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Written Answers

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1965

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 21st December, 1965

Local Government

Clean Air Act (Greater London)

4.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government, what is the target date for clean air in Greater London under the Clean Air Act, 1956; and if he is satisfied with the progress being made by the local authorities concerned.

The various target dates proposed in 1962 by the local authorities then responsible are no longer valid. It is early to judge the performance of the new London boroughs, but my right hon. Friend has no reason to think that the generally satisfactory progress made by their predecessors will not be maintained.

Site Values (Rating)

20.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will introduce the rating of site values in his comprehensive reform of the rating system.

I must ask the hon. Member to await the announcement of the Government's conclusions.

Rating Appeals (Pollution Test Reports)

38.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government when a pollution test report, which has been carried out by public health officers, is used as evidence in a rating appeal, if it is the practice to allow the report to be made equally available to the rating officer and the householder at the same time.

My right hon. Friend feels sure that any party to a rating appeal would be given an opportunity to examine any document introduced in evidence by another party.

Local Government Finance (Review)

41.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government, in view of its importance to ratepayers and local authorities, if he will now give a date by which Her Majesty's Government's review of local government finances will be completed.

I have nothing to add to my reply on 7th December to a Question by the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Frederic Harris).

New London Stock Exchange

40.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why he has given planning permission for a new London Stock Exchange costing £8 million.

Outline permission was granted on 8th October, 1964, by the Corporation of the City of London as planning authority.

Proposed Local Tax

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) whether he will initiate a number of pilot surveys to judge the effect of his proposed local tax in different parts of the country;(2) how the new local tax is to be collected;(3) what effect his new local tax will have upon the amount contributed to local expenditure by industry and commerce;(4) what estimates he has made of the yield of a local tax of the kind he is proposing; and upon what assumptions those estimates were based;(5) whether local authorities will have jurisdiction to fix the rate of the new local tax he is proposing.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to her question on 14th December.

Historic Buildings (Bristol)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what progress he has made with the listing of nineteenth century buildings of historic or architectural interest in Bristol; and whether he will deposit a copy of the provisional list in the Library.

A provisional list of nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings of special interest was issued in July, 1965 following a fresh survey of Bristol. I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library. The buildings will be added to the statutory list for the city as soon as possible.

Derelict Land (Survey)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will state the results of the survey of derelict land in England carried out by local authorities in response to Circular No. 55/64; and whether he will make grants available to these authorities for the clearance of derelict sites.

DERELICT LAND
MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT CIRCULAR NO. 55/64
Summary of Returns for England Derelict Land at 31.12.64
Counties (including County Boroughs)Total acreageProportion of total acreage justifying treatmentAcreage restored in 1964Acreage proposed for restoration in 1965
Cheshire9326122742
Derbyshire (High Peak)330207151
Lancashire11,5228,634404507
North West Region12,7849,453446550
Cumberland2,3171,43840
Durham8,7105,697203872
Northumberland7,4315,06232453
Yorkshire—North Riding1,3331,07723123
Westmorland3117
Northern Region19,82213,2912581,488
Lincolnshire—Lindsey2,8631,470
Yorkshire—East Riding62237914
Yorkshire—West Riding6,2483,811113221
Yorkshire and Humberside Region9,7335,660127221
Derbyshire (excluding High Peak)1,9131,68718168
Leicestershire1,3985593031
Lincolnshire—Holland5111
Lincolnshire—Kesteven1,02136
Northamptonshire2472475117
Nottinghamshire1,4431,2951561
Rutland1157412
East Midlands Region6,1423,899116280
Herefordshire16
Shropshire1,4291,36442
Staffordshire9,0528,256724503
Warwickshire93153612559
Worcestershire86283540
West Midlands Region12,29010,991853604
Cornwall14,2841,87517
Devon23523045109
Dorset10
Gloucestershire184434033
Isles of Scilly
Somerset1,03448418
Wiltshire295131
South West Region16,0422,76386167

The results of the survey for each county including county boroughs are summarised in the following table. This shows that about 51,000 acres of derelict land were judged by the local authorities to be in need of treatment at 31st December, 1964, of which they proposed to restore about 3,500 acres in 1965. As I have already told my hon. Friend, I consider that a much higher rate of clearance is required, and I hope to be able to make grant available for this purpose.

Counties (including County Boroughs)

Total acreage

Proportion of total acreage justifying treatment

Acreage restored in 1964

Acreage proposed for restoration in 1965

Bedfordshire4193992358
Berkshire63633734
Buckinghamshire631250214
Cambridgeshire198
Ely—Isle of348594
Essex444301320
Hampshire22210121
Hertfordshire153
Huntingdonshire199331
Kent1,023486269
London11
Middlesex121
Norfolk1,7391,5461472
Oxfordshire1,7491,250243
Peterborough—Soke of221
Suffolk—East9292147
Suffolk—West17317374
Surrey1341105
Sussex—East9939
Sussex—West18013593
Wight—Isle of125125
South Eastern England8,0875,134190230
National totals84,90051,1912,0763,540

Housing

Circular 50/65

36.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what representations he has received from the building and construction industries concerning Circular 50/65 issued by his Department on 16th November, 1965; and what replies he has sent.

I have received one written representation criticising a reference in the Circular to the Banwell Committee report. The criticism is in my view misconceived.

37.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he will take to prevent local authorities from abandoning altogether the practice of putting their building and construction contracts out to competitive tender, in view of the issue of Circular 50/65.

An increasing proportion of council houses are built, with appropriate safeguards, under negotiated contracts following the development of industrialised methods and modern forms of contracting. The advice on direct labour in the circular confirms this trend, but it made no suggestion that there shall be a complete abandonment of competitive tendering.

Rent Act, 1965 (Operation Of Part Ii)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many orders he has made to bring into operation Part II of the Rent Act, 1965; in respect of what areas they have been made; and what further orders he contemplates making in the near future.

I have made an Order to bring Part II of the Rent Act, 1965, into operation in Greater London on 3rd January, 1966. I shall make further Orders as soon as enough rent officers and rent assessment panel members have been recruited in their respective areas, and I hope that the whole country will be covered by the spring.

Owner-Occupation

42.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he is taking to meet the demand for more new houses for owner-occupation and for facilitating the purchase of such houses by persons of modest means.

