Written Answers To Questions
Thursday 6th March 1975
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what effect the import of eggs from France has had on the price of eggs; and if he will make a statement on future marketing policy.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 4th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Torney).—[Vol. 887, c. 368.]
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, following the decision of the French Government to take protective action in the interests of their fishermen, he will consider informing the French Government that similar protective action may be needed in the interests of British egg producers by the banning of the importation of French eggs.
I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the answer given on 4th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Torney).—[Vol. 887, c. 368.]
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his provisional estimate of the number of eggs imported from France during February 1975; and how this compares with the figure for February 1974.
Official figures are not yet available, but provisional estimates indicate that some 30,000 to 35,000 boxes of eggs were improted from France in February. This compares with 47,000 boxes of eggs imported from France in February 1974.
Fishing (French Government Proposals)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reports have been received from the French Government and from the Common Market Commissioners concerning the plans of the French Government to subsidise their fishing activities and to prevent the importation of fish from the United Kingdom; and what information he has been given about the relationship of these proposals to Common Market regulations.
Under EEC regulations a member State may request the Commission to make regulations which introduce measures to deal with market disturbances. If the Commission makes such regulations they are communicated to member States and are immediately applicable, but member States may refer such regulations to the Council within three working days of notification. The Council may amend or repeal the regulations. The regulations made by the Commission following the French representations covered only frozen hake fillets and tunny for industrial use imported from third countries.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the assistance proposed for running costs and announced on 27th February was intended to exclude vessels engaged in shell fishing; and, if so, whether he will now announce proposals to include such vessels.
It was explained that the arrangements announced on 27th February were aimed at avoiding the development of a serious structural situation for certain classes of vessels fishing for white fish and herring. These considerations do not apply in respect of vessels engaged in fishing for shellfish.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now make a statement on assistance with running costs for registered fishing vessels of less than 40 ft.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend gave on 5th March to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Hicks).
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he plans to put any proposals before Parliament for the better management and development of common land in the United Kingdom.
I have been asked to reply.I refer the hon. and learned Member to the answer I gave today to the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Jopling).
asked the Prime Minister if he will announce the date when M. Tindemans is expected to visit the United Kingdom.
No firm arrangements have yet been made for M. Tindemans to visit the United Kingdom, though I hope to meet him in Dublin next week.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will pay an official visit in the near future to Stockton-on-Tees.
I have at present no plans to do so.
asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to meet the TUC.
I met the Economic Committee of the TUC on Tuesday to discuss the Industry Bill and further meetings on this subject will be arranged as necessary.
Central Policy Review Staff
asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint a specialist in the public accountability of Government Departments to the Central Policy Review Staff.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint an expert on statistics to the Central Policy Review Staff.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint to the Central Policy Review Staff an expert on statistics.
No. As I have said before, I do not intend to appoint to the Central Policy Review Staff members with designated responsibility for specific subjects.
Strategic Bomber Bases
asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for visiting the strategic bomber bases in Great Britain; and if he will make a statement.
asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for visiting strategic bomber bases in the United Kingdom.
asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of the Secretary of State for Industry on the Industry Bill at the Master Brewer Motel on 15th February represents Government policy.
asked the Prime Minister if the public speech of the Secretary of State for Industry on industrial matters on 15th February 1975 represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.
asked the Prime Minister whether the speech of the Secretary of State for Industry on industrial policy at the Master Brewer Motel on Saturday 15th February represents Government policy.
I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Mr. Stanley) on 4th March.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will ask the Central Policy Review Staff to review the Government's strategy for protecting the poor from the impact of inflation and the role of different Government Departments in implementing that strategy.
The Central Policy Review Staff has a general remit to keep under review Government strategy and its implications for specific policy areas.
asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-operation between the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Employment and the Department of Health and Social Security with regard to provision of adequate funds and facilities for the Open University for the special needs of the disabled.
Yes. The Department of Education and Science and the Department of Health and Social Security are represented on the Open University's Liaison Committee with the Disabled and work closely with the University on this question. There is consultation with the Department of Employment on employment matters. The Open University is giving special consideration as to how contacts with the Employment Service Agency of the Manpower Services Commission and other aspects of support for disabled students can be developed.
Eec Heads Of Government (Meeting)
asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange for the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection to accompany him to the forthcoming Dublin conference.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Gardiner) on 27th February.
asked the Prime Minister whether an agenda has now been fixed for the next meeting of the EEC Heads of Government.
No firm agenda has yet been issued but the Heads of Government will follow up the discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council on our renegotiation objectives. They will also discuss world economic problems and the future of East-West relations.
asked the Prime Minister if he will give details of the operation of the European Unit of the Cabinet Office as to its composition, functions and budget.
A total of 28 staff are working in the Cabinet Office on the co-ordination of work on European Community matters. The current annual cost, excluding accommodation, is £140,000. In addition a staff of nine have been separately assembled on a temporary basis to deal with work on the referendum.
asked the Lord President of the Council what he estimates will be the cost of conducting a referendum on United Kingdom membership of the EEC as contained in Command Paper No. 5925.
I estimate at this stage that the cost to public funds will be between £5 million and £8 million.
asked the Lord President of the Council what information he has as to the cost of conducting a referendum in Norway on a similar issue in 1972.
I have only the information on the cost of the campaign given in Annex B to the White Paper (Command 5925).
asked the Lord President of the Council what information he has, and what inquiries he has made, about the cost of conducting referenda in the several countries mentioned in Appendix B of Command Paper No. 5925 for which figures have not been given.
