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Written Answers

Volume 640: debated on Friday 19 May 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 19th May, 1961

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Covent Garden Market Scheme (Finsbury Site)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consultations he has had with the London County Council about the purchase of the site of the St. Luke's Printing Works in Finsbury for the Covent Garden Market scheme.

I have discussed with the London County Council the position arising from the amendments to the Covent Garden Market Bill. It is still under an obligation to complete the purchase when the price has been determined. I have agreed that if the site is not needed by the Covent Garden Market Authority within a reasonably short time and has to be resold by the London County Council any resulting profit or loss would accrue to or be borne by the Exchequer. In the event of a loss I would propose to seek Parliamentary authority to obtain the necessary financial provision to repay the London County Council.

The West Indies

Banana Industry

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the results of the recent conference on the problems of the banana industry in Jamaica, St. Lucia and the Windward Islands.

After a full discussion of the problems of the industry, and a review of the operation of the price assistance schemes which had been in force in Jamaica and the Windward Islands since 1955, the conference reached a number of decisions on further steps that should be taken to assist the industry. A programme for expansion of fundamental and applied research was recommended, towards which Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to make a Colonial Development and Welfare grant. A revised price adjustment scheme for the Windward Islands was drawn up for submission to the Governments concerned, and agreement was reached on steps necessary to assist the marketing of the industry's products in the United Kingdom.

Royal Navy

German Submarines (Bases)

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the importance of psychological considerations within the Western Alliance, he will give an undertaking that no decision to base German U-boats at Rosyth, or elsewhere in Great Britain, will be taken without full consultation with local authorities in the area involved.

There are no plans for basing German submarines in the Rosyth area or elsewhere in Great Britain.

Royal Air Force

Raf Station, Lyneham (Housing)

asked the Secretary of State for Air what further progress has been made in housing Mr. W. Watts and his colleagues, of the Royal Air Force Station, Lyneham, since the recent representations made to him by the hon. Member for Swindon.

I have nothing to add to the information which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has already given the hon. Member.

National Finance

£ Sterling (Purchasing Value)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, taking the internal purchasing value of the £ sterling as 20s. in October, 1951, it had declined to 18s. 7d. in February, 1953, and to 16s. 1d. in February, 1957; and what was the comparable figure for February, 1961.

Yes, on the basis of the retail price index. The comparable figure for February, 1961, is 14s. 11d.

Estimates (Revised Form)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement concerning a change in the form of the Estimates.

As I indicated in my Budget Statement, the Treasury has put to the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee certain proposals for a radical simplification and modernisation of the Estimates, and the Estimates Committee has raised a number of points to which the Treasury has replied. In these circumstances, it is my intention that the revised form of

Date of first payment of pension1.1.30*1.1.401.1.501.1.60
££££
Clerical OfficerPension168175223379
Increase12512970
Total293304293379
Executive OfficerPension258261322540
Increase15615793
Total414418415540
Higher Executive OfficerPension318323394665
Increase170171109
Total488494503665
* The pension figures in this column take account of the consolidation of war bonus in 1935.

Ministry Of Health

Mr Godfrey (Member's Letters)

asked the Minister of Health when the hon. Member for Shipley may expect a full answer to his overnight telegram of 11th December and letter of 21st December and subsequent letters relating to the case of Mr. Godfrey.

I am writing today to my hon. Friend, to whom I apologise for the long delay.

Home Department

Prisoners' Sentences (Remissions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by whose authority prisoners may have lost remission

the Estimates should be introduced for the 1962–63 main Estimates for the Civil and Revenue Departments.

Civil Servants (Pensions)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what were the amounts of pension initially granted, and what increases have been granted under the Pensions (Increase) Acts, 1944 to 1959, in the case of a clerical officer, executive officer, and higher executive officer, respectively, who retired in the years 1930, 1940, 1950 and 1960, respectively, on the assumption of 40 years' pensionable service at age 60 years; and what were the maximum awards of both pension and pension increases in each case.

On the assumption that maximum salary for the grade (London rate) was earned for the three years before retirement, the figures are as shown below.restored to them, following an unsuccessful appeal to their sentence.

Section 38 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, provides that, unless the Court of Criminal Appeal otherwise directs, six weeks of the time during which a prisoner is specially treated as an appellant, or the whole of that time if it is less than six weeks, shall be disregarded in computing the term of his sentence. The court may direct that no part of this time, or any part, whether longer or shorter than six weeks, shall be so disregarded. There is no power to override the effect of the Statute or to set aside a direction of the court. The Prerogative of Mercy may be used to remit part of a prisoner's sentence, but it would not, save in exceptional circumstances, be right for me to recommend the exercise of that power solely in order to restore time lost as the result of an appeal.

Street Offences Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the number of women who have been imprisoned under the Street Offences Act since the Act came into operation.

