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Written Answers

Volume 885: debated on Friday 31 January 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 31st January 1975

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Milk

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what considerations led the Government not to publish their observations on the Expenditure Committee's Report on Milk Production, which was published in August 1974, before 17th January 1975, in particular their observations on the Committee's recommendation for an increase of 8p per gallon in dairy farmers' net returns, which was introduced by the Government in October 1974.

The particular recommendation referred to in the Question was taken into account in the Government's autumn review of the dairy industry and

(£ per ton)
1972November 1974
ProductC.I.F.DutyLevyImport subsidyC.I.F.DutyLevyImport subsidy
££
ButterNew Zealand508NilNilNilNew Zealand*361Nil£127†Nil
EEC(6):EEC (9):NilNil£48‡
France469France650
Netherlands480Netherlands652
Others:Germany648
Denmark503Denmark699
Ireland494Ireland638
Poland448Others:
No typical importsNil£292§Nil
CheddarNew Zeland461NilNilNilNew Zealand*312Nil£319†Nil
CheeseEEC (6):EEC (9):
Netherlands381£62NilNilNetherlands810NilNil£60‡
Ireland772Nil
Others:Others:
Ireland447NilNilNilNo typical importsNil£392§Nil
Australia474
Canada635
Note: The most recent available c.i.f. figures are for November 1974.
* Special c.i.f. price under Protocol 18.
† Net levy after application of monetary compensatory amounts.
‡ Monetary compensatory amounts applied as an import subsidy.
§ Net levy after application of accession and monetary compensatory amounts.

in the measures announced on 20th September last (Press Notice No. 303). The formulation of the Government's observations on the whole of the Committee's Report was carried out as quickly as possible having regard to the range of issues covered by the recommendations.

Butter, Cheese And Beef Imports

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the typical import costs per ton of butter, cheese and beef, respectively, in 1972 and January 1975, showing for each commodity the relevant duties, levies and subsidies.

The information for the latest period for which import prices are available is as follows:

(£ per ton)

1972

January 1975

Product

Duty

Levy

Import subsidy

Duty

Levy

Import subsidy (a)

Beef:

Developed Commonwealth

Fresh,NilNilNil8 per cent. ad valoremNil£128
frozen

Developing Commonwealth

orNilNilNilNilNil£128
chilled

Ireland

NilNilNilNilNil£23

EEC

Bone In£6·22NilNilBone In£3·73Nil£115
BonelessBoneless:
5% ad val.3% ad val.Nil

Others

Bone In£6·22NilNilBone In£3·73+
Boneless8% ad val.Nil£82
5% ad. val.Boneless:
11% ad val.Nil£128

Notes:

(1) Owing to the wide variety of cuts, qualities, presentations and origins, it is not possible to give c.i.f. prices in a meaningful way. For the same reasons, it is not possible to suggest a specific value for the ad valorem tariff rates given.
(2) Imports from third countries are at present prohibited except for imports within the GATI evy free quota.
(a) These are representative examples of m.c.a. subsidies but not exhaustive.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if there are any restrictions under the Treaty of Accession and membership of the European Community which would prevent producer milk prices from being adjusted more frequently than once a year in line with the recommendations of the Expenditure Committee.

Experience during 1974–75 has shown that the guaranteed price for milk can be increased more often than once a year consistently with Community obligations.

Civil Service

Treasury Staff (Qualifications)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what number and proportion of those administrative class civil servants recruited direct to the Treasury from university in 1974 had degrees in economics; and how this proportion compares with entrants to the administrative class of the Civil Service as a whole.

The administrative class of the Civil Service merged with the executive and clerical classes in 1971 to form the Administration Group, and the honours graduate entry to this group is now through the administration trainee grade. In 1974 six administration trainees joined the Treasury and they all had a degree in economics; of the 204 administration trainees who entered the Civil Service last year, 27—that is, 13 per cent.—had a degree in economics.

Recruitment (Higher Posts)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will in future advertise all posts above Assistant Secretary that are vacant.

No. As the Fulton Committee concluded, it is desirable that the great majority of those who occupy senior posts should be appointed from within a career Civil Service.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether there is a fixed number of Assistant Secretaries and Principals who can be recruited each year from outside the Civil Service; whether there are any restrictions in such cases on age; and why there are any such restrictions.

No. There is no general recruitment from outside the Civil Service of Assistant Secretaries, although specialised appointments are occasionally made at this level. In recent years an average of 35 Principals have been recruited annually, the numbers being primarily dependent on the needs of Departments. Applicants must be at least 28 and under 52 years of age, these limits reflecting, at the lower end, the need for experience and maturity, and at the upper end the expectation of a reasonable period of service before retirement.

Government Premises (Cleaners' Pay)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what steps he has taken to give effect to the proposals, jointly presented by the Joint Trade Union Committee for Contract Cleaning and the Contract Cleaning and Maintenance Association, for ensuring that contractor employees working on Government contracts enjoy reasonable rates of pay and of holidays with pay.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what steps he has taken to give effect to the proposals, jointly presented by the Joint Trade Union Committee for Contract Cleaning and the Contract Cleaning and Maintenance Association, for ensuring that contractors' employees working on Government contracts enjoy reasonable rates of pay and holidays with pay.

