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Written Answers

Volume 131: debated on Thursday 14 April 1988

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 14 April 1988

Education And Science

National Union Of Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what subjects he discussed at his last meeting with representatives of the National Union of Students.

My right hon. Friend has had no recent meeting with the National Union of Students. I met officers of the National Union of Students on 29 February at their request to listen to their views on the question of National Union of Students membership raised by early-day motion 449.

Attorney-General

Companies' Accounts (Registration)

To ask the Attorney-General if he has communicated with the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding the prosecution of any company for failure to register their accounts.

I have not done so. Ordinarily, prosecutions for such offences are brought by my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Courts (Televising Of Proceedings)

To ask the Attorney-General what consideration is being given to the televising of proceedings in British courts; and if he will make a statement.

There are at present no plans to televise proceedings in courts in England and Wales.

Home Department

Crime Prevention

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the latest evidence of the impact of crime prevention schemes.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) on 14 March 1988 at column 420.

Interpol

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last visited Interpol; and what assessment he made of its present operation.

My right hon. Friend has not visited the Interpol General Secretariat, but the Government have no doubt that Interpol plays an essential part in international police co-operation.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the United Kingdom has contributed to Interpol for each of the last 10 years.

The United Kingdom's membership subscription to Interpol in each of the last 10 years has been as follows:

£
1987440,487
1986322,416
1985251,266
1984251,047
1983279,416
1982259,000
1981211,516
1980232,285
1979179,496
1978184,669

Psychiatric Patients

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward legislation to give full voting rights to all patients in psychiatric hospitals.

No. A voluntary patient in a psychiatric hospital is already entitled to vote in all elections provided he is included in a register of electors. He may register as an elector in respect of any address with which he has been associated apart from that of the psychiatric hospital itself. He may choose to vote in person or to apply to vote by post or by proxy. These provisions do not apply to a patient detained under an enactment relating to persons suffering from mental disorder. We have no plans to change these arrangements.

Prisons (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is considering building any new prisons in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

The forward building programme includes a new prison at Wrexham.Recommendations have been made in a study commissioned by Clwyd county council into possible sites for prisons across the county as a whole. These will be assessed alongside other possible sites which have been identified in the north-west of England.No other Welsh sites are at the moment being considered or are in the programme.

Drug Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last attended a meeting of the Pompidou Group on Drug Misuse; and what plans were discussed for co-operation with similar groups elsewhere, such as the Andean Parliamentary Drugs Commission.

Pompidou Group Ministers meet every two or three years to set a programme of work for officials to take forward. My right hon. Friend attended the most recent ministerial meeting which was held in London in January 1987 under the chairmanship of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), then Minister of State, Home Office.There is no formal arrangement for co-operation between the Pompidou Group and the Andean Parliamentary Drugs Commission. There are, however, frequent exchanges of views between representatives of the Group's member states and their counterparts from similar regional groupings elsewhere.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is being done to improve working relations and co-operation between the Pompidou Group on Drug Misuse and each of those parts of the European Community Commission involved in drug misuse-related matters.

With a view to developing a consistent European approach to drug-related problems, in 1986 the Pompidou Group invited the Commission to participate in its activities. A Commissioner attended its ministerial conference in January 1987, and Commission staff take part in its periodic meetings of officials and experts. It is for the Commission to decide upon its representation at such meetings.

Drug Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what links have now been established between drug trafficking and illegal arms trading.

We have no direct evidence in this country of such links, but remain alert to the possibility both at national level and in international discussions.

Michael Ryan (Shootings)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Thames Valley police as to how many of the persons (a) killed by and (b) injured by the late Michael Ryan were struck by bullets fired from (i) an M1 carbine, (ii) an AK56 rifle and (iii) a pistol; and how many were struck with bullets fired from more than one weapon.

I understand from the chief constable of Thames Valley police that none of Ryan's victims was struck by bullets from an M1 carbine. Of those who were killed, seven were struck by bullets from a 7·62 Kalashnikov rifle only; eight were struck by bullets from a pistol only; and one person was struck by bullets from a 7·62 Kalashnikov rifle and a pistol. Of those who were injured, one person was struck by bullets fired from a pistol, two were injured by glass or metal other than bullets and in the other 12 cases it is not known what weapon caused the injuries.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Thames Valley police as to the distance between the late Michael Ryan and each of his victims when they were injured or killed by him.

I understand from the chief constable of Thames Valley police that 12 of Ryan's victims were within 10 yd of him when they were killed or injured and the other 19 were over 10 yd away.

Conferences (Policing Costs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Derbyshire of a breakdown of the costs for policing the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations Central Council held in Buxton on 18–19 March.

I understand from the chief constable of Derbyshire that he has notified the county treasurer that the additional costs of policing the meeting are £185,039. This covers police officer and civilian overtime, accommodation and subsistence for police officers, additional equipment, communications, transport, and aid from other forces provided under section 14 of the Police Act 1964.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional funds are being made available to the Derbyshire police authority to cover costs arising from policing the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations Central Council held in Buxton on 18–19 March.

Under the arrangements for police specific grant at 51 per cent., and for block grant, the Government contribute well over half the costs of policing in Derbyshire.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has obtained any estimate for additional policing costs projected for the 1988 Conservative party annual conference.

I understand from the chief constable of Sussex that the Sussex police authority has approved a budget of £1·4 million for the estimated additional cost of policing the Conservative party conference in October 1988. The Government meet a sizeable proportion of the costs of all policing in Sussex through normal police funding arrangements of police grant at 51 per cent. plus block grant.

Union Flag

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to prevent political parties from using the Union flag at demonstrations and conferences; and if he will make a statement.

Traffic Wardens

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the London boroughs within each of the areas listed in his reply of 31 March, Official Report, column 682, in respect of traffic wardens.

