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Written Answers

Volume 124: debated on Friday 18 December 1987

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 18 December 1987

Defence

Effluent Treatment (Cardiff)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the levels of (a) beryllium and (b) natural or depleted uranium in the effluent discharges from Atomic Weapons Establishment Cardiff, formerly Royal Ordnance Factory, in the years between 1962 and 1987; and if he will publish an estimate of the likely discharge levels of these materials following the commissioning of the new effluent treatment plant.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the reasons for installing an improved effluent treatment plant at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Llanishen, Cardiff; when he expects the new plant to be commissioned; and if he will make a statement.

The existing effluent treatment plant at the atomic weapons establishment, Cardiff, reduces the beryllium waste content to a consistently low level. It continues to operate effectively and there is no reason for its immediate replacement. Like most items of plant, however, the costs of maintenance increase with time and there are therefore plans to reduce the existing effluent treatment plant in due course by plant of at least equal efficacy.

Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Vessel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he now expects to arrange a decision on the placing of an order for AOR 2; and if he will make a statement.

I am pleased to be able to announce that agreement has been reached with Swan Hunter Shipbuilders on a contract for the second auxiliary oiler replenishment vessel. This follows the preferential opportunity given to the company to bid for this order as announced by my right hon. Friend in the House on 24 April 1986 at column 434. Construction is expected to begin next year.

Awre Aldermaston

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the contracting-out of processing and handling work at AWRE Aldermaston.

There has been no contracting-out of any part of the manufacturing process at the atomic weapons establishment, Aldermaston. Contractors are, however, involved in the provision of services and construction of facilities at the establishment.

Falkland Islands

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has of the annual cost of (a) paying and (b) equipping the forces stationed in the Falkland Islands; what estimate he has of annual transport costs; and what estimate he has of the cost in the current financial year of (i) new building and equipment, (ii) maintenance and (ii) staffing on Ascension Island.

The additional cost to the Defence budget of maintaining a garrison in the Falkland Islands in 1987–88 is £141 million. This includes all extra costs relating to the Falklands garrison, whether the costs are incurred on the islands themselves or elsewhere, such as Ascension. It excludes those personnel, equipment and other costs which would be incurred in the absence of the Falklands commitment; these are not identifiable without disproportionate cost and effort.

Raf Bases (Alert States)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions (a) RAF Molesworth, (b) RAF Greenham common and (c) all RAF bases have been in each of the categories of alert over the past year.

For security reasons, it is not our normal practice to give details of alert states.

French Defence Minister

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the outcome of his recent discussion with the French Defence Minister., with particular reference to the possible joint development or purchase of an air-launched stand-off nuclear missile to replace free-fall bombs.

My right hon. Friend met his French colleague, M. Giraud, in London on 14 December as part of the normal series of exchanges between the two countries. They discussed a wide range of defence issues. Their talks included consideration of each country's requirements for an air-launched stand off missile. It was agreed that further studies should be undertaken to identify where the British and French requirements were similar and assess what merit there might be in collaboration.The procurement of a replacement for Britain's current theatre nuclear weapon, the free-fall bomb, is a long-term undertaking. A number of options are open to us and no decisions have yet been taken.

Surplus Firearms

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why pistols sold to QED by his Department and shown in the appropriation accounts for 1982–83 as being the subject of a £450,000 settlement, were not subject to the nationally agreed policy referred to in the reply of 14 December, Official Report, column 346, relating to the disposal of surplus firearms; and if he will make a statement.

The contract for the sale of pistols to QED (Design and Development) Ltd. pre-dated the current policy. The settlement arose from the cancellation of the contract in the light of the change of policy.

House Of Commons

Strangers Gallery

To ask the Lord Privy Seal if he will bring forward proposals to allow note-taking in the Strangers Gallery by members of the public; and if he will make a statement.

No. Visitors attend the Strangers' Gallery in order to listen and observe proceedings of the House. In accordance with the resolution of the Services Committee, 21 January 1981, I do not believe that it would be appropriate to allow note-taking when records of our proceedings are widely available, both in Hansard and in the national press.

Overseas Development

Vietnam

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how Her Majesty's Government will respond to the request by the Government of Vietnam for humanitarian assistance for the victims of Typhoon Mary No. 6.

We shall not be making a bilateral contribution in response to the request. The European Community would, however, be prepared to consider providing humanitarian assistance through nongovernmental organisations.

Ethiopia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response Her Majesty's Government have made to the recent $22 million Ethiopian emergency appeal made by UNICEF.

We shall consider the UNICEF appeal against other emergency needs in Ethiopia.

Famine Relief

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to ensure that the recent £2 million contribution to the Disasters Emergency Committee will be spent on famine relief to benefit starving people, especially women and children; and if he will make a statement.

Her Majesty's Government's contribution to this appeal is being used to respond to specific requests from the charities represented on the committee: the British Red Cross Society, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and the Save the Children Fund. In considering such requests we are concerned to ensure that the aid provided will benefit those most in need, half of whom are children.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to release grain and other surplus food from European Community intervention stores for dispatch to Ethiopia to alleviate the famine there.

European surpluses are being used to help meet famine needs in Ethiopia. This year the European Community has pledged 154,000 tonnes of cereals, mostly from within Europe, for this purpose. In addition, from our own bilateral food aid programme, Britain is providing 37,000 tonnes of cereals, of which 30,500 tonnes are being purchased within Europe.

Trade And Industry

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the likely effect of the recent efficiency unit proposals on his Department.

The efficiency unit's report on improving management in Government is still being considered by Ministers.

Rural Postal Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he next expects to meet the chairman of the Post Office to discuss rural postal services.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster meets the chairman of the Post Office from time to time to discuss matters of current interest but has no specific plans to discuss rural postal services.

Kingrosia Park, Clydach

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will now reply to the letter sent to him by the hon. Member for Gower relating to the problems experienced by the residents of Kingrosia park, Clydach, following a company going into liquidation.

I greatly regret that the letter which the hon. Member for Gower sent in May has been lost. It was not clear at that time which Department should answer and the letter appears to have been lost in transit. If the hon. Member writes to me again, I shall ensure that he receives a prompt reply from the right Department.

Northumberland (Rural Post Offices)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, when he next meets the chairman of the Post Office, he will discuss with him the consequences of the proposed downgrading of Northumberland's rural post offices to community offices.

The introduction of community offices in Northumberland is an operational matter for the Post Office Board, and I am asking the chairman to write to my hon. Friend about this.

Erg Group (Takeover)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will refer the proposed takeover by Granada of the ERG Group, including Servicescope, to the Monopolies and Merger Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The proposed acquisition by Granada of the ERG Group is currently being considered by the Director General of Fair Trading. My right hon. and noble Friend will make his decision whether to refer the proposal to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in the light of the director general's advice.

Racal-Vodaphone

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he proposes to reclaim for the purposes of reallocation the 40 GSM channels granted on a temporary basis to Racal-Vodaphone; and if he will make a statement.

British Steel Corporation

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make it his policy to include in any legislation for the privatisation of the British Steel Corporation a provision precluding the purchase of the corporation by foreign buyers; what consideration he has given to the position of the corporation's subsidiary Universe Engineers Steels in this regard; and if he will make a statement.

We shall consider whether there is a case for restricting ownership in relation to BSC, but no decisions have yet been taken. The ownership of private sector firms in which BSC has holdings is a matter for the shareholders.

National Girobank

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he intends to offer National Girobank for sale as a share issue open to the general public; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he expects to raise any money from the sale of Girobank in any of the next three financial years; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 14 December at column 335.

Inner-City Initiative

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are the estimated outturn expenditure figures for 1987–88 for each of the inner-city initiatives announced by he Government since 1983.

My Department's budget provides finance for the special budgets of the city action teams and for the top-up funds of the inner-city task forces. Provision for the special budgets of the CATs is £5 million in 1987–88. I expect this to be fully committed to projects in the city areas they cover. The top-up budget of the inner-city initiative is £14 million this year, and I expect a substantial proportion of it to be spent on or committed to projects in the 16 task force areas. It is too soon to estimate the outturn of expenditure but I expect that not all available top-up funds will actually be spent in 1987–88 because half of the task forces have only started work during 1987 and we need to be sure that the money is committed to projects addressing the employment and enterprise aims of the initiative. The flow of programmes and approval is now speeding up rapidly and we are entering into substantial future commitments. The hon. Member may wish to ask similar questions of my colleagues with urban policy responsibilities about the budgets for their Department's programmes.

