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Written Answers

Volume 774: debated on Monday 25 November 1968

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 25th November, 1968

Employment And Productivity

Shops, Offices And Railways Premises Act (Crown Premises)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, what instructions have been given to Her Majesty's inspectors of factories about implementing the Shops, Offices and Railway Premises Act in relation to Crown buildings.

Current instructions provide for the initial general inspection of Crown premises under the Offices, Shops and Railways Premises Act to be completed by the end of 1968. H.M. Factory Inspectorate adopt the same standards in dealing with Crown as with other premises under the Act.

Building And Civil Engineering Industries (Interim Wage Settlement)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, whether she will now make a further statement regarding the building workers' interim settlement, following upon her recent discussions with both sides of the industry.

I made a statement in the House on Friday, 15th November, which outlined the position at that time. The executives of the trade unions concerned subsequently accepted the proposal agreed at my meeting with union representatives on 14th November. This was reported to the National Board for Prices and Incomes with a request to deal with the point at issue in their forthcoming reports on the building and civil engineering industries.—[Vol. 773, c. 761.]

Regional Prices Indices

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what progress has been made in establishing a separate cost of living index for Scotland.

On the advice of the Cost of Living Advisory Committee, my right hon. Friend has referred the tech- nical problems involved in the calculation of regional prices indices to an interdepartmental committee.

National Board For Prices And Incomes (References)

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, how many matters relating to prices have been referred to the National Board for Prices and Incomes in each of the past four months.

One price reference has been made during this period. We are consulting the interests concerned about other references we propose to make shortly. About half of the references made to date have related to prices.

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is the total number of subjects into which the National Board for Prices and Incomes is at present inquiring; and how many deal with incomes and prices, respectively.

The National Board for Prices and Incomes is at present considering 19 references (including 2 standing instructions). Of these three relate to prices and 16 (including the two standing instructions) relate to incomes.

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many references have been made by the National Board for Prices and Incomes on prices and incomes, respectively; how many cases of reducing prices and holding prices have resulted; and what income references have resulted in the withholding of claims, support for claims, and rejection of claims, respectively, showing the classes of workers concerned in each category.

49 references on prices have been made to the National Board for Prices and Incomes, of which three are outstanding. There have been 67 on incomes, of which 16 are outstanding.

Many references do not concern proposed increases in prices or pay. Insofar as they did, two price references resulted in price reductions, three in prices being held, and proposed increases were modified in 12 cases. On incomes, the recommendations generally supported the

The 51 completed references on incomes to the National Board for Prices and Incomes fall into the following categories:—

Support for claims (possibly with modifications)

Recommendations against claims

Recommendations cannot be classified as mainly support for claims or mainly against

Reference did not concern specific claims

265128

Classes of worker

Classes of worker

Classes of worker

Subjects

Printing workers.Road Haulage workers.Retail drapery workers.Productivity Agreements.
Insurance workers.Municipal busmen (3 groups).Limb fitters.Payment by results.
Electricity supply.Draughtsmen employed by certain firms.Insurance workers.Job evaluation.
Merchant Navy Officers.Job evaluation.Railway workers.Productivity and Pay during the period of severe restraint.
Dock clerical workers (Bristol).Atomic Energy workers.Productivity in the municipal bus industry.
Busmen (London Transport).Gas Industry.Link between salary structures of teachers in Scotland, England and Wales.
Farm-workers.B.O.A.C. Pilots.System of wage-bargaining in the industrial Civil Service
Thermal insulation contracting industry.Municipal busmen (Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool).Principles of pay in the water industry.
Sawmilling.Engineering workers.
Electrical contracting.
Armed Forces.
Higher Civil Service.
Local Authority manual and National Health Service ancillary workers.
Fire-Service workers.
Chief Officers of Local Authorities.
Nurses and Midwives.

Unemployment Statistics

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will now amplify the regularly published statistics of unemployment to indicate the duration of unemployment, showing the proportion of the total represented by those newly unemployed, unemployed for more than two weeks, more than a month and more than six months.

Information about the duration of unemployment for the registered wholly unemployed is published regularly in the Employment and Productivity Gazette. Details published monthly include all the categories requested except those with current spells of more than six months' duration. The latter are included in more detailed analyses which are made in January, April, July and October of each year and published in the months following those to which they relate. A table showing comparable figures for previous months and years is also published monthly.

claims in 26 cases and were generally opposed to the claims in five cases.

Further details about incomes cases are lengthy and I will circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the Statement:

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what other steps she proposes to take so that official unemployment statistics will in future reflect the conclusions of the analysis in Duration of Unemployment on the Register of Wholly Unemployed, Official Statistics, Research Series No. 1, Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

The possibility of obtaining more extensive information about flows on and off the unemployment register is under consideration.

Trade Union Discrimination

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will introduce legislation to protect employees from losing their employment because of discrimination by members of a trade union.

The question of legislation to safeguard individuals in relation to trade unions and to protect them from unfair dismissal from employment will be dealt with in the forthcoming White Paper on the Donovan Report.

Baking Industry, Scotland (Wage Settlement)

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will give an assurance that the agreement between 15,000 employees and their employers in the baking industry in Scotland, due to come into effect in February, 1969, will not be frozen and will not be referred to the National Board for Prices and Incomes.

My Department is awaiting further information from the parties in justification of this settlement under the productivity, prices and incomes policy. No decision will be taken until it has been considered.

Agricultural, Horticultural And Forestry Training Board

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will now disband the Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Training Board and seek to establish a more modest training scheme instead.

Retail Prices And Weekly Earnings

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the movement of retail prices and the percentage increase in wages for the years 1964, 1965. 1966, 1967 and 1968.

Following are the percentage increases:

Index of Retail PricesAverage weekly earnings*
April, 1963 to April, 19642·09·1
October, 1963 to October, 19644·18·3
April, 1964 to April, 19655·67·5
October, 1964 to October, 19654·88·5
April, 1965 to April, 19663·67·4
October, 1965 to October, 19663·84·2
April, 1966 to April, 19673·02·1
October, 1566 to October, 19672·05·6
April, 1967 to April, 19684·48·5
* Average weekly earnings of all full-time manual workers (combined) in the industries covered by the Department's April and October inquiries.

Yorkshire And Humberside Region (Unemployment)

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will state the percentage increase in unemployment covering the Yorkshire and Humberside Region since 1st January, 1968.

The provisional total of the numbers registered as unemployed in the Yorkshire and Humberside region at 11th November was 3·5 per cent. lower than at 8th January.

