Written Answers To Questions
Monday 3rd March 1975
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if, as part of his policy of achieving greater industrial democracy, as outlined in the Industry Bill, he will take steps designed to ensure a similar degree of participation by management in the affairs of trades unions.
No. I do not accept the analogy implied by the Question. However, it is open to managers to join the appropriate trade unions and participate
|UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE ON SUPPORT FOR THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY (excluding assistance for regional industrial development)|
|International Computers (Holdings) Ltd.||…||…||…||4·00||3·25||2·25||11·95*||9·45||10·20|
|Advanced Computer Technology Project||…||…||…||…||0·43||0·63||0·45||0·67||0·61||0·40|
|Software Products Scheme||…||—||—||—||0·03||0·06||0·15|
|Applications programmes and software development||…||…||—||—||—||1·45||0·78||0·45|
|Civil Service Department expenditure on development||…||…||—||0·09||0·11||0·20||0·20||0·53|
|Other extra-mural contracts||…||0·44||0·36||0·23||0·17||0·14||0·17|
|Computer Aided Design Centre||…||0·45||0·49||0·42||0·67||0·97||1·32|
|National Computing Centre||…||0·60||0·64||0·60||0·77||1·06||1·15|
|Science Research Council||…||—||0·70||0·86||0·91||Not available||Not available|
|Note: These figures do not include computer-related research and development expenditure in Government research establishments which is not separately identifiable.|
|* Including purchase of shares: under the Industrial Expansion Act 1968 the Government paid £350,000 in 1968–69 and £3,150,000 in 1972–73 for the purchase of 3·5 million £1 shares in International Computers (Holdings) Ltd. On 26th February 1975 these £1 shares were quoted at 38p.|
asked the Secretary of State for Industry which of his Ministers is delegated by him with special responsibility for workers' co-operatives.
My right hon. Friend retains overall responsibility for policy in respect of workers' co-operatives. I have special overall responsibility for projects in the assisted areas, and my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher), Under-Secretary of State, has special responsibility for matters relating to the proposal to establish a Co-operative Development Agency.
fully in their activities under their normal democratic procedures.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will give the amounts of Government aid given to the computer industry over each of the past five years, the estimated amount for the current year, and how much was spent on the purchasing of shares, along with the value of those shares at the present time.
I set out a table showing the information requested:
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on his future policy as regards the provision of public funds for workers' co-operatives.
Applications from workers' co-operatives for financial assistance under the Industry Act will continue, like all other applications, to be considered on their merits.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he proposes to consult with management and unions before appointing the chairman and senior management of his proposed nationalised shipbuilding corporation.
In making appointments to the board my right hon. Friend will take into account the views put forward in consultations.
Motor Cars (Stainless Steel Components)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry in view of the creation of 300 jobs in South Wales in the manufacture of stainless steel parts for motor cars by the British Steel Corporation and Grundy Limited, if he will give an assurance that no public money will be used to subsidise this venture in view of the redundancy and over-capacity in other parts of this industry especially in Lincolnshire.
No. We are anxious to encourage sound employment-creating projects in Ebbw Vale to replace those to be lost in steel, and have said that full use will be made of all available incentives. If the company applies for assistance its application will receive sympathetic consideration in the light of this.
|End of accounting period||Average number of employees in the United Kingdom||Net assets*|
|Ford Motor Company||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||67,000||276|
|Esso Petroleum Company||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||10,026||434|
|Gallaher||…||…||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||18,398||157|
|Consolidated Tin Smelters||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||1,314||22|
|Philips Electronic and Associated Industries||…||31st December 1973||…||61,339||235|
|Rank Xerox||…||…||…||…||…||31st October 1973||…||10,762||22|
|Chrysler United Kingdom||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||30,883||53|
|IBM United Kingdom Holdings||…||…||31st December 1973||…||12,428||133|
|Vauxhall Motors||…||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||34,365||86|
|Massey-Ferguson Holdings||…||…||…||31st October 1973||…||18,907||57|
|Standard Telephones and Cables||…||…||31st December 1973||…||39,067||111|
|Mobil Oil Company||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||2,405||81|
|International Nickel||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||4,258||42|
|Mars||…||…||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||9,127||28|
|Alcan Aluminium (UK)||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||9,469||110|
|Conoco||…||…||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||1,724||59|
|Hoover||…||…||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||14,860||69|
|Michelin Tyre Company||…||…||…||…||31st December 1973||…||17,274||89|
|Kodak||…||…||…||…||…||…||28th October 1973||…||12,768||73|
|H. J. Heinz Company||…||…||…||…||27th April 1974||…||10,550||51|
|* Fixed and intangible assets at book values net of accumulated depreciation, plus current assets and investments less current liabilities including bank overdrafts and loans and future tax.|
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many advance
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to know of the outcome of the current discussions on the proposed increases in postal charges.
As the Post Office announced on 21st February, its proposals have been accepted by the Price Commission and the Post Office Users' National Council, and the new postal charges will come into effect on 17th March.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the names of the companies, number of people employed and the net assets of the top 20 United Kingdom-based foreign-owned manufacturing companies at the most recent recorded date.
The latest readily available information on the top 20 foreign-owned manufacturing companies in the "Times 1000 1974–75" is given below, in the order in which they appear in that publication:factories have been allocated to Kirkby, Knowsley and Merseyside, respectively, in the past year; and what plans there are for advance factories in each of these places.
Within the last year 12 advance factories have been allocated to the Merseyside Special Development Area. Six of these were specifically allocated to Knowsley, on the Department's industrial estate, which is within the Kirkby Local employment office area, two to Bromborough and one to St. Helens. Sites for the remaining three have yet to be acquired. There are no present plans for further advance factories within the special development area but the needs of Merseyside are kept under close review. As I announced on 14th February, the Department has acquired a 21 acre site at Gillmoss for future development.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied with the reply he has received from the President of the Chrysler Corporation about the future of Chrysler UK, and that the original undertakings given to Her Majesty's Government are being, and will continue to be, fulfilled, as far as they are still applicable; and if he will make a statement.
I am studying the information provided by the President of Chrysler Corporation in his letter of 18th February, taking account of the original undertakings given to Her Majesty's Government, and the reply will be discussed with the management of Chrysler very shortly.
National Enterprise Board
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the National Enterprise Board will be allowed to buy shares in a profitable company that is not threatened with a foreign take-over except with the knowledge or voluntary approval of the company's board, shareholders and employees.
It has been made clear that the NEB will acquire shareholdings only by agreement.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will allow investment by individuals or institutions in the National Enterprise Board.
