Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 12th February 1975
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimates he has made of the extent to which the level of unemployment in Scotland is due to slippage in the production of North Sea oil.
Oil-related employment in Scotland continues to increase, and has made an important contribution to the recent marked improvement in Scotland's position relative to Great Britain as a whole.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken to create alternative employment for workers likely to become redundant in the private sector of forestry in Scotland and in particular in the area of the Highlands and Islands Development Board.
I am not aware that this is likely to happen in the near future.
Forth Road Bridge (Tolls)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received regarding the reduction or removal of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge.
During the past year I have received seven representations for the abolition of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge, but none for their reduction.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on salary awards for medical practitioners in Scotland.
The pay of doctors taking part in the National Health Service is kept under review by the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration. The recommendations contained in the supplement to its Fourth Report, which was submitted in December 197 have been accepted by the Government. The Review Body is currently considering evidence with a view to making recommendations for increases to take effect from 1st April 1975.
Social Work Act 1968
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received regarding the operations of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.
The representations which I have received have related mainly to the need for further development of the social work services.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if transitional rating is to be applied for small burghs and villages which are merged with larger districts under local government reorganisation.
Discussions between officials of my Department and the local authorities about transitional rating arrangements are not yet complete. It seems likely that a scheme related to regional services may prove most equitable and practical.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the amount of private industrial investment in Scotland during the last 12 months; and if he can estimate the effects of this on the Scottish economy.
These figures are not yet available.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what approaches he has received about the powers proposed for a Scottish Assembly.
I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave today to a similar Question from the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pent-lands (Mr. Rifkind).
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the forthcoming establishment of a Scottish Assembly, he will open a register of Scots, outside Scotland, possessing skills likely to be of use in Scottish government, who are anxious to return home.
I am always glad to hear of Scots who want to return to Scotland, but I see no need to register them.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received the report of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Yes. The Tenth Report of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board was presented to Parliament in November of last year.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the closure of local sheriff courts in rural areas of Scotland.
The general aim is to have one court for each sheriff court district, but the closure of any existing court will depend on consideration of all the relevant circumstances, including the convenience of court users.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will announce his decision on the holding of a public inquiry into the cost of construction of Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.
Once I have completed the review referred to in my reply to the hon. Member on 20th June 1974.—[Vol. 875, c. 222.]
Drumpark Special School
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with Lanarkshire Education Authority on the proposal to provide a remedial swimming pool at Drumpark Special School, Coatbridge; and if he will make a statement.
None. This is not an education authority proposal. I understand that the Scots Guards offered to defray the cost of a prefabricated swimming pool for the school and that the education authority is anxious to co-operate with this generous gesture but that there are certain physical difficulties about the construction of such a pool on this particular site. I hope that these problems can be solved by the parties concerned.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many acres of land and what river fishing rights have been transferred to private ownership from the public sector in the past 10 years; and how many acres and what fishing rights have been taken into public ownership in that period.
The cost of providing this information would not be justified.
Currie High School
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether, and to what extent, the views of the Lothian Region Education Authority are being taken into account in determining his decision as to any extension made to Currie High School;(2) whether, with regard to the future secondary education of children in Juniper Green, he will give an assurance that Midlothian County Council will not be permitted to make any irrevocable commitments to extend Currie High School (
a) until the SED has fully completed its re-examination of the issues raised by local residents' associations, and ( b) until the outcome of the Goodtrees-Bank head planning appeal is known.
Approval in principle was given in 1973 for an extension to Currie High School, and it is open to Midlothian Education Authority to proceed with the planning of the project. Consultations between my Department and the authority about the issues raised by local residents' associations will, however, be completed and the views of Lothian Regional Council taken fully into account before any irrevocable approval for the extension is considered. I hope that it will be possible to decide the planning appeal referred to before a final decision requires to be taken about the extension of the school; but if it is not, I shall consider the situation with the education authority in the light of all the circumstances at the time.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest estimate of the number of additional houses likely to be needed in Shetland over the next three years.
It is primarily for each local authority to assess the housing needs of its area. The Shetland Islands Council is in close touch with my Department, and has outlined a programme of between 350 and 400 houses over the three-year period 1975–77.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has considered the penalty for murder in the light of the reports of the Emslie Committee and the Criminal Law Revision Committee.
I have examined the penalty for murder in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate. We have reached the following conclusions.Both committees gave cogent reasons why, to mark out the most dreadful crime and for the protection of the public, the mandatory life sentence as at present is the most appropriate sentence for murder, rendering the convicted person liable to be detained—and, if released, to be recalled to detention—for the rest of his life. The committees disagreed, however, about the use to be made by the trial judge of his power under Section 1(2) of the Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965 to recommend a minimum period to elapse before the convicted person is released on licence under a life sentence, the Emslie Committee proposing new legislation requiring that a recommendation be made in all but exceptional cases and the Criminal Law Revision Committee favouring the present selective use. There was clearly a difference of opinion also between the judiciaries of Scotland and England and Wales on this issue.The Emslie Committee rightly described the mandatory life sentence as an "awesome sentence". A person sentenced
to life imprisonment is never "free"; he is not released on licence unless, after a careful screening process, it is deemed safe to do so. This means that some life sentence prisoners may require to be detained indefinitely. This is the true nature of the penalty, though it is often misunderstood. The Emslie Report said that
"the removal of misapprehensions about the sentence of life imprisonment should in our view strengthen significantly its deterrent value and it is incumbent on those responsible for influencing public opinion to ensure that correct information on the realities of penalties is presented".
