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Written Answers

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 22 January 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 22nd January 1975

Scotland

Fishing Vessels (Oil Industry Debris)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he proposes to protect fishing vessel gear from damage by oil industry debris.

Unlicensed dumping is an offence under the Dumping at Sea Act 1974 and action can be taken against identified offenders. The Fisheries and Offshore Oil Consultative Group is considering other measures to mitigate this problem. I welcome the offer which has been made in principle by the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association to provide compensation for damage to fishing gear from oil-related debris.

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases have been reported to his Department of the loss of fishing gear as a result of oil industry debris to the latest convenient date for which figures are available.

My Department received 33 reports of loss or damage to fishing gear during 1974 which were alleged to have been caused by oil industry debris.

Islands (Transport Costs)

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will conduct an examination of the burden of transport costs to the islands, and, in particular, consider the desirability of a voucher system for petrol in the special case of these areas.

My right hon. Friend is reviewing the question of shipping services to the islands, with particular reference to finance and charges, and hopes to make a statement shortly. On the effect of higher petrol prices on persons living in remote areas I refer the hon. Gentleman to the replies given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Energy to the hon. Members for Bodmin (Mr. Hicks) and for Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor) on 20th January.—[Vol. 884, c. 994–96; 1004–5.]

Grant-Aided Schools

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy about future grants for grant-aided schools in Scotland.

Empty Houses

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authority houses are empty, having been unlet for more than eight weeks, in the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, respectively; and if he will make a statement.

At the end of November 1974 Glasgow Corporation had 263 houses available for letting but unlet for more than eight weeks, and Edinburgh Corporation had 631 houses which had been empty for more than six weeks, most of them being improved or repaired and so not available for letting. At the end of December 1974 Dundee Corporation had 149 houses which had been empty for more than eight weeks, 13 of which were available for letting; the remainder were undergoing modernisation or repair.In recent months all three authorities have succeeded in reducing substantially the numbers of unlet houses.

Ross And Cromarty

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will pay an official visit to Ross and Cromarty.

Universities

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has recently met any representatives of Scottish universities to discuss the position of these institutions under a Scottish Assembly.

At a private meeting with principals of the Scottish universities earlier this month my right hon. Friend discussed, amongst other subjects, the implications for the universities of the Government's devolution proposals.

Burntisland

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will pay an official visit to Burntisland in the near future.

I have no plans at present to do so, though I and my colleagues keep closely in touch with the interests and problems of the area.

Devolution

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the current talks in Scotland on devolution.

The Government have already carried out extensive consultations in Scotland on devolution. Further consultations will be undertaken on specific proposals as these emerge.

Homicide

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement on the implementation of the Emslie Report on long sentences.

My right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement on the Emslie Report on the Penalties of Homicide shortly.

Hill Farming Advisory Committee

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when the Hill Farming Advisory Committee last met.

M90 (Hard Shoulders)

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the cost of constructing hard shoulders on existing sections of the M90; and what is the comparable cost of such construction being carried out as an integral part of the motorway when it was being constructed.

The cost of providing hard shoulders on the existing 17 miles of the M90 is expected to be about £2 million. At 1967 prices it would have cost some £500,000 to include this work in the initial contracts.

Local Government Officials

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will announce the levels of compensation to be paid to those local government officials not seeking employment in the new local government organisation.

Conditions on which local government chief officials may opt to retire early are governed by regulations which came into force on 7th November 1974. So far as those made redundant or suffering a reduction in pay because of the reorganisation are concerned, draft regulations to provide compensation will be circulated shortly for comment.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now arrange an early meeting with the Scottish Local Government Staff Commission to review arrangements being made for the new local government authorities taking office.

The commission has kept me in touch with its work, and I am satisfied with the way it is tackling a difficult but necessary task. I see no need for a meeting.

Agricultural And Crofting Grants

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will review and increase regular agricultural and crofting grants to take account of inflation.

The level of agricultural grants is being considered in the context of the annual review of the economic conditions and prospects of the agricultural industry which is now under way. We shall take account of all relevant factors, including the effect of inflation.

Pine Trees (Planting Programme)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made about the pine tree planting programme in Scotland.

In the planting season beginning in autumn 1975 the Forestry Commission expects to plant and restock about 39,000 acres in Scotland with conifers including some pine. The commission has not yet been able to make an estimate of the private sector's plans.

Schools (Disputes)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has made to the examination authorities to ensure that Scottish pupils are not penalised in any way by the recent disputes affecting Scottish schools.

This is the responsibility of the schools and of the Scottish Certificate of Education Examination Board. The board is aware of my concern, which I know it shares, that pupils should not be penalised by recent events in the schools. It has stated publicly that this factor will be taken into account as may be appropriate.

Fishing And Ancillary Trades

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the number of persons directly and indirectly employed through the Scottish fishing industry.

At December 1973 there were 8,311 full-time and 1,336 part-time sea fishermen in Scotland. Approximately 20,000 people were employed in Scotland in management, marketing, processing, chandling, net making, boat building and repairing and other occupations dependent on the fishing industry. In addition, the Scottish catch provides jobs in retailing and frying throughout Great Britain, but the mixed nature of these businesses prevents an accurate estimate of the numbers employed.

Health Service Consultants

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total sum paid to consultants from National Health Service sources in the past year for which figures are available; and what the total sum in a full year would be if the Government's offer to consultants was accepted.

The information is not readily available in the form requested. The gross cost to the NHS in Scotland in 1973–74 of consultants' remuneration, and of employers' contributions in respect of their superannuation, graduated pensions and national insurance was approximately £12·7 million. No firm estimate can be made of the cost of the Government's contract proposals until these have been priced by the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration.

Land Owners (Registration)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in this Parliament, he will take steps to compile a register showing who owns the land of Scotland.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) on 20th March 1974.—[Vol. 870, c. 1019–20.]

Islands (Land Ownership)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the inhabited islands of Scotland in which the major portion of land is held in the private ownership of one person or group; and if he will show the population of each island.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if Her Majesty's Government will introduce legislation to prevent any single private land-owning interest having a dominant social or economic position on any Scottish island.

Geriatric Patients

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many beds are available for geriatric cases in the Central Scotland Region; and what estimate he makes of the number of patients on the waiting list in the Clackmannan, Stirling and Falkirk districts.

The number of hospital beds in the Central Scotland Region classified as geriatric at 30th September 1974 was 498. The number on the waiting lists at that date in the Stirling and Clackmannan districts was 61. In Falkirk district the number was 25.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total number of hospital beds available in Scotland for geriatric cases; and how many patients are currently on the waiting list.

The total number of hospital beds in Scotland classified as geriatric at 31st March 1974 was 10,036. The number on the waiting lists at the same date was 2,265.

River Girvan (Fish Ladders)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what assistance his Department has given to improving fish ladders in the River Girvan in Ayrshire.

No financial assistance is available for this purpose, but my Department's Inspector of Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries has recently given advice on the type of fish ladders which might be installed on the River Girvan.

A876 (Larbert)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total traffic flow on the A876-Belledyke Road, Larbert, giving separate figures for heavy goods vehicles.

In August 1973, the latest date for which figures are available, the average daily flow was 19,540 vehicles, including 3,710 heavy goods vehicles.

Land Use

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many acres of agricultural land have been taken over for housing and industry during the last five years or at the latest convenient date.