On the first part of the Question, the Government's plans were announced in the White Paper on the Housing Programme 1965 to 1970, published on 24th November. They envisage a steady increase in building for owner-occupation as part of an overall expansion in the house-building programme to half a million a year in the United Kingdom by 1970. On the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) on 16th November.

House Prices

39.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government by what percentage the prices of new houses for private owners rose in the first nine months of 1965.

Land (Average Price Per Acre)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will state the average price per acre at which local authorities have purchased land for housing in each period of six months since 1st January, 1964, in England and Wales as a whole, and in Greater London, respectively.

The information is not readily available in this form, but my right hon. Friend is examining what can be provided and will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Rent Officers And Assessment Committees (Statistics)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what statistics he proposes to publish regarding the operations of local rent officers and rent assessment committees.

I propose to publish figures of the number of applications received by rent officers and the number referred to rent assessment committees. In each category the number of cases not entertained or withdrawn will be shown; also, in the case of applications decided, the number of decisions involving approval, reduction and increase in the rents previously paid. I will also give the number of applications supported by a certificate of fair rent.

Industrialised Building

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what are the contract prices accepted by local authorities for the construction of houses by industrialised building methods; and how these compare with the contract prices for the construction of conventional houses in similar areas and of similar types.

Tender prices, both for traditional and industrialised methods, vary considerably between regions. For England and Wales as a whole, however, average costs, per sq. ft. of dwellings included in local authority and new town tenders approved during the first nine months of 1965 are as follows:

IndustrialisedTraditional
s.d.s.d.
Houses and Bungalows585610
Flats in 2–4 storeys7537410
Flats in 5 or more storeys981040
Generally, tender prices for 1965 as compared with 1964 show that industrialised building has improved its competitive position for each of the three categories of dwelling mentioned above, and the measures which my right hon. Friend announced on 7th December should result in further improvement.

Rhodesia

Mr Leo Baron

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what are the circumstances under which Mr. Leo Baron is detained in Rhodesia; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to my written reply to my hon. Friend for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Hobden) on 23rd November.

Sanctions

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the implementation of sanctions against Rhodesia by those members of the Organisation for African Unity who are also members of the Commonwealth.

The following African members of the Commonwealth have placed a complete embargo on trade with Rhodesia: Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania. Zambia and Malawi are in a special position. The Gambia has no trade with Rhodesia. So far as I am aware, Ghana and Sierra Leone have not yet taken action to ban imports from Rhodesia.

African Commonwealth Countries

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is satisfied that Her Majesty's Government are adequately and promptly kept informed of the state of affairs in African Commonwealth countries, with particular reference to the Rhodesian emergency; and if he will make a statement.

We have been kept most closely in touch with African Commonwealth countries on this matter.

Tanzania (Chinese Influence)

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to what extent Chinese influence in Tanzania has been taken into account in formulating Her Majesty's Government's policy on Rhodesia.

We naturally take into account whatever is relevant in formulating our policies.

Kariba Dam

54 and 55.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (1) if he will state the proportions of British money and of World Bank money, respectively, which were contributed to the building of the Kariba Dam; how much money is still due and owing to each of them, respectively, and by whom; what is the nature of the securities which each of them holds for the repayment of that money; and, in the meantime, what is the nature of their protection of the Kariba Dam as an asset;(2) in which nations the title in the Kariba Dam is vested; upon what terms they enjoy that title; and what steps Great Britain is taking to maintain the protection of the Kariba Dam.

On the detailed legal and financial aspects, I will arrange for a reply to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. A mission from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is visiting Rhodesia and Zambia at present for discussions with the Central African Power Corporation and other authorities concerned about the safeguarding in the present situation of the installations and operations of the Corporation based on Kariba.

Emigrants

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will give monthly totals of emigrants to Rhodesia for the year 1965.

Statistics showing monthly totals of immigrants into Rhodesia during 1965 are not available. Total figures for the first nine months of 1965 supplied by the Rhodesian Central Statistical Office prior to the illegal declaration of independence show that Rhodesia gained 8,137 European immigrants and lost 5,212 European emigrants; a net gain of 2,925. A third of the immigrants during 1965 have been former residents returning to Rhodesia from other countries.

Wireless Transmitters

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why the British diplomatic wireless service purchased a United States 50 kilowatt transmitter for broadcasting to Rhodesia, when an English transmitter was readily available.

Two transmitters were needed. The one purchased in America was a medium-wave light-weight transportable transmitter capable of speedy installation. No similar equipment fulfilling our requirements was immediately available from stock in this country. The other was a short-wave transmitter which was purchased in Britain.

British Companies (Tax)

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relation what instructions have been given to British companies operating in Rhodesia regarding the payment of taxes to the illegal Government.

Mr Smith's Allegations (Denial)

60.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will take steps to give publicity by Press, radio or other means in Rhodesia to the denial of the allegations concerning the Prime Minister's talks with Mr. Garfield Todd and Mr. Nkomo made by Mr. Ian Smith on 6th December.

I hope the hon. Member will agree that my denial of these allegations in this House on 7th December received adequate publicity at the time.

Local Authority Joint Widows And Orphans Fund

61.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make arrangements to ensure that hardship will not be caused to those people living in this country who were receiving pensions from the Southern Rhodesia Local Authority Joint Widows and Orphans Fund until the present situation arose.

As I informed the hon. Member on 30th November, if payment of these pensions has ceased, it is not the result of action taken by the British Government.

United Kingdom Citizens

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what arrangements are being made to trace and assist United Kingdom citizens detained in Rhodesia.

I have no information that United Kingdom citizens in Rhodesia are being illegally detained.

Malaysia

Defence Commitment

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will make a statement on the present position in Malayasia in relation to Indonesia in so far as the defence responsibilities assumed by the United Kingdom are concerned.

Our defence commitment to Malaysia stems from the 1957 Defence Agreement with Malaya which was extended to Malaysia by the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.We have made it clear to the Malaysian Government that in accordance with the Agreement we shall continue to respond to their request for assistance in the defence of Malaysia against the attacks and threats of attacks which continue to be made by Indonesia as part of their policy of confrontation.

New Zealand

Trade (Tariff And Non-Tariff Obstacles)

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will give help to the New Zealand authorities, in the form of consular representation, to overcome tariff and non-tariff obstacles to the import of New Zealand meat and dairy produce into individual European countries.

Tariff and non-tariff obstacles to trade are a matter for Governments. In foreign countries where there is no New Zealand Diplomatic Mission, Her Majesty's Government are always prepared to make representations when asked to do so by the New Zealand Government.

