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Written Answers

Volume 901: debated on Thursday 20 March 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 20th March 1975

Scottish Assembly(Minister's Speech)

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech made by the Lord President of the Council on 5th March on the subject of the Scottish Assembly represents official Government policy.

Education And Science

Teacher Supply

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has completed his review of future teacher supply policy for England and Wales; and whether he will make a statement.

The Government have reviewed their policy in the light of the continuing fall in the birthrate and the prospective sustained decline in the school population after 1977, and have sought the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Supply and Training of Teachers. The Government aim to ensure that there should be enough teachers to permit the elimination of classes over 30 in the early 1980s, the continuing expansion of education for the under-fives, and programmes of induction and in-service training as recommended in the James Report.The prospective decline in the school population should enable staffing standards to be improved with fewer teachers than the previous calculations indicated. It also calls for the careful management of the future size of the teacher force so as to avoid a sudden swing from growth during the present decade to contraction during the 1980s, as pupil numbers continue to decline.With these considerations in mind, and following the advice they have received from the advisory committee, the Government now intend to plan for a teaching force in the maintained schools in England and Wales reaching an upper limit of 480,000 to 490,000 by 1981. These plans and the situation thereafter will need to be kept under regular review in the light of changing economic circumstances and later forecasts of the prospective school population.Since the need for newly qualified teachers will be reduced it will be necessary to restrict the output of newly qualified teachers. This means that our teacher training capacity outside the universities will have to be contracted to about 60,000 places. As a result, some 30 colleges will have to give up initial teacher training, though as many as possible will be used for other educational purposes. Within this total special attention will have to be given to the balance of training and particularly to the need for specialist teachers.My Department has today published a detailed account of the statistical projections and calculations which underlie the Government's policy, and copies of this document are available in the Vote Office.

Agricultural Research

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in view of the current shortages and prices of food, he will restore the Government grant for agricultural research to at least its previous level and resume recruiting for the Agricultural Research Service.

In real terms, the total funds available to the Agricultural Research Council in 1975–76 will only be ½ per cent. less than in the current year. This reflects the advice I have received from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, regarding the relative priorities of agricultural research and those of other Research Council fields in 1975–76, when the total finance available for all Research Councils will fall by over 1 per cent.Policy on recruitment to research establishments supported by the Agricultural Research Council is a matter for the council to decide.The level of grants to the eight independent research institutes which form part of the Agricultural Research Service in Scotland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

School Transport

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the cost in this financial year of the provision of free school transport.

The information for the current financial year is not yet available. Expenditure by English local education authorities on transport between home and school in the financial year 1973–74 is estimated at £41 million.

Student-Staff Ratios(Universities And Polytechnics)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what have been the staff-student ratios in universities and polytechnics for the last four years.

In each of the four years to 1973–74 for universities in Great Britian the ratio of full-time students to each full-time member of the academic staff wholly financed from university funds was 8·1, 8·1 8·0 and 8·0 respectively. In the same years for polytechnics in England and Wales, the ratio of students to each full-time member of the teaching staff was approximately 7·6, 7·9, 7·1 and 6·9 after allowing for the substantial number of part-time students on taught courses. Figures for the academic year 1974–75 are not yet available and those for 1973–74 are provisional estimates.

Expenditure (Schools)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total expenditure on school building in England and Wales at current prices in each year since 1968–69; and what is the estimated expenditure on school building in England and Wales at current prices for each of the next five years.

The expenditure on school buildings in England in the financial years 1969–70 to 1973–74 was:

£ million at 1974 Survey Prices
1969–70309·9
1970–71360·8
1971–72424·0
1972–73509·8
1973–74*375·9
The corresponding expenditure for 1974–75 and future years implied by the projections in the White Paper "Public Expenditure to 1978–79" (Cmnd. 5879) is:
£ million at 1974 Survey Prices
1974–75304·7
1975–76302·9
1976–77287·0
1977–78254·9
1978–79242·7
*Provisional.
School building programmes for Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was (a) the total expenditure on education in England and Wales, and (b) the total educational expenditure borne by rates in the financial years 1972–73, 1973–74 and 1974–75.

The total net recurrent expenditure on education in England and Wales in the financial years 1972–73 and 1973–74 was £2,684 million and £3.078 million respectively of which the amounts borne on the rates were about £990 million and £1,080 million respectively. Figures for 1974–75 are not yet available.

Student Grants (Parental Contribution)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the estimated cost of abolishing the parental contribution to the student grants of (a) married women students and (b) post-graduate students if the parents lost the child allowance for those purposes at the same time.

For the current academic year, the estimated net cost of abolishing the parental contribution to student awards if the child allowance for income tax were withdrawn is about £0·1 million for dependent married women students and £0·4 million for postgraduate students.

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of total public expenditure on higher education expenditure on student grants has represented in each of the last 10 years.

The proportions of total recurrent public expenditure on higher and further education in England and Wales attributable to student maintenance grants in the financial years 1964–65 to 1973–74 were as follows:

Per cent.
1964–6516·1
1965–6616·8
1966–6717·0
1967–6816·8
1968–6917·3
1969–7016·8
1970–7115·2
1971–7215·2
1972–7313·5
1973–7413·1

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated cost of increasing the minimum grants for students to cover fees, or alternatively of allowing for fees and travelling expenses to be paid by local education authorities in addition to minimum grants.

