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Written Answers

Volume 129: debated on Thursday 10 March 1988

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 10 March 1988

Wales

Amniocentesis Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of amniocentesis tests which were undertaken in Wales in the most recent year for which the information is available.

Forestry

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the numbers of forestry grant or felling licence applications currently referred to him by the Forestry Commission and the dates when they were so referred; when he expects to be able to announce a decision for each one; and for which cases further consultation is still being considered.

I am considering two forestry planting grant applications to which objections have been raised. The sites are at Bwlch-y-Garreg and Bara Ceirch in Dyfed, and relate to the proposed planting of some 97 hectares in each case. These applications were referred to me on 30 December 1987 and I intend to advise the forestry commissioners on my views shortly.

Higher Education (Welsh Language)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which courses at each of the institutions of higher and further education in Wales are available to students to study (a) partly and (b) entirely through the medium of the Welsh language.

The board for Welsh medium teaching of the University of Wales has reported that in 1986–87 students of the university were pursuing courses partly or entirely through the medium of Welsh as follows:

InstitutionSecretarialBusiness/CommerceNursery Nursing (NNEB)AgricultureHome Economics/Community careHealth studiesHairdressingCommunicationTechnician
Aberystwyth College of FE1**
Ammanford Technical College*
Gwynedd Technical College**
Llandrillo Technical College**
Llysfasi College of Agriculture*
Coleg Meirinydd******
Coleg Pencraig*

University College of Wales, Aberystwyth

Degree courses in Education, Drama, History, Welsh History, Philosophy, French, Geography, Religious Studies, Music and Politics, Post-graduate teacher training.

University College of North Wales, Bangor

Degree courses in Education, Drama, History, Welsh History, Biblical Studies, Theology, Music and Sociology. Post-graduate teacher training.

St. Davids University College, Lampeter

Degree courses in Archaeology, History, Theology and Religious Studies.

University College Cardiff

A degree course in Home economics.

The University of Wales is also able to provide tuition partly or wholly through the medium of Welsh, in a range of other subjects. They are centred mainly at the University college of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University college of North Wales, Bangor, with some provision at University college, Cardiff, St. Davids University college Lampeter, and University college, Swansea.

In the public sector courses of advanced further education are available wholly or partly through the medium of Welsh as follows:

Trinity College Carmarthen

Degree courses in the Rural Environment and 19th and 20th century Studies, a Bachelor of Education course, and Post-graduate teacher training in Religious Education.

Bangor Normal College

Degree courses in Communications, Administration and Environmental Studies, a Bachelor of Education course and Post-graduate teacher training course for primary school teachers.

Gwent College of Higher Education

Teacher training course in Craft, Design and Technology.

South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education

Degree course in Speech Therapy and Post-graduate teacher training courses in Art and Phyical Education.

Welsh College of Librarianship

A Degree course and Post-graduate course in Librarianship.

In 1986 public sector colleges reported that courses of non-advanced further education were available partly or entirely in the Welsh language as follows:

Institution

Secretarial

Business/Commerce

Nursery Nursing (NNEB)

Agriculture

Home Economics/Community care

Health studies

Hairdressing

Communication

Technician

Montgomery College

*

North East Wales Inst. of HE

*

West Glamorgan Inst. of HE

*

1 Including a post-graduate course.

Information on the funds allocated at institutions specifically for the promotion of teaching through the medium of Welsh is not held centrally.

Education Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimates his Department has made of the additional teachers required in (a) the primary sector and (b) the secondary sector in each local education authority area in Wales to teach each of the foundation and core subjects outlined in the Education (Reform) Bill at present before Parliament.

It is too early to make precise estimates. Local education authorities will be expected to plan on the basis of the national curriculum being implemented incrementally over a number of years broadly within the framework of the present planned resources. That framework includes plans for the overall pupil to teacher ratio to continue to fall from its present level to reach 17:1.Within primary schools where the majority of teachers teach right across the curriculum supply is not expected to be a problem. In secondary schools measures will be necessary and plans are in hand to boost teacher numbers in particular subjects, but an increase in teacher numbers overall may not be necessary.

Prime Minister

Community Care

Q7.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the co-ordination of the Government's policy for community care of the elderly, mentally ill and mentally handicapped.

All the relevant Departments work closely together to achieve the necessary co-ordination for community care policies.

British Standard Time

Q131.

To ask the Prime Minister what action she intends to take in response to the representations she has received in favour of putting the clock forward by one hour to restore British standard time and double British summer time.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Hogg) to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) on 2 March 1988, at column 567.

Stabilisers

Q146.

To ask the Prime Minister if the European Council has now received the necessary assurances on stabilisers to enable it to finalise the provisional agreement reached on 11 and 12 February; and if she will make a statement.

The meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 February endorsed the non-arable stabilisers proposals (paragraph 4–11 of annex I to document SN 461/1/88, a copy of which is in the Library of the House), thus enabling the overall agreement reached by the European Council on 11–12 February to be finalised, subject to detailed legal texts being agreed on all points.

Thurlaston

Q161.

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

Engagements

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 10 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 10 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 10 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 10 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 10 March.

This morning I presided over a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with a delegation from the National Pensioners Convention. This evening I am attending a reception for the winners of the 1987 Queen's awards for export and technology.

Attorney-General

Legal Aid

To ask the Attorney-General if legal aid will still be available to women suffering from violence in the home, following the changes proposed in the Legal Aid Bill [Lords].

Yes, subject, as now, to the applicant's means being within the qualifying limits and to the application being judged reasonable by the legal aid authorities.

"Spycatcher"

To ask the Attorney-General if he will bring up to date the information provided in his answer to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 22 October 1987, Official Report, column 839, on legal actions in respect of "Spycatcher"; and if he will provide details in the same form in respect of Mr. Anthony Cavendish's memoirs.

Spycatcher

The High Court of Australia has today reserved judgment in the Government's appeal in the action brought against Heinemann (Australia) and Mr. Peter Wright. The total amount of costs expended to date by the Government in these proceedings is about £485,000.

In England and Wales the House of Lords will hear on 7 June the Government's appeal in the action brought against The Guardian, The Observer and The Sunday Times newspapers. The total amount of costs expended to date by the Government in these proceedings is about £43,000.

