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Written Answers

Volume 885: debated on Tuesday 4 February 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 4th February 1975

Education And Science

Independent Schools

3.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement on the Government's plans in respect of the charitable status of independent schools.

Proposals for action to fulfil the relevant manifesto pledge will be put before the House in due course.

School Building Programme

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in the light of representations made to him by the Norfolk County Council, he is now able to announce school building allocations for the year 1975–76, which take account of the situation on the provision of new school places occasioned by the growth of population in the county over the last four years; and if he will make a statement.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to announce the allocations for the school building programme for 1975–76.

Local education authorities were informed on 27th January of their school building allocations for the year 1975–76. The allocation for Norfolk is £2,556,000. This allocation should enable the Norfolk Education Authority not only to meet the needs arising from one year's growth in school population but also to make good some of the shortfall from earlier years.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to be able to announce the next annual school building programme for Leicestershire.

School building allocations for 1975–76 were announced to local education authorities last week. Leicestershire's allocation is £3,769,000.

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent submissions have been made by the Sheffield District Council in respect of school building to his Department.

None. Lump sum authorisations for school building in 1975–76 were announced last week, and local education authorities have been asked to submit by 31st March 1975 lists of the major projects they propose to start during the year ending 31st March 1976 within their allocations.

Tomlinsote School, Camberley

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to include the major extension of Tomlinsote School, Camberley, Surrey, in the school building programme.

It is for the Surrey Local Education Authority to decide whether to use part of its lump sum allocation for school building projects to extend this school.

Religious Education

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied with the current operation and requirements of the Education Act in respect of religious education; whether he is satisfied that most schools are satisfying those requirements; and whether he will make a statement.

I am satisfied in general that schools are doing their best to provide religious education and worship in ways which are appropriate to the present day, and that the Education Act 1944 provides an adequate framework for this.

Nursery Nurses

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now take steps to compile national statistics on the training, supply demand and recruitment of nursery nurses with the NNEB qualifications.

Statistics are already available on the number of NNEB students in training in England and Wales and on the number of nursery nurses employed by local authorities. Recruitment and future demand for nursery nurses are matters for the local authorities, which are the main employers.

School Discipline

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has studied the report published on 30th October by the National Association of Schoolmasters about discipline in schools; and what proposals he has to make in connection with this matter.

Yes. I have studied this report and also one published by the National Union of Teachers which includes teachers' views about pupils' attitudes and behaviour. These contributions and others which the profession will no doubt wish to offer will be important factors in the consultations I shall shortly be holding.

Teacher Shortage (Bedfordshire)

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children have received less than full-time education because of staff shortages in schools under the control of the Bedfordshire County Council since the beginning of the current term.

School Lectures (Private Bodies)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will issue a circular to local education authorities advising them not to grant facilities for representatives of private organisations to address pupils on controversial matters.

Truancy

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will institute a survey into truancy from schools similar to those undertaken in 1972 and 1974.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has up-to-date figures for truancy among pupils in secondary schools; and if he will make a statement.

I have already given to the House the main finding of the one-day survey of school attendance carried out by my Department just over a year ago.—[Vol. 877, c. 532–4.] My Department does not collect statistics of school attendance regularly, but I am ready to consider this in the discussions on behavioural problems which we will shortly be holding with the local education and teachers' associations.

Deaf Persons

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps are being taken to improve the education of the deaf.

Revised salary scales and a new salary structure for teachers in special schools for all handicaps were agreed in the Burnham Committee at the end of last month. Research into the use of some manual methods of communication and into the language development of deaf pupils is in progress. The regional planning of educational services for the deaf, along with other handicaps, will be considered at regional conferences which my Department is promoting this year. In the longer term, the Warnock Committee is reviewing educational provision for all handicapped children and young people.

Teacher Training Students

29.

asked the Secretary of Education and Science what proportion of students successfully completing teacher training courses fails to take up teaching posts; and what proportion leaves during or at the end of the first year of teaching.

About 10 per cent. do not enter the maintained primary and secondary schools, and it is not known how many of these enter teaching in other sectors or overseas. About 12 per cent. of new entrants to the maintained primary and secondary schools have left by the end of their first year, but many may re-enter later on.

Foreign Students

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the latest evidence concerning the increasing percentage of foreign students at United Kingdom universities, if he will consider recommending either a further cutback in university expansion or an increase in the fees for foreign students.

I see no reason to depart from present plans for an expansion of higher education to provide for 640,000 full-time and sandwich course students in Great Britain in 1981. The question of a general increase in tuition fees, including those for overseas students, is under consideration.

Teacher Training Colleges

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received representations about the manner and rate of reorganisation of teacher training colleges.

Since the Government came into office in March 1973 I have received representations from interested parties concerning all aspects of the Circular 7/73 exercise. I think it fair to say that the rationale behind the reorganisation has gained widespread acceptance. The colleges of education now want to know as soon as possible what their futures are to be.

Maintenance Grants

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will now issue regulations to standardise education maintenance grants as recommended by the Education and Arts Sub-Committee of the Expenditure Committee in August 1974.

Nursery Schools

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will issue a circular to local authorities discouraging them from proposing any cuts in their nursery school programmes.

No. My right hon. Friend has already made it clear that he is determined to maintain the impetus of the programme and looks to authorities to play their part. I regret the fact that a small number of authorities have nevertheless not felt able to take up their nursery building allocations for 1974–75 in full. The resources so released have been reallocation to other authorities wishing to use them for nursery education building projects. My Department wrote to all local education authorities on 31st January asking them whether they intend to take up their nursery building allocations for 1975–76 in full. I very much hope that they will do so. Any resources released will be made available to other authorities able and willing to use them for nursery education building projects.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he can report in the provisioin of nursery education.