Industrial Training

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she is aware that many firms are being charged a levy for industrial training facilities which are not yet available and whether she will take steps to alter the provisions governing the schemes so as to exempt such firms from payment of the levy.

No. Levy is not primarily a charge for services. Most of the levy is used to pay grants to employers for the training they provide. It finances improvements in training facilities in this way. Direct provision of training facilities by boards is a relatively small part of their activities.

Industrial Accidents

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what action she intends to take to reduce the industrial accident rate and if she will make a statement.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the analysis of the problem of industrial accidents in the letter of presentation to the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories for 1967. The Industrial Safety Advisory Council advises my right hon. Friend on measures to promote safety in industry. Priority is being given to work on safety training in close co-operation with the machinery set up under the Industrial Training Act, and to joint consultation on safety.A start has been made on a major revision of safety, health and welfare legislation. The strength of Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate has been built up in certain specialist fields and an additional method of recruitment to the general inspectorate will be introduced from 1st January, 1969. While legislation and enforcement have an important part to play in accident prevention, there will be an effective reduction in the number of accidents only if management and employees fully understand and accept their own responsibilities.

Camborne-Redruth, Falmouth And Helston (Unemployment)

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what percentages of the male insured population was registered as unemployed at the last convenient date in Camborne-Redruth, in Falmouth and in Helston, respectively.

At 11th November the percentages were 6·2, 6·6, and 11·2. These figures are provisional.

Company Directors (Incomes)

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will give an assurance that in future she will treat all proposed income increases of company directors and higher paid executives on the same basis as industrial workers and freeze any proposal of an income rise above 3½ per cent. until the National Board for Price and Incomes have issued their report.

It is not the Government's policy to refer all proposals for an income rise above 3½ per cent. to the National Board for Prices and Incomes.

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she is aware that on many occasions company directors and other high paid executives have increased their salaries between £500 per annum to £5,000 per annum on incomes ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 per annum; and in how many of these instances she has refused to approve such increases and has frozen them pending an investigation by the National Board for Prices and Incomes.

Increases involving less than 100 people are not required to be notified under the early warning arrangements. Comprehensive and detailed information about changes in the remuneration of company directors and senior executives is not therefore available. No standstills in association with reference to the N.B.P.I. have been imposed.As my hon. Friend is aware, the general question of higher salaries is at present being investigated by the Board.

Ford Motor Company Ltd, Halewood (Premiums)

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity why a subsidy of 37s. 6d. per week per worker is paid to the Ford Motor Company Limited at Halewood.

The company's establishment at Halewood is in a Development Area and is engaged in manufacturing activities. It is, therefore, entitled to Selective Employment Premium and Regional Employment Premium which altogether amount to 37s. 6d. per week per adult male worker.

Thorne, Goole And Knottingley (Unemployment)

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what was the total number of persons registered as unemployed at Thorne, Goole and Knottingley in October, 1964, and in October, 1968.

At October, 1964, the figures for Thorne, Goole and Knottingley were 360, 139 and 65, respectively. At October, 1968, they were 944, 389 and 253.

Redundancy Fund

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether the Redundancy Fund is now moving into balance; and if she will give the figures up to the end of October and the anticipated figures to the end of the year.

Since the income of the Redundancy Fund was increased by the new rate of contributions which came into effect on 2nd September, 1968, income and expenditure have been approximately in balance. At the end of October the Fund had borrowed about £17 million, and, although precise estimation is difficult, the borrowing is expected to be about the same at the end of the year. The state of the Fund will, however, continue to be kept under close review.

Supplementary Benefit Entitlement

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what estimate she has made of the number of working men and women earning less than the minimum amount required to qualify for supplementary benefit.

This information is not available. Entitlement to Supplementary Benefit varies with family circumstances.

National Board For Prices And Incomes (Responsibilities)

60.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is her policy regarding the addition of arbitration to the responsibilities of the National Board for Prices and Incomes.

The responsibilities of the National Board for Prices and Incomes are set out in the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966 and I am not proposing any change in them.

Government Training Centres, Northern Region

62 and 63.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1) what is the current waiting list for entry into Government training centres in the Northern Region;(2) how many persons are at present undertaking courses in Government training centres in the Northern Region.

On 11th November 1968, there were 561 accepted applicants on the waiting list in Northern Region, and 800 persons in training.

Cost-Of-Living Sliding Scales (Policy)

61.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether it remains the Government's policy that if cost-of-living increases give rise to wage increases of more than 3½ per cent. the Government will not oppose them this year but any excess would have to count against the ceiling for next year.

The Government's policy in relation to cost-of-living sliding scales was set out in paragraph 41 of the White Paper on Productivity, Prices and Incomes Policy for 1968 and 1969 (Cmnd. 3590) which said that pay increases resulting from existing arrangements should be taken fully into account in applying the ceiling to the pay of the group covered.

Forms Es2

64.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many questionnaire forms E.S.2 have been sent out by her Department; under what authority they have been sent out; and how many people are engaged in collating the returns.

About 100,000 forms are being issued. Statutory authority for the inquiry is provided by the Statistics of Trade Act, 1947. The returns are to be processed by computer. About 20 staff at H.Q. are directly engaged for several months on work arising from the survey; in addition, staff with more general duties in local offices are involved for part of their time.

Tyneside (Unemployment)

65.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will arrange for an immediate special investigation of the causes of the continued rise in unemployment in South Shields with the object of proposing both short- and longer-term action to cure the present position.

No. I am aware of the reasons for the continuing high level of unemployment. South Shields is eligible for the full range of assistance under the Government's general measures for the Development Areas.In addition, since my hon. Friend raised the matter on the Adjournment on 14th October he will know of the Government announcement to allocate £4 million to create additional employment this winter in the Northern Development Area, and Tyneside should benefit from this.

66.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will give an estimate of the percentage of adult male insured persons unemployed in South Shields and on Tyneside, respectively, on the latest available date and 12 months previously.

Percentage rates of unemployment for local areas do not distinguish between men and boys and therefore can be calculated only for males. For Tyneside travel-to-work area, which includes South Shields, the provisional percentage rate on 11th November, 1968 was 5·1 and on 13th November, 1967 the rate was 4·5.

Remploy Factories

68.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is the lowest and highest rate of wages paid to workers in Remploy factories, other than supervisory and managerial grades; and what is the number of workers in receipt of such wages.

The rates are 5s. 3½d an hour (5s. 5d. in London) and 8s. 3d. an hour (8s. 4½d. in London); the numbers are about 1,700 and 230 respectively.

