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Written Answers

Volume 656: debated on Wednesday 28 March 1962

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 28th March, 1962

Royal Air Force

Aircraft Noise, Bruntingthorpe

2.

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will take steps to end the disruption of village life at Bruntingthorpe caused by aircraft noise from the nearby Royal Air Force aerodrome.

Bruntingthorpe village is not far from the airfield and some disturbance from aircraft is I am afraid inevitable. The base commander does all he can to keep it to a minimum. As my hon. Friend knows, the United States Air Force will have left the airfield by the end of September.

Scotland

Nurses (Pay)

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received concerning wages and conditions in the nursing and midwifery services in Scotland.

I have received representations to the effect that the 2½ per cent. increase in remuneration proposed by the management side of the Whitley Council is inadequate.

Roads

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many miles of 11 feet carriageway roads will be made, and how many miles will be improved, respectively, in Scotland during 1962; and what additional cost would be involved in providing 18 feet carriageways.

Including schemes now in progress, I expect that in Scotland during 1962–63 approximately 20 miles of new road with an 11 foot carriageway will be under construction and about 42 miles of existing road will be being improved to that standard. The additional cost of providing an 18 foot carriageway can vary greatly with the different circumstances of individual schemes but the overall total for the 62 miles might approach £600,000.

Technical Education Consultative Council (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the report of the Committee of the Scottish Technical Education Consultative Council to be published.

The first Report of the Council's Committee on the Development of Day Release will be published in about two weeks' time.

Hospitals (Smoking)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will include in the new hospital building programme and as far as practical in existing hospital accommodation non-smoking compartments, with a view to removing the discomfort caused by smoking to non-smokers in general, and to those suffering from chest illnesses in particular; and if he will make a statement.

New hospital wards will in any event be sub-divided into different rooms for patients. It should often be possible therefore to meet the needs of smokers and non-smokers. It would not be practicable to convert existing hospital wards to achieve this object, without losing beds and flexibility to an extent that is not in the best interests of patients.

Annual Price Review

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the Price Review as it affects agriculture in Scotland.

The Annual Review and Determination of the Guarantees relate to United Kingdom agriculture as a whole, and my right hon. Friend's statement in the House on 15th March therefore covered Scotland.

Prestwick-Ayr By-Pass

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of stage 2 of the Prestwick-Ayr by-pass.

Since work started on the bypass in October, rain followed by frost has held up construction of the new bridge over the River Ayr and affected progress on the earth-works for the bypass. The contract is behind schedule but it is expected that the scheme will be completed in the spring of 1963.

Scottish Peat Utilisation Committee (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received the report of the Committee on Scottish Peat Utilisation; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. The report was submitted to me at the beginning of March and was published on 14th March. The report is a very comprehensive one and I am grateful to Sir Edward Appleton and the members of the Committee for the careful investigagation they have undertaken. I shall give very close consideration to their various conclusions and recommendations. I might add that as the experimental work at Gardrum Moss is now at an end, the peat station has been closed. However, peat production is being developed there by a private concern.

River Clyde No 1 Tunnel (Cost)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why Tunnel No. 1 under the River Clyde at Glasgow is costing nearly double the amount estimated at the time its construction was authorised.

The estimated cost of building Tunnel No. 1, on which a limited scheme was authorised early in 1955, was a preliminary one based on outline information only. The amount of the accepted tender, which forms the basis of the cost of the scheme as it is being undertaken, was decided some two and a half years later after much detailed investigation of the problems involved. The difference reflects the technical development of the scheme, the difficulties encountered and the movement in costs of materials and labour in the intervening period.

Welfare Foods (Dundee)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the monthly uptake of each item of welfare food in the city of Dundee immediately before the increased charges were imposed; what is the present uptake; and what action he proposes to increase the consumption of these welfare foods.

