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Written Answers

Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 11th March 1975

Defence

Dockyards (Industrial Relations)

2.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken in the field of civilian industrial relations in Royal Naval dockyards and other Royal Naval defence establishments.

I am currently considering possible developments in this field, and will be consulting staff representatives through the appropriate channels.

Service Personnel (Exchange Schemes)

8.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent an exchange officer scheme is operative between the United Kingdom and other NATO countries; and how many British service men, including other ranks, are on exchange service abroad.

There are exchange officer schemes operative between the United Kingdom and the following NATO countries: Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and the United States. There are 415 British Service men currently on exchange service abroad, including 43 other ranks.

North Sea Oil Rigs

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he is giving to the suggestions put forward to him by Professor John Erickson of the University of Edinburgh and Professor Alan Thomson of Heriot-Watt for a North Sea Environment Command, in which the Royal Navy would assume certain responsibilities for pollution control, diving and fire fighting on oil rigs in the North Sea.

As my hon. Friend knows, there has been full and continuous discussion about North Sea tasks both within Government and with interested individuals and organisations. This discussion, together with detailed study, resulted in the announcement by my hon. Friend on 11th February about the protection of our offshore interests.

Low Flying

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will issue fresh instructions to the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy to confirm the need for the strictest observation of regulations regarding low flying.

I have already answered the hon. Member—[Vol. 886, c. 96]—that we insist on strict observance of the low-flying regulations and I see no need for fresh instructions. If the hon. Member has any specific complaints about low flying which he would like to bring to my attention I shall arrange for them to be investigated.

Policy

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Government defence policy, following the recent talks between United Kingdom and Soviet leaders.

I have nothing to add to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 18th February.—[Vol. 886, c. 1111–20.]

Expenditure

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made with his consultations with Great Britain's allies in preparation for the White Paper on defence expenditure.

The consultations with our allies are nearing completion, and I shall be publishing details in the Defence White Paper later this month.

Aircraft Contracts (Hsa Ltd)

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, if he has yet met representatives of the workforce of HSA Ltd. to discuss the effect on employment in that company of his proposed cuts in military aircraft contracts with that company.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to improve the cohesion and potential of the NATO alliance.

Her Majesty's Government will continue to contribute substantial forces to the alliance and to play a constructive part in co-operative efforts designed to improve NATO's effectiveness. As Chairman of the Euro-group this year I shall make every effort to promote these aims.

Northern Ireland

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been paid to date in compensation for death or injury of British troops serving in Northern Ireland.

I understand that, under the Criminal Injuries to Persons (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1968, there have been 167 awards to the dependants of Service personnel killed in Northern Ireland and a total of£795,050 has been paid in compensation. In addition, there have been 1,272 awards to Service personnel injured in Northern Ireland and a total of£2,166,825 has been paid in compensation. These payments are, of course, additional to any lump sums and pensions which may be payable by my Department and the Department of Health and Social Security.

Service Personnel (Children's Education)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many children of Service personnel are educated currently at public expense in the private sector of education in the United Kingdom.

Last December boarding school allowance was being paid in respect of 23,208 children of Armed Forces personnel. Nearly all the schools concerned are outside the maintained system.

Diego Garcia

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any of the ships and aircraft for which extended facilities are being prepared at the Diego Garcia base are nuclear naval units and A-bomb planes; and if he will make a statement.

It is the long-standing policy of Her Majesty's Government and of the United States Government neither to confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons in ships, aircraft or any particular location. But there are no plans to construct any specialised support facilities on Diego Garcia for nuclear powered or nuclear carrying vessels or aircraft.

Oman

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether British troops, other than those seconded to the service of the Sultan of Oman, have been involved in hostilities in the Sultanate since 1st January 1975.

I have nothing further to add to the reply given to my hon. Friend on 19th November 1974.—[Vol. 881, c. 357]

Maritime Harrier Aircraft

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make a statement upon the future of the maritime version of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier aircraft.

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now make a statement on the maritime Harrier and its use by the Royal and other navies.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his most recent thinking about the future of the maritime Harrier; and whether he will make a statement.

I have nothing further to add to the reply given earlier this afternoon to the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Lane) and the hon. Member for Chertsey and Walton (Mr. Pattie).

Chieftain Tanks

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the sale of 800 Chieftain tanks to Iran.

It is not our normal practice to disclose the details of individual arms deals with other Governments, but I can confirm that we are making good progress with this sale.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the current performance of the engine of the Chieftan tank; and if he will make a statement on the development of this engine.

On the whole, yes. I think we have now overcome the difficult problems that inevitably arise with a new kind of engine.

Eec Membership (Referendum)

asked the Lord President of the Council (1) if any of the organisations he consulted prior to the publication of the Referendum White Paper either suggested or supported the proposal that a Government information unit would provide interpretation of the terms renegotiated by Her Majesty's Government;(2) which bodies, of those he consulted prior to the publication of the Referendum White Paper, suggested or assented to the proposition that the main campaign organisations might reply to common questions in a possible leaflet to be distributed by Her Majesty's Government;(3) if he will publish in the

Official Report the texts of any suggestions he received from organisations he consulted, concerning the question to be placed on the ballot paper for the referendum, together with the name of the respective organisations concerned.

My discussions with the organisations concerned were confidential, but the Government took account of their views in the preparation of the White Paper on the referendum (Command 5925).

House Of Commons

Members' Salaries

asked the Lord President of the Council what would be the present salary scale of a MP on the basis of the same average percentage in- crease since 1970 as that received in wages by male manual workers.

I have been asked to reply.£6,604, on the basis of the latest available figures.

Employment

Short-Time Working

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current total number of people on short-time working; and when he expects to publish further figures.

In the week ended 18th January 1975, it is estimated that about 128,000 operatives in manufacturing industries in Great Britain were on short time. Of these, about 123,000 were working part of the week and about 5,000 were stood off for the whole week. The figures for the week ended 15th February 1975, which would normally first be published in the Department of Employment Gazette at the end of April, I hope to make available earlier in the month.