69.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what financial assistance has been given to Remploy in each of the last three years.

Payments made by my Department to Remploy in respect of their running costs were £3,412,832 in 1965–66, £3,247,664 in 1966–67 and £3,590,123 in 1967–68. Payments to cover capital expenditure for the same years were £354,168, £654,686 and £553,877 respectively. The figures for 1967–68 are provisional.

Employers' Engagement Permits (Non-Disabled Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what was the total number of permits granted to the 21,021 firms who applied to engage non-disabled people when these firms were employing less than their quota of 3 per cent. disabled between 1st June 1967 and 1st June 1968.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what criteria were used to allocate permits to firms applying to use non-disabled people while employing less than their quota of 3 per cent disabled; and what steps were taken to check that disabled people were unable to carry out any one of the tasks involved.

Permits are issued to firms seeking to engage able-bodied people for immediate vacancies while employing less than their quota of 3 per cent. disabled, only when the disablement resettlement officer is satisfied that suitable registered disabled people are not available. Permits to cover estimated engagements for a period may be issued to such employers where the following additional conditions are satisfied: that suitable registered disabled people are unlikely to be available during the period of the permit and that the employer agrees to notify all vacancies and consider sympathetically the engagement of any suitable registered disabled people who may become available and do everything possible to improve the firm's quota position.Before the issue of both types of permit, other local offices and the appropriate trade union branches are consulted as necessary. The advice of a technical officer may be sought when there is doubt about the suitability of a particular vacancy for a disabled person.

Disabled Persons (Non-Registration)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is her estimate of the number of those people eligible who have not in fact registered as disabled persons; and what inquiries she is making into the reasons why so many people do not register.

I am not in a position to estimate the number of people eligible who have registered as disabled. Registration under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act is voluntary and my officers have found that some disabled people prefer not to disclose their disability: while they can obtain and keep suitable employment, they see no advantage in registering.

Sheltered Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1) what is the total number of persons at present working in sheltered employment;(2) what action is being taken to provide jobs for the 9,020 disabled who are only capable of sheltered employment but who are at present unemployed.

The figure of 9,020 in my Answer of 11th November related to severely disabled people who are regarded as unlikely to obtain employment except under sheltered conditions. However, it is our policy that they should be placed in open employment if possible, under special conditions if necessary, and many of them are. The annual average of such placings is about 2,000.Provision for sheltered employment is made with financial assistance from my Department, nationally by Remploy Ltd. and locally through the agency of local authorities and voluntary bodies. The present total is about 12,500, of whom 7,300 (a record total) are now employed by Remploy Ltd., whose current three-year plan envisages an annual increase of 300 in the severely disabled labour force. Projects currently under discussion with local autorities and voluntary bodies would result in an annual expansion of 200 places over the same period.

Disablement Resettlement Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will take steps to initiate an experimental scheme in one region to assess the improvement in the services of disablement resettlement officers to be obtained by increasing their numbers, by ensuring that they are full-time officers, by reconsidering their methods of selection and grading, and by reducing their high rate of turnover.

I have noted my hon. Friend's suggestion, but I doubt whether an experimental scheme of this kind is necessary. The number of disablement resettlement officers and their selection and grading are, and will continue to be, kept under regular review, as will the difficulties caused by turnover. A considerable number are already engaged full time on this work.

Disabled Persons (Employment)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will take steps to ensure that the problems of employing disabled persons are included in the curricula of all management, supervising and personnel courses.

I have no power to ensure this, but I will consider whether my Department could take further steps to encourage it.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will take steps to establish an official bureau to co-ordinate and publicise all aspects of research and experimental work in training, assessment and employment of disabled persons, and to provide factual information about the subject.

Arrangements already exist for collecting and disseminating information on training research and this includes some research relevant to the training needs of disabled people. My officers also keep in touch with organisations undertaking research into the training and employment of disabled people. I am considering what scope there is for further development along these lines.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what has been the average number of registered disabled persons employed in the Chippenham Constituency in the last three years.

I regret that precise information is not available, but I will write to the hon. Member giving such information as we have.

Bank Staffs (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1) if she is aware of the discontent among bank employees resulting from her decision to refer to the National Board for Prices and Incomes their application for pay increases and improvements in their working conditions; and if, following her recent talks with representatives of the bank employees, she will now reconsider her decision;(2) if she will make a statement on the results of her talks on 21st November with the delegation from the National Union of Bank Employees regarding their application for pay increases.

On 20th November my right hon. Friend discussed the proposed reference to the National Board for Prices and Incomes of the settlement of the Joint Negotiating Council for Banking with the Banking Staff Council and with the Federation of Bank employers and explained why the Government were unable to approve, without inquiry by the National Board for Prices and Incomes, implementation of the settlement which provided increases of 7 per cent. for men and 10·5 per cent. for women. The two sides are considering the Government's statement that they would, pending the Board's report, be willing to approve an interim increase not exceeding 3½ per cent.

Unemployed Qualified Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many qualified teachers were registered with her Department as unemployed in November, 1966, and November, 1967.

Ships' Clerks, Port Of London (Pay Claim)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is the current state of negotiations for a wage increase for ships' clerks in the Port of London; and when a settlement will be concluded.

Negotiations on the ships' clerks' claim are due to be resumed in the light of joint discussions on pay and productivity in the Port of London as a whole, which began last Friday and will be continued on 29th November. Both sides aim to conclude a settlement as soon as possible.

Engineering Training, Scotland

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what she has done to encourage group training schemes in Scotland through the Engineering Industry Training Board.

This is the responsibility of the Board which makes gener- ous grants to assist with the development of group training schemes. There are now 20 Engineering Board schemes in Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what grants she gives towards induction and safety training for young employees in Scotland through the Engineering Industry Training Board.

None; but the Training Board pays grant from its own funds in these cases.

Industrial Rehabilitation Units

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many men and women are being trained in rehabilitation centres; and how many are found jobs when the training is finished.

On 30th September, 1968, 1,732 men and 190 women were attending courses at my Department's Industrial Rehabilitation Units. The main purpose of these Units is to restore working fitness; they do not, therefore, provide training for particular jobs but may recommend that training courses should follow. During 1967, 9,562 men and 1,046 women completed rehabilitation courses. In the same period, 3,889 men and 473 women entered employment within three months of completing their courses; 1,881 men and 126 women started courses of training.

Disabled Persons (Training)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will publish the numbers of Government training centres for the handicapped for the years 1964–68; and how many handicapped people have taken advantage of these facilities.