It is the Government's intention to introduce into contracts for the cleaning of Government offices clauses requiring successful contractors to pay wages, and to grant holidays with pay, to their employees engaged on such contracts at rates no less favourable than those from time to time agreed for local authority staff engaged on similar work. The drafting of suitable clauses is under discussion, and it is hoped that final arrangements will be completed in time for the new clauses to be introduced into all tenders invited on or after 1st April 1975.The Government are grateful to the representatives of both employers and employees for their co-operation in introducing this small but important contribution to the improvement of conditions in the contract cleaning industry.

Divorce

asked the Attorney-General if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the number of divorce decrees absolute granted in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years and the rate per 1,000 married couples which the figures represent.

The information is as follows:

Decrees of dissolution of marriageEstimated rate per 1,000 married couples
196434,1622·8
196537,0843·1
196638,3523·1
196742,3783·4
196845,0363·7
196950,0634·0
197057,4214·6
197173,6665·9
1972118,2539·4
1973105,1998·4
The figures for 1974 are not yet available.

asked the Attorney-General if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number of decrees of divorce granted under Section 2(1)(e)—Separation over five years—in each year since 1st January 1971, giving a breakdown by sex of the petitioner.

This information, which is published in Civil Judicial Statistics, is as follows:

For Petitioner
HusbandWife
19719,4057,794
197211,57710,420
19738,2618,432
For Respondent
HusbandWife
1971810
19721815
1973813
The figures for 1974 are not yet available.

asked the Attorney-General if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number of petitions for divorce filed in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years, and the rate per 1,000 married couples which the figures represent.

The information is as follows:

Petitions filed for dissolution of marriageEstimated rate per 1,000 married couples
196440,6213·4
196542,0703·5
196645,6103·7
196749,9694·1
196854,0364·4
196960,1344·9
197070,5755·7
1971110,0178·8
1972109,8228·8
1973115,0489·2
The figures for 1974 are not yet available.

Defence

Recruits

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing

RN/RMArmyRAFTri-Service
Quarter ending—
March 19652,1167,5652,46612,147
June 19652,0807,0751,95511,110
September 19653,3918,5151,91113,817
December 19651,8525,6042,2389,694
March 19661,9576,7562,37811,091
June 19662,0776,9312,38811,396
September 19662,8538,9312,50514,289
December 19662,3186,3012,31010,929
March 19671,9696,7322,84911,550
June 19672,2656,1172,30410,686
September 19672,5897,1882,40412,181
December 19672,1714,0612,0308,262
March 19681,5804,1982,1267,904
June 19681,2844,6801,6307,594
September 19682,3236,6892,69011,702
December 19681,3433,7562,2187,317
March 19691,2064,3392,4027,947
June 19691,2096,0042,2709,483
September 19692,4268,2193,16413,809
December 19691,6394,7183,1429,499
March 19701,5774,9322,9509,459
June 19701,7647,1523,06211,978
September 19702,5668,4303,03314,029
December 19702,1124,8253,48610,423
March 19711,5386,5303,30811,376
June 19711,9528,7353,01813,705
September 19713,41210,6483,19117,251
December 19713,0097,2192,11012,338
March 19722,4737,7011,98612,160
June 19722,6408,0091,39012,039
September 19723,22610,1531,92515,304
December 19723,1144,8911,7039,708
March 19732,0545,8091,4109,273
June 19731,8214,1719536,945
September 19732,4554,7681,6908,913
December 19732,0493,3912,1727,612
March 19741,7405,2241,9998,963
June 19741,6045,4281,7528,784
September 19742,9209,3872,36914,676
December 19742,7194,1752,5229,416
It is not the practice to publish precise details of our recruiting requirement but generally speaking over the period, except in 1968–69 and 1973–74, recruitment has been adequate for that requirement. There have, however, been continuing problems in certain specialist groups, but force strengths overall have been satisfactory.

Interrogation Cases (Settlement)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the eight payments now made to victims of interrogation in depth were made as a result of a court order; and how

the target figure and actual number of recruits to each of the three Services in each quarter of the last 10 years.

The actual number of recruits to each of the three Services in each quarter of the last 10 years is as follows:many were the result of settlement out of court.

All eight cases were settled prior to a court hearing. In five cases, because they had been set down for trial, procedures required the court's endorsement of the settlement by court order.

Gan

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable he has now agreed for the withdrawal of British forces from Gan, following his statement of 3rd December.

As I said on 3rd December, when our consultations have been completed I shall publish a White Paper setting out our decisions in detail and saying how they are to be put into effect. I hope to do so in March.

Education And Science

Teachers (Contracts Of Employment)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has about the extent to which the contracts of employment for teachers in universities, polytechnics, technical colleges and colleges of education permit direct contemporary employment by other bodies and organisations, other than those directly related to academic activities; and if any of these institutions publish a register of such outside employment.

I have no detailed information, but in general a teacher is required to fulfil the duties that his teaching employment entails, but may take other employment provided such employment does not interfere with the due performance of those duties. I have no information about publication of registers of outside employment.

Nursery Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many local education authorities in England have reduced their projected spending on nursery building for 1974–75; and if he will list them;(2) how many local education authorities in England have not taken up their allocation of funds for nursery building for 1974–75; and if he will list them.

The following local education authorities have notified my Department that they will not be taking up in full their nursery education building allocation for 1974–75: Avon, East Sussex, Kent, Shropshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Bromley, Coventry. Of these, Avon, East Sussex and Bromley will not be taking up any part of their allocation.The allocations represent the total value of building projects which may be started during the 1974–75 education building year. Authorities are not required to submit forecasts of their actual expenditure on building projects year by year.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now review the form in which allocation of funds for nursery building was made for 1974–75; and if he will consider proposing replacing loan sanctions to finance nursery building by a programme of direct financial aid from the DES.

