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Written Answers

Volume 887: debated on Friday 7 March 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 7th March 1975

Employment

Electricity (Wages)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will set out a table in the Official Report showing any easily available statistics of comparative wages between electricity workers, working for local authorities in Scotland, and in England, respectively, inclusive of any bonus agreements.

New pay rates have yet to be settled for local authority electricians in Scotland from 1st January 1975 and in England and Wales from 7th November 1974. On the basis of current rates, I understand that average weekly earnings inclusive of bonus earnings for an approved electrician are about £54 in Scotland and about £49 in England and Wales.

Training

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are affected by the training opportunities scheme; and what was the nature and amount of grant from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

45,416 people completed training courses under the Training Opportunities Scheme in 1974. An allocation of £11,500,000 was made from the European Social Fund in respect of such training given in the same year.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much grant has been allocated from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget for the training of people in United Kingdom assisted areas.

£2,099,700 for assistance to training other than the Training Opportunities Scheme, which is the subject of another Question put down by my hon. Friend.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons are covered by the construction in- dustry training scheme; and what was the nature and amount of grant allocated for this purpose from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that an estimated total of 5,808 people will be covered by schemes, to run for three years, operated by the Construction Industry Training Board for which assistance from the European Social Fund Budget has been approved. The schemes cover the training and retraining of unemployed and under-employed young persons from Scotland, North and North-West England and Wales and the retraining of young unemployed graduates in chemical and mechanical engineering, geology and physics as civil engineers. The grant from the European Social Fund Budget for 1974 was £118,975.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are covered by the Footwear, Leather and Furskin Industrial Training Board; and what was the nature and amount of grant from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that 128,280 people were covered by the Footwear, Leather and Furskin Industrial Training Board at October 1974. No grant from the Social Fund Budget was made to the Board in 1974, but in December 1974 the Commission of the European Communities approved a grant of £281,085 for the training of unemployed young people; unemployed training officers; unemployed or under-employed people as surgical shoe workers; and disabled persons; and for the training and installation of unemployed persons as group training officers. The grant will be made from the 1975 budget.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the nature and amount of grant allocated to the Wool, Jute and Flax Industry Training Board from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget for the training of instructors.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that a grant of £6,631·50 was made by the Commission of the European Communities in December 1974 from the 1974 budget to the Wool, Jute and Flax Industry Training Board. An item for the training of training officers was included in the board's application and covered by the grant, but no specific allocation was made for this purpose.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the amount of grant allocated for the training of young people in rural areas from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget; and what was the number of persons covered by the scheme.

£83,155 for training by the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas and the Small Industries Council for Rural Areas in Scotland of 3,544 predominantly young people.

Wages And Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the average wage rates and earnings of adult males covered by the Wages Councils Act, and the average wage rates and earnings of adult males in industry generally.

The most recent New Earnings Survey showed that in April 1974 the average gross weekly earnings of full-time male employees aged 21 and over who are within scope of wages councils and whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence were about £40·10. The corresponding estimate for all industries and services of employees was £47·70. General averages of wage rates for broad groups of employees cannot be compiled from the information available to my Department.

Egg Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his best available forecast of jobs that would be lost if the importation of French eggs were to continue at its present level.

I have been asked to reply.The production, packing and sale of eggs provide an important source of employment. The numbers engaged at all stages of the production and distribution chain will vary over time in response to a number of factors. I do not think it possible to relate past changes or possible future changes directly to any single factor such as the level of imports.

Transfer Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are covered by the key workers transfer scheme; and what was the nature and amount of grant from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

The key workers scheme applies to certain employed workers who are transferred beyond daily travelling distance of their homes to key posts in establishments which their employers are setting up or extending in the assisted areas. Some 700 workers were granted assistance under the scheme in 1974. There was no allocation of grant in respect of this scheme from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

Community Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are covered by the National Association of Youth Clubs Community Industry Scheme; and what is the nature and amount of grant from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

On 14th February, Community Industry employed 1,468 young people. The scheme was allocated £600,000 in the third allocation from the 1974 European Social Fund Budget.