British Steel

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has on the amount spent by British Steel in advertising in 1986–87 and the projected spend in 1987–88, and what plans he has to use public money to advertise British Steel in the current or in the next financial year.

Expenditure on advertising by the British Steel Corporation about its products or activities is a matter for the board. No decisions have yet been taken on the funding of advertising relating to the corporation's privatisation.

Postal Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent discussions he has had with the chairman of the Post Office about the future of postal services.

I have had discussions in recent weeks with the chairman of the Post Office about various matters concerning the future of postal services.

Patent Office

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will consider Sheffield for the relocation of the Patent Office.

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to the hon. Members for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) and for Harrogate (Mr. Banks) on 10 December 1987 at column 239.

Attorney-General

Registered Homes Tribunal

To ask the Attorney-General if he will give the names of the chairs of the Registered Homes Tribunal.

The chairmen of the Registered Homes Tribunal are:

  • His Honour B. H. Gerrard
  • W. Morris Jones
  • J. C. R. Fieldsend
  • G. F. Harwood R.
  • H.Christie
  • Mrs. M. Rutherford

Mr Jeremy Warner

To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received from the International Press Institute about the Law Lords' decision that Jeremy Warner, business correspondent of The Independent, must disclose confidential sources of information.

I have received a letter from the director of the International Press Institute about the recent House of Lords decision which concerned Mr. Warner. In that letter he protested over what he said was governmental interference with the free press. Such an allegation is unfounded. Mr. Warner was asked, by independent inspectors appointed under section 177 of the Financial Services Act 1986 to carry out investigations into possible offences under the insider dealing legislation, to identify his source of information for two articles which he had published. His refusal to answer those questions was referred by the inspectors to the court for the court to inquire into the refusal under section 178 of that Act. The court is empowered to punish someone who so refuses as if he were in contempt of court unless he has a reasonable excuse. The House of Lords held that Mr. Warner did not have a reasonable excuse in this case, essentially on the ground that the information which the inspectors required from him was necessary for the prevention of crime.

Kimberley Carlile

To ask the Attorney-General what action the Director of Public Prosecutions is taking concerning a recommendation of the report of the commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Kimberley Carlile that an inquiry should be set up as to why the prosecution of Mr. Hall and Mrs. Carlile was so long delayed.

Notwithstanding the recommendation in its report, the commission did not itself inquire into the reasons for the delay which it alleged. The Crown prosecution service was not represented at the inquiry; it was given no notice that this matter was in issue, nor was it afforded any opportunity to comment on any of the conclusions or recommendations in the report before it was published.The Director of Public Prosecutions has inquired into the sequence of events, which was as follows. The defendants were charged with murder on 10 June 1986, two days after Kimberley's death. Mrs. Carlile's legal advisers did not agree to a formal committal for trial, but exercised their right to make legal submissions on 15 September 1986 when both defendants were committed for trial to the Central Criminal Court. In November 1986 the court itself fixed 5 May 1987 for the start of the trial. In the meantime, the London borough of Greenwich had begun wardship proceedings, and the question arose whether those proceedings should be heard before or after the trial; Mr. Justice Wood later ruled that they should be heard after the trial. It was plainly desirable that the trial should take place as soon as possible. Accordingly, on 26 January 1987 prosecuting councel instructed by the Crown prosecution service applied to the Common Serjeant to bring the date of trial forward. This application was refused on the grounds that a vital prosecution witness was unavailable to give evidence in parts of March and April and no court could be found for the trial at any other time before 5 May. The trial did begin on 5 May and concluded on 15 May 1987.The director is satisfied that in all the circumstances the Crown prosecution service was in no way to blame for the lapse of time between the charging of the defendants and their trial.

Energy

Electricity Requirement

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the projected electricity requirement in 1977 for the 10-year period 1977–1987; and what have been the actual usage figures during the past 10 years.

This is a matter for the Electricity Council. I shall ask the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

Domestic Fuel Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made in equalising the burden of domestic electricity charges as between different regions; if he will tabulate information available to him on the changes in prices in each board; and if he will make a statement.

This is a matter for the Electricity Council and I shall ask the chairman to reply to the hon. Member.

Advisory Committees

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report the names of his advisory committees, together with an indication of those whose members are required to sign a declaration under, or who have otherwise had drawn to their attention, the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

My Departmental advisory bodies are:

  • The Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power;
  • The Offshore Energy Technology Board;
  • The Offshore Industry Liaison Committee;
  • The Offshore Safety and Technology Board; and
  • The Renewable Energy Advisory Committee.
These bodies may generally be expected to have access to official information: where relevant, their members therefore either have their attention drawn to the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, or are asked to make an appropriate declaration.

Central Electricity Generating Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to how many people work in the generation development and construction division of the Central Electricity Generating Board; and at what locations.

This is a matter for the Central Electricity Generating Board, and I shall ask the chairman to reply to the hon. Member.

Electricity Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if his Department has made any studies or employed any external consultants, or has any plans to do so, to assess the economic and technical feasibility of linking the United Kingdom national electricity distribution grid to Iceland via cables, for the import of electricity generated in Iceland for use in the United Kingdom.

The supply of electricity in bulk is the responsibility of the electricity generating boards. I understand that, at present, the Central Electricity Generating Board has no plans to commission any feasibility studies.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any plans to meet the general manager of the Icelandic Power Company, Mr. Halloor Jonatansson, to discuss the prospects of a power cable link-up between Iceland and the national grid, for the import of power generated in Iceland to the United Kingdom.

The supply of electricity in bulk is the responsibility of the electricity generating boards. I understand that representatives of the Icelandic Power Company have had informal discussions with the Central Electricity Generating Board. The board is keeping the possibility of a cable link under review.

Electricity Supply Industry (Revenue Collection)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has received the third response by the electricity supply industry to the report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the revenue collection systems of four area boards; and if he will make a statement.

I have now received from the Electricity Council, on behalf of all area boards, its third response to the report of the MMC published in January 1985 on the revenue collection systems of the East Midlands, South Eastern, North Eastern and South Western area electricity boards (Cmnd. 9427). I am placing copies of the response in the Library of the House.This final response notes the progress made and the conclusions reached in reviewing the MMC's recommendations since my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad) announced receipt of the second response on 29 July 1986, at columns 361–62. In particular,—each area board has now set itself targets for reducing meter reading, billing and collection costs. Progress in achieving the targets is monitored regularly as is performance between boards;—a detailed study indentifying 'best practices' in revenue collection procedures has been completed and all boards are responding positively to its conclusions;—detailed methods of allocating revenue collection costs based on national accounting guidelines are operated for the purposes of both management cost control and inter-hoard comparisons. All boards have reviewed their allocation practices to ensure that they comply with these guidelines.The industry is continuing to keep revenue collection practices under review and the response concludes by noting that privatisation may bring about further changes in these.The MMC's report and the response of the industry to its recommendations have been a valuable contribution to improving efficiency.

Education And Science

Student Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will announce the level of student grants for the year 1988–89.

Subject to Parliament's approval of the necessary regulations, the main rates of student grant will be increased by 4 per cent. in the 1988–89 academic year. In England and Wales the new rates will be as follows (rates for 1987–88 are show in brackets):

Undergraduate (£)

Postgraduate (£)

Hall or lodgings
(i) London2,425 (2,330)3,630 (3,492)
(ii) Elsewhere2,050 (1,972)2,975 (2,859)
Parental home1,630 (1,567)2,160 (2,070)

The threshold for parental contributions, and the points on the contribution scale at which the rate of contribution changes, will be uprated on average by about 6·5 per cent. Parents whose residual income is below £9,900 will not be assessed for a contribution. The minimum contribution will be increased from £40 to £50 and the maximum, which in general applies only to parents with more than one child in receipt of grant, will rise from £4,600 to £4,900.

The full parental contribution scale for 1988–89 will be as follows:

Residual income £

Contribution £

9,90050
10,00064
11,000207
12,000350
12,600435
12,700455
12,800475
12,900495
13,000515
14,000715
15,000915
16,0001,115
17,0001,315
18,0001,515
18,4001,595
18,5001,620
19,0001,745
20,0001,995
21,0002,245
22,0002,495
23,0002,745
24,0002,995
25,0003,245
26,0003,495
27,0003,745
28,0003,995
29,0004,245
30,0004,495
31,0004,745
31,620

14,900

1 Maximum.

Notes:

1. For 1988–89 the level of contribution will be assessed at £1 in £7 for residual incomes from £9,900 to £12,600; then £1 in £4 to £18,400; and £1 in £4 thereafter. (In 1987–88 it is assessed at £1 in £7 for residual incomes from £9,300 to £11,800; then £1 in £5 to £7,300; and £1 in £4 thereafter.