In New Zealand the Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in the Government's appeal in the action brought against The Dominion newspaper. The total amount of costs expended to date by the Government in these proceedings is about £74,000.
In Hong Kong an interim injunction was obtained last August against The South China Morning Post newspaper. No date for the hearing of the substantive action has yet been set. The total amount of costs expended to date by the Government in these proceedings is about £1,200.

Cavendish

In England and Wales interim injunctions were obtained in January against The Observer and The Sunday Times newspapers, and later varied, to restrain the publication of material from Mr. Cavendish.
In the same month in Scotland an interim interdict to the same effect was obtained against The Scotsman newspaper, but later recalled. A fresh application for an interim interdict failed, and the Government's appeal against that refusal is due to be heard on 15 March.
To date no costs have been expended by the Government in these proceedings.

Education And Science

Education Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received about the standards in education.

We have received over 10,000 responses to our consultation paper on the national curriculum. A number of respondents have noted that many children now fail to do as well as they could and should, and recognise the importance of a curriculum which sets clear and appropriate objectives for all pupils.

Special Educational Needs

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to publish proposals to extend the support of special educational needs into the 16 to 19 years further education sector.

Clause 81 of the Education Reform Bill puts beyond doubt the duty of local education authorities to provide full-time education for all who seek it up to the age of 19, including those with special educational needs.

Daily Worship

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list for each local education authority the number of schools which do not have a daily act of worship.

Teachers Of The Deaf

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many teachers have been seconded for training as teachers of the deaf in the academic year 1988–89 under the new grant related in-service training scheme; and what steps he has taken to ensure that at least the minimum number of teachers necessary to maintain the current supply will be trained in that year.

Figures are not yet available for courses starting in September 1988. We have made provision through the LEA training grants scheme to support the training of 110 specialist teachers of the deaf through in-service training. This, with the numbers qualifying through initial training, is sufficient to maintain supply broadly at current levels. LEAs have, however, forecast that they will spend some 50 per cent. more in 1988–89 than the sum allocated under the training grant scheme to provide for the 110 trainees.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many qualified teachers of the deaf are employed in maintained and non-maintained schools; and how many teachers not having a specialist qualification are employed to teach hearing-impaired children.

Information in the form requested is riot available. The available information, which covers England and Wales as at March 1986, is as follows:

In maintained and direct grant special schools there were 704 full-time teachers who were recorded as holding qualifications for teaching the hearing-impaired. In main-tamed nursery, primary and seconday schools there were 692 full-time teachers teaching classes for hearing-impaired or visually handicapped children. Of these, 477 were recorded as bolding qualifications for teaching the hearing-impaired, 26 for teaching the visually handicapped and 189 had neither type of qualification recorded.

Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students from (a) Northern Ireland, (b) countries within the EEC and (c) countries outside the EEC are currently attending higher education courses in (i) Scotland, (ii) England and (iii) Wales.

The information is shown in the following table:

Full-time and sandwich students in higher education, 1986
Great BritainThousands
EnglandWalesScotland
Domiciled in Northern Ireland4·90·31·5

England

Wales

Scotland

Other United Kingdom430·529·273·6
European Community7·40·30·8
Other Countries38·33·16·3

Chiropody

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools of chiropody will remain under local education authority control following the establishment of the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council; what proportion of state registered chiropodists in England and Wales they account for; what safeguards will be introduced to ensure that funding of the chiropody course will not be adversely affected at these schools as a result of the new proposals and that the numbers of chiropody students will be maintained; and if he will make a statement.

In England and Wales there are 11 institutions which offer courses leading to qualification as a state registered chiropodist. One school falls within the National Health Service. Of the 10 schools at educational institutions, six will remain in local authority control. In the current year the students enrolled at these six institutions represent about 70 per cent. of the total. Under long-standing guidance by education departments to local education authorities, the non-clinical elements of courses in chiropody at educational institutions are a charge to the education service. I do not expect that arrangement to change. LEA institutions will settle the levels of funding of their courses within the total resources made available by the authority. But authorities' expenditure on such courses of higher education will score as grant-related expenditure.

Home Department

Civil Defence, Swindon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the provisions for civil defence in Swindon; and if he will make a statement.

Responsibility for civil defence planning rests with county councils which are assisted by district councils. We are satisfied that Wiltshire county council, and the district councils within the county, are making good progress towards meeting their statutory obligations.

Driving Disqualification

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been disqualified from driving in each of the past 10 years; and what is the present total number of disqualified drivers.

The number of disqualifications imposed by the courts in each year from 1977 to 1986 is published in table 16 of Home Office statistical bulletin, issue 36/87, "Offences Relating To Motor Vehicles, England and Wales 1986", copies of which are in the Library. It is estimated on the basis of records held on the police national computer that about 240,000 persons are currently disqualified from driving in Great Britain.

Convicted Murderers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convicted murderers in prison now have served (a) 30 years, (b) 25 years, (c) 20 years, (d) 15 years, (e) 10 years, (f) five years and (g) under five years.

Information on the time spent under sentence in prison department establishments in England and Wales by sentenced murderers held in such establishments on 30 September 1987 is given in the table. More detailed information about all life sentenced prisoners is given annually in "Prison Statistics, England and Wales", table 1(f) of the latest issue, for 1986, (Cm. 210), a copy of which is in the Library.

Sentenced murderers held under their original sentence1in Prison Department establishments in England and Wales on 30 September 1987: by time spent under sentence in such establishments Years spent under sentence3
Number of prisoners2
Under 5794
5 and under 10646
10 and under 15247
15 and under 2068
20 and under 2523
25 and under 305
30 and over1
Total1,784
1 Excluding 68 murderers recalled following an earlier release on licence.
2 The figures are those recorded centrally and are approximate.
3 Excluding any time spent on remand in custody or in non-prison department establishments.

Football Matches (Policing Costs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will estimate the net annual costs to public funds of policing Football League matches.

The information on which to base such an estimate is not available centrally. It is for police authorities to determine the charges for providing police officers for duty inside the ground and to ensure that, so far as possible, they recover the full cost.

Young Offenders (Fines On Parents)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many orders have been made by the courts imposing financial penalties on parents for crimes committed by children in their care, in each of the last five years.

The readily available information, which may be incomplete, is given in table 7·16 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1986" (Cm. 233), a copy of which is in the Library.

Ec (Time Zones)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the member states of the European Community which broadly operate on the same time zone as the United Kingdom and those one and two hours in advance, respectively, together with their total respective populations and the total population living in advanced time zones in Europe west of the Greenwich meridian.

