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Written Answers

Volume 87: debated on Wednesday 27 November 1985

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 27 November 1985

Transport

London Docklands Light Railway

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether there are any plans to extend the London docklands light railway; and if he will make a statement.

London Regional Transport has today with my consent presented a Bill to provide powers to extend to the City the docklands light railway, now under construction. This extension would link the railway to LTR's Bank underground station. The extension would be mostly below ground. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I have been considering ways to involve the private sector in ownership and operation of the docklands light railway. The consortium which plans to develop Canary wharf on the Isle of Dogs and which comprises companies associated with and backed by Credit Suisse First Boston, Morgan Stanley International and First Boston International has told me that it regards the extension to the Bank as essential for its project. An understanding has now been reached with it that it will contribute £30 million towards the construction of the extension and, unless others come forward, secure underwriting of an agreed privatisation scheme. My right hon. Friend and I have endorsed this understanding. The consortium is bearing LRT's costs in the Bill.There will be opportunity for other people who are interested in owning and operating the extended railway to put forward alternatives to the consortium's proposals.The railway, at present under construction, is being financed by the Government through London Regional Transport and the London Docklands Development Corporation at a capital cost of £77 million. The prime purpose is to facilitate the development of docklands. It is not expected to generate a financial return on the capital invested and the Government therefore intend to offer it to any appropriate person who is prepared to construct the City extension, on terms that the Government retain a shareholding representing its investment, which will be remunerated if profits from the combined railway reach a sufficient level. The railway will revert to the ownership of LRT if, for any reason, the City extension fails to be completed.The arrangements that I have described represent a sufficient understanding for the Bill to be deposited by the date specified by the Standing Orders. They are subject to final agreement between LRT and the consortium on the detailed design and costs of the City extension, and on the particulars of the privatisation scheme, and to the completion of a master building agreement between the consortium and the LDDC on the Canary wharf development, as well as to the consent of Parliament to the Bill.

Work will now proceed to settle the detailed design and forecast costs of the Bank extension before Second Reading of the Bill. Meanwhile, I am delightd that there is now a real prospect for the successful involvement of the private sector in a major piece of rail infrastructure in our capital city.

Energy

British Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the total share of the energy market which British Gas has had in each of the last five years compared with that of North sea oil, the National Coal Board and the Central Electricity Generating Board.

The percentage shares of United Kingdom final consumption of fuels and electricity covered by sales of gas by the British Gas Corporation and by electricity supplied by the Central Electricity Generating Board for the latest five complete years are as follows:

Percent19841983198219811980
British Gas Corporation3029292828
Central Electricity Generating Board*1111111111
* Direct sales or via Area Boards. The figures include a small element of estimation.
The corresponding contributions to final consumption of fuels and electricity from coal supplied by the National Coal Board and from United Kingdom North sea oil are not available on a comparable basis. Large quantities of NCB coal do not enter final consumption, but are used with imported coal for electricity generation and for the production of coke and other manufactured solid fuels. Similarly imported oils are used with United Kingdom North sea crude oil in refineries to manufacture products for inland consumption. In both cases it is not possible to identify separately the contributions made by the imported and home supply to the products finally consumed.

Electricity Boards (Appliance Repairs)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on area electricity boards' appliance repair activities.

As I told the House on 25 July, at column 700, in the light of comments by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in its report on the South Wales electricity board, I have been discussing with the Electricity Council whether it might be appropriate for area boards to adopt any new accounting arrangements for the repair business. The council has now decided that from 1985–86 boards will publish in their annual accounts four key indicators of performance in this activity: figures for turnover, operating profit or loss, average net current cost capital employed and the percentage return on that capital. The council has also indicated that boards will aim to run this business on a profitable basis.This measure usefully complements the arrangements for appliance retailing and electrical contracting which were announced by my right hon. Friend last year on 26 July 1984, at column 757. The Government welcome the contribution that this new step will make towards improving boards' accountability and demonstrating that they are trading fairly in the ancillary activities which they pursue.

Home Department

Parkhurst Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many habitable cells are to be provided in C wing at Parkhurst prison; and if it is intended to keep any cells unoccupied on a permanent basis.

The work currently being undertaken in C wing at Parkhurst will produce a total of 100 cells, of which 59 will be in the therapeutic unit and 41 in the adjoining rule 43 unit. All the accommodation in the rule 43 unit is expected to permanently occupied. The population of the therapeutic unit will be restricted initially to 30, probably rising in due course to about 35, which is considered to be the right size for a unit of this kind, having regard to the type of inmate to be held there. The additional space and flexibility will play an important part in the management of the therapeutic unit.

Parole

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were released on parole licence in 1984; and what percentage of those were recalled.

I regret the information is not available in the form requested. The number of inmates granted parole in 1984 was 11,886. The number of licences revoked in the same year was 512, but a proportion of these will have been in cases where a prisoner was released on licence before 1984.

Immigration (Photographic Records)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce photographic records of each person entering the United Kingdom.

Photographs are not taken of persons entering the United Kingdom, and we have no plans to introduce such an arrangement.

Shops Bill

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received on the terms of the Shops Bill [Lords] from individuals and organisations; if he will indicate which of those were opposed to the Bill; and if he will make a statement.

Few representations have been received as yet which relate specifically to the terms of the Shops Bill, but we have received much correspondence from organisations and individuals on Sunday trading, most of it including arguments against the complete abolition of statutory restrictions.

Bbc (Engineering Services)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has discussed the future of the British Broadcasting corporation's engineering services with the director-general.

No. The management of its engineering services is entirely a matter for the corporation.

Hijackers (Asylum)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the two hijackers Yassil Membar and Mohammed Tahir Ahmed who brought an aeroplane to Stansted in 1983 and have now been released from prison have been allowed to remain in the United Kingdom; whether they will be allowed to draw social security benefits; and if he will make a statement.

We have refused applications for asylum made by Mr. Membar and Mr. Ahmed, but decided that to return them to Tanzania against their will would be inconsistent with undertakings given to them at the time to the hijacking. These undertakings were confirmed in writing on 29 April, 1982 after the hijack was over to my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley (Sir P. Wall). They have accordingly been given exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom for 12 months. Eligibility for social security benefits is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Social Services.

Mr Glenn Pearson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in which institution Mr. Glenn Pearson of Hansard cresent, Caister, Lancashire, has been placed; and if he will make a statement.

On 19 November, at Lincoln Crown court, Glenn Pearson was found unfit to plead, under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964, to a charge of burglary. On 26 November the same court directed his admission to Harmston Hall hospital as a place of safety, under schedule 1 to the Act, pending the Home Secretary's direction under section 5 on his longer term hospital placement.

