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Written Answers

Volume 415: debated on Tuesday 16 December 1980

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Written Answers

Energy Consumption And Manufacturing Industry

asked Her Majesty's Government:How much energy per unit of output has been used in manufacturing industry in each year since 1973 (1973=100) in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Federal Republic of Germany, France and Japan.

The following figures have been calculated by dividing index numbers of industrial energy consumption by index numbers of manufacturing industries' production. I regret that energy consumption figures for countries other than the United Kingdom are not available on a consistent basis except for the years 1974 to 1978, and for this reason 1974 has been taken as the base year.

UnitedUnitedFR of
=not available.
The figures other than for the United Kingdom are derived from OECD sources.

Supplementary Benefits And Prices

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether increases in supplementary benefits for 1979 and 1980 have matched the prices for these years.

In November 1979 the ordinary supplementary benefit scale rates were increased by about 17·5 per cent., and the long-term scale rates by more than 19 per cent. The increase in the long-term rates took account of the shortfall in the previous Administration's uprating in November 1978. The increase in the retail price index (RPI) between November 1978 and November 1979 was 17·4 per cent. Details of the increase in the RPI between the November 1979 and November 1980 upratings are not yet available, but the movement in prices is expected to be about 1 per cent, less than the 16·5 per cent, by which the ordinary supplementary benefit scale rates were increased in November 1980. The long-term scale rates were increased by a slightly lower amount—14·5 per cent.—in order to bring them into line with the corresponding national insurance rates as part of the reform and simplification of the supplementary benefits scheme.

Swansea University College: Police Raid Allegations

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will institute a public inquiry regarding allegations that armed police raided hostels at Swansea University College before dawn on 29th November 1980, ill-treating and handcuffing students and destroying property, without finding evidence to make any arrests.

The Chief Constable of South Wales Constabulary tells me that, acting on information received about possible plans for terrorists activity, members of his force on 28th November at 6 a.m. executed three warrants under the Criminal Damage Act at hostels belonging to Swansea University College. Any complaint arising from this operation is a matter for the statutory complaints machinery.

Mr Raoul Wallenberg: Request For Information

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have received from the Soviet Government the information requested by them and by the Swedish and United States Governments for information regarding the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved many Hungarian-Jewish lives in 1945, reported to have died in Lubyanka prison in 1947, but who is said to have been seen in Soviet prisons in 1977.

There has been no reply from the Soviet Government to the appeal issued by the Swedish delegation to the Madrid Review Conference of the CSCE and supported by the British and United States delegations for a re-investigation of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg.

The Falkland Islands: Dispute

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will stand by their commitment to continue giving support to the Falkland islanders, particularly if the latter decide that they want no change in the present situation.

There is no doubt of the Government's commitment to the Falkland islanders. We will support them in every practicable way. My honourable friend the Minister of State made this clear to the islanders during his recent visit. That commitment will continue, whatever their views may be about the best way of making progress in the dispute.

Local Government Legislation And Statutory Undertakers

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the reply given on 11th November in another place by the Minister for Local Government to the hon. Member for Dorking (

Official Report, Commons; col. 430) means that the Government now agree that Part X of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 was not intended to apply to privately owned statutory undertakers; and, if so, how they propose that the matter should now be satisfactorily resolved.

Part X was intended to apply to land held by public bodies, which include for these purposes statutory undertakers as a class defined in Schedule 16 to the Act.Likewise it has always been the intention of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment to call for only such information about the land holdings of the bodies listed in Schedule 16 as he needs to enable him to decide the underused public land to be registered.In another place my right honourable friend the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services undertook to see whether that intention could be given statutory force by use of the order making power in Section 93 of the Act, to amend or delete an entry in Schedule 16, in respect of certain bodies embraced within the definition of statutory undertakers, by in some way identifying them in a separate class. He has since written to the hon. Member for Dorking explaining that this is a technical and complex matter which is being given very careful consideration.House adjourned at twenty minutes before eleven o'clock.