Textiles

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report details of the number of workers in the textile industry at the latest date for which figures are available who are on short-time working expressed as a percentage of the total work force in the textile industry.

In the week ended 18th January 1975, 20,800 operatives in the textiles industries—Order XIII of the Standard Industrial Classification—were either stood off for the whole week or were working short time in Great Britain. This number was 4·1 per cent. of all employees in employment in these industries.

Cost Of Living (London)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will give a comparison of the present cost of living index for London with the rest of the country; and whether he will make a statement.

There is no cost of living index for London, but I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) on 6th March.—[Vol. 887, c. 491.]

Coal, Steel, Engineering And Textiles

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish details in the Official Report of the total number employed in the coal mining, shipbuilding, textiles, heavy engineering, motor car production and

ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF EMPLOYEES IN EMPLOYMENT IN GREAT BRITAIN
(Thousands)
Index numbers (June 1948=100) are shown in parentheses
Coal miningTextilesIron and steelShip building and ship repairingMotor vehicle manufacturingOther engineering and allied industries
June 1948794·3922·4307·5227·3279·22,539·5
(100)(100)(100)(100)(100)(100)
June 1955784·7954·4327·4206·7329·43,041·3
(98·8)(103·5)(106·5)(90·9)(118·0)(119·8)
June 1959(a)756·0840·1329·3190·9327·03,084·6
(b)761·6840·9324·5190·9382·12,968·1
June 1964(a)589·7776·6354·0147·4479·83,193·3
(b)591·3780·7355·0147·8480·83,202·0
June 1965559·2767·4361·4152·4495·83,266·3
(70·0)(82·7)(118·9)(66·8)(151·7)(133·4)
June 1966(a)512·7756·6354·0153·1497·53,304·0
(b)512·7757·3353·6153·7499·83,335·6
June 1969(a)383·1704·2330·9144·0501·73,251·8
(b)383·1696·2328·6153·2514·13,215·5
June 1971(a)348·2612·3310·2159·4527·33,112·4
(b)346·0581·2322·7152·7529·02,882·6
December 1971(provisional)303·0520·1306·4150·1524·42,776·3
(38·0)(59·7)(97·7)(64·3)(155·3)(122·6)
Notes:
Figures for 1959(b) to 1969(a) are based on the Standard Industrial Classification (1958) and are not strictly comparable with earlier figures, based on the SIC (1948) and later figures, based on the SIC (1968).
Figures from 1964(b) have been calculated on a revised basis and are not strictly comparable with those for earlier dates.
Between June 1966 and June 1967 the industrial classifications of many establishments were corrected. The estimates for June 1966 are shown on both bases, that is (a) excluding and (b) including the effects of reclassifications.
Estimates up to 1971(a) are derived mainly from counts of National Insurance cards. Those from 1971(b) are based on censuses of employment.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the numbers of unemployed registered disabled people in Wales for each year since 1948; and if he will also express these totals as a percentage of all registered people.

the steel industries, respectively, in 1945, 1955, 1965 and 1975, respectively, expressing as a percentage the decrease or increase in each particular category.

The current series of employment estimates started in 1948. The following table shows the numbers of employees in each industry and, in brackets, index numbers based on June 1948=100. There have been a number of discontinuities in the series and linking figures have, therefore, been included for the dates in question. The index numbers allow for the discontinuities.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the numbers of unemployed registered disabled people in Scotland for each year since 1948; and if he will also express these totals as a percentage of all registered disabled.

The information for February of each year since 1953 is

WalesScotland
YearNumber of unemployed registered disabled peopleUnemployed registered disabled people as a percentage of all registered disabled peopleNumber of unemployed registered disabled peopleUnemployed registered disabled people as a percentage of all registered disabled people
19537,45113·49,08110·9
19545,97711·28,20010·0
19554,9489·57,4729·2
19564,5679·17,0938·9
19574,93810·37,3469·8
19584,96110·97,22710·1
19595,72213·08,45812·3
19605,73613·48,77413·2
19614,97011·88,00712·4
19625,16512·48,00612·5
19635,77014·19,34514·7
19645,02712·28,93714·1
19654,74411·67,71212·1
19664,68611·46,96410·9
19675,48513·47,84612·2
19685,87114·28,42713·0
19696,19015·08,76213·2
19706,23815·38,64013·4
19716,56216·39,72415·2
19727,52918·911,26417·9
19736,55916·39,73816·0
19745,37113·77,33612·5
19754,80712·96,49311·7

Social Services

Health Councils And Area Authorities

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied with the present level of co-operation between community health councils and area health authorities; and if she will make a statement.

The picture is variable but I am not aware of serious difficulties arising generally.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the Government intend to introduce legislation to provide a mobility allowance for disabled persons who are themselves unable to drive.

Invalid Tricycles

given in the table below. I regret that figures for earlier years are not available.

fact that the injury accident rate per million miles is 6·4 for invalid tricycles as compared with 1·7 in adapted cars issued by her Department, she will propose a scheme of compensation or damages for invalid tricycle drivers who suffer injury or further disablement as a result of accidents.

No. Motor insurance is available to invalid tricycle drivers as to other road users. The Department insures against third party risks and the same insurers, who are, I understand, experienced in the assessment of accident risks in this field, offer personal injury insurance for very modest premiums.

Health Authority Land (Disposal)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of sites disposed of in the area of the North-East Thames Regional Health Authority in the last 10 years; if she will list the major sites; and what was the total income from such sales of land.

All the information required by my hon. Friend is not easily available. The total receipts by the Health Service from the disposal of land in the area of the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board in the financial years from 1964–65 to 1973–74 was£1,100,402.Land sales in the last seven of those financial years from 41 sites amounted to 47 acres. Major sales yielding over£50,000 were:Wilfred Lawson NursesHome—Forest HMC.Nos. 24 and 26 Chalkwell Avenue, Southend—Southend HMC.Land at Turner Village Hospital—Royal Eastern Counties HMC.The Towers, Bishops Avenue, Enfield—Enfield HMC.