The information is as follows:

  • No. 1 Area (North):
    • Waltham Forest
    • Redbridge
    • Haringey
    • Enfield
    • Islington
  • No. 2 Area (East):
    • Hackney
    • Tower Hamlets
    • Havering
    • Barking and Dagenham
    • Newham
  • No. 3 Area (South East):
    • Southwark
    • Bromley
    • Greenwich
    • Lewisham
    • Bexley
  • No. 4 Area (South):
    • Lambeth
    • Merton
    • Croydon
    • Sutton
  • No. .5 Area (South West):
    • Richmond-upon-Thames
    • Hounslow
    • Kingston
    • Wandsworth
  • No. 6 Area (West):
    • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
    • Hammersmith and Fulham
    • Ealing
    • Hillingdon
  • No. 7 Area (North West):
    • Camden
    • Harrow
    • Barnet
    • Brent
  • No. 8 Area (Central):
    • City of Westminster

Greater London Co-Ordination Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply of 31 March, Official Report, column 682, if he will give details of any expert advice from outside his Department which caused him to reject the case for primary legislation made by the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority in order that the Greater London Co-ordination Centre could be maintained on a permanent basis; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend took account of views which the Health and Safety Executive expressed to the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority. The views of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis were also taken into account. Additionally, my right hon. Friend consulted Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services.

Firearms (Police)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of operations in which firearms were issued to police officers in England and Wales in 1987; in how many of those operations shots have been fired by police officers; how many police officers are currently qualified to carry firearms; and what were the equivalent figures for (a) 1986 and (b) 1983.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 March 1988, c. 186.]: I regret that the reply was inaccurate. The correct reply is as follows:

The number of operations in England and Wales, against criminals or those known or believed to be armed, in which firearms were issued to police officers in 1987 was 2,185. This was 10·92 per cent. fewer than in 1986 and 31·29 per cent. fewer than in 1983. Police officers fired shots in seven, or 0·003 per cent., of those operations. The number of such operations in which shots were fired by police officers in the preceding four years was three in 1983; six in 1984; seven in 1985; and one in 1986. As at 31 December 1987 a total of 7,349 police officers in England and Wales were qualified to carry firearms. This was 12·46 per cent. fewer than at the end of 1986 and 43·66 per cent. fewer than at the end of 1983. The latest figure represents 5·99 per cent. of the total police strength in England and Wales.

Wales

Regional Health Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received calling for the abolition of the regional health authorities in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Social Services

Housing Benefit

91.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest estimate of the saving to the Exchequer as a result of the changes in housing benefit this April.

The changes save £650 million when compared with what the old scheme would have cost next year. This comprises £150 million in public expenditure and £500 million in rate rebates which are not classified as public expenditure.

Marginal Tax Rates

92.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate how many people will face marginal tax rates of over (a) 40 per cent., (b) 50 per cent., (c) 60 per cent. and (d) 70 per cent. as a result of the interaction of the tax and social security systems, in 1988–89.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir Rhys Williams) on 25 March at columns 243–46. This gives the numbers of working heads with combined marginal tax and benefit withdrawal rates above 50 per cent.We estimate that 45,000 families with children and 25,000 couples and single people without children have combined rates between 40 and 50 per cent.

Regional Secure Units

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services which health district have secure hospital accommodation available within their own district.

Central information indicates that at the end of 1986 the following district health authorities had secure accommodation in one or more of their mentalillness or mental-handicap hospitals and units. Latest available information relating to permanent regional secure units was provided in my reply to my hon. Friend on 12 April 1988 at columns 111–12.District health authorities listed by regional health authority

Northern RHANorthumberland
East CumbriaGateshead
DurhamNewcastle
North West Durham
Yorkshire RHA
East YorkshireWessex RHA
ScunthorpeEast Dorset
WakefieldWest Dorset
East Hampshire
Trent RHASouthampton and SW
LeicestershireHants
DoncasterSalisbury
RotherhamSwindon
Bath District
East Anglian RHA
NorwichOxford RHA
West Berkshire
North West Thames RHANorthampton
South Bedfordshire
East HertfordshireSouth Western RHA
North West HertfordshireExeter
South West HertfordshireNorth Devon
Barnet
EalingWest Midlands RHA
BrentBromsgrove and Redditch
RiversideMid Staffordshire
North Staffordshire
North East Thames RHASouth East Staffordshire
SouthendNorth Warwickshire
HampsteadSouth Warwickshire
Waltham ForestNorth Birmingham
Walsall
South East Thames RHA
EastbourneMersey RHA
Dartford and GraveshamCrewe
MaidstoneMacclesfield
BexleyWarrington
St. Helens and Knowsley
South West Thames RHASouthport and Formby
West Surrey and North East HantsNorth Western RHA
Mid SurreyLancaster
East SurreyBlackburn, Hyndburn and
ChichesterRibble Valley
Mid DownsBurnley, Pendle and
CroydonRossendale
Kingston and EsherNorth Manchester
WandsworthRochdale
Merton and Sutton

Mentally Ill Patients

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has as to the main difficulties experienced by other countries as a result of reducing hospital accommodation for the mentally ill and encouraging a shift to care in the community for these patients.

There are four main lessons to be learnt from the experience of other countries in reducing hospital accommodation for mentally ill people and encouraging a shift to care in the community.Major changes take time to implement effectively. Present changes are evolutionary and not revolutionary. A change towards less in-patient care and more care in other settings has been under way for many years in this country; some signs of this change can be traced back to the 1930s. The steady reduction in the number of patients resident in mental illness hospitals and units reflects that change and the development of new treatments and styles of care. The closure of some hospitals consequent to this changed pattern of care requires careful assessment of existing and likely future needs and reprovision of necessary services locally prior to closure. This is a process that should not normally be hurried.Changes are brought about most effectively when planned jointly by all care agencies concerned, whether statutory or not, and should take account of the views of mental illness sufferers and their families. Changes are most effective when there is strong local commitment to making the change work.Measures need to be taken to ensure that, as secondary mental health care staff move into the community, their main focus of activity continues to be those people who are severely disabled by mental illness. Some countries have reported an undue movement of staff-time towards dealing with people who, although suffering from mental distress, are not severely disabled at the expense of the more severely disabled. Ministers are very conscious of this potential problem and are keeping closely in touch with research on the subject.Particular attention needs to be paid to ensuring that patients with longer-term disabilities who are being treated in the community are regularly reviewed and continuity of care ensured so far as possible.

Industrial Disablement Pension And Housing Benefit (Nottingham)

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many individuals in the Nottingham, North area receive industrial disablement pension; how many of them currently receive housing benefit; and how many will lose part or all of that housing benefit from April.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people will (a) receive reduced housing benefit and (b) lose their entitlement to housing benefit in Houghton and Washington from April.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make it his policy to estimate by constituency the number of pensioners now receiving housing benefit who will lose rights after the change in the social security system in April.

