name the 165 polytechnics and colleges of further education which were studied by the Audit Commission in producing the report "Obtaining Better Value from Further Education", June 1985.

No. The information is not held in my Department and my right hon. Friend is precluded by statute from requiring the Audit Commission to disclose it. If he requires further particulars, the right hon. Member may wish to write to the commission at 1 Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PN.

Local Authority Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library copies of the quarterly joint local authority manpower watch for England from the first count to the latest.

Copies of the results of the joint manpower watch survey have been sent to the House of Commons Library each quarter since its inception in 1975. Results for quarters before September 1981 cover England and Wales.

Commissioner For Local Administration

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received over the past six years about the need to strengthen the powers of the Commissioner for Local Administration; what responses he has given; and whether he plans to bring forward firm proposals.

The Commission for Local Administration in England has submitted proposals for the extension of its powers twice over the last six years. The Secretary of State's responses were issued on 7 March 1984 and 27 September 1985 respectively. The Government's proposals are contained in those documents, copies of which have been deposited in the Library.

Grants (Cumbria)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish a list of all urban development grant projects and the value of grants paid for each project to each authority within the county of Cumbria for each year since the inception of the scheme.

Lists of projects approved for urban development grant are regularly placed in the Library of the House, and I am sending a copy of the latest version to the hon. Member. No grant has yet been paid for any projects in Cumbria.

Development Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the level of his Department's grant in aid to the Development Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The Development Commission's grant in aid for 1985–86 is £24·901 million. Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate I propose to increase by £3·15 million the Development Commission's grant-in-aid for provision of factory premises and to meet the liability to pay corporation tax. For this purpose the cash limit for class VIII, Vote 2 has been increased by £3·15 million from £144,575,000 to £147,725,000. The increase is more than offset by a reduction of £5·119 million in the cash limit for class VIII, Vote 5 from £148,532,000 to £143,413,000 arising from savings I have made in research and administration costs and will, therefore, not add to the planning total of public expenditure.

London (Trust)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to be able to announce the arrangements for administering the proposed new trust for London; and if he will make a statement.

The trustees of the City Parochial Foundation (CPF) have accepted the Secretary of State's invitation to administer the new trust. The trustees envisage administering the trust quite separately from the CPF. It is hoped to have the new trust legally established not later than 31 March 1986.It will be for the trustees to determine the policies and procedures of the new trust. In doing so, they will doubtless have regard to the present pattern of financial support for voluntary organisations in London and will consider the view of voluntary organisations, other charitable trusts and local authorities. These matters will be considered by the trustees in the course of 1986.

Public Accounts Committee (Treasury Minute)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to issue the circular referred to in the Treasury minute published on 24 October 1984 in response to the twenty-third report of the Public Accounts Committee of Session 1983–84.

A circular (DOE 26/85; Welsh Office 54/85) which offers advice on the interpretation of some aspects of the existing home improvement grant legislation is being sent to all local authorities today and copies have been placed in the Library.The circular makes it clear that, with effect from 2 December 1985, the Government will, in general, no longer pay Exchequer contributions towards grants to developers who intend to improve houses and sell them at a profit.The other main purposes of the circular are as follows:

  • 1. To set out the Secretary of State's general position as regards the payment of Exchequer contribution.
  • 2. To state the views of the Department and the Welsh Office on the interpretation of some provisions of the home improvement grant legislation.
  • 3. To inform local authorities of those circumstances in which Exchequer contribution will no longer normally be payable, with effect from 2 December 1985.
  • 4. To offer guidance on certain other aspects of the legislation which have given rise to a number of inquiries.
  • Building Control

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has approved any inspectors for the purpose of operating the system of private certification for building control

    My right hon. Friend has today approved the National House-Building Council's subsidiary company, NHBC Building Control Services Ltd., as an inspector to supervise the erection of dwellings of up to four storeys (or three storeys and a basement). He has also approved the National House-Building Council's insurance scheme which will apply to all dwellings which it inspects in this capacity.

    Attorney-General

    Northern Ireland (Trial Delays)

    64.

    asked the Attorney-General what reduction has been made in the present year in the time elapsing before persons charged with offences in Northern Ireland are brought to trial.

    In the first six months of 1985 the average delay between committal and arraignment was 11 weeks, which is the same as the average for the calendar year 1984. Statistics showing the average time between first remand and committal are not yet available for the current year.

    Legal Aid

    65.

    asked the Attorney-General what has been the increase in the last year in the time taken by the Law Society to issue civil aid certificates.

    The Law Society estimates that in the financial year 1984–85—which is the latest period for which information is available—it took an average of 56 days to issue a civil legal aid certificate. This compares with 55 days in 1983–84. These are actual days. The comparable figures for working days are 39 for 1984–85 and 38 for 1983–84, an increase of one working day.

    asked the Attorney-General what representations have been received from solicitors practising under legal aid certificates regarding delays in the payment of fees; what is the problem of staffing as regards certifying payments; and whether he is satisfied that all payments are currently made as expeditiously as possible.

    The payment of bills arising under legal aid certificates is a function of the Law Society. It is for it to allocate staff to this and the other functions that it carries out in respect of legal aid administration within the provision allocated by the Government. In the context of the sums available for the overall total of public expenditure provision has been allowed to enable the Law Society to employ up to 1,300 staff in this financial year compared with 1,275 and 1,250 in the past two years. During 1985, the Lord Chancellor has received a small number of letters from solicitors about delays in the payment of bills. Such delays are never satisfactory but the Lord Chancellor is confident that the Law Society does everything it can to keep them to a minimum.

    Official Secrets Act

    66.

    asked the Attorney-General what considerations he has in mind in considering whether or not to authorise a prosecution under section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

    My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General considers all cases which require his consent in the light of the guidelines on the criteria for prosecution which he published in February 1983 and placed in the Library of the House. Cases under section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 are treated no differently from any other.

