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Written Answers

Volume 890: debated on Monday 14 April 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 14th April 1975

Energy

Electricity Prices

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy by how much the price of electricity will rise if the current offer from the CEGB to manual workers in the electricity industry is accepted.

The current offer will not lead to further electricity price increases during 1975–76. Salaries in the electricity industry account for a small proportion of the total costs of supply.

Petrol Prices (Charitable Organisations)

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will introduce a two-tier system of petrol pricing for charitable organisations concerned with the protection of children.

The question of two-tier pricing of petrol is still under consideration.

Oil And Gas Resources

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he will publish his next report to Parliament on production and reserves of oil and gas in the United Kingdom.

My 1975 Report to Parliament entitled "Development of the Oil and Gas Resources of the United Kingdom" will be published this afternoon and copies will be available in the Library of the House, and in the Vote Office stores.The report confirms that we are on target for oil self-sufficiency in 1980, and that oil production of between 100 and 150 million tons per annum or even higher is attainable throughout the 1980s. Our proven recoverable reserves of oil now stand at over 1,000 million tons, an increase of nearly 20 per cent. compared with last May, and total recoverable reserves in presently designated areas of our Continental Shelf are estimated at between 3,000 million and 4,500 million tons.Production of gas last year averaged 3,500mcfd and provided some 95 per cent. of the United Kingdom's consumption.

Reserves of gas in all discoveries in the United Kingdom sector made up to the end of 1974 are now estimated to lie between 27 and 45 trillion (1012 ) cubic feet and should support a production level of about 5,000mcfd well into the 1980s.

Drilling activity over the last year has been at a higher level than ever before, particularly in the area to the east of Shetlands. Up to the end of March this year, 18 new significant petroleum discoveries have been made, and since the report went to press three more oil finds have been announced.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what he estimates to be the current free world surplus of oil and its likely effect on petroleum prices.

Free world productive capacity is probably about 8 million barrels per day greater than demand at present prices. Producer Governments are, however, reducing poduction in order to maintain prices. So far, therefore, the surplus capacity seems to have had little effect on prices. I cannot predict future trends.

Man-Made Fibres

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether his Department will initiate a study on the commercial and technical effects of indigenous oil resources on the man-made fibre industry of the United Kingdom, and particularly on the likely effect on its raw material prices.

I have been asked to reply.The Departments of Energy and Industry have set up a working party to examine oil pricing policy and, in discussion with the petrochemical industry, are looking at the opportunities presented by future indigenous oil supplies. This study will include implications of these supplies for the man-made fibre industry.

Scotland

Buildings (Disabled Persons' Access)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, when reviewing the Building Regulations, he will include conditions on accessibility of new buildings in the line of British Standards Code of Practice 96.

My right hon. Friend is ready to consider any appropriate proposals for the regulations, along the lines of this code or otherwise, which would assist access for the disabled to buildings. Officials are in touch with the Scottish Council of Social Service on this subject. Thereafter consultations with the Building Standards Advisory Committee and others would be held as necessary.

Higher Leaving Certificate

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the higher leaving certificate examination in Scotland this year has the Latin examination and the higher accounts examination at the same time on the same day, and that this involves unfairness to pupils who have studied both these subjects at school; and if he will give a general direction to the Scottish Examination Board to ensure that such examinations do not take place at the same time on the same day.

The board's arrangements have included for several years provision for some examinations in different subjects to take place at the same time. A candidate in both subjects may take the papers at different times on the same day, or, if this is impracticable or would impose undue strain on the candidate, he may take such papers as will, when supplemented by class evidence, give the examiners a reliable basis on which to determine the results.It is my policy to leave the arrangements for the examinations to the discretion of the board, and I do not propose to give any direction in this matter. If the board were prevented from continuing its present practice the examination period would have to be extended unduly.

Doctors (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the annual increase in remuneration of the average general practitioner following the introduction of freely prescribed contraceptives.

The agreement reached with representatives of general practitioners regarding the provision by them of contraceptive services under the National Health Service was reported to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body. Its report relating to the period from 1st April 1975 has not yet been published and it would be premature for me to make an estimate of the kind sought.

Economic Policy

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will promote a conference involving both sides of industry to discuss how trade unions and employers, including the small business sector, can assist in achieving Government economic objectives; and if he will consider such a conference also discussing industrial relations.

I welcome the initiative taken last February by the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) to set up a committee under the chairmanship of a distinguished trade unionist, and composed of leading representatives of both sides of industry, with a remit to discuss common problems with particular emphasis on industrial relations. I consider the on-going work of a committee of this sort, which has sprung from the good will of the parties directly concerned, is likely to prove more fruitful than a conference convened by the Government, and I shall watch their progress with interest.

Mr Shelepin (Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the cost to the police of providing security services to Mr. Shelepin during his visit to Scotland.

I understand that the additional cost incurred by the Ayrshire Constabulary was about £750.

Mentally Handicapped Children

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many authorities in Scotland have notified their proposals to him for implementation of the Education (Mentally Handicapped Children) (Scotland) Act; and what steps he is taking to ensure implementation of that Act by all authorities.

Education authorities are not required to give separate notification of their proposals. I intend, however, to call for revised schemes of educational provision from the new authorities shortly after they assume their responsibilities, and the provision they propose to make for mentally handicapped children will be covered in these schemes. I have already given guidance on various aspects of the implementation of the Act, which will necessarily be a gradual process, and I shall continue to keep the situation under review.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many authorities have asked for additional borrowing consents or grants in order to implement the Education (Mentally Handicapped Children) (Scotland) Act.

Any expenditure required in this connection will be met from capital investment allocations already agreed. Within these allocations, I am aware of 15 projects providing new or replacement accommodation for severely mentally handicapped children, now under construction or expected to start within the next 18 months, at an estimated cost of over £1·75 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements have been made for the additional training of staff in order to assist local authorities to implement the Education (Mentally Handicapped Children) (Scotland) Act, due to be implemented after 15th May 1975.

The content of new courses designed for instructors in day care centres is under consideration by a committee of the Scottish Council for Technical Education and it is hoped that the first of these courses will be available in one or more further education colleges in the autumn. In addition the number of places available to teachers on in-service courses at colleges of education leading to the qualification to teach handicapped children has more than doubled in the last three years, and the length of the course has been extended from four months to a full session.

Air Services (Highlands And Islands)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will give financial support to loss-making air services in the Highlands and Islands as recommended by the Civil Aviation Authority.

In consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade I have given careful consideration to this aspect of the authority's report on air transport in the Highlands and Islands. We accept the authority's conclusion that some air services in the region which are essential to the life of remote communities show little or no prospect of becoming viable. In general we agree that my Department should give some financial support to such services.Scheduled operations are currently carried out by Scottish Airways and Logan-air, and in view of the excellent record of both companies my right hon. Friend and and I would wish to see them remain the principal carriers in the region. My right hon. Friend will, subject to parliamentary approval, and after consultation with the CAA, give appropriate guidance to the authority in due course.Since the authority reported, Scottish Airways, as a result of a rationalisation of their aircraft fleet, have withdrawn from the routes to Tiree and Barra and these now form part of the Loganair network. It is intended that the services provided by Scottish Airways in the Highlands and islands should as a whole become viable in the longer term. Traffic growth associated with North Sea oil activities will assist to this end. We do not, therefore propose that Scottish Airways' operations should be subsidised.Certain of Loganair's routes, in particular those to Tiree and Barra, are clearly going to remain unprofitable for some time. Following an application for financial assistance from Loganair, my officials, with the assistance of the Civil Aviation Authority, are discussing the amount that might be required and the terms and conditions under which it will be paid. Having regard to the company's experience in operating these difficult routes and the need to maintain a certain scale of operation in order to minimise the deficit on the routes in question, I do not propose, for the time being at least, to invite other airlines to submit proposals.Provision is made in the Scottish Development Agency Bill, which will be published today, for financial support to be made available for air services in the Highlands and Islands.

Devolution

32.

asked the Lord President of the Council when he now expects to publish the White Paper on devolution.

I will be considering later in the year whether to publish a White Paper on devolution.

Members Of Parliament (Pay)

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in view of the delay which has occurred in the examination by the Top Salaries Review Body of the remuneration of Members of Parliament and Ministers, he will seek to backdate to 1st April 1975 any recommendations arising from this review.

I do not accept that there has been any such delay in the Top Salaries Review Body's examination. The effective date of any increase in Members' remuneration is a matter which will be considered by Ministers in the light of the Review Body's recommendations.

Civil Service

Scottish Assembly

28.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on his discussions with Civil Service unions about proposals to make certain civil servants in Scotland responsible to a Scottish Assembly.

There has been no change in the position since the reply which I gave my hon. Friend on 3rd March. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal and I will be having a preliminary discussion shortly with representatives of the National Staff Side.

European Community Membership (Referendum)

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, if the Referendum Bill, as at present drafted, becomes law, (a) a Southern Irish citizen residing in Great Britain and (b) a British citizen living in Southern Ireland, respectively, will be able to vote.

Under the Bill a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who is on a current electoral register in the United Kingdom would be entitled to vote in the referendum. A British subject living in the Republic of Ireland would be entitled to vote in the referendum only if he had had a residence in the United Kingdom on 10th October 1974 and was otherwise qualified to be included in the electoral register and had been so included.

Doctors' And Dentists' Pay

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he will announce Her Majesty's Government's conclusions on the report of the Review Body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration;(2) on what date he received the report of the Review Body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration; and on what date he intends to publish the report.

I received the report on 1st April and the Government are considering it urgently. It raises complex issues and requires thorough consideration, but I have told the professions that we will consider the report as quickly as possible in the light of our responsibilities both for the health service and the community as a whole.

Government Ministers

asked the Prime Minister if he will refrain from appointing a replacement Minister of State at the Department of Industry and consider raising the post of Minister for the Arts to the rank of Minister of State.

No. I shall announce a new appointment at the Department of Industry in due course.

Defence

Gurkhas

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is expected to be the annual saving which would be achieved by withdrawing the Gurkha battalion from Brunei.

Our proposal to withdraw the Gurkha Battalion from Brunei, which is subject to consultations with the Sultan, will not mean any saving to the defence budget since the Sultan pays the full costs of the battalion.

Aircraft

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated normal service life of a Nimrod aircraft; what will be the approximate age of the aircraft to be withdrawn through the reduction of a quarter in the existing Nimrod maritime patrol force; and how their withdrawal will coincide with the completion of the eight new Nimrods now under construction.

The RAF's Nimrods entered service between 1969 and 1972, and are expected to remain in service until the 1990s. The reduction in the martime patrol force will be achieved by the withdrawal, by 1979, of the NEAF Nimrod Squadron. The last of the new Nimrods should be completed during 1976–77.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what reduction has been made in the proposed strength of the Victor K2 tanker force.

The reduction in overseas commitments as a result of the defence review has made it possible to reduce the previously planned Victor K2 force by five aircraft. It will still represent a significant improvement in overall capability over the existing K1 force.

Beira Patrol

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what effect the decision to concentrate the Royal Navy's operations in the Eastern Atlantic and Channel area will have on the Beira Patrol.

None. The Royal Navy's deployments will not be confined solely to these areas.

Raf Strike Command

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the planned introduction of Phantoms instead of Lightnings will now lead to a numerical reduction in the front-line fighter strength of the RAF; whether all the Lightning squadrons including that recently withdrawn from Cyprus are to be replaced by an equivalent number of Phantom squadrons; and when the last Lightning fighters are to be withdrawn from service.

There are at present seven fighter squadrons in Strike Command, including the Lightning squadron recently withdrawn from Cyprus. Four are equipped with Lightnings and three with Phantoms. There are also two Lightning squadrons in Germany which we plan to re-equip with Phantoms. Decisions on the precise date when the Lightning will be withdrawn from front-line service or on the exact number of Lightning and Phantom squadrons respectively which will be maintained until that date do not yet need to be taken.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the recent designation of the Commander in Chief of RAF Strike Command as a NATO commander will result in the establishment in the United Kingdom of a headquarters partly manned by personnel of other countries; and, if so, whether this headquarters will be responsible for the air defence of Great Britain and whether it may contain in its staff Portuguese personnel.

The closer integration of the Commander in Chief Strike Command into the NATO Command structure as CinCUKAIR will not result in the establishment of any new headquarters in the United Kingdom, nor are there any proposals for the partial manning of the existing Headquarters Strike Command by personnel from other countries. There is no change in the Commander in Chief's existing responsibilities for the air defence of Great Britain.

Missiles

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are his plans for the maintenance, scrapping or replacement of the RAF's Bloodhound and Army's Thunderbird anti-aircraft units.

These missiles will continue in service for some years yet. On replacement, I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) on 23rd January 1975.—[Vol. 884, c. 463–4.]

Airborne Brigade Group

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) infantry and (b) parachute battalions will be included in the proposed new airportable formation equivalent to a reinforced brigade group.

Detailed planning regarding the order of battle of the proposed reinforced brigade group formation to be used as reinforcement for NATO is still in train, but it is probable that this formation will include five battalions—three Regular and two TAVR—of which at least one Regular battalion will normally be a parachute battalion. The actual role of the latter is still under study.

Nato

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the reduction in the strength of the Army element of the specialised reinforcement forces for NATO as a result of the proposed abandonment of the United Kingdom Joint Airborne Task Force and reduction of the United Kingdom Mobile Force to one brigade group.

At present we maintain as specialised reinforcement forces for NATO one division of three airportable brigades with divisional troops and logistic support in the UKMF(L); a parachute brigade of two battalions in the UKJATFOR; one SAS regiment; and our contribution to AMF(L) based on one infantry battalion group, an armoured reconnaissance squadron and supporting units. The changes announced in the recent White Paper on Defence (Cmnd. 5976) will reduce these capabilities to one air-portable formation equivalent to a reinforced brigade group, which we intend will have a limited parachute capability. Our contribution to the AMF(L) will be unchanged. As was stated in answers to the hon. Member on 19th December, it is not our practice to release details of the strengths of these forces.—[Vol. 883, c. 562–63.]