We regard this recommendation to be of substantial importance. We take it as part of our duty to stress the realities of the penalty and we hope others in responsible positions will do likewise.
We have carefully considered whether the implementation of the Emslie Committee's proposals regarding the extended use of judicial recommendations would add substantially to the deterrent effect of the life sentence and we have concluded that until fuller experience has been gained of the present legislative provisions the added deterrent effect is more likely to be achieved through an accurate appreciation by the public of what the life sentence means, rather than by new legislation.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what the average percentage increase in rate poundage was in 1974–75 for general ratepayers and domestic ratepayers, respectively.
The average poundage increases are estimated at 15 per cent. for non-domestic ratepayers and, after taking account of the special domestic relief, 14 per cent. for domestic ratepayers.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether it is intended to construct a second ramp to receive roll on-roll off ferry traffic at Stranraer harbour; and if he will make a statement.
I have been asked to reply.I understand that the Railways Board will shortly be considering such a proposal.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been made to the South African Government regarding their illegal occupation of Namibia.
The attention of the South African Government has been drawn to my right hon. Friend's statement of 4th December in which he said that South Africa's presence in Namibia is unlawful and should be withdrawn. We have emphasised the importance of letting the inhabitants decide their own future freely.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, following the hoisting of the Union Flag on Rockall by the Royal Marines, he will arrange for a permanent symbol of the island's national status to be affixed there.
No. A plaque was placed on the island when the United Kingdom light beacon was set up in 1972.
European Economic Community
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a further statement on the progress of his discussions on future British membership of the EEC.
We are continuing to make satisfactory progress in accordance with our timetable.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will take steps to achieve a common EEC position on the problem of territorial waters, given the desire demonstrated by the majority of the participants of the Third Conference of the Law of the Sea for extension of territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, and the establishment of a national economic zone of up to 200 nautical miles.
Her Majesty's Government have held consultations with other EEC Governments on a wide range of issues before the conference, including those referred to in the Question.
Motor Vehicles (Bumpers)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department began to investigate the practical problems preventing the standardisation of car bumpers; with whom discussions are now taking place; and when he expects these to be brought to an end.
Work on this problem began in the International Standards Organisation in 1973 and was subsequently taken up by the United Nations Economic Commisison for Europe as well. It can be resolved only by international agreement: the conflicting demands of protection for vehicles, for their occupants and for pedestrians have to be reconciled, and involve questions both of safety and of trade. We shall continue to press for early agreement, but I cannot predict how long it will take.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his policy on the building of new urban motorways.
I am generally opposed to the building of new urban motorways. In exceptional circumstances, however, national and local needs may sometimes call for their construction.
Water Authority Staff
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people are employed in the regional water and drainage authorities in England at the present time; and what is the estimated total salary and wages bill for those personnel in the current financial year and for the coming financial year.
The nine regional water authorities in England are responsible also for drainage in respect of main rivers. They employ some 54,600 people at the present time. The authorities have estimated that their salary and wages bill will be £130·2 million in 1974–75 and £169·2 million in 1975–76.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many classified unfit houses there are still waiting to be cleared in Scotland, Wales and each of the eight English regions served by an economic planning council to the latest available date.
From the House Condition Survey of England and Wales, the numbers of unfit dwellings in 1971 were estimated to be:
|Northern, Yorkshire & Humberside and North West||540,000|
|East Midlands, East Anglian, South West, West Midlands and Wales||473,000|
|Authorities||Initial Need Element Grant||Domestic Element|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment in how many cases he has allowed claims from road contractors for additional costs; what is the total amount so far; how many claims have been rejected; and on what basis claims are allowed.
unfit dwellings in Wales. No comparable estimate is available for Scotland.
A30 (Camborne-Scorrier Bypass)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the intended opening date of the A30 improvement, Camborne-Scorrier Bypass.
The contract completion date is 4th April 1975, but it is too early yet to say when the bypass will be open to traffic.
Rate Support Grant
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the sums of money allocated within the rate support grant for 1975–76 to individual authorities in Cheshire and Greater Manchester compare with the corresponding figures for 1974–75.
The following are the figures:—
Information in the form requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. But during the last five years claim settlements on trunk road contracts reached in accordance with the specific terms of the contract or under the general law have totalled some £22 million.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many major road contracts are on a fixed-price basis; how many companies have requested that their contracts be placed on a variable price basis; and what is the estimate of the increase in contractor's costs due to inflation since the signing of fixed-price contracts.
There are 34 uncompleted major trunk road contracts on a firm-price basis. The Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors has requested on behalf of all its members engaged in trunk road construction that firm-price contracts should be renegotiated on a price adjustment formula basis. The effect of inflation varies with the date on which a contract was let and the work involved. The construction indices used for the price adjustment formula show an increase overall of about 27 per cent. during the calendar year 1974.
Compulsory Purchase Order (Camden)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his decision on the appeal heard in July 1974 against a compulsory purchase order made by Camden Borough Council by Mr. T. Chand of 134 Leicester Causeway, Coventry, in respect of 101 Torriano Avenue, Camden, London.
My right hon. Friend issued his decision on the compulsory purchase order on Monday 10th February and arrangements have been made for a copy to be sent to my hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he proposes to take for the future to ease the burden of rates falling on outer London boroughs, particularly the London borough of Havering.
Ratepayers in outer London, as in all parts of England and Wales, will receive the benefit next financial year of the most generous rate support grant ever.