In preparing the White Paper (Command 5925) inquiries were concerned only with the cost to Governments of referendum publicity and information campaigns. Annex B to the White Paper contains the information that was readily available.
asked the Lord President of the Council if he is yet able to announce the number of persons who will serve as elected members of the Scottish Assembly.
No. This is one of a number of interrelated questions which arise on the setting up of the Assembly, and we have not yet reached decisions on them.
asked the Lord President of the Council if he is yet able to state whether the Scottish Assembly will have powers to decide on or influence industrial policy affecting Scotland.
No. The Government have not yet reached decisions on this matter.
House Of Commons
Finance Bill Debates
asked the Lord President of the Council which Finance Bills since 1906 have been debated on the Floor of the House for more than seven days.
More than seven days were taken on the Floor of the House on all stages of every Finance Bill since 1908, except the following:
|† Election intervened.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking upon the reports submitted to him by the National Community Development Project.
Results from the project are taken into account, wherever relevant, in the formulation of Government policy at central and local levels.
Privacy (Younger Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish his response to the Younger Committee's Report on Privacy; and whether he will make a statement.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to a Question by him on 21st November 1974.—[Vol. 881, c. 466.]
British Broadcasting Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will direct the BBC to publish in its annual report details of all programmes sponsored by industry.
Clause 12 of the BBC's Licence and Agreement (Cmnd. 4095) forbids sponsored programmes.
Young Offenders (Assessment Period)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average length of time during which young offenders are locked in their cells each day whilst undergoing assessment in prison prior to borstal training.
The period during which a young offender in the borstal allocation centres at Manchester and Wormwood Scrubs has to be locked in his cell varies from day to day according to the numbers involved and the availability of staff. In general, young offenders at Manchester are likely to be out of their cells for about eight hours a day, and at Wormwood Scrubs for about 11 hours.
Release (Departmental Assistance)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial assistance his Department gives to the organisation Release.
A grant of £10,000 has been paid in the year 1974–75 to the Princedale Trust, which supports the welfare and advisory services of the Release organisation. Sums of the order of £20,000 per annum have been provisionally agreed for 1975–76 and 1976–77, provided the organisation retains its charitable status and fulfils the conditions of the grant.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the total numbers of immigrants admitted for permanent settlement during 1974, classified according to countries of origin, respectively.
Following are the figures. For the whole of 1974 they are not yet available.
|ADMISSIONS FOR SETTLEMENT ON ARRIVAL JANUARY-SEPTEMBER 1974|
|Trinidad and Tobago||55|
|United Kingdom passport holders||8,114|
|All other Commonwealth countries and territories||122|
|Arab Republic of Egypt||7|
|German Democratic Republic||3|
|*Germany (Federal Republic)||—|
|Other foreign countries||739|
|* No analysis according to purpose of journey is available in relation to nationals of EEC countries on arrival at the ports, nor in relation to Gibraltarians, who benefit from the free movement of labour provisions of the EEC.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider publishing statistics of all dependants of immigrants entering the United Kingdom on a quarterly basis as is at present the practice with regard to spouses of immigrants admitted for settlement.
Comprehensive statistics of admissions for settlement are already given in the Press notice which we issue each quarter, and the category "Other Commonwealth" in Table 2 is composed almost entirely of Commonwealth dependants.
Hanratty Case (Hawser Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received the Hawser Report into the Hanratty case; and what plans he has to publish it.
I have not yet received the report. I have already announced that I intend to publish it in due course.
Private Police Forces
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what study he has made of the growth of private police forces and private armies in England and Wales; if he will lay down regulations controlling the recruitment, training, and arming of private security forces; and if he will make a statement.
It is an offence for anyone to organise a private police force or a private army, or to suggest falsely that he is a constable or a soldier, or to possess a firearm without a certificate. Anyone breaking the law in these respects is liable to prosecution. I have no present proposals for regulating the work of security firms. Their employees have no special powers or privileges and are in all respects subject to the law, including the law relating to firearms and other offensive weapons.
Committal Warrants (Maintenance Payment Defaulters)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice he gives to magistrates' courts on whether to issue duplicate committal warrants to facilitate early appearances of maintenance payment defaulters when new factors arise relating to their ability to pay maintenance.
None. The issue of committal warrants to enforce the payment of maintenance is a matter within the judicial discretion of the courts.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions of women for baby stealing there have been during the past five years; and how many have resulted in terms of imprisonment.
Figures for 1974 are not yet available. In the five years up to the end of 1973, 23 women and three girls under 17 were found guilty of child stealing. Six of the 23 women were sentenced to imprisonment.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to prescribe a maximum sentence for offences involving baby snatching.
I shall keep under close review the possibility of such a change in the law.
Cable Television Companies
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the local community cable television companies concerning their financial soundness; and whether he will make a statement.
The companies have informed the Home Office that they are facing serious financial difficulties which imperil their future. Lord Annan's committee has represented that the experimental stations should be allowed to include advertising in their broadcasts so that they can continue in operation during the course of the committee's inquiry. The Government have decided to permit this on the basis that similar standards should apply to the content of advertisements as those which operate in independent television. This will enable some, if not all, of the experiments to continue.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review of the law relating to official secrets.