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the United Kingdom contribution to the NATO budget in each of the past 10 years; and how much, in each year, has been attributable to military, civil and infrastructure expenditure, respectively.

The information is as follows:

££
1965–66
Military Budget3,806,230
Civil Budget929,866
Infrastructure4,718,148
9,454,244
1966–67
Military Budget5,293,693
Civil Budget918,998
Infrastructure5,702,636
11,915,327
1967–68
Military Budget6,854,028
Civil Budget1,490,068
Infrastructure6,754,361
15,098,457
1968–69
Military Budget5,263,742
Civil Budget1,086,589
Infrastructure8,004,792
14,355,123
1969–70
Military Budget5,726,293
Civil Budget1,219,000
Infrastructure7,143,533
14,088,826
1970–71
Military Budget6,679,085
Civil Budget1,941,000
Infrastructure7,353,155
15,97 3,240
1971–72
Military Budget7,340,503
Civil Budget1,616,000
Infrastructure5,692,769
14,649,272
1972–73
Military Budget8,523,834
Civil Budget1,738,193
Infrastructure17,876,546
28,138,573
1973–74
Military Budget9,686,549
Civil Budget2,249,102
Infrastructure15,910,276
27,845,927
1974–75*
Military Budget10,829,384
Civil Budget2,776,731
Infrastructure20,613,000
34,219,115
* Estimate. The figures may be subject to adjustment before the Accounts are closed.

Parachute Regiment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is intended to maintain all three Regular battalions of the Parachute Regiment.

Pilots

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many pilots will be made redundant as a result of the defence cuts; and whether he is satisfied with the compensation arrangements in view of the prospects of finding alternative employment, having regard to the number of unemployed civil pilots.

Slightly more than 300 pilots will be made redundant. The compensation arrangements, which have to be directed towards the loss of career prospects within the Service rather than individual job prospects, compare favourably with previous redundancy schemes.

Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for Defence by what proportion the garrison in Hong Kong is to be cut; and which units are to be withdrawn.

The size of the future garrison in Hong Kong and its financing under any future cost-sharing agreement is the subject of discussions with the Hong Kong Government, and it would be inappropriate to comment until these have been completed. In the meantime, there has been agreement on some early reductions under the present cost-sharing agreement, in respect of United Kingdom-based and locally-enlisted personnel. These will include the withdrawal of an armoured reconnaissance squadron, an artillery regiment less one battery, the disbandment of an engineer squadron and transport troop, and some reductions in Royal Navy and Royal Air Force strengths.

Raf Cottesmore

asked the Secretary of State for Defence to which bases it is proposed to move the quadrons at RAF Cottesmore; and what are his future plans for this base.

We plan to redeploy one of the Canberra squadrons currently located at RAF Cottesmore to RAF Wyton; the location of the remaining aircraft has yet to be decided. It is proposed that RAF Cottesmore will then be reduced to a care and maintenance basis for a period, after which it would be reopened to accommodate another task.

Mr Shelepin (Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of Ministry of Defence helicopters, and other services, respectively, to guard Mr. Shelepin during his visit to Scotland.

Glasgow Refuse Clearance

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the daily cost and the total cost for the services provided by the forces during the Glasgow dustmen's strike.

The extra costs of the assistance, which will be paid by the Glasgow Corporation, are being calculated. I will write to the hon. Member giving him the information he requires, when the process has been completed.

Employment

East Anglia

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons are registered as unemployed in the East Anglian region; and how many job vacancies remain unfilled.

At March 1975, 20,778 people were unemployed in East Anglia. The numbers of notified vacancies remaining unfilled were 5,571 at employment offices and 1,570 at careers offices. The vacancy statistics relate only to vacancies notified to employment offices and careers offices and are not a measure of total vacancies.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were registered with his Department as disabled workers in the Southampton travel to work area including Eastleigh at the latest convenient date; how many of these were unemployed; and how the percentage of disabled workers unemployed in the Southampton travel to work area compares with the national average.

At the last annual count in April 1974, 3,633 people in the Southampton travel-to-work area were registered as disabled. Of these 342 or 9·4 per cent. were unemployed in March this year, the latest date for which information is available. The comparable national percentage was 11·4.

Environment

District Heating

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress is being made in the provision of district heating to both private houses and new local authority building; and if he will encourage this system in view of the economies that can now be achieved by this method of using energy.

Based on tender approvals, the proportion of new local authority housing served by district heating increased by about 150 per cent. between 1969 and 1973, the last year for which figures are available. Information on the private sector is not available.My Department encourages local authorities to consider district heating for new housing developments and approved schemes receive financial assistance.

Roads (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those trunk road schemes costing over £1 million each which have been delayed for over one year by the cuts in public expenditure, giving the estimated economic rate of return in each case.

The list is as follows. Many other schemes have been delayed for shorter periods.

Scheme TitleEconomic Rate of Return Per cent.
A40 Northleach By-Pass20
A49 Brimfield to Ashton19
A61 Ripley-Swanwick-Alfreton By-Pass18
A5111 Ashbourne Road-Allestree Improvement24
A40 Gloucester Northern By-Pass17
A10 Brandon Creek to South Runcton18
A41 M Kings Langley By-Pass38
A41 M Berkhamsted By-Pass31
A35 Dorchester By-Pass16
A35 Bridport By-Pass15
Al2 Kesgrave and Marlesham By-Pass15
A38 Almondsbury (M5) to Southmead18

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give an estimate of the total cost at 1974 survey prices of completing the 3,100 mile road network shown in his Department's consultation paper on lorry routes from the position reached at the end of the financial year 1974–75.

Rates (Unused Shops)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the situation facing small businesses as a result of rate increases, he will consider relieving the owners of small shops which have closed from the burden of paying 50 per cent. rates on their unused shops.

I think this is a matter which should be left to the discretion of the rating authorities. They now have a wide discretion in the operation of the empty property rate. They may levy it in only part of their area, or only on specified classes of property, and levy any proportion of the full rate on those classes. In particular they may in individual cases reduce or remit the rate where hardship would otherwise be caused to the person liable.

Householders (Job Restrictions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of houses whose occupation is subject to a planning restriction on the vocation of the occupier.

Solar Heating

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to obtain information about the solar heating experiment for the total heating of the St. George's School, Wallasey, and on lessons that have been learned from the experiment, and the reasons for any defects.

The Department has received reports on the thermal performance of the Wallasey School Annexe building, following studies which it commissioned with the Department of Building Engineering at Liverpool University. These appraisals, which have been published in scientific and technical journals, have indicated the advantages and limitations of the design principles employed.

Housing Modernisation (Tynedale)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the Tyneside District Council for increased grant allocation for home modernisation; and whether, in particular, he will make grant available for the modernisation of the Maidens Walk Estate, Hexham.

Tynedale District Council has written to the Department's regional office expressing dissatisfaction with its 1975–76 financial allocation for council house improvements. The council has requested an increased allocation to enable two schemes, one of which is the Maidens Walk Estate, to proceed. The regional office is arranging an early meeting with the council to discuss in detail the representations made.

Reservoirs (Angling)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take action to secure public fishing rights at low cost on reservoirs in the ownership of public authorities.