Rate Equalisation Scheme (London)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has had from the Leader of the London borough of Havering regarding the London rate equalisation scheme; and what reply he has given.
A letter has been received from the Leader of the London borough of Havering objecting to the proposals of the London Boroughs Association for the rate equalisation scheme which will apply in Greater London for 1975–76. He has been informed that his representations will be brought to the attention of my right hon. Friend later this week.
M5 (Devon Link)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has yet a dated programme for the construction of the link road from the M5 to north Devon, or for that section of it which will connect Tiverton with M5.
Design work on the Tiverton-M5 section is well advanced but I am not yet able to say when proposals will be published.
Empty Houses (London)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the numbers of empty houses compulsorily purchased by the several local authorities in the Greater London area in the years 1973 and 1974.
I understand that the numbers of empty dwellings included in confirmed compulsory purchase orders made because those dwellings were empty were:
asked the Secretary of State for Industry to what extent disablement charities have benefited from the sale of the special charity stamp in Scotland.
I do not have this information. Under the arrangements agreed between the Post Office and the charities the selection of beneficiaries is entrusted to independent trustees appointed by the National Council of Social Services.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish a table showing the relationship of supply and demand for chemical products in Scotland over the last five years and giving in each year an estimate of the proportion of such chemicals produced from within Scotland.
It is regretted that the information is not available.
"Scottish Daily News"
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the conditions intimated to the Scottish Daily News Action Committee as necessary of fulfilment before sufficient funds will be released to launch the newspaper, indicating which of these conditions have not been fulfilled.
The text of my letter of 25th July to the Chairman of the Workers Action Committee, in which the conditions attached to the Government's offer of a loan were set out, was published in "Trade and Industry" on 1st August 1974. These conditions, which should be regarded as a whole, have not so far been fulfilled, but the offer stands open.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the time limit of 28th February 1975 attached to his offer of selective assistance under the Industry Act 1972 to the Scottish Daily News still stands.
I have made no change in it.
Iron And Steel
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish the Iron and Steel Board Report for 1967 which dealt with the impact of Britain's entry into the EEC on the iron and steel industry.
I am not aware of any such official report by the Iron and Steel Board, although I understand a personal and internal memorandum on this subject was circulated by two employees of the Iron and Steel Board.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many staff there are in the headquarters of his Department in the grade of (a) Deputy Secretary, (b) Assistant Secretary and (c) Principal.
Following are the figures for staff in post in the headquarters of my Department on 1st January 1975:
|(a) Deputy Secretary||9|
|(b) Assistant Secretary||53|
British Leyland Motor Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether it is his intention that further aid for British Leyland shall be provided under the Industry Act 1972;(2) whether it is his intention that aid for British Leyland shall be provided from the resources of the National Enterprise Board.
The form, extent and sources of Government funds to be provided to British Leyland for its longer-term programme will be determined when the team under Sir Don Ryder has reported to Government and the report has been fully considered.
Ford Motor Company Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report details of the number of meetings he has had with the management of Ford Motor Co. relating to its investment policies in Great Britain and Europe generally.
The Ford Motor Company has maintained a high level of investment in the United Kingdom for many years. Over the past 10 years its investment has averaged some £40 million annually, which is more than double its profits after tax, and I understand that its planned investment in 1975 will be about £50 million. The company's investment plans were among items discussed between Ford's senior management and officials of my Department on 11th September 1974. I have had no direct contact with Ford's management recently on this subject.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what plans he has to nationalise the British motor industry.
The motor vehicle industry includes hundreds of firms and there are no plans to nationalise it. Where, however, a motor vehicle company or any other company receives selective financial assistance from public funds the Government reserve the right in appropriate cases to provide such assistance in the form of share capital.
Meriden Workers' Co-Operative And Norton Villiers Triumph
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to announce his final decision on providing financial assistance to the Meriden Co-operative and Norton Villiers Triumph Limited under the Industry Act 1972.
The Government have already offered assistance to the co-operative subject to the conclusion of certain agreements between the co-operative and Norton Villiers Triumph Limited.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry why it is necessary to provide a guarantee under the Industry Act 1972 rather than through the ECGD for the £8 million export credit finance required by Norton Villiers Triumph Limited.
I shall explain the reasons for this proposal when the motion on the Order Paper seeking approval for the provision of further assistance to Norton Villiers Triumph Limited is debated.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his decision on the NRDC application to assist Norton Villiers Triumph Limited under Section 4(1)(b) of the Development of Inventions Act 1967.
An application made by NRDC in January 1974 to extend assistance for motor cycle development agreed in 1970 was withdrawn by mutual agreement between NVT and NRDC before I had decided whether to give approval. I understand that the corporation is considering making a revised application.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has received an application for an increase in financial assistance above £12·872 million from Norton Villiers Triumph Limited; and, if so, for how much.
It is not the practice to disclose whether applications for financial assistance have been received from any company.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether £4·95 million still represents the limit of the financial assistance that he is prepared to make available to the Meriden Co-operative;(2) what is his estimate of the amount that will be required over and above the financial assistance of £4·95 million already offered to the Meriden Co-operative.
The position remains as stated in my answer on 29th July 1974 to my hon. Friends the Members for Nuneaton (Mr. Huckfield) and Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett).—[Vol. 878, c. 13–14.]
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has agreed that the price of not more than £4·2 million to be paid by the workers' co-operative for the Triumph motor cycle plant at Meriden represents a fair valuation; and, if not, whether he has reserved the right to agree the price before any finance is given to the co-operative under the Industry Act 1972.