2. The contribution payable may be less than the amounts shown on the scale, particularly at its top end and where the contribution is in respect of one award-holder only. This will depend on the amount of grant against which the contribution has to be set and whether any of the assessed contribution is offset by alowances for other dependent children.

Primary Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to respond to the Third Report on the Select Committee on Education, Science and Arts on achievement in primary schools, Session 1985–86, H.C. 40-I.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) on 16 December at column 517.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is (a) the number of primary schools in England and Wales, and (b) the number of children of primary school age in England and Wales.

The number of maintained primary schools in England in January 1987 was 19,432 and the number of children of primary school age was 3,389,261.The corresponding figures for Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average number of computers in primary schools in England and Wales.

There are, on average, two microcomputers in each primary school in England and Wales.

Science Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many additional science teachers are estimated to be required, if his plans for city technical colleges and the core curriculum go ahead in their present form.

The establishment of city technology colleges will lead to a small increase in demand for teachers of science, mathematics and CDT. But once established their success may well attract back into the profession science teachers who have left, while also stimulating new entrants. It is too early to give a precise estimate of the demand for additional science teachers generated by our proposals for the national curriculum. We are already planning for the national curriculum to be introduced within an overall pupil to teacher ratio at its lowest ever level of 17:1 by 1989. Within that context, schools and local authorities must ensure that they make the best use of the skills and specialisms of the existing teacher force. For our part, the Department will be monitoring likely demands closely so as to arrange future intitial teacher training allocations on the basis of satisfying the needs of the national curriculum.

Student Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students are in the final year of a science degree in the current year; what proportion that figure is of the total number of students in their final year; and what is his best estimate of the total number of students over the next three years.

In 1986–87 it is estimated that there were 24,200 final year full-time and sandwich students in Great Britain on science first-degree courses, 21 per cent. of all final year first-degree students.Projections of fiscal year students are not available. The total number of science graduates, including those from part-time courses, in Great Britain in 1985–86 was 24,800, 21 per cent. of all first-degree graduates, and is projected to increase to 25,800, 26,800 and 26,100 in 1986–87, 1987–88 and 1988–89 respectively.

City Technology Colleges

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money he has allocated for investment in city technology colleges in accordance with clause 80 of the Education Reform Bill; and what is the maximum percentage of the capital and current expenditure that his Department is prepared to pay.

The Government's plans allow for public expenditure on the CTC programme, both current and capital, of £4 million in 1987–88 rising to £33 million in 1989–90. My right hon. Friend expects a substantial proportion of capital costs to be met by th private sector. He will provide an annual per capita grant to each CTC in line with costs in an LEA maintained school in similar circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated outturn expenditure on city technology colleges for 1987–88, and what was the outturn for 1986–87.

There was no expenditure provision for city technology colleges in 1986–87. For 1987–88 provision has been set at £4 million, including running costs within the Department. Final outturn will be within this figure but will depend on progress with building work in the first two CTCs and it is too early to make any estimate.

Epilepsy

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give details of the progress to date of the recommendations relevant to his Department contained within the report of the working group on services for people with epilepsy.

A joint circular was published by DES and DHSS in July 1986 which drew the attention of education, health and social services authorities to this report. The recommendations on educational matters are directed not at my right hon. Friend, but at local education authorities. It is for individal LEAs to consider the recommendations of the report.

Consultative Documents (Responses)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the names of local authorities and representative bodies concerned with education and other institutions from whom he has received representations in response to his consultative documets entitled (a) "Admission of Pupils to Maintained Schools", (b) "Financial Delegation to Schools", (c) "Collective Worship in Schools", (d) "Academic Tenure and Related Matters", (e) "The National Curriculum 5–16", (f) "Maintained Further Education: Financing, Governance and Law", (g) "The Organisation of Education in Inner London", (h) "Regulations on the Keeping and Disclosure of Pupil Records", (i) "Accounting and Auditing in Higher Education" and (j) "Grant Maintained Schools".

We have had some 20,000 responses to the main consultation papers. These include responses from 82 local education authorities and from a very wide range of representative bodies, including all the main teachers' associations, the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations, the National Association of Governors and Managers and Church bodies. We have also received responses from some 400 school governing bodies and in relation to some of the consultation papers from more than this number. To list all these responses in the form requested by the hon. Member could be done only at disproportionate cost. My Department has, however, placed in the Libraries of the House copies of all responses to the consultation papers other than those from individuals.

Capital Programmes

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what decisions he has now made in respect of the capital programmes of local education authorities for 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) on 19 November at column 611.

Local Education Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each local education authority in England (i) the pupil to teacher ratios, (ii) per capita expenditure and (iii) O and A-level pass rates, for each of the years 1974 to the most recent year for which figures are available.

Advisory Committees

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list in the Official Report the names of his advisory committees, together with an indication of those whose members are required to sign a declaration under, or who have otherwise had drawn to their attention, the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

The following bodies act as advisory committees to the Secretary of State for Education and Science:

  • Advisory Board for the Research Councils (ABRC)
  • Computer Board for Universities and Research Councils
  • Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Interim Advisory Committee on Teachers Pay
  • National Advisory Body for Public Sector Higher Education
  • Open University Visiting Committee
  • University Grants Committee
  • Visiting Committee for Cranfield Institute of Technology
  • Visiting Committee for the Royal College of Art
  • Voluntary Sector Consultative Council
  • Schools Curriculum Working Groups (Science, English, Maths)
  • National Advisory Council for the Youth Service.
Of these bodies, only the ABRC requires members to sign a declaration that their attention has been drawn to the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

Education Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was (a) Government and (b) local authority spending on education, including higher education, expressed per household for 1979 and for 1986–87 at (i) current prices, (ii) 1979 prices and (iii) 1987 prices.

The information requested is as follows:

Expenditure (£) per household1
Cash terms1978–79 prices21986–87 prices2
1978–79 expenditure
—by Central Government45353103
—by Local Authorities4391391761
1986–87 expenditure
—by Central Government310454104
—by Local Authorities4754388754
During this period the relevant number of households increased from 16·8 million to 17·9 million.
1 Estimated mid-year count of households in England.
2 Cash terms have been converted into 1978–79 and 1986–87 prices using the Gross Domestic Product (Market Prices) Deflators.
3 Total Department of Education and Science central government spending excluding research councils (from Public Expenditure White Paper).
4 Total Department of Education and Science local authority current and capital spending (from Public Expenditure White Paper).

Sir David Phillips

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek to obtain a transcript of the speech to the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee by Sir David Phillips FRS, relating to the funding of university research.

Sir David Phillips has sent my right hon. Friend the text of his speech, and I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Library.

University Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he hopes to make a statement on the funding of university research.

My right hon. Friend announced on 3 December the Government's revised expenditure plans for universities and the science budget. He is currently considering advice from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils on the allocation of the science budget and he will make a statement on that as soon as possible.The Government are also considering the recommendations in the ABRC's discussion document "A Strategy for the Science Base" and the many comments on them received during the recently concluded consultative exercise. My right hon. Friend will announce the Government's conclusions on policy for the science base in 1988.

Co-Ordinating Committee On Marine Science And Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will now set out the composition and terms of reference of the Co-ordinating Committee on Marine Science and Technology, announced in Cmnd. 9861.

The new Co-ordinating Committee on Marine Science and Technology will include representatives of relevant Government Departments, research councils and independent members reflecting the broad range of activities the committee will address.The chairman will be Sir John Mason, CB, Dsc, FRS.Other members from outside Government will be:

  • Admiral Sir Lindsay Bryson, FRSE, FEng. — Chairman, Marine Technology Directorate Ltd.
  • Dr. D. L. Georgala, CBE — Industrial Consultant, Laboratory of the Government Chemist.
  • Mr. D. E. Lennard — Managing Director, Ocean Thermal Conversion Systems Ltd.
  • Prof. Tom Patten, CBE, FEng, FI Mech E, FRSE—Chairman, Seaboard Lloyd Ltd.
  • Prof. Ernest Naylor DSc., FIBiol — Lloyd Roberts Professor of Zoology, University College of North Wales, Bangor.
  • Sir David Smith, FRS — Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh University.

