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Column 751


Numbers of under 18-year-olds claiming unemployment-related benefits by standard region-June to December 1988                    

1988                     |<1>June     |July        |<1>August   |<1>September|October     |November    |December                 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

South East               |13,117      |11,907      |10,976      |9,846       |1,728       |1,074       |880                      

East Anglia              |1,921       |1,553       |1,431       |1,285       |188         |155         |114                      

South West               |4,207       |3,579       |3,299       |2,955       |508         |348         |291                      

West Midlands            |7,718       |8,820       |7,974       |7,010       |708         |483         |387                      

East Midlands            |5,587       |5,033       |4,617       |4,004       |540         |431         |341                      

Yorkshire and Humberside |11,045      |9,808       |8,866       |7,878       |858         |645         |575                      

North West               |13,493      |12,200      |11,207      |9,928       |1,112       |808         |708                      

Northern                 |7,001       |6,232       |5,630       |4,874       |590         |438         |359                      

Wales                    |5,345       |4,766       |4,349       |3,743       |454         |328         |290                      

Scotland                 |15,598      |14,485      |13,137      |11,225      |1,061       |836         |747                      

Northern Ireland         |3,382       |3,154       |2,963       |2,410       |398         |280         |236                      

United Kingdom           |90,414      |81,437      |74,450      |65,158      |8,145       |5,826       |4,928                    

<1> Estimated.                                                                                                                   

YTS

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the most recent details of the average weekly take-home pay for YTS leavers, by standard economic region.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 25 January 1989] : Estimates from the youth cohort study for England and Wales, covering those young people who reached minimum school leaving age in the academic year 1984-85 and were surveyed in spring 1988 show that the average weekly take-home pay for those in a job who said they had had YTS experience within the previous three years, is as follows :


Region                   |Average weekly take home                         

                         |pay (£)                                          

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

North                    |76.97                                            

Yorkshire and Humberside |71.27                                            

North West               |73.83                                            

East Midlands            |74.57                                            

West Midlands            |77.67                                            

East Anglia              |79.54                                            

Greater London           |99.20                                            

South East               |87.13                                            

South West               |73.06                                            

Wales                    |73.61                                            

                         |-------                                          

National Average         |78.21                                            

DEFENCE

Scottish Regiments

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the total cost of maintaining each Scottish regiment in the Army in 1987.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The costs of maintaining individual regiments are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the majority of Scottish regiments are infantry and the average operating cost in 1987 of an infantry battalion based in the United Kingdom was some £11 million. This figure includes personnel costs, spares, fuel and administrative support services, but excludes capital equipment costs.


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Minesweepers and Frigates (Costs)

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average cost of maintaining (a) a minesweeper and (b) a frigate, per annum.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The average annual operating of a minesweeper and a frigate are some £2 million and £4.2 million respectively. These costs include personnel costs, fuel, spares and so on, and administrative support services, but excludes capital equipment costs and refit-repair expenditure.

Scottish RAF Bases

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the total cost of maintaining the Royal Air Force forces based in Scotland in 1987.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The defence budget is not accounted for on a regional basis in the United Kingdom and the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mutual Defence Agreement

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he made any application under the Public Records Act of 1958 in accordance with paragraphs 26 and 27 of the White Paper on modern public records, Cmnd. 8531, to withhold beyond 30 years papers concerning the background to the signing with the United States Government of the Anglo-American mutual defence agreement on atomic energy matters in July 1958.

Mr. Sainsbury : Atomic records are retained in the Department under section 3(4) of the Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967 with the approval of the Lord Chancellor.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what agreement was made with the United States Department of Energy in November 1988 for the further enrichment of enriched uranium at Oakridge, Tennessee, under the 1958-59 United States-United Kingdom mutual defence agreement on atomic energy matters.

Mr. Sainsbury : Arrangementgs have been made for the further enrichment by the United States Department of Energy of a quantity of low enriched uranium produced in this country, in accordance with the statement by my right hon. Friend, the then Secretary of State for Defence, on 23 June 1982 at column 128.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what forms of transport have been used for the export and import of nuclear materials bartered or bought by the United Kingdom under the 1958, as amended in 1959, Anglo-American mutual defence agreement ; (2) what form of transport was used for the cariage of highly enriched uranium from Oakridge, Tennessee, to the United Kingdom under the arrangement actuated in November 1988, under the provisions of the 1959 amendment to the 1958 Anglo-American mutual defence agreement on atomic energy matters.