Section 20 of the Water Act 1973 requires water authorities

Domestic
Authorities(a) Excluding effect of 1974–75 Relief Scheme Per cent.(b) Taking account of 1974–75 Relief Scheme Per cent.Non-Domestic Per cent.
ENGLAND
Inner London434350
Outer London454945
Metropolitan Districts162922
Non-Metropolitan Districts173023
All authorities243531
WALES465225
ENGLAND AND WALES243531

Local Authority Housing Estates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy on requiring the Greater London Council and other London boroughs to

to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to put their rights to the use of water, and associated land, to the best use for recreation purposes. At the same time they are required in fixing charges to have regard to the cost of providing the service concerned.

I understand that the North West Water Authority is reviewing the extent to which the opening of reservoirs for angling—and other suitable recreation—can be expanded.

Compulsory Purchase Order (Haringey)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when his decision will be given in respect of the London borough of Haringey (Park Road N8) complsory purchase order on which a public inquiry was held in November 1974.

Rate Increases

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now able to forecast, by types of authority, average percentage rate increases likely in 1975–76 for domestic ratepayers, both with and without taking account of the 1974–75 domestic rate relief scheme, and for non-domestic ratepayers.

The figures are:—relinquish control of housing estates in areas outside their own to the local authorities in such areas.

Home Department

Mr Shelepin (Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the total cost and numbers of police involved in security duty during the visit by Mr. Shelepin; and whether the TUC has been asked to make a contribution.

As I explained on 10th April in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Moonman)—[Vol. 889, c. 437–8.]—it would involve considerable work to estimate the additional cost to which the deployment of officers who would not otherwise have been on duty gave rise. The arrangements made by the police were in the course of accepted obligations for public order and the avoidance of incidents and, therefore, no question of seeking a contribution arose.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of police protection for Alexander Shelepin; and how many days' leave were lost to police officers as a result.

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave on 10th April in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Moonman)—[Vol. 889, c. 437–8.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what extra costs to the Metropolitan and other police forces involved were incurred in providing protection for Mr. Shelepin on his recent visit to Great Britain; and what contribution to such costs has been made by the TUC.

Two police forces were involved, the Metropolitan Police and the Ayrshire Constabulary. It would involve considerable work to estimate the additional cost to which the deployment of Metropolitan Police officers who would not otherwise have been on duty gave rise. The question of additional costs incurred by the Ayrshire Constabulary is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. The arrangements made by the police were in the course of accepted obligations for public order and the avoidance of incidents and, therefore, no question of seeking a contribution arose.

Chief Inspectors (Promotion)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that police officers on being promoted from chief inspector to superintendent do not continue to lose £950 per annum of the income they received when in the lower rank.

Not all chief inspectors suffer a loss in earnings on promotion to superintendent. The figure of £945 which I gave in reply to a Question by the hon. Member on 14th February—[Vol. 886, c. 362.]—relates to the Metropolitan Police and to a detective chief inspector promoted to uniform superintendent. The structure of police pay is currently being investigated by a working party of the Police Council, which is expected to report very shortly.

Urban Aid Programme (Hampshire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish a list of all projects in the non-metropolitan county of Hampshire sanctioned under the urban aid programme.

Following is the information:

Projects approved under the Urban Programme in the non-metropolitan county of Hampshire.
Portsmouth CB (1969–74).
Circular No. 2 (Approved June 1969).
Capital
Day nursery, Gurney Road.
Arundel St. School: 2-class nursery unit.
Non-Capital
Grants to playgroups.
Circular No. 3 (Approved September 1970 and January 1971).
Capital
Cottage Grove Infant School: nursery school.
Mobile Family Advice Centre.
Non-Capital
Organiser for "Good Neighbour" Scheme for the elderly.
Grant to St. George's Family Advice Centre.
Circular No. 4 (Approved August 1971).
Non-Capital
Domestic heavy cleaning unit.
Weekend opening of day centre for the elderly.
Playbus.
Voluntary Ambulance Car Service.
Director, Family Planning Service.
Housing aid centre.
Circular No. 6 (Approved spring 1972).
Non-Capital
"Holidays at Home" scheme.
Circular No. 7 (Approved November-December 1972).
Capital
Paulsgrove Nursery School: Portsdown.
Buckland Day Nursery.
Non-Capital
Church-based Community Service projects.
Good Neighbour Schemes.
Vasectomy service—extension of facilities.
Development of terminal care service.
Direct Family Planning Services.
Family planning information officer.
Circular No. 8 (Approved spring 1973).
Non-Capital
"Holidays at Home" scheme.
Circular No. 9 (Approved October 1973).
Non-Capital
Boarding-out scheme for the elderly.
Intermediate treatment scheme.
Southampton CB (1969–74).
Circular No. 2 (Approved June 1969).
Capital
Nursery class: St. Mary's Church of England Primary School.
Nursery class: Northam Primary School.
Nursery class: Freemantle Church of England Primary School.
Nursery class: Central Primary School.
Non-Capital
Clinic playgroups.
Playgroup organiser.
Circular No. 3 (Approved September 1970 and January 1971).
Capital
Nursery Unit: St. John's Primary School.
Non-Capital
Northumberland Road adventure playground Leader.
Circular No. 4 (Approved August 1971).
Non-Capital
Housing aid centre.
Language scheme for immigrants.
Circular No. 6 (Approved spring 1972).
Non-Capital
Summer language project.
Circular No. 7 (Approved November—December 1972).
Capital
Nursery class, Aldermoor First School.
Non-Capital
Southampton Society for the Mentally Handicapped.
Circular No. 8 (Approved spring 1973).
Non-Capital
Southampton Children's Play Association, Easter and summer play scheme.
Millbrook School language scheme.
Circular No. 9 (Approved October 1973).
Capital
Social and Community Association.
Non-Capital
Youth and Community worker, south central area of Southampton.
Hampshire County Council (1974—).
Circular No. 11 (Approved January 1975).
Capital
Portsmouth family day centre.
Spastics Association: small day centre, Southampton and district.
Circular No. 12 (Approved January 1975).
Non-Capital
Community Relations Council:
pre-school playgroup, Northam.
Portsmouth D.C. (1974—).
Circular No. 10 (Approved February 1974).
Non-Capital
Holidays at Home scheme.
Circular No. 11 (Approved January 1975).
Capital
Community hall: Stamshaw.
Non-Capital
Community worker: Landport and Portsea.
East Side, Buckland playgroup.
Community hall: Landport.
Southampton D.C. (1974—).
Circular No. 10 (Approved February 1974).
Non-Capital
Southampton Children's Play Association: play schemes.
Circular No. 11 (Approved January 1975).
Capital
Toy library.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the immigration of dependants of Commonwealth citizens already settled in the United Kingdom and of East African passport holders and their dependants to end.

It has never been the practice to publish forecasts of this kind. The future rate of entry depends on a wide variety of social, economic and other factors. But it is likely that the United Kingdom passport holders who are heads of household in East Africa and who wish to come here will have been admitted by the end of this Parliament if it runs its full course.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the changes in the procedures for placing prisoners under segregation and for reviewing them subsequently as indicated in paragraph 57 of the report of the work of the Prison Department 1973.