No, not in the NEB itself. But the Industry Bill provides that the NEB may form bodies corporate, or partnerships, and there might be opportunities for individuals or institutions to invest in these.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will give an undertaking that any information given by his Department to any trade union concerning the affairs of any company will also be made available to that company's employees.
No. It might well be that such an unqualified assurance could be honoured only by breaching a confidence.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the information disclosed to his Department by companies on a voluntary basis will be kept confidential; and whether he will arrange for compensation arrangements to be made for companies suffering loss from any unauthorised disclosure by his Department.
Information given at any time in confidence to my Department will be kept confidential. Any unauthorised disclosure of such information would be dealt with by the means felt most appropriate at the time.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what representations he has received from large companies which fear difficulties over the proposed depositing proposals in the Industry Bill so far as international deals and especially joint ventures are concerned; and what replies he has made.
Rhodesian Project (Eec Participation)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate, with a view to prosecution, the connivance of the British Steel Corporation in breaching sanctions against Rhodesia by becoming involved, through the EEC Technical Research Committee, in a pig iron research project to be undertaken by the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation;
(2) if he will veto the proposal by the EEC Technical Research Committee to approve a grant of £20,000 for the development of a new pig iron casting process to be undertaken by the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation; and if he will raise the matter at the next meeting of the Committee in connection with the maintenance of sanctions;
(3) if, at the next meeting of the EEC Coal and Steel Consultative Committee, he will raise the matter of the Committee's dealings with the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation.
I am looking into the facts behind the recent Press report about Community assistance to this particular research project and will reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what response there has been to approaches made by Her Majesty's Government to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania on the question of the current level of cheap shoe imports into the United Kingdom.
Discussions with these three countries are still in progress. My right hon. Friend hopes to be able to make a statement on the outcome very shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the functions of his Department in Scotland.
The functions of my Department, principally in relation to general overseas trade policy, the regulation of domestic trade, patents, shipping and civil aviation, marine safety and the sponsorship of specific service industries, relate to Great Britain as a whole. In exercising these functions in Scotland my Department works in co-operation with that of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Cotton Goods (Import Quotas)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take action to stop increases in United Kingdom duty-free import quotas from Turkey in cotton yarn, other cotton woven fabrics, knotted carpets, carpeting and rugs, as proposed by the EEC under Draft Instrument S/196/75.
No. These small increases are intended to give Turkey no less favourable treatment than other developing countries under the EEC's Generalised System of Tariff Preferences for which similar 5 per cent. increases have been made in tariff quotas for 1975.
Japan (Cameras And Optical Equipment)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish a table showing, in respect of each year from 1960 until 1974, the total value of imports of camera and optical equipment into the United Kingdom from Japan, and the total value of exports of such goods from the United Kingdom to Japan.
Following is the information:—
|Imports cif||Exports fob|
Non-Oil Trade Deficit
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what the percentage increase in the United Kingdom's crude non-oil visible trade deficit was with the EEC, the United States of America, EFTA and the rest of the world between 1972 and 1974.
On an overseas trade statistics basis the percentage increases between 1972 and 1974 in our crude trade deficits on non-oil goods with the EEC(8) and EFTA were 294 and 180 respectively. There was a surplus of £42 million in our non-oil trade with the United States of America in 1972 and a deficit of £477 million in 1974. For the rest of the world there was a surplus in both 1972 and 1974, the percentage increase between the two years being 63.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many compulsory liquidations of companies there were in the years 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973, respectively.
The numbers of compulsory winding-up orders made in the relevant periods are as follows:—
|COMPULSORY WINDING UP ORDERS|
|England and Wales||Scotland|
Company Registration Fees
asked the Secretary of State for Trade why the fee for the change of a company's name has been increased from £10 to £40; and if he will quote the legislation which gives the authority for this change.
New fees for incorporating a company and for change of name were prescribed by the Companies (Fees) Regulations 1973, Statutory Instrument 1973 No. 2060, dated 6th December 1973, after approval by both Houses of Parliament.The report of the Company Law Committee—the Jenkins Committee—Cmnd. 1749, paragraph 28, recommended that the fee for incorporating a company should be raised to a level sufficient to
"check the spate of irresponsible incorporations".
This had obviously not been met by the fees structure prescribed by the Companies Act 1967. The complicated fees structure, graduated according to nominal capital in 522 steps from £20 to £68, was therefore replaced by one fee of £50.
Experience had shown that a change of name involved approximately 80 per cent. of the work of incorporating a new company and the fee for changing of name was therefore raised at the same time to £40.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total value of textiles imported into Great Britain during 1974, enumerating the countries of origin; and what are the comparable figures for the preceding nine years.
Following is the information:
|United Kingdom imports of textiles (a)|
|£ million cif|
|(a) Defined as Division 64, group 266, and sub-group 262.8 of the trade classification.|
- Irish Republic
- United States of America
- West Germany
- Hong Kong
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of visible trade imports is accounted for by Category I firms.
Figures are not collected or compiled on the basis required.
Balance Of Trade
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will provide balance of trade figures for 1974 or other recent available period in regard to exports and imports vis-à-vis the United Kingdom and South Africa, Chile, Brazil, Turkey, China, the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Poland, respectively.
Balance of trade figures are not available with individual countries on a balance of payments basis. The crude trade deficit with each of these countries in 1974 can be obtained from figures of imports cif and exports fob in Tables II and V respectively in the December 1974 issue of the monthly Overseas Trade Statistics. The crude trade deficit—the difference between imports cif and exports fob—is not a good measure of the balance of trade in goods because, inter alia, of difference in valuation.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what percentage the United Kingdom's non-oil crude trade deficit with the EEC—the Six—was of its total non-oil deficit in 1972, 1973 and 1974, respectively.
80, 46 and 62, respectively.
Prices And Consumer Protection
Gas Supplies (Coin-In-The-Slot Meters)
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what consideration has been given by the Price Commission to the Gas Corporation's proposed 32 per cent. increased tariffs for coin-in-the-slot meter users; and if she will make a statement.
The British Gas Corporation's proposal to increase tariffs was considered in the normal way by the Price Commission and found to comply with the terms of the Price Code. Questions on charges are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy, but I understand from him that only the largest prepayment consumers in the North-West area are paying a 32 per cent. increase. Most consumers are paying substantially less than this.
Inland Revenue Department (Dispersal)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of the Department of Inland Revenue he expects to be redeployed from London to other parts of England during 1975 and 1976.
I cannot add anything to the statement on dispersal made by my right hon. Friend the Lord President on 30th July 1974.—[Vol. 878, c. 482.] Sir Henry Hardman's recommendation in respect of the Inland Revenue is still under review.