The provisional figure for the number of women sentenced to imprisonment up to the end of 1960 is 494. Information about the number of women who have served terms of imprisonment in default of payment of a fine is not readily available.

Employment

Teachers, Scotland (Dispute)

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the dispute between the Scottish teachers associations and the Secretary of State for Scotland, as a result of which a series of strikes are due to start on 5th June; and if he will take steps to bring both parties together with a view to reaching agreement and preventing dislocation of the educational services in Scotland.

It would not be appropriate for me to intervene. My right hon. Friend will shortly be communicating further with the Associations on the subject of non-graduate men teachers.

Pensions And National Insurance

Retirement Pensions

asked the Minister of Pensions what benefit will accrue to a qualified woman teacher of 60 years of age who has responded to the request of her local education authority to continue teaching and who, as a consequence, pays an additional £8 2s. per year in graduated contributions under the National Insurance Act, 1959.

2s. 6d. a week addition to her retirement pension if the woman teacher were to pay this annual amount of graduated contributions for the five years up to her 65th birthday, when graduated contributions cease to be payable.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what would be the approximate additional cost of granting non-contributory pensions to all men and women over retiring age who are not so entitled under present regulations.

The estimated cost to the National Insurance Fund of paying pensions at the standard National Insurance rates to all those over pensionable age who do not satisfy the contribution conditions for a retirement pension would be initially of the order of £100 million a year. It is estimated that there would be an offsetting saving of some £30 million a year on National Assistance and the non-contributory old-age pensions administered by the National Assistance Board.

Post Office

Telephone And Telegraph Equipment (Export)

asked the Postmaster-General what proportion of telephone and telegraph equipment which is covered by bulk supply agreements was exported in 1960 and in each of the preceding five years, respectively.

The information is not available in the form requested, but I understand that, over the period in question, the industry has exported between some 40 to 50 per cent. of its output.

Post Office, Ashington (Reconstruction)

asked the Postmaster-General what progress is being made in the reconstruction of Ashington Post Office, Northumberland: and when he expects the work to be completed.

Reconstruction of the Ashington Post Office is more than half completed. Work on the public office is taking a little longer than I had expected but the new "all-purpose service" counter should be opened by August. The remainder of the new office should be completed before Christmas this year.

Scotland

Teachers (Pensions)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the average amount of pension per annum paid in the last financial year to teachers who retired before 1948.

Housing Subsidies

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to amend the Scottish housing subsidies.

I have nothing to add at present to the reply which I gave to a similar Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Sir J. Henderson-Stewart) on 14th February, 1961.

Registration Of Title To Land (Committee's Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if the Reid Committee on Registration of Title to Land have yet submitted its report.

Glasgow Overspill (New Towns)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the necessity for another three new towns to deal with Glasgow's overspill problem; and if he is now in a position to indicate the location of such new towns.

The question whether a fourth new town should be established to cater for Glasgow overspill, and where it might be, is at an advanced stage of consideration. Other measures to increase the contribution being made by the three existing new towns and by the local receiving authorities have been initiated and are already producing houses and employment in increasing numbers for Glasgow families.

Trade And Commerce

Exporters, Halifax (Export Credits)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what response he has had to the new Export Credits Guarantee Department scheme for small exporters from the Halifax and district area; how many firms in that area have been approached independently about increasing exports under this scheme; how many have replied; what proportion of those replying were interested in taking part; and how the response from this area compares with that from other areas, and from the country as a whole.

The Department has written to 114 firms in the area who were considered possible users of this new facility: these letters did not ask for a reply except from firms interested in knowing more. In addition the Halifax and District Chamber of Commerce kindly undertook to circulate 300 descriptive folders to members. During the first month of operation four inquiries have been received and two policies issued; two other firms have signified their intention to take policies as soon as any business materialises.It is not possible to draw valid comparisons between results in this and in other areas, but something over a hundred policies have been issued in the country as a whole.

Roads

Great North Road

asked the Minister of Transport how many miles of the Great North Road between Stamford, Lincolnshire, and Newark, Nottinghamshire, are double-track; how many are not; and how many more miles will be double-tracked by Whitsun, 1962.

Of the 34¾ miles of the Great North Road between Stamford and Newark, 8¼ at present consist of dual carriageway. Of the remaining 26½ miles a further 10¼ miles of dual carriageway are under construction and due for completion during the first half of 1962. Every effort will be made to have this section open by Whitsun, 1962.

Road Building (Expenditure)

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that according to the Economic Commission for Europe and the British Road Federation there are more motor vehicles per mile of road in Great Britain than in Western Germany but that the expenditure on road building in Great Britain per inhabitant is less than half that of Germany; and what action he is planning to take to increase the speed of road building.

Expenditure on road building is only one of many claims on a country's resources. But the Government have authorised rapid expansions in the rate of road investment. The most recent, announced last year, provides for expenditure of £88 million in Great Britain in 1961–62 and about £100 million in 1962–63.