Commonwealth Relations

Commonwealth Foundation

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when the Commonwealth Foundation was set up; and whether he will make a statement.

The House will recall that Commonwealth Prime Ministers at their meeting in July decided to establish the Commonwealth Foundation. I am happy to say that Commonwealth Governments have now agreed that Sir Macfarlane Burnet. 0.M., one of the most distinguished of living Australians, shall be the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Commonwealth Foundation.They have also agreed that Mr. G. W. St.J. Chadwick should be the first Director of the Foundation. Mr. Chadwick is an Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Commonwealth Relations Office and will be seconded to the Foundation.The names of the members of the Board of Trustees will be published when these are known. In the meantime, the Director is in touch with the Chairman over the steps to be taken before the Foundation can commence operations.

Overseas Migration Board (Report)

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when he proposes to publish the annual report of the Overseas Migration Board for 1964.

The Report for 1964 will be published as a White Paper on 30th December.

Sierra Leone

British High Commission (Demonstrations)

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he is aware that the British High Commissioner in Sierra Leone rebuked the Director of African Studies and a guest-lecturer at the University College of Sierra Leone, Freetown, for taking part in a lawful demonstration of protest against the unilateral declaration of independence in Rhodesia; and why the High Commissioner took this action.

The facts are as follows:Mr. Crowder, Director of the Institute of African Studies at the University College of Sierra Leone, and Mr. James Pope-Hennessy, who was visiting Sierra Leone at the time, took part in a demonstration about Rhodesia outside the British High Commission in Freetown on 12th November. It followed one on the previous day during which the car which a member of the High Commissioner's staff was driving, was badly damaged and efforts were made to attack the British Information Office. The march in which Mr. Crowder and Mr. Pope-Hennessy took part was accompanied by banners such as "All British are hyprocrites", but the Sierra Leone Government provided not police to prevent damage to British Government property.In the circumstances our High Commissioner saw Mr. Crowder and told him, as he was quite at liberty to do, that he had felt obliged to cancel a private luncheon which he had, at Mr. Crowder's request, arranged to give for Mr. Crowder and Mr. Pope-Hennessy on the same day. His view, to which he was perfectly well entitled, was that he did not think it proper for United Kingdom citizens resident in Sierra Leone to take an active part in demonstrations of the kind described.

Trinidad

Commonwealth Sugar Agreement

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to what extent the three-year Commonwealth Sugar Agreement was calculated to result in an expansion of the sugar crop acreage in Trinidad; what effect this is likely to have on the United Kingdom taxpayers' present rate of concealed subsidy to Trinidad sugar producers of approximately £1·6 million per year; and if it was a condition of the agreement that steps should be taken to encourage the production of alternative crops that require a smaller element of subsidy from the United Kingdom than the figure of nearly £20 per acre now being paid in respect of sugar.

The Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is an eight year commercial contract whereby Her Majesty's Government purchases from the sugar industries of certain territories in the Commonwealth fixed quotas of sugar at a Negotiated Price "reasonably remunerative to efficient producers". In calculating this Price, which was recently agreed for the three year period 1966 to 1968, no provision was made for an expansion of the sugar crop acreage in Trinidad.The cost of sugar purchased under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement is borne by the United Kingdom consumer through the operation of the Sugar Board: no cost falls on the United Kingdom taxpayer as such.There was no condition of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement that the production of alternative crops should be encouraged.

Ministry Of Power

Steel Nationalisation (Compensation)

62.

asked the Minister of Power whether, in view of the fact that the nationalisation of steel is not now immediately in prospect, it is still his policy that when nationalisation takes place the basis of compensation will necessarily be that proposed in his White Paper, Command Paper No. 2651.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement about steel made on 9th November by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, during the debate on the Address.

Generating Stations (Maximum Supply)

63.

asked the Minister of Power what is the maximum potential load at the present time on all electricity generating stations in Great Britain, and on all gas stations; and what is the maximum output of all electricity generating stations and of all gas stations.

The maximum demand for electricity in Britain in average cold weather this winter is estimated to be about 38,760 MW. The electricity boards, at present, have 39,315 MW. of plant in commercial operation and a further 2,230 MW completed but not yet in full service. The estimated daily demand for gas in average cold weather is estimated to be 18½ million therms and the maximum supply, at present, is estimated to be 19½ million therms.

Nationalised Industries (Building Programmes)

66.

asked the Minister of Power how many general directions in the public interest he has given in the last year to nationalised industries for which he is answerable, with regard to their building programmes.

Fuels (Supplies)

asked the Minister of Power whether he will make a statement on fuel prospects for the winter.

I am in constant touch with the fuel supply and distribution industries and the following statement is based on information which they have provided about the prospects for this winter.Supplies of oil, and of solid fuels for industrial purposes, are sufficient to meet all foreseeable requirements.With the advance of mechanisation the proportion of large coal in total output continues to fall, but total supplies of solid fuels for the domestic market should be sufficient to meet demand. There may, as in the past, be temporary shortages of particular types of solid fuel in some areas, and distribution could be affected generally in the event of prolonged transport difficulties caused by exceptionally severe weather. Many merchants and many consumers have already built up good reserves. Other merchants and consumers would be well advised to look to their stocks.The rapid and increasing rate of growth in gas sales over the past few years has meant that some Boards are working on narrower margins than they would wish. However, the industry is now better placed than earlier in the winter and should be able to meet demands provided that there are no major plant breakdowns or abnormally prolonged spells of cold weather, though there might be local reductions in pressure.Total generating capacity has not yet overtaken the increasing demand for electricity. This is partly because the growth of demand was under-estimated some years ago, and partly because there have been delays in the delivery and commissioning of new generating plant. In exceptionally severe weather some cuts may have to be made, but in an average winter it should be possible to meet the demand, perhaps with some reductions in voltage at peak hours.

Coal

Smokeless Fuels (East Midlands)

64.

asked the Minister of Power whether he is satisfied that the supplies of smokeless fuels in the East Midlands area are sufficient for the maintenance of smokeless zones; and if he will make a statement.

Questions about local supplies of smokeless fuels are best settled locally between the suppliers and local authorities.I understand, however, from the producers, that total supplies of smokeless fuels in this area are expected to be sufficient to meet demand.