    Jury Trials

    67.

    asked the Attorney-General if he will give figures for the percentage of cases tried by a jury which resulted in a conviction in the last year for which figures are available and the equivalent figure for 1975.

    The percentage of defendants who pleaded not guilty to some or all counts on indictment in the Crown court, but who were nevertheless convicted on one or more of those counts was 51 per cent., in 1984 and 55 per cent., in 1975.

    Duty Solicitor Scheme

    68.

    asked the Attorney-General what progress has been made in setting up the 24-hour duty solicitor scheme; and if it will be fully operational when the Police and Criminal Evidence Act comes into operation.

    My right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor intends the 24-hour duty solicitor scheme to come into effect on 1 January 1986, at the same time as the relevant provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The Law Society has been invited to ensure that the arrangements are uniformly effective as soon as possible.

    Falklands War (Cabinet Deliberations)

    asked the Attorney-General when the Director of Public Prosecutions expects to complete his investigations into alleged leaks to unauthorised persons of information relating to the deliberations of the War Cabinet during the Falklands conflict.

    I understand from the director that the police investigation requested by him is proceeding as expediously as practicable. He shares my view that it is in the public interest that it should be completed as soon as possible and has so informed the police.

    Celaton Laboratory Research And Jacobson Chemicals Ltd

    asked the Attorney-General if he will institute proceedings against Celaton Laboratory Research and Jacobson Chemicals Ltd. for offences in relation to the Cosmetic Products Regulations 1984, in the light of the material supplied to the Department of Health and Social Security by the hon. Member for Belfast, South.

    I have taken the question as referring to the Consumer Products (Safety) Regulations 1984. Primary responsibility for the enforcement of this legislation rests with the Department of Trade and Industry.I understand that the Department of Health and Social Security is considering the material referred to by the hon. Member which was sent to the Department on 1 November 1985.I have asked to be informed of the outcome of that consideration and will write to the hon. Member in due course.

    Mr Costas Elenas

    asked the Attorney-General why Mr. Costas Elenas was not granted immunity against prosecution in Britain in return for giving evidence in the trial of the Cyprus service men; and if he will make a statement.

    During the course of the trial, the solicitors for one of the defendants requested the Director of Public Prosecutions that Mr. Costas Elenas should be given immunity from prosecution whilst in the jurisdiction of the English courts arising out of his alleged involvement in the case in order that he might give evidence as a witness at the trial.The Director of Public Prosecutions, while pointing out that he was unable on the information available to him to express an opinion as to the jurisdiction of our courts for offences under the Official Secrets Acts in respect of Mr. Elenas, replied that it was not his usual practice to grant immunity from prosecution to persons suspected of having committed criminal offences and he could see no reason that would justify his making an exception in respect of Mr. Elenas for any alleged involvement in the matters being tried. He added, however, that he was not presently aware of any admissible evidence tending to show that Mr. Elenas had committed any criminal offence.

    Home Department

    Jury System

    84.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations Her Majesty's Government have received about the functioning of the jury system.

    From time to time my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary receive representations about general matters such as eligibility for jury service, the right to excusal, the expenses payable, and the principle of random selection. In addition we have received one letter from an hon. Member about the defence right of peremptory challenge, and we and colleagues are aware of recent concern Scheme expressed about this. As my right hon. Friend announced on 7 November at column 130, we shall arrange for the Crown Prosecution Service to gather further information about the use of peremptory challenge.

    Boards Of Visitors (Applicants)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why an applicant for an appointment to a board of visitors, on the form which he or she must complete, is required to state the height of his or her spouse.

    Enquiries are made of criminal records about all nominations for appointments as members of boards of visitors and their spouses. The essential information on which these enquiries are made includes details of height.

    Police (Uniforms)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if it is his policy that the wearing of diced cap bands must be restricted to the police force only.

    Under section 52 of the Police Act 1964 there are circumstances in which it is an offence for a person to impersonate a police officer or to wear, or possess, any article of police uniform. Police representative bodies have expressed the view that the wearing of diced cap bands by other uniformed organisations can confuse members of the public and their view is being drawn to the attention of other emergency services.

    Section 11 Grants

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much is spent on section 11 grants per annum in England and Wales.

    Total grant paid to local authorities in respect of the financial year 1983–84, the latest year for which figures are available, is £73,108,128. Certain payments are provisional subject to audit and final acceptance by the Home Office, and final figures may therefore be slightly different.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many workers are currently employed on section 11 grants for the Chinese community; on what schemes; and where these schemes are located.

    On the information readily available, we are aware of nineteen such posts. These are:

    Scheme
    Camden1 Community services librarian
    1 Social worker
    2 Social worker assistants
    1 Housing adviser
    Barking and Dagenham1 Cantonese bilingual ESL teacher—infant
    1 Bilingual clerical assistant at language unit—Cantonese
    Merseyside2 Chinese community workers
    Liverpool3 Social workers (Chinese unit)

    Scheme

    1 Housing area liaison officer (Chinese community)
    1 Senior assistant librarian
    Manchester1 Librarian
    1 Library assistant
    1 Community information officer
    Westminster1 Librarian (Chinese community)
    1 Specialist social worker.

    Police (Liverpool)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what meetings representatives of his Department have had with the chief constable of Merseyside since 1981; whether policing methods in Liverpool were discussed at any of these meetings; and if he will make a statement.

    Home Office officials and members of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary have met the Chief Constable of Merseyside on numerous occasions since 1981 to discuss issues of policing policy. The policing problems of Merseyside have been discussed but operations in any part of a police area are a matter for the Chief Constable.