No. Loan charge payments by local authorities stemming from building programmes are taken into consideration in determining the rate support grant settlement.

Comprehensive Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local education authorities have yet to comply with his request to submit schemes for the reorganisation of secondary education in their areas on comprehensive lines.

23 local education authorities have not yet delivered a substantive response to the request in Circular 4/74 for information about the successive measures to be taken to end selection for secondary education where this still exists. Of these the majority have indicated an early date when a reply can be expected. In about a dozen other cases the replies received are not fully complete in coverage. All responses will be carefully examined to ascertain their acceptability by our criteria.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received any proposals from the Kent County Council for the reorganisation of secondary education as a result of his recent request.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Ovenden) on 17th December.—[Vol. 883, c. 369.].

Teachers' Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will examine the desirability of continuing the scheme of allowances for teachers in social priority schools.

No. I consider it would be wrong to consider abandoning the scheme agreed within the Burnham Committee before it has even been brought into operation.

School Building Programme, Bournemouth

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the allocations he has made for school buildings in the Bournemouth, East constituency for 1975–76.

Under the terms of my Department's Circular 13/74 resources for primary and secondary school building in 1975–76 have been allocated to the Dorset local education authority in the form of a lump sum authorisation of £2,166,000. It is for the authority to decide what individual projects should be included in its programme.

Public Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount of public expenditure on nursery institutions and playgroups in Great Britain and in England, respectively, for the latest year for which figures are available; and what was the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, for England, total net recurrent public expenditure on nursery institutions and expenditure per pupil were respectively £6·7 million and £231·2 at out-turn prices. Figures of expenditure on playgroups are not available. Information in respect of Wales and Scotland is the responsibility, respectively, of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount of public expenditure on special schools in Great Britain and in each of the English regions for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, for England, net recurrent public expenditure on special schools and expenditure per pupil were £68·9 million and £566·;7 respectively. Regional figures for England could only be produced with disproportionate labour. Figures for Wales and Scotland are the responsibility, respectively, of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount of public expenditure on direct grant schools in Great Britain and in each of the English regions for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, for England, net recurrent expenditure on direct grant schools and expenditure per pupil were £20·6 million and £174·7. These figures cover capitation grants and remitted fees paid from the Exchequer and fees paid by local education authorities. Regional figures for England could only be provided with disproportionate labour. Figures for Wales and Scotland are the responsibility, respectively, of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount of public expenditure on independent schools in Great Britain and in each of the English regions for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73 expenditure by local education authorities in England in respect of pupils attending independent schools amounted to £3·9 million. Attribution to English regions could only be made with disproportionate labour. The numbers of children supported in this way are not known and figures of expenditure per capita cannot, therefore, be calculated. Information about Wales and Scotland is the responsibility, respectively, of my right hon. Friend and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what was the total amount of public expenditure on comprehensive schools in Great Britain and in each of the English regions for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions;(2) what was the total amount of public expenditure on grammar schools in Great Britain and in each of the English regions for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

Financial information in respect of secondary education in England, for which I am responsible, is not collected by type of school. Information about secondary education in Wales and Scotland is the responsibility, respectively, of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount of public expenditure on primary schools in Great Britain and in each of the English regions for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, for England, net recurrent public expenditure on maintained primary schools and the corresponding figure of expenditure per pupil were £604·5 million and £125·2. Regional figures for England could only be provided with disproportionate labour. Figures for Wales and Scotland are the responsibility, respectively, of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount of public expenditure on direct grant schools in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

I have been asked to reply.In the financial year 1972–73, for Wales the net recurrent expenditure on direct grant schools and expenditure per pupil were £0·3 million and £178·9 respectively. These figures cover capitation grants and remitted fees paid from the Exchequer and fees paid by local education authorities.

Employment

Training And Relocation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the average expenditure in pounds sterling from public funds per head of the employed population in the United Kingdom, France, West Germany and Sweden on retraining and relocation in the latest year for which this information is available.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that in 1973 the average expenditure from public funds per head of the employed population on training and relocation was as follows:

TrainingRelocation
££
United Kingdom2·750·21
France8·670·20
West Germany11·57
Sweden24·611·56
The United Kingdom training figure relates predominantly to retraining. Figures for other countries include expenditure on initial training under technical education systems which in the United Kingdom would be carried on educational Votes, and expenditure on grants to employers which in the United Kingdom is incurred by industrial training boards.A separate figure for relocation is not available for West Germany. For France, the figure for relocation is understated as it excludes grants made to employers to provide for transfer expenses.

Redundancy Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average value of redundancy payments paid by industry in 1973 and 1974; and how this compares with the value of redundancy payments in France, West Germany and Sweden over the same period.

The following information relates to employees in respect of whom payments were made from the Redundancy Fund:

Average payment to which employees were entitled under the Redundancy Payments Act
Year£
1973376
1974404
These figures are not comparable with the value of redundancy payments in France, West Germany and Sweden because the arrangements which apply in those countries vary in both scope and benefits payable from the United Kingdom scheme.

Textiles (Macclesfield)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if the Under-Secretary of State will visit the Macclesfield constituency to assess the problems that exist there relating to the situation facing the textile industry; and if he will seek to remedy these problems.

I am aware of the problems of the textile industry in Macclesfield, but I have no plans to visit there in the immediate future.

