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Written Answers

Volume 124: debated on Friday 11 December 1987

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 11 December 1987

Attorney-General

Plastic Bullets

To ask the Attorney-General how many cases in the first half of 1987 involving persons injured by plastic bullets in Northern Ireland have been considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland; and what action was taken in each case.

From 1 January 1987 to 30 June 1987, the Director of Public Prosecutions (Northern Ireland) considered 10 cases involving persons injured by plastic bullets in Northern Ireland. No prosecutions were directed in eight of those 10 cases and in the remaining two cases a final direction awaits the outcome of other proceedings.

Mr Wallace And Captain Holroyd

To ask the Attorney-General what investigations have been carried out since February 1987 into the allegations of Captain (retired) Fred Holroyd and Mr. Colin Wallace; and whether he will make a statement.

The prosecuting authorities have not requested any such investigations.

Bbc (Injunction)

To ask the Attorney-General if he will apply to the High Court for an amendment of the injunction against the BBC granted on 4 December so that a fair and accurate report of proceedings in Parliament or a court sitting in public shall not be constituted a breach of the injunction.

I refer the hon. Member to what my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said on 9 December at column 458.

Energy

British Coal

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) how much he expects to authorise to be spent on new track, above and below ground, by British Coal, under the Coal Industry Act 1987, in the years 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91 and 1991–92;(2) how much he expects to authorise to be spent on coal-face cutting equipment by British Coal, under the Coal Industry Act 1987, in the years 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91 and 1991–92.

The Government do not make specific allocations within their overall investment approval to the British Coal Corporation. Responsibility for specific investment decisions is a matter for the corporation.

Wales

Tobacco Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent employment has declined in the tobacco manufacturing industry in Wales since 1977.

The Statistics of Trade Act 1947 prohibits disclosure of statistical information that could be related to an individual concern, or statistics from which such information can be deduced.

Environment

Sewage Works (Discharge Consents)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Norwich, South of 1 December, which sewage works in the Anglian water authority failed their discharge consent conditions in 1986; and on how many occasions.

The report submitted earlier in the year by Anglian water authority showed that around 300 of the authority's sewage treatment works were deemed to have failed to meet their discharge contents because more than 5 per cent. of samples taken exceeded the consent conditions. In well over half of these cases, however, the consent conditions were in the process of being reviewed as part of a general review of consents started in 1985 for works whose discharges were considered to have no appreciable effect on the receiving waters. Full details of discharges from all non-compliant works are in the public register maintained by the water authority, but I will write to the hon. Member listing the works in question.The water authority is working towards bringing all its sewage treatment works into compliance by 1990.

Regional Water Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the expenses and emoluments paid to the chairs and members of regional water authorities for the years 1985–86 and 1986–87, distinguishing between executive and non-executive board members, and including any performance bonuses for such years paid to such members after the conclusion of the financial year.

Information about board members' expenses and emoluments for 1985–86 and 1986–87 is included in the water authorities' 1986–87 annual reports and accounts. These were presented to Parliament on 15 July 1987.In addition, performance bonuses were awarded for the first time for 1986–87; only chairmen and executive members of authorities which met or exceeded agreed performance aims were eligible for payment. The bonuses were calculated as a percentage of members' renumeration using the following rates:

Water AuthorityPer cent.
Anglian6·5
Northumbrian15·0
North West7·5
Severn-Trent7·5
Southern12·5

Water Authority

Per cent.

South West5·0
Thames

1

Wessex7·5
Yorkshire11·5

1 Did not qualify

Water Research Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to offer the Water Research Centre for sale as a separate concern.

No. The Water Research Centre is a private company limited by guarantee. Its management and members are considering whether restructuring is required to secure a continuing service to the water industry when the utilities in England and Wales are privatised.

Storm Damage

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mrs. Fyfe) of 2 December, Official Report, column 626, how soon after 31 January 1988 he will be able to meet the claims for special assistance from local authorities for financial help to meet damage from the storm on 15 October.

The Department will deal with claims as quickly as possible. We would expect grant normally to be paid within a few weeks of receipt of the claim, subject to the resolution with the authority of any queries on it. In appropriate cases, payment could be prior to the deadline for receipt of claims which has now been extended to 1 March 1988.

Council House Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will update the table giving information on sales of dwellings by each local authority in England, referred to in the answer given to the hon. Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) on 24 July, Official Report, column 730.

I have today placed in the Library the latest version of table 2 giving information reported by each local authority in England on the progress on council house sales up to the end of June 1987.

"Paying For Local Government"

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will reproduce figures F1 to F5 of Cmnd. 9714 "Paying For Local Government", by region; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 10 December 1987]: The sample size used in these exemplifications would be insufficient to give reliable results for all regions.

Rating Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 26 November, Official Report, column 316, he will provide estimates of poll tax losers and gainers by household types on a gross, before rebate, basis.

[holding answer 10 December 1987]: At the request of the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham), we are giving priority to rolling forward the community charge computer model to take account of 1986–87 family expenditure survey data. The new information requested by the hon. Member will require a considerable amount of effort to produce. We will provide it after the task of updating the model has been completed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 19 November, Official Report, columns 671–672. he will set out the assumptions used on poll tax rebates to arrive at the net figure.

[holding answer 10 December 1987]: The assumptions were those in paragraph 3.46 of the Green Paper "Paying for Local Government" (Cmnd 9714).

Trade And Industry

Cigarette Imports

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what changes there have been in levels of imports of cheap cigarettes since the last Budget.

It is not possible to identify separately cheap cigarettes in the overseas trade statistics. Total United Kingdom imports for the seven months April to October 1987 amounted to 5,099·6 million cigarettes of a value of £32·5 million. For the previous seven months, September 1986 to March 1987, total United Kingdom imports were recorded as 9,926·7 million cigarettes of a value of £59·6 million.

Home Department

Firearms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give for each year since 1968 the number of prosecutions following the illegal use of firearms registered under the 1968 Act.

The readily available information, which relates to prosecutions for offences under the Firearms Act 1968, is given in the table. This information relates only to the principal offence and excludes persons also found guilty of a more serious offence. Comparable data for the years prior to 1979 is not available.

Defendants proceeded against for offences under the Firearms Act 1968—England and Wales
Number
19797,140
19807,130
19816,980
19825,430
19834,850
19844,160
19853,870
19863,160

Housing Defects

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if potential purchasers of his Department's houses are notified before they buy of the potential implications for compensation for latent damage under the Housing Defects Act; and if he will make a statement.

In respect of any Home Office housing designated under the Housing Defects Act, which was consolidated in the Housing Act 1985, arrangements are made to notify prospective purchasers that grant aid under the provisions of the Act will not be available, since the defects are known and accounted for in the valuation. The Act specified that after 26 April 1984 purchasers would no longer be eligible for financial assistance.

Remand And Bail Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was (a) the average number of days spent on remand by those remanded in custody for terrorist-type offences and (b) the number of bail applications refused, respectively, in 1986 and the first half of 1987, with regard to cases now completed in England and Wales.

The only information which is readily available relates to prisoners convicted of terrorist-type offences who are now in prison custody in category A and does not cover prisoners who have been released or downgraded.In 1986, the average number of days spent on remand was 329 and the number of bail applications refused was 21. No cases have been completed of such prisoners who were first received in custody between 1 January and 30 June 1987.

Prisoners (Statistics)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give separately how many prisoners in British gaols give as their place of domicile (i) the Republic of Ireland and (ii) Northern Ireland; and, separately, how many of these prisoners were serving sentences for terrorist-type offences as at 30 June.

The information which is readily available centrally relates to prisoners' place of birth and to those terrorist-type prisoners who are held in category A. On 30 June 1987, about 700 inmates of prison department establishments in England and Wales were recorded as born in the Republic of Ireland and about 400 in Northern Ireland. Of those, 13 born in the Republic of Ireland and 32 born in Northern Ireland had been convicted of terrorist-type offences and were held in category A.

Common Format Passport

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a specimen copy of the common format passport.