Miss Elizabeth Keays (Burglary)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Pudsey (Mr. Shaw), has been unable to reply to the letter sent by the hon. Member for Linlithgow, of 14 October, acknowledged on 28 October, about the statements attributed to a detective sergeant of the Metropolitan police, asserting that a news blackout had been imposed by 10 Downing street on the burglary in November 1983 of the flat of Elizabeth Keays.

The hon. Member will now have received the letter to him from my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in reply to his letter of 14 October, and I have nothing to add to that.

Community Radio

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications have been received for the experimental community radio licences; and if he will make available the names and addresses of the applicants.

Preliminary scrutiny of the applications received by the closing date of 31 October has shown there to be a total of 266 applications for the 21 experimental licences (some for more than one licence), as follows:

Number of applications
Small neighbourhood stations in
Aylesbury5
Calderdale2
Dumfries2
Cambridge4
Colchester5
Lincoln6
London (three stations)83
Penzance3
Purbeck2
Solihull9
Rhondda1
Rutland3
Sunderland3
Wirral6
Large neighbourhood stations in
North West Wales11
Shetland islands2
Community of interest stations in
Greater Manchester16
North London69
South London34
Total266
I have placed in the Library a full list of the names and addresses of the contacts specified on each application form. Copies of, or extracts from, the list are being made available on request, to the press and other interested parties.The advisory panel on community radio, which will advise on selection of the successful applicants, is now considering the applications. The panel hopes to be able to make recommendations to me in January.

Church Commissioners

Shopping Centre Investment

asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, if he will detail the exact investment by the Church Commissioners' asset committee in the new shopping centres in St. Enoch, Glasgow, Ipswich and Gateshead; if he will give the names of any principal shopping chain that might be participating in that investment; and if he will make a statement.

The commissioners' total investment in the three shopping centres is likely to be in the order of £120 million. Sears Holdings is to participate in the development of the centre at St. Enoch's, Glasgow.

Environment

Planning Laws

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any proposals to alter current planning laws.

The Gracious Speech from the Throne announced the intention to introduce measures to improve the planning system. The main matters to be included were noted in paragraphs 3.6(i) and (v) and 3.7 of the White Paper, "Lifting the Burden", (Cmnd. 9571), published on 16 July.

Co-Operative Promotion Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will increase the £2,100 per scheme co-operative promotion allowance.

The level of co-operative promotion allowance for 1986–87 is currently being considered as part of the annual review of all housing association grant allowances. The current rates are £2,135 per scheme for projects in the provinces and £3,522 per scheme in London. The rates to take effect from 1 April 1986 will be promulgated early in 1986.

Refuse Collection

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to amend section 72 of the Public Health Act 1936 to increase the compensation which householders may apply for when a local authority is in default of its statutory obligation to collect household refuse; and if he will make a statement.

No. This would not be appropriate at a time when we are considering the bringing into force of the provisions of sections 12 to 14 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. When these provisions have been brought into force they will replace the corresponding ones of the Public Health Act 1936, and a remedy for default by a local authority will be available under section 97.

Water Supplies (Yorkshire And Humberside)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of the water supply in the Yorkshire and Humberside region can be described as falling below the standard laid down by the European Economic Community.

About one third of the water supplied by the Yorkshire water authority falls below the standard laid down in the EC drinking water directive. This proportion will be substantially reduced in the next few years. A further 12 per cent. is softened at times below the minimum specified in the directive to ensure compatibility with naturally soft water from Pennine sources. Information is not available for the Yorkshire and Humberside region, as the economic region and the water authority areas differ.

Southgate Housing Estate, Runcorn

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions have taken place between his Department and the Warrington and Runcorn development corporation concerning the possible sale of the Southgate housing estate to a private developer; and whether he is satisfied that the residents of the estate have been adequately informed and consulted about the proposals.

Officials of my Department have had preliminary discussions with officers of the Warrington and Runcorn development corporation about proposals to transfer ownership of the Southgate housing estate at Runcorn to a permanent landlord body, and to secure private finance for major improvements. Tenants had advance notice of the issue of a disposal prospectus earlier this year. Public meetings have bee held by the corporation to keep tenants informed of progress. Two offers have been received and these are now being considered and discussed with the prospective purchasers. When there is a firm proposal, tenants will be fully consulted. My right hon. Friend will not accept any proposal which does not include substantial protection of the tenants' existing rights.

Local Authority Property Sales

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has about cases in which local authorities have planned to dispose of rundown blocks of flats or estates to private developers after arranging alternative accommodation for any remaining tenants and in which problems have arisen in connection with (a) the power to make home loss payments and (b) the power to gain possession of the dwellings.

During informal discussions and formal consultations on the proposed new ground for possession, representations were made by various local authorities about general difficulties in obtaining possession when the properties were to be sold for redevelopment, in the absence of specific powers to obtain possession and to make home loss payments. Specific examples of difficulties in obtaining possession or paying home loss payments have been put to the Department by the following local authorities:

  • Langbaurgh council
  • Oldham borough council
  • Wandsworth borough council
  • South Tyneside borough council
  • Solihull borough council
  • City of Westminster
  • Burnley council

Smith-Built Properties (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make available the report by the Building Research Establishment following the examination of some Smith-built properties in the constituency of the hon. Member for West Bromwich, West.

As I indicated in my reply to the hon. Lady of 12 November, at column 119, I hope to make an announcement shortly on the question of designation of Smith houses under the Housing Defects Act. I propose to make the Building Research Establishment's report on Smith houses in West Bromwich available at the time of that announcement.

Education And Science

Spina Bifida

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what evidence he has on the efficacy of vitamin supplementation in the prevention of spina bifida.

I refer the right hon. Member to my reply of 25 November, at column 399, to questions from the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody).

Scotland

Disabled People (Aids)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what other research into the areas for further study in chapter 6.1 of the working party report on prostheses, ortheses and aids for the disabled which he published in 1983 has taken place; and if he will state the outcome.

The areas of study referred to in the report relate predominantly to matters of local service. There is no central record of any research which may have been carried out into these matters by health boards or by local authorities.The committee for research and equipment for the disabled of the Chief Scientist's Office, Scottish Home and Health Department, is undertaking a major survey of aids and equipment for the disabled which will provide some indirect information on numbers of disabled.

Prosthetic And Orthotic Services

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many rehabilitation engineering centres of prosthetic aids exist in Scotland; and how many others are planned.