National Coal Board (Headquarters)

65.

asked the Minister of Power if, in the interests of regional development, he will issue a general direction, in the public interest, to the National Coal Board to transfer its headquarters from London to Scotland.

National Coal Board (Trading Surplus)

67.

asked the Minister of Power what is the estimated trading surplus of the National Coal Board for the year 1966–67, taking into consideration the financial adjustments provided for in the Coal Industry Bill 1965.

This is a matter for the National Coal Board, but my hon. Friend will no doubt have seen in the reference on coal prices to the National Board for Prices and Incomes the Coal Board's estimate of the additional revenue required in 1966–67.

Transfer Of Miners (Number And Cost)

68.

asked the Minister of Power what was the number of miners transferred to new jobs by the National Coal Board in the year 1964–65; and what was the total cost to the National Coal Board of such transfers.

About 34,000. Expenditure by the National Coal Board on transfer of miners in 1964–65 is estimated at about £1¾ million, of which most related to the 6,000 men who transferred to other areas or divisions.

Research Laboratory (Corstorphine)

asked the Minister of Power (1) if he will give an assurance that consequent on the National Coal Board's reorganisation of administration, the research laboratory at Corstorphine, Edinburgh, will not be abolished.(2) what is the present composition of the scientific team attached to the National Coal Board's research laboratory at Corstorphine, Edinburgh; and what plans exist for the future of the team.

Gas

Industrial Supplies

70.

asked the Minister of Power if he is aware that a number of major industrialists in the West Midlands have been officially informed that they can expect their gas supplies to be halved or stopped altogether in the event of cold spells during the next four months; and what action he is taking to prevent such a reduction in gas supplies, in view of the fact that such supplies are essential to the production of large volumes of manufactured goods, many of which would be exported.

72.

asked the Minister of Power if he aware of the Gas Board's decision in some areas officially to inform industrial users to expect a reduction in gas supplies this winter; and if he will give a general direction in the national interest to the Gas Boards to review their closure programme of coal-based gas works in view of the adequate supplies of gas coal.

I understand that the West Midlands Gas Board is discussing with major consumers whether there are any ways in which gas consumption can be reduced without seriously affecting industrial production, should the need to do so arise. I welcome this as a wise precaution, undertaken partly in response to suggestions made by industrialists. It should not be taken as an indication that cuts in supplies will occur.The closure of carbonisation plants is not a relevant factor in the present situation. These plants are kept in operation so long as they can be manned and do not require heavy expenditure on rebuilding.

Overseas Development

Rhodesia (Medical Research Schemes)

73.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what United Kingdom grants for medical research and treatment of Africans, Asians and Europeans in Rhodesia have been stopped since the unilateral declaration of independence; and whether she will make a statement.

Financial aid for two medical research schemes in Rhodesia has been stopped. One of these schemes was a grant to the University College for trypanosomiasis research and I am considering whether this can be resumed in the light of the Government's decision to continue our recurrent aid to the college.

Ghana And Tanzania (Aid)

74.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding the supply of aid to Tanzania, in view of the breaking of diplomatic relations by that country with Great Britain.

76.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she will make a statement on the continuance of aid to Ghana and Tanzania.

As soon as I am in a position to do so, I will make a statement on aid to Ghana and Tanzania.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what total sums in grants, loans or indirect financial assistance has been made to Tanzania and to Ghana, respectively, since independence; and what total sum has been promised for the future but has not yet been paid or used.

For the first part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 7th December to the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Currie). Financial aid promised for the future but not yet paid or used amounts to £10·5 million for Tanzania and £3·3 million for Ghana. The current level of technical assistance expenditure on these countries is indicated in the reply referred to above.

Malawi (Aid)

75.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the recent financial talks with the Government of Malawi.

Following financial talks held in London from 29th November to 15th December between the Governments of Britain and Malawi, the British Government have undertaken to provide up to £8 million development aid to Malawi over the three years 1966 to 1968. This includes a grant of £1 million for the new University of Malawi. The remainder of the £8 million will be in the form of interest-free loans. In addition, budgetary aid of up to £5·3 million in the form of a grant will be provided for 1966; and further budgetary assistance up to a maximum of £5·3 million a year will be made available in the same form in 1967 and 1968, the actual amount to be fixed in annual negotiation. The Malawi Government have accepted this offer, which is in addition to technical assistance and loans already promised towards Malawi's share of compensation and commutation payments to officers designated under the Overseas Service Aid Scheme, together currently running at over £1·5 million a year.The detailed purposes for which the new development aid is to be used will be the subject of discussion between the two Governments: over £2 million has already been allocated to agreed projects in 1966.Parliament will in due course be asked to provide the necessary funds. In the meantime, advances will be sought from the Civil Contingencies Fund if necessary.

University College (Salisbury)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether the balance of the capital grant still unused by the University College of Salisbury has been blocked; and whether the grant of £800,000 towards the construction of a teaching hospital at the University College will still be made available.

The balance of the college's capital grant is being held in suspense pending further consideration.The proposed teaching hospital is a separate institution under the Rhodesian Government and the action on this must follow the general decision to cease aid to Rhodesia.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why grants were withdrawn from examiners proceeding to Rhodesia to examine students at the University College, Salisbury.

These grants were withheld as part of the general policy of withholding aid following the illegal declaration of independence and were resumed as soon as it was decided to consider the special case of recurrent aid to the University College.

Economic Aid (Disbursements)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what are the amounts of grants and loans, including all technical assistance, which have been made by Her Majesty's Government or by the Commonwealth Development Corporation or other agencies since 1945 to Colonies, Comomnwealth countries and foreign countries, respectively, showing the dates, purpose and terms of any such grant or loan together with the date and amount of repayments made; and what further grants or loans have been agreed or are under negotiation.

I give below figures for the total amounts of aid for which the hon. Member has asked. It would not be possible to supply the complete analysis of all the financial transactions which make up these totals, with comments in each case on their purposes, without a disproportionate expenditure on time and effort. Nor would it be possible to disclose information on matters currently under negotiation.

DISBURSEMENTS OF BRITISH GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC AID*
1945–46 TO 1964–65
£ million
DEPENDENT COMMONWEALTH†
Financial Aid
Grants508·1
Loans244·8
Technical Assistance74·5
INDEPENDENT COMMONWEALTH
Financial Aid
Grants75·0
Loans290·7
Technical Assistance52·2
OTHER COUNTRIES
Financial Aid
Grants152·9
Loans123·1
Technical Assistance9·7
CONTRIBUTIONS TO MULTILATERAL
AGENCIES222·8
* Includes Exchequer Advances to the CDC but not total investment by the Corporation.
† Includes aid given before Independence to territories now independent.