Social Services

Hospital Beds

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish details in the Official Report of the total number of beds in the Medway Hospital Group; how this compares with the national average; and what is, for an area of this population, the considered optimum number of beds.

The figures are not readily available. I shall be writing to my hon. Friend.

ENGLAND
Average daily number of available beds 1973Number of beds requiredShortfall (-) Excess (+)
Medical55,836*
Surgery (including Gynaecology)81,351
Maternity (including General Practitioners beds)21,80418,500+ 3,304†
Geriatric56,18463,615-7,431‡
Mental Illness and Mental Handicap165,465—§
* The actual number of beds considered adequate to meet demand can only be determined by local considerations. Currently hospitals are being designed to acute bed ratios ranging between 2 and 2·8 beds/1,000 population.
† The bed requirement has been calculated on a national basis and the excess shown masks some local deficiencies.
‡ These beds are provided at the rate of 10 per 1,000 population age 65 and over.
§ Plans for the development of services for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped envisage an expansion of day and out—patient facilities and local authority day and residential services with a corresponding reduction in the number of hospital beds.

Hospitals (Medway)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the planned hospital expansion for the Medway Group and other hospital groups in the South-Eastern administrative area; and if she will show the estimated amount of money to be spent per head of population, per annum, in future years.

The South-East Thames Regional Health Authority and the Kent Area Health Authority are currently reviewing the services for which they are responsible. The implementation of any particular development must take into account the limitations of available resources and the competing demands of developments elsewhere in the region. The level of expenditure by the Medway Health District in future years cannot be forecast. It will depend, of course, on the resources available to the National Health Service.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied that hospital facilities for Princes Park and Walderslade areas of Chatham and in the Rainham area are adequate to meet the needs of future population expansion.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish a table showing the breakdown of the number of beds required for each category of hospitalisation: surgical, maternity, geriatrics, etc., and the shortfall in each category.

The health authorities are aware of the problems facing the hospital services in the Medway Health District and of the future population expansion which is planned there. They will take account of these factors in their planning of health services.

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will consider giving a higher degree of priority to facilities for the mentally handicapped in the capital allocation of new projects.

We already give high priority to capital provision for the mentally handicapped within the limited funds available, as my right hon. Friend made clear during the debate on the National Health Service finance on 2nd December 1974—[Vol. 882, c. 1215.] This is one of the high priorities established for the 1975–76 capital programme; but there are others which in the local situation may be judged to merit precedence. My right hon. Friend's most recent statement on mental handicap policy made in her reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 26th February—[Vol. 887, c. 159–62.]—also makes clear the importance we attach to the development of facilities for mentally handicapped people. We have asked health authorities to maintain present levels of capital spending on provision for the mentally handicapped, together with that for the elderly and mentally ill. Local authorities have also been given an indication of the priority associated nationally with these services, and building programmes which they have submitted for 1975–76 meet the targets set in the White Paper "Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped".

Needy Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her Department's estimate of the total number of individuals living in households whose total income is not high enough to attract income tax; and whether she can give figures for those in receipt of benefits of various kinds and those in employment, respectively.

I will publish the estimates in the Official Report when these have been calculated.

Abortion

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many women are known to have died within one month of operations for termination of pregnancy notified under the Abortion Regulations in the years 1972, 1973 and 1974, respectively; and what was the cause of death recorded on the death certificate.

Fifteen in 1972, six in 1973 and six in 1974. Of these 27 deaths, 19 were attributed to abortion, two to ischaemic heart disease, two to venous thrombosis, and one each to eclampsia, volvulus, benign neoplasm of colon and adverse effect of anaesthetic gas.

Dentists

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many general dental practitioners are employed in the National Health Service.

The number of dentists, including assistants, practising in the general dental services in England and Wales at 30th September 1974 was 11,528.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the average annual gross earnings of general dental practitioners from the National Health Service; how many general dental practitioners receive less than the average gross earnings; and how many receive between £15,000 and £20,000, between £20,000 and £25,000, between £25,000 and £30,000 and over £30,000 gross per annum, respectively.