The following changes were made in procedures under Rule 43 of the Prison Rules:(1) The authority to segregate a prisoner for up to 24 hours should normally be given by the governor or his deputy and not by any other person in the prison.(2) The governor should seek written confirmation within 24 hours of any oral authority given by a member of the board of visitors to continue segregation beyond the initial 24 hours.(3) The form on which such confirmation is sought should state fully the reasons for segregation and be copied to the Prison Department regional office concerned.

(4) Application to the board for renewal of authority for a further period of segregation, not exceeding 28 days, should be accompanied by the prisoner's record; and the decision then taken should be recorded and countersigned by a member of the board.

(5) The return made each month by governors to Prison Department regional offices of prisoners segregated under the rule should contain such information and recommendations as would assist the Regional Director to consider whether measures not open to the governor, such as transfer to another prison or a special unit for Rule 43 prisoners, would be beneficial in any case.

Prisons (Deaths)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the causes of the 43 deaths from non-natural causes that occurred in prison establishments in 1973.

It is regretted that, owing to a misprint, two figures in Appendix No. 9 of the report on the work of the Prison Department 1973 (Cmnd. 5767) have been transposed. These figues, under the heading "All establishments", should read:

Natural causes43
Non-natural causes4
The position, with some further detail, is correctly stated in paragraph 213 of Cmnd. 5767.

Chileans And Vietnamese

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many adult Chileans have been allowed to enter the country for political refuge since the military coup in October 1973; and whether he will permit equal numbers of adult South Vietnamese to seek political asylum here.

683 Chileans, including wives and dependent children, are known to have arrived here for settlement since the coup. We have accepted these refugees in order to participate in the relief of suffering in company with many other countries. If it becomes necessary to mount an international operation to help refugees from Vietnam we would again be prepared to play a part.

Taxi And Car Hire Trades

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he now intends to introduce legislation to bring up to date the law in relation to hackney carriages, and to control the activities of private hire operators; and when the promised consultation paper on this matter will be issued to the local authority associations.

I accept that there is a demand for legislation on this subject. We are in the process of preparing draft proposals, but I cannot at present say when we shall be in a position to circulate a consultation paper to the local authority associations and other interested bodies.

(Thousands)
GasElectricityCoalminingIron and SteelRailways
June 1953 to June 1954+1-2-1
June 1954 to June 1955-2+2
June 1955 to June 1956-5+4+1
June 1956 to June 1957+1+3+2
June 1957 to June 1958+1-3-6-1
June 1958 to June 1959-5-2-2
June 1959 to June 1960-10+6-3
June 1960 to June 1961-5+1-1
June 1961 to June 1962+1-3-4
June 1962 to June 1963-2+3-4
June 1963 to June 1964+1-5+3-1
June 1964 to June 1965-6-1-3
June 1965 to June 1966-9-3
June 1966 to June 1967-6-2-1
June 1967 to June 1968-1-9-2
June 1968 to June 1969+1-1-7+1
June 1969 to June 1970-1-1-5
June 1970 to June 1971-1-5-5
June 1971 to June 1972-1-2-2
June 1972 to June 1973-3-1-1
Total change June 1953 to June 1973-1-89-22
The changes are shown to the nearest thousand and the sum of the yearly changes does not in all cases equal precisely the change for the period as a whole.
The estimates used to calculate the changes from June 1953 to June 1959 are based on the 1948 edition of the Standard Industrial Classification. Those from June 1959 to June 1969 are based on the 1958 edition and from June 1969 to June 197 on the 1968 edition. The Minimum List Headings (MLHs) for each industry are shown below.
1948 Standard Industrial Classification1958 Standard Industrial Classification1968 Standard Industrial Classification
GasMLH 210MLH 601MLH 601
ElectricityMLH 211MLH 602MLH 602
CoalminingMLH 10MLH 101MLH 101
Iron and SteelMLHs 40, 41, 43, 44 and 343MLHs 311 and 312MLHs 311 and 312
RailwaysMLH 220MLH 701MLH 701

Wales

Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the changes in the estimated numbers of employees in employment in Wales in each 12-month period for the past 20 years for the following industries: gas, electricity, coalmining, iron and steel and railways.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th March 1975; Vol. 889, c. 254–5], gave the following information:The following table shows annual changes in the estimated numbers of employees in employment in Wales from June 1953 to June 1973, the latest date for which information is available:

Migraine

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many hospital beds in Wales are occupied by migraine sufferers; and how many migraine patients are attending outpatient departments of hospitals in Wales.

No statistics are available. Migraine sufferers needing hospital care usually receive it in departments of general medicine or neurology, but migraine may be a symptom in a number of different conditions.

Devolution

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many senior officials in the Welsh Office are now employed on work connected with the Government's devolution policy.

Nearly all senior officials in the Welsh Office are concerned with devolution for at least part of their time; some are employed wholly or substantially on this work, which is carried out under the general direction of the Permanent Secretary.

Overseas Development

Vietnamese Children

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what assistance she proposes to give to the Ockenden Venture, one of whose homes is in Camberley, Surrey, to help with the resettlement of the Vietnamese orphans recently arrived in the United Kingdom.

I would refer the hon. Member to my statement in the House last Wednesday. We are primarily concerned with immediate relief measures in Indo-China itself where the needs are greatest and most urgent.

Overseas Posts (Candidates)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she has completed her review of the residence requirements for candidates applying for overseas posts financed or assisted from technical assistance funds.

We have decided that in future provided a candidate is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, he or she will not also be required to show evidence of permanent residence in Britain in order to be considered for an appointment overseas wholly or partly financed from British technical assistance funds.

Education And Science

Council Of The Chemical Society

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice has been sought from his Department by an employee, whose name has been supplied to him, regarding his position in applying for elected membership of the Council of the Chemical Society: and if he will make a statement.

None. It would not be necessary for employees of my Department to seek permission before applying for membership of the Council of the Chemical Society.

Sixth-Form Colleges

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what proportion of students re-sat one or more subjects at O-level examinations for each of the last three years in sixth-form colleges and from sixth forms of conventional secondary schools in neighbouring areas;(2) what is the pupil-teacher ratio at conventional secondary schools in neighbouring areas to those served by sixth-form colleges;(3) what is the staff-student ratio at sixth-form colleges and teacher-pupil ratio at secondary schools serving sixth-form colleges, and the combined ratio;(4) what is the greatest and least number of 11- to 16-year age group secondary schools serving individual sixth-form colleges; and what is the average number;(5) if he will arrange for the collection of statistics about the proportion of fifth-form pupils in areas served by sixth-form pupils in areas served by sixth-time education other than in the sixth-form colleges;(6) if he will arrange for the collection of statistics about the proportion of fifth-form pupils in areas served by six-form colleges who enter those colleges, and of fifth-form pupils in neighbouring conventional secondary schools who enter their sixth forms.

In January 1974 the overall ratio of students to staff at sixth-form colleges in England and Wales was 10·7:1. The remaining information is not available and could only be obtained at the cost of disproportionate time and expense.

Comprehensive Schools (Bedfordshire)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give the teacher-pupil ratios in Bedfordshire comprehensive schools.