The price to be paid by the co-operative for the Meriden plant and assets is a matter for negotiation between the co-operative and Norton Villiers Triumph Ltd.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the workers' co-operative at Meriden has registered as a company; and, if so, under what name.
The co-operative will operate through a registered company called Synova Motors Ltd.
Transfer Prices (Foreign-Owned Companies)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what knowledge he has of the transfer pricing methods of foreign-owned companies operating in Great Britain.
I have been asked to reply.Transfer prices in such cases are investigated by the Inland Revenue, under powers which are being strengthened in current legislation. Experience indicates that methods vary from company to company.
Kirkby Manufacturing And Engineering Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether his prior consent is required for the making of wage, salary or other payments in excess of £50 per week to any employee, director or official of the Kirkby Manufacturing and Engineering Company;(2) whether his prior consent is required for substantial acquisitions and disposals made by the Kirkby Manufacturing and Engineering Company within its present trading activities;(3) whether his prior consent is required for the declaration or payment of any dividends on the shares of the Kirkby Manufacturing and Engineering Company;(4) whether his prior consent is required for the taking up or making of loans by the Kirkby Manufacturing and Engineering Company.
It is not the practice to disclose details of agreements with companies in receipt of selective financial assistance. Exceptionally, however, and with the consent of the company, I can say that the formal agreement between my Department and Kirkby Manufacturing and Engineering Ltd. provides among other things that the company shall not without consulting us in relation thereto make any general increase in wages paid to its employees, and shall not without our written consent (a) sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of—save in the normal course of trading—the whole or any substantial part of its undertaking nor its assets; (b) make any distribution to its members; (c) borrow or, except in the ordinary course of business, lend.
Unemployed Persons (Scotland)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on unemployment in rural areas of Scotland.
In November 1974, the latest date for which figures are available, the rates for the planning regions of the Highlands and South West Scotland which are predominantly rural were 5·0 and 5·1 per cent. respectively. The rates for North-East Scotland and Tayside, which have large rural hinterlands, were 2·0 and 3·1 per cent. respectively and in the Borders, where agriculture continues to be a major industry, the rate was 2·0 per cent. There were considerable variations in the levels of unemployment within these planning regions. For comparison, the figure for Scotland as a whole was 4·0 per cent.The Government are aware of the need to provide jobs in rural areas and schemes including the introduction of new industries and the expansion of tourism are being encouraged.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures he has for Scottish unemployment.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures for Scottish unemployment.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures he has for Scottish unemployment.
On 20th January, about 103,000 people were unemployed in Scotland and the rate of unemployment was 3·3 per cent. The figures have been obtained using a simplified counting procedure. They may not be as accurate as the normal monthly figures and should be treated only as approximate indicators.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people at the latest count were on short-time working.
It is estimated that in the week ended 16th November 1974, 82,700 operatives in manufacturing industries in Great Britain were stood off or working short time. Information about short time amongst other workers is not available.
Training Boards (Oil Platform Fabrication)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what involvement the Engineering, Construction and Petroleum Training Boards have in offshore oil platform fabrication activity; what percentage of their staff
|COURSES SET UP EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE TRAINING SERVICES AGENCY|
|College||Type of training||Number of courses||Numbers, attending|
|West Suffolk CFE||…||…||Shorthand typing||…||…||…||1||11|
|Shorthand typing (refresher)||…||1||16*|
|Lowestoft CFE||…||…||…||Shorthand typing||…||…||…||1||20|
|Shorthand typing (refresher)||…||1||20*|
|Ipswich Civic College||…||…||Clerk/Audio typing||…||…||…||1||21|
|* Denotes places available on courses established to commence on 7th April 1975.|
|TRAINEES ATTENDING SUITABLE VOCATIONAL COLLEGE OR FIRMS COURSES WITH TRAINING SERVICES AGENCY SUPPORT|
|College or firm||Type of training||Numbers attending|
|Ipswich Civic College||…||…||…||…||Hotel reception||…||…||…||…||1|
|Certificate in Office Study||…||…||4|
|Lowestoft CFE||…||…||…||…||…||Mariners Certificate||…||…||…||1|
|West Suffolk CFE||…||…||…||…||Office Studies||…||…||…||…||1|
|Mendelsham Group Training Association||…||HGV Driving||…||…||…||…||6|
asked the Secretary of Stale for Employment if he will take action to safeguard the years of
is wholly or partially engaged in such operations; and what proportion of that staff is resident in Scotland.
I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the information is not readily available and it will be necessary to make inquiries of the industrial training boards concerned. I shall arrange for the information to be circulated in the Official Report as soon as possible.
Training Opportunities Scheme (Suffolk)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will indicate what courses have been established at local education colleges and in firms in Suffolk under the Training Opportunities Scheme; and whether he will give some indication of the attendance at these courses.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that courses established at colleges of further education and firms in Suffolk under the Training Opportunities Scheme (TOPS), with the number of people at present in attendance, are as shown below.apprenticeship already served by those apprentices who are made redundant.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that new arrangements are now being developed to make better provision for maintaining the training of redundant apprentices. These arrangements should improve the rapid identification of redundant apprentices and provide, through the industrial training boards, for the identification of emergency training arrangements and facilities.
Training Boards (Scotland)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make proposals for decentralising the functions and activities of each of the Construction, Engineering and Distribution Boards; and whether he will carry out a review of these boards in Scotland.
No. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the Engineering, Construction and Distribution Industrial Training Boards already have a regional structure which identifies Scotland as a separate area. The Engineering and Construction ITBs have a Scottish officer in Glasgow and the Distribution ITB has one in Stirling. Each board has a senior officer and field staff based on that office to look after the training needs of their employers in Scotland. Moreover, Scottish interests are appropriately represented on the boards themselves and their committees.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has now obtained the views of the National Advisory Council and other interested organisations and individuals on the employment of the disabled and on the present quota system and possible alternatives; if he will publish their views in the Official Report; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has now obtained the views of the council and of many other interested organisations and individuals on the consultative documents and discussion papers published by my Department over the last two years as part of its review of policies and services for disabled people. The number of bodies which have expressed views is, however, considerable; and some of them might not wish their views to be published. Accordingly it would in my view be neither practicable nor desirable to publish their views in the Official Report.Last year both the Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency published their plans and programmes for the development of their employment, rehabilitation and training services for disabled people on lines agreed with my right hon. Friend's National Advisory Council as a result of the review. Decisions on the future of the quota scheme and of sheltered employment have still to be taken.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions have taken place following his Department's consultative document on "The Quota System for the Disabled" published in May 1973; what conclusions have now been reached by his Department; what action they propose: and if he will make a statement.
My Department received a large number of written comments on the document and discussions about the future of the scheme have been held with a number of bodies from which comments were received including the National Advisory Council on Employment of Disabled People, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress. I have not yet reached conclusions about the future of the scheme, but hope to be able to announce the Government's proposals later this year. Meanwhile a programme of stricter enforcement of the scheme in selected areas has been put in hand. I shall, of course, take the results of this programme into account when reaching conclusions about the scheme's future.
Process Plant Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will invite the Manpower Commission to make a special study of the need for skilled workers in the process plant industry.
I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the skills in the process plant industry which are most likely to be scarce are similar to those used in the fabrication of oil platforms and in engineering construction. A national committee to look into the co-ordination needed to meet key power skill requirements of the industries concerned has been set up by the Training Services Agency of the Manpower Services Commission.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will invite the Manpower Commission to make a special study of the need for skilled workers in the chemical industry.
No. I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that there is no indication at the present time that a special study is required of the need for skilled workers in the chemical industry.
Railways (Eastern Region Dispute)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will offer the use of the conciliation machinery in the British Rail industrial dispute which is causing inconvenience to commuters in Upminster and in other districts.
These strikes are wholly unofficial and have been condemned by the National Union of Railwaymen which negotiates on behalf of all signalmen. Agreement was reached yesterday between the union and British Rail on the reclassification of some signalmen's jobs and this will enhance the pay of many signalmen in the lower grades. In view of this, I hope that those responsible will now call off this unofficial action. Conciliation would not be appropriate.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps are being taken to deal with the outbreak of sheep scab in the South-West of England.
Since December 1973, four outbreaks of sheep scab have been confirmed in Devon, two in recent months. In all these cases affected sheep and their contacts have been compulsorily dipped and maintained in isolation until free of the disease.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will reintroduce compulsory dipping for sheep scab.
Individual notices imposing compulsory dipping have been served on the infected farms and on all premises containing sheep in the vicinity of those farms. There are powers to require all sheep to be dipped in a specified area, whether or not they have been in contact with the infestation, but the disease situation does not warrant such action at the present time.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what stocks of meat, butter, cheese and skimmed milk are currently held in stock by or on behalf of the United Kingdom Intervention Board.
On 7th February the Intervention Board held stocks amounting to 10,005 tons of skimmed milk powder and 14 tons of beef. There are no stocks of butter and there are no arrangements for the purchase of cheese.
Statutes (Storage Space)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will estimate the approximate shelf footage required to store the current statutes and that for statutory instruments for each year from 1970 to 1974.
The following table gives the approximate shelf footage for the annual volumes of public general Acts and Measures for each of the years 1970 to 1974:
|* Estimated: volume not yet published.|
The corresponding figures for the annual volumes of statutory instruments are:
* Estimated: volumes not yet published.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will estimate the approximate shelf footage required to store the current EEC legislation, the space required for each year from 1969 to 1974 and the estimated future requirement for each year until 1980 on present trends.
The English texts of the secondary legislation of the European Communities still in force as at 31st December 1972 were published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in a 42-volume Subject Edition, volume 42 being a subject index and numerical list. These volumes take up approximately 17½ inches of shelf room.The Official Journal of the European Communities, English Edition, containing European Communities secondary legislation for the year 1973 takes up approximately 28 inches; that for the year 1974, approximately 27½, inches.It is not possible to estimate the shelf footage for future years.
Vehicle Mechanics (Training)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the cost per trainee of the basic vehicle mechanic course in (a) the Army, and (b) the Royal Air Force; and what progress is being made in collating all Service vehicle mechanic training.
The latest available costs, based on the year 1972–73 are: Army £1,417; Royal Air Force £615. These costs are not strictly comparable since each Service trains its vehicle mechanics to a different depth of knowledge. Unlike the Royal Air Force, the Army trains its vehicle mechanics with the maintenance of fighting vehicles in mind and also incorporates heavy goods vehicle driving training in its course.
The co-location of all Service vehicle mechanic training is under active consideration.
Medical Training Establishments
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the Service establishments at which specialist medical training is carried on.
The establishments are:
- RN Hospital, Haslar.
- RN Hospital, Plymouth.
- Institute of Naval Medicine.