Figures are not available for the amount of agricultural land taken for housing and industry alone, but over the last five years the net loss of agricultural land for housing, industrial and commercial development and roads was as follows:

1969–704,280 acres
1970–713,827 acres
1971–723,447 acres
1972–732,224 acres
1973–742,888 acres

Crofters Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what extra resources are being made available to the Crofters Commission to enable it to maintain its services and grants in the face of inflation.

The cost of the Crofters Commission's activities is borne on the Vote of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. Adequate provision is made in the light of rising costs to ensure that the commission is in no way constrained in carrying out its functions under the Crofters Acts. As regards crofting grants, I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply given to him today.

Crofting (Wool Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to raise the return on wool to crofters; how far poor prices are due to increased imports; and if he will make a statement.

The guaranteed price to all wool producers, including crofters, who are registered with the British Wool Marketing Board is currently being examined in the context of the annual review of agriculture. The fall in wool prices in this country is a direct result of the fall in world prices and in demand for wool. Imports into this country during the first 11 months of 1974 were 20 per cent. less than in the corresponding period in 1973.

Fertiliser Subsidies

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will restore the lime and fertiliser subsidies.

The decision taken by the Conservative administration to terminate the lime subsidy was reversed by this Government in June 1974. The subsidy, therefore, continues. I do not think that the reintroduction of the fertiliser subsidy would be justified at present because of the high cost and because it would not be the best way of giving assistance to those farmers who may need it.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Rhodesia

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about recent developments in Rhodesia.

I have nothing to add to the statement which my right hon. Friend made on 14th January.

Hong Kong Police Superintendent Godber (Extradition)

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the extradition of Police Superintendent George Godber to Hong Kong and, in particular, the charge which is made against him.

Mr. Godber was returned to Hong Kong on 6th January. The Hong Kong Government had applied for his return under the Fugitive Offenders Act, on charges of corruptly receiving 25,000 Hong Kong dollars from a police officer named Cheng, and of conspiring to accept a bribe to secure Cheng's appointment as a divisional superintendent.

Cyprus

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has submitted to the Turkish Government in regard to the continued presence of Turkish-Cypriot refugees on British Cyprus bases; and if he will make a statement.

The British Government have decided to permit the Turkish Cypriots in the western sovereign base area to go to Turkey in Turkish civil aircraft. The timing of our decision was determined by humanitarian considerations.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement as to the current obligations of Her Majesty's Government in regard to the Treaty of Guarantee, Cyprus.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on 21st January.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what agreement has been reached with the Turkish, Greek and Cypriot Governments in regard to the transfer of Turkish Cypriot refugees from the British base at Episkopi to the Turkish mainland and their subsequent transfer to the northern parts of Cyprus; and if he will make a statement.

On humanitarian grounds Her Majesty's Government have decided to permit the Turkish Cypriots in the western sovereign base area to go to Turkey in Turkish civil aircraft. We have been closely and constantly in touch with the other Governments concerned.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take action to assist the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees to return safely to their homes, in view of the facilities granted to Turkish Cypriot refugees to leave Episkopi.

We have made many representations to the Turkish Government and to Mr. Denktash on this subject and shall continue to do so. Meanwhile we have committed well over £1 million for relief aid in Cyprus.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action Her Majesty's Government are taking in accordance with their treaty obligations to ensure the independence and integrity of Cyprus as a republic within the Commonwealth.

In the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom recognised and guaranteed the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus. Her Majesty's Government are continuing to do all they can to promote a settlement in Cyprus consistent with this obligation.

Usa (Rhodesian Chrome Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the USA about their continuing import of chrome from Rhodesia, in view of the illegality of the régime.

My right hon. Friend has discussed this matter with the United States Administration who favour repeal of the legislation under which Rhodesian chrome may be imported into the United States. A Bill to effect repeal did not come to a vote in the House of Representatives in December, but I understand that it has been reintroduced during the present session.

Overseas Prisons (British Detainees)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the total number of British nationals domiciled in the United Kingdom currently detained in foreign prisons awaiting trial; in how many cases the period of pre-trial detention has exceeded 12 months; and if he will make a statement.

According to our records, there are 106 British subjects, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, in foreign prisons awaiting trial. In four cases the period of detention has exceeded 12 months.

Oman

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all the economic, political and military agreements which determine existing relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Sultanate of Oman.

Britain's relations with Oman are based on the following agreements:

1951:Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation (Cmd 8633).
1958:Exchange of Letters concerning the Sultan's Armed Forces, Civil Aviation, Royal Air Force Facilities and Economic Development in Muscat and Oman (Cmd 507).

Vietnam

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise in the Security Council as a threat to world peace the conduct of the Communist forces in Vietnam since the cease-fire.

No. Much as the continued fighting in Vietnam is to be deplored, the right way forward there is for a political solution to be sought through talks between the parties themselves in accordance with the Paris Agreement of 1973. The Government of the Republic of Vietnam have recently called for the resumption of these talks.

Ocean Island

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has made to the request of the Banaban people that Ocean Island should form an associated State within the State of Fiji.

In 1974 the Banabans petitioned the Secretary of State requesting independence for Ocean Island. They subsequently suggested that independence might be combined with some form of associated status with Fiji. No final reply to the petition has yet been given.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Food Availability (Perth And Kinross)

40.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the availability of food in the counties of Perth and Kinross.

I have no reason to believe that the availability of food in the counties of Perth and Kinross is any different from that in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Newcastle Disease

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the quarterly number of outbreaks of Newcastle disease in the past two years; and what representations have been made for and consideration given to a scheme for disease eradication.

Outbreaks reported in Great Britain are as follows:

Quarter19731974
1st January—31st March3916
1st April—30th June3113
1st July—30th September13
1st October—31st December33
Total7435
The British Veterinary Association has advocated disease eradication but we have received no other representations. Vaccines are widely available and are effective in containing the disease.

Returns (Publication)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will arrange for the publication of 4th June 1974 returns.

Provisional results for England and Wales were issued on 15th August 1974—Press Notice 268—and those for the United Kingdom on 3rd September 1974 (Statistical Information Notice, Stats 233/74). Final results for England and Wales were issued on 31st December 1974 (Statistical Information Notice, Stats 333/74), and those for the United Kingdom will be issued shortly.

Falmouth And Camborne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the three most recent dates on which a Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary of his Department last visited the Falmouth and Camborne constituency; and if he will send a Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary to the constituency to assess the problems that exist there and to seek to remedy those falling within the responsibility of his Department.

There have been no official visits by Ministers of this Department to this constituency recently. Our local officials keep us advised of the agricultural situation in this part of Cornwall, and we are of course examining the economic condition and prospects of the industry generally in the current annual review.

Sugar

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what Press statements have been issued from his Department in 1975 concerning his negotiations for future supplies of cane sugar for the United Kingdom; and by what means the progress of his negotiations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries of the EEC has been communicated to the Press.

The following joint communiqué was issued on 10th January and confirmed by a Press notice issued on 13th January:

"The talks on future arrangements for the supply of sugar from ACP producing countries continued at Lancaster House today, without agreement being reached on the price to be guaranteed by the British Government for sugar shipped in 1975. At the close of the discussions the ACP countries were asking for this price to be not less than £275 per ton fob (equivalent to about £290 cif). The British Government had indicated that it was prepared to guarantee a price not higher than £250 cif (equivalent to about £235 fob). It was agreed that talks would be resumed in Brussels on 14th January."
In accordance with normal practice, wherever possible my right hon. Friend meets journalists informally after the end of any talks or negotiations of interest to the public or news media.

