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Written Answers

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 17 December 1987

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 17 December 1987

Attorney-General

Licensed Conveyancers

To ask the Attorney-General whether Her Majesty's Government will accept and implement the recommendation in the first report of the ad hoc conveyancing committee chaired by Professor Julian Farrand which was submitted to the Lord Chancellor in September 1984 to the effect that the Council for Licensed Conveyancers should make periodical reports to the Lord Chancellor and to licensed conveyancers, notwithstanding that no such requirement was imposed by the Administration of Justice Act 1985.

No. This matter was carefully considered at the time and was discussed during the passage of the Administration of Justice Bill. There is no reason to depart from the conclusions which were reached then.

To ask the Attorney-General how many new licences were issued by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers with effect from 1 December to (a) persons then already in practice as non-solicitor conveyancers providing services directly to the public, (b) solicitors in professional practice as such, either as principals or as employees, (c) persons, not themselves solicitors, employed by solicitors in professional practice, (d) persons employed by local authorities or (e) others not in any of these categories.

As at 10 December 1987, the figures are (a) 34; (b) 1; (c) 81; (d) 10; (e) 13.

To ask the Attorney-General how many licensed conveyancers who are (a) in independent practice offering services directly to the public, (b) in professional practice as solicitors, either as principals or as employees, (c) not being solicitors, employed by solicitors in professional practice, (d) employed by local authorities or (e) not in any of those categories, have not renewed their licences for the period beginning 1 December.

As at 10 December 1987, the figures are (a) 2; (b) 8; (c) 8; (d) 0; (e) 1.

To ask the Attorney-General how many conveyancers now holding licences issued by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers are (a) in independent practice offering services directly to the public, (b) solicitors in professional practice as such, either as principals or as employees, (c) not being solicitors, employed by solicitors in professional practice, (d) employed by local authorities or (e) not in any of these categories.

As at 10 December 1987, the figures are (a) 107; (b) 21; (c) 175; (d) 26; (e) 28.

Conveyancing

To ask the Attorney-General what recommendations for action have been received by Her Majesty's Government from the Law Commission in consequence of the appointment by the Law Commission at the request of the then Lord Chancellor of a conveyancing standing committee two years ago.

The Law Commission's report No. 161 on leasehold conveyancing was published in May last year following a recommendation by the conveyancing standing committee. The committee endorsed the commission's recommendation in Law Commission report No. 148 that the register of title at the Land Registry should be made open to public inspection. The committee has also considered and responded to the working papers which led to the Law Commission reports Nos. 163, 164 and 166 (which all concern the transfer of land).

Sale Of Land

To ask the Attorney-General what progress has been made by the Law Commission's conveyancing standing committee, appointed in early 1985 at the request of the then Lord Chancellor and chaired by Professor Julian Ferrand, towards implementing the recommendation in the second report of the ad hoc conveyancing committee chaired by Professor Julian Ferrand, which was submitted to the Lord Chancellor in January 1985 that within two or three years of being established the conveyancing standing committee should produce a sale of land Act, with a prescribed form of contract and including the codification and embodiment of all the terms implied by common law and the relevant relieving rules of equity.

The main objective of the conveyancing standing committee was to achieve real improvements in conveyancing practice and procedure within two years. For this purpose the committee has concentrated on matters of practice not requiring legislation.

Official Secrets Act

To ask the Attorney-General if he will provide a consolidated list updated to the most convenient date of proceedings commenced under section 2 of the Official Secrets Act since 1 August 1978 in the manner set out in appendix 2 to the Franks report and the reply to the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) on 1 August 1978, Official Report, columns 230–31.

The details of proceedings that have been commenced under section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 since 1 August 1978 are as follows:

1978

A former corporal in the intelligence corps knowingly passed on information relating to military and defence establishments to two journalists who were deliberately seeking to obtain secret information. Charges were also brought under section 1 but were withdrawn during the trial. They were all convicted under section 2. The former corporal was given a six month sentence suspended for two years. The two journalists were conditionally discharged for three years but ordered to contribute £2,500 towards the costs.

1979

A superintendent in the criminal intelligence branch of the Metropolitan police communicated confidential papers of substantial intelligence value about two men suspected of involvement in international crime to a business man interested in this material. The business man concerned had died by the time the police officer was tried. The police officer was also charged with offences of corruption arising out of the same facts. He was convicted of wrongful communication of information at the Central Criminal Court and fined £500. He was acquitted of the corruption offence.

1979

A senior examiner in bankruptcy engaged in examining the affairs of a professional criminal allowed the criminal to see a confidential report and copy from it. The civil servant was prosecuted in the magistrates' court and was given a three-month prison sentence suspended for one year and fined £500.

1980

A civil servant in the Ministry of Defence was charged in connection with his retention of a number of cassette tapes which had confidential information encoded on them. The proceedings were withdrawn at the Crown court.

1981

An employee of the Department of Health and Social Security and a private detective were convicted summarily of communicating and retaining personal information about members of the public stored on the DHSS computer. Both defendants were ordered to undertake 180 hours of community service and pay £25 each towards the prosecution's costs.

1981

An ex-detective who had been involved in the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry disclosed to a journalist confidential information that had come into his possession during the inquiry. He pleaded guilty before the magistrates and was fined £750 and ordered to pay £200 towards the prosecution's costs.

1982

An able seaman retained in his possession after his discharge a notebook containing confidential information, which he subsequently threatened to sell to an Eastern bloc embassy. He was convicted at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

1982

A retired Army captain was prosecuted for failing to take reasonable care of secret orders for use in time of war or civil emergency. He was convicted in the Crown court and given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years. He was also convicted of offences of theft, for which he was fined.

1982

A second secretary at the British embassy in Tel Aviv communicated confidential information to an official in the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv. She pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court and was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

1982

A CID officer passed details of criminal convictions to an inquiry agent, having obtained the details from the police national computer and criminal record office. The inquiry agent compiled reports for his clients containing this information. The inquiry agent pleaded guilty before the magistrates to five offences under section 2 and was fined a total of £500. The CID officer elected to be tried at the Crown court. The examining magistrate dismissed all but one of the summonses. The prosecution decided there was no merit in proceedings on the remaining summons and it was withdrawn.

1983

An information officer employed by the Central Office of Information failed to take reasonable care of a number of confidential briefs prepared for the United Kingdom delegate attending a ministerial meeting in Brussels. The contents of these briefs subsequently appeared in the press. He pleaded guilty in the magistrates' court and was fined £500.

1983

A former employee at the British high commission in Bangladesh took home confidential material because of pressure at work. He pleaded guilty at the magistrates' court and was fined £1,200.

1984

A serving police officer misused the police national computer to provide unauthorised details of car ownership. He was fined £100 at the Crown court.

1984

A civilian terminal operator on the police national computer disclosed locations of burglaries to a burglar alarm company. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and fined £200 at the magistrates' court. A number of appeals have been refused. In 1987 he was refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

1984

A clerk working in the private office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office leaked two minutes relating to cruise missiles to a national newspaper. She pleaded guilty at the Crown court and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

1985

A member of a financial group at the Home Office directorate of industries and farms (DIF) investigating the relationship of the Home Office with a private company gave confidential documents to a suspect in the police inquiry—a fellow civil servant in DIF. He was committed for trial at Crown court. From the committal proceedings it appeared that his defence would be that he had a discretion to pass these documents to a fellow civil servant. After taking counsel's advice it was decided that the prosecution should not continue.

1985

A civil servant in the Ministry of Defence leaked a copy of an MOD paper re the Belgrano to an MP. He was charged with communicating information to an unauthorised person. Issues raised at the subsequent trial by the defence were whether the MP was a person to whom the defendant was authorised to communicate the information and whether such a disclosure was in the interests of the state. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

1985

A solicitor was tried twice at the Crown court on two counts of endeavouring to persuade a police officer to communicate confidential police files to him. At the conclusion of each trial the jury failed to agree. The prosecution decided to proceed no further and offered no evidence.

1986

Four people were prosecuted for being concerned with obtaining and copying classified technical manuals to facilitate identification of marine components. Their alleged purpose was to trade in such components with the Argentinian navy. Three defendants were convicted at the Crown court, fined £400 and given various terms of imprisonment. One defendant subsequently had his conviction quashed on appeal.

1986

A clerk in the Department of Health and Social Security gave personal information about claims made by the husband of a local councillor to a rival councillor. The clerk pleaded guilty at the Crown court and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment suspended for two years. The councillor pleaded not guilty but was convicted at the Crown court. He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment suspended for two years.

1987

A civilian employee at New Scotland Yard gave a person details of police vehicles for £50. He pleaded guilty at the magistrates' court and was sentenced to two months' imprisonment suspended for two years.

