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Written Answers

Volume 889: debated on Thursday 27 March 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 27th March 1975

National Finance

Road Fund Licence

3.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider proposing differential rates of road fund licence as a means of conserving fuel by encouraging the use of economic vehicles.

Any such change would be a matter for the Budget and I am sure the hon. Member will not expect me to comment on such matters at this stage.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has of the revenue derived from road fund licences in each of the counties of Wales for the most recent convenient year.

Net revenue in 1974–75 is estimated to be as follows:

£000
Clywd3,495
Dyfed3,320
Gwent3,646
Gwynedd2.079
Mid Glamorgan331
Powys1,299
South Glamorgan5,618
West Glamorgan4,515

Oil Companies

4.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied that the major oil companies operating in the United Kingdom are meeting their British tax obligations in full.

The Government have taken action in the Oil Taxation Bill to ensure that we have an effective tax system for the oil industry.

Tax Relief (Rate Demands)

13.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of a difference in practice between the rating authorities and the Inland Revenue; and if he will instruct the Revenue that when the rating authority imposes domestic relief on a portion of business premises then the whole of the rate demand should be allowed as a business expense and not a portion as at present.

I assume that the Member means "refuses" domestic relief rather than "imposes" domestic relief.

Questions on rating law are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, but I understand that the rule is that certain domestic rate relief is available only where more than half of a property is used for the purposes of a private dwelling. For tax purposes the proportion of the total rates allowable as a business expense is that which the part of the property used for business bears to the whole of the property—which may, of course, be more than or less than one-half. It would not be right to allow as a deductible business expense that part of the rate which was appropriate to the private part of the property.

Estate Duty And Gift Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the highest rate of estate duty/gift tax in the direct line of descent currently prevailing in each of the nine countries of the EEC; and what was the total annual yield at the last convenient date in each of the countries concerned.

The information is:

(i)(ii)
Highest rate of estate duty/gift tax in direct line of descentApproximate sterling equivalent of yield 1972
Per cent.£ million
Belgium1746
Denmark3216
France20157
Germany5068
Ireland (Note 2)5513
Italy3194
Luxembourg161
Netherlands1738
United Kingdom75463
(Note 3)

Notes:

1. Yields for overseas countries are taken from Revenue statistics of OECD member countries 1965–72.

2. Substantial changes are proposed in Ireland in legislation now before the Dail.

3. Yield for fiscal year 1972–73; estimates yield 1975–76 £335 million.

Production And Investment

15.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he expects to achieve his budgetary forecast on industrial production and investment.

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that his Budget measures have had beneficial effects on industrial output. and investment plans.

Inflation

18.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the light of the analysis contained in the latest issue of the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, what further proposals he has for curbing inflation and cutting public expenditure.

The bank's bulletin gave further support to my own warnings that wage increases are now the main cause of inflation in this country. Strict adherence to the TUC guidelines on pay is, therefore, essential if we are to see any reduction in the rate of inflation this year. I have no statement about public expenditure to make at this time. The Government's plans are set out in the White Paper on Public Expenditure to 1978–79 (Cmnd 5879).

European Community (Membership)

20.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the United Kingdom withdraws from the EEC, whether there is an obligation to pay back the various grants, loans, &c., received to date from the various EEC funds.

The position would no doubt be different for different grants and loans. But given the Government's recommendation to the British people it would not be appropriate to raise this as a general question with the Community at the present time.

Widows

21.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters he has received from women's organisations about the taxation position of widows.

My right hon. Friend has received letters on this subject, some direct and some forwarded by hon. Members, from the War Widows' Association of Great Britain, from the National Association of Widows, and from various branches of the latter organisation. As he told the House on 27th February in reply to Questions from my hon. Friends the Members for Gravesend (Mr. Ovenden) and Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley), he is considering the various representations put to him.

Travel-To-Work Expenses

24.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now permit essential travel-to-work expenditure to be set against income tax liability.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given him by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary on 12th December last.

Import Levies

25.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the total import levies collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for the calendar years 1973 and 1974, arranged in the same commodity groups as those used by the Intervention Board in its annual report.

Yes.Following is the information:

AGRICULTURAL LEVIES ON IMPORTS—NET RECEIPTS BY COMMODITY GROUP
£000's
Commodity Group1973*1974
Cereals (and cereal products)9511,614
Milk and milk products3,54510,583
Sugar10,6464,050
Beef and veal31,407
Pigmeat3,4962,267
Eggs359242
Poultry meat252120
Fruit (apples and pears)4,0535,035
Others709173
Total24,01425,491
*The United Kingdom introduced the EEC system of import charges on agricultural products from 1st February 1973; the 1973 figures therefore refer to 11 months only.

Taxation Levels (Wage Demands)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department and the Board of Inland Revenue are undertaking into the effects on wage demands of the impact of tax levels.

The economic effects of fiscal measures are under continuous review by my officials. As part of this process account is taken of relevant academic work, including that relating to the subject of this Question.

Balance Of Payments Deficit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the balance of payments deficit per head of population for each of the past five years, and similar figures excluding oil elements within the trade deficit.

For the years 1970–1973 the balance on current account per head of population was as follows:

1970197119721973
+£12·60+£18·92+£1·47-£19·97
Excluding the deficit on trade in petroleum and petroleum products, the figures are as follows:
1970197119721973
+£21·24+£30·61+£13·27-£3·17
Population figures for the United Kingdom in 1974 are not yet available. The current account deficit for that year was £3,828 million; excluding trade in petroleum and petroleum products the deficit was £382 million.