The information requested is as follows:

Population (million)
Same Time Zone as United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland3·5
United Kingdom56·1
One hour in advance of United Kingdom
Belgium9·9
Denmark5·1
France54·6
Germany61·0
Italy57·1
Luxembourg0·4
Netherlands14·5
Portugal10·2
Spain38·6
251·3
Two hours in advance of United Kingdom
Greece9·9
It is not possible to estimate, save at disproportionate cost, how many people in Portugal and parts of Spain and France live to the west of the Greenwich meridian.

Equal Opportunities

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list all the complaints made to the Equal Opportunities Commission of discrimination against women in the last five years, together with the names of the complainant and the organisation complained against and the subsequent outcome; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will list all the complaints of discrimination in employment made to the Commission for Racial Equality in the last five years, together with the names of the complainant and the organisation complained against and the subsequent outcome; and if he will make a statement.

Information about complaints made to the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality is, consistent with considerations of confidentiality, included in the commissions' annual reports, copies of which are in the Library. It is not possible to list details of the complaints because in many cases this would involve a breach of confidentiality between the individual and the commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for the past five years for which figures are available the bodies investigated by (i) the Commission for Racial Equality and (ii) the Equal Opportunities Commission, and the subsequent outcome.

Information about the formal investigations conducted under the powers contained in section 48 of the Race Relations Act 1976 and section 57 of the Sex Discrimination Act is included in the annual reports of the Commission for Racial Equality and Equal Opportunities Commission, copies of which are in the Library.

Fires In The Home

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken, following publication of the report in the "Fire and Safety Journal 12 (1987)" on housing factors and fires in two metropolitan boroughs, to reduce the incidence of fires in the home.

The findings of the report corroborate the approach which the Home Office has followed in directing its fire precautions publicity primarily at those groups most at risk from fire in the home. Local authority fire brigades use Home Office printed publicity extensively especially when associated with television, radio or press advertising campaigns designed to target selectively the most vulnerable groups. New ways of directing fire precautions advice to those most at risk are being explored.

Fire Services (Clwyd)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will increase funding for fire services to Clwyd county council to a level sufficient to ensure that the Buckley fire station does not close and that the Queensferry station does not suffer cutbacks; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his question on 8 March, at column 109, by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Panamanian Consulate, London

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to who was in possession of the Panamanian consulate premises in London when the police responded to an alleged bomb scare; what advice was given to them; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to the date and the time at which the message was received by the Metropolitan police that a bomb had been placed in the Panamanian consulate premises in London; who received the message; who was consulted; what action was taken; and if he will make a statement.

A telephone call was received by British Telecom at 11 pm on 2 March from an unknown male who stated that there was a bomb at the Panamanian consulate in Tudor street, London, EC4. The message was passed at 11·2 pm to New Scotland Yard and the City of London police were alerted immediately. There were two security guards on the premises who were advised in accordance with normal practice that the decision whether the consulate should be evacuated and searched, with police assistance, rested with them.

Ruc (Chief Constable)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what communications Sir Lawrence Byford, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, had with Sir John Hermon, the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, in May 1986; and if he will make a statement.

Ruc (Stalker Inquiry)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he received up to 31 May 1986 about the implications for the morale and efficiency of the Royal Ulster Constabulary of the inquiries being conducted by Mr. John Stalker; and if he will make a statement.

None. My right hon. Friend has no responsibilities for either the morale or the efficiency of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if there has been any improvement since the answer of 20 November 1987, Official Report, column 716, in the length of time taken by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to process cases; and if he will make a statement.

The latest annual report of the board, (Cm. 265), copies of which are in the Library, shows at paragraph 7 that 50 per cent. of cases resolved in the financial year 1986–87 were decided within a year of application. The increase in the time taken to resolve cases reflects the backlog of cases caused by a large rise in applications over recent years.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, when he next meets the chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, he will raise with him the reasons for the number of apologies sent to applicants because of delays in dealing with cases; and if he will make a statement

Delays in dealing with applications arise from the board's substantially increased work load over the last few years. The number of applications received in 1986–87 was about 42,300, higher than in any previous year and about 2,500 more than in 1985–86. To help reduce the delays in dealing with applications the Government provided £77 million for the criminal injuries compensation scheme in the Estimates for this financial year — an increase of £33 million over previously planned provision — and plan to make £81 million available in 1988–89 and £89 million in 1989–90. This increased privision will finance a rise in the number of compensation payments and has enabled the board to recruit 90 additional staff at its new office in Glasgow who will help to deal with the backlog of claims.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Miss Elena Gurevich

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise the case of Miss Elena Gurevich of Moscow with the Government of the Soviet Union; and if he will make a statement.

We regularly raise the plight of refuseniks with the Soviet authorities and shall continue to do so. We understand that Elena Gurevich may already have received permission to leave the Soviet Union.

Panama

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States of America in respect of the current situation in Panama.

The situation in Panama has been discussed in the course of our normal contacts with the United States Government.

Antarctic Treaty

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy for consolidating Britain's long-term presence in the British Antarctic territory in advance of the revision of the Antarctic treaty in 1991; and if he will make a statement.

There is no automatic requirement for the Antarctic treaty to be reviewed in or after 1991. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science announced on 13 November 1987, at column 322, additional funding totalling £30 million over the period 1988–89 to 1990–91 for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), funded through the Natural Environment Research Council. The greater part of this provision will purchase a research and supply ship to replace RRS John Biscoe. The new vessel will make important contributions to research in the Southern ocean and will support more scientists in Antarctica. Halley and Signy stations will be rebuilt, and a fourth Twin Otter purchased to augment the BAS fleet.

Moscow (Ministerial Visit)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, pursuant to his answer of 7 March, he will list the eight individuals whose cases were raised by Mr. Shevardnadze during his recent visit to Moscow.

It is not our practice to reveal details of individual prisoners without their consent.

Defence

Greenham Common

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he proposes to take to compensate Greenham Common peace women who have been convicted through the use of Ministry of Defence byelaws which have been ruled by Mr. Justice Lait at Reading Crown court as being invalid.

I have nothing to add at this stage to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) on 3 March 1988 at column 687.

Dual-Capable Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 23 February Official Report, column 142, if he will list the three types of dual-capable aircraft currently in service with the Royal Air Force.

The three types of dual capable aircraft currently in service with the Royal Air Force are the Tomado, the Buccaneer and the Nimrod.