No. We hold no data that would enable us to do this on a constituency-by-constituency basis.

Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what investigations or inquiries he has made into the financial effects of his recent changes in social security benefits into the following categories of persons who were in receipt of supplementary benefit (a) widows with children of school age, (b) registered disabled persons under pensionable age and (c) mentally handicapped persons.

Overall estimates of the effects of the income-related benefit changes are contained in "Impact of the Reformed Structure of Income Related Benefits," published last October. It is not possible to break down these estimates further into the categories requested. Further information about the effects of the changes will become available in due course through our monitoring arrangments.

Vaccine Damage

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what criticisms were made to his Department regarding the validity of the conclusion of the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study that the risk of brain damage from whooping cough vaccination was approximately one in 300,000 doses of the vaccine.

The National Childhood Encephalopathy Study's (NCES) estimate was that the number of previously normal children with evidence of persistent neurological damage one year after vaccination with the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) vaccine was one in 310,000 injections.The chief criticisms of the NCES conclusion were contained in a report prepared by Professor Gordon Stewart, which claimed that the NCES figure was an under-estimate. Professor Stewart's findings were fully considered by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the Health Departments on all aspects of immunisation. The JCVI and other authorities accepted the NCES conclusion as the best estimate available, and it is acknowledged in the 1983 edition of the memorandum, "Immunisation Against Infectious Disease."

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what internal material relating to whooping cough vaccination was made available to the defendants and plaintiffs in the whooping cough vaccination case; if his Department will discuss the decision of the court with corresponding departments in other countries with a statutory vaccine damage payments scheme; and if he will make a statement.

As part of the proceedings in the case of Loveday v. Renton a summons for discovery was issued against the Department by the plaintiff's solicitors seeking an order to disclose certain categories of documents. An agreement was reached as to which documents should he disclosed and under what conditions. These conditions included undertakings by the plaintiffs solicitors in order to preserve the confidentiality of the documents and to prevent their use for any purposes other than the court proceedings.We are currently considering the implications of the judgment in this case for the statutory scheme of payments under the Vaccine Damage Act 1979, and will make a further statement as soon as possible.

Melagenina

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will provide the necessary funding for testing the effectiveness of melagenina in the treatment of vitiligo.

No. Any medicinal product such as this lotion must be subject to a product licence before it may be marketed in the United Kingdom. Applicants for product licences need to supply sufficient data to the licensing authority to enable them to assess the products safety, quality and efficacy.

Control Of Medicines (Report)

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress he has made in considering the Evans/Cunliffe report on the control of medicines which he published on 26 January.

Dr. Evans and Mr. Cunliffe found that

"the overall record of medicines control in the United Kingdom is a good one and its reputation stands deservedly high"
and concluded that the DHSS
"record in protecting the public without inhibiting therapeutic innovation and progress is second to none."
They also noted that the Department has
"handled the growing burden of licensing work with commendable increase in efficiency."
At the same time they made a number of criticisms of the organisation and working practices of the medicines division, and also commented on the room for improvement by the pharmaceutical industry in the submission of licence applications. They made 54 recommendations. We have consulted the Medicines Commission on key proposals and I can now set out the conclusions we have so far reached.I accept Dr. Evans' and Mr. Cunliffe's recommendation that the responsibility for the control of medicines should remain in DHSS and that the Medicines Control Agency, as it will be known, should be under the charge of a single director. I also accept that the work of the agency should be organised in functional teams and that these should be supported by suitable information technology. The actual structure of the agency will not be determined until after the director has been appointed.I accept in principle the recommendation that the whole cost of the agency should be met from licence fees and we will now discuss this with the trade associations. It will be necessary to establish arrangements to show the industry that the cost of the agency is no more than is required for the tasks it has to carry out. I do not, however, propose to accept the recommendations for a budget committee on which the industry would be represented. As Dr. Evans and Mr. Cunliffe pointed out, the Department must remain independent of the industry in carrying out its licensing work. It will more easily be seen to be so if, instead of setting up a committee on which both parties were represented, the Department arranged meetings with the industry as required to explain the basis for the levels of fees it proposed and to discuss the management performance of the agency. These arrangements will in no way impinge on the agency's independence of the industry in carrying out its responsibilities for controlling medicines.The first priority must be to appoint the director and I am taking action to this end. My intention is that the main managerial and financial changes should be made well in time for the financial year 1989–90. In the meantime the Department is pursuing the other recommendations in the Evans-Cunliffe report.I am grateful to Dr. Evans and Mr. Cunliffe for their report. I believe they have shown ways, in their words, "to make a good system better" and of enabling the Department to cope with further increases in licensing and other work on the control of medicines. Improvements in the management of the work will benefit patients and will further our objective of promoting investment by research-based pharmaceutical companies in this country.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Bbc External Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is planning to take any action with regard to the licensing regulations which prevent the BBC external services from seeking additional funds from advertising or other sources.

We have no plans to do so. It is open to the BBC to propose changes to the licence and agreement, but any change in the present funding arrangements of the BBC external services would require very careful consideration, particularly in relation to the BBC's editorial independence and the character of external services' broadcasts.

Gibraltar

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in the light of statements made by the new Chief Minister of Gibraltar regarding negotiations on the future of Gibraltar, he will make a statement on the progress made so far in the discussions held between British and Spanish officials on the specific areas referred to in the Brussels declaration.

Following my right hon. and learned Friend's last meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister, agreement was reached on joint declarations on Gibraltar airport, the proposed ferry service to Algeciras and the need to take steps to improve the flow of traffic by land between Gibraltar and Spain. Her Majesty's Government remain fully committed to the Brussels process.

Panama

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if any advice has been issued to British commercial undertakings in Panama in respect of payments of local fares and charges; and if he will make a statement.

Our advice has not been sought by British commercial undertakings in Panama and none has been given.

Turkey (Prime Minister's Visit)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional costs were incurred by the British embassy in Turkey associated with the recent visit by the Prime Minister.

Bangladesh

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Government of Bangladesh regarding the persecution of the tribal people in the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement.

We have on several occasions raised with the Bangladesh Government at the highest levels the concern felt in this country for human rights in Bangladesh. My noble Friend the Minister of State, the Lord Glenarthur, did so most recently with the Bangladesh high commission last month.