For the current academic year the additional expenditure by local education authorities in England and Wales that would be involved in increasing the minimum grant to cover fees is estimated at about £1 million. If fees were paid in addition to minimum grant, the extra expenditure would be about £2 million. There is not enough information available to estimate the additional expenditure involved in paying traveling expenses.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the cost of raising the full university student grant to £845 a year.

The estimated cost in the current academic year of raising the grant rate of £605 to £845 and all other rates by a similar amount would be about £110 million for all students in Great Britain receiving awards at undergraduate mandatory rates.

School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will consider an extension of the TOPS service for all school leavers.

The Training Opportunities Scheme is a retraining scheme for adults, whose needs are different from those of school leavers. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment, the Manpower Services Commission and I are currently giving attention to the separate problem raised by this question.

Careers Advice

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what training is available for staff requested to take on careers advice in secondary schools.

Short courses are provided by local education authorities and by a number of other agencies. One-term and one-year full-time courses, some concentrating on careers guidance and others dealing with this along with other aspects of counselling in secondary schools, are offered at some universities and colleges and departments of education.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what careers advice is made available for students at colleges of further education.

Almost all colleges of further education offer guidance to their students, although its extent and quality varies. The Employment and Training Act 1973 placed a statutory duty on local education authorities to assist students in further education in matters generally related to their careers and employment: the rate of development of these services will necessarily depend on the resources available.Additional and complementary services are provided by the Employment Services Agency.

Fire Damage

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much damage to property and fabric was caused by fire in 1974.

The information available to my Department is that in 1974 there were 69 major fires—that is, causing damage in excess of £16,000—in maintained schools in England and Wales, at an estimated cost of £6·78 million at current prices.

Schools (Use For Social Purposes)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether it is his policy to encourage local education authorities to make greater use of schools in England and Wales for various leisure time pursuits for both children and adults, outside normal shcool hours;(2) how many schools in England and Wales are presently used outside school hours as community centres of one type or another, e.g., youth clubs, evening classes, etc.

Shared use is encouraged as was made clear in the answer given to a question by hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brown-hills (Mr. Edge) on 9th December 1974.—[Vol. 883, c. 33.] The use of schools by the general public outside school hours is extensive and dual provision in new schools has been growing, but precise and more recent information is not available.

Burton Latimer (Schools)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received concerning the problems created for the children of Burton Latimer, Northants, by the delay in reaching a decision on the transfer of pupils and teachers from the Church School to East Lea School; and if he will make a statement.

Four letters about the delay have been received. There were many more last year, however, registering objections to the statutory proposals for these schools. The issues were not straghtforward, but the Secretary of State's decisions are being notified today.

Industry

Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what action he intends to take as a result of the report by Professor David Flint on Upper Clyde Shipbuilders; and if he will make a statement.

I have been advised that in the matter of the liquidation of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Limited there are no grounds on which a legal case against the Government could be sustained under Section 332 of the Companies Act 1948; neither do I accept that the creditors of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Limited have any moral claim against the Government. In arriving at this conclusion very full and careful consideration has been given to the report prepared by Professor David Flint on behalf of the Creditors' Committee of Inspection and to other arguments advanced by the liquidator on behalf of the creditors.

Textiles

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will introduce an economic regulator which would automatically provide for a reduction of textile imports at times of recession and, if necessary, an increase at times of shortage.

I have not yet completed examination of value statistical criteria, and the implications in relying solely on such criteria, as a guide to action by Government to restrict imports of textiles, but hope to do so within a week or so after Easter.

Nationalised Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the total cost to public funds of each nationalised industry—including compensation payments—from the date of nationalisation to the present time.

The information for the nationalised industries for which my Department is responsible is as follows:

Amount (at outturn prices)£million
The Post Office
Write-off of postal deficits177·4
Compensation to the Post Office under the Statutory Corporations (Financial Provisions) Act 1974133·3
Investment grants under the Industrial Development Act 19663·0
Total313·7
Amount (at outturn prices)£ million
The British Steel Corporation
Transfer of capital debt to reserves*350·0*
Investment grants, regional development grants and similar grants, including any due to the companies at the time of natinalisation207·6
Total557·6
*Against this £128 million has been written off to date.

Agriculture, Fisheriesand Food

Beef (Producers' Returns)

13.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the average return to beet producers over the seven-month period ended 1st February 1975.

Over the period from 1st July 1974 to 2nd February 1975 returns to United Kingdom producers of clean cattle averaged £17·96 per live cwt.

19.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how far in advance producers will know the level of guarantee for beef animals; and if he will seek to give the maximum notice in order to give stability to the beef market.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Lamond) and others on 20th February.—[Vol. 886, c.447.]

Common Agricultural Policy

15.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the EEC Council of Ministers meeting on 4th March 1975 concerned with the stocktaking of the common agricultural policy.

20.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will report on his most recent consultations in Brussels.

21.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on plans to streamline the common agricultural policy announced by the EEC on 4th March.

The Commission published its report on the stocktaking of the common agricultural policy on 27th February and it was the subject of a preliminary discussion at the Council of Ministers meeting on 4th March. The report provides a valuable basis for further discussion aimed at improving the working of the CAP. The council will resume its consideration of the report at its next meeting.

30.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether major changes in the common agricultural policy remain one of the objectives in EEC renegotiations.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the current review of the common agricultural policy of the EEC forms part of the renegotiation now being conducted by the Government.

No. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear, our discussions on renegotiation have now been taken as far as they can go. I shall, however, continue to seek further improvements in the CAP as part of the Community's ongoing business.

38.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the progress made to date on the EEC renegotiations on matters within his responsibility.

