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Written Answers

Volume 707: debated on Friday 5 March 1965

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 5th March, 1965

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Annual Price Review

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to announce to Parliament details of the Annual Price Review.

Ministry Of Aviation

European Launcher Development Programme

asked the Minister of Aviation what progress is being made on the European Launcher Development Organisation's launcher programme.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 3rd February, 1965. The working group which is considering the matter has not yet completed its task.

Space Research And Development

asked the Minister of Aviation how many scientists and engineers are employed in his Department on British space research and development.

asked the Minister of Aviation how much he expects to spend this year on space research and development; and how much his Department spent in each of the preceding ten years.

My Department expects to spend about £11 million in industry in the present financial year.As regards prior years, the Ministry of Aviation did not come into existence until October, 1959, but Government expenditure in industry before the year 1960–61 was small. My Department's expenditure in each of the years from 1960–61 until 1963–64 including, expenditure reimbursable by E.L.D.O., was as follows:

The above figures do not include expenditure incurred on behalf of the European Space Research Organisation, which is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Telephone Service

Business Subscribers, Stockport

asked the Postmaster-General what steps are being taken to ensure that telephone numbers on the Stockport Exchange are consecutive with those already in existence with individual business subscribers, when additional lines and apparatus are installed to meet the increased volume of incoming calls, so as to eliminate the inconvenience currently experienced by commercial and industrial firms in the town.

In Stockport as elsewhere, when a business first rents a group of lines, consecutive spare numbers are normally reserved so that more lines may be added without changing the telephone number. I am writing to my hon. Friend about the particular case he has in mind.

Wireless And Television

Local Radio Stations

asked the Postmaster-General (1) if he will take steps to authorise the establishment of a local sound radio station at Swindon;(2) if he will authorise and assist the British Broadcasting Corporation to establish local sound radio stations on a pilot basis in suitable towns as soon as possible.

The Government are considering the general question whether local sound broadcasting should be introduced into the United Kingdom. Until the general question has been resolved it would, of course, be premature to consider the claims of particular localities.


Mental Hospitals (Catering)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that mental and neurosis hospitals receive an allowance of only 4s. per day per patient for food, and that this sum is insufficient; and whether he will increase it.

The amount spent on food in particular hospitals is determined by hospital management committees and boards of governors and there is no prescribed allowance. A detailed study is now in progress covering costs, quantities and standards of food provided in twelve psychiatric hospitals.

Ministry Of Health

Cervical Cancer (Wales)

asked the Minister of Health what would be the estimated cost of establishing a laboratory in Wales to provide a regional service for the detection of cervical cancer among women in the Principality; and how many pathologists

Imports of Machine Tools [Metal Cutting]19551956195719581959
Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000
TOTAL IMPORTS2,9994,0011,8702,4978,95112,07710,81213,63410,55810,372
of which from
UNITED STATES1,2761,8597329284,0195,9263,2184,8684,8973,988
COMMON MARKET1,1531,2276958203,6523,8286,1335,8164,2763,976
of which
West Germany1,0911,1355526843,4623,6195,4975,1313,8613,481
E.F.T.A. [excl. U.K.]4017643186878511,9311,1572,5609471,963
of which
UNITED KINGDOM958511662291303201289212272

and technicians would be required to staff such a laboratory.

No such estimates have been made, since it is considered that a more satisfactory service can be provided by expanding cytology facilities, as necessary, as part of the existing pathology services.

Board Of Trade

Machine Tools

asked the President of the Board of Trade what information he has on the annual import of machine tools into Japan between 1955 and 1965 from the United States of America, the Common Market, the European Free Trade Association excluding the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom.

Imports of metal-cutting machine tools into Japan for each year from 1955 to 1963, the latest year for which figures are available, from the United States of America, the European Economic Community, the European Free Trade Association excluding the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom are shown on the following table.

Imports of Machine Tools [Metal Cutting]1960196119621963
Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000Metric tons£'000
TOTAL IMPORTS14,61119,56630,25738,39948,26457,27923,35029,483
of which from
UNITED STATES5,0508,5479,35716,13219,13126,2727,48411,242
COMMON MARKET6,7716,05114,60514,61921,46321,43712,28312,377
of which
West Germany5,2924,51911,46411,29616,90317,10210,67210,934
E.F.T.A. [excl. U.K.]1,3873,0902,0784,1412,5865,2391,6166,751
of which
UNITED KINGDOM3304371,6071,7032,0942,312579799

Symbol: —=Nil or less than half the final digit.

Source: Trade of Japan.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what information he has on the output of the Japanese machine tool industry and the proportion of this output supplied to the shipbuilding industry in Japan from January, 1955 to December, 1964, inclusive.