- RN Air Medical School.
- HMS "Nelson", RN Barracks, Portsmouth.
- RN Hospital, Malta.
- RN Hospital, Gibraltar.
- Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich.
- Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot.
- Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital, Mill-bank.
- Military Hospital, Tidworth.
- Military Hospital, Catterick.
- Military Hospital, Colchester.
- Military Maternity Hospital, Woolwich.
- Louise Margaret Maternity Hospital, Aldershot.
- Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley.
- Royal Army Medical College.
- Army Medical Equipment Depot.
- RAMC Training Centre.
- British Military Hospitals:
- Hong Kong.
Royal Air Force
- Princess Mary's RAF Hospital, Halton.
- Princess Alexandra's RAF Hospital, Wroughton.
- RAF Hospital, Ely.
- RAF Hospital, Cosford.
- RAF Hospital, Nocton Hall.
- RAF Institute of Pathology and Tropical Medicine.
- RAF Institute of Health and Medical Training.
- RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine.
- RAF Brize Norton (Aeromedical Team Training).
- RAF Hospital, Wegberg.
- Princess Mary's RAF Hospital, Akrotiri.
Education And Science
Somerset House (Theatre Museum)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will review the decision to provide rooms at Somerset House for the display of historic British theatre material in view of the unsuitability of the rooms for such a purpose and the insufficiency of the space available for the quantity of material in theatre collections.
No. The allocation of the Fine Rooms at Somerset House as a theatre museum was widely welcomed by the theatre interests concerned. The Government are satisfied that the accommodation will enable a notable and representative collection to be displayed drawn from the various theatre collections.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will issue a circular to local education authorities advising them on measures to increase protection against arson and vandalism in schools.
My Department wrote to all chief education officers on 9th January 1975 drawing their attention to the increase in arson and reminding them of basic precautions against fire damage. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of this letter.A small informal working group has been set up with the Home Office and the local authority associations to consider what further advice might be offered on the protection of buildings against arson and vandalism.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether he will list those local education authorities in which the examination results in existing comprehensive schools are better than the results from the existing grammar and secondary modern schools;(2) whether he will list those local education authorities in which the examination results have got consistently better since the secondary schools became reorganised on comprehensive lines.
My Department does not collect this information and the cost of assembling it would be disproportionately high. It is nevertheless the case that, taken overall, GCE and CSE successes have risen significantly during a period of substantial increase in the proportion of pupils attending comprehensive schools.
Prices And Consumer Protection
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what action she is taking on bread prices following her Department's announcement on 10th January.
Following the Price Commission's determinations on recent price notifications from the major plant bakers which resulted from the wage settlements in the baking industry and the application of the new Price Code, I have considered the position of the subsidy and the retail price of bread. I have decided that retail prices should be able to rise to the extent necessary to cover the commission's determinations. There will also be a small additional price adjustment on loaves of special interest to the craft bakers because of the additional retail wage and other costs they have incurred, and an adjustment to the differential in Northern Ireland.Most retail bread prices in Great Britain will therefore rise from Tuesday 18th February by up to 1½ p on large and ½p on small standard loaves. The increases on large non-standard loaves will normally also be 1½p, although one or two special varieties may rise by 2p. Small non-standard loaves will rise by up to 1p. Because of special factors affecting Northern Ireland, the increase in the maximum price for standard loaves there will be 1p more on a large loaf and ½p on a small loaf. Consequential amendments may be expected in the prices of non-subsidised bread products. An order revising the statutory maximum prices accordingly will be laid before the House this week.The rate of subsidy—which was increased on 12th January on an interim basis pending my review of retail prices—will be restored to its earlier level, subject to any minor adjustments necessary in the light of the commission's determinations.
Offshore Oil Development Work
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many contracts have been won from development of Scotland's oil resources by companies located in each region of Scotland; how many jobs have been created in each such region as a direct result of the initiatives of the Offshore Supplies Office since its inception; and if he will publish the results in tabular form.
The number of new oil-related jobs created in each region of Scotland since the end of 1970 is as follows:
|Highlands and Islands||1,650|
|Easter Ross and Inverness||4,200|
|Firth of Tay||650|
|East Central Region||2,000|
|West Central Region||900|
North Sea Oil
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps are being taken by the Offshore Supplies Office to ensure that the Cormorant platform is built in Scotland.
The order for the construction of this platform has already been placed with McAlpine at its site at Ardyne Point.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with the co-ordination of activities of the Petroleum Production Division of the Department of Energy, the Offshore Supplies Office, the North Sea Oil Support Unit and the Scottish Industrial Development Office; and if he will make a statement regarding the effectiveness of these bodies, with particular reference to possible duplication of functions.
My right hon. Friend is satisfied with the co-ordination of activities. The Oil Task Force which meets regularly in Edinburgh includes senior officials from all these parts of Government and provides an effective forum for co-ordination of North Sea oil- related activities. In addition there is, of course, day-to-day contact on particular issues as they arise.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what percentage of supply vessels, including pipe-laying barges, survey vessels, cargo carriers, craneships and safety vessels, servicing North Sea oil operations, is British made and sail under the Red Ensign; and what estimate he has made of the total number of such vessels at the latest available date.
The information is not readily available. I am at present making inquiries and will write to the hon. Member in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his Department's estimate of the savings in energy and cost terms that would be made if a cut of 10 per cent. on 1974 levels of consumption of electricity, oil and gas, respectively, were made between 1st January and 30th June 1975.