United Nations Congo Fund

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether Her Majesty's Government will contribute this year to the United Nations Congo Fund.

Yes. We are offering £178,571, or $500,000. The necessary provision will be included in the spring Supplementary Estimate and meanwhile an advance will if necessary be made from the Civil Contingencies Fund.

Colonial Development And Welfare Fund (Grants)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what allocations from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund she has made to Colonial Governments under the Overseas Development and Service Act 1965.

The following allocations by way of grant have been made for the three years ending 31st March, 1968 (except where two years are stated). These allocations include the unspent balances existing on 31st March, 1965. Further allocations for the period ending 31st March, 1970 will be made in due course.

£
Basutoland1,800,000(two years)
Bechuanaland Protectorate2,600,000(two years)
Swaziland3,900,000
Antigua820,000
Barbados575,000
British Guiana2,400,000(two years)
British Honduras2,200,000
British Virgin Islands250,000
Cayman Islands325,000
Dominica775,000
Grenada825,000
Montserrat360,000
St. Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla775,000
St. Lucia825,000
St. Vincent825,000
Turks and Caicos Islands200,000
Caribbean Regional Services350,000
Gibraltar1,000,000
Fiji3,600,000
British Solomon Islands Protectorate2,800,000
Gilbert and Ellice Islands720,000
New Hebrides900,000
Tonga350,000
Falkland Islands120,000
St. Helena and Ascension Is300,000
Mauritius2,400,000
Seychelles1,200,000
Higher Education4,500,000
£37,695,000
Discussions on development finance in South Arabia are to be held with Federal Ministers next month and allocations to South Arabia will be announced thereafter.

Technology

Computer Industry

77.

asked the Minister of Technology if he will now circulate in the OFICIAL REPORT a list of those com- panies that constitute the independent British computer industry.

Following is a list of the companies which at present I regard as being the major constituents of the independent British Computer Industry.

  • International Computers and Tabulators Ltd.
  • English Electric-Leo-Marconi Computers Ltd.
  • Elliott-Automation Computers Ltd.
  • Ferranti Ltd.

Perambulators And Electric Cookers (Price Increases)

78.

asked the Minister of Technology if his Department will be notified of price increases in perambulators and electric cookers as a result of Command Paper No. 2808 on prices and incomes.

I am arranging to be notified of price increases in electric cookers. Perambulators are a matter for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

National Finance

Hydrocarbon Oils (Duty)

79.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will review the current 400 per cent. tax on bus fuel oil, in view of the rising costs of public transport.

My right hon. Friend will consider the incidence of the duty on Hydrocarbon oils in his general review of taxation before the Budget.

Purchase Tax

80.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue is received from the taxation of cricket balls, golf balls, billiard balls, footballs and tennis balls.

Government Departments (Staggered Office Hours)

81.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, with a view to giving a lead towards wider adoption of staggered office hours, he will set out to what extent staggered hours have now been achieved in each Government Department in the London area.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) on 27th July. I do not think there would be much value in publishing figures for individual Departments.

Proposals For Legislation And Administrative Decisions (Cost)

82.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state in itemised form his estimates of the additional cost involved to public funds in Her Majesty's Government's proposals for legislation in the present Session and their administrative decisions announced since its commencement.

The information in the form requested by the right hon. Gentleman is not readily available. With permission, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow. The right hon. Gentleman will, however, be glad to learn that the cost will be contained within the limit on the annual increase in public expenditure of 4¼ per cent. at constant prices.

Rating Valuation Appeals (Documents)

83.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the practice of the Inland Revenue Valuation Department as to the times at which they supply local authority rating officers, and the householders affected, with documents, such as the Schedule of Comparative Values necessary on an appeal.

Except for certain appeals to the Lands Tribunal, the Valuation Officer is not required by law to supply in advance of the appeal hearing a schedule of the properties which he intends to cite as comparable. Although he commonly does so, there is no set practice about it or about the length of notice.

Reserve Bank Of Rhodesia (Sterling Balances)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the amount of the sterling balances standing to the credit of the Reserve Bank of Rhodesia on 15th October, 1964, 11th November, 1965, 3rd December, 1965, and at the most recent date for which figures are available.

It is for the Board of the Reserve Bank of Rhodesia to determine whether to publish these figures. I am informed by the Governor, Sir Sydney Caine, that they do not at present propose to do so. It has not been the practice in the past to publish separately the figures for sterling balances, which form no more than a part of the total external assets of the Reserve Bank.

3½ Per Cent War Loan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total number of account holders on all registers in respect of 3½ per cent. War Loan at the latest date.

The total number of accounts held on all registers was approximately 1·1 million at 25th October, 1965, but some holders have more than one account and some accounts are in the names of more than one person. There is also a small amount held in bearer form.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total sum invested in 3½ per cent. War Loan at the latest date.

Schedule D (Case Vii)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax was collected under the provisions of Case VII of Schedule D for the tax year 1964–65; and how much he expects to collect during the year 1965–66.

Dog Licences

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many persons were proceeded against last year for not having a dog licence; how many unlicensed dogs there are in the country; what is the annual cost of collection of dog licence fees and of the other activities necessary to police the dog licence system; and what is the gross annual profit made by the system expressed in cash and as a percentage of turnover.

In 1964, there were 4,173 prosecutions. I do not know how many unlicensed dogs there are. Costs of collection and administration are not available for England and Wales; in Scotland they are estimated at about 25 per cent. to 30 per cent. of receipts. Receipts from dog licences in the financial year 1964–65 were £997,361 in England and Wales and £76,572 in Scotland.

National Savings Certificates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the sum at present invested in each issue of National Savings Certificates as a percentage of the total sum invested in that issue.

The estimated sum invested at the end of July, 1965, in each issue of National Savings Certificates (excluding interest) expressed as a percentage of the total value of all units of that issue sold is as follows:

Percentage
1st Issue0·6
2nd Issue0·9
3rd Issue4·1
Conversion Issue6·4
4th Issue5·8
5th Issue6·8
6th Issue7·7
7th Issue8·0
One-pound Issue9·8
8th Issue16·6
9th Issue35·4
10th Issue66·9
11th Issue92·7 (of sales to date)

Rhodesia (United Kingdom Government Stocks)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that when the present restrictions are lifted residents in Rhodesia will receive the amount of interest due to them on any United Kingdom Government stocks which they hold at the normal rate as specified in the prospectus of the stock in question, whether the blocked interest payments will themselves be subject to interest.