The special building programme for the expansion of nursery education began in July 1974. Resources allocated to local authorities in England for nursery building amount to £21·5 million for 1974–75 and to £17·2 million for 1975–76.

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will have consultations with Hampshire Education Authority regarding its plans to provide nursery school accommodation in Hampshire; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has no plans to meet the authority at present. Hampshire has a nursery building allocation of £552,500 for 1974–75. It is for local education authorities to decide which individual projects should be started within their allocations.

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many nursery schools there are in Humberside County and Kingston-upon-Hull, respectively, for children under 5 years of age; and how many there are for mentally handicapped children.

There are eight nursery schools in the county of Humberside, including three nursery schools in the Kingston upon Hull District Council area. In addition there are 35 nursery classes at primary schools of which 18 are in Kingston upon Hull.There are five special schools in Humberside which admit mentally handicapped children under the age of 5, of which one is in Kingston upon Hull.

Jump Junior Mixed And Infant School

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to ensure that indoor toilet facilities are provided for the Jump Junior Mixed and Infant School during the year 1975–76.

It is for the Barnsley Metropolitan District Education Authority to decide what school building projects should be carried out within its lump sum authorisation for 1975–76.

School Transport

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will announce a final decision on his policy for school transport.

I cannot say when our study of this complex and difficult issue will be concluded. We are considering the implications of the local authority associations' views on the report of the working party, and my right hon. Friend will make a statement as soon as possible.

Day Release And Further Education

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is to make provision for extending day release facilities and if he will make a statement on further education facilities for employees.

I attach great importance to extending facilities for further education, and in particular for the part-time education of young people in employment. I am considering what nature and scale of measures might be feasible.

Secondary Reorganisation

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what reply he has sent to Kent County Council concerning that authority's proposals for secondary education.

The Kent authority's response to Circular 4/74 was incomplete in its coverage and my officers have been in touch with the authority about the provision of further information.

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what studies his Department is undertaking in reform of secondary education.

A good deal of important work is being done by or under the sponsorship of the Schools Council and other bodies. More generally, Her Majesty's inspectors constantly study the organisation and teaching methods of schools and monitor changes and developments within the system.

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is satisfied that the recently submitted scheme for the reorganisation of secondary education in Redbridge meets the criteria set out in Circular 4/74.

A response from Redbridge to the request in Circular 4/74 was received last week and is under consideration. In so far as it envisages the retention of an element of selection it clearly does not meet the criteria in the circular.

Comprehensive Education

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a further statement on the progress of his plans to introduce comprehensive education.

I would refer the hon. Member to the remarks of my right hon. Friend in the debate on 27th January.—[Vol. 885, c. 52–65.]

School Leaving Date

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will expedite his consideration of the introduction of a common leaving date for school leavers, in view of the difficulties of local education authorities in enforcing school attendance on pupils who are aged 16 years, between the completion of their exams and the end of the summer term, bearing in mind that the date for the ending of the summer term varies widely.

As I told the House on 27th January—[Vol. 885, c. 62.]—the question of the summer leaving date requires a great deal of discussion, and there is no prospect of legislation in the current Session affecting the summer of this year.

Colleges Of Education

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of local authorities have so far submitted college reorganisation plans; how many have so far been approved; what proportion rejected; and how many colleges will be required to close.

52 local authorities have so far submitted final proposals relating to the whole or parts of their areas. Already the futures of 72 of the 163 colleges of education have been approved, and those of a further 59 are close to agreement. With the exception of some of the five colleges which are to close, all the decisions I have taken so far have been reached in agreement of the local authority or voluntary providing body concerned. It will not be possible to say how many other colleges may close until the current review of teacher supply policy has been completed.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has for the reorganisation of the Dartford College of Education; and what changes in numbers and status this involves.

I approved in September 1974 a proposal from the Inner London Education Authority for the amalgamation of Dartford College with Thames Polytechnic. I understand that the detailed arrangements for the merger are now being considered locally. Until the current review of teacher supply policy is completed, it is not possible to say what number of teacher training places the combined institution might be required to provide in future.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he plans to retain Madeley College of Education as a monotechnic.

I approved on 10th January a proposal from the Staffordshire authority that Madeley College should continue as a monotechnic teacher training establishment at a little below its present size.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he intends to merge Coventry College of Education with Warwick University.

I have not yet received formal proposals relating to Coventry College of Education. I understand, however, that a merger between the college and the University of Warwick is one of the possibilities which has arisen in local discussion.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has for the future of the West Midlands College of Education.

My Department has asked the Walsall and Sandwell authorities to consider jointly the future development of higher education in their areas, including the rôle to be played by the West Midlands College. I have not yet received formal proposals.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he intends to close the Wolverhampton Day College for teachers in training;(2) whether he intends to merge Dudley College of Education with Wolverhampton Polytechnic.

The Wolverhampton authority has proposed that Wolverhampton Day College and Wolverhampton College of Education (Technical) should both merge with Wolverhampton Polytechnic. I have not yet reached final decisions about this. In the meantime, my Department has asked the authority to consider with the Dudley authority the possibility that Dudley College of Education might also merge with the polytechnic.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy on the removal of Saltley College of Education to Carlisle.

My Department has always made clear that the move of the college would need to be financed out of the proceeds of sale of the college's existing premises. I understand that the market value placed on the college is likely to be very much less than would be sufficient for this purpose, and the proposal has therefore had to be abandoned.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he intends to close Newbold Road College of Education.

