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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 31 October 1989

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Industrial Location

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any plans to change the current arrangements for encouraging the location of industry across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Where industry locates in the United Kingdom is a matter for commercial decision. Regional industrial policy provides incentives to encourage industry to invest in the assisted areas of the country. There are at present no plans to change this policy. I am however considering the possibilities for realising the property assets of the English Industrial Estates Corporation. Jointly with the board of the corporation, I have commissioned a study to advise on this and also to report on the most effective mechanisms for promoting private sector investment in speculative industrial and commercial space in the assisted areas. This is consistent with our policy that English Estates' first priority is to encourage and facilitate greater private sector activity while focusing its own direct provision in areas where, for the time being, that cannot be achieved.

Barlow Clowes

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has on payments made to those affected by the collapse of Barlow Clowes ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : I refer my hon. Friend to my letters of 16 August and 30 October to all Members, copies of which are placed in the Library.

Chemical Exports

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what volumes of (a) chloroethanol, (b) dimethylamine, (c) potassium fluoride and (d) dymethylamine hydrochloride have been exported, and to which respective countries, since May 1979 ; when exports of each respective chemical were halted ; and for what reasons.

Mr. Redwood : Statistics on the export of these chemicals are not available.

A licence has been required to export chloroethanol, dimethylamine and potassium fluoride to Iran and Iraq since 12 April 1984 when these items became subject to control under the Export of Goods (Control) Order. The Export of Goods (Control) (Amendment No. 4) Order 1989 which came into force on 31 July 1989 extended the control on exports of these chemicals to Libya and Syria. It also brought the export of dimethylamine hydrochloride under control to Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria.


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Controls on the exports of these chemicals have been introduced because of the Government's concerns about the proliferation of the capability for producing chemical weapons. Applications for a licence to export these chemicals to the destinations for which they are controlled are considered on a case-by-case basis in the light of stringent criteria.

Marine Licensing

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which EEC countries charge a fee for a VHF marine licence for private pleasure craft.

Mr. Forth : Details of EEC countries' radio licence fees are not collected centrally. Inquiries made to a number of administrations indicate that fees are charged for the use of maritime radio by private pleasure craft.

Measurement Accreditation

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that other EEC countries are complying with the Euro-norm agreement on measurement accreditation.

Mr. Forth : The United Kingdom's national measurement accreditation service (NAMAS) is co-operating with other Community member states to ensure the implementation of the European standards, the EN 45000 series, which define the criteria for laboratories, the accreditation of laboratories and for the accreditation bodies. These standards are expected to be increasingly used by the Commission in new approach directives and each member state will be responsible to ensure that the requirements of the directives are fully met.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which EEC countries have a national measurement accreditation service to the same standard as the United Kingdom.

Mr. Forth : The EEC Commission has placed a contract with the French Reseau National d'Essais (RNE) to carry out a study of accreditation systems operated by member states with the aim of establishing their compliances with international codes of practice and in particular the European standards for accreditation based on the EN 45000 series standards. It is expected that this report will be available in December 1989 and the national measurement accreditation service (NAMAS) will examine the report in detail.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which EEC countries have sought the advice of his Department on measurement accreditation.

Mr. Forth : Many of the EEC countries have discussed with the Department's national measurement accreditation service (NAMAS) the development of their own accreditation systems. Additionally representatives of seven member states have attended the NAMAS assessor training course to gain experience of assessment techniques and to assist in setting up their own training courses.


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Consumer Goods (Imports)

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the principal categories of consumer goods imported into the United Kingdom, by value, for the years 1986, 1987, 1988 and the first half of 1989.