Four residential training centres for the disabled are run by voluntary bodies with Government financial support. From September, 1964, to September, 1968, 2,994 trainees completed courses at these centres.During the same period 5,166 disabled trainees completed courses at Government Training Centres and a further 2,749 received training at technical and commercial colleges under my Department's Vocational Training Scheme.

Furness Shipyard (Redundancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the rate of redundancy at Furness shipbuilding yard; and what she estimates the rate of employment will be once the yard is officially taken over by the Tyneside Consortium in January, 1969.

I understand that between March and 7th November, 1968, there were about 350 redundancies at the Furness Yard and about 400 other workers left during the period. It is estimated that a weekly average of about 160 redundancies will occur during the remainder of this year, and some further unemployment may arise in February and March, 1969.Engagement by the consortium of up to 150 men is expected between early December and the end of 1968. Thereafter although no precise figures are available, and depending on progress, it is hoped that an average of 90–100 men per week will be taken on during the first three months of 1969 and some further recruitment is likely thereafter.

Hartlepool (Registered Disabled Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many disabled persons are registered for employment in Hartlepool; whether she is satisfied that the local authority and Government Departments are fully operating the regulations relating to the employment of the disabled; and if she will make a statement.

On 14th November, 1968, the number of registered disabled persons registered for employment at the Hartlepool Employment Exchanges was 204. I am satisfied that the local authority is fully operating the regulations relating to the employment of the disabled and Government Departments although they are under no statutory obligations, are observing the obligations of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act both as regards recruitment and discharge of staff. My officers lose no opportunity of bringing unemployed registered disabled people to the notice of the local authority and to Government Departments when they have suitable vacancies. Both have a good record of co-operation with my officers in this matter.

Hartlepool (Registered Blind Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many blind persons are registered for employment in Hartlepool; for what periods they have been unemployed; and if she will make a statement on the employment opportunities available to them.

Three blind persons in Hartlepool are currently in need of employment. Two have been unemployed for eight months and one for twelve months. The prospects of employment vary with the individual and we shall continue our efforts to help them all. One of them will shortly be attending a course of industrial rehabilitation.

Training Centres, North-East

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the proposal to set up three new training centres in the North-East within the next two years with reference to size, staffing, numbers to be trained and siting.

Following is the information:

Government Training CentreNumber of Training PlacesEstimated Numbers to be trained each YearSiting
Darlington200340Faverdale
Durham350600Meadowfield Industrial Estate, Littleburn
Middlesbrough200340Not yet decided
In all, about 200 staff will be required at these three Centres.

Selective Employment Tax (Northern Region)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1) how many persons were wholly employed in the manufacturing trades in the Northern Regions before the implementation of the Selective Employment Tax; and what are the last available figures;(2) what estimate she has made of the shift of employment which has occurred from the service and distributive trades to the manufacturing trades in the Northern Region arising from the implementation of the Selective Employment Tax;(3) how many persons were wholly employed in the service and distributive trades in the Northern Region before the implementation of the Selective

ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF EMPLOYEES IN EMPLOYMENT IN NORTHERN REGION AT JUNE, 1966 AND JUNE, 1967 AND CHANGES BETWEEN THESE DATES
Change June, 1966–June, 1967
June, 1966 (000's)June, 1967 (000's)Numbers (000's)Percent.
Manufacturing Industries:
(Orders III to XVI of the Standard Industrial Classification)465·3456·4−8·9−1·9
Service Industries:
Transport and Communication (Order XIX)82·280·1−2·1−2·6
Distributive Trades (Order XX)159·7152·8−6·9−4·3
Insurance, Banking and Finance (Order XXI)20·519·8−0·7−3·4
Professional and Scientific Services (Order XXII)136·4140·7+4·3+3·2
Miscellaneous Services (Order XXIII)109·7107·9−1·8−1·6
Public Administration (Order XXIV)74·076·5+2·5+3·4
All Service Industries (Orders XIX—XXIV)582·5577·8−4·7−0·8
The table shows changes in the level of employment in the manufacturing and service industries in Northern Region between June, 1966 and 1967; it does not show movements from one industry to another. The service industries shown above are those commonly recognised for statistical purposes; they do not, in all cases, correspond with Selective Employment Tax-bearing industries. The fall in employment in tax-bearing industries in Northern Region between June, 1966, and June, 1967, is estimated to have been about 4 per cent. It is not possible to measure the extent to which the changes may be attributed to the Selective Employment Tax as distinct from other economic measures, but it seems likely that the tax has been a major factor in them.

Incomes Policy (Study)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the results of her invitation to the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industry and the National Board for Prices and Incomes to join in a study of what the incomes policy should be after the expiry of the present legislation.

Employment Tax; and what are the latest available figures.

Estimates of the numbers of employees in employment in regions are analysed industrially at mid-year only. The latest estimates relate to June, 1967. Those for June, 1968, will become available early in 1969.

The Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industries and the National Board for Prices and Incomes have all accepted my invitation to join in this study.

Farm Training (South-West)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many farmers in the South-West have not paid their Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Industrial Training Board levies.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she is satisfied that the Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Industrial Training Board is providing suitable training schemes for the farmers of South-West England; and if she will make a statement.

This is primarily a matter for the Board. I understand that it is directing its main efforts towards improving practical training on the farm and that courses have been arranged for both on-the-job and off-the-job training.

Industrial Accidents

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will tabulate the number and classification of industrial accidents for each of the past five years; what representations she has received from the In-

Manufacturing processesConstruction processesDocks, wharves, quays and inland warehousesTotal
1963168,106 (332)28,348 (242)7,815 (36)204,269 (610)
1964217,950 (344)40,491 (271)10,207 (40)268,648 (655)
1965239,158 (358)44,381 (230)10,178 (39)293,717 (627)
1966241,051 (372)45,607 (288)9,952 (41)296,610 (701)
1967247,058 (342)46,475 (197)10,483 (25)304,016 (564)
The figures in brackets show the number of fatalities.
The Reports of the Chief Inspector of Factories also tabulate accidents (1) in relation to primary cause, the sex of persons involved and whether they are young persons or adults; (2) by industry group and primary cause; (3) by incidence per thousand employees, and industry; (4) construction accidents, analysed by occupations; (5) construction accidents, analysed by causes; (6) electrical accidents, analysed by apparatus; (7) electricity accidents, analysed by occupation; (8) number and incidence of all accidents, by districts and (9) accident frequency rates, by industry.On the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer which I gave today to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones).