    Drunk-Driving Offences (Wales)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were convicted in Wales of charges relating to drinking alcohol and driving in each year from 1978–79 to 1979–80.

    The available information relates to findings of guilt in the calendar year for offences of driving, etc. after consuming alcohol or drugs and is published annually for each police force area in 'Offences Relating to Motor Vehicles, England and Wales, Supplementary Tables' (table 18 of the issue for 1983 and in corresponding tables of earlier volumes; the issue for 1984 will be published shortly). In 1978 and 1979 there were respectively 4,300 and 5,300 such findings of guilt in Wales.

    Dwarf Throwing Competitions (Government Policy)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information his Department has about dwarf throwing competitions; if his Department has sought legal advice from outside the Government regarding the extent to which injuries inflicted in the course of such competitions may amount to assault; what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards such competitions; and if he will make a statement.

    Our information is derived mainly from representations which the right hon. Member has himself conveyed to us. Our understanding of the legal position is set out in my right hon. Friend's letter of 22 October to the right hon. Member, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The Government have no power to ban such competitions. I do not consider any useful purpose would be served by our seeking legal advice outside the Government: it would be for the courts to decide whether or not, in the circumstances of any case which came before them, an offence had been committed.

    Cinematograph (Safety) Regulations

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations his Department has received from the Spinal Injuries Association about the effects for disabled people of the proposed Cinematographic (Safety) Regulations 1985; what reply he is sending; what other representations have been received on this matter; how many responses were favourable to what his Department is proposing; and if he will make a statement.

    The Spinal Injuries Association has sent comments on the draft Cinemas (Safety) Regulations and proposed new guidance. These comments will be considered in the consultative process together with comments which have been received from other organisations for disabled people and from organisations representing cinema exhibitors, cinema trades associations, licensing authorities, technical specialists and consumer organisations and from individuals. In general the draft Regulations and the proposed new guidance have been favourably received, although organisations for disabled people have criticised some of the detailed proposals in the guidance.

    Immigration (Entry Refusals)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what action he expects right hon. or hon. Members to take prior to their making representations to him regarding a person who has been refused entry as a visitor at a United Kingdom port and whose sponsor lives in the constituency of the right hon. or hon. Member concerned; and if he will make a statement;(2) what action he expects right hon. or hon. Members to take prior to making representations regarding a person who has been refused entry as a visitor at a United

    Length of sentenceDate of ReleaseDate of Expiry of LicenceTime spent in custody under sentence*
    9 years26 August 198229 March 19834 years 5 months 19 days
    10 years29 July 198227 November 19834 years 4 months 22 days
    10 years5 August 198229 November 19834 years 4 months 29 days
    10 years1 February 198315 May 19844 years 10 months 25 days
    11 years5 November 198210 August 19844 years 7 months 29 days
    13 years30 August 198326 November 19855 years 5 months 23 days
    13 years13 January 198411 December 19855 years 10 months 6 days
    * Does not include time served in custody on remand.

    Deportations (Hon Member's Interventions)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the number of times the hon. Member for Brent, South has intervened on behalf of a sponsor from his constituency to prevent the deportation of a person arriving in the United Kingdom until the case has been considered by the Minister during 12 months ended 31 October and the number of such interventions where the written submission has not followed immediately.

    The precise information requested is not readily available, but since December 1984 the hon. Member has written on immigration cases on about 100 occasions. Our records indicate that in cases of passengers

    Kingdom port and whose sponsor's own right hon. or hon. Member has refused to consider taking up such representations; and if he will make a statement.

    The points the hon. Member has raised will be addressed in the discussions which my right hon. Friend proposed in his statement to the House on 29 October. These will be put in hand in due course.

    Operation Julie (Sentences)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the length of jail sentence imposed on each of the following persons convicted in 1978 of drugs offences following Operation Julie, the length of sentence actually served, and the date of their release, namely: Richard Kemp, Henry Todd, Brian Cuthbertson, Dr. Christine Bett, David Soloman, Andrew Monro and Russell Spencley.

    The information requested is given in the following table in order of sentence length. Persons released on licence on parole are compulsorily supervised by the probation service and are liable to recall to prison until the expiry of their sentence, excluding remission (which reduces time served by up to one third of the sentence).The decision to release these persons on parole was taken in each case before the announcement in November 1983 by the then Home Secretary of a new, more restricted policy on parole. We are continuing to follow that policy. It means that prisoners serving sentences of over five years for offences of drug trafficking would not now be released early on parole other than in genuinely exceptional circumstances. It should also be noted that the maximum penalty for trafficking in class A drugs is now life imprisonment, not 14 years as at the time when these persons were sentenced.held up at the ports there have been three occasions on which his intervention was not followed immediately by a written submission.

    Commission For Racial Equality

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report details of numbers of staff employed by the Commission for Racial Equality in each of its offices; and how many of these are Welsh speaking.

    The number of staff currently employed by the Commission for Racial Equality in each of its offices is:

    Number

    London162
    Manchester14
    Leeds9
    Birmingham13
    Leicester6

    I understand that the commission has one fluent Welsh language speaker in its London office.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the dates on which Ministers from his Department have, since May 1979, met the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, indicating what was the general subject of discussion at each such meeting.

    Since May 1979 Home Office Ministers have met the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality on a number of occasions to discuss general matters of mutual interest affecting the commission; the most recent meeting was on 2 October when my right hon. Friend met the chairman and other members of the commission.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of maintaining the Commission for Racial Equality in each of the last five years.

    In the last five years, the Commission for Racial Equality has received grant-in-aid as follows:

    Year£ million
    1980–817,036
    1981–827,856
    1982–838,392
    1983–848,720
    1984–859,261

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report details as to how many complaints the Commission for Racial Equality received from (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales, respectively, for the last year for which this information is available.