Trade And Industry

Textile And Clothing Exports

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, in view of the challenge from China to United Kingdom textile and clothing industries, he will make it his policy to adopt a firm stance in the renegotiation of the European Economic Community/China textile agreement due to take place in the current year, and in particular to ensure that China is treated no more favourably than other dominant suppliers.

Preparations for the renegotiation of the EC/China bilateral textiles agreement later this year are at an early stage. My Department is in touch with the United Kingdom textile and clothing industry to obtain its views on United Kingdom priorities for the negotiations, and these will be taken into account when we consider the stance to adopt in the European Community's preparatory discussions. Our position will, of course, recognise the significant place which China now holds as a textile and clothing supplier to the Community market, as well as other relevant factors; for example, the fact that it is a state-trading economy and also a developing country.

Restrictive Practices

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list all industries and professions which have been the subject of a referral by the Government to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, as part of the process to eliminate restrictive practices, since 1979.

Agreements subject to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 are not referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but are registered by the Director General of Fair Trading, who may refer them to the Restrictive Practices Court.The Fair Trading Act 1973 gives both the Director General of Fair Trading and Ministers powers to make monopoly references to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Ministers may also make general references under section 78 of the 1973 Act, and references as to restrictive labour practices under section 79 of that Act. The Competition Act 1980 gives the Director General of Fair Trading powers to refer anti-competitive practices. A list of all such references made to the commission since the beginning of 1979 is as follows:

Monopoly references under the Fair Trading Act 1973
Full title of referenceYear of reference
Supply of Tampons1979
Full line forcing and tie-in sales1979
Supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas1979
Inner London Letter Post1979
Supply of Concrete Roofing Tiles1979
Supply of Ready-Mixed Concrete1979
Wholesale Supply of Motor Car Parts1980
Supply of Films for Exhibition in Cinemas1980
Supply of Pitches for Holiday Caravans in Northern Ireland1981
Full title of referenceYear of reference
Supply of Contraceptive Sheaths1981
Supply of Animal Waste1982
Supply of White Salt1983
Supply, maintenance and repair of Postal Franking Machines1983
Supply of Tampons1984
Supply of agency services by travel agents for tour operators in relation to the marketing and supply of foreign package holidays1984
Supply of the services of managing greyhound tracks1984
Supply of Steel Wire Fencing1984
Supply of Marine Radio Navigation Receivers1985
Supply of Pest Control Services1986
Supply of Beer1986
Supply of the services of advertising in magazines for Campers, Climbers and Walkers1987
Supply of Credit Card Services1987
Supply of Codeine1987
Supply of Gas to Contract Customers1987
Supply of Artificial Lower Limbs1987
Advertising rules of Osteopaths1988
Advertising rules of Civil Engineers1988
Reference under Section 78 of the 1973 Act
Broadcasting and Public Performance Rights in Sound Recordings1988
Reference under Section 79 of the 1973 Act
Restrictive Labour Practices in Television and Film Making1988
Anti-competitive practice references under the Competition Act 1980
TI Raleigh Bicycles1981
Sheffield Newspapers Ltd.1981
London Electricity Board1982
Ford Motor Company1984
British Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Television Publication Ltd.1985

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list all those professions currently under examination by the Government as part of the process to eliminate restrictive practices.

The Director General of Fair Trading has a statutory duty to keep commercial activities under review, and this includes the behaviour of the professions. The Government, in developing their policies, give a high priority to competition. We have also stated in the recent Green Paper, "Review of Restrictive Trade Practices Policy", (Cm. 331) that exemptions from the current restrictive trade practices legislation, including those for professional services, will not be automatically carried across into the new legislation, but will have to be justified afresh.

Steelworkers

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what further representations have been made to the EEC Commission regarding outstanding payments of iron and steel European readoption and benefit scheme benefits due to Sheffield steelworkers made redundant; and if he will make a statement.

My officials have made a number of further representations at a senior level, and have made the Commission well aware of the consequences which its delay is having on applicants under the iron and steel European readoption and benefit scheme. Regrettably the Commission has still to take a decision on outstanding applications for approval of aid under the treaty of Paris.

Scotland

Scottish Community Education Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will make a statement on his planned 1983 changes to the remit of the Scottish Community Education Council;(2) if he will make a statement on the future role and level of grant of the Scottish Community Education Council.

The council was set up in 1982 with the remit of advising the Secretary of State on all matters concerned with community education and promoting the development of community education.After six years it is appropriate to review this remit, and I have concluded that there will be less need in future for the exercise of the council's advisory function. On the other hand, there is scope for developing its function as a resource centre, with the aim of recovering a higher proportion of production costs from income other than grant.The new council which takes office in April will oversee this redirection of effort and deal with the practical implications. I have accordingly decided to make available to the council grant at last year's rate for the period 1 April to 30 June (£141,600) so that it can assess the position. Future levels of grant will be determined in the light of the council's needs, having regard to its new remit and its corporate plan.

Education Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to introduce legislation to allow schools to opt out of the state education system; and if he will make a statement.

The Government have made it clear that there will be no proposals for opting out in the current session. The School Boards (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced on 16 March, contains no such provisions, and we do not anticipate any change to the Bill for this purpose.The Government have also consistently made clear that we do not rule out provisions for opting out in future. However, no decisions have yet been taken about future legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list in the Official Report the total amount of grant allocated by his Department to the Scottish Community Education Council in each of the past five years;(2) when he expects to announce the total Scottish Office grant to be allocated to the Scottish Community Education Council in the financial year 1988–89.

Grant paid by the Scottish Education Department to the Scottish Community Education Council has been as follows:

£
1983–84334,000
1984–85346,050
1985–86356,000
1986–87542,000
1987–88566,000

As to grant for 1988–89, I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 12 April to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood).

Cancer Screening

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the present arrangements for publicising the case for patients to undergo cancer screening in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Cervical cancer screening in Scotland is presently mainly undertaken as part of the normal medical care of women attending ante-natal clinics, post-natal clinics and family planning and well women clinics. A substantial proportion of all tests are carried out by general practitioners some of whom operate a call/recall system for their own patients. Women are advised about the test by general medical practitioners or other professional staff.I announced on 10 December 1987 that a comprehensive cervical cancer screening service is to be made available to all women in Scotland between 20 and 60 years and the Scottish Health Education Group will mount a suitable publicity campaign at the appropriate time.I also announced on 20 October 1987 our intention to establish centres throughout Scotland to provide a comprehensive nationwide breast cancer screening programme for all women between 50 and 64 years by 1991. The first four centres, in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, will come into operation during the course of this year. Again SHEG will be preparing publicity material for this programme.

