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Written Answers

Volume 958: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1978

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 22nd November 1978

Central Policy Review Staff

asked the Prime Minister if he has referred any subjects relating to the heavy electrical power plant industry or the electricity supply industry to the Central Policy Review Staff since 1st August 1977; and in each case what were the terms of reference given to the Central Policy Review Staff and when he expects to receive its report.

It is not the practice to give details of the current work programme of the CPRS, but I can confirm that, since the publication of its report on the future of the United Kingdom power plant manufacturing industry in December 1976, the CPRS has continued to take an interest in the problems of that industry.

House Of Commons

Members' Salaries

asked the Lord President of the Council what proportion of an average salary for an assistant secretary in the Civil Service is represented by a Member of Parliament's salary; and how that percentage compares with 1974.

The basic parliamentary salary at the end of November 1974 was 56 per cent. of the average of the minimum and maximum points of the assistant secretary scale. The corresponding figure at the end of November 1978 is 62 per cent.

Home Department

Sex Offence Trials (Disclosure Of Information)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will inquire into the circumstances in which the occupation, that of a family doctor, of an acquitted defendant in a recent rape offence trial at St. Albans Crown court came to be disclosed, mindful of the fact that by virtue of this disclosure there was danger that his identity would also be disclosed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances the home of the acquitted defendant in the case of Regina v. Carvalho came to be disclosed at Winchester Crown court notwithstanding the provisions of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976 with regard to the anonymity of defendants in rape offence cases; and if he will make a statement.

The defendant in this case was charged with and subsequently acquitted of a number of offences of indecent assault. As this is not a rape offence, as defined in the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976, the relevant provisions regarding anonymity of defendants in rape offence cases did not apply.

Electoral Arrangements

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will state in tabular form the name of each non-metropolitan district or metropolitan district for which he has received the final proposals for future electoral arrangements from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England between 1st November 1976 and 1st November 1978; and for each of the above, the date on which the proposals were submitted to him and the date, where appropriate, on which he signed each order under section 51(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 giving effect to the proposals;(2) on what date he received the final report from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on its proposals for future electoral arrangements for the district of Barnsley; and on whate date he proposes to make the necessary order under section 51(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 giving effect to the changes involved;(3) on what dates he received the final reports from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on its proposals for future electoral arrangements for the districts of Manchester, Tameside, Oldham, Bury and Sefton, respectively; and on what date he proposes to make the necessary orders under section 51(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 giving effect to the changes involved;(4) on what dates he received the final reports from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on its proposals for future electoral arrangements for the districts of Durham, Sedge-field, and Wear Valley, respectively; and on what date he proposes to make the necessary order under section 51(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 giving effect to the changes involved;(5) on what dates he received the final reports from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on its proposals for future electoral arrangements for the districts of Derby and

NON-METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS
DistrictReport submittedOrder made
North Hertfordshire12th November 197610th August 1977
Wear Valley12th November 1976
South Norfolk26th November 197611th February 1977
West Derbyshire30th November 19767th March 1977
Nuneaton8th December 197621st April 1977
Melton7th January 197721st April 1977
Oadby and Wigston14th January 197720th April 1977
Crawley1st February 19775th August 1977
Scarborough2nd February 19772nd June 1977
Stratford-on-Avon7th February 19776th August 1977
West Devon11th February 197713th May 1977
Chichester16th February 197713th May 1977
Purbeck3rd March 197721st June 1977
Broadland4th March 19776th August 1977
East Staffordshire8th March 197721st June 1977
Bromsgrove18 March 197724th July 1977
Bracknell31st March 197724th July 1977
Tiverton4th April 197724th July 1977
Gosport21st April 197725th October 1978
South Hams22nd April 197724th July 1977
Norwich25th April 197724th July 1977
Newcastle-under-Lyme4th May 1977
Rutland6th May 197714th November 1977
High Peak9th May 197716th November 1977
South Kesteven20th May 197715th January 1978
Oxford24th May 197715th November 1977
South Staffordshire1st June 19775th December 1977
North East Derbyshire20th June 1977
North Kesteven29th June 19776th November 1977
Gravesham5th July 197716th November 1977
Richmondshire8th July 197714th October 1977
Durham15th July 1977
Erewash18th July 197730th August 1978
Selby29th July 197715th January 1978
Derby1st August 197710th November 1978
Vale of White Horse4th August 197724th January 1978
Chester4th August 197724th January 1978
Mid Suffolk8th August 197715th January 1978
Wyre Forest12th August 197712th October 1978
Basildon16th August 197724th January 1978
Penwith17th August 197718th October 1978
Wychavon31st August 197715th January 1978
Cherwell31st August 19779th October 1978
Teignbridge20th September 197715th January 1978
Adur20th September 197728th September 1978
Hastings7th October 197714th March 1978
Chesterfield21st October 197726th October 1978
Cotswold1st November 197728th September 1978
St. Albans4th November 1977

North-East Derbyshire, respectively; and on what date he proposes to make the necessary order under section 51(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 giving effect to the changes involved;

(6) on what date he received the final report from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England on its proposals for future electoral arrangements for the district of Amber Valley; and on what date he proposes to make the necessary order under section 51(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 giving effect to the changes involved.

NON-METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS—continued

District

Report submitted

Order made

Amber Valley9th November 197710th November 1978
South Holland14th November 197721st March 1978
Macclesfield28th November 197728th September 1978
Bolsover28th November 197712th October 1978
West Lindsey13th December 197712th July 1978
North Cornwall20th December 1977
Allerdale5th January 197821st August 1978
Carrick12th January 197815th September 1978
Carlisle12th January 1978
Dover17th January 1978
Copeland18th January 19789th October 1978
North Norfolk23rd January 197828th September 1978
Ipswich25th January 197828th September 1978
Kerrier27th January 197814th September 1978
Hove30th January 197823rd May 1978
St. Edmundsbury3rd February 197821st August 1978
Sedgefield3rd February 1978
South Lakeland2nd August 19789th November 1978
The Wrekin3rd August 19786th November 1978
Wokingham9th August 197810th November 1978
Breckland11th August 197810th November 1978
Grimsby31st August 19789th November 1978
Northampton6th September 197816th November 1978
Hambleton19th September 1978
Weymouth and Portland2nd October 1978
Torridge3rd October 1978
Lincoln12th October 1978
Plymouth18th October 1978
Bournemouth20th October 1978
Christchurch26th October 1978
East Devon26th October 1978
Leominster26th October 1978
Rugby30th October 1978
Easington31st October 1978
Horsham31st October 1978
Shepway31st October 1978
Worthing31st October 1978
Forest Heath1st November 1978

METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS

District

Report submitted

Order made

Sandwell30th December 197622nd April 1978
Tameside21st June 1977
Oldham15th July 19779th November 1978
Sefton8th August 1977
Solihull17th August 197726th October 1978
Manchester26th September 1977
Barnsley11th November 197726th October 1978
Bury24th January 1978
Doncaster14th August 1978
Bolton12th September 1978
Trafford20th October 1978
Calderdale31st October 1978
Rotherham31st October 1978

A statutory minimum period of six weeks must elapse between the submission of a report and the making of the order. It is not possible to say precisely when future orders will be made but, as my right hon. Friend announced on 24th October, no orders to come into effect for the May 1978 elections will be made after 15th December 1978.—[Vol. 955, c. 871-3.]