    I understand that in 1984 the commission received 1,202 complaints: 1,172 from England, 12 from Scotland and 18 from Wales. The Race Relations Act 1976 does not extend to Northern Ireland.

    Night-Clubs (Certificate Fees)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to allow licensing authorities to charge fees for the granting of certificates of suitability for night clubs; and if he will make a statement.

    We have no plans to do so, but if such legislation were introduced we should be happy to support it.

    Mrs Shreela Flather

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indicate by reference to the curriculum vitae of Mrs. Shreela Flather the criteria upon which the decision was taken to give her special responsibility for the affairs of the Commission for Racial Equality in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

    The allocation of particular responsibilities between commissioners is entirely a matter for the commission.

    Overseas Development

    Aid Budget

    74.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to increase official aid with a view to achieving the United Nations target figure.

    While the Government accept the United Nations 0·7 per cent. aid target in principle, like previous Administrations they are not committed to a timetable for achieving it.

    Famine (Ec Contingency Reserve)

    76.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why he is opposed to the European Economic Community plan for a contingency reserve of food to be established in cases of further famine in Africa.

    We support the creation of a contingency reserve by the European Community for emergency food aid in case of further famine in Africa. We believe it should be within the Community's normal food aid programme.

    Developing Countries

    77.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current level of United Kingdom voluntary aid to developing countries.

    I understand that grants by British voluntary agencies to developing countries amounted to approximately £105 million in 1984. This includes emergency relief and long-term assistance but excludes administrative costs. Figures for 1985 are not yet available.

    Sudan

    78.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met His Excellency, the ambassador of the Sudan; and if he will make a statement on the subjects discussed.

    I last met the Sudanese ambassador on 24 October on the occasion of the visit to this country of the Prime Minister of Sudan. We had a wide-ranging review of Sudan's present economic problems, and discussed the consequences of last season's drought in Sudan and the emergency relief operation to which we had contributed.

    Developing Countries (Agriculture Aid)

    79.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to increase official aid to agricultural development in poor countries.

    Agricultural development is at the heart of our bilateral aid policy. It covers a wide spectrum from plant genetics to feeder roads. In devising our programmes we have to take account of the wishes of aid recipient countries, but we aim to increase the agricultural content of these programmes where we can. Three new projects now under consideration are a second phase of the Indo-British fertiliser education project, two dry land agricultural projects in the Sudan, and a similar project in Kenya.

    Developing Countries (Agriculture Aid)

    80.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to spend more of the aid budget on training people from developing countries in agriculture and development technology in Britain.

    I fully agree on the importance of training. We would be happy to consider requests from recipient Governments for a higher proportion of our aid to be spent for this purpose.

    Sub-Saharan Africa

    81.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he will make a statement on the European Communities efforts to help starving communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given earlier to my hon. Friend, the Member for Solihull (Mr. Taylor).

    Aid Programme

    82.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he makes of the benefits to British industry accruing from the aid programme.

    The benefits to British industry are substantial. Bilateral aid, except finance for certain local costs, is tied to procurement in Britain and brings substantial orders to United Kingdom firms. In addition, aid funds used as part of the aid and trade provision help with further very substantial contracts for Britain. In 1984, 74 per cent. of the bilateral aid was tied. Procurement of British goods and services under multilateral aid programmes exceed our contributions to the agencies concerned.

    Famine (Aid)

    83.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further assistance he can make available to refugees who are victims of the African famine.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further assistance he can make available to refugees who are victims of the African famine.

    I have decided to make available a further £1·225 million. Of this £0·2 million is being allocated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; £0·525 million to the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and £0·5 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    These sums are additional to the £750,000 I approved last month, of which £500,000 was for the International Committee of the Red Cross and £250,000 for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Developing Countries (Debt)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of the debt problems of developing countries.

    Our policy is to consider the particular circumstances of each indebted country, so that necessary programmes for adjustment can be geared to individual needs, supported as required by co-ordinated financial arrangements.

    Central America (Aid)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the present level of British aid to (a) Nicaragua, (b) El Salvador, (c) Honduras and (d) Guatemala.

    British bilateral aid in 1984–85, the latest period for which figures are available, amounted to about £36,000 to Nicaragua, £3,000 to El Salvador and £700,000 to Honduras. No bilateral aid was given to Guatemala. In 1984 Commonwealth Development Corporation loans of £2·6 million were made to Honduras; and El Salvador received £200,000 for resettlement of displaced persons.

    The Gambia

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he has been able to provide to the Gambia to help deal with its current economic difficulties.

    We have offered The Gambia Government £2·5 million immediate programme aid to help meet their balance of payments needs, subject to their continuing to implement the economic reforms they have agreed with the IMF and World Bank. This is in addition to £3·75 million of capital aid and technical cooperation in our bilateral programme this year. We are prepared to consider further aid from April 1986 if necessary.These offers were made at a meeting of donors to consider the needs of The Gambia which were held in London in September, which was chaired by the World Bank and for which we made the necessary arrangements as host.

    Share-Scholarship Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the response to the Overseas Development Administration's share-scholarship scheme introduced earlier in the current year.

    168 bids have been received from 67 institutions for the 50 awards available in the academic year 1986–87. In view of this heartening response I have decided to double the number of awards to 100. I am very grateful to these institutions for their willingness to join with ODA in cost sharing arrangements.

    St Helena (Airfield)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there are any plans to construct a new airfield on St. Helena; and if he will make a statement.

    The feasibility of constructing an airstrip on St. Helena for emergency use has been under review. Earlier this year the RAF carried out an aerial reconnaisance survey of a possible site on Prosperous Bay plain. Subsequent investigations, however, suggest that the cost, even for a limited use facility, would be very considerable. There are no plans to implement the proposal.

