Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 13 November 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers

Parliamentarians: Emoluments And Allowances

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied that the Answer to the Written Question (

Official Report, 29th July 1980, col. 859) on the emoluments and allowances of parliamentarians is correct; in particular, whether they will make it clear that members of the European Parliament do not receive a monthly allowance for constituency travel.

To the best of our knowledge, the information contained in that reply is correct. The allowances paid to members of the European Parliament are a matter for that body, however, and I shall write to my noble friend when I have inquired into the particular matter he raises.

Doctors Available For Court Work

asked Her Majesty's Government:What inquiries they have made about the extent to which justices' clerks have compiled lists of doctors and psychiatrists prepared to do court work, and when the outcome of these inquiries may be expected to be made public.

The Government have not thought it right to add to the burden that courts have been facing for the last few weeks, but these inquiries will be made as soon as practicable.

Psychiatric Reports On Persons Remanded On Bail

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many reports were prepared on persons remanded on bail for psychiatric examination in each of the years 1976 to 1979 inclusive; and how many reports were prepared on persons remanded on bail and in custody respectively for psychiatric examination in 1979 in each police force area in England and Wales.

Information on the number of psychiatric reports prepared by medical officers on persons remanded on bail is normally included in Report on thework of the Prison Department (Paragraph 157 of the issue for 1979, Cmnd. 7965); the information for the years 1976 to 1979 is brought together in the following table. For the total number of such reports in 1979 on persons remanded in custody I would refer the noble Lord to the reply given to a Question by him on 10th October (Official Report, vol. 413, cols. 715–716). A breakdown by police force area is not available.

Psychiatric reports by medical officers in prison department establishments in England and Wales on persons remanded on bail 1976–79
YearNumber of Reports

Rpi: Alcohol And Tobacco

asked Her Majesty's Government:What proportion of the retail price index, which plays so great a part in

Retail Prices Index
Indices Jan. 1974 = 100Percentage Change over a year earlier
All itemsAll items excluding tobaccoAll items excluding alcoholic drinksAll items excluding tobacco & alcoholic drinksAll itemsAll items excluding tobaccoAll items excluding alcoholic drinksAll items excluding tobacco & alcoholic drinks
Jan. 1975119·9119·7120·0119·819·919·720·019·8
Jan. 1976147·9147·3147·8147·123·423·123·222·8
Jan. 1977172·4171·5172·3171·216·616·416·616·4
Jan. 1978189·5188·0189·5187·99·99·610·09·8
Jan. 1979207·2206·1207·9206·89·39·69·710·1
Jan. 1980245·3244·2245·7244·518·418·518·218·2
Sept. 1980270·2268·9270·0268·615·916·015·515·7

British Steel Corporation: Profits And Losses

asked Her Majesty's Government:What have been the profits and losses of the British Steel Corporation, after provision for interest and depreciation, for each year since nationalisation expressed in 1979 survey prices; and

wage bargaining, is represented by alcoholic drinks and tobacco respectively; and why is tobacco, which is known to have a serious effect on the nation's health, still kept on the index.

In the retail prices index, alcoholic drink has a weight of 8·2 per cent. and tobacco of 4·0 per cent. The construction of the retail prices index follows the recommendations of the Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee which includes representative of the TUC, the CBI and trade and consumer organisations together with leading academic experts and government statisticians. While the Committee has explicitly recommended that the index should reflect price changes over the whole field of goods and services purchased by households, I accept that there may be a case for publishing the contributions of alcohol and tobacco separately.Retail prices indices for all items excluding alcoholic drink, or tobacco, or both can be readily computed from published information. Figures for such indices compared with those in the "all items" index for the period since January 1974 were as follows:from which sources have net losses been financed.

The profits and losses of the British Steel Corporation after provision for interest and depreciation for each year since nationalisation expressed in 1979 survey prices are as follows:

£ million 1978–79 prices
1967–6829 Loss
1968–6970 Loss
1969–7029* Profit
1970–7127 Loss
1971–72175 Loss
1972–737 Profit
1973–7471 Profit
1974–75117 Profit
1975–76360 Loss
1976–77117 Loss
1977–78478 Loss
1978–79309 Loss
1979–80470 Loss
*The 1969–70 financial year covers only six months as a result of a change in the accounting period from a September to a March year-end. The corporation's net losses have been financed out of capital provided by the Government; since 1st April 1978 this has been through subscriptions of capital under Section 18(1) of the Iron and Steel Act 1975.