Battered Wives And Children

asked the Lord President of the Council when he intends to move to set up the Select Committee to investigate the problem of battered wives and children.

Arrangements are now in hand for the establishment of this Select Committee. It will be set up as soon as possible.

House Of Commons

Catering

asked the Lord President of the Council what is the policy of the Services Committee so far as the purchase of Californian grapes is concerned.

I have been asked to reply.The Refreshment Department purchases grapes by the pound as there is little demand for this fruit. Inquiries made of the suppliers indicate that Spanish grapes are invariably supplied. However, this matter will be brought to the attention of the Catering Sub-Committee.

Civil Service

Senior Civil Servants

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the average earnings of people employed in the Civil Service as Permanent Secretaries, Second Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, Under-Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries or the equivalent grades, respectively, in 1974, 1973, 1972, 1970, 1964 and 1954; and if he will express these in terms of 1954 prices and 1954 average industrial earnings, respectively.

Tables A, B and C show in the form requested gross earnings for men in Inner London for the grades from Permanent Secretary to Under-Secretary. Information on average

TABLE A
AVERAGE EARNINGS
197419731972197019641954
££££££
Permanent Secretary16,43215,93815,75010,8508,2854,500
Second Permanent Secretary15,43214,93814,75010,2257,785
Deputy Secretary11,18210,68810,5007,5755,8853,250
Under Secretary9,4468,6218,4256,3804,7852,600
TABLE B
AVERAGE EARNINGS ADJUSTED FOR MOVEMENTS IN RETAIL PRICES SINCE 1954
197419731972197019641954
££££££
Permanent Secretary6,4527,2627,8296,3236,3254,500
Second Permanent Secretary6,0596,8067,3325,9595,943
Deputy Secretary4,3904,8705,2194,4144,4933,250
Under Secretary3,7093,9284,1883,7183,6532,600
TABLE C
AVERAGE EARNINGS ADJUSTED FOR MOVEMENTS IN INDUSTRIAL EARNINGS SINCE 1954
197419731972197019641954
££££££
Permanent Secretary*4,0734,6163,9824,7084,500
Second Permanent Secretary*3,8174,3233,7534,424
Deputy Secretary*2,7313,0772,7803,3443,250
Under Secretary*2,2032,4692,3412,7192,600
* Not available.
TABLE D
AVAILABLE INFORMATION ON ASSISTANT SECRETARIES AND EQUIVALENT GRADES
197219731974
£££
Average Earnings6,5856,7108,060
Adjusted as in Table B3,2733,0573,165
Adjusted as in Table C1,9301,714*
* Not available.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what was the number of people employed in the Civil Service as Permanent Secretaries, Second Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, Under-Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries or

Grade Level1955*19641970197219731974
Permanent Secretary362927242224
Second Permanent Secretary410131819
Deputy Secretary8090119124141144
Under Secretary275290426482518527
Assistant Secretary†N.A.2,0432,4922,6502,7932,952
* Figures for 1954 not readily available.
† Assistant Secretaries and Equivalents in the main General Service Classes only.

earnings of Assistant Secretaries and equivalent grades is not readily available for the years 1954, 1964 and 1970 and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost. For these grades Table D shows estimates of average annual earnings in later years, excluding London weighting and other allowances, and expresses them in 1954 terms in the same way.

the equivalent grades, respectively, in 1974, 1973, 1972, 1970, 1964 and 1954.

The available information, based on Estimates provision for the Home Civil Service, at 1st April in each year, is as follows:

Typewriters

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many typewriters were purchased by Government Departments in each of the years 1966 to 1974; and how many of these were produced in the United Kingdom.

The figures requested are as follows:

YearTypewriters United KingdomTypewriters ForeignTotal
19667,5001,0008,500
19673,2002,3005,500
19683,6183,1556,773
19691,0001,2012,201
19706,0564,92010,976
19718,9853,90012,885
19723,5067,70511,211
19736,7253,0509,775
19746,2401,7347,974

Tax Tables (Printing Cost)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what was the cost of printing tax tables B to D 1974 issue, the number of copies printed and the cost of distribution to employers, the cost of printing tax table A, 1975 issue, the number of copies printed and the cost of distribution to employers.

1,800,000 copies of the 1974 issue of Tax Tables B-D were printed at a cost of £69,575. So far 1,508,000 copies have been distributed to employers at an estimated cost of £214,000.Tax Tables A were last issued in 1973 when 2,300,000 were printed at a cost of £94,400. To date 1,941,870 have been distributed at an estimated cost of £174,000.

Defence

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost of the present scheme being carried out in improving the Army post at Middleton, County Armagh.

A total of £35,000 has been spent on improvements to the Middletown Army post, of which £31,000 has been spent on the provision of a heavy goods vehicle search facility.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on improving privately owned property requisitioned by the Army in Northern Ireland.

£11,000. A further £71,000 has been spent on temporary buildings on three requisitioned sites.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he will list the circumstances in which compensation from public funds has been paid to members and ex-members of the Armed Forces and their dependants as a result of death or injury or illness sustained by members of the Armed Forces while serving in Ulster during the present emergency and the amount of compensation paid in each case;(2) in what circumstances compensation is payable, under present regulations, to members of the Armed Forces serving in Ulster and their dependants where injury, illness or death occurs during the current emergency; and whether he is satisfied that those circumstances and the procedures for making claims for compensation are publicised adequately to all those who may be entitled to such compensation.

Members of the Armed Forces who are invalided from the Services as the result of an injury or illness which is due to service, and the widows and children of Service men whose death in service is attributable to their service, are eligible for pension and lump sum payments under the Forces Attributable Pension Scheme. They are also eligible for awards under the Department of Health and Social Security's War Pension Scheme.Members of the Armed Forces who are injured and the dependants of those who are killed as the result of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland are eligible for compensation under the Criminal Injuries to Persons (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1968. It is not possible without disproportionate effort to provide the information asked for about the circumstances of individual cases and the amounts paid, but in the period up to 1st October 1974 there were 1,030 successful claims by Service men and their dependants under the Act and payments totalled just over £2 million.

I am satisfied that the procedure for making claims is well publicised and claimants are given every assistance through Service channels.

Oman

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the functions and manning of the RAF base at Masirah in the Sultanate of Oman.

Masirah is used by the Royal Air Force as a staging post. On the subject of manpower I have nothing to add to the statement made by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence on 13th December.—[Vol. 883, c. 268.]

Raf Lindholme

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement about the future of RAF Lindholme.

The implications in the support field of the major policy decisions announced on 3rd December last by my right hon. Friend are still being examined. It is not yet possible to say what will be the effect of these decisions on individual RAF stations. A statement will, however, be made as early as practicable.—[Vol. 882, c. 1351–69.]

Cadets

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many boys have been recruited into the Armed Services from the Combined Cadet Force in each of the last five years.

Full information as requested is not available. I am looking into the matter, and I shall write to my hon. Friend as soon as I can.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many boys, and at what schools, are members of the Combined Cadet Force.