For the calendar year 1974 the average gross fee earnings, including reimbursement of practice expenses, of principals providing general dental services in England and Wales throughout the year were £13,654. Details are:

1974: ENGLAND AND WALES
Gross fee earningsPrincipals
£%
under 13,50051
13,500–14,99910
15,000–19,99923
20,000–24,99910
25,000–29,9994
30,000 and over2
All types of practice are included—principals working whole-time and part-time, alone and with assistants; and partners with and without assistants.

Child Care Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average cost to a local authority of keeping a child in care.

The average cost in 1973–74 was about £18·50 per week. This includes debt charges in respect of residential accommodation but excludes the costs of administration and field work by social workers which cannot be apportioned to individual services.

National Insurance Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what were the amounts paid to the national insurance fund by employees, employers, the Exchequer, and other sources in each year since 1948, respectively, and the proportions of the total annual receipts these amounts represented each year.

The details of contribution receipts from 1953–54 to 1973–74 are given in the following table. A similar breakdown of the contribution receipts before 1953–54 is not available.

CONTRIBUTION RECEIPTS—NATIONAL INSURANCE FUND

Amounts in £000

Employees

Employers

Exchequer

Others (Classes 2 and 3)

Year

Flat-rate

Graduated

Total

Per cent.

Flat-rate

Graduated

Total

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

1st April—31st March
1953–54232,270232,27042·153218,478218,47839·64970,00012·70430,2735·494
1954–55235,522235,52242·003222,873222,87339·74771,00012·66231,3315·588
1955–56271,969271,96941·038265,279265,27940·02992,00013·88233,4715·051
1956–57278,578278,57840·686274,820274,82040·13896,30014·06534,9975·111
1957–58271,822271,82239·398283,557283,55741·098100,88014·62133,6914·883
1958–59316,858316,85836·928344,884344,88440·194163,17219·01633,1353·862
1959–60321,378321,37836·628350,893350,89339·991168,50019·20436,6534·177
1960–61321,828321,82836·427353,946353,94640·062170,00019·24237,7124·269
1961–62339,43174,010413,44137·476389,82874,010463,83842·045187,38116·98538,5423·494
1962–63338,90190,864429,76537·695389,90190,864480,76542·168188,64016·54540,9523·592
1963–64384,067114,554498,62137·830447,354114,554561,90842·631212,00016·08445,5353·455
1964–65400,102139,019539,12138·032469,315139,019608,33442·914219,00015·44951,1033·605
1965–66482,168152,397634,56536·096637,058152,397789,45544·907281,78816·02952,1832·968
1966–67476,005178,658654,66336·149632,842178,658811,50044·809287,00015·84857,8533·194
1967–68504,852208,691713,54336·385675,568208,691884,25945·091300,00015·29863,2593·226
1968–69571,277221,414792,69136·316760,582221,414981,99644·988342,26115·68065,8283·016
1969–70575,066270,583845,64936·594767,723270,5831,038,30644·930353,52215·29873,4313·178
1970–71594,763394,524989,28737·323789,577394,5241,184,10144·672401,97915·16575,2642·840
1971–72596,142529,7581,125,90037·136795,397529,7581,325,15543·708492,00016·22888,7522·928
1972–73594,722745,9991,340,72137·433834,053745,9991,580,05244·115556,00015·524104,8842·928
1973–74584,263966,6951,550,95836·819966,902966,6951,933,59745·902597,00014·172130,8683·107

Notes:

(1) The flat-rate contributions paid before 1969–70 include small amounts subsequently refunded as paid in error. Information as to the make up of the refunds is not available.
(2) In addition to the amounts shown in the table, the National Insurance Fund and the National Insurance Reserve Fund earned interest of about £50 million a year on the balances. This has been excluded in calculating the proportion of the payments represented by the

various contributions.

Psycho-Geriatric Patients

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many beds are currently available for psycho-geriatric patients in the Wigan area; what this figure represents as a proportion of the population in the area; and how this figure compares with the best and the worst in other areas in Great Britain.

Fifty-nine beds, which represents 0·19 beds per 1,000 total population. Comparative information for other areas is not readily available.