I am proceeding as quickly as possible with my consideration of the implications of the Franks Report on Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 and related matters, but cannot yet say when this will be completed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the first life sentence prisoner to be transferred to Sudbury open prison.
No decision about the timing of the first transfers will be taken until after the local discussion recommended in the report of the inspector who conducted the public inquiry into the proposal to send life sentence prisoners to Sudbury prison.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why there are only 11 open prisons in use in England and Wales as opposed to 15 in 1973; and why there are significantly fewer prisoners in open prisons than there were in 1971.
My right hon. Friend explained in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ince (Mr. McGuire) on 31st July 1974 that the reduction in the prison population, the operation of the parole system and the development of non-custodial penalties had affected the number of prisoners suitable for open conditions and that he had accordingly decided to close four open prisons.—[Vol. 878, c. 221–2.]
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will define the criteria currently applied by his Department for placing those prisoners whose families wish to visit them in prisons as close to the family home as can be arranged; and if he will make a statement.
A prisoner is allocated to the most suitable prison available after assessment of his offence and length of sentence, the needs of security, his history and background, his training needs and individual circumstances, and his home and domestic situation. The need to maintain family ties through regular visits is regarded as a major consideration, but it is not always practicable to locate a prisoner within easy visiting distance of his family.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the weekly cost of £41 of holding a person in prison compares with the costs in borstal and detention centres, respectively.
I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on 24th February.—[Vol. 887, c. 3.]
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the amount of work that is currently being obtained for prisoners to do.
In the present economic circumstances there is inevitably some difficulty in ensuring the continuity of suitable work in a few prisons. In general the position is reasonably satisfactory.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners in British prisons are serving their sentences in complete segregation under Rule 43 at the latest available date.
On 1st February 1975, the latest date for which the figures are available, 21 prisoners in England and Wales were withdrawn under the rule from all association with other prisoners. In each case the prisoner was in contact with prison staff and was visited daily by the governor and medical officer.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been paid in damages by his Department to prisoners wrongly sentenced.
During the period from 1st January 1965 to date ex gratia payments totalling £1,457 were made to four prisoners who had been detained on sentences subsequently found to have been imposed in excess of jurisdiction. During the same period ex gratia payments totalling £46,276 were made to 22 persons detained on court order and subsequently found to have been wrongly convicted or charged.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the 319 category A prisoners, noted in the answer given on 26th February, c. 165, to the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Watkinson), were placed in that category for each of the criteria noted.
This information is not recorded centrally and an analysis of the 319 individual cases would involve disproportionate cost. But it can be assumed that the majority are prisoners whose escape would be highly dangerous to the public rather than to the security of the State.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total number of prisoners on remand in custody in the last year to which figures are available; how many of these were found to be not guilty, had the case against them dismissed, or the charge dropped; and how many of those found guilty were subsequently given non-custodial sentences.
46,144; 2,207; 21,122. The figures relate to receptions into prison service establishments in England and Wales in 1973 and are given in Table 7 of the Report on the Work of the Prison Department 1973 (Statistical Tables) published as Cmnd. 5814.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure the future viability of independent television broadcasting.
We keep the financial position of independent television under review. The long-term future of the service is being considered by the Annan Committee on the future of broadcasting.
Juveniles In Custody
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the latest available figure for those juveniles in custody awaiting trial.
189 boys and six girls aged 14–16 in prison service establishments in England and Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many of the 56 juveniles in 1973 who were found to be not guilty, had the case against them dismissed or had the charges dropped were on remand in custody (a) up to one month (b) one to three months (c) three to six months, and (d) six to nine months; and how many of these were girls;
(2) What were the age and sex of the 56 juveniles who in 1973 were found to be not guilty, had the cases against them dismissed, or charges dropped.
There were 50 boys and six girls. I am obtaining the other information requested and will write to my hon. Friend.
Police (West Yorkshire)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of the West Yorkshire County Constabularly, giving the number of policemen who have left the police force during each of the past five years, the numbers recruited in each of those years and the present shortfall.
Since 1st April 1974, 264 officers have left the force and 302 have joined. The force was created by the substantial reorganisation of police areas, and there are no comparable figures for earlier years. The shortfall on 31st January 1975 was 705 on an authorised establishment of 5,103.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the European Court of Justice's decision that the Prison Rules are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
I would refer my right hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to Questions by my hon. Friends the Members for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Watkinson) and Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould).
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the guidelines he issues in connection with the use of firearms by police forces.
I have issued no guidance on this matter. The common policy adopted by chief officers of police in England and Wales has not changed in recent years. Firearms may be issued with the authority of a senior officer to suitably trained police officers in circumstances where they may have to face a person who is armed and dangerous. There is also a limited number of cases where the police provide armed protection. A police officer would use a firearm only when it appeared necessary to do so in order to protect his own life or that of some other person.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report statistics relating to the applications for and grants and refusals of legal aid in magistrates' courts for all petty sessional divisions in England and Wales, and for the Inner London area.
The figures for 1974 are not yet complete but I hope they can be provided in about four months' time. I shall let my hon. Friend know when they are available.
Mr Shelepin (Entry Visa)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received an application for an entry visa for Mr. Shelepin.
Road Safety (Children)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals are under consideration for the extension of the facilities offered by the Metropolitan Police to London schools for the purpose of improving road safety amongst children.
The Metropolitan Police include road safety advice and training in their schools programme. There are no proposals to extend police activity in this respect.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the total number, and the number of women, employed in his Department in each grade from clerical assistant to deputy secretary, including equivalent grades.