Land, Nether Wasdale

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about the offer to the nation of land in Wasdale, Cumberland, in settlement of death duties.

Yes. About 1,480 acres of land at Nether Wasdale in the Lake District National Park have been accepted, at a cost to the National Land Fund of £65,000, in part settlement of Estate Duty arising on the death of Major John Basil Wrigley. The land comprises seven farms and substantial woodlands in the Wasdale Valley near Wastwater Lake. It has been transferred to the National Trust.

Scottish Parliament (600Th Anniversary)

84.

To ask the Lord President of the Council, what proposals he has for celebrating in 1967 the 600th anniversary of the first meeting of a representative Scottish Parliament.

None. There would appear to be some difference of opinion among historians whether 1967 is the appropriate anniversary of the event in question.

House Of Commons Services Committee

asked the Lord President of the Council what changes will take place in salaries and conditions of service of the staff of the House of Commons as the result of the setting up of the Services Committee.

While I shall always be ready to answer Questions on major proposals for the improvement of Members' accommodation and facilities or on the policy of the Services Committee and sub-committees, I would not propose to answer detailed Questions on day-to-day administration or the salaries and conditions of service of the staff of the House.

Transport

Derelict Vehicles (Removal)

85.

asked the Minister of Transport what progress is being made in establishing a recognised system for clearing abandoned vehicles from roads and streets; and if he will make a statement.

Adequate powers already exist under the Removal of Vehicles (England and Wales) Regulations 1961. In February the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, in consultation with my Department, issued a circular to local authorities, giving guidance on the removal and disposal of old vehicles. This has resulted in improved arrangements being made by local authorities to deal with the problem.

Regulation Of Traffic, Central London (Disabled People)

asked the Minister of Transport what arrangements he intends to make to enable disabled and handicapped persons to come into the centre of London when the new regulations operate.

I intend that the needs of the disabled and handicapped should continue to be considered in the regulation of traffic in Central London. It is too early to say what arrangements would be made as part of any new restraints.

Roads

Three-Lane Roads

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now give directions, pending the building of dual carriageways, for the middle lane in all three-lane roads under his control to be made one-way by the introduction of double white lines throughout.

No. I must first assess the results of the trials now in progress before deciding whether to extend the use of offset double white lines on alternate stretches of road.

Road Communications (Liverpool-Preston)

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he has for authorising a road of motorway standards between Liverpool and Preston.

I am studying the need for better road communications between Liverpool and Preston.

M6 (Runcorn-Chester-Birkenhead)

asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to authorise the construction of a motorway or road of motorway standard between the M.6 motorway and Runcorn, Chester and Birkenhead.

These towns will be linked to M.6 by the Mid-Wirral road and the North Cheshire motorway. The former, and important sections of the latter, are in my current road programme. I expect to publish on 24th December the draft line of the Helsby-Frodsham By-Pass section of the motorway, and I hope that constructional work on it will start in 1968.

South Lancashire Motorway

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he now has for authorising a motorway spur of a higher standard than the East Lancashire road to give access from Liverpool to the M.6 motorway.

I have nothing at present to add to my Answer on 24th November to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer).

Accidents (Dogs)

asked the Minister of Transport how many road traffic accidents, involving personal injury other than death or serious injury, were caused last year by dogs upon or adjacent to the highway; and what estimate he has made of the probable cost of such accidents to the Exchequer and the community.

Deferred Projects

asked the Minister of Transport which road-building projects in Hertfordshire are affected by the proposed reductions in capital expenditure.

The following projects are being deferred for 6 months:

  • A.41 Kings Langley to Barnes Bridge.
  • A.1 Junction with Southern Link Road, Hatfield.
  • A.10 Bell Lane-Park Lane, Broxbourne.
  • B.190 Stanborough Road, Welwyn Garden City (20th Mile bridge).
  • A.414 Station Road, Hemel Hempstead, Bulbourne Bridge.
  • A.120 Hockerill Bridge.
  • A.412 Cassio Bridges, Watford.
  • B.556 Harper Lane, Shenley.
  • A.414/B.556 By-pass and other works at Mill Green, Welwyn Garden City.
  • A.1000 Southern Link Road, Hatfield.

A1 (Accidents)

asked the Minister of Transport how many people have been involved in road accidents on the section of the A.1 between Chester-le-Street and Darlington since the double white lines separating the traffic on this three-lane highway have been in operation; and how this figure compares with that for a similar period before this system operated.

I regret that this information is not yet available; up-to-date figures are being obtained and I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as I can.

Shipping

Sea Ferries

asked the Minister of Transport what proportion of British motorists taking holidays abroad travelled by British Railways sea ferries, and what proportion by foreign-operated ferries, during 1963 and 1964, respectively.

Home Department

Coffee Bars

86.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied that local authorities have adequate powers to control the nuisance caused by late night coffee bars; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities may make byelaws to prohibit noise arising from loudspeakers and to prevent noisy conduct in the streets at night. They may also use planning powers to prevent inappropriate siting of coffee bars. My right hon. and learned Friend is aware that there is some feeling that additional powers are required and will be very ready to consider any specific proposals.

Electoral Rolls

87.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the public exhibition of electoral rolls is of assistance to criminals, and of the anxiety of many persons living alone regarding this matter; and if he will issue a circular to local authorities with a view to ensuring that such electoral information is not misused.

I do not see how access to information which is, and must be, public can be denied to individuals however ill-intentioned.

Cruelty To Farm Animals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will seek to amend the Animal Protection Act 1911 so as to give the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals power to prosecute cases of cruelty to farm animals.

Rhodesia

88.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which Commonwealth countries have now undertaken to impose a trade embargo with Rhodesia, and which have not.

The following Commonwealth countries have placed a complete ban on trade with Rhodesia; India, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Jamaica, Trinidad, Singapore and Pakistan. I understand that Ceylon is about to do the same. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malta and Cyprus have banned over 90 per cent. of their imports from Rhodesia. Zambia and Malawi are in a special position. The Gambia has no trade with Rhodesia. Ghana and Sierra Leone have not yet joined in the embargo.