1987

A former soldier who had served in Northern Ireland was charged with offences of retaining and communicating documents. The material was very sensitive and would have been of considerable assistance to terrorists. He pleaded guilty at the Crown court and was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.

1987

A journalist obtained police documents about a suspect from an unidentified source. He was charged with unlawfully receiving a document knowing or having reasonable ground to believe at the time of receipt that the document was communicated to him in contravention of the Act. At the trial at the Crown court the defence submitted that he would give evidence that he knew that the documents should not have been passed to him and the passing of them might have been a disciplinary offence by the communicator, but that he did not know that it was an offence under the Act. In the absence of proof of knowledge of contravention of the Act, the trial judge upheld the defence submission of no case to answer.

Press And Public Relations

To ask the Attorney-General what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations offices of the Law Officers' Departments; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

At present there are five staff employed in the press and public relations office of the Lord Chancellor's Department. It is planned that there will be six staff employed at this point in 1988.My own Department, the Law Officers' Department, has no such office or staff.

To ask the Attorney-General what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by the Law Officers' Departments on press and pulic relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

The estimated expenditure by the Lord Chancellor's Department on press and public relations for 1987–88 is £29,700.Detailed decisions on expenditure for 1988–89 have not yet been taken but £31,000 is anticipated.My own Department, the Law Officers' Department, makes no expenditure on press or public relations.

Advertising

To ask the Attorney-General what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by the Law Officers' Departments on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

The figures for the Lord Chancellor's Department for 1987–88, excluding associated staff costs, are as follows:

Estimated Expenditure
1987–88 £
Television AdvertisingNil
Radio AdvertisingNil
Newspaper Advertising15,000
Other Promotional Material45,000
Detailed decisions on expenditure for 1988–89 have not yet been taken but no increase in expenditure over that for 1987–88 is anticipated. My own Department, the Law Officers' Department, makes no expenditure on advertising or other promotional material.

Civil Service

Registered Homes Tribunal

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the names and occupations of the members of the panel of experts of the Registered Homes Tribunal.

The names and occupations of the persons on the panel of experts appointed by the Lord President of the Council under the Registered Homes Act 1984 are as follows:

Registered Homes Act 1984

Members of Panel of Experts

Name and occupation

  • Mrs. Carole Alford—Matron/Owner of 2 Nursing Homes in Eastbourne.
  • Geoffrey Arthur Banner—Retired Director Social Services.
  • Robert Bessell — Managing Director, Retirement Security Ltd.
  • Mrs. Susan Blanchard — Managing Director, Belvedere Hospital, Scarborough.
  • Miss Mary Blincoe—Director of Nursing Services.
  • Dr. G. R. Brackenridge — DMO, Northallerton Health Authority.
  • Mrs. Mary Edna Astill Brown—Part-time Administration work.
  • Dr. S. W. Brown — Consultant in Charge of Medical Services, David Lewis Centre.
  • Michael Peter John Burrell — Retired Rest Home Proprietor.
  • John Rupert Allen Chawner—Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Gwynedd DHA.
  • K. Coleman — Divisional Director, Westminster Social Services.
  • Miss Betty Cowell — Retired Principal, Midwife Teachers Training College, Kingston upon Thames.
  • Miss Rosalind Davies — Director, British Nursing Association.
  • Miss R. Dawson-Shepard—Volunteer Counsellor.
  • Geoffrey Stephen Dunn —Part-time Consultant, Cheshire Foundation Housing Association.
  • Dr. A. McL Gordon—Medical Director, The Retreat.
  • Mrs. Barbara Joyce Gray — Retd. Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham.
  • Robert Guest — District Nursing Officer, Gt. Yarmouth and Waveney Health Authority.
  • Jack Hanson—Retd. Director Social Services.
  • Miss Dorothy Harris—Director of Nursing Services.
  • Mrs. Mary Grace Joynson—Senior Director and Director of Childcare, Dr. Barnadoes.
  • Dr. D. L. Kerr—Chief Executive, Manor House Hospital.
  • Mr. B. A. Maurice—Consultant Surgeon.
  • Dr. Stanley McDougall — Specialist in Community Medicine.
  • Michael McGeorge—National Nursing Officer, British Red Cross Society.
  • G. H. Neal—Director for Mencap.
  • Miss Margaret Nurse—Retd. Rest Home Proprietor.
  • Dr. J. R. Oxley—Physician-in-Charge, Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, Hon. Physician, National Hospital for Nervous Diseases.
  • Mrs. Mary Parker — Matron-Partner at three Nursing Homes.
  • Miss Marjorie Mary Hatton Phillips — Retd. Local Government Officer.
  • Mervyn Hugh Phillips — Chief Executive, Clwyd County Council.
  • Miss Margaret Pilbeam — Chief Nursing Officer, Eastbourne Health Authority.
  • David R. Prettyman—Senior Staff Officer, Mental Health/Physically Handicapped Section, Haringey Social Services.
  • Dr. R. K. Rao — Secretary, Crosby Nursing Home Chairman, Laughton Rest Home.
  • Mr. John J. Regan—Head of Home, Le Court, Leonard Cheshire Foundation Home.
  • Mrs. Irene Shepherd—Assistant Director Nursing Services.
  • David Smith—Director of Nursing, St. Andrews Hospital, Northampton.
  • John Ingram Stephens—Retd. Assistant Director of Social Services.
  • Professor Olive Stevenson — Professor of Social Work Studies.
  • Ms. Emma Tait—Group Homes Manager.
  • Mr. A. L. Tooley — Consultant Surgeon, South Tees District, Cleveland.
  • Miss Kay Wells — Centre Organiser, British Red Cross Society.
  • Mrs. Maureen White—RCN Senior Officer, Trent Region.
  • Dr. J. H. B. Williams — Medical Director, Mount Edgecumbe Hospital.
  • Miss Margaret Olive Woodier—Freelance Consultant.

The Arts

Business Sponsorship Incentive Scheme

To ask the Minister for the Arts what progress the business sponsorship incentive scheme has made in the north-west; and if he will make a statement.

Twenty three arts organisations in the north-west have received awards under the BSIS since it began in 1984; £340,000 raised in sponsorship has been matched by £170,000 BSIS, giving a total of £510,000 new money for the arts in the region.

To ask the Minister for the Arts what plans he has to improve the effectiveness of the business sponsorship incentive scheme in Wales.

Thirty two arts organisations in Wales have already benefited under the BSIS, which has channeled £556,000 new money to the arts in Wales. I have agreed to support the opening of a Welsh office for the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts to promote the scheme and I hope this will open in the new year.

Financing

To ask the Minister for the Arts what is the proposed level of financing for the arts in Yorkshire in 1988–89; and what are the comparative figures for each of the last five years.

The level of financial support for the arts in Yorkshire is not determined centrally. Grants are made to Yorkshire arts organisations by the Arts Council, the British Film Institute, the Museums and Galleries Commission and the Crafts Council. In 1983–84 Yorkshire received £4,251,943 from these four bodies; in 1984–85, £4,542,710; in 1985–86, £5,477,704; in 1986–87, £6,848,620; and in 1987–88, £7,057,380. Figures for 1988–89 are not yet available. In addition, the arts in Yorkshire receive considerable support from local authorities, in association with Yorkshire Arts.

Trade And Industry

Regional Aid

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has any plans to carry out a review of regional aid policy; and if he will make a statement.

We are in the process of reviewing a wide range of the Department's work, including regional policy. We expect to make an announcement about the outcome in the new year.

Steel Industry

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish statistics for the total tonnages achieved in the British steel industry since 1977 and any comparable information available to him about the Japanese steel industry.

Crude steel production United Kingdom and Japan

(million Tonnes)

Year

United Kingdom

Japan

197720·5102·4
197820·3102·1
197921·5111·7
1980

111·3

111·4
198115·3101·7
198213·799·5
198315·097·2
198415·1105·6
198515·8105·3
198614·898·3

1 United Kingdom steel strike.

Source: International Iron and Steel Institute.

Matthew Brown (Insider Dealing)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he has received a report from the stock exchange surveillance department as to the investigation into alleged insider dealing in the shares of Matthew Brown immediately prior to the recent announcement of the bid for that company by Newcastle Breweries.

Regional Aid

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much he has paid out in the current year in (a) regional development grant and (b) regional selective assistance; and how much he expects to pay in 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91 for each regional area of England and Wales.

Payments of regional development grant (RDG) and regional selective assistance (RSA) by my Department in each region of England and Wales in the current financial year to date are as follows:

1£ million
AreaRDG2RSA
North East38·711·8
North West34·37·7
Yorkshire and Humberside12·810·8
East Midlands4·01·3
West Midlands8·8
South West4·72·8
Total England94·543·2
Wales30·5
1 Provisional figures to end November 1987.
2 RSA industrial and training grants only. Figures for business improvement services scheme and exchange risk guarantee scheme are not available on a regional basis. Provisional figures for expenditure by my Department on these schemes in 1987–88 to end November are £9·8 million and £11·3 million respectively.
3 Nearly all expenditure on regional assistance in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Office.
Information about planned expenditure on regional assistance in 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91 will be published in the public expenditure White Paper in January.