The numbers of staff, other than casual workers, employed whole or part-time by the Home Office as at 1st January 1975 were: non-industrial, 27,206, including 6,029 women; industrial, 3,839, including 969 women.The detailed information requested is not at present readily available but by April a computer-based personnel record will be in operation and I will send my hon. Friend the numbers of men and women in each of the non-industrial grades.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will institute proceedings under the Race Relations Act against those responsible for the proposed new arts complex in London for the exclusive promotion and encouragement of the work of coloured artists.
My right hon. Friend has no power to institute legal proceedings under the Race Relations Act 1968, or indeed under any Act.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will, in the light of the recommendation by the right hon. Lord Justice Scarman in paragraph 182 of his report relating to the Red Lion Square disorder on 15th June 1974, introduce legislation to effect a radical amendment to Section 6 of the Race Relations Act 1965.
I shall consider the recommendation carefully in the context of my general review of the race relations legislation.
Fire Precautions (Hotels)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the fact that the local authority loans scheme to assist hotels to carry out theft` obligations under the Fire Precautions Act is only available to very small hotels at the discretion of the local authority and calls for an interest rate of about 13½ per cent., he will now improve the conditions for such loans.
The loans scheme, which applies to premises providing sleeping accommodation for up to 25 persons, already covers over half the hotels and boardinghouses in the country. The rate of interest is governed by the provisions of the Fire Precautions (Loans) Act 1973, and my right hon. Friend and I are not satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for amending these provisions.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the authorised establishment of the Suffolk Constabulary, and its strength to the latest convenient date.
On 31st January the establishment was 1,077 and the strength was 967.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been brought before the courts on charges of drunk and disorderly behaviour in each of 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973 in the North-West.
Information in the form requested is not available. The following table gives the closest approximation.
|Persons proceeded against for offences of drunkenness in the North-West, 1970–73|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when lie intends to implement his proposals for the introduction of an independent element into the procedure for handling complaints against the police.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave earlier today to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo).
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will refuse an entry visa to Mr. Shelepin on the grounds that he is the former head of the Russian espionage service, the KGB;(2) whether agents of foreign espionage services are amongst the general categories to whom entry visas are normally refused.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will, in future, refuse visas to persons who are known to be, or to have been, senior officials of the KGB;(2) whether he will refuse a visa to Mr. Shelepin, in view of his connection with the KGB.
Applications for visas are considered carefully in the light of all the circumstances relevant at the time. No application has been received in respect of Mr. Shelepin.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has had from the Dublin Government about the setting up of Her Majesty's Government's and Sinn Fein's incident centres in Northern Ireland since the cease-fire.
None. The Dublin Government have sought clarification on some aspects of the arrangements in Northern Ireland since the cease-fire. This was provided in the light of the common interest of both Governments in bringing IRA violence to an end.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the factors making for delays in the provision of water, sewerage, electricity and other facilities in new dwellings.
Local development officers of the Northern Ireland Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning are responsible for co-ordinating the provision of all services in phase with new developments. Delays may be caused by delays with contracts, difficulty in acquiring land, etc., but in general such delays are not serious.
Ministerial Meetings (Minutes)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make it the practice of his administration that Ministers shall arrange for agreed notes or minutes to be made available as aidesmemoire to non-Government delegates at meetings held at ministerial level.
No. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him and the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren) on 3rd March.—[Vol. 885, c. 308.]
Members Of Parliament (Transport Costs)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is his assessment of the cost to the Exchequer of the transport of Members of Parliament in Welsh constituencies to and from their constituencies and London.
I regret that this information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Private Medical Schemes
asked the Minister for the Civil Service which Government Departments give facilities for membership of BUPA or other similar schemes to their officials.
No special facilities are given by Government Departments for membership of BUPA or other similar schemes to their officials other than payment of contributions by deduction from pay, through the British Hospitals Contributory Schemes Association.Contributions to the Civil Service Medical Aid Association, Post Office and Civil Service Sanatorium Society, the Hospital Savings Association and the Hospital Saturday Fund, which have a special or long-standing association with the Civil Service, may also be deducted from pay and are paid direct to those organisations.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the cost to public funds of the payment of London weighting allowances to civil servants.
The annual cost of London weighting in the Civil Service is about £61·5 million on basic salaries—that is, exclusive of the effect of London weighting on such things as overtime or shift earnings and on pensions. This is based on the most recent figures of non-industrial and industrial civil servants in the London pay area or holding London weighting on a reserved rights basis.
Tax Allowances (Hotel Buildings)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that tax allowances on hotel buildings are now granted in all EEC countries except the United Kingdom, he will consider providing for such tax allowances to be given in his next Budget.
I do not think that it would be justifiable to exempt hotel buildings from the general principle that the United Kingdom tax code provides no allowances for commercial buildings. I would remind the right hon. Member that a substantial part of the capital cost of a hotel is for equipment and our capital allowances on this component are much higher than those available in other EEC countries.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures exist to reconcile the total of non-VAT and VAT transactions with the total transactions of any retailer.
Every taxable person must keep records and accounts of all taxable goods and services he receives or supplies in the course of his business. He must also keep a record of all the exempt supplies that he makes. Special retail schemes have been provided to facilitate the calculation of tax by retailers.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received concerning the Customs and Excise returns for VAT; and if he will make a statement.