In January 1974 the overall pupil-teacher ratio in comprehensive schools in the area of the present Bedfordshire Local Education Authority was 17·0:1.

School Governors

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether he will list those education authorities who enable parents to become members of the governing bodies of schools with the right to vote;(2) whether he will list those education authorities who enable teachers in their employ to become members of the governing bodies of schools with the right to vote.

The Department does not collect information about the provision made by local education authorities for appointments to these bodies.

Opera And Ballet

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the televised performances of opera and ballet which preceded "Un Ballo in Maschera" on 29th March 1975, during the previous 12 months.

I am concerned with performances by clients of the Arts Council. The Royal Opera House provided, besides "Un Ballo in Maschera", the Darwin Appeal Fund Concert and "La Traviata" and a performance by the Royal Ballet of "La Fille Mal Gardee". No record is kept of regional transmissions, but I hope such transmissions will increase.

National Theatre

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the future of the new National Theatre and on the scale of operation and building planned to take place therein, following his meeting of 9th April.

I have nothing yet to add to the remarks I made in answer to the Question by the hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) on 8th April—[Vol. 889, c. 993–5.] I shall make a further statement as soon as I am in a position to do so.

National Finance

Excise Duty (Tobacco, Wines And Spirits)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the increase in duty on tobacco and on wines and spirits, separately, that would be required to restore the real value of duty to the level of February 1974, June 1970 and June 1964.

The information is:

CHANGES IN DUTY TO RESTORE THE REAL VALUE OF DUTY AND VAT
(Pence)
To rates in
February 1974June 1970June 1964
Tobacco (20 standard tipped cigarettes)-1½+7+7
Wine (bottle)-4+15-2
Spirits (bottle)+20+120+85

Note: The estimates are of duty increases to make the duty, together with the associated VAT, equivalent in real terms to the duty (plus VAT in February 1974) at the dates specified. The conversion to real values has been made using the retail price index.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current annual yield of income tax; and what would be the yield of an increase in the standard rate of (a) 1 per cent., (b) 2 per cent. and (c) 3 per cent.

The estimated net receipt of income tax for 1974–75 shown in the November 1974 Financial Statement and Budget Report 1974–75 was £10,500 million. The provisional out-turn for the year will be published in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1975–76 on Tuesday 15th April. The estimated yields at 1974–75 income levels from increasing the basic rate of income tax by 1p, 2p and 3p are about £300 million, £600 million and £900 million respectively.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the amount of income tax collected in the last fiscal year.

The estimated net receipt of income tax for 1974–75 shown in the November 1974 Supplementary Financial Statement and Budget Report 1974–75 was £10,500 million. The provisional outturn for the year will be published in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1975–76 on Tuesday 15th April.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the approximate increase in revenue resulting from (a) an increase in VAT to 18 per cent. on all goods subject to purchase tax in the last year purchase tax was levied, (b) an increase in VAT to 18 per cent. on all goods subject to purchase tax in the last year purchase tax was levied, other than clothing and household goods, food and cars, and (c) an increase in VAT to 18 per cent. on luxury goods only, the categories of goods being as defined in Table 360 of the 1974 Annual Abstract of Statistics.

The increases in revenue in a full year would probably be of the order of £850 million, £275 million and £100 million, respectively.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will seek to exempt from value added tax the domestic deliveries of coal by the home coal service which is organised by the National Union of Mineworkers.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why VAT is charged on the collection of cesspool refuse but is not charged on the collection of dustbin refuse.

Both services are properly chargeable with value added tax if supplied by registered traders. Such services supplied by local authorities are also subject to tax if a charge is made.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the number of man-hours required to administer VAT by companies with annual turnovers of £10,000, £20,000, £50,000 and £100,000.

I regret that I cannot usefully make such an estimate. The time spent by businesses on compliance with VAT requirements no doubt varies very widely according to the nature and organisation of the business, rather than simply according to turnover.

Wages (Purchasing Power)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the comparative purchasing power of average wages in the regions of the United Kingdom and those regions of all other members of the EEC that are available at the latest common convenient date.

I regret that the information required to answer this Question is not available.

European Community Loans And Grants

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures available for the financial benefits to the North-West assisted areas from EEC membership from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, European Social Fund and European Investment Bank; and what percentage these financial amounts represent of the total benefit to the United Kingdom in each category.

Information on the financial benefits from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund and the European Social Fund to the North-West assisted areas is not separately available. During 1973 and 1974 the United Kingdom received about £175 million from the EAGGF for market regulation and restructuring under the common agricultural policy. Receipts from the European Social Fund during the same period amounted to about £16 million. In addition, there are commitments to pay the United Kingdom about £12 million from the guidance section of EAGGF, and the United Kingdom has also been allocated further sums from the European Social Fund.The North-West assisted areas have not so far received any loans direct from the European Investment Bank. However, since 1st January 1973 two projects have been financed from loans provided by the bank to the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation for on-lending to small and medium-sized firms in the assisted areas. They are a £50,000 loan for the manufacture of integrated circuits at Workington, Cumberland, and a £220,000 loan for the manufacture of sugar confectionery at Liverpool. Loans made to date by the bank to the United Kingdom total £136 million.

Subsidies

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been paid out in each of the last 10 financial years in subsidies for food, and to the nationalised industries, respectively.

Amounts paid by central Government are as follows:

Food£ million Nationalised Industries
1965–66135·6
1966–67143·4
1967–68174·4
1968–69171·5
1969–70137·2
1970–71104·6
1971–72203·1
1972–7331·0210·0
1973–74111·0505·0
1974–75 (Provisional outturn)506·01,084·0

Consolidated Fund

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the balance of the Consolidated Fund as at 5th April 1975.

In accordance with Section 18 of the National Loans Act 1968 there was no balance in the Consolidated Fund as at 5th April 1975. In the year ended 31st March 1975 the Consolidated Fund excess of expenditure over revenue which was met from the National Loans Fund amounted to £3,232,409,758·07.

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total increase in public expenditure between 1973–74 and 1974–75; how much of this was due to wage and salary increases; and what was the average percentage increase in public sector wages and salaries.

On the main part of the Question I must ask the hon. Member to await the Financial Statement and Budget Report which will be issued tomorrow. I will let him have the answers to the other parts of the Question shortly afterwards.

National Debt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current amount of the National Debt.

At 31st March 1975 the National Debt is provisionally calculated to be £45,900 million.

Public Service Employees

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing the total number of people employed by the Government, including all local authority personnel, water authority personnel, and Civil Service personnel, and excluding the Armed Forces, for each of the years 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Figures for 1970–73 are given in Table 13 of the Blue Book "National Income and Expenditure 1963–1973" and the totals are as follows. Figures for 1974 are not yet available.

June 19703,948,000
June 19714,057,000
June 19724,181,000
June 19734,321,000

Social Services

Migraine

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will enumerate research being undertaken into the causes and treatment of migraine and consider increasing the work now that the Migraine Trust is unable to undertake new projects through lack of funds.