Abortion

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what answer has been given to the letter addressed to the Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Security from Dr. Elizabeth Elliott, MB, BCh, dated 27th February 1975, on the subject of the Select Committee considering the Abortion Amendment Bill.

I have not yet received the letter, but when I do I shall arrange for the hon. Member to receive a copy of the reply.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action she intends to take on the evidence submitted by the hon. Member for Wolver-hampton, North-East that a foœus lived for 17 hours in a kidney dish and then died of exposure.

I have drawn to the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions the report my hon. Friend sent me.

Deafness (Television Programme)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to publicise the BBC TV programme for the deaf "I see What You Mean" starting on 6th April at 12 noon.

My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that I am writing very shortly to both health and local authorities about the series, with the request that they bring it to public attention locally. Meanwhile, my Department is maintaining contact with the BBC over the arrangements for national publicity.

Scientology

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many professional associations or organisations have been consulted following and in connection with the report of the inquiry into the practice and effects of Scientology; and what were the dates upon which each of their replies were received.

Six. Their replies, including two from one organisation, were dated 29th February, 16th March, 19th April, 2nd May, 16th May, 31st May 1972 and 28th February 1973. These consultations related to only one of the recommendations in the report, namely that the practice of psychotherapy for reward should be controlled. Decisions on the report as a whole have not yet been taken.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any approach has been made to the Church of Scientology following the publication of the report of the inquiry into the practice and effects of Scientology.

No. My Department has, however, received two very full papers from this body giving its comments on the report, and these have been given due consideration.

Social Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish the caseload ratio of clients to social workers in each local authority social service department in England.

Hospital Advisory Service (Reports)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what provisions presently exist for the discussion of hospital advisory service reports by community health councils in order to allow such reports to be sufficiently widely distributed to permit thorough discussion of their contents by those concerned.

None at present. I appreciate the proper concern of community health councils to have as much information as possible about the hospitals in their districts, but to make these reports available to them would raise difficult issues of confidentiality and of mutual trust between the Hospital Advisory Service and hospital staff, which I am at present considering.

National Health Service (Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what were the annual administrative costs of the National Health Service for the years 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73 and 1973–74, respectively;(2) what estimate she has made of the administrative costs of the National Health Service for the 12-month period from 1st April 1974;(3) what percentage of the 1974–75 National Health Service budget is allocated to administration costs; and how this compares with the figures for 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, respectively.

For England the administrative costs in the National Health Service—excluding costs of local health authorities which cannot be separately identified—were as follows:

£
1969–7050,505,454
1970–7158,908,893
1971–7269,903,039
1972–7381,666,393
1973–7498,653,009
Expressed as a percentage of the total revenue costs for these years the figures are:
Percentage
1969–704·04
1970–713·99
1971–724·11
1972–734·22
1973–744·47
Estimates of administrative costs are made by individual health authorities and figures for 1974–75 are not available centrally.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what have been the non-recurring costs, to date, following the reorganisation of the National Health Service.

Non-recurring costs attributable to the National Health Service reorganisation for the period to 31st March 1974 were£4·3 million. Firm figures for 1974–75 are not yet available, but the non-recurring costs are provisionally estimated at£1·6 million.

National Health Service (Staff)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the ratio of persons employed by the National Health Service in an administrative capacity to consultants, hospital doctors, nurses and ancillary staff similarly employed by the National Health Service in each of the last five years.

I regret that the information requested is not yet available for 1974. Ratios for the years 1970 to 1973 are as below:ENGLAND—

Hospital Services ( Whole-Time Equivalents)

1970

1971

1972

1973

Ratio Administrative and Clerical to Consultants, Doctors, Nurses and Ancillary Staff1:7·61:7·51:7·41:6·9

NOTES:

1. Administrative and Clerical staff under the purview of the National Health Service Administrative and Clerical Staff Council in hospitals, Regional Hospital Boards, Hospital Management Committees, Boards of Governors, mass radiography units and blood transfusion centres.

2. Medical and Nursing staff excluding locums and including midwives.

Tuc And Cbi

Q8.

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

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend met representatives of the TUC last week to discuss the Industry Bill and further meetings on this subject will be arranged as necessary. He expects to meet representatives of the CBI again in the near future.

Scotland (Prime Minister's Visit)

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his visit to Scotland.

The meetings which my right hon. Friend had with the STUC and the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) provided a most valuable opportunity for wide-ranging discussions of matters vital to the Scottish economy. My right hon. Friend has proposed that these meetings should be repeated at annual intervals.

Security (Government Departments)

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister what steps he intends to take to improve security within Government Departments.

I have been asked to reply.I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, West (Mr. Sedgemore) on 30th January.

Social Contract (Ministers' Speeches)

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of the Secretary of State for the Environment on the social contract, delivered in Grimsby on Friday 22nd February, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech by the Secretary of State for the Environment to the North Lincolnshire Society of Quantity Surveyors on the social contract, on 21st February, represents Government policy.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech of the Secretary of State for the Environment on the social contract at Grimsby on 21st February represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

I have been asked to reply.I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson).

Social Contract (Minister's Speeches)

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer made at Lewes on 22nd February 1975 concerning the social contract represents Government policy.

M Ortoli

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite M. Ortoli to make an official visit to London.

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

M Tindemans

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister what preparations have been made by Her Majesty's Government for the forthcoming visit of Mr. Tindemans.

I have been asked to reply.I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave him on 6th March.

South-East Lancashire

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to South-East Lancashire.

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

Agriculture Fisheries And Food

Forestry

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will outline the functions of the regional advisory committees on forestry.

The functions of the regional advisory committees on forestry are to advise the commissioners on their functions under Section 1(3) and Part II of the Forestry Act 1967. They also advise as required on the social effect of the commissioners' activities, on recreation and other amenities in the commission's forests, and on good relations with other interested bodies.In addition, I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend's statement on 5th July—[Vol. 876, c.