European Investment Bank Loans

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether interest rates on loans from the European Investment Bank are at fixed rates or whether they move in line with commercial rates; and if he will give details of such loans.

The European Investment Bank finances its loans by borrowing on the capital markets, both inside and outside the Community, and its interest rates to borrowers move in line with the average rates charged on the markets. The interest rate charged on each loan is that in force on the date when the loan contract is concluded, and is fixed for the duration of the loan. The rate currently charged on loans is 9⅞ per cent.The European Investment Bank has lent a total of £136·2 million for projects in the United Kingdom since 1st January 1973. For details of loans granted by the bank in 1973 and 1974, I would refer the hon. Member to the answers my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General gave on 31st July 1974 to the hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Baker) and on 30th January 1975 to the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Grist). In 1975 the bank has granted two more loans, £15·6million for the construction of Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire, and £7·8 million for the nuclear power station being built at Hartlepool. Both loans are at an interest rate of 9⅞ per cent.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will specify the loans and guarantees approved by the European Investment Bank for projects in the East Midlands area since 1st January 1973.

The European Investment Bank has not so far granted any loans or given any guarantees for projects in the East Midlands area.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will specify the loans and guarantees approved by the European Investment Bank for projects in the South-East area since 1st January 1973.

Since 1st January 1973 the European Investment Bank has provided one loan of £7 million for investment in the South-East area. The loan was made to the Kent and Essex County Councils in October 1974 to help finance the construction of the second Dartford Tunnel. The bank has not so far given any guarantees for projects in the United Kingdom.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will specify the loans and guarantees approved by the European Investment Bank for projects in the West Midlands since 1st January 1973.

The European Investment Bank has not so far granted any loans or given any guarantees for projects in the West Midlands.

General Election Costs

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total cost incurred by acting returning officers at the last General Election for which the figure can be given.

The last General Election for which a figure of total cost is at present available is that held in June 1970. On that occasion the total cost incurred by acting returning officers and reimbursed from the Consolidated Fund was £2,707,000. A further £1,089,000 was borne on the Consolidated Fund for the provision to candidates by the Post Office of certain free postal facilities.

Capital Transfer Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements he proposes to make for the management and tenancy of agricultural land made over to the Government in payment of capital transfer tax.

Agricultural land as such would not normally be accepted in satisfaction of capital transfer tax unless it was associated with amenity property. The arrangements for management and tenancy in that case would be decided in the light of the particular circumstances.

Gross National Product

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each member country of the OECD the gross national product in terms of both the national currency and converted to pounds sterling, and the percentage growth or decline of the gross national product in each country for each year since 1945.

This Question could only be answered in full at the cost of disproportionate time and effort. The basic information that is available over most of the time period relates to gross domestic product, in national currencies and United States dollars, and is published by the OECD in the series of publications "National Accounts of OECD Countries".

European Community Budget

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was Great Britain's net contribution in sterling to the EEC budget in 1974; and what percentage of Great Britain's total public expenditure this figure represents.

The net United Kingdom contribution to the budget of the European Communities in 1974 was £31 million. This represented less than 0·1 per cent. of total public expenditure for the same period. The figure for the United Kingdom contribution in 1974 reflected some technical and other factors and does not provide a reliable guide for future years

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the size of the EEC budget in 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974; what is the estimate for 1975; and how much has been or will be contributed by the United Kingdom in each period.

The following is the information requested:

(i) SIZE OF THE COMMUNITY BUDGET:
£million
19701,913
19711,090
19721,544
19732,055
19742,177
1975 (estimated)2,528
ii) UNITED KINGDOM CONTRIBUTION:
£millions
Gross contributionReceiptsNet contribution
197318177104
197417914831
1975 (estimated)305230–24065–75

Customs And Excise Duties

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1945 the rate of tax payable on tobacco and wine and spirits.

The information is contained in the Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Each report includes tables listing the basic rates of duty on tobacco and alcoholic drinks for the previous 10 years.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each member State of the EEC the rate of VAT currently being applied, the date VAT was introduced, if differential rates are being applied, and, if so, to what products or services.

The table below shows the date of introduction of VAT in each member State, the various rates of tax and their broad significance. For further information on coverage I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 10th March 1975.—[Vol. 888, c. 69–74.]I

CountryDate of Introduction of VATStandard Rate* Per centOther Rates* of which significant use is made Per centOther Rates* of very limited application Per cent.
Belgium1st January 19711825, 14, 60
Denmark3rd July 1967150
France1st January 1968†2033·3, 17·6, 70
Germany1st January 1968115·5
Ireland1st November 197219·536·75, 6·75, 011·11, 1
Italy1st January 19731230, 12, 6, 3‡,1‡18, 0
Luxembourg1st January 1970105, 2‡
Netherlands1st January 19691640
United Kingdom1st April 1973825, 0
* As at December 1974.
† This date refers to the extension of VAT to cover retail transactions.
‡Temporary rates.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimate of the amount of VAT collected in each county of Wales and in Wales as a whole for the last available year.

I regret the information is not available, but it is intended to produce annually certain VAT data by reference to the country of the main VAT offices in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in which traders are registered for value added tax. Figures for 1973–74 will be ready later this year.

Professional Firms

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from professional bodies as to

Retail priceDutyVATTotal Duty plus VAT
1st January 19644s.4d.2s.9d.2s.9d.
1st January 19654s.10½d.3s.3d.3s.3d.
1st January 19664s.10½d.3s.3d.3s.3d.
1st January 19675s. 2½d.3s.6·9d.*3s.6·9d.*
1st January 19685s. 2½d.3s.7d.3s.7d.
1st January 19696s. 0d.4s.3·7d.*4s.3·7d.*
1st January 19706s. 2d.4s.6d.4s.6d.
1st January 19716s. 5½d.4s.6d.4s.6d.
1st January 197232½p22½p22½p
1st January 197333½p22½p22½p
1st January 197440½p22½p22½p
1st January 197570½p22½p14·1p36·6p
*Includes 10 per cent. special surcharge.