Ussr (Jewish Community)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what efforts have been made to carry into effect the latest resolution of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe concerning the position of the Jewish community in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I have nothing to add to my hon. Friend's reply to a question on 12th July by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Webster).

Post Office

Postal Services, Duns, Berwickshire

89.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is now in a position to report on improvement in the postal services at Duns, Berwickshire.

I am glad to say that there has been an improvement; but the position is not yet entirely satisfactory and we are still watching it carefully.

Post Offices (Works Of Living Artists)

asked the Postmaster-General what are the number and locations of post offices that are now displaying the works of living artists.

The works of living artists are displayed at the post offices at Bishop Auckland and Eccles. In co-operation with the North Eastern Association for the Arts I am arranging for similar displays at selected post offices in the North East. The arrangement will start as soon as practicable in the New Year, and I hope to extend it later.

Wireless And Television

Western Isles

asked the Postmaster-General when television and very high frequency service will be available in those parts of the Western Isles constituency still unserved.

I am happy to report that the B.B.C. hope to complete their station at Skriaig on the island of Skye early next year. This station is expected to make television and V.H.F. sound available to most of those parts of my hon. Friend's constituency which are at present not served.

North-East England

asked the Postmaster-General when B.B.C.2 will be available to the north-east of England.

The extension of B.B.C.2 coverage is a matter, in the first place, for the B.B.C. One of the Corporation's main U.H.F. stations to serve north-east England, including parts of County Durham, is expected to open at Pontop Pike in the spring. Further stations are planned to serve the area, but it is too early to say when these additional stations are likely to open.

Pirate Radio Station, Red Sand Tower

asked the Postmaster-General when he expects to institute proceedings against the pirate radio station operating on Red Sand Tower.

Television Licences

asked the Postmaster-General what additional plans are being made to publicise the arrangements for paying for television licences by instalments; and if he will make a statement.

I take it that my hon. Friend has in mind the special savings card I introduced last August on which anyone who wishes to save up for his next licence can stick National Savings stamps. The completed card can be exchanged for the next licence when this is due. The scheme has been publicised through the Press and by means of posters and notices displayed in post offices. Many pensioners' associations and savings groups have been told of it as opportunity offered. I hope that this arrangement will prove useful for anyone who prefers to save up for his licence, and in particular for the retired person who, when calling at the post office to draw his pension, may find it convenient to buy a stamp to put on a card.

Telephone Service

Telephone Kiosks

asked the Postmaster-General if he will give figures for the losses sustained by his Department in the operation of telephone kiosks in each telephone manager's area in England; and what this represents per capita of population.

The information is not available in the form required and would entail a disproportionate amount of time and expense to obtain it. The total loss on our 75,000 public telephones was £4·2 million last year for the whole of the United Kingdom. This averages about £55 per call office and represents 1s. 7d. per head of United Kingdom population.

Morpeth

asked the Postmaster-General how many citizens were waiting for a telephone service in the borough of Morpeth at the nearest convenient date; and what action is being taken to meet this need.

Excluding orders in hand or under inquiry, 40 applicants were waiting for service in the borough of Morpeth at 30th November, 1965. The exchange is being extended and I hope that all those now waiting will have service by the spring.

Economic Affairs

Fairfield Shipbuilding Yard

90.

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a further statement on the future of Fairfield shipbuilding yard and the prospects for those employed in it.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced to the House on 4th November the first step by the Government to try to save Fairfields yard from the very serious position into which it had been allowed to fall by the previous private owners.Since then the Government have been trying to establish the yard on a permanent basis. We have had consultations and negotiations with a number of groups. Despite the failure of some of these negotiations we have pressed on. Indeed, because I am still actively engaged in negotiations it would not help if I made a statement today.May I add that those who have charged the Government with indecision and delay should realise that the only decision which could have been taken promptly and effectively would have been to close the yard.It is because we have tried, and are still trying so hard to keep it going, that I hope to be able to make a statement tomorrow.

Ministry Of Defence

Exercise, Germany (Report)

91.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a report of the estimated results of the nuclear phases of exercise "Double Deal" which took place in Germany in October.

Army Camp, Brancepeth

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what further use he has for defence purposes for the vacant army camp at Brancepeth Castle.

I am still considering a possible defence requirement for the camp, but I will let my hon. Friend know as soon as a decision has been reached.

Red Sand Tower (Radio Transmitter)

asked the Secretary-of State for Defence if a radio transmitter called Radio 390 is operating from Red Sand Tower; if the equipment of this transmitter was installed with his permission; and what steps he will take to exercise control over Red Sand Tower in the future.

I understand that such a transmitter is operating from the fort but my permission for this has not been sought and would not be granted. There is no present or foreseeable defence purpose which would require me to exercise control over this fort.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is aware that Port of London Authority officials are allowed to carry out their duties on Red Sand Tower, which is the property of his Department, only with the permission of the operators of a pirate broadcasting station caled Radio 390, and that previous to this permission being granted, Port of London Authority officials were denied access to Red Sand Tower by this broadcasting station; and if he will take steps to restore to officials of the Port of London Authority access to Red Sand Tower unrestricted by private individuals.

I know of one such incident. There is no current or foreseeable defence requirement for the fort and I do not consider that defence resources should be used to secure the objective my hon. Friend has in mind.

Sunk Head Tower And Roughs Tower (Radio Transmitters)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will seek definite information about the establishment of private broadcasting stations on Sunk Head Tower and Roughs Tower and report his findings.

No. There is no present or foreseeable defence use for these towers which makes necessary such action by the Ministry of Defence.

Rhodesia

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty's Government's policy as to receiving and considering proposals from Mr. Smith's illegal Government.

I have nothing to add to the Statement I made in this House on 10th December, 1965.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that there is doubt as to whether British companies operating in Rhodesia and paying taxes to the illegal government are committing an unlawful act by giving financial support to that government; and if he will introduce legislation to clarify the position.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that Mr. Ian Smith and his colleagues may come to this country at any time to negotiate with Her Majesty's Government without fear of being arrested.

Any question of prosecution is one for the prosecuting authorities and not for Her Majesty's Government.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister if he will publish a record of those parts of his conversation with Mr. Garfield Todd and Mr. Nkomo which were referred to by Mr. Ian Smith in a statement on 6th December.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave on 14th December to similar Questions by hon. Members.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister how Her Majesty's Government voted on the United Nations Assembly motion calling for mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia.