Prototypes of the new British passport in the European Community common format were placed in the Library in July 1984, together with a background note giving more information about it. I am arranging for these to be supplemented by the latest, but not yet final, version of the new passport which incorporates all the Community languages and contains additional safeguards against forgery, together with an updated version of the background note.

Mr Ian Cutler

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the organisations and hon. Members who have made representations to him concerning Mr. Ian Cutler and complaints against the police; and if he will make a statement.

Aside from the hon. Member, we have received letters about this case from the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), my right hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, South and Maldon (Mr. Wakeham), my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Mr. Morrison), and the hon. Members for Gordon (Mr. Bruce), for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell), for Houghton and Washington (Mr. Boyes), for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey) and for Leyton (Mr. Cohen). No representations on Mr. Cutler's behalf have been received from any organisation.Mr. Cutler's complaints are being investigated by an officer of the Metropolitan police complaints investigation bureau under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority.

Police (Firearms)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentage of policemen and women have received official firearms training;(2) how many police officers are currently undergoing firearms training.

Information in the form requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, at 31 December 1986, there were 8,395 authorised firearms officers, some 7 per cent. of the total police strength in England and Wales.

Prime Minister

Mr Wallace And Captain Holroyd

To ask the Prime Minister (1) on what dates she has received letters from Mr. Colin Wallace or from his solicitor, Thomas Eggar and Son;(2) on what dates she has received letters from Captain [retired] Fred Holroyd.

It is not my usual practice to give information on correspondence from third parties.

Asset Sales

To ask the Prime Minister what is her estimate for asset sales less purchases of land and buildings for all Departments for each year from 1987–88 until 1991.

It is not possible to identify fully the sale of assets, other than those from privatisation proceeds and sales of land and buildings, within the public expenditure totals.Net proceeds from privatisation are given in the Autumn Statement 1987.Figures for sales of land and buildings by Department up to 1989–90 were given in a reply to the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) by my right hon. Friend the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 27 January, at columns

229–30. On the same basis, purchases of land and buildings are estimated at £530 million in 1988–89 and 1989–90. Revised estimates, including figures for 1990–91, will not be available until the 1988 public expenditure White Paper is published.

Education And Science

Age-Related Testing

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what procedures will be used to ensure that age-related testing takes account of missed schooling due to hospitalisation or other factors relating to a child's physical disability.

The Education Reform Bill provides that the national curriculum requirements, including assessment arrangements, may be modified in respect of a pupil with a statement of special educational needs under the 1981 Act, or in other cases specified in the orders prescribing those requirements for foundation subjects. In addition, where, as can happen now, following a period of missed schooling, a pupil is being taught among a younger age group, the Bill will enable the pupil to be assessed against the attainment targets for that age group. The task group on assessment and testing, and the individual subject working groups, will be advising my right hon. Friend on what account might be taken of the needs of pupils in these circumstances, bearing in mind that the assessment arrangements are intended to identify what stage a pupil has reached and what further help may be needed.

Employment

Training Schemes (Newcastle)

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list all the managing agents offering places in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne city area under (a) the youth training scheme, (b) the job training scheme and (c) the community programme, together with the number of places offered by each agent in each scheme.

The managing agents offering places in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne city area are listed below:

Managing agentContracted places
(a) YTS
Alliance & Leicester Building Society2
Argyll Stores16
Association of British Travel Agents8
Association of Merchants in Training5
B & Q6
Bainbridge20
Benfield Motors32
Binns10
Boots8
British Association of Professional Hairdressing Employers7
British Engines17
British Insurance Brokers Association6
British Office Systems and Stationery Federation1
British Printing Industry Federation1
British Rail14
Builders Merchants Federation5
Burton Group PLC12
Central Electricity Generating Board1
Chubb1

Managing agent

Contracted places

Clothing and Allied Products Industry Training Board22
Community Industry18
Construction Industry Training Board136
Data Northern Ltd.313
DER3
Dixon's2
Eagle Star Insurance2
Electronic Rentals1
Essanelle14
Federation of London Clearing Banks17
Fenwicks88
Footballers Association Further Education and Vocational Training Society Ltd.9
John Gerard16
Gosforth Employment Rehabilitation Centre60
Granada Television Rentals7
Greggs of Gosforth18
Habitat2
Halifax Building Society2
Hotel and Catering Training Board131
IBM4
JHP Training152
K Shoes1
Key Training275
Kwikfit4
Littlewoods5
Lunn Poly4
Lupins62
Magnet & Southern2
Marks & Spencer7
Metcon1
Midland Bank1
Miltech6
Mothercare3
National Association for Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders148
North East Electricity Board—Electricity Council6
North East Furniture Manufacturers2
NEI Plc78
Newcastle College of Arts and Technology324
Newcastle ITeC97
Newcastle Local Education Authority699
Newey and Eyre7
North East Link110
Northern Regional Health Authority18
Northern Rock Building Society34
Northumbria Ambulance Service29
Northumbria Water Authority6
Partco1
Plastics Processing Industry Training Board6
Post Office Counters40
Post Office Letters58
Rumbelows2
Scottish and Newcastle Breweries13
Shoe Repair Industry Training Association3
Stylo Barratt3
Sumlock59
Swallow Hotels5
Texas4
Thomson Holidays2
TR Dixon4
Trustee Savings Bank7
Tyne and Wear Chamber of Commerce325
Tyneside Training Service291
Vickers183
Work and Learn (North East) Ltd.233
Yorkshire Bank1
Total4,358

Managing agent

Contracted annual throughput

(b) the Job Training Scheme:

Data Northern Ltd.11,000
Lloyds British Training Services Ltd.1,250
Tyneside Skillcentre300
Tyne and Wear Chamber of Commerce600
Key Training Ltd.500
Total3,650

Managing agent

Authorised places

(c) the Community Programme:

Age Concern19
Boys Brigade8
Christian Relay34
Community Rural Aid45
Community Service Volunteers24
Community Task Force241
Community Transport140
Conservation Practice20
Energy Support14
Keep Britain Tidy Group14
Keeping Newcastle Warm105
National Association For the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders233
New Job Horizons319
Newcastle City Council Agency1,178
Northumbria Tourist Board98
PHAB8
Police107
St. Anthony of Padua340
Total2,947

1 Some of these places are provided outside the Newcastle upon Tyne city area.

Engineering Industry Training Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his policy towards engineering training in the light of information paper No. 82 issued by the EITB concerning options for its future direction, a copy of which has been sent to him.

I am concerned that the skill base of the engineering industry should enable the exploitation of new technologies and new markets.I support the engineering industry training board's efforts to devise arrangements which will both be effective and command the general support of the engineering industry.

Closed Shop

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received since June of the current year regarding the closed shop.

Some 60 representations received by my Department since June have made some reference to the closed shop. These include parliamentary questions and correspondence with Members of Parliament, outside bodies and the general public.

Factory Inspectors

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will express the number of visits made by factory inspectors in the north-east in 1986–87 as a proportion of the total number of factories in the area.

It is not possible without disproportionate cost to separate the number of visits made to factories from those made to other premises where the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is enforced by HSE's factory inspectorate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many factory inspectors were in post in each of the five years in the north-east region; and how many of the anticipated increase in the number of factory inspectors will be located in the north-east region.

The number of factory inspectors in the Health and Safety Executive's north-east area over the past five years is as follows:

1 AprilNumbers
198332
198431
198531
198630
1987 (April)31
1987 (November)27
The Health and Safety Commission and Executive plan to increase the number of inspectors in the factory inspectorate by about 35 above present levels during 1988–89. Decisions on when the additional inspectors will be located have not yet been taken.

Restart Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of restart interviews which have taken place in Cleveland since the commencement of the restart scheme.

Since the national introduction of the restart programme in July 1986, 46,427 restart interviews have taken place in Cleveland up to the end of September.

Labour Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish tables showing the number of notified vacancies per registered unemployed person in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) England, (d) the United Kingdom and(e) each of the English regions for June 1979, June 1980, June 1981, June 1982, June 1983, June 1984, June 1985, June 1986, June 1987 and November 1987.