Customs And Excise (Searches)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions since 1st April 1973 the Commissioners of Customs and Excise have laid information before justices of the peace to enter and search premises; and on how many occasions since 1st April 1973 justices of the peace have authorised persons to enter and search premises under Section 37 of the Finance Act 1972.
Since 1st April 1973 Customs and Excise have laid 97 informations under Section 37(3) of the Finance Act 1972. A search warrant was issued in each case.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many persons have since 1st April 1973 been searched by persons authorised by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise in the exercise of their powers under Section 37 of the Finance Act 1972.
The number of persons searched since 1st April 1973 is 21.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions since 1st April 1973 the Commissioners of Customs and Excise haxe used their powers under Section 36 of the Finance Act 1972 to take samples; and how the samples so taken have been disposed of and accounted for.
A central record of the aggregate number of samples taken under Section 36 of the Finance Act 1972 is not kept. The number of such samples taken since 1st April 1973 is estimated at about 50. Some of these samples are to be used as exhibits in legal proceedings. In so far as the samples are no longer required Customs and Excise normal practice is to return them to the persons from whom they were taken.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much indirect taxation would have to be increased in order to produce the same amount of total revenue if personal income tax were (a) abolished and (b) reduced by 50 per cent.
Receipts from indirect taxation would have to increase by 127 per cent. if personal income tax were abolished or 63 per cent. if the yield were halved. Such a radical change in the pattern of taxation would, of course, itself produce significant changes in prices and in the distribution of incomes and patterns of expenditure on which the above figures are based. They should not, therefore, be regarded as describing more than a highly theoretical situation.
Take-Over Bids (Foreigners)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he is satisfied with the powers to control foreign take-over bids of British companies contained in Section 9 of the Exchange Control Act 1947;(2) how many applications have been received over the last 10 years, under Section 9 of the Exchange Control Act 1947, by foreign companies to take over British companies;(3) on how many occasions during the last 10 years consent has been withheld, under Section 9 of the Exchange Control Act 1947, for foreign companies to acquire control of British companies.
The powers contained in Section 9 of the Exchange Control Act 1947 are not in themselves sufficient to control all foreign take-overs. However, I am satisfied that these, together with other powers in that Act and in other legislation, to be strengthened by the additional power in Clause 9 of the Industry Bill, provide the Government with enough powers for the purpose.Applications for exchange control consent are not necessarily related to a specific section of the Act or expressed in the form of a take-over. However, during the five years 1969 to 1974, the period for which information is readily available, there were about 700 authorisations under the Act for foreign-controlled companies, both themselves and their United Kingdom subsidiaries, to acquire or increase their holdings in British companies to over 50 per cent. Not all of these authorisations would have been put into effect.No record of the number of applications for exchange control consent that are refused is maintained, but the number would be very small because applications unlikely to meet our requirements are unlikely to be formally submitted.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the yield of VAT, in each year since its inception, from repair and maintenance work in the construction industry.
I regret that this information is not available, but it is estimated that the yield from repairs and maintenance at the current 8 per cent. rate of VAT is probably about £100 million a year.
Education And Science
St Mary's Primary School, Burton Latimer
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to reply to the letter dated 18th February from Mr. Brian Mutlow of Kettering concerning the St. Mary's Church of England (Aided) Primary School, Burton Latimer.
Within a week.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the total cost of education facilities made available to foreign students attending courses in British universities; how many students are currently registered; and what part of the cost is borne out of public funds;(2) what is the total cost of education facilities made available to foreign students attending courses in polytechnics; how many such students are currently registered, and what part of the cost is borne out of public funds.
Provisional figures indicate that the number of full-time overseas students at British universities in the autumn term of 1974 was 26,651. The latest corresponding figure for polytechnics is 6,104 in 1973. I am writing to the hon. Member about the other information, which is not available in the form requested.
|Primary and Secondary (1)||Further Education (including Polytechnics (2)||Colleges of Education (2)||Special Education (3)||Universities|
|(1) England only. Includes RSLA for years marked+.|
|(2) England and Wales.|
|(3) England only.|
|(4) Allocations originally made for 1973–74 were affected by the moratorium and subsequent review of public expenditure. The 1973–74 building year was extended by three months to June 1974; the 1974–75 building years runs from 1st July 1974 to 30th June 1975.|
|(5) Relates to the 15-months period 1st January 1965 to 3rd March 1966.|
|(6) The first specific nursery allocation was made in 1974–75 and amounted to £21·5 million.|
|(7) Provision of adult education facilities is made under the schools and further education programme.|
Children (3 To 5 Age Group)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his latest assessment of the number of children in the 3 to 5 age group.
I understand from the Registrar General's Department that the following are the estimated numbers of children in England and Wales at the relevant ages at mid-1974: 3-year-olds, 772,000; 4-year-olds, 751,000; 5-year-olds, 780,000.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the number of children claiming free school meals under the family income supplement "passport" scheme for each year since 1971.
Returns from a sample enquiry covering about 15 per cent. of
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the figures for building allocations in each of the last 10 years for nursery, primary, secondary, college of education, polytechnic, university, adult and further education.
The values, in millions of pounds at prices then current, of annual programmes authorised to start in each of the last 10 years are as follows:the school population of England and Wales in October 1974 suggest that about 65,000 pupils were receiving free school meals under the family income supplement "passport" arrangements. This figure does not include pupils receiving free meals under supplementary benefit arrangements; the total for the two categories was given in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. Robertson) on 25th February.—[Vol. 887, c.
88.] Equivalent figures for earlier years are not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is now in a position to indicate the amount of grant in aid for the Arts. Council 1975–76.
It is expected that, subject to the approval of Parliament, the grant in aid for the Arts Council for 1975–76 will be £26·15 million of which £25 million will be for current expenditure.
Reynolds Portrait Of Laurence Sterne
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a further statement about the public acquisition of Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait of Laurence Sterne.
I am considering this matter with my colleagues.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many inquiries of any kind his Department currently has on hand; and on which subjects.
Two: one on the education of handicapped children and young people; the other on school management and government.
Overseas Pensions Act 1973
asked the Minister of Overseas Development what progress has been made in the negotiations with former dependent territories to implement the provisions of the Overseas Pensions Act 1973; and whether she will make a statement.
The arrangements whereby the British Government may, by agreement with the overseas Governments concerned, assume responsibility for the payment of some 40,000 expatriate pensions direct to the individual pensioners presented a heavy administrative task to my Department and the 36 overseas Governments involved. Since the Act was passed we have concluded agreements with and taken over the expatriate pensions of Sudan, The Gambia and Burma. Negotiations with the other overseas Governments are at various stages—I signed an agreement with the Lesotho Government on 27th February—and I expect that, with the co-operation of the overseas administrations, this agreement and a further 11 will be signed and implemented during this year and most of the rest next year.