The Medical Research Council is currently supporting some research relevant to the problems of migraine, including basic studies in cerebral blood flow, hormone disturbances and disorders of the special senses such as hearing and vision. My Department is sponsoring a project of epidemiological research on the disease at the University of Southampton and another, concerned partly with migraine and partly with other cerebro-vascular disorders, is being supported under the locally-organised research scheme at the Hull Royal Infirmary.Any new proposals for research on this disease will be considered by the MRC or my Department as appropriate.

Model 70 Invalid Tricycle

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish in the Official Report the full text of the letter sent by her Department to the Director of the Motor Industry Research Association, Mr. R. H. Macmillan, following his release of the six MIRA reports relating to the interior noise levels and wind performance of the Model 70 invalid tricycle during the week ended 15th March 1975.

Since the five reports on the interior noise level of the Model 70 were released by Mr. Macmillan for placing in the Library, there has been no correspondence between the Department and MIRA on this matter apart from a straightforward acknowledgement of the receipt of the reports and a request for further copies. There has been no recent correspondence with MIRA concerning the wind test report on this vehicle.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the six reports released for publication by the Motor Industry Research Association, relating to the interior noise levels and wind performance of the Model 70 invalid tricycle have been returned to MIRA by her Department; what further requests have been made to MIRA; and on what date all six edited reports will now be placed in the Library.

The one report amended by MIRA was returned to MIRA at its request; the four unamended noise test reports were not so returned; extra copies of all noise reports were ordered and are now in the Library. There has been no recent correspondence between the Department and MIRA relating to the side wind test.

War Pensioners

asked the Secretary of State for Social Serxices what proposals she has to expedite payment of outstanding expenses to war pensioners by the War Pensioners Welfare Service; and whether she is prepared to pay interest on sums that have been approved but have been outstanding from 1st October 1974 and are still not paid.

I am inquiring into the case which I understand the hon. Member has in mind and will write to him as soon as possible.

Abortion

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take action in the light of the evidence submitted by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East that every day in Great Britain 500 babies are killed through abortion, that many babies take up to two hours to die after an abortion and that one six months' baby was put in an incubator and lived for several weeks.

Generalised statements about the working of the Abortion Act are difficult to investigate. My Department's Abortion Act inspectors are, however, making inquiries to see what substance there may be in the more specific allegations, and whether reference to the Director of Public Prosecutions is warranted.

Hospital Beds

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what periodic ward closures are planned in the Medway Health District as a result of the curtailment of nursing services following the implementation of the Halsbury Report; if she will list the numbers of weeks of planned closures for each ward at each hospital in the district; and what will be overall percentage reduction in the number of beds available in the forthcoming year.

SpecialtyFromTo
ST. BARTHOLOMEWS HOSPITAL
Helen LloydSurgical27th March2nd April
Gundulph (6 beds)Medical
Helen LloydSurgical29th June12th July
McCullochSurgical13th July26th July
Ludford CooperMedical27th July9th August
Sheppey TowerSurgical10 August23rd August
Ludford CooperMedical24th December1st January
McCullochSurgical
MEDWAY HOSPITAL
An Orthopaedic Ward closed in rotation for four weeks each between22nd June13th September
ALL SAINTS' HOSPITAL
StephenE. N. T.27th March2nd April
24th May30th May
24th August29th August
24th December1st January
MaryPost Natal27th April10th May
27th July9th August
2nd November15th November
25th January7th February
SHEPPEY GENERAL HOSPITAL
SexburgaGynaecological SurgicalThree weeks to be agreed with Consultant staff.
Surgical
MargaretG.P. Ward27th March9th April
28th September11th October
21st December3rd January
De ShurlandMedicalClosed for Three weeks avoiding summer season. Dates to be agreed with Consultant staff.
Cheyncy
SITTINGBOURNE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL15 Surgical beds27th March2nd April
This represents a 1·7 per cent. reduction in the number of beds available.
The closures will not be necessary if more nurses can be recruited.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if she will give an estimate of the scale of the reduction in the national availability of hospital beds as a result of the implementation of the Halsbury Report; and what additional finance would be necessary to provide the resources to the health authorities to allow them to maintain present standards;(2) what reduction in the availability of hospital beds is likely to result from the implementation of the Halsbury Report in Kent and in the South-East Regional Health Authority area; and what additional finance would be necessary to provide the resources to the health authorities to allow them to maintain present standards.

It is assumed that the reference is to the effect of the increased annual leave for nurses recommended by the Halsbury Committee of Inquiry. The situation will vary locally according to the

The planned closures, the resulting from the increased leave for junior nurses, are understood to be as follows:changing nurse-staffing position and it is not possible to give an estimate of a continuing reduction in available beds nationally or for any one region attributable to this improvement in conditions of service. Additional finance has been made available to implement the recommendation of the report. The maintenance of services in this respect therefore depends on the ability to recruit additional nurses and it is hoped that the considerable improvement in pay and conditions of service recommended by the Halsbury Committee will help in achieving this result.

Psychiatric In-Patients

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, having regard to the entitlement of in-patients in long-stay psychiatric hospitals to a non-contributory invalidity pension, if under pensionable age, and to Category D retirement pension, if over 80 years of age, she will ensure that the Supplementary Benefits Commission takes over responsibility from hospital authorities for providing pocket money of £2 a week, in 1974 terms, to all patients in long-stay psychiatric hospitals aged between 60–65 and 80 years.

This is being considered sympathetically but must be set in the context of the other work commitments for the Department's local offices.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many long-stay patients there are in psychiatric hospitals aged between pensionable age and 80 years; how many are receiving pocket money at the same rate as that received by patients in other long-stay hospitals, how many at a lower rate and how many are receiving none; and what is the full rate now paid to long-stay in-patients below pensionable age, and above the age of 80 years, respectively.

The best estimate that can be made is that there are over 30,000 such patients who have been in hospital for one year or more. Information is not available centrally about the number who receive less than the standard pocket money from hospital funds. This allowance is £2·30 irrespective of age, and is at the same level as the social security personal allowance.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, having regard to the entitlement of inpatients in long-stay psychiatric hospitals to a non-contributory invalidity pension, if under pensionable age, and to Category D retirement pension, if over 80 years, she will exercise powers under the appropriate section of the Social Security Benefits Act 1975 to confer entitlement to pocket money of £2 a week, in 1974 terms, to all such in-patients between 60–65 and 80 years.

I do not think that extension of either of the two benefits mentioned would be approriate for this purpose.

Glasgow Dustmen

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much has been paid out of public funds in the form of social security benefits and PAYE refunds to the Glasgow dustmen and their families during the recent strike.

Up to the week ending 1st April, about £7,300 had been paid to the families of drivers involved in the Glasgow Corporation cleansing dispute. Nothing has been paid for the men themselves.In determining the amount of supplementary benefit payable in any particular case, account will have been taken of any PAYE refund available. The amount of such refunds paid to the men is, however, a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

School Dental Services

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she is aware of the shortage of school dental services in the North Humberside area; and if she will make a statement on steps that are being taken to improve it.

Yes. This is a long-standing problem arising from a shortage of dentists in the locality. The area health authority, which has now become responsible for the service, is taking a number of steps to improve it, including the recruitment of more dentists, the use of staff from other parts of the area and the sessional employment of general dental practitioners.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Middle East

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received any approach from the Egyptian Government concerning Great Britain's participation in a reconvened Geneva Conference on the Middle East; and what reaction he intends to make to such a proposal.