Following is the available information. The table shows the number of unfilled vacancies at jobcentres, and the number of unemployed claimants, in each of the requested areas, for June of each year since 1980. Vacancy figures for June 1979 are not available on a comparable basis, while figures for November 1987, will not be available until 17 December 1987. All the figures are seasonally adjusted, and the unemployment figures allow for changes in coverage.It is not valid to compare ratios of notified vacancies to unemployment, since roughly only about a third of vacancies in the economy are reported to jobcentres, and this proportion will tend to vary over time and between regions.

Unemployed claimants, seasonally adjusted
June 1980June 1981June 1982June 1983June 1984June 1985June 1986June 1987
South East260,700491,000593,100669,600707,300746,400780,100682,100
East Anglia31,40055,80064,40072,10073,20078,20082,30073,000
South West85,300137,900156,100173,900182,800195,500203,600179,300
West Midlands135,000264,900302,200332,000327,900333,700337,300302,400
East Midlands78,500139,700155,200176,200184,100193,600197,400182,900
Yorkshire and Humberside123,800213,300240,800266,100273,300287,100305,100282,100
North West203,500324,300373,800409,700418,700430,400438,600399,500
North117,200170,400189,800209,100218,700224,700226,400210,400
Wales84,200132,400146,800158,700162,700172,200175,000154,100
Scotland177,700256,400283,800308,200317,600332,700340,900333,800
England1,035,4001,797,0002,075,7002,309,0002,386,0002,489,8002,570,8002,311,700
United Kingdom1,359,1002,275,4002,605,8002,884,2002,978,6003,109,3003,212,5002,925,200
Unfilled vacancies, seasonally adjusted
June 1980June 1981June 1982June 1983June 1984June 1985June 1986June 1987
South East62,10029,80041,70050,98060,17064,38067,81087,470
East Anglia4,8002,9004,1004,3205,5505,9505,9907,900
South West10,5005,10010,50012,83013,35015,45018,66020,380
West Midlands7,2004,4008,1009,42010,83012,25014,95020,880
East Midlands7,6005,1007,2007,8007,8509,2809,99012,580
Yorkshire and Humberside7,7004,6007,3008,2008,1208,79011,25015,640
North West10,2006,6009,70013,42014,92015,71018,88024,640
North5,6003,4005,0005,9606,7007,9009,23012,130
Wales5,8004,5005,8006,6507,6007,8409,27011,750
Scotland15,6009,90012,80016,38014,31014,30016,87018,210
England115,80061,90093,500112,280127,270139,790156,870201,720
United Kingdom138,30076,900112,900136,510150,760163,620184,970233,660

Retail Prices Index

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest level of the retail prices index.

The November monthly figure for the retail prices index shows that there has been a welcome fall in the annual rate of inflation to 4·1 per cent. It has, however, been discovered that from February 1986 to October 1987 a computer programme error affected the monthly index. As a result, the annual inflation rate will have been understated by one tenth of 1 per cent. in most months during that period.Each month 130,000 prices, covering many categories of expenditure, are collected and analysed in a complex set of calculations. Following a decision in March 1983 the index has since February 1986 been calculated by computerised methods. Monitoring of the system has revealed that during the programming work in 1985 a mistake was made in the detailed calculations for certain items.From February 1986 until January 1987 there was a regular understatement of about 0·06 per cent. in the price change in each month relative to the base month, which was January 1986. From February 1987, as the faulty programme was applied to a wider range of items, the understatement relative to January 1987 was about 0·09 per cent.The programming fault has now been rectified, and the annual inflation rate of 4·1 per cent. for November is correct. The figure for the November level of the index is also correct at 103·4. It has not, however, been possible in the time available to calculate the figures for the many detailed components. These will be published in the course of next week.The RPI will have been understated, albeit by a numerically small margin, for up to 21 months. I wish, however, to make it plain now that special extra payments will be made to national insurance retirement and supplementary pensioners and severely disabled people, and that the Exchequer will not benefit from the effects on social security expenditure. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services will make an announcement on this as soon as possible.We believe that the computerised calculation system is now wholly correct. In view of the RPI's importance, however, I am asking the head of the Government statistical service to carry out a review of it.

Transport

National Bus Company

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those subsidiaries of the National Bus Company which have been sold off at less than their 1986 book values; by how much the price paid for those companies fell short of the book values; and whether he will give the reasons for the difference.

Information on sale prices of National Bus Company subsidiaries is confidential while sales are in progress. A report will be made to the House in due course on the aggregate proceeds of sale.

Railways (Scottish Region)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if when he next meets the chairman of British Rail he will raise with him the closure of the signal and telecommunication design drawing office, Scottish region; and if he will make a statement;(2) what assessment he has made of the employment implications for the area affected by the closure of British Rail's signals and telecommunications design drawing office, Scottish region; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that the British Railways Board has been reviewing its signal and telecommunications engineering activities. This review and any employment implications are management matters for the board.

Motor Cyclists (Accidents)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents to motor cyclists have been caused by motor car drivers for each year since 1979.

The Government's road accident statistics do not apportion blame. Statistics of injury accidents involving a car and a motor cycle—which represent 55 per cent. of all accidents involving a motor cycle — do, however, distinguish the main types of manoeuvre being undertaken. Information on cases in which the car turned right into the path of the motor cycle is as follows:

YearNumber of car-motor cycle injury accidentsNumber of such accidents in which car turned right into the path of the motor cycle
Percentage
198435,44714,42241
198531,89312,93741
198630,10612,40741

Speeding

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to prevent motor cycles and motor cars being equipped to break the speeding restrictions.

There are no plans to do so.The performance capability of modern cars and motor cycles sold here tends to reflect consumer preferences and driving conditions generally throughout Europe. It cannot be tailored to speed limits in the United Kingdom.

Preston (Traffic)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he is now able to release the consultant's report into the traffic to the south of Preston in Lancashire; and if he will make a statement.

No. It is not our practice to publish reports of traffic studies because they are necessarily broad-brush, and publication would inevitably lead to blight. I will comment further when replying to my hon. Friend's recent letter about the proposed Blackburn southern bypass.

Public Transport (Government Assistance)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of all Government assistance to (a) British Rail's Network South-East and (b) London Regional Transport in the last year for which figures are available.

In 1986–87, NSE received £195 million in PSO grant, and LRT £295 million, a subsidy of 2·43p and 4·48p per passenger mile respectively. This compares with last year's subsidy of £489 million to the provincial sector (including ScotRail) and the PTEs—a subsidy of 15·9p per passenger mile.

Libel (London Regional Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will issue a direction to the chairman of London Regional Transport that no London Regional Transport moneys be spent pursuing any action against the London Evening Standard for libel.

National Finance

Company Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total tax revenue raised in the last financial year from companies under the small companies rate (a) on profits below £100,000 and (b) on profits between £100,000 and £500,000; and, in the latter case, what was the average rate.

The corporation tax revenue raised under the small companies' rate in 1985–86 (the latest year for which adequate detailed data are available) is estimated at£¾ billion on taxable profits below £100,000 and £¼ billion on taxable profits between £100,000 and £500,000. The average rate for the latter group is 35 per cent.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost of (a) increasing the inheritance tax business property relief to 100 per cent. arid (b) extending the relief to holdings in excess of 10 per cent.

(a) The cost of increasing the inheritance tax business relief to 100 per cent. is estimated at £20 million in the full year.

(b) The cost of extending the present 50 per cent. relief to unquoted company shareholdings in excess of 10 per cent. is estimated at £1 million in the full year.

Vat Refunds

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discretion retailers in the United Kingdom have in offering value added tax refund facilities for foreign visitors; and if he will make a statement.

In common with all other member states of the European Community, the United Kingdom provides a retail export scheme which allows retailers to offer value added tax refunds to foreign visitors. Individual retailers may choose whether or not to operate the scheme.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for the last financial year the value added tax refunded to (a) each county council, (b) each district council, (c) the British Broadcasting Corporation, (d) Independent Television News Ltd., (e) each cooperative wholesale society, and (f) each co-operative retail society under section 20 of the Value Added Tax Act 1983.