40.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress is being made in the fundamental renegotiation of the common agricultural policy.

In our renegotiation statements we sought certain changes in the operation and mechanisms of the CAP. These have largely been secured.

Farm Incomes

17.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by what percentage farm incomes declined between 1973–74 and 1974–75 in personal spendable income terms; and what this drop in farm income represents in percentage terms when the inflation of 1974 is also considered.

Spendable farm income, defined as actual income less any price increases in stock appreciation, is forecast to fall by 17 per cent. between 1973–74 and 1974–75. In real terms the decline is 30 per cent.

Forestry

47.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the capital investment in forestry in the winter of 1974–75 and 1973–74; and what was the acreage of new land purchased for planting trees in 1974–75 and 1973–74.

Total expenditure by the Forestry Commission on the establishment of plantations in 1973–74 was £1,621,651, and during the nine months ending December 1974, £1,533,960, ex

millions of £
Year ended 31st March
19701971197219731974
Scotland16·819·321·721·716·2
England15·915·217·317·811·1
Wales8·210·011·511·87·4
Great Britain40·944·550·551·334.·7

The statistics relate to all the Forestry Commission's net expenditure and include provision for depreciation, pensions and gratuities and other overheads. They also include grants to private woodland owners and other services.
The figures for the year ended 31st March 1974 were compiled after the reconstruction of the commission's accounts provided for in the recent review of forestry policy. The changes in compilation involved writing off accumulated interest and the introduction of subsidies. The figures for previous years cannot be revised to accord with the new method of compilation.

Environment

Ratepayers

57.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he next proposes to meet representatives of the ratepayers.

There are over 600 representatives of the ratepayers in this House and I meet them very frequently.

Rents

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many representations he had received upon the workings of the Rent Acts 1968 and 1974 since the date of publication of the Bill which became the Rent Act in 1974;(2) how many representations he has received since March 1974 upon the rent freeze as applied to residential property.

Detailed records in the form requested in the hon. Member's Questions are not kept. We estimate that since March 1974 about 9,000 written inquiries and a large number of telephone calls have been received on the operation of the Rent Acts and on the rent freeze.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why official advertisements appeared in the Press on 4th March advising regulated tenants to apply to rent offices and citizens' advice bureaux for detailed information about the ending of the rent freeze in the private sector on 11th March when printed copies, neither of the Act, nor of any form of explanatory leaflet, were available; and what steps he has taken to ensure that the public receives authoritative answers to their inquiries.

This advertisement, designed to allay the fears of regulated tenants of exposure to immediate steep rent increases on the ending of the rent freeze, had to appear before the freeze ended. I must regret that, unforeseeably, the Act was not printed before the adver- tisements appeared. Rent officers now have copies of the Act, and of explanatory notes prepared by the Department, and I hope that any members of the public who consulted them earlier and were disappointed in their hopes of detailed information will now consult them again.

Traffic Commissioners

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the names of the South-Eastern Traffic Commissioners, the date of each appointment and the nominating body concerned.

The Traffic Commissioners for the South Eastern Traffic Area for 1974–75 are:COUNTY PANEL AND NOMINATING AUTHORITY

Traffic Commissioner

  • Councillor L. S. White. MBE (to 14/11/77).
  • Hampshire County Council.
  • Deputy Traffic Commissioners
  • Councillor W. G. Wareham. Dorset County Council.
  • Councillor L. E. Williams. East Sussex County Council.
  • Councillor R. Darken. Isle of Wight County Council.
  • Mr. K. Summerfield. Oxfordshire County Council.
  • Councillor F. W. E. Keen. West Sussex County Council.
  • Councillor R. F. Tolley. Surrey County Council.
  • District Panel
  • Traffic Commissioner
  • Councillor J. C. Buck (to 14/11/75). Medway Borough Council.
  • Deputy Traffic Commissioners
  • Councillor W. F. Brown. Bracknell District Council.
  • Councillor J. Brown. Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
  • Councillor H. Cramp. Hove Borough Council.
  • Councillor N. F. N. Norris. Eastleigh Borough Council.
  • Councillor G. S. Flory, Gosport Borough Council.
  • Councillor Mrs. A. M. Williamson. Dover District Council.
  • Councillor W. H. Buck. Crawley Borough Council.
  • Councillor D. Hill. Worthing Borough Council.
  • Councillor A. C. E. Spraggs. Portsmouth City Council.
  • Councillor R. T. Tragett. Surrey Heath Borough Council.

All appointments were effective from 15th November 1974. Two more deputy traffic commissioners may be appointed from the county panel. Traffic commissioners are appointed for one, two or three years, and may be reappointed. Deputy traffic commissioners are selected for one year; they serve during the illness, incapacity or absence of the commissioners and their actual appointments are for particular sittings or short spells, as and when required. The full-time Chairman of Commissioners is Major General A. F. J. Elmslie, CB, CBE.

Glass

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the assessment made by his officials of the product designed to prevent the splintering of glass under bomb blast, details of which have been supplied to him.

Land Compensation Act (Homeloss Payments)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements he is making for ex-gratia payments to tenants who made late claims under the home loss payments provisions of the Land Compensation Act 1973; and particularly what assistance he is permitting to tenants who were moved from St. Albans Buildings, E.C.1.

Each case is considered on its merits, and my right hon. Friend has already authorised the London borough of Camden to make ex-gratia payments to three former tenants of St. Albans Buildings. The Council has been informed that other cases will be reconsidered if further information is supplied.