Energy

Electricity (Pricing)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what is his Department's estimate of the cost of allowing relief from fixed charges and free consumption of up to 300 units of electricity per summer quarter and 450 units per winter quarter for all retirement pensioners living alone or with a dependent relative or spouse; and on what basis his calculations are made;(2) what is his Department's estimate of the cost of allowing relief from fixed charges and free consumption of up to 300 units of electricity per summer quarter and 450 units per winter quarter to all chronically sick and disabled people who either live alone, or with a dependent spouse or relative or with a person providing necessary constant care; and on what basis his calculations are made;(3) what is his Department's estimate of the cost of allowing relief from fixed charges and free consumption of up to 300 units of electricity per summer quarter and 450 units per winter quarter for all families and individuals other than retirement pensioners in receipt of supplementary benefit or family income supplement; and on what basis his calculations are made.

The information necessary to make such estimates is not readily available. I am looking into the Questions and will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Waste Heat (Connah's Quay)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with the Central Electricity Generating Board on the feasibility of utilising the waste heat from the proposed new power station at Connah's Quay.

The application under Section 2 of the Electric Lighting Act 1909 for consent to construct this station has only recently been received by the Department and no discussions on this topic have taken place. The possibilities would depend on the identification of a viable local demand for the heat rejected.

Electricity Generating (Tidal Power)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any plans to build estuary barrages to generate electricity.

No. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 20th December.—[Vol. 883, c. 640].

Environment

Tenants And Landlords (Service Personnel)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now publish a series of advertisements similar to those published by his Department in the National Press under the heading "Furnished Tenants Faced with Eviction Don't Move", and "Furnished Tenants, Your Home is now Protected", making it clear that such tenants in terms of a letter addressed to the hon. Member for Havant and Waterloo by the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Navy, would face eviction proceedings at the end of which they would be ordered out, if in occupation of the property of Service personnel desiring, after due notice, to reoccupy their own houses.

No. Under the Rent Act tenants of Service personnel are in the same position as others occupying the homes of temporarily absent landlords. They should be aware, from the notice served on them, of the landlord's right to repossession for his own occupation.

Vehicles (Design And Weight)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what conclusions were drawn by report 582 of the Transport and Road Research Laboratory; and what further work is being undertaken on gross vehicle weight and suspension design.

Report LR582 of the Transport and Road Research Laboratory is concerned with dynamic loads and vibrations produced by heavy commercial vehicles. This work shows that the dynamic properties of the vehicle suspension system influence the dynamic loads and vibrations produced in roads and bridges. The magnitudes of the dynamic loads are dependent on the vehicle speed and the size of the irregularities in the path of the vehicle, even a smooth road surface showing variations in measured axle load of 15 per cent. above static values. Further work aimed at achieving a better understanding of vehicle suspension dynamics is continuing.

Local Authorities' Investments

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will issue a circular or other advice to local authorities advising them not to expend public moneys on the acquisition of shareholdings or any other interest in holiday and travel firms.

No; but it is for local authorities to decide whether any particular increase in expenditure can be classed as an inescapable commitment within the terms of my Department's Circular 171/74.

Roads (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the sum spent per mile on public roads of all categories in England in 1974.

About £5,500 per mile in 1973–74. Information is not yet available for 1974–75.

Highway Code

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the present position in respect of proposals for a revised version of the Highway Code.

A Green Paper setting out a revision of the Highway Code was published on 28th January, and Parliament will be given the opportunity to debate it.

Vehicle Jackknifing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now received a report on anti-jackknifing equipment from his Department's Transport and Road Research Laboratory.

Driving Tests

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average waiting time for a driving test (a) over the country as a whole, (b) in Coventry, (c) in Leicester, (d) in Stoke-on-Trent, and (e) in Birmingham.

The average waiting times on 11th January 1975 were (a) 15 weeks; (b) 19 weeks; (c) 13 weeks; (d) 18 weeks; (e) 16 weeks.

Roads (Countryside)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to receive the report of the Local Government Operational Research Unit which is now classifying rural roads; and if he will give an undertaking to discuss its findings with representatives of all sections of the agricultural industry.

The unit will report shortly to a working party set up by the Association of County Councils and the DOE to study minor rural roads. The NFU is represented on the working party, and there will be opportunities for discussion with interested bodies.

Textiles (Departmental Purchases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total value of textile goods purchased by his Department during the past 12 months.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of textile goods, over the last 12 months, has been purchased from British manufacturers by his Department.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will instruct his Department to purchase all future textile requirements from British manufacturers.

No. As will be seen from my reply to my hon. Friend today, almost all of my Department's purchases of textiles are made from British manufacturers. Purchases from foreign firms are made when British concerns are unable to meet a particular requirement or to do so quickly enough.

Rating Appeals

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average time taken for an appeal against a rating valuation to be disposed of, in the case of a domestic ratepayer and an industrial ratepayer, respectively.

I regret that this information cannot be deduced from the available statistics, but I understand that, in general, industrial ratepayers' appeals take rather longer to settle than others because they tend to be more complex.

Building Society Mortgages

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will discuss with the Building Societies' Association the possibility of granting housing loans over somewhat longer periods than customary, e.g. 30, 35 or 40 years, with an option by the borrower to increase repayments and thus shorten the life of loan after a period of years from the initial mortgage agreement.

There is no statutory limit to the repayment term for building society mortgages, and societies are generally willing to agree to a mortgagor increasing his payments in order to shorten his repayment period. In 1973 building societies advanced £256 million—7·3 per cent. of total advances—on initial repayment terms of over 25 years.