Information relating to specific taxpayers is confidential. However some £1·2 billion was repaid under section 20 of the Value Added Tax Act 1983 to local government bodies, including 475 county and district councils. Neither wholesale nor retail co-operative societies are eligible for repayments under section 20.

Order Papers (Printing)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measurements he has made of the efficiency of the printing service, since the introduction of computer typesetting for producing House of Commons Order Papers by Her Majesty's Stationery Office; and if he will make a statement.

Since production of the Order Papers began at the new parliamentary press in October, copies of these papers have been delivered to the Vote Office in the early part of each morning. A printed version was not available on only one occasion before the House sat and then arrangements were made to provide the House with copies in an alternative form.Her Majesty's Stationery Office together with House officials is continually monitoring the effectiveness of the computer typesetting of the Order Papers.

Tobacco Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of revenue from tobacco taxation is derived (a) from areas where unemployment exceeds 13 per cent. and (b) from areas where unemployment is less than 8 per cent.

Bp Shares

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to extend the final date of the Bank of England buy-back offer for BP shares.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) on 7 December 1987 at column 71.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who will be responsible for financing the second and third instalments of BP shares bought back by the Bank of England.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 9 November at column 65.

Asset Sales

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for each three years from 1988–89 his proposed asset sales.

No decisions have yet been taken about the timing of individual privatisations over the next three years. Decisions on timing of other asset sales are not held centrally.

Corrugated Board Manufacturers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has made to other European Economic Community Governments about problems facing corrugated board manufacturers in the United Kingdom concerning alleged under payment of customs duties; and what information he has as to whether similar manufacturers in Germany, Holland, France and Italy are being treated in the same way.

The circumstances involving alleged underpayments of anti-dumping duty on kraftliner paper imported from the United States of America by corrugated board manufacturers have been discussed at Community meetings in Brussels. I understand that investigations have been carried out in the other member states mentioned and a number of irregularities reported.

Economic And Finance Council

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the latest meeting of the European Community's Economic and Finance Council.

The ECOFIN Council met in Brussels on 7 December. I represented the United Kingdom. The Council discussed the Commission's annual economic report for 1987–88. The report was agreed as amended by the Commission in the light of discussion with member states.The chairman of the Economic Policy Committee gave an interim report on the committee's economic evaluation of the Commission's proposals for the abolition of fiscal frontiers. It was agreed that the committee should produce a full report, which is expected in March 1988.The Council discussed the draft 18th VAT directive, but no agreement was reached. The Council agreed to continue work on a draft directive dealing with the prospctus to be published when transferable securities are offered to the public.

Income Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a note explaining the circumstances in which distributions by companies other than in the form of cash or shares are subject to income tax; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: The Taxes Act provides that, in addition to dividends and certain issues of shares and securities, any other distribution out of the assets of the company in respect of shares in the company falls within schedule F of the income tax code. The company has to account for advance corporation tax on the value of the distribution, and the sum of that value plus the advance corporation tax is income of the shareholder.The recipient is entitled to a tax credit equal to the advance corporation tax, and this covers his basic rate income tax liability. A distribution is treated as provided out of the assets of a company if the cost falls on the company. If the cost falls on a direct 90 per cent. subsidiary of the company, a distribution is treated as made by the subsidiary. The legislation provides that "in respect of shares" covers anything done in pursuance of a right granted or offer made in respect of a share.The Taxes Act also contains a supplementary rule that can apply where a company transfers assets to, or takes over, liabilities of a member or members. If the market value of the benefit received by the member exceeds the consideration that he pays, the company is treated as making a distribution equal to the difference. There are also special rules covering the provision of benefits or facilities to members of a close company.

Company Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions the Inland Revenue have subjected distributions by companies other than in the form of cash or shares, as taxable under section 233 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: This information is not available centrally.

Share Options

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the number of share option schemes approved in each of the tax years since the inception of the legislation.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: The figures are as follows:

Number of schemes approved
FA 1980 SAYE schemesFA 1984 schemes
In yearCumulative totalIn yearCumulative total
1980–812222
1981–82115137
1982–8378215
1983–8473288
1984–85115403202202
1985–861115141,2511,453
1986–871046187512,204
1987–881706884952,699
1 To date.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the aggregate number and price of options granted in each of the tax years since the inception of the scheme.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: Estimates for each year are as follows:

FA 1980 SAYE schemesFA 1984 schemes
Number of optantsCost of taking up optionsNumber of optantsCost of taking up options
Thousands£ millionThousands£ million
1980–811118
1981–8289151
1982–8395175
1983–84105185

FA 1980 SAYE schemes

FA 1984 schemes

Number of optants

Cost of taking up options

Number of optants

Cost of taking up options

Thousands

£ million

Thousands

£ million

1984–8522556050800
1985–8620046050750
1986–8727050045900

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give, for each tax year since the inception of the share option scheme, for each of the schemes granted (a) the number of shares which were the subject of options and (b) the aggregate price payable for these options for (i) all companies, (ii) companies which are quoted and (iii) companies which are unquoted.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: Estimates for each year are as follows:

FA 1980 SAYE schemesFA 1984 schemes
Number of shares over which options were grantedCost of taking up optionsNumber of shares over which options were grantedCost of taking up options
Million£ millionMillion£ million
1980–81118
1981–821151
1982–83100175
1983–84100185
1984–85250560420800
1985–86160460380750
1986–87230500460900
1 Figures not readily available.
An analysis by company type is not available.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give, for the current tax year (a) the number and value of options that have been exercised and (b) the current market value of unexercised options in quoted companies.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: Figures for 1987–88 are not yet available. Estimates for the previous year relating to share option schemes approved under the legislation shown are as follows:

Finance ActNumber of optants exercising options in 1986–87 ('000)Number of shares: options exercised in 1986–87 (million)Value of shares obtained through the exercise of options in 1986–87 (£ million)
19805560165
1984na45280
1 Amount paid for acquisition of shares.
2 1986–87 value of options exercised.
The value of unexercised options over shares in quoted companies is not readily available.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Food Labelling

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement regarding the Government's guidelines on voluntary nutrition labelling.

The Government's guidelines for a voluntary system of nutrition labelling were issued on 24 July 1987. They were introduced as a result of interest in nutrition labelling, both on the part of consumers and the food industry. They aim to encourage a standard approach to nutrition labelling which is clearly important for consumer information and choice. I hope that the relevant trade organisations will commend the guidelines to their members so that maximum uptake by the industry is achieved.

Edinburgh (Ministerial Visit)

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his recent visit to Edinburgh to meet representatives of the farming industry in Scotland.

On my recent visit to Edinburgh I had useful discussions with people involved in the farming industry in Scotland on a wide range of matters affecting the industry.

Refrigerants

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is taking measures to encourage research into alternative refrigerants; and if he will make a statement.

We are responsible only for those refrigerants that come into direct contact with food. I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to chlorofluorocarbons and the only member of that class used in direct contact with food is dichlorodifluoromethane (R12). It is used only for a very small amount of frozen foods and its use is decreasing since acceptable alternative direct contact refrigerant systems are available. Therefore, I see no need to embark on a programme of research to identify new agents.

Agriculture Council

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Council of Agriculture Ministers' meeting on 10 December in Brussels; and if he will make a statement.Mr. MacGregor: The Council of Agriculture Ministers met in Brussels on 10 December. Among the matters discussed was a proposal for certain areas of the Netherlands, France and Greece to be recognised as officially free from classical swine fever. I agreed to this only after careful study of the evidence on the disease status of the areas concerned, and after seeking and receiving firm and specific assurances from each of the three countries that they are applying rigorous controls to ensure that this status will be maintained, and that they would take effective and immediate action in the event of any outbreak.The Council formally adopted the regulation on distribution of free food from intervention stocks. I am now considering its implications in close consultation with the main charitable organisations. The Council agreed on the allocation between member states of the GATT quota for frozen beef, and on quotas for high quality beef and buffalo meat, for 1988. These quotas can therefore be opened promptly, to the benefit of the trade. A new system of classification for rice was also agreed.