Government Residences

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish in the Official Report full details of the number of Government residences occupied by Ministers; to what extent the occupation of the same includes heat, light, furniture and other amenities; and, on a basis of free market valuation, what is the estimated annual value of each such occupation.

Six Government residences are customarily occupied by Ministers; the occupation is rent-free and the cost of heat, light, furniture, maintenance, water and a contribution in lieu of rates are met to the full extent by the Exchequer, although domestic service is not provided. As a free market valuation cannot be made of the premises in question it is not possible to give an estimate of the annual value of each occupation.

House Sales (Local Authorities)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek powers to ensure that the sale of council houses should only take place when local authorities have secured authorisation from his Department.

Such powers already exist, but a general consent has operated for many years. The extent of selling has diminished considerably; in the last nine months of 1974 only 1,200 dwellings were sold by local authorities in England and Wales, compared with 20,000 in the same period in 1973.

Social Services

Health Services (Financing)

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether Her Majesty's Government will consider introducing a scheme where resources may be transferred from health authorities to local authorities in cases where it can be proved that good local authority spending on the social services can lead to substantial savings; and if she will arrange to set up an inter-departmental working party consisting of the Department of the Environment, the Department of Health and Social Security and local authorities to discuss this matter.

I am in favour of the fullest co-operation between health authorities and local authorities. This is especially important where there is need for some shift in the balance between hospital and community care and I am considering the possibility in suitable cases of joint financing of agreed local plans.

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many means-tested benefits are now available; and how many different qualifying schemes there are.

I shall publish the answer in the Official Report as soon as possible.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish her long-term plans for improving social security benefits of all kinds to bring them up to the best standards in the EEC.

The Treaty of Rome places no obligation on member States of the Community to increase their levels of social expenditure. Legislation placed before the House since the Government took office has, however, already provided for substantial improvements in levels of social security benefits. Our White Paper "Better Pensions" and our recent Social Security Pensions Bill contain long-term proposals which will further raise the level of pensions and relate them to the contributor's previous earnings—as is the common pattern within the EEC. Nevertheless, it is not appropriate to judge either our present rates of benefit or those which will arise under our new scheme by means of a simple comparison of money rates with those paid by other EEC member States: any fair comparison must take account of other factors which vary from country to country, such as levels of social security contributions, costs of living, including housing costs, levels of income and taxation, occupational provision and benefits in kind.

Defence

Army Aid (Glasgow Refuse Removal)

60.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours per week are being worked by the soldiers shifting rubbish in Glasgow; and what is the weekly total pay and allowances being paid to a typical private soldier engaged on these duties.

We expect that soldiers engaged on this task will be working 75 hours a week, over six days, including preparation and travelling time. A private soldier's pay depends on his length of commitment, his trade group and his skills. In the time available it has not been possible to obtain detailed information in respect of those particular soldiers engaged on this task.

Civil Service

East Midlands

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many administrative jobs have been created either by development or diversification in Newport Pagnell, Milton Keynes, Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard and Northampton in the past 10 years.

There is no record of any Cvil Service work having been established in the places mentioned over the last 10 years as a result of either dispersal or the setting up of new Government organisations. It is regretted that full information about the numbers of non-industrial civil servants in the places mentioned over the last 10 years is not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Such information as is available shows that Civil Service non-industrial staff have decreased in Bletchley by 250 between January 1970 and January 1974 and increased in Northampton by 140 in the same period.

Foreign And Commonwealthaffairs

Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the net gain by migration from China to Hong Kong over the last five years.

Probably of the order of 100,000. Immigration from China during the years 1970–74 inclusive is estimated to be 175,000. From this must be deducted subsequent emigration to other countries, for which accurate figures are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the population of Hong Kong is housed in public housing; for how many people have the Government provided housing there year by year for the last five years ; and what are the plans in the years ahead.

About 44 per cent. The numbers so housed during the past five years are as follows:

197030,000
197189,000
1972104,000
197391,000
197453,000
Total367,000
There is a 10-year programme to build housing for another 1·5 million people. Though financial constraints might delay the programme from time to time, it is designed, together with the private sector's expected contribution, to break the back of Hong Kong's housing problem.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is being done to co-ordinate the efforts of Government Departments and voluntary bodies in Hong Kong in the field of rehabilitation.

In June 1974 a Government working group, co-ordinated by the Social Services Branch of the Colonial Secretariat, was set up to produce a 10-year plan for the development of all types of disability and rehabilitation services. The Medical and Health, Social Welfare and Education Departments are represented on the group, which is expected to complete its work later this year. Voluntary bodies will be fully consulted and will be invited to assist in the plan's implementation.

Ministerial Appointments

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many offices of profit not recruited through normal Civil Service channels, are within his gift; what is their gross value; and how many such appointments are valued at more than £4,999 per annum.

At present there are four such appointments in the FCO and overseas, all of which are valued at more than £4,999, with a gross value of £46,700.My right hon. Friend makes a number of other appointments to public bodies mainly of an honorary or short-term nature, details of which were given in his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Garrett) on 6th February 1975.—[Vol. 885, c.

598.]

European Economic Community

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the international treaties or agreements concluded by the European Communities since 1st January 1973, other than those concerned exclusively with foreign aid, stating in each case the date when each was approved by the Council of Ministers, under what article of the Treaty of Rome and whether the unanimous or majority procedure was adopted.