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Mr. Redwood : The figures are as follows :


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United Kingdom Imports (£ million)                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                    

SITC Description                          |1986             |1987             |1988             |January-June 1989                  

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

122 Tobacco, Manufactured                 |120              |115              |109              |50                                 

553 Perfumes, Cosmetics and Toiletries    |233              |258              |282              |145                                

554 Soap, Detergents and Polishes         |143              |181              |210              |98                                 

642 Paper and Board Products              |449              |519              |590              |341                                

658 Made-up Textiles                      |196              |211              |238              |132                                

659 Floorcoverings                        |337              |393              |432              |222                                

665 Glassware                             |185              |173              |206              |101                                

666 Pottery                               |96               |105              |117              |63                                 

696 Cutlery                               |61               |76               |83               |43                                 

697 Household Equipment of Metal          |196              |189              |201              |106                                

76 TV, Radio, Hi-Fi and Telecom Equipment |2,402            |2,801            |3,177            |1,680                              

775 Domestic Appliances                   |905              |917              |989              |430                                

781 Motor Cars                            |4,809            |5,024            |6,752            |3,871                              

785 Motorcycles and cycles                |150              |181              |226              |133                                

82 Furniture and Bedding                  |776              |878              |989              |577                                

83 Travel Goods, Handbags                 |200              |231              |251              |135                                

84 Clothing                               |2,386            |2,778            |3,108            |1,643                              

85 Footwear                               |734              |799              |908              |489                                

885 Watches and Clocks                    |268              |286              |340              |155                                

892 Printed Matter                        |585              |659              |795              |400                                

894 Toys, Games and Sporting Goods        |536              |662              |686              |359                                

897 Jewellery                             |414              |421              |506              |279                                

898 Musical Instruments                   |625              |729              |823              |434                                

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics                                                                                                   

Notes:                                                                                                                              

1. Full descriptions of the SITC trade classification headings are contained in Business Monitor MA21: Guide to the classifications 

for Overseas Trade Statistics.                                                                                                      

2. Figures for food and drink are not included as they are the responsibility of MAFF.                                              

Takeover Bids

Mr. Haselhurst : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedure is followed by the Office of Fair Trading in its examination of takeover bids.

Mr. Redwood : The procedures are conveniently set out in a booklet produced by the Office of Fair Trading entitled "MERGERS--a guide to the procedures under the Fair Trading Act 1973". I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

Beer

Mr. Baldry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what decisions he has reached in the light of representations on the draft orders on the supply of beer.

Mr. Ridley : I have received representations from a wide range of parties including large and small brewers, tenants' associations, and wholesale and consumer organisations. All representations have been given careful consideration.

I have now reached final decisions on the orders. The main changes I have decided to make are as follows. First, I have decided that national brewers who are required to free a proportion of their properties from product ties should be able to sell such properties without disadvantage provided they are sold free of ties. This amendment will encourage a more diverse pattern of ownership. I have also decided that in view of the substantial changes brewers will be required to make to a large number of tenancy agreements to free part of their estates the period for such adjustment will run to November 1992.


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Secondly, many representations have emphasised the importance of ensuring that tenants of the national brewers should not be subject to pressures to discourage them from exercising their freedom to choose to supply a guest beer. Accordingly, I have amended the guest beer provisions to block a number of possible loopholes that brewers might have used to deter tenants from exercising their choice, and to make it clearer that tenants should be entirely free to choose their supplier.

Thirdly, the position in respect of those companies, mainly small brewers, who are not subsidiaries but nevertheless fell to be regarded as parts of large brewery groups by virtue of minority shareholdings in them is amended. It will now be provided that no obligations will fall on a company solely because a member of a large brewery group has a minority interest in it. The tied estates of such companies will, however, still count towards the brewery group's limit on tied houses if more than 15 per cent. of the voting rights of the company are held, though account is now due to be taken of the extent to which control of shares is diluted through intermediary companies, if the group owns less than 50 per cent. of the voting rights. The 15 per cent. rule remains, as I believe that a group can exercise a substantial influence at this level of shareholding. The rule will act as some deterrent to further concentration in the industry.

Finally, the definition of licensed premises has been changed so that the limits on the numbers of tied houses held by national brewers will no longer bite on premises with restricted licences, such as restaurants, where the supply of beer is not a significant part of the business.


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The Office of Fair Trading will be making arrangements to monitor compliance with the orders. The director general will need to collect information for this purpose, and a further order will be made shortly to cover this.