British Steel Corporation: Financial Requirements

asked Her Majesty's Government:Following their Answer of 6th October (H.L.

Official Report, 7th October, cols. 168–171) detailing financial support for nationalised industries, what further public money (in 1979 survey prices) has been made available to the British Steel Corporation by means of public dividend capital or in other forms not covered by the earlier Answer.

Since nation-alisation in 1967 the following amounts, in 1979 survey prices, have been provided to meet the British Steel Corporation's financial requirements over successive five year periods:

£ million
April 1965 to March 1970April 1970 to March 1975April 1975 to March 1980
PDC and capital subscribed under section 18(1)803,100

£ million

April 1965 to March 1970

April 1970 to March 1975

April 1975 to March 1990

Long term borrowing net of repayments66918903
Regional Development Grants179346349
Total finance supplied or guaranteed by Government2451,3444,352

British Rail: Cheap Travel Concessions

asked Her Majesty's Government:What numbers and categories of people are entitled to cheap travel on British railways, and what is: (

a) the estimated annual cost of these concessions, and ( b) the value of the concessions to the average current employee of British Rail.

The entire population is entitled to take advantage of reduced rail fares of one kind or another, with the exception of children under five who travel free. British Rail follow a market pricing policy and offer discounts only where it makes sense commercially. The question of travel concessions to British Rail employees is entirely a matter for the Railways Board. I understand that they have not attempted to assess the cash value of these concessions because of the very wide variations in the travel patterns of individual employees.

Covenants: Tax Treatment

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in the light of the provision for more generous tax treatment for charitable donations under four-year covenants from April 1981, donors or beneficiaries from unexpired seven-year covenants will qualify for higher tax repayments.

Donors under unexpired seven-year covenants will also qualify for higher rate tax relief from 6th April 1981.

Wages Councils

asked Her Majesty's Government:What industries and employments are now subject to wages councils and what numbers are covered by each.

My Lords, the table below lists the existing 34 wages councils and gives estimates of the number of workers covered by them.

Estimates of numbers of workers in field of operation of Wages Councils
Wages CouncilEstimated No. of Workers covered*
Aerated Waters (E. and W.)13,500
Aerated Waters (Scotland)1,400
Boot and Shoe Repairing7,900
Button Manufacturing3,300
Coffin Furniture and Cerement-Making500
Cotton Waste Reclamation400
Dressmaking and Women's Light Clothing (E. and W.)96,800
Dressmaking and Women's Light Clothing (Scotland)1,300
Flax and Hemp2,300
General Waste Materials Reclamation20,200
Hairdressing Undertakings128,600
Hat, Cap and Millinery (Great Britain)7,800
Lace Finishing700
Licensed Non-residential Establishment470,000
Licensed Residential Estallishment and Licensed Restaurant530,000
Linen and Cotton Handkerchief and Household Goods and Linen Piece Goods5,600
Made-up Textiles6,500
Ostrich and Fancy Feather and Artificial Flower1,500
Perambulator and Invalid Carriage2,100
Pin, Hook and Eye, and Snap Fastener900
Ready-made and Wholesale Bespoke Tailoring114,700
Retail Bespoke Tailoring (GB)5,000
Retail Food and Allied Trades522,800
Retail Trades Non-Food563,700
Rope, Twine and Net4,000
Rubber Proofed Garment Making Industry800
Sack and Bag1,800
Toy Manufacturing23,300
Unlicensed Place of Refreshment121,900
Wholesale Mantle and Costume46,000
*These estimates are derived mainly from numbers found to be employed in establishments visited on inspection by the Wages Inspectorate in recent years. The establishments in question do not form a representative sample for statistical purposes.

Legionnaires' Disease

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many cases of legionnaires' disease there have been in hospitals in Britain during 1980, how many patients have died and how many are recovering; and what research is being carried out.

Of the known cases of legionnaires' disease this year, 21 are considered to have acquired the infection in hospital; six have died. The Public Health Laboratory Service began research on legionnaires' disease in 1977 and in January 1979 they undertook a collaborative study to define the clinical and epidemiological aspects of the disease. Reported cases have been extensively investigated to discover possible sources and method of spread. The PHLS has also been engaged in research on the ecology of the Legionella pneumophilia organism and this is being extended in 1981. An investigation into the incidence of legionnaires' disease and other infections among package tourists and other travellers is in progress in Scotland.