St. Paul's, Newbold Revel, will have its last intake to initial teacher training in September 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science by how much he intends that Cardinal Newman College of Education shall expand its teacher training places.

I understand that the Catholic authorities may wish to expand this college by the reprovision of places lost through closures elsewhere but I have received no specific proposal.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he intends to retain Worcester College of Education as a monotechnic;(2) when he intends that Hereford College of Education shall close.

I am still considering proposals submitted to me by the Hereford and Worcester authority.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement on the merger planned between Anstey College of Education, Bordesley Green College of Education, the City of Birmingham College of Education and Birmingham Polytechnic.

I have welcomed the Staffordshire authority's agreement that the Birmingham authority should assume responsibility for Anstey College of Education. My officials will shortly be writing to the Birmingham authority to convey my approval of its proposal that the Anstey, Bordesley and City of Birmingham colleges should all merge with Birmingham Polytechnic.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he intends to devote 25 per cent. of all places in colleges of education's education courses to the in-service training of teachers.

The previous Government's estimate was that about 20 per cent. of teacher training places outside the universities would be devoted to in-service education and training and induction, and planning is proceeding on this basis.

School Meals

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children in the United Kingdom are in receipt of free school meals at the present time; and what percentage of the school population this represents.

In respect of England and Wales I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend on 16th December 1974 to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould).—[Vol. 883, c. 318–19.] I cannot answer for the rest of the United Kingdom.

Teachers (Governing Bodies)

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy towards teachers serving on the governing/managing bodies of schools where they are employed.

This is one of the matters on which my right hon. Friend will look forward to the advice of the committee of inquiry which, as he told the House on 27th January—[Vol. 885, c. 62–3]—the Government have decided to establish. Meanwhile, it is open to local education authorities to appoint teachers to membership of the governing/managing bodies of county schools in which they are employed.

Secondary School Children (Lambeth)

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children attend secondary schools in the London borough of Lambeth; and how many have been found absent for unknown or unacceptable reasons in surveys carried out in the past five years.

Information about individual boroughs within the ILEA area is not generally available within the Department and returns received following the one-day survey of school absences undertaken in January 1974 were not analysed in that detail.

South Bedfordshire

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will pay an official visit to schools in South Bedfordshire.

Public Lending Right

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will now make a further statement on the question of a public lending right for authors.

As I told the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. JohnStevas) today, I am happy to say that a Bill is being prepared with a view to its early introduction.

Fares (Schoolchildren)

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, following the raising of the school leaving age and in view of the difficulties caused by recent inflation, he will have discussions with local education authorities and operators of public transport vehicles with a view to recommending ways of mitigating the effect of the increase in fares on public transport for schoolchildren between the ages of 14 and 16 years.

No. Local education authorities already have power to assist with the reasonable travelling expenses of any pupils. Some use this power to assist pupils who are not eligible for the concessionary fares which may be offered by local operators; this is a matter for them to decide. Questions about the level of bus fares and the rate and extent of concessions are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Public Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what was the total amount of public expenditure on universities 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 student attending such institutions;

(2) what was the total amount of public expenditure on the universities in Wales for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will express the total expenditure per capita of each student attending such institutions.

In the financial year 1972–73, net recurrent expenditure on universities from public funds* and net expenditure per student are shown in the table below. The important qualifications which I made in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bain) on 13th November 1974—[Vol. 881, c. 156–57.]—apply equally to these figures. Regional figures could be produced only with disproportionate labour.

Total Net Recurrent Expenditure1972–73 Out-turn prices Net Unit Cost
£million£
England261·31,354
Wales18·31,189
Great Britain328·61,325
* The figures cover grants from the UGC and payment of tuition fees by local authorities, and grants from the Scottish Education Department and local authorities. Capital expenditure, grants from the research councils and payments for research commissioned by Government Departments are excluded.

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many teachers were engaged in Bedfordshire schools in 1950, 1960 and 1970; what the figure will be for 1975; and what is the probable future trend.

The former Bedfordshire authority employed the equivalent of about 1,400 full-time teachers in 1950, 2,070 in 1960 and 3,400 in 1970. The present authority now employs 4,870 and this figure may increase to about 5,000 in September 1975. The authority will decide its own future recruitment but I have no reason to think it will not take an appropriate share of the teaching force in the future.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the rate support grant allows for increases in teacher employment, at least to allow for expanding school populations, without effecting any deterioration in the local education authority pupil-teacher ratio, in areas of expanding school population, such as Leicestershire.

The rate support grant settlement provides for an increase in the national total number of teachers proportionately greater than the prospective rise in pupil numbers, and consequently for an improvement in the national pupil/teacher ratio. The teacher quota allocation, which takes account of estimates of individual local education authorities' school population, is related to the total number of teachers covered by the rate support grant. It is for individual authorities to determine their staffing policies in the light of their own circumstances.

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the educational provision available to mentally-handicapped persons accommodated in hospital units.

The great majority of children in hospital receive education in schools or in other accommodation within the hospital complex. Of the older patients who receive further or adult education most do so in the hospital. Guidance was given in a circular from my Department and the Department of Health and Social Security in May 1974 on the education of mentally handicapped children and young people in hospital, including advice on premises and staffing, and I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many colleges of further education provide courses for mentally-handicapped adults; and what is the number of places available.

We know that a number of colleges make special provision for the mentally handicapped, but I cannot give the precise information for which the hon. Gentleman has asked. In the interests of obtaining a fuller picture and of encouraging the developments that may be needed Her Majesty's Inspectorate are reviewing the situation throughout the country and plan to reinforce their efforts in their inspection programme for the 1975–76 academic year. I understand that the Warnock Committee will be giving attention to the opportunities for handicapped school leavers, including the provision of further education for the mentally handicapped.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what training courses are available to teachers concerned with the educational needs of the mentally handicapped blind.