The information is not readily available but I will provide a list as soon as possible.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what international trade agreements have been concluded between the EEC and Uruguay since 1st January 1973; in what commodities; and with what significance for the trade or manufacturing interests of the United Kingdom.

The EEC signed a three-year trade agreement with Uruguay which entered into force on 1st August 1974. The text was published as a White Paper (European Communities No. 7, Cmnd. 5894) in February 1975. In trade relations between Uruguay and the member States, the agreement provides for the reciprocal grant of most favoured nation treatment and for the highest degree of liberalisation of imports and exports which the respective parties apply to third countries. This should in due course help the growth of British exports to Uruguay which increased substantially in 1974, although it is not possible at this stage to adduce a direct causal effect.

Nationalised Industries(Select Committee Report)

asked the Lord President of the Council what action he proposes in the light of the Second Special Report from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries.

As the time for statutory procedures available in this case has not yet expired it would not be appropriate to take action at present.

House Of Commons

Catering Charges

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will publish in the Official Report as full and detailed a list as is convenient of prices charged to Members in the various catering departments for items of stated foods and drinks, &c, at the latest convenient stated date with comparisons with those charged in January 1972.

I have been asked to reply.The information requested is as follows:

January 197213th January 1975
Members' Dining Room
Lunch, 2 course58p82p
Lunch. 3 course63p90p
Dinner, 2 course58p82p
Dinner, 3 course63p90p
Strangers' Dining Room
Lunch98p£1·60
Dinner£1·13£1·80
Members' Tea Room
Grapefruit9p14½p
Cold Sweets12p17½p
Tea (cup)3½P5½p
Coffee (cup)4p6½p
Cheddar cheese5p6½p
St. Ivel5p6½p
Eggs, hard boiled6p8p
Tomatoes, small3p4p
Tomatoes, large4p5½p
Sausage Roll5p11p
Pork pie11p15½p
Sandwiches, cheese12p17½p
Sandwiches, ham14p20p
Sandwiches, bacon17p24½p
Sandwiches, tongue17p24½p
Fruit slab cake5p6½p
Steak pie and beans18p30p
Milk (glass)4p6½p
Members'/Strangers' Cafeteria
Roast, 2 vegetables34p54p
Lamb cutlets, 2 vegetables42p63p
Curried beef, 2 vegetables34p54p
Hotpot34p54p
Chicken pie27p39½p
Steak pudding30p46p
Macaroni cheese, 1
Vegetable22p33½p
Salad, plain14p19½p
Salad, tongue25p37p
Salad, ham24p39½p
Veal pie28p41p
Minced beef36p54p
Tea3½p5½p
Coffee4p6½p
Cod and chips22p33½p
Plaice and chips26p38½p
Wines, Spirits and Beers
Sherry, Tio Pepe17p22p
Sherry, Domecq Pedro13p17p
Scotch16p18p
Gin16p18p
Brandy20p29p
Vermouths14p16p
Double Diamond (½ pint)10½p12p
Federation draught (pint)11p14p
Whitbread Trophy (pint)12p15p

Northern Ireland

Rent And Rates (Strike)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons are still on rent or rates strike in the Province.

Approximately 4,300 people occupying publicly owned housing are still withholding rent. This figure includes about 2,500 people from whose social security benefits deductions are being made. The arrangements for deduction are such that of the 2,500 people some 1,650, though they are not paying their rent in the ordinary way, are in fact making current payment in full and in the case of those still in arrears are paying off the arrears. It is estimated that about 7,500 persons may be withholding rates in support of the campaign.

Postmen

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many postmen have been killed in Northern Ireland during the present troubles; and how many were actually killed in the performance of their duties.

Three postmen have been killed in Northern Ireland since the present troubles began. One was killed while on duty on 3rd October 1973 and two while returning from work on 18th February 1973.

Newry (Prisoners' Escape)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the inquiry into the recent escape of prisoners awaiting trial at Newry to be completed; and in what form he intends thereafter to make a public statement.

The Governor of Her Majesty's Prison Maze, has, under the Prison Code of Discipline, referred to the Northern Ireland Office the question of disciplinary action arising from the escape of prisoners from the Newry Courthouse on 10th March 1975. In accordance with the provisions of that code, an inquiry will be held. It will take place within the next week or so.If disciplinary action is proposed, any prison officer concerned has a right of appeal to me. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for me to make any statement at the present time.

Prices And Consumerprotection

Food Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what foods, which are listed in the retail price index, can be bought for lower prices within the EEC than in this country.

The comparison of retail prices is not straightforward. But on the information available the following main foods could be bought cheaper in one or more of the other member States than in the United Kingdom: beef, sugar, some fish, apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, onions.The list excludes certain foodstuffs, notably cereals, which could be expected to cost somewhat more to import at present, if we were not members of the Community.

Motor Fuels

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what progress has been made on the special reference to the Price Commission on motor fuel retailers' margins; and if she will make a statement.

I have received an interim report from the Price Commission and it is published today. Copies will be available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office, and the Libraries of both Houses. They will also be on sale to the public through HMSO.The report's main conclusion is that, both in the later of the two periods covered by the detailed study, that is, the third quarter of 1974, and at the end of 1974 following the December price increase, retailers' margins were generally not unreasonable and could be considered fair both to the retailers and to the consumer.The commission's final report, expected shortly, will give a more detailed picture of retailers' operating costs, based on the information collected during the survey made last year, and will comment on developments since the interim report was written.

Fish

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will give the terms of reference regarding the inquiry to be undertaken by the Price Commission into the prices and margins in the distribution of fish; and when this inquiry is likely to begin.