    Wales

    Amey Roadstone

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the contracts by his Department to Amey Roadstone and its subsidiaries in excess of £100,000 over the last two financial years.

    Neither Amey Roadstone nor its subsidiaries were awarded contracts valued in excess of £100,000 during the financial years 1983–84 and 1984–85

    Unemployment Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many people have been unemployed for more than 12 months in Wales and Mid-Glamorgan, respectively; and what these figures represent in terms of total unemployment in each area.

    In October 1985, 77,412 persons had been unemployed for over 12 months in Wales; this was 42·4 per cent. of the total unemployed. The corresponding figures for Mid-Glamorgan were 16,518 and 46·3 per cent.

    £000
    1974–751975–761976–771977–781978–791979–801980–811981–821982–831983–84*1984–85†1985–86
    Clwyd
    Revenue17,14422,62025,54628,66032,46038,99352,91659,24464,12566,89871,63876,957
    Capital9641,1887951,2611,8202,5512,5032,8992,6362,2444,4746,068
    FPS6,1087,3718,6719,96911,77213,75617,18019,25223,19624,17126,897
    Agency5320814711041545591106135160
    TOTAL24,26931,38735,15940,00046,09353,35472,65481,48690,06393,448103,169
    East Dyfed
    Revenue14,03718,72821,04123,87827,98434,00043,42548,30739,69843,00346,07648,006
    Capital3148528188299658577939801,2741,7582,2041,552
    FPS5,7207,0038,0769,17110,74912,41215,26617,50920,16321,48823,728
    Agency1261021069625343659635982
    TOTAL20,19726,68530,04133,97439,72347,30359,52066,85561,19866,30872,090
    Pembrokeshire
    Revenue12,94213,95815,16315,572
    Capital2866501,2601,812
    FPS-5-5-1
    Agency223557
    TOTAL13,24514,63816,479
    Gwent
    Revenue22,52229,46333,32637,38542,55450,80965,98073,04779,56584,56789,27994,064
    Capital7851,2048491,4142,0782,3671,1752,9563,8693,6194,1013,772
    FPS7,5399,03510,37612,23914,26316,77320,61123,23727,07528,88331,711
    Agency1681641569673699291137181251

    European Regional Development Fund

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list Wales's share of the European regional development fund's total allocation to the United Kingdom for each year since 1975 in percentage terms.

    I refer the hon. Lady to the reply which I gave on 30 October 1985 at column 514–6.

    Welsh Language

    asked the Secretary' of State for Wales if he will introduce legislation to amend the Local Government Act 1972 so as to enable any county district or community council in Wales which so wishes to use only the Welsh form of their name on official documents.

    The Government's policy is to encourage the use of the English and Welsh forms of the names of local authorities side by side, but, at the request of Dwyfor district council, we are examining the possibility of its, using a mono-lingual Welsh version.

    Health Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the amount spent by each Welsh health authority from 1974–75 to 1985–86 provisional, breaking down the spending into (a) revenue expenditure, (b) capital expenditure and (c) Welsh Office funded projects, and so on.

    Expenditure incurred by Welsh health authorities broken down by (a) revenue expenditure, (b) capital expenditure, (c) family practitioner services expenditure and (d) agency payments is listed as follows. This expenditure includes all developments which have been centrally funded by the Welsh Office.

    1974–75

    1975–76

    1976–77

    1977–78

    1978–79

    1979–80

    1980–81

    1981–82

    1982–83

    1983–84

    *1984–85

    †1985–86

    TOTAL31,01439,86644,70751,13458,96869,97887,85899,331110,646117,250125,342

    Gwynedd

    Revenue9,97613,25615,19317,02619,13723,47830,44534,25737,23639,66644,20447,002
    Capital4838543706157019711,3369189391,3902,8111,542
    FPS4,5244,9916,0056,8848,2209,46411,64813,03714,89215,94717,385
    Agency53704784444774727492108
    TOTAL15,03619,17121,61524,60928,10233,96043,50348,28453,14157,09564,508

    Mid Glamorgan

    Revenue25,30033,21838,06943,15149,24459,61876,76084,07190,80696,980104,022107,426
    Capital1,1392,0881,2701,3781,7641,5151,2442,0502,1062,2503,0139,323
    FPS9,85111,41413,24415,34218,03820,58325,33728,55133,96036,03839,745
    Agency257213222278678295145138240263
    TOTAL36,54746,93352,80560,14969,11381,798103,436114,817127,010135,508147,043

    Powys

    Revenue4,9666,5507,3808,3319,66111,79715,06216,62418,51619,75420,62721,388
    Capital2344012593094534003095455475549481,138
    FPS1,7832,1962,4962,9903,5434,2925,3806,1087,0587,4848,271
    Agency22603130691220151725
    TOTAL7,0059,20710,16611,66013,66316,49820,76323,29726,13627,80929,871

    South Glamorgan

    Revenue32,53441,97546,99952,92459,06370,65588,89298,793107,438114,501119,313125,594
    Capital1,5792,4821,2882,4783,0182,0923,7565,5025,4315,0126,2452,966
    FPS6,8678,3199,66910,93013,65214,51818,74721,20424,43426,16928,822
    Agency272419394391308334425576742614560
    TOTAL41,25253,19558,35066,72376,04187,599111,820126,075138,045146,296154,940

    West Glamorgan

    Revenue16,78621,84225,06828,40832,02538,74650,43556,66561,50865,17368,66774,950
    Capital8351,1899271,1681,8442,1172,1872,5132,9142,4735,2597,753
    FPS6,2987,9129,36510,81212,93114,69618,05320,66223,53825,05727,298
    Agency23027130118739458997129136157
    TOTAL24,14931,21435,66140,57546,83955,60470,76479,93788,08992,839101,381