The one-year course for teachers of the blind at Birmingham University includes specific study of the mentally handicapped blind, and many courses for teachers of the mentally handicapped include consideration of additional handicaps.

Rents

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why properties let by educational institutions have been exempt from the extension of the rent freeze.

The current student grant is intended to enable students to pay economic charges for board and residence, without regard to the rent freeze. The grant is to be reviewed annually, and I am now considering the grant level for the academic year 1975–76.

National Foundation For Educational Research

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what financial support has been given to the National Foundation for Educational Research in the years 1973 and 1974, respectively.

Details of the financial support given by my Department to the National Foundation for Educational Research in the financial years 1972–73 and 1973–74, with an estimate for the financial year 1974–75, are as follows:

1972–731973–741974–75
£££
Grant in aid10,00010,00010,000
Support for specific projects44,00558,94647,250

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of the resources made available to the National Foundation for Educational Research for 1974 has been allocated to research grants and projects designed to promote education for a multi-racial society.

The proportion of the resources made available by the Department to the National Foundation for Educational Research for projects designed to promote education for a multiracial society was 38 per cent. in 1973–74 and the estimate for 1974–75 is 40 per cent.

Schools Council

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what financial support has been given to the Schools Council in the years 1973 and 1974.

The Department and the local education authorities finance the Schools Council jointly. The grants for the financial years 1973–74 amounted to £1,738,000 and the approved grants for 1974–75 total £1,590,000. The latter figure is lower than for the previous year to allow for accumulated reserves.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of the resources made available to the Schools Council by his Department in 1974 has been allocated to research grants and projects designed to promote education for a multi-racial society.

Because research and development projects are normally spread over a period of years it is not realistic to isolate expenditure upon them in a particular year. The total cost of current projects with a direct bearing on education for a multi-racial society is £354,000. Work on other projects is being carried out with the needs of a multi-racial society in mind.

Further Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will announce the building programmes for higher and further education for the year 1975–76.

In the 12 months beginning 1st April 1975 I shall be ready to authorise starts on major further and higher education building projects to a value of about £56 million at 1975 prices. The University Grants Committee will have £15 million of this total at its disposal and will be settling the detailed programme for the universities. My Department will be in touch with the local education authorities and providing bodies in England and Wales very shortly about the choice of individual projects in further education and in colleges of education.

Employment

Social Contract

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received in favour of amending the social contract.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to amendment of the TUC guidelines on wage settlements. Suggestions for amendment have been made in public discussion, but no specific representations have been made to me.

Training

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in England and Wales are presently undergoing training, through training agency TOPS schemes, in engineering and related trades.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 30th September 1974, the latest date for which statistics are at present available, there were 3,346 people in training in engineering and 3,676 in related trades in England and Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in England and Wales are presently undergoing training, through training agency TOPS schemes, for trades connected with the construction industry.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 30th September 1974, the latest date for which statistics are at present available, there were 3,450 people in training in construction industry trades in England and Wales.

Central Statistical Office

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the working of the Central Statistical Office.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the working of the Central Statistical Office.

President Ford

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister whether the dates of his next meeting with the President of the United States of America have yet been determined.

World Food Supply

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between Government Departments concerned with implementing the Government's response to the problem of world food supply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 16th January.—[Vol. 884, c. 147.]

Eec (Minister's Speech)

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if the speech of the Secretary of State for Trade at Brighton on 19th January concerning United Kingdom membership of the EEC represents Government policy.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech at Brighton made by the Secretary of State for Trade on 19th January about British membership of the EEC represents Government policy.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech by the Secretary of State for Trade on EEC matters at Brighton on 19th January represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Mr. Stanley).

Defence (Far East)

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if he will discuss all aspects of defence in the Far East in his forthcoming talks with President Ford.

I have nothing to add to what I have already told the House this afternoon about my discussions with President Ford.

West Germany

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to pay an official visit to Bonn.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has to pay an official visit to Bonn.

I have at present no plans to do so, but I hope to meet the Federal Chancellor at the EEC Heads of Government meeting in Dublin next month.

Tuc And Cbi

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to meet the TUC and the CBI.

I have no immediate plans for any further meetings with representatives of the TUC and CBI, whom I have met on a number of occasions in the last month both at NEDC and in other contexts.

Statistical Services

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the statistical services available to the Prime Minister.

Yes. The resources devoted to statistical services in the Central Statistical Office and the statistics divisions of Departments have increased in recent years and many improvements in the quality and range of data have been made.

Bodmin

Q18.

I have at present no plans to make an official visit although, as the hon. Member knows, I am able to keep in close touch with Cornish problems.

Romanian Head Of State

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if he has any plans to invite the Romanian Head of State to visit London.

An invitation to President Ceausescu to visit Britain was extended by the previous Government and still stands. The question of dates is still under consideration.

Indian Ocean

asked the Prime Minister whether, in his discussions with President Ford, he raised the question of the increased use of British bases in the Indian Ocean by the armed forces of the United States of America.

I have nothing to add to what I have already told the House this afternoon about my discussions with President Ford.

Public Sector Salaries

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make it the practice of his administration that all announcements of gross salaries or gross salary increments, in excess of the figure for national average industrial earnings—£2,500 per annum—in the public sector including all nationalised industries, shall be followed by a figure indicating the net taxed income which would accrue to a married man with two children receiving that income or increase in income, assuming that standard allowances applied and that there are no other sources of income.