The Charity Commission: Number Of Staff

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the size of the staff of the Charity Commission.

The number of staff of the Charity Commission in post on 1st November 1980 was 328.

Charities: Inquiries

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied that four inquiries under Section 6 of the Charities Act 1960 represent an adequate degree of supervision of over 130,000 registered charities, in the last year for which records are available.

I understand from the Charity Commissioners that it is only in the most serious and difficult cases that a person is formally appointed to hold an inquiry, and that four such appointments were made in 1979. The commissioners carry out some hundreds of other inquiries into the affairs of charities each year, but the number of these inquiries is not known. The number of formal appointments made in no way reflects the degree of supervision of registered charities exercised by the Charity Commissioners.

Unemployment: Morbidity And Mortality Rates

asked Her Majesty's Government:What studies are currently being financed by the Department of Health, area health authorities or the Medical Research Council on the association between unemployment and other social ills and morbidity and mortality rates.

Two departmentally funded projects are expected to produce relevant information:

  • (a) The Department's cohort study of men who registered as unemployed during the autumn of 1978. This includes questions on the effects of unemployment on health.
  • (b) Families and the effects of unemployment. A small-scale study by Dr. L. Fagin of the London Hospital and Mr. M. Little.
  • The department is currently considering a proposal from Queen Mary College, London University for a research study which would test the hypothesis that there is a link between unemployment and mortality rates.Consideration is also being given to a Third National Morbidity Survey which it is hoped will start in mid-1981. This study would, over a period of 12 months, look at the morbidity encountered in a sample of general practices spread over the country, and relate the findings to the social and environmental factors recorded in the 1981 Census. A number of Medical Research Council Units are undertaking research which might have a bearing on morbidity and mortality rates and the link with phenomena such as unemployment. For instance the Social and Applied Psychology Unit (administered jointly with Social Science Research Council) examines occupational stress and strain and the effects of redundancy and unemployment; the Applied Psychology Unit assesses work performance after sleep loss, under noisy and hot conditions, after alcohol intake, and at times of increased anxiety; the Unit for Epidemiological Studies in Psychiatry studies sections of the population where there is a high risk of particular psychiatric illnesses and examines the attendant social and psychological factors; the Environmental Physiology Unit, which closed on 30th September this year, conducted research into the anatomical and physiological problems arising in working and living environments. No information is held centrally about research undertaken by area health authorities.

    Kew Gardens: Entrance Fees

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the estimated price-elasticity of (

    a) doubling the entrance fee to Kew Gardens and ( b) trebling it.

    There is no reliable way of estimating in advance what would happen to the number of visitors to Kew if the admission charge was to be doubled or trebled.

    Pow Co-Ordinating Committee: Documents

    asked Her Majesty's Government:When the minutes and other relevant documents of the Inter-Departmental Prisoners of War Co-ordinating Committee (Finance), which sat during the Second World War, will be deposited at the Public Record Office, Kew, and what reference number will be assigned to them.

    All surviving Ministry of Defence documents relating to the work of this committee have already been transferred to the Public Record Office. No single reference number in the PRO contains a comprehensive collection of the proceedings of the committee, but its activities are recorded in many documents lodged in classes Air 2, ADM 1 and 116, and WO32.

    Vehicle Noise: Controls

    What arrangements exist to check and control the illegal noise from cars, motor cycles and lorries exhaust systems in the Avon area.

    Day to day enforcement of the regulations affecting vehicle noise is a matter for the police, which, in the County of Avon, is the Avon and Somerset Police Authority. The Department of Transport's vehicle examiners may also cover noise in spot checks of heavy goods vehicles; and silencer and exhaust systems are checked in the annual tests of cars and motorcycles over three years old and of all heavy goods vehicles.

    Cheltenham: Enforcement Of Speed Limits

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Which authority is responsible for carrying out the control of the 40 mph limit in the Borough of Cheltenham between hours of 6 and 10 p.m.

    The Gloucestershire Constabulary is responsible for the enforcement of speed limits in Cheltenham at all times.

    Traffic In Parliament Square

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in view of the growing traffic chaos, and the danger of pollution to the Palace of Westminster, they will now consider making this area a "no-go" area to heavy vehicles and coaches.

    No. Traffic regulation in London is the responsibility of the Greater London Council. Heavy lorries not requiring access are already banned from the central area of London, which includes Parliament Square. The exclusion of coaches from this area, which includes places of the greatest historical interest, would be hard to justify.