42,417 cadets were members of the Combined Cadet Force on 30th September 1974, when there were Combined Cadet Force contingents in the following schools:

  • Rubislaw Academy, Aberdeen.
  • Adams Grammar School, Newport.
  • Alleyns School, Woolwich.
  • Ampleforth College, York.
  • Royal School, Armagh.
  • Audenshaw Grammar School, Lancs.
  • Bancrofts School, Woodford.
  • Batley Grammar School, Yorks.
  • Bedford Modern School, Bedford.
  • Birkenhead School, Cheshire.
  • Blundells School, Devon.
  • Bournemouth School, Bournemouth.
  • Bradford Grammar School, Yorks.
  • Bridlington School, Yorks.
  • Brighton Grammar School, Sussex.
  • Brockenhurst College, Hants.
  • Bury Grammar School, Lancs.
  • Abingdon School, Abingdon.
  • Aldenham School, Elstree.
  • Allhallows School, Lyme Regis.
  • Ardingly College, Haywards Heath.
  • Arnold School, Blackpool.
  • Avonhurst School, Bristol.
  • Barnard Castle School, Durham.
  • Bedford School, Bedford.
  • Berkhamsted School, Herts.
  • Bloxham School, Oxon.
  • Boston Grammar School, Lincs.
  • Bradfield College, Reading.
  • Brentwood School, Essex.
  • Brighton College, Sussex.
  • Bristol Grammar School, Bristol.
  • Bromsgrove School, Worcester.
  • Calday Grange Grammar School, Merseyside.
  • Campbell College, Belfast.
  • Charterhouse, Godalming.
  • Cheltenham Grammar School, Gloucester.
  • Christs College, Brecon.
  • Christ's Hospital, Horsham.
  • Cirencester School, Cirencester.
  • Clayesmore School, Dorset.
  • Collyers School, Horsham.
  • Cowes High School, Isle of Wight.
  • Cranleigh School, Surrey.
  • Dean Close School, Cheltenham.
  • Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire.
  • Dover Grammar School, Dover.
  • Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover.
  • Dundee High School, Dundee.
  • Eastbourne College, Eastbourne.
  • Elizabeth College, Guernsey.
  • Emanuel School, Wandsworth.
  • Eton College, Windsor.
  • Farnborough Grammar School, Farnborough.
  • Fettes College, Edinburgh.
  • Forest School, Walthamstow.
  • George Heriots School, Edinburgh.
  • Glasgow Academy, Glasgow.
  • Gordon Boys School, Woking.
  • Greshams School, Holt.
  • Haberdashers Aske's (Hatcham) Boys School, London.
  • Hampton Grammar School, Hampton.
  • Harrogate Grammar School, Harrogate.
  • Harrow School, Harrow.
  • Hele's School, Exeter.
  • Henry Mellish Grammar School, Notts.
  • Haversham Grammar School, Cumbria.
  • Hillhead High School, Glasgow.
  • Hustpierpoint College, Sussex.
  • Ipswich School, Ipswich.
  • Jordanhill College School, Glasgow.
  • Kelly College, Tavistock.
  • Kimbolton School, Kimbolton.
  • King Charles' I School, Kidderminster.
  • Kings College School, Wimbledon.
  • King Edward's School, Bath.
  • King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford.
  • King's School, Bruton.
  • King's School, Grantham.
  • King's School, Worcester.
  • Kingham Hill School, Oxon.
  • Kirkham Grammar School, Lancs.
  • Lancing College, Lancing.
  • Leeds Grammar School, Leeds.
  • Liverpool College, Liverpool.
  • Llandovery College, Llandovery.
  • Lord William's School, Thame.
  • Launceston College, Cornwall.
  • Lucton School, Hereford.
  • Canford School, Dorset.
  • Cheltenham College, Gloucester.
  • Chichester High School, Sussex.
  • Christs College, Whetstone.
  • Churchers College, Petersfield.
  • City of London School, London.
  • Clifton College, Bristol.
  • Colston's School, Bristol.
  • Cranbrook School, Kent.
  • Daniel Stewart's and Melville College, Edinburgh.
  • Denstone College, Uttoxeter.
  • Dover College, Dover.
  • Downside School, Bath.
  • Dulwich College, Dulwich.
  • Durham School, Durham.
  • Edinburgh Academy, Edinburgh.
  • Ellesmere College, Ellesmere.
  • Epsom College, Epsom.
  • Exeter School, Exeter.
  • Felsted School, Essex.
  • Fort Augustus Abbey School, Invernessshire.
  • Framlingham College, Suffolk.
  • Giggleswick School, Yorks.
  • Trinity College, Glenalmond.
  • Gordonstoun School, Elgin.
  • Haberdashers Aske's School, Herts.
  • Haileybury, Hertford.
  • Hardye's School, Dorset.
  • Harrow County Boys School, Harrow.
  • Hastings Grammar School, Hastings.
  • Henley Grammar School, Henley-on-Thames.
  • Hereford Cathedral School, Hereford.
  • Highgate School, Highgate.
  • Hulme Grammar School, Oldham.
  • Hymers College, Hull.
  • John Lyon School, Harrow.
  • Judd School, Tonbridge.
  • Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow.
  • King Alfred's School, Wantage.
  • Kings College, Taunton.
  • King Edward's Five Ways School, Birmingham.
  • King Edward's School, Birmingham.
  • King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • The King's School, Canterbury.
  • King's School, Rochester.
  • King William's College, Isle of Man.
  • Kingston Grammar School, Kingston.
  • Knox Academy, East Lothian.
  • Langley School, Norwich.
  • The Leys School, Cambridge.
  • Liverpool Collegiate, Liverpool.
  • Lord Wandsworth College, Basingstoke.
  • Lorrett Old School, Midlothian.
  • Loughborough Grammar School, Loughbrough.
  • Magdalen College School, Oxford.
  • Maidstone Grammar School, Maidstone.
  • Marlborough College, Marlborough.
  • Merchant Taylors School, Northwood.
  • Millfield School, Somerset.
  • Milton Abbey School, Dorset.
  • Monmouth School, Monmouth.
  • Morrisons Academy, Crieff.
  • Newcastle High School, Staffs.
  • Nottingham High School, Nottingham.
  • Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge.
  • Oswestry High School, Oswestry.
  • Ottershaw School, Chertsey.
  • Paston School, Norfolk.
  • Peter Symonds School, Winchester.
  • Plymouth College, Plymouth.
  • Pocklington School, Yorks.
  • Portsmouth Grammar School, Portsmouth.
  • Price's School, Fareham.
  • Prince Henry's High School, Evesham.
  • Prior Park College, Bath.
  • Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Derbyshire.
  • The Vine School, Basingstoke.
  • Queen Victoria School, Dunblane.
  • Ratcliffe College, Leics.
  • Reading School, Reading.
  • Reigate Grammar School, Reigate.
  • Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen.
  • Royal Belfast Academical Institute, Belfast.
  • Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.
  • Royal Grammar School, Worcester.
  • Royal Grammar School, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
  • Royal Wolverhampton School, Wolverhampton.
  • Ruthin School, Wales.
  • Ryde School, Isle of Wight.
  • St. Aloysius College, Highgate.
  • St. Bees School, Cumbria.
  • St. Brendans College, Bristol.
  • St. Edmunds School, Canterbury.
  • St. Ignatius College, Enfield.
  • St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate.
  • St. Peters School, York.
  • Scarborough College, Scarborough.
  • Sedbergh School, Cumbria.
  • Sherborne School, Sherborne.
  • Shrewsbury School, Shrewsbury.
  • Skinners School, Tunbridge Wells.
  • Stamford School, Stamford.
  • Stowe School, Buckingham.
  • Sutton Manor High School, Sutton.
  • Tadcaster Grammar School, Tadcaster.
  • Trent College, Nottingham.
  • Truro Cathedral School, Truro.
  • Victoria College, Jersey.
  • Welbeck College, Worksop.
  • Wellington College, Berks.
  • Wells Cathedral School, Wells.
  • Whitgift School, Croydon.
  • William Hulmes Grammar School, Manchester.
  • Winchester College, Winchester.
  • Woodbridge School, Suffolk.
  • Malvern College, Malvern.
  • Merchant Taylors School, Liverpool.
  • Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh.
  • Mill Hill School, Mill Hill.
  • Monkton Combe School, Bath.
  • Morgan Academy, Dundee.
  • Mount St. Mary's College, Sheffield.
  • Northampton Grammar School, Northampton.
  • Oakham School, Oakham.
  • Oratory School, Reading.
  • Oswestry School, Oswestry.
  • Oundle School, Oundle.
  • Perse School, Cambridge.
  • Pierrepont School, Farnham.
  • Plympton Grammar School, Plympton.
  • Portora Royal School, Northern Ireland.
  • Portsmouth Northern Grammar School, Portsmouth.
  • Presentation College, Reading.
  • Prince Rupert's School, BAOR.
  • Priory School, Salop.
  • Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall.
  • Radley College, Abingdon.
  • Reading Blue Coat School, Reading.
  • Reeds School, Cobham.
  • Repton School, Repton.
  • Rossall School, Fleetwood.
  • Royal Grammar School, Guildford.
  • Royal Grammar School, Lancaster.
  • Royal Hospital School, Ipswich.
  • Royal Russell School, Croydon.
  • Rugby School, Rugby.
  • Rutlish School, Merton.
  • St. Alban's School, St. Albans.
  • St. Bartholomew's Grammar School, New bury.
  • St. Benedicts School, Ealing.
  • St. Dunstans College, Catford.
  • St. Edwards School, Oxford.
  • St. Johns School, Leatherhead.
  • St. Mary's College, Liverpool.
  • Sandbach School, Sandbach.
  • Seaford College, Petworth.
  • Sevenoaks School, Sevenoaks.
  • Shiplake College, Henley-on-Thames.
  • Sir Roger Manwoods School, Sandwich.
  • Solihull School, Solihull.
  • Stoneyhurst College, Blackburn.
  • Strathallan School, Perth.
  • Sutton Valance School, Maidstone.
  • Tonbridge School, Tonbridge.
  • Trent School, Croydon.
  • Uppingham School, Uppingham.
  • Warwick School, Warwick.
  • Wellingborough School, Northants.
  • Wellington School, Somerset.
  • West Buckland School, Devon.
  • William Ellis School, London.
  • Wilsons School, Surrey.
  • Windsor School, Hamm, BAOR.
  • Worksop College, Notts.
  • Wymondham College, Norfolk.
  • Talhandaq BFPO 51.
  • Pangbourne College, Reading.
  • Wrekin College, Telford.
  • Wycliffe College, Gloucester.
  • Warminster School, Warminster.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the annual cost of running the Combined Cadet Force.