Manweb Report

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for what reason the annual report for the year ended 31 March of the MANWEB area of the Electricity Consultative Council was not distributed until December.

The area electricity consultative councils are under no statutory obligation to publish an annual report, although my Department encourages them to do so. I understand that a number of factors contributed to the delay in this case, including pressure of other work, printing delays, and the need for translation into Welsh.

Origin Marking

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he will publish proposals for successor arrangements on origin marking to replace the Trade Descriptions Act 1972.

My Department is writing to interested parties seeking views on a draft order for this purpose under section 8 of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries.

Post Office (Procurement Policy)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress has been made by the Post Office in the implementation of the recommendations made in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the Post Office's procurement activities; and if he will make a statment.

In January the Post Office produced its initial response to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report published in October last year (Cmnd. 9912) and a statement was made to the House in April on progress to date and arrangements for follow-up to the report. This recorded that a detailed timetable for implementation of the recommendations had been agreed with the Post Office and that the Post Office would prepare progress reports in October 1987 and October 1988. The statement also noted that the Post Office had partially rejected one of the recommendations which related to arrangements for paying advertising agencies. My Department, in consultation with the MMC, subsequently agreed to accept the Post Office's response on this.I have now received the Post Office's report on progress to October 1987 and I am placing copies in the Library of the House. Good progress has been made to date. Nearly half the MMC's 49 recommendations have already been implemented and most of the remainder are on course for implementation according to timetable. The Post Office has reduced stock levels as recommended by the MMC and has introduced improvements in various areas of procurement, although there has been some delay with a few of the recommendations because the planned computerised purchasing system is being reviewed, following the reorganisation of the Post Office into separate businesses.My Department will continue to monitor the Post Office's progress in implementing the MMC's recommendations.

Environment

Channel Tunnel

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to assess the environmental effects on Kent of the proposed high-speed rail link between London and the planned United Kingdom Channel tunnel terminus at Cheriton.

I must apologise to my hon. Friend for the delay in replying to his question. I have written today to my hon. Friend to account for the delay.I refer my hon. Friend to the reply he received from my hon. Friend, the Minister for Public Transport, on 2 November. This indicated that British Rail had not brought forward any proposals for a high-speed rail link between London and the planned United Kingdom Channel tunnel terminus at Cheriton and that the results of its study into options for augmenting route, seating and terminal capacity in Kent were not expected until June 1988.Should British Rail subsequently produce proposals for such a rail link, its plans—including any environmental effects—would be the subject, in the first instance, of consultation with the relevant local authorities and other bodies and, ultimately, if they were to proceed, would require British Rail to promote a private Act of Parliament, as is normal for development by the board.

Planning Appeal (Lichfield)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the reason for the delay between 22 September, when the appellant's agent was notified, and 21 October, when the Lichfield district council was notified, of his inspector's decision to allow a development for retail purposes of the former Chamberlain and Hill site, Beacon street, Lichfield, under section 36 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971;(2) if he will indicate the reasons for the delay between 16 June when the appellant's agent was notified, and 10 July, when the Lichfield district council was notified, of his inspector's decision in respect of a planning appeal under section 36 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971.

It is standard practice for copies of inspectors' decision letters on planning appeals to be dispatched to all interested parties simultaneously. There is no evidence on the papers to suggest that the copy letters to the council in these cases were not dispatched along with those to other parties. However, the staff concerned have been reminded of the importance of ensuring that the correct procedure is followed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why his Department's Tollgate house, Bristol, office has not replied to the letter of 21 October, from the chief executive and secretary of the Lichfield district council regarding receipt of planning appeal decisions under section 36 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, specifically relating to appeals T/APP/K3415/A/87/62807/P4 and AAP/N3400/A/87/59088/59051.

There is no record of Lichfield district council's letter of 21 October having been received in the Department's Bristol office. The chief executive and secretary wrote again on 25 November and the Department replied on 1 December.

Water Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what the percentage rise in average water rates for Great Britain has been between 1979 and the latest date available in (a) cash terms and (b) real terms.

Average household bills of the English water authorities have increased by 134 per cent. in cash terms and 35 per cent. in real terms, between the charging periods 1979–80 and 1987–88, reflecting the rising trend of capital expenditure and the improvement in self-financing ratios. Charges for water services in Scotland and Wales are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales respectively.

Land Disposal

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications for consent to dispose of land under section 32 of the Housing Act 1985 he has received from each housing authority in England; and which of the applications received his consent.

In view of the large number of such applications this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Publicity

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of his Department; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

A total of 47 staff were employed in the press and public relations office of my Department (including PSA) at 1 December 1987. The distribution of manpower for 1988–89 has not yet been settled.

Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has in respect of (a) the number of people in England and Wales paying domestic rates in full or in part, (b) the number of spouses of (a),(c) the number of local electors in England and Wales and (d) the number of people in England and Wales aged over 18 years not paying domestic rates who are not spouses of those paying rates.

The information is as follows:

  • a. The latest estimate is 16·5 million.
  • b. Based on data contained in the family expenditure survey I estimate there are about 10 million households with two adults where a rate is presently paid in whole or in part.
  • c. The latest available information, from 1987 registers, is 37·9 million.
  • d. Precise information is not available, although an approximation could be calculated from (a),(b) and (c) above. However, this information comes from a number of sources, which are not necessarily calculated on a mutually consistent basis.
  • Richmond Terrace

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total cost of providing ministerial accommodation in Richmond Terrace; and what accommodation facilities are now available for each minister.

    It is not practicable to identify the cost of providing ministerial accommodation within the total cost of the Richmond house project which I announced on 8 December. The allocation of ministerial accommodation within the building is for the occupying department, but the terrace restoration provides rooms suitable for Ministers and their support staff and for a number of senior officials.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many Ministers will have offices in the Richmond Terrace building, what is the estimated cost of fitting-out each ministerial office; what facilities additional to normal office facilities each such office contains; and if he will make a statement.

    Six Ministers at the Department of Health and Social Security will have offices in Richmond house. It is not practical to identify separately the cost of providing their accommodation. In addition to the normal office accommodation and in accordance with normal practice, the Secretary of State's office, has been provided with adjoining toilet facilities.

    House Building

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) private houses and (b) local authority dwellings of (i) one bedroom, (ii) two bedrooms, (iii) three bedrooms and (iv) four or more bedrooms have been (1) started, (2) completed or (3) started and completed in each month in 1987, and in each year since 1979.

    Information about the numbers of bedrooms in new dwellings is reported only at the completion stage. The annual figures for 1979 to 1986 appear in table 6.8 (c) of "Housing and Construction Statistics" 1976–1986, which is available in the Library. Quarterly figures are available for 1987 and are as follows:

    Dwellings completed: England
    Number of bedrooms1st quarter2nd quarter3rd quarter (provisional)
    Local authorities and new towns
    12,0451,5961,746
    21,1081,1151,443
    3686632896
    4 or more926985
    All3,9313,4124,170
    Private owners
    14,4214,1383,501
    29,2129,5389,035
    313,96814,00613,408
    4 or more7,8937,7778,353
    All35,49435,45934,297

    Council House Sales

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table in the Official Report, showing (a) the number of local authority-owned properties sold to tenants under the right-to-buy legislation and (b) that figure as a percentage of the total number of properties owned by each authority, for (i) Greater London, (ii) metropolitan areas outside London, (iii) English non-metropolitan areas and (iv) English local authority areas, broken down by (1) one-bedroom dwellings, (2) two-bedroom dwellings, (3) three-bedroom dwellings and (4) four or more bedroom dwellings.

    Information on the number of bedrooms in the dwellings sold by local authorities is not available centrally. The total right-to-buy sales up to June 1987 reported by each authority appear in the table placed in the Library on 11 December in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies).

    Lambeth (Direct Labour Organisation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the light of the further recent allegations of malpractice in Lambeth council's direct labour organisation and the resignation of five senior council officers, he will now disband entirely the council's direct labour organisations; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has powers, under part III of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, to take action against direct labour organisations that fail to meet their financial targets, but not against other sorts of inefficiency or malpractice. Under those powers my right hon. Friend has directed that Lambeth borough council may not award any new major construction work to its DLO, and is considering the council's special report on financial failures on minor new construction work. The matters referred to by my hon. Friend do not relate directly to financial failures, and are, therefore, for the council's auditors and the police to deal with.

    Severe Weather

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he plans any special arrangements to assist financially those local authorities which may face severe weather conditions in their areas during the winter months; and if he will make a statement.