My Department estimates that an across-the-board cut of 10 per cent. in the consumption of electricity, oil and gas on the 1974 level of consumption would produce an energy saving of about 8 million tons of oil equivalent over a period of six months from 1st January to 30th June. The saving from such a cut might be about £300 million on fuel and operating costs. These estimates do not allow for consequential adjustments to the energy market and power generation patterns or for the cost effect of social and economic repercussions.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will undertake an investigation into the effects of opencast coal mining on relevant aspects of public health and welfare.
No. Appropriate requirements for the proper protection of public health and welfare are always incorporated in the planning conditions which I impose when I authorise a site for opencast coal working. These conditions are based on long experience of opencast coal working and take fully into account the local conditions, any objections which are received, the results of a public inquiry where appropriate and the views of the Department of the Environment, or the Welsh or Scottish Office as the case may be.
Oil Consumption (Scotland)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are his estimates of annual savings of motor spirit and diesel oil in Scotland as a result of the restrictions on speeds; and if he will express this figure as a percentage of Scotland's total oil consumption in 1974.
Statistics of deliveries into consumption in Scotland of motor spirit and derv in January 1975 are not yet available nor will they be for some weeks. The December figures will not be satisfactory for a comparison since the speed restrictions introduced on 15th December 1974 affected only a part of that month. In any case, it would not be possible to disentangle the effects of the speed restrictions from other factors affecting the consumption of motor fuel including price increases.
Television Licence Fees
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will permit the charge for a direct line service to be offset against the new television licence fees in areas where reception is so poor as to require it.
It would not be practicable to vary licence fees according to reception.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are any persons serving terms of imprisonment for violent crimes in Great Britain who are accorded privileges similar to those applying to the special category status condemned by the Gardiner Committee in Northern Ireland.
Police (Pollution Hazards)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what medical studies have been made of the ingestion of lead pollutants by policemen on traffic duty in (a) central London, (b) central Birmingham, and (c) central Manchester.
None that we are aware of. My right hon. Friend is advised by his Chief Medical Officer that police officers on traffic duty are not considered to be exposed to any hazard to health from lead pollutants.
House Of Commons
Scottish And Welsh Questions
asked the Lord President of the Council (1) if he will consider, once a Scottish Assembly has been established, abolishing Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland;(2) if he will consider once a Welsh Assembly has been established, abolishing Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Wales.
No. The Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales will continue to have important responsibilities, and Scottish and Welsh Members of Parliament will need to question them orally on those responsibilities, as they do now.
Russell Peace Foundation
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will undertake to reimburse the costs likely to be incurred by the Russell Peace Foundation in its forthcoming defence of an action brought by the Board of Inland Revenue, in view of the test-case nature of the action.
This is not a matter in which I can intervene, but I understand that the Board of Inland Revenue has reviewed its original decision and has now decided not to ask for costs if it wins and to pay the foundation's reasonable costs up to and including the Court of Appeal.
German Nazi Victims (Pensions)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the decision of the House of Lords, in the case of Oppenheimer v. Cattermole (Inspector of Taxes), he will consider introducing legislation to relieve victims of Nazi oppression now in receipt of pensions from the German Government from payment of tax on such pensions.
I have noted my hon. and learned Friend's suggestion.
Mortgages And Life Assurance (Tax Relief)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list in the Official Report the amount of revenue lost for each year since 1967 from granting (a) mortgage income relief and (b) concessions on life insurance premiums.
The information for complete financial years since 1967–68 is as follows:
|Mortgage interest||Life insurance|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the identifiable public expenditure per head of population in England and the North-West Region of England, respectively; and what were the figures for each of the past five years.
The following table shows identifiable public expenditure in England in the years 1969–70 to 1973–74, comparable with the estimates for Scotland and Wales given to the hon. Member on 5th February. No corresponding estimates are available for the North-West Region of England.
|Identifiable public expenditure in England per head of home population|
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements have been made at the computer centre for value added tax to keep separate records for Scotland, England and Wales, so that data can be extracted con cerning VAT generated by businesses in the individual countries.
It is intended to produce annually certain VAT data by reference to the country of the main VAT offices in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in which traders are registered for value added tax. There is no possibility of subdividing the VAT data of businesses with addresses in one country and taxable activity in another, or of summarising data otherwise than by computer. Nor is it possible to discover from the working of the VAT system and its records how much of the elements of VAT at all stages of production and distribution is ultimately borne in one country.
Capital Gains Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the circumstances in which an owner-occupier who is moved by his employer from one part of the country to another may become liable to capital gains tax on the sale of his house because he has difficulty in finding a buyer.
To meet the case where an owner-occupier puts his house up for sale and moves into a new house but cannot at once find a buyer for his old house, the Finance Act 1965 provides for exemption or relief from capital gains tax even though the owner did not actually live in the house for a period of up to 12 months immediately preceding the date of sale. This period of grace has in normal market conditions given the house owner adequate time in which to find a buyer. As a result, however, of the market conditions that have applied over the past year the 12-month period of grace has in some cases proved insufficient. Whilst these conditions prevail the Board of Inland Revenue will allow a modest extension of the 12-month period if there has been a continuing intention to sell.