My right hon. Friend is considering the terms of reference and will make an announcement shortly.

Scotland

Construction Industryliaison Group

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he has any plans to set up a Scottish Construction Industry Liaison Group;(2) what consultation he has had with the Construction Industry Liaison Group;(3) what participation he has planned with the Construction Industry Liaison Group.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction is responsible for the Construction Industries Liaison Group but I am considering what arrangements should be made by my Departments in relation to the group.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many prisoners serving sentences in Scotland have been sentenced for offences connected with the Northern Ireland troubles; how many are Scottish; and how many are Ulstermen;(2) how many Scotsmen currently serving sentences for offences related to the Northern Ireland troubles are imprisoned at Perth, Aberdeen or Peterhead.

All inmates currently serving sentences in Scottish penal institutions have been convicted of offences under the ordinary criminal law. I am not in a position to say how many of these may have been related to the troubles in Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many prisoners are currently held in Her Majesty's Prisons in Perth, Aberdeen and Peterhead;(2) how many prisoners who are currently held in Her Majesty's Prisons at Perth, Aberdeen and Peterhead have their normal place of residence outside Scotland.

The numbers in custody at midnight on 16th March 1975 were: Her Majesty's Prison, Perth—578; Her Majesty's Prison, Aberdeen—168; Her Majesty's Prison, Peterhead—322.Of these numbers 33, 9 and 10 prisoners, respectively, normally reside outside Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prisoners have been transferred to Northern Ireland from Scotland to complete their sentences during the period 1968 to 1974; and how many have been transferred from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

I regret that information for the years prior to 1972 is not readily available. Since the beginning of 1972 one prisoner was transferred from Scotland to Northern Ireland to complete his sentence. There were no transfers from Northern Ireland to Scotland in the same period.

Energy

Oil Development

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will now appoint an expert oil development board to advise on the oil development programme.

The Department of Energy contains expert advisors on the technical content and execution by United Kingdom licencees of their oil development programmes on land and offshore, and the new British National Oil Corporation will also be available to give advice and information once it has begun operations. In Scotland the Oil Development Council already exists to advise on all aspects of oil development affecting Scotland. A number of other bodies, including the Standing Conference on North Sea Oil, are also concerned with the impact on the community and the environment. My right hon. Friend sees no reason to set up in addition an oil development board.

National Finance

Double Taxation Agreement (Usa)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the last double tax convention with the United States of America expired; what effect the expiry has had on the liabilities of corporate and individual taxpayers; when negotiations began for a new convention; and what has delayed their completion.

It has not expired. I would refer the hon. Member to my hon. Friend's replies to his Questions on 11th March.—[Vol. 888, c. 115–116.]

Cornwall (Revenue Contribution Andreturn)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate for the year 1973–74 of revenue obtained from Cornwall from income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, estate duty, VAT, import duties, duties on wines, spirits, tobacco and fuel oils, motor vehicle tax, driving licences, radio and television licences, and national insurance contributions, respectively.

The estimates for income tax, vehicle excise duty, television licences and driving licences for 1973–74 are about £35 million, £2¾ million, £1½ million and £75,500 respectively. No estimates are available for the remaining items.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate for the financial year 1973–74 of all central Government expenditure in Cornwall in the form of grants for housing, education, higher education, roads, health, police, industry, and rate relief, as well as welfare and national insurance benefits, respectively.

The following information relates to central Government expenditure on grants in Cornwall in respect of 1973–74. All figures are provisional.

£
thousand
Rate support grant27,491
Other grants to lical authorities:
Rate rebates105
Housing (including subsidies) Roads: New construction and improvement including lighting310
The remaining information requested is not available on a county basis.

Home Departmen

Police Information (Confidentiality)

56.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any of the intelligence collected and evaluated by the Criminal Intelligence Branch of the Metropolitan Police is disseminated to the Parole Board, the Summary Board, or any other body.

The bodies to which police information is made available and the nature of that information are set out in Home Office Circular No. 140/ 1973, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The general principle is that no information is given to anyone, however responsible, unless there are strong considerations of public interest which justify departure from this general rule. In accordance with this principle, my Department brings to the attention of the Parole Board information available to the police which may be relevant to the release of a prisoner on licence.

Tribunal Witnesses (Protection)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to implement the recommendations of the Salmon Commission and the Salmon Committee on Tribunals of Inquiry for the protection of the reputations of innocent persons and the improvement of the position of witnesses at ad hoc tribunals set up under the Act of 1921.

Essential safeguards of the kind recommended by the Salmon Commission to protect the reputation of innocent persons appearing before Tribunals of Inquiry, and the interests of witnesses, can be secured by administrative action; but we shall consider how far legislation is desirable either to supplement or to reinforce them.

Immigration (Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average delay between the receipt by the appellate authorities in London of an explanatory statement by the entry clearance officer refusing entry to an applicant to settle in the United Kingdom and the appeal being heard.

About two to three months is the usual period in the generality of cases. This is necessary in order to give the appellant and his representative adequate time to prepare his case.

Trade

Eec External Tariff

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is now the average common external tariff of the Common Market.

About 8½ per cent. for industrial goods. It is not possible to compute an average for non-industrial goods, many of which are subject to variable levies in place of, or in addition to, customs duties.

Computers (Paymaster-General's Office)

asked the Pay-master-General when, and at what expense, he expects his office to install new computers.