288]—last year in which he indicated the basis on which the commission would consult regional advisory committees on grant applications, felling licensing and planning matters.

Pig Breeding Herd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the current number of young sows in the United Kingdom pig breeding herd, together with comparable figures for each of the last 10 years.

The most recent available figures of young sows in the United Kingdom pig breeding herd are those collected for the 1974 December agricultural census. The provisional results of that census and figures for the preceding nine years are set out below:

Gilts in the UK Pig Breeding Herd
YearDecember Census '000 Head
1965100
1966111
1967122
1968129
1969130
1970142
1971106
1972138
1973135
1974(provisional)85

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the current trends in the size of the United Kingdom pig breeding herd; and what are the consequences for pig meat production in the next 12 months.

Between June 1973 and June 1974 the size of the United Kingdom pig breeding herd declined by about 12 per cent, to 897,000 head. In the six months to December 1974 there was a further reduction of about 9 per cent, to a total of about 819,000 head, which may be expected to result in a corresponding decrease in the volume of home production of pigmeat in 1975 as compared with 1974. But the prospects for pig producers are now favourable and we hope that this will be reflected in a recovery in the breeding herd.

Pigmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made with the European Economic Community Commission towards negotiating a guaranteed price for pigmeat which will reflect both production costs and variations in the value of the green pound.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement my right hon. Friend made in the House on 17th February 1975.—[Vol. 886, c. 917–20.]

Fishing Grants

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why it was necessary to notify the European Commission of the Government's intention to grant the financial aid to the fishing industry which he announced to the House on 27th February.

Fish Prices (Hull)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he was aware, when the new fishing subsidy was announced, of the Hull trawler owners' intention to increase their new reserve price for fish on the Hull market to£13 a kit, an increase of£5 and of 70 per cent.

The Fish Producers Organisation, which includes the Hull trawler owners in its membership, had informed me of its intention to increase the withdrawal prices governing its members' produce.

Agricultural Development And Advisory Service

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the help and advice available to farmers from his Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.

A main ADAS objective is to encourage farmers and growers to go on improving the productivity of their businesses and to help them do so. This is especially important at a time when we need to make the best use of all our resources. I have, therefore, been looking at how the service goes about its development and advisory work, and have today placed in the Library of the House a paper setting out my conclusions.The paper re-emphasises the importance of the work and the value to farmers and growers of the advice offered by ADAS on technical and business management matters. I hope that those who can benefit from this advice will take full advantage of it, in their interests and the nation's. The many changes affecting our agricultural and horticultural industries in recent years, the problems and opportunities they are now facing and the importance of their contributions to our food supplies and to the national economy, all underline the need for farmers and growers to produce efficiently more of the food we can grow at home, and for effective development and advice to help them do it.In order to make the best use of its available manpower and other resources in this field ADAS will be continually reviewing and updating its knowledge, its methods and its priorities. Of fundamental importance are research and development, an intimate knowledge of the farming situation in which advice is being given, and advisors who are trained and equipped to be able to offer, with confidence, understanding and knowledge, advice that is relevant, practical, informed and forward-looking. While the Agricultural Research Council is responsible for most Government-financed agricultural research, ADAS has for long played a major rôle in development work and this will be increasing. In continuing to give impartial advice to all farmers and growers who seek it, advisers will use their discretion in determining whether individual, group or mass methods of communication are appropriate to the particular situation.The Government attach the greatest importance to the rôle to be played by ADAS in helping farmers and growers with the task that lies ahead of them. I am confident that this reappraisal of the development and advisory work of ADAS will enable the service to play its role to the full.

Home Department

Police (Complaints)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in establishing machinery for the independent investigation of complaints against the police.

As my right hon. Friend explained in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) on 6th March—[Vol. 887, c. 1754–5.] —consultations are well advanced.

Police Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why police officers have to pay 7 per cent. of their pay in pension contributions when most other public services pay only 6 per cent. in contributory schemes.

The police scheme provides after 30 years a pension equivalent in value to that earned after 40 years in most other public service schemes. Because contributions are paid for a shorter period, and pensions are paid for a longer period. the police scheme is more expensive than others.

Illegal Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking with regard to the amnesty for illegal entrants.

Anyone who applies under the terms of my announcement of 11th April 1974 can have complete confidence that his case will be looked at carefully and impartially, and that the will receive the benefit of that announcement if he comes within its terms. No one who claims the benefit of my announcement will be expelled from the United Kingdom, whether by formal deportation or otherwise, unless his case has been examined personally by a Minister.

Crown Court (Bury St Edmunds)

asked the Attorney-General if he will arrange for affected Members to be informed of the source of representations for the removal of the Crown court from Bury St. Edmunds and the reasons therefor; and if he will ensure that all relevant local views will be considered before the question is decided.

My noble Friend has not received any representations from any source suggesting the removal of the Crown court from Bury St. Edmunds. If at any time my noble Friend were to consider removing the Crown court from Bury St. Edmunds he would inform all concerned of such a proposal, invite representations, and take into consideration all relevant opinions before deciding the matter.

Race Relations

asked the Attorney-General if he will refer to the Director of Public Prosecutions the matter of the proposed new arts complex in London for the exclusive promotion and encouragement of the work of coloured artists in order to consider prosecution of those responsible for it under the Race Relations Act.

Education And Science

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many people entered teaching in primary and secondary schools in the current academic year; how many were graduates and how many were re-entrants into teaching; and what he expects the comparative figures to be for each of the next five years.

Figures for the current academic year are not yet available since each term varies. I am now considering future policy and it is not yet possible to give estimates for the next five years.

Fifth And Sixth Formers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of fifth form scholars in those areas of England where sixth form colleges exist have entered on a sixth form course in each year from 1968 onwards; and how this compares with the proportion of sixth formers to fifth formers in neighbouring areas served by conventional secondary schools.