Public Sector Employees

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest estimate which he has for the total number of people employed in public sector regret that one of the rates applied in France was mistakenly given in that reply as 33·5 per cent., rather than 33·3 per cent.the need to extend his proposed relief to trading concerns in receipt of inflationary increases in work in progress to include the work in progress of professional firms.

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations on behalf of the professions.

Petrol Prices

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average retail price for the lowest grade of petroleum as at 1st January in each year since 1964, and the amount of tax included in the price on each date.

Typical retail prices and duty content of a gallon of two star petrol in the inner zone were as follows:employment, including all local and central Government, Armed Forces, nationalised industries and the Government agencies and undertakings; and how this compares with the numbers employed at 1st April 1974.

The latest figures are for June 1973, and are given on page xxxvii of "Economic Trends" for January 1975. In June 1973 the total was 6,541,000.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are employed in publicly-owned industries at the latest available count.

In June 1973 the number employed in the public sector in the agriculture, forestry and fishing, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, gas, electricity and water, and transport and communication industries (Orders I-XXII inclusive of the Standard Industrial Classification) was 2,153,000.

Public Schools (Charitablestatus)

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Home Office and the Department of Education and Science on the study of the question of the charitable status as it relates to public schools.

Social Contract

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of the public speech delivered by him on 6th March in Taunton on energy.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost) on 14th March.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a transcript of his interview on the Granada "World in Action" programme on 3rd March about the social contract.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 14th March.

National Economicdevelopment Council

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to take the chair of the NEDC.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is Chairman of the Council. As I have said before, I hope to be able to take the chair about once a quarter, but I have no specific date in mind at present.

West Scotland

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister when he next intends to visit the west of Scotland.

European Community

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister what steps have been made by the Government to draw up contingency plans to implement the United Kingdom withdrawing from the EEC.

The Government have recommended that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Community, but they are naturally considering the implications should the British people decide otherwise.

Housing (Primeminister's Speech)

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech at Islington on 8th March on urban areas.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council gave on my behalf to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) on 25th March.

Commonwealth Primeministers (Meeting)

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister what subjects he proposes to raise at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in Jamaica.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Thomas).

Security

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a further statement on security within Government in the light of the information now made public by the right hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Stonehouse) that he was invited to meetings and received approaches from Czech spies before and during the period he was a Government Minister.

Security arrangements are kept under constant review. As to the contacts of the right hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Stonehouse) I have nothing to add to my statement of 17th December 1974.

Council Of Europe(Delegation)

asked the Prime Minister what change has been made in the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) has been appointed a Member of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe in place of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Osborn).

Industry

British Leyland

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will detail the conditions attaching to the recent Government guaranteed loan of £50 million to British Leyland and the ranking of that loan.

This is not a guaranteed loan, but a guarantee to the corporation's bankers. As to ranking, it has been arranged that amounts outstanding under these guaranteed facilities will be subordinated, pending repayment, to all other claims of creditors of the corporation.My right hon. Friend informed the House on 18th December of the broad intent of the conditions attaching to the guarantee, which have now been agreed with the corporation. These are as follows:

The corporation agrees
  • (a) to give full co-operation to the review team which the Government have appointed to advise on the corporation's situation, prospects and financial requirements;
  • (b) not without the consent of the Secretary of State:—
  • (i) to enter into a contract of service for a period longer than 12 months with any director or senior employee, or to vary substantially an existing contract of service with any director or senior employee;
  • (ii) to undertake any substantial borrowings outside the existing banking facilities and those to be provided under the Government guarantee;
  • (iii) to create any mortgage or charge on assets, other than a mortgage or charge for the purpose of financing the acquisition, construction or development of land or buildings or plant, which are the only assets included in such charge;
  • (iv) to approve any new capital expenditure project, or any acquisition of any company, if the total capital expenditure on such project or acquisition is likely to exceed £1,000,000;
  • (v) to dispose of an interest in any subsidiary company or any material part of the business of the Corporation or of any subsidiary;
  • (c) to inform the Secretary of State in advance of their intention to make any drawings under the additional borrowing facilities and the amount of such drawing and after notice of determination of the guarantee under paragraph 3 above not to make any drawing without the prior written consent of the Secretary of State;
  • (d) to provide information to the Secretary of State about projects already approved by the Board where the total completed cost is likely to exceed £1,000,000;
  • (e) in relation to each of its subsidiaries, to use all voting and other rights or powers of control exercisable by the Corporation in relation thereto with intent to procure (so far as it may lawfully and properly so do) that the subsidiary shall comply with the same restrictions as are set out in (b) and the provisions set out in (d) above;
  • (f) not to recommend or declare or pay any dividend on the share capital of the Corporation, without prior consultation with the Secretary of State;
  • (g) to furnish the Secretary of State with such information as he may reasonably require concerning the affairs of the Corporation and its subsidiaries;
  • (h) that while responsibility for negotiating pay settlements will continue to rest with the Board the Corporation will seek to ensure that settlements are reached which are consistent with the financial situation now facing the Corporation and the national interest.
  • asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to receive the report on British Leyland from Sir Don Ryder.