One further member, from an industrial background, is to be appointed later.

Departmental members will be drawn from the Department of Trade and Industry, Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, Transport; and the Ministries of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, and of Defence.

The committee will have assessors from the Department of Education and Science, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Cabinet Office.

The committee's terms of reference will be:

To co-ordinate Government-funded and related activities in marine science and technology, advising and reporting to the Government through the Secretary of State for Education and Science, and in particular to:
  • i. develop a national strategic framework, having regard to available resources and taking full account of the responsibility of Departments, research councils and industry in developing their own strategies;
  • ii. draw attention to areas, or potential areas, of duplication, overlap or omission;
  • iii. identify and consider the relative priority of fields of major scientific, technological or economic promise;
  • iv. promote the role of the United Kingdom in the European Community and other international collaboration; and
  • v. monitor progress within the national strategic framework.
  • The Committee is expected to meet for the first time in January 1988.

    Capital Allocations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the amount available for capital expenditure on schools and further education establishments in 1988–89, including the voluntary aided sector.

    Local education authorities have today been informed of their allocations of prescribed expenditure for 1988–89, and of the allocations for capital spending by the governors of voluntary aided and special agreement schools in their area. The allocations, which include an element of £55 million for new school improvement projects, are as follows:

    Education captial expenditure 1988–89 Allocations for each local education authority

    LEA

    Capital expenditure at county and controlled schools and further education establishments £000s

    Capital expenditure by the governors of aided and special agreement schools£000s

    Greater London

    Barking1,63915
    Barnet2,0001,109
    Bexley1,234617
    Brent2,532467
    Bromley40330
    Croydon1,59540
    Ealing1,174971
    Enfield1,318383
    Haringey2,33050
    Harrow1,64325
    Havering69270
    Hillingdon918350
    Hounslow1,24226
    Kingston-upon-Thames1,695
    Merton1,023
    Newham3,0614
    Redbridge3,71960
    Richmond-upon-Thames277
    Sutton627
    Waltham Forest5,49811

    Inner London

    17,7671,641

    Metropolitan Districts

    West Midlands

    Birmingham4,4071,847
    Coventry6,15553
    Dudley1,555535
    Sandwell7675
    Solihull700638
    Walsall90736
    Wolverhampton1,84927

    Merseyside

    Knowsley1,136720
    Liverpool2,323652
    St. Helens1,2112,823
    Sefton1,450293
    Wirral2,330290

    Greater Manchester

    Bolton1,2123,432
    Bury4671,052
    Manchester9,2692,585
    Oldham2,8222,218
    Rochdale1,4401,762
    Salford3,430745
    Stockport2,87850
    Tameside71690
    Trafford4715
    Wigan3,508385

    South Yorkshire

    Barnsley34212
    Doncaster42150
    Rotherham69948
    Sheffield7,189518

    West Yorkshire

    Bradford10,45786
    Calderdale3,619
    Kirklees1,48645
    Leeds4,626
    Wakefield3,57370

    Tyne and Wear

    Gateshead1,933884
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne3,917105

    LEA

    Capital expenditure at county and controlled schools and further education establishments £000s

    Capital expenditure by the governors of aided and special agreement schools£000s

    North Tyneside2,129329
    South Tyneside2,527106
    Sunderland4,583224

    Non-Metropolitan Counties

    Isles of Scilly39
    Avon4,277436
    Bedfordshire1,630
    Berkshire5,567492
    Buckinghamshire6,1521,932
    Cambridgeshire4,314345
    Cheshire4,829515
    Cleveland3,673170
    Cornwall6,413145
    Cumbria4,858429
    Derbyshire10,7771,155
    Devon6,262619
    Dorset4,0521,421
    Durham1,415150
    East Sussex9,8152,091
    Essex20,317831
    Gloucestershire5,302536
    Hampshire16,550288

    Voluntary aided and special agreement schools Major projects to start in 1988–891

    Expenditure (£ thousands)

    Local Education Authority

    Name of School

    1988–89

    1989–90

    1990–91

    EnfieldSt. Matthew CE18363
    EnfieldSt. George RC15040015
    HaveringSacred Heart of Mary7065050
    RedbridgeSt. Anthonys5050020
    ILEASt. Johns CE13635646
    ILEASt. Thomas RC12735
    ILEASacred Heart RC77067637
    DudleyOldswinford Hospital420660170
    LiverpoolKing David Phase 1150266
    St. HelensNewton St. Marys RC6060
    SeftonSt. Johns CE Primary90455122
    WirralPlessington RC Phase 32001,1001,100
    BoltonSt. Josephs RC, Horwich3813319
    BuryRamsbottom St. Joseph RC4616123
    ManchesterSt. Andrews CE291566
    ManchesterDidsbury CE Primary311688
    RochdaleSt. Vincent de Paul4214721
    RochdaleRC Secondary Reorganisation54084975
    SalfordChrist The King RC7575
    WiganSt. Ambrose Barlow RC150160
    SheffieldNotre Dame Phase 2318220
    SheffieldAll Saints200170
    BradfordBingley Grammar1716538
    Newcastle upon TyneSt. Cuthberts RC Comprehensive40434237
    North TynesideSt. Anselms188434228
    South TynesideSt. Bedes, Jarrow10020033
    BerkshireNewbury, St. Nicholas CE250250
    BuckinghamshireHigh Wycombe, St. Augustine163
    CambridgeshireShelford CE10075

    LEA

    Capital expenditure at county and controlled schools and further education establishments £000s

    Capital expenditure by the governors of aided and special agreement schools £000s

    Hereford and Worcester2,89261
    Hertfordshire5,525467
    Humberside7,0771,315
    Isle of Wight1,663839
    Kent7,134386
    Lancashire12,80921,298
    Leicestershire7,4191,036
    Lincolnshire3,897125
    Norfolk4,021253
    North Yorkshire3,937100
    Northamptonshire3,190132
    Northumberland955178
    Nottinghamshire2,461203
    Oxfordshire4,673682
    Shropshire4,465265
    Somerset2,764559
    Staffordshire7,469955
    Suffolk7,014246
    Surrey4,8591,660
    Warwickshire1,375715
    West Sussex3,0531,644
    Wiltshire3,21535
    England369,00055,298

    Expenditure (£ thousands)

    Local Education Authority

    Name of School

    1988–89

    1989–90

    1990–91

    CambridgeshireElton CE20030
    CheshireBishop Bluecoat35485139
    CheshireSt. Benedict RC15031049
    CornwallSt. Unys CE10050
    CumbriaPreston, Endmoor CE30320130
    DevonTorquay, Cuthbert Mayne137
    DorsetPoole, St. Aldhelms CE200600250
    East SussexHastings, Sacred Heart RC25050
    EssexShenfield, St. Marys CE1091205
    GloucestershireSt. Gregory RC14122628
    GloucestershirePates Grammar Phase 2154104
    HampshireGosport, St. Johns10075
    HertfordshireBishop Stortford, St. Mary RC12022515
    HumbersideBeverley Grammar180114
    LancashirePenwortham, St. Mary Magdalen Preston RC Secondary4080
    LancashireReorganisation Preston RC Primary3001,000250
    LancashireReorganisation22020
    LeicestershireWigston, All Saints CE28331
    NorthumberlandMorpeth, St. Roberts RC11832650
    NottinghamshireSt. Edmund Campion RC2119111
    ShropshireBitterly CE26591
    SomersetTaunton, Holy Trinity CE15022028
    SuffolkBury, St. Edmunds, St. Louis8510570
    WarwickshireKineton CE20065
    West SussexEast Grinstead, St. Peters RC17044030

    1 Expenditure for 1988–89 is included in the Governors column of the main list.

    Capital Allocation (Calderdale)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what decision he has reached now that he has received Calderdale's bid for capital allocation for 1988–89, concerning the £1·2 million needed to implement the Commission for Racial Equality's proposals.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry).Calderdale's allocation for 1988–89 is 92 per cent. higher than its original allocation for 1987–88.Alllocations in respect of prescribed expenditure are unhypothecated and it is up to Calderdale local education authority to decide how to use the resources available.

    Higher Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will announce his decisions on provision for polytechnics and colleges in 1987–88 and on the distribution of the advanced further education pool and voluntary sector quantum for 1988–89; and if he will make a statement.