Ferry Dispute (Use Of Naval Vessels)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which Royal Navy vessels were used to convey passengers to the Isle of Arran during the current ferry dispute; on whose authority they were used; and at what cost.

On 5 March a request was received from a field study centre on the Isle of Arran for RN assistance in transporting to the island a group of schoolchildren who had travelled from all over the United Kingdom to participate in a course at the centre.This was a last minute request as, it was claimed, an industrial dispute had prevented the children from travelling on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry. Commodore Clyde authorised the use of RMAS fleet tender Crick lade which was already in the area and able to fit the task into its planned programme. There was, therefore, no extra cost to public funds.

Vanguard Submarine (Loss)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when, pursuant to his answer of 7 March, Official Report, column 60, he expects his inquiry into the loss of pieces of a Vanguard submarine on 5 to 6 February to be completed.

The inquiry referred to is being carried out by the company concerned and not by my Department, but I expect to be able to give further information shortly.

Racial Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many complaints of racial discrimination have been taken to the Commission for Racial Equality in respect of soldiers serving in the British Army; and how many have been found to be proven;(2) how many complaints of racial discrimination have been taken to the Commission for Racial Equality in respect of soldiers serving in the Prince of Wale's Division; and how many have been found to be proven.

[holding answer 9 March 1988]: Under the Race Relations Act 1976 the Race Relations Board and the Community Relations Commission were replaced by the Commission for Racial Equality. Section 75(8) and (9) of that Act provides that a complaint of racial discrimination which is made by a person subject to the Service Discipline Acts and which is concerned with any aspect of that person's service in the armed forces will be dealt with under the redress of grievance machinery provided for in the Service Discipline Acts. There have been no cases of redress of grievance of a racial nature which have been referred to the Ministry of Defence.

Transport

British Rail (Financial Support)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to change present levels of financial support for British R ail in the light of increasing demand for rail services.

The objectives agreed with the chairman of the British Railways Board in October 1986 provide for a reduction in public service obligation grant to the board to £555 million (at 1986–87 prices) in 1989–90. Increasing demand reflects well on the board's efforts to improve the quality and marketing of its services, and rising revenues from passengers make a valuable contribution towards reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

Ec (Rail Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what response the Government are making to the call by the Economic and Social Committee of the European Economic Community in April 1987, repeated at the Mannheim conference in October 1987, for member states to quantify and apply in their transport policies the environmental, energy and safety advantages of rail over road transport; and if he will make a statement.

The Government do not at present intend to respond formally to the views expressed by the Economic and Social Committee, since it is for the EC Commission to decide whether to submit proposals for Community legislation to the Council of Ministers.However, the Government accept that where investment in the grant-aided passenger railway would have significant benefits for the community, for example in reducing road congestion by attracting more passengers to the railway, and which could not be paid for through fares, those benefits should be included in the project appraisal. Furthermore, the Government recognise the substantial environmental benefits that the transfer of road freight to rail can give in certain circumstances. Grants are available from the Government under section 8 of the Railways Act 1974 for consignors towards the capital cost of the necessary facilities, where without grant the proper decision would be to use road.

Public Service Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department proposes to seek to amend the requirements for a public service vehicle licence for vehicles so as to include those carrying 11 or more people; and if he will make a statement.

I have no plans to amend the current requirement that anyone who operates a vehicle with more than eight passenger seats has to comply with the licensing requirements for public service vehicles unless they are specifically exempted.

Departmental Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans to monitor the ethnic and gender composition of staff employed by companies contracted to provide goods and services to his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Rail Freight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the total value and tonnage of freight carried by British Rail in Scotland (ScotRail) in each of the years from 1979–80 to 1986–87; what percentage of this was from the supply of coal to Scottish power stations: and what percentage of British Rail's (a) total income and (b) freight income this represents for each of these years.

Brockworth Bypass

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is yet able to announce the date for the public inquiry into the Brockworth bypass.

Recent work has indicated that there may be a need for some redesign to the junction layouts, on account of both objections received and the latest estimates of traffic growth. I have deferred the arrangements for an inquiry while these points are considered further. I shall make a further statement as soon as I can.

Ferry Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his discussions with British ferry owners about the safety of ferries.

My officials hold regular meetings with British ferry owners to discuss the Government's ferry safety programme. I am glad to say that the General Council of British Shipping, and British ferry owners generally, have been co-operating fully with the Government in the implementation of this programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which recommendations of Mr. Justice Sheen regarding older ferries he has decided not to implement; and if he will make a statement.

None. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) on 3 March, at column 653, in which I stated the current position in relation to roll-on/roll-off ferries built before 1980.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the number of inspections performed by marine inspectors (a) in the two years prior to the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise and (b) since that date to the latest date for which information is available; and if he will make a statement.

In the two-year two-month period prior to the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise 1,501 inspections of United Kingdom ships and 5,823 inspections of foreign ships were made. From 6 March 1987 to 29 February 1988, 1,178 inspections of United Kingdom ships and 2,256 inspections of foreign ships were made.

Settle-Carlisle Railway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the future of the Settle to Carlisle railway line; and if he will make a statement.

I continue to receive many representations from Members of this House, local authorities and others with an interest in this Line. I expect that a decision will be announced very shortly now.

Civil Service

Management Reform

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the effects upon the delivery of service to the public of the recently announced reforms in the management of the Civil Service.

The aim of the "Next Steps" proposals is to produce a better service to the public and the Government by improving management in the Civil Service. Better management should lead to improved value for money for the taxpayer.

Former Crown Servants

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will publish a further report on business appointments of former Crown servants.

I have today placed copies of a statistical report entitled "Acceptance of Outside Appointments by Crown Servants—1987" in the Libraries of Parliament.

Discretionary Pay

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement about the discretionary pay scheme for grades 2 and 3 staff in the home Civil Service.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 23 April 1987 the introduction of a scheme of discretionary increments for staff in grades 2 and 3 and said that the increments would be in payment with effect from 1 October 1987. Awards have been made to 27 Grade 2s and 84 grade 3s (respectively 20 and 17 per cent. of all those in each grade). The cost of the awards in the current financial year is £117,750, equivalent to £235,500 in a full year, or about 1 per cent. of the annual pay bill for the grades concerned.

The Arts

East Durham Arts Committee

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will visit the county of Durham to meet the East Durham Arts Committee.