    The Postcode System

    Lord MANCROFT asked Her Majesty's Government:

  • (1) How many postal sorting offices are now operating the postcode system;
  • (2) how many such offices have yet to put the system into operation; and
  • (3) when the postcode system is likely to be in operation throughout the whole country.
  • This is a matter for the Post Office under the powers of autonomy granted it by the Post Office Act 1969.

    Air India V Wiggins: Implications

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What action they are taking to deal with the implications of the judgment of the House of Lords in the case of

    Air India v. Wiggins ( Times Law Reports of 4th July 1980) relating to injury or unnecessary suffering caused to animals and birds in transit to this country by acts done to them before actual arrival here.

    Northern Ireland: Hospital Waiting Lists

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish details of the waiting lists for admission to hospitals in each of the four administrative Board areas in Northern Ireland for each quarter since December 1977, and in the following specialties: general surgery; ear, nose and throat; gynoecology; tonsils and adenoids; orthopaedic surgery; other specialties.

    The information is as follows:

    EasternGeneral Surgery2,9632,6012,7362,8333,0003,1953,4533,2633,3453,3292,918
    Ear, Nose and Throat—Total2,8382,5532,6832,4522,4312,8742,8812,6702,6062,4042,524
    *Tonsils and Adenoids(1,599)(1,111)(894)
    Traumatic and Orthopaedic Surgery3,4703,6773,9264,0464,1394,4544,8804,6994,6954,5994,891
    †Other Specialties5,0875,2235,6505,0985,0425,1295,1985,1824,9165,0555,189
    NorthernGeneral Surgery1,1381,3101,1741,2821,2061,1751,060943820667638
    Ear, Nose and Throat—Total882902946925986948977924899904845
    *Tonsils and Adenoids(632)(691)
    Traumatic and Orthopaedic Surgery
    †Other Specialties4767685350745351577073
    SouthernGeneral Surgery876849963896939999870798770757778
    Ear, Nose and Throat—Total1,3371,3291,4141,3661,3321,3751,3591,2901,1981,0661,196
    *Tonsils and Adenoids(728)(731)
    Traumatic and Orthopaedic Surgery
    †Other Specialties6479908888110106737995100
    WesternGeneral Surgery484494632613659844727774752774526
    Ear, Nose and Throat—Total390392420383430594796733727801787
    *Tonsils and Adenoids(204)(238)
    Traumatic and Othopaedic Surgery460301369423297340331358340335336
    †Other Specialties162202172192216298243180186237187
    TOTALS (all Boards)22,81022,37822,68022,83623,09624,79625,43324,37223,75323,52023,359
    *Where available.
    †Excludes psychiatric and mental handicap hospitals

    Traffic Warning Signs: Familiarity

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they accept the principle that familiarity with traffic warning signs breeds contempt; and if so whether they will discourage the display of deer warning signs on the highway except where woods or forests border the highway.

    The use of signs giving information which is not seen to be relevant may indeed devalue them. It has not so far been suggested that the deer sign is being used unnecessarily. At present this sign may be used only with the consent of my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport. He proposes to remove that control in the forthcoming revision of the traffic signs regulations. We have no reason to suppose that unnecessary use of these signs will result.

    Northern Ireland: Nursing Services

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish details of the Nursing Services in each of the four Health and Social Services Board areas in Northern Ireland, for each quarter since 1977, and for the following categories:—

  • (a) total number of nursing staff employed;
  • (b) total number of trained nursing staff employed, full time;
  • (c) total number of other nursing grades employed, full time;
  • (d) total number of trained nursing staff employed, part time;
  • (e) total number of other nursing grades employed, part time.
  • The information is as follows:

    Quarter EndingTotal Nursing StaffTrained Nurses Full-TimeOther Nurses Full-TimeTrained Nurses Part-TimeOther Nurses Part-Time
    31 March 19779,0413,0273,3421,720952
    30 June 19779,1443,0603,3961,742946
    30 Sept. 19779,2183,0603,4421,776940
    31 Dec. 19779,2573,1243,4101,778945
    31 March 19789,4533,1023,3131,804964
    30 June 19789,5313,0703,6311,853977
    30 Sept. 19789,6083,0573,6931,8501,008
    31 Dec. 19789,6413,1553,5651,9031,018
    31 March 19799,7963,1613,6601,9471,028
    30 June 19799,8123,1323,6611,9871,032
    30 Sept.19799,9223,1233,7322,0221,045
    31 Dec. 197910,0483,1953,6842,1041,065
    31 March 198010,2533,2273,7782,1841,064
    30 June 198010,3763,3213,7742,2201,061
    30 Sept. 198010,5913,3093,0672,2881,087
    Quarter EndingTotal Nursing StaffTrained Nurses Full-TimeOther Nurses Full-TimeTrained Nurses Part-TimeOther Nurses Part-Time
    31 March 19772,3821,19159551680
    30 June 19772,3751,18059252578
    30 Sept. 19772,4461,20863652577
    31 Dec. 19772,4271,19760355176
    31 March 19782,4681,18863257177
    30 June 19782,4381,18658757986
    30 Sept. 19782,4741,20160658186
    31 Dec. 19782,5081,21660360683
    31 March 19792,5711,22863662483
    30 June 19792,6041,21963465992
    30 Sept. 19792,6501,20466368394
    31 Dec. 19792,6631,21264571096
    31 March 19802,7491,209684751103
    30 June 19802,7741,213678774109
    30 Sept. 19802,8151,247692768108
    Quarter EndingTotal Nursing StaffTrained Nurses Full-TimeOther Nurses Full-TimeTrained Nurses Part-TimeOther Nurses Part-Time
    31 March 19772,5441,29497522550
    30 June 19772,5871,33996822456
    30 Sept. 19772,6211,3291,00623056
    31 Dec. 19772,5791,33295823356
    31 March 19782,6581,3401,02124156
    30 June 19782,6941,3491,02726454
    30 Sept. 19782,8111,3841,08628061
    31 Dec. 19782,6891,37498627158
    31 March 19792,7471,3861,0406754
    30 June 19792,7941,4201,04327754
    30 Sept. 19792,8151,4281,05128551
    31 Dec. 19792,7981,46899328948
    31 March 19802,8621,4851,01630345
    30 June 19802,6461,49829143
    30 Sept. 19802,9191,5291,04830141
    Quarter EndingTotal Nursing StaffTrained Nurses Full-TimeOther Nurses Full-TimeTrained Nurses Part-TimeOther Nurses Part-Time
    31 March 19772,5671,172883436126
    30 June 19772,5381,189779442129
    30 Sept. 19772,5851,191816451127
    31 Dec. 19772,5761,211791444130
    31 March 19782,6291,229821448131
    30 June 19782,6351,250795456134
    30 Sept. 19782,7341,220860517137
    31 Dec. 19782,7791,232537563147
    31 March 19792,8701,216882622150
    30 June 19792,9111,211848691161
    30 Sept. 19792,9811,187890724180
    31 Dec. 19792,9441,158843758185
    31 March 19803,0221,158868803193
    30 June 19803,0161,158843825190
    30 Sept. 19803,0411,141883827190

    Northern Ireland: School Medical Service

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish details of the School Medical Service in each of the four health and social services board areas in Northern Ireland and for each quarter since December 1977, for the following:—

  • (a) the number of children attending schools;
  • (b) the number of routine medical inspections;
  • (c) the number of medical reexaminations; and
  • (d) the number of nurses employed solely in the School Health Service.
  • This information is only available on an annual basis and is contained in the annual reports of the respective health and social services boards. Since a good deal of statistical information is involved I would refer the noble Lord to the published annual reports of the boards, which are available in the Library.

    Belfast Areas Of Need

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How much of the £4 million allocated in 1977 towards areas of special need in Belfast has so far been expended; what projects in those areas have been completed by the city council; and to what objects is it proposed that any outstanding balances should be devoted.

    All the special monies devoted to the Belfast Areas of Need (BAN) including the inner city aid announced in March 1977 and the construction industry aid announced in November 1977 have been fully taken up by projects which either have already been completed by the city council, Government departments and area boards or are still in progress. In addition further substantial resources have been diverted to BAN from existing departmental programmes.The inner city aid funds have been used to finance 57 projects in BAN including community centres, provision of pre-school play group facilities and day centres. The funds allocated to Belfast City Council amounted to £1·5 million. This money has been used to finance seventeen schemes which either have been completed or are in the course of implementation.

    Prosecution For Contempt Of Court

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Why it is their policy to prosecute for contempt a person who gives to another a document which has been read out in open court.

    It would not be appropriate to comment on this matter until forthcoming court proceedings are completed.