Accidents (Building Sites)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT statistics comparing the accident rate in building construction by conventional methods as compared with the rate on sites, but not in factories, where system building is in use.

This information is not available in the form requested. A limited survey carried out by H.M. Factory Inspectorate in 1967 for my Joint Advisory Committee on Safety and Health in the Construction Industries suggested that there was no significant difference in the accident frequency rate between conventional methods of construction and system building. My Department will pub- dustrial Safety Advisory Council directed towards reducing the accident rate in industry; and what action she proposes to take.

The number of accidents reported under the Factories Act in the last five years are as follows:lish a booklet next month based on the survey which identifies the dangers peculiar to system building and describes practicable precautions against them.

Average Earnings (Northern Region)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what are the average earnings in the Northern Region; and how these compare with the national average earnings.

In April, 1968, the latest date for which information is available, the average weekly earnings of adult male manual workers in the Northern Region were £21 11s. 2d. compared with £22 5s. 3d. in the United Kingdom. The corresponding figures of average hourly earnings were 9s. 4·1d. and 9s. 7·6d., respectively.

Industrial Development, Scotland

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity to what extent industrial development in Scotland is being retarded by the shortage of skilled manpower; and how these deficiencies are being met.

There are some shortages of skilled labour in Scotland but in very few of these occupations is there currently an excess of unfilled vacancies over wholly unemployed, and in almost all cases this excess is marginal. I do not think that the extent of these shortages is such as to constitute a serious constraint on industrial development in Scotland. Various efforts are being made to improve the situation both by Industrial Training Boards and through my Department's own Government Training Centres, of which there are nine in Scotland and will be ten by 1970.

Statutory Appointments

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many paid appointments are within her official patronage; and what are the maximum and minimum salaries involved.

The number of current paid appointments made in the exercise of my right hon. Friend, statutory responsibilities is 24, of which nine are full-time and 15 part-time. The salaries in respect of full-time appointments range from £2,000 to £7,200 per annum and for part-time appointments from £800 to £3,000 per annum.

Health, Safety And Welfare Regulations

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity when the proposed Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations will be introduced.

My right hon. Friend's aim is to introduce legislation as soon as the complexity of the subject and the Parliamentary time-table will allow, but I regret that I am not yet able to say exactly when this will be.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if replies have now been received from the Trades Union Congress and all other interested organisations on the proposed industrial Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations.

Over 500 organisations were consulted. Replies have been received from the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industry and from 320 other organisations.

Offices, Shops And Railway Premises (Inspection)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (1) what percentage of premises which require to be examined under the provisions of the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963 still require examination for the first time; and when she estimates that such examinations will be completed;(2) how many premises which require to be examined under the provisions of the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963 have been examined but have still not been certified as complying with the Act.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend's report on the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act for 1967. This estimated that by the end of that year approximately 80 per cent. of local authorities had inspected more than 75 per cent. of registered premises in their areas. By the same date H.M. Factory Inspectorate had inspected 76 per cent. of the registered premises for which they were responsible and H.M. Inspectorate of Mines and Quarries 78 per cent. I hope that in most areas the remaining initial general inspections will be completed by the end of 1968. Occupiers have a continuing duty and it is not the practice of inspectors to certify that premises comply with the provisions of the Act.

Executive Salaries

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what estimate she has made of the cost, to firms in the samples, of her Department's inquiry into executive salaries, and the parallel inquiry by the National Board for Prices and Incomes, and of the number of man-hours of work involved.

My Department is not conducting an enquiry into executive salaries in parallel with the Board's enquiry. We are making a sample survey of earnings of individual employees which includes executives as well as others. The cost of completing the form used for the survey will vary from firm to firm.The Board is currently conducting two enquiries—one into top level and one into middle level salaries. I have no estimate of the cost to firms.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will give the actual number of senior staff earning more than £2,000 per annum whose cases of wage or salary increases were examined by the National Board for Prices and Incomes under Orders made under Part IV of the 1966 Act and under Part II of the Act, respectively; and why no references were male of salary increases made to executives and/or company directors earning more than £2,000 per annum.

The precise number of staff earning more than £2,000 per annum in such cases is not known, but it is not large. The Government has not considered it appropriate to refer particular cases of increases for executives or company directors earning over £2,000 per annum to the N.B.P.I. but, as my hon. Friend knows, the Board is at present examining the general questions of top salaries, and salary structures for managerial, executive, professional and technical staff.

Court Of Appeal (Delays)

35.

asked the Attorney-General whether, in the forthcoming legislation dealing with reforms in the administration of justice, he will seek to make provision for the avoidance of delays in the hearing of cases by the Court of Appeal.

I do not think there is any shortcoming in the present arrangements which could be remedied by legislation. The main problem is that criminal appeals are nearly three times as numerous as they were four years ago. Everything possible is being done to expedite the hearing of these appeals and I hope that the new arrangements for giving legal aid to intending appellants may reduce the number of hopeless appeals. As to civil appeals, the current interval of about six months between the setting down of the case and the final hearing has not been the source of complaints as being too long; indeed, many requests are made to keep the cases out of the lists because the parties are not ready.

Social Services

Entitlement Leaflet

70.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will arrange for the distribution in Sheffield of the entitlement leaflets to inform people of their rights to social security benefits.

For the reasons I gave in my answer on 4th November to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. Barnes) it would be premature to consider a further distribution of this leaflet at present.—[Vol. 772, c. 462.]

National Insurance Contributions (Collection)

71.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he will take to integrate the collection of the proposed graduated National Insurance contribution with the systems for collection of Income Tax by Pay As You Earn and other means; and what economies he estimates will result.

Information about the arrangements for the collection of contributions will be given in the White Paper on the new earnings-related scheme and I ask the hon. Gentleman to await its publication later this winter.

Donovan Commission (Recommendations)

72.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he accepts the recommendations of the Donovan Commission for simplification of the industrial dispute disqualifications from unemployment benefit; and whether he will seek to amend the law in the present Session.

As my hon. Friend knows, consultations are taking place with both sides of industry on all the Commission's recommendations and my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State hopes soon to publish a White Paper. I can make no forecast about legislation at this stage.

Gonorrhoea

73.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to reduce the incidence of gonorrhoea.

My right hon. Friend has just issued detailed advice to local health and hospital authorities on contact tracing, which we are advised is the most important single method of controlling the spread of the disease.

Doctors' Surgeries, Northfield (Closures)

75.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in replacing doctors who have left the National Health Service or closed surgeries in the Shenley Lane and Bartley Green areas of Northfield, Birmingham.