Haemophilia

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make additional funds immediately available to regional health authorities to enable them to purchase privately produced Factor VIII to enable more haemophiliacs to undergo home treatment.

Additional revenue is planned for the NHS, in real terms, in the Public Expenditure White Paper, Cmnd 5879, the increase for hospitals and community health services being £240 million over the next four years, an average annual increase of 2·7 per cent. About half to 1 per cent. of this annual growth is required to provide services for the increasing and ageing population, but even after meeting inescapable commitments there is still room for real growth in the service; and I hope that economies and reallocation of existing resources will increase the scope for new services. It is for health authorities to decide how much of their financial allocation to devote to the treatment of all patients and to make the difficult financial choices which will reflect different care and treatment priorities between individual patients. They will, of course, make these decisions in the light of the advice they receive from their professional advisers who can assess individual needs.

Invalid Tricycles

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she has yet agreed with the Motor Industry Research Association about the placing of tests reports about the wind performance and interior noise levels of the Model 70 invalid tricycle in the Library; and when such reports—omitting confidential matter—will be placed there.

A synopsis containing relevant data from the MIRA report on the effect of side winds on the Model 70 was placed in the Library following my right hon. Friend's statement on 25th March 1974.—[Vol. 871, c. 30–7.]—MIRA has agreed to prepare reports on the interior noise level of the Model 70, omitting confidential matter relating to other vehicles on grounds of commercial trust. These reports will be placed in the Library as soon as they are received from MIRA.

Geriatric Beds (Stockport)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many geriatric beds are provided for Stockport; and how this figure compares with that of towns of equal population in the South-East.

336; representing 1·15 beds per 1,000 population as compared with an average of 1·24 beds per 1,000 for all areas in the South-East Thames Region.

Child Care Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the maximum amount a local authority can recover from a parent of ample means towards the expense of keeping the parents' child in the care of the local authority.

Section 62(4) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 provides that the maximum contribution a parent can be required to make in respect of a child in care is the amount the local authority would itself be prepared to pay if a child of the same age were boarded out with foster parents. This amount varies with each local authority because local authorities are free to determine their own scales of boarding out allowances.

Child Minders

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list in the Official Report those local authorities which are using their powers to remunerate child minders for the care of children under 5 in need during the day time and the amounts being spent.

At 31st March 1974, the most recent date for which figures are available, the authorities listed below placed priority children with child minders. I regret that the figures relating to expenditure are not available.

  • East Riding CC
  • Doncaster CB
  • Sheffield CB
  • Bury CB
  • Staffordshire CC
  • Warwickshire CC
  • Dudley CB
  • Worcester CB
  • Leicestershire CC
  • Northamptonshire CC
  • Bedfordshire CC
  • Buckinghamshire CC
  • Hertfordshire CC
  • Huntingdonshire and Peterborough CC
  • Norfolk CC
  • Oxfordshire CC
  • West Suffolk CC
  • Norwich CB
  • Southend-on-Sea CB
  • Camden LB
  • Greenwich LB
  • Hackney LB
  • Kensington and Chelsea LB
  • Lewisham LB
  • Southwark LB
  • Bexley LB
  • Bromley LB
  • Croydon LB
  • Enfield LB
Type of Fraud19691970197119721973
Earnings4,7946,0346,3597,6558,165
Undisclosed income or capital866937834859703
Fictitious desertion373350286252252
Cohabitation1,0121,1571,1991,1911,022
Other offences953733765950945
Total7,9989,2119,44310,90711,087
*2,565*2,335*2,503*2,667*
Grand Total7,998†11,77611,77813,41013,754
* Additional cases disposed of by local managers where the category of fraud is not recorded.
† Excluding locally closed cases.
‡ Not recorded.

Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will detail the nature and amount of grant given for handicapped people from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

  • Haringey LB
  • Harrow LB
  • Hounslow LB
  • Kingston-upon-Thames LB
  • Merton LB
  • Richmond-upon-Thames LB
  • Sutton LB
  • Hampshire CC
  • Isle of Wight CC
  • Surrey CC
  • East Sussex CC
  • West Sussex CC
  • Wiltshire CC
  • Eastbourne CB
  • Hastings CB
  • Gloucestershire CC
  • Somerset CC
  • Exeter CB.