Registered Disabled People
Year (April)Number registeredNumber unemployedPercentage unemployedNational unemployment rate for all workers
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)
1970634,33672,11611·42·6
1971620,69180,17212·63·3
1972610,10791,06314·94·1
1973597,30577,36013·03·0
1974574,64063,37511·02·8

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give, for each of the last five years (i) the number of firms with over 20 workers, (ii) the number and percentage of such firms not fulfilling the 3 per cent. quota of disabled workers, (iii) the number of firms issued with per-

Year (May)Number of firms with 20 or more workersNumber of firms in column (2) which did not fulfil their 3 per cent. quotaColumn (3) expressed as a percentage of column (2)Number of firms below quota issued with permits in the preceding 12 monthsNumber of firms below quota for which no permits had been issued in the preceding 12 months
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)
197063,56436,39657·322,15014,246
197162,53736,38258·221,53414,848
197260,17934,79457·825,8758,919
197357,86833,77958·425,5548,225
197455,21333,10660·023,03010,076

The Paymaster-General's office computer system is due for phased replacement between 1977 and 1979. Total hardware costs will amount to some £3 million at 1975 prices; approximately half this cost is attributable to banking.

Employment

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give figures for each of the last five years for, respectively, the number of disabled people registered under the Disabled Persons (Unemployment) Act, the number of registered disabled people who are unemployed, the percentage of registered disabled people who are unemployed, the number who are on the Department's "Disabled Live File" and the national average unemployment figure for all workers.mits enabling them to employ non-disabled workers when vacancies arose, and (iv) the number of firms below quota, which have not received permits.

The information requested about the "Disabled Live File" is I regret not available. The rest of the information is as follows:last five years, the cost of the employment services provided by his Department for disabled workers, and the number of placings of disabled workers in open industry and sheltered industry, respectively.

I regret that the information requested in the first part of the Question is not readily available for the last five years. But I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 18th March —[Vol. 888, c. 357–8.1—to the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) as this gave full information in respect of the current financial year. The following placings of registered disabled people have been effected by the disablement resettlement officer service, and by the careers service in the case of some young registered disabled people, over the last five years.

YearPlacings in open employmentPlacings in sheltered employment
197065,9662,182
197158,8041,588
197261,4922,472
197372,0282,423
1974*4,8342,475
* Partly estimated.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the figures for the last five years for the number of registered disabled people in sheltered employment, the number of unemployed registered disabled persons who are considered unlikely to obtain employment except under special conditions, and the number of sheltered workshops.

The information requested is set out in the table below; which relates almost entirely to the position in March of each year.

YearNumber of severely disabled people in sheltered employmentNumber of unemployed registered severely disabled people (section II)Number of sheltered workshops
197012,83510,168206
197112,85611,081207
197213,07212,702206
197313,44812,049203
197413,57510,989204

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give, for each of the last five years, the total cost of the Government subsidy for sheltered workshops, the average cost per disabled worker of the Government subsidy, the average earnings of male disabled workers in sheltered workshops and the percentage relationship of the average earnings of male disabled workers in sheltered industry to the average male industrial earnings; and if he will give separate figures for the earnings of workers covered by the National Joint Council for Workshops for the Blind.

The information requested in the first two parts of the Question is set out in the table below. The costs shown include running costs borne by central and local government; but exclude capital costs. The information requested in the other parts of the Question is, I regret, not available.

Financial YearApproximate total subsidyApproximate average cost for each severely disabled worker
££
1969–707,917,000649
1970–719,617,000779
1971–729,474,000767
1972–7310,215,000805
1973–7412,713,000993

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give for each of the last five years the percentage increase in average male earnings of (,i) Remploy workers, (ii) blind disabled workers in blind workshops, and (iii) non-disabled manual workers; and if he will give the percentage increase in prices for each year.

I regret that the information requested about the earnings of blind disabled workers is not avail-able. The information relating to the average earnings of Remploy's male disabled workers and the percentage increase

Percentage increase between April 1970 and April 1971Percentage increase between April 1971 and April 1972Percentage increase between April 1972 and April 1973Percentage increase between April 1973 and April 1974Estimated percentage increase over the eleven month period between April 1974 and March 1975
Average earnings of Remploy's male disabled workers15·710·211·313·029·5
Percentage increase over the eleven month period between February 1974 and January 1975
Index of Retail Prices (all items)9·46·39·215·217·9
It is not possible to give the informa-for non-disabled manual workers because the published average earnings take into account not only the earnings of able-bodied workers but also those of disabled people working in open industry. How-ever, my hon. Friend may like to know that the results of the New Earnings Surveys show that the percentage increases in the average gross weekly earnings, excluding overtime pay, of all full-time manual men age 21 and over whose pay was not affected by absence were

April 1970–April 197111·l per cent.
April 1971–April 197211·3 per cent.
April 1972–April 197314·6 per cent.
April 1973–April 197414·8 per cent
I regret that the information relating to the period April 1974 to the present date is not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will arrange a meeting with Remploy management to discuss the principles which determine its attitude during wage negotiation; if he will take steps to make wages of disabled workers more comparable with those of non-disabled workers; and, in particular, if he will consider linking such wage rates with those of manual workers in local authorities.