My Department does not have this information. Statistics are collected for the area of each local education authority, while the majority of sixth form colleges serve relatively small parts of such areas. Even then some coexist with other forms of sixth form provision.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many sixth form colleges there were in England and what numbers of students were attending them in each year from 1968 onwards.

The information is as follows:Sixth form colleges (schools) for the 16 to 18 age range in England, 1968 to 1974.

At J St JanuaryNumber of collegesNumber of pupils
196832,129
196953,255
197095,128
1971127,312
1972148,912
19732111,737
19743820,678

School Places (Wakefield)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science in view of the increasing school population of Crofton, in the metropolitan area of Wakefield, if he will give immediate consent for the provision of school places to avoid overcrowding.

Lump sum authorisations for school building in 1975–76 have been announced to local education authorities, and it will be for the Wakefield authority to decide if it wishes to make provision at Crofton within the total available to it.

School Transport Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish in the Official Report a table indicating each local education authority's school transport costs for the last 12 months for which figures are available.

The information is as follows:

EXPENDITURE ON TRANSPORTING PUPILS BETWEEN HOME AND SCHOOL: ENGLAND AND WALES—FINANCIAL YEAR, 1973–74
LEA£Outturn Prices
ENGLAND: COUNTIES
Bedfordshire467,280
Berkshire549,330
Buckinghamshire750,308
Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely424,555
Cheshire1,100,937
Cornwall539,948
Cumberland350,500
Derbyshire590,423
Devon928,032
Dorset555,893
Durham763,474
Essex1,434,881
Gloucestershire658,101
Hampshire1,034,559
Herefordshire292,312
Hertfordshire1,244,151
Huntingdonshire and Peterborough299,317
Isle of Wight138,795
Isles of Scilly2,082
Kent1,508,137
Lancashire1,994,125
Leicestershire578,857
Lincolnshire-Hollandn.a.
Lincolnshire-Kestevenn.a.
Lincolnshire-Lindseyn.a.
Norfolk640,832
Northamptonshire469,561
Northumberland546,736
Nottinghamshire560,096
Oxfordshire333,496
Rutlandn.a.
Shropshire501,048
Somerset1,040,769
Staffordshire589,196
Suffolk East406,633
Suffolk West340,452
Surrey1,118,695
Sussex East454,437
Sussex West528,711
Warwickshire696,674
Westmorland133,180
Wiltshire593,564
Worcestershire536,632
Yorkshire East Riding347,980
Yorkshire North Riding503,246
Yorkshire West Riding1,532,196
ENGLAND: COUNTY BOROUGHS
Barnsley15,257
Barrow in Furnessn.a.
Bath27,036
Birkenhead62,130
Birmingham439,927
Blackburnn.a.
Blackpool44,203
Bolton62,375
Bootle38,214
Bournemouth61,362
Bradford187,912
Brightonn.a.
Bristol147,792
Burnleyn.a.
Burton on Trentn.a.
Bury22,806
Canterburyn.a.
Carlislen.a.
Chester27,337
Coventry172,923
Darlington16,363
Derby123,465
Dewsburyn.a.
Doncaster21,667
Dudleyn.a.
Eastbournen.a.
Exeter23,356
Gateshead28,227
Gloucester52,014
Great Yarmouth13,851
Grimsby7,871
Halifax67,750
Hartlepool40,967
Hastings19,156
Huddersfield72,327
Ipswich21,765
Kingston upon Hull129,865
Leeds272,972
Leicester169,805
Lincolnn.a.
Liverpool375,663
Lutonn.a.
Manchester288,373
Newcastle upon Tyne90,278
Northamptonn.a.
Norwich39,681
Nottingham91,114
Oldham27,675
Oxford33,697
Plymouth128,605
Portsmouth53,339
Preston37,000
Reading66,142
Rochdale16,630
Rotherhamn.a.
St. Helens23,455
Salford33,400
Sheffield166,497
Solihull61,603
Southampton56,584
Southend on Sea49,635
Southport31,502
South Shields32,922
Stockport56,310
Stoke on Trent104,053
Sunderland32,191
Teesside116,535
Torbay32,331
Tynemouth13,556
Wakefield15,480
Wallasey41,315
Walsall42,570

LEA£ Outturn Prices
Warley47,805
Warringtonn.a.
West Bromwich43,000
Wigan14,063
Wolverhampton82,494
Worcester23,516
Yorkn.a.
OUTER LONDON
Barking654,890
Barnet228,624
Bexleyn.a.
Brent362,447
Bromley252,457
Croydon302,971
Ealing514,000
Enfield226,394
Harringey138,498
Harrow117,423
Havering212,485
Hillingdon216,569
Hounslow269,059
Kingston upon Thames71,435
Mertonn.a.
Newham153,390
Redbridge209,198
Richmond upon Thames122,808
Sutton141,477
Waltham Forest118,849
INNER LONDON1,236,046
WALES: COUNTIES
Anglesey121,002
Breconshire135,000
Caernarvonshire185,048
Cardiganshire135,370
Carmarthenshire291,985
Denbighshire300,192
Flintshire206,539
Glamorgan1,186,670
Merioneth100.163
Monmouthshire613,034
Montgomeryshire218,297
Pembrokeshire214,020
Radnorshire116,000
WALES: COUNTY BOROUGHS
Cardiff165.001
Merthyr Tydfil48,992
Newport (Monmouthshire)51.123
Swansea163,023

Libraries

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated cost per annum of running local authority libraries, university libraries and central libraries within his responsibility; what is the cost of providing library facilities for the disabled and the elderly; what actions are proposed to provide library facilities or their equivalents for the housebound, elderly and disabled; and if he will make a statement.

The available figures are given below. Statistics are not kept of the cost of providing specifically for the groups of library users mentioned by my hon. Friend. The extent and character of the facilities needed for them are matters for decision by the public library authorities and the other bodies responsible, and I have no grounds for thinking that there is a general need for me to remind them of their responsibilities. Nevertheless, I have asked the Library Advisory Council to give thought to the question and to report in due course.