The only centre in Scotland of which I am aware is the Tayside rehabilitation engineering service, Dundee. It is for health boards to decide whether they wish to set up such units.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what programmes exist to evaluate United Kingdom-produced orthotic and prosthetic aids.

All orthotic and prosthetic aids supplied through the National Health Service are assessed for safety and reliability by the scientific and technical branch of the Department of Health and Social Security. In addition, the Scottish Home and Health Department committee for research on equipment for the disabled awards grants to Scottish projects designed to develop and/or evaluate prosthetic or orthotic devices.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he proposes to link the prosthetic and orthotic services.

Prosthetic and orthotic services are provided by health boards. It is for them to take decisions on whether it would be appropriate for the services to be linked in their areas. This has been largely achieved in the Tayside health board area.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent orthopaedic units are associated with hospital-based orthotic units in Scotland.

Fourteen of the 15 hospital-based orthotics units in Scotland are associated with orthopaedic units. The exception is the orthotics unit at the Gilbert Bain hospital, Lerwick.

Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys' survey of the effect of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 is to be published.

My right hon. Friend expects that the results of the survey will be published in February 1986.

Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons (Scotland) Act

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action his Department has taken over the past year to seek to ensure that local authorities are fulfilling their duties under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Scotland) Act.

It is for local authorities themselves to decide how to discharge their responsibilities under the Act subject to any general guidance which my right hon. Friend may provide. I have no reason to think that they are failing to meet the needs which they have identified in their areas.

Wren Skyships

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much venture capital has been raised from the Scottish Development Agency for Wren Skyships.

Mergansers And Goosanders

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what evidence he has that mergansers and goosanders cause serious damage to fishing.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland published a paper in 1962 in the freshwater and salmon fisheries research series entitled "The Goosander and Red-Breasted Merganser as Predators of Salmon in Scottish Waters". In this publication the effects of those species on Atlantic salmon in Scotland were assessed and it was concluded that these species are, in some circumstances, harmful to trout and young salmon in freshwater. In considering applications for licences to shoot these birds, my Department takes account of the evidence provided by applicants as to the extent of damage to the fisheries.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration is given to the views of conservationist organisations on the protection of species before licences are granted to permit the shooting of goosanders and mergansers; and how many of these species were shot in 1984.

As required by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, my right hon. Friend consults the Nature Conservancy Council from time to time as to the circumstances in which licences should be granted to permit the shooting of goosanders and mergansers for the purpose of preventing serious damage to fisheries. The advice of the council is fully considered before policy decisions are taken.The numbers of goosanders and mergansers reported shot in 1984 under licences granted by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland were 514 and 516, respectively.

Defence

Mhari-L

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will arrange for the wreck of the Mhari-L to be raised.

No. My Department has no responsibility for the removal of wrecks.

Nuclear Tests (South Pacific)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilian personnel were involved in the nine nuclear weapon tests near Christmas Island in the South Pacific; what records have been kept regarding their health standards since; and if he will make a statement.

About 1,000 civilian personnel were involved in the atmospheric test programme near Christmas Island. Most of them were employed by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston. No special records have been kept regarding their health standards since in addition to normal employee medical records. Their details are being made available to the National Radiological Protection Board, for the board to consider them for inclusion in its study.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make available to right hon. and hon. Members the reports of the studies carried out on the test veterans involved in the nuclear weapon tests on Christmas Island; and if he will make a statement.

The National Radiological Protection Board is carrying out a study of the participants in the United Kingdom atmospheric nuclear weapon test programmes, including the tests in Australia and those near Christmas Island. The study is not expected to be completed until October 1986. It is intended that the findings will be made generally available.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many military personnel were involved in the nine nuclear weapon tests near Christmas Island, in the South Pacific, what records have been kept regarding their health standards since; and if he will make a statement.

Over 20,000 service personnel were involved in the entire British atmospheric nuclear weapon test programme, including 12 tests in Australia and or near Christmas Island. No special records have been kept regarding their health standards since in addition to normal service medical records. Their details are being made available to the National Radiological Protection Board, for the board to consider them for inclusion in its study.

Falkland Islands

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of sheep carcases brought into service kitchens in the Falklands has been declared unfit for human consumption.

None, but some carcases (under 5 per cent.) are rejected at the abattoir.

Royal Naval Establishment, Bath

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to relocate the Royal Naval establishment in Bath to the Royal Marines barracks at Eastney, Portsmouth.

Civilian Personnel (Relocation)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilian personnel will be affected by the relocation of service establishments from the south to the north.

As yet it has not been determined which service establishments might be relocated from the south to the north. This is a matter for review as opportunities arise, such as when major investment is required, but all proposals will need to stand on their economic and operational merits. Only when specific cases are considered will it be possible to assess the numbers of civilians to be affected.

Royal Marines Barracks, Portsmouth

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the future of the Royal Marines barracks, Portsmouth.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, announced on 21 June 1985, at column 248, that it was envisaged that the major part of the Royal Marines barracks, Eastney, would close, subject to further study and to the outcome of consultation. This study and consultation are continuing, and an announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Scientists And Technicians (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence which grades of scientists and technicians at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment and the royal ordnance factory at Burghfield have received pay increases of up to 26 per cent.; what were the costs involved; whether there have been any consequent difficulties regarding differentials with other grades of staff; and if he will make a statement.

Special pay additions (SPAs) have been introduced at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston, and the nearby royal ordnance factory at Burghfield in order to alleviate manning shortages in certain categories. The SPAs are payable from 1 October 1985 to engineers between the grades of professional and technology officer IV and professional and technology officers I, and to scientists between the grades of assistant scientific officer and senior scientific officer. The amounts range between £1,000 and £2,000 a year depending upon grade. The cost in a full year will be some £3 million. Other staff at these establishments have sought similar treatment.

Bases And Facilities

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the location by parliamentary constituency of (a) all United States non-nuclear bases in the United Kingdom and (b) all United Kingdom non-nuclear bases in the United Kingdom;(2) if he will list the location by parliamentary constituency of

(a) all Royal Air Force facilities in the United Kingdom and (b) all United States bases and facilities in the United Kingdom;

(3) if he will list the location by parliamentary constituency of (a) all royal ordnance factories, (b) all royal dockyards and (c) all Ministry of Defence facilities, itemising them also;

(4) if he will list the location by parliamentary constituency of (a) all Army barracks and (b) all Royal Navy bases in the United Kingdom.