The estimated costs of the three sections of the Combined Cadet Force, in the financial year 1974–75, are as follows:

£ million
Naval Section0.301
Army Section1.110
RAF Section0.600
Total—CCF2.011
The Army is the sponsor Service for the Combined Cadet Force and the costs of the Army section include basic administrative expenditures for all three sections on works services, rents, maintenance of accommodation, equipment and training stores. The actual cost attributable to the Army Section is £0·960 million.

Service Personnel (Property Ownership)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of the assertion of Service men's rights, notwithstanding the Rent Act 1974 and previous Acts, contained in the letter to the hon. Member for Havant and Waterloo from the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy, he will arrange for any Service man compelled to incur legal costs to recover occupation of his own property as a result of a tenant observing the advice given by the Department of the Environment in its series of advertisements "Furnished Tenants Faced with Eviction, Don't Move" to be able to recover any such costs in full from his Department, should they not be awarded by the courts.

Such an arrangement would not be appropriate. In these circumstances a Service man is in the same position as any other citizen. He is entitled to claim the costs of his action and this is a matter for the courts.

Naval Visits

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when courtesy visits were last paid by a Soviet naval vessel to Great Britain and of a Royal Navy vessel to the USSR; and whether the Soviet Government have recently indicated any desire for a further visit to be arranged.

The last visit by a Soviet naval vesesl to Great Britain was made by the cruiser "Ordzhonikidze" to Portsmouth in 1956. In 1966 HMS "Devonshire" visited Leningrad. There are at present no proposals for further visits.

Employment

School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many 1974 Christmas school leavers have not yet found employment; and if he will express this as a percentage of the total number of such leavers.

I regret that this information is not available since statistics of unemployed school leavers do not define the term or year of leaving school. The total number of unemployed school leavers which is normally provided monthly will not be available this month owing to industrial action.

Local Government Employees

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of people employed in the administration of local government in England and Wales in 1974, 1973, 1972, 1970, 1964 and 1954, respectively.

The following table shows the estimated number of employees in employment in local government service, Minimum List Heading 906 of the Standard Industrial Classification, at June each year. For June 1971 and earlier dates the estimates are based on counts of national insurance cards. From June 1971 the figures are from the annual censuses of employment and the most recent are for June 1973.

Employees in employment in local government service in England and Wales
June 1954661,400
June 1959 (a)708,300
June 1959 (b)664,000
June 1964 (a)678,300
June 1964 (b)680,000
June 1966 (a)718,200
June 1966 (b)717,200
June 1969 (a)743,700
June 1969 (b)745,200
June 1970766,200
June 1971 (a)782,000
June 1971 (b)820,300
June 1972845,000
June 1973867,300
NOTES. The estimates for June 1954 and June 1959 (a) are based on the 1948 edition of the Standard Industrial Classification; those from June 1959 (b) to June 1969 (a) are based on the 1958 edition and those from June 1969 (b) on the 1968 edition.The estimates from June 1964 (b) are based on a revised method of calculation.

Between June 1966 and June 1967 the Industrial classification of many establishments were corrected. The estimates for June 1966 are shown (a) excluding and (b) including the effects of reclassifications.

The estimates for June 1974 (a) and earlier dates are based on counts of national insurance cards. The figures from June 1974 (b) are from the annual censuses of employment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the average earnings of people employed in the administration of local government in England and Wales in 1974, 1973, 1972, 1970, 1964 and 1954; and if he will express these in terms of 1954 prices and 1954 average industrial earnings respectively.

Information is not available in the form requested from my Department's surveys of earnings. New Earnings Survey results giving average weekly earnings for a reference pay period in April from 1970 onwards, but not for 1954 and 1964, for certain broad groups of local authority employees are available if required.

Protection Of Employment Bill

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he now expects to introduce his Protection of Employment Bill.

Students

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many adult students, registered as unemployed during July to September 1974, had never held a national insurance card.

Social Contract

3.

asked the Secretary or State for Employment if he remains satisfied with the operation of his policy on wage levels; and if he will make a statement.

5.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the working of the social contract.

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what progress he has made in ensuring the success of the social contract.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is still satisfied with the working of the social contract.

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the operation of the social contract.