The Birmingham Executive Council have refused consent to the closure of the surgery at 468 Shenley Lane, and my right hon. Friend is now urgently considering an appeal by the doctor concerned against this refusal. I understand from the Executive Council that there are suitable alternative arrangements for patients who formerly attended a branch surgery at 5 Jiggins Lane, Bartley Green, which was closed with the Council's consent last June.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is aware that any solution for the closing of the doctors' surgery at 468, Shenley Lane, Northfield, Birmingham, that involves transfer of the patients to the register of another doctor practising in another part of Northfield, will involve hardship and inconvenience, particularly for the elderly; and whether he will therefore seek to provide a replacement at or near to the closed surgery.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply today to his Question for oral answer.

Selective Employment Tax

74.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will review the present methods under which repayment of Selective Employment Tax is claimed for secretarial and nursing staff within a group practice.

The arrangements were reviewed recently, but it did not prove possible to make suitable alternative arrangements.

81.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by what authority Leaflet RSET 1 states that Selective Employment Tax is not payable where the employer is liable only for industrial injuries contributory or with Class 2, self- employed, or Class 3, non-employed, national insurance contributions.

Section 44 of the Finance Act 1966 only imposes liability for Selective Employment Tax on an employer liable to pay a contribution for an employed person under the National Insurance Act 1965.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many households applied for the repayment of Selective Employment Tax in the months February, March and April 1968 under the regulations for qualified households under the following categories, namely, households including a person over the age of 70 years, households including a person needing domestic or nursing assistance, and households including child and one parent or guardian, respectively and how many from each category were referred during this period to the Supplementary Benefits Commission.

During the months February, March and April 1968 there were 23,054 such claims for repayment of Selective Employment Tax from households. A precise analysis of these claims is no longer made every week, but on the basis of a quarterly analysis it is estimated that they were made up as follows:

CategoryThousands
(1) Households including a person over the age of 70 years20½
(2) Households including a person needing domestic or nursing assistance2
(3) Households including a child and one parent or guardian½
The responsibility for dealing with all these claims rests with the Supplementary Benefits Commission.

Supplementary Benefit Rates

76.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is aware that the continuing rise in prices is eroding the value of the social security benefits; and whether he will instruct his local offices to increase their heating allowances and clothing grants during the winter months.

Supplementary benefit rates were increased last month to protect the standards of the most vulnerable sections of the community. The changes included an increase in the long-term addition, now 10s. a week, which provides margin for additional requirements. Where a person needs further help, for example because of special heating or clothing needs, extra provision can be made—related in general to the actual cost incurred.

Separated Wives

77.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will prepare and publish a leaflet to assist separated wives similar to that published for divorced wives.

A wife who is separated from her husband retains all the rights of a married woman for national insurance purposes and the advice about the insurance position of a married woman which is already provided in our leaflet NI.1 therefore applies to her as to any other married woman. There is already a special leaflet—SL.5—about supplementary allowances for women with dependent children and I am sending a copy of this leaflet to my hon. Friend.

Advisory Leaflet

78.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will arrange for a supply of leaflet N-1–95 to be sent to all justices' clerks, solicitors and citizens advice bureaux.

We already provide solicitors and Citizens Advice Bureaux and certain other organisations with copies of this leaflet which explains the position in the National Insurance Scheme of a woman whose marriage has ended by divorce or annulment. Our arrangements provide for a copy of the leaflet to be issued with the copy of a decree absolute sent to the wife. Copies are not sent to justices' clerks since action for divorce or annulment is not a matter for magistrates' courts.

Emigrant Doctors

79.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate his Department has made of the number of doctors who have emigrated from the United Kingdom in each year since 1960; and to what principal countries they emigrated.

I regret that information is not available in the form requested. The estimated net loss form Great Britain of British and Irish born doctors is an annual average of 300 for the two years 1962–63 and 1963–64; 500 for 1964–65 and 300 for 1965–66. The principle countries concerned are Australia, Canada and the United States of America.

Medical Commercial Travellers

80.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total number of medical commercial travellers promoting drugs to doctors in the National Health Service employed by concerns in membership of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and the number of general practitioners in the year 1966.

The precise figure for medical representatives is not known: the Association believe it to be something over 3,000. The number of doctors providing full general medical services in England and Wales at 1st October, 1966 was 19,844.

Pension Rates (Scottish Representations)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what reply he has sent to the Scottish Old-Age Pensioners Association regarding the representations submitted about a review of pension rates.

I am at present studying a letter which the Scottish Old-Age Pensions Association sent recently to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. A reply will be sent very shortly.

Ancillary Staff Training (Advisory Committee)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the progress made by the Advisory Committee on Ancillary Staff Training in the Health Service.

The Advisory Committee held its first meeting in October, 1967, and decided to concentrate initially on the largest groups of staff. It set up Working Parties on the training of porters and of domestic staff and a Sub-Committee on the training of catering staff. A Working Party on the training of laundry staff is to be set up shortly.The Committee has approved a report by its Working Party on the training of head porters and we shall shortly be circulating this to hospital authorities at the request of this Working Party a survey on main grade porters is now being undertaken by the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board Training Department. A report by the Working Party on Domestic Staff, mainly based on a survey by the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board Training Department, is nearly completed. The Sub-Committee for Catering Staff is currently revising the existing apprenticeship scheme for cooks in the light of the Hotel and Catering Industrial Training Board's new trainee cook scheme; and it is taking evidence on the training needs of catering staff as a whole.The Committee has given advice on the responsibility for ancillary staff training at hospital group level, and on the advantages of co-operation by Regional Training Departments in relevant experimental schemes, and my right hon. Friend is commending this to hospital authorities.We are grateful to the Committee for the valuable work it is doing.

Research Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of the total expenditure of his Department on research is spent in England and Wales, respectively.

The greater part of the expenditure is intended to be for the benefit of England and Wales equally. The proportion of the expenditure incurred in Wales is between 5 per cent. and 7 per cent.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (Meetings)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what invitation has been extended to his Department to send an observer to attend meetings of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Assocations which has its headquarters at Zurich.

Hospitals

Flu Epidemics (Facilities)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has considered the report, details of which have been sent to him, by the King Edward's Hospital Foundation published on 14th November on ways of improving hospital facilities in dealing with flu epidemics; what action he proposes to take; and if he will make a statement.