    WHTSO (now WHCSA)

    Revenue1,2321,4711,7681,9722,1992,6313,1873,7053,9574,1434,4034,745
    Capital9,21212,80911,83210,81011,42111,80119,27421,50627,71830,50921,36317,711
    Agency114112101212
    TOTAL10,44514,28113,60412,78213,62114,43322,46325,21131,68534,66425,778

    Wales

    Revenue144,497189,123214,390241,735274,327330,727427,102474,713515,791548,643583,392615,704
    Capital15,54523,06718,40820,26224,06424,67132,57739,86947,72050,45951,67853,637
    FPS48,69058,24167,90278,33793,168106,454132,222149,560174,311185,232203,856
    Agency1,1821,5081,4081,2726046758801,1511,4361,5211,675
    TOTAL209,914271,939302,108341,606392,163462,163592,781665,293739,258785,855840,601

    * Provisional.

    † Budgeted.

    Local Authority Manpower Watch

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library copies of the quarterly joint local authority manpower watch for Wales from the first count to the latest.

    Separate returns for Wales have only been issued for the September 1981 quarter and subsequent quarters. Copies are already available in the Library. Previous to that a joint return for England and Wales was published every quarter from the inception of the watch in March 1975 and copies of these are in the Library. I am arranging for a set of quarterly manpower figures for Wales alone, covering the period of joint publication, to be placed in the Library.

    Trade And Industry

    Sub-Postmasters

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a detailed statement of disbursements from the fund set up by Her Majesty's Government to augment the income of sub-postmasters following the changes in arrangements for paying some national insurance pensions; what sums have been and are to be paid into this fund; and what plans he has for further payments from it.

    On 13 May 1983 my right hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Jenkin), the then Secretary of State for Industry, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Ward) announced that agreement had been reached with the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters on the guidelines for a £2 million fund to help smaller sub-post offices that would be adversely affected by changes in social security benefit payment methods should new business not grow at the same rate as DHSS business reduced. Copies of the guidelines were subsequently placed in the Library.As explained in the guidelines the fund has an overall limit of £2 million and will be deemed to be closed on 30 April 1987. The guidelines also made clear that the purpose of the fund is to preserve an adequate sub-post office network; and not necessarily to retain every sub-office or to preserve income. The fund is operated by the Post Office and the Department of Trade and Industry reimburses the Post Office, on a monthly basis, for payments made to sub-postmasters. There are no plans to change the guidelines and payments will continue to be made consistent with them.The Post Office has been reimbursed by the Department of Trade and Industry for payments to sub-postmasters as follows:

    £
    1983–84
    August2,085·79
    September2,619·10
    October1,721·79
    November2,724·05
    December2,898·13
    January2,474·54
    February3,998·54
    March4,106·03
    Total22,627·97
    1984–85
    April3,699·72
    May3,560·49
    June3,860·95
    July4,481·81
    August4,694·01
    September6,557·00
    October5,222·48
    November5,619·12
    December5,298·22
    January5,679·76
    February6,117·64
    March5,661·06
    Total60,452·26
    1985–86
    April6,040·44
    May5,754·98
    June5,999·90
    July6,298·01
    Total24,093·33

    Electronics Industry (United States Inspectors)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the American inspectors who are here to check companies buying American electronics arrived; what is the purpose of their visit; what powers of inspection they possess; how many companies they are visiting; what are the names and addresses of the companies; if any company has refused to see them or raised any objections; and why the Government agreed to these inspections and inquiries being carried out.

    The United States authorities have sought the Government's agreement to United States officials visiting a number of British companies in connection with the new United States distribution licence regulations. My officials have been in touch with the companies concerned but no such visits have yet been approved. The Government are considering whether to agree to the proposed visits and if so on what terms.

    Auctions

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his Department's inquiry into the conduct of auctions; and if he will incorporate in any such inquiry a review of current auction practice, the operation of the buyers' premium and the difference in practice between auctions of personal property and auctions of real property.

    The consultations which my Department is undertaking are aimed at ascertaining views on the extent to which illegal auction rings may be operating. Some of the responses received so far comment on other aspects of auctions, including the premium charged to buyers, but it is not at present the intention to extend the consultation into these other areas.

    Business Statistics (Questionnaires)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will explain (a) why his Department's business statistics office has requested that companies involved in the construction and contracting industry should be required to complete questionnaires relating to his Department's full survey of scientific research and development, (b) publish the cost of carrying out such a survey, and (c) what relevance the information gleaned will have for his Department.

    Expenditure on research and development by United Kingdom industry represents its investment in creating and developing new and improved products and processes. This provides an essential basis for future economic growth. Statistics of such expenditure are necessary for informed decisions on policy for research, development, technology and innovation, in my Department and other Government departments.The full survey of scientific research and development is carried out every four years. It includes all industrial enterprises employing 200 or more persons which expect to incur expenditure on scientific research and development within the United Kingdom during 1985. Construction enterprises satisfying such conditions are included. The average costs to the Department over a four year cycle are estimated to be about £50,000 a year.

    Reveivership (East Anglia)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the number of firms taken into receivership in East Anglia during each of the last five years.

    The available information relating to insolvencies is given in the table.

    Bankruptcies: County Courts in East Anglia
    YearNumber
    1980150
    1981187
    1982216

    Year

    Number

    1983306
    1984304
    1985*†240

    *vv To September.

    † Provisional.