Representations have been received from time to time about the design and content of the return forms, the signature required and the frequency at which they have to be furnished.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations he has had with the Institute of Chartered Accountants on VAT return procedures.
Both before and since the introduction of VAT, Customs and Excise has discussed the VAT return and other VAT procedures extensively with the allied accountancy bodies, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Comptroller and Auditor General's reports to date on VAT collection procedures, and on any steps taken in consequence of them.
There has been one such report and it is at present being considered by the Committee of Public Accounts. It would not be appropriate for me to comment at present.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the level of arrears of VAT returns at the latest convenient date; and what is his estimate of the amount of VAT so represented.
On 3rd March 1975 there were some 650,000 returns outstanding on which tax would be payable, but about 270,000 of them had not been due until 28th February. It is not possible to estimate the amount of tax involved.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what requirements exist for the reconciliation of value added tax returns submitted by a retailer with the cash records of a concern.
Under the special VAT retail schemes, the output tax to be entered in a retailer's tax return is calculated by reference to his gross takings. The retailer must keep a record of his daily gross takings and, when required, produce it together with his cash accounts and any other business records.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those organisations which have made representations to him against the proposed introduction of multi-rates of VAT.
Following is a list of organisations which have made representations direct to my right hon. Friend against the proposed introduction of multrates of VAT. Other bodies have made representations to Her Majesty's Customs and Excise which has passed on to Ministers the views expressed by them.
- The Association of British Launderers and Cleaners.
- The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electrical Appliances.
- The Association of Toy and Fancy Goods Wholesalers.
- The Branded Hand Knitting Association.
- The Bristol and West Grocers Association.
- The British Hardware Federation.
- The British Hotels, Restaurants and Caterers Association.
- The British Jewellery and Giftware Federation.
- The British Leathergoods Manufacturers Association.
- The British Photographic Manufacturers Association Ltd.
- The British Radio and Electrical Manufacturers Association.
- The Burnley and District Grocers Federation.
- The Business Equipment Trade Association.
- The Confederation of British Industry.
- The Electrical Wholesalers Federation.
- The European Hire Association.
- The Federation of Wholesale Organisations.
- The Film Production Association of Great Britain.
- The Institute of Taxation.
- The International Radio and Electrical Distributors Association.
- The Merseyside and District Traders and Services Protection Council.
- The National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain and Ireland.
- The National Association of the Launderette Industry.
- The National Federation of Site Operators Ltd.
- The National Federation of Television Rental Association Ltd.
- The National Food and Drink Federation.
- The National Haidressers Federation.
- The Pet Food Manufacturers Association.
- The Petroleum Retailers Association.
- The Radio and Television Retailers Association (RTRA) Ltd.
- The Retail Consortium.
- The Scottish Grocers Federation.
- The Scottish Youth Hostels Association.
- The Ship and Boat Builders National Federation.
- The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd.
- The United Kingdom Cutlery and Silverware Manufacturers.
- The Wine and Spirit Association.
- The Ayrshire Regional Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The Cambuslang and District Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The Co-operative Union Ltd, Parliamentary Committee.
- The Devon Valley Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The Dukeshead and Shotts Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The Dumbarton Equitable Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The Forth Valley Co-operative Managers' Council.
- The London Co-operative Society.
- The Paisley Co-operative Manufacturing Society.
- The Strathhaven Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The Uddington Co-operative Society Ltd.
- The National Chamber of Trade.
- The National Chamber of Trade, North East Council.
- The National Chamber of Trade in Wales.
- Barrow Chamber of Trade.
- Blackburn Chamber of Trade.
- Broadstone Chamber of Trade.
- Canterbury and District Chamber of Trade.
- Chapel-en-le-Frith Chamber of Trade.
- Colwyn Bay Chamber of Trade.
- Consett and District Chamber of Trade.
- Conway (Borough of) Chamber of Trade.
- Cumbria District Chamber of Trade.
- Drapers Chamber of Trade.
- Droylsden and District Chamber of Trade.
- Dyfed Branch Chamber of Trade.
- Fylde and Kirkham Chamber of Trade.
- Glasgow Chamber of Trade.
- Gwyned District Committee, Chamber of Trade.
- Hinckley and District Chamber of Trade.
- Kenilworth Chamber of Trade.
- Llandudno Chamber of Trade.
- Newport Chamber of Trade.
- Nuneaton and Bedworth Chamber of Trade.
- Pontypool Urban Area Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
- Poole Chamber of Trade.
- Pudsey Chamber of Trade.
- Rayleigh Chamber of Trade.
- Scunthorpe Chamber of Trade.
- Selby Chamber of Trade.
- Shaftesbury Chamber of Trade.
- Sheffield and District Chamber of Trade.
- South Yorkshire Chamber of Trade.
- Stafford Chamber of Trade.
- Swanage Chamber of Trade.
- Torquay Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
- Treherbert and District Chamber of Trade.
- Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade.
- Wimborne Minster Chamber of Trade.
- Brent Chamber of Commerce.
- Broadstairs and St. Peters Chamber of Commerce.
- Cornwall Federation of Chambers of Commerce.
- Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.
- Ewell Chamber of Commerce.
- London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Luton, Dunstable and District Chamber of Commerce.
- Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.
- Port of Portsmouth Incorporated Chamber of Commerce.
- Rugeley and District Chamber of Commerce.
- St. Pancras and Hampstead Chamber of Commerce.
- Swindon Chamber of Commerce.