[pursuant to his reply, 19 November 1985, c. 199]: The following bases and facilities have been made available for use by United States forces in the United Kingdom. It is a longstanding convention of this and previous Governments not to confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons at any location; accordingly, the role of bases and facilities are not specified in this respect.

Constituency
Main Operating Base
RAF AlconburyHuntingdon
RAF BentwatersSuffolk, Coastal
RAF FairfordCirencester and Tewkesbury
RAF LakenheathBury St. Edmunds
RAF MildenhallBury St. Edmunds
RAF Upper HeyfordBanbury
RAF WoodbridgeSuffolk, Coastal
Holy LochArgyll and Bute
Standby Deployment Bases
RAF Greenham Common(1)Newbury
RAF ScunthorpeNorfolk, North
RAF WethersfieldBraintree
Storage/Support Facilities
RAF BicesterBanbury
BramleyBasingstoke
RAF BrawdyPembroke
Broughton MoorWorkington
RAF BurtonwoodWarrington, North
RAF CaerwentMonmouth
RAF ChelvestonBedfordshire, North
RAF ChilwellBroxtowe
EastcoteRuislip-Northwood
FelixstoweSuffolk, Coastal
RAF FeltwellNorfolk, South-West
FramlinghamSuffolk, Coastal
Glen DouglasDumbarton
High Wycombe Air Station (Daws Hill)Wycombe
RAF HullavingtonWiltshire, North
RAF HytheRomsey and Waterside
RAF KembleCirencester and Tewkesbury
London USN Europe HQCity of London and Westminster, South
RAF MachrihanishArgyll and Bute
MarchwoodRomsey and Waterside
RAF Molesworth(2)Huntingdon
OakingtonCambridgeshire, South-East
RidgewellSaffron Walden
RAF RuislipRuislip-Northwood
RAF SpadeadamPenrith and The Border
RAF St. MawganCornwall, North
RAF UpwoodHuntingdon
RAF WelfordNewbury
RAF WaltonNorfolk, South-West

Constituency

Contingency Wartime Hospitals

RAF Chessington(3)Surbiton
RAF Little RissingtonCirencester and Tewkesbury
RAF Nocton HallGrantham

Communications Facilities

AberdeenKincardine and Deeside
RAF Barford St. JohnBanbury
RAF BarkwayHertfordshire, North
Botley HillSurrey, East
BovingdonHertfordshire, South-West
RAF ChicksandsMid-Bedfordshire
ColdblowMid-Kent
Christmas CommonHenley
RAF CroughtonDaventry
DaventryDaventry
DunkirkCanterbury
RAF EdzellKincardine and Deeside
RAF FylingdalesRyedale
Great BromleyColchester, North
RAF InverbervieKincardine and Deeside
RAF KinnabeerAngus, East
LatheronCaithness and Sutherland
MartleshamSuffolk, Coastal
Menwith HillSkipton and Ripon
Mormond HillBanff and Buchan
Fort MurkleCaithness and Sutherland
RAF UxbridgeUxbridge

Notes

(1) Also base for ground-launched cruise missiles.

(2) Planned GLCM base as well as storage and property disposal facility used by the United States Department of Defence.

(3) RAF Chessington has recently been made available for use by the United States army as a peacetime storage facility and as a war time hospital.

Records of the locations of bases and facilities used by the Ministry of Defence and the armed services bases and facilities are not maintained in the form requested, and I regret that this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Royal ordnance factories are located in the following constituencies:

Constituency

Royal ordnance factory, BurghfieldNewbury
Royal ordnance factory, CardiffCardiff North

The following factories and facilities were transferred to Royal Ordnance plc on 2 January 1985. I am advised that they are located in the following constituencies:

Constituency

BirtleyBlaydon
BishoptonRenfrew, West and Inverclyde
BlackburnRossendale and Darwen
BridgwaterBridgwater
ChorleyChorley
EnfieldEnfield, North
FeatherstoneStaffordshire, South
GlascoedMonmouth
LeedsLeeds, East
NottinghamNottingham, South
PatricroftEccles
PowfootDumfries
Radway GreenCongleton
SummerfieldWyre Forest
Waltham AbbeyEpping Forest
WestcottBuckingham

The royal dockyards are situated in the following constituencies:

Constituency

RosythDunfermline, East
DevonportPlymouth, Devonport

The Arts

Museums

asked the Minister for the Arts if he has any plans to change the status of any museums from local to national as a result of the abolition of the metropolitan county councils.

The Government's plans for the future funding of major museums and art galleries affected by the abolition of the metropolitan county councils were outlined in their reply of 31 July 1984 (a copy of which is in the Library of the House) to the first report of the Select Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, 1983–84 Session.A trustee body is to be established by Order in Council under section 46 of the Local Government Act 1985, to

Arts Council of Great Britain
£0001985–86 provision £000
A1 England84,492
(1) General Expenditure on the Arts80,096
(a) Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Limited; English National Opera; National Theatre Board; and Royal Shakespeare Theatre30,330
(b) Regional Arts Associations12,892
(c) Music, Opera and Dance15,828
(d) Drama14,579
(e) Art and Arts Films3,920
(f) Literature518
(g) Combined Arts1,229
(h) Training in the Arts and Education800
(2) Administration and Operational Expenditure4,395
Unallocated
A2 Scotland
(1) General Expenditure on the Arts11,997
(a) Music, Opera and Dance6,548
(b) Drama2,517
(c) Art and Film1,062
(d) Literature515
(e) Arts Centres, Regional Projects and Festivals1,355
(2) Administration and Operational Expenditure743
Unallocated
A3 Wales7,139
(1) General Expenditure on the Arts6,524
(a) Music, Opera and Dance2,651
(b) Drama1,728
(c) Art641
(d) Literature606
(e) Arts associations, Arts Centres and Regional Projects898
(2) Administration and Operational Expenditure615
Unallocated
A4 Housing the Arts1,230
A5 South Bank400
Total106,000

take over responsibility for the bulk of the museum and art gallery service hitherto maintained by Merseyside county council, and will be centrally funded directly by the Office of Arts and Libraries. The only other museum to be centrally funded directly by the OAL is the Greater Manchester museum of science and industry, already constituted as an independent charitable trust. The arrangements for other major museums and galleries will be as set out in the reply of 31 July 1984. Responsibility for institutions not listed therein will pass to the appropriate successor local authorities.

Arts Council (Supply Estimates)

asked the Minister for the Arts if there has been any change in the Arts Council's expected commitment figures for 1985–86 as shown at page 24 of the class V volume of the Supply Estimates.