Scottish Distant Islands Allowance
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will now make the Scottish Distant Islands Allowance a right of all civil servants in the Western Isles; and if he will make a statement.
A fundamental review of the scope and basis of this allowance is being undertaken by the Civil Service Department in consultation and negotiation with the Staff Side of the National Whitley Council. Pending the outcome of these negotiations it would be inappropriate to alter only one factor relating to the allowance.
Ministerial Meetings (Records)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he has issued instructions as to the methods to be used for the recording of meetings held in the offices of Ministers of Her Majesty's Government.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he has circularised other Ministers with any advice on the manner in which records are to be made of ministerial meetings with non-Government representatives.
No central instructions or guidance have been issued. Whether a formal record of such ministerial meetings is made and, if so, in what form and with what circulation, are questions best considered in relation to particular circumstances.
Her Majesty's Stationery Office
asked the Minister for the Civil Service, in view of complaints of slowness and delay in dealing with requests for recent official publications, whether he will investigate the service offered by Her Majesty's Stationery Office to members of the public.
The service and organisation of Her Majesty's Stationery Office's bookselling operation has been reviewed by a team including specialist consultants. Their report is under consideration. The present acute difficulties arise from exceptionally heavy parliamentary publishing and increased public demand.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will ensure that in the future Government publications are made available at Her Majesty's Stationery Office in Belfast at the same time as they are available in other of Her Majesty's Stationery Offices in the United Kingdom.
Most Government publications originate in London Consequently they are sometimes available there a little earlier than elsewhere, but supplies are sent to Belfast at the same time as to other of Her Majesty's Stationery Office bookshops outside London.
Ministers, Staffs And Members Of Parliament (Costs)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the estimated annual cost of transporting Scottish Members of Parliament, Ministers and civil servants between Scotland and London.
I regret that this information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Lord President of the Council if he will list the measures which it has been the policy of his administration to introduce since March 1974, showing which have been enacted, which are in the process of enactment, which are at the Bill-drafting stage, which are the subject of White or Green Papers and which remain to be tackled.
The Government's main programme of legislation was set out in two Queen's Speeches on 12th March and 29th October 1974. Since this administration came into office a total of 53 Bills have been enacted. The Public Bill list published in the Order Paper gives progress on Bills which have been introduced. The drafting of all the other Bills is in hand, but it is not possible to say yet which of them will be supported by additional White or Green Papers over and above those already available in the Vote Office.
asked the Lord President of the Council if he will take steps to consult first-generation Welshmen living outside Wales but in other parts of the United Kingdom as to their views on the Government's proposals for Welsh devolution; and if he will make a statement.
No. Consultations on devolution in Wales were held last summer. Following publication of the Government's consultative document there was a general invitation for people to express their views. I do not think a further special survey of the views of Welshmen living outside Wales would be justified, even if it were practicable.
asked the Lord President of the Council when he hopes to publish the White Paper on Devolution.
I am considering publishing a White Paper in advance of the introduction of the Bill on devolution. It would, however, be wrong to do so if preparation of the Bill would then be delayed.
asked the Lord President of the Council if he will appoint the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration the National Returning Officer for the referendum on EEC membership.
The Referendum Bill will provide for the appointment of a National Returning Officer by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. We have noted my hon. Friend's suggestion.
House Of Commons
asked the Lord President of the Council how many functions, sponsored by Members of Parliament, have been held in the House of Commons at weekends in the past year; whether these functions have resulted in a profit; and how many staff, full-time and part-time, have been included.
I have been asked to reply.A total of 129 functions sponsored by Members was held on Fridays and Saturdays during 1974, on which a small profit was made. 1,530 full-time and 546 part-time staff were involved.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the expected tomato yield in the current season compared with the previous year's actual yield.
It is too early in the season to forecast tomato yields for 1975. The estimated gross yield for 1974 was 48·3 tons per acre compared with 46·9 tons in 1973.
Horticulture (Glasshouse Sector)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide details of Government financial assistance to glasshouse growers in all EEC countries, including the United Kingdom in which there is a glasshouse horticultural industry, as from 1st January 1975.
It would be impracticable to list in detail all the different forms of assistance given to glasshouse growers in the EEC countries. I assume, however, that my hon. Friend is chiefly interested in temporary fuel oil subsidies and I shall be writing to him about them. Although the subsidies are being continued beyond 31st December 1974 in some EEC countries, it has not been established that the total aid given in any of these countries will be more generous than the assistance given to British growers.
Dairy Herd Conversion
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many dairy farmers in Cornwall have taken up the EEC dairy herd conversion scheme; how many cows are involved; and what percentage this represents of the total number of dairy herds in the county.
The latest return shows that 190 applications from dairy farmers in Cornwall have been approved involving 5,341 dairy cows. This represents a little less than 5 per cent. of dairy herds and less than 2 per cent. of dairy cows in cornwall at the outset of the scheme.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the estimated cost of the incentives paid to established milk producers to switch to beef production to 31st December 1974.
Under the Dairy Herd Conversion Scheme £9·1 million, representing a first instalment of grant equal to one-half of the total amount, had been paid to United Kingdom milk producers by 31st December 1974. 50 per cent. of this is recoverable from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the additional cost to public funds of the additional £10 calf subsidy to 31st December 1974.
From 1st July 1974, when the £10 increase in calf subsidy first became payable, to 31st December 1974 the additional cost to public funds was £11½ million on a United Kingdom basis.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has any plans to introduce headage payments for breeding sows in 1975.
No. On the basis of current estimates of supply and demand for pigmeat in our market, pig prices this year should become firmer. Feed prices are easing. The prospects for pig producers are therefore favourable and we hope that this will be reflected in a recovery in the breeding herd after the fall recorded last year.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has been informed of the communications sent by the EEC Commission to Commonwealth sugar suppliers concerning deliveries of sugar quotas to the United Kingdom; what was the nature of these communications; and if he will make a statement.
I am fully aware of the telegrams sent by the EEC Commission to certain ACP sugar-producing countries. Their purpose was to establish whether any further quantities of sugar could be sent to the United Kingdom during the period up to 30th June 1975, when our requirements are greatest. In the event, no supplying country was able to send any additional quantities. This outcome in no way affects the annual quotas agreed with the ACP countries.
Crown Court Trials
asked the Attorney-General what was the percentage of cases in Crown courts during 1974 in which the defendant pleaded guilty; and what were the figures individually for Manchester, London, Liverpool, Surrey and Middlesex, respectively.