    The bankruptcy figures cover all individuals and partnerships: in England and Wales as a whole approximately three quarters of all bankruptcies relate to unincorporated businesses. Receiving orders and administration orders are included: the total is the net number of cases administered after consolidations and rescissions. The number of bankruptcies since 1 October 1984 may have been reduced compared with earlier periods because of increases in monetary limits on bankruptcy proceedings and deposits on petitions.

    Figures for company liquidations are not analysed by area.

    "The Observer"

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied that the independent directors appointed to the board of The Observer Ltd., in accordance with the conditions recommended by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in 1981, can effectively exercise the role ascribed to them.

    Yes. I have had no representations from the independent directors that they are unable to exercise the functions ascribed to them.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied that all the conditions recommended by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in 1981 for the transfer of The Observer Ltd., to Lonrho are being met in full; and if he will make a statement.

    Quantity (thousand metric tonnes)
    197919801981198219831984
    France4·715·26·52·12·011·4
    Belgium/Luxembourg3·20·47·814·214·210·9
    Netherlands0·43·629·926·6131·8137·9
    Federal Republic of Germany0·90·313·748·6114·3113·5
    Irish Republic133·794·7129·3168·086·873·2
    Spain1·50·00·07·143·0
    German Democratic Republic0·018·054·951·6
    Poland0·02·90·10·115·856·0
    Other countries2·50·90·84·21·52·1
    TOTAL146·9118·0188·1281·8428·5499·6

    Source: Country of origin data corresponding to SITC/R2 Sub-group 661·2 in the United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.

    Notes:

    (i) figures for 1984 are provisional.

    (ii) —signifies nil trade; 0·0 signifies trade of less than 50 metric tonnes.

    (iii) due to rounding totals shown may not correspond exactly to the sum of constituent items.

    Human Tissue

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the use of foetal material in cosmetics breaches the Cosmetics Products Regulations 1984.

    I am satisfied that the conditions attached to the transfer of The Observer to George Outram and Company Ltd. in 1981 have been met in so far as they have been applicable hitherto.

    Audio And Video Recording Tape

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will list the number of (a) meetings his Department has held with groups or individuals supporting a levy on audio and video recording tape, (b) meetings with groups or individuals opposing such a levy and (c) communications in written or oral form from both sides since June 1984.

    It is estimated that since June 1984 Ministers and officials in the Department of Trade and Industry have held about 20 meetings with groups or individuals at which the levy question was discussed. Of these, about two-thirds were with opponents of a levy. It is not possible to estimate the number of communications since June 1984, but over 1,000 written responses have been received to the Green Paper "The Recording & Rental of Audio & Video Copyright Material" (Cmnd. 9445) published in February 1985.

    Cement

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give details of the amount of cement imported into the United Kingdom over the last year for which records are available and the preceding five years; and if he will specify the countries of origin, together with the appropriate tonnages.

    No. The Cosmetic Products Regulations are concerned with safety in use only. However, I have made inquiries and can find no cases of foetal material used in cosmetics in the United Kingdom.

    Football (Television Coverage)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into the relationship between the British Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Television companies in their dealings with the Football League over the televising of association football and its implications for compliance with competition legislation.

    The Office of Fair Trading are in touch with the British Broadcasting Corporation and the negotiators for the Independent Television companies as to whether there is any agreement between them concerning negotiations with the football authorities over the televising of association football which might be registrable under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976.

    British Telecom

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department takes to monitor compliance by British Telecom with the provisions of its licence relating to restrictions on the level of increases in charges; and if he will make a statement.

    The Director-General of Telecommunications is responsible under the provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1984 for monitoring compliance by British Telecommunications plc (BT) with the provisions of its licence. I understand that the director-general scrutinised BT's recent price increases before they were announced and stated publicly that the increase met the obligations and requirements set out in BT's licence.

    Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company And Sealink (Merger)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Director General of Fair Trading's investigation into the proposed merger between the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Sealink.

    The director general's investigations into the proposed merger between Sealink UK and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co Ltd were completed earlier this year. My right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 16 April that he had decided, in accordance with the recommendation of the director general, not to refer the proposed merger to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

    Gross Domestic Product

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate the gross domestic product per head of each regional area as a proportion of the south east for (a) 1979 and (b) 1984 or the most recent year for which figures are available.

    The data for the gross domestic product per head (at factor cost) of each regional area as a proportion (in percentage terms) of the South East are shown in the table for (a) 1979 and (b) 1983 (the latest available).

    19791983
    United Kingdom86·784·0
    South East100·0100·0
    North79·175·3
    Yorkshire and Humberside80·676·8
    East Midlands83·479·6
    East Anglia81·781·6

    1979

    1983

    South West81·180·4
    West Midlands82·974·0
    North West83·479·0
    England88·585·9
    Wales74·970·4
    Scotland83·181·0
    Northern Ireland64·561·2

    Secondary Schools (Enterprise Activity)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made in promoting enterprise activity in secondary schools.

    The Government are concerned to stress the importance of enterprise at all levels of society and my Department has therefore established a Mini-Enterprises in Schools Project to encourage every middle and secondary school to take part in mini-enterprise activity during industry year 1986.The project is to be based at Warwick University with regional co-ordinators throughout the United Kingdom. The Project Team will be seeking to help local education authorities and schools understand and adopt various methods of enterprise activity. It will also be seeking to provide teacher training courses on request from local education authorities and schools.The project is also being supported by National Westminster Bank who are providing a cash grant of £30 to each participating school in England and Wales as well as a £50 overdraft facility at 5 per cent. interest for each mini-enterprise. In addition, bank staff will hold an interview with each mini-enterprise to discuss the application for an overdraft facility.The project is an important element of the response by my Department to Industry Year. It will provide an opportunity for young people to understand something about business and commerce while also learning about working together and about dealing with the local community. I hope that all schools will seek to take advantage of the help available under it.