    Local authorities are expected to make provision in their budgets for dealing with severe winter weather conditions, on the basis of previous experience. In the event of an emergency, arrangements already exist—the Bellwin scheme — to provide special financial assistance if the Government consider that authorities would otherwise incur an undue financial burden in providing relief and carrying out immediate works to safeguard life or property or prevent suffering or severe inconvenience to affected communities. These arrangements have been brought into effect in relation to damage caused by the storm which hit the south and east of England on 16 October.

    Local Authorities (Building Control)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take in the light of evidence that some local authorities are bringing improper pressure to bear on builders to make use of their own building control services rather than those provided by the National House Building Council; and if he will make a statement.

    The Building Act 1984 includes specific provisions to enable approved inspectors other than local authorities to certify compliance with the requirements of the building regulations. The approval of the NHBC for certain classes of work has introduced a welcome element of competition into the building control system that is improving efficiency. I have, therefore, been concerned to learn of complaints that a number of local authorities are seeking to put pressure on builders to make use of their own building control services rather than those of the NHBC. In particular, I regard it as wholly improper for a local authority to disregard the clear will of Parliament by seeking to impose such a requirement when disposing of land for housing development. My advice is that this practice is open to challenge in the courts, and I hope that the NHBC or a purchaser who does not want to accept such a requirement will challenge it. If such a challenge were to fail, the Government would consider bringing forward amending legislation.It is also wrong for a local authority to threaten to require the opening up of site drainage work before permitting a connection to be made to the main sewer simply because the work has been inspected and certified by the NHBC rather than by the authority's own officers. Finally, I am advised that a planning condition requiring the use of local authority building control services in connection with the permitted development would be invalid. In the event of an appeal to the Secretary of State, it is to be expected that such a condition would not be upheld and it is likely that costs would be awarded against the local planning authority if an inquiry were held and an application for costs were made. It would be equally improper for a local authority to delay consideration of a planning application unless its own building control services are to be used.

    Enterprise Zones

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans the Government have for further enterprise zones; and if he will make a statement about the progress of the experiment.

    The first enterprise zones have been in existence for six years and are over halfway through their 10-year life. A number of proposals for new zones and zone extensions have been submitted and I have, therefore, been considering, in conjunction with colleagues in other Departments, the future of the enterprise zone experiment. In this, we have been assisted by the report of consultants who have evaluated the experiment in Great Britain on our behalf and whose report is shortly to be published. (A similar study is nearing completion in respect of the Northern Ireland enterprise zones). The latest annual monitoring report will be pubished at the same time.These two publications will show that the zones have been successful in varying degrees in regenerating economic activity in areas which had hitherto seen steady decline for several years. On the zones in Great Britain the number of firms has gone up by 125 per cent.; about 60 per cent. of the land in the zones has been developed with over 4·6 million sq m of floor space, mostly industrial and commercial; in consequence, overall employment in the zones has more than doubled. The zones have also boosted the economies of the areas in which they are located by the additional activity they have generated. These substantial achievements must, of course, be set against the costs of the experiment, which by the end of 1986 amounted to just under £300 million for the British zones.Enterprise zones were among the first of the steps the Government took on being elected in 1979 towards lifting the burdens on business and enterprise. They have been the flagship of deregulation and they have helped to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit that is now a welcome feature in many parts of the United Kingdom economy. We have subsequently developed a wide range of other measures to stimulate development in areas adversely affected by changes in the local economy: urban development corporations, urban development grants, and urban regeneration grants are among the more important. We are also applying the enterprise zone planning regime more widely in the form of simplified planning zones.We are now able to select from this range of measures the ones most suited to the needs of a particular area. In the light of this, and in the light of our assessment of the enterprise zone experiment, we have concluded that a general extension of the experiment is not desirable. In many circumstances, other measures will be more cost effective. I should make it clear that existing enterprise zones will be unaffected by this decision.Nevertheless, we recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where the creation of a new enterprise zone or the extension of an existing zone might still be the best way of tackling a particular and localised problem. Whether or not this is so would depend upon the nature and severity of the problem, the likely cost-effectiveness of an enterprise zone in contributing to its solution (in particular compared with the other measures now available), and the extent to which the authorities and agencies concerned can ensure that the zone is a success.I do not intend to designate further enterprise zones in response to the proposals I have received for new zones, or extensions to existing zones, in England. My right hon. Friends will consider proposals for new zones or extensions in other parts of the United Kingdom.

    National Rivers Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is in a position to announce his conclusions on the policy and consultation paper on the National Rivers Authority which was published in July.

    There were nearly 350 responses to the Government's consultation paper from a wide range of organisations and environmental interests. The proposal to create a National Rivers Authority to take over water authorities' regulatory and river basin management functions after privatisation of their main functions was widely welcomed.I have today placed in the Library of both Houses copies of the responses of those who agreed that their responses could be published, together with a memorandum which sets out the Government's decisions on the issues raised in the consultation paper.The memorandum reaffirms our commitment to the creation of a National Rivers Authority. We consider it essential that the regulatory functions of the water authorities remain in the public sector, together with the broader range of river functions. These functions —water resource planning and control, land drainage and flood protection, the protection of the water environment, and the improvement and development of fisheries, and navigation, where it applies—must be the responsibility of a public body, answerable to Ministers and to Parliament.The National Rivers Authority will have full statutory responsibility for these functions, including responsibility for operational work. The Government do not consider that it is appropriate for the NRA's role to be limited to a purely regulatory or auditing role. However, it is not necessary for all the operational work associated with the NRA's functions to be carried out by the NRA's own employees. The Government anticipate that a significant amount of work will be contracted out by the NRA on the basis of fully competitive contracts. The NRA will be required to ensure that as much of its work as possible is done on the basis of competitive tendering. The basis of the contracts for such work will have to take full account of the market conditions and the nature of the work. It will be open to the privatised utility companies to compete for such work, but it would not be acceptable for the NRA to be dependent on the privatised utility companies for the carrying out of such work as part of their conditions of appointment or licence, though, in the short term, special transitional arrangements between the NRA and the privatised utility companies may be required in some areas in respect of some functions.The NRA will be separate from the director-general of water services, and will be a non-departmental public body, with a board of up to 12 members. The chairman and eight members will be appointed by me; two by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and one by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. Details of the organisation, and the arrangements for the representation of regional interests are outlined in the memorandum.The NRA will be constituted immediately after the main legislation to allow for the privatisation of the water authorities has received Royal Assent. Before then, substantial preparations are needed within each water authority. The Public Utility Transfers and Water Charges Bill, currently before Parliament, will give water authorities express powers to prepare themselves for privatisation and restructuring. I am asking each water authority to prepare proposals for a scheme of organisation on the basis of guidelines which will be issued by my Department, and to submit it to me within a month of Royal Assent to the Public Utility Transfers and Water Charges Bill.In order to advise on each authority's proposals for reorganisation, my right hon. Friends and I propose to appoint an advisory committee, to be called the National Rivers Authority Advisory Committee. The terms of reference are to advise us on the implications for the water authorities of the reorganisation needed to provide a separate organisational structure for their water and sewerage functions, and the functions that will be performed by the new National Rivers Authority, to advise on the acceptability of the scheme proposed by each water authority, and to ensure that it will enable the NRA adequately to fulfil the tasks proposed to be allocated to it. I shall make a further announcement about the chairman and other members of this committee as soon as possible.I am confident that these arrangements will enable water authorities to start soon on the necessary preparations for privatisation and restructuring so as to provide for the successful transfer to the private sector of the vast majority of the jobs in the water industry, together with the transfer of the regulatory and river basin management functions of water authorities in an important new national authority in the public sector.

    Landlord And Tenant Act 1987

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now in a position to say when he expects the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 to come into operation.

    My right hon. Friend and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales have made the first commencement order for the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 which brings into effect on 1 February 1988 the whole of parts I and VI (dealing respectively with the right of first refusal and information to be supplied to tenants), section 45 (the powers of housing associations as regards the management of leasehold property) and some incidental provisions. They hope to make a further commencement order in March 1988.

    Prime Minister

    North Of England

    Q34.

    To ask the Prime Minister, when she next intends to visit the north of England.

    Crown Estate Commissioners

    Q66.

    To ask the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have any plans to amend the Crown Estate Act 1961 in relation to the powers of the Crown Estate Commissioners; and if she will make a statement.

    Brownsover, Rugby

    Q80.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she has any plans to make an official visit to Brownsover, Rugby.

    World Peace

    To ask the Prime Minister in the light of the recent discussions between President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev, and the signing of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty, what is her estimate of the prospects for securing progress towards world peace in 1988; and what part she expects to be able to play in the process.