South-East England (Green Belt Land)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he will make a statement on the Minister for Planning and Local Government's meeting with the Chairman of the Standing Conference on London and South-East Regional Planning on 29th January;(2) when the report on green belt land will be published.

I met the Chairman, Lord Nugent, and other representatives of the Standing Conference on London and South-East Regional Planning on 29th January to discuss the Government's policy for the Metropolitan green belt and to review progress on the exercise to identify 2,000 acres of land in the green belt which might be released for housing without damage to basic green belt policies.I gave an assurance of the Government's full commitment to the concept of the Metropolitan green belt and belief in its continuing rôle in the further development of the South-East Region. There would be firm Government support for local planning authorities' resistance to development involving unacceptable encroachment on the green belt, bearing in mind that it was the Secretary of State's statutory duty to consider all planning appeals on their merits. The Government would continue to encourage long-term measures by local planning authorities to bring about improvements where the condition of green belt land was unsatisfactory, and to maintain and encourage agricultural, recreational and other acceptable uses of land in the green belt.

Lord Nugent informed me that the local authorities' search for suitable sites had resulted in identification of some 950 acres of land which they were prepared to see excluded from green belt protection; that a further 740 acres had been granted planning permission on appeal to the Secretary of State, since the exercise began; and that these permissions could lead to others. I told Lord Nugent that I wished to consider further the outcome of the exercise before publication of the report and suggested that a further meeting should be arranged. Lord Nugent accepted this suggestion and welcomed my assurances on the future of the green belt.

Local Councillors' Expenses

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will review the present system of attendance, financial loss, travel and subsistence allowances payable to elected members of local authorities; and whether he will make a statement.

Yes, and I have today written to the chairmen of the local written to the chairmen of the local authority associations, the Leader of the Greater London Council and the Chairman of the National Water Council inviting them to meet me with a view to establishing joint machinery to examine the working of the present system of allowance.

Motorways

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many miles of motorways are planned in England and Wales, respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many miles of motorway are in the various stages of planning in England.

In England 262·9 miles of motorways are in the firm programme and 262·7 in the preparation pool. Added to the 165·9 miles under construction and the 1,065 miles in use, the total mileage now planned is 1,756·5 miles. These figures do not include local authority motorways.Motorways in Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Land Reclamation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about derelict land reclamation.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales are today announcing proposals for the Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies. These agencies, when established, will be responsible for increased programmes of derelict land reclamation in those countries, the whole cost of which will be met by the Exchequer. As these programmes become effective the rate of reclamation in England will be increased and new schemes in assisted areas and derelict land clearance areas will become eligible for 100 per cent. Exchequer grants.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Entry Certificates (Indian Subcontinent)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the approximate length of time prospective immigrants must wait for an interview in Pakistan; what steps are being taken to speed up the procedures; and if he will make a statement.

The interval between receipt of an application for settlement and the interview appointment is currently 22 months. As stated in my reply of 29th January to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry)—[Vol. 885, c. 163.]—we have strengthened our immigration staffs in the Indian subcontinent and must now assess the effectiveness of these increases over a period of time.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average waiting time for intending immigrants attempting to obtain interviews in Dacca and Islamabad.

The interval between receipt of an application for settlement and the interview appointment is currently 22 months in Islamabad. It is approaching four years in Dacca, but the appointments schedule is being reorganised to take into account the reinforcement of the immigration section, and I hope that the waiting time will be reduced.

Immigrant Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what priority over other immigrants is given to doctors wishing to settle in this country; and whether similar priority is allowed for their wives and dependants.

Doctors seeking employment in the United Kingdom and their dependants who seek to accompany or join them are admitted on a temporary basis, not for settlement. Entry clearances are granted without delay, if the necessary documentation is forthcoming.

Hong Kong (Chinese Refugees)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many refugees from Communist China who have entered Hong Kong illegally since the beginning of December 1974 have been handed back to the Chinese authorities; and what is Her Majesty's Government's policy in this connection.

The total number of illegal immigrants from China, who were refused permission to enter Hong Kong between 30th November 1974 and 28th January 1975, was 314. On policy, I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 21st January 1975.—[Vol. 884, c. 314]

Industry

Government Participation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will provide a list of all the companies the Government have taken shares in since 1st March 1974. showing what has happened to the value of the shares in each case and the number of days lost through industrial disputes in each company since that date.

The companies which the Government have taken shares in since 1st March 1974 are:

Kearney and Trecker Marwin Machine Tools (Holdings) Ltd.
Brown Boveri Kent Ltd.
Scientific and Medical Instruments Ltd.
The Court Line Shipbuilding, Shiprepairing and marine engineering companies.
Of these, the only company whose shares are quoted is Brown Boveri Kent Ltd. The Government acquired the shares in November 1974 through a rearrangement of their previous holding in the George Kent Group. Stock Exchange dealings began in December 1974 at 10p per share. The share price was 13p on 29th January 1975.It is not the Government's practice to publish statistics of stoppage of work due to industrial disputes naming individual companies.

Shirt Manufacturers

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what action he proposes to take to enable British firms engaged in manufacturing shirts to stay in business in view of the Government's take-over of the Ben Sherman Group.

