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Written Answers

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 8 March 1962

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 8th March, 1962

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Farm Accidents

13.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the number of farm accidents reported, in each year from 1956 to 1959, inclusive; and how many of this number in each year were fatal accidents.

In 1959, the first complete year in which such reports were made, the Agricultural Departments were notified of 13,925 absences from work due to non-fatal accidents and industrial diseases of agricultural workers. The number of men, women and children killed on farms in Great Britain in each each year from 1956 to 1959 was 153,131, 137 and 151, respectively.

Land Drainage Act, 1961

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce legislation to postpone the operation of Sections 22 and 23 of the Land Drainage Act, 1961, so as to give staffs of internal drainage authorities time to make the necessary modifications to the rate-books following upon the general revaluation for rating purposes in 1963.

The Association of Drainage Authorities has represented to me the difficulties with which drainage boards are faced in implementing the revised drainage rating arrangements in the time available before the financial year 1963–64. I cannot hold out any hope of legislation to postpone the operation of the Sections referred to. I appreciate, however, that drainage boards are faced with a heavy task, and with the cooperation of the Board of Inland Revenue and the local authorities, I am doing everything I can to help the drainage boards to carry out this work in time. We hope shortly to give further guidance to drainage boards on this matter.

Trade And Commerce

Agricultural Commodities

31.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out the various agricultural commodities and their values produced in this country and exported from it in the years 1960 and 1961, to the latest convenient date.

I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend the information for which he asks and am also making it available in the Library.

Cuba

32.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what restrictions exist on British trade with Cuba; and what proposals he has for changes in these restrictions.

Imports from Cuba enter Britain without restriction, except for cigars, rum, grapefruit, grapefruit juice and orange juice; the import quotas for these are the same for 1962 as for 1961. So far as British exports to Cuba are concerned, only the goods listed in the First Schedule of the Export of Goods (Control) Order, 1960, as amended, are subject to export licensing control, and Her Majesty's Government have taken no decision to impose any additional restrictions. Imports into and exports from Cuba are entirely in the hands of State trading organisations.

Local Employment Act (West Of Scotland)

33.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the total amount of financial grants applied for by firms willing to operate in the area of the West of Scotland under the Local Employment Act from its inception to the latest convenient date; and what was the amount granted.

Up to the end of last month financial assistance amounting to over £25 million has been applied for; and over £22 million has been offered to successful applicants.

Resale Price Maintenance (Inquiry)

35.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress he has made with his Department inquiry into resale price maintenance; and when he expects to make a statement.

I am studying the results of this inquiry. I cannot say when I shall be able to make a statement.

Motor Cars (Exports)

38.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of the national output of motor cars has been exported; and to what he attributes the recent change in trends.

In the second half of 1961, 38 per cent. of British car production was exported compared with 36 per cent. in the first half and with 42 per cent. in 1960. The decline in exports last year was due mainly to a sharp fall in shipments to North America, but recently these as well as exports to other markets particular in Western Europe have shown some improvement.

Donibristle Site, Fife

42.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in order to expedite the occupation of the Donibristle site in Fife by an industrial firm, he will now take immediate steps to consult the Admiralty with a view to acquiring the site.

I am already in touch with the Admiralty regarding the future of this site, but it is not yet clear that acquisition by the Board of Trade would result in its occupation by an industrial firm.

Imports And Exports

43.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the facts that the adverse trade balance of the United Kingdom is as much due to the excess of imports as to a deficiency in exports, that a substantial proportion of the present goods and materials imported into this country is not essential, and that the import of agricultural produce often involves the Government in heavy losses because of subsidies, he will take steps to ensure that henceforward the same degree of publicity is given to the desirability of curbing unnecessary imports as to extending exports.

No. It would not be right to advocate simultaneously an expansion of our own exports and the restriction of imports from other countries, which are their exports. Our interest is best served by doing all we can to expand international trade and working for the removal of restrictions.

Eggs

45.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how long his Department took to ascertain the internal price of eggs in Poland after receiving, in the spring of 1961, an application against the dumping of Polish eggs in the United Kingdom.

The Board of Trade had ascertained this price before the formal application was made.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what quantities of eggs were imported into the United Kingdom from Poland and China, respectively, in the month of January, 1962; and how the figures compare with those of January, 1961.