    At the Washington summit, apart from signature of the INF treaty, progress was made in talks on 50 per cent. reductions in United States and Soviet strategic arms. The Government fully support this aim, and the other Alliance arms control priorities of a global ban on chemical weapons and the elimination of the imbalance of Warsaw pact and NATO conventional forces in Europe. Lasting confidence between East and West will also require progress on human rights and regional problems including Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Her Majesty's Government will continue to play an active role in seeking a safer world.

    Publicity

    To ask the Prime Minister what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of the Cabinet Office; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    Eighteen staff are presently employed by the Cabinet Office, including the Central Statistical Office and the office of the Minister for the Civil Service, and 10 Downing street on press and public relations activities. We expect to employ the same number of staff on these activities at this point in 1988.

    To ask the Prime Minister what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by the Cabinet Office on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    The Cabinet Office does not expect to incur any expenditure on promotional advertising on television, radio or in newspapers in either 1987–88 or 1988–89. The latest estimate of expenditure on other promotional material in 1987–88 by the Cabinet Office, including the Central Statistical Office and the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service, as well as on such services provided to the Office of Arts and Libraries, is £40,000. An estimated £36,000 is expected to be spent on promotional material in 1988–89.

    To ask the Prime Minister what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by the Cabinet Office on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    The information is not available in the precise form requested. The latest estimate of expenditure on press and public relations in 1987–88 by the Cabinet Office, including 10 Downing Street, the Central Statistical Office and the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service, as well as on such services provided to the Office of Arts and Libraries, is £515,000. An estimated £521,000 is expected to be spent on these activities in 1988–89.

    London Transport

    To ask the Prime Minister how many times in an official capacity, she has (a) travelled on and (b) visited the buildings of (i) London Underground and (ii) London Buses.

    I am not able usually to undertake such journeys. I visited the scene of the disaster at King's Cross underground station on 19 November.

    Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will take initiatives in support of the paragraph in the intermediate nuclear forces treaty acknowledging the obligations of the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, in the light of the fact that the United Kingdom is the third depository state under the non-proliferation treaty.

    No. A United Kingdom initiative in the context of a bilateral US/Soviet agreement would not be appropriate.

    Engagements

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 17 December.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 17 December.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 17 December.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 17 December.

    This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today.

    Home Department

    Patrick John Elwood

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken arising from the petition presented to Parliament by the hon. Member for Nottingham, North regarding Patrick John Elwood, currently imprisoned.

    The matter raised in the petition was investigated and it was decided that no action should be taken.

    Prisoners (Complaints)

    80.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to expedite consideration of complaints in respect of inmates of Her Majesty's prisons submitted by hon. Members.

    During the last year the systems for managing and monitoring the consideration of matters raised by hon. Members, including complaints submitted by them on behalf of inmates, have been reviewed and improved, resulting in a substantial reduction in the average time taken to reply to hon. Members' letters.

    Firearms Certificates

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many new applications for the issue of part 5 firearms certificates were granted during the period from 1 January 1979 until 31 December 1979, and in each subsequent year for the same period;

    (2) how many new applications to renew the issue of part 5 firearms certificates were granted during the period from 1 January 1979 until 31 December 1979, and for each subsequent year for the same period;

    (3) how many new applications for the grant of part 5 firearms certificates were refused from 1 January 1979 until 31 December 1979, and for the same period in each subsequent year;

    (4) how many part 5 firearms certificates remained current and in force on 31 December 1979, and on that date in each subsequent year;

    (5) how many new applications for the issue of part 5 firearms certificates during the period from 1 January 1979 until 31 December 1979, and for each subsequent year for the same period, were subsequently withdrawn by the applicants prior to either the grant of or the refusal to issue the certificate being given.

    The information requested is not kept on an annual basis and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. There are currently 641 section 5 authorities in existence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Sex Discrimination

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what representations his Department has received since 1977 calling for the amendment of section 51 of the Sex Discrimination Act;(2) what representations his Department has received since 1977 calling for the repeal of section 51 of the Sex Discrimination Act.

    In 1986 the Equal Opportunities Commission published a consultative document "Legislating for Change?" which identified the possible need for amendment to section 51. The commission has recently completed consideration of the responses and we expect to receive its proposals for amending the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 in the early part of 1988.

    Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of his Department; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    The present complement, of all grades, for the Home Office press office is 18 and is currently under review.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by his Department on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    During 1987–88 it is estimated that a total of £8·6 million will be spent on paid publicity of all kinds. Approximately £5·1 million of this will be for television, press, and other advertising. A more detailed breakdown cannot be given at this stage.For 1988–89 there is provision for £8·7 million to be spent on paid publicity of all kinds. No further details are available at present.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of the Metropolitan police; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the number of staff of all grades employed on press functions is 43. No major changes in the level of staffing are expected in the next 12 months.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by the Metropolitan police on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the latest figures for 1987–88 are as follows:

    £
    Television AdvertisingNil
    Radio Advertising6,000
    Newspaper Advertising1,573,000
    Other promotional material1,034,000
    The estimate of expenditure for 1988–89 has not yet been decided.

    Coal Industry Dispute

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what payments due to the Metropolitan police are still outstanding from provincial forces in respect of the National Union of Mineworkers strike; what action he proposes to take to obtain immediate payment; and what interest will become payable to the Metropolitan police to compensate for the delays.

    I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the only outstanding payment for mutual aid supplied during the miners' dispute is the difference between the amount of £6,106,266·79 paid by Nottinghamshire and the sum of £6,734,248·79 claimed by the Metropolitan police.The Metropolitan police have asked my right hon. Friend to make a determination in respect of the claim under section 14(4) of the Police Act 1964. We are considering this. No interest payments can be included in a determination.

    Greater Manchester (Chief Constable)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will meet the chief constable of Greater Manchester to discuss his recent remarks on corporal punishment.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the Greater Manchester police authority have sought his approval for calling upon the chief constable of Greater Manchester to retire in the interests of efficiency under section 5 of the Police Act 1964;(2) if he will consider requesting the Greater Manchester police authority to call upon the chief constable of Greater Manchester to retire in the interests of efficiency under section 29 of the Police Act 1964.

    Police Authorities (Surplus Arms)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why arms surplus to the requirements of police authorities are not placed at the disposal of the services.

    I understand that police firearms are not usually compatible with military requirements. Nevertheless, we are considering whether steps should be taken to offer surplus police firearms to the armed forces.

    Childrens Television Programmes (Imports)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ban the importation of the children's television programme "Captain Power" and the "Soldiers of the Future."

    It is entirely a matter for the broadcasting authorities to decide whether individual programmes contravene their programme standard obligations. I understand that this programme has been considered by the Cable Authority, which sees no objection to the programme itself but would want to reconsider the matter in the context of any related advertising or marketing of products in the United Kingdom.

    Independent Television Production Quotas

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the breakdown of negotiations relating to independent television production quotas, between the independent television companies and independent producers, he will review the position in the light of American experience; and if he will make a statement.

    We welcome the steps taken by the IBA to explore with the parties to the negotiations the scope for their resumption. We are, however, keeping the position under close review.

    Haverigg Prison, Cumbria

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the security arrangements at Haverigg prison, Millom, Cumbria, following the recent escapes of prisoners.

    As is the standard practice, inquiries will be made into the circumstances of the escapes and we shall consider, in the light of the findings, whether arrangements need to be changed.

    Shops Act 1950

    To ask the Secretary of State tor the Home Department what representations his Department has received since 1977 calling for the repeal of section 37 of the Shops Act 1950, as amended by the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963, which requires a seat to be provided behind the counter for the use of women employed as shop assistants.

    No such representations have been received by either the Home Office or the Department of Employment. I should add that section 37 of the Shops Act 1950 was repealed in 1964 by the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963 except in relation to premises which are in a covered market place.

    Guildford And Woolwich Pub Bombings

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress the Avon and Somerset constabulary are making in their inquiries into the new statements presented to him concerning the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings case; and if he will make a statement.

    I understand that the Avon and Somerset police have encountered certain difficulties in interviewing witnesses and in obtaining access to documents; and that in consequence they have thought it necessary to write to solicitors representing the four convicted persons to express their concern. As a result, the inquiries are, unfortunately, taking longer than had been expected.

    Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by his Department on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    Staff and associated costs of the Home Office press office in 1987–88 are estimated at £300,000. The estimated costs for 1988–89 will depend on the outcome of a review of the complement.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by the Metropolitan police on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the latest estimate of staffing and accommodation costs of the directorate of public affairs and spending on recruitment and other advertising and other promotional literature for 1987–88 is £4,836,926. The level of expenditure for 1988–89 has not yet been decided.

    Foreign Visitors

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many (a) men, (b) women and (c) children have been refused visas to visit the United Kingdom since the introduction of visa control on five countries in October 1986; and if he will set out his answer in tabular form for each of the five countries;(2) how many

    (a) men, (b) women and (c) children have been granted visas to visit the United Kingdom from the five countries which became subject to visa control in October 1986, listed in tabular form; in how many cases, in each category shown above, applications were made to

    extend visits; and in how many cases such extensions were for (a) a month, (b) two months, (c) three months, (d) four months, (e) five months and (f) six months or more.