Energy

Coal Production

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will list the projects planned to ensure the achievement of the production of 42 million tons of coal from existing and new mines under the Tripartite Plans for Coal by the mid-1980s;(2) if he will list the 20 major schemes which he expects will yield 7 million tons of coal which are referred to in the memorandum "Coal Industry Examination Final Report 1974";(3) if he will list the improvement schemes which he envisages will yield 13 million tons of coal by 1985 referred to in the booklet "Plan for Coal";(4) if he will identify the location of the new mines which he expects to be providing 20 million tons of coal by 1985.

Further exploration, planning and appraisal is needed before all the projects which will form part of the National Coal Board's plan for coal can be listed. The board has already approved major projects which between them will provide some 8 million tons of output, at the following pits:

Scotland

  • Seafield

North-East

  • Lynemouth/Ellington/
  • Easington
  • Horden/Blackhall
  • Wearmouth

Yorkshire

  • Royston
  • Kiveton Park
  • Thurcroft
  • Dinnington

South Wales

  • Taff Merthyr/Merthyr Vale
  • Betws
  • Blaenant

Midlands

  • Markham
  • Warsop
  • Blidworth
  • Allerton
  • Thoresby
  • Annesley
  • Newstead
  • Hem Heath/Florence
  • Littleton

Western

  • Silverdale
  • Haig

Kent

  • Snowdown

Of the projects listed, Royston and Betws are new mines. The NCB has applied for planning permission for a new mine at Selby which would produce 10 million tons per annum by the mid-1980s. The application is subject to a public inquiry which is due to start on 2nd April.

Floodlighting (Swimming Pools)

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will extend his regulations on floodlighting to apply to swimming pools.

I have not made any regulations in relation to floodlighting. In my statement on 9th December I said that I did not propose to ban floodlighting at this time.

Miners' Houses (Eec Loans)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the rates of interest charged on EEC loans to coal miners for house purchase or home modernisation and the term of the mortgage; and whether the proposals are operational in the United Kingdom.

EEC loans for house improvement or construction are not available direct to individual miners but through an appropriate organisation and are repayable normally over 20 to 25 years. The interest rate is 1 per cent., and the benefit of this must be passed on to the individual miner. The National Coal Board has obtained one such loan of £1·7 million for improvement of miners' housing.

Smokeless Fuels (Mid-Wales)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to remedy the shortage of anthracite and other smokeless fuels in Mid-Wales.

I am satisfied that producers and merchants have been, and are, doing all they can to supply maximum amounts of anthracite and other smokeless fuels and to distribute them equitably. Within a situation which has now eased generally, shortages of particular fuels, notably anthracite, still persist, but I am sure that the producers and the trade will do their best to satisfy their customers and in particular will use their emergency arrangements promptly in cases of real need. I do not know of special problems peculiar to Mid-Wales.

Electricity Boards (Bad Debts)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what provision was made in total by the electricity boards at the last accounting date for bad and doubtful debts and what amonnt they wrote off in total for bad debts in their last accounting year.

The provision for bad and doubtful debts made in total by area electricity boards at 31st March 1974 was £4·8 million. Total bad debts written off by boards in 1973–74, allowing for recoveries in that year of debts written off in previous years, was £4·1 million.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Milk

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many dairy farmers in the United Kingdom and in Shropshire, respectively, have taken up the EEC Dairy Herd Conversion Scheme; and what has been the estimated effect on milk production.

The latest return for the United Kingdom shows that 3,598 producers have taken up this scheme in respect of 129,383 dairy cows. The figures for Shropshire are 118 producers with 4,294 dairy cows. It is not possible to estimate precisely the effect of the scheme on milk production, because many of these producers would have left milk production anyway and many of their better milk animals are now to be found in other dairy herds.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his plans for controlling the sale of raw milk; and what is the expected consequences for producer-retailers.

As I said in my reply to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Garrett) on 29th November 1974—[Vol. 882, c. 265]—my right hon. Friends and I are consulting the interests concerned on proposals for future policy in relation to the sale of untreated milk for human consumption. Plans cannot be settled until these consultations have been completed.

Metrication

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions have been held with the dairy industry with a view to implementing metrication; what views have been expressed to him by the National Farmers' Union; and if he is aware of the popular resentment at such metrication.

As I explained in my reply to the then hon. Member for Truro on 11th June 1974—[Vol. 874, c. 517]—the farming organisations asked my predecessors to support their intention to adopt metric units in agriculture and after further consultations it was decided that the change should be centred on the farming year 1975–76. The joint committee of the Milk Marketing Board and the Dairy Trade Federation has agreed that sales of milk from the farm to dairies should take place in litres from 1st October 1976. So far as retail sales are concerned, Questions about the size of containers for retail sales are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection.

Brucellosis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he intends to continue beyond the end of March the special milk premium for voluntary brucellosis eradication schemes.

The milk incentives, which are paid to dairy herd owners who achieve accreditation under the rules of the voluntary Brucellosis Incentives Scheme, continue for a period of five years from the date of accreditation or until 31st March 1976, whichever is the later. I have no proposals for discontinuing these payments after the end of March 1975.

Fisheries Conservation (Monofilament Nets)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he is taking to study the effect of the Irish Government's ban on the use of monofilament nets; and if he will make a statement.

We maintain contact with the Irish authorities on a continuing basis over a wide range of fisheries conservation subjects. Future scientific discussions will provide a further opportunity to consider the effect of their regulations banning the use of monofilament nets and other subjects of mutual interest.