National Health Service (Expenditure)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if she will list in the Official Report the amount, per head of population, that was spent under all headings on the National Health Service in Scotland, Wales and the English regional health authorities for the last year for which figures are available; and what are the figures for the preceding five years and the anticipated figures for the next three years;(2) if she will list in the
Official Report the total amount that was spent in all sections of the National Health Service in Scotland, Wales and the English regional health authority areas for the last year for which figures are available; if she will list the spending under the appropriate headings; and what are the figures for the preceding five years and
|SCOTLAND—EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH SERVICES|
|Family practitioner services||…||42||45||52||56||64||68|
|Local health authority services||…||7||8||9||11||13||13|
|Other health services||…||…||9||10||11||10||12||14|
|WALES—EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH SERVICES|
|Family practitioner services||…||24||26||30||32||36||39|
|Local health authority services||…||9||10||11||9||10||12|
|Other health services||…||…||3||3||3||3||2||3|
|ENGLAND—EXPENDITURE ON HEALTH SERVICES|
|Family practitioner services||…||364||396||457||501||554||606|
|Local health authority services||…||140||152||108||127||147||165|
|Other health services||…||…||60||62||77||62||68||85|
Forecasts of expenditure in the form requested are not available but the Government's proposals for expenditure in Great Britain shown in Table 2.11 of
|FORECAST OF EXPENDITURE|
|Hospital and community health services||…||…||…||271·8||281·0||284·8|
|Family practitioner services||…||…||…||…||…||64·6||68·4||70·3|
|Other health services||…||…||…||…||…||…||16·2||16·3||16·4|
|Central and miscellaneous services||…||…||…||…||7·7||7·9||8·5|
the anticipated figures for the following three years.
Information in respect of Scotland and Wales provided by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is shown below. Similar information for English regional health authority areas is not available, but totals for England are shown. The analysis of expenditure for Scotland varies slightly from that in Wales and England in consequence of differences in the organisation of the health services.the White Paper on Public Expenditure to 1978–79 (Cmnd. 5879) comprise the following:
|Hospital and community health services||…||…||…||124·9||130·1||130·8|
|Family practitioner services||…||…||…||…||…||37·6||39·5||40·9|
|Other health services||…||…||…||…||…||…||1·7||1·5||1·6|
|Central and miscellaneous services||…||…||…||…||3·8||4·2||4·5|
|Hospital and community health services||…||…||…||2,027·4||2,101·2||2,117·4|
|Family practitioner services||…||…||…||…||…||562·1||598·7||622·1|
|Other health services||…||…||…||…||…||…||44·1||45·6||48·6|
|Central and miscellaneous services||…||…||…||…||83·2||87·0||88·9|
The headings of expenditure proposed for future years vary from those of actual expenditure of past years in consequence of the reorganisation of the National Health Service on 1st April 1974. It should be noted that the figures in the White Paper are at constant survey prices and not outturn prices.
|SCOTLAND—COST PER HEAD ON HEALTH SERVICES|
|Family practitioner services||…||8·08||8·64||9·97||10·73||12·28||13·05|
|Local health authority services||…||1·35||1·54||1·73||2·11||2·50||2·49|
|Other health services||…||…||1·73||1·92||2·11||1·92||2·30||2·69|
|Cost per head||…||…||35·39||38·59||44·50||50·41||58·35||65·62|
|WALES—COST PER HEAD ON HEALTH SERVICES|
|Family practitioner services||…||8·87||9·59||11·04||11·75||13·16||14·19|
|Local health authority services||…||3·32||3·69||4·05||3·30||3·66||4·37|
|Other health services||…||…||1·11||1·11||1·10||1·10||0·73||1·09|
|Cost per head||…||…||32·89||36·15||41·95||44·78||50·09||55·66|
|ENGLAND—COST PER HEAD ON HEALTH SERVICES|
|Family practitioner services||…||7·98||8·64||9·94||10·86||11·96||13·05|
|Local health authority services||…||3·07||3·32||2·35||2·75||3·17||3·55|
|Other health services||…||…||1·31||1·35||1·68||1·34||1·47||1·83|
|Cost per head||…||…||31·20||34·02||38·10||42·94||48·74||54·98|
The above information expressed as amounts per head of population on the basis of actual and projected mid-year population figures supplied by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys and the General Register Office for Scotland is as follows:
|FORECAST OF COST PER HEAD|
|Hospital and community health services||…||…||…||52·01||53·74||54·48|
|Family practitioner services||…||…||…||…||…||12·36||13·08||13·45|
|Other health services||…||…||…||…||…||…||3·10||3·12||3·14|
|Central and miscellaneous services||…||…||…||…||1·47||1·51||1·63|
|Hospital and community health services||…||…||…||45·27||47·02||47·19|
|Family practitioner services||…||…||…||…||…||13·63||14·28||14·75|
|Other health services||…||…||…||…||…||…||0·62||0·54||0·58|
|Central and miscellaneous services||…||…||…||…||1·38||1·52||1·62|
|Hospital and community health services||…||…||…||43·66||45·11||45·44|
|Family practitioner services||…||…||…||…||…||12·10||12·85||13·35|
|Other health services||…||…||…||…||…||…||0·95||0·98||1·04|
|Central and miscellaneous services||…||…||…||…||1·79||1·87||1·91|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what visits to the area of Rockall have been made by the Commissioners of Northern Lights.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in the pursuit of the Government's industrial democracy, he will arrange for the relevant trade unions to have available to them the information required to monitor the progress of the nationalised industries for which he is responsible, towards the financial, technical and social objectives which the latter have been set by Her Majesty's Government.
A substantial amount of information is already made available to the trade unions representing employees in the nationalised industries for which my right hon. Friend is responsible, and he will continue to encourage greater involvement of the trade unions in the processes leading to decision making.