    Rolls-Royce Ltd

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how it is proposed to fund preliminary expenses in connection with the sale of shares in Rolls-Royce.

    Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, a sum of £100,000 will be required in the current financial year. The new cash limit created for class IV Vote 27 will be offset be a reduction of £50,000 each in the cash limits of class IV Vote 6 from £379,449,000 to £379,399,000 and class IV Vote 17 from £146,413,000 to £146,363,000 and will not therefore involve any net change in public expenditure.

    European Steel Council

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the European Steel Council on 29 October.

    I welcome the agreement reached by Community Industry Ministers in Luxembourg in the early hours of 30 October on a new system of steel production quotas and a new code governing state aids to the steel industry from 1 January 1986. Quotas on coated sheet and reinforcement bar will be lifted from 1 January 1986 as a first step towards a return to a free market; the effects of this will be monitored so that, if necessary, controls can be reintroduced. In addition, the agreement on quantities should permit BSC to sustain its share of the United Kingdom market as of right, without recourse to the expensive and uncertain quota purchases they have had to make under the current quota system.The new state aids code will ban all investment and operating aids, and the Commission will scrutinise all payments by Governments to steel firms to ensure they comply with the new and much more stringent permitted aids and are on commercial terms. This tough regime should protect both the private and public sector against the risk of subsidies to their continental competitors.

    Prime Minister

    Steel Plating Mill (Mexico)

    asked the Prime Minister how much money Her Majesty's Government have approved for the construction of a steel plating mill at Sicartsa, Mexico; how much has been spent; when it is expected that the mill will be completed; and if she will make a statement.

    In 1982 Her Majesty's Government made available to the Government of Mexico a £34·94 million grant under the aid and trade provision towards the cost of the United Kingdom content of a £320 million contract for the supply of a steel plate mill awarded to Davy McKee. In addition ECGD also supported loans of £198 million and DM 151 million. All but £5,000 of the grant has been disbursed to the United Kingdom company for plant and materials supplied. The loans have not yet been fully utilised.The Mexican Government informed Her Majesty's Government in June 1985 that the project had been suspended due to Mexico's economic difficulties, but that existing contracts with foreign suppliers would be honoured. It is not yet known what the Mexican Government's intentions are in the longer term for the completion of the project.

    Farm Produce (Fraud)

    asked the Prime Minister what is the latest estimated figure for the level of suspected fraud in the trade of farm produce within the auspices of the European Economic Community; what proposals she has to tighten procedures against such fraud (i) in Britain and (ii) in the European Economic Community; and if she will make a statement.

    The European Commission makes no estimate of the cost to Community funds of suspected fraud in trade in farm produce. The European Court of Auditors has recommended improved controls on refunds on agricultural products. We are making every effort to ensure that their recommendations and other improvements are implemented in the Community. We shall ourselves continue to take all possible steps to prevent frauds, to prosecute those responsible when we have evidence that an offence has been committed and to seek to recover through the civil courts sums fraudulently acquired.

    Draft Emergency Legislation

    asked the Prime Minister if she will publish the draft emergency legislation prepared by Her Majesty's Government as a contingency for wartime implementation; and if she will make a statement.

    No. Successive Governments have recognised the duty to keep under review preparations against attack, including the need for emergency legislation. But it has always been clear that the content and introduction of such powers will be for consideration by the Government and Parliament of the day, having regard to all the circumstances at the time. There has been no change in that position.

    Eureka Project

    asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the objectives of the EUREKA project and Her Majesty's Government's financial contribution to it.

    The declaration of principles agreed by the 18 participating countries and the Commission of the European Communities at the conference of Ministers in Hanover on 6 November 1985, announced their intention to use EUREKA to:

    stimulate collaboration on civilian, high technology projects to raise the productivity and competitiveness of Europe's industries on the world market;
    promote the establishment of a large, homogenous, dynamic and outward-looking European economic area as essential to EUREKA's success.
    The financing of EUREKA projects will vary according to their nature and their participants. A number of the projects involving United Kingdom firms are likely to qualify for finance from existing United Kingdom schemes of support for which they are eligible. However, the Government consider that, since EUREKA projects are aimed at developing internationally competitive high technology products, processes and services, they should in the main rely on financing from commercial sources. We have no plans to set up a specific fund for EUREKA projects.

    Education And Science

    International Youth Year

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much grant has been paid by his Department towards International Youth Year 1985.

    The Department has given the following sums to International Youth Year 1985 in the form of grant aid to the International Youth Year National Co-ordinating Committee for England.

    £
    1982–831,350
    1983–8425,000
    1984–85107,500
    1985–86115,000

    Cern

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what statement he proposes to make on the British contribution to CERN at the December meeting of the CERN Council.

    There are no plans for the United Kingdom delegate to make any such statement at the December meeting of the CERN Council.

    Open University

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of the income of the Open University has been derived from grants from his Department in each year from its establishment to 1984, inclusive; what plans he has to maintain its courses; and if he will make a statement.

    The figures are not immediately available and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible. Decisions on what courses to offer are a matter for the Open University.

    Employment

    Labour Statistics (Wandsworth)

    asked the Paymaster General what was the number of people registered as unemployed in the London borough of Wandsworth in May 1979; and what is the present number.

    The following information is in the Library. On 10 October 1985 the number of unemployed claimants in the London borough of Wandsworth was 16,728. Comparable figures for May 1979 are not available because of changes in the way figures are collected. However, the number registered unemployed in jobcentre areas approximating to the London borough of Wandsworth in May 1979 was 5,698.

    Trade Union Rule Books

    asked the Paymaster General what information he has as to which trade unions have altered their rule books to comply with the Government's trade union legislation since 1979.

    Mr. Peter Bottomley