In April, 1961, 7,236 bottles of orange juice, 1,410 bottles of cod liver oil and 684 packets of vitamin A and D tablets were issued in Dundee. In December, 1961, the most recent comparable period, 2,517 bottles of orange juice, 507 bottles of cod liver oil and 247 packets of vitamin A and D tablets were issued. While it does not follow that intake of vitamins is now inadequate new publicity material about their advantages at current prices is being provided for use by local authorities.

Shipping

Ballachulish Bay, Argyll (Moorings)

35 and 36.

asked the Minister of Transport (1) what is the total cost of maintaining the seven moorings belonging to his Department in Ballachulish Bay, Argyll; and how much is paid by merchant vessels using these moorings:(2) how many moorings are maintained by his Department in Ballachulish Bay, Argyll; and what use has been made of these during the last four years; and by whom they were used.

Seven moorings are owned and maintained by us in Ballachulish Bay. Only two of them have been used by laid-up merchant vessels in the past four years; one by the s.s. "Inver" from 14th June. 1958 to 21st September, 1959, and the other by T.E.V. "Benwyvis" from 1st May to 4th July, 1959. The present cost of maintaining the seven moorings is about £7,000 a year. Merchant vessels pay on a sliding scale according to the length of stay. The commencing charge for an ocean ship mooring is £35 a week, reducing to £15 a week at the end of six months.

National Maritime Board

40.

asked the Minister of Transport what representations he has received about his proposal to establish a National Maritime Board.

In view of the manifold problems with which the shipping and shipbuilding industries are faced, I regard it as my duty to consider in detail with both industries as well as with the ports industry any possible ways in which consultation and co-ordination could be improved and the solution or easing of these problems could be advanced. I have had and will continue to have ideas on these subjects which I will wish to discuss in detail and in confidence with the industries concerned. It would not assist the solution of these problems if I was expected to comment at each stage on the progress of these confidential discussions.

Ss "Hadrian Coast"

51.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement about the grounding and refloating on the coast of Cork of the Aberdeen-registered steamship "Hadrian Coast".

The "Hadrian Coast" went aground off Monkstown Bay on 9th March in thick fog with a pilot on board. The vessel was refloated on 20th March. No one was injured and the vessel was apparently undamaged. I do not propose to order an inquiry under the Merchant Shipping Acts.

Roads

A3, Liphook (Accidents)

47.

asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents have occurred at the double bend on A.3 south of Liphook at the point where the road goes under the main railway line; and what steps he proposes to take to minimise the risk of future accidents at this point.

During the three years, 1959–61, six accidents have been reported to the police. In three of these accidents no one was injured; in the other three, one person was killed, four seriously injured and two slightly injured. The road surface was re-dressed with non-skid stone in August, 1961, and I am glad to say that I have had no reports of any accidents since then. The ultimate solution is to by-pass this section of road, but that must be a long term project.

A30 Clearway

asked the Minister of Transport for how much of its length the A.30 is a clearway; and when he proposes to extend this length.

2½ miles. I shall be giving notice of my intention to make another three miles of this road into clearway as soon as the necessary laybys are completed.

Employment

Middlesbrough

52.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to solve the unemployment problem in Middlesbrough.

I have nothing to add to the reply which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade gave to the hon. Member on this subject yesterday.

Independent Television (Foreign Artistes)

53.

asked the Minister of Labour why his Department granted permission to foreign artistes to appear on independent television when British artistes are on strike; and if he will give an assurance that he will refrain from such action, pending a solution of the present dispute.

The only permits issued have been for foreign variety artistes or variety acts who are outside the field of the dispute.

Disabled Persons, Sunderland

54.

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons on the disabled names register in Sunderland are unemployed; and what percentage this is of the persons on the register.

427 on 19th March, 1962, representing 15·2 per cent. of the total number of persons registered as disabled in Sunderland.

Industrial Accidents

asked the Minister of Labour when he will be able to make a statement on the figures of industrial accidents during 1961.

The total number of accidents reported to H.M. Factory Inspectorate during 1961 was 192,517 compared with 190,266 in 1960. More detailed figures will be published in the Ministry of Labour Gazette for April, 1962. The Report of H.M. Chief Inspector of Factories for 1961 will be published in September and will contain detailed analyses of the statistics.