When the Supply Estimates were published in March 1985 a provisional table was included. The corrected figures are shown. The total of the grant-in-aid is not affected by the correction.

Reconciliation

£ million

Commitments outstanding from 1984–8510·9
Commitments expected to be made in 1985–86106·0
Total116·9
Balance to be met in 1986–87 or subsequent years11·9
Grant in aid 1985–86105·0

Wales

Mentally Handicapped Children

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what procedure exists to ensure that when local service departments of local authorities in England place mentally handicapped children into private residential accommodation in Wales there is adequate co-ordination between those authorities and the social service departments in the area in which the accommodation is located; and who is responsible for monitoring standards of care;(2) if he is satisfied with the operation of the statutory provisions to enable private residential houses for mentally handicapped children in Wales to be inspected for standards of care on a regular basis;(3) if he is satisfied that proper procedures exist to ensure that local social service departments and district health authorities in Wales co-operate so that social services follow up any complaints made by health authorities concerning children at risk in private residential homes for mentally handicapped children.

Private residential establishments providing for four or more mentally handicapped children are subject to the registration and inspection arrangements arising from the Registered Homes Act 1984. Such establishments have to be registered with the appropriate county council's social services department and must be inspected by it at least once a year. The primary responsibility for children in care rests with the placing authority. Liaison arrangements between social services authorities and others will vary according to individual circumstances.

Housing Defects Act

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to increase the present expenditure limit of £14,000 under the Housing Defects Act; and if he will make a statement.

Not at present. But we are monitoring the costs of reinstating dwellings under the Act and would be prepared to prescribe a new limit or limits should it prove necessary.

Library Adviser

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements have been made to provide professional advice to the Welsh Office on library and information matters in order to assist him to discharge his obligations under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 following the termination of advisory services from the Office of Arts and Libraries.

The Department's senior librarian will provide this professional support from 1 April 1986. The arrangements will be reviewed after a year.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

English Wine

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much English wine was purchased during the last year by his Department for use in the United Kingdom and by British embassies abroad.

Thirty dozen bottles of English wine were purchased by the Government hospitality fund in February last year and a further 30 dozen in November this year. These wines are served at official functions hosted by Her Majesty's Ministers.Diplomatic missions overseas do not maintain official wine cellars. Wines are selected and stocked by individual officers. We do not have records of what wines are stocked.

Athens Airport

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make further representations to the Greek Government regarding the security aspects at Athens airport; and if he will make a statement.

We have been in touch with the Greek authorities on a regular basis over security at Athens airport and earlier this year offered them assistance in improving security. We will continue to keep in close touch, but note that a number of inspections in recent weeks have confirmed that security measures at the airport conform to the internationally recognised standards set down in annex 17 of the Chicago convention.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Ethiopian Tinned Meat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will seek to suspend the import of Ethiopian tinned meat into the United Kingdom and other European Community countries until such time as the Ethiopian Government can show that no grain fit for human consumption is being used to fatten cattle for export from that country.

[pursuant to her reply, 25 November 1985, c. 364]: No. The only justification for banning imports of tinned meat from a country is that they would constitute a risk to public health or animal health. Imports from Ethiopia are currently prevented on these grounds.

The checks to ensure that grain given as food aid reaches the people it is intended for are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development.

Northern Ireland

Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action his Department has taken over the past year to seek to ensure that local authorities are fulfilling their duties under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978.

I am content that local bodies which have functions under the Act are aware of their responsibilities and of the need to take them into account in formulating priorities.

Air Rifle Clubs

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list all registered air rifle clubs in Northern Ireland, detailing when they received their certificates of authorisation, the location of their approved ranges or proposed ranges and the number of club members;(2) if he will list all those registered air rifle clubs which submitted their rifles for safe keeping to the Royal Ulster Constabulary at any stage in the past 17 years, indicating

(a) whether the rifles were submitted voluntarily, (b) when they were submitted, (c) when they were returned, (d) whether licence fees were paid in respect of the rifles while in Royal Ulster Constabularly keeping and (e) when those rifles not yet returned will be returned;

(3) if he will list those air rifle clubs, or proposed clubs, which have had applications for certificates of authorisation refused at any stage in the past 16 years, indicating whether and when such refusals were ever revoked.

Trade And Industry

Manufacturing Industry

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on Government policy on manufacturing industry in the light of the findings of the House of Lords Select Committee on Overseas Trade.

The Government's policy is to create a climate in which the wealth-creating sector of the economy, including manufacturing industry, can flourish.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how the level of investment in manufacturing industry has varied since 1979; and if he will make a statement.

In 1984, capital investment in manufacturing was nearly £6·4 billion at 1980 prices; 16 per cent. above the trough in the last investment cycle downswing which started in 1980. The latest available estimates for all the years since 1979 will be published in the Official Report.

Capital Investment in United Kingdom Manufacturing Industry*

£ million at 1980 prices

Year

19798,230
19807,314
19815,698
19825,516
19835,557
19846,372
* Divisions 2–4 of the Standard Industrial Classification (Revised 1980), including assets leased to manufacturers from the financial industries.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what were the figures for manufacturing output and investment in 1984; and how this compares with the year before.

In 1984 the index of manufacturing output rose by nearly 4 per cent. to 100·6 (1980=100)—the largest percentage increase in any year since 1973—and manufacturing investment (including assets leased from financial institutions) increased by nearly 15 per cent. to £6·4 billion (in 1980 prices).

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the most recent figure for output in manufacturing industry; and how this compares with the figure for the same month six years ago.

For the third quarter of 1985 the index of production for manufacturing industry is 103, based on 1980 equal to 100. This is 5 per cent. lower than the corresponding index for the third quarter of 1979.

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received about unfair competition to British manufacturing companies from companies receiving special assistance.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Consumer Guarantees

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations have been made to his Department about the Office of Fair Trading discussion paper on consumer guarantees; and if he will make a statement.

No representations have been made to my Department about the Office of Fair Trading discussion paper on this subject. I understand that the Director General of Fair Trading has had a number of such representations and that he proposes to publish his final report on consumer guarantees early in the new year.

Legal Advice Centres

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his Department's future plans for the funding of legal advice centres within the framework of citizens advice bureaux.

Iraq

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on trading prospects with Iraq.

In the first nine months of this year United Kingdom exports to Iraq totalled £340 million, an increase of 44 per cent. over the same period in 1984. I shall be seeking ways of strengthening bilateral trade in meetings this week with the Iraqi Minister of Trade.