    The Official Report: Change In Format

    asked the Leader of the House:Whether he has any statement to make regarding a change in the format of the

    Official Report.

    As Members of your Lordships' House will recall, the House agreed on 21st December 1976 that the size of the Official Report should be changed to A4 format as soon as a new Hansard printing press was in operation. The change in the format of the Official Report of your Lordships' House will therefore take place from the beginning of the new Session and bound volumes in the new format will be available in due course.10.30 p.m.House resumed.10.32 p.m.House adjourned again during pleasure.House resumed.

    Royal Commission

    11.22 p.m.

    A Commission for Royal Assent and Prorogation was read:

    The following Bills received the Royal Assent:

    • Limitation Act 1980,
    • Statute Law Revision (Northern Ireland) Act 1980,
    • Civil Aviation Act 1980,
    • Tenants' Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Amendment Act 1980,
    • Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980,
    • Overseas Development and Co-operation Act 1980,
    • Broadcasting Act 1980,
    • Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980,
    • Highways Act 1980,
    • Tyne and Wear Act 1980.

    Prorogation: Her Majesty's Speech

    Her Majesty's most gracious Speech was then delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command) as follows:

    " My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

    "My Husband and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of the President of Kenya in June 1979 and of the President of the Republic of Indonesia and Madame Tien Soeharto in November.

    "We look back with much pleasure on the visits we have made. We visited Denmark in May 1979; and Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi and Zambia in July and August. As Head of the Commonwealth, I was present in Lusaka on the occasion of the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government. In May this year we visited Switzerland and we have recently returned from visits to Italy, the Holy See, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. We were greatly saddened by the death in July this year of President Khama of Botswana.

    "My Government welcomed the independence of Kiribati, St. Vincent, Zimbabwe and Vanuatu, and their decision to join the Commonwealth. Having brought Southern Rhodesia to independence in conditions of the widest international recognition, My Government have committed substantial aid to Zimbabwe's reconstruction and development.

    "My Government attach the highest importance to ensuring the security of the nation and the maintenance of peace. They have played a leading role within the North Atlantic Alliance to ensure that the defence capability of the West is such as to deter any would-be aggressor. British defences have been strengthened and action has been taken to improve the morale of the armed forces. My Government have taken steps to maintain the effectiveness of Britain's nuclear deterrent into the 1990s and beyond. Realistic, balanced and verifiable arms control measures have been sought in the Committee on Disarmament and in other negotiations.

    "In conjunction with the United Kingdom's partners and allies, My Government have sought to bring home to the Soviet Union the damage which its actions have done to East-West relations. My Government have played an active part in the international effort to enable Afghanistan to resume its traditional neutrality and non-alignment.

    "My Government have sought to play a constructive part in the work of the European Community and in European political co-operation. Arrangements have been agreed to reduce substantially the United Kingdom's net contribution to the community budget and our partners in Europe are committed to a thorough review of the development of community policies and the operation of the budget. My Ministers have secured level terms of competition for the agricultural industry under the common agricultural policy and have been negotiating a revision of the common fisheries policy which takes account of the need to conserve fish stocks and to protect the interests of our fishermen.

    "My Government have also worked for a negotiated peace in the Arab/Israeli conflict acceptable to all parties. Together with the other members of the European Community, they stated in Venice on 13th June this year the principles on which they believed such a settlement should be based. They are playing a full part in the action being taken to follow up this declaration.

    "The United Kingdom also took an active part in the discussion of international economic and political questions at the summit meeting of the leaders of the seven major industrialised countries held in Venice in June this year.

    "My Government have continued to co-operate in international efforts to solve the serious economic difficulties of many developing countries. They have been active also in Commonwealth affairs and in the work of the United Nations and its specialised agencies. Britain's contacts with countries in Latin America and elsewhere have been strengthened.

    "My Government have supported the efforts of the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations to meet the threat posed by Vietnam's armed intervention in Cambodia, and have taken a leading part in international moves to relieve famine and to care for refugees in South East Asia.

    " Members of the House of Commons,

    "I thank you for the provision which you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown and for the public services.

    " My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

    "My Government have given priority to bringing down the rate of inflation through the pursuit of firm monetary and fiscal policies. A medium-term financial strategy has been published, entailing a progressive decline in the growth of the money supply and fiscal policies consistent with this. Progress has been made towards securing a substantial reduction in the burden of official external debt during the lifetime of this Parliament.