Ussr (Prime Minister's Visit)

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he is making for an early visit to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I would ask my hon. Friend to await my speech in the foreign affairs debate later today.

Defence Expenditure (Review)

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite Lord Beeching to assist in an advisory capacity in the review of defence expenditure.

Heads Of Government (Correspondence)

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister by what criteria he decides whether correspondence between himself and other heads of Government is to be confidential.

Opencast Mining (Morpeth)

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister what consideration has been given to the submission made to him by the Morpeth Rural District Council concerning the social implications of opencast coalmining in their area; and whether he will make a statement.

The submission made by the Morpeth Rural District Council about the Coldrife site has been carefully considered. The points made in it were thoroughly examined at the public inquiry concerning the site, and subsequently. All the social implications of the proposal were fully taken into account by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power before he decided to authorise the National Coal Board to work the site.

Diplomatic Relations (Severance)

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister to what extent it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to continue to make financial contributions and interest-free loans to countries which sever diplomatic relations with this country; and what effect this will have on trade relations.

This will depend on the circumstances in which diplomatic relations are severed. Severance in itself has no direct effect on trade relations, or on aid programmes.

Saudi Arabia (Sale Of Aircraft And Missiles)

asked the Prime Minister to what value British armament firms have offered to sell military aircraft and missiles to the Saudi Arabian Government; whether the contracts have yet been concluded; and what steps he has taken in an attempt to ensure that the other Governments in the Middle East, including the Government of Israel, will not regard the sale as a menace to their security necessitating similar increases in their armed strength.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Statement made earlier today by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation.

National Committee For Commonwealth Immigrants

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements are proposed for financing the work of the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, funds will be provided from a grant-in-aid borne on the Home Office Vote, at an estimated cost of about £100,000 in a full year. Expenditure for the current year will be met by advances from the Civil Contingencies Fund as necessary and a Supplementary Estimate will be presented to Parliament in due course. These financial arrangements in no way affect the responsibilities of my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Mr. Foley, for the integration of Commonwealth citizens in the United Kingdom.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Imports From Irish Republic

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many store cattle were imported from the Republic of Ireland during each of the last five-year periods to the latest convenient date; and what tonnages of carcase beef and carcase lamb were imported during the same periods.

Figures are given below for each calendar year from 1955 to 1964, with totals for the two five-year periods 1955–59 and 1960–64, and comparable figures also for the first ten months of the current year. Because of classification difficulties in certain years, statistics for both Irish store and fat cattle are shown.

IMPORTS FROM IRISH REPUBLIC
Calendar YearStore Cattle '000 head)Fat Cattle ('000 head)Carcase Beef ('000 tons)Carcase Lamb ('000 tons)
1955473128123
195648511184
19577555035
19585964036
19594026577
2,7113943325
1960321181159
1961430254336
19624311312213
1963564681811
196463863209
2,38469710848
January to October, 196536942227

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for what general purposes it has been agreed that moneys paid to the Government of the Republic of Ireland in respect of imports of carcase beef and carcase lamb will be used.

Under the terms of the agreement with the Government of the Republic of Ireland, sums paid in respect of carcase beef and lamb imported into the United Kingdom are to be applied to such purposes as may from time to time be agreed between the two Governments after consultation together. No decision has been taken on the matter, but consultations will be taking place.

Coypu Campaign, East Anglia

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the coypu campaign which his Department has undertaken in East Anglia during the past three years.

The campaign which opened in August 1962, will end on the 31st of this month. The coypu or nutria is a South American aquatic rodent which was introduced into Great Britain about 1930 for fur farming purposes. As a result of escapes from farms coypus established themselves in Norfolk and Suffolk and spread to neighbouring counties. It became clear that this animal was capable of causing serious damage to agricultural crops, especially sugar beet and other roots, as well as undermining the banks of rivers and dykes. It was therefore decided to launch a special campaign to bring the coypu under control.Coypus have been systematically cleared by working inwards through Norfolk and North Suffolk through the heart of the infestation in the Norfolk Broads. In the more inaccessible areas of the Broads themselves, total eradication is not possible, but even there the coypu population has been reduced to manageable limits. As a result of this campaign, farmers and other occupiers should now be able to deal with the pest as is their responsibility. My Department will advise if individual occupiers need help and rabbit clearance societies will continue to receive grant for work against the coypu. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary will attend a meeting in Norwich on 6th January, 1966 to outline plans for ensuring that the pest does not reestablish itself, and he will convey my thanks to the many organisations which have contributed to the success of the campaign.

Ministry Of Aviation

Aircraft Engines (Horse-Power Formula)

asked the Minister of Aviation by what formula the thrust of jet engines, shaft horse-power and residual thrust of propeller-turbine engines, and shaft horse-power of piston engines are amalgamated into significant entries in the column headed, Index based on aero-engine power output, in table 89 of the Monthly Digest of Statistics.

The units of measurement concerned are: for reciprocating engines—brake horse-power; for turbojet and turbo-fan engines—pounds thrust; for turbo-driven propeller engines—shaft horse-power, and for turbo-propeller engines—equivalent shaft horse-power.For the purpose of the index, brake horse-power, shaft horse-power and equivalent shaft horse-power are regarded as equivalents; to convert pounds thrust to the same equivalent, the pounds thrust is halved. Recent changes in engine types may have brought about a change in this latter relationship; the subject is under review.

Aerodromes (Highlands And Islands)

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a detailed statement about the proposed improvements to airfields in the Highlands and Islands, giving estimated expenditure and starting and completion dates for each project for which plans are now ready or in operation.

The planning of the improvements to the aerodromes at Kirkwall, Sumburgh and Port Ellen to bring them up to full Viscount standard is now in hand. Work on the runways should commence in the spring and it is hoped, granted reasonable weather, to have it completed by the end of the year.The expenditure likely to be involved is about £1 million.

Barbados

Independence

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress is being made towards a grant of independence to Barbados alone.

I understand that a motion on the subject is down for debate in the Barbados Legislature. The Government of Barbados has made no approach to Her Majesty's Government on the matter.

Eastern Caribbean

Colonial Territories (Constitutions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what plans he has for the constitutional future of British Colonial Territories in the Eastern Caribbean following the visit of Sir Stephen Luke to the area.