Trade And Industry

Departmental Buildings

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the location and status of all buildings within his Department located in London, and the annual cost of rents, rates and maintenance of each.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 3 March, by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment. In the case of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department occupies accommodation in 23 buildings in the London postal area, ranging from its main HQ building at 1–19 Victoria street, down to the small offices of the inner city task forces. The following list gives the name and location of these buildings.

Department of Trade and Industry Offices located in the London postal area
11–19 Victoria StreetSW1
210–18 Victoria StreetSW1
320 Victoria StreetSW1
4Kingsgate HouseSW1
5Ashdown HouseSW1
6Allington TowersSW1
729 Bressenden PlaceSW1
8Dean Bradley HouseSW1
9Ebury Bridge HouseSW1
10Millbank TowerSW1
11Minster HouseSW1
12State HouseWC1
13Drury LaneWC2
14Southampton BuildingsWC2
15Gavrelle HouseEC1
16Atlantic HouseEC1
17Companies HouseEC1
18Eileen HouseSE1
19Cornwall HouseSE1
20Waterloo Bridge HouseSE1
21Inner City Task Force—LondonEl
22Inner City Task Force—LondonSE15
23Inner City Task Force—LondonW10

Gec-Plessey Merger

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the merger of GEC and Plessey.

On 29 January my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State announced his decision not to refer to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission the proposal by GEC and Plessey to establish a joint venture company to handle the telecommunications interests of both companies. His decision was in accordance with the advice of the Director General of Fair Trading.My right hon. and noble Friend has asked the Director General to negotiate with GEC modifications to the undertakings given by GEC following the MMC's report of August 1986 on the proposed merger between GEC and Plessey, to the extent that such modifications are necessary in order to allow the proposed joint venture to proceed.

Clothing Industry (Grants)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the Government grants available to the clothing industry in areas with full development and intermediate development status.

The clothing industry is eligible for a range of Government assistance which is available to firms through my Department in development and intermediate areas, namely, regional selective assistance, and in development areas (as from 1 April 1988) investment and innovation grants for firms with fewer than 25 employees. (Until 31 March 1988 firms in development areas may apply for regional development grant.)In addition, the clothing industry is able to benefit from assistance which is available on a national basis under the enterprise initiative: grants towards consultancy under the business development initiatives (available at a higher rate in assisted and urban programme areas); and support for exporting, collaborative research, and partnerships between manufacturing companies and higher education institutions.

Business Development Initiative

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will estimate the amount of expenditure on the business development initiative (support for consultancy services) to be paid out in Scotland for each year 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91;(2) if he will estimate the amount of expenditure of the business development initiative (consultancy services) to be paid out in each of the standard English regions and Wales, for each year 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91;(3) if he will estimate the amount of expenditure on the business development initiative (consultancy services) in assisted areas and non-assisted areas for each of the years 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91.

Spending on the consultancy initiatives in each region will depend on the response of firms to them. We are giving additional encouragement to firms in assisted areas and urban programme areas through a higher rate of support. The public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 288) does not make provision for spending in regions separately. Total provision is £74 million in 1988–89, £91 million in 1989–90 and £109 million in 1990–91.

Business Innovation Grant Scheme

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will estimate the amount of expenditure on the businesss innovation grant scheme to be paid out in Scotland for each year 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91;(2) if he will estimate the amount of expenditure on the business innovation grant scheme to be paid out in each of the standard English regions and Wales for each year 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91;

(3) if he will estimate the amount of expenditure on the business investment grant to be paid out in each of the standard English regions and Wales for each of the years 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91.

The new grants for small firms employing fewer than 25 to help finance investment and innovation projects will be available from 1 April in the development areas (DAs) of Great Britain. My Department is responsible for expenditure on investment projects in English DAs and for expenditure on innovation projects in DAs in England, Scotland and Wales. The public expenditure White Paper includes provision of £14 million in 1988–89, £42 million in 1989–90 and £55 million in 1990–91 for DTI expenditure on new incentives for the development areas which form part of the enterprise initiative. The provision for Wales is contained within the Welsh Office expenditure plans for industry, energy, trade and employment, which are £194 million for 1988–89, £180 million for 1989–90 and £180 million for 1990–91.The amount of expenditure which will be paid out in any particular area will depend on demand for the scheme and the appraisal of individual applications.

Shipbuilding (State Aid)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action has been taken by the European Commission on the state aid offered by the French authorities to secure a contract to build a ship for Brittany Ferries in a French yard.

In January 1987 we asked the European Commission to investigate any state aid the French authorities might offer to secure an order for a cross-Channel ferry for Brittany Ferries from Chantier Navales de L'Atlantique. The opportunity for this was article 4(5) of the new sixth directive on aid to shipbuilding. British Shipbuilders Govan yard was bidding for this order, as was a Dutch yard. French entry late in the competition followed the loss of another order by its yard.The Commission has now written to the French authorities to say that the aid that they proposed to make available in support of this order contravenes the sixth directive and must be trimmed to the level that would have been available in support of an order from Holland. The result is that the French yard is set to suffer a significant loss, since it decided to proceed with building in advance of the Commission's decision. Although the Commission is not in a position to prevent orders being taken, the result is a salutary warning to other yards of the dangers of contracting in advance of decisions on cases referred to the Commission. I welcome the decision as an important step in securing fair competition among Community shipbuilders.

Motor Auctions

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action he intends to take to protect the interest of consumers attending motor auctions in circumstances which preclude many of the civil claims which purchasers would otherwise enjoy against fraudulent dealers.

No action is being contemplated. Vendors at auction who are acting in the course of business are subject to the requirements of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. Such vendors cannot restrict or exclude a purchaser's rights in respect of faulty goods by reference to a contract term, unless the term satisfied the requirement of reasonableness set out in the 1977 Act.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what measures exist to ensure that motor auctioneers maintain sufficiently accurate records to enable police and trading standard officers to carry out their statutory duties relating to dangerous, misdescribed or stolen vehicles.

Although there is no specific legal requirement for motor auctioneers to maintain records about the vehicles which pass through their hands, I understand that the majority of them do so, and the Society of Motor Auctions requires this of its members.

Motor Trade (Abuses)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action he proposes to take arising as a result of his meeting with the Director General of Fair Trading, representatives of the local authority organisations, the motor industry and consumer groups.