Ministry Of Defence

Widows

55.

asked the Minister of Defence how many widows

RANK OF HUSBAND (Army rank used for convenience)Total number of widows drawing ordinary pensionsNumber whose husbands died before 4th November, 1958Number of widows who are now over 74 years of age
Field Marshal1076
General695033
Lieutenant-General947751
Major-General287287215
Brigadier686449295
Colonel991731534
Lieutenant-Colonel2,7221,8021,235
Major2,6031,578916
Captain/Lieutenant3,0912,2371,537
TOTALS10,5537,2184,822

Retired Officers

asked the Minister of Defence how many retired officers of the three Armed Services, including the Indian Armed Services, are in receipt of retired pay under each of the six retired pay codes; how many of those officers

19601956195019451919 re-assessed on account of 1939–1945 war service1919Pre-1919
Under 605,49810,5274,9079,773721,000
Over 60547542,0677,6724,6754,81020
TOTALS5,55211,2816,97417,4454,747*5,81020
*The increase in this figure is due to the completion of the detailed scrutiny to which I referred in my reply to a similar question by my hon. Friend last year.

Royal Navy

Ships' Visits (Welsh Ports)

56.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty bow many of Her Majesty's ships will visit Welsh ports this

of Regular officers of each rank in the three Armed Services, including the Indian Armed Services, are receiving widow's ordinary pensions; in each case how many of them lost their husbands before 4th November, 1958; and how many widows of Regular officers of each rank are now over 74 years of age.

I have been asked to reply.The answer to my hon. Friend's Question is as follows:retired under the 1919 code had their retired pay reassessed because of war service; and, in each case, how many of these officers are over and under the age of 60 years, respectively.

The following is the answer:year; and if he will publish particulars in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Subject to over-riding operational needs, arrangements have been made for fifteen ships to make visits to nine Welsh ports. I am circulating particulars in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Present plans do not include the port of Barry, but it may

PortName and Type of ShipDate of Visit
CardiffFORTHSubmarine Depot Ship9th-14th May.
ConwayWASPERTONCoastal Minesweeper5th-6th February.
HolyheadMERSEYCoastal Minesweeper24th-25th March.
14th-15th July.
LlandudnoBERWICKFrigate21st-27th August.
MERSEYCoastal Minesweeper17th-18th March.
31st March-1st April
28th-29th April.
Milford HavenMONKTONCoastal Minesweepers27th-29th March.
NURTON
DUCHESSDestroyers5th-6th May.
DIAMOND
BATTLEAXE
CROSSBOW
NewportSAINTESDestroyers24th-28th February.
CAMPERDOWN
Pembroke DownBRIGHTONFrigate28th April.
SwanseaROCKETFrigate31st January-4th February
TenbyROTHESAYFrigate25th September-lst October.

National Finance

House Of Lords (Attendance Allowances)

57.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to how many Members of the House of Lords attendance allowances were paid on 23rd January, 24th January, 8th February, 27th February, 19th March and 21st March, 1962, respectively.

It would not be in keeping with the view taken by this House When the scheme of attendance allowances for Peers was approved on 9th July, 1957, to provide such detailed information about its administration.

Pensions (Increase) Act, 1959

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer up to which year cost-of-living changes were taken into account by the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1959.

Wages, Salaries And Dividends

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the calculations on which his conclusion was based that between 1938 and 1960 wages and salaries rose by 384 per cent. and ordinary dividends by 190 per cent., and that, allowing for changes in the purchasing power of the £, the increases were 71 per cent. and 2 per cent., respectively.

be possible to arrange such a visit later.

The calculation was based on figures for 1938 taken from tables 2 and 27, respectively, of the Blue Book "National Income and Expenditure 1957", and figures for 1960 from the same tables in the corresponding publication for 1961. The actual figures used for wages and salaries were £2,830 million in 1938 and £13,690 million in 1960, the figures for ordinary dividends being £331 million and £961 million, respectively. The consumers' price index showed an increase of 183 per cent. between 1938 and 1960.

