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Written Answers

Volume 640: debated on Monday 8 May 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 8th May, 1961

Pensions And National Insurance

Widows

2.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware that widows in their fifties, whose late husbands were not contributors to National Insurance, do not get a pension, and that if they do part-time work they have to pay full insurance for the whole year, including the weeks when they are not employed; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy the position.

Yes. As National Insurance is a contributory scheme, widow's pension is not payable to the widows of men who did not pay contributions. These ladies are therefore in the same position as regards payment of contributions as other people not drawing benefit. I have no proposals for legislation to amend the law on this point.

Old-Age Pensions

3.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he has yet received the report of the National Insurance Advisory Committee regarding increased pension to wives under the age of 60 years whose husbands have continued to work after the age of 65 years; and what steps he is now taking in the matter.

Pensions (Non-Participating Employment)

13.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how much will fall to be deducted from any refund of superannuation payments due to a woman who leaves after five years in non-participating employment to be married; and what happens to that payment in lieu if the woman dies before reaching retirement age.

Where, in such a case, a payment in lieu falls to be made by the employer, the Statute would permit him to recover up to £58 3s. 7½d. from any superannuation contributions returnable to the worker in respect of the period of non-participation. The actual amount of any recovery is not, within this limit, a matter for me but for the rules of the employment and pension scheme; payments in lieu form part of the income of the National Insurance Fund.

Graduated Pension Scheme

14.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what happens under the graduated pension scheme to any benefits earned by the following categories assuming death before reaching retirement age, namely, married men, unmarried men, married women, and unmarried women.

A married man can qualify his widow for one half of the graduated retirement pension he earns before his death. Subject to this, no part of the retirement pension is or can be drawn by contributors who do not reach pensionable age.

National Assistance

23.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why the estimates for assistance grants by the National Assistance Board show a decrease of £5,500,000.

Because the increases in the rates of retirement pension and other payments made by my Department have diminished the need for National Assistance.

National Health Service Contributions (Cost Of Collection)

24.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why the cost of the collection of the National Health Service contributions in 1961–62 is expected to rise from £850,000 to £1,583,000.

The main reasons are the changes in the National Health Service contribution rates and in the accounting arrangements of the General Post Office as a result of which Post Office costs are met initially from my Department's vote, and not, as hitherto, directly from the proceeds of the contributions.

Certificates Of Non-Participation

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will circulate with the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the occupational classification of those employers who have been granted a certificate of non-participation, the numbers of employees in each occupational group, and the numbers of employers employing more than 1,000 employees.

As some 30,000 certificates have been issued to some 27,000 employers, I am afraid that not only would the collection and classification of the information requested by the hon. Member involve a large expenditure of time and money, but the result would also inflate the size of HANSARD to a wholly unreasonable extent.

Pneumoconiosis

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance in how many of the 143 appeals made to the commissioners during the past three years, under the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Acts, 1946–60, medical evidence was submitted which was in conflict with the findings of the Pneumoconiosis Medical Panel as to whether pneumoconiosis was a contributory cause of death.

The papers containing the details of these cases are not now available centrally, and it will take some time to get them together for examination. I have however arranged for this work to be put in hand and will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is completed.

Ministry Of Aviation

London Airport (Petrol Tank Installations)

30.

asked the Minister of Aviation what action he has taken to satisfy himself that the proposed new Esso petrol tank installations at London Airport will not constitute a serious hazard.

The proposal has been considered in relation to the safety of flying aircraft and of the public in the area. Since the company intends to use the area within the approaches to the runway for underground storage and vehicle parking only, I do not regard its proposals as a hazard to flying nor as materially increasing the number of people working within the approaches.

Ministry Of Health

Welfare Foods

37.

asked the Minister of Health what records are to be kept of the ages of children for whom welfare foods are purchased after 1st June next.

Orange Juice

38.

asked the Minister of Health what is the estimated retail cost of the fresh orange juice equivalent of the concentrated juice sold under the Welfare Food Scheme.

A bottle of concentrated orange juice contains as much Vitamin C as the juice of six to twelve oranges, according to size and quality.

Hospitals

St Helen Hospital, Barnsley

asked the Minister of Health what other priority projects in the Sheffield Region have proved more important than the need for the new St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley.