As was made clear in my right hon. and noble Friend's statement of 10 July the director general will be assessing the effectiveness of the measures in addressing the market detriments found by the MMC once the orders have had time to take effect. The Government will consider the need for further measures in the light of the director general's conclusions. If in the meantime, however, it becomes clear that further steps are necessary either to ensure compliance with the intentions behind the order, or to deal with other anti-competitive or undesirable practices, I will not hesitate to act as necessary. In this connection, I shall be keeping under review the position of tenants in advance of enactment of legislation to put their security of tenure on the same basis as that of other business tenants. If necessary, I will consider making an interim order to protect their position. I have also asked the director general to keep under review any anti-competitive moves to limit access to the market by independent manufacturers of beer or other drinks who are without tied estates, or by wholesalers. The Government intend separately to legislate to give tenants protection under the landlord and tenant legislation as soon as parliamentary time permits.

The changes I have outlined, and other technical points raised in representations, have required a significant number of changes to the orders. Copies of the orders have today been placed in the Libraries of both House and sent to the principal interested parties. Any representations on technical drafting points that arise from the revised texts should be submitted to my Department by 10 November. The Loan Ties, Licensed Premises and Wholesale Prices Order will then be made, and the draft Tied Estate Order, which requires resolutions of both Houses, will be laid shortly afterwards.

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has on proposals by certain breweries to permit tenants to sell a guest beer but to replace any sales lost to the landlord brewery by higher rent.

Mr. Redwood : I have received representations from the National Licensed Victuallers Association and others that this might occur. It is being made clear in a separate statement made today that the brewer cannot discriminate against a tenant exercising this right.

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has had since the publication of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission Report on the supply of beer specifically supporting the introduction of a sliding scale of duty ; whether he now favours such a proposal ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : Well over 2,000 written representations have been received. An analysis of each one to determine whether a particular point had been made would be possible only at disproportionate cost. Officials of Customs and Excise are in the process of informally consulting with the trade on the possibility of changing to a method of charging duty based on the beer that is actually produced. The final decision is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


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Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has had since the publication of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the supply of beer which regret the absence from its report of recommendations to reduce regional and subregional monopolies ; whether he will extend the guest ale provision to public houses owned by regional brewers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : Well over 2,000 written representations have been received. An analysis of each one to determine whether a particular point had been made would be possible only at disproportionate cost. It has been made clear that the requirement to allow tied tenants to choose a guest beer will apply only to the national brewers.

House of Fraser

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the serious fraud squad has completed its inquiries into the issues raised in the report of inspectors into the acquisition of House of Fraser ; and when he now expects to publish the report.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer 30 October 1989] : I cannot comment on the state of the inquiries to which my hon. Friend refers. Questions relating to the operation of the serious fraud office are for my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. It remains the intention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to publish the report at the earliest possible moment consistent with the even-handed administration of justice.

CFCs

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what facilities exist for the recycling of

chlorofluorocarbons from the foam in refrigerators ; what percentage is currently recycled ; and what steps he is taking to increase this percentage.

Mr. Forth [holding answer 30 October 1989] : Recovery of chlorofluorocarbons from the insulating foam in refrigerators is technically very difficult, and I know of no facilities operating successfully at the moment in the United Kingdom. My right hon. Friend has commissioned a wide-ranging study into the recovery, recycling and destruction of CFCs ; the Government will take its finding into account when considering if any action is called for on this issue. The results of the study are expected early next year.

Jaguar plc

Mr. Roger King : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on Jaguar plc.

Mr. Ridley : I refer my hon. Friend to the statement that I made in the House earlier today.

Professional Liability

Mr. Baldry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will publish the report of the studies on professional liability ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : The report of the three study teams on professional liability under the overall chairmanship of Professor Andrew Likierman is published today. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library.


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The Government set up these studies last year because of the concern expressed by many professionals about the extent of claims for professional negligence and the cost and availability of professional indemnity insurance. This is an area in which there was a wealth of anecdote, but little hard fact. The studies acknowledge that there are difficulties in obtaining comprehensive information, but have none the less brought together much useful material. The report finds that the same underlying changes in insurance and law have affected all three groups of professions, but that the effects of the changes on these groups have been different. The study teams have therefore recommended a different package of proposals for each profession.

We accept the broad conclusions of the report, that professionals have been faced with an increasing exposure to negligence claims, and that the cyclical nature of the insurance market means that at times costs of insurance increase sharply. The report finds that so far the changing position of professionals is having only limited effects on the quality or cost of the service they are providing to consumers. We are conscious of the need to balance the potential adverse effects on consumers against the right of consumers who are victims of negligence to recover damages to the extent possible.