Bees Officers

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of bees officers employed by his Department each year from 1981.

[holding answer 10 December 1987]: The information is as follows:

Bees officers employed in England 1981–87
Number
198166
198268
198365
198464
198568
198664
198761

Social Services

Income Support

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the number of claimants aged 60 years or over who will become eligible for income support as a result of the increase in the capital limit to £3,000.

The capital limit for income support is to be increased from £3,000 to £6,000. It is estimated that 10,000 people aged over 60 will receive income support as a result of this increase.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest estimate of the number of claimants of income support who will be entitled to (i) the pensioner premium, (ii) the higher pensioner premium and (iii) the severe disability premium.

The information is as follows:

Number
(i) Pensioner premium1,120,000
(ii) Higher pensioner premium595,000
(iii) Severe disability premium7,000

Community Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services under which part of his terms of reference Sir Roy Griffiths will incorporate consideration of funding provision for emergency alarm systems in dispersed housing in his review of community care.

Sir Roy's terms of reference include reviewing the way in which public funds are used to support community care policy. Any use of public funds which relates to community care could therefore be considered within his terms of reference.

Christmas Bonus

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will ensure that those pensioners who last received their pensions by payable order on a date prior to 7 December can receive their £10 Christmas bonus before 18 December.

The Christmas bonus will be sent to all pensioners paid in arrears by payable order before Christmas, and the great majority of pensioners will have received it by 18 December.

Additional Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to encourage individuals to build up additional pensions.

From 1 July 1988 it will be possible to contract-out of the state earnings-related pension scheme through a personal pension from a scheme approved by the Occupational Pensions Board. Personal pensions will attract minimum contributions paid by the Department. These will be made up of a partial rebate of national insurance contributions and, until April 1993, a special incentive payment. In most cases the payments by the Department will include tax relief of the employee's share of the minimum contribution. People taking out a personal pension before 6 April 1989 will be able to backdate membership to 6 April 1987 and claim an extra year's minimum contributions, including the incentive.

Grade titleSalary scales (effective from 1 April 1987)
0001020304050607080910
Junior Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer A13,67623,95134,33344,68555,23765,4695,5445,653
Junior Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer B24,20934,57244,89955,46965,6925,7575,867
Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer6,6866,9367,4817,6277,8388,0688,3428,6448,8989,1469,435
Senior Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer8,7639,0249,3169,6179,89510,08610,32510,61110,89511,18111,577
Chief Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer10,91211,13111,42711,70211,97812,26812,663
Senior Chief Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer12,26812,78813,16513,57313,94414,41714,963
Principal Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer14,96316,32117,201
1 Age 16.
2 Age 17.
3 Age 18.
4 Age 19.
5 Age 20.
6 Age 21 and over.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of medical laboratory scientific officers entering the public health laboratory service leave after (a) one year, (b) two years, (c) five years and, (d) 10 years.

This information is not recorded on a routine basis. The public health laboratory service estimates that 15 per cent. of medical laboratory scientific officers have left the service in the last year.

Agency Nurses

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give, by region and for each year since 1983, the numbers of agency nurses employed for National Health Service work, including the latest available figures.

Medical Laboratory Scientific Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average level of qualifications of medical laboratory scientific officers working in the public health laboratory service.

This information is not recorded. Registration in the basic medical laboratory scientific officer grade is on the basis of a Higher National Certificate or equivalent qualification plus prescribed in-service training. Further qualifications and experience may well be required for appointment to more senior medical laboratory scientific officer posts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the pay scale of medical laboratory scientific officers working in the public health laboratory service.

The current pay scales for medical laboratory scientific officers working in the public health laboratory service are as follows:

National Health Service nursing and midwifery agency staff in post by Regional Health Authority at 30 September
Whole time equivalents1
Region1983198419851986
Northern340
Yorkshire334090
Trent
East Anglian40110160180
North West Thames6208501,0801,360
North East Thames6009808501,400
South East Thames480770820860
South West Thames380480520620
Wessex4060100120
Oxford3104090
South Western3104040
West Midlands10100100170
Mersey20604080
North Western20
BG/SHA's240310320380
England22,4403,7504,1205,450
1 Figures are independently rounded to nearest ten (10) whole-time equivalent.
2 Includes agency staff in Regional and Special Health Authorities.

3 Insignificant when rounded.

— Nil.

Note: Due to rounding the total may not be equal to the sum of the constituent parts.

Source: DHSS Annual Census of NHS Non-Medical Manpower.

Births

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the stillbirth, neonatal and postneonatal mortality rates for singleton babies with birthweights under 1,000 grammes, 1,000 to 2,499 grammes, 2,500 grammes and over, and those with unstated birthweights, who were born in England and Wales in 1985 and in 1986 (a) by caesarean section, (b) by instrumental delivery, including forceps, ventouse and breech extraction and (c) by spontaneous delivery, including abnormal presentation of the head and breech spontaneous delivery.

I regret that the information requested is not available. The registration of births (live and still) does not identify the mode of delivery.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the numbers of babies born, the numbers admitted to special care baby units and their average length of stay for (i) singleton and (ii) multiple deliveries in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years.

The available information is given in the table. Figures for singleton and multiple deliveries are not available separately. Information for Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

In-patient cases treated and average length of stay in special care baby units, and live births, England 1977–1986
YearCases treated in special care baby unitsAverage length of stay (days) in special care baby unitsAll Live Births
1977102,7858·0536,953
197897,8038·2562,589
197993,7428·4601,316
198089,2778·6618,371
198184,0618·9598,163
198276,2799·5589,711
198371,18410·0593,255
198468,77710·5600,573
198568,63410·8619,301
198666,72511·0623,609

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give the stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates for babies born in 1986 in England and Wales to women who delivered at home and (a) had booked to deliver at home, (b) had booked to deliver in hospital or (c) had made no arrangements for their delivery;(2) if he will give the stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates for babies born in 1986 in England and Wales to women who were originally booked to deliver at home and who

(a) delivered at home as planned, (b) delivered in hospital following a change of booking during pregnancy, (c) delivered in hospital following a decision taken during labour or (d) delivered elsewhere.

I regret that this information is not available. Information for Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Neasden Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to collect centrally information relating to the date when nurses and medicine staff were transferred against their wishes from their homes at Neasden hospital; how many units of residence remain empty; what are the numbers that have been occupied by homeless families on a short-term tenancy by arrangement with the London borough of Brent; and if he will make a statement.

I regret that this information is not held centrally. The hon. Member may like to consult the chairman of Brent health authority.

Aids

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about funding for the London Lighthouse project and hospices and community care facilities for AIDS patients.

For the financial year 1987–88, the Government have approved payments of £500,000 for capital and £100,000 revenue costs for London Lighthouse, £150,000 for capital and £50,000 revenue costs to the Mildmay Mission hospital and £88,000 for capital costs to the Newcastle community support centre. The Department is currently considering applications for further funding from London Lighthouse and the Mildmay Mission hospital. The Government attach great importance to the role that the voluntary sector has to play in collaborating with the statutory authorities in providing support including respite care for people with AIDS.

Regional Health Authorities (Expenditure)

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest estimated outturn of expenditure by regional health authorities in England on hospital and community health services for 1986–87.

Following are the provisional figures for 1986–87:

Total expenditure on hospital and community health services1
Region£ million
Northern717·3
Yorkshire818·1
Trent992·0
East Anglian422·0
North West Thames844·3
North East Thames1,052·0
South East Thames933·6
South West Thames704·2
Wessex620·2
Oxford467·3
South Western718·4
West Midlands1,165·0
Mersey591·3
North Western988·0
Total11,033·7

1 Includes revenue and capital expenditure on hospital, community health, ambulance, blood transfusion and other services.

Source: Annual financial accounts of regional and district health authorities (as yet unaudited).

Voluntary Carers

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to make further funds available for voluntary carers groups; and if he will make a statement.