Festivals And Demonstrations (Third Party Damage)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will propose legislation to require the organisers of festivals and public demonstrations to accept responsibility for making good or insuring against damage and loss incurred by third parties during the course of such functions.

The responsibility for making good damage should rest with those causing it. Legislation of the kind proposed could encourage those opposed to a demonstration to cause damage with the object of imposing financial burdens on the organisers.

Jurors

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the current system of selecting potential jurors; and what involvement his Department has had recently with regard to the carrying out of jury checks.

I am satisfied with the arrangements for the checking of potential jurors set out in the recent statement issued by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. My Department has no operational involvement in the checking procedure.

Gartree Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the report of the inquiry into the disturbances at Gartree Prison; and if he will be publishing it.

Reports on the riot by the governor of Gartree and the regional director have been received and are being studied. I do not intend to publish them.

Immigration (Entry Certificates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is now the average time which elapses between an appeal being lodged against the refusal of an entry certificate to an alleged dependant of a resident of the United Kingdom and a hearing taking place before the immigration tribunal; and whether he is proposing to take any steps to reduce that time.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) on 14th November.—[Vol. 958, cc. 136–7.] The Government accept in principle the desirability of reducing delays and the complement of entry clearance officers at Dacca has recently been increased to enable the arrears of explanatory appeal statements there to be more expeditiously dealt with. The staffing of other posts is kept under review. Extra part-time adjudicators are being appointed in Scotland, Leeds and Manchester to ensure the most effective possible use of the hearing facilities there.

Local Radio Stations

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to ensure that the names of local radio stations resemble as near as possible the area of their transmissions.

It is not usually necessary for me to intervene in the naming of broadcasting stations, but if the hon. Gentleman has any particular problem in mind I shall be pleased to consider it.

Violent Crime (Kingston Upon Thames)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the number of crimes of violence in the Royal borough of Kingston upon Thames in 1978 to the latest available date.

I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that from January to June 1978 the police in the Royal borough of Kingston upon Thames recorded 76 offences of "assault etc.". These offences cover nearly all indictable offences of violence against the person and certain sexual offences involving violence.

Radio Birmingham

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will reconsider his decision not to see a delegation concerning bad reception of Radio Birmingham.

I am always willing to meet a delegation if that would serve a useful purpose, but I do not think it would do so in this case. The medium wave reception of Radio Birmingham is being considered by the Home Office local radio working party, which was set up following the recent White Paper on broadcasting (Cmnd. 7294). The intention is that a comprehensive frequency plan should be prepared in order to make the most effective use of the frequencies available for local radio, in the context of the planning of the expansion of the BBC and IBA local radio services generally. Detailed assignments of frequencies to new stations, and any necessary revisions to existing assignments, are dependent upon the progress made with this plan. The working party will be considering the prospects for improving BBC Radio Birmingham MF reception and will reach its conclusions as soon as practicable.

Trade

Merchant Vessels (Orders)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he can estimate the percentage of total orders placed by British shipowners for merchant vessels in each of the last 10 years which have been placed with British shipyards.

The information in respect of orders for registration in the United Kingdom is as follows:

thousand gross registered tons (GRT))
(a)(b)(c)
Total OrdersUnited Kingdom yards(b) as a percentage of (a)
19684,2061,4523·45
19695,4731,72131·4
19708,1131,47318·2
19712,86283329·1
19722,63259922·8
19736,1673,73760·6
19741,43333223·2
19753384413·0
197649918136·3
197743435180·9
1978*1537448·1
* January to September
Of total orders placed in United Kingdom shipyards over the 10 year period the following proportions were for United Kingdom registration:
per cent.
196856·6
196981·2
197084·0
197181·1
197273·2
197385·8
197438·5
197560·3
197645·0
197772·4

Employee Directors

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he exports to present a Bill providing for company employee directors.

I intend to do so after further consultation on the proposals in the White Paper, Cmnd. 7231.

European Community (Balance Of Trade)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the extent of the United Kingdom's deficit on balance of trade in manufactured goods with EEC countries so far in the current year; what is his estimate of this figure for the whole year; and how this compares with each of the last three years.

Following is the information to date on the current basis of the Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom:

Crude Deficit imports valued cif minus exports valued fob) £ million)
1975543
1976463
1977626
January-October 19781,337
Source: United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics, SITC (Rev 2) Sections 5–8 inclusive.
The crude deficit for 12 months at the rates applying in the period January-October 1978 would be £1,605 million.

Companies Administration Division (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to publish the annual report of the Companies Administration Division for the year ended 31st December 1977; and, when it is published, if he will place a copy in the Library.

The annual report on companies in 1977 was laid before the House today and a copy has been placed in the Library. Unfortunately, due to a dispute in Her Majesty's Stationery Office, the report is not available for sale to the public at present.

Paper Products (Duty-Free Quotas)

asked the Secretary of state for Trade what action he has taken in connection with the current negotiations over duty-free quotas for imported paper products to ensure adherence to the undertaking given by the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) to the Fourth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments on Wednesday 15th February.

I said to the Committee that the representations I had heard would weigh heavily with me when considering the 1979 duty-free quotas, but I also stated that I could not undertake that there would be no increases next year. Although the United Kingdom paper-making industry is still facing considerable difficulties, there has been a slight improvement in output and capacity utilisation in the past year. In the current consultations, the Government have sought as in previous years to maintain a fair balance between the interests of the British user industries and the aspirations of the EFTA countries under the free trade agreements. Any increases granted will be restricted to quotas where United Kingdom users have a strong interest and where, in the Government's view, there would be no more than insignificant effects on United Kingdom manufacturers.

Aircraft Noise (London Airports)

Smith asked the Secretary of State for Trade what repre-

VALUE OF EXPORTS OF GOODS AND SERVICES PER HEAD OF THE POPULATION
In US $ at current and current exchange rates
Country1973197419751976
United Kingdom7719791,0801,137
Belgium2,2302,9332,9463,222
Denmark1,7442,1492,4012,539
Federal Republic of Germany1,2121,6161,6801,887
France8751,0881,2611,332
Ireland8269651,1541,224
Italy527685783812
Netherlands2,2202,9533,1703,530
Luxembourg4,4575,6624,9724,958
Norway2,1332,7132,9673,154
Sweden1,7242,2442,4222,536
Austria1,2311,5851,6701,847
Switzerland1,9752,3922,6643,029
USA428565617658
Japan383570575677
Australia7889259801,069
Source: National Accounts of OECD Countries 1976 Vol. I.

Employment

Wages Council Awards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make arrangements to ensure that wages councils properly consider the effects of any awards made in 1978–79 on prices, employment and the competitiveness of the businesses concerned.

Wages councils are independent bodies and I have no power to direct them as to how they carry on their negotiations. All councils have, however, been supplied with copies of the White Paper "Winning the Battle Against Inflation", Cmnd. 7293.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether his Department will investigate the effects on prices, employment and competitiveness of awards by wages councils which are significantly in excess of the Government's pay guide-lines.

Inflation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what annual rate of inflation is represented by the month- to-month increases in the retail price index in each of the last six months and what annual rates are represented by the three monthly increases over the period.