The information available from Japanese statistics shows that the aggregate value of output of Japanese metal-cutting machine tools from 1955 to 1963, the latest year for which there are figures, amounted to about £392 million. No information is available concerning the output of metal-forming machine tools or about the proportion of the output of machine tools supplied to the shipbuilding industry.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what information he has on the output of the British machine tool industry and the proportion of this output supplied to the shipbuilding industry in the United Kingdom from January, 1955 to December, 1964, inclusive.

The available statistics on output show that the aggregate value of deliveries by United Kingdom manufacturers of metal-working machine tools, including metal-forming tools, between January, 1955 and December, 1964

amounted to about £990 million. Figures showing the proportion of United Kingdom output going to particular industries in this country are not available.

Merchant Service And Fishing Fleet (Officers' Certificates)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many certificates of officers of the Merchant Service and fishing fleet, respectively, have been cancelled or suspended by courts of formal investigation under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, during the year 1964; and, in cases of suspension, what was the period of suspension in each case.

During 1964, no officers of the Merchant Service had their certificates cancelled or suspended; no officers of the fishing fleet had their certificates cancelled, but seven had them suspended, one for six months, four for one year and two for two years.

Development Districts, Wales

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has for changes in the policy towards the development districts in South Wales for which new applications for assistance under the Local Employment Act are not at present being accepted.

I am today restoring the employment exchanges areas of Merthyr Tydfil, Pembroke Dock, Tonyrefail and Ystalyfera/Pontardawe to the list of development districts fully eligible for assistance under the Local Employment Acts. New applications can again be entertained.


London Passenger Transport (Vehicle Movements)

asked the Minister of Transport what improvement in speed and safety of vehicle movement has been recorded by London Passenger Transport Board in Central London where parking meter schemes have been introduced during the past five years.

The London Transport Board has no figures which indicate the effect on its road services of parking meter schemes over the last five years taken in isolation from other measures adopted in relation to road traffic during the same period.


A27 Bypass (Emsworth)

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the opposition to the construction of a short bypass on the A.27 in Emsworth, he will delay its construction until a full inquiry into the proposal has been held.

This scheme is not yet programmed. I propose to publish draft Orders under Section 7 and 9 of the Highways Act, 1959, as soon as possible and will decide whether or not a public inquiry should be held after consideration of any objections to these Orders.

South Coast Trunk Road

asked the Minister of Transport what proposals he has to expedite the construction of the South Coast trunk road, in view of the rise in traffic congestion and accidents which have taken place on the A.27.

I have nothing to add to my Answer to the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Sir J. Fletcher-Cooke) on 23rd February.

School Crossings

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to make available to local authorities a standard portable flashing light indicator similar to those mounted on emergency vehicles, but with a distinctive colour, to be made available to crossing patrolmen and to other authorised persons responsible for school-childrens' safety; and whether he will take steps to make it an offence for any vehicle to exceed 25 miles per hour when approaching within 150 yards of such a light when it is operating.

Following the recommendations of the Worboys Committee, new and more conspicuous signs for use by school crossing patrols have been prescribed and all patrols should have them by the end of next August. Most of the patrols operate on roads which already have a speed restriction. I do not consider it would be practicable to have a different speed limit on the approaches to the crossing or to equip the portable signs with flashing lights, I am, however, considering how the "school" warning sign can be made more effective.

Cromwell Road (Traffic Flow)

asked the Minister of Transport what information he has on the comparative flows of traffic between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays, on that section of the Cromwell Road between Warwick Avenue and Exhibition Road.

Traffic counts over a period of six months show that on Saturdays and Sundays the average traffic flow between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Cromwell Road, between Warwick Avenue and Exhibition Road is about 70 per cent. of that on weekdays.

Tinsley Viaduct

asked the Minister of Transport what study he has made of the views of the West Riding County Council, details of which have been sent to him, about the design he has accepted for the Tinsley Viaduct; and if he will make a further statement on the action he has taken in this matter.