    I have today written to the chairman of the committee of the National Advisory Body for Public Sector Higher Education (NAB) in response to the committee's advice on the disposition of student numbers in polytechnics and colleges in 1988–89, and on the basis for distributing the advanced further education quantum of £781 million and the voluntary sector quantum of £56·7 million which I announced in the House on 3 November and the direct grant agricultural colleges quantum of £3·87 million. I have accepted that advice in full.

    Following my announcement that the resources available for polytechnics and colleges in 1988–89 would be 9 per cent. up on the current year, NAB recommends that student access should be further expanded. The plans for 1988–89 provide for over 7,000 more places and an increase in recruitment of over 3 per cent. compared to the targets set in 1987–88. That is fully adequate to meet known demand. Within the total, the targets allow for further increases in enrolments in the priority areas of science, engineering, technology and design.

    As in previous years, the greater parts of the advanced further education quantum and of the voluntary sector and direct grant agricultural colleges quantums are being allocated in relation to target student numbers. The allocations make allowance for the differential costs of provision between subjects. They supplement the level of funding per student in respect of those institutions where higher education exceeds a quarter of total provision. This is in recognition of the greater costs associated with a concentration of higher education.

    The allocations announced today include just under £25 million for a range of selective initiatives in areas of high priority and institutions of recognised strength. This expenditure supports the following purposes:

    —£1·91 million to meet the recurrent costs of the continuing participation by eight polytechnics in phase 2 of the engineering and technology programme;
    —£9·81 million to fund applied research of relevance to industry;
    —£1·05 million to support the launch of new courses in manufacturing systems engineering;
    —£4·89 million to continue the funding of new courses in science and engineering, particularly conversion courses which will equip those with non-science backgrounds to enter advanced courses in the technologies, and for the development of new courses of teacher training in shortage subjects for nontraditional students;
    —£2·27 million to provide for an increase in technicians in support of high technology courses;
    —44·17 million to maintain the expansion of continuing education and professional updating (PICKUP);
    —£560,000 to provide continuing support for research in the biotechnology field;
    —4250,000 to support course development in selected centres of hotel and catering work.

    £300,000 is also being allocated to support selective work in the voluntary colleges in the teacher training field and £50,000 is being allocated to the direct grant agricultural colleges to support PICKUP.

    Letters are today being sent to local education authorities with copies for their institutions notifying them of my decisions. Copies of my letter to the NAB committee chairman, and of a note explaining the method by which the three quantums for 1987–88 are being distributed, together with full details of the allocations, have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Inner London Education Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what decision he has taken on the application from the Inner London education authority for re-determination of the expenditure level for 1988–89 which he set in July; and what maximum he proposes to prescribe for the Inner London education authority's precept in that year.

    Having considered the Inner London education authority's application, I have decided to re-determine the expenditure level for 1988–89 at £970 million, £15 million higher than the level I set in July. The addition is specifically to assist the authority to meet the one-off costs of making the substantial reduction in its spending which is urgently needed. I have therefore, following consultation with the authority, imposed a requirement that the additional £15 million should be used only for the purpose of meeting obligations to staff who leave the authority by reason of redundancy or in the effective discharge or efficient exercise of the authority's functions. I have today notified the authority of these decisions. I have also notified it of my proposal to prescribe a maximum precept for 1988–89 of 80.56p, which would on the latest information available enable the authority to raise £970 million. The proposed precept maximum is 0.8p more than the current year's precept, an increase of 1 per cent. I have given the authority until 12 January to inform me whether it accepts the proposal.

    Teachers (Training)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what support he will provide for the in-service training of teachers in 1988; and if he will make a statement.

    I announced on 7 August my intention of making available grant of £119 million in 1988–89 to support local education authorities' expenditure in-service training for teachers and certain other groups in the education service. Authorities have responded with proposals for expenditure of £290 million, compared to £265 million this year; a 9 per cent. increase. They have also made proposals for further developing their arrangements for managing training, so that training can be increasingly accurately matched to staff development needs.I have decided to confirm the grant to he made available at the levels provisionally indicated to local education authorities in August, with some minor adjustments in the light of later indications of authorities' intentions for certain categories. I have taken no decision, however, in respect of one authority, Tameside, which has yet to submit full proposals. In two cases, Haringey and Liverpool, I am not satisfied with progress with the development of arrangements for managing training, and I am therefore attaching specific conditions to their grant.

    Teachers (Pensions)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he proposes to make any changes to the arrangements whereby teachers can cover for pension purposes periods when they are on strike.

    At present teachers who go on strike can safeguard their pensions using arrangements designed to protect teachers whose pensionable employment is interrupted for other reasons. They can elect under what are known as "current added years" arrangements to maintain pension cover during their absence by paving the employer's and employee's contributions which would have been paid if pensionable employment had continued — at present 15·45 per cent. of salary. The cost of pensions increase (index-linking) is borne by the Exchequer. I have come to the conclusion that teachers who decide to withdraw their services by striking should no longer be able to take advantage of these arrangements. Under amendment regulations which I have today issued for consultation to representatives of the local authorities, and teachers, I propose to restrict the opportunities that teachers who go on strike will in future have for covering their absences for pension purposes.The effect of the amendments I am introducing will not prevent teachers altogether from covering these absences. To do so, however, they will need to meet the full cost (including pensions increase) under what are known as "past added years" arrangements. The regulations specify a minimum period of 30 days which may be covered in this way, except at the point of retirement when teachers will be able to cover any period by deduction of contributions from their lump sums.

    Governors

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he intends to take in preparing to select governors for the polytechnics and other colleges of higher education to be transferred from local authority control under part 11 of the Education Reform Bill.

    Subject to the successful passage of the Education Reform Bill, I would wish to appoint the new boards of governors as soon as possible after Royal Assent, so that they have time to make preparations before assuming full responsibility for the conduct of their institutions. I shall look to a number of sources for suggestions for the independent lay members; other members will be nominated by the bodies identified in the Bill. The director or principal is also to be a member.It is in the general interest that the transfer is as smooth as possible. Preparations are needed on a contingency basis before the Bill is passed. I am therefore taking steps to establish a small, informal group for each institution to help with identification of possible governors and to offer advice to the institution as it prepares for incorporation. Each group might have about five to six members, plus the director or principal. It would be desirable to include some members of the existing governing bodies. We are writing to chairman of the present governing bodies, and to the directors or principals of the institutions concerned, seeking their help in identifying suitable people.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Cyprus

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received from the high commissioner regarding the actions of Greek Cypriot women who recently crossed into the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus to express their opposition to the division still existing in the island of Cyprus; and if he will make a statement.

    The High Commission has sent a full report on the demonstration that took place on 22 November. We understand that about 150 women, and some men, crossed the United Nations' buffer zone and reached the Turkish-Cypriot controlled area of Cyprus where they sat down and spent some hours, before being persuaded to return voluntarily by members of the United Nations' Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    Member's Correspondence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now reply to the letter sent to him on 5 October by the hon. Member for Gower, regarding problems relating to a constituent residing in Langland, Swansea.

    A reply was despatched on 13 November. A copy will be sent to the hon. Member.

    Middle East

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Israeli Government about the implications for the peace process in the middle east and observance of human rights of the recent disturbances on the West Bank and in Gaza, and the temporary closure of Bethlehem university; and if he will make a statement.

    We take every appropriate opportunity to stress to the Israelis the importance of respecting human rights in the occupied territories.

    Food (Radiation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent European Community agreement on radiation levels in food in an emergency.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Spicer) on 16 December, at column 575.

    Hong Kong

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to receive all members of representive delegations from Hong Kong on future visits; and if he will make a statement.

    The reception of a delegation by ministerial colleagues is a matter for consideration on a case by case basis in the light of the composition of the delegation and its purpose.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Hong Kong Government concerning direct elections in 1988; and if he will make a statement;(2) what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the principle of direct elections in Hong Kong commencing in 1988;(3) if he will make a statement on the progress of political reform in Hong Kong.

    Development in representative government in Hong Kong, including the question of the possible introduction of direct elections to the Legislative Council, is at present under review by the Hong Kong Government on the basis of an extensive survey of local opinion. The outcome of the review will be recorded in a Hong Kong Government White Paper following consultation between ourselves and the Hong Kong Government.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will meet a delegation from Hong Kong in 1988 to discuss direct elections and political reform; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make a statement on the results of recent opinion polls conducted in Hong Kong on the Sino-British agreement to return Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty.

    A recent opinion poll in Hong Kong on attitudes to the joint declaration recorded that 28 per cent. of respondents considered it very good or quite good for the people of Hong Kong, while 45 per cent. considered it good in some ways and not so good in others.