Supplementary Benefit (Fraudulent Claims)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish in the Official Report a table showing, for each of the five latest convenient years, the number of supplementary benefit claimants whose benefit was terminated on the grounds of fraud, categorised by type of fraud.

The figures are not kept exactly in the form requested. Numbers of claimants whose benefit was reduced or withdrawn on grounds of fraud were as follows:1974 by the Department of Health and Social Security and the Department of Employment were approved as follows:

Department Of Health And Social Security

The training of physiotherapists and remedial gymnasts concerned with returning disabled persons to full employment—4266,600.

The development of demonstration centres for medical rehabilitation of disabled persons—£25,000.

Department Of Employment

Industrial rehabilitation—£3,273,850.

Residential training centres for disabled persons—£ 714,000.

Demonstration projects and training of Employment Services Agency rehabilitation staff—£:57,125.

Training in Government training centres Northern Ireland—£25,000.

Eec Membership (Referendum)

asked the Lord President of the Council what is his policy as to the number of ballot boxes containing referendum votes which will have to be declared lost before the result is declared invalid.

Adequate arrangements will be made for the security of the ballot boxes, and I have no reason to think that any will be lost.

House Of Commons

Members' Salaries (Boyle Report)

asked the Lord President of the Council when he expects to receive Lord Boyle's report on Members' salaries.

The review of Members' pay and allowances by the Top Salaries Review Body is under way. I understand that the Review Body will shortly issue a questionnaire to all Members seeking both factual information and views on relevant matters. Members will appreciate that this is a major review of their remuneration, and it is not possible for the Review Body to forecast when it will be able to submit its report to the Prime Minister.

National Finance

Occupational Pensions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the most recent estimate of (a) the total amount of tax relief granted on employees' and employers' contributions to occupational pension schemes, (b) the amount of capital gains tax that would have been payable on occupational pension funds if occupational pension funds were subject to capital gains tax, and (c) the amount of tax that would have been payable on the income from the investments of occupational pension funds if this income were taxable.

The latest information on which to base the required estimates is the Government Actuary's Survey of Occupational Pension Schemes for 1971. For that year the figures of tax retrieved or of additional tax payable are as follows:

£ million
(a) On employees' contributions155
On employers' contributions (1)290
(b) On capital gainsnot available
(c) On investment income290
1. In computing business profits employers' contributions are deductible as a business expense. The estimate shown is the additional tax which might have been payable had they not been deductible.

Interest Costs (Overseas Debts)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the annual interest servicing cost resulting from financing the balance of payments deficit by means of overseas borrowing and Government guarantees for public sector bodies.

It is not possible to give a precise figure of the annual interest servicing cost since a large part of this borrowing is on floating rate terms. But at present rates the sum of interest payments on the $2·5 billion Her Majesty's Government loan and on the foreign currency loans taken by nationalised industries and local authorities under the foreign borrowing programme is running at an annual rate of some $660 million.

Savings Stamps

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects national savings stamps to be available again.

The national savings stamp is currently available at all post offices and other outlets. I am not aware of any supply difficulties generally.

Northern Ireland

Housing Survey

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement about the survey of publicly-owned housing estates.

It is assumed that the hon. Member is referring to the environmental rehabilitation survey of Housing Executive estates. In April 1974 the Housing Executive decided to carry out a survey of site conditions and the facilities provided on all estates. The information has been collected and is being analysed. It is expected that the results will be available towards the end of the year.

Newtownhamilton Courthouse

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what approaches have been made to him by individuals or public authorities to purchase Newtownhamilton Courthouse;(2) what future plans he has for Newtownhamilton Courthouse; and whether he intends to dispose of it by public auction.

In January last the Newry and Mourne District Council expressed an interest in acquiring the Newtownhamilton Courthouse for conversion to a community centre. The Government have no plans to dispose of it and are considering its future use in the light of the recommendations of the Committee on County Courts and Magistrates' Courts in Northern Ireland (Cmnd. 5824) published in December 1974.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times Newtownhamilton Courthouse has suffered bomb damage; and how much has been spent on repairs.