The construction professionals and the surveyors study teams recommend steps which professionals, their institutions and the associations representing all parties could take to improve standards, practice and collaboration. The Government welcome these recommendations.

Several of the recommendations addressed to Government are very wide- ranging, including proposals for reform relating to joint and several liability, legal aid and time limitation periods for claims. It is recommended for example that the Law Commission should be asked to consider the case for changes in the law of joint and several liability in commercial cases. While the Government recognise the strongly held feelings that the current arrangements in these areas can in some circumstances operate unfairly against the professions, the changes suggested would have important effects well beyond the immediate context of professional liability. They will require fuller consideration before the Government can form a view.

Other proposals will be looked at as legislative opportunities become available. The current Companies Bill has already provided an opportunity to pursue two of the recommendations of the auditors study team. We accepted the proposal that the law on directors' insurance should be clarified so that a company can reimburse a director for his liability insurance. We decided against the proposal that an auditor should be able to limit his liability by agreement with the company. Consultation revealed that non-auditors were generally opposed to the idea because it could limit legal redress in the rare cases of poor audits. Some recommendations, however, can already be seen to raise practical difficulties which are such as to preclude further investigation.

My right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor, my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Trade and Industry and other colleagues as appropriate will be considering the outstanding points.

We are very grateful to Professor Likierman, to the chairmen of the three study teams, William Morrison, Professor Donald Bishop and Ian Oddy, and to the study


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team members, all of whom have voluntarily put so much work into this review. We are also grateful to all those who provided evidence for the studies.

WALES

Forestry

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has considered establishing a separate forestry body for Wales, in line with his proposals to create a unified Nature Conservancy Council and Countryside Commission for Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker : I have seen no need to consider such a change.

Swansea Downs (Nuclear Submarines)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will commission a study on the effects on tourism in Swansea bay and the Gower peninsula of plans to create a reserve Z berth for nuclear-powered submarines at Swansea downs ; and what communications he has received from Swansea leisure centre over the Z berth plans.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : The Department has no plans to commission such a study and I have received no communication from Swansea leisure centre about the proposal.

Nature Conservancy Council and Countryside Commission

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will issue a detailed consultation paper setting out the structure of the proposed merged body of the Nature Conservancy Council and Countryside Commission for Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : The Department has no plans to do so. Full consultation is already taking place between Government Departments and the statutory agencies on this and other pertinent issues.

Welsh Language

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many requests for exemptions from the requirement to teach Welsh as part of the core curriculum have been received from schools in (a) Wales, (b) each local education authority and (c) Pembrokeshire.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : I have received requests for exemption from teaching Welsh in the national curriculum from 11 schools in Wales. These include four in Gwent ; three in Clwyd ; two each in West Glamorgan and Dyfed, both in Pembrokeshire.

National Health Service

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales by what date the current maintenance backlog on National Health Service properties will be cleared on current and planned capital spending for the National Health Service in Wales.

Mr. Grist : Backlog maintenance is a term generally used to describe the work necessary to bring National


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Health Service property up to a standard of full life expectancy where no expenditure except for routine maintenance is required. District health authorities' programmes to achieve this include investment in the maintenance of buildings which are to be retained, the rationalisation of services to release accommodation which is no longer practicably suitable and the construction of new facilities. They are encouraged to give a high priority to these activities and their performance is monitored by the Department as part of its annual review process. However, in view of progressive improvements in the standards of accommodation required, the continuing need for maintenance investment and the long-term nature of some of the measures to improve the conditions of the estate, it is not possible to estimate when the current maintenance backlog will be substantially eliminated.