    "Income tax has been cut significantly, with the object of restoring incentives and creating conditions in which commerce and industry can flourish. Plans for public expenditure have been published, showing progressive reductions in total but with increases on defence, law and order and health and social security.

    "My Government have introduced measures to free business and commerce from unnecessary controls and to assist exporters. Statutory control of dividends has been abolished. Legislation has been passed to strengthen the control of anti-competitive practices in industry and commerce and to abolish the Price Commission. Steps have been taken to stimulate improvements in the marketing and export of agricultural and food products.

    "An Act has been passed to improve industrial relations and to bring about a fairer balance between the rights of employers, trade unions and individual employees.

    "Measures have been introduced to stimulate enterprise and competition, to encourage the growth of new businesses and to reduce nationalised and state ownership. Steps have been taken to increase the efficiency and reduce the size of the Civil Service. Substantial private sector support has been obtained for the advanced factory programme in the assisted areas. My Government have announced their intention to set up urban development corporations in the London and Merseyside docklands and enterprise zones in nine locations, and the necessary statutory authority has been secured. Measures to strengthen industry in the regions have been concentrated in the areas of greatest need.

    "Legislation has been passed to allow British Aerospace, British Airways and the National Freight Corporation to be taken into the private sector, and to increase competition in the bus industry. An Act has been passed to modify the functions of the National Enterprise Board and the Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies. Legislative provision has been made to amend the financing of the National Coal Board and for the payment of certain grants to assist the Board.

    "My Government have implemented in full the recommendations on police pay of the Committee of Inquiry on the Police and have been pleased to see a substantial increase in the strength of the police service. An Act has been passed to establish a Police Negotiating Board for the United Kingdom. The report of the Committee of Inquiry into the United Kingdom prison services was received and my Government have taken action on its main recommendations.

    "In Northern Ireland, my Government have made continuing efforts to combat terrorism and promote security within the normal framework of the rule of law. A conference of local political leaders has been held and, following the publication of some Proposals for Further Discussion, a programme of extensive consultations has been undertaken, in pursuance of my Ministers' objective of returning power to locally-elected representatives on a basis acceptable to both parts of the community.

    "Legislation has been passed to give public sector tenants in England and Wales and in Scotland an extensive right to buy their homes and a Tenants' Charter of Rights, and to provide measures to encourage short-term private lettings.

    "An Act was passed to provide, among other matters, for the relaxation of controls over local authorities in England and Wales, including a new and more flexible system for controlling their capital expenditure, for a fairer system for the distribution of rate support grant to local authorities, for the regulation of local authority direct labour departments, and for the repeal of the Community Land Act.

    "Legislation has been passed to remove the compulsion on local authorities in England and Wales to reorganise secondary schools on comprehensive lines; to give parents the right to express a preference for a school and to take part with teachers in school government; and to provide for a scheme to assist children of families of limited means to attend independent schools.

    "Special employment and training measures have been taken to assist young people and others in a time of high unemployment. Provision has been made for increases in social security benefits and contributions. A major reform of the supplementary benefit scheme has been initiated. Legislation has also been enacted to limit the increasing expenditure on social security. My Government have published proposals for making employers responsible for sick pay during the early weeks of an employee's illness.

    "An Act has been passed to assist the development of private medical care and improvements in health services. Steps have been taken to simplify the structure and management of the National Health Service.

    "An Act has been passed to establish the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Legislation to provide for a public lending right for authors has been brought into force. My Government have taken effective steps actively to encourage business sponsorship of the arts.

    "An Act has been passed to provide for the extension of the life of the Independent Broadcasting Authority for a further fifteen years; for the establishment by the Authority of a fourth television channel in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, subject to strict safeguards; for the establishment in Wales of a Welsh Fourth Channel Authority with special responsibility for broadcasting television programmes in Welsh; and for the establishment of a Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

    "My Government have substantially increased direct expenditure on support for the Welsh language. Legislation has also been passed to enable grants to be paid towards Welsh language teaching.

    "Further provision has been made in Scottish legislation to continue financial support for air services in the highlands and islands and to improve criminal justice and the treatment of offenders in Scotland.

    " My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, "I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you."

    After which the LORD CHANCELLOR said: "My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, by virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has been now read we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Thursday, the twentieth day of November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Thursday the twentieth day of this November instant."

    House rose at nine minutes before twelve o'clock.

    End of the First Session of the Forty-Eighth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the twenty-ninth year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.