The information is given in the following table:

PERCENTAGE INCREASES IN THE RETAIL PRICES INDEX EXPRESSED AS ANNUAL RATES
Change over 1 monthChange over 3 months
1978—
May7·611·1
June10·411·7
July4·88·0
August8·97·8
September5·36·2
October4·86·2
Changes over short periods of this kind are liable to be volatile and susceptible to seasonal influences and may not be reliable indicators of the underlying trends.

Pay And Salary Increases

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what occupational groups have received smaller increases in salary than Members of Parliament since 31st December 1973; and what percentage of the labour force they represent.

Picketing Law

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, if he will publish in suitable form an explanation of the law on picketing for the guidance of those involved and the police.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 21st November 1978], gave the following reply:I have no plans at present to publish a guide to the law on picketing.

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many teachers who successfully completed their training during the last three years have been unable to secure employment as teachers up to the present time.

I have been asked to reply. Information is not available in the form requested. What I am able to say is that of the 5,094 teachers registered in England and Wales in September 1978 as seeking their first teaching appointment, only 435, or just over 8 per cent., had been so registered one year earlier.

Overseas Development

Falkland Islands

asked the Minister of Overseas Development when it is expected that funds will be made available to extend the airfield runway on the Falkland Islands.

It remains the case that the Government will at the appropriate moment commission the preliminary studies on an airport enlargement. However, the existing airport has been in operation for only a year and is adequate for such traffic as can be foreseen at present.

Overseas Aid

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the amount of Government aid to States abroad and the percentage tied to the purchase of British goods and services.

In 1977 official development assistance under our bilateral aid programme totalled some £309 million, of which 80·3 per cent. was fully or partly tied to the purchase of British goods and services. £205 million of aid was provided through multilateral channels, where such tying is not possible.

India

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the amount of Government aid to India and the percentage tied to the purchase of British goods and services, excluding ships.

In the calendar year 1977 —the latest 12-month period for which figures are available—£79·845 million was spent, 84·2 per cent. of which was spent on British goods and services. There was no expenditure on ships in 1977.

Developing Countries (News Gathering)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what assistance is being given by the United Kingdom to developing countries to enable them to gather news and information from the world at large without total dependence on agencies controlled and financed within the Western world on the one hand or the Communist bloc on the other.

Assistance is provided both under the aid programme and by the BBC and other non-governmental institutions and foundations, in the form of professional training for those working in the media, and support for broadcasting services.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he is satisfied with the progress on the policy on prices set out in paragraph 27 of the White Paper, Command Paper No. 7293.

Education And Science

Migrant Children

69.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what estimate she has made of the numbers and nationalities of migrant children in the United Kingdom who will be entitled to be taught in the language of their mother tongue after 1981; and what will be the approximate cost to the education authorities.

Information about the nationalities or ethnic origins of pupils has not been included in the annual collection of educational statistics since 1972, and no reliable estimate can be made of future numbers of migrant pupils in this country. Such pupils do not have an automatic entitlement to be taught in their mother tongue, though an EEC directive on the education of children of migrant workers upholds the promotion of the teaching of mother tongue and culture. I do not envisage any significant increase in local authority expenditure arising from that directive.

Early Retirement Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many young teachers have to date secured employment which has been made available through the early retirement scheme.

My Department has so far authorised 890 applications for accrued superannuation benefits as a result of premature retirement. Some 60 per cent. of these were on grounds of redundancy which left no vacancy to be filled. The remaining 40 per cent. were in the structural interests of the education service and it is presumed that the intention was to introduce younger teachers, but detailed information as to how the resultant vacancies have been filled is not available.

Teachers (Average Ages)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the average age of teachers in employment in 1963, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1975 and 1977.

The average age of full-time qualified teachers employed in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in England and Wales at 31st March in the years stated was as follows:

196339·8
196639·6
196938·6
197237·7
197537·2
1977(provisional)37·6

Arts (Northern Region)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will make it her policy to increase the proportion of arts expenditure devoted to the Northern region.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Council Of Ministers Meeting

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, what was the outcome of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) meeting in Brussels on 20th and 21st November.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and I attended a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) in Brussels on 20th and 21st November.I raised in the Council the intended sale of 20,000 tonnes of fresh butter to the USSR with the benefit of export restrictions which would cost the Community £20 million. The Commission agreed with me that this sale further demonstrated the need to tackle the problem of the EEC milk surplus and to look into the arrangements for the pre-fixation of export restitutions which are an important factor in such large special sales.I reminded the Commission of its promises to consider changes in the co-efficients through which monetary compensatory amounts are applied to imports of bacon and other products processed from pigmeat. The Commission told the Council that a reduction in these co-efficients, which will be of benefit to United Kingdom producers and processors, would be proposed very shortly.The Council discussed further a package of proposals for changes in the EEC arrangements for wine but no points of substance were decided.The major outstanding points on olive oil were agreed in principle and the question seems likely to be finally settled when the Council meets in December.

Salmon

64.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps have been taken by the United Kingdom to approach the EEC to bring about a ban on all vessels taking salmon by nets in the vicinity of estuaries.

We do not consider that such a ban would be justified at the present time.

Commodity Prices

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the latest world prices of sugar, cheese, butter, beef, bacon, pork, chicken, eggs, wheat, barley and maize, the present EEC levies on United Kingdom imports, and the full levy payable if monetary compensatory amounts were abolished.

The information requested is given in the table. The world or third country offer prices are those implied by the EEC Commission's calculation of common import levies on 6th November 1978. As explained previously, these prices are often for small, unrepresentative lots offered at EEC frontiers and do not represent prices at which sub-

IMPLIED THIRD COUNTRY OFFER PRICES, CURRENT NET UNITED KINGDOM LEVIES AND UNITED KINGDOM LEVIES ASSUMING DEVALUATION OF THE GREENPOUND TO PARTY—MONDAY 6TH NOVEMBER 1978
CommodityUnitThird Counry offer priceCurrent net United Kingdm levyUnited Kingdom levy assuming devaluation of Green pound to parity
£££
Raw sugarTonne106123183
Cheddar cheeseTonne3931,0811,460
ButterTonne5021,1701,649
Beef (live animals)100 kilogrammes523252
Pigmeat100 kilogrammes571332
Poultry meatTonne705140194
Eggs100 kilogrammes343542
Common wheatTonne704067
BarleyTonne524872
MaizeTonne584266

Intervention Stocks

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much skimmed milk powder, butter, beef and cereals, respectively, were held in intervention stores throughout the European Economic Community at the latest date for which figures are available; and how much of these products were held in intervention stores in the United Kingdom.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould) on 20th November.—[Vol. 958, c. 452.]

Marginal Land

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he proposes taking to maximise the assistance given to farmers of marginal land within the limits of the European less favoured areas directive.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Howells) on 16th November.—[Vol. 958, c. 296–97.]

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Cyprus

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he proposes to take

stantial quantities could be purchased on world markets.—[Vol. 931, c. 517–18; Vol. 938, c. 195–6; Vol. 945, c. 748; Vol. 955, c. 757.]

initiatives to renew the inter-communal talks in Cyprus.