Mr. Sainsbury : It is not the MOD practice to give such information on the transport of nuclear materials.


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Inertial Confinement Fusion Technology

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department (a) currently funds or (b) has any future plans to fund inertial confinement fusion technology.

Mr. Sainsbury : The reply to both questions is yes. To provide further details would be against the national interest.

Parliamentary Answers

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what were the reasons for the delay in providing a substantive answer to the question from the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, to which a holding answer was given on 23 February 1988, and a substantive answer on 21 June 1988, Official Report, column 497 ;

(2) if he will state the reasons for the delay in providing a substantive answer to the question from the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, tabled for answer on 4 December 1987, to which a substantive answer was given on 21 March 1988, Official Report, column 9 .

Mr. Neubert : The delay resulted from the requirement to assionemble the detailed data asked for by the hon. Member.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why the questions from the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy on 4 December 1987, Official Report, column 736, originally to be answered by a letter from the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Freeman) were subsequently answered by replies published in the Official Report, 31 March 1988, columns 623-26 ; and what criteria he uses to decide whether a parliamentary question should be answered in the Official Report or by a ministerial letter.

Mr. Neubert : I aim, as did my predecessor in this Department my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Freeman), to provide information requested by right hon. and hon. Members as speedily and in as helpful and appropriate a manner as possible. In the particular case raised by the hon. Member, it was not possible to provide him with the detailed answers to the questions he had posed immediately. My hon. Friend the then Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces therefore, and in the light of the impending parliamentary recess, said that he would write to the hon. Member. In the event, the researches required took longer than had been expected and it was therefore most appropriate to answer the questions by means of written answers.

Low Flying

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why the special rules zone around Bristol airport has not been designated as a low- flying avoidance area.

Mr. Neubert : There is no need specifically to designate the area around Bristol airport as a low flying avoidance area as aircraft are not allowed to enter regulated airspace without approval from the controlling authority.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the approximate current land area covered by low-flying area 7(T) ; and if he will list any changes made to the boundaries of this area since 1979 ;


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(2) if he will make a statement on progress in talks with the Government of Morocco on the use of facilities in Morocco for low-level training by the Royal Air Force ;

(3) over what proportion of the United Kingdom land surface military low- flying is permitted ;

(4) at what height military aircraft are permitted to fly over urban areas which are not located within one of the avoidance areas or transit areas marked on the Civil Aviation Authority chart of United Kingdom areas of intense aerial activity, aerial tactics areas and military low-flying system ;

(5) if he will make a statement on the criteria and methods used by the Royal Air Force police when surveying potential new areas for low-flying.

Mr. Neubert : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 January 1989 at columns 555-56.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in (a) 1987 and (b) 1988 the military low-flying management group met to consider proposals for changes to the United Kingdom low-flying system.

Mr. Neubert : The military low-flying management group met on three occasions in 1987 and on four occasions in 1988 to consider and discuss a variety of matters concerning the United Kingdom low-flying system including proposals for minor changes to the system.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many civilian personnel from the national air traffic services serve on the military low-flying management group ;

(2) if he will list those aircraft types for which central records are kept of low-flying sorties over the United Kingdom :

(3) if he will make a statement on the roles, responsibilities and staffing levels of the tactical booking cell, Royal Air Force West Drayton.

Mr. Neubert : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 January 1989.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the total number of low-flying movements in low-flying area 1A in each year since 1979, differentiating between (a) movements by fixed-wing aircraft and (b) movements by helicopters.

Mr. Neubert : It is not our practice to publish detailed information relating to specific low-flying training areas.

Military Jets (Noise)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been undertaken by his Department of the noise levels generated on the ground by military jet aircraft overflying at 100 ft and at up to 550 knots.

Mr. Neubert : Although there has been no recent research specifically into the noise from low-flying aircraft, it is possible for MOD scientists, using the noise database collected during an exercise known as Bedlam, to calculate the maximum noise levels on the ground which would be generated by a military aircraft flying at 100 ft and at speeds up to 550 knots. A copy of the report of the results from exercise Bedlam was placed in the Library of the House in November 1987.