Northern Ireland

Housing Executive

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the capital and revenue expenditure by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in each of the years since its inception.

The capital and revenue expenditure by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in each financial year since 1972–73 is as follows:

Capital £ millionRevenue £ millionGross Total £ million
1972–7328·527·055·5
1973–7464·434·098·4
1974–7544·953·498·3
1975–7670·866·4137·2
1976–77106·887·8194·6
1977–78109·6105·4215·0
1978–79102·8133·8236·6
1979–8097·5171·3268·8
1980–81110·7199·2309·9
1981–82119·9241·0360·9
1982–83177·4248·4425·8
1983–84177·2269·4446·6
1984–85174·2308·6482·8
1985–86171·9327·9499·8
1986–87151·3341·2492·5
1987–881149·8349·8499·6
1 Provisional

Generating Capacity

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when a decision will be taken on the next phase of generating capacity in Northern Ireland.

It is not possible to give a firm date for decisions on new generating capacity. The Government are currently considering revised proposals from Northern Ireland Electricity and Antrim Power Company Limited and will take decisions as soon as possible.

Police Stations (Repairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list the police stations which have needed rebuilding or major repairs after bomb damage in each year since 1979, indicating the cost, when work began and when it was completed or ceased due to Irish Republican Army threats, and which stations which were damaged do not at present have work in hand to repair them;(2) on which new police stations in Northern Ireland work was brought to a halt by Irish Republican Army threats during each year since 1979; if he will indicate when work

(a) ceased, and (b) restarted; what was the contract price for each station; what were the sums paid for work actually carried out; and when he now expects the work to be completed, together with the completion cost.

[holding answer 12 April 1988]: The information is as follows:

RUC stations seriously damaged by bomb and mortar explosions and whether reinstated
Year and Stations seriously damagedWhether reinstated
1979 KinawleyYes
NewtonhamiltonYes
1980 PlumbridgeYes
ClogherYes
WarrenpointYes
1981 ClogherYes
NewtonhamiltonYes
RossleaYes
1982 WoodbourneYes
1983 AndersontownYes
CarrickmoreYes
1984 KinawleyYes
1985 NewryYes
PlumbridgeYes
EnniskillenYes
BallinamallardYes
ToomebridgeYes
BallygawleyYes
CastledergYes
CarrickmoreYes
ShantallowYes
TynanNo
1986 CoalislandYes
CloughmillsYes
BirchesNo
Lisburn RoadNo
1987 NewtonstewartYes
KinawleyYes
Year and Stations seriously damagedWhether reinstated
LoughgallYes
1988 DunmurryYes
The Police Authority has not yet taken a final decision on the reinstatement of Tynan, Birches and Lisburn road. It would not be in the public interest to disclose the cost of reinstating individual stations, details of future plans for specific sites or the estent to which work has or has not been interrupted by IRA threats.

Transport

A19 (Litter)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department takes to ensure the efficient removal of litter from the A19 between Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

The requirements of the Department for routine maintenance of the A19 trunk road is contained within the Department's document, "Code of Practice for Routine Maintenance".The section of the A19 between Middlesbrough and Sunderland is maintained on behalf of the Department by three agent authorities: Sunderland metropolitan borough council, Durham county council and Cleveland county council. They have all been seen to be observing the code as far as the question of litter is concerned.In accordance with general policy, litter receptacles are not provided in the lay-bys on the A19. The public are advised to take litter home. This general policy appears to work well. There is no evidence of significant dumping. The Department arranges for litter clearance where it may be seen there is a hazard or nuisance. Particular problems are dealt with subsequent to reports from several sources, including our agent authorities, the police, motoring organisations and the travelling public.The code requirements adopted by the Department's maintaining agent authorities and district councils as appropriate on the A19 trunk road, include:

  • (a) sweeping the trunk road annually;
  • (b) removing hazardous material, litter and debris as soon as possible as reported by routine maintenance personnel, the police, motoring organisations and the public; and
  • (c) scavenging and cleaning of lay-bys and the removal of wind-blown litter and abandoned cars, if necessary, by district councils supplemented by reports from several and obvious sources.
  • The Department's regional office staff are aware of the conditions on the A19 trunk road and react to circumstances as necessary.

    Bus Lanes (London)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has of the number of bus lanes installed and removed in London since 31 March 1986.

    I understand that six new bus lanes have been or are in the process of being installed in London since 1 April 1986 and that five have been or are being removed. A copy of the Department's recent advice note on bus lanes is available in the Library—I shall send the hon. Member a copy.

    Motorway Accidents

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list motorway injury accidents under each of the following categories: (i) total number, (ii) vehicle types involved, (iii) by weather conditions and time of day, (iv) whether there was motorway lighting and (v) by age of drivers.

    Road accident statistics for Great Britain are published annually by the Department, the latest full figures available are for 1986, as follows:

    (i) Motorway injury accidents
    Number
    Fatal202
    Serious1,093
    Slight3,867
    Total5,162
    (ii) Number and type of vehicle involved in motorway injury accidents:
    Number
    Mopeds and scooters25
    Motorcycles296
    Cars8,176
    Buses and coaches84
    LGVs714
    HGVs1,531
    Others67
    Total10,893
    (iii) Motorway injury accidents by weather conditions and time of day:
    Number
    Fine3,975
    Raining910
    Snowing115
    Fog93
    Daylight3,550
    Darkness1,612
    (iv) Whether there was motorway lighting:
    DaylightDarkness
    Lit section1,755721
    Unlit section1,795891
    Total3,5001,612
    (v) Age distribution of drivers involved in accidents on motorways:
    Per cent.
    18 to 30 years35
    30 to 40 years25
    40 to 50 years21
    50 to 60 years12
    60 to 70 years5
    Over 70 years2

    Speedboat Accident (Looe)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold a public inquiry into the circumstances of the speedboat accident off Looe on Tuesday 5 April; and if he will make a statement on the alleged delay between the official notification of Her Majesty's coastguards, Brixham and the calling out of the Fowey lifeboat.