The percentage of defendants who pleaded guilty in the Crown courts during 1974 was as follows:
asked the Attorney-General what percentage of defendants pleading not guilty in Crown courts was convicted and what percentage acquitted during 1974; and what were the figures individually for Manchester, London, Liverpool, Surrey and Middlesex, respectively.
The information is as follows:
|Percentage convicted||Percentage acquitted|
As there is no longer a separate county of Middlesex, the figures for the Middlesex Guildhall have been included in the London figures. However, the percentage for Middlesex Guildhall was in fact the same as for London.
asked the Attorney-General what was the average period between committal and sentence for bailed defendants and defendants in custody in Manchester, London, Liverpool and Inner London Crown courts, respectively, during 1974; how this compared with the period immediately prior to the Courts Act; and whether he will give similar figures in respect of waiting times pending appeals in the Court of Appeal.
The average periods between committal for trial and the start of the hearing during 1974 were as follows:
|Inner London Sessions House (included in the London figures)||25·0||10·4|
asked the Attorney-General how many appointments were made to industrial tribunals during 1974; and what were the former employments of the chairmen and assessors appointed.
During 1974 my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor appointed two full-time chairmen and nine part-time chairmen and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment appointed 451 part-time lay members. One of the full-time chairmen was formerly a practising solicitor; the other was a barrister and an Assistant Judge Advocate. Three of the part-time chairmen were practising barristers and one was a practising solicitor; one, a barrister, was a professor of social sciences; the remaining four—two barristers and two solicitors—were chairmen of Value Added Tax Tribunals. No assessors were appointed.
Robert Alfred Clark
asked the Attorney-General whether the Director of public Prosecutions referred to him the question whether Robert Alfred Clark should be prosecuted in connection with contracts placed by Stevenage Council with Gibbons Contractors; what decision he reached; and what were the reasons for reaching it.
In my unavoidable absence the Director of Public Prosecutions placed the papers in this case before my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General with a strong recommendation that the evidence was insufficient to warrant proceedings. My hon. and learned Friend studied the papers and agreed. Since the hon. Member put down his Question I have studied the papers and I entirely agree with the Director and my hon. and learned Friend.
|Accidents||Aircraft Destroyed/Lost||Cost||Killed||Seriously injured|
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report the name, rank, date and cause of death of members of Her Majesty's Forces who have lost their lives as a result of service in Northern Ireland since July 1969 to the latest available date, together with the amount of compensation paid in each case to dependants of such Service personnel.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence gave him on 21st June 1974—[Vol. 875, c. 269–276]. Since that date up to 2nd March 1975 a further 21 members of Her Majesty's Forces including
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to replace the 120-mm recoilless rifle and the Carl Gustav in the infantry anti-tank role.
Replacements for both weapons are under consideration. A decision on a medium-range equipment to replace the 120-mm recoilless rifle is likely to be made fairly shortly. The Carl Gustav short-range weapon will remain in service for some time yet.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the final records of Royal Air Force accident statistics for 1974, part of which were given in answer to the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun) in col. 31–32 of the Official Report on 25th November 1974.
The final figures for 1974 are as follows:both full-time and part-time members of the Ulster Defence Regiment have been killed as a direct result of terrorist activity. Details are given in the following table. A further 25 members of Her Majesty's Forces have died in Northern Ireland since 19th June 1974 from all other causes.There have been 167 awards to dependants of Service men killed through terrorist activity in Northern Ireland under the Criminal Injuries to Persons (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1968 and a total of £795,050 has been paid in compensation. All widows of Service men killed as the result of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland are eligible for pensions payable by the Department of Health and Social Security and by the Ministry of Defence. It is not possible without disproportionate effort to list compensation payments on an individual basis nor is it the custom of my Department without the agreement
|Rank||Name||Regiment||Date of Death||Cause of Death|
|Gnr||…||MacCunn K.I.C.||…||4 Lt RA||…||…||22nd June 1974||…||…||GSW Abdomen|
|Spr||…||Walton J.||…||…||3 Fd Sqn RE||…||2nd July 1974||…||…||Explosion|
|Cpl||…||Smith D. A.||…||…||1 Ches||…||…||4th July 1974||…||…||GSW Abdomen|
|Cpl||…||Conley J.||…||…||5 UDR||…||…||23rd July 1974||…||…||Car bomb|
|Sgt||…||Fearns, B.||…||…||4 Lt RA||…||…||30th July 1974||…||…||GSW Abdomen|
|Mne||…||Southern M. J.||…||45 CDO RM||…||13th August 1974||…||Bomb Explosion|
|Cpl||…||Leach D. A.||…||…||45 CDO RM||…||13th August 1974||…||Bomb Explosion|
|Pte||…||Drake P. V.||…||…||RPC||…||…||26th August 1974||…||GSW Head|
|2 Lt||…||Simpson M. J.||…||1 Staffs||…||…||23rd October 1974||…||GSW Back|
|Lcpl||…||Coughlan A.||…||…||RWF||…||…||28th October 1974||…||Bomb Explosion|
|Pte||…||Sloanick M.||…||…||1 DERR||…||28th October 1974||…||Bomb Explosion|
|Pte||…||Allen B.||…||…||1 DERR||…||6th November 1974||…||GSW|
|Cpl||…||Windsor S. A.||…||1 DERR||…||6th November 1974||…||GSW|
|SSgt||…||Simpson J. C.||…||RH||…||…||7th November 1974||…||Bomb Blast|
|SSgt||…||Rose V.||…||…||321 EOD RAOC||7th November 1974||…||Bomb Blast|
|Fus||…||Simmons A.||…||…||1 RRF||…||…||15th November 1974||…||GSW|
|Pte||…||McCready T. J.||…||3 UDR||…||…||17th November 1974||…||GSW Chest|
|WO2||…||Maddocks J. A.||…||RAOC||…||…||2nd December 1974||…||Bomb Explosion|
|Rfn||…||Gibson M. E.||…||1 RGJ||…||…||29th December 1974||…||GSW Chest|
|Cpl||…||Lea T. F.||…||…||RMP||…||…||21st January 1975||…||Bomb Explosion|
|Sgt||…||Robson W.||…||…||15/19 H||…||…||8th February 1975||…||Multiple GSWs|
Bankrupt And Liquidated Businesses
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young persons have had their apprenticeships affected by the liquidation or bankruptcy of the companies by which they were employed in each of the past five years.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information requested is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons have lost their jobs through the liquidation or bankruptcy of the companies by which they were employed in each of the last five years.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information is only available from 1st January 1974. The number of redundancies notified to the Employment Service Agency during 1974 which are known to have resulted from the liquidation or bankruptcy of the companies concerned was 8,071.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the percentage rise in the Index of Retail Prices to the latest available date
of the pensioner to disclose details of the pension awarded.
since April 1960, April 1970, and April 1973, respectively.