    [holding answer 8 December 1987]: Information on applications for a visa to visit the United Kingdom is given in the following table; separate information on men, women and children is not available centrally. The information available on persons applying for an extension of stay as a visitor cannot comprehensively identify all those applicants who were originally admitted with a visit visa or after the introduction of the visa requirement.

    Persons applying for a visa to visit the United Kingdom
    Number of persons
    Applications Granted1Refused initially
    Bangladesh
    October 19862 to September 19876,7301,940
    India
    October 19862 to September 198792,0804,360
    Pakistan
    October 19862 to September 198748,8506,200
    Ghana
    October 19863 to September 19879,3502,350
    Nigeria
    February4 to September 198734,8002,530
    1 Including applications granted on appeal.
    2 Including applications for entry clearance in the period 1 to 14 October.
    3 Including applications for entry clearance in the period 1 to 22 October.
    4 Data are not available prior to 1 February 1987, when the visa requirement for Nigerians was introduced.

    Anabolic Steroids

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of convictions during the last 10 years for the unlicensed sale of anabolic steroids under the Medicines Act.

    I have been asked to reply.In the last 10 years there have been four convictions under the Medicines Act for the illegal sale or supply of anabolic steroids. One conviction involved three separate charges.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public realtions office of his Department; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    The number of staff employed in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office news department and Overseas Development Administration press office is 19·5. The number employed at this point in 1988 will depend on the workload prevailing at the time.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by his Department on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotion material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office estimates of expenditure on advertising and other promotional material for 1987–88 are:

    £
    FCO Diplomatic Wing195,000
    FCO Aid Wing351,000
    Total546,000
    Detailed decisions on expenditure for 1988–89 have not yet been taken, but the overall figures are expected to be:

    £
    FCO Diplomatic Wing230,000
    FCO Aid Wing352,000
    Total582,000
    Expenditure relates mainly to advertising for recruitment, publicity to promote overseas the entitlement of certain British residents overseas to vote in British and European Parliament elections, and general promotional literature.A disaggregation of these figures to identify the medium used is not available.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by his Department on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    Total expenditure on press and public relations for 1987–88 is estimated as follows:

    £ million
    Payment to Central Office of Information for overseas information material and related activities19·2
    Other information services0·9
    Running costs of the Diplomatic Wing Information/News Departments2·0
    Running costs of Aid Wing Information Department0·2
    Detailed decisions on expenditure for 1988–89 have not yet been taken, but the overall figures are expected to be:

    £ million
    Payment to Central Office of Information for overseas information material and related activities19·0
    Other information services0·9
    Running costs of the Diplomatic Wing Information/News Departments2·1
    Running costs of Aid Wing Information Department0·3
    £ million
    1987–881988–89
    Cost of information staff at overseas posts17·618·3

    £ million

    1987–88

    1988–89

    Total39·940·6

    Most of this expenditure is incurred in carrying out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's responsibilities for the projection of Britain's image, and Her Majesty's Government's policies in overseas countries.

    Diego Garcia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the base on Diego Garcia has been used by United Kingdom forces in the Gulf; and if he will make a statement.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether the United States of America used the base at Diego Garcia to reinforce its armed forces in the Gulf prior to August; and if he will make a statement;(2) whether United States minesweeper helicopters are permanently based on Diego Garcia; and if he will make a statement.

    It is not our usual practice to comment upon details of operations by United States forces.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any United Kingdom minesweeping helicopters are permanently based on Diego Garcia; and if he will make a statement.

    Falkland Islands (Fisheries)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 11 December, Official Report, column 324, if he will place in the Library a copy of any relevant documents, papers, requirements and guidelines relating to the issue of fishing licences in the Falkland Islands conservation zone available to the renewable resources assessment group at Imperial college when determining the conservation requirements governing the issue of licences.

    I shall arrange to have placed in the Library of the House soon scientific papers relevant to the work of the renewable resources assessment group (RRAG) for the Falkland Islands Government in determining the conservation requirements for the Falkland Islands interim conservation and management zone (FICZ). RRAG receives through the Falkland Islands Government daily reports of catches from those vessels licensed to fish in the FICZ. This information is also monitored by the Falkland Islands Government's scientific observers.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now list the United Kingdom holders of licences to fish in Falklands waters in each round since the introduction of the 150 mile fisheries zone around the Falklands in 1986.

    A list of United Kingdom companies allocated licences for the 1987 and 1988 seasons for the Falkland Islands interim conservation and management zone is as follows. Finfish allocations for 1988 have not yet been completed. Where licences have been allocated to joint ventures involving United Kingdom firms, the name of the JV company is shown in brackets.

    1987 first season: 1 February-30 June

    • Marr (Falklands) Limited (StanMarr Limited)
    • Witte-Boyd Holdings (SWB Fishing Limited)
    • Caley International Limited (StanCal Limited)
    • Falconview Limited (Falconview Fisheries Company Limited)
    • Berkeley Sound Shipping Company (Stankor Limited)
    • Sasasco (Stanco Limited)
    • Scofish International Limited (Clipper (Falklands) Limited)
    • Auscot Limited
    • Coalite
    • Fishing Explorer Limited
    • International Fisheries Investment Limited
    • SFP Enterprises
    • South Atlantic Fisheries Limited

    1987 second season: 1 July-31 December

    • Fishing Explorer Limited
    • International Fisheries Investment Limited
    • Baomar (UK) Limited

    1988 squid licence allocations (season ends 30 June)

    • Marr (Falklands) Limited (StanMarr Limited)

    Drop-out rate (final registration to exams) for each faculty in the undergraduate programme 1977 to 1986

    Calendar year

    Arts

    Social Science

    School of Education

    Maths

    Science

    Technology

    1

    P/E

    2

    U

    197721·023·825·532·925·428·530·7
    197820·824·926·631·628·430·236·1
    197923·525·528·933·327·930·838·5
    198024·425·928·532·329·830·635·832·3
    198122·924·424·729·926·429·234·934·5
    198220·322·324·430·525·026·431·924·5
    198319·922·225·627·023·724·732·421·5
    198419·420·525·224·722·024·831·022·5
    198521·022·424·625·622·925·832·818·4
    198621·323·424·527·123·926·527·320·7

    Notes:

    (a) The Open University is a distance teaching institution and therefore its statistics are difficult to relate to those produced by conventional universities.
    (b) The drop-out rates for Open University students could be due to non-academic reasons such as financial and family problems.
    (c) The figures for 1977 to 1981 are not directly comparable with those of 1982 onwards.

    1 P/E—Post experience courses.

    2 —U type courses which are interdisciplinary/interfaculty.

    Workers Educational Association

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how the Government's support to the Workers Educational Association is calculated; and if he will make provison to protect this funding in areas where high unemployment affects fee income.

    The Department's grant provided for the Workers Educational Association districts in the current academic year totals £2,496,900. This represents the grant allocated initially for 1986–87 increased to take account of anticipated changes in costs. It is allocated to individual districts on the following basis:

  • (i) a flat sum allocated to each district to contribute to the salary costs of the district secretary and office expenses;
  • (ii) a special activities fund designed to allocate resources to districts for specific purposes; and
  • (iii) allocations to each district based on a count of student hours.
    • Witte-Boyd Holdings (SWB Fishing Limited)
    • Caley International Limited (Stancal)
    • Berkeley Sound Shipping Company (Stankor)
    • Auscot Limited (Fortuna Limited)
    • Seaboard Offshore (Seamount Limited)
    • Hughes Group
    • International Fisheries Investment Limited
    • Fishing Explorer Limited
    • Coalite

    A copy of the Falkland Islands Government's announcement of squid licences for all successful applicants for the first season in 1988 will be placed in the Library of the House.

    Education And Science

    Open University

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the drop-out rate among Open University students for each of the last 10 years, broken down by the year of study and type of course.

    The percentage of students finally registering each year who did not take their end of year examinations is shown in the following table.The special activities fund arrangements allow for districts to apply for compensation for fee remissions to unemployed students. My right hon. Friend is quite prepared to consider any proposals from the Workers Educational Association for adjusting the funding formula if this is thought to be necessary.

    Nursery Schools

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was (a) the total public expenditure on nursery schools and classes in each year from 1975 to 1985 and (b) the total public expenditure on these services as a percentage of the gross domestic product for England and Wales for each of these years.

    The available information relates to an estimate of total net recurrent expenditure by local education authorities in England on under-fives in maintained schools from 1976–77 and is shown in the table. Each amount has been expressed as a percentage of the total United Kingdom gross domestic product.