Approval of five major schemes was announced sooner, viz.: developments at Aston Hall, Balderton and Scunthorpe Hospitals and at Don-caster Royal Infirmary, and the first stage of the new Sheffield Teaching Hospital.

asked the Minister of Health when he expects to be able to give an approximate cost of the preparation of plans for the new St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet found another team of architects willing to carry on with the planning of the new St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley.

asked the Minister of Health whether the architects who have retired from the planning of St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley, are now engaged on hospital planning within the Sheffield Region.

asked the Minister of Health how many teams of architects have now been employed on the planning of the new St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley.

asked the Minister of Health why the cost of the proposed new St. Helen Hospital has risen to £4,000,000.

asked the Minister of Health if he will give an assurance that the St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley, has the same priority on the list of major hospital projects to be centrally financed as when announced on 16th November, 1959.

This scheme was announced in December, 1956. The list is not an order of priority.

asked the Minister of Health if he will now state the reasons for delay in completing the planning of the new St. Helen Hospital, Barnsley, in view of the fact that planning was due to be completed in 1957.

Mr George Blake

59.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when the name of George Blake last appeared on the Foreign Office list; and for how long after his name ceased to appear therein he continued to be employed by the Foreign Office.

Mr. Blake's name last appeared in the Staff Lists of Her Majesty's Missions abroad, which figure at the beginning of the Foreign Office List, in the year 1952. Mr. Blake continued thereafter to be employed by the Foreign Office until he was recently tried and convicted.

Passports (Application Forms)

61.

asked the Lord Privy Seal which of the classes of persons named on forms of application for passports as qualified to sign such forms are entitled under his regulations to charge for so doing.

The official regulations do not provide for any charge for the performance of this service.

Nepal (Economic Advisers)

63.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many of Her Majesty's Government's economic advisers are attached to the Royal Government of Nepal.

Mozambique

64.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if Her Majesty's Government will raise at the United Nations the disorders and the use of military force by the colonial government in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique as a danger to peace and security in the area, particularly in view of the effects on neigh bouring British territories of Tanganyika, Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia.

I have seen no reports of recent disorders in Mozambique, or of the use of military force to repress them. As far as I know the situation in Mozambique is quiet.

Geneva Conference On Nuclear Tests

65.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a further statement on the progress at the Geneva Conference on nuclear weapon tests.

There is nothing that I can add to my reply on 3rd May to the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) and the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson).

Laos (Geneva Conference)

66.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what instructions have now been given to the Government's delegation to the Geneva Conference on the future of Laos.

The instructions to the delegation will be to secure a neutral, united and independent Laos.

Vietnam (American Temporary Equipment Recovery Mission)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what reports he has received from the International Commission for Vietnam on the repatriation of the members of the American Temporary Equipment Recovery Mission in South Vietnam, following its dissolution on 31st December, 1960.

None. We have not yet received the Commission's Interim Report for 1960.

Employment

Accidents

68.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will ask the Chief Inspector of Factories, when he prepares the annual report for 1960, to deal comprehensively with the problem of the general increase in the number of reportable accidents, in particular, in the building industry.

Tally Clerks, Port Of London

asked the Minister of Labour what was the percentage of unemployment among tally clerks in the Port of London during the months of February, March and April, 1961; and what was their average weekly earnings.

The National Dock Labour Board informs me that the average percentage of tally clerks in the Port of London for whom no work was available was 6·4 during February, 9·1 during March, and 10·9 during April. The average earnings of daily workers were £18 15s. 11d. a week during February and £18 5s. 5d. during March, but the figures for April are not yet available.

Basic Wages

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make an estimate of the number of work people who are on a basic wage of less than £9 per week, and the number of work people whose average wages are less than £10 per week.

I regret that no information is available about the number of work people on a basic wage of less than £9 per week.Of the 4,871,743 men included in the inquiry into the distribution of earnings of full-time manual workers held in respect of the second pay week in October, 1960, 468,224 or 9·6 per cent. earned less than £10 in the week of the return: of the 1,041,917 women concerned 907,556 or 87·1 per cent. earned less than £10.

Roads

Road Work, Dagenham (New Road Mission)

71.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that notice was served on the New Road Mission, Dagenham, on 21st April, 1961, giving only 14 days to quit, to enable road widening to take place; and whether he will give longer notice to enable new arrangements to be made for carrying on the Mission's work.

The notice to enter, served on the Mission on 21st April, 1961, was issued 18 months after it had been served with a copy of a compulsory purchase order relating to part of the land occupied by the Mission building. Temporary arrangements have now been agreed which will enable the Mission to continue its work in the major part of its building while the building of a road embankment proceeds.