Hon. Members will have seen reports of an initiative to get the Cyprus talks re-started. Press reports have so far talked of a United States initiative. In fact the British Government have been closely involved. We have worked with the United States and other interested Governments since July. The suggestions which have recently been made to the parties to the Cyprus dispute have the full support of the British Government and contain a substantial British input. Canada is also involved. I have conveyed directly and through the appropriate British representatives, to the various parties to the dispute my belief that the suggestions provide a sound basis for resuming the inter-communal talks under the aegis of Dr. Waldheim, putting real substance into them and driving forward to a definitive solution to the Cyprus question. I urge all concerned not to miss this opportunity to restore peace and prosperity to Cyprus and stability to the Eastern Mediterranean.Our partners of the Nine have been informed of the part which Britain has been playing together with the United States, and I am confident we shall have their support. The United Kingdom will continue to take every opportunity to help the parties to the dispute to find the way forward which they have for so long failed to find by themselves. But we remain convinced that the solution has to be negotiated by the parties themselves and cannot in any way be imposed from outside.

Ussr

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the state of diplomatic relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the USSR.

The Government seek a stable and constructive relationship with the USSR, within which we can promote British interests both in the field of international security and arms control and in trade. We also seek to develop better contacts and exchanges of information between the peoples of the two countries as provided for in the Helsinki Final Act.

Namibia

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the current state of negotiations between the contact group of the five Western démarche powers and South Africa over independence for South-West Africa (Namibia).

Following the visit which I and the other Foreign Ministers of the Five made to Windhoek and Pretoria in October the United Nations Secretary-General and the South African Foreign Minister will be holding discussions in New York on the 27th of November. I hope that this will result in further progress towards the independence of Nambia following the holding of United Nations supervised elections, next year.

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the present situation with regard to Her Majesty's Government's efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement in Namibia; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Latham).

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he will now propose in the Security Council to enforce the United Nations plan for free elections and independence for Namibia.

The Secretary-General is expected to meet the South African Foreign Minister in New York on 27th November. I hope their discussions will result in further progress towards independence in Namibia following the holding of United Nations supervised elections next year. Until we know the outcome of those discussions, further Security Council action would not be appropriate.

Moscow Olympic Games (Visitors)

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will seek to obtain guarantees of freedom of movement and access to Soviet citizens for visitors to Moscow for the 1978 olympics, in accordance with the Helsinki agreement.

The Government will continue to seek the full implementation by the Soviet Union and other signatory States of the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, including those which relate to freer movement and contact between peoples and to the promotion of tourism, at the time of the Olympic Games and at all other times.

United Nations Emergency Force

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has supplied to the Secretary-General of the United Nations about stand-by capacities and logistics of the United Kingdom for an improved peace-keeping potential for a United Nations emergency force.

My right hon. Friend announced the revised United Kingdom commitment to United Nations peacekeeping in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 27th September. A copy of the aide memoire formally notifying the Secretary-General of this has been placed in the Library.

United Nations Assembly

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to visit the United Nations Assembly.

South Africa

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the monitoring of the United Nations mandatory arms embargo on South Africa.

The monitoring of the arms embargo is a matter for the United Nations committee established by Security Council resolution 421, adopted on 9th December 1977. My right hon. Friend is satisfied with these arrangements.

Colonies And Dependent Territories (Death Penalty)

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further consideration he has given to the issue of the death penalty in British colonies, dependent territories and associated States.

The question of whether dependent territories should be allowed to retain capital punishment raises complex issues. It remains the Government's intention to seek Parliament's views in due course. The associated States are fully responsible for their own internal affairs and the question of intervention by the British Government does not arise.

Shah Of Iran

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to visit the Shah of Iran.

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to meet the Shah of Iran.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery).

Rhodesia

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further action is proposed to bring about majority rule in Rhodesia.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton).

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now consider sending a senior British diplomat to take up permanent residence in Salisbury, Rhodesia.

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about the strength and status of the mission of the United Kingdom Government in Salisbury, Rhodesia.

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any proposals concerning British Government representation in Rhodesia; and if he will make a statement.

I will send representatives to talk to the parties in Salisbury and elsewhere whenever this seems appropriate, but I have no immediate plans for anyone to take up permanent residence.

Central Treaty Organisation

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet the Foreign Ministers of the Central Treaty Organisation countries in the near future.

My right hon. Friend is due to meet his colleagues in CENTO at the next annual meeting of the ministerial Committtee which will be held in Washington on 18th and 19th April 1979.

Middle East

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of peace negotiations in the Middle East, following the Camp David agreement, in so far as the interest of Her Majesty's Government is concerned.

The Government remain committed to a comprehensive peace settlement based upon Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Such a settlement will have to take account of the rights of all the peoples of the area. Within this context we very much hope that the negotiations currently in progress between Egypt and Israel will lead to a peace treaty between them.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement of the Government's policy in reference to the negotiations arising from the Camp David meetings.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Chichester (Mr. Nelson).

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about the situation in the Middle East.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Chichester (Mr. Nelson).

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to seek to visit the Middle East.

China

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on arms sales to China.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley).

Iran (Her Majesty's Visit)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will advise Her Majesty to cancel her proposed visit to Iran.

No. The Queen's visit in the spring to southern Iran—for two days —is part of a general tour of the area. The programme is under continuous review, and final decisions will be taken in the light of all the circumstances at the time.

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs it he will make a statement on relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Iran.

I have nothing to add to my statement to the House on 6th November.—[Vol. 957. c. 504.]

Iran (British Nationals)

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the arrangements for protecting British interests in Iran and particularly the safety of British nationals in Iran.

Yes. Our embassy in Tehran is watching the situation carefully. All British nationals in Iran have been advised to register with our consulate and to remain in contact.

Zambia (Arms Supplies)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guarantees he has been given by the Zambian Government that missiles supplied to that country by Her Majesty's Government will not be used against civilian airliners in Zambian or Rhodesian airspace.

As my right hon. Friend made clear in his statement to the House on 2nd November, the Zambian Government have assured us that the equipment we are supplying will be used for no other purpose than the defence of Zambia, and the air defence equipment will safeguard the integrity of the capital. Lusaka.

Mbfr Talks

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response has been made by the British Government to the latest proposals made by the Warsaw Pact countries at the Vienna talks on mutual and balanced force reductions.

We wish to see progress in the negotiations and, with our Allies, we have therefore welcomed the Eastern proposals of June as a definite move towards the Western position. However, disagreement remains on the size of the disparity between the forces of East and West in Central Europe. It is to resolve this problem that current efforts in Vienna are being directed. Any Western moves on substance are of course a matter for decision within the Alliance.

St Lucia

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now give the most likely date for the granting of independence to St. Lucia.

The British Government are considering whether to recommend to Parliament the termination by Order in Council of St. Lucia's status of association with the United Kingdom. If they decide to do so, they will consider with the St. Lucia Government, in the light of the time required for the necessary legislative procedures, what date should be proposed for independence.

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of St. Lucia about independence for the island.

Following an initial approach by the St. Lucia Government in 1975 and a series of discussions with both parties since then, a constitutional conference attended by Government and opposition delegations from St. Lucia was held in July 1978. The Government are now considering their response to the resolution passed by the St. Lucia House of Assembly on 24th October requesting the termination by Order in Council of St. Lucia's status of association with the United Kingdom.