    LEA expenditure on under-fives1
    YearNet recurrent expenditure £ million cashPercentage of GDP (rounded to three decimal places)
    1976–7721270·098
    1977–781280·085
    1978–791460·084
    1979–801770·085
    1980–812220·094
    1981–822410·093
    1982–832740·096
    1983–842960·096
    1984–853310·101
    1985–863500·097
    1 Information is given for under-fives as a group because separate figures for nursery classes in primary schools is not available.
    2 1976–77 is the earliest year for which figures are readily available.

    Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of his Department; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    The number of staff employed in the information branch of the Department of Education and Science at 15 December 1987 was 38. Detailed plans for the next financial year remain to be determined.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by his Department on (a) television advertising. (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    The latest figures for estimated spending on advertising and other promotional literature for the current financial year 1987–88 are as follows:

    £
    TelevisionNil
    RadioNil
    Newspapers280,000
    Other promotional material (publications, videos, exhibitions etc.)1,459,000
    Plans for expenditure in 1988–89 have yet to be finalised.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by his Department on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    The latest estimated expenditure for the current financial year on press and public relations, including staff costs is £2,300,000. Plans for expenditure in 1988–89 have yet to be finalised.

    Rock Ferry School, Birkenhead

    To ask the Secretary of State for Educational and Science what is the standard number of pupils for first year entrance to Rock Ferry school, Birkenhead, under section 15 of the Education Act 1980.

    European University, Florence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what contribution was made by the United Kingdom to the European university in Florence in the latest financial year; how many students attended the university; and how many of those students were British.

    The contribution made by the United Kingdom Government to the European university institute in the last financial year was £1,059,000. Of the 190 students at the institute in the last academic year, 21 were from the United Kingdom.

    Cern

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to make a statement on the United Kingdom's membership of CERN.

    The report of the CERN review group, chaired by Professor Abragam, has just been received, and is today being presented formally by him to a meeting of the CERN council. The report, a copy of which is being placed in the Library, will now be the subject of detailed analysis prior to a substantive discussion of it, planned for the February meeting of the CERN council. At today's meeting the United Kingdom delegate will explain that the United Kingdom will wish to remain a full and active member of CERN provided that a sound basis for doing so in the future can be established.

    Esrf

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to decide on United Kingdom funding of the planned ESRF (synchrotron radiation) facility at Grenoble.

    I wrote to the chairman of the ESRF provisional council on 11 December informing 11 him of the United Kingdom's willingness to fund a 10 per cent. share of the construction costs of the proposed European synchrotron radiation facility. Discussions with other prospective partners are continuing.

    Agriculture And Food Research Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research funds he proposes to distribute to the Agriculture and Food Research Council; and what is his estimate of the total of departmental allocations to the Council.

    My right hon. Friend is currently considering the advice of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils on the allocation of the additional money for science in 1988–89 announced on 3 November. He expects to announce his decision on allocations shortly.The Agriculture and Food Research Council will also receive funds from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for commissioned work. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has still to confirm the total research that he will be commissioning in 1988–89.

    Geological Surveying

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to implement the recommendations of Sir Clifford Butler's report on geological surveying.

    There is nothing further that I can add to my reply to my hon. Friend, and my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Latham) on 29 October 1987 at column 365.

    National Curriculum Mathematics Working Group (Report)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish the interim report of the national curriculum mathematics working group; and if he will make a statement.

    I am publishing the interim report of the national curriculum mathematics working group today. I am grateful to the group for the work it has done to date, but hope for a more rapid rate of progress over coming months in its further work on attainment targets and programmes of study for mathematics. Copies of the report and of my response are being lodged in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Education Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on expenditure to be supported by education support grant in 1988–89.

    New starts approved for 1988–89
    ActivityTotal allocation (£ million cash)Number of LEAs to be supported
    1. IT in Schools119·0All
    2. Provision of Books and equipment for GCSE examination courses10·0All
    3. The teaching of mathematics in schools4·6All
    4. The teaching of science and technology as part of primary education2·956
    5. Action to combat the misuse of drugs2·394
    6. Computer Aided Engineering12·221
    7. Management information in FE Colleges2·031
    8. Education for a multi-ethnic society1·550
    9. Provision of records of achievement1·27
    10. Learning by achievement11·126
    11. Support for parents in the teaching of children under five with special educational needs1·135
    12. Open Learning11·040
    13. The planning, development and co-ordination of provision to meet the educational needs of the unemployed0·926
    14. Diversification of first foreign language10·310
    15. The development of information technology at FE Establishments0·26
    Total50·3
    1 New activities for 1988–89.

    Energy

    Electricity Transmission (Costs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what response the Central Electricity Generating

    The Government intend to support expenditure of £115·5 million in England through education support grant in 1988–89. £81 million of Exchequer grant will be paid in all, and every local education authority will benefit from the programme. Grant will be paid at the rate of 70 per cent. of approved expenditure except for the special extension of the project on records of achievement, where it will be paid at 50 per cent.Within the overall figure of £115·5 million, £40·5 million of expenditure on schemes of midday supervision will be supported and about £25 million of continuing expenditure on projects began in earlier years of the programme. The amount available for new starts will be just over £50 million, which will be spread across 15 activities. Five of these activities are featuring in the programme for the first time. They are: information technology in schools; a pilot project to broaden the range of languages learnt by pupils in secondary schools as their first foreign language; schemes for the organisation of leisure time activities of vocational benefit to young persons known as learning by achievement; the development of vocational open learning provision, and the provision of equipment for use in the teaching of computer aided engineering on technician courses.The Department is writing to local education authorities today to inform them of the levels of expenditure which I have approved for activities to be supported in 1988–89. The table sets out for the 15 activities in which new starts are now approved the levels of expenditure to be supported next year and the numbers of authorities for which I have approved projects.Board has made to the report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the efficiency and costs of transmission of electricity.

    The Central Electricity Generating Board has sent me its first response to the report which was published on 26 June this year. Copies of the response have been placed in the Library.The commission found that the CEGB generally managed its transmission function efficiently in the interests of its customers and in discharge of its statutory duty, but identified several areas of weakness and one major failure. However, the commission did not consider that in respect of any of the matters investigated the board was at the time pursuing a course of conduct which operated against the public interest. The commission recognised the high level of technological competence which the board displayed in the transmission of electricity, but drew attention to the importance of developing an equally high standard of general management, particularly in the absence of competitive pressures.Accordingly, the commission made a large number of recommendations, mainly aimed at improvements in general management in the area of transmission. The CEGB's response summarises the action which the board plans to take. There were five areas which the commission recommended should have priority:1.

    Clearer definition of Board responsibilities

    The CEGB has explained the collective and individual responsibilities of executive board members. I attach importance, as does the board, to a clear definition of responsibilities at all times.

    2. Future management of the Five Centre Grid Control Project

    The board acknowledges that serious mistakes were made in the original two-tier grid control project; and has taken steps to ensure that the revised five centre project will be carried out efficiently. My Department will wish to keep in touch with the progress of the project.

    3. Year to year changes in transmission plans

    and

    4. Fluctuations in estimated plant and equipment requirements

    The board will he reviewing recent changes and fluctuations to see whether firmer indications of requirements can be given to suppliers. I believe that it is important that there should be an informed relationship between the hoard and suppliers, though set in the context of maximising the scope for competition. I note that the commission endorsed the CEGB's practice of basing its investment planning and appraisal decisions on the costs and benefits which will accrue to electricity consumers.

    5. Approach to budget setting

    The board accepts the need for a rigorous approach to budget setting. My Department will take a close interest in the board's re-examination of the scope for applying priority-based budgeting to expenditure on transmission.

    The commission considered that the board was wrong not to have undertaken a formal assessment of costs and benefits before embarking on reorganisation of its production activities. I attach importance to the action which the board is taking to evaluate and achieve the cost savings which reorganisation has made possible.

    The board will be reporting to me next summer on progress achieved in implementing the recommendations.

    Government Buildings (Lighting)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy to what extent he has promoted the findings of his energy efficiency demonstration scheme's expanded project file 69 on lighting controls for installation in the Government's main buildings and where the Government are the principal tenant.

    My energy efficiency office actively promotes the efficient use and control of lighting in buildings. The Property Services Agency is fully aware of the project referred to by the hon. Member and other advisory material on energy efficient lighting.

    Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of his Department; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    The staffing of my Department's press office (including the public inquiry point and support staff) is 11. Staffing levels are presently under review.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by his Department on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    Provisional figures for expenditure by my Department in 1987–88 in the following areas are:

    £ million
    (a) Television advertisingNil
    (b) Radio advertisingNil
    (c) Press advertising, including newspapers1·85
    (d) Other promotional material1·16
    This estimate includes £450,000 in respect of publicity in connection with the collection of the second call on British Gas shares. This sum was excluded from that given in the previous answer on 17 July, at column

    647 for the sake of consistency with the figures given in that answer for 1986–87.