Railways

Capital Projects (Examination)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give estimates of the annual cost involved to his Department and to the British Transport Commission, respectively, of the detailed examination by his Department of capital projects costing more than £250,000 which has been made since February, 1960; and what savings have been effected.

The full value and purpose of this examination, which it would not in my view be right to modify until a more satisfactory system has been developed for scrutinising the investment of the very large sums of public money involved, do not rest on specific savings in those projects which are actually submitted to me by the British Transport Commission. I would refer the hon. Member to my observations on this subject in the debate on 30th January, 1961 (HANSARD, col. 625) and to the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries (House of Commons Paper 163). In these circumstances, I do not think any useful purpose would be served by attempting to calculate the figures sought by the hon. Member.

Transport

Coal Lorries, Derby (Noise And Fumes)

asked the Minister of Transport what representations he has received from the council of the County Borough of Derby concerning the nuisance created by the diesel fumes and noise of lorries loaded with coal passing through Derby.

The town clerk wrote to my Department and others recently about his council's concern at the number of coal lorries passing through Derby and the noise and fumes they cause, and I have replied.It is already illegal for a vehicle on the road to make excessive noise or to emit fumes likely to cause injury or danger to anyone. Enforcement is a matter for the police.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Bulls

69.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which are the three British beef breeds which have the largest number of licensed bulls.

I am not able to say how many of the bulls of each breed licensed in past years are still being used for service, but over the past five years the three beef breeds for which the greatest numbers of licences have been issued in Great Britain are as follows: 13,441 for Hereford, 13,248 for Aberdeen Angus and 4,403 for Galloway.

European Common Market

70.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information his Department has supplied to Members of Parliament on the economic consequences to the agricultural community of this country's entry into the Common Market.

None. If we were to enter the Common Market the economic consequences for agriculture would depend on the terms on which we entered and on the provisions of the common agricultural policy of the European Economic Community, which have not yet been worked out.

Education

Women Teachers (National Insurance Contributions)

72.

asked the Minister of Education how many women teachers there are over the age of 60 years who will now contribute to the national superannuation scheme.

I estimate that approximately 5,000 full-time women teachers over the age of 60 whose employment is contributory service under the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts will be liable to pay contributions under the graduated National Insurance scheme.

Commonwealth Relations

Commonwealth Scholarships And Visiting Fellowships

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many applications have so far been received for Commonwealth Scholarships, and from which countries.

Special agencies established in each Commonwealth country overseas by their respective Governments receive applications for Commonwealth Scholarships. The number so far received is not available.Lists of selected candidates are submitted by these agencies to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Particulars of nominations are as follows:

1960–611961–62
Canada6567
Australia4951
New Zealand1515
South Africa2425
India8080
Pakistan4040
Ceylon159
Ghana710
Malaya1314
Nigeria4627
Cyprus3
Sierra Leone94
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland810
High Commission Territories43
Aden2
British Guiana44
British Honduras12
Bahamas31
Barbados35
Bermuda12
Fiji22
Gambia22
Gibraltar22
Hong Kong1212
Jamaica87
Kenya88
Leeward Islands:
Montserrat12
Antigua15
St. Kitts/Nevis12
Mauritius210
Malta33
North Borneo1
Somaliland1
Sarawak1
Singapore116
Tanganyika211
Trinidad65
Uganda69
Windward Islands:
Grenada22
St. Vincent12
St. Lucia33
Dominica33
Zanzibar15
Total468474

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many applications have so far been received for Commonwealth Visiting Fellowships, and from which countries.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom did not make any awards of Commonwealth Visiting Fellowships in 1960. It is hoped that some awards of Visiting Fellowships will be made this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will request the Selection Committee for Commonwealth Visiting Fellowships to bear in mind the need for appointing one or two non-academic fellows from candidates who have distinguished themselves in their local communities, or in such fields as trades unionism, management, civil service, or journalism, or in teaching below university level.

Commonwealth Visiting Fellowships will be few in number and are intended for Scholars of high distinction and established reputation.Men and women who have distinguished themselves in non-academic fields such as are mentioned by the hon. Member are, however, eligible for the Commonwealth Scholarships offered by the United Kingdom if nominated by the agencies administering the plan in the countries to which they belong. Although these Scholarships are given mainly for post-graduate study or research, it is expressly provided in the directions which were issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies and myself to the Commission, when it was established last year, that men and women who play important r61es in other ways in the life of their community may be considered.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will appoint a representative from the field of adult education to the Selection Committee for Commonwealth Scholarships and Visiting Fellowships.