, pursuant to his reply to a supplementary question by Mr. Tebbit [Official Report, 27th January 1975; Vol. 884, c. 1207], circulated the following letters:17th January 1975.Dear Michael,Yesterday, the Prime Minister told the Commons that Ministers had emphasised in their speeches "the need for the maximum possible compliance with the guidelines of the social contract". And your colleague, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, warned that if there were not more effective pay restraint, unemployment would escalate—he spoke of "millions on the dole".I recognise that you are strongly committed against a statutory pay policy, and also that you would deplore—as would the Conservative Party—unnecessary increases in unemployment. So it is important that MPs of all parties should be able to assess the working of the social contract to see for themselves how far it has been succeeding or failing. To do this properly, MPs need the facts.The most important facts concern the current level of pay settlements and, in particular, whether they fall inside or outside the terms of the social contract.This detailed information is available to you and your Department, as you admitted in

Hansard on 7th November, but you have consistently refused to make this information available to Members of Parliament.

After I had drawn attention to this in a letter to The Times, you said in the House of Commons on 3rd December that if I were to put questions in the House, I would then get the answers.

Since then, you have been asked numerous questions of major importance relating to the social contract which you or one of your junior Ministers have simply refused to answer (a list of which I attach). This is in flat contradiction to the promise you recently made to answer questions.

This amounts to a form of Government censorship. By your action you are denying MPs the information they need to exercise their basic right to examine and evaluate Government policies. This is doubly serious when the information concerns the Government's sole policy for tackling the worst economic crisis for 40 years. MPs want to make their contribution to solving this crisis but are being prevented from doing so.

Similarly, you are deny the press, television and radio the information they need to exercise their basic right of free comment on Government policy.

This is a deeply unhappy situation which must concern MPs of all parties. I hope therefore that you will agree, as a matter of urgency, to publish all the information on the social contract and so honour your promise to me of 3rd December.

Yours etc.

Jim

The Rt. Hon. Michael Foot, MP,

Secretary of State for Employment,

St. James's Square,

London S.W.1.

Below are just some of the questions that Ministers from the Department of Employment have refused to answer from 3rd December. This list does not include earlier questions that Ministers have refused to answer.

if those who are not parties to the social contract should regard themselves bound by its provisions (13th December 1974, Hansard, c. 1328);

if all members of trade unions affiliated to the TUC are a party to the social contract (16th December 1974, Written Answers, c. 322);

if members of trade unions which are not affiliated to the TUC are a party to the social contract (16th December 1974, Written Answers, c. 322);

a list of all Government publications since March 1974 which contain in full the terms of the social contract (17th December 1974, Written Answers, c. 381);

to list all Government publications since March 1974 which make clear who are the partners to the social contract (17th December 1974, Written Answers, c. 381);

to list major pay settlements, and the percentage increase in each case, since the abolition of statutory pay controls (17th December 1974, Written Answers, c. 382–3);

to list those wage settlements in which the Conciliation and Arbitration Service played a part, indicating for each the percentage increase (17th December 1974, Written Answers, c. 383);

20th January 1975.

The Rt. Hon. James Prior, MP.,

House of Commons,

London, SW1.

Dear Jim,

I am glad to reply to the important question in your letter of 17th January about the relationship between the Social Contract guidelines and Department of Employment figures, although you should not be surprised when I repudiate at once all accusations that I have dishonoured any promise about giving information to the House of Commons or that I have engaged in what you call "a form of Government censorship". That is nonsense, and I suppose you must know as much. Because you do not like the answers which and other Ministers have given, you should not pretend that answers have not been forthcoming.

May I now explain, as I have already indicated in some of those answers, why it would not be desirable for the Department to publish all the detailed information about individual wage settlements and that it would not be necessary or appropriate for myself or other Ministers to attempt to adjudicate on every one of them and to decide which fell within or outside the guidelines? It was made clear that the Department would seek to assemble information about major settlements and of course we use this in judging generally how the guidelines are being observed. But it would be a different matter altogether to publish the details of every individual settlement and to attempt to place upon each one the stamp of official approval or disapproval. Occasions arise when it may be desirable for Ministers to stress how departures have developed—particularly, for example, when breaches are made in the 12-month rule. But to erect, as you appear to recommend, the elaborate and intricate system of public surveillance and adjudication over all wage settlements might lead people to suppose that we were seeking a return to the old statutory system which collapsed. We have no intention of doing so. We have re-established voluntary and flexible collective bargaining under which negotiators resume their proper responsibilities; that is also an essential part of the Social Contract.

Of course, we attach the highest importance to securing the most faithful allegiance to the spirit and letter of the guidelines. So far from concealing our view on this subject, we have referred to it constantly in every answer and every speech, indicating how generally the guidelines have been followed and also when there have been significant departures from them. We do not seek to hide the failures or the succcesses. In all public statements I have tried to keep both in proportion. This is all the more necessary when others use figures about the level of settlements reached which absurdly distort or exaggerate what has occurred. If believed, these wild figures could only have the effect of vastly increasing the difficulties of wage negotiators, whether employers or trade unionists. For example, the quite false figure of 40 per cent. to indicate the level of settlement running at that time used so intensively by Mr. Heath in the period after the abolition of the statutory controls could do nothing but damage; and perhaps this correspondence may at least perform the service of ensuring that he, with others, will not repeat the mischief.

May I conclude by insisting that the best available information on which an informed judgment about wage movements may be based lies in the indices of wage rates and earnings produced by my Department, and published by us in the same form adopted by previous Governments? In the face of this simple fact known to every Member of Parliament interested in industrial affairs, I trust you will not repeat the fatuity of accusing me of withholding information from MPs.

I suggest this correspondence should be published in the Official Report and I thought I should mention this point tomorrow.

(Sgd.) Michael Foot

Energy

Street Lighting

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is able to estimate the total cost of electric power consumed by street lighting in England and Wales during one hour of the night; and what is the cost of the same at current rates of electricity charges.

The cost of electricity for street lighting varies according to circumstances. I am advised by the Electricity Council that the present level of electricity charges averages about £7,000 for one hour's street lighting in England and Wales.

North Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy upon what basis will compensation be calculated for the acquisition of 51 per cent. interests in commercial fields in the North Sea.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will publish a list in the Official Report showing, for each of the North Sea oilfields which has so far been declared a commercial prospect, the date when oil is expected to come on stream; and what were the equivalent figures on 1st March 1974.

The information for 1974 is contained in my right hon. Friend's Report to Parliament on Reserves of Oil and Gas in the United Kingdom. It will be updated soon with the publication of the 1975 report.

Burmah Oil Company

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if the Burmah Oil Company requires the consent of the Government under the terms of the recent settlement for the sale of any part of its holdings in subsidiaries or associated companies in the United Kingdom or abroad.

The Government will be consulted prior to the disposal of any substantial assets.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how he calculates that the Burmah Oil Company will have the same profitability from a 49 per cent. share of output as previously anticipated from a 100 per cent. ownership, providing the company accepts 51 per cent. Government participation in its interests in the Thistle and Ninian fields, as he recently stated.

The terms under which the Government acquire a 51 per cent. interest in Burmah's commercial oilfields are a matter for negotiation with the company.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will confirm that the terms he is negotiating for a 51 per cent. participation in the North Sea interests of Burmah Oil will be no less favourable to existing shareholders than the terms for participation being negotiated by him with other oil companies.

As my right hon. Friend said in his statement to the House on 15th January, the terms under which the Government acquire a 51 per cent. interest in Burmah's commercial oilfields will be negotiated between our Department and the company.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to make a statement outlining the terms on which he proposes to acquire a 51 per cent. interest in the North Sea investment of Burmah Oil.

This will depend upon the outcome of the negotiations between my Department and the company.