I am aware of the terms of the statement issued by the West Riding County Council. The cost of Tinsley Viaduct is being borne almost wholly by the Exchequer. The council were appointed the Ministry's agents for preparing the design. The intention was that they should, in due course, supervise its construction.The original design was evolved by the agent authority in consultation with the Ministry but the council were fully aware that the Ministry, for its part, did not preclude the consideration, on their merits, of alternatives which might be proposed by tenderers. One of the tenderers in fact did submit an alternative design at substantially lower cost. The Ministry considered that this design was worthy of further consideration; and because, during the period of tendering some firms had gained the impression that alternative designs would not be considered, decided that all tenderers should be allowed to submit an alternative design and price. The county council did not agree. Accordingly, the Ministry as principal issued a fresh invitation to this effect to the original tenderers. The consideration of these alternatives was thus, as the council recognise in their statement, not within their province.The outcome was the acceptance of a tender for an alternative design by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co. Ltd. The amount of the tender, £4·6 million, is subject to negotiation on detail and the contract price is expected to be appreciably lower. This alternative meets design requirements, including accepted standards of public safety, and at the same time saves the taxpayer over £1 million.As to particular points made in the county council's statement, the accepted design complies with the recommendations contained in the "Report on Mining Subsidence" published by the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1959 and after taking full account of the factors mentioned in the Report the design is considered to be wholly suited to ground conditions at the site.The width of the viaduct, compared with the original design, has been reduced by narrowing the central reserve to 10 ft. between the off-side traffic lanes. There has been no reduction in the width of carriageways or hard shoulders as might be inferred from the county council's statement. This reduction has resulted in an estimated saving of a little over £100,000. The accepted design, far from requiring more land than the original design, in fact requires significantly less. This is largely because the weight of the structure has been halved and, therefore, less land is needed for foundations. The temporary use of land by the contractor during construction will also be less.The tenders submitted for alternative designs did not comply uniformly with the technical and contractual requirements issued to tenderers and, therefore, had to be adjusted to place all the tenders on a comparable footing. The Ministry made full allowance for the cost of maintaining the steel work to the extent expected to be required in the Tinsley area. This, on a realistic estimate, amounts to a capitalised cost of £150,000. The sole criterion governing the use of material for the new design has been to secure the requisite standard of performance with maximum efficiency and, therefore, at lowest cost. Structural steel will, in fact, comprise about 15 per cent. of the total weight of the superstructure, the remainder being reinforced concrete.What the county council appear to be suggesting is that I should not be prepared to take advantage of improvements in design and savings in cost which emerge from the tendering process. This cannot accept.

Vietnam (Korean Units)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the British Ambassador was present at the official reception ceremony to welcome the armed Korean units which the United States Government have introduced into South Vietnam; and why the United Kingdom was represented at ambassadorial level.

Her Majesty's Ambassador in Saigon was not present at this ceremony.

Passports (Minors)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct the Passport Office to alter the administrative rules so that an application for a passport for a minor can be signed by the mother as well as by the father.

No. By law, a father is the legal guardian of his legitimate children and, as such, is entitled to their custody. A mother is not so entitled unless either she is awarded custody by a competent Court or the father is dead. Passport regulations have no alternative but to conform to the law as it stands in regard to legal guardianship. It would be inconsistent with that position if, in normal circumstances, passport facilities were given to minor children with the mother's consent alone. Within these regulations, the passport authorities use their discretion to allow mothers to sign passport applications, with suitable safeguards, when the father is abroad or cannot be traced.

Czechoslovakia (Foreign Secretary's Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why he is making an official trip to Czechoslovakia.

My visit to Czechoslovakia is at the invitation of the Czechoslovak Government. I welcome the opportunity it will offer for making personal contacts.

Education And Science

Space Research (Scientists)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many scientists responsible to him are engaged on space research.

The only scientists engaged on space research and directly responsible to me are those in the Space Research Management Unit of my Department, which employs three scientists and four engineers. These will be transferred to the Science Research Council when it is formed.

European Space Research Organisation (Programme)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made in the European Space Research Organisation programme.

The Convention establishing the European Space Research Organisation came into operation in March, 1964, and a financial protocol to the Convention provides for a programme of space research (by means of sounding rockets and satellites) over the eight years to 1972. The programme for 1965 provides for the launching by means of sounding rockets of 33 experiments contained in 14 payloads.Contracts are being placed for the purchase of 28 Centaure rockets from Sud Aviation of France and 20 Skylark rockets from the British Aircraft Corporation. A contract for a satellite to study solar X-rays and cosmic radiation, which is to be launched in the spring of 1967, is being negotiated with Hawker-Siddeley Dynamics. Preliminary design studies for a polar Ionospheric satellite to be launched towards the end of 1967 have been completed and calls for tenders for its development have been sent out. A large satellite for stellar astronomy experiments is scheduled to be launched in 1968–9 and preliminary proposals for payloads are under consideration.The Organisation has established a space technology centre in the Netherlands and is establishing a space laboratory near to it. In addition, a data centre is in the process of establishment in Germany and a launching range at Kiruna in Sweden.The Organisation awards fellowships to enable space scientists from member states to study in other member states or, under an agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in the United States of America.

Teacher Training Colleges (Students)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of students entering teacher training colleges fail to qualify, or having qualified, do not become teachers, respectively.

Between eight and nine per cent. of the students entering the colleges fail to complete the course satisfactorily. It is estimated that a further five to six per cent. do not take up teaching posts in maintained schools after completing their training some of these take posts in non-maintained schools or in further education establishments.