My Department is in close touch with the Remploy management over all matters relevant to the company's negotiations over the wages in prices for each year is set out in the table below.of its disabled workers. The relationship between their wages and the wages of able bodied workers generally, and the wages of local authority manual workers specifically, is a matter primarily for negotiation between the Remploy management and the consortium of eight trade unions which represents the company's disabled workers. However, their wages have increased substantially over the last year and, as already announced, it has been agreed between my right hon Friend and the Remploy Board that a survey should be put in hand, in co-operation, it is hoped, with all concerned, to compare the earnings of Remploy's workers with those of the workers covered by the National Joint Council for Work-shops for the Blind; and that if this shows a significant gap between the average earnings of the two groups discussions will be held to consider ways and means of further increasing the earnings of Remploy's workers, as circumstances and Government policies permit, so as to improve their comparative position.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will discuss with the TUC the action it has taken to improve the wages of disabled workers in sheltered employment and the progress that has been made.

The TUC submitted its views on the wages of disabled people in sheltered employment when commenting on my Department's consultative document on sheltered employment and my right hon. Friend considers that there would be little to be gained at this stage by a discussion between him and the TUC on this matter.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, for each of the six areas where the experimental intensive

Percentage unemployment of registered disabled people on 10th March 1975Percentage of relevant firms who were below quota in May 1974Percentage of firms below quota who received permits during the 12 months preceding the 31st May 1974
(1)(2)(3)
Ayr16·37051
Cambridge5·57855
Middlesbrough17·35585
St. Helens19·66376
Walsall11·94563
Wrexham23·95228

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many additional staff have been assigned to each experimental area for the enforcement of the quota scheme; and what was the previous number working in this field for the Department in each area.

The Department's team of wages inspectors has been re-deployed in order to ensure that one full-time inspector, or the equivalent staff time where more than one inspector is involved, is engaged on quota inspection in each of the six areas. Previously, less staff time was allocated to quota inspection in each area.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the experimental scheme for enforcement of the disabled quota is due to end; and when he expects to make an announcement about the results.

I have it provisionally in mind that the programme of stricter enforcement of the quota scheme in selected areas will run until about the middle of the year. As I have previously stated, I hope to be in a position later this year to announce the Government's proposals concerning the future of the quota scheme. These proposals will, of course, take account of the lessons learned from the programme.Mr. Ashley asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many disabled enforcement of the quota scheme is taking place, if he will give the following information: (1) the percentage unemployment of registered disabled people, (2) the percentage of relevant firms below quota, and (3) the percentage of firms below quota which have received permits.

The required information is as follows:people are at present receiving training under the Training Opportunities Scheme; what is the total number being trained under the scheme; and what proportion of (

a) the disabled trainees, and ( b) the non-disabled trainees find employment after completing their training.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that on 28th February 1975, 2,224 disabled people were being trained out of a total of 32,118 people in training under the Training Opportunities Scheme.During 1974 over 80 per cent. of disabled and of able-bodied people found employment in their training trade after completing their courses.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether disabled people are allowed to claim any additional ex-pences incurred because of their disability.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that certain concessions are available to disabled people who take courses of training sponsored by the Training Services Agency. Disabled trainees receive reimbursement of fares for their daily journey to the training establishment irrespective of the length of their journey. If they are required to live away from home in lodgings during training they may be paid a higher than normal rate of lodging allowance if this is necessary to obtain accommodation suitable to their disability.

Disablement Resettlement Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give, for each of the last five years, the number of full-time and part-time disablement resettlement officers, respectively.

Full-timePart-timeSenior
DateDROs*DROsDROs
October 1966208977
November 1968307850
September 19704537621
September 19724735821
March 197550259
* In addition to the above there are currently 31 blind persons resettlement officers and nine blind persons training officers in post who are concerned solely with the resettlement of blind people. There are also 28 DROs employed full-time in the employment rehabilitation centres.
† Part-time DROs were those officers who spent between two hours and 30 hours a week on DRO duties. Equivalent full-time figures are not available.

Training

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the basic level of training allowance not including expenses.

Living at homeLiving a way from home
MenWomenMenWomen
Age and domestic responsibilities of trainee££££
(1) Married men; women and unmarried men aged 19 or over with dependents
With wife or maintaining adult dependants17·9017·5516·9016·55
With wife (or maintaining adult dependant) and maintaining one dependent child under1920·1019·7519·1018·75
With wife (or maintaining adult dependant)and maintaining two dependent children under 1921·9021·5520·9020·55
Maintaining one dependent child under 1915·8015·4514·8014·45
Maintaining two dependent children under 1917·6017·2516·6016·25
An additional £1·70 is payable for the third and each additional child.
(2)Men and Women without dependants
Aged 20 and over13·6013·2511·1011·10
Aged1911·3511·358·858·85
Aged 189·359·357·357·35
Aged 177·057·056·056·05
Aged 166·056·055·055·05
(3)Men and Women under 19 (except married men) with dependantsReceive the appropriate age rate as in (2) together with an allowance for dependants.
Trainees who move from home for training and are not provided with residential accommodation receive a lodging allowance as well as the "living away from home" rate of training allowance.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take to implement the recommendations concerning training courses for unemployed young people made in the National Youth Committee Working Party Report entitled "Unemployed, Untrained and Unqualified"; and whether he intends to bring to the attention of local education authorities the recommendations concerning the development of careers education and adequate resources for the Careers Service.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that information for each of the last five years is not available, but the table below sets out the position at five staffing reviews undertaken in recent years.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the current basic rates of training allowance are as follows:a working party within the Training Ser-vices Agency has been considering the training of young people generally, both employed and unemployed, and that a consultative document based on their report will be published in the spring. Careers education is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, but I will draw the attention of local education authorities to other recommendations in "Unqualified, Untrained and Unemployed", the Working Party Report of the National Youth Employment Council.