Up to January 1975, the latest date for which the retail prices index is published, the rise from each of the relevant dates is as follows:
|April 1960||145 per cent.|
|April 1970||65 per cent.|
|April 1973||30 per cent.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will intervene to assist in resolving the industrial dispute at Brain Haulage, Essex, in which the first phase of redundancies will begin to operate by 1st March.
I understand from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service that 38 drivers are being temporarily laid off from today in consequence of the difficulties involving registered dock workers in the London area which are currently being examined by an independent panel of inquiry.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has now given further consideration to declaring 1st May a public holiday.
I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) on 18th February.—[Vol. 886, c. 1090.]
Nuclear Waste (Transportation)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether nuclear wastes from power stations is transported through Nottinghamshire; and in what form.
I have been asked to reply.Nuclear wastes from power stations are transported by road and rail to the British Nuclear Fuel's processing factory at Windscale. Routes are not specified, but generally the shortest route is chosen by the power station. The wastes, in the form of irradiated canned uranium fuel rods, are transported under water in massive 50-ton steel packages specially designed to withstand severe transport accidents, including fire, without leakage.
Community Service Scheme (London)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will set out the following information about the operation of the community service scheme in inner London during 1974: (a) the number of orders completed and the number of offenders involved, (b) the number of orders revoked and the main reasons for revocation, indicating the number of offenders involved, (c) the total number of hours ordered, (d) the hours actually worked (e) the hours cancelled due to revocation of orders, and (f) the hours outstanding at 31st December 1974;(2) If he will list in the
Official Report the main types of work undertaken by offenders under the community service scheme in Inner London during the first two years of its operation;
(3) If he will set out in the Official Report the number of offenders in each of the following age groups against whom community service orders were made by inner London courts during the year ended 31st December 1974: ( a) under 21, ( b) 21 to 25, ( c) 26 to 30, ( d) 31 to 40, and ( e) over 40 years of age.
(4) If he will list the main offences in respect of which community service orders were made by inner London courts during the year ended 31st December 1974;
(5) if he will list in the Official Report the number of community service orders made by each of the various courts in inner London, specifying the numbers of offenders involved, during the year ended 31st December 1974.
This information is as follows:
|COMMUNITY SERVICE BY OFFENDERS: INNER LONDON|
|(1st January 1974–31st December 1974)|
|Number of community service orders completed||231|
|Number of offenders involved||173|
|Number of orders revoked||85|
|Number of offenders involved||60|
|Reasons for revocation of orders and numbers of offenders involved—|
|Failure to attend initial interview||4|
|Failure to report for work||19|
|Commission of further offence||30|
|Moved from area||4|
|Total hours ordered (this total includes hours ordered to be worked concurrently)||46,226|
|Total hours worked in 1974 (under orders made during 1974 and 1973)||24,436|
|Hours cancelled due to revocation of orders||Information not available|
|Hours outstanding at 31st December 1974||Information not available|
Construction, maintenance, painting, supervision of children and assistance to play-staff.
Gardening, painting and decorating, general assistance.
Community Centres and settlements—
General assistance, building work, decorating, furniture removal.
Bail hostels and after-care hostels—
Decorating, plastering, reconstruction.
Homes for battered wives—
General assistance, gardening, painting, window cleaning.
Homes for unmarried mothers—
Various other types of hostels and homes—
General assistance, decorating.
Old people's homes—
General assistance, gardening, hairdressing, painting.
Individual old age pensioners—
Distributing coal, gardening, painting and decorating, repairs.
Construction work, decorating.
General assistance, maintenance of equipment, painting.
I have no plans to change the regime in the control unit. No prisoners are at present being considered for transfer to the unit, but the accommodation will continue to be available for use should the need arise.
I regret that per cent. of persons found guilty by jury in England and Wales were found guilty by majority verdict. Equivalent figures are not available for "not guilty" verdicts because, in accordance with Section 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, juries are not asked whether a verdict of "not guilty" was a majority verdict.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of committals during 1974 were under Section 1 of the Criminal Justice Act.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he now proposes to discontinue the use of this information is not available.The Criminal Statistics do not distinguish between committals under Section 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 and Section 7 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1952 but information relating to particular courts suggests that the proportion of Section 1 committals is very high.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what changes he proposes to make in the administration of the prison rules as a result of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on 21st February 1975 holding that a Home Office decision to refuse a prisoner access to his solicitor was in breach of two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, solitary confinement in the special control unit at Wakefield Prison.
I am giving urgent consideration to the implications of the court's judgment and shall announce my conclusions as soon as possible.
Immigrants (Catering Industry)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress
|AGES OF OFFENDERS MADE SUBJECT TO COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDERS|
|(1st January 1974—31st December 1974)|
|OFFENCES FOR WHICH COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDERS WERE MADE|
|(1st January 1974—31st December 1974)|
|Offence||Numbers of cases|
|Handling stolen goods||18|
|Being a suspected person||10|
|Possessing offensive weapon||9|
|Theft or unauthorised use of motor vehicle||46|
|Driving while disqualified||9|
|Driving while uninsured||44|
|Possessing dangerous drugs||5|
|COURTS MAKING COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDERS|
|(1st January 1974—31st December 1974)|
|Court||Number of Offenders||Number of Orders|
|Central Criminal Court||14||15|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of guilty and not guilty verdicts, respectively, were by majority in 1974.
Statistics for 1974 are not yet available. In 1973, 7 he is making in his investigation of the evidence submitted to him concerning reports of immigrant workers in the catering industry without work permits or valid entry to this country; and when he expects to complete these investigations.
We take a serious view of people from overseas being employed without the necessary work permits or overstaying. As the hon. Member knows, I recently met representatives of a catering company who are concerned about the position of their employees, and I am hopeful that the situation will be clarified during the next few weeks. I intend to keep it under review.
Street Lighting (Belfast)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if, in view of the IRA cease-fire, he will order the restoration of all lighting in Belfast, especially in Duncairn Gardens and the surrounding area.
Work is in hand to restore street lighting to all areas of Belfast as rapidly as the security situation and the supply of spares permit.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how much compensation has been paid by the Government to loyalist detainees or ex-internees; and what claims are still outstanding;(2) how much compensation has been paid by the Government to IRA detainees and ex-internees; and what claims are still outstanding.