Current expenditure in 1973–74£ million at outturn prices
Public Libraries in England and Wales90·49
University Libraries*(England and Wales)17·61
British Library†8·82
*Figures estimated on the basis of expenditure in 1972–73 increased to allow for cost increases, etc. They exclude expenditure on rates, heating, lighting, repairs and general maintenance.
†The British Library came into bieng on 1st July 1973. The figure shown is estimated from expenditure incurred between 1st July 1973 and 31st March 1974.

Coventry College Of Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has now considered the future of Coventry College of Education; and if he will make a statement.

This matter is still under consideration in the light of the Minister of State's discussions with those concerned locally during his visit to Coventry on 14th February.

Laurence Sterne (Portrait)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is able to make a further statement about Government assistance toward the acquisition by the National Portrait Gallery of the portrait of Laurence Sterne by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The Government have now agreed that Parliament shall be asked to approve a special purchase grant of£10,000 to the National Portrait Gallery to enable it to acquire this picture. The money will be advanced from the Contingencies Fund until such time as an Estimate can be laid before Parliament.

Environment

Prefabricated Dwellings

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what decision he has reached on the possibility of alleviating the housing problem by the provision of prefabricated dwellings on a large scale.

This matter will be dealt with in a forthcoming circular to local authorities which will be issued very shortly.

Al (South Mimms)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the contract for the A 1 (M) South Mimms scheme was extended to March 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department was informed when the contractor for the A l(M) South Mimms scheme laid off several hundred employees.

Yes. The number of contractors staff on site is reported to the Department monthly.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when an application was made to extend the contract for the A1(M) South Mimms scheme beyond March 1975.

Al (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for future road widening schemes for the Al between inner London and the North Circular Road, North London.

The only scheme in the current trunk road programme on this section of the Al is the proposed improvement between Winchester Road and the Wellington Junction which was the subject of a public inquiry early last year.

Speed Limits

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will consider a relaxation of the criteria laid down by his Department in regard to speed limits in rural areas to meet cases where local residents are satisfied of the need, in the interest of safety, for speed limits on stretches of road which do not wholly satisfy the current criteria.

Advice given by the Department to local authorities covers special consideration for villages in rural areas but local authorities are free to seek further advice on difficult cases. I fear that any general relaxation of the criteria might lead to proliferation of unrealistically low limits that would debase the road safety value of speed limits as a whole.

Local Authority Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list those sections of statutes which impose mandatory expenditure on local authorities, and also those which give permissive powers to local authorities to spend money, indicating in each case the nature of the expenditure.

This information could not be obtained except at disproportionate expense.

M5

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the 50 mph limit exhibited on the M5 bridge over the Avon at Bristol is mandatory or advisory; and how motorists are supposed to tell which it is.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for drawing my attention to this. It was intended to install advisory signs to protect workmen engaged on repairs, but mandatory signs were used in error. I have arranged for them to be removed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the action to correct the dangerous bumps in the M5 north of Exit 21, concerning which a Question was tabled more than three months ago, will be completed.

M62

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the intended opening date of the final section of the M62 motorway into Liverpool; and what is the intended opening date of the M62 Rocket Flyover at Broadgreen, Liverpool.

Both the motorway and the Queens Drive Viaduct (Rocket Flyover) are included in the same contract, which provides for completion in December this year. The motorway works are proceeding according to programme but the viaduct works have been delayed by shortage of materials. Because of the importance of the viaduct to the scheme as a whole, it is not at present possible to estimate when the motorway and viaduct will be opened to traffic.

Refuse (Non-Collection)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to make it mandatory for local authorities to reimburse ratepayers the appropriate portion of the rates related to refuse collections for those periods during which refuse is not collected when caused by industrial action for prolonged periods.

No. Rates are levied to meet the estimated cost of all local government services after allowing for government grants and other income. Local authorities will take into account any shortfall or excess in actual total expenditure as compared with the estimates in determining their levies for next year.

British Rail (Passenger Forecasts)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet received further information from British Rail about its passenger forecasts; and when he now expects to be ready to authorise the board's investment in a new seat reservation computer system.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

American Central Intelligence Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it is his policy to regard as admissible and compatible with diplomatic privileges all intelligence-gathering operations by members of the American Central Intelligence Agency active in the United Kingdom which do not involve any infringement of the law.

We would naturally consider taking appropriate action against any diplomatic mission if there were evidence of inadmissible activities incompatible with the functions of a diplomatic mission.

Eec Countries (Detained British Subjects)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects have been held in investigative detention by Common Market countries since the United Kingdom joined the EEC.

Excluding the Irish Republic, for which no figures are available, our records show that 524 citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies have been arrested and detained in other Common Market countries during the period 1st January 1973 to 5th March 1975.

National Finance

Finance Bill (Amendments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of amendments to the Finance Bill tabled on Report stage by the Government; how many were tabled on each day; and how many represented changes to previous Government amendments.

Taxation (Letter)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to be able to reply to the letter on taxation matters which he received from Mr. J. Bowan of Liverpool which was forwarded to him from the Prime Minister's Office on 29th July 1974.

Inflation Accounting (Sandilands Report)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to receive the report of the Sandilands Committee into inflation accounting; and whether he intends to publish the report.

I understand that Mr. Sandilands' committee hopes to be able to submit its report to the Government by about the end of April, and it is the Government's intention to publish it as soon as possible thereafter.

Paye (Staff Dispersal)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many personnel are employed on the PAYE affairs of London and South Eastern tax districts which have been transferred to the provinces in each of the provincial towns concerned.

Double Taxation Convention

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made in the renegotiation of the Double Taxation Convention with the United States of America.