Ice-Making Plant (North Shields)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he would be prepared to make a grant under the Sea Fish Industry Acts for the renewal, modernisation and extension of the ice-making plant on the North Shields fish quay.

I shall require to know details of the proposal before reaching a decision. I am writing to the hon. Member.

Legal Aid

asked the Attorney-General (1) what increases have been made in the level of capital disregarded for legal aid during the last 10 years;(2) whether he will link the level of capital disregarded for legal aid to the equivalent disregard for supplementary benefit.

There are no proposals at present to link the level of capital disregarded for legal aid with the equivalent disregard for supplementary benefit. However, the Lord Chancellor's Legal Aid Advisory Committee is presently examining afresh the whole basis of the financial conditions for legal aid, including the capital limits.There has been one increase during the last 10 years in the level of disposable capital which is disregarded in legal aid applications. On 18th December 1972 the limit of £125, which had been in operation since 1960, was raised to £250.

Defence

Naval And Marine Reserves

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the report of the working party set up to report on the rôle of the RN and RM Reserves; and if he will make a statement.

The Royal Naval Reserve Review Committee has now reported and its recommendations are being considered. I do not intend to publish the report, which contains classified information, but I shall make a statement to the House in due course.

Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he remains satisfied that his defence review proposals strike the right balance between safeguarding the security of the nation and achieving savings on defence to release resources for other purposes.

Yes. Our policy is to maintain a modern and effective defence system while reducing its cost as a proportion of our resources. The latter will be achieved by releasing for priority economic requirements a total of £4,700 million from planned defence expenditure over the period of the review; the former by retaining forces of sufficient size and capability to safeguard vital defence interests and in particular to maintain the credibility of our contribution to the Western Alliance.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence on what basis the savings on expenditure under his defence review proposals were calculated; and what are the current prospects for their being achieved.

The savings are calculated in the usual way against the projected costs of the defence programme inherited in March 1974. For the years to 1977–78, the cost of that programme was:

£M: Survey Prices
1975–761976–771977–78
4,0004,0704,150

These figures are in line with those published in the Public Expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 5879), in which they are shown as follows:

1975–76

1976–77

1977–78

(1) Cmnd. 5519 revalued3,928·83,935·63,983·0
(2) Other changes+71·2+134·4+164·0
4,000·04,070·04,150·0
Line (1) above expressly excluded additional costs such as that for peacekeeping operations in Northern Ireland, which could not be accurately quantified when Cmnd. 5519 was published. Line (2) includes these costs, and reflects a reassessment of the cost of the previously planned defence programme, especially for 1977–78, for which only a provisional figure could be published a year ago.
The savings are, therefore, £300 million in 1975–76, £270 million in 1976–77 and £350 million in 1977–78. Over the review period as a whole, the savings will amount to £4,700 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in the light of the forecasts contained in the White Paper on Public Expenditure for 1978–79, he still expects to achieve the savings on defence which he proposed in his statement to the House of Commons on 3rd December 1974.

Yes. In the years covered by Cmnd. 5879 the savings, as previously announced, will be:

£M: 1974 Survey Prices
1975–761976–771977–781978–79
300270350500
These savings for the years to 1977–78 are shown in Table 2.1 of the White Paper on Public Expenditure. The defence budget for 1978–79 is shown as £3,800 million, a saving of £500 million from the previous plan for that year of £4,300 million. For the years from 1979–80 to 1983–84, which are outside the period covered by the public expenditure process, the savings will average £660 million a year. The total saved by 1983–84 will be some £4,700 million.

Officers (Recruitment)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the cost of advertising for recruitment of Forces officers in the last 12 months to the latest available date; how many recruits were made; and what is the average cost of advertising per recruit.

The cost of advertising for officers and the number of officer recruits in the financial year 1973–74 and the comparable information so far available in the current financial year is as follows:

OfficersExpenditure on advertising Central Office of Information and Ministry of Defence Votes Actual 1973–74Number of officers recruited 1973–74
£
RN/RM441,160553
Army403,250979
RAF399,590705
Tri-Service Totals1,244,0002,237
Officers1974–75 Up to 31st January 19751974–75 Up to 31st January 1975
£
RN/RM236,800491
Army382,300898
RAF280,600488
Tri-Service Totals899,7001,877
It can be misleading to associate recruiting results in any one period directly with the level of advertising in the same period, and I will write to my hon. Friend on this point.

Hydrography

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will arrange to increase the staff of the Hydrographer of the Navy in order to ensure adequate charting of abandoned oil rigs or other submersible equipment associated with nil and gas exploration.

31st December 1944*31st December 195431st December 196430th September 1974
Royal Navy/Royal Marines†
Admiral of the Fleet2111
Admiral141087
Vice-Admiral23281714
Rear-Admiral79695553
Army
Field Marshal311
General912910
Lieutenant-General52191611
Major-General24512610182
RAF
Marshal of the Royal Air Force111
Air Chief Marshal8667
Air Marshal27192015
Air Vice-Marshal125776851
* These figures are taken from the Active Lists for 1944. They do not, therefore, include those retired senior officers who were re-employed during the war in their former rank. This information is not available.
† The figures quoted cover both the Navy ranks listed and the equivalent ranks of the Royal Marines.

The Government response to the Report of the Select Committee on Science and Technology on offshore engineering (HC 313) will be available shortly. The Hydrographic Study Group, the formation of which was announced on 17th July 1974—[Vol. 877, c. 159.]—is expected to report in March. Decisions concerning the future size of the Hydro-graphic Department will be taken in the light of these two documents.

Royal Yacht "Britannia"

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the defence rôle of the Royal Yacht "Britannia".