Hospital authorities in the London area already have guidance on the action they should take when the Emergency Bed Service yellow or red warnings are in force. Among other things this commends the admission of patients to any vacant beds regardless of specialty as far as medical considerations permit. The report is being examined to see whether further guidance should be issued.

Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry (Cost)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present total estimated cost, including land, of the new Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry; and what was the original estimate.

The present total estimated cost of this hospital, including land, is £8·87 million. The total estimated building cost first shown for this project in the Civil Estimates for 1963–64 was £6·54 million, giving a total estimated cost at prices then ruling, including land, of £6·69 million. These figures exclude the estimated cost of the psychiatric unit now being planned.

Coventry Hospital Group

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of capital expenditure in the Coventry Hospital Group over the past 20 years has gone to Coventry, Nuneaton and Rugby, respectively.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 19th November.—[Vol. 773, c. 255.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of people living in the Coventry Hospitals Group area falls within the catchment area of St. Cross Hospital, Rugby.

Regional Hospital Board, Manchester (Office Rent)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the annual rent to be paid by the Regional Hospital Board for its new offices at Gateway House, Manchester; what was the annual rent paid for its previous offices; whether the landlords of the old offices offered to build an extension to meet the board's requirements; and what was the proposed rent.

£118,500 per annum including the cost of accommodation for the new Blood Tranfusion Centre, less rent expected from sub-letting part of the new premises; £12,065 per annum; no such offer was made. I am writing to my hon. Friend with more details.

Alcoholics (Hospital Treatment)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of mental and psychiatric hospitals in the United Kingdom; and what provision is made for the treatment of alcoholics in these institutions.

There are 154 mental illness hospitals in England and Wales, apart from psychiatric units in general hospitals. Most can treat alcoholic patients; 13, with a total of some 250 beds, have special units for such patients.

Post-Natal Maternity Care

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proposals he has to improve post-natal maternity care at maternity hospitals and other maternity units.

I am continuously considering ways of further improving all aspects of maternity care, and my Standing Maternity and Midwifery Advisory Committee are at present reviewing the arrangements for the provision of maternity services both in hospital and in the home: when their report is available I will consider what further action is required.

Artificial Heart Valves

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recommendations his Department has made on the types of prosthetic heart valves to be used in hospitals carrying out heart valve operations, with a view to the success of the operation and not the cost of the valve.

My Department has made no recommendations on the choice or design of prosthetic heart valves to be used in National Health Service hospitals. This is a matter of clinical preference in the light of individual patient requirements.

Fire Drills

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the interests of safety, he will advise those concerned with the administration of hospitals to have a periodical and regular fire drill among the staffs of such establishments.

The importance of holding practice fire drills at least twice a year is stressed in the standing guidance on fire precautions which the Department has given to all hospital authorities. The present memorandum of guidance was issued in 1966. The attention of all these authorities was specially drawn to this guidance earlier this year. I consider this to be a matter of great importance.

Roads

Clitheroe And Wharley By-Pass

82.

asked the Minister of Transport when the undertaking that work will be started on the Clitheroe and Wharley by-pass this autumn will be implemented.

M6 And M40 Extensions

asked the Minister of Transport of the 215·6 miles of motoway previously planned to start in 1968, what lengths additional to the 49·35 miles of M5, M6 and M56 already announced are to be delayed to 1969; and if he will list them and give the reasons for the delay.

Three contracts which were programmed to be awarded in 1968 are now expected to be let early in 1969. These are for a 12 mile length of the Midland links motorway (M6) between A46 and Coleshill, a similar length on M6 between Penrith and Carlisle and a 1 mile length on M40 between Burkes Road and B473 (Beaconsfield By-pass).The delay is due on the first mentioned length to difficulties on statutory processes and land acquisition, on the second to difficulties on land acquisition, which necessitated a public inquiry, and on the third to difficulties on statutory processes and preparation of contract documents.

Inter-Urban Highway Strategy

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now announce the motorways, on a national basis, which will form the network which is to supplement the present proposed system.

I hope to publish proposals for a future inter-urban highway strategy as soon as possible in the New Year.

Levens Park

asked the Minister of Transport how far advanced are each of the detailed plans covering the various routes A, C, D and E of the crossing of Levens Park.

Assuming the hon. Member is referring to the letters applied to routes shown on a map he sent me on 17th October, routes A, D and E have been rejected. The line of the road established by an Order under Section 7 of the Highways Act, 1959 follows Route C for which plans to a scale of 1/2500 have been prepared.

M4, Slough And Maidenhead By-Pass (Hard Shoulders)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give an assurance that full-scale hard shoulders will be provided on the Slough and Maidenhead by-pass sections of M4 which are to be rebuilt with three-lane carriageways.

No. Modified hard shoulders will be provided to keep within existing bridge spans and highway limits generally.

Levens Link Road

asked the Minister of Transport when work will begin on the Levens Link Road from the M6 Motorway in Westmorland.

It is hoped to start the main works in the spring of 1970. Advance works on Tunnel Bridge are due to start later this year.

Berwick-Upon-Tweed

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the architectural importance of the old town and walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and of the effects on amenity which the breaching of these walls and the broadening the highways would occasion, he will consider an alternative plan for by-passing Berwick-upon-Tweed thus removing the necessity of large-scale re-planning in the town.

A by-pass would not achieve the object of the present proposals to relieve serious congestion in the town centre, as this is caused mainly by traffic having business in the town.As the hon. Member knows, the present proposals take full account of the architectural importance of the old town and walls, and are supported by the Ancient Monuments Board.

Narrow Roads (Parking)

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the traffic congestion and danger to human life caused by cars and lorries parking on both sides of narrow roads; and whether he will take steps to ensure that on roads less than 15 feet wide parking will only be permitted on a unilateral basis, variable each side of the road or street on odd and even dates, distinguishable by a coloured marking disc.

I am well aware of this problem. Local traffic authorities are empowered by the Road Traffic Regulation Act, 1967 to make regulations restricting waiting in these roads and may adopt alternating unilateral waiting if they consider it necessary.

There is a prescribed sign for use in making this type of order. But, if unilateral waiting is called for, it is frequently more satisfactory to be permanently on one side.

New Street, Chipping Norton (Proposed Widening)

asked the Minister of Transport why the decision on the proposal to widen New Street, Chipping Norton, due almost a year ago, has been delayed; when a decision will be made public; and if he will make a statement.

The delay is due to representations against the scheme because of its effect on buildings of architectural interest, which have necessitated consultation with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. We hope to give a decision soon.