Newtownhamilton Courthouse has suffered bomb damage on three occasions; £353 has been spent on repairs.

Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the grant given for the rehabiliation of handicapped persons from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

In December 1974 the Commission of the European Communities approved an application for assistance from the European Social Fund submitted in respect of services discharged by the Department of Manpower Services in Northern Ireland. An allocation of £130,000 was made for operations in 1974 to assist the rehabilitation and vocational training of handicapped persons with a view to absorbing them into normal employment.

Employment Training

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many unemployed persons will be trained for employment by the Northern Ireland Electricity Board; and what was the nature and amount of grant given for this purpose from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget.

About 230 unemployed and underemployed people, including a number of agricultural workers, are being trained for employment by the Northern Ireland Electricity Service (NIES). In December 1974 the Commission of the European Communities approved an application on behalf of the NIES. Subject to the claim being validated, £45,000 has been allocated from the European Social Fund towards the training expenditure of the NIES for the period 1st November 1974 to 31st October 1975. Of this sum £9,000 relates to 1974.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the nature and number of grants to private sector firms from the European Economic Community in the third and fourth allocation from the 1974 Social Fund Budget; and what was the number of persons affected.

Applications on behalf of seven firms in the private sector towards the cost of training unemployed and underemployed people, including a number of agricultural and textile workers, were approved on 30th December 1974 by the Commission of the European Communities. Subject to the claims being validated an allocation of £683,000 has been made from the European Social Fund for the period 1974–1976, of which £241,000 is for 1974. It is estimated that about 1,870 persons will take part in the training over the three-year period.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Farm Tenancies (Security)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has to provide the same security for tenant farmers and their families in England and Wales as is enjoyed by those in Scotland.

The question of whether to extend to England and Wales the security of tenure enjoyed by tenant farmers and their families in Scotland is under consideration at the present time. It raises complex issues, and no conclusions have been reached so far.

Education And Science

Schools (Building Methods)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local authority purpose-built comprehensive schools have been constructed in the CLASP method.

The Department does not keep a special record of purpose-built comprehensive schools. Such information as is available shows that at least 53 new comprehensive schools or first instalments of such schools have been constructed using the CLASP method.

Immigrant Children

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the percentage of children of immigrants or immigrants presently in school in Inner London, Leicester, and Belfast, respectively.

The Department has not collected these statistics since 1973. In January 1973 the percentages in maintained primary and secondary schools were 16·6 and 16·3 for Inner London and the county borough of Leicester, respectively. For the purposes of these statistics immigrant pupils were defined as follows:

  • i. children born outside the British Isles who have come to this country with or to join parents or guardians whose countries of origin were abroad; and
  • ii. children born in the United Kingdom to parents whose countries of origin were abroad and who came to the United Kingdom on or after 1st January—10 years before the collection of the information.
  • Similar information in respect of immigrant pupils in Belfast was not collected by my Department.

    Blind Children

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to arrange for the education of blind and partially sighted children in schools whose main concern is the education of normally sighted children.

    The Department's policy has long been that no handicapped child should attend a special school if his needs can be met by an ordinary school. The question is what is practicable. The Vernon Committee on the education of the visually handicapped in 1972 recommended merely that fairly systematic experiments should be carried out with integrated education. This recommendation, with others in the report, will be taken into account in the reviews of provision for all types of handicap within each region, which will be undertaken following the regional conferences that are being held in the next few months.

    Teachers

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will arrange to survey teacher turnover in 1975.

    No. The effects on turnover of improvements arising from the Houghton Committee's report will not be fully evident this year.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will set up a committee of inquiry to investigate the housing problems of teachers in inner city areas.

    No. A working group comprising representatives of the Council of Local Education Authorities and the recognised associations of teachers in schools has just produced a report on housing for teachers, which is now being considered by the respective organisations.