6,950 boxes of shell eggs were imported from Poland in January, 1961; 1,000 boxes were imported in January, 1962. There were no imports of frozen eggs from China or Poland in either period.

Sea-Water Distillation Plant

46.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the export figures for sea-water distillation plant during the last five years.

I regret that sea-water distillation plant is not separately distinguished in the trade statistics.

Films (Import Duty)

47.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why the film, "Blessed are the Peacemakers", featuring Pastor Martin Niemoeller, was classified by his Department as not concerned with the advancement of learning and was charged with full Import Duty.

The film was imported by the Peace Pledge Union for the stated purpose of stimulating discussion at group meetings or at other organisations. This intention did not meet the statutory requirement for relief from Import Duty.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether he will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the films which have been excused Import Duty as contributing to the advancement of learning, and of these which have been the subject of application and refusal.

This information is not available and its compilation would involve an amount of work which would not be justified.

Export Credits Guarantee Department (Applications)

48.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the average time taken in reaching a decision on applications within the export guarantee provisions.

In view of the wide range of propositions put to E.C.G.D., no average time can be calculated. Most of the applications are for credit limits on terms up to 6 months, of which the Department receives over 3,000 a week. 75 per cent. of these are answered within 72 hours.

Irish Bacon

49.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now in a position to announce his decision about the application for an anti-dumping duty to be imposed against bacon imported from the Irish Republic.

Gatt (Anglo-American Tariff Agreement)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made recently in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade tariff negotiations in Geneva.

Her Majesty's Government have concluded a bilateral tariff agreement with the United States, as have some other countries participating in the negotiations. This is a major step towards the substantial reduction in tariff barriers on a reciprocal basis which was our objective in entering into these negotiations.In the agreement concluded with Britain the United States are, in general, undertaking to reduce by one-fifth their duties on products in which our trade in 1959 was worth about £73 million. Our trade will also benefit from the con- cessions which the United States are undertaking to make to other countries, particularly the European Economic Community, and which will be extended to our goods under the most-favourednation principle; our trade with the United States in 1959 in the products affected was worth over £100 million.Her Majesty's Government are undertaking to make concessions, mostly in the form of reductions by one-fifth, on duties on products of which imports from the United States were valued in 1959 at about £71 million.The benefits which we shall receive under the agreement with the United States will include reductions of the duties applying to civil aircraft, certain machinery and linen manufactures. Among the benefits to our exports from the agreement between the United States and the European Economic Community will be reductions in the duties on motor-vehicles and parts and accessories in the tariffs of both parties to the agreement.In our own tariff, in addition to concessions on the duties on motor-vehicles and parts and accessories, we shall be reducing duties on a wide range of products.In general, the United States intend, in accordance with their legislation, to implement the concessions on their tariff in two equal stages, the first this summer and the second in the summer of 1963. The necessary changes in the British tariff will be brought into effect as soon as practicable. As regards the duties on passenger cars and certain vehicle parts, however, on which we and the European Economic Community will be making reductions of significantly more than one-fifth, it is intended to implement the concessions in three stages corresponding to the stages by which the duties of the individual countries of the European Economic Community are approximated to the duties in the Common Tariff of the Community.I am not at present in a position to make a statement about the negotiations between Britain and the Community.Copies of the schedules of concessions exchanged between Britain and the United States will be placed in the Library.

National Finance

Incomes Policy

52.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why, as stated in the White Paper, Incomes Policy: The Next Step, he does not regard increases in the cost of living as a basis for wage claims.

The rise in the cost of living last year mainly reflects the fact that the increase in incomes between 1960 and 1961 was much too large. To attempt to give retrospective compensation by further excessive increases in incomes would only perpetuate the evil. The only sound basis for increases in the general level of incomes is the longer term trend of national productivity.

Universities

53.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been drawn to the recent report of the committee of vice chancellors and principals of universities in regard to the number of applications for admission received, and the number actually admitted; and, in view of the inadequacy of available accommodation, if he will now arrange to provide an additional university in Scotland.

I have seen the report. Until a clearing-house system for applications has come into operation, it will not be possible to establish the true position, since the aggregate of applications undoubtedly contains a large measure of duplication; and the figures do not include Oxford and Cambridge. So far as the figures will carry one, they indicate a much greater degree of pressure in England and Wales than in Scotland. The question of founding further new institutions must await the Report of the Committee on Higher Education under Lord Robbins.