It is not possible to identify claimants who were, or are, detainees or ex-internees from other categories of claimant without a disproportionate use of staff time. No record is maintained of the particular affiliations of individual claimants.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the categories of persons who are granted permits for unattended parking inside control zones in Northern Ireland towns.
Permits are not granted to enable particular categories of persons to park their vehicles unattended inside control zones in towns in Northern Ireland but occasionally local residents or others, in exceptional circumstances, are allowed to do so by police divisional commanders.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many holders of shotgun certificates have been able to increase their numbers of shotguns held in the past two years.
This information could not be provided without disproportionate effort, but between 1st September 1974 and 31st January 1975 firearm certificates were granted in respect of 404 additional shotguns.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what evidence he has that legally held sporting and recreational firearms are being used in terrorist attacks.
There is no conclusive evidence, but over the last two years 725 legally held weapons have been stolen, and this constitutes a continuing threat to public safety in the circumstances of Northern Ireland.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will publish in the Official Report the name, rank, date and cause of death of members of the RUC who have lost their lives as a result of civil disturbance since July 1969, together with the amount of compensation paid in each case to dependants of such RUC personnel;(2) if he will publish in the
Official Report the name, occupation, date and cause of death of all civilians in Northern Ireland who have lost their lives as a result of civil disturbances in Northern Ireland since July 1969, together with the amount of compensation paid in each case to dependants of such civilians.
I am arranging for the information to be collated and will write to my hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total cost per week of operating the incident centres which monitor the IRA cease-fire.
Actual cost figures are not yet available. It is estimated that the total weekly cost will be approximately £1,200, the greater part of which is for staff costs.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will name the areas in Belfast where the RUC are not permitted to carry out their ordinary police work.
The RUC do not require permission to police any areas of Northern Ireland.
Scotland (Prime Minister's Visit)
asked the Prime Minister what requests he received to meet representatives of employers during his visit to Scotland; and what replies he gave.
None, but I took the opportunity to meet the Scottish Council (Development and Industry), including a number of representatives of management in Scotland.
asked the Prime Minister what requests he received to meet the local authorities, the Churches, the professions and other people and organisations representative of Scottish opinion during his visit to Scotland; and what replies he gave.
I received several requests which time did not allow me to fit into my programme, but my engagements enabled me to meet representatives of a wide range of Scottish opinion.
asked the Prime Minister why, during his visit to Scotland, he restricted his official meetings to officials of the STUC and the Scottish Council.
Because these meetings, together with other engagements which I undertook, enabled me to consult a wide range of opinion on the major issues facing Scotland.
Moscow (Prime Minister's Visit)
asked the Prime Minister whether Command Paper No. 5924 accurately describes the signatories to the various documents set out therein.
I have been asked to reply.No. On the Soviet side Mr. Brezhnev signed the Protocol on Consultations; and Mr. Kosygin the Programme for Scientific and Technologoical Co-operation. The signatories are otherwise accurately described.
Health Education (Film)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the film produced by the Health Education Unit entitled "Dying of Thirst"; and if he will arrange to have it shown to Members of Parliament in Westminster at an early convenient moment.
This film is still in the production stage and will not be available before late April. It will be aimed at children between 11 and 14 with the object of developing a more sensible approach to alcohol. Its primary function is to serve as an aid to teachers and health educators, with appropriate supporting material; but I am sure the unit would be pleased to arrange a showing on a suitable occasion for hon. Members particularly interested.
Meat Imports (Certification)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to ensure that meat imported into Scotland from EEC countries has suitable grade marks in order that its quality and origin be known.
Imports into Scotland of meat for human consumption from any of the EEC countries must be accompanied by a health certificate and an official certificate.The health certificate of the exporting country must be in English, and show, amongst other things, the name of the country and the origin of the meat. The official certificate provided by the country of origin of the meat must certify that the meat has been prepared in accordance with the hygienic standards of the EEC.Authorised officers of port health or local authorities can detain meat if it is not accompanied by the required certificates or if it is found on examination not to be fit for human consumption.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied that the intake of medical students is sufficient to meet the requirements of the health service; and if she will make a statement.
No, I am not satisfied, but I am glad to say that much is being done to correct the situation, and we are determined to do everything possible to preserve the planned expansion bearing in mind present financial difficulties. Medical school intake has increased from 2,695 in 1970 to an estimated 3,280 in 1974 and is planned to reach about 4,000 by the end of the decade. The achievement of this target figure is a very high priority for it will increase considerably the capacity to maintain and develop the medical staffing of the National Health Service.Until the full effects of the programme are felt in the middle 1980s, the NHS will continue to depend on overseas-born doctors for some of the staffing needed for expansion, but this dependence should steadily reduce.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many psychosurgical operations were carried out in NHS hospitals in 1974 and in each of the 10 previous years.
Information an psychosurgical operations, obtained from the Hospital In-patient Inquiry, is available only for the years 1966 to 1972 and is as follows:
|Year||Estimated Numbers (England and Wales)|
- 1966 Leucotomy, lobotomy, topectomy and tractotomy
- 1967/68 Leucotomy
- 1969 onwards Leucotomy, lobotomy and tractotomy.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will increase the amounts payable to independent practitioners for expenses incurred in connection with health service administration to a figure which covers the loss of earnings which such work involves.
Practitioners serving as members of NHS administrative bodies can be paid allowances for loss of remunerative time. The allowances are at rates common to all members—including other professional people—of such bodies and there would be formidable difficulties in providing for special rates for practitioners.Representations have, however, been made to me by the British Medical Association and the British Dental Association on behalf of medical and dental members of advisory committees, covering both practitioners and consultants, and these will be further considered when normal negtiations are resumed.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of giving price protection to the pensions of people contracted out of the present graduated pensions scheme equivalent to that given to people contracted in by the proposals set out in the White Paper "Better Pensions" (Command Paper No. 5713).
It is not possible to make an estimate in the time available but I shall write to the hon. Member when the calculations have been made.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her estimate of the proportion of the increase in retirement pensions paid in July 1974 now eroded by rising prices.
On the basis of the General Index of Retail Prices, the increased retirement pension rates introduced in July 1974 had lost 8·5 per cent. of their real value by January 1975.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she wilt publish in the Official Report (a) the total number of regular supplementary benefits payments in 1974, (b) the total number of dependants covered by these payments, and (c) the total number of people covered and if she will present this information according to the categories of supplementary benefit recipients presented in table 50 of Social Trends Number 4.
I regret that it is not yet possible to add to the information given to the hon. Member on 14th January—[Vol. 884, c. 70.]. I shall send the additional information to him when it becomes available.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied with the way that psychiatric treatment resources are developing within district general hospitals.