    Uranium (Pakistan)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he possesses on the capability of Pakistan to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium at Golra.

    We have seen a press report on this subject and remain concerned at claims that Pakistan can produce weapons-grade enriched uranium at any site in Pakistan. However, we lack the evidence to be able to confirm or deny such reports. The Government of Pakistan have repeatedly assured us that their nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes. We have consistently urged Pakistan in turn to sign the NPT.

    Mr Mordecai Vanunu (Trial)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there has been any request by defence or prosecuting counsel for any official representations to be deposited on behalf of Her Majesty's Government in relation to, and if any member of the British embassy staff in Israel has been present at, the trial of Mordecai Vanunu.

    We have received no such request, nor has any member of Her Majesty's embassy in Tel-Aviv attended Mr. Vanunu's trial.

    Transport

    Passenger Transport Authorities

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the final expenditure levels and the proposed maximum precepts for the joint board passenger transport authorities for 1988–89; and if he will make a statement.

    I am today formally notifying the passenger transport authorities (PTAs) of the maximum precept levels I propose to prescribe in 1988–89, and of my decisions on applications for redetermination of expenditure levels where these were submitted.Following my determination of expenditure levels (ELs) for each PTA on 23 July, five of the six authorities, the exception being South Yorkshire, submitted applications for redetermination under section 3(4) of the Rates Act 1984. My decisions on redetermination have been in the light of those applications and of further information provided by the PTAs.I have decided not to increase the expenditure levels for the Greater Manchester and the Tyne and Wear PTAs, but that the expenditure levels of the Merseyside, West Midlands and West Yorkshire PTAs should be redetermined at a greater amount. In the case of Merseyside, the figure also takes account of my decision that the current power to capitalise interest charges on the Mersey tunnel debt, which expires on 31 March 1988, should be extended for only six months to 30 September 1988. The expenditure levels as now determined and the maximum precept limits which I propose for each authority are:

    Expenditure levelProposed precept limit
    £ millionPence
    Greater Manchester80·015·58
    Merseyside64·126·50
    South Yorkshire41·530·35
    Tyne and Wear53·59·58
    West Midlands65·010·74
    West Yorkshire59·124·82
    I have asked the authorities to inform me by 15 January 1988 whether they accept the proposed maximum precept levels.

    London Stations (Escalators)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why prohibition notices were posted by the Railways Inspectorate on 10 escalators at four London stations in the first week of December.

    A delayed prohibition notice was served on London Underground Ltd. on 10 December in respect of escalator machine rooms at four stations. This was because work requested by an inspector had not been completed to the inspector's satisfaction.

    Notting Hill Gate (Fire)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will call for a report from the management of London Regional Transport as to why no member of the London Underground staff alerted the fire brigade to a fire at Notting Hill Gate station on 10 December.

    Two incidents occurred at Notting Hill Gate station on 10 December 1987, neither of which was reportable to the Department. In the first a train arrived at the station with a dragging brake. The passengers were detrained and the train departed empty. A member of the public had meanwhile telephoned the fire brigade, which arrived but was not required. In the second a passenger reported smoke at the station but nothing was found and the brigade was not called.

    King's Cross (Fire)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the full terms of reference of the King's Cross inquiry.

    The investigation is being held under section 7 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1871 which sets out its terms of reference.

    Advisory Committees

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list in the Official Report the names of his advisory committees, together with an indication of those whose members are required to sign a declaration under, or who have otherwise had drawn to their attention, the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

    The advisory committees for which I am responsible are:

    • Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites
    • Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee
    • Landscape Advisory Committee
    • Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk road Assessment
    The members of the standing advisory committee on the carriage of dangerous goods in ships are required to sign a declaration under the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

    Motor Cyclists (Leg Protection)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for how long his Department has been carrying out research into leg protection for riders and passengers of two-wheel vehicles; what is the amount of time expended on such research in man hours; and what is the cumulative cost so far of this research.

    The estimated cost of leg injuries from motor cycle accidents is some £186 million per year.The Transport and Road Research Laboratory carried out the first accident studies relating to motor cycles in 1970. These showed the need for leg protectors and a prototype design of protectors was exhibited as part of the first experimental safety motor cycle in 1979. The present in-depth study of leg protection began in 1982. Some of the work has been contracted out to Brunel university and to industry.The research time spent specifically on leg protection has been 8½ man years (13,000 man hrs) at TRRL and 3½ man years (5,000 man hrs) at Brunel. The engineering support for this research has been considerable and the cumulative cost of all the work is about £1·25 million at 1987 prices.

    Severn Bridge

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intends to initiate the process of raising tolls on the Severn bridge; and if he will make a statement.

    M1 (Repairs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the total expenditure at constant prices on repairs to the M1 motorway for each year from 1970.

    The information requested is not available for years before 1979. Figures for expenditure, at constant prices, on structural repairs to the M1 from 1979 onwards are as follows:

    Financial YearExpenditure £ million (GDP at 1985/86 prices)
    1979–8010·9
    1980–8114·7
    1981–8221·6
    1982–8332·4
    1983–8431·4
    1984–8529·0
    1985–8620·4
    Final figures for 1986–87 are not yet available.

    National Bus Company

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish full details of each National Bus Company subsidiary disposed of to date; and if he will make a statement.

    Fifty five National Bus Company subsidiaries have been sold since sales began in July 1986, 31 to their own managements or employees. The details are as follows:

    Management/employee buy-outs

    • Badgerline Ltd.
    • Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company Ltd.
    • Cambus Ltd.
    • Cheltenham and Gloucester Omnibus Company Ltd.
    • The City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd.
    • Devon General Ltd.
    • Eastern Counties Omnibus Ltd.
    • East Kent Road Car Company Ltd.
    • The Eastern National Omnibus Company Ltd.
    • East Yorkshire Motor Services Ltd.
    • Hastings and Districts Transport Ltd.
    • Luton and District Transport Ltd.
    • The Maidstone and District Motor Services Ltd.
    • Midland Fox Ltd.
    • Midland Red Coaches Ltd.
    • Midland Red West Ltd.
    • Milton Keynes City Bus Ltd.
    • National Welsh Omnibus Services Ltd.
    • The Northern General Transport Company Ltd.
    • Northumbria Motor Services Ltd.
    • Potteries Motor Traction Company Ltd.
    • Provincial Bus Company Ltd.
    • The Southern Vectis Omnibus Company Ltd.
    • Southdown Motor Services Ltd.
    • South Midland Ltd.
    • The South Wales Transport Company Ltd.
    • Trent Motor Traction Company Ltd.
    • Wessex National Ltd.
    • West Riding Automobile Company Ltd.
    • Wilts and Dorset Bus Company Ltd.
    • The Yorkshire Traction Company Ltd.

    Third Party Purchases

    • Alder Valley South Ltd.
    • Ambassador Travel (Eastern Counties) Ltd.
    • Alder Valley Engineering Ltd.
    • The Berks Bucks Bus Company Ltd.
    • Bristol Engineering Ltd.
    • Bristol Omnibus Company Ltd.
    • Carlyle Works Ltd.
    • Cumberland Motor Services Ltd.
    • Eastern National Engineering Ltd.
    • H & D Distribution Ltd.
    • Hampshire Bus Company Ltd.
    • Kent Engineering (NBC) Ltd.
    • Midland Red South Ltd.
    • National Holidays Ltd.
    • NTE Coaches Ltd.
    • Pilgrim Coaches Ltd.
    • Shamrock and Rambler Coaches Ltd.
    • Southdown Engineering Services Ltd.
    • United Automobile Services Ltd.
    • United Counties Engineering Ltd.
    • United Counties Omnibus Company Ltd.
    • Voyage National SA
    • West Yorkshire Road Car Company
    • Western National Ltd.

    The National Bus Company in its annual report and accounts published on 27 October forecast that sale of all 72 subsidiaries will be completed before the statutory deadline and that total proceeds will exceed the book value of assets. A report will be made to the House in due course on the aggregate proceeds of sale.

    London Underground (Fires)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fires occurred on London Transport Underground which had some effect on passenger service in each of the years 1957 to 1975; and if he will give details of where and when these occurred.

    Details of all serious fires on London Underground during the period quoted are given in published reports, copies of which are in the Library. Lists of minor fires, in the detail requested, are being compiled and will be made available to the formal investigation into the King's Cross fire. It will be the responsibility of the investigation to establish the cause of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it.