- Thorne and District Chamber of Commerce.
- The National Pharmaceutical Union.
- Leicester and Leicestershire Branch, NPU.
- Sheffield and District Branch, NPU.
- York and District Branch, NPU.
Capital Transfer Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his intention that gifts to a political party will give rise to a liability to capital transfer tax if given by (a) an individual, (b) a close company, (c) a public company, and (d) a trade union.
No—save to the extent that bequests on death and gifts in the last year of life exceed £100,000 and are made directly by an individual or indirectly by him through a close company.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the employers' federations which have formally requested a meeting with him in regard to the proposed capital transfer tax; and what replies he has sent.
My right hon. Friend has recently received requests for meeting about the capital transfer tax from the Confederation of British Industry and the National Federation of Building Trades Employers. He has met representatives from the CBI and will be replying to the request from the national federation in the near future.
Book Development Council
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has any plans to meet representatives of the Book Development Council.
I did so on 4th March.
Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied with the performance of Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited.
I am satisfied that the directors of Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited are taking all reasonable steps to improve the performance of the company.
Harrier Aircraft (Sale)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the policy of his Department towards the sale of Harrier aircraft to China.
We would give careful consideration to any proposal which might be put to us.
Jaguar Aircraft (Sale)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance is being given by his Department to the British Aircraft Corporation to promote the sale of Jaguar aircraft to the four North-West European countries seeking to replace their Starfighter aircraft.
I have nothing to add to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Mr. Tinn) on 14th January.—[Vol. 884, c. 58.]
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what considerations he took into account when fixing the allocation of funds to the Arts Council announced in his reply of 3rd March to his right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss); and to what degree his allocation failed to meet the stated requirements of the Arts Council to maintain its existing stands and scope of its activities.
All relevant factors were considered by the Government in granting the Arts Council a 22½ per cent. increase over last year.
Portraits (Public Acquisition)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether in considering the matter of the public acquisition of Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait of Laurence Sterne with his colleagues he is taking account of any other portrait by a major British portrait painter of a major British literary figure likely to be offered for sale.
Every such case is considered on its merits.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures for the number of people, both male and female, currently registered as unemployed in the Bedfordshire, South constituency; what are the latest figures for the number of notified job vacancies, both male and female; and how both these figures compare with 12 months ago.
In February 1975, 520 males and 148 females were unemployed in the Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard employment office areas compared with 415 males and 105 females unemployed in February 1974. In November 1974, the latest date for which figures are available, 434 vacancies for males and 135 for females were held at employment offices in the area and 45 vacancies for males and 55 for females were held at careers offices. The comparable figures for November 1974 were 583, 287 95 and 73, respectively. The vacancy statistics relate only to vacancies notified to employment offices and careers offices and are not a measure of total vacancies. Owing to industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency, vacancy figures for December 1974, January 1975 and February 1975 are not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are to be employed in the Lancashire textile industry; and how many were ployed at the same date in the preceding nine years.
Separate information is not readily available for Lancashire but annual estimates are made for the whole of the North-West Region and the figures are given in the following table. The latest available annual estimate for the region relates to June 1973. However, provisional estimates are compiled monthly for the whole of Great Britian and these indicate that 152,000 were in employment in the textile industries in December 1974, compared with 162,000 in June 1973.
|Estimated numbers of employees in employment in the spinning and weaving of cotton, flax, linen and man-made fibres, and textile finishing (minimum list headings 412, 413 and 423 of the Standard Industrial Classification)|
a) and earlier dates are classified according to the Standard Industrial Classification (1958) and are not fully comparable with those from June 1969( b) which are classified on the basis of the SIC (1968).
(2) Estimates up to June 1971( a) are based on counts of national insurance cards and are not strictly comparable with those from June 1971( b) which are from censuses of employment.
Unemployed Persons (Travel Warrants)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many travel warrants were issued to registered unemployed men and women for attendance at interviews at the Peterborough local employment office in the last year for which full statistics are available.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that no travel warrants were issued to registered unemployed men and women for attendance at interviews at the Peterborough local employment office during the year ending 31st December 1974.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many travel warrants for attendance at interviews were issued to registered unemployed men and women at the Guildford local employment office in the last year for which statistics are available.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that during the year ending 31st December 1974 no travel warrants for attendance at interviews were issued to registered unemployed men and women at the Guildford local employment office.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what instructions are given to staff of local employment offices on the issue of travel warrants for attendance at interviews with prospective employers to registered unemployed including those on the Professional and Executive Register.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that fares for interviews with prospective employers are payable only through the Employment Transfer Scheme or by arrangements under the Disabled Persons Act 1944. Full instructions about these facilities are given to all staff concerned in both local employment offices and professional and executive offices.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the figures relating to the employment of registered disabled persons in the Stockport area and the number of firms who are failing to fulfil this obligation.
At the last annual count in April 1974, 2,397 people in the area were registered as disabled. Of these, 299 were known to be unemployed in February this year. Most of the remainder were in employment but it is not possible to give a precise figure. When last reviewed 164 local employers were not employing their quota of registered disabled people.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many building trade workers are presently unemployed in Scotland; and how this position compares with February 1973.
The numbers unemployed in Scotland who last worked in construction were 20,182 in February 1975 and 21,028 in February 1973.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of young people in Scotland who have not obtained a first job after leaving school.