Railways

Ilkley-Leeds And Ilkley-Bradford Services (Proposed Closure)

83.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give an assurance that he will not approve the proposal to close the Ilkley-Leeds and Ilkley-Bradford railway services whatever the result of the proposed inquiry, until the development plan for the Leeds-Bradford area has been produced and only if it shows that these railway services are not required.

I understand that the West Yorkshire land use/transportation study is scheduled for completion in February, 1969. I expect, therefore, to be able to take account of the findings of this study before taking a decision on the current Leeds/Bradford-Ilkley rail closure proposal.

Nottingham-Lincoln Service (Grant)

asked the Minister of Transport to what extent he took into account the fact that rail fares between Nottingham and Lincoln are being increased by 40 per cent. as from 1st December in his decision to make a grant under Section 39 of the Transport Act, 1968, to take effect from 1st January; and what is the amount of the grant he plans to give.

In accordance with one of the main recommendations of the recent Report No. 72 by the National Board for Prices and Incomes, which the Government have accepted, the Railways Board are in general now free to adjust fares outside London to individual markets. This principle applies equally to services which will be grant-aided.As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) on 15th November, I am not yet able to quote the amount of grant involved in this case because certain adjustments have to be made before the figures can be finalised, but I intend to announce the grant for this and other services early in 1969. It will take account of the expected yield of the new fares.—[Vol. 773, c.

172–80.]

Abergavenny-Newport Services

asked the Minister of Transport if, in refusing to agree to a grant for the maintenance of local services between Abergavenny and Newport, he took into account the inadequate bus service between these points and the traffic congestion on the approach to Newport.

In reaching my decision I took into account the nature of the bus services in the area. I concluded, however, that the small number of users of the local trains would be adequately catered for by the remaining railway service, which is to be be revised for this purpose.

Retford-Worksop-Sheffield Service (Grant)

asked the Minister of Transport what information he obtained, before agreeing to a subsidy for the line, as to how many passenger journeys are made annually on the Retford-Worksop-Sheffield railway line; what is the annual loss; and how much annual subsidy will be granted to the line.

I had information about the average number of daily passenger journeys on this service. This is equivalent to about 600,000 journeys annually.The amount of the grant will be the same as the estimated annual loss on the service. As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Sudbury and

Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) on 15th November, I am not yet able to quote the amount of grant involved in this case because certain adjustments have to be made before the figures can be finalised. I intend, however, to announce the grant for this and other services early in 1969.—[Vol. 773. c.

172–80.]

Alton-Winchester Line (Passenger Census)

asked the Minister of Transport when the earliest passenger census was taken on the Alton-Winchester railway line: and how the figures compare with the most recent census.

The earliest passenger census for which details are readily available was taken in July, 1963. This showed that the daily average numbers of journeys on the line on weekdays (Monday-Friday) was 1,022. Comparable figures for more recent censuses in June and October, 1968, were 939 and 857.

Transport

Humber Bridge

asked the Minister of Transport if he will expedite the construction of a new Humber bridge, in view of economic circumstances in certain parts of the Yorkshire and Humberside Region.

Decisions on the construction of a Humber bridge must await the Government's consideration of the Humberside study.

Concessionary Fares

asked the Minister of Transport when he will bring in an order and regulations under the Transport Act 1968 permitting Luton County Borough Council to introduce a scheme of concessionary fares for elderly passengers using local bus services.

Under the Transport Act, 1968, Section 138 of which came into force on 18th November, all local authorities now have discretionary powers to arrange these concessions on the services of any bus undertaking except the London Transport Board, and to meet the cost from the rates. Similar powers for local authorities, in relation to the services at present provided by the London Transport Board, will be proposed in the forthcoming Bill dealing with the reorganisation of transport in London.

Breath Tests

asked the Minister of Transport what plans he has for introducing proposals for breathalyser tests at or on approaches to public houses and other establishments where alcoholic liquor is supplied and consumed.

I am not proposing any changes in the law. The police already have power to require a driver to take a breath test if they have reasonable cause to suspect him of having alcohol in his body.

Departmental Communication (Mrs G M Jakobson)

asked the Minister of Transport, on what evidence he based the content of the communication sent by his Department dated 16th February 1968, Reference 7/11/05 to Mrs. G. M. Jakobson.

On information given to me by local taxation offices throughout the country.

National Finance

Employment

85.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy on levels of employment in the light of the additional hire-purchase restrictions imposed on 1st November.

Our policy is to safeguard a high level of employment by taking the necessary measures to strengthen the balance of payments.

Income Tax

86.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates to be the net gain or loss to the Treasury from reducing the standard rate of Income Tax by 2s. in the £ in Scotland, leaving it unchanged in Wales and raising it in England by one penny in the £.

There would be a net loss of about £35 million for the full year, assuming that there were proportionate changes in the reduced rates.

asked the Chancellor of of Exchequer if he will publish a simple guide 10 assist in the completion of Income Tax returns.

A guide in the form of explanatory notes is issued with Income Tax returns to help tax-payers to complete them.

Widow's Pensions (Taxation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the difficulties of widows who on the first receipt of the widow's pension mistakenly assume it is tax free and later find that this is grossed up with their other income and that large arrears of tax are claimed by the Inland Revenue; and whether he will publicise the fact that tax may be due on these pensions or take steps to make them tax free.

Widow's pensions have always been liable to tax, and I could not agree that they should be exempted. The tax position is made clear in the leaflet issued by the Department of Health and Social Security, which advises the widow to tell her tax office about her pension.

Government Stock

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the value of Government stock purchased by the Government broker during the seven days ended 20th November.

Back Duty Settlements

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of back duty inquiries settled in the last 10 years for which information is available, and the estimated number of such inquiries which will be settled in the current year.

My hon. Friend will find particulars of back duty settlements for the ten years to 31st March, 1967 in Table 9 on page 39 of the 110th Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue (Cmnd. 3508). The number of such settlements in the year ended 31st March, 1968 was 10,487. I cannot forecast the number for the current year.

Directors' Remuneration

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated net cost of increasing the limit to £5,000 for each full-time working director in a close company, after allowing for the estimated increased revenue from Income Tax and Surtax.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated net cost of completely removing the limits for directors' remuneration imposed by Section 74 of the Finance Act, 1965, allowing for estimated increased revenue from Income Tax and Surtax.

Close Company Profits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated net cost of allowing as a deduction from close company profits interest at commercial rates on loans made by directors/ participators up to a maximum of the total issued share capital, allowing for the estimated increased revenue from Income Tax and Surtax.

Married Couples' Income (Surtax)