    Textiles

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether his Department has considered the possible effect upon aids to industry of the recent decision of the European Court, Re: Aids to the Textile Industry, Italy v. E.C. Commission (Common Market Law Reports, Vol. XIV, page 593), whereby aids to the Italian textile industries were prohibited.

    My Department is aware of this case. It concerned one aspect of an Italian scheme for the restructuring, reorganisation and conversion of the textile industry, which provided for a temporary reduction in the employers' contributions to family allowances. The United Kingdom does not provide assistance in this form, and there is no reason to suppose that the court's decision in this case will restrict our ability to give effective aid to our industry.

    Bear Brand

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what terms, including the interest rate, he has advanced £350.000 to Bear Brand.

    The detailed terms are being discussed with the company, and no advance has yet been made.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry in how many of the last 10 years Bear Brand has made a profit.

    During the last 10 calendar years for which Bear Brand has published results (1964–1973) it has made a profit in 1964–1966 and 1972 only, but the rate of loss has diminished considerably in recent years.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what were the factors that led him to advance £350,000 to Bear Brand some five weeks after he had refused to do so.

    Following the initial rejection of Bear Brand's application the company put forward revised proposals. In deciding to make a loan the Government had particularly in mind the high level of unemployment in Liverpool.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what estimate he has made of the cash requirements of Bear Brand over the next three years.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether loans will be made by the Government to any of Bear Brand's competitors on the same terms as have been offered to Bear Brand.

    The detailed terms of the loan to Bear Brand are being discussed with the company. Any application for assistance which satisfies the statutory criteria set out in Part II of the Industry Act would be considered, taking into account all the circumstances of the case.

    Companies (Assistance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will list the occasions on which he has declined the advice of the IDAB over assistance to companies.

    As I have announced, offers of selective financial assistance contrary to the advice of IDAB have been made in the cases of the Meriden Co-operative, Scottish News Enterprises Ltd., Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., Kirkby Manufacturing Co. Ltd., and Bear Brand Ltd. In the case of Alfred Herbert Ltd., no difference arose on the importance of assisting the business, but only on the best means of doing so.

    Alfred Herbert Limited

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to receive the report on Alfred Herbert Ltd. by Peat Marwick.

    Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Company, who were engaged as consultants to assist in investigating the problems of Alfred Herbert Limited and to suggest possible solutions, have presented their draft conclusions for discussion to a consultative committee composed of the company's board of directors, representatives of the workforce and officials of my Department. We hope to receive the consultants' report and the views of the workforce and management during the next few weeks.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what occasions in the last 12 months he has received advice about Alfred Herbert Ltd. from the IDAB and what the nature of this advice was.

    It is not customary to disclose the timing of meetings of the Industrial Development Advisory Board or the tenor of its advice. However, as my right hon. Friend informed the hon. Member for Tonbridge and Mailing (Mr. Stanley) on 30th January—[Vol. 885, c. 318–19.]—it recognised that the business of Alfred Herbert Limited should be placed on a sound and continuing basis but recommended that this was best achieved through allowing the company to go into receivership.

    European Coal And Steel Communityfund Loans

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what grants and loans have been approved for the West Midlands area from the European Coal and Steel Community Fund since 1st January 1973.

    Mackenzie: The following loans have been made to the National Coal Board under Article 54 of the Treaty of Paris:

    £m
    2·9Littleton colliery
    4·7Trentham colliery
    Figures for other loans and grants from the European Coal and Steel Community are not available on a regional basis.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will specify the grants and loans which have been approved for the East Midlands area from the ECSC Fund since 1st January 1973.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what grants and loans have been approved for the East Midlands area for the European Coal and Steel Community Fund since 1st January 1973.

    No loans have been approved for the East Midlands area under Articles 54 and 56 of the Treaty of Paris. Figures for other loans and grants under the Treaty of Paris are not available on a regional basis.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will specify the grants and loans which have been approved for Wales from the ECSC Fund since 1st January 1975.

    No loans or grants have been approved for Wales under the Treaty of Paris since 1st January 1975.

    Building Costs

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the average building cost per square foot for industrial accommodation in 1965, in 1970 and at the latest available date.

    This information is not available. The average cost of Government advance factories was as follows:

    Year of Completion£ Per square foot
    19653·36
    19704·56
    19747·34
    These figures include the costs of siteworks, access roads and services.

    Companies (Industry Act Assistance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to ensure that those companies which benefit from regional development incentives under the Industry Act 1972 must be able to show, on an auditable basis, that all their investment decisions in the United Kingdom take full account of Government investment incentives.

    Unfortunately, this would not be practicable. But the system of planning agreements will enable the Government to see that selective financial assistance is tailored more closely to companies' needs.

    Postal Charges

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will issue a general direction to the Post Office to freeze all postal charges until an independent inquiry has been undertaken and its conclusions published, with regard to the changes in the effectiveness of the service over the past 30 years, the increase in the charges for postal delivery over the same period in relation to general inflation, and the level of remuneration of postal workers.

    No. The postal charges introduced on 17th March were accepted as justified by the Post Office Users' National Council and the Price Commission.

    Aircraft Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will now supply the hon. Member for Chingford with the promised information about the source of the request for Scottish Aviation to be nationalised.

    I have already supplied this information in the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trotter) on 24th March.

    Bus Construction

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what information he has as to the average length of time that bus companies have to wait for the delivery of new British built buses, and what is the average length of time for delivery of spare parts from the factories.

    I am informed that the waiting period for buses depends on the type and make of bus required; that it is generally lengthy for double deckers; and that in some cases the waiting period extends to two years. Delivery periods for spares are dependent on a number of factors including shortages of some raw materials and the need to reach a level of demand which merits production.