    Airports (Rateable Values)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on (a) the rateable values and (b) the rates payable of airports within the British Airports Authority and Manchester airport in each year since 1983.

    The full information requested is not held systematically by the Department of Transport. In particular no data are available on rateable values of the airports concerned. However, the prospectus for the offer for sale of BAA plc stated that rents and rates paid in respect of BAA airports for the years 1983–87 were as shown, and that rates accounted for about 95 per cent. of these sums.

    Year ended 31 March

    £ million

    198317
    198419
    198520
    198622
    198723

    Figures in respect of rates paid by Manchester international airport are available only for the years ended 31 March 1984 and 31 March 1985: £2,538,000 and £2,836,000 respectively.

    I suggest that the hon. Member contacts the airports concerned direct for the remaining information he has sought.

    Air Transport (Smoke Hoods)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Civil Aviation Authority has now announced the results of its consideration about the provision of passenger smoke hoods; and if he will make a statement.

    The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) chairman announced on 16 December that the authority has decided that it should not at present make smoke hoods a mandatory requirement for British airlines and that the issue will be kept under active review. Civil aviation safety regulation is the statutory responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority.

    A19

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, in view of the continuing high accident rate on the Al9 in the Easington district council area, he will bring forward his plans to install crash barriers so that such work can begin immediately.

    Two contracts for the provision of central reserve safety fencing on the A19 in Easington district have been let. Work is expected to commence in January 1988.

    London Regional Transport

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received asking for the dismissal of the chairman of London Regional Transport.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will dismiss the chairman of London Regional Transport; and if he will make a statement.

    Secondhand Cars

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he proposes to combat the sale of unroadworthy secondhand cars; and if he will make a statement.

    Together with my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for corporate and consumer affairs, I had a useful discussion on 15 December with the Director General of Fair Trading and a range of local authority, motor trade and consumer organisations about this problem.We agreed the desirability of amending section 60 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 to make it easier for trading standards officers to deal with sellers of unroadworthy vehicles. We are also exploring further the possible extension of trading standards officers' powers to inspect cars on garage forecourts.Buyers of second-hand cars would be well advised to arrange a pre-sale inspection. An up-to-date MOT certificate is a guide to the condition of the main safety features such as brakes, steering and lighting.

    Civil Aviation Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the external financing limit for the Civil Aviation Authority.

    The external financing limit for the CAA for 1987–88 has been reduced from £15·3 million to £1 million. This reduction is made possible by extra receipts accruing on en route navigation charges mainly due to higher traffic levels than forecast.

    Direction Signs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the report on the review of direction signs will be published; and if he will make a statement.

    The report on the review of direction signs is being published today and I have placed a copy in the Library, together with a copy of a letter which is being sent to those who commented. The report concludes that our present system of directional traffic signs is basically sound and still applicable to today's traffic conditions. However, it considers that there is scope for improving the application of current principles to ensure that signs are properly sited and there is continuity and consistency of information on them. We accept these conclusions of the report, and have already begun revising the traffic signs manual and related advice. In addition, arrangements are being made for a demonstration project at Guildford. I consider that good, clear signing is essential for road safety as well as making journeys easier for travellers.The report makes a number of recommendations for change. Those for a system of tourist attractions are already being implemented and I am pleased with the progress being made. In addition, it recommends elimination of the confusing distinction between signs on non-primary routes and those on local routes by using only signs with black borders in both cases. These and other changes will be considered in the context of current revision of the traffic signs regulations.The report also recommends development of standards for variable traffic signs so that the potential of these can be fully exploited in today's conditions. We accept this recommendation.I would like to make it clear that the report does not recommend the replacement of traditional fingerpost signs on minor rural roads where traffic is light and speeds are low. These and other similar historic signs can be a valuable enhancement of the local environment where they are compatible with modern traffic conditions.

    We consider that the improvements and changes needed can be implemented without imposing an undue burden on local authorities if phased in with other expenditure which will be needed anyway to establish and renew signs. The report envisages a 10-year programme of implementation involving about £1 million a year extra expenditure by local authorities but at this stage we consider it premature to specify a timetable for completion of the action arising.

    We will be happy to consider any comments which anyone may have on the outstanding recommendations of the report and the views of the local authority associations on cost implications will be particularly welcome. It would be helpful if these could be submitted by Monday 29 February 1988.

    Prime Minister

    Lawyers (Civil Service)

    To ask the Prime Minister what steps she is taking to ensure that Government lawyers are included in key policy-making decisions.

    It is for Ministers to seek legal advice from within the Government legal service on these matters.

    To ask the Prime Minister how many vacancies for qualified lawyers have arisen in the Civil Service over the past year; how many have been filled; and what information she has on the reasons for the shortfall.

    In the period 1 January 1987 to 30 November 1987, 104 vacancies for lawyers arose in the Government legal service and appointments were offered to 49 applicants.The position in the Crown prosecution service is more complex, as the total complement of lawyers was increased during the relevant period. On 1 December 1986 there were 363 vacancies. In the period ending 30 November 1987 a further 306 vacancies arose, of which 178 were newly created posts and 128 resulted from retirements, resignations and deaths. In the same period, 180 vacant posts were filled, leaving 489 vacant on 30 November 1987.Increasing demand for the services of lawyers has stimulated competition for lawyers of the quality required by the Government legal service and the Crown prosecution service.

    To ask the Prime Minister what assessment she has made of the effects on the work of Government Departments of unfilled vacancies among lawyers in Government service.

    Unfilled vacancies result in increased work loads for members of the Government legal service, and it is the Government's policy to fill these vacancies as soon as possible.

    Hong Kong

    To ask the Prime Minister what representations she received from the recent delegation from Hong Kong concerning direct elections and the joint declaration; what response she has made; and if she will make a statement.

    I have received a letter from the recent delegation from Hong Kong and a reply will be sent in due course.

    Civil Servants

    To ask the Prime Minister what assessment she has made of the extent of the loss of confidence and self-respect amongst civil servants, referred to in the speech by Sir Robert Armstrong at the recent seminar organised by the Royal Institute of Public Administration; to what factors she attributes this lack of confidence and self-respect; what steps are being taken to alleviate the problem; and if she will make a statement.

    Sir Robert Armstrong's remarks were made in a talk in which his main concern was to describe all that has been achieved in terms of improvements of management and efficiency in the Civil Service, and to praise the dedication and loyalty with which these changes have been carried through. As he said, there is and always will be more to do, as needs change and systems develop. But I warmly endorse his statement that we have in this country a Civil Service which is second to none in professionalism and integrity, and which, by virtue of accepting and giving effect to these changes, is entitled to the recognition that it is also a Civil Service second to none in efficiency and effectiveness.

    Earl Of Leven

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will advise Her Majesty The Queen to terminate the appointment of the Earl of Leven as Lord Lieutenant of Nairnshire.

    The nature of the communication between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign on such matters is confidential and is never disclosed.

    Environment

    Construction Industry

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has regarding the state of the construction industry in the first nine months of 1987.

    Output and new order figures for the first three quarters of 1987 indicate a healthy trend of strong growth, spearheaded by the private industrial and commercial sectors. For the third quarter of 1987, output figures of £6,321 million, 9 per cent. up on the same period in 1986, were the highest for 10 years. Total new orders, in the third quarter of 1987, stood at £5,574 million, 47 per cent. higher than the same quarter in 1986. Evidence of skills training and material shortages indicates that the industry is still adjusting to the higher levels of demand.

    Bruntlandt Commission

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response Her Majesty's Government are making to the World Commission on Environment and Development report "Our Common Future," chaired by Mrs. Bruntlandt.

    When the report, "Our Common Future", was launched in London in April, the Government immediately praised its forthright message that there would have to he a new era of economic growth if the world's environment was to be safeguarded. The Government's positive response to the report was summarised in greater detail by our permanent representative to the United Nations during a general assembly debate in October. I am arranging for copies of this speech to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what representations he has received regarding the liability of full-time volunteers for the community charge; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make it his policy that full-time volunteers, such as community service volunteers, who have only a subsistence income and are not entitled to supplementary benefit, will not have to pay the full community charge.