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the progress towards the independence of St. Lucia, West Indies; what representations he has received from within the island criticising the present situation; and if he will make a statement.

The British Government are considering their response to the resolution passed without a division by the St. Lucia House of Assembly on 24th October requesting the termination of St. Lucia's status of association with the United Kingdom. A letter has been received from the leader of the St. Lucia Opposition: it will be taken into account in the Government's consideration of this matter.

Nicaragua

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on British relations with Nicaragua.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier this afternoon to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-West (Mrs. Wise).

Ussr (Mr Peter Peters)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many protests he has received in respect of imprisonment and maltreatment on the grounds of Christian belief of Mr. Peter Peters, now in a Russian prison; and if, in the context of human rights, he has made any protest to the Soviet Government.

My right hon. Friend has received a number of copies of a bulletin on the persecution of Christians in the USSR which mentioned Mr. Peters' case. He has not made representations to the Soviet Government specifically about this case but has made clear the Government's concern about the treatment of religious believers in the Soviet Union.

Iran

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet the Foreign Minister of Iran.

I met Mr. Afshar in New York recently during the United Nations General Assembly. I have no plans for a further meeting during the rest of this year.

Holy See (Apostolic Delegate)

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends to give full diplomatic recognition to the apostolic delegate from the Holy See.

The United Kingdom has accorded full diplomatic recognition to the Holy See for many years. While the Holy See is represented in London by an apostolic delegate who is not a diplomatic agent, the United Kingdom is of course represented at the Holy See by a legation headed by a minister. This matter is kept under regular review.

Turkey

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends next to meet the Turkish Foreign Secretary.

The Turkish Foreign Minister called on my right hon. Friend for talks in London on 8th November. My right hon. Friend will be meeting him again during the ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on 7th and 8th December.

Belize

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest position on discussions between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Guatemala concerning the territorial integrity of Belize.

We are awaiting the Guatemalan response to the proposals my right hon. Friend put forward in September which were designed to speed up negotiations and bring the controversy to an end. We have emphasised the need for an early reply and an early resolution of the problem.

Ogaden War (Refugees)

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will raise with the United Nations the plight of refugees from the Ogaden war now resident in Somalia.

The United Nations are already engaged in the matter through the operation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who initiated action early this year to provide assistance for refugees from the conflict in the Ogaden. The British Government have been in close touch with the United Nations High Commission and early this year made an immediate donation of relief supplies for refugees in Somalia to the value of £60,000 in response to an urgent appeal from the United Nations High Commissioner. This was followed by donations by the British Government of £750,000 in response to a subsequent United Nations High Commission for Refugees' international appeal for relief work in Somalia, Ethiopia and Jibuti, and £250,000 in response to similar appeals from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The British Government have also provided £50,000 to meet transport costs for material relief provided by British voluntary agencies.

Gilbert Islands

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he now intends to call a constitutional conference to make arrangements for the independence of the Gilbert Islands; and which parts of the existing land and sea areas administered by Great Britain from the Gilbert Islands it is envisaged will form part of the new independent country.

A pre-independence constitutional conference for the Gilbert Islands began on 21st November. No decision about the areas which will comprise the territory of the newly independent State was taken before the conference began.

Paraguay

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the state of relations between Great Britain and Paraguay.

Yes. Our relations with Paraguay are correct. We have made very clear our views on the human rights issues to the Paraguayan authorities.

Government Communication Headquarters (Staff)

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether staff of Government communication headquarters, who work in the security division, are prohibited from being members of any political organisation.

The staff of the Government communication headquarters, including the security division, are not prohibited from membership of political organisations. The staff are, however, subject to the criteria governing security procedures in the Public Service (Positive Vetting) and Civil Service Regulations about conduct in respect of political activities.

Ussr Dissidents

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will ask the Soviet Government for assurances that no further arrests of dissidents will take place before the holding of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, and as an act of clemency and international good will to release all those now in custody, whether convicted or awaiting trial, for monitoring the Helsinki agreement.

The Government will maintain their commitment to work at all times for the full implementation of the provisions of the CSCE Final Act, including those relating to human rights. My right hon. Friend has made it clear to the House and to the Soviet Government that we do not consider it acceptable for people to be arrested or held in custody for monitoring the implementation of the Final Act.

Falkland Islands

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what thought he has given, and what action he is taking, to extend the fisheries limits round the Falkland Isles to 50 miles.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave on 20th June 1978 to the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton).—[Vol. 952, c. 136.]

Energy

Plutonium Nitrate (Transport)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what request he has made to the Health and Safety Commission for advice on the safety aspects of movement of plutonium nitrate from Dounreay to Windscale.

The Atomic Energy Authority's plant at Dounreay for reprocessing irradiated fuel from the proto- type fast reactor (PFR) is planned to come into operation next summer. Plutonium derived from the reprocessing will be sent to Windscale for fabrication into new fuel elements for PFR. The authority proposes to transport the plutonium in the form of nitrate solution by sea from Scrabster to Workington, with road transport for the short distance between the ports and the reprocessing and fuel fabrication sites.I have asked the Health and Safety Commission to advise me on the overall safety of this proposal, and the commission has instructed the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive to do this. The Departments of Transport and Trade, which has responsibilities in relation to the transport of radioactive material, will co-operate with the NH in preparing this advice. The Commission's advice will be published.

Motor Vehicles (Lead Pollution)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the cost of the research which forms the basis of the latest report by Dr. Chamberlain of the Atomic Energy Authority, Harwell, entitled "Investigation into Lead from Motor Vehicles", ref. AERE R 9198; what percentage of this cost was funded by central Government; what other organisations sponsored this research; and if he will publish the report.

The research was sponsored through the Institute of Petroleum. The total cost was £119,000 of which about 67 per cent. was contributed by central Government; the remainder was contributed by private industry. The report is still in draft form, but it will be published as an AERE Harwell report when it has been finalised.

Scotland

Childbirth, Infant Mortality And Rubella

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list, for Scotland and each health board in 1977, the stillbirth rate, perinatal mortality rate, neonatal mortality rate and infant mortality rate for the whole population and for socio-economic classes, I, II, III, IV and V and for unsupported mothers, the stillbirth rate, the perinatal mortality rate, neonatal mortality rate and infant mortality rate for babies born weighing less than 2,500 gms., the proportion of babies born weighing less than 2,500 gms. for the whole population and for socio-economic groups I, II, III, IV and V and for unsupported mothers and the prevalence, respectively, of caesarian section and induction.

I am arranging for the information to be collected and shall write to the hon. Member.

Breast Cancer

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what facilities for screening breast cancer exist in Scotland; what improvements are envisaged; and if he will make a statement.

For those women who suspect that they have some breast abnormality, facilities are widely available within the NHS in Scotland to which they may be referred for clinical examination.Further screening trials of two types are due to start at four centres early next year. Edinburgh, which already has an experimental centre for breast cancer screening, has been chosen as one of the two centres where the trials will take the form of annual clinical examination over seven years with mammography every other year. At two other centres the trials will involve instruction in and encouragement to undertake regular self-examination with direct referral to clinics. Each trial, based on a population of about 30,000 women aged 45–64 years, will be linked to a matched control district for comparison of breast cancer mortality over the ensuing 10 years.