    I learnt with regret of this accident in which two young men lost their lives. I have made arrangements for one of my Department's surveyors to investigate and report on the circumstances of the accident. I cannot comment further until I have received the report.

    Energy

    Uranium Supplies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has received any recent communication from the European Economic Community Energy Commissioner regarding the current appraisal by EURATOM of the adequacy of the uranium supply agreements or contracts with non-European Economic Community member states, including Australia, Canada, the United States of America, Namibia and South Africa.

    No. The only such assessment of which I am aware is that regularly contained in the annual report of the Euratom Supply Agency. I have arranged for a copy of the 1987 report to be placed in the Library of the House when published.

    Nuclear Power (Exhibition)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if his Department has considered an application for an exhibition relating to nuclear power to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

    I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Services Committee, arrangements have been made with the Authorities of the House for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall on Wednesday 3 May.

    Iaea (Operational Safety And Review Team)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when and where the International Atomic Energy Association's operational safety and review team mission to the United Kingdom will take place.

    At the IAEA general conference last September, I invited the agency to send an OSART team to visit one of our nuclear power stations.The CEGB has now offered Oldbury for the OSART visit, which is planned for the summer of 1989.

    Prime Minister

    Harland And Wolff Shipyard

    Q36.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will pay a visit to Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

    Ryton-On-Dunsmore

    Q110.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she has any plans to make an official visit to Ryton-on-Dunsmore, near Rugby.

    Engagements

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 April.

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

    Canada And United States Of America (Official Visit)

    To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply of 22 October, Official Report, column 847, if she will now provide a breakdown by category of the cost to public funds of her visit to Canada and the United States of America.

    Bills for some of the costs of this visit have not yet been received. The total cost to date is £83,564, which can be broken down as follows:

    Total to date
    Travel costs:£74,404
    Other costs:£9,160

    Turkey (Official Visit)

    To ask the Prime Minister what was the total cost of her visit to Turkey; how many officials accompanied her; what was her method of travel; and who was the carrier.

    Final figures for the cost of my visit are not yet available. An estimate of the total cost is £24,000. I was accompanied by three officials and nine support staff. I flew by RAF VC10.

    Official Entertainment (Cost)

    To ask the Prime Minister what was the total cost of official entertainment associated with the Office of the Prime Minister in 1987–88.

    Final figures for 1987–88 are not yet available. The latest estimate of the total cost is £9,739.

    Official Residences (Costs)

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will provide the final figure for 1987–88 for (a) the cost of maintaining and running 10 Downing street and additional costs at Chequers, (b) the grant-in-aid to the Chequers Trust and (c) the costs on a consistent basis and expressed at constant 1984–85 prices.

    Final figures for 1987–88 are not yet available. The latest estimates of the figures requested are:

    £
    (a) cost of maintaining and running 10 Downing street and additional costs at Chequers1 2 35,278,618
    (b) the grant-in-aid to the Chequers Trust224,000
    (c) figures at (a) and (b) in 1984–85 price terms4(a) 4,593,956
    (b) 194,946
    Notes:
    1 The figures include costs at both 10 Downing street and Chequers; the information is not available by location.
    2 Salaries and wages, notional pension liability, administration costs, the costs of office services and the grant-in-aid to the Chequers Trust are included. The salary of the Prime Minister is excluded.
    3 This total is calculated on a consistent basis with the total for 1986–87 given in sub-paragraph (a) of the reply to the hon. Member on 23 October 1987, at column 846. If office services costs are excluded (to produce a figure consistent with those at sub-paragraph (c) of that reply) the total for 1987–88 is £4,774,143 (£4,154,914 at constant 1984–85 prices).
    4 Constant costs have been calculated using the Treasury's GDP deflator for 1986–87 rebased to 1984–85.

    Official Expenditure

    To ask the Prime Minister what was the total cost to public funds of all her offices, duties, accommodation and expenses in the year 1987–88.

    Final figures for 1987–88 are not yet available. The latest estimate of the total cost of all my offices in 1987–88 is £5,312,0161.

    Note:

    1 Salaries and wages, notional pension liability, administration costs and the grant-in-aid to the Chequers Trust are included. My salary as a Cabinet Minister is also included. My pay and allowances as a Member of this House are excluded.

    Voluntary Bodies (Grants)

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list the total amounts paid in grants by Government Departments to voluntary bodies during the financial year 1986–87; and if she will make a statement.

    The figures are shown in the table. The total amount provided in 1986–87 represents a cash increase of 4·4 per cent. (in real terms 1·1 per cent.) on the level of provision in 1985–86. In the period between 1979–80 and 1986–87 the level of Government support to voluntary bodies has risen by about 221 per cent. (in real terms 92·4 per cent.).

    Grants by Government Departments in 1986–87

    £

    Agriculture, Fisheries and Food171,700
    Defence4,825,762
    Education and Science16,229,314
    Employment33,294,000
    Energy1,118,000
    Environment—direct grants3,612,417
    —urban programme76,011,000
    Foreign and Commonwealth Office880,626
    Overseas Development Administration126,822,713
    Health and Social Security35,075,544
    Home Office19,541,336
    Lord Chancellor's Department726,743
    Northern Ireland Departments14,974,781
    Scottish Office—direct grants8,970,443
    —urban programme16,600,000
    Trade and Industry8,689,088
    Transport636,000
    Welsh Office—direct grants8,467,801
    —urban programme2,850,000

    1 During 1986–87 there was a decrease in requests from voluntary Agencies for grants in support of disaster, refugee and other emergency relief measures. That programme is, by its nature, reactive rather than planned. The other forms of support from the aid programme for voluntary agencies for their longer term development work increased substantially during 1986–87.

    Employment

    In addition, payments were made directly to voluntary bodies under various employment programmes:

    £

    Manpower Services Commission

    Community Programme480,000,000
    Voluntary Projects Programme8,250,000
    Youth Training Scheme125,000,000

    The MSC makes payments to voluntary bodies under other programmes, but these cannot be given in detail except at disproportionate cost.