Because of the exceptional nature of the problems, the Northern Ireland Department of Commerce is trying to preserve employment in the Ben Sherman Group. These efforts have no direct relevance to the position of other manufacturers. As regards the shirt industry in general, the Government are aware of its difficulties, particularly the high level of import penetration. We have told our Community partners that, where there is justification in terms of the GATT Multi Fibre Arrangement, we are prepared to join with the Community in seeking restraints on knitwear and in extending our existing restraints on garments of cotton and polyester cotton to include other fibres, and these restraints will have a direct relevance to shirts. The relevant EEC mandates for negotiations with Hong Kong and South Korea and for autonomous action in the case of Taiwan are currently under discussion in Brussels.

Telephone Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, in view of the pressures upon the budgeting capacity of most householders, he will issue a general direction to the Post Office to introduce a system whereby telephone subscribers will be able to make payments on a regular monthly basis rather than face the periodical lump sum demand.

Government Aid

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is yet in a position to announce the amount of public money given to the top 25 firms.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry gave details of the amount of Government grants paid to 10 leading companies in the years 1970 to 1973 in answer to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Dun-

GOVERNMENT GRANTS TO 20 LEADING COMPANIES: 1970–73 (in £'000)
Company Group1970197119721973Total
Allied Breweries7306803803102,100
Bass Charrington5505604302,5504,090
Bowater(iii)2,3001,7703004804,840
BICC3,0501,9204001,1806,550
BLMC8,2507,9302,52082019,520
Courtaulds9,54010,4605,5903,35028,940
Esso6,3905,9809,4209,50031,290
Fords3,5308,5102,8601,81016,710
Gallaher(iii)29034018080890
GEC3,7003,0502,0301,23010,010
GKN2,3303,1201,6301,1508,230
Grand Metropolitan4304403401,4202,630
ICI27,77026,0907,84013,04074,730
Imperial Group1,8801,6508707705,180
Rank Hovis McDougall1,2508802901302,550
Reed International1,1101,5901,3204404,460
Sears Holdings3703202501401,080
Tate & Lyle9006802,7201,0405,350
Unigate9008702701602,190
Unilever4,0103,4801,2306409,360
Totals79,29080,33040,86040,240240,700
(i) The figures which relate to calendar years, are given correct to the nearest £10,000. They are individually rounded and may not therefore add up exactly to the totals shown.
(ii) Kinds of grants considered:
Investment grants
Regional development grants
Local Employment Acts:
Building grants
Plant and machinery grants
Operational grants.
Removal grants.
Industry Act 1972, Sections 7 and 8:
Interest relief grants.
Removal grants.
Grants under Section 8.
Shipbuilding Industry Board grants.
Construction grants for ships (Industry Act 1972 s. 11).
Any grants under special schemes of assistance to shipyards.
Grants under the Hotel Development Incentive Scheme.
(iii) The figures for Bowater and Gallaher have been provided by the companies themselves The basis of the Department's calculations was explained to the companies, who had expressed their willingness to help in this matter, and the results are broadly consistent with the Department's figures.

bartonshire, Central (Mr. McCartney) on 29th July 1974.—[Vol. 878, c. 14–17.] Equivalent information on a further 10 companies was released by my Department in a Press notice on 12th September 1974. The attached table provides information of the amounts paid to all 20 companies. The Secretary of State also announced in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 31st July 1974 our intention to institute a system of regular quarterly publication of payments of regional development grants and offers of selective financial assistance to individual firms and establishments. The first of these quarterly lists will be published in the first half of this year.

Shoes (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry which British shoe manufacturers, who no longer manufacture shoes, have gone over to handling shoe imports.

Post Office And Telecommunications

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how the $1,000 million borrowed abroad by the Post Office and Telecommunications Services in 1973 and 1974 has been allocated or spent.

The purpose of this borrowing is to help finance capital expenditure. The hon. Gentleman will find further information in the Post Office's Report and Accounts for 1973–74, Statements A4, B4 and C4 on the application and source of funds.

Press (Royal Commission)

asked the Prime Minister if he will now make a statement on the vacancy created by the death of the Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Press.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on 23rd January to the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Dods-worth).

Northern Ireland

Diabetes

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what courses are available within the National Health Service in the diagnosis of diabetics for general practitioners; and whether there are any plans for changes in this regard.

The diagnosis and management of diabetes are periodically included in the curriculum of courses organised by the Northern Ireland Post-Graduate Medical Education Council for trainee and established general practitioners. There are no plans for a course for general practitioners devoted exclusively to this subject.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will ensure that the school medical service gives special consideration to the needs of diabetic schoolchildren; and whether he is satisfied with the liaison that exists for this purpose with the schools and parents.

The School Health Service reports to education and library boards on the general physical condition and special needs of diabetic children. Staff of the service visit homes and schools and maintain close contact with family doctors and parents. Guidance on the supervision of diabetic children and the provision of special diets is given to educational staff.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research is currently being undertaken in Ulster into the causes and treatment of diabetics; and whether he is satisfied that sufficient funds are being made available for this purpose.

The Department of Medicine of the Queen's University of Belfast is involved in fundamental research into the causes of diabetes, and research into its treatment is carried out mainly in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Sufficient funds to finance the present programme of research have been provided from a variety of sources.

Beef Cattle Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the difference in market price per live hundredweight for beef cattle produced in the Province and in Great Britain; and what action is being taken by the Government to assist herd owners.

The provisional figure for the differential between average market prices in the week beginning 13th January 1975 for clean cattle in Great Britain and Northern Ireland is £2·57. Since the week beginning 18th November 1974, when United Kingdom target prices supported by variable premia were introduced, the payment of an additional 70p per cwt. variable premium to Northern Ireland the in most weeks has reduced the differential in total average returns between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the new and more permanent support arrangements for beef to be negotiated in Brussels will restore the confidence of beef producers and breeding herd owners.Owners of cattle breeding herds throughout the United Kingdom are benefiting from the additional £10 per head calf subsidy applicable since April 1974 and will benefit further by the bringing forward of the 1975 payments under the hill cow, beef cow and breeding herd schemes.