Local Authorities (Interest Rates)

54.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reply he has made to the letter of 1st March from Ayr County Council regarding interest rates.

55.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to take to reduce the heavy financial burden upon local authorities committed to essential capital schemes.

56.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has studied the letter of protest from Ayr County Council concerning the interest rates charged on local authority borrowing; and What reply he has sent.

I am aware of the representations made by Ayr County Council. If present interest rates do cause some local authorities to defer certain projects, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, as my right hon. Friend explained last July, by restraining their expenditure, local authorities can help to relieve the overload on the economy. We do, however, keep these interest rates under constant review and local authorities do, of course, receive substantial grant aid towards most of their capital schemes.

Government Departments (Translators)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the rate of remuneration paid to members of Government Departments for translation work carried out in their spare time.

The rate for translations from foreign languages into English varies according to the difficulty of the language and the nature of the matter to be translated. No rate for translations from English into foreign languages has been laid down.

National Economic Development Council

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the National Economic Development Council will be empowered to discuss the effects of takeover bids on investment and wages policy.

The Council will certainly be free to take into consideration any factors which it may think have a bearing on investment and wages policy. My right hon. and learned Friend has tried to make it clear from the beginning that he would not seek to exclude any subject from its discussions, and that he would not arrogate to Ministers the right to fix the agenda.

National Land Fund

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the total value of the property and the chattels accepted in satisfaction of death duties since 31st March, 1961, under the National Land Fund.

Home Department

Remand Home, North Wales

57.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that there is no remand home within reasonable distance of the six north Wales counties; if such a remand home will be available in the near future; and if he will make a statement.

Remand accommodation for girls is available in a voluntary home at Wrexham, but for boys from North Wales the general practice has been to use the Monmouthshire remand home. The numbers in a separate boys' remand home for North Wales would probably be so small that it would be uneconomical to use. I will, however, bear in mind the requirements of North Wales in the consultations I am having with various local authorities about the provision of extra remand home accommodation.

Horse Race Betting Levy Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will state the full membership of the Horse Race Betting Levy Board.

Appointed by the Secretary of State

  • Field Marshal Lord Harding of Petherton (Chairman).
  • Sir Denys Hicks.
  • Mr. T. D. G. Munro.

Appointed by the Jockey Club

  • Major-General Sir Randle Feilden.
  • Mr. J. O. Hambro.

Appointed by the National Hunt Committee

  • Lord Bicester.

Chairman of the Bookmakers' Committee

  • Mr. A. Scott.

Chairman of the Horserace Totalisator Board

  • Sir Alexander Sim.

Jury Service (Nurses)

58.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, having regard to the difficulty many hospitals are having to keep wards open due to the shortage of trained nurses, he will take steps to exempt registered nurses from jury service.

It would not be right to consider the claims of registered nurses in isolation, but they will be borne in mind in any general review of the statutory exemptions from jury service.

Crimes Of Violence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the total number of males under 17 years who were convicted for any indictable offence in 1938 were convicted for violence against the person; and if he will give the corresponding figure for the last convenient 12 months.

The proportions were 0·42 per cent. in 1938 and 2·9 per cent. in 1960.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the difference in the proportion of males under 21 years who were reconvicted for crimes of violence between those who received corporal punishment after conviction for robbery with violence between 1921 and 1931 and those who did not receive corporal punishment after similar convictions in the same period; and if he will give comparable figures for 1932 to 1942.

The only relevant information is contained in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Corporal Punishment, 1938 (Cmd. 5694) and in the Return made to the House of Lords (121) in July, 1951. Neither of these reports deals with the precise periods specified in the Question. In the earlier report, which covered the period 1921 to 1930, it was stated that 81 persons aged under 21 were convicted of offences of robbery with violence under Section 23 (1) of the Larceny Act, 1916, and that of these, 22 were sentenced to corporal punishment and 59 were not. One of those sentenced to corporal punishment and eight of those not so sentenced were subsequently convicted of offences of violence. The House of Lords Paper, which covered the period 1931 to 1940, stated that 243 persons aged under 21 were convicted of offences of robbery with violence and that of these, 74 were sentenced to corporal punishment and 169 were not. Eight of those sentenced to corporal punishment and 19 of those not so sentenced were subsequently convicted of offences of violence.