The Egyptian Government have expressed the view that we should participate. The question of invitations to the Geneva Conference is a matter for a number of Governments. If we receive an invitation we shall consider it very carefully.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Public Appointments

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will name those appointed by his Department to the Agricultural Training Board, the Apple and Pear Development Council, the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation, the Committees of Investigation for England and Wales and for Great Britain, the Consumers Committee for England and Wales and for Great Britain, the Covent Garden Market Authority, the Eggs Authority, the Fisheries Research and Development Board, and the Food Additives and Contaminants Committee;(2) if he will name those appointed by his Department to the Food Standards Committee, the Forestry Commission, the Home Grown Cereals Authority, the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, the Meat and Livestock Commission, the National Seeds Development Organisation Ltd. Governing Body, the Sugar Board, the United Kingdom Seeds Executive, the Veterinary Products Committee, and the White Fish Authority.

This information is being assembled and I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Sugar Stocks

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the strategic sugar stocks which were drawn upon last year to relieve the shortage existing in the domestic market have yet been topped up; if not, when it is proposed to replace them; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) on 23rd January.—[Vol. 884, c. 421.]

European Community Grants

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will underwrite FEOGA grants to agriculture whatever the outcome of the referendum.

We do not now underwrite FEOGA grants and I cannot antici- pate whether any action would be necessary if the United Kingdom decided not to stay within the European Community.

Farm Incomes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the percentage increase in farm incomes over the past two years.

Aggregate net income of the United Kingdom farming industry increased by 49 per cent. from £861 million in 1972–73 to £1,283 million in 1973–74 but a fall of 12 per cent. to £1,133 million is forecast for 1974–75. On this basis the increase in aggregate net income in 1974–75 over 1972–73 is forecast to be over 31 per cent.

Horticulture (Fuel Costs)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will reconsider the question of a continued fuel subsidy to the glasshouse industry in view of the EEC Commissioner for Agriculture's statement on 9th April that it would be desirable for the British Government to use their authorisation to introduce direct aids to that industry pending longer-term Commission proposals.

No. The subsidy paid to British growers on oil consumed in the 12 months ending 31st December 1974 was more generous than the temporary fuel aids being given by other member countries of the EEC for varying periods up to 30th June 1975.

Taxation

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with representatives of the National Farmers' Union about the effect of Government taxation policies on the agricultural industry: and with what result.

I have kept in close touch with the union's view. The union has also submitted its views directly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and has discussed them with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. These views have been, and are being, fully considered by the Government in the implementation of their taxation policies.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what meetings he has held with forestry interests about the effect of Government taxation policies; and what representations have been made to him by them.

Representations have been received from a number of individual woodland owners and forestry organisations in addition to the Forestry Committee of Great Britain, the central representative body for private woodland owners, with whom my hon. Friends the Minister of State and the Under-Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales, have met to hear their views on the effect of capital transfer tax on private forestry.

Industry

Planning Agreements

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what factors he based his estimate in the Industry Bill that 250 additional civil servants would be required to administer the system of planning agreements.

The estimate of 250 additional staff is not solely for planning agreements but for work arising from the Industry Bill as a whole. The estimate reflects difficult judgments about the way the work will be done and the extent to which some elements of it are being done already.

Postal Rates

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will give a general direction to the Post Office that it should operate a system of repaying full first class postage rates to those recipients of letters which are known to be delivered in periods of more than two days from date of postage.

Industrial Development

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the total value of the claims put in by his Department to the EEC and ECSC for grants and loans for industrial development in the latest period of six months for which figures are available.

Only applications for reconversion loans from the ECSC under Article 56 of the Treaty of Paris require the support of my Department. Over the six months ending 31st March applications to the value of £22·1 million, in part representing reapplications, were forwarded to the Commission.

Inner City Areas

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on his Department's policy in relation to inner city areas.

The Government are aware of the problems that exist in inner city areas and are sponsoring a number of studies. As my hon. Friend said in his statement on 18th July last—[Vol. 877, c. 259–60.]—we give sympathetic consideration to IDC applications by existing occupants for projects in these areas which involve no more than modest increases in labour and no significant change in the range of products.

British Leyland

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he proposes to make generally available the report of Sir Don Ryder on British Leyland, in the light of the latest economic evidence concerning the motor industry.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State explained to the House on 18th December, it will not be possible to publish the report because it contains information of considerable commercial value to British Leyland's competitors, but a report will be made on the principal recommendations as soon as possible.

Regional Aid And Development Areas

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied with the existing system of regional aids and with the present designation of development areas; and if he will make a statement.

We have made it clear that we intend to continue and develop the present system of regional incentives. The boundaries of the development areas are kept under review, but there are no proposals for any changes at present.

Legislative Proposals

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he next intends to discuss with those who manage British industry the effects of current Government legislative proposals on industry.

This is a continuing process. My right hon. Friend has had many such talks and expects to have many more.

Industry Bill

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his understanding of productivity for the purposes of Clause 21(2) (l) of the Industry Bill.

My understanding is that contained in Report No. 36 of the National Board for Prices and Incomes (Cmnd. 3311) that productivity is a relation between inputs and output.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his understanding of an estimate as to a state of facts which will obtain at a future specified date for the purposes of Clause 21(4) of the Industry Bill.

I understand by these words an estimate as to what the position will be at some specified future date in respect of any of the matters listed in Clause 21(2).

Footwear

4.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what progress has been made in the negotiations undertaken by him with the COMECON countries in relation to quotas or anti-dumping restrictions in relation to the British footwear industry and in respect of which the Under-Secretary of State gave certain undertakings to the House in January last.

Consultations with the supplying countries concerned are continuing, and it is hoped to make a statement shortly.

Paper Saving

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will take action to encourage packaging of products in a manner calculated to prevent unnecessary use of paper and cardboard.

As stated in the Green Paper "War on Waste" published last September, it is the Government's view that greater efforts should be made to avoid the use of wasteful packaging of all kinds. The Waste Management Advisory Council has, therefore, been asked to review the whole question of packaging and containers, and is currently forming a special sub-group for this purpose.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Fish

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what progress the committee of inquiry into retail prices in the fish trade is making; and if she will make a statement.

Trade

Textiles

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will use the power granted under EEC Regulation No. 1439/74 of 4th June 1974 on Common Rules for Imports to safeguard the interests of the British textile industry; and if he will make a statement.

Our powers to restrict imports are severely limited by our international obligations, notably the GATT and the GATT Multifibre Arrangements. Regulation 1439/74 neither creates special powers nor removes those limitations. I have already used the dispensation which it allows from our EEC obligations to introduce surveillance licensing covering a wide range of textile imports. These measures were announced in the House on 20th March 1975 during the debate on the textile industry by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Industry, and I have nothing to add to what he said then.

Insurance Companies

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will detail fully the action taken by his Department by regulation or administrative action since the Insurance Companies Amendment Act 1973 came into force to safeguard the solvency of insurance companies.

Mr. Clinton Davis