    I have received a number of representations about the liability of full-time volunteers for the community charge. Full-time volunteers will be eligible to apply for rebates of up to 80 per cent. of their community charge. Those with incomes equal to or below the level of income support will receive the maximum rebate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish, for every London borough, metropolitan district and non-metropolitan district, the proportion of income which would be taken by the community charge in 1987–88 consistent with his figures of 17 November for community charges with no safety net, Official Report, column 484, single person with a gross income of (a) £3,000, (b) £4,000, (c) £5,000, (d) £7,500, (e) £10,000, (f) £15,000, (g) £20,000, (h) £30,000, (i) £50,000, and (j) £100,000, on the assumption in each case that the individual was not entitled to any social security support.

    The proportion of gross income which would be taken, in each case, would be the community charge divided by gross income.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish, for every London borough, metropolitan district and non-metropolitan district, the proportion of income which would he taken by community charge in 1987–88 consistent with his figures of 17 November for community charges with no safety net, Official Report, column 484, for a married couple whose joint gross income was (a) £4,000, (b) £5,000, (c) £7,500, (d) £10,000, (e) £15,000, (f) £20,000, (g) £30,000, (h) £50,000, and (i) £100,000, on the assumption in each case that the couple were not entitled to any social security support.

    The proportion of gross income which would be taken, in each case, would be two times the community charge divided by joint gross income.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the effect of a banded community charge for people with moderate incomes, as compared with a local income tax and Her Majesty's Government's proposal for a flat-rate community charge.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the pay, the banded charge bill, and the range of the Government's community charge for a third-year student nurse, a newly qualified nurse, a teacher with five years' experience, and an experienced police constable, with 15 years' experience respectively, in Cambridgeshire.

    In moving Second Reading of the Local Government Finance Bill, my right hon. Friend set out the drawbacks we see in a handed community charge — including the likely effect on those on moderate incomes.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his proposals to replace the commercial rate with a unified business rate will affect payments from the landlords of holiday flatlets.

    Holiday flatlets are likely to be regarded as domestic property under clause 50 of the Local Government Finance Bill, which provides that property is domestic if it is used wholly for the purposes of living accommodation. They would not therefore he rated. Instead it is likely that the standard community charge would be payable under clause 3 of the Bill.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Repori the recent letter from the Data Protection Registrar concerning the community charge, and his response.

    I have today placed in the Library copies of the Registrar's letter of 17 November and my response of 4 December.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what advice he will be giving to prisoners just before their release as to their responsibility to pay the community charge from their first day of freedom;(2) what advice he will be giving to homeless persons which describes their responsibility to pay the community charge.

    There will be widespread publicity about the responsibility of every adult to register and pay for the community charge. We shall be considering with the local authority associations what advice needs to be given to specific groups of people about their liability.

    Bed-And-Breakfast Accommodation

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he is having with leaders of London borough councils to reduce the number of people from their area who are at present living in bed-and-breakfast accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

    It is for local authorities to decide how to meet their duties under part III of the Housing Act 1985. Additional resources of £13·6 million were recently allocated to London authorities to help them reduce their recourse to bed and breakfast.

    Housing Revenue Accounts

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list in rank order the deficits or balances for the housing revenue account of each English local authority for each of the last five years for which figures are available, together with the percentage of each council's housing revenue account which these figures represent;(2) if he will list the total rent arrears accruing to the housing revenue account of each English local authority in each of the past five years for which figures are available, together with the percentage of the total rent bill which these figures represent, and the council's position in rank order of all English authorities.

    I regret that the information is not available in the form required. I will write to my hon. Friend shortly.

    Housing Statistics

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of homes owned by each English district council which have been empty for (a) up to two months, (b) two to four months, (c) four to six months, (d) six to nine months, (e) nine months to one year, (f) one year to two years and (g) two years or more, in each of the last five years for which figures are available, and the percentage of each council's housing stock these figures represent.

    Local authorities report the numbers of their empty council dwellings in their annual housing investment programme returns. These figures appear in the columns listed below of the "HIP1 All items prints", which are available in the Library.I shall write to my hon. Friend providing the corresponding percentages of the authorities' stock as soon as possible.

    Vacant local authority dwellings

    1

    at 1 April: England

    Vacant for more than:

    All vacant

    6 months

    1 year

    2 years

    Total LA slock

    1983A89n.a.A99n.a.All
    1984A89n.a.A99n.a.All

    21985

    A19n.a.A29A39All
    1986A99n.a.A109A119All

    31987

    A98A108A118A128A11+A16

    Notes:

    n.a. Information not collected.

    1 Vacant includes dwellings closed and those acquired for demolition.

    2. "HIP4 All items print" in 1985.

    3. 1987 figures included any dwellings owned by an authority outside its own area; in previous returns these were not included.

    Homelessness

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the special £25 million allocation for homelessness has been given to Waltham Forest; how many homeless people there are in Waltham Forest; what criteria were used in the distribution of this money; and if he will make a statement.

    The extra resources were targeted to reduce homelessness and in particular recourse to bed-and-breakfast accommodation. In the third quarter of 1987 Waltham Forest LBC accommodated 190 homeless households. At the end of that quarter it had no one in bed and breakfast. None of the extra resources were allocated to Waltham Forest LBC.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the numbers of people who will be homeless during the fortnight of 18 December to 1 January.

    No estimate is made of future homelessness acceptances by local authorities under the Housing Act 1985.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the number of persons in board-and-lodging accommodation.

    At 30 September 1987 there were an estimated 11,240 households temporarily accommodated in bed and breakfast by English local authorities under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1985.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest available figures for the number of people who are homeless.

    In the third quarter of 1987 local authorities in England accommodated an estimated 28,700 households under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1985.

    Lddc (Arts Centre)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library the details of the consultancy remit from the London Docklands development corporation to Mr. Jeremy Wallington concerning a potential arts centre in the royal docks, together with a copy of his report and a statement of the cost to the London Docklands development corporation.

    The LDDC appointed Mr. Jeremy Wallington as a consultant on I May 1987 to explore the possible development of the K-S warehouses in the royal docks including their use for leisure, community and cultural purposes. The warehouses are owned by the corporation. The consultancy contract cost £13,000 plus the usual expenses. The consultant's report to the corporation contains commercially confidential information provided by the private sector and it would therefore be inappropriate to place the report in the Library.

    Inner Cities

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to ensure that the inner-city initiatives Her Majesty's Government undertake reflect fully the potential for involving the construction industry in the manufacture, distribution and installation of energy-efficient equipment; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 27 November 1987 at column 357. The Government's inner-cities initiatives provides the construction industry with a range of new opportunities.

    Advisory Committees

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the names of his advisory committees, together with an indication of those whose members are required to sign a declaration under, or who have otherwise had drawn to their attention, the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

    The following are described as advisory bodies to my Department in the HMSO annual publication "Public Bodies 1987".

    • Black Country Limestone Advisory Panel
    • Building Regulations Advisory Committee
    • Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council
    • Local Government Boundary Commission for England
    • London and Metropolitan Government Staff Commission
    • New Towns Staff Commission
    • Property Advisory Group
    • Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee
    • Regional Councils for Sport and Recreation
    • Royal Fine Art Commission

    Members of the Property Advisory Group have the provisions of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act drawn to their attention.

    Housing Subsidy

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the housing subsidy figures for urban programme areas in England for 1985–86 and 1986–87.

    Payments of housing subsidy to urban programme authorities in respect of 1985–86 and 1986–87 are as follows:

    Housing subsidy 1985–86Housing subsidy 1986–87
    ££
    Manchester00
    Salford4,283,3884,180,553

    Housing subsidy 1985–86

    Housing subsidy 1986–87

    £

    £

    Liverpool15,223,44115,923,419
    Gateshead00
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne2,657,475686,823
    Birmingham00
    Bolton00
    Oldham2,297.9242,303,841
    Rochdale1,062,349772,441
    Knowsley42,1770
    Wirral00
    Sheffield00
    North Tyneside00
    South Tyneside00
    Sunderland2,612,4107,793,528
    Coventry00
    Sandwell00
    Wolverhampton00
    Bradford00
    Leeds00
    Hackney31,120,44032,413,686
    Islington38,646,05038,741,371
    Lambeth46,060,19044,421,555
    Hammersmith and Fulham11,914,65510,559,741
    Tower Hamlets19,070,00819,515,310
    Wandsworth13,567,11314,251,305
    Brent20,367,97527,423,525
    Middlesbrough2,111,6111,901,435
    Kingston-upon-Hull00
    Blackburn2,415,0241,740,882
    Leicester00
    Nottingham00

    Block Grant

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the estimated outturn block grant figures for 1987–88.