Education

Colleges Of Advanced Technology (Overseas Students)

59.

asked the Minister of Education what proportion of the total number of places in colleges of advanced technology will be allocated to students from overseas.

There is no fixed proportion for the colleges as a whole. Suitably qualified students are admitted at the discretion of the governing body concerned. At present overseas students amount to about 8 per cent. of the total full-time and sandwich students in these colleges.

Primary School Subjects (Modern Languages)

asked the Minister of Education how many primary schools included the teaching of modern languages in their curriculum in January, 1961, and in January, 1962, respectively.

I do not collect these statistics, but I know that the number is increasing.

Rhodesia And Nyasaland

United Kingdom Emigrants

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to what extent emigration has recently increased from this country to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; and to what factors this is to be ascribed.

Constitution

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a further statement about the constitutional problems of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

The Constitutions of the three component Territories having now been settled, Her Majesty's Government are giving consideration to the future problems of the Federation as a whole. In this connection, they will be ready to receive proposals from the Federal Government or any of the Territorial Governments or any interests concerned through the appropriate channels.

European Economic Community

60.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will set up an interdepartmental committee to prepare plans to meet the situation in the event of the United Kingdom being unable to obtain terms which would enable it to enter the Common Market.

No. We are making every effort to ensure that our negotiations with the European Economic Community succeed, and it would be a mistake to divert our energies at this time to dealing with other matters.

Local Government

Manchester City Council (Housing)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs on what grounds he gave a dispensation to those members of the Manchester City Council who are tenants of corporation houses which enabled them to vote on a motion at a recent meeting of the Manchester City Council dealing with the subsidies payable in respect of such houses.

The reason was given in the answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Moss Side (Mr. F. Taylor) on 6th March.

Employment

Government Department Employees (Earnings)

asked the Minister of Labour when he proposes to publish details of the earnings of employees of Government Departments on the lines referred to in the Ministry of Labour Gazette of September 1960; and what has been the reason for the delay.

I propose to embody this information in a comprehensive statement about the average earnings of salaried employees in a number of non-manufacturing industries and services. This will be published shortly and I will send the hon. Member a copy. It seemed preferable to wait until statistics for a number of years were available covering both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries and services.

Science

Toxic Chemicals In Agriculture

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science, what arrangements are being made by the Research Councils to implement the recommendations of the Research Study Group on toxic chemicals in agriculture.

The Research Councils are concerned in general with those recommendations relating to fun damental research, rather than with those relating to surveys and inquiries, most of which will be the concern of the Agricultural Departments. The Research Councils propose to continue their already substantial research in the fields mentioned in the report and extend it, as far as resources permit, where fruitful results appear likely. The various tasks are shared between them in accordance with their normal interests. Thus, research into problems bearing on the toxicity of agricultural chemicals to human beings falls to the Medical Research Council.The Agricultural Research Council is responsible for basic research on chemical hazards concerning farm crops, animals and soils, while the Nature Conservancy is responsible for research relating to the effects of agricultural chemicals on wild life and the natural environment. Research into improved methods of analysing residues of toxic chemicals in foodstuffs and animal tissues is the responsibility of the Government Chemist in the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, who will also assist the other bodies concerned.Certain of the problems are of concern to two or more Research Councils, and the Agricultural Research Council is setting up a scientific committee, under the chairmanship of Professor A. C. Frazer, to keep all relevant research under review and to report progress at suitable intervals.

Railways

Branch Lines

asked the Minister of Transport what is the practice for ensuring that uneconomic branch railway lines are kept in service when he receives recommendations to that effect from Transport Consultative Committees.

Recommendations from the Consultative Committees are made both to me and to the British Transport Commission, and I am empowered to give the Commission such directions as I think fit. Where, following such a recommendation, it is decided to maintain a railway service even though it is uneconomic, the cost remains a charge upon the public funds voted to meet railway deficits. Any financial objectives set for the Commission under the provisions of Command 1337 (The Financial and Economic Obligations of the Nationalised Industries) may be adjusted accordingly. The position is broadly the same under Clause 57 of the Transport Bill, though under that Clause my consent will be required to every opposed railway closure.