It was agreed at that meeting that it was desirable to amend section 60 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 to make it easier for trading standards officers to deal with the sellers of unroadworthy vehicles. It was also agreed that a number of other suggestions to help combat the sale of unroadworthy vehicles and the fraudulent alteration of odometers would be examined further. My Department and the Department of Transport are keeping in touch with the Office of Fair Trading and the various interested parties will be kept informed of progress on this matter.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what legislative measures he intends taking to control fraud dishonesty and negligence in the used car trade as highlighted in recent reports published by local authority associations and the Consumers Association on abuses in the motor trade.

Fraud, dishonesty and negligence, are already extensively controlled by the criminal and civil law and I do not consider that any major new legislative measures are necessary or desirable. However, my Department and the Department of Transport are looking at a number of suggestions for making the existing law easier to enforce and apply.

Regional Aid

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish in the Official Report the amount of regional preferential assistance paid to each standard region of England, Scotland and Wales in 1986–87, identifying separately the main forms of assistance: and if he will publish equivalent data for each year since 1978–79.

Government expenditure on regional preferential assistance for industry

1

(£ millions)

Financial year:

Form of assistance

Region

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

1981–82

1982–83

1983–84

1984–85

1985–86

1986–87

1. Regional development grantNorthern135·0122·4117·5143·9127·2101·389·067·3102·2
North West64·358·7105·7143·497·383·080·062·1101·3
Yorkshire/Humberside30·221·538·747· 136·423·526·824·227·1
South West6·05·08·510·311·07·89·58·615·3
East Midlands2·32·43·27·28·88·23·84·48·4
West Midlands0·1
England238·1210·0273·7351·9280·7223·8209·0166·6254·4
Scotland107·370·2113·3142·7287·3143·0109·0107·5170·5
Wales71·550·7103·5122·2121·572·192·784·488·8
Great Britain2416·9330·9490·5616·8689·6438·9410·6358·5513·4
2. Selective financial assistanceNorthern10·711·513·021·121·111·114·916·018·0
North West40·120·615·2

315·7

18·3

314·7

11·412·718·2
Yorkshire/Humberside5·26·86·17·110·68·79·17·210·2
South West2·43·11·71·72·72·01·72·34·7
East Midlands0·70·90·51·04·29·46·33·92·1
West Midlands4·69·8
England59·142·936·546·656·945·943·546·763·0
Scotland12·414·021·219·020·123·929·346·935·4
Wales30·46·17·810·014·512·217·921·827·2
Great Britain2103·478·974·075·691·582·090·7115·4125·6
3. Expenditure by English estates on land and factoriesNorthern13·213·914·910·110·212·318·311·116·9
North West9·63

37·4

9·3

315·7

38·7

36·5

10·211·19·0
Yorkshire/Humberside2·03·87·47·45·93·36·02·94·1
South West1·22·61·32·82·72·12·50·92·2
East Midlands0·40·80·90·40·7
West Midlands0·10·10·90·2
England26·528·633·936·427·724·237·026·932·4
Expenditure by Scottish and Welsh development agencies on land and factoriesScotland27·837·847·355·146·443·623·332·420·2
Wales30·243·460·065·946·228·430·125·427·6
4. Highland and Islands development boardScotland6·18·511·411·815·617·322·917·915·8
5. Development board for rural WalesWales4·15·36·16·8

1 All figures are gross and include payments to nationalised industries.

2 The Great Britain total for individual forms of assistance may not always equal the sum of the component parts due to the inclusion of items which cannot be allocated to regions, and because of rounding.

3 Includes expenditure in Cumbria, otherwise shown within the totals for the northern region.

The items included in the expenditure are: regional development grants and regional selective assistance; expenditure on land and factories by the English Industrial Estates Corporation, the Scottish and the Welsh Development Agencies; and expenditure on land and factories and grants by the Development Board for Rural Wales, and the Highlands and Islands Development Board.

Employment

Industrial Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many people suffered industrial accidents from which they were (a) temporarily and (b) permanently injured (i) in the Northern regional health authority area and (ii) nationally, during the period 1979 to 1987;(2) how many people died as a result of industrial accidents

(a) in the Northern regional health authority area and (b) nationally, during the period 1979 to 1987.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 16 December 1987, at column 578, in which I gave the available national information on reported industrial accidents. Figures for the Northern regional health authority could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Industrial Diseases

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people died as the result of recognised industrial diseases (a) in the Northern regional health authority area and (b) nationally, during the period 1979 to 1987.

The latest statistics available show 7,181 deaths in Great Britain during the period 1979 to 1986 which can be attributed to recognised industrial diseases. This figure has been obtained by combining figures for death benefit awards under the industrial injuries and pneumoconiosis, byssinosis and miscellaneous diseases benefit schemes with figures of certifications that death was due to pneumoconiosis made under the workers' compensation scheme. I regret that there are no separate figures for the Northern regional health authority.

Real Hourly Earnings in Manufacturing4Year to Year percentage changes
19791980198119821983198419851986Aggregate percentage change 1979–86
United Kingdom11·9-0·11·32·44·23·52·84·119·6
France22·11·30·93·11·40·40·21·79·3
Germany1·30·7-0·9-0·30·0-0·12·33·85·5
United States-2·5-42-0·50·20·6-0·20·30·1-3·7
Japan33·5-0·50·72·12·02·41·92·011·1

Source: OECD Historical Statistics 1960–1985 and OECD Economic Outlook No. 42 December 1987.

Notes:

1 United Kingdom figures are based on average weekly earnings.

2 France's figures are based on hourly rates of pay.

3 Japan's figures are based on monthly earnings.

4 International comparisons of real hourly earnings in the economy as a whole are not available

Labour Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has as to the percentage annual in unit labour costs in manufacturing in each year since 1979 in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) France, (c) Germany, (d) the United States of America, and (e) Japan.

The following table sets out the available information. Annual figures for 1987 are not yet available:

Unit labour costs in manufacturing Percentage change on previous year
Unite KingdomFranceGermanyUnited StatesJapan
19791883100
198022158120
1981912574
198231136-1
1983-18-1-2-2
1984261-2-4
19853520-2
198642301
1980198119821983198419851986
Permanent workers dismissed for offence justifying summary dismissal4131

Wages

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has as to the annual percentage increase in real wages in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) France, (c) Germany, (d) the United States of America, and (e) Japan in each year since 1979; and what has been the aggregate percentage increase in real wages in each of these countries over the period 1979 to 1987.

The following table sets out the available information published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development covering real earnings in manufacturing industry. Figures for 1987 are not yet available.