We would like to see an increased level of investment in general hospital psychiatric units of adequate size to serve their districts, but the pace of development of these facilities has to be related to that for other health and social services and to the resources available. The White Paper we aim to publish in early summer will set out our strategy for the development of psychiatric facilities taking account of resources available.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her policy towards proposing minimum standards for psychiatric care in district general hospitals along the lines of the circular DS 86/72, which specifically excluded district general hospitals.
Minimum standards of the kind set in DS 86/72 would for the most part not be appropriate to psychiatric units in general hospitals. For example standards related to food, domestic and kitchen staffing could not be set for the psychiatric unit separately from the rest of the hospital. So far as medical and nurse staffing levels are concerned, we envisage for the future a combination of in-patient, day-patient, out-patient and domiciliary services for each district, and in view of this changing pattern of services we consider that staffing ratios are best related to the size of population served rather than to individual facilities.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to lighten the burden on district general hospitals, in view of the effect of current pressures on the morale of medical, nursing and social work staff.
I am well aware of the present burdens on district general hospitals, and I share my hon. Friend's interest in the morale of staff working in the health and personal social services. My Department has under constant review ways in which health care resources should be best deployed, and the best balance of care provided for patients.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when she expects to set up the National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped.
The group will begin work as soon as appointments are completed. I hope this will be very shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many members she intends to appoint to the National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped.
Initially I shall appoint six members in addition to the chairman. I shall consider in the light of experience of the working of the group whether additional appointments are needed.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when she expects the inquiry into mental handicap nursing and care to begin.
I am still considering the detailed terms of reference and membership. I shall make an announcement as soon as possible.
Widows' Pensions And Allowances
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what, on the basis of the proposals in Command Paper No. 5713, "Better Pensions", would be
|RATE OF WIDOW'S PENSION I.E. NO CHILDREN|
|Year of death and number of year's contributions (assuming a 1978 start and that death occurs after 5th April in the relevant year)|
|Age of Widow*||1980 (2)||1984 (6)||1989 (11)|
|RATE OF WIDOWED MOTHER'S ALLOWANCE (AGE OF WIDOW IMMATERIAL)|
|Number of Children||Year of death and number of yearns contributions (assuming a 1978 start and that death occurs after 5th April in the relevant year)|
|1980 (2)||1984 (6)||1989 (11)|
|* At the time of the husband's death (or when title to widowed mother's allowance ceased).|
|† A widow aged 30 or 40 with no dependent children might nevertheless qualify for widowed mother's allowance at the personal rate (£10 at the benefit rates used in Command Paper No. 5713) if she had a child under 19 still living with her.|
|Number of dependent children|
|Age of widow*||None||One||Two||Three||Four|
|* At the time of husband's death (or when title to widowed mother's allowance ceased).|
|† A widow aged 30 or 40 with no dependent children might nevertheless qualify for widowed mother's allowance at the personal rate (currently £10 a week) if she had a child under 19 still living with her.|
|Benefit rates will be increased as from the beginning of April.|
the pension in 1974 terms received by a widow after six months of widowhood earning £30 a week, a husband earning £50 a week, a wife having paid full contributions not contracted out since April 1978, a husband having contributed since leaving school in the event of her husband's death in 1980, 1984, 1989, a widow at the date of his death aged 30, 40, 50 and 59 years in each of those years, with no dependent children, and one, two, three and four dependent children.
Following is the information:
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what widow's pension and widowed mother's allowance would be payable at the present date six months after the death of the husband with wife age 30, 40, 50 and 59 years with no dependent children and one, two, three and four dependent children.
Following is the information requested:
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will make it possible for a lone father to receive supplementary benefit without a requirement to register for work if he wishes to remain at home to care for his child or children.
I understand that, after consideration of the recommendation of the Finer Committee on One-Parent Families, the Supplementary Benefits Commission has decided that lone fathers who have sole care of dependent children under 16 will not be required to register for work as a condition for receiving supplementary benefit.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if the Government will now take action to implement the growth town strategy by extending the remit of the Mid-Wales Development Corporation to other towns in Mid-Wales.
In considering policy for Mid-Wales I am bearing in mind the rôle of the corporation.
Industrial Development (South Wales)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has had any recent consultations with the Welsh Council concerning industrial development in South Wales; and if he will make a statement.
I keep in touch with the Welsh Council on all issues affecting the economic well-being of Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will now make a statement on the report of the Council for the Welsh Language on nursery education.
The first report of the Council for the Welsh Language on "Welsh in Nursery Education" offers clear guidance on the part that nursery education has to play in furthering the education of our children through the medium of the Welsh language. It presents a carefully argued case for Welsh medium nursery education which I commend for thorough consideration by local education authorities, teachers and parents.I have already put in hand action to further nursery education and playgroups in Wales. In June of last year I confirmed the allocation of over £1 million to enable local education authorities to undertake the first stage of the Government's programme for a general expansion of nursery education. I am now able to announce that I plan to make further allocations of over £5 million to provide nursery school places over the next four years. With this extra assistance I am satisfied that LEAs are now receiving the resources and guidance which will enable them to act on the recommendations of the council. I urge all education authorities in planning their nursery education to pay particular regard to the linguistic needs of their areas.As regards playgroups, I accept the council's recommendation that my Department should continue to grant-aid the work of voluntary playgroups in the period pending the availability of maintained nursery education. I announced last year a sharp increase in the grant paid by my Department to Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin and to the Pre-School Playgroups Association. I shall give careful consideration to the recommendation on the level of grant aid and other matters relating to playgroups in Wales.A number of the report's recommendations apply to matters which are the direct responsibility of local education authorities. I shall seek their views through the Welsh Joint Education Committee and the teacher associations in Wales. Following these consultations I shall consider what further steps my Department should take to encourage Welsh-medium nursery education, and of bilingual education in general.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has yet decided whether to use the words senedd, cyngor or cynulliad as the official Welsh language title of the proposed Welsh Assembly.
No, the position is as stated in the debate on 4th February, when I said that:
"In these as in other matters, I shall welcome further suggestions".—[Official Report, 4th February 1975; Vol. 885, c. 1183.]
asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to announce the name of the next chairman of the Welsh Arts Council.
The appointment of Lady Anglesey was announced on 27th February.
Industry And Employment
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of industrial and employment prospects in Wales and in South Glamorgan for the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement.
The current economic problems affect Wales and South Glamorgan as they do other parts of the United Kingdom. But the important new legislative initiatives which the Government are bringing forward will be of major significance in protecting and creating employment in the longer term.