Glasgow University (Crime Research)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what funds have been allocated to, and how many research projects are being undertaken at, the department of psychology at the university of Glasgow which are specifically related to discovering the roots of crime.

My Department is providing £10,000 per annum from 1977 to 1980 to promote criminological research in the university of Glasgow and a fellowship has been established in the department of psychology for this purpose.

Art Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the recent request made to him by Scottish art teachers, who hold the Scottish diploma of art qualification, that immediate courses be made available to allow them to convert their diplomas into the equivalent of English Council for National Academic Awards, honours degrees in fine art or design; and what action he intends to take.

The colleges of art in Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow are at present considering the question of bridging courses which would enable holders of the Scottish diploma in art to obtain honours degrees of the council for national academic awards. Course proposals have not yet been submitted to my Department or to the council.

Petrochemical Complex, Fife

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now announce his decision on the construction of the petrochemical complex proposed for Moss Morran and Braefoot Bay in Fife.

I am still considering the representations from parties on the question of radio transmissions received in response to my invitation of 2nd August to comment on material circulated on this issue.

Mesothelioma

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the number of deaths from mesothelioma in (a) naval dockyard workers and (b) other workers in Scotland since 1st January 1976 to the latest available date; how many of these deaths were possibly related to asbestos exposure: and how many were the subject of public inquiries under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976.

In the period 1st January 1976 to 30th June 1978, 59 deaths were registered and classified as due to mesothelioma. In one of these cases the occupation was stated to have been connected with naval dockyards; in 57 cases some other occupation was stated and in one case no occupation was given. In one of the 57 cases asbestosis was mentioned on the medical certificate as a contributory cause of death. Deaths from mesothelioma would not normally be the subject of a public inquiry under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976.

M8, Glasgow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many fatal and serious accidents occurred on the M8 motorway in Glasgow from the city boundary on the west to Riddrie in the east, in the last 12-month period for which figures are available.

Following are the latest available figures:

September 1977—August 1978
FatalSerious
217

European Community

Council Of Ministers

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the last meeting of the Council of Ministers.

During this Council, the first ever ministerial meeting between the EEC and the Association of South-East Asian Nations was held on 20th and 21st November. The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of political and economic questions and agreed that exploratory discussion on the content of a possible co-operation agreement should begin shortly.The Foreign Ministers Council reviewed preparations for the European Council in Brussels on 4th and 5th December. Items to be discussed include, in particular, the proposed European monetary system, including concurrent studies, and improvements to the CAP on which the Commission is to make proposals.The Council invited the Commission to press ahead with the GATT multilateral trade negotiations on the understanding that no final conclusion could be reached until the problem of the United Kingdom countervailing waiver had been satisfactorily resolved.The Council conducted a brief review of the Community's relations with Japan prior to the next EEC—Japan high level consultations on 8th and 9th December, on which the Commission was asked to report back to the next Council on 19th December.There was further discussion of the Commission's proposals for negotiating directives for a new EEC—Yugoslavia agreement.The Council took stock of the progress made so far in the negotiations for a new EEC-ACP convention and agreed to invite the ACP to take part in a ministerial negotiating conference before the end of the year.The Council briefly considered the Community's generalised scheme for preferences for 1979, and remitted the matter to officials for further study.The Council reviewed a progress on a mandate for the negotiation of a Euratom-Australia nuclear safeguards agreement and asked for further work to be done with a view to reaching agreement on the mandate very shortly.There was an extensive discussion of steel, particularly the renewal of the anti-crisis measure—the Davignon plan. Arrangements for the extension of third country agreements were also discussed, and the mandate for their conclusion will be considered further at the December Council.The Council took note of progress at the Common Fund negotiating conference currently being held at Geneva. Foreign Ministers discussed a draft mandate for the committee to review Community procedures in the light of enlargement to twelve—the "three wise men" proposal. The proposal will now be considered further at the European Council on 4th and 5th December.On the common fisheries policy, the Council noted the continuing United Kingdom reserve on the draft framework agreements with third countries pending progress on outstanding aspects of the internal regime. The Council emphasised the need for progress on the CFP as a whole at the Fisheries Council on 23rd and 24th November.

It was agreed that the draft directive concerning the freedom of establishment of architects would be examined further before being discussed again at the next Council in December.

The Council discussed adjustments in duty and tax exemptions for international travellers and for small gift packets intended to offset the effect of the changeover from the old unit of account to the European unit of account in the Customs sphere on 1st January 1979.

The Council reviewed the progress of the conciliation procedure taking place with the European Assembly on two regulations: the Regional Development Fund regulation for 1978–80 and the regulation on aid to non-associated States.

I reminded my colleagues that it was important for the emoluments of directly-elected Members of the Assembly to be settled well in advance of the elections.

Detailed questions relating to the establishment of the European Foundation were remitted to officials for further consideration.

Enlargement

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further progress has been made towards enlargement of the EEC.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend has given today to the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate).

President Of The Commission

77.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet the president of the EEC Commission.

81.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects next to meet the president of the EEC Commission.

My right hon. Friend expects to meet Mr. Jenkins next at the European Council in Brussels on 4th and 5th December.

European Parliament (Elections)

78.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he expects to have in the near future with his counterparts in the Community on direct elections to the European Parliament.

My right hon. Friend will be continuing his discussion with his colleagues in the Council about the question of the level of emoluments for directly elected Members of the European Assembly. This is the most important outstanding question for which the Council has ultimate responsibility.

Secretary Of State (Visit)

79.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects next to visit Brussels for an official EEC meeting.

Members Of Parliaments (Meetings)

80.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with the president in Council about making arrangements for Members of EEC national Parliaments to attend joint meetings with Members of the European Parliament, after direct elections, in specialist fields including for instance Members of the Select Committee of Overseas Development at ACP/EEC joint meetings and assemblies in connection with the Lome agreement.

None. Relations between the European Assembly and the Parliaments of countries in association with the Community will continue to be a matter for the European Assembly rather than for the Council. It will be for the former, after direct elections, to decide whether to invite members of the national Parliaments of member States to attend.

Enlargement

83.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about progress towards enlargement of the EEC.

As I told the House on 14th November, steady progress continues to be made on the Greek application. The main issues should all have been tackled by the end of this year and we hope that the negotiations can be completed in the first part of 1979. Negotiations with Portugal began on 17th October. We expect the Commission's opinion on the Spanish application by the end of the year.

Foreign Ministers

82.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he proposes next to meet the Foreign Ministers of the EEC.

My right hon. Friend expects to meet his EEC colleagues next at the European Council on 4th and 5th December. The next Foreign Affairs Council is on 19th December.

Transport

Severn Bridge

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied with the condition of the Severn Bridge; and if he will make a statement.