In 1987–88 we are providing funds from our section 64 grant scheme totalling £171,000 for national voluntary organisations directly concerned with carers. Decisions on funding levels for 1988–89 have not yet been taken.

Health Authorities (Consultations)

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what information he has as to any cases where procedures governing consultations between district health authorities and community health councils have not been adhered to;(2) what are the procedures governing consultations between district health authorities and community health councils.

Components of net weekly spending power for pensioners receiving housing benefit, and where eligible on income grounds, housing benefit supplement
Table 1: November 1985, Rent £15·00, Rates £7·00
Gross incomeTaxRentRent rebateRatesRate rebatesNet income after housing costsSupplementary pension (SP)Housing benefit supplement (HBS)Disposable income with SP or HBS
Single Pensioner
38·300·0015·0015·007·007·0038·303·020·0041·32
43·300·0015·0011·637·005·2538·180·003·1441·32
48·300·0015·009·137·004·2539·680·001·6441·32
53·300·4715·007·627·003·5842·030·000·0042·03
58·301·9715·006·177·002·9343·430·000·0043·43
68·304·9715·003·277·001·6346·230·000·0046·23
78·307·9715·00nil7·00nil148·330·000·0048·33
88·3010·9715·00nil7·00nil55·330·000·0055·33
138·3025·9715·00nil7·00nil90·330·000·0090·33
Pensioner Couple
61·300·0015·0015·007·007·0061·302·520·0063·82
66·300·0015·0011·387·005·1560·830·002·9963·82
71·300·0015·008·937·004·1762·400·001·4263·82
76·300·0015·007·487·003·5265·300·000·0065·30
81·300·0015·006·037·002·8768·200·000·0068·20
91·302·8415·003·137·001·5771·160·000·0071·16
101·305·8415·00nil7·00nil173·460·000·0073·46
111·308·8415·00nil7·00nil80·460·000·0080·46
161·3023·8415·00nil7·00nil115·460·000·00115·46
Table 2: November 1985, Rent £30·00, Rates £10·00
Gross incomeTaxRentRent rebateRatesRate rebatesNet income after housing costsSupplementary pension (SP)Housing benefit supplement (HBS)Disposable income with SP or HBS
Single Pensioner
38·300·0030·0030·0010·0010·0038·303·020·0041·32
43·300·0030·0020·6310·007·0530·980·0010·3441·32
48·300·0030·0018·1310·006·0532·480·008·8441·32
53·300·4730·0016·6210·005·3834·830·006·4941·32
58·301·9730·0015·1710·004·7336·230·005·0941·32
68·304·9730·0012·2710·003·4339·030·002·2941·32
78·307·9730·009·3710·002·1341·830·000·0041·83

We encourage consultation between district health authorities and community health councils on a variety of topics. Formal consultation is required when a closure or change of use of a hospital building is proposed. We are not aware of cases where procedures governing consultations between district health authorities and community health councils have not been followed. If the hon. Member is aware of any such instances. I will be happy to look into them.

Pensioners (Spending Power)

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services, if he will publish in the Official Report the information relating to net weekly spending power of pensioners at a range of levels of gross income provided to the hon. Member for Kensington by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on 20 November.

The information requested is shown in the tables. These show the net weekly spending power of a single pensioner and a pensioner couple paying (a) rent of £15 and rates of £7 per week and (b) rent of £30 and rates of £10 per week, under the current scheme at November 1985 benefit levels and November 1986 benefit levels, and under the reformed scheme to be implemented in April 1988 at the 1985 illustrative rates of benefit.

Gross income

Tax

Rent

Rent rebate

Rates

Rate rebates

Net income after housing costs

Supplementary pension (SP)

Housing benefit supplement (HBS)

Disposable income with SP or HBS

88·3010·9730·006·4710·000·8344·630·000·0044·63
138·3025·9730·00nil10·00nil72·330·000·0072·33

Pensioner Couple

61·300·0030·0030·0010·0010·0061·302·520·0063·82
66·300·0030·0020·3810·006·9553·630·0010·1963·82
71·300·0030·0017·9310·005·9755·200·008·6263·82
76·300·0030·0016·4810·005·3258·100·005·7263·82
81·300·0030·0015·0310·004·6761·000·002·8263·82
91·302·8430·0012·1310·003·3763·960·000·0063·96
101·305·8430·009·2310·002·0766·760·000·0066·76
111·308·8430·006·3310·000·7769·560·000·0069·56
161·3023·8430·00nil10·00nil97·460·000·0097·46

Table 3: November 1986, Rent £15·00, Rates £7·00

Gross income

Tax

Rent

Rent rebate

Rates

Rate rebates

Net income after housing costs

Supplementary pension (SP)

Housing benefit supplement (HBS)

Disposable income with SP or HBS

Single pensioner

38·700·0015·0015·007·007·0038·703·410·0042·11
43·700·0015·0011·637·005·2538·580·003·5342·11
48·700·0015·009·137·004·2540·080·002·0342·11
53·700·0015·007·627·003·5842·900·000·0042·90
58·701·1315·006·177·002·9344·670·000·0044·67
68·704·0315·003·277·001·6347·570·000·0047·57
78·706·9315·00

1

7·00

1nil

49·770·000·0049·77
88·709·8315·00nil7·00nil56·870·000·0056·87
138·7024·3315·00nil7·00nil92·370·000·0092 37

Pensioner couple

61·950·0015·0015·007·007·0061·953·010·0064·96
66·950·0015·0011·387·005·1561·480·003·4864·96
71·950·0015·008·937·004·1763·050·001·9164·96
76·950·0015·007·487·003·5265·950·000·0065·95
81·950·0015·006·037·002·8768·850·000·0068·85
91·951·5415·003·137·001 5773·110·000·0073·11
101·954·4415·00nil7·00nil75·510·000·0075·51
111·957·3415·00nil7·00nil82·610·000·0082·61
161·9521·8415·00nil7·00nil118·110·000·00118·11

Table 4: November 1986, Rent £30·00, Rates £10·00

Gross income

Tax

Rent

Rent rebate

Rates

Rate rebates

Net income after housing costs

Supplementary pension (SP)

Housing benefit supplement (HBS)

Disposable income with SP or HBS

Single pensioner

38·700·0030·0030·0010·0010·0038·703·410·0042·11
43·700·0030·0020·6310·007·0531·380·0010·7342·11
48·700·0030·0018·1310·006·0532·880·009·2342·11
53·700·0030·0016·6210·005·3835·700·006·4142·11
58·701·1330·0015·1710·004·7337·470·004·6442·11
68·704·0330·0012·2710·003·4340·370·001·7442 11
78·706·9330·009·3710·002·1343·270·000·0043·27
88·709·8330·006·4710·000·8346·170·000·0046·17
138·7024·3330·00nil10·00nil74·370·000·0074·37

Pensioner couple

61·950·0030·0030·0010·0010·0061·953·010·0064·96
66·950·0030·0020·3810·006·9554·280·0010·6864·96
71·950·0030·0017·9310·005·9755·850·009·1164·96
76·950·0030·0016·4810·005·3258·750·006·2164·96
81·950·0030·0015·0310·004·6761·650·003·3164·96
91·951·5430·0012·1310·003·3765·910·000·0065·91
101·954·4430·009·2310·002·0768·810·000·0068·81
111·957·3430·006·3310·000·7771·710·000·0071·71
161·9521·8430·00nil10·00nil10·0110·000·00100·11

Notes for tables 1 to 4:

1. The November 1985 retirement pensions, housing benefit needs allowances and supplementary pension scale rates have been used for tables 1 and 2, and the July 1986 levels for tables 3 and 4.

2. The 1985–86 age allowances and tax rates have been used for tables 1 and 2, and the 1986–87 allowances and rates for tables 3 and 4.