Eggs

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimated cost per dozen of producing eggs and the current average price per dozen being obtained by egg producers; and what is the corresponding price to the housewife.

The information is as follows:

White Eggs (pence per dozen)
Egg production cost
Average cost of producing eggs in Northern Ireland during the week ending 24th January 1975, assuming an annual production of 20 dozen eggs per hen29·00
Producer prices
Average price paid to Northern Ireland producers during the week ending 24th January 197517·42
Standard egg prices in shops in the United Kingdom on 22nd January 1975*31·60
*Standard egg prices are approximately equivalent to average retail prices. 80 per cent. of Northern Ireland eggs are sold in Great Britain.

Vehicle Thefts

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the number of motor vehicles which have been stolen and taken across the border to the Irish Republic; how many have been recovered; and what action is being taken in consultation with the Eire authorities to stop this traffic.

5,733 vehicles are known to have been stolen or unlawfully taken in Northern Ireland during the year 1974. It is not possible to state how many of these were taken into the Republic of Ireland, but 63 were recovered there.There is close liaison between the stolen car squads of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Garda Siochana. These arrangements are kept under constant review.

Solicitors

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has now completed his discussions with the Law Society of Northern Ireland on the establishment of a compensation fund for clients and the creation of lay observers who would hear complaints against solicitors; and when he expects to introduce legislation.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to introduce legislation implementing the proposals in the Solicitors Bill which was being proceeded with in the Northern Ireland Assembly in May 1974.

Discussions with the Law Society have been completed, and I hope soon to introduce legislation on lines similar to those of the Solicitors' Bill which was considered by the Northern Ireland Assembly. It will include provision for a compensation fund, and for the appointment of laymen to observe the investigation by the Law Society of complaints against solicitors.

Assembly And Polls (Reports)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to publish reports on the border poll and on the Assembly and local elections in Northern Ireland in 1973.

Both reports are published today and copies are available in the Vote Office. I should like to thank Professor Lawrence and his colleagues at Queen's University, Belfast, for undertaking this task.

Rents

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement about Northern Ireland Housing Executive rents.

The Housing Executive has been authorised to introduce from the beginning of April rent increases which will average around 60p per week, with a maximum increase of 75p. This will be the first rent increase which most public sector tenants in Northern Ireland will have had to pay since 1971 or earlier.In order to help tenants on low incomes a rent rebate scheme on a similar basis to that operating in Great Britain will be introduced at the same time as the rent increases. Parliamentary approval will be sought to provision in the 1975–76 Estimates for the Government to meet the full cost of the rebate scheme.

Housing Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement about the financial position of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The Housing Executive estimates that by the end of the current financial year its cumulative revenue deficit will be over £21 million. This deficit, which includes the deficits inherited from the former housing authorities as well as the deficits incurred by the executive itself since 1972–73, arises from a number of factors: rapid increases in building and maintenance costs and interest rates; a subsidy system which, under existing legislation, has not been able to compensate fully for these increases and rent levels which have not kept pace with inflation.It is proposed, therefore, to seek parliamentary approval for a payment of £21 million towards the deficits already incurred in the appropriation of the NI Spring Supplementary Estimates 1974–75; and further provision may be needed in the 1975–76 Estimates.A major examination has already been begun of the financial relationship between the Government and the Housing Executive. This will be effected in close touch with the review of the housing finance which is being carried out in Great Britain. The intention is to place legislation before Parliament in due course.

Scotland

Scottish Development Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what he proposes for the functions and organisation of the Scottish Development Agency; and if he will make a statement.

My detailed proposals for the agency are contained in a consultative document which I have issued today and which will form the basis of discussion with interested and affected bodies, preparatory to the introduction of legislation. I have placed a copy of this document in the Library and I am arranging for copies to be sent to all Scottish Members.

Social Services

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is aware of the need for a rehabilitation and/or assessment unit for disabled persons in the North-West area; if she will take steps to establish such a clinic in the Salford area; and if she will make a statement.

The need to develop rehabilitation services in the North-West was investigated in some depth by the former Manchester Regional Hospital Board whose findings now form the basis of the North Western Regional Health Authority's plans for the development of the service in the region.A special allocation of funds has recently been made to facilitate the development of Withington, Wythenshawe and Buxton Hospitals, which have jointly been designated as demonstration centres for the improvement of rehabilitation services in the North-West Region.In the Salford area, Ladywell Hospital already has a good range of such services, and fuller use will be made of them when a younger disabled unit now under construction is brought into use.

Paraplegics

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is aware of the need for a paraplegic centre to be established in the North-West; if she will take action to establish such a centre in the Salford area; and if she will make a statement.

I understand that the North Western Regional Health Authority will shortly have before it a report by a working party which has been looking into the provision for paraplegics in the region.

Bio-Engineering

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will consider the best method by which bioengineers should receive medical training; if she will consider giving support to medical doctors to obtain M.Sc. degrees in engineering either by full-time or part-time training; and if she will make a statement.

M.Sc. courses in bioengineering are available for both doctors and engineers, and the MRC annually awards a number of fellowships for these. In addition, some medical school places are normally filled by existing graduates. I fully accept the value of combining medical, engineering and, indeed, many other skills in the promotion of medical advance, but training engineers in medicine or vice versa is not the only way. Team work between individuals trained in the separate disciplines is often very effective.