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Jet Aircraft (Low-level Sorties)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the basis of calculation of the figure for the average duration of a fast jet low-level sortie over the United Kingdom ;

(2) what is the basis of calculation of the figure of 42 minutes for the average duration of a fast jet low-level sortie over the United Kingdom.

Mr. Neubert : The basis of the figure is statistical data compiled by headquarters military air traffic operations on the usage of the United Kingdom low-flying system.

Missiles

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the studies undertaken by research centres responsible to his Department on the feasibility and use of the Seawolf anti-air and anti-missile weapon and the Star Streak laser-guided missile for a limited anti-ballistic missile defence for British nuclear-capable bases.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Government have no plans to develop a ballistic missile defence system for deployment in the United Kingdom or more widely in Europe. Research carried out as part of the United States funded European architecture study has indicated that missile systems such as those referred to in the hon. Member's question would require substantial further development before they could be used in a ballistic missile defence system.

Nuclear Materials (Safety)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, in the light of the Pan Am 103 jumbo jet disaster in Scotland, he has any plans to review the safety standards for the airfreight of military nuclear materials.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Our safety standards for the movement of nuclear materials are stringent and are kept continuously under review.

Dartmoor National Park

Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the advertised live firing times were actually used by his Ministry in the Dartmoor national park in the calendar year 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neubert : For the three live firing ranges on Dartmoor, the figures for 1988 are as follows :


Percentage of advertised live   

firing times actually used      

Range       |per cent.          

--------------------------------

Okehampton  |65.4               

Merrivale   |68.4               

Willsworthy |64.5               

We have an agreement--made in recognition of the importance of the national park--to restrict live firing to a certain number of days each year on these ranges and we have been conscientious in our observance of these restrictions. Firing has to be planned well in advance, and, because we cannot plan to fire on a greater number of days


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than those agreed, there is inevitably some degree of underutilisation. Firing programmes are affected by two main factors, weather and urgent changes in military commitments (such as short- notice deployments and military aid to the civil community tasks).

As my hon. Friend explained on 3 February 1988 at columns 1138-42, Dartmoor continues to meet essential military requirements for live and dry training. Its importance has grown in recent years because of the increased training requirements of the larger numbers of regular and TA forces now based in this country and because of the increased demands of modern weapons.

While the Government will continue to be alert to any opportunity which may arise to reduce the demands of military training or to promote increased public access to the training areas, it remains the Government's policy to ensure that the facilities necessary for efficient and effective training are available to meet defence requirements. There is no foreseeable prospect of any significant reduction in those requirements but the Government remain fully committed meanwhile to seeking the best possible reconciliation between military and national park interests.

Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much compensation he has paid to farmers with animals grazing in the Dartmoor national park which have been killed, maimed or injured in each of the last five years.

Mr. Neubert : A total of some £2,400 has been paid in compensation to farmers in the Dartmoor national park area for animals which have been killed as a result of Army training and manoeuvres. This figure can be broken down as follows :


      |£          

------------------

1984  |20         

1985  |60         

1986  |130        

1987  |990        

1988  |1,200      

There are a few claims still outstanding.


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Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many animals have been killed or injured by live firing in the Dartmoor national park in each of the past five years.

Mr. Neubert : The figures for the period 1984-88 are as follows :


Animals killed       |Year                         

---------------------------------------------------

1 Sheep              |1984                         

1 Pony               |1985                         

3 Sheep              |1986                         

1 Sheep, 2 Cattle    |1987                         

3 Sheep, 2 Cattle<1> |1988                         

<1> One of the two cattle killed in 1988 was the   

result of a road traffic accident.                 

The available military statistics do not indicate the number of animals injured.

Expenditure (OECD)

Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a table of the information he has on defence expenditure in each Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member state (a) as a percentage of gross domestic product and (b) on a per capita basis.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Department does not hold information on the defence expenditure of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member states which are not members of NATO. For NATO nations, the information requested is given in figure 14 of volume one of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1988" (Cm. 344-I).

Private Horses

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take action to ensure that private horses are not supervised, groomed, exercised or looked after in Army time by military personnel.

Mr. Neubert : The arrangements for the regular management audit of posts, supplemented by written instructions, are designed to ensure that the rules concerning the proper employment of Army personnel are followed.


 

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