Notes:

1. The percentages are calculated from index series produced by the International Monetary Fund, except for Great Britain, figures for which are published in the Employment Gazette.

2. The source index series are in local currency and are not adjusted for exchange rate changes

Middlesbrough And Hartlepool (Dock Labour Scheme)

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many permanent registered dock workers in the Middlesbrough and Hartlepool dock labour board area in each year from 1980 to 1986 have been dismissed by their employer for an offence justifying summary dismissal under the disciplinary provisions of the dock labour scheme; how many of these men have been reinstated by order of the local dock labour board and appeal tribunals; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 7 March 19881: The figures requested are as follows:

1980198119821983198419851986
Reinstated by order of Middlesbrough and Hartlepool Dock Labour Board and Appeal Tribunals121
Dismissal upheld by Middlesbrough and Hartlepool Dock Labour Board and Appeal Tribunals3
1worker resigned before his case was considered

Community Programme

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the number of places on the community programme sponsored by the voluntary sector, local authorities and private industry for each of the years 1986–87 and 1987–88 and for Scotland, England and Wales.

Numbers of authorized community programme places
Voluntary SectorLocal AuthoritiesPrivate Sector
Country TotalTotalPercentageTotalPercentageTotalPercentage
Scotland
November 198636,90012,9003522,900621500·4
Scotland
October 198735,30014,1004020,100572100·6
Wales
November 198625,90013,0005012,100472601
Wales
October 198724,80011,9004812,200493001
England
November 1986223,100124,9005687,000394,9102
England
October 1987210,400113,6005482,100396,1003

Note:

The totals in the three categories do not sum to 100 per cent. because small numbers of places are sponsored by other types of orgaisations.

Northern Ireland

Republic Of Ireland (Students)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many students from Northern Ireland are presently studying in the Irish Republic; and what is the estimated cost of their tuition fees for 1987–88.

Some 489 such students attend full-time further and higher education courses at an estimated cost of £505,000.

Police Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he hopes to announce a reconstituted Police Authority for Northern Ireland; if any of the nominations have been made by the Government of the Irish Republic; and if he will make a statement.

The reconstitution of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland will be announced before the term of office of the present authority expires on 28 June 1988. The process of obtaining nominations is not yet complete.

[holding answer 25 February 1988): The information requested is provided in the following table. The table shows the approximate numbers of authorised community programme places at November 1986 and at October 1987, the latest date for which figures are available.

Mr Brendan Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give the reasons why the request for the extradition of Brendan Burns failed.

[holding answer 7 March 1988]: The original warrants for the extradition of Brendan Burns were held to be defective.

Factory (Shrigley, Co Down)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what efforts he is making to secure a new tenant for the factory at Shrigley, county Down, owned by Pettard Garnor plc; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will list the dates and amounts of Government grants made by the Industrial Development Board, Northern Ireland, to Garnar Booth plc in the fiscal year 1986–87, and in the period from 1 April 1987 to 28 February 1988;(3) what discussions he has had or proposes to have with Pittard Garnar about the proposed closure of its factory at Shrigley. Killyleagh; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 8 March 1988J: No grants have been made by the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland to either Garnar Booth plc or Pittard Garnar plc in relation to the wholly owned subsidiary Atlantic Tanning Company Ltd., Killyleagh. However, in the period mentioned a total sum of £225,803·11 was made direct by the Industrial Development Board to the Atlantic Tanning Company Ltd. under two separate offers of financial assistance agreed in 1986.Pittard Garnar plc and the Industrial Development Board are co-operating in the search for alternative uses for the site at Shrigley, Killyleagh. A number of discussions have already taken place with interested parties and more are scheduled. It is too early yet to say if any of these discussions will prove fruitful. All avenues will be explored.I have not had any discussions with Pittard Garnar plc. I was fully aware of the negotiations which the Industrial Development Board was conducting with Pittard Garnar plc and of its offer to support any viable recovery plan for the Atlantic Tanning Company Ltd. In the event Pittard Garnar plc has made it clear that the decision to cease production at its operation in Killyleagh was taken for wholly commercial reasons.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why the designation of environmentally sensitive areas in Northern Ireland has been delayed; when he expects the first formal designation to be made; and what plans he has for further designations in the Province.

[holding answer 8 March 1988]: The delay in designating environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) in Northern Ireland has been caused by the need to introduce primary legislation to enable such designations to take place, and by the lengthy consultations with the EC Commission to ensure that the proposals for the Province's first ESA would be acceptable for approval under EC regulation 797/85. A statutory rule is presently being prepared and it is expected that the Mourne mountains and Slieve croob ESA will be formally designated in the near future.One more ESA is planned in the present round of designations. Recommendations that an area of north-east Antrim (The Glens) is worthy of ESA status are being considered.

Social Security Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what will be (a) the last date of payment of family income supplement and the period covered by such payment, (b) the first date of payment of family credit for those currently in receipt of family income supplement and the period covered by such payment and (c) the first date of payment of family credit to those not presently in receipt of family income supplement and the period covered by such payment.

[holding answer 9 March 1988]: The last payment of family income supplement will be made on 5 April 1988 to Sunday 10 April 1988. Although the period covered is six days, the payment will be a full week's benefit.The first payment of family credit for those currently in receipt of family income supplement will be made on 12 April 1988. This will be a full week's payment but will in effect be made simply to cover the transitional gap of one day (11 April).The first payment of family credit for those not currently in receipt of family income supplement will be made on 19 April 1988 and this payment will cover the period from Tuesday 12 April 1988 to Monday 18 April 1988.

House Of Commons

Expenditure

To ask the Lord President of the Council what steps he has taken to satisfy himself of the cost-effectiveness of expenditure in connection with the House for which Ministers are responsible.

The cost-effectiveness of expenditure on departmental votes incurred in relation to the work of this House is the responsibility of the individual Ministers concerned. Any proposals for such expenditure are subject to normal parliamentary scrutiny and control.

Efficiency Scrutiny

To ask the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, if the House of Commons Commission will arrange for an efficiency scrutiny of the House; and if he, will make a statement.