NHS White Paper

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much money he has currently allocated for the implementation of the White Paper ; what proportion of the sums allocated will be used to fund (a) information technology, (b) medical audit, (c) the Welsh Office value for money unit, (d) training, (e) family practitioner committees, (f) health authority costs, and (g) treatment centres ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : The Department has provided an additional £5 million toward the cost of implementing the White Paper proposals in the current financial year. This has been allocated as follows :


                                           |£ million          

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

(a) information technology (including the                      

    resource management initiative)        |2.34               

(b) medical audit                          |0.11               

(c) Value for Money Unit                   |0.18               

(d) training                               |0.14               

(e) family practitioner committees         |0.11               

(f) health authorities's discretionary use |1.62               

(g) treatment centres                      |0.50               

                                           |---                

                                           |5.00               

The provision of these additional resources reflect the importance that the Government give to the major programme of improvement now being undertaken within the NHS and their recognition of the need for adequate investment. Provision for 1990-91 and subsequent years is currently under consideration as part of the annual review of public expenditure and will be announced in due course.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of (a) the total cost of implementation of the proposals contained within the National Health Service White Paper in Wales, (b) the manpower implications for nurse staffing and (c) the manpower implications for financial, management, administrative and clerical staffs ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : The Government's broad estimates of the financial and manpower implications of implementing the White Paper will be given in the financial and explanatory memorandum of the NHS reform Bill. These estimates will relate to the NHS generally and will apply equally to Wales as to other parts of the United Kingdom. The more


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detailed manpower implications of the proposals are being addressed as part of the ongoing manpower planning activities being undertaken within the NHS in Wales.

Teachers

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the extent of local education authority schools using (a) changes to school timetables to cover vacancies and (b) non- specialists to teach subjects for which they have minimal qualifications ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : Information concerning the extent to which changes to school timetables are made to cover staff vacancies or other unforeseen circumstances is not held by the Department. The results of the secondary school staffing survey undertaken this year will provide information on the teaching staff employed, their qualifications and the teaching they undertook. The results will be available towards the end of the year.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what studies he has undertaken on the size and characteristics of the pool of inactive teachers in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : There have been no recent surveys on out-of- service teachers in England and Wales although we are currently considering whether a survey would be beneficial and how best it should be undertaken. In the meantime the education support grant programme for 1990-91 provides funding for LEA pilot projects designed to encourage LEAs to maintain contact with teachers who leave the service and to attract back into the service people in their areas who left the profession some years ago.

Welsh-medium Teachers

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the number of Welsh-medium teachers needed to staff the national curriculum ; what is the current number of Welsh language teachers employed by local education authorities in Wales ; and what is the number of students currently training as Welsh-medium teachers.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : The national curriculum is not expected to create a need for more Welsh-medium teachers overall in the short term. However its introduction will increase the number of secondary Welsh-medium teachers required for some subjects while decreasing the number required for others. Some retraining of secondary teachers may therefore be necessary to provide for the change in subject mix. The numbers of teachers required to teach Welsh as a language will increase as a result of the introduction of the national curriculum. The future numbers are currently being discussed with LEAs. The results of these discussions will enable us to judge the scale and shape of the retraining and recruitment programmes for the years ahead.

Welsh language specialists tend to be concentrated in the secondary sector. Current information on the number of Welsh language teachers employed by LEAs in Wales will not be available until the results of the 1989 secondary school staffing survey are to hand later this year. There are 358 students currently training as Welsh-medium teachers at initial teacher training institutions in Wales.


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Teacher Training

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the number of students who have received bursaries for initial teacher training in Wales ; what is the total value of those bursaries ; and what is the numbers of students by teaching speciality.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : Between 1986-87 and 1988-89 a total of 379 students have received £526,000 from the bursary scheme as shown in the following table :


Subject        |Total students               

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

Mathematics    |153                          

Physics        |119                          

CDT<1>         |107                          

               |---                          

               |379                          

<1> An additional equipment allowance of     

£200 is paid to CDT students.                


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NHS Capital Expenditure

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what will be the capital expenditure at each National Health Service treatment centre site, on (a) new buildings and (b) alterations to existing buildings ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) whether he intends to make any financial provision for the travel costs of patients using the new National Health Service treatment centres ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on Monday 30 October 1989.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will list the number of beds in Welsh hospitals in (a) 1974, (b) 1979 and (c) the current year with the annual rate of decline in the periods 1974 to 1979 and 1979 to 1989 ;

(2) what was the average bed occupancy in National Health Service hospitals in Wales in (a) 1974, (b) 1979 and (c) the current year.

Mr. Grist [holding answer 24 October 1989] : The information requested is shown in the following table :


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