    £

    Northern Ireland Office (Department of Economic Development)

    Community Workshops15,599,832
    Action for Community Employment Scheme28,489,008
    Community Volunteering Scheme654,718
    Youth Community Projects746,191
    Youth Help712,303

    Departments also made grants and payments to housing associations and societies; these are as follows:

    £

    Department of the Environment842,700,000
    Northern Ireland Office (Department of the Environment)41,571,238
    Scottish Office107,571,238
    Welsh Office56,600,213

    Grants made to voluntary bodies in 1986–87 by non-departmental public bodies include the following:

    £

    Equal Opportunities Commission41,866
    Commission for Racial Equality1,835,210
    Countryside Commission2,625,000
    Countryside Commission for Scotland342,491
    Health Education Council738,000
    Highlands and Islands Development Board666,895
    Nature Conservancy Council1,765,072
    Sports Council15,446,000

    £

    Sports Council for Northern Ireland405,189
    Sports Council for Scotland2,454,891
    Sports Council for Wales1,576,465

    10 Downing Street (Staff)

    To ask the Prime Minister what was the staff complement of No. 10 Downing street in 1987–88; and how many were registered disabled.

    The total staff complement of 10 Downing street in 1987–88 was 67. None was registered disabled.

    Official Travel

    To ask the Prime Minister what was the total cost to public funds of travel by the Prime Minister and accompanying officials in 1987–88.

    Final figures are not yet available and cannot be provided in the precise form requested. The latest estimate of the total cost of my travel and that of my staff in 1987–88 is £826,712.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will make it her policy to use British Rail trains for travelling on official occasions; and if she will make a statement.

    I regret that for reasons of practicality and security it is difficult for me to travel by rail on official business. I do so when a suitable opportunity arises.

    National Finance

    Taxation Incentives

    4.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the effect of taxation incentives on the economy.

    High taxes discourage the effort, enterprise and initiative which are essential for a strong and growing economy.

    Capital Taxation

    11.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what responses he has received to his Budget proposals for changes in capital taxation.

    68.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what responses he has received to his Budget proposals for changes in capital taxation.

    Income Tax

    19.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the real increase in the yield of income tax from the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers since 1978–79.

    Compared with 1978–79, the income tax liability of the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers was some £3 billion higher in real terms in 1987–88.

    24.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the income tax revenue received from the top 5 per cent. of income earners has changed in each year from 1983; and what is his estimate for the coming financial year.

    The income tax paid by the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers in each year since 1983 is as follows:

    £ billion£ billion at 1988–89 prices
    1983–848·510·5
    1984–859·311·0
    1985–8611·212·5
    1986–8712·113·1
    1987–8813·213·7
    1988–8912·512·5

    34.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the CBI on the tax reductions for top taxpayers announced in the Budget.

    The CBI's Budget document called for cuts in the top marginal rates of income tax to improve incentives. Commenting on the Budget the CBI president said:

    "This is the Budget we have been waiting for. It will help maintain the momentum of Britain's economic recovery. It reflects CBI priorities…in particular it will provide greater incentives for all in British business."

    35.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much he expects the income tax revenue from the top 5 per cent. of income earners to rise following the announcement in his Budget; and what proportion he estimates this will be of total income tax revenue.

    The top 5 per cent. of taxpayers paid £13·2 billion income tax in 1987–88, 30 per cent. of the yield, while in 1988–89 the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers are expected to pay £12·5 billion, 28 per cent. of the yield. The calculation makes no allowance for any changes in taxpayers' behaviour as a result of the changes in the Budget.

    36.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of total income tax he expects to be paid by the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers in 1988–89; and what was the equivalent figure in 1978–79.

    44.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of total income tax he expects to be paid by the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers in 1988–89; and what was the equivalent figure in 1978–79.

    66.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of total income tax he expects to be paid by the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers in 1988–89; and what was the equivalent figure in 1978–79.

    It is estimated that in 1988–89 the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers will pay 28 per cent. of total income tax. The corresponding figure for 1978–79 was 24 per cent. The estimate for 1988–89 is provisional.

    41.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received in favour of introducing an initial rate of income tax at a lower level than the proposed standard rate.

    My right hon. Friend has received very few representations on this subject.

    47.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the figures for personal income tax rates and tax takes for 1978–79, 1981–82 and 1987–88 and the projected figures for 1988–89 and 1990–91.

    Rates of income tax
    1978–791 Slice of taxable income (£)Rate of tax Per cent.1981–821 Slice of taxable income (£)Rate of tax Per cent.1987–88 Slice of taxable income (£)Rate of tax Per cent.1988–89 Slice of taxable income (£)Rate of tax Per cent.
    Lower rate1–75025
    Basic rate751–8,000331–11,250301–17,900271–19,30025
    Higher rates8,001–9,0004011,251–13,2504017,901–20,40040Over 19,30040
    9,001–10,0004513,251–16,7504520,401–25,40045
    10,001–11,0005016,751–22,2505025,401–33,30050
    11,001–12,5005522,251–27,7505533,301–41,20055
    12,501–14,00060Over 27,75060Over 41,20060
    14,001–16,00065
    16,001–18,50070
    18,501–24,00075
    Over 24,00083
    1 Investment income surcharge was also payable for these years.
    Net income tax receipts
    Year£ billion
    1978–7918·7
    1981–8228·7
    1987–88 (latest estimate)41·4
    1988–89 (forecast)42·1

    59.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the income tax burden on single pensioners with a gross income of up to £5,000 per annum and married pensioners with a gross income of up to £8,000 per annum; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has received a small number of representations, including an eloquent one from my hon. Friend.

    70.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total value of the reduction in income tax enjoyed by a person with a taxable income of £100,000 per annum (a) in respect of the arrangements made in his Budget Statement for 1988–89 and (b) in total during the period 1980–81 to 1988–89.

    The reduction in the annual income tax liabilities of a married man with gross annual income of £100,000 would be (a) £13,498 from this year's Budget proposals and (b) £13,585 from all Budget changes from 1980–81 to 1988–89. The figures assume that the taxpayer is entitled to no income tax relief or allowance other than the married man's allowance, and compare income tax liabilities under the proposed tax regime for 1988–89 with those under the 1987–88 and 1980–81 regimes indexed to 1988–89 levels according to the statutory formula.

    73.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the real increase in the yield of income tax from the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers since 1978–79.

    Information is given in the tables. Detailed forecasts of tax revenues are not published for years after 1988–89.