The efficient working of the staff of the House is scrutinised on a continuing basis by the Board of Management, and by the Staff Inspectorate and the Internal Auditor, both of whom report directly to the Commission. Authority for additional expenditure or services must be obtained from the Accounting Officer and be approved by the Commission.After a comprehensive series of inspections, a unified pay and grading structure has been agreed with the trade unions representing staff of the House, which contributes to the requirements of the House of Commons Administration Act that pay and conditions of staff of the House are kept broadly in line with those in the Home Civil Service.The Staff Inspector has now been instructed to conduct a rolling programme of reviews of specific areas of the work of the House Departments; and this rolling programme will be reviewed every six months. An important part of the Staff Inspector's reviews is, of course, to examine the efficient and economical use of resources.

Group Accident Insurance

To ask the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what changes have been made to hon. Members' group accident insurance arrangements.

The death and capital benefits available under the terms of the policy have been increased to £113,000 as from 1 January 1988. The memorandum by the Accountant, which gives details of the cover and exclusions, is held in the Library.

National Finance

Economic Policy

12.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria he uses in deciding the relative priority to be accorded to (a) cutting income tax rates; (b) increasing expenditure on overseas aid to the level of the United Kingdom commitment to 0·7 per cent. of gross national product.

The latest plans show increased provision for the overseas aid programme, which is now projected to grow by 3 per cent. in real terms between 1986–87 and 1990–91.

25.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the economy he estimates will remain in public hands at the end of the next parliamentary Session.

No decision has yet been taken on the timing of future asset sales.

Group Of Five

15.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet his counterparts in the group of five major industrial countries; and what matters will he discussed.

37.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet his counterparts in the group of five major industrial countries.

51.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet his counterparts in the group of five major industrial countries.

I expect to see my Finance Minister colleagues at the IMF Interim Committee in Washington next month.

Vat (Hospital Radio Equipment)

16.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has had on value added tax on hospital radio broadcasting equipment.

My right hon. Friend has received no further representations since the reply I gave to my hon. Friend on 12 February.

Special Car Tax

17.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received seeking the abolition of the special car tax.

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations on this subject.

North Sea Oil

18.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of North sea oil revenue from all sources for each year up to 1991.

61.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of North sea oil revenue from all sources for each year up to 1991.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor will be publishing revised projections at the time of the Budget.

Nationalised Industries

19.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a comprehensive list of the subsidiary and associate companies of the 10 major industries remaining in state ownership.

This information can be found in the annual report and accounts of the industries which are available in the Library.

Ec Council Of Ministers

20.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next proposes to have discussions with the European Community Council of Ministers about European monetary matters.

The next meeting of the European Community's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers is expected to be on 18 April. The agenda for the meeting has not yet been decided but is expected to cover the liberalisation of capital movements in the Community.

Pay Increases

21.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what level of pay rise would be required by the average employee paying tax in order to compensate for price increases over the past year.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Chancellor gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw).

Budget Policy

22.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received concerning cuts in the higher rate of income tax and expenditure on the National Health Service.

57.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received concerning cuts in the higher rate of income tax and expenditure on the National Health Service.

My right hon. Friend has received a large number of representations on a wide variety of subjects.

67.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from organisations urging priority for an emergency programme of public expenditure over further cuts in income and corporation tax.

Alcohol (Duty)

23.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to discuss with the Council of Finance Ministers of the European Community duty on alcoholic beverages; and if' he will make a statement.

The Economic and Finance Council will discuss the European Commission's package of proposals for tax approximation, which includes provision for the harmonisation of excise duty rates, in the light of the report of its Economic Policy Committee which is expected in the spring.

Business Expansion Scheme

24.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has recently received in relation to the taxation provisions for investment under the business expansion scheme.

Vat

26.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has made to the European Commission on the subject of the proposed harmonisation of value added tax; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek) on 8 December at column 73.

Confederation Of British Industry

27.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the director general of the Confederation of British Industry; and what was discussed.

48.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the director general of the Confederation of British Industry; and what matters were discussed.

96.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the director general of the Confederation of British Industry; and what was discussed.

My right hon. Friend last met the director general of the Confederation of British Industry at the meeting of the National Economic Development Council on Wednesday 13 January. The council discussed the outlook for the economy; a report on the knitting industry; and international competitiveness, research and development.

Manufactured Goods And Services

28.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has a revised figure for the anticipated balance of trade in (a) manufactured goods and (b) services for the United Kingdom for the current year; and what was the figure for 1979.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be making a new forecast for the current year at Budget time. In 1979 the balance of trade in manufactured goods showed a surplus of £2,698 million and services a surplus of £3,815 million.

Balance Of Payments

29.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his current estimates of the balance of payments for the United Kingdom in the present, and the next, financial years.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be making a forecast at Budget time.

Income Tax

30.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received in the last six months regarding the top rate of income tax; and, of these, how many favoured a reduction.

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations favouring a reduction.

49.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total annual benefit from reductions in direct taxation for a taxpayer with gross annual earned income of £100,000 since 1980.

The tax liability of a married man earning £100,000 per year with no allowances or reliefs other than the married man's allowance is £44 less in 1987–88 than it would be if the 1980–81 tax regime had been retained and indexed by the statutory formula to 1987–88.

Economic Growth

31.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the growth in the non-oil economy in 1987.

80.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the growth in the non-oil economy in 1987.

Preliminary estimates suggest that non-oil output rose by over 5 per cent. in 1987 compared to 1986.

Inflation

32.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average figure for retail price inflation over the past five years.

38.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average figure for retail price inflation over the past five years.

Budget Statement

33.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received from local authorities and local authority associations regarding his financial statement; and if he will make a statement.

Credit Cards

34.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to seek to control the use of credit cards.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) on 14 January at column 386.

Gross Domestic Product

35.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the growth of gross domestic product over the latest full year for which figures are available.

56.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the growth of gross domestic product over the latest full year for which figures are available.

We do not have estimates for the income and expenditure measures of GDP for the whole of 1987. In the first three quarters of 1987 the average measure of GDP was 4 per cent. higher than in the same period a year earlier.

41.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the growth of real gross domestic product in the United Kingdom compares with that of the other major industrial countries over the latest year for which figures are available.

81.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the growth of real gross domestic product in the United Kingdom compares with that of the other major industrial countries over the latest year for which figures are available.

Total output in the United Kingdom grew by more than 4 per cent. over the year to the first three quarters of 1987. This is faster than any other major industrialised country.

Industrial Investment

36.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take to stimulate investment in British industry.

89.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take to stimulate investment in British industry.

The Government's economic policies will continue to encourage capital investment by promoting an environment in which business can prosper.

Forestry

39.