Dental Service Regulations

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied that the National Health Service (General Dental Services) Regulations are written in language which is likely to be readily understood by all members of the public who need to refer to them.

Regulations are necessarily, I fear, complex. There is also available, for those who find it more convenient, a simple guide to the general dental services which puts the position simply and clearly for the general public.

Prescription Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will consider making provision to allow patients who have unwittingly paid charges for prescriptions which would normally be given free to receive a refund on these charges; and if she will make a statement.

No. It would be impracticable to verify claims for refunds which are not supported by a receipt obtained at the time the charge was paid. There is continuing publicity in pharmacies to draw the attention of eligible patients to their right to claim exemption.I will write to my hon. Friend about the personal case he has drawn to my attention.

Hospitals' Ancillary Staffs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in establishing a proper career structure for operating department assistants following the recommendations of the Lewis report and the report of the Advisory Committee on Ancillary Staff Training.

The recommended structure was embodied in a Whitley agreement and sent to employing authorities in August 1973 for implementation.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many regional health authorities provide training schemes for operating department assistants.

Schemes are provided in 11 regions and should soon be provided generally.

Moorfields Eye Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many beds in the Moorfields Eye Hospital are at present unoccupied.

Forty-three of the beds available in Moorfields Eye Hospital at midnight 24th January 1975 were unoccupied.

Women Patients

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied that there is adequate provision within the National Health Service hospital service for the needs of women who wish to be treated by women doctors and nurses only.

Hospital services must be organised to meet the needs of the community as a whole within available resources. While hospitals will try to meet the wishes of individuals or groups in so far as this is practicable, it is normally not possible to guarantee treatment by doctors or other staff of one sex. This would, for example, mean distinguishing between the sexes in the appointment and deployment of medical and other staff.

Accidents And Emergencies

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she has considered the report of the Expenditure Committee on Accident and Emergency Services; and if she will make a statement.

A White Paper setting out the Government's view of the Committee's Report is published today (Cmnd 5886).My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I note with satisfaction that the Committee endorsed the policy pursued by successive Governments of concentrating accident and emergency services in selected district general hospitals, and are grateful to the Committee for suggesting ways in which these essential services might be improved. Of the Committee's 21 recommendations the Government accept 17 either wholly or in part and are unable to accept only four—those concerned with the showing of TV "space fillers"; the operation of health centres on a 24-hour basis; the designation of one Minister with overall responsibility for rescue services; and membership of health authorities and successor bodies to the Ambulance Service Advisory Committee.

Trade

Books And Magazines

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is able to estimate the effect on the export of books, periodicals and magazines of the increased overseas postal rates; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Gardiner) on 20th Janu- ary 1975—[Vol. 884, c. 2188.]—I have nothing to add to my previous answer.

South Africa (Arms Supplies)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has granted licences for the supply of arms or military spare parts to South Africa.

Applications for export licences are dealt with only in accordance with the policy stated on 4th December by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Wales

Education (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total amount of public expenditure on primary schools in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and what was the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, the latest year for which figures are available, net public expenditure on primary schools in Wales was £40·8 million at 1972–73 out-turn prices. This figure, which includes expenditure on nursery classes and on other under-5s in primary schools, represents a per capita expenditure of £131·4 for each pupil in primary school. These figures exclude students abroad and loan charges.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total amount of public expenditure on nursery institutions and playgroups in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and what was the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, the latest year for which figures are available, public expenditure on nursery schools in Wales was £687,261 measured at 1972–73 out-turn prices. This figure represents a per capita expenditure of £286·6 for each pupil in nursery school. Information regarding public expenditure on playgroups is not available. These figures exclude students abroad and loan charges.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total amount of public expenditure on special schools in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions

In the financial year 1972–73, the latest year for which figures are available, net public expenditure on special schools in Wales was £2,627,024 at 1972–73 out-turn prices, representing an expenditure per capita of £592·7 for each pupil in special schools. These figures exclude students abroad and loan charges.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what was the total amount of public expenditure on grammar schools in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions;(2) what was the total amount of public expenditure on comprehensive schools in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each pupil attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, the latest year for which figures are available, net public expenditure on secondary schools in Wales was £42·6 million at 1972–73 out-turn prices, representing a per capita expenditure of £213·8 for each pupil in secondary school. No breakdown of these figures is available by type of secondary school.

Bardsey Island

asked the Secretary of State for Wales which county council and which district council are responsible for local government functions in regard to Bardsey Island.

The Gwynedd County Council is responsible for the exercise of county functions in relation to Bardsey, but the island is not part of a community or district.

Land (Local Authority Functions)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations have been received from Welsh local authorities against the proposal that in Wales the local councils shall not have the functions in relation to land which the Government propose to give to local councils in England and Scotland.

I met the Welsh Counties Committee and the Council for the Principality on 6th November 1974 to hear their objections to the proposals, and I have since received representations from seven individual local authorities.

Welsh Development Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is yet able to make a statement about progress in the setting up of the Welsh Development Agency.

I have issued today a consultation paper containing my proposals for the Welsh Development Agency. The main purpose of this document, a copy of which is in the Library, is to provide a basis of consultation, particularly with local authorities and other bodies in Wales, about the agency's rôle and operating arrangements. Legislation to establish the agency will be introduced as soon as possible after these consultations are complete.