The Severn Bridge was a significant technical achievement at the time it was built and was then unique. Inevitably some unforeseen problems have arisen from time to time which have necessitated lane closures, but none of the problems gives any cause for concern about the overall safety of the bridge. I very much regret the delays caused to travellers by work on the bridge but it is essential that maintenance work should be carried out as and when it proves necessary. A list of the items of work carried out since the bridge was opened, other known maintenance items and possible future works has been deposited in the Library.Routine inspection and maintenance will continue to be required and some lane closures are bound to be necessary in the future. The nature of the work is sometimes such that it cannot all be carried out at the same time. For example, the work required on the rockers last year and early this year and the work now being carried out on the expansion joints have had to be done at different times because they necessitate different patterns of lane closures. But the timing of maintenance works will continue to be selected to give as little inconvenience as possible. Every effort will be made to reduce their duration to a minimum.I have also been asked when the bridge will reach its maximum capacity and what I have in mind thereafter. The growth of traffic on the Severn Bridge has not been uniform and it is uncertain when maximum capacity will be reached. But it is possible that it may be as early as the end of the century and it is prudent to start thinking now about what might be done. Duplication of the bridge is not the only possibility. It will be necessary to study the requirements of traffic from a large part of the country for access to and from South Wales. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I will be considering how best to proceed.

Social Services

Miners (Early Retirement)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many miners who have retired under the early retirement scheme have been disqualified from unemployment benefit on the grounds that they voluntarily left their employment without just cause.

No record is kept of the information requested. Most miners claim unemployment benefit as soon as they leave their employment but are assumed by the National Coal Board to be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit for up to six weeks. The board automatically pays full early retirement benefit for this period unless a claimant is in receipt of another benefit or has taken up employment elsewhere.

Spectacle Frames

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many styles of spectacle frames are now on offer within the National Health Service; how many have side pieces which attach midway on the lens frame; when the last new style was added to the range; and if he will make a statement.

My Department lays down only broad descriptions of the type of frame available through the National Health Service: within these specifications styling is a matter for the individual manufacturer. At present, of 12 speci- fications for frames for adults—of which some differ only in the type of side pieces—six would permit centre joints and four such frames are at present manufactured. In the children's range all the specifications are wide enough to permit centre joints, and three such frames are available.Modifications to the range of NHS frames are made from time to time—the latest being to make generally available, from 1st January 1979, metal whole-eye frames in the adult range without their present plastic covering. There have been preliminary discussions with the manufacturers about the feasibility of improving the range of frames, and, while recognising that extension or major updating of the range would have substantial expenditure implications, we have the matter under consideration.

National Insurance Contributions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has yet completed his review of national insurance contributions for 1979–80.

My right hon. Friend has completed the annual review which he is required to carry out under section 120 of the Social Security Act 1975 and in fulfilment of his obligations under that Act he has today laid a draft order, which requires the approval of both Houses, setting out revised rates of contributions and earnings limits to take effect from 6th April 1979. In determining the rates and levels specified in the order he has taken account of changes in earnings levels as the Act requires him to do. A report by the Government Actuary—Cmnd 7403—accompanies the order. My right hon. Frind has also laid regulations—the Social Security (Contributions) (Earnings Limits) Amendment Regulations 1978—which set out the new earnings limits for employees' and employers' contributions. The Government Actuary's report shows that these changes would lead to the National Insurance Fund's income being a little larger than its expenditure in 1979–80 on the basis of given assumptions about unemployment, earnings and prices. The changes are set out in full below.

Employees

No increase is proposed in the percentage rates of contributions payable by employees and employers. In line with the requirements of the Social Security Pensions Act 1975, however, the lower earnings limit for class I contributions is to be increased to £19·50 a week, which is the recently increased rate of the basic retirement pension, and the upper earnings limit is to be increased to £135 a week, which is about seven times the pension rate.

These new earnings limits replace the existing limits of £17·50 and £120·00 a week respectively. The increase in the upper limit means that people earning £120 a week or more will pay higher contributions from next April—in the same way that people with earnings below that level pay higher contributions immediately they have a pay increase. The effect of the increases in the earnings limits will be as follows:

Not contracted-out employees

Employees who earn less than £120 a week and their employers, will not pay higher contributions. Employees earning £120 a week or more will pay higher contributions, progressing to a maximum increase of 97p a week for those earning £135 a week or more. There will be corresponding increases—up to a maximum (excluding national insurance surcharge) of £1·50 a week—in the contributions payable by employers.

Contracted-out employees

The contributions payable by employees who are contracted-out—and their employers—are reduced on earnings between the lower and upper limits in recognition of the provision by an occupational pension scheme of part of the State scheme pension benefits. The effect of the revised earnings limits is that the reduced contributions will start to become payable at an earnings level of £19·50 a week instead of £17·50 a week. This will result in a marginal increase of a few pence a week for contracted-out employees earning less than £120 a week and their employers. Employees earning £120 a week or more will have a greater increase, rising to a maximum of 65p a week for those earning £135 a week or more. There will be corresponding increases—up to a maximum (excluding national insurance surcharge) of 91p a week—in the contributions payable by their employers.

The Self-employed

When the rates of contributions for the self-employed were reduced following last year's review we said that we would hope to hold the level of liability for five years, apart from changes to take account of increases in the general level of earnings. The following proposals are consistent with that undertaking.

The class 2 contribution is being increased from £1·90 to £2·10 a week. The rate of class 4 contributions remains at 5 per cent., but the range of profits or gains on which it is levied will be from £2,250 to £7,000 a year in place of the present limits of £2,000 to £6,250 a year.

1978–79 AND PROPOSED 1979–80 CONTRIBUTONS

1978–79

Proposals for 1979–80

Class 1 (earnings-related contributions payable on all earnings up to the upper limit provided that the earnings reach the lower limit):

Rate:
Employee6·5 per cent.*No change
Employer10 per cent.*No change
Lower earnings limit£17·50£19·50
Upper earnings limit£120£135

Class 2 (self-employed, flat rate):

Weekly rate£1·90£2·10
Small earnings exception£950£1,050

Class 4 (self-employed, profits-related—payable on profits between the annual profits limits):

Rate5 per cent.No change
Lower profits limit£2,000£2,250
Upper profits limit£6,250£7,000

Class 3 (non-employed):

Weekly rate£1·80£2

* Where employees are contracted-out, the rates are reduced to 4 per cent. (for employees) and 5·5 per cent. (for employers) on earnings above the lower earnings limit.

† Exclusive of surcharge payable under the National Insurance Surcharge Act 1976.

National Health Service (Top Salaries)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the Speakman Report on top salaries in the National Health Service will be published.

I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's reply to the right hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Jenkin) on 7th November. —[Vol. 957, c. 155.]

Regional Health Authorities (Funds)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a statement on the progress

The effect of these changes in class 4 contribution limits will be to reduce or leave unchanged the amount of class 4 contributions payable on any particular level of profits or gains up to £6,500 a year and to increase the class 4 contributions pay-able only where profits or gains are above this level—by a maximum of £25 a year where the profits or gains are at least £7,000 a year. The new upper limit of profits or gains corresponds to the new upper earnings limit of £135 a week for class 1 contributors.

Class 3 (Voluntary) Contributions

The class 3 voluntary contribution will be raised from £1·80 to £2·00.

of his policy of redistributing available funds between regional health authoritie1 so as to ensure a fairer distribution of such funds in relation to population and health needs.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Ovenden) on 7th November. Movement towards target allocations, calculated annually on the basis of measured relative health care needs of regional populations is taking place as quickly as national resources will allow without damage to existing services. Additionally, a proportion of available capital resources is being allocated specifically to help remedy relative capital stock deficiencies.—[Vol. 957, c. 110.]