    European Community (Ministerialanswers)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry in what manner he proposes to indicate in his answers to Parliamentary Questions and in corespondence concerned with any matters pertaining to the EEC with honourable Members and others if he is speaking for himself or for the Cabinet.

    Answers to parliamentary Questions and correspondence from my Department dealing with these matters will reflect Government policy.

    Tyneside

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take steps to create alternative employment opportunities on Tyneside for workers to be made redundant by the proposed withdrawal of the Norwegian shipping service.

    The full range of financial incentives under the Industry Act is available to both new and expanding industry on Tyneside and my officials are doing all they can to encourage further industrial development in the area.

    Concorde

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will detail the actual and forecast expenditure reductions which have resulted in the fall of £40 million in real terms of the total development costs of Concorde.

    The reduction of approximately £40 million in real terms of estimate of the total development costs of Concorde is attributable primarily to the more accurate definition of the outstanding future task. This has been made possible by the satisfactory technical progress of the project in the recent past. Rather more than half of the decrease is attributable to re-estimates of French costs on the airframe development, whilst in the United Kingdom the reduction has been concentrated on the engine activities at Rolls-Royce. Most of the remaining reduction is due to clearer definition of the work outstandig on engine development in the United Kingdom.

    TOTAL SALES OF UNITED KINGDOM MANUFACTURERS
    (Total sales cover sales to the United Kingdom market and exports)
    Unit1970(July December)19711972
    1 Colour television setsThousand2808341,469
    2 Domestic radio receiversThousand329769726
    3 Motor cars†Thousand5121,3351,702
    4 Washing machinesThousand4831,0491,249
    5 Refrigerators (domestic)Thousand4291,0131,150
    Cookers:
    6 Electric (over 5 kW)Thousand404823796
    7 Gas£ thousand......
    Vacuum cleaners (domestic)Thousand1,0172.1622,544
    Unit197319741975(January-February)
    1 Colour television setsThousand2,1171,427*..
    2 Domestic radio receiversThousand677381*..
    3 Motor cars†Thousand1,6881,274249
    4 Washing machinesThousand1,3751,067..
    5 Refrigerators (domestic)Thousand1,285891*..
    Cookers:
    6 Electric (over 5 kW)Thousand872675..
    7 Gas£ thousand48,75257,146..
    8 Vacuum cleaners (domestic)Thousand2,6092,373..
    ..Not available.
    * January-September only.
    †New registrations of privately-licensed cars and vans. These cover both United Kingdom manufactured and imported vehicles sold on the home market.

    Sources: 1, 2, 7 Business Monitor series; 3 Department of the Environment; 4. 5, 6, 8 Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electric Appliances.

    National Enterprise Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will make an estimate of the average funds likely to be required annually by the National Enterprise Board.

    Consumer Durables (Sales)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what have been the total sales of colour television sets, radios, motor cars, audio systems, washing machines, refrigerators, cookers and vacuum cleaners, respectively, since June 1970 to the latest date for which information is available.

    The information so far as it is available is shown in the following table. No statistics are collected of audio systems and those for gas cookers are available in value terms only.

    Civil Service

    Civil Servants

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) what is the total number of non-industrial civil servants at the most recent count; and by how many this exceeds the total number on 1st April 1974;(2) what is the total number of industrial civil servants; and how this compares with the total at 1st April 1974.

    a: It is not customary to distinguish between non-industrial and industrial civil servants when describing the size of the Civil Service. Nevertheless, of the 692,036 staff in post on 1st April 1974 and the 693,921 in post on 1st January 1975 the distribution was as follows:

    1st April19741st January 1975Change
    Non-industrials511.848517,030+5,182
    Industrials180,188176,891-3,297

    Defence

    Departmental Land, Llanberis

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence by what date he anticipates that his Department's lands at Llanberis will be rid of explosives and in condition to be transferred back to civilian use.

    Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the defence cuts recently announced will fall on the South-West of England and in particular the Plymouth district; and if he will make a statement on the possible economic effects to the region.

    It is still too early to say precisely, but I do not expect the economic impact of defence cuts on the region to be significant.

    Women's Royal Naval Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how the average length of service of WRNS ratings and officers who are not subject to the Naval Discipline Act compares with that of the other women's services who are subject to similar Acts; why he is now proposing to subject the WRNS to the Act; and how they will be affected by being so subject.

    It is generally the case that WRNS officers and ratings serve rather longer than their counterparts in the other women's services, but length of service is dependent on many factors of which the disciplinary code is only one. The proposal to bring the WRNS under the jurisdiction of the Naval Discipline Act is likely to be put before Parliament as part of the Armed Forces Bill 1975. The change in day-to-day disciplinary arrangements will be very slight, but the change in the legal basis of WRNS discipline will enhance their status and facilitate their closer integration into the naval Service.

    Ships

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence which of the vessels shown in the defence review as approved for disposal during 1974–75 are still in service; and when HMS "Grampus" is to be taken out of commission.

    From the vessels listed only HMS "Grampus" is still in service and she is due to pay off at the end of next month.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage the nine new destroyers/frigates to be cut from the financial programme represent of the total programme of such vessels over the defence review period; and what is his estimate of the resulting savings to be made in construction costs;(2) what is his estimate of the savings to be made by deleting from the construction programme a fleet maintenance ship, three large fleet tankers and one afloat support ship;(3) what is his estimate of the saving to be effected by abandoning the plans to build two amphibious ships.