Aid And Trade Provision

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what changes have been made in the aid and trade provision and administration.

I refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. and learned Friend's statement on 12 November in which he told the House that the Government were introducing a soft loan facility to enable the doubling by 1988–89 of the annual business that might be won through support under the aid and trade provision.

Multi-Fibre Arrangement

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what account he will take of United States protectionism in establishing Her Majesty's Government's position towards the renewal of the multi-fibre arrangement.

Our policy will have to evolve to take account of the positions of the United States and other major participants as well as of our interest in reducing protectionist pressures in such countries.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has now received the European Commission's proposals for a draft negotiating mandate for the multi-fibre arrangement renewal negotiations; and if he will make a statement.

The Commission has not yet made a communication to the Council on a draft negotiating mandate for the multi-fibre arrangement negotiations, but is expecting to do so soon.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what study he has made of tariff and non-tariff barriers to United Kingdom and European Community exports of textiles and clothing; and if he will seek to reduce these barriers during the negotiations for renewal of the multi-fibre arrangement.

In the forthcoming MFA negotiations and the proposed new GATT round we shall be seeking reductions in the considerable barriers which exist in a number of countries to the export of United Kingdom and European Community textiles and clothing.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations he has held with the Governments of Spain and Portugal regarding the renewal of the multi-fibre arrangement.

I have not had recent bilateral exchanges with either Spain or Portugal about the renewal of the multi-fibre arrangement. Following the signature of their treaty of accession, Spain and Portugal have the right to attend as observers in all European Community meetings, including those discussing textile trade policy. From 1 January they will participate as full members of the European Community.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has regarding the approach of the United States' Administration towards renewal of the multi-fibre arrangement.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations he has held with the textile and clothing industries regarding the policy to be adopted for the multi-fibre arrangement renewal negotiations.

We consulted the representatives of the textile and clothing industry, as well as other interested parties, before the Government decided their overall approach to the multi-fibre arrangement which I announced to the House on 9 May. We have had further detailed discussions since then and I intend to keep in close touch with the industry and other interested parties as the negotiations progress.

Industrial Competitiveness

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what change has taken place in the relative competitiveness of British industry since 1979; and what assessments he makes of the contribution to this of trade union legislation enacted in this period.

Since 1979 productivity in manufacturing industry has increased by 22 per cent. By promoting responsible industrial relations and making trades unions more accountable to their members, the Government's industrial relations legislation has made a positive contribution to this improvement. Relative unit labour costs have, however, increased by 7 per cent. since 1979 indicating a need for continued wage restraint.

Industrial Investment

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied with the level of industrial investment in those parts of the United Kingdom having assisted area status; and if he will make a statement.

No. The assisted areas need investment if jobs are to be created there. The revised schemes of regional assistance will help to secure that investment and those jobs.

Retail Grocery

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give the figures in each of the last 10 years for the percentage share of the retail grocery sector of (a) major multiples, (b) other multiples, (c) independent stores and (d) co-operatives.

The Business Statistics Office has conducted full retailing inquiries annually from 1976 to 1980, and bi-annually thereafter. Figures for co-operative societies are not readily available before 1980. They are as follows:

Shares of Retail Sales of Groceries and Provisions

Per cent.

*Multiple retailers with 100 or more outlets

*Other multiple retailers

*Single outlet retailers

Co-operative societies

1976403029Figures not separately available
1977443025
1978502822
1979502822
(1980)(50)(29)(21)
198044212214
198244251912

Sources: Retailing inquiries, Business Statistics Office.

Note: Market shares do not always sum to 100 as a result of rounding.

* Including co-operative societies from 1976 to (1980); excluding co-operative societies for 1980 and 1982.

Regional Policy

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the Government's regional policy.

The changes in regional policy were introduced only a year ago and it is still too early to measure the effectiveness of the revised schemes of assistance.

Science And Technology

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the total expenditure of his Department on science and technology in 1984–85; and how this compares with the figure for 1979–80.

Expenditure on scientific and technological assistance and on support for investment in innovation in 1984–85 was £416 million. This compares with £143 million in 1979–80.

Telecommunication Equipment

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support his Department provides for the export of telecommunications equipment; and if he will make a statement.

We have lent considerable support to the efforts of UK companies to secure telecommunications equipment export orders. Aid and trade provision and other measures to counter support available to competitor companies abroad have been offered. Such support continues to be available to all UK companies for current and future export campaigns, as does the full backing and encouragement of Ministers and our representatives overseas. We are also giving our full support to international efforts to reduce the barriers to open trade in telecommunications, notably within the EC telecommunications initiative.

New Technology

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage the use of new technology in industry.

The Government's policies to create and maintain a business climate that encourages and rewards enterprise will stimulate improvements in industrial research and development and will help to encourage industry to develop and exploit new technology.In addition, my Department offers a range of assistance under the Industrial Development Act 1982 and the Science and Technology Act 1965 to help suitable projects.

Gartcosh And Ravenscraig

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on the future of the Gartcosh and Ravenscraig steel plants; and if he will make a statement.

A number of representations from organisations and individuals in Scotland have been made to my Department. I have nothing to add to the replies my right hon. and learned Friend gave to the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Hirst) on 23 October.

Greater Manchester

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will indicate what initiatives he is taking to secure the future of manufacturing industry in Greater Manchester.

Most of Greater Manchester has assisted area status and therefore benefits from regional assistance. I have no plans to alter these arrangements.

Soviet Union

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on trading prospects with the Soviet Union.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on trading prospects with the Soviet Union.

During his visit to London in December 1984 Mr. Gorbachev spoke of a potential for an increase in trade turnover between the United Kingdom and the USSR of 40–50 per cent. in the next few years. I agree that the opportunities for United Kingdom firms to win increased business in the USSR are unusually good. I urge more companies to consider this market which, while difficult to enter initially, can be very rewarding. Her Majesty's Government will provide all possible support consistent with our international obligations.

Steel Industry

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the present position in regard to the privatisation of the special steels division of the British Steel Corporation.

British Steel Corporation and GKN have submitted the updated proposals to the Government, following the Government's agreement in principle to their proposals for a joint venture in engineering steels. My right hon. and learned Friend intends to make a statement in due course.

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will next meet the chairman of the British Steel corporation to discuss the steel industry in Scotland.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no specific plans for a meeting at present.

Research And Development

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals he has to stimulate improvements in industrial research and development.

The Government's policies to create and maintain a business climate that encourages and rewards enterprise will stimulate improvements in industrial research and development and will help to encourage industry to develop and exploit new technology.In addition, my Department offers a range of assistance under the Industrial Development Act 1982 and the Science and Technology Act 1965 to help suitable projects.