    Detailed decisions on expenditure for 1988–89 have not yet been taken.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by his Department on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    The estimated expenditure for 1987–88 is £359,000.The figures include:

  • (i) forecast expenditure by the press office:
  • (ii) staff costs (salaries, accommodation and common services) for all permanent information service and support staff currently in post in the press office, including the public inquiry point.
  • Staffing levels are currently under review; therefore detailed decisions have not been made for 1988–89.

    Opencast Executive

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) how many (i) administrative and (ii) productive employees were engaged in the activities of the Opencast Executive in (a) Wales, (b) England and (c) Scotland for each of the years 1980 to 1987; and if he will make a statement;

    (2) how many sites are (a) currently coaled by the Opencast Executive in (i) Wales, (ii) England and (iii) Scotland and (b) were so worked in each of the years 1980–1987.

    This is a matter for the British Coal Corporation and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

    Nuclear Power

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards proposals by the Central Electricity Generating Board to build new nuclear generating capacity, in the context of the overall development of national electricity supplies.

    In August of this year I received an application from the CEGB for my consent to build a pressurised water reactor nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The CEGB has also informed me that it expects shortly to submit applications for my consent to build new coal-fired power stations at Fawley in Hampshire and at West Burton in Nottinghamshire.The Government are satisfied that there will be a need for considerable new generating capacity before the end of the century. By then, many existing power stations will have been retired. The days of overcapacity in electricity supply are rapidly coming to an end, and new capacity must be planned now if supplies are to be maintained. Electricity demand is steadily rising as economic activity revives.Secure supplies of electricity are vital to the nation's well-being. We cannot afford to risk dependency on one source of power alone. There is an obvious need for diversity in the nation's power sources to which nuclear power can make a valuable contribution. It provides independence from the uncertainties of future prices of fossil fuels. My right hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Walker), attached substantial importance to the need for greater fuel diversity in giving his consent in March of this year for the Sizewell B PWR. In the ensuing debate of 11 May the House recognised the important contribution that nuclear energy is making and will continue to make to the strength of the British economy. The proposals to privatise the industry which I shall bring before the House in due course will take the need for diversity fully into account.The Government are satisfied that the PWR can provide nuclear energy safely. The Sizewell B decision was made only after the most careful and painstaking independent assessment of the issues by the inquiry inspector. In June of this year the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate also completed its assessment of the safety issues for the Sizewell B design with the granting of a nuclear site licence. The safety of that PWR design has been exhaustively examined and found to be acceptable. The NII will, of course, have to continue to be satisfied, through the licensing process, in respect of individual projects and, in particular, with the examination of those safety issues which are site specific in their nature.However, without further nuclear stations, the nuclear component in our electricity supplies will decline as the existing Magnox stations are retired. The CEGB made it clear at the Sizewell B public inquiry that, in the event of receiving consent for the Sizewell B PWR, it would wish to proceed with a small family of PWRs based on the Sizewell B design. Each future power station application will be considered on its merits. The Hinkley Point C proposal is the first of these and I shall announce, in due course, the details of the public inquiry which will assist me in my decision on the CEGB's application.Subject to receiving the necessary safety, environmental and other consents, these stations will contribute, along with other generating options, including further coal-fired stations and renewable resources, to meeting the nation's requirement for additional generating capacity.

    Scotland

    "Prosecuting Sexual Assault"

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to introduce legislation to give effect to the recommendation of his Department's report, "Prosecuting Sexual Assault"; and if he will issue guidance to the courts.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend to the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Milian) on 28 October 1987, at column 144.

    Prisons (Damage)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the estimated cost of damage caused in the recent prison disturbances in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

    The information is as follows:

    £ thousands
    Shotts (26–27 September 1987)186
    Peterhead (28 September to 3 October 1987)92
    Perth (4–6 October 1987)96
    374

    Prisons (Disturbances)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many inmates have been charged with offences against prison rules following the recent prison disturbances in Scotland; how many have been found guilty; and what awards have been given.

    Charges, or adjudications by governors or visiting committees, for alleged offences under the Prison (Scotland) Rules 1952 do not proceed if the same allegations are subject to independent criminal investigation.Allegations of offences during recent incidents at Shotts prison (26–27 September), Peterhead (28 September to 3 October) and Perth prison (4–6 October) are the subject of investigation by the police and procurators-fiscal. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the nature or possible outcome of these investigations, or any criminal, proceedings which might result.

    Scottish Transport Group

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has proposals to privatise the Scottish Transport Group or any of its subsidiary companies during the next two years; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson) on 3 December 1987 at column 669.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the profit or loss of the Scottish Transport Group and each of its subsidiary companies in each year from 1983–84 and 1986–87; and what is the projected profit or loss for 1987 and 1989.

    The Scottish Transport Group's annual accounts are prepared on a calendar year basis. The profit for the calendar years 1983 to 1986 inclusive is shown on page 28 of the group's annual report and accounts for 1986, a copy of which is available in the Library. Profit figures for each of the group's subsidiary companies for the calendar years to 1986 are contained in the annual reports of the companies, copies of which are deposited with the Registrar of Companies. Projected profits for both the current year and future years are matters of commercial confidence.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the value of all assets held by the Scottish Transport Group and each of its subsidiary companies.

    The value of all assets held by the Scottish Transport Group is set out in the group's annual report and accounts, a copy of which is available in the Library. Figures for each of its subsidiary companies are contained in the annual accounts of each of the companies, copies of which are deposited with the Registrar of Companies.

    Armed Forces (Casualties)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects detailed guidance relating to armed forces casualties, and to host nation arrangements, as referred to in paragraph 4.4 of the Scottish Home and Health Department's circular SHHD/DGM (1987)41, "Emergency Planning in the National Health Service: Health Service Civil Planning" to become available.

    I refer the hon. Member to my reply of Friday 11 December to the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith).

    Nursery Schools

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was (a) the total public expenditure on nursery schools and classes for each year from 1975 to 1985 and (b) the total public expenditure on these services as a percentage of the gross domestic product of Scotland for each of these years.

    The information available on total public expenditure on nursery schools and classes is as follows:

    £ million

    1976·7712·6
    1977·7813·1
    1978·7912·3
    1979·8013·5
    1980·8116·5
    1981·8218·4
    1982·8322·2
    1983·8422·0
    1984·8524·0
    1985·8626·2

    Note: Comparable figures for 1975–76 are not available.

    The percentage which these sums represent of estimated Scottish GDP is 0·1 for each year.

    Nurseries And Playgroups

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was (a) the total public expenditure spent on local authority day nurseries, local authority playgroups and grants to the voluntary sector for provision for under-fives for each year from 1975 to 1985 and (b) the total public expenditure on these services as a percentage of the gross domestic product of Scotland for each of these years.

    The information available on expenditure by social work authorities on children's day care services, including payments to voluntary bodies and individuals, is as follows:

    £ million
    1975–763·0
    1976–774·0
    1977–784·1
    1978–795·0
    1979–806·0
    1980–818·2
    1981–829·1
    1982–83110·2
    1983–84111·0
    1984–85111·6
    1985–86112·4
    1 Estimate.
    The percentage which these sums represent of estimated Scottish GDP is 0·04 up to 1979–80, rising to 0·05 thereafter.Grants are also made by central Government to voluntary social work organisations. However, the exact amounts from such grants which are devoted to provision for under-fives are not available.

    Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest figure for the number of staff presently employed in the press and public relations office of his Department; and what is the number planned to be employed at this point in 1988.

    At 1 December 1987 the number of staff in the information officer grades employed in the Scottish Information Office was 23. Decisions have yet to be taken on the precise disposition of staff in the Scottish Office for 1988–89.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1987–88 by his Department on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material; and what are the estimated expenditures in each area for 1988–89.

    Estimated expenditure by my Department on television, radio, newspaper advertising and promotional material in the current year is £134,500, £58,000, £493,000 and £549,800 respectively.Detailed decisions on expenditure by media have not yet been taken, but I expect the overall publicity figure to be £1,353,600.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest figure for the estimated expenditure by his Department on press and public relations for (a) 1987–88 and (b) 1988–89.

    The estimated running costs of the Scottish Information Office for 1987–88 are £1·7 million. Decisions on the expenditure estimate for 1988–89 have still to be taken.

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimates he has made of the financial implications for each of the Scottish regions of the introduction of a uniform non-domestic rate.

    No such estimates have been made. There are no plans to introduce a separate uniform non-domestic rate for Scotland.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether those in receipt of supplementary benefit will pay 20 per cent. of their poll tax liability.

    [holding answer 26 October 1987]: I am sorry not to have replied to the hon. Member more quickly. The information requested is as follows.Those receiving income support, which will replace supplementary benefit in Apr