    It is not the normal practice to give details of planned orders beyond the next financial year or the estimated cost of new construction. But the saving in new construction costs as a result of these particular measures represents about a quarter of the previously planned expenditure on new construction in the defence review period.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Fleet auxiliaries it is proposed to build during the period covered by the defence review. and of what types.

    As announced in the Defence White Paper, two fleet replenishment ships are under construction. It is not normal practice to give details of our future shipbuilding plans beyond the next financial year.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when it is proposed to withdraw from service the cruisers HMS "Blake" and HMS "Tiger".

    The plan is that HM ships "Blake" and "Tiger" will continue in service for a number of years yet.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the defence review provides for the construction of a new salvage ship to replace HMS "Reclaim"; and, if so, when.

    The question of a replacement for the deep diving ship HMS "Reclaim" is still under consideration.

    Aircraft (Reconnaissance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what type of additional aircraft are to be earmarked to SACLANT—CINCHAN for reconnaissance.

    Headquarters Personnel

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what reductions in numbers and in percentage terms he estimates will be made in the Service and civilian personnel in Ministry of Defence Headquarters.

    It is too soon to provide estimates, but the aim is to achieve reductions in Ministry of Defence Headquarters commensurate with the changed needs of the Services following the defence review.

    Military Commitments

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what fresh military commitments outside NATO were entered into by Great Britain between June 1970 and February 1974 and since that date respectively.

    Between June 1970 and February 1974 the Labour administration's planned withdrawal from South-East Asia was halted, although the only specific fresh commitment entered into was the Five-Power defence arrangements in 1971 which replaced the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Agreement. As for changes since February 1974, Her Majesty's Government's proposals are set out in the statement on the Defence Estimates 1975.

    Europe (Service Personnel)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many British Service men and Service women are serving in Europe in the Army, Navy and Air Force, respectively: and what percentage of British Service men and Service women is presently committed within Europe.

    Llandwrog

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take immediate steps to ensure that the derelict land and buildings on the war-time Llandwrog Aerodrome site are cleared up.

    I have been asked to reply.The land was returned to private ownership in 1958, so any such clearance is the responsibility of the present owner, subject to any action which may be open to the local authorities under law.

    Home Department

    Fire Precautions

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the effect of Circular 171 is restricting the recruitment of additional fire officers urgently needed to carry out inspections and issue certificates under the Fire Precautions Act 1971; and if he will rescind it.

    The forecast expenditure referred to in the circular provides for the cost of the firemen required to implement the 48-hour week, but for no other increases in manpower. It is for fire authorities to decide how to deploy their available manpower in order most effectively to discharge their statutory functions.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with the progress in implementing the Fire Precautions Act 1971, with particular reference to the inspection and registration of seaside hotels and boarding houses.

    Progress in the inspection and certification of hotels and boarding houses under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 varies considerably from one area to another. I appreciate that there are particular difficulties in some seaside areas.

    Police (Northumberland)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of the Northumbria Constabulary of the numbers who have left the force since the reorganisation of police areas, the number recruited during the same period, the shortfall of the authorised establishment, of how far the authorised establishment falls short of his estimated need, and of how many officers in the present force will be entitled to retire on pension before 1st April 1976.

    During the period 1st April 1974 to 28th February 1975, 185 officers left the force and 170 joined. On 28th February there were 239 vacancies on the authorised establishment of 3,322 and 382 officers will be eligible to retire on pension before 1st April 1976.The authorised establishment is under consideration by the police authority, which has indicated that it considers that an increase is necessary. We shall give careful consideration to the authority's detailed proposals when we receive them.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals there are to stimulate recruitment for the Northumbria Constabulary.

    There is an active local recruitment campaign which includes advertising, visits to schools and exhibitions, and discussions with careers advisers. The police authority is providing £23,770 for these activities during 1975–76. In addition the force benefits from the national recruitment campaign for which provision for more than £750,000 has been made for 1975–76.

    Broadcasting (Wales)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish the report of the Siberry Working Party on Broadcasting in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

    The working party has not yet completed its task, but will report as soon as practicable.

    Immigration Appeals

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average delay between the hearing of an appeal against the decision of the entry clearance officer refusing entry to an applicant to settle in the United Kingdom, and the decision on the appeal being announced.

    In some cases the decision is announced at the hearing. Where the adjudicator reserves his determination it is usual for seven to 14 days to elapse before it is given, and longer in complex cases.

    Prisoners

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convicted prisoners whose normal domicile is in Northern Ireland, and in the Irish Republic, respectively, are now serving sentences in England and Wales.

    I regret that information about place of domicile is not available. An analysis of the information centrally recorded on 6th January, the latest date for which the figures are readily available, shows that there were then 23,310 men and 537 women serving prison sentences in England and Wales. Of these, 345 men and seven women were born in Northern Ireland and 1,091 men and 24 women were born in the Irish Republic.

    Wakefield Prison

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date the prisoner in the control unit at Wakefield Prison, mentioned in his answer of 19th March to the hon. Member for Lewisham, West, was admitted to the unit; and what were the reasons for his admission.

    23rd August 1974; he fulfilled the criteria for admission as given in my right hon. Friend's reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) on 14th November 1974.—[Vol. 881, c. 195–61

    Speeding

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions for speeding in Didmarton on the A433 have been successfully made in each of the last five years.

    My noble Friend the Minister of State is obtaining this information and will write to the hon. Member.

    European Communitymembership (Referendum)

    asked the Lord President of the Council whether Italians who have lived in Bedford for between 15 to 20 years but who retain Italian nationality will be able to vote on the referendum on the European Community.

    asked the Lord President of the Council what is his estimate of the total clerical and administrative cost of the proposed referendum on United Kingdom membership of the European Community, including the cost of counting all the votes at one central place.