3. Supplementary pension and housing benefit supplement have been calculated on the basis that the single pensioner is aged at least 65 but under 80, and in the case of the pensioner couple, at least one is aged 65 and both are under 80. The long-term supplementary benefit scale rates for November 1985 are £37·50 for a single pensioner, and £60·00 for a pensioner couple: the July 1986 rates are £37·90 and £60·75 respectively. For the purposes of calculating to total supplementary pension entitlement in these tables it is assumed that the assessment includes £1·40 for water rates (the figure used in the technical annex to the White Paper ("Reform of Social Security") and also in all cases the average additional requirement for pensioners: this, net of the available scale margin, is £2·42 for November 1985 and £2·81 for July 1986.

4. Income is assumed to unearned and without disregard throughout and capital is assumed to be below £3,000.

5. The minimum rent or rate rebate is 50p per week (noted as "nil'" in the tables where this rule has been applied).

Illustrate figures showing components of net spending power for pensioners receiving housing under the revised scheme to be implemented in 1988, at November 1985 benefit levels (Rent taper 60 per cent., rates taper 20 per cent.)

Table 5: November 1985, Rent £15·00, Rates £7·00

Gross Income

Tax

Rent

Rent Rebate

Rates

Rate Rebate

Disposal Income

Single Pensioner

40·600·0015·0015·007·005·6039·20
43·300·0015·0013·387·005·0639·74
48·300·0015·0010·387·004·0640·74
53·300·4715·007·667·003·1541·65
58·301·9715·005·567·002·4542·35
68·304·9715·001·367·001·0543·75
78·307·9715·000·007·0000048·33
88·3010·9715·000·007·000·0055·33
138·3025·9715·000·007·000·0090·33

Pensioner Couple

63·250·0015·0015·007·005·6061·85
66·300·0015·0013·177·004·9962·46
71·300·0015·0010·177·003·9963·46
76·300·0015·007·177·002·9964·46
81·300·0015·004·170·001·9965·46
91·302·8415·000·007·000·5667·02
101·305·8415·000·007·000·0073·46
111·308·8415·000·007·000·0080·46
161·3023·8415·000·007·000·00115·46

Table 6: November 1985, Rent £30·00, Rates £10·00

Gross Income

Tax

Rent

Rent Rebate

Rates

Rate Rebate

Disposable Income

Single Pensioner

40·600·0030·0030·0010·008·0038·60
43·300·0030·0028·3810·007·4639·14
48·300·0030·0025·3810·006·4640·14
53·300·4730·0022·6610·005·5541·05
58·301·9730·0020·5610·004·8541·75
68·304·9730·0016·3610·003·4543·15
78·307·9730·0012·1610·002·0544·55
88·3010·9730·007·9610·000·6545·95
138·3025·9730·000·0010·000·0072·33

Pensioner Couple

63·250·0030·0030·0010·008·0061·25
66·300·0030·0028·1710·007·3961·86
71·300·0030·0025·1710·006·3962·86
76·300·0030·0022·1710·005·3963·86
81·300·0030·0019·1710·004·3964·86
91·302·8430·0014·8710·002·9666·29
101·305·8430·0010·6710·001·5667·69
111·308·8430·006·4710·00nil*68·93
161·3023·8430·000·0010000·0097·46

Notes to Tables 5 and 6:

1. Retirement pensions are at November 1985 basic rates. However, the first line in each part of the tables shows the gross income of a pensioner whose retirement pension has been topped up to the income support level.

2. Housing benefit levels and tapers and income support rates are at November 1985 levels as set out in the technical annex to the White Paper "Reform of Social Security" (Cmnd. 9691). The pensioners are assumed in all cases to be aged under 80: under the reformed schemes, pensioners over 80 would have a higher disposable income (in most of the shown cases, £1·80 higher for a single person and £1·76 for a couple on the basis of the illustrative assumptions).

3. Tax allowances and rates are those in force for 1985–86.

4. Income is assumed to be unearned and without disregard throughout and capital is assumed to be below £3,000.

5. The 20 per cent. minimum contribution to domestic rates has been applied, but the effect of compensation for this element is not shown.

6. The minimum rent rebate or rate rebate payable is 50p per week (noted as "nil*" in the tables where this rule has been applied).

7. Under income support, unlike supplementary benefit, separate help with water rates will not be available; this should be borne in mind when comparing the disposable incomes under the old and the new schemes. The tables also take no account of transitional protection for those receiving supplementary benefit at the changeover.

National Insurance Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he has any plans to make changes in the Treasury contribution to the national insurance fund;(2) what is the proposed Treasury contribution in cash and as a proportion of total income to the national insurance fund for 1987–88 and for each financial year until 1991.

The Treasury supplement which in the current year is 7 per cent. of gross contributions, yields about £2—1 billion and represents nearly 8 per cent. of the national insurance fund's income. It will be 5 per cent. of gross contributions in 1988–89. Estimates of what this will yield in 1988–89 will be given in the Government Actuary's report on the national insurance contributions rerating orders, which will be published when the orders are laid before Parliament in the new year. Decisions on the size of the supplement after 1988–89 have not yet been taken.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the investment income of the national insurance fund for each year since 1979; and what is his estimate for each year to 1990.

The information is as follows:

Investment income of the National Insurance Fund
£ million
1979–80541·6
1980–81607·5
1981–82587·6
1982–83496·3
1983–84489·7
1984–85520·5
1985–86541·0
1986–87610·3
1987–88625·0
Figures for years up to 1986–87 have been derived from the annual accounts of the national insurance fund, the figure for 1987–88 is an estimate based on current trends. Estimates of investment income in 1988–89 will be given in the Government Actuary's report on the national insurance contributions rerating orders which will be published when the orders are laid before Parliament in the new year. Estimates of the fund's investment income are not available for years after 1988–89.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list those items of expenditure for the national insurance fund which existed in 1979 and which have ceased to exist or been reduced since that date.

The following items of expenditure from the National Insurance Fund have ceased to exist:

  • Earnings-related supplement to short-term benefits.
  • Child dependency addition to short-term benefits.
  • Injury benefit.
  • Death grant.
  • Maternity grant.

Supplementary Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the number of supplementary benefits claimants (a) on the long-term rate and (b) on the long-term rate and receiving £6·50 a week or more in additional requirement payments.

  • (a) 2,530,000 claimants
  • (b) 214,000 claimants
  • Source: Annual Statistical Inquiry, February 1986.

    Cancer (Children)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the outcome of consultations with professional bodies on the report by the United Kingdom children's cancer study group.

    [holding answer 10 December 1987]: The report of the United Kingdom children's cancer study group is receiving careful consideration in consultation with a number of interested groups. The Department's Standing Medical Advisory Committee is expected to give its views at its next meeting in late January.

    Dental Reference Officers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the number of dental reference officers for the United Kingdom for the last five years.

    [holding answer 10 December 1987]: The number of dental officers in the dental reference service in England, at 31 December was:

    General ServiceSpecialist Orthodontic Officers
    (whole time equivalent)in post
    198221·22·0
    198319·43·0
    198421·73·0
    198519·73·0
    198622·22·5
    On the basis of available statistics, the whole-time equivalent number of general service officers in 1987 is projected to be in the region of 25 and there were 2·5 specialist orthodontic officers in post over the full year.Staff numbers in the reference services in other parts of the United Kingdom are matters for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Northern Ireland.

    Radiotherapy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has yet completed his review of the guidelines recommending centralisation of radiotherapy services; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 10 December 1987]: The Department's internal review of its guidance to health authorities on the organisation of radiotherapy services is nearing completion. An announcement will be made as soon as conclusions have been reached.

    Defence

    Tornado Aircraft (Operations Costs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the additional cost, over and above normal operating costs of Tornado squadrons in the United Kingdom and West Germany, of deploying and operating nine Royal Air Force Tornado aircraft at Goose Bay, Canada, from February to November 1987, including the costs of transporting crews to and from Canada.

    The additional cost of deploying Tornado aircraft to Goose Bay from February to November 1987, over and above normal operating costs, is estimated at £7,457,000.

    Exercises

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the low-flying avoidance area over the Isle of Man was temporarily suspended to permit low-level overflight by Royal Air Force Hercules transport aircraft participating in exercise Purple Warrior.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list Royal Air Force participation in Red Flag exercises in the United States of America since 1977, giving the number and type of Royal Air Force aircraft involved and dates of the exercises on each occasion.