Minister Of Defence

Royal Marine Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the Royal Marine establishments, including headquarters, and state the number of officers, other ranks and civilians in the complement, respectively, for each establishment and their respective annual

EstablishmentComplementAverage number under TrainingAnnual Training Cost per headTotal Annual Cost of Establishment
Department of C.G.R.M.2149,0002727,00022,000
H.Q. R.M.F.V.R37,00033,000
H.Q. Plymouth Group1330,000120120,0002013,000
H.Q. Portsmouth Group1433,0003030,00096,0001,100,000
Pay and Records Office2251,000109109,0002517,000
R.M.B. Eastney3477,000399360,0008062,0001895
Amphibious Training Unit, Poole1944,000183183,0009776,00051003,900415,000
Depot, Deal3768,000360281,000101102,00057501,080880,000
Infantry Training Centre53124,000379378,000164122,000854001,840920,000
Bickleigh Camp12,3001515,0004025,00085,000
Stonehouse Camp12,3005151,0003320,000133,000
The only establishments whose primary task is training are A.T.U.R.M., Deal and I.T.C.R.M. Training represents only a small proportion of the task at Eastney which is mainly a holding unit and costs cannot be readily separated from the total establishment costs.
Total annual costs, which include M.P.B.W. expenditure, can only be given for self-contained establishments.
The Bickleigh and Stonehouse camps each house a Commando. The personnel figures given are for the permanent camp staff only. The total annual cost of each establishment given is the cost of maintenance including the permanent camp staff but excluding the cost of the Commando which is estimated at £1m. each year.
The estimated annual provision for the Royal Marines in Navy Estimates is £12.0m.

Royal Navy Petty Officers' School, Corsham

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will state the number of acres and value of land and buildings at the Royal Navy Petty Officers' School, at Corsham, Wiltshire, the total annual cost of maintenance of buildings and grounds and of training, respectively, the number of officers and their salaries and emoluments, the number of training staff and annual cost, the annual number of petty officers under training and the period, the annual cost of training per petty officer and the total annual cost of the school.

cost, the number of officers and other ranks under training at each establishment and the annual cost per head, the annual cost of each establishment, and the total Navy Estimates annual cost for the Royal Marines.

The Royal Navy Petty Officers School at Corsham covers an area of 30 acres. The present day value of the land and buildings (mainly huts) is assessed at £108,000. The annual maintenance cost for buildings and grounds is of the order of £18,000.The annual cost of training (excluding building maintenance) is £145,000.The number of officers employed in the establishment is 12 and their salaries and emoluments amount to £30,000 per year.9 Officers and 14 ratings constitute the training staff, costing £24,000 and £21,000 per annum respectively.

The annual training programme is as follows:

  • 940 students on courses lasting 6 weeks.
  • 430 students on courses lasting 1 week.
  • 240 students on miscellaneous courses varying in length from 2 days to 2 weeks.

As no course lasts longer than six weeks a calculation of the annual cost of training per petty officer would produce a meaningless figure. The actual cost per student week is £24 10s. 0d.

The total annual cost of the school is £180,000.

H.M.S. SEA EAGLE (including the Joint Anti-Submarine School).

Royal Naval Aircraft Repair Yard, Belfast.

Royal Naval Armament Depot, Antrim (including sub-depots at Crossgar and Kilnappy).

R.N. Fuel Depot, Lisahally.

Details of numbers and costs are:—

EstablishmentOfficersRatingsCiviliansAnnual cost of Establishment
SEA EAGLE65160,000380360,000228185,000880,000
R.N.A.R.Y., Belfast918,5001,071840,000990,000
R.N.A.D., Antrim370280,000400,000
R.N.F.D., Lisahally1412,00014,000

The total Navy Estimates annual cost of establishments in Northern Ireland is assessed at £2,100,000.

National Finance

Service Pensioners

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the total tax receipts from Service pensioners who are in receipt of disability award or pension on that part of their retirement pension which bears tax.

Cadco Building Company

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent the Cadco Building Company, now in course of liquidation, are debtors to the Inland Revenue for Pay As You Earn.

Naval Establishments, Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the naval establishments in Northern Ireland and state the number of naval officers, ratings and civilians, respectively, for each establishment, their respective annual cost, the annual cost of each establishment, and the total Navy Estimates annual cost for Northern Ireland.

The following Naval establishments are maintained in Northern Ireland:

It would not be proper for me to give information on the tax position in a particular case.

Building Societies (Bank Rate)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent monthly repayments to building societies will be affected on a £2,500 agreement for 10 years and 25 years, respectively, by the recent rise in Bank Rate.

The increase in the rates recommended by the Building Societies Association, following the recent rise in Bank rate, has the effect of increasing these monthly repayments by £1 0s. 10d. and £1 2s. 11d., respectively.