    About £6·5 million, including the cost of printing and distributing poll cards.

    House Of Commons

    Members' Postage

    asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in view of the expense and the possible offence to the public who currently receive routine letters and acknowledgments from Members of Parliament by first class post, he will make available to Members envelopes officially paid for the second class post.

    The hon. Member's suggestion is being considered, and I will write as soon as the necessary inquiries have been made.

    Northern Ireland

    Rents And Rates

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what amount of money is outstanding from persons who were formerly on rent and rate strike.

    It is estimated that about £l·5 million is still owed as arrears of rent by people for a variety of reasons. Similar information for rates debts cannot be provided without disproportionate effort.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total amount of money now owing for (a) rent, and (b) rates in each district council area.

    Information on rent arrears is not available by district council area, but the total amount of rent owed to the Housing Executive is £3,635,667. I shall send the information on rates to the hon. Member as soon as it becomes available.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons are now on rent and rate strike in Northern Ireland at the latest available date; how much money they owe in (a) rent, and (b) rates; and how the figures compare with a year ago.

    Approximately 4,200 people occupying publicly-owned housing are still withholding rent for reasons arising out of the campaign of civil disobedience, and owe about £700,000. The corresponding figures at this time last year were about 11,200 people and £1·3 million, respectively.It is estimated that about 7,500 people owing approximately £700,000 may be withholding rates for reasons connected with the campaign. A comparison with the figures a year ago is not available.

    Payment For Debt Order

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the effect of the introduction of the Payment for Debt Order, for collection of rates and rent, on the collection of rates and rent in Northern Ireland.

    It is assumed that the hon. Member is referring to the Payment for Debt (Costs of Collection) Order (Northern Ireland) 1974. The order was intended to encourage those on rent strike to resume paying normal rent and arrears and to help meet the cost of collecting rent from social security and other benefits. Between the dates of the announcements about the introduction of the order and its revocation, 5,500 tenants signed agreements with the Housing Executive to resume payment of rent.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who was responsible for revoking the Payment for Debt (Costs of Collection) Order (Northern Ireland) 1974 and what was the result of the order being revoked.

    The Department of Finance and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning, on my direction, revoked this order on 2nd September 1974. As a result, tenants having allocations made from social security benefits no longer had to pay 25p per week collection charge. At the same time, however, there was a 50p per week increase in the maximum amount of arrears deducted weekly from social security and other payments.

    Price Sisters

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the Price sisters have requested or will be granted special category status in Armagh Prison.

    The Price sisters have applied for special category status. Their applications are being considered.

    Internees And Detainees(Compensation)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many internees and detainees in Northern Ireland have had compensation paid to them for such internment or detention in each of the last five years; and what were the amounts paid in each case.

    No compensation has been paid in respect of internment or detention in Northern Ireland within any of the last five years.

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total amount of compensation paid by the Government to detainees and ex-internees; and how many claims are still outstanding.

    Up to 31st January 1975 a sum of £302,043 had been paid in 473 cases of claim by such persons seeking redress for false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery. These payments are not under the Compensation Acts. There were 1,193 such claims outstanding.

    Service Fatalities (Compensation)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will now make arrangements to allow compensation to be made to relatives of British Service men killed in action in, Northern Ireland.

    Provision already exists under the Criminal Injuries to Persons (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1968 for the payment of compensation to relatives, who were also dependants as defined in the Act, of Service men killed in action as a result of criminal injuries sustained in Northern Ireland. Compensation to relatives who were not dependants is limited to the recoupment of actual expenses, such as funeral expenses, incurred as a result of the death.

    Enterprise Ulster

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on the Enterprise Ulster project at Camphill.

    Work on the Ulster-American exposition and Folk Park is one of Enterprise Ulster's major projects, providing valuable employment west of the Bann. The cost of the work at the Folk Park is borne by Enterprise Ulster and a significant contribution to the cost of the information centre in the Park is being made by the Matthew T. Mellon Foundation.The project will provide a unique educational and tourist attraction illustrating the story of emigration from Ulster to the New World and will be Northern Ireland's major contribution to the commemoration of the American Bicentennial Year in 1976.

    Social And Economic Planning

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to make an announcement about the social and economic plan following in the ending of the 1970 five-year plan.

    I would refer the hon. Member to paragraph 5 on page 124 of the White Paper "Public Expenditure to 1978–79" (Cmnd 5879), a copy of which is in the Library.

    B And J Jupiter Cruisers, Newtownards

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the firm of B. and J. Jupiter Cruisers, Newtownards, was registered under the Companies Act; whether any public money was invested in the company, and how much; whether the Local Enterprise Development Unit or the Northern Ireland Finance Corporation gave any financial assistance; and how much.

    B. and J. Jupiter Cruisers was registered under the Companies Act (Northern Ireland) 1960 on 5th September 1974. No public money in the form of equity or loan finance was invested in the company. Neither LEDU nor NIFC gave financial assistance to the company.

    Royal Ulster Constabulary (Trainingcentre)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to receive the Police Authority's proposals concerning the Royal Ulster Constabulary training centre.

    The Police Authority has now submitted its proposals, which are being considered.

    District Councillors' Remuneration

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total amount paid to members of district councils by way of remuneration for meetings lasting less than four hours and for meetings extending over four hours since payments were first introduced; what is the average payment per member in each of the 26 district councils; and what is the district council whose members have received the greatest amount.

    Overseas Development

    Lomé Convention

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will now place in the Library a copy of the Lomé Convention.