Conservation

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will now take further measures for the conservation of fuel and energy in the light of the report on conservation and the observations and recommendations contained therein.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will take action following the publication by the NEDO on energy conservation in the United Kingdom which comments adversely on the use and waste of energy in Great Britain in view of the need to conserve energy supplies; and if he will make a statement.

As my right hon. Friend made clear in his statement on 9th December, he intends to extend and reinforce his measures in the future. In considering what further action to take, my right hon. Friend will certainly take into account the analysis contained in the NEDO report.

Oil Industry (Government Participation)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy on what basis profits will accrue to the Government as a result of their purchase of majority shareholdings in the North Sea oil activities of oil companies.

The State will acquire ownership of a specified proportion of the oil from commercial oilfields meeting the same proportion of costs. The exact basis will depend upon the outcome of the negotiations with the companies.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps are being taken to ensure that profits accruing to the Government as a result of the purchase of majority shareholdings in the North Sea oil activities of oil companies will not be diminished by the writing-off of development cost properly attributable to their activities in other parts of the world against their North Sea activities.

There is no possibility that participation profits will be diminished in this way.

Oil Companies' Profits

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how Her Majesty's Government's policy of preventing majority shareholding by companies in North Sea oil from affecting their profits, as recently stated by him, is to be implemented.

The terms under which the Government acquire majority participation in commercial oilfields are a matter for negotiation with the companies.

Coal Mining (Labour Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what percentage of the price at the pithead of industrial coal in 1974 was represented by the cost of direct labour.

Labour costs cannot be directly related to pithead prices for individual qualities of coal. According to figures provided by the National Coal Board, labour costs represented 50 per cent. of average pithead proceeds for all coal during the financial year 1973–74.

Polish Coal

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much coal is being imported by the EEC from Poland; and what is the average price per ton of such coal.

The latest available information for the Community as a whole is that published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities in "Energy Statistics Yearbook 1969–72" and covers 1972. In that year 10·8 million tonnes of coal was imported from Poland by the enlarged Community with an average frontier value for all countries except Ireland of 17.11 units of account of the European Communities. This figure is equivalent to £7·1 per tonne.

British Petroleum Company

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has consulted or proposes to consult with the directors of British Petroleum on the future of the British Petroleum equity now pledged by Burmah Oil with the Bank of England.

In considering the disposal of Burmah's BP shareholding, the interests of BP will naturally be taken into account.

Electric Cars

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what research projects, if any, are sponsored or supported by his Department in promoting the development of electrically-powered family cars.

No research programmes on family electric cars are being sponsored by my Department since the light commercial vehicle with its more limited range is probably more appropriate to the technologies likely to be available in the near future. However, the board of the NRDC has authorised research programmes on integrated motor and control systems and on an advanced battery.

European Economic Community (Minister's Speech)

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of the Secretary of State for Trade at Brighton on 19th January about Great Britain's membership of the EEC represents Government policy.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the replies I gave in answer to supplementary questions from my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) and the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) on 21st January.

Home Department

Parliamentary Election Expenses (Returns)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalties attach to the failure to deliver a statutory return of parliamentary election expenses to the returning officer; and who is responsible for initiating proceedings.

Failure, without authorised excuse, to send to the returning officer a true return of election expenses is an illegal practice punishable on summary conviction by a maximum fine of £100 together with a term of five years' legal incapacity to vote at elections in the area of the constituency. The election of a successful candidate is void if he is reported personally guilty, or guilty by his agents, of an illegal practice, and he is legally incapable of sitting in Parliament for the constituency for seven years if personally guilty, or for the duration of the Parliament if guilty by his agents. Prosecution for an illegal practice may be instituted by a private person or by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many candidates in the United Kingdom, in the General Election of February 1974, failed to deliver their statutory return of election expenses to the appropriate returning officer.

Deportees (Transport And Maintenance Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion and amounts of the sum of £349,721 in fares and prison accommodation for deportees over the past two years have been recovered from deportees under the provisions of paragraph 1(4) of Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971.

I regret that precise information could not be obtained without disproportionate effort, but the proportion is likely to be small.

Immigrants (Legal And Advice Services)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up an inquiry into the effectiveness of legal representation and advice services available to immigrants who wish to avail themselves of the appeals tribunals set up under the Immigration Acts.

We have no reason to believe that this is necessary. But if the hon. Member will let me know of the reason for his concern I shall be glad to consider the matter further.

Community Relations Councils

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a list of grants over the past four years to community relations councils, specifying the amounts, and destinations of each of them.

DetainedRemovedAllowed to stay
1973
Commonwealth citizens18711420
Foreign nationals67585
1974—to 30th September
Commonwealth citizens73797
Foreign nationals45405
Before 1st September 1973, when the Pakistan Act 1973 came into force, citizens of Pakistan were included in the

The main sources of grants to community relations councils are the Community Relations Commission and the local authorities for the areas concerned. Detailed information on the grants to councils from each of these sources has been published since the financial year 1969–70 in the annual reports of the Community Relations Commission which have been laid before Parliament as required by Section 25(7) of the Race Relations Act 1968.

Pakistani Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the total number of Pakistani citizens who had been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for over five years on 1st September 1973; and how many of these registered as citizens of the United Kingdom within the statutory period ending on 1st September 1974.

Between the coming into force of the Pakistan Act on 1st September 1973 and 1st September 1974 about 77,000 applications for registration were received from citizens of Pakistan, and during the same period 33,199 were registered. In addition there were about 23,730 applications between the introduction of the Bill and its coming into force. It is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the number of citizens of Pakistan with five years' ordinary residence on 1st September 1973.

Illegal Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals, including Pakistani citizens, respectively, were detained as illegal immigrants in 1973, and in 1974 to the latest date for which figures are available; and how many were removed and allowed to stay in each case.

Following is the information asked for:figures for Commonwealth citizens: from that date they are included in the figures for foreign nationals.

Immigrants' Repatriation

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for assisted repatriation under Section 29 of the Immigration Act 1971 have been received; how many have been approved; how many individuals have left Great Britain under these arrangements since the scheme came into operation; and how many have returned.

Up to the end of December 1974, 604 applications for assistance had been received. Of these 161, covering 550 individuals, had been approved and 144 applicants and their families—491 individuals—had left the United Kingdom. Only four cases are known to my Department in which individuals or families assisted under the scheme have returned to this country.

Chileans

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications from citizens of Chile for admission to the United Kingdom have been granted since 1st March 1974 up to the latest date for which figures are available.

National Finance

Capital Transfer Tax (Foresty And Farming)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an estimate of the effect on workers and their families who at present are employed in private forestry if the new capital transfer tax proposals become law.

I do not believe that there is clear evidence that any such effect would be significant. If the hon. Member has any views on this matter which he would like to put to me, I shall consider them carefully.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated capital taxation on a 100 acre, 250 acre, 500 acre and 1,000 acre mixed arable farm complete with outbuildings, implements and stock, passing from father to son in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Republic of Ireland, and in the United Kingdom under the proposed new legislation, respectively.

The capital transfer tax on any property depends on what other transfers have to be taken into account in determining the rate. The information on which to base a comparison with other countries is not readily available.

Child Endowment

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of introducing a tax-free child endowment—to replace family allowances and child tax allowances—for all children, including the first, at a rate for each child of 6 per cent. of average industrial earnings of male manual workers.

The net cost of the scheme specified, at 1974–75 incomes and tax rates, would be about £850 million. This assumes a child endowment of £3·10 per week based on estimated average industrial earnings of male manual workers in November 1974 and takes no account of the increase in family allowance due to take effect in April 1975.