    Handicapped Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will invite organisations of handicapped people to send representatives to the regional conferences of local education authorities and voluntary associations concerned with handicap, which are to be convened to discuss the problem of the education of handicapped people.

    The regional conferences are being arranged by the local education authorities concerned, and it is for them to decide whom to invite. Subsequently there will be opportunities for organisations of the handicapped to make their views known during the reviews of provision for all handicaps in each region, which are likely to take some time.

    School Aides

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local authorities provide training courses for aides working in schools.

    In December 1974, 86 local education authorities in England and Wales were providing courses for the NNEB certificate of qualification for nursery assistants in the schools. Figures are not available on training courses for other kinds of aides.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will encourage local authorities to increase the number of training courses available for school aides.

    Environment

    Sand And Gravel Extraction

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied with the restoration of wet pits, with particular reference to the extraction of gravel and sand in the home counties.

    The most suitable after-treatment of a wet pit is a matter for the judgment of the local planning authority in the circumstances of the particular case. Full restoration is only practicable where suitable filling material is available, but in most cases the best solution will be to landscape the workings and use them as a site for water recreation, facilities for which are in great demand. The general question of restoration and the use of planning conditions are among the matters being studied by the Committee on Minerals Planning Control whose report is expected shortly.

    Water Rates

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations he has received about proposed increases in water rates for the year commencing April 1975.

    Students' Accommodation

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to take steps to amend the Rent Act 1974 in respect of student accommodation.

    As soon as possible. Consultations on a proposed registration scheme for student lettings will begin shortly.

    Gipsies And Travellers (Stopping Places)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress of his discussions with local authorities about the provision of stopping places for gipsies and travellers.

    The Department's advisory officer, who took up post on 13th January, has already had meetings with representatives of at least 20 local authorities throughout the country. My officials will be following this up with meetings of groups of authorities to discuss site provision strategy on a broader basis.

    Building Control Applications

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when it is intended that local authorities should be given the new power to make charges in connection with the submission of building control applications.

    The introduction of fees is one of many related matters we are considering under the powers in Part III of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which enable us to make far-reaching changes in the scope and system of building control.

    New Towns (Rents)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the average rents charged for tenants of New Towns Commission houses, and for tenants of new town development corporations.

    For the year 1974–75, based upon average housing stocks during the year, the average annual rents per dwelling are estimated to be:

    £
    Dwellings owned by the Commission for the new Towns208·66
    Dwellings owned by New Town Development Corporations241·30
    These figures take no account of any differences which there may be in the age or composition of the respective housing stocks.

    Local Government Expenditure (London)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he or any of his ministerial colleagues will visit local authorities in London in the course of their discussions with local authorities concerning the limiting of their expenditure.

    I have no plans to do so. My colleagues and I are in close touch with the Greater London Council and the London Boroughs Association.

    Local Government (Boundaries And Functions)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for making major amendments to local government boundaries or functions in England.

    M20 (Ashford)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects construction of the Ashford section of the M20 motorway to be started and completed, allowing for the satisfactory completion of statutory procedures.

    Following the decision not to proceed with the Channel Tunnel my right hon. Friend is considering the standards to which the M20 should should be built and its phasing. Until this review is completed construction dates cannot be forecast.

    Scotland

    Caravans

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing (a) the number of caravan sites licensed by each of the appropriate local authorities at the most recent convenient date in each of the last two years, (b) the current number of sites which are partly residential and the number wholly residential, and (c) the total number of pitches contained on the sites currently provided by each local authority.

    As local authorities are not required to make returns of licences granted for caravan sites this information is not readily available. I am, however, arranging to obtain basic information on caravan sites from caravan licensing authorities in Scotland in connection with the mobile homes review announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on 10th December.—[Vol. 883, c. 148–9.]

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he is satisfied that local authorities are making sufficient and adequate provision for residential caravan sites in their development plans;(2) if he is satisfied with the operation and effectiveness of Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

    I will consider these matters in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment in the light of the departmental review announced by him on 10th December.—[Vol. 883, c. 148–9.]

    Salmon Netting

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he proposes to take action to restrict new methods of coastal netting of salmon.