Science

Marine Reactor Research

58.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what progress has been made by the Working Group on Marine Reactor Research.

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave on February 20th to the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire East (Mr. Bence).

Education

Esperanto

asked the Minister of Education what efforts are now being made to encourage the study of Esperanto in schools.

The schools decide for themselves to what extent, if any, they should teach Esperanto.

Nuclear Weapons

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of 24th November, 1961, it is now the policy of Her Majesty's Government to agree to a ban on the use of nuclear weapons as a means of war, as part of a general disarmament treaty.

Her Majesty's Government believe that the best way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them and all other offensive weapons from national arsenals so that war either nuclear or conventional cannot be waged.

Ministry Of Power

Gas And Electricity Boards (Financial Objectives)

asked the Minister of Power what financial objectives have been set for the gas and electricity boards under the White Paper, Command Paper No. 1337.

I have now agreed with the electricity boards in England and Wales and with each of the area gas boards' financial objectives for the five-year period 1962–63–1966–67.The objectives agreed with the electricity boards require the industry to secure an average gross return (before deducting interest or making provision for depreciation) of about 12½ per cent. on its not assets. On present estimates of capital requirements, this will make it necessary to earn an aggregate surplus of £336 million over the five-year period. The Gas Boards' objectives require an average gross return of about 10¼ per cent. on net assets and an aggregate surplus over the five years of £54 million. These objectives will be reviewed annually.These surpluses are not funds available for disposal. They are contributions from revenue needed to carry on the business and to finance the development which the Boards must undertake if consumers' needs are to be met. During the five-year period the electricity boards will still need to borrow very large sums over and above these surpluses and the depreciation funds which they provide. The gas industry, in view of its slower rate of expansion, will seek to finance the greater part of its investment out of its own earnings.The following table shows the objectives set for individual boards in the light of their circumstances, needs and capabilities:

BoardsAverage Gross Return as percentage of average Net AssetsTotal Net Surplus
£m.
FINANCIAL OBJECTIVES: 5 YEARS 1962/63–1966/67 ELECTRICITY BOARDS
London11·918
South Eastern13·09
Southern12·417
South Western14·07·5
Eastern12·820
East Midlands12·515
Midlands12·617
South Wales12·49·5
Merseyside and North Wales12·910
Yorkshire12·523
North Eastern12·712
North Western12·915
Central Electricity Generating Board11·9163
TOTAL12·4336
GAS BOARDS
Scottish10·93·5
Northern10·42·6
North Western11·26·6
North Eastern10·62·5
East Midlands10·45·0
West Midlands10·64·9
Wales10·02·4
Eastern10·03·1
North Thames9·511·8
South Eastern10·16·0
Southern9·52·8
South Western9·82·8
TOTAL10·254

Technical Co-Operation

Swaziland (Training Facilities)

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation if he will state the amount of technical training facilities given by the United Kingdom to Swaziland during each of the past five years.

The details required are not readily available here and I have asked the High Commissioner to let me have them. I will publish the full details in the OFFICIAL REPORT as soon as a reply is received.

Trade And Commerce

Welsh Tourist Board

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent it is intended that benefit should accrue to the Welsh Tourist Board from the increased grant by Her Majesty's Government to the British Travel and Holiday Association.

Increased publicity for Wales, planned with the advice of the Welsh Tourist Board, will be included in the expanded "Come to Britain" campaign run by the British Travel and Holidays Association. In addition the Association proposes to increase by about one quarter its payments to the Board for services in connection with the attraction of overseas visitors.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Sugar Beet

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what acreage of sugar beet has been grown in the United Kingdom each year from 1951 to 1961, given by counties.

As the information involves a very large number of figures set out in columns, I will send my hon. Friend the information for which he asks and will make copies available in the Library.