Mortgage Interest Rates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if there has been any change in short-term interest rates since the building societies last put up mortgage interest rates.

The rates recommended by the Council of the Building Societies Association were last increased in September 1973. Since that time short-term interest rates have fluctuated, generally rising to a peak at the end of 1973 and the beginning of 1974 and subsequently declining. Most rates are now slightly lower than in September 1973. I would refer my hon. Friend to Table 112 of the December issue of Her Majesty's Stationery Office publication "Financial Statistics", which shows the changes for a range of short-term rates for the period up to the end of November 1974.

Investment Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of persons liable to the investment income surcharge with incomes (a) between £1,000 and £2,000 per annum (b) between £2,000 and £3,000 per annum.

For 1974–75 the estimated numbers of taxpayers liable to the investment income surcharge with total incomes between the limits specified are as follows:

Range of total net incomeNumbers
£ per annum('000)
1,000–2,00035
2,000–3,000120

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of persons aged 65 years or more who will be liable to pay investment income surcharge and whose investment

Total residential Units of all kindsLetUnder modernisation or pending early modernisationUnlet in areas for which planning applications are outstandingVacant owing to normal movesUnder offerUninhabitable
3,8763,613109*95271814
* Includes 20 houses in Cornwall Terrace originally residential but used as offices for past 30 years.
Thirty-eight of the unlet properties are occupied by squatters. The Crown Estate Commissioners are in touch with the Department of the Environment and with local authorities about short-term uses for temporarily empty properties.

Vat Circulars

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total cost to public funds of distributing "VAT News" to every registered trader; and what surveys have been carried out into the use which traders make of that publication.

The total cost of the four issues so far published was £435,591 including postage, or about 8p per registered trader for each issue.The uses which traders make of the publication become evident from their VAT returns, from the visits which Customs

income is ( a) between £1,500 and £2,000 and ( b) over £2,000 per annum.

For persons aged 65 and over the estimated numbers in 1974–75 are as follows:

Range of investment incomeNumber
£ per annum('000)
1,500–2,00080
Over 2,000210

Crown Estate Properties (London)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the present levels of unoccupied Crown properties, residential and potentially residential, in the London area; how many of such empty properties are currently occupied by squatters; and what steps he intends to take to deal with the situation, including the speedy bringing into use of all empty properties.

I am answerable to the House only for properties comprising part of the Crown Estate. So far as these are concerned the table below gives the information requested:and Excise officers make to them for control purposes and from the general contacts which Customs and Excise has with trade bodies. This is a matter which is kept under continuous review.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the cost to public funds of distributing to every registered trader the Customs and Excise circular on relief from VAT on wood logs, firewood and firelighters; and what estimate was made of the number of traders likely to benefit from such relief.

The circular was not distributed to every VAT registered trader but only to retailers and others who had expressed a wish to receive information about the special VAT retail schemes.The total cost was £39,000, including postage. All traders dealing in the articles which were newly relieved of VAT were potentially affected, but no estimate was made of their number.

Northern Ireland

Doctors (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has had consultations with the Ulster Branch of the British Medical Association about a substantial increase in pay from April, and with consultants about pay, hours of work and conditions of service.

Officials of the Northern Ireland Department of Health and Social Services met representatives, including consultants, of the Northern Ireland Branch of the BMA on 8th January to discuss local implications of current issues affecting contracts and pay. As the pay and conditions of service of doctors in Northern Ireland follow those in Great Britain, progress on these matters locally will depend upon developments at national level.

Constitutional Convention

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to make an announcement about the chairmanship of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 16th January and also that given to the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on the same date.—[Vol. 884, c. 651–2.]

Policemen's Widows (Compensation)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the circumstances of his Department's appeal against county court awards to the widows of three officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary murdered by the Provisional IRA.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) on 21st January.—[Vol. 884, c. 322–3.]

Overseas Development

Crown Agents

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how many members of the staff of the Crown Agents have been suspended from duty, pending investigations into the matters dealt with in her statement of 18th December; and what further inquiry she proposes to hold.

As I said in reply to a supplementary question by my hon. Friend on 20th January—[Vol. 884, c. 1019]—one member of the Crown Agents' staff has been suspended from duty. This followed matters which arose independently of the work on the report on how the need for Government support arose which was referred to in my right hon. Friend's statement on 18th December.—[Vol. 883, c. 1578–80.]

Wales

Ancient Monuments (Signs)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when it ceased to be the policy of his Department to erect bilingual signs on ancient monuments in Wales, with the Welsh language placed above the English language; and if he will now make it his policy to resume this practice.

Information signs at ancient monuments are being changed into bilingual form on a gradual basis. Separate signs in each language are produced and they are placed side by side at the entrance to the monument.

Eec Grants And Loans

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what were the total receipts of specific interest to Wales from the following European Economic Community sources for the period 1st January 1973 to 1st January 1975, with details; the Social Fund, the European Investment Bank, the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, and the European Coal and Steel Community.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Roberts) on 2nd December.—[Vol. 882, c. 1088–89.] I understand that the sums identified in that reply have largely been paid but loans to the NCB for colliery development have not yet been drawn in full and certain receipts are also awaited from the Social Fund.

Forestry (Advisory Committees)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a list of names of members of the Advisory Committee on Forestry in Wales, their qualifications for membership, and the organisations they represent.

Three statutory forestry committees in Wales advise the Forestry Commission, namely, the regional advisory committees for North and South Wales respectively and the National Committee for Wales. The composition of the regional advisory committees is set out below. Members do not represent particular organisations but are appointed because of their experience in forestry, agriculture, environment and other fields—industrial relations, etc.

North Wales

B. J. Crichton (Chairman)

P. C. Ormrod

F. C. Best

N. H. Gore

L. Rowland

I. Edwards

H. Davies

V. Lloyd

J. M. Harrop

South Wales

D. G. Badham (Chairman)

B. R. Feaver

H. L. Knight

R. H. Wheelock

A. R. Llewellyn

B. Davies

Mrs. D. Walmsley

J. Walters

E. Bartlett.

The National Committee for Wales consists partly of Forestry Commissioners and senior officials in Wales, and partly of members appointed by the commission for their special interest in Welsh affairs. The members are:

  • M. L. Bourdillon (Chairman), Commissioner.
  • J. W. L. Zehetmayr, Senior Officer (Wales) and Conservator, South Wales
  • J. N. Kennedy, Conservator, North Wales.
  • R. E. Griffiths
  • T. O. Lewis
  • T. H. Owen

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Forestry Commission are ex officio members of the committee.

Transport Subsidies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much are the central Government spending on subsidies to public transport in Wales.

Over £8 million in the current financial year, excluding any contribution through rate support grant.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what local authorities in Wales are spending money to subsidise public transport; and how much is being spent.

It is for local authorities themselves to decide whether and to what extent public transport is subsidised. I understand that each of the new county councils is supporting bus services in its area and that in all some £1·3 million will be spent in this way in the current financial year. Some district councils may also be contributing.

Employment (Cardigan)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he intends taking to reduce the level of unemployment in Cardigan; and what measures he is proposing to prevent it from rising during the spring.

The Government's economic policies are designed to protect and create jobs in Cardigan as elsewhere in Wales.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Fireworks

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will consider introducing legislation to restrict the sale of fireworks to licensed organisations.

Mr. Alan Williams