At 10th February the provisional number was 3,692.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing Scottish male and female unemployment
|NUMBERS UNEMPLOYED AND NOTIFIED UNFILLED VACANCIES IN SCOTLAND|
|Notified unfilled vacancies|
|Unemployed||At Employment Offices||At Careers Offices|
|Note: Vacancies notified to employment offices include some that are suitable for young persons and those notified to careers offices include some suitable for adults. Because of possible duplication the two series should not be added together.|
|* The figures for some offices have been estimated.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the number of semi-skilled and unskilled workers in Scotland who have been unemployed for up to three months, three to six months, and over six months, respectively.
Analyses showing duration of unemployment do not indicate the degree of skill of the unemployed. The following table shows the information available for October 1974. A similar analysis due in January 1975 was not made owing to industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency.
|Analysis by duration of unemployment in Scotland at 14th October 1974|
|Up to 13 weeks||40,084|
|Over 13 and up to 26 weeks||13,052|
|Over 26 weeks||31,524|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many semi-skilled and unskilled males are presently unemployed in Scotland; and if he will show these figures in terms of employment exchange areas.
The occupational analyses of the unemployed do not provide separate comprehensive figures for semi-skilled and unskilled categories.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is able to provide a broad estimate of the proportion of the by category, with notified vacancies; and if he will show how this compares with the same period in the previous five years.
Following is the information:80,000 school leavers in 1975 who will go straight on to the labour market.
About 80 per cent. of the young people who will leave school in Scotland during the 1974–75 academic year are expected to seek employment.
Health And Safety
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what consultations he has had with the Health and Safety Commission and with any other body, bearing upon his decision to order the repeal of Section 161 of the Factories Act 1961, pursuant to power vested in him by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1954; and whether he will place a record of such consultations in the Library;(2) for which of the general purposes of Part I of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 has Section 161 of the Factories Act 1961 been repealed by virtue of the Factories Act 1961 etc. (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations 1974 (S.I., 1974, No. 1941), and if he is satisfied that any of the general purposes of the Act have been complied with by this repeal.
Arrangements for the administration and enforcement of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the other relevant statutory provisions, including the Factories Act, are provided in the 1974 Act which, to avoid overlapping, have replaced the equivalent sections of the Factories Act 1961.
Section 161 of the Factories Act was therefore repealed, in its general application, by Statutory Instrument 1974. No. 1941, together with the remaining provisions dealing with administration and enforcement, because the appropriate sections of the 1974 Act were to come into force on 1st January 1975. The section is, however, temporarily retained specifically to cover current proceedings and fire provisions for which new arrangements have not yet been made. I am satisfied with these arrangements.
The Health and Safety Commission, which includes nominees of the TUC and CBI, was consulted at a meeting on 18th October 1974 and agreed.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his consultations with the Factory Inspectorate regarding the proposed reorganisation of the inspectorate.
The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that meetings were initially held in every Factory Inspectorate division to discuss reorganisation. The planning unit subsequently issued its recommendations. A copy was given to each inspector and a second round of meetings was held to give all inspectors an opportunity for comments, many of which were received and helped to shape the subsequent plans. During the trial schemes a joint working party of the staff associations concerned and members of the Health and Safety Executive met about every three weeks to consider their effectiveness. The working party's report will be widely circulated in the Factory Inspectorate. In addition extensive consultations about the restructuring of the inspectorate have been held with the staff associations concerned.Before further reorganisation, arrangements will be made for joint consultation with representatives of the staff both locally and nationally on the detailed implementation of the plans.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take into account the fact that the Yorkshire and Humberside Factory Inspectorate on 30th January 1975 passed a resolution expressing no confidence in the Health and Safety Executive when undertaking his review of the reorganisation of the inspectorate.
The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that account has been taken of all the views expressed by members of the Factory Inspectorate concerning the proposals for its reorganisation. The particular resolution to which my hon. Friend refers has not been referred to the commission or to its executive.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has consulted either trade unions or employers' organisations in West Yorkshire regarding the proposed closure of local offices of the Factory Inspectorate.
The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that the exact shape of the Factory Inspectorate's reorganisation has not yet been determined. The reoranisation will, however, be discussed in detail with both sides of local industry to ensure that existing links with the Factory Inspectorate are not only maintained but strengthened.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to close the local offices of the Factory Inspectorate in Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax and Shipley and transfer all inspectors to Leeds.
The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that the proposals for reorganisation are embodied in the Planning Unit Report No. 1 (revised), a copy of which was sent to my hon. Friend last June. The commission is considering the proposals but no firm decision has yet been made.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what link he has proposed between a pay offer to the Factory Inspectorate and the proposed reorganisation.
The pay offer which has been made to the Institution of Professional Civil Servants, acting on behalf of the inspectorate, is linked with a letter of agreement in which the institution undertakes to co-operate fully with the Health and Safety Executive in making the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 a success, among other things by a reorganisation broadly based on the principles enunciated in the Robens Report and developed by the planning unit and taking account of experience gained in the trial schemes, the recommendations of the joint working party, representations made by the institution and any other relevant factors.
Factory Regulations (Breaches)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many breaches of factory regulations occurring in the Stockport area were brought to
|Year||Complaints received||Items of complaint||Number of items justified||Number of firms prosecuted||Convictions||Fines|
Employment Protection Bill
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he plans to publish the Employment Protection Bill before Easter.
I hope to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what arrangements are required to enable London weighting allowances to be updated; and if he will make a statement.