When not on Royal duty, the Royal Yacht is available for naval duties, including national and treaty exercises and Sea Day demonstrations. Routine hydrographic tasks are also undertaken during voyages on Royal duty. HMY "Britainnia" also has a rôle as a hospital ship should the need arise.

Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many men were employed on the active list in the following ranks in Her Majesty's Forces in the years 1944, 1954, 1964 and 1974, respectively: Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Admiral, Air Chief Marshal, Vice-Admiral, Lieutenant-General, Air Marshal, Rear-Admiral, Major-General, Air Vice-Marshal.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 14th January 1975; Vol. 884, c. 65–66], gave the following revised information:

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

War Materials (International Agreements)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Offairs is he will publish in the Official Report a list showing all the international agreements that exist to limit the use of weapons or materials of war, the number of countries eligible to sign each agreement and the names of those countries which have not yet signed; and what progress is being made on international discussions at present being undertaken to extend limits on the use of weapons or materials of war.

The international scene has greatly changed since many of these agreements came into force, and it is not practicable to try to identify all the countries which may be eligible to sign and have not done so. I have therefore listed those countries which have ratified or acceded to each of the relevant agreements. The conference of the Committee on Disarmament will resume its discussions in Geneva on 4th March. A conference of Government experts on "Weapons that cause unnecessary suffering" took place in October 1974 in Lucerne, under the auspices of the ICRC, and it is hoped that a further session can be convened within the next 12 months:(1) International Declaration Respecting Expanding Bullets. Signed at The Hague, 29th July 1899 (Treaty Series 32 (1907) Cmnd. 3751).Ratifications:

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Greece
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Persia
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Siam
  • Sweden and Norway
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria

Accessions:

  • Great Britain
  • Austria-Hungary
  • China
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Nicaragua
  • Portugal
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Servia
  • Switzerland

(2) International Declaration Respecting Asphyxiating Gases. Signed at The Hague, 29th July 1899 (Treaty Series 32 Cmnd. 3751).

Ratifications:

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Greece
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Persia
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Siam
  • Sweden and Norway
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria

Accessions:

  • Great Britain
  • Austria-Hungary
  • China
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Nicaragua
  • Servia
  • Switzerland

(3) International convention Respecting Bombardments by Naval Forces In Time Of War. Signed at The Hague, 18th October 1907 (Treaty Series 13 (1910) Cmnd. 5117).

Rectifications:

  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • United States
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Denmark
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Russia
  • Brazil
  • Sweden
  • Bolivia
  • Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Japan
  • Romania
  • Cuba
  • Guatemala
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Belgium
  • Norway
  • Siam
  • Switzerland

Accessions:

  • China
  • Nicaragua
  • Finland
  • Spain

(4) International Declaration Prohibiting The Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives From Balloons. Signed at The Hague, 18th October 1907 (Treaty Series 15 (1910) Cmnd. 5119).

Ratifications:

  • Great Britain
  • United States
  • China
  • Netherlands
  • Bolivia
  • Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Portugal
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • Siam
  • Switzerland
  • Brazil

Accessions:

  • Nicaragua
  • Finland
  • Liberia.

(5) Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. Signed at Geneva, 17th June 1925. (Treaty Series 24 (1930) Cmnd. 3604).

Ratifications:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Denmark
  • Egypt (United Arab Republic)
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • India
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Siam
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • Venezuela
  • Yugoslavia.

Accessions:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Ceylon
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • E1 Salvador
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • German Democratic Republic
  • Ghana
  • Holy See
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Ivory coast
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldive Islands
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Persia (Iran)
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa, Union of
  • Syria
  • Tankanyika (Tanzania)
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Tonga
  • Uganda
  • USSR
  • USA
  • Upper Volta
  • Yemen (Arab Republic of)

(6) Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America. Signed at Mexico City, 14th February 1967 (Treaty Series S4 (1970) Cmnd. 4409)

Ratifications:

  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • E1 Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela.

Signatures:

  • Argentina
  • Chile.

(7) Additional Protocol II of the above Treaty

Ratifications:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • France
  • People's Republic of China.

United Nations Mission Personnel (Parking Offences)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many parking fines were imposed upon members of the United Kingdom mission to the United Nations during each of the past five years for which records are available; how many of the fines concerned were paid; how many remain unpaid; and to what total value.

I am obtaining the information requested by my hon. and learned Friend and I shall write to him when it is available.

Salmon (Drift Netting)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Irish Government about Irish vessels drift netting for salmon within the area where this is forbidden by the agreement of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, to which Her Majesty's Government and the Irish Government are parties; and if he will make a statement.

In June 1974 six Irish ships were believed to have been fishing for salmon outside British fishing limits but in an area within which this was forbidden under a recommendation of the commission. This has been taken up with the Irish authorities who expressed concern, and confirmed that they had impressed on their fishermen the need to adhere to the NEAFC recommendation.

Passports

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many passports were issued in the last year for which the information is available in replacement of passports said to have been lost; and, in so far as they were issued abroad, how many were issued in each country.

Separate statistics are not maintained in respect of the numbers of passports issued in replacement of those declared lost.

Gan

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what approaches have been made to Her Majesty's Government by the United States authorities for increased use of the facilities at Gan by the United States armed forces; and what reply has been given.

Diego Garcia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what approaches have been made to Her Majesty's Government by the United States authorities for the expansion of facilities at Diego Garcia beyond those outlined in the defence review; and what reply has been given.

National Finance

Save-As-You-Earn Scheme

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect of the introduction of the index-linked SAYE scheme on building society desposits.