    In view of the growing threat to the conservation of salmon stocks presented by the increase in the use of methods of catching salmon at sea which are not covered by the existing restrictions on drift netting, my right hon. Friends and I propose to make an order which will prohibit the use in Scottish waters and off the mouth of the Tweed of any gill net set or fished from a boat, whether attached to the shore or sea bed or not.

    Home Department

    Cable Television

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is prepared to authorise a local cable television experiment in Milton Keynes.

    It has been agreed in principle to go ahead with plans for a local television experiment to be run by an independent body using the Post Office cable network in the new city; and the Home Office has agreed in principle to authorise this experiment.

    Trawler "Trident"

    asked the Lord Advocate whether he has fixed a date for a formal investigation into the loss of the "Trident".

    I have been asked to reply.I understand that arrangements have been made for this formal investigation to begin at the Sheriff's Court in Aberdeen on 17th June 1975 at 10 a.m.

    Prices And Consumer Protection

    Trade Descriptions Act 1972

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she is satisfied with the working of the Trade Descriptions Act 1972.

    The Act, which requires origin marking for imported goods to which a United Kingdom name or mark is applied, should prevent consumers from being misled into thinking that such goods are manufactured or produced in this country.

    Retail Price Index

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what were the percentage changes in the retail price index in the three months between June and September 1970 and for each of the three-month periods commencing March 1974 to date.

    The percentage changes in the retail price index were as follows:

    Period
    June to September 1970+1·1%
    December 1973 to March 1974+4·6%
    January to April 1974+6·1%
    February to May 1974+5·8%
    March to June 1974+5·9%
    April to July 1974+3·4%
    May to August 1974+2·0%
    June to September 1974+2·1%
    July to October 1974+ 3·2%
    August to November 1974+4·9%
    September to December 1974+5·3%
    October to January 1975+5·9%

    Trade

    Opec Countries

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has as to the proportion of imports of each of the OPEC countries that came from Great Britain in each of the years 1972, 1973 and 1974.

    Following is the information on imports from the United Kingdom. Figures for Great Britain are not separately available.

    Percentage
    197219731974 January-March
    Algeria5·2*4·5*..
    Libya8·77·0..
    Nigeria29·527·1..
    Kuwait10·210·27·2
    Saudi Arabia9·0*8·3*..
    Iran11·59·4..
    Iraq9·78·66·8
    Qatar26·427·5..
    United Arab Emirates20·2*17·1*..
    Indonesia4·14·34·2
    Ecuador5·97·0*..
    Venezuela4·8*3·9*..
    Source: National publications unless otherwise indicated.
    * IMF Estimates.
    .. Not available.

    Balance Of Trade

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will arrange for a survey of trends in Great Britain's trade figures with the EEC and with other parts of the world to be available throughout the referendum campaign.

    Trade statistics with the EEC and with other areas are available monthly from official sources; a broad area analysis is contained in the monthly Press notice on the current account of the United Kingdom balance of payments, issued jointly by the Central Statistical Office and the Department of Trade; and more detailed information may be obtained from the monthly Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom. Both of these publications are available in the Library of the House.

    Timber

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the value of timber imports into (1) Scotland and (2) of the United Kingdom as a whole in each of the last five years.

    Details of timber imports into the United Kingdom as a whole are published under SITC(R) 242 and 243 in Table II of volume I of the Annual Statement of Overseas Trade of the United Kingdom for the years 1970 to 1972 and in Table III of the December issue of the Overseas Trade Statistics for 1973 and 1974. Imports into Scotland are not separately distinguished.

    Industry

    Shipbuilding (Nationalisation Proposals)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, in the interests of industrial democracy, he will not include in his nationalisation proposals any shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering concern unless the proposal has received the full support of the work force in that concern expressed by means of a ballot of all employees.

    No. I am satisfied that the broad mass of employees in these industries support the Government's proposals for public ownership.

    Typewriters

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, in view of the circumstances leading to the closure by Litton Industries of their factories in Hull and Leicester, he will prohibit the import to the United Kingdom of typewriters made by the Adler division of Litton Industries in West Germany.