My Department has for some years published index numbers of rents and other housing costs and fares in the Greater London area and in the rest of the United Kingdom. These will now be discontinued and replaced by the more extensive price index numbers needed to recalculate the London weighting allowances established last year. These new price index numbers will be published in June each year relating to the preceding April.
Electricity And Gas (Costs)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish in the Official Report details showing the average cost of electricity and gas, respectively,
the attention of his Department in 1974; how this compares with the previous five years; how many cases were prosecuted; and with what results.
I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that 34 complaints against firms situated in the metropolitan borough of Stockport were received during 1974. These listed 68 individual items of complaint of which 46 were found to be justified. One of the firms complained about was successfully prosecuted on two counts and fines totalling £500 were imposed. Comparative figures for 1971–73 are tabled below. Figures prior to 1971 are not available.in each of the regions of the United Kingdom.
I regret that information about current regional differences in the costs of electricity and gas is not available. The latest available data for the average revenue per kWh of electricity sold to consumers is contained in the Annual Reports and Statements of Accounts for 1973–74 of the Electricity Council, the South of Scotland Electricity Board and the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. The regional figures for that period ranged between 0·832 and 0·986p per kWh. However, average sales revenue is an imperfect guide to the costs to industrial consumers and regional differences will reflect the social and industrial characteristics of the region and the pattern of the load on the generating system. An area where the load arises primarily from domestic demand will show different average results from one in which there is, for example, a lot of three shift industrial working.The same considerations apply in the case of gas, and the average revenue from sales figures are contained in the latest Annual Report and Accounts of the British Gas Corporation.An indication of the regional spread of prices may be obtained from Table 85 in the latest Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics which shows typical retail prices of domestic fuels in certain large towns across the country. The figures relate to the years 1971–73, those for 1974 are not yet available.
United Canso Gas And Oil (Uk) Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the purchase by Deminex of United Canso Oil and Gas (UK) Limited.
The two companies informed me today that the purchase by Deminex of United Canso Oil and Gas (UK) Ltd., a subsidiary of United Canso Oil and Gas Ltd. of Canada, has now been completed. United Canso Oil and Gas (UK) Ltd. is a licensee in Block No. 211/18 which contains the Thistle field, as well as in Block 106/28 in Cardigan Bay where it is in partnership with the British Gas Corporation. Deminex sought my agreement to the transaction and I have informed the company that I have no objection. Deminex is in principle prepared to accept 51 per cent. State participation in United Canso's interest in the Thistle field, the terms and conditions of which remain to be negotiated.In my answer to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Queen's Park (Mr. McElhone) on 19th December—[Vol. 883, c. 572–573.]—I informed the House of the assurance given to the Halibut Group that, subject to the obtaining of the necessary parliamentary authority, in the event of a failure by United Canso Oil and Gas (UK) Ltd. to meet its share of any cash call made in respect of the development of the Thistle field, and in the absence of any alternative acceptable arrangement, the Government would take over the interest of that company. In view of the purchase of United Canso Oil and Gas (UK) Ltd. by Deminex this assurance no longer applies so far as that company is concerned. The contingent liability of the Government under the assurance to the group is now estimated at present to total up to £25 million.
Offshore Grants Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the total amount of credit drawn down or committed under the offshore credit scheme.
It is not possible to give the total amount of credit drawn down or committed under the Offshore Supplies Interest Relief Grant Scheme as only a small number of the companies involved have so far advised my Department of their borrowings to finance developments.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the entire sum of £33 million currently committed to the offshore credit scheme comprises interest relief grants on the credit obtained.
The sum of £33 million is an estimate of the expenditure which may be paid by way of grants under the Offshore Supplies Interest Relief Grant Scheme during the financial years 1974–75 to 1978–79.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Jaguar Aircraft (Sale)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance is being given by his Department to the British Aircraft Corporation to promote the sale of Jaguar aircraft to the four North-West European countries seeking to replace their Star-fighter aircraft.
Our position is as stated by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force in answer to a Question in the House on 14th January.
asked the Minister of Overseas Development how she proposes to compensate staff who do not wish to move to Glasgow and who are then forced to resign.
The number of mobile officers required to move to Glasgow will be kept to a minimum. I am writing to the hon. Gentleman.
Overseas Pensions Act 1973
asked the Minister of Overseas Development what progress has been made with the takeover of overseas pensions in accordance with the Overseas Pensions Act 1973; and if she will make a statement.
I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) on 3rd March—[Vol. 887, c. 307.]—Negotiations with the remaining 32 overseas Governments are at different stages and we expect, with the co-operation of the overseas administrations, to make a good deal of further progress this year and to complete the task of taking over these pensions during 1976. I am anxious that this be done as quickly as possible, and we are continuing to explore with the overseas Governments ways in which it may be expedited.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will convene an urgent meeting with the Scottish Trawlers Federation to discuss additional support for the fishing industry in the light of the extra support given by the French Government last week to their fishing industry.
As my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on 27th February, the Government have decided, subject to approval by Parliament, to provide temporary assistance to the fishing industry during the period 1st January to 30th June 1975.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what has been the total Government expenditure in junior occupational centres for the mentally handicapped in Scotland in each of the past five years; and what is the projected budget for 1975–76;(2) what has been the total Government expenditure on senior occupational centres for the mentally handicapped in Scotland over each of the past five years; and what is the projected budget for 1975–76.