The two proposed index-linked saving schemes represent a limited experiment, designed for the small saver. This is only one of many factors which could influence investment decisions. The schemes have been deliberately designed to minimise disturbance to other savings media, including the building societies.

Ministerial Appointments

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those bodies for which he is responsible which either receive public funds or to which he makes appointments.

Other than those Government Departments for which my right hon. Friend is directly responsible, he has responsibility for making public funds available to the National Economic Development Office and making certain appointments to the council and committees. He also makes certain appointments to the Review Board for Government Contracts and to the Advisory Panel—Section 482, Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970.

Self-Employed Persons

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will move to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the whole field of taxation for the self-employed.

Dividends (Limitation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his policy towards further relaxation, or abolition, of dividend limitation.

The Government have asked the Royal Commission on the Distribution of Income and Wealth to prepare a report on income from companies and its distribution. As my right hon. Friend informed the House on 22nd July 1974, this will assist him in a comprehensive review of dividend limitation which he intends to carry out this year when the report is available.

Widows

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider, at an early date, abolishing the taxation of widows as "single women".

I have noted my hon. Friend's suggestion, but I do not think that it is the right way to proceed. The better alternative is to increase widows' pensions, as we propose to do again in April.

Northern Ireland

Hillsborough Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether Hillsborough Castle has been designated as a Royal residence; to what use it is being put; and what is the cost to public funds of upkeep and staff.

Hillsborough Castle has not been designated as a Royal residence.Apartments in the house, which is a Government property, are kept available for the use of members of the Royal Family; investitures continue to be held there; and it is used for certain official meetings and conferences. In addition, the house is permitted to be used from time to time for meetings of welfare and charitable organisations, and for visits of an educational nature.The cost to public funds of upkeep and staff during the current and previous financial years is as follows:

1973–74April-December 1974
££
Upkeep9,19432,038*
Staff31,75622,717
40,95054,755
* Estimate.
Staff numbers were reduced following the departure of the former Governor in June 1973. The cost of maintaining the building has risen as the result of essential repairs and renovations, including elimination of dry rot, which are now in hand, and it is not yet clear how extensive these will need to be.

Social Services

Birmingham Eye Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list the occasions since 1960 when her Department has received reports relating to the adequacy of Birmingham Eye Hospital, and state which of these reports were published.

In view of the long period in question, I regret that my inquiries are not yet complete. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her estimate of the weekly pension which would be due to a man retiring at age 65 years on 1st February 1975 who had been a national insurance contributor on average weekly earnings since his 21st birthday if the employer and employee contributions had been paid into a funded scheme.

It is regretted that an estimate for a man on average earnings cannot be made in the time available. If, however, graduated contributions since April 1961 had been paid at the maximum and if the part of them and of the flat rate contributions deemed applicable to retirement pension had been applied to a funded scheme, it is estimated that the initial pension secured, if it were to be uprated in future in line with national average earnings, would be:

  • (a) about £6·50 per week to him, or
  • (b) about £2·50 per week to him and his widow after his death, with £1·50 to his wife.
  • Under the present system, maximum graduated contributions would have earned graduated pension of £2 a week on top of the flat rate pension.

    Environment

    Ports

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he can yet say what will be the form of his proposals for the licensing of port authorities.

    No. Detailed proposals, for further consultation, are still being prepared.

    Transport Services

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to ensure that in considering significant residential, commercial or industrial development his inspectors and local authorities only permit or recommend for his approval future development which is, or which will be, well placed for service by public transport.

    The availabilty of public transport to serve new development may be a material consideration in deciding whether to grant planning permission, but the absence of such transport may not alone be a sufficient reason for refusing it.

    Transport Grants

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in drawing up the formula for the rate support grant 1975–76, he has followed the guidelines laid down by the joint departmental circular of 23rd December 1974—paragraph 24—concerning restrictions on the subsidy of public transport.

    The Rate Support Grant (No. 2) Order 1974, approved by the House on 12th December, prescribed the aggregate amounts of the rate support grants and the transport supplementary grants for 1975–76, and the bases for distributing them. Paragraph 24 of the circular to which the hon. Member refers merely enlarges on paragraphs 32 and 16 of the Report (HC 74) laid before the House at the same time as that order. Those paragraphs respectively explained the levels of local authority support of public transport which were taken into account in the making of the order, and the implications for that service.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the administration of the transport supplementary grant; and if he will make a statement.

    I have already arranged to discuss the scope for improvements within the existing legislation with the local authority associations.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from local authorities on his decisions on the level of local transport expenditure accepted for each county for 1975–76.

    One, from the Greater Manchester Council that its allocation of transport supplementary grant is insufficient to enable a start to be made on the Piccadilly-Victoria tunnel.

    M23

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to make a statement on the northern aprpoaches to London of the M23.

    My right hon. Friend has nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member in the Adjournment debate on 12th November 1974.

    Aberdeen Harbour

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will call for reports on the security arrangements at Aberdeen Harbour; and if he will make a statement.

    The Aberdeen Harbour Board is, I understand, in touch with Aberdeen Corporation and the local police about security matters, including the possible replacement of the existing fence round part of the harbour.

    Road Vehicles (Numbers)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of cars, goods vehicles, public service vehicles and motor cycles, respectively, in use in September 1974; and what change this represented from the number in each class in September 1973.

    The information is given in the following table. The 1974 figures are provisional.

    CURRENTLY LICENSED VEHICLES IN THIRD QUARTER*
    19731974Change
    000000Per cent.
    Cars13,49713,639+1
    Goods vehicles1,7221,762+2
    Public service vehicles106107+1
    Motor cycles etc.1,0061,042+4
    * Excludes all vehicles exempted from taxation.

    Business Rents