European Community

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the total amount of exports of manufactured goods to the European Economic Community over the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; and what was the total of imports of manufactures from the European Economic Community in the same period.

In the 12 months to September 1985, United Kingdom exports of manufactures to the European Community were £20,200 million and imports were £28,100 million (balance of payments basis).

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement of progress on reducing the internal barriers to trade within the European Community.

Substantial progress in reducing a wide range of internal barriers to Community trade is recorded in the Luxembourg Presidency's report to the Council (document numbers 9171/85 and 9172/85). The Commission's White Paper entitled "Completing the Internal Market", of which the June European Council took favourable note, sets out its objectives for the removal of the remaining barriers. (A copy of these documents is available in the Library of the House.) The European Council agreed on the removal of remaining barriers by 1992 in priority areas including the removal of physical and technical barriers to the movement of goods. The October Internal Market Council endorsed arrangements for establishing a detailed programme for carrying this work forward in the next 15 months.

Allied Breweries (Elders' Bid)

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to receive the report of the Office of Fair Trading on Elders' bid for Allied Breweries.

The Director General of Fair Trading will be advising me as soon as practicable.

Gainsborough

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money has been provided to the Gainsborough travel-to-work area under section 7 of the Industry Act 1972 since the passing of that Act.

Offers made between 1 April 1972 and 30 September 1985 total £4·1 million.

Nissan Motor Plant

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any plans to vist the Nissan motor plant in the north-east of England; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to visit the Nissan motor plant in the north-east of England at the present time. I understand that the project is on schedule for production to begin in 1986 as set out in the heads of agreement between Nissan and the Government.

Regional Assistance

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications his Department has received for regional assistance from companies in the west midlands assisted area.

Since the designation of intermediate area status on 29 November 1984 my Department has received 597 applications for regional selective assistance in the west midlands. By November 1985 a total of £22 million has been offered in grants, and this is associated with some 13,500 jobs either created or safeguarded.

Inward Investment

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to attract inward investment into the United Kingdom.

The Invest in Britain Bureau (IBB) within the Department of Trade and Industry is currently engaged in a major promotional campaign— "Britain Means Business"—in which it is collaborating with all the main British public sector inward investment promotional bodies and the private sector. The campaign, which is additional to the IBB's normal activities, aims to draw attention to the undoubted attractions of the United Kingdom for foreign investors, not leaast of which is the more favourable climate for business the Government have created.

International Tin Council

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government have taken to resolve the problems of the International Tin Council.

The Government have put forward specific proposals to the International Tin Council to deal effectively with the present situation. I raised the issue yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, and we shall be continuing our efforts, within the Council and through diplomatic channels, to achieve an agreed early resolution.

Share Ownership

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what impact his Department's privatisation programme has had on share ownership in the United Kingdom.

The sales of shares in British Telecom, British Aerospace and Jaguar have made a major contribution to widening individual share ownership, which has roughly doubled as a result of this Government's privatisation programme.

Competition Policy

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether Her Majesty's Government's competition policy distinguishes between monopolies in the private sector and monopolies in the public sector.

The Fair Trading Act 1973 provides for references to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission of monopolies by both the Secretary of State and by the Director General of Fair Trading (though the latter is excluded from making references in respect of certain goods and services, including some in the public sector). In addition, section 11 of the Competition Act 1980 provides for references by the Secretary of State of public bodies, including nationalised industries. Such references are directed primarily at efficiency, costs and service, but may include the possible abuse of a monopoly position.In pursuing their programme of returning state-controlled industries to the private sector, the Government's policy is to establish where appropriate special regulatory regimes to prevent monopoly abuse and encourage efficiency.

Car Imports

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received concerning car imports into the United Kingdom.

Representations particularly concerning car imports by the multinational manufacturers located in the United Kingdom have been made by my Department. Ministers and officials have had meetings with the major multinational manufacturers in the United Kingdom.

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek a meeting with the multinational motor manufacturers operating in Britain, concerning their large-scale importation of cars into the United Kingdom and the level of British content in the vehicles assembled here.

My ministerial colleagues and officials already have regular meetings with senior management of the multinational motor manufacturers operating in the United Kingdom to discuss these matters.

Secondary Schools (Mini-Enterprises)

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his Department is doing to encourage the spread of mini-enterprises in secondary schools.

I refer to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Banks) on 11 November 1985 at column 48.

Company Receivership And Liquidations

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many United Kingdom companies were taken into receivership or liquidated during 1984; and if he will make a statement.

The number of company liquidations in the United Kingdom in 1984 was 14,327. Compulsory liquidations and creditors' voluntary liquidations are included. Nevertheless, the stock of UK businesses registered for VAT has risen in each of the last five years: in 1984 there were 177 thousand business starts compared with 140 thousand stops for all reasons.

Home Accident Surveillance System

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is satisfied with the effectiveness of the home accident surveillance system; and whether he has any plans to extend it further.

The home accident surveillance system has proved its effectiveness by providing the quantifiable information essential to my Department in its role of improving consumer safety. In addition it is used extensively by manufacturers and trade associations, by other Government Departments and by organisations such as the British Standards Institution, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Consumers' Association.Its success has resulted in a European Commission proposal that a similar scheme be adopted throughout the Community. If approved this may result in an extension of the system to include sports, leisure and school accidents.

Insurance

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the insurance companies and the insurance brokers; and what subjects were discussed.

I have, since taking office, met many people in the insurance industry, and in the course of these meetings have discussed a wide variety of matters.

Tin Industry

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received concerning the state of the tin industry in Cornwall.

I have received a number of representations from Members of Parliament, local authorities, commercial organisations and individuals, all of which are being carefully considered.

Whisky

60.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the Japanese Government about discriminatory trading terms for Scotch whisky in Japan; and if he will make a statement.

Her Majesty's Government, and most recently my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, have firmly expressed our concern about the difficulties in Japan facing Scotch whisky exporters. The European Commissioners who visited Tokyo last week also took up the issue.

Postal Services

61.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met the chairman of the Post Office to discuss the effectiveness of postal services.

I meet the chairman from time to time to discuss matters of current interest and these would normally include the Post Office's plans to improve postal performance. I last met the chairman on 24 October.

Copyright Protection

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when Her Majesty's Government intend to make legislative proposals on the matters covered in the 1981 Green Paper, "Reform of the Law Relating to Coyright, Designs and Performers' Protection," Cmnd. 8302.