    The information requested is as follows:

    Royal Air Force participation in Red Flag exercises
    DateAircraft involved
    19771
    18 August to 12 September9 Buccaneer
    August to September4 Vulcan
    19781
    21 October to 18 November9 Buccaneer
    9 Jaguar
    19801
    26 January to 9 February9 Jaguar
    9 February to 23 February9 Jaguar
    19811
    10 January to 22 January8 Jaguar
    18 January to 30 January9 Tornado
    2 Jaguar
    30 January to 13 February9 Jaguar
    15 October to 29 November9 Buccaneer
    19831
    9 January to 21 January9 Jaguar
    2 Hercules
    19 January to 18 February2 Buccaneer
    24 January to 4 February9 Jaguar
    8 Buccaneer
    6 February to 18 February9 Jaguar
    1984
    7 January to 21 January9 Jaguar
    2 Buccaneer
    21 January to 4 February9 Jaguar
    3 February to 17 February9 Jaguar
    1985
    5 January to 16 February8 Jaguar
    2 Hercules
    17 January to 3 February9 Jaguar
    1986
    21 October to 7 November9 Tornado
    2 Hercules
    8 November to 22 November9 Tornado
    1987
    20 October to 7 November9 Tornado
    8 Phantom
    7 November to 21 November2 Hercules
    7 November to 25 November9 Tornado
    8 Phantom

    1 Precise central records not available for the period before 1984 although details given are thought to be broadly accurate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list Royal Air Force participation in Green Flag exercises in the United States of America since 19777, giving the number and type of Royal Air Force aircraft involved and dates of the exercise on each occasion.

    The information requested is as follows:

    RAF Participation in Green Flag Exercises
    DateAircraft Involved
    1985
    4 March—15 March9 Tornado
    18 March—29 March8 Tornado
    1986
    1 March—15 March9 Tornado
    15 March—28 March9 Tornado
    29 March—12 April9 Tornado
    1987
    2 March—13 March9 Tornado
    11 March—28 March9 Tornado
    28 March—15 April9 Tornado

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list Royal Air Force participation in Blue Flag exercises in the United States of America since 1977, giving the number and type of Royal Air Force aircraft involved and dates of the exercise on each occasion.

    There has been no RAF participation in Blue Flag exercises in the United States of America.

    Nuclear Tests

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government will support any proposal that representatives of the Soviet Union be invited to monitor any future British nuclear tests at the Nevada test site.

    If such a proposal were to be made on a Government-to-Government basis we would give it full consideration taking account of the requirements of national security. I would also remind the hon. Gentleman of my reply to his earlier question which I answered on 1 December at column 568.

    Range Safety

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the final report of the range safety review working group.

    Mould Radio System

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress in installing the Mould radio system.

    Jaguar Aircraft

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which aircraft is expected to replace the Jaguar in the ground attack role.

    Current planning is that the European fighter aircraft (EFA) will replace Jaguar in the ground attack role.

    Low-Flying Aircraft

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force police, expressed as full-time equivalent staff, are currently assigned to investigation of complaints about low-flying aircraft; and what changes have taken place in these staffing levels since 1977.

    Fourteen RAF police plus one RAF provost branch officer are currently assigned to the investigation of complaints about low-flying aircraft. Detailed information is not available for the period prior to 1982, since when there has effectively been no change in these staffing levels.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy on 9 November, Official Report, columns 36–37, whether a low-level flight by several aircraft in formation is counted as one sortie in the figures given for overall numbers of low-level flights; and if he will make a statement.

    No. Each aircraft in a formation would book into the United Kingdom low-flying system separately.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy on 9 November, Official Report, column 38, if, in the light of recent accidents in the United States involving low-level flying by United States Air Force B-52s and KC-135s, he will institute a policy of maintaining records of low-level flights over Britain by these types of aircraft; and if he will make a statement.

    No. We see no need to maintain the sorts of records the hon. Member mentions for these aircraft. KC 135 aircraft do not fly at low level in the United Kingdom. There are no B-52 aircraft based in the United Kingdom, and, although they visit fairly regularly, any low flying would be infrequent.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many confirmed breaches of low-flying regulations in each year since 1974 were caused by aircraft diverging from planned route, height or speed due to weather conditions;(2) how many confirmed breaches of low-flying regulations in each year since 1974 were caused by technical failure or malfunction other than to navigation systems;(3) how many confirmed breaches of low-flying regulations in each year since 1974 were caused by aircraft diverging from planned route, height or speed for tactical or training reasons;(4) how many complaints about low-flying in each year since 1974 have upon investigation, been found to have involved breaches of low-flying regulations;(5) how many confirmed breaches of low-flying regulations in each year since 1974 were caused by navigation system failure or malfunction.

    The information requested cannot be provided without disproportionate effort.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low-level sorties were flown over the United Kingdom in the period 1 January to 31 October.

    Between 1 January and 31 October 1987 125,335 such sorties were flown over the United Kingdom.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints were received about low flying over the United Kingdom in the period 1 January to 31 October.

    Between 1 January and 31 October 1987 the Ministry of Defence received 4,794 complaints about military low flying.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the minimum height specified in the United Kingdom military low-flying handbook for overflight of the residential area of Balivanich, Benbecula.

    There is none because the residential area of Balivanich lies within the controlled airspace of Benbecula airport.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low-level flights were carried out over the Western Isles in each year since 1979.

    The Western Isles are part of a low-flying administrative area which also includes all of Scotland north of a line between the Forth and Clyde. Information on low-level flights for the Western Isles above is therefore not available.

    Chief Of Defence Equipment Collaboration

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why the post of chief of defence equipment collaboration is being allowed to lapse at the end of the current year; and what policy changes will follow from the abandonment of the post.

    As announced to the House on 19 December 1984, at columns 205–6, Sir David Perry was appointed chief of defence equipment collaboration so that he could give himself full time to promoting international collaboration in weapons procurement. Thanks to Sir David, international collaboration has now become an essential and critical part of our procurement strategy, and we have decided that its further pursuit can best be managed as part of our regular procurement work in the Ministry of Defence. It will therefore become part of the responsibilities of the Procurement Executive headed by the chief of defence procurment. No policy changes are involved in this adjustment; the United Kingdom remains fully committed to collaboration with allied nations in weapons procurement.Sir David Perry will retire on 31 December 1987, and I should like to pay tribute to his long career of public service, and to the distinction with which he discharged the duties of his final appointment.

    Tr Reconnaissance Aircraft

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have been held with the Lockheed company concerning the possible purchase of the TR-1 reconnaissance aircraft.

    Departmental Library Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current reorganisation of library services in his Department.

    As part of its move towards greater efficiency and more economic use of staff and book stock, the Ministry of Defence's central London libraries will be merged on one site which is presently being prepared at 3–5 Great Scotland Yard. The complex move is scheduled to take place in the autumn of 1988. At the same time the library is currently planning a modernisation of its system to allow for the introduction of more computerisation in this area.

    Stand-Off Weapon

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what decisions have been made on research and development of a British nuclear warhead to fit the NATO modular stand-off weapon.

    Harrier Aircraft (Training Detachment)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the purposes of, and lessons learned from, the three-day training detachment of five Royal Air Force Harrier aircraft at RAF Stornoway in May.

    Because of the temporary non-availability of normal mainland stations, these aircraft were detached to RAF Stornoway to enable them to carry out routine training. This was accomplished satisfactorily.

    St Kilda (Radar Installation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the additional NIDIR tracking radar being installed on St. Kilda is expected to become operational.

    The additional NIDIR tracking radar will be relocated from South Uist to St. Kilda in 1988 and is expected to become operational by autumn 1988.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the two new Plessey Watchman radars being installed on St. Kilda are expected to become operational.

    The two Plessey Watchman radars are expected to become operational on St. Kilda during the autumn of 1988.

    Military Aircraft (Stornoway)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what purpose military aircraft deployed to Royal Air Force Stornoway conduct run and break manoeuvres over built-up areas immediately prior to landing.