    I am arranging for a cyclostyled copy to be placed in the Library in accordance with the statement I made to the House on 3rd February. Printed copies of the convention should be available a week or two after Easter and I will ensure that these are sent to the Library then.

    Overseas Service Pensions

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development what representations she has received on behalf of the Overseas Service Pensions Association in regard to the assumption of responsibilities for the payment of those pensions by the United Kingdom Government; and what reply she has sent.

    There has been continuous and close liaison with the association, and I met the president of the association and some of his colleagues last December. They have consistently advocated that the assumption by the British Government of responsibility for these pensions should be completed as early as possible. They have raised particular matters in relation to widows. I explained that it had taken longer to implement the policy than was originally expected but that we were urgently seeking ways of accelerating progress. I was ready to examine the other matters raised.The present position, of which the association is aware, is set out in my reply to the hon. Member for Rye (Mr. Godman Irvine) on 6th March.—[Vol. 887, c. 494–95.] I take the opportunity further to assure these pensioners that it is our intention to complete this somewhat complicated task as soon as we can.

    Scotland

    European Community(Ministerial Answers)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in what manner he proposes to indicate in his answers to parliamentary Questions and in correspondence concerned with any matters pertaining to the EEC with hon. Members and others if he is speaking for himself or for the Cabinet.

    Answers to parliamentary Questions and correspondence from my Department dealing with these matters will reflect Government policy.

    European Community Regionaldevelopment Fund

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what payments would be made available to Scotland from the Regional Development Fund over the next three years if Great Britain were to remain in the Common Market, indicating what percentage these amounts would represent of the total benefit to the United Kingdom in each case.

    It is not possible to predict what part of the gross total of £150 million available to the United Kingdom from the Regional Development Fund over the next three years may be paid to Scotland. In recent years Scotland has received about one-third of the sums spent by the British Government on regional preferential assistance.

    Population

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is Scotland's population from the most recent figures available; and what per- centage of Great Britain's population is now resident in Scotland.

    The estimated population of Scotland at 30th June 1974 was 5,226,400. This was 9·6 per cent. of the population of Great Britain.

    Convicted Prisoners

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many convicted prisoners whose normal domicile is in Northern Ireland, and in the Irish Republic, respectively, are now serving sentences in Scotland.

    Of the convicted prisoners serving sentences in Scotland at midnight on 24th March 1975, 10 would normally be domiciled in Northern Ireland and four in the Irish Republic.

    Teachers (Primary Schools)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of part-time teachers in primary schools in Dunbartonshire.

    I understand from Dunbartonshire Education Authority that the number is 147.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of full-time teachers required to bring the manning of primary schools in Dunbartonshire up to establishment.

    Staffing standards for primary schools are expressed in terms of the full-time equivalent of the number of teachers to be employed, excluding remedial and visiting specialist teachers. On this basis, in September 1974 primary schools in Dunbartonshire had 453 more teachers than the prescribed minimum standards and 271 more than would be needed to meet the improved standards recommended for achievement by session 1975–76.

    Milk Subsidy

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effect the change in the rate of the subsidy on milk produced in certain Scottish islands announced by the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection on 21st March will have on consumers in these islands.

    In general the unsubsidised price of milk in the Islands of Lewis, Mull and Shetland has been increased by 2p per pint since November 1974; in these circumstances the change in the rate of subsidy on milk produced in these islands from 23½p to 2p per pint from 6th April does not justify any further increase in the price to consumers there.

    Prices And Consumerprotection

    Radio Equipment (Imports)

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she will arrange for the agreement reached in the United Kingdom by the British Radio Equipment Manufacturers Association on import levels to be investigated as a restrictive trade practice.

    £million
    Expenditure
    19731974
    Subsidised FoodExchequerEECExchequerEEC
    Bread41·1
    Butter5·95·742·911·0
    Cheese22·0
    Household Flour1·8
    Milk*50·5277·6
    Tea9·7
    Total56·45·7395·111·0
    *Payments on account to Milk Marketing Boards.
    Only the General Butter Subsidy was initiated by the European Community.

    Knitted Goods

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will initiate an investigation into the pricing policies of those retailers selling knitted goods imported from low-cost supplier countries in South-East Asia.

    Action is in hand through the EEC Commission to restrain imports of low-cost knitwear from the countries principally concerned. Once imported goods enter into the normal channels of distribution in the United Kingdom their distributors should observe the rules of the Price Code enforced by the Price Commission including the prescribed limits on gross and net margins over their business as a whole. I have

    Investigation of restrictive agreements is a matter for the Director General of Fair Trading. The hon. Member will appreciate that restrictions imposed by the Japanese Government on exports of colour television sets from Japan do not fall within the scope of the restrictive practices legislation in this country.

    Food Subsidies

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she will publish in the Official Report a list showing the total expenditure on food subsidies, by food product, for the calendar years 1973 and 1974, showing the proportion of the expenditure borne by FEOGA; and which subsidies were initiated by Her Majesty's Government and which by the European Community.

    The information is as follows:no plans at present to require a special investigation into retail pricing policies.

    Value Of Goods

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she will introduce legislation to ban the practice of referring to goods or services as "worth" a stated price or "worth less than" a stated price, without evidence being supplied by the seller that such goods or services are or were available at that stated price.

    The Director General of Fair Trading has announced that he is considering this practice with a view to making a reference to the Consumer Protection Advisory Committee in accordance with Part II of the Fair Trading Act 1973.

    Consumer Protection Advisorycommittee

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the greatest, the longest and the average time interval between the date when a matter is referred to the Consumer Protection Advisory Committee and the date when that committee gives that advice.