Perinutal Motality

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest for Social Services what is the latest perinatal death rate; what significant changes have taken place in this death rate over the past 20 years; and how this current rate compares with other European counies over the same period.

The perintal mortality rates tabulated below have been obtained in the main from WHO and UN publications and show the numbers of sillbirths

19551975Percentage Decrease
Sweden28·411·061
Denmark33·913·460
Switzerland30·913·556
Germany, Federal Republic44·219·456
Finland30·013·9 (1974)54
Netherlands29·314·052
Scotland42·121·349
Italy47·524·149
England and Wales38·319·549
Austria40·521·347
Rumania32·817·945
Norway25·914·245
Belgium34·4 (1957)19·743
France34·019·5 (1974)43
Bulgaria29·617·641
Poland31·5(1956)19·638
Portugal48·331·834
Iceland22·8 (1956)15·731
Yugoslavia31·821·931
Czechoslovakia24·820·0 (1974)19
Hungary38·731·618
Increase
Greece23·4(1956)25·810

Benefit Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the payments of £133 a week in social security to an unemployed man in Salford when his wife is on a £300 holiday to Tunisia; and if he will make a statement.

A claimant must meet the requirements for eligibility laid down by Parliament. Claimants for invalidity benefits under the contributory scheme have to meet certain contribution and other conditions. There are no conditions as to how the benefits are spent and beneficiaries are free to arrange their financial affairs as they wish.

Insurance Contributions (Married Women's Option)

and deaths under one week of age per 1,000 live births in the countries of Europe for which figures are readily available. They may be subject to variation of definition or practice between different countries. They are listed in order of percentage change of the later rate—usually 1975—over the earlier rate—usually 1955.

The latest rate for England and Wales is l7·1 per 1,000 live births or 17·0 per 1,000 total—live and still—births in 1977. The provisional figure for the first quarter of 1978 is 15·9 per 1,000 total biths.

revenue there has been since the phasing out of the married women's option to pay a reduced national insurance contribution.

Geriatric And Psycho-Geriatric Cases

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the consultant-patient ratio, the beds available and the waiting lists for geriatric any phycho-geriatric cases in each of the regional health authorities in England and Wales.

The numbers of whole time equivalents of consultants per 100,000 population at risk in the specialties of geriatrics and mental illness (adult) in each of the regional health authorities in England and Wales at 30th September 1977 are given in the tables below, together with the corresponding average number of beds available daily and waiting list sizes. Psycho-geriatrics is not identified in the statistics as a separate

CONSULTANTS PER 100,000 POPULATION AT RISK, AVERAGE DAILY NUMBER OF AVAILABLE BEDS AND WAITING LIST SIZE IN THE GERIATRICS SPECIALTY BY REGIONAL HEALTH AUTHORITY 1977
Regional health authorityNumber of whole time equivalents of consultants* per 100,000 population† aged over 65 yearsAverage daily number of available bedsSize of waiting list at 31st December 1977
Northern6·33,825321
Yorkshire4·55,466222
Trent4·15,092255
East Anglia4·22,321183
North-West Thames‡3·33,237506
North-East Thames‡4·54,484358
South-East Thames‡3·94,389198
South-West Thames4·63,251144
Wessex5·13,565379
Oxford5·62,175120
South-Western3·83,860312
West Midlands5·26,211853
Mersey6·83,149237
North-Western5·04,905677
Wales5·64,019350
England and Wales‡4·759,9495,115
* Includes senior hospital medical officers with the allowance.
† Mid-1977 management population estimates.
‡ Excludes London post graduate teaching hospitals.
CONSULTANTS PER 100,000 POPULATION AT RISK, AVERAGE DAILY NUMBER OF AVAILABLE BEDS AND WAITING LIST SIZE IN THE GERIATRICS SPECIALTY BY REGIONAL HEALTH AUTHORITY 1977
Regional health authorityNumber of whole time equivalents of consultants* per 100,000 population†Average daily number of available bedsSize of waiting list at 31st December 1977
Northern1·86,276350
Yorkshire1·77,87822
Trent1·47,576273
East Anglia1·73,230163
North-West Thames†2·48,593276
North-East Thames†2·07,292190
South-East Thames†1·97,58592
South-West Thames2·28,398261
Wessex2·04,64865
Oxford1·92,608
South-Western1·95,90199
West Midlands1·88,833214
Mersey1·66,613162
North-Western1·76,561102
Wales1·85,51933
England and Wales‡1·997,5112,302
* Includes senior hospital medical officers with the allowance.
‡ Mid-1977 management population estimates.
‡ Excludes London post graduate teaching hospitals.

Doctors (Informal Black List)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the operation of an informal black list of doctors used by employing authorities, in the light of the information sent to him by the hon. Member for Brent, South.

specialty, but many consultants working in the specialty of mental illness (adult) would have responsibility for the treatment of elderly patients.

The arrangements referred to by my hon. Friend provide for information about individuals who might seek medical posts to be conveyed by the Department to health authorities, or by one health authority to another. It is used where the employment of the individual in a medical post might put patients at risk, including cases where a person without medical registration is known to be seeking medical posts and producing false evidence of medical registration. Other cases have concerned doctors known to be suffering from mental disorders which might impair their ability to treat patients safely. In the past two years the procedure has been used on five occasions by my Department, and on about 30 occasions by health authorities.The Medical Act 1978 gives the General Medical Council new powers to take action in relation to doctors whose fitness to practise is seriously impaired through ill-health. These powers will come into effect after the reconstruction of the council in the latter part of next year. I intend at the appropriate time to discuss with the council the implications for the NHS arrangements of its new powers and the operating procedures which it will be working out.

Stoma Patients

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce into England a stoma management scheme similar to that already in existence in Scotland.

My Department is at present considering the issue of guidance to health authorities on the care of stoma patients.

National Health Service (Purchases)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied that there has been no overcharging for purchases made by the National Health Service, in the light of an agreement made by a British drug manufacturer to pay the United States Government in partial settlement of a case started eight years ago for allegedly overcharging for the sale of Ampicillin.

The prices of medicines supplied to the NHS are controlled under the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and are not related to those in the United States of America. The total sales, costs, profit and capital employed in supplying medicines to the United Kingdom are taken into account and annual financial returns under the scheme show that the profit earned by the company in supplying medicines in the United Kingdom is no more than is reasonable.

Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consideration he has given to the future of the Royal London homoeopathic hospital, Queen Square.

The consultative document on the future management of the London postgraduate hospitals, referred to in my reply to my hon. Friend on 22nd June, has now been issued. The position on the future of the Royal London homoeopathic hospital remains as set out in that answer.—[Vol. 952, c. 293–4.]

Homoeopathy (Medical Practitioners)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what provision he is making to enable registered medical practitioners to take post-graduate courses in homoeopathic medicine in response to patients' requests for homoeopathic treatment.

As indicated in my reply to my hon. Friend on 26th April 1978, the content of postgraduate medical education is primarily a matter for the postgraduate medical deans of universities, as advised by the Council for Postgraduate Medical Education. My Department allocates funds to the deans to use at their discretion to provide financial support for courses for general practitioners: it does not make provision for courses in particular subjects.—[Vol. 948. c. 601–2.]