    88.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the real increase in the yield of income tax from the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers since 1978–79.

    Compared with 1978–79 the income tax liability of the top 5 per cent. of taxpayers was some £3 billion higher in real terms in 1987–88.

    Economic Forecasts

    20.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received concerning possible overheating of the economy.

    Budget (Representations)

    21.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on his Budget.

    27.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on his Budget.

    I refer my hon. Friends to the answer my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin).

    23.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has had to his Budget statement; and what action he intends to take as a result.

    My right hon. Friend's Budget has been widely welcomed, at home and abroad, as a further step in the Government's programme of tax reduction and reform within a prudent financial framework. It continues the policies designed to defeat inflation and promote individual enterprise and effort which are transforming the British economy.

    Exchange Rates

    22.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the operation of his policy of managing a floating exchange rate.

    The Government's policy on the exchange rate was set out in my right hon. Friend's Budget speech and in chapter 2 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report published on 15 March.

    29.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on his policy towards sterling exchange rates with other major currencies.

    60.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on his exchange rate policy.

    82.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his exchange rate policy.

    87.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on exchange rate policy after the Budget.

    My right hon. Friend set out the Government's exchange rate policy in his Budget speech on 15 March at columns 995–1015, and in chapter 2 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report published on 15 March.

    76.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect the exchange rate has on the performance of the economy.

    The exchange rate is a major factor in the determination of overall monetary conditions in the economy which are set out to maintain downward pressure on inflation. Increases in domestic costs will not be accommodated by exchange rate depreciation.

    80.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to meet the Governor of the Bank of England to discuss exchange rate policy.

    My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with the Governor of the Bank of England, at which they discuss a variety of subjects.

    Economic Growth

    25.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average rate of growth in the British economy (a) for the last five years and (b) for the period 1974 to 1979.

    Over the last five years the average annual rate of growth has been 3·3 per cent., considerably above the 2 per cent. average from 1974 to 1979.

    67.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the last year before 1987 when real growth in the economy exceeded the rate of inflation.

    81.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the last year before 1987 when real growth in the economy exceeded the rate of inflation.

    The last year, prior to 1987, in which output growth exceeded inflation was 1964.

    72.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for how many years the rate of economic growth in the United Kingdom has averaged 3 per cent. or more.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer the Economic Secretary gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Mr. Mitchell).

    Sterling Index

    26.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he expects the sterling index to average in the coming year; and if he will make a statement.

    Departmental Staff

    28.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials are employed within the social security division of Her Majesty's Treasury dealing with matters related to pensions.

    There are eight officials currently working in the social security division of the Treasury, who deal with pensions and other social security matters.

    Third World Debt

    30.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with other Finance Ministers regarding rescheduling of Third world debt; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General on 11 February to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) at column 334.

    Bp

    31.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans for further sales of Government shares in BP; and if he will make a statement.

    The Treasury plans to sell its residual holding of BP cumulative preference shares in due course. It will also sell, at its discretion, its holding of BP ordinary shares in so far as this exceeds the number of shares required to satisfy outstanding share bonus entitlements.The Bank of England has undertaken not to dispose of its holding of partly paid BP shares before 29 April 1988, except at a price in excess of 120p.

    Business Investment

    32.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest forecast for the growth of business investment over the coming year.

    86.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest forecast for the growth of business investment over the coming year.

    As the Chancellor stated in his Budget forecast, total business investment is expected to grow by 9 per cent. in 1988.

    Interest Rates

    33.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the level of interest rates.

    43.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the level of interest rates.

    48.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the level of interest rates.

    49.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on his policy towards interest rates.

    Short-term interest rates remain the essential instrument of monetary policy, and within a continuous and comprehensive assessment of monetary conditions, they are set at the level necessary to ensure downward pressure on inflation.

    Louvre Accord

    37.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet his counterparts who were party to the Louvre accord; and what will be discussed.

    The Group of Seven Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors met yesterday and issued a statement.

    Labour Statistics

    38.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the rise in employment in the United Kingdom economy since 1983.

    63.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the rise in employment in the United Kingdom economy since 1983.

    75.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the rise in employment in the United Kingdom economy since 1983.

    42.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much unemployment has fallen in the United Kingdom economy over the past year.

    55.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much unemployment has fallen in the United Kingdom economy over the past year.

    71.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much unemployment has fallen in the United Kingdom economy over the past year.

    Unemployment has fallen by 535,000 over the past year. It has now fallen for 19 months in succession since July 1986, by 679,000 in total, the largest fall since the war.

    Personal Incomes

    39.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the effect of his Budget proposals on a man and wife over 80 years with an income in excess of £10,600 per annum.

    The reduction in tax compared with 1987–88 will be as follows:

    IncomeReduction in tax
    ££Per cent.
    10,6003493·3
    11,0003633·3
    12,0002832·4
    14,0002792·0
    Above this level of income the reduction will be the same as for a non-aged couple. Calculations assume that the wife has no earnings or pension in her own right.

    46.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the change in weekly income of a single parent, with two children, drawing supplementary benefit and child benefit, as a result of his Budget changes.

    The Budget is about tax, so will not have a direct effect on the incomes of those who do not pay tax. A lone parent on supplementary benefit is unlikely to be directly affected by the Budget changes unless he or she takes a job in the course of the financial year. But, on average, a lone parent can expect income support to be about £4 a week higher than the supplementary benefit payable before the introduction of the social security reforms on 11 April.

    51.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the weekly gain of a single person earning £400,000 a year as a result of his Budget tax changes.

    58.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the weekly gain of a single person earning £350,000 a year from his Budget tax changes.

    61.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the weekly gain of a single person earning £200,000 a year from his Budget tax changes.

    62.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the weekly gain of a single person earning £250,000 a year as a result of his Budget tax changes.

    The table shows the gains from the Budget at each of the specified levels of earnings, assuming that there is no other income. The figures refer only to income tax and assume that the taxpayer is entitled to no income tax reliefs or allowances other than the single person's allowance. The calculations are made by comparing income tax liabilities under the 1987–88 income tax regime with those under the Budget proposal for 1988–89.

    Gross yearly earnings £000sGain from income tax changes £ per week
    200656·54
    250848·85
    3501,233·46
    4001,425·77

    Monetary Aggregates

    40.

    Mr. Sean Hughes