We are currently preparing a White Paper which will set out the Government's proposals to amend the law on copyright, designs and performers' protection. I anticipate publication early in the new year.

Bl (Bathgate)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his discussions with British Leyland on the future of the British Leyland factory at Bathgate.

The closure of Bathgate was proposed by the BL board in its 1984 corporate plan which was discussed in detail between the Department of Trade and Industry and BL. Discussions about possible future use of the facility are continuing locally and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is keeping in close touch with BL and has made it clear that he stands ready to help any viable proposition.

Leather Footwear

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the value of leather footwear exports for the last 12 months of available statistics.

Leather footwear to the value of £111·6 million was exported in the 12 months to September 1985.

Scales And Weighing Machines

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report the planned timetable for implementation of the Eden working party's recommendations on revised pattern approval procedures and self-verification, as outlined to the recent conference of the Federation of Scale and Weighing Machine Manufacturers.

[pursuant to his reply, 25 November 1985, c. 406]: Action is already being taken on those Eden committee recommendations relating to pattern approval and it is intended to complete implementation of revised procedures by October 1986. The public consultation period on the Eden report will close on 30 November 1985 and the Government hope to announce their timetable for implementation by mid-1986. Any primary legislation will be introduced at the earliest opportunity.

National Finance

Systime Plc

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has examined complaints into the alleged detention and threatening of staff at Systime plc during a visit by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in July 1984; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 November 1985]: Officers from the investigation division of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise visited the offices of Systime plc in July 1984. The personnel at Systime plc were co-operative and nobody was detained or threatened. At the time, solicitors for those interviewed questioned the content of one of the witnesses statements taken which was amended to their satisfaction. The solicitors and Systime plc were informed in January 1985 that no action would be taken. The Commissioners of Customs and Excise are unaware of any complaint about the conduct of their officers in this matter but will investigate thoroughly any specific allegations.

Employment

Small Businesses

62.

asked the Paymaster General what representations he has received over the last two years from small companies complaining about the payment time of large companies.

I regularly receive representations from small firms about delays by large firms in payment of bills. These representations point out the adverse effect of delays on small firms' financial position. Consideration is being given to publishing guidance on good practice in payment of bills.

64.

asked the Paymaster General what further measures he intends to introduce to help small businesses.

On Tuesday 12 November my right hon. and noble Friend announced a six-point programme of measures to encourage enterprise and employment. Measures to help small businesses include expansion of the enterprise allowance scheme, increased support for local enterprise agencies in England and an extension of the loan guarantee scheme. Increased finding for the promotion of tourism will also benefit many small businesses. Further measures will be announced as appropriate.

Tourist Industry

63.

asked the Paymaster General what plans he has to give greater public support to the London tourist industry.

The Government will continue to support the promotion of tourism in London, as elsewhere, through the English Tourist Board and the British Tourist Authority. The English Tourist Board provides an annual subvention to the non-statutory London Visitor and Convention Bureau and this too will continue. I am pleased by the bureau's efforts to increase its support from the private sector and I hope that the London boroughs will also recognise the importance of tourism to London's economy and the role which the LVCB can play in ensuring that tourism benefits are spread as widely as possible throughout the capital.

asked the Paymaster General if he will give the figures for those employed in the tourist industry for each of the last five years for which figures are available.

The available information on employment in tourism-related industries is regularly published in British Business. Figures for 1981 to 1985 are given in the issues of 5–9 November 1984 and 23–29 August 1985, copies of which are available in the Library.

Job Start Scheme

asked the Paymaster General what is the Government's estimate of the impact that the job start scheme will have on wage levels.

asked the Paymaster General what is the Government's estimate of the impact that the job start scheme will have on the numbers of long-term unemployed and on wage levels.

The job start scheme will be piloted in a number of different areas from January next year with a view to assessing its effectiveness. Its purpose is to help the long-term unemployed to get back into work. Any indirect effects it may have, for example on wage levels, or numbers of long-term unemployed people, can only be a matter for speculation at this stage.

asked the Paymaster General whether the proposed £20 allowance under the job start scheme will alter in any respect the legal obligations of employers to observe wages council terms and conditions.

Job Release Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to announce rates of allowance and other details of the job release scheme beyond March 1986; and if the scheme will continue to apply to 64-year-old able-bodied men.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 18 November at column 38. An announcement on the rates of allowance will be made in due course.

Health And Safety

asked the Paymaster General how many persons have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured as a result of an accident at work in 1983 and 1984 and the latest available date in 1985.

The table gives the number of deaths and major injuries to employees and self-employed people arising out of or in connection with work and reported to authorities responsible for enforcing the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1984. Figures for 1984 are provisional. No figures are yet available for 1985.

Year

Employees

Self-employed

Deaths

Major injuries*

Deaths

Major injuries*

198344312,44764114
198443212,24661145
* Major injuries are as defined in the Notification of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1980.

asked the Paymaster General how many employees are covered by the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act at the latest available date.

asked the Paymaster General how many health and safety inspectors there are per 10,000 people covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act.

There is approximately one inspector for every 10,000 people employed in premises subject to inspection by the Health and Safety Executive. Comparable information about inspectors employed by local authorities to enforce the Act is not available.

Labour Statistics

asked the Paymaster General what is the total number of registered unemployed people in the United Kingdom; and what is his estimate of the number of unemployed people who are not registered.

In October 1985 there was a total of 3,277,000 unemployed claiming benefits in the United Kingdom. According to the labour force survey, in the spring of 1984 there were about 870,000 people in Great Britain and some 900,000 in the United Kingdom who were seeking work but not claiming benefit.

asked the Paymaster General if he will list the number of persons made redundant who are included in the unemployment count for each of the years 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and at the latest available date for which figures are available; and if he will also show this figure as a percentage of the total unemployed for each year.

The information is not available in the precise form requested. I refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 28 October at columns 330–31.

asked the Paymaster General if he will list the numbers of disabled included in the unemployment count for each of the years 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985; and if he will also show this as a percentage of total unemployment in each year.

Following is the available information on disabled persons registered as unemployed in September each year from 1979 to 1982.

SeptemberDisabled persons included in unemployment count ThousandsPercentage of total
1979119·09·0
1980143·17·3
1981177·96·2
1982188·45·9

Comparable figures are not available for later years following the removal in October 1982 of the compulsory requirement to register for employment as a condition for receipt of benefits. Figures for those with health problems or disabilities are now available from the labour force survey, as given in my reply to my hon. Friend on 28 October 1985 at column 332.