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Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Tuesday 4 November 1980

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Written Answers

Constituencies: Size

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is now the average size of the electorate in constituencies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively; andWhich is the constituency in England with the largest number of electors; what this number is; and which constituency in England has the smallest number of electors; and what this number is.

The information requested is contained in the OPCS Monitor Electoral Statistics, reference EL 80/2, issued on 20th May 1980, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. The Monitor contains the provisional 1980 electorate of each constituency together with the number and percentage by which each differs from the electoral quota, that is, the average number of electors in the constituencies in that country. The names and sizes of the largest and smallest constituencies are noted on page 2. Final revised figures for all constituencies will be published by the Office of Population Censuses and Survey in January 1981 in the annual reference volume Electoral Statistics 1980, series EL No. 7.

Employment Of The Handicapped

asked Her Majesty's Government:How much money has been spent by the Department of Employment out of its research funds on subjects connected with the employment of those suffering from, respectively, mental handicap, physical handicap, visual handicap and hearing handicap.

My department has not paid for research on these subjects. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that most of their research projects in this area cover a number of disabilities and so it is not possible to disaggregate expenditure by each of the categories requested. However, total expenditure from MSC's research funds on the employment of disabled people for each of the last five financial years is as follows:

1976–77£ 5,700
This excludes the cost of internal research carried out by the commission's own staff and the costs of the special research unit on employment rehabilitation.

Health And Safety: Cprs Review

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the report of the review carried out by the Central Policy Review Staff of the cost-effectiveness of methods of implementing policy on health and safety at work has been or will be made available to the Health and Safety Executive.

Copies of advice by the Central Policy Review Staff on this subject have been made available to the Health and Safety Commission and Executive.

Agriculture And Horticulture: Energy Use

asked Her Majesty's Government:How much energy has been used by agriculture and horticulture in Britain (

a) as fuel and ( d) in the production of fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides etc. applied to the land, during the last three years; what proportion of the value of food produced has been absorbed by energy costs; and whether in their view this proportion is likely to rise or fall in future years.

Energy used directly in agriculture and horticulture has remained close to an annual average of some 1.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent (rather less than 1 per cent. of national energy usage) during the three years 1977, 1978 and 1979. During the same period, primary energy used in fertiliser manufacture has averaged some 2.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Energy used in the manufacture of herbicides, pesticides, etc., cannot be sepaartely estimated but is small in relation to that used in fertiliser manufacture.

Costs of direct energy inputs have represented about 4 per cent. of the value of total agricultural output during the last three years. To the extent that energy costs increase in real terms this proportion may be expected to rise, although to an extent constrained by more efficient energy use and conservation.

Air Space Intrusions By Soviet Military Aircraft

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have protested to the Soviet Union over the five or more weekly intrusions into United Kingdom air space by Soviet military aircraft and, if so, what the Soviet response has been; and, if not, whether they will now do so either unilaterally or together with other NATO countries (for instance Norway and Denmark) whose air space is also violated.

Soviet military aircraft regularly fiy into, and are intercepted within, the United Kingdom Air Defence Region, a nationally defined area which has no status in international law. There were on average five such interceptions per week in 1979. The aircraft concerned do not, however, penetrate our territorial air space, and there are therefore no grounds for a protest to be made to the Soviet Union.House adjourned at fifteen minutes past eight o'clock.