Dividend Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much United Kingdom tax was payable by a resident of the United States of America on an annual income of£1,000 from United Kingdom dividends before 5th April 1973; how much has been payable since that date; what is the reason for the increase; and what action he proposes to take.

pusuant to his reply [Official Report, 10th March 1975], gave the following information:

1974–75£m.1975–76£m.Percentage increase in real terms Per cent.
Revenue Allocation110·227114·2773·67
Capital Allocation*14·20015·1006·34
Total124·427129·3773·98
*The figures include the capital expenditure of the Welsh Health Technical Services Organisation on behalf of Area Health Authorities in Wales.

Before 6th April 1973 a maximum of£150 United Kingdom tax would have been payable on a United Kingdom dividend of£1,000 going to a resident of the United States who fulfilled the relevant conditions of the United States double taxation agreement. Following changes in the United Kingdom system of taxing company profits and dividends he would pay no United Kingdom tax on a dividend paid on or after that date. He would not, however, receive any of the credit which an individual United Kingdom resident shareholder would receive in respect of a dividend. Negotiations to amend the agreement are continuing.

Wales

Area Health Authorities (Finance)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will publish in the Official Report details of the financial allocation to each teaching and non-teaching area health authority in Wales for 1975–76; and if he will publish the comparable figures for 1974–75 and indicate the percentage change in real terms;(2) what is the per capita allocation of finance for each teaching and non-teaching area health authority in Wales for 1975–76.

The financial allocations to individual area health authorities for 1975–76 have not yet been finalised.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish details in the Official Report of the total allocation for all area health authorities in Wales for 1975–76 and the comparable figure for 1974–75; and what is the percentage change in real terms.

Mental Illness (Day Centres)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many local authority social services departments in Wales are planning to close down day centres for the mentally ill; and if he will list them.

asked the Secretary tary of State for Wales what would be the effect of any proposed closure of local authority day centres for the mentally ill on the number of available places in Wales in total and per 1,000 population for each local authority area, as stated in his reply of 13th December 1974.

Of the four day centres for the mentally ill provided by social services departments in Wales only one, which has 23 places, is planned to close. The number of places in units attached to hospitals remains the same. The resultant figures per 1,000 population for Wales as a whole is 0·23. The position by local authority area is as follows:

Day centre placesPlaces in units attached to hospitalsRate per 1,000 population
Clwyd320·09
Dyfed690·22
Gwent87180·24
South Glamorgan3500·89
West Glamorgan780·21

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received about proposed closures of day centres for the mentally ill in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

None directly, but my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary was sent a copy of a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Social Services Committee for Gwent County Council by the office in Wales of the National Association for Mental Health, protesting at the decision to close a day centre in Gwent. The decision about this centre is entirely one for Gwent County Council to take.

Council Of Social Services

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total amount of grant given by the Welsh Office to the Council of Social Services for Wales in each year since 1964.

Responsibility for payment of grant formerly paid by the Welsh Board of Health was transferred to the Welsh Office on 1st April 1969. Since then grant paid is:

Year£
1969–702,350
1970–712,600
1971–723,558
1972–737,982
1973–7421,625
1974–7521,795 (to date)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total amount of grant that he will be allocating to the Council of Social Services for Wales for 1975–76.

Social Work Cases

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the case load ratio of clients to social workers in each local authority social services department in Wales.

Unfit Housing

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many classified unfit houses there are still waiting to be cleared in Wales.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment on 12th February 1975.—[Vol. 886, c. 139–40.]

Ministerial Appointments

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a list of the names of all the bodies in Wales which he is responsible for appointing and a list of those bodies to which he appoints some of the members; and, in each case, if he will indicate the number of members for whom he is responsible.

As the list is long I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Library.

Energy

Fuel Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the total cost to the Central Electricity Generating Board of (a) coal, (b) oil, and (c) nuclear fuels in the most recent year for which figures are available, and the cost per kWh for each type of energy.

Power Stations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the present position in respect of the timetable of construction of the second stage of the Drax coal-fired power station.

The construction of the second stage of Drax is linked to the development of the Selby coalfield, which is to be the subject of a public inquiry starting shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many oil, coal and nuclear power stations he has already sanctioned, and proposes to sanction, for 1976, 1977 and 1978; and what are their location, types and capacities.

I have not yet given capital investment approval for any major power stations for ordering in the years mentioned. Decisions on particular orders are not taken until the CEGB puts forward firm proposals.

North Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give an up-to-date assessment of the reserves of individual commercial North Sea oilfields, following the revision of Ninian reserves by BP/Sohio in their prospectus for funds for the Trans-Alaskan oil pipeline.

Estimates of reserves of individual oilfields are published by the companies concerned. These must remain liable to revision since firm estimates can only be given once production experience has been gained. The Government's up-to-date assessment of total production and reserves of North Sea oil will be published shortly in my right hon. Friend's 1975 report to Parliament.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what extent the energy policy of the EEC will affect Great Britain's control over North Sea oil.

We have made it abundantly clear in Brussels that our resources of oil and gas in the North Sea must remain under our national control.

Offshore Supplies (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the estimated expenditure which may be paid by way of grants under the offshore supplies interest relief grant scheme in each of the financial years 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78 and 1978–79.

The estimated expenditure is as follows:

£ million
1974–750·6
1975–765·0
1976–778·0
1977–789·5
1978–7910·0

Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what floor price the Government consider appropriate for British coal and synthetic natural gas to enable funds to be diverted to the latter in order to formulate an economically viable process.

At 1974 prices it would not be economically competitive to use coal for the production of substitute natural gas in the United Kingdom using established coal gasification technology even if the cost of coal was zero. Newer processes under development in the United States of America, if successful, might enable substitute natural gas to be produced at a cost about double that of the coal feedstock, and would then be economically viable with United Kingdom coal at present prices if the gas were worth about 15p a therm.

Northern Ireland

Derelict Houses

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what plans he has for the clearing away of derelict houses in Ahoghill;(2) What plans he has for the clearing away of derelict houses in Rasharkin;(3) what plans he has for the clearing away of derelict houses in Portglenone.