The nature of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan requires that the composition of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission should include a number of persons who hold senior positions in institutions of higher education, but in making the remaining appointments my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies and I endeavour to ensure that they cover the widest possible field. The question of appointing someone possessing special qualifications in adult education needs therefore to be weighed against the claims of other interests for representation, e.g., industry and science. I would, however, assure the hon. Member that the possibility of appointing an expert in adult education will continue to be borne in mind as vacancies in the Commission occur.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will arrange for a pre-university orientation course for all Commonwealth Scholars and Visiting Fellows before they take up their studies at their various universities and colleges in Great Britain.

Courses of the kind described by the hon. Member were arranged by the British Council for the first group of 170 Commonwealth Scholars who took up Scholarships in the United Kingdom last September and similar arrangements will be made for Commonwealth Scholars in future years.The recipients of Commonwealth Visiting Fellowships, of which none have so far been awarded, will be distinguished scholars of established reputation and it is not considered that orientation courses would be appropriate for persons in this very senior category.

Tanganyika

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in the recruitment of doctors for service in Tanganyika during the last two years.

In 1959 the Government of Tanganyika asked for two doctors to be recruited and this request was met. In 1960 the Government of Tanganyika asked for five doctors. These doctors have also been obtained though in the case of four of them the formalities of recruitment have not yet been completed.Further requests for 19 doctors were received on 5th and 27th April of this year and these vacancies have been advertised.

Telephone Service

Brentford And Chiswick

asked the Postmaster-General how many telephone subscribers live in the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick; how many people are on the waiting list for telephones; and what is the longest period any one person has been waiting.

There are 10,113 telephone subscribers in the Borough of Brentford and Chiswick. 177 people are on the waiting list. The longest period any one person has been waiting is since 20th January, 1958, but I expect to be able to give this applicant a telephone by October next.

asked the Postmaster-General how many private subscribers to the telephone service there are in Brentford and Chiswick; and how this figure compares with the total of business subscribers in the Borough.

Home Department

Whitehall Demonstration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will categorise the number of people arrested during the recent civil disobedience campaign according to industrial and non-industrial occupations, including students, specifying how many were adults and the numbers of each sex arrested.

537 males, of whom 203 were under 21, and 289 females, of whom 121 were under 21, were arrested during the demonstration in Whitehall on 29th April. These included 280 students, of whom 181 were males and 99 were females. 120 of the male students and 77 of the female students were under 21.The information available about the occupations of the other persons arrested does not enable a clear distinction to be drawn between industrial and non-industrial occupations.

Scotland

Forestry (Educational Courses)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the rationalisation of forestry work courses to be held at Castle Douglas under the auspices of the Scottish Woodland Owners Association which are designed to further knowledge of modern forestry techniques in use in Holland, Scandinavia and other continental countries; whether, in view of the importance of such techniques to the development of forestry in Scotland, he will bring the existence of these courses to the notice of local education authorities; and whether he will give financial assistance to students wishing to attend these further technical educational courses.

I am aware that a course of this kind, in which the Forestry Commission has agreed to participate, is shortly to be held at Castle Douglas under the auspices of the Scottish Woodland Owners' Association; and I warmly commend the Association's enterprise. Education authorities have power to assist students taking educational courses, and if the Association decides to promote a series of these courses it may wish to bring the series to the authorities' notice.

Local Government

Public Health Code

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs how many local authorities are operating under the Public Health Code of 1875 and how many under the 1892 Code; and what action he proposes to take to facilitate the change-over.

The code of 1892 applies in all rural districts. It has also been adopted by all except about 200 borough and urban district councils who still rely on the code of 1875 or on local Acts.There is no question of any compulsory changeover from one code to another; but I recently issued a circular to private street works authorities in which I encouraged those who had not already done so to adopt the code of 1892, which is generally more flexible and more suited to modern conditions. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the circular.

Government Information Services

Central Office Of Information (Staff Accommodation)

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is satisfied that the accommodation provided, or to be provided, this year for the staff of the Central Office of Information complies with the long-term standards of accommodation agreed between the staff and official side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council.

I have been asked to reply. Yes. Taking into account the extra space to be provided this year.

National Finance

Hire-Purchase Finance Companies (Overseas Earnings)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the overseas earnings of United Kingdom hire-purchase companies in the last convenient period.

I have been asked to reply. Identified earnings from direct overseas investments in branches, subsidiaries and associates of hire-purchase finance companies amounted to about three quarters of a million pounds in 1959.