I am advised by the Housing Executive that its five-year programme provides for three redevelopment schemes to deal with areas of unfit housing in Ahoghill; that the local public health inspectors have been asked to investigate the extent of unfit housing in Rasharkin and future action will largely depend on the outcome of this investigation; and that, at present, there are no plans to deal with derelict houses in Portglenone.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will now make a statement on his decision about the age limit for recruits for the RUC Reserve.

The Police Authority and the Chief Constable have agreed that the age limit for recruitment shall be raised to the sixtieth birthday, and applications from people up to that age are now being considered.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will now take steps to merge the Northern Ireland airports police with the RUC.

Housing (Rasharkin)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he can announce the date when the houses at Greenwood Park, Rasharkin, will have a piped water supply;(2) if he can announce the date when the houses at Lisnahunchon Road, Rasharkin, will be repaired and have a piped water supply.

This is a day-to-day matter for the Housing Executive. I will ask the Chairman to write to the hon. Member.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Textiles

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what protection is available to the consumer purchasing textiles that have been manufactured abroad.

Consumers have the same legal protection when buying imported goods as they have when buying domestically produced goods. In addition, the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 requires origin marking for imported goods to which a United Kingdom name or mark is applied. This should prevent consumers from being misled when there may otherwise be doubt whether the goods are of United Kingdom origin.

Member's Correspondence

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when the hon. and learned Member for Solihull may expect to receive a reply to his letter of 25th November 1974 regarding the letter from his constituent, Mr. Wright, about the social contract and other matters.

My Department has no trace of having received the letter to which the hon. and learned Member refers. I have now received a letter dated 3rd March from the hon. and learned Member and a reply was sent to him on 11th March.

Trade

Air Travel (Customers' Compensation)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the air travel organisers who would qualify for their customers to be reimbursed under the terms of Clause 2(5) of the Air Travel Reserve Fund Bill.

Subject to the provisions of Clause 2(1) of the Bill, customers of the following air travel organisers, if they incurred losses or liabilities in connection with an overseas surface travel contract, could come within the scope of Clause 2(5):

  • Clarksons Holidays Limited.
  • Halcyon Holidays Limited.
  • Airfair Limited.
  • Apal Travel Limited.
  • Kentways Limited.
  • Tabberer Travel Agency Limited.
  • P. Thornes Electrical (Europe) Ltd.

These air travel organisers are known to have been unable to perform overseas travel contracts before 6th February 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the air travel organisers who would qualify for their customers to be reimbursed under the terms of Clause 2(4)(b) of the Air Travel Reserve Fund Bill.

The failure of one air travel organiser is known to have occurred in circumstances which would bring its customers within the scope of Clause 2(4)(b) of the Bill, namely, Columbia Air Charter and Tour Brokers Limited—trading as Western Jet.

Hosiery Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what restraints, if any, apply to the import of half-hose into the United Kingdom; and if, in view of the threat to jobs in the half-hose industry because of imports from low cost countries, he will take steps to restrict imports in the immediate future to their current levels.

Imports of socks from the State trading countries are already under restraint, and if imports from other sources threaten to disrupt the market, the Government would be prepared to take whatever action might be necessary.In relation to United Kingdom consumption, imports of socks are small and those from Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan supply less than 1 per cent. of the United Kingdom market.

Machine Tools

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his estimate of the number of machine tool castings being imported at the present time; what is their country of origin; and whether he will make a statement.

Official statistics are not available, but imports are believed to be small, especially in relation to industry's usage.

Industry

Supersonic Flights (Us Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will obtain and make a statement on the report published by the United States Government into the effects of supersonic flying in the stratosphere in so far as it affects British interests; and, in particular, what effects the report will have on the Concorde programme.

The Report of the Climatic Impact Assessment Programme of the United States Department of Transportation is not yet available in this country in full. I have seen the executive summary, however, and will arrange for a copy to be placed in the House of Commons Library. The report concludes that operations of present-day supersonic transport aircraft and those currently scheduled to enter service will cause climatic effects which are much smaller than what is minimally detectable; and that future harmful effects to the environment can be avoided if timely measures are taken.This conclusion, which is in line with the findings of joint Anglo-French research on the same subject, should be helpful towards our immediate objective of getting Concorde into airline service as soon as possible.

Rhodesian Project (Eec Participation)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate, with a view to prosecution, the connivance of the British Steel Corporation in breaching sanctions against Rhodesia by becoming involved, through the EEC Technical Research Committee, in a pig iron research project to be undertaken by the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation;(2) if he will veto the proposal by the EEC Technical Research Committee to approve a grant of£20,000 for the development of a new pig iron casting process to be undertaken by the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation; and if he will raise the matter at the next meeting of the Committee in connection with the maintenance of sanctions;(3) if, at the next meeting of the EEC Coal and Steel Consultative Committee, he will raise the matter of the Committee's dealings with the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 3rd March 1975; Vol. 887, c. 297.], gave the following information:The International Pig Iron Secretariat, a commercial organisation of users and producers in which the British Steel Corporation participates through the British Pig Iron Group, requested financial assistance from the European Commission towards a research project to be undertaken in France. The Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation would have made a very small financial contribution to the project. Following objections by BSC to Rhodesian participation a new proposal for the same project in which the Rhodesian Corporation will not now participate has been submitted. I understand that this is to be put to the ECSC Consultative Committee—comprising representatives of producers, trade unions and consumers—since the technical merit of the project has already been endorsed by the ECSC Technical Research Committee. Subsequently, the proposal will be scrutinised by the official level Working Group on ECSC questions. This will provide the first opportunity for Governments of member States to comment, as part of the procedure whereby the Commission is required to obtain the assent of the Council of Ministers to the assistance being sought.There is no question of BSC being involved in any breach of sanctions against Rhodesia.

"Scottish Daily News"

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether his offer of financial assistance under the Industry Act 1972 to the Scottish Daily News still stands now that his deadline of 28th February has passed.

The date by which the conditions attached to the Government's offer must